Top 5 places to visit in Rajasthan
Rajasthan is where one witnesses a beautiful union of culture, cuisine and chivalrous architecture. The Land of Kings is a worthy etymology, owing to the rich heritage built by the Maharajas that once ruled their kingdoms with pride. What they have left for us is a map of numerous palaces and forts, markets of exquisite handicrafts, and their descendants who greet us with a ‘Ghani Khamma’ and a warm smile.
A large part of Rajasthani land is a carpet of golden sand, otherwise known as the Thar Desert. There is also the Aravalli Range with the lovely Mount Abu, adding to the geographical splendour of Rajasthan. But that’s not all it has to boast about. The heart of tourism in Rajasthan lies in its cities that are bursting with all the fuss that Rajasthan is about. Here are the top five places to visit in Rajasthan.
Jaipur is the capital and largest city of Rajasthan. The old parts of the city are surrounded by high walls and gates that outline the ‘pink’ of the Pink City. Jaipur is home to protected palaces like the Amer Fort, with its dizzying mazes and staircases, and rich amber-coloured walls. There is also the lusciously pink and honeycombed Hawa Mahal, one of the most famous tourist spots in Rajasthan.
Jantar Mantar, the largest astronomical observatory in the world, is where you can check out the instruments that were and are used to study space and time. Also pay a visit to the Nahargarh Fort for a divine view of the entire city, where there is also a cycling tour available. If you are an admirer of architecture, head to the City Palace to see intricate detailing like you’ve never seen before.
After a tour of the royal palaces, you can indulge in shopping at the colourful markets crowded by tourists, such as Bapu Bazaar, Johri Bazaar and Tripolia Bazaar. Jaipur is one of the best places to visit to really capture the essence of Rajasthan.
Udaipur is the most picturesque of the destinations on the Rajasthan tour. A simple boat ride on its waters will tell you why. Udaipur is rightly called the City of Lakes; it is surrounded by four heavenly lakes. As if this much water wasn’t enough, they have resorts with exciting water rides you can partake in!
The main attraction of the city is of course, Lake Pichola, and the Udaipur City Palace that majestically sits on its banks. You can go all the way to Rajasthan for this one view and still be satisfied, it is that enchanting. The Lake Palace that once served as a summer palace is now a fine hotel with walls of elegant black and white marble.
Sajjangarh Palace, the monsoon palace, makes for a great uphill stroll and an even better point to behold the sunset. If you love vintage cars, you will consider the Vintage Car Museum paradise. If you have an interest in Indian history, you must take a detour to Haldighati, the site of the famous battle of the Rajputs and Mughals, which is located about 40 km from Udaipur.
Jaisalmer is a city right in the middle of the golden sand dunes of the Thar Desert. The undeniably gorgeous walls of the Jaisalmer Fort are built with golden sandstone, making it look like a sandcastle in the desert. Thus, the name ‘Golden City’ is befitting for Jaisalmer.
This place is remarkable during winters to feel cold desert sand between your toes under the starry sky, and especially because of the Jaisalmer Desert Festival held annually in February, which makes the stories from Arabian Nights come alive.
Some must-have experiences in Jaisalmer are the one-of-a-kind desert safari (riding on the back of a camel), a walk through havelis and the marvellous Jaisalmer Fort, and a picnic by the clear waters of the Gadisar Lake. The city also has a profuse Jain culture, and has many Jain temples you can pay homage to. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can take a detour to Kuldhara, a ghost town (32 km from Jaisalmer). You read that right.
Jodhpur, the second largest city in Rajasthan, is also called the Blue City, and even the Sun City. The roofs and walls of most houses are painted blue. Visiting Jodhpur is like going somewhere from another day and age, with the narrow streets, fine palaces and medieval markets. The main tourist attraction of Jodhpur is the Mehrangarh Fort.
It is where history is not just a story – you can feel the royalty and our legacy when you see the gates, the canons and the palaces within. Besides the regular one, they also organise a more fun tour of Mehrangarh – the Flying Fox Zipline Tour – two hours, six ziplines and definitely something you’ve never experienced before!
Another architectural marvel is the Umaid Bhawan Palace – a grand hotel, a regal wedding destination and also still the home of Maharaja Gaj Singh II. You can also visit Jaswant Thada, a memorial monument with red steps leading up to it, occupied buy folk dancers and musicians waiting to entertain you.
A pilgrimage site for Hindus and Sikhs, Pushkar has many temples and gurudwaras. Each temple has its own significance in paying tribute to religion. There is a perpetual soft hum of bells and prayers everywhere in the city. The sounds are more upbeat at the bazaar that covers the entire main road and sells everything under the sun.
Pushkar is best known for hosting the week-long Camel Fair in October/November every year. The festival invites guests from all over the world because of the unusual contests such as camel races, ‘longest mustache’ and ‘bridal competition’. The Pushkar Lake is considered holy by the local people and they have a magnificent aarti there every evening, which you absolutely cannot miss.
The devotion is reflected not only in the water of the lake, but on the painted faces of the devotees who are immersed in the aarti. In Pushkar, you can also hike up to the Savitri Temple (ideally in time for the sunset). There is even a hot air balloon ride you can take to look over Pushkar.
So, there you go! Rajasthan has the most beautiful cities and sights, and these five cities are guaranteed to make your Rajasthan trip memorable, in their own ways. Rajasthan is packed with new experiences in old settings. Plan a visit to Rajasthan and see for yourself!