The Indian state of Rajasthan is putting thousands of historic properties on sale, many of them stately castles and old forts.

They are all "nazool" -- properties ceded to the government by their owners upon India's independence in 1947.

The money from the sales of these properties will go into a general fund that will be used to finance the development of villages and towns in Rajasthan. The government hopes that the sale will stir up more international interest in the state.

Prospective buyers include the properties' original owners, such as the maharajah of Jodhpur, who is hoping to regain the citadel of Jalore currently in the care of the state's archaeological department.

While the larger properties are on the market for a starting price around £650,000, smaller 18th and 19th merchants' homes bear more modest price tags. Buyers should also expect to shoulder huge maintenance bills for the renovation and upkeep of these properties, many of which are presently barely habitable.