Previously known as Rajputana or the “land of kings”, the great desert of Rajasthan is a historical marvel. One of India’s most visited tourist destination, a hundred years of culture, tradition and stories fill the land. The Great Thar Desert which runs parallel to the Sutlej-Indus river valley covers most of its landmass. If you are headed to the state, then check out our list of the best places to visit in Rajasthan.
Top 8 Places to Visit in Rajasthan To Feel Like A Royalty
Rajasthan hosts several forms of art and craft, the great Rajasthani thalis, mouth-watering desi sweets, extravagant garments and the historically gorgeous forts and palaces. It is rightly referred to as the land of kings.
When visiting Rajasthan, you can’t certainly miss out on the capital city of Jaipur. Lovingly, referred to as the ‘pink city’, it was founded in 1721. It’s distinct pink and saffron colour of the settlement makes it all the more attractive. It’s well-planned streets, and artistic architecture makes it one of the best places to visit in Rajasthan.
Moreover, it is home to numerous forts and palaces, most famous ones being Amer Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Hawa Mahal and Jal Mahal. The City Palace, which was established at the same time as the city stands at the entrance with its intense and vibrant red and golden structure. You can book a stay here with Airbnb too! While you are there, don’t forget to explore the arts and crafts from the local markets made by local artisans with over 20 unique specialisations.
Known as the Venice of the East, Udaipur is one of the most beautiful cities in India. Standing at the foot of the Aravalli Hills, the city is home to various glistening lakes and gold-clad palaces in its banks. Founded in 1553, when the capital was shifted from Chittor to Udaipur, the stately grounds of the city started to exemplify the finesse of the Rajput architecture. With stretched heightened structures, royal beds, magnificent paintings and comfort of the royal beds, you can experience the stay like a royal. The Lake Palace which is now a Taj property floats in the middle of a lake with its pearl white architectural beauty. You can also boat through Lake Pichola or visit the Lake Garden Palace for its unique floating gardens. Moreover, Udaipur also houses a Royal Vintage Car Museum where you can explore the expensive cars of the old royalty.
In the centre of the Thar Desert lies the walled city of Jaisalmer and is one of the best places to visit in Rajasthan. Aptly named “the golden city” due to its glistening deserts and the golden sandstone used in its architecture, the place boats of unique experiences and historical stories. Founded in 1153, the city takes you on a ride across its deserts to show you the glory of the Jaisalmer Fort, Patron Ki Haveli Museum and intricately carved Jain Temples. The ornate Maharaja Palace is also a sight to see.
Furthermore, it is the Sam Sand Dunes and its desert safari that attracts the visitors to this city. You can explore the extraordinary flora and fauna of the desert from the back of a camel as you are taken through the ranges of sands. Camp the night in the desert with a warm bonfire, experience traditional performances and the watch the sunrise from the sand dunes.
Pushkar is a religious getaway and one of the holiest places to visit in Rajasthan. The founding date of the city is unknown. Located along the banks of the Pushkar Lake which is said to be formed with the tears of Lord Shiva, it holds a great significance in the Hindu Mythology. The city is known for its intricately carved ancient temples and various ghats which welcome thousands of visitors to take a dip in its holy waters.
Moreover, the city also hosts hot air balloon rides from where you can get a panoramic view of the misty coloured subtle town. Pushkar is rather famous for its annual camel fair where the locals come to sell and buy livestock. However, it also attracts a lot of tourist crowd thanks to its music, dance and several other cultural performances; it is one of the best ways to experience the tradition of the city.
In the deserted heat of Rajasthan, Mount Abu holds the pride in being a cooling hill station getaway. With its hilltop temples and the green ranges in the middle of Aravalli hills, the station provides the perfect retreat. The trek to the Guru Shikhar, the highest point in Mount Abu is a scenic one. The view of the enchanted ranges and lush forest will enchant you.
Moreover, the sunset view is one a kind from the Sunset View and has even been featured in various Bollywood movies. Like the other cities of Rajasthan, Achalgarh is the fort in the ranges built-in 1452. Also, though the forts are in their ruins, one can see the grand grey granite entrance pillars. One of the most visited points is the Nakki Lake where you can take a boat to see the bustling town in the banks. While you have the time, head to Mount Abu bazaars for arts and craft shopping!
A pilgrimage site to both Hindus and Muslims alike, Ajmer lies close to Pushkar surrounded by the Aravalli Hills. Rich in Islamic history and culture, it is home to the shrine of Khwaja Muinud-in Christi who was the founder of the prime Sufi culture in India. It became a significant site when the Mughals annexed Ajmer from the Rajputs.
Moreover, the notified bond of the Mughals and the Rajputs can also be seen in Akbari Fort and Museum, which was once the residence of Emperor Jahangir, the son of Akbar. The bricked palace houses the armours and weapons of both the clans. Being an essential site for the Jains; likewise, Ajmer also features a glorious golden Jain temple. To experience the panoramic skyline of the bustling cultural town, you can take a boat ride in the Ana Sagar lake.
Ranthambore National Park
Eight kilometres from Sawai Madhopur which was founded by the Kachwaha Rajput in 1773 lies the Ranthambore fort and national park. Previously the hunting grounds for the Rajputs, Ranthambore forests now hosts the largest number of tigers in India. With permission from the forest officials, you can take a safari ride into the park where you can trace the footprints of the magnificent tigers. Wondering about the stay? The park houses a number of cottages for its visitors to get the natural vibe of staying within nature’s lap.
Furthermore, the trek to the Ranthambore Fort and the Khandar fort is equally scenic and filled with historical significance. Several haunting stories surround the fort which makes it all the more thrilling to take a trip to.
The most massive fort complex of Chittorgarh sits in atop the rugged hills and is the largest in India. The historical city, once the capital of Mewar is synonymous to Rajput romanticism and chivalry. After several annexations, it was finally returned to the Rajputs in 1616 and restored in 1905. Today, the intricate fortification of the city is what makes it one of the must places to visit in Rajasthan. Home to several grand palaces and temples, the beauty of the town is rooted in its culture.
Moreover, you can discover various types of architectural chhatris in the city — each different from the other. The Meera Temple and the Padmini Palace are the epitomai of artistic mastery. The Chittorgarh fort, apart from its elaborate carvings and storytelling, it houses several water pools and water reservoirs inside. It has seven major gates. Inside the fort lies the Rana Kumbha palace. It famously known for its queen Padmini committing Jauhar along with the wives of other Rajput warriors. The locals form stories about the souls of these women haunting the Jauhar Kund inside the castle.
We don’t know how far the stories hold the truth, but each of these tales speaks about Rajputana pride and bravado. The structural glorification, the hidden meaning behind it, the grandeur of the cities and the rich heritage and culture that people still live by is a marvel to witness. All these elements make Rajasthan the place it is today. Apart from the top mentions places to visit in Rajasthan, you can visit various other places for a historical retreat; Bikaner known for its desi sweets, Alwar for its tucked in green castles and Jodhpur for its bright weather and the blushing white structures of the city.