Nestled in the north-western side of India, Rajasthan is the largest state of India with its size sprawling to 342,239 sq. kms, it covers up 10.4% of the whole of India. When we literally translate the word “Rajasthan” we get “Land of Kings” and it is very apt since the state is full of marvelous forts and havelis along with exemplary folk music, tales of kings and their chivalrous endeavors and so much more. A land where you will find rich cultural heritage and heart-warming hospitality of the people, that you would want to pack your bags every year and come back to this place for its vibrancy!
An unprecedented tourist destination, Rajasthan has an amalgamation of everything that can make your trip here immensely memorable. Nothing can be more welcoming than the fact that the state invites its visitors by the melodic tune of “Padhaaro Maare Desh” (Come to my land). It is the vibrant colors, the rich cultural heritage, folk music and dance, spicy rich food, big colorful turbans, golden sand deserts and so much more. The list is endless if we were to find out the reasons why Rajasthan is so exemplary in nature!
The Land of The Majestic Forts and Brave Men!
If we were to talk about the majestic country of Rajasthan we would be immediately reminded of the beautiful palaces, lakes, crafts and many other things. It is the land of the dauntless. Looking at the past of this majestic country we can see that the artistry and the legacy go way beyond time. Gujjars, Rajputs, Jats, Meenas are some who have ruled Rajasthan for the longest period of time. Prithviraj Chauhan, Maharana Pratap, Mughal Emperor Akbar seem to be the most popular kings that we know of who had ruled this majestic state.
The place is aptly named “Rajasthan” because it was once the land of the kings and the place is sprawling with magnificent forts and havelis. Looking at the tourist attraction points, all of them are very much connected to the rich heritage of Rajasthan. You cannot miss out on these forts when you visit this resplendent place.
- Fateh Prakash Palace – Udaipur
- Chittorgarh Fort – Udaipur
- Lake Palace – Udaipur
- City Palace – Udaipur
- Sardargarh Fort – Rajsamand
- Kumbhalgarh Fort – Jaipur
- Nahagarh Fort – Jaipur
- Hawa Mahal – Jaipur
- Amber Fort – Jaipur
- Jaigarh Fort – Jaipur
The capital of the state, Jaipur is completely filled with magnificent forts and palaces and has a lot of other attractions like the Chokhi Dhani which beckons the tourists as they can witness a miniature of what they can see in the villages and cities in Rajasthan. The air of Rajasthan is filled with cultural grandeur etched on the architecture of the forts and havelis. Be sure to check more forts like the Jaisalmer Fort (Jaisalmer), Junargarh Fort (Bikaner), Umaid Bhawan palace (Jodhpur), Taragarh Fort (Ajmer), Krishnagarh fort (Ajmer), Mehrangarh Fort (Jodhpur).
If you are planning on staying at one of the heritage hotels in India, you have a great number of choices that you could choose from. While they used to be the home of the erstwhile rulers here are some of the most popular castles and forts that have been turned into luxury hotels for the tourists who come to Rajasthan to seek the rich culture and heritage that fills up the land of the kings.
- Malji Ka Kamra – Churu
- Shahpura Bagh – Bhilwara
- Bhainsrorgarh Fort – Chittorgarh
- Patan Mahal – Patan
- Ramathra Fort – Karauli
- Taj Jai Mahal – Jaipur
- Umaid Mahal – Jaipur
Rajasthan is surely a history lover’s paradise. The state tells us the stories of the brave kings and their dauntless acts; we also get to experience their grandiose taste in architecture. When we see the opulent forts and havelis that used to be occupied by kings at one point of time we get to have an insight into their glorious lives. It has been said that centuries ago when the state of Rajasthan was ruled by kings it was divided into twenty princely states where each ruler had built forts and palaces in order to keep their subjects live a happy and peaceful life.
Udaipur has some of the most unique architectural grandeur when it comes to palaces. Most of these, however, have either been turned into museums or heritage hotels. Places like Jaipur, Alwar, Jodhpur, Bundi, Jaisalmer, Sawai Madhopur, Bikaner have also got glorious castles that are definitely worth seeing.
Admire the Diversity of the Wildlife!
As much as the palaces are eminent in the state of Rajasthan, another place that is as popular is the great Thar Desert which covers 60% of the state. With so much unique flora and fauna, the princely state has a different ecosystem all together. The great Thar Desert forms a prime tourist attraction. Even though Rajasthan has a bellicose terrain the conditions actually shelter a diverse wildlife. Due to the vast size that sprawls around in such an extensive area, there are actually many mammals and birds that could be found in many of the sanctuaries, despite half of the state being covered in sand.
Visiting Rajasthan during winter is the best time since most of the sanctuaries are open then. If you have planned on a sojourn in Rajasthan then there are many popular wildlife sanctuaries that you could go to in order to experience the exotic animals. Some of the animals that you could spot when you visit these wildlife sanctuaries are Panthers, Ubiquitous Langur, Owlets, Jackal, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Leopard, Antelopes, Marsh Crocodiles, Caracal, Blackbucks, Indian fox, Wild Boar, Bears, Desert Fox etc.
If you are a wildlife photographer you could very well keep your camera ready at all times since you will be able to spot birds like Peacocks, Parakeets, Owls, Doves, Red Spur Owls, Golden Orioles, White Breasted Kingfishers and many more.
Some of the best wildlife sanctuaries that can make you rediscover the wild on a different level are:
- Ranthambore National Park – Sawai Madhopur District:
This sanctuary is one of the best ones to spot Indian tigers and you also get to go on a jungle safari! Now that is some great adventure. There are more than 500 species of flowering plants that you could find here and there are several endangered wildlife species that you can easily spot in here. The best part is there are great resorts nestled amidst the wildlife sanctuaries.
- Sariska National Park – Alwar: this park was one of the first homes where the Royal Bengal tiger was relocated to. You can additionally enjoy the mesmerising beauty of the Aravalli range and spend a day amidst the endangered and rare species of plants and animals.
- Keoladha Ghana Bird Sanctuary– Bharatpur: This sanctuary was formerly known as the Bharatpur bird sanctuary which is a home for a large number of migratory birds during the winter months. This sanctuary attracts a substantial number of ornithologists from all over the country during the migratory season. This sanctuary alone shelters more than 230 species of birds.
- Desert National Sanctuary – Jaisalmer: This national park is one the most important national parks situated in Rajasthan. With an area that covers 3162 sq. km it is one of the largest sanctuaries in the country. You can witness the Great Indian Bustard which is one of the rare birds that can be found only in India. You could also spot different species of deer and watch birds near the Gadsisagar Tank.
- Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary:Situated in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan, this wildlife sanctuary is one of the most prominent wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan. This sanctuary thrives with different species of birds and you could spot many birds like grey jungle fowls, peacocks, white breasted kingfisher, doves, pigeons, bulbul, parakeets and golden orioles.
- Darrah Sanctuary – Kota: One of the most prominent national parks in Rajasthan this wildlife sanctuary was established in the year 2002. Rediscover the wilderness or Rajasthan with a jungle safari and captivate yourself with the exotic species of wildlife found here.
- Mount Abu Sanctuary:Situated on one of the oldest mountain ranges in the country – the Aravallis, Mount Abu wildlife sanctuary is one of the most visited sanctuaries by the tourist in Rajasthan.
Take A Dive Into The Vibrant Culture of Rajasthan: The Colorful Festivals!
Rajasthan boasts of rich cultural heritage, scenic splendors, vibrant markets and of course the mesmerizing palaces and forts. Before you even start packing your bags get to know about all the festivals that add up to the lavishness of this country. It is through these festivals that the state celebrates its exuberance all year round!
These festivals cheer up the whole state and everyone comes together to take part in the merry making. Some of the most popular festivals that are celebrated are Navaratri, Ashwa Poojan, Mount Abu: Summer and Winter festival, Guru Purnima, Nagaur Festival, Kite Festival, Teej, Sheetla Mata Fair, Desert festival, Camel Festival, Elephant Festival, Baneshwar fair and many others. The celebration of Diwali and Dussehra is celebrated with much splendor.
In order to double up the fun and the festivities, there are a large number of games and activities that are organized by the local people such as puppet shows, turban tying competition, folk music and dance competition, bullfights and of course camel and cattle trading.
Romance and Exoticism
An ideal destination for any honeymooners, there are different Heritage hotels and Havelis that have actually witnessed the making of many epic love stories. The sprawling city of Udaipur famous for its lakes or the tranquility of the Mount Abu or even other places like Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur are the most popular destinations that are chosen by newly-wed couples for their honeymoon destinations.
There are several different escapes spread throughout the city of Rajasthan. The place is an escape from the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan cities and it warmly welcomes anyone who has come to have a memorable time amidst the dreamy ambiance.
Palaces that invoke elegance and grandeur along with the never-ending sand dunes that glisten in the golden hue of the sunrays, there is no dearth of places that one could visit in Rajasthan for a romantic getaway! Roam about the stunning heritage sites and stay in the grand palaces turned into hotels, capture those picture perfect moments and stow it away, explore the exquisite sand dunes on the backs of camels, explore the magnificent Jal Mahal of Jaipur, paddle a boat on the Mount Abu’s Nakki lake or even have a candle-lit dinner at the City Palace in Udaipur. The romantic palette of Rajasthan is like a Kaleidoscope, you get to make a lot of memories and have a great time with your significant other.
Seek Spirituality and Attain Bliss: Pilgrimage destinations of Rajasthan!
Rajasthan the land of grandeur and magnificence has quite a great number of spiritual pilgrimage destinations. The captivating pilgrimages attract a great number of devotees from all around the country throughout the year. Apart from being a pilgrim destination, these places form great tourist attractions. Some of the most renowned pilgrim destinations in Rajasthan are:
- Brahma Temple, Pushkar: Pushkar is one of the oldest cities in India and the only city that has a Brahma temple in the world. Located on the banks of the Pushkar Lake this temple is dedicated to Lord Brahma who is considered to be the creator.
- Jain Temple, Ranakpur: The city of Ranakpur is one of the five main religious places for the Jains. The temples are carved intricately and are a sight to behold. This city is popular for the grand white marble temples that were created during the 15th century under the rule of Rana Kumbh. The main temple is called the “Chaumukha Temple” and is dedicated to Lord Adinath. The temple is four faced and the architecture of the temple alone is breath-taking.
- Dargah Sharif, Ajmer: One of the most important pilgrimage sites for Muslims, Dargah Sharif attracts tourists from all around the world. It is one of the most sacred places for Muslims in India and is lionized by both muslins and Hindus. Located at the foot of the hill, the place is the tomb of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti who was a Sufi saint and had dedicated his life for the upliftment of the poor. A great number of pilgrims come to this tomb on the annual death anniversary of this Sufi saint.
- DIlwara Temple, Mt. Abu: The Dilwara temple of the Jains is situated in Mt Abu. It is considered to be one of the finest architectural splendors that showcase the intricate carvings done by the artisans. The oldest temple in this complex is known as the “Vimal Vasahi dedicated to the first Tirthankara, Adinath and took about 14 years to build and was started in 1031 AD. The “Luna Vasahi” is dedicated for the 22nd Tirthankara, Neminath and took about 15 years to build which and was started in 1230 AD. The other three temples that consist inside the complex are Mahaveerswami, Bhimashah Pittalhar, and Khartar Vasahi.
- Karni Mata temple, Deshnok: The small village of Deshnok is located 30kms away from Udaipur and is famous for the Karni Mata temple. This temple is dedicated to Karni Mata who is the incarnation of Goddess Durga. It is one of the renowned temples in Rajasthan where thousands of pilgrims come to visit the temple during the annual celebrations of Karni Mata fair.
Adventure in Rajasthan: An Escapade to Treasure and Remember!
Have the time of your life with all the adventure you can get in Rajasthan. From camping under the stars to traveling in hot air balloons – you can get the escapade that you have been looking for in the land of the kings!
- Camping: When it comes to camping in Rajasthan, you will find proper tents or even tree houses where you can accommodate yourself. Activities here include spas, swimming pools, lawn tennis, bird watching trips and many other exciting things. So pack your bags and have the time of your life!
- Rohetgarh Wilderness Camp: The Rohetgarh wilderness camp is situated outside the main city of Jodhpur. The accommodation is exquisite since it has polished teak furniture, jute rugs, canopies that are decorated with Rajasthani prints and many more.
- Wildlife Safaris in Rajasthan: If you want a great adventure tour it is always recommended to stay a night or two at the wildlife resorts Ranthambore national park. You could take wildlife safaris through the national parks.
- Hot Air Ballooning: Due to the semi-arid climate that the city has it provides for a favorable condition where you go for hot air balloon rides.
- Desert Safari: Bikaner, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer are the three perfect places where you can easily combine the exuberance of adventure tours in Rajasthan along with the camel safaris.
Of course, every place has its specialty in cuisines. When it comes to Rajasthan there are many dishes that are exclusively native to this grand city. When you do visit do not forget the try the iconic Daal Baati Churma which is one of the most beloved foods of Rajasthan. You should also try out the Laal Maas which is basically a meat curry that is cooked in a multitude of spices and loaded with red chillies. No dish is complete without dessert so you should try out Ghevar which is a popular Rajasthani dessert where round sweets are made out of flour and soaked in sugar syrup.
If you are planning on visiting Rajasthan anytime soon make sure to have a memorable and happy time!