The Rajasthan tourism industry is a booming part of India. This magical desert draws travelers from across the world. Dotted with old rock forts and towns that have built up around the oasis of the desert. The history of this land stretches far back into the depths of time. Once known as the land of kings, if you visit Rajasthan your heart will be stolen.
Each individual kingdom of Rajasthan has its own identity. The architecture, art and customs of each, are not to be found anywhere else. This makes Rajasthan one of the most culturally diverse places on the planet.
Here are our picks of the places that you should not miss, if you visit this colourful and enchanting land.
Jaipur is the Capital of Rajasthan and also its largest city. Founded in 1727 it is known as the pink city for the distinctive saffron colour of its buildings. Packed with monuments, museums, forts, gardens, temples and a thousand different market places, Jaipur has enough to offer any of its visitors.
What to see in Jaipur
As seen in the picture above, The Amber Fort is an architectural masterpiece combining both Mughal and Hindu styles. This is one of the most popular sites in the whole of Rajasthan, and thus at the weekends it can get quite busy. If you have the luxury of choice, head to the fort at the weekend.
Hawa Mahal, the palace of wind
Hawa Mahal is another of Jaipur’s architectural wonders. Built by the poet king, Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, it is believed to be shaped like lord Krishna’s crown as Singh was a devotee of Krishna. Hawa Mahal was originally built, so that the royal ladies could watch the city from behind the windows. Built in both Hindu and Rajput (islamic) styles, the palace of the wind is a must see when visiting Jaipur.
Jal Mahal, the water palace
This is one of the most photographed places in India and one of the stars in the crown of the Rajasthan tourism industry. Situated in the middle of lake Man Sagar, Jal Mahal is a wonder to behold. Only the top floor of the palace is visible, as the other four floors are submerged beneath the waters of the lake. Take a boat ride and marvel for yourself at the everlasting beauty of this encapsulating palace.
How to reach Jaipur
Being the Capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is easily accessible by bus, train or flight. The most “Indian way” to arrive, would be by train of course, but if you choose to either fly or take a bus, you will have no problem reaching this wonderful city.
This oasis in the desert is located on the shores of the Pushkar lake, which was created by the tears of lord Shiva. Puskar is one of the oldest towns in India, its date of is origin unknown and is often associated with Hindu Mythology. The waters of the lake are considered sacred which makes this a holy pilgrimage. Hindus are drawn from across the country to bath in the waters of this small desert oasis.
What to see in Pushkar
The Brahma Temple of Pushkar is a huge draw for all of the Hindus of India. Dedicated to the lord of creation, Brahma, this temple has myths connecting Brahma to the vanquishing a demon which was tormenting the people of the lake. The temple also features the worship of one of Brahma’s ladies, Gayatri and is both a symbol of lord Brahma and also womanhood. The temple itself is covered in beautiful imagery and bright and beautiful colours. If you make it to Pushkar, do not miss your chance to see the temple of the lord of creation.
This is a temple which sits atop of a nearby mountain over looking the lake and city of Pushkar. To reach the temple you must first climb the mountain. However this is not difficult, as steps and a handrail have been placed to help people summit easily. Taking only one hour to reach the top, the best times to visit are either before sunrise or at dusk to see the setting of the sun. Also the views from the top of the mountain are spectacular.
Out of the four hundred temples that are in Pushkar, the Rangji temple is one of the more ancient. Dedicated to the lord Rangji, who was an incarnation of Shiva, priests chant holy mantras for the pilgrims who have come here to worship. Once the mantras have finished, the priests then shower the pilgrims with holy water from Pushkar lake as a blessing. See for yourself the beauty of this temple and receive a blessing of your own, a tilak on your forehead.
Pushkar Ka Mela
The Pushkar Ka Mela or Pushkar fair is a five day Camel extravaganza, which is held once a year. It is one of the world’s largest Camel fairs and in recent years has become one of the biggest attractions in Rajasthan tourism. Competitions such as the Matka Phod (longest moustache), never fail to impress. If you are in Rajasthan as October turns to November, head to Pushkar to see all of the craziness for yourself.
How to reach Pushkar
The closest railway station to Pushkar is Ajmer Junction, which is thirty minutes outside of Pushkar. If you visit by train this is where you will disembark from your train. From Ajmer Junction you will take a Tuk-Tuk ride to reach Pushkar.
However if you arrive by bus or car, you will use the national highway NH58. Pushkar is connected by road to all of the cities of Rajasthan and also New Delhi. You will have no problem arriving by road.
The nearest airport to Pushkar is in Jaipur. From here you will have to take a train, bus or car to reach the lake of Pushkar.
Jodhpur is Rajasthan’s second largest city, and also one of Rajasthan tourism industry’s biggest draws. Only Jaipur has a bigger population, making this one of the most important cities of the desert. Founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha Singh of Marwar, Jodhpur is also known as the blue city for its blue buildings. It is also known by another name, the sun city as it enjoys beautiful weather all year round. The old walled city, hill forts and palaces make this a wonderful city to visit.
What to see in Jodhpur
Looking like something out of a fantasy movie, Mehrangarh Fort is out of this world. This is one of the oldest forts in India and was built in 1460 by Rao Jodha. Towering 410 feet above the city, the red fort of Mehrangarh is something to behold.
As also seen in the picture above, Jaswant Thada is located one kilometer from the foot of Fort Mehrangarh. This magnificent white marble building is a cenotaph, and is hung with portraits of Rathore rulers going back all of the way to the thirteenth century. This is also a nice place to get away from the rush of the city and take a walk around the gardens. The views of the fort are also a good reason to visit Jaswant Thada.
Umaid Bhawan Palace
This 19th century palace looks like it could have sprung from the very sands of the desert itself. This massive royal palace which is still the royal residence today, has an art deco and renaissance design. There is nothing small about this palace, with its 26 acres of gardens, this is one of the largest private residences in the world.
How to reach Jodhpur
Jodhpur Airport is only five kilometers from the city and can also be reached by any of the airports in India. This an airport which also shares its base with the Indian Air Force, which is something that you do not get to see too often.
Jodhpur has a major train station which is connected to most of the cities in India. There will be no problem reaching Jodhpur by train.
All of the major cities of Rajasthan are connected by highways to the blue city. Being the second largest city in the state however, it is easily reached by either land or air.
Jaisalmer, the golden city of Rajasthan, is nestled at the foot of Jaisalmer Fort and is one of the most beautiful places in Rajasthan. Lying in the heart of the Thar desert, the city was first established all the way back 1156 by the Bhati Rajput ruler Maharawal Jaisal Singh. The name “The Golden City”, derives from the sands of the Thar desert and also the golden coloured sandstone which the city is built from. This is a place which you will never forget. The architecture alone will dazzle you with its magnificence. Jaisalmer is truly a wonder of India.
What to see in Jaisalmer
The enchanting Bada Bagh, which translates to big garden, is located around five kilometers from Jaisalmer. Bada Bagh is a complex of huge dam works which date back to the 16th century. The main attraction of the site is the cenotaphs, as seen in the image to the left. Known locally as chhatris, these structures draw people from all over the world to marvel at their intricate design. However, watching the sunset over these enchanting structures is also a beautiful sight to behold and well worth the visit.
The reason that many people travel to Jaisalmer is to experience a camel safari. To ride camels through the desert and sleep under the stars is truly and invigorating experience. For three days and two nights you could live a life that you have never even touched before. Costing only ten dollars a day this is something that should not be missed. However, if riding a camel for three days is something that does not interest you, at least head over to the Sam sand dunes to watch the sunset. Here is our Ultimate guide on how to take your Camel Safari. Jaisalmer Camel Safari: Plan Your Desert Adventure
Havelis of the fort
Next up are the Havelis of Jaisalmer Fort. Haveli’s are the name of traditional town houses or mansions in India, Jaisalmer has five Havelis. The first was created in 1805 by a famous brocade and jewelry merchant. Locals tell legends of how the silver and gold dealers of Patwon Ki Haveli became rich by smuggling opium at the time. Part of the Haveli complex is now a museum which displays paintings, artifacts, arts and crafts of a time now long gone. It is a reminder of what affluent lives the owners of the Havelis lived.
How to reach Jaisalmer
Jodhpur is the nearest airport to Jaisalmer, which is a six hour bus journey through the desert to the southeast. Jaisalmer has an airport , however the airport does not take many flights.
The easiest and most comfortable way to reach Jaisalmer is by train. Jaisalmer is also connected to most major cities and is easily accessible this way.
Being close to the border of Pakistan and in the middle of the Thar desert, taking the road to Jaisalmer can be a little arduous. For this reason the train would be the better option. On the other hand, if you wish to travel by bus Jaisalmer is connected to all of the major highways of Rajasthan.
Udaipur, the city of lakes, was the capital of the Sisodiya Rajputs of Mewar. Famous for its beautiful lakeside palaces, in the modern era Udaipur has become one of the luxury travel destinations of the Rajasthan tourism industry. This is a beautiful lakeside city which has palace like hotels, loud colourful and noisy marketplaces and also many other wondrous bits of history for to get lost among.
What to see in Udaipur
The City Palace is a modern day reminder of the splendour that the old rulers of Udaipur used to live in. The palace complex houses monuments such as the Monsoon Palace, Lake Palace, Jagdish Temple, Jag Mandir, and also the Neemach Mata Temple. Another reason this place is so majestic, is that it is surrounded by the Aravalli Mountains. This gives the palace a gorgeous background. Built completely out of marble and granite, the palace also has a vast array of silver and mirror work as well as hundreds of paintings and murals. All things considered, this is one of the grandest palaces in India.
Situated on lake Pichola on the island of Jag Niwas, the lake Palace of Udaipur is a spectacular architectural wonder. Not only does this heavenly palace have a backdrop of the Aravalli Hills, it is also made entirely out of white marble, giving it an allure like no other. This Palace has it all, sprawling gardens, terraces, splendid architecture or beautiful fountains. Accordingly, this is often ranked as one of the most beautiful palaces in the world.
Saheliyon ki bari
Next on the list of things to see in Udaipur, is the gardens of Saheliyon ki bari. This sprawling garden has natural beauty and is also filled with fountains, marble elephants and even a museum. Spend a few hours walking among this paradise and you will feel all of your worries disappear. For this reason, Saheliyon is a must see when you are visiting Udaipur.
How to reach Udaipur
Udaipur has a domestic airport which can be reached from most of the cities of India. However, the airport is 20 kilometers from the city, so you will have to take a taxi to reach Udaipur.
Udaipur like all Indian cities, is also connected to the extensive rail network. For this reason, Udaipur is very easy to reach. The station is three kilometers from the centre of the city so you will not have to travel far to reach your hotel.
Another way to reach Udaipur is by road. Udaipur is connected to Delhi and all of the other cities in Rajasthan. All things considered, you will have no trouble reaching this city.
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