Rajasthan allures visitors with its larger than life monuments, fascinating cuisines, glorious heritage and folk culture which eulogies the bravery of its immortal kings and princes. In this state, a new experience awaits you at every turn, as you explore the top places to visit in Rajasthan. A safari on the desert, an exploration of a colossal fort, tasting an authentic dish or witnessing a lively folk performance, the options for discoveries and explorations here are limitless.
However, Rajasthan is an enormous state, and the visitor is often left wondering at the limitless options he is faced with. If you have been thinking of visiting this state, but are confused, or, desirous of experiencing the best that it has to offer, then this blog is for you. Here, we tell you the places which you should not miss during a holiday in Rajasthan.
Jaipur, also known as the Pink City, is one of the most visited tourist destination in Rajasthan. Founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh in 1727, its one of the most frequented city by the tourists. This city endears itself to tourists through its various palaces, forts and wonderful shopping opportunities. Once here, you should visit the Hawa Mahal, a palace built so that the ladies of the royal household could observe the daily life in the streets. A unique experience awaits you at the Amer Fort in the form of an elephant ride which takes you to the very top.
If all this sightseeing leaves you hungry, head off to the Laxmi Mishtan Bhandar (known as LMB by foodies). In close proximity lies the shopping center where you come across vibrant bandhini works, traditional jewelry and jootis. If you happen to be visiting Jaipur in January, you should attend the Jaipur Literary Festival. For book lovers, this is the ultimate place to be in.
Jaisalmer, carries a magical aura about it. A camel safari into the desert through the sand dunes forms part of the quintessential Jaisalmer experience, and in itself, is one of the top reasons to visit Rajasthan. Camping in the midst of the seemingly endless desert, with the twinkling stars above and the gentle whisper of the wind keeping you company, it all sounds like a setting from the Arabian Nights.
However, desert safari is just one of the experiences in store for you here. There is the Jaisalmer Fort, which has allured visitors with its sand colored walls along with an old museum which tells stories of the royalty. Besides, this desert city is also dotted with elegant and fabulous havelis built by wealthy merchants. One of the most famous of these is the Patwon-ki-Haveli. If you are up for it, you might also want to try some “bhang” at The Lassi Shop, originally known as The Bhang Shop. Desert Festival, held in Jaisalmer, showcases the authentic culture and traditions of the state, and should be visited during your stay here.
Udaipur sure knows how to do thing in style and with the utmost grace. One of the most iconic sights associated with this “lake city” of India is the sight of the serene waters of Lake Pichola. On its glistening waters floats Lake Palace, an 18th century structure widely built of pure marble. Needless to say, it sets the most romantic setting.
The City Palace is worth checking out during the daytime. It’s filled with tiny passageways that lead to wonderful courtyards and enclosures. Some of the other places of interest are the incredible Jain Temple of Ranakpur and the Fateh Bagh Palace, which now exists as a heritage hotel. For a perfect nighttime dinner, choose a rooftop restaurant here (you will find several of them in close proximity to the City Palace), and enjoy the incredible views of the city. To witness the folk music and dance of the region, head to Bagore-Ki-Haveli which showcases dancers and artists from all over Rajasthan. If you are a lover of vintage cars, check out the vintage and classic car museum, which features some of the rarest and vintage cars. Happen to be a music lover? Then, the Udaipur World Music Festival is just for you.
Jodhpur, the second largest city in Rajasthan, is fondly known as the “Blue City”. It blends the modern with the traditional in a beautiful way. As a tourist, you have much to look forward to here. However, the most dominating sight here is that of the Mehrangarh Fort, which overlooks the rest of the city. Not only is the fort an explorer’s paradise, but it offers spectacular views of the city from the top. It also plays host to the Jodhpur Flamenco and Gypsy Festival, which celebrates the gypsy culture of Spain and Rajasthan.
Jodhpur is home to several tourist attractions. One of these is the Umaid Bhawan Palace, the only palace built in the 20th century and recognized as one of the private homes in the world. The other attraction is the Jaswant Thada, the milky white memorial built towards the end of the 19th century as a tribute to the leader Jaswant Singh. Take a zip lining tour, also called the Flying Fox, which provides you an aerial view of the Mehrangarh Fort, besides the several landscapes of this beautiful city. For a unique experience, take a Bishnoi Village Safari. The safari provides a glimpse of the cultural life of the Bishnoi villagers.
Pushkar, located to the northwest of Ajmer, is one of the oldest cities in India. What makes Pushkar unique among the other tourist places in Rajasthan is that its home to the only Brahma Temple in the world. Other than the Brahma Temple, its home to the Pushkar Lake. Known as “Tirtha Raj”, or, the king of all pilgrimage sites, no pilgrimage is considered complete without a dip in the Pushkar Lake.
You could also embark on a temple tour, as this place is home to numerous temples, each associated with its unique history and mythology. Of course, there cannot be a better time for visiting this place other than when it hosts the Pushkar Fair. An annual fair which extends to five days, it witnesses the buying and selling of livestock. It also holds the distinction of being one of the world’s largest cattle fairs. Competitions such as “matka phod”, “longest moustache” and “bridal competition” are also held during the course of the event.
Bikaner, located in the northern region of Rajasthan, is famous for its forts, temples and camels. It holds the distinction of being only one of the two models used by the British during World War 1. Home to some of the world’s best riding camels, it’s also known as camel country.
On a holiday to Bikaner, you should visit the Junagarh Fort. Constructed in 1588 AD, its famous as a fort which was never captured. The other place worth checking out is the National Research Center on Camel. Located about 8km from the city, it’s the only one of its kind in Asia. Laxmi Niwas Palace, built between 1898 and 1902 by British architect Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob, now functions as a luxury hotel. For a “ratty experience”, head to the Karni Mata Temple, the temple where rats as venerated as gods. The highlight of your visit to Bikaner, however, is the Bikaner Camel Festival. An annual festival dedicated to the “ship of the desert”, it hosts events such as camel races, camel licking and camel beauty pageants, besides others.
Any Rajasthan travel guide should involve a visit to Alwar. Besides being one of the oldest cities, it’s also the most recent of the Rajput kingdoms. Tourists here have a lot to explore in the form of forts, palaces and wildlife. Some of the monuments worth checking out here are Bala Qila (young fort), Alwar City Palace (which combines the Rajputana and Islamic style of architecture), The Palace Museum and Pandu Pol (believed to have been the refuge of Pandavas during their exile).
If you are looking for some adventure activities to do in Rajasthan, then Sariska Tiger Reserve awaits you. Apart from the Royal Bengal Tiger, which is the prime attraction, it’s also home to other kinds of wildlife including leopard, caracal, jungle cat and striped cat, amongst others. A wonderful boat ride can also be enjoyed at the Sillserh Lake.
Bundi, located about 36km from Kota, gives the impression of having sprung out from a fairy tale. It impresses visitors through its magnificent location and spectacular architecture, an example being the Bundi Palace. This town houses several fabulous structures built in the Rajput style of architecture. Some of these include Sukh Mahal (the palace where Rudyard wrote his novel, Kim), Taragarh Fort (an example of fine Rajput architecture) and Raniji ki Baori (also famous as the King’s Stepwell).
Lakes are another attraction of this area. Some of them worth checking out are Lake Jait Sagar, Lake Nawal Sagar and Lake Kanak Sagar, besides others. You could also view wildlife at the Ramgarh Vishdhari Sanctuary. If you happen to be at Bundi, attend the Bundi Festival. Celebrated in the month of Kartik (November), it’s a remarkable display of traditional art, culture and craftsmanship.
Bharatpur traces its history back to the 5th century, when this region flourished under the Matsya kingdom. This place is famous for being one of the world’s best bird watching destinations, Keoladeo Ghana National Park (KNP). One of the foremost attractions for a tourist here is the Bharatpur Palace and Museum which is home to a vast number of antiques, over 58 stone sculptures, 861 local art and craft wares and ancient scriptures that depict the art and culture typical of Bharatpur.
Another attraction in Bharatpur, one of the most popular holiday destination in Rajasthan, is Keoladeo Ghana National Park. It’s renowned for its migratory birds like ducks, geese, waders, raptors and flycatchers, besides others. Other attractions worth checking out are Lohagarh Fort, Deeg and Ganga Mandir, apart from others. If you happen to be here a few days before Holi, you could visit the Braj Holi Festival. The highlight of the festival is the Raslila dance performed with great enthusiasm and unity.
Jhalawar, once called Brijnagar, is known for its rich natural wealth of vibrant flora and fauna. The unique topography of this region owes itself to red poppy fields and orange laden orchards. The foremost attractions here are the Jhalawar Fort and the Jhalawar Government Museum. For an unusual experience, head to the Gagron Fort, one of the six hill forts of Rajasthan to be a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
Other places worth checking out are Bhawani Natyashala, an unusual theatre in India possessing an underground passage which allows horses and chariots to appear on stage. This city also hosts the Chandrabhaga Fair. Held every year, it attracts travelers, pilgrims and explorers. About 90km from Jhalawar lie the ancient Buddhist caves and stupas. A colossal figure of Buddha and the carved stupas are the most impressive structures in the caves.
Ajmer, which means “Ajay Meru”, means “invincible hills”. This city of Ajmer is perhaps most famous for being home to Dargah Sharif, which houses the tomb of Garib Nawaz, also known as Moinuddin Chisti. The Ajmer Sharif Dargah, built in the 13th century, is a Sufi shrine which encloses the “maqbara” grave of Garib Nawaz. People of all faiths visit this shrine to have their prayers answered.
Adhai Din Ka Jhonpda, originally built to function as a Sanskrit College, was later converted into a mosque by Sultan Ghori in 1198 AD. Other attractions are Mayo College, Anasagar Lake and Soniji ki Nasiyan, also known as the Ajmer Jain temple.
Visit Sawai Madhopur with best Rajasthan tour packages and witness its fascinating history and varied topography. Adventure and historical lovers will find a lot to look forward to here. Explore the Ranthambore Fort, which is related to the historical legend of royal women performing “jauhar” (self-immolation).
Then there is the Ghushmeshwar Temple, believed to be the 12th or the last of the Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Some other places worth checking out are Tonk, which consists of colonial buildings, painted mosques and ancient books, along with manuscripts. However, once here, you should visit Ranthambore Park, situated about 14km from Sawai Madhopur. Besides the magnificent tiger, the other forms of wildlife found here are chinkara, sambhar, cheetal and over 300 species of birds.
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