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Rajasthan is a state in northwestern India. It borders Pakistan to the west, Gujarat to the southwest, Madhya Pradesh to the southeast, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to the northeast and Punjab to the north. With an area of 3,42,214 sq km, Rajasthan is the second largest of the Indian states. The population of the state is 5,64,70,000. The state capital is Jaipur, famously known as the Pink City.

Rajasthan at a glance

Date of formation: 1948
Capital: Jaipur
Governor: Madan Lal Khurana
Chief Minister: Vasundhara Raje Scindia
Area: 342,239 km˛
Districts: 33
Cities & Towns: 222
Roads: 61,520 km
Population: 56.47 million
Literacy: 61.03 %

Cities: Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bhilwara, Ajmer, Bikaner

Climate: Generally dry with monsoon during July-August.

Languages: Hindi, English, Rajasthani, Marwari, Urdu and Bagri

Four national highways (2,846 km): Delhi-Ahemdabad, Jaipur-Bhopal, Agra-Bikaner and Bhatinda-Kandla.

Main geographical features include the Thar Desert and the termination of Ghaggar river (Saraswati of ancient times). Aravalis, one of the oldest mountain ranges, stretches diagonally across Rajasthan, separating western desert and semi-desert areas from the eastern sub-humid areas. Population densities are higher in the eastern part of the State. The Aravali Range cradles the hill station Mount Abu and the world famous Dilwara Temples. Rajasthan has two national tiger reserves, Sariska & Ranthambhore, and the Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary at Bharatpur.

One of the best ways to see Rajasthan, is to travel on the Palace on Wheels. This train, consisting of personal coaches of the erstwhile rulers of the princely states of Rajputana and the Nizam of Hyderabad, has been rated one of the ten best luxurious train journeys in the world. Unquestionably it's an unparalleled experience to ride the replica carriages refurbished to look like the original saloons of the Maharajas. The Palace on Wheels is one of India's most fascinating sojourns covering the pink state capital Jaipur, the golden citadel Jaisalmer, the blue city of Jodhpur, the National Park Ramthambhor, the symbol of chivalry Chittorgarh, city of lakes Udaipur, the Ghana bird sanctuary, Bharatpur and Agra (city of Taj Mahal), before returning to Delhi.

The Palace on Wheels, hauled by a steam engine, made its inaugural trip on 26th January,1982 as a unique holiday concept. In 1991, a new air-conditioned meter gauge Palace on Wheels on the lines of the old heritage train was launched. The interiors of the current 14 saloons are authentic replicas of the historic coaches. Each saloon is equipped with twin-bed cabins, each with channel music, intercom, with attached baths and running hot and cold water and a shower.

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