Top Places to Visit in Rajasthan
Rajasthan, the very name evokes the images of hill top fortresses, maharajas in their lavish outfits and bejeweled scimitars riding on ornately decorated elephants and followed by large retinue. Although a desert kingdom, the colorful turbans and saris that the populace of Rajasthan wear lends a vibrant and colorful fervor to the former Rajputana princely states that now form modern Rajasthan.
The tales of the valor, romance and opulence of the Rajput warrior princes are stuffs of legend. But despite all the decadence, these princes were patrons of art too. Under their tutelage art and culture flourished. Today Rajasthan happens to have some of the most spectacular forts and palaces that were built in India. The list of things to do in Rajasthan is so vast that it would keep even the fussiest of travelers on their toes.
Massive hill forts, wildlife sanctuaries, havelis, bazaars and the Thar Desert along with an array of pilgrimage places makes Rajasthan one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. In this post we have tried to come up with some of the popular places to visit and things to do in Rajasthan.
Without further ado, we bring to you the list of the top places to visit in Rajasthan.
Jaipur: The Pink City
|Hot Air Ballooning is the new “hot” things to do in Jaipur|
Fondly referred to as the Pink City, Jaipur is one of the most vibrant places in Rajasthan. With its regal past and being one of the most powerful and prosperous kingdoms of erstwhile Rajputana, Jaipur is bestowed with several majestic structures that include several forts and palaces.
Mighty hill forts with elaborate architecture, colorful bazaars, elephant villages and tuk tuk rides are some of the major draw of this magnetic destination in Rajasthan. Being home to former maharajas, Jaipur is sprinkled with an array of heritage hotels – the former residences of maharajas and princes – that are considered the most opulent and spectacular hotels in India. The Taj Rambagh Palace hotel in Jaipur has been voted one of the best heritage hotels in India.
Eating and shopping scene in Jaipur is one of the major crowd puller. You can gorge on lip smacking Marwari cuisine as well as cuisines from around the world in some of the most authentic local food joints and top notch restaurants in luxury hotels.
The bustling bazaars of Jaipur are shopper’s delight. You could shop for jewelries, footwear, rajasthani artifacts, textiles and clothing at some of the best shops selling these items in Rajasthan. From the Mowari, a UN supported footwear shop to Anokhi & Soma two of the finest boutiques in Jaipur, even a fussy shopaholic will be on its toes with the range of shopping options available in Jaipur.
Jaisalmer: The Golden Kingdom
|Barabagh is one of the most popular tourist places to visit in Jaisalme|
Renowned for its ‘Sonar Kila’ the burnished Jaisalmer Fort appears to rise out of the golden desert surrounding the citadel. Jaisalmer flourished even though surrounded by the stark Thar Desert located as it was on the major camel trade route.
The mighty Jaisalmer Fortress with 99 bastions houses 5 palaces and several other structures that include temples, exquisite havelis and shops all made up of the golden sand stone. Nearby structures too is constructed using the same stone thereby lending the name “golden city” to this former princely state of Rajputana.
The desert of Jodhpur comes alive every year during the Desert Festival that exhibit the cultureal tradition of the region. If you are in Jaisalmer, a desert safari on a camel back in the Sam sand dunes is must in the list of things to do here. Desert safari is one of the factors that makes Jodhpur one of the popular places to visit in Rajasthan.
Most of the hotels and accommodation options in the city are located close to the fort. However for a adventurous experience go for one of the tent hotels or desert camps while you are in Jaisalmer. There are several heritage Havelis too that offer vintage stay and authentic experience of this desert kingdom.
Jodhpur: The Blue City
|A Camel at the awesome Mehrangarh Fort Photo courtesy: grondragaj.com|
You only need a glimpse of the city from the top of the Mehrangarh Fort to realize why Jodhpur is fondly referred to as “the Blue City.” Now inscribed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site under the classification Hill Forts of Rajasthan, Mehrangarh Fort – the fulcrum of the city – is one of the most spectacular hill forts in India.
Located in the heart of the desert kingdom, Jodhpur is one of the most popular tourist places in India frequented by visitors from across the globe. There are plenty of activities to do in Jodhpur which include camel safari in Thar Desert and the thrill of Flying Fox.
The major attractions of this city are the forts, havelis, Jaswant Thada and Clock Tower; one of the best markets in Jodhpur for bargain shopping. One of the best time to visit the city is during the annual Jodhpur RIFF, a vibrant cultural fest
One of the must visit places in the city is Umaid Bhavan Palace. One of the most lavish luxury heritage hotels in India, Umaid Bhawan Palace is a sprawling building with 317 rooms that includes the Maharani Suite with 4850 sq ft area, 4-5 times the area of luxury apartments in metropoplitan cities like Delhi or Mumbai.
Ranthambore: The Tiger Kingdom
|Jeep Safari, Ranthambore National Park|
Ranthambore National Park, located in Sawai Madhopur is one of the finest tiger reserves in India for wildlife safaris especially when it comes to spotting the Big Cat, apogee of any game safari experience in the wild.
Ranthambore National Park used to be the private hunting grounds of maharajas of Jaipur their favorite game being the Royal Bengal Tigers. The park came under Project Tiger in 1979 and is home to approx 30 tigers. Other major animal species in Ranthambore National Park include leopard, hyena, sambhar and nilgai etc.
Approximately 300 bird species have also been recorded in this wildlife sanctuary in Rajasthan. Safaris into the park are allowed once in the morning and once after noon. Private vehicle are not allowed and only jeep safari and canter (open top bus) safari are allowed by the authorities for wildlife excursions.
Mount Abu: The Holy Hills
|Arbuda Mountain, Mount Abu, Rajasthan|
The lone hill station in the otherwise stark Rajasthan, Mount Abu is one of the popular summer destinations in North India. Located on the border of Rajasthan and Gujarat, this hill station is an important Jain pilgrimage destination.
Located an an elevation of 4000 feet, Mount Abu is most famous for Dilwara Temples. There are several Hindus Temple as well. The peaks of the region are dotted with water streams as well as emerald Nakki Lake, one of the most popular tourist places in Mount Abu.
Yet another major attraction in here is the sprawling 14th century fort Achalgarh. It was built by Rana Kumbha of Mewar and Nakki Lake is at the center of this magnificent hill fort.
Udaipur: City of Lakes
|Taj Lake Palace Udaipur is the most iconic structure in Udaipur|
Popularly referred to as the ‘Venice of East’ Udaipur is one of the top places to visit in Rajasthan. Floating palaces, gardens and lakes make Udaipur one of the most romantic destinations in India. One of the most iconic structures in Udaipur happens to be the Taj Lake Palace, a spectacular white marble palace, which has now been converted into one of the most romantic hotels in India.
Most of the attractions and activities in this city are centered around Lake Pichola. The resplendent City Palace is nestled on the Eastern bank of the lake. This massive complex is home to several gardens, courtyards and palaces as well as the renowned City Palace Museum. The museum houses artifacts belonging to the maharanas of Mewar.
Other structures on note include Durbar Hall, Crystal Gallery, Jag Mandir, Vintage Car Collection and Fateh Prakash Palace which has been converted into one of the top palace hotels in Rajasthan.
[Plan your trip with our Rajasthan Tour Packages]
Contributed by Nikhil Chandra