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Tourist Places To Visit In Rajasthan
The state of the royals, Rajasthan is a northwestern state in India, peculiarly famous for its arid dry landscape, deserts, opulent palaces and tall castles. With this topography and a rich cultural heritage that makes its royalty come alive even today when the titles are abolished, Rajasthan is a truly mesmerising holiday destination. From Jaipur's pink sandstone palaces to Udaipur's lakes and Jaisalmer's sand dunes, Pushkar's temples to Mount Abu's hill-station vibe; Rajasthan has a load of tourist places to visit.
Ajmer (pronounced 'Uh-j-mare') is a popular pilgrimage centre famous for its Dargah Sharif-tomb of the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti. Ajmer is also the base for visiting Pushkar (pronounced 'Push-cur'). A 30 minute uphill drive will take you to this famous tourist destination that is renowned for its Hindu pilgrimage spots, flea market and great roadside food. You can get some amazing pictures of Indian sadhus here.
Bikaner (pronounced 'Beeka-nair') is famous for its palaces and its intricately sculptured red and yellow sandstone temples. The climate in Bikaner is characterised by extreme variations in temperature, so be sure to carry weather-appropriate clothing while visiting. However, despite its rugged climate, it is said that Bikaner was once an oasis town used as a stop-over on the trade route between Central Asia and India. It's always interesting to plan a trip around the time of the Bikaner Camel festival, usually held in January.
Aptly nicknamed 'The Pink City' for its peculiar affinity for pink stone buildings Jaipur is part of the famous Golden Triangle of cities formed with Delhi and Agra as the other two corners. A bustling capital city and business centre today, Jaipur still retains a royal charm that never fails to surprise. Jaipur is home to several stunning ancient forts. A great time to visit is during January when the annual Literary Festival is held.
'The Golden City' of Jaisalmer (pronounced 'Jey-sull-mare') is popular for its 12th century Jaisalmer Fort as well as beautiful havelis, miles of smooth yellow sand dunes, and camel safaris. Well known for its camel hide artefacts and the stupendous musical and dance talent of its native people, Jaisalmer is the very heart of the Thar Desert.
Jodhpur is a city with a long and captivating history. While India was still under British colonization, the walled city of Jodhpur had the largest land area of all Rajputana provinces. Today, it is a flourishing centre of handicraft export and tourism, with tons of hotels and palace resorts. Jodhpur has contributed significantly to the culinary traditions of the country. We strongly recommend a visit to the famous Umaid Bhavan Palace to soak in some history.
Once a princely game conserve, the sanctuary at Ranthambore (pronounced 'Run-thum-bore') is home to the beautiful Indian tiger. Ranthambore National Park is open from October to May every year. You will also get a chance to see an abandoned fortress and lake and take pictures of the gazillion monkeys that are oddly human in their behaviour. Don't miss a chance to visit the majestic Nahargarh Palace Hotel run by the very hospitable royal family there. It's gorgeous, especially at night. Katy Perry had her much publicised royal wedding there.
Udaipur is known as the 'City of Lakes' in view of the 8 prominent lakes within its limits. The Lake Palace Hotel in the middle of Lake Pichola is a spectacular sight especially when lit up at night. Other big tourist attractions include the 'Shilpgram Fair' which is a craftsmen's village showcasing ethnic craft, art & culture and the 'City Palace' with its various towers, domes, arches and courtyards. The live cultural show at 'Bagore ki Haveli' is worth a visit. Udaipur has been used as a backdrop for lots of movies including the James Bond flick 'Octopussy.'
Rajasthan has a hill station. And it is like a breath of fresh air in the all that desert aridity. Mount Abu was once the summer capital of Maharajas. Today it makes for a fine holiday destination, situated as it is on a hill. The place also holds special religious importance for Jains. Boating in Lake Nakki, visiting Dhrudhiya waterfalls and exploring the lush Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary are just some of the attractions here. The most famous one is Dilwara Jain Temple.
Chittorgarh is a town not too far from Udaipur. It has a glorious past with some of the most valiant Rajasthani rulers; from Rawal Ratan Singh of Chittor to Samar Singh who became one of the topmost allies of Prithviraj Chauhan's army. The revered Queen Padmavati, who was as beautiful as she was brave is also credited to this land. Today Chittorgarh is home to many forts, ruins and temples; making for a historian's paradise. A 1-2 day trip is a must to Chittorgarh when you are visiting Udaipur.
Kota is a beautiful rugged city located on the banks of River Chambal. It is known for its IT coaching tuitions and colleges but that is not even the tip of the ice-berg of what Kota as a cultural entity is. The city is home to a grand City Palace called Kota Garh, the Maharao Madho Singh Museum that holds exquisite weapons and miniatures as well as gardens and crocodile ponds. Other famous places here are Kishore Sagar Lake, Seven Wonders Park and Jagmandir Palace.
The nearest town near Ranthambore National Park, Sawai Madhopur is a must visit if you are looking for history, royalty and temples. Its location in the lap of Aravalli and Vindhya Hills keeps it protected from extreme harsh cold winds during winter, making it ideal for October to March months. Places to visit around Sawai Madhopur include Ranthambore National Park, Ranthambore Fort, Surwal Lake, Chauth Mata Temple, Kachida Valley and Shilpgram.
The Shekhawati region of Rajasthan is an art-lover’s delight. The havelis, the paintings of elephants and horses and fighters on their walls, the open air museums and galleries where people actually reside even after 10-12 generations — who wouldn’t want to immerse in such an experience? The region is home to many a legendary palaces and forts too, some even painted in frescoes. So do make it a point to visit here when in Rajasthan.
Bharatpur was once believed to be non-penetrable. It technically falls in the Vraj region, but is part of Rajasthan state border. This region is home to Keoladeo National Park — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Aside from this, you can also visit the Government Museum Bharatpur, the Bankey Bihari Temple, Lohagarh Fort and Deeg (Water Palace). Dholpur Palace and Band Baretha are also good narrators of architecture and history.
Mandawa is known for Mandawa Fort, among many other attractions. A small hamlet, developed like a town, Mandawa is also called the Open Art Gallery of Rajasthan thanks to its paved roads and archways, havelis as well as forts. This town falls in the previously illustrated Shekhawati region, hence must be visited while you tour there.
Alwar is a border city lying on the way from Delhi to Rajasthan, situated smack between Delhi and Jaipur. It is mainly known for the haunted Bhangarh Fort, where visitors are forewarned before entering the premises. Most people are frightened to even come near the fort after sunset. And yet the tourism in this area is very high. Other attractions of Alwar are the famous Sariska Tiger Reserve, lakes, havelis and chhatris.
A temple town located in Rajsamand, Nathdwara is about 50 km from Udaipur and has flourished because of the deity Shrinathji (the manifestation of 7-year old Krishna). The deity originally came out of the Goverdhan Hill in Vraj region and was worshipped there for almost a century before Aurangzeb’s persecution compelled the high priest to run down south with the deity. It came and settled in this town, which came to be known as Nathdwara, the gate of the lord. From shopping to eating to museums to sightseeing, Nathdwara gives you all the cultural extravaganza of Rajasthan, along with a glimpse of this magnetic deity Shrinathji.
A small town known for the Neemrana Fort palace is that quaint break you can take while traversing across Rajasthan. The palace itself is so old that you can charge your history-buff brain touring it and chill in the converted heritage luxury hotel that is the oldest around. A day or two enjoying the patent Rajasthani hospitality will revive your spirits and refresh you for the road ahead.
Sariska Tiger Reserve
Sariska Tiger Reserve, as the names suggests, is a sanctuary for tigers in Rajasthan’s Alwar district. With an area of 881 sq. km, the reserve boasts of a semi-arid flora with thorns and shrubs and trees that store water. Once the area was used for hunting by Maharajas of the yore, but come 1955 it became protected. You can visit this place to go for safaris and spot exotic animals like leopards, chitels, wild boar, langurs, crocodiles and of course, the elusive tiger.
Bundi is a small town, almost a village in Rajasthan known for its step wells. It belongs to one of the driest regions of the state and hence, has this culture of step wells where water was stored for year-round use of the villagers back in the day. These unique structures are worth seeing, and you must absolutely visit the Queens Step Well, built back in 15th Century. It is made up of 200 plus steps. You can also visit the staggering 16th century Taragarh Fort with its collections of ancient art. And if you want some outdoor adventure then set off on a wildlife safari to the Ramgarh Vishdhari sanctuary.