No travel to India is complete without a visit to the vibrant destinations of Rajasthan. The stunning palaces and forts of the area, are architectural wonders that have withstood the test of the times.
A sojourn through the mighty state, is sure to make you come face to face with royalty and decadence. The rich cultural heritage, culinary delights, and vibrant history, makes travel to Rajasthan, an experience to remember.
Rajasthan is a sensual overload for any traveller. The sights, sounds, and tastes are going to leave you tingling for more. From the fiery chillies, to the mouthwatering sweets, Rajasthan has something for every palate.
Jaipur – The pink city
Acting as the gateway to the flamboyant state of Rajasthan, Jaipur is one destination in India, that is a must include in every travel itinerary. Part of the famous “Golden Triangle”, Jaipur is also known as the Pink City.
At first glance, the sheer chaos and colours of the streets of the city will take you on a roller coaster ride. But then, as you gaze down from the top of the Amber Fort, you can feel a sense of tranquility in the midst of it all. Marvel at the architectural wonders of the Jantar Mantar observatory, and the opulence of the royal life at the City Palace Museum. The delicate honeycomb Hawa Mahal, is remiscent of a different time.
Jodhpur – a symphony in blue
Towering above a sea of blue houses, rises the mighty Meherangarh Fort, a veritable architectural feat. The old blue painted city, is a labirynth of narrow lanes, that you would love to explore. It is said that every lane in the blue city holds a new mystery, waiting to be unraveled. Jodhpur has a way of capturing the travellers’ imagination, with its majestic architecture and buzzing city life.
The glittering streets, with its myriad sights and smells, will make you want to stay back forever.
If you are looking for an adrenalin rush, try out the zip line at Meherangarh Fort. The finger licking local cuisine, with its hot, savoury snacks and delicious desserts, makes Jodhpur a foodie’s delight.
Ranthambore – Rajasthan’s wild side
Home to the famous Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, this destination is a must visit for the nature lovers. You can also visit the mysterious Ranthambore Fort, and listen to the legends and stories associated with it’s construction.
Partly hilly, and partly plain, the terrain of Sawai Madhopur makes for vast areas of rugged terrain, which are the perfect prowling grounds of the majestic Royal Bengal Tigers. If you are lucky, you can catch a glimpse of the beautiful beast, as you take a safari through the national park.
The hills of the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges, makes the area a haven for those looking for adventure tourism. Today, Ranthambore has grown to become one of the most popular tourist destinations, that attracts thousands of travellers from across the world.
If you are looking for a romantic destination, then you have the ultimate choice in Udaipur. Known as the Lake City, it is home to some of the most picturesque settings. Situated beside the glimmering banks of the Pichola Lake, Udaipur boasts of lavish palaces.
Al fresco dining options on the banks of Lake Pichola, manouvering the narrow lanes of the old city, and laidback lifestyle of the people, are going to make it a journey to cherish forever. The charming old world feel of the city, with its quaint old shops, and winding streets, are reminders of a different time, and a different world.
Regarded as one of the most romantic destinations in all of India, Udaipur is home to some of the most fabulous heritage hotels in the country. The exquisite lakes offer a serene oasis in the middle of the parched hills of Aravalli.
The painted havelis of Shekhawati
Located in the northern part of Rajasthan, Shekhawati is a semi-arid region, that is one of the lesser known destinations in the state. It is famed for its brightly painted havelis (ornate residences). The striking murals, painted with vibrant natural colours are a delight to watch.
The towns in Shekhawati seem tiny, and non-descript to the traveller today. But this was not always the case. Shekhawati’s towns once formed important points on the trading routes of caravans from Gujarat. The erstwhile prosperity of the towns can be seen from the lavish and ornately decorated havelis. Today, the towns stand as desolate reminders of a glorious past, and times gone by.
Khimsar – A mesmerising oasis
Midway between Jodhpur and Bikaner, the quaint old oasis of Khimsar offers a wide variety of experiences to the traveller. Located right on the edge of the mighty Thar Desert, Khimsar is a treat for the senses.
Battle scarred forts, rolling sand dunes, and a vibrant people, makes this a destination worth visiting. The warm hospitality, along with the ever-smiling faces of the local people, will make you feel at home from the very first instant. Catch a lovely sundowner on the dunes, as you enjoy the rustic tunes of the local folk songs. Khimsar witnesses extreme climates, with scorching summers and cold winters. It is connected by excellent roads from Jodhpur and Bikaner.
Temple town of Osian
Located a short distance from Khimsar, lies Osian – the “Khajuraho of Rajasthan”. It is famous for its splendid Jain and Hindu temple architecture, and erotic carvings. Once a prominent trading stopover on the famous Silk Route, and an important pilgrimage center for the Jains, Osian today, stands as a silent reminder of a glorious past.
Apart from its numerous temples, Osian offers the visitor a chance to experience the thrill of a camel safari. The rolling expanse of sand dunes, surrounding this quiet hamlet, makes it perfect for this kind of experience. It is close enough from Jodhpur, to be covered as a day trip. However, if you are looking for an authentic experience, you can choose to stay overnight in Osian. There are plenty of heritage properties that offer you a chance to pamper yourself with bona fide Rajasthani hospitality and cuisine.
Rustic and royal Bundi
Famed for their architectural excellence, the erstwhile princely state of Bundi, is home to some of the most stunning stepwells, forts, and palaces. Lifesize frescos adorn the walls of the palaces of this quaint little town.
The glories of the past are reflected in every aspect of the life in Bundi. The floklore, songs, and murals of the city, all depict the heroics of the rulers. When you step into Bundi, it is as if your stepped into a different era. Time seems to work in a different tangent, inside the walls of this medival city. Nestled in the midst of ragged hills, Bundi experiences extreme climates. There is scanty rainfall in the area, which makes for dry and arid summers. Winters are cool and pleasant, and the best time to visit is between October to February.
Historic battle grounds of Haldighati
Located about 40 kms from the lake city of Udaipur, Haldighati is a famous landmark in the history of Rajasthan. Site of the historic battle between the great Rajpur warrior Maharana Pratap Singh of Mewar, and the Mughal Emperor Akbar, Haldighati stands as witness of Rajput valour.
It can be done as day trip from Udaipur. Places of interest include the museum which houses memorabilia from the great war. There are also paintings depicting the battle between the two great warriors.
For travellers interested in history and nostalgia, Haldighati is the perfect destination. The thrilling stories of the fierce battle fought right where you are standing, are sure to send chills running down your spine. Here you can try the famous jam made from the petals of roses, called gulkand. This is known to have great medicinal value, and is very delicious.
Fascinating fort of Chittorgarh
The fort complex at Chittorgarh, is everything that you imagine when you think about the forts of Rajasthan. The largest complex of forts in India, Chittorgarh is replete with legends of Rajput chivalry and honour.
Tales of queens with unmatched beauty, and honour, love, and tragic romances, epitomise the romanticism associated with the Rajputs. Every time the fort was besiged, the inhabitants chose to embrace death by immolation (jauhar), than being dishonoured in defeat. The majestic fort rises from the surrounding plains, as symbol of the unbroken code of valour that symbolises the Rajputs. A visit to the fort, will definitely be etched in your memory forever.
A journey to remember
Once you have travelled through Rajasthan, you will never be the same again. The warmth of the people, the delicious cuisine, the spectacular sights, will make you want to come back, again and again. Rajasthan has a way of making a very special place in your heart. Come and explore, this vibrant land, and make memories for a lifetime.
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