Our Guide On The Top 10 Places To Visit In Rajasthan
Rajasthan’s history is as colourful as the State itself – it is full of stories of valour, art, culture, education, battles fought amongst clans and against foreign invaders, palaces, forts, mysterious mansions, and so on
Rajasthan’s history is as colourful as the State itself – it is full of stories of valour, art, culture, education, battles fought amongst clans and against foreign invaders, palaces, forts, mysterious mansions, and so on. The best part is, Rajasthan has managed to maintain many of its historical landmarks to this day. Chief among these are the various palaces and forts built by a succession of Rajput and Mewari kings.
Geographically, Rajasthan is the largest Indian State and comprises such famous landmarks as the Thar Desert. Like a few other Indian territories it was merged into the Indian Republic in 1949, after the region’s rulers decided to align with India instead of remaining a sovereign State. Pre-Independence, it was one of the most important political and cultural centres for the British Raj in India.
The word ‘Rajasthan’ is derived from the two Hindi words ‘Raja’ meaning ‘King’ and ‘Sthan’ which means ‘Land’. Literally, ‘Rajasthan’ means ‘Land of the Kings’. The sobriquet is well earned, too: right from the time of the famous Indus Valley Civilisation spanning Rajasthan and Gujarat to Independence, Rajasthan has given the country a succession of famous kings. The State is credited with important finds like rare tools dating back to the Harappan Civilisation, as well as the setting up of several universities and places of learning at the time of the Rajput and Mewar Kings. Before the Mughals and the British entered the scene, Rajasthan was ruled by tribes like the Gurjars, Bishnois, Yadavs, Jats, Bhils, Meenas, Meghwals, Rajputs, Sainis and Sermals. All of them left a distinct mark on the history of the region, whether it be trade or architecture.
We list the top reasons why you must visit Rajasthan with your loved ones:
* Go for the historical monuments. Rajasthan holds the distinction of having the highest number of palaces and forts in the country. Not only are some of these forts impregnable, but the palaces were created in local Rajasthani architectural style, with some crafted in Mughal styles as well. The State’s forts and palaces are a testament to its rich history, and must figure on your list of places to visit in Rajasthan. More on which forts to visit in ‘Top 10 places to visit in Rajasthan’.
* Sample the yummy Rajasthani food. Like every other place, the food of Rajasthan was created in response to the harsh environmental conditions, the paucity of cultivable land, and so on. People here have had to be inventive in terms of using less water and good fats in their cooking to create food that is hearty and filling. Beans, dried lentils, gram flour, ghee and jowar are widely used in cooking. Rajasthan outdoes itself in terms of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Be sure to check out laal maas, dal bati churma and khargosh, among many other dishes.
* Make friends with the people. Not only is Rajasthan culturally and historically rich, it also has some of the friendliest people in the land. Local residents are used to tourists from India and around the world, and are always quick to help with directions or other information with a smile. Not only will people be willing to show you around, but they will also invite you to partake of a meal at their homes and celebrate their fairs and festivals with them.
* Check out the wildlife. You will be left astounded at the variety of wildlife in Rajasthan. The State has some of the biggest wildlife sanctuaries, spread across Jaisalmer, Kota, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambore, and Alwar. Visiting zoos and wildlife sanctuaries is one of the important things to do in Rajasthan.
* It has the most stunning deserts. It is not possible for everybody to traverse the great Thar desert, but you can certainly celebrate the sheer beauty of huge expanses of sand at the Jaisalmer desert safari. In fact, Jaisalmer also has a desert festival in January and February every year. This is also one of the best times to visit Rajasthan.
Now let’s get you up to speed on which places you must visit during your Rajasthan break. These are our top 10 recommendations:
Mehrangarh is located inside Jodhpur, the ‘Blue City’ of India due to its distinct blue coloured houses. It is the pride of the city, and the origin point of the ancient walled part of Jodhpur. It provides panoramic views of the city, and it is still in reasonably good condition. Inside this fort, you can see many small palaces, some buildings which may have been administrative buildings, and even a modern day restaurant and museum. Spending time here is a surreal experience, and it must figure on your list of places to visit in Rajasthan.
This is the State’s famous art district, and one of the most important places to visit in Rajasthan. It is located in the Bikaner-Jaipur-Delhi triangle. You will love how replete the town is with ancient architecture and cultural motifs. There are old murals, paintings and carvings everywhere – the area is often referred to as an ‘open air gallery’. You will also like to take a look at the splendid havelis and the frescoes on the walls.
One of the most important places to visit in Rajasthan, Ranthambore National Park is famous for its population of tigers allowed to live in a jungle setting. Visitors must take covered jeeps or vans to traverse certain parts of the Park. The area is named after the famous Ranthambore Fort located on this land. The fort has ancient Hindu temples, public pavilions and some scattered monuments in ruins. Do find out the best season and timings to visit the Park with your family.
Quaint and not too touristy, Bikaner is a dream come true for travellers looking for old world charm and less footfalls. The most curious legend attached to this old city is that of Karni Mata, who was worshipped by rats. The famous Karni Mata Temple here is overrun by rats of all sizes, and you must visit it with the furry creatures running around your feet and scurrying on every column and beam. Bikaner also has a camel festival like Pushkar and a desert festival like Jaisalmer, though these are not as widely known.
One of the most delightful places to visit in Rajasthan, Mount Abu is the State’s lone hill station located close to Udaipur. It had a strong British presence due to its salubrious climate, and it was also the HQ of the famous Rajputana Agency in 1857. You will love visiting this tranquil spot with your family, or just your partner. Look up a Rajasthan tourism guide for the best routes to reach Mount Abu from your resort.
Sleepy little Pushkar is a town that hardly puts itself on the map – unless you’re counting the famous Pushkar Camel Fair. When the fair is on, you simply must visit because it is a fantastic carnival to be a part of. The fair is held in late October or early November, and you can see many types of camels being sold and traded for. Foreigners love this festival, and even your children can learn a lot simply by soaking up the atmosphere. The famous bathing ghats are also up for viewing, as well as a roaring bazaar that sells everything from clothing to trinkets.
If you like birds and bird watching, you should head to Keoladev Ghana National Park. Located in Bharatpur district, it is Rajasthan and the country’s top bird sanctuaries. It has also been conferred with the UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Interestingly, the site was used as a duck shooting spot for the prevalent ruler of the land. Today, there are close to 400 species of birds residing here, and there are many migratory species appearing here in the winter season too. If you visit this place in Rajasthan in the winter, you can spot the Siberian Crane as well.
A trip to Rajasthan is incomplete without stepping into Udaipur, one of the most important places to visit in Rajasthan. Once in Udaipur, be sure to visit the stunning City Palace Complex. It is located on the banks of the famous manmade Lake Pichola, and it is a huge edifice that takes about a day to see fully. Inside the complex are smaller palaces, temples, a museum and a sanctorum displaying personal effects of past residents (heirlooms, photographs, royal memorabilia).
The country’s famous Pink City merits a stand-alone visit of its own. Full of old havelis, palaces, forts and other historical monuments – many of them created from the distinct pink sandstone of the region – you will love touring one of the best cities and most important place to visit in Rajasthan.
We highly recommend this ancient sandstone fort as one of the must-visit places to visit in Rajasthan. Rising majestically above the sand dunes, the fort is an architectural wonder comprising large palaces, havelis, residences for common folk, shops and public squares, and also a few large temples.
Now that you are aware of the places to visit in Rajasthan, let’s get you acquainted with the best Rajasthan resort for your holiday. We recommend booking the Club Mahindra resorts in Rajasthan – choose from Club Mahindra properties at Udaipur, Mansingh Towers Jaipur and Pratap Niwas Jodhpur. With luxurious rooms, state-of-the-art amenities, recreation space and activities for children, spa and fitness centres and also the most amazing restaurants in Rajasthan, you will love every minute of your stay in any of these properties. Book yourself for a Rajasthan vacation of a lifetime, and feel right at home with Club Mahindra.
Q: Which is the best time to visit Rajasthan?
Being a desert State, Rajasthan’s climate tends to veer towards extremes. The summer is scorching hot and the winter is exceedingly cold. And yet, the best time to visit Rajasthan is during the winter months of November to January. As long as you bundle up warmly, you can easily step out despite the cold temperature – the air is fresh and crisp, visibility is good and there are less tourist footfalls during this time.
Q: What is Rajasthan famous for?
Rajasthan is most famous for being a historically and culturally rich city. It still has remnants of its rich past, with a spate of forts, palaces, old gardens and ancient monuments. Other things of note include tasty food, friendly locals, the rich tapestry of colours in the residents’ clothes and homes, the many festivals and its old world charm.
Q: How many days are required for a Rajasthan tour?
It depends on which parts of the State you wish to see. Rajasthan is quite huge in area, and you will have to pick between its prominent cities (Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, etc.) to see it properly. If you pick one or two cities, then about a week should be sufficient to tour Rajasthan.
Q: Which are the major tourist centres of Rajasthan?
Rajasthan is full of tourist attractions. But for purposes of helping you plan your itinerary, we list these following important tourist centres for you: Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Chittorgarh, Pushkar, Jaisalmer and Bikaner.
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