From the simplest village to the most impressive palace, Rajasthan, the largest and also most touristy region of India, fascinates people with intense colors, sweet smells, hypnotic dances and sights you’d never imagine.
It is a place of great lords; the Maharajas, who ruled from large fortifications and fought riding elephants and horses. A place where the desert affects the lives of its people, and humble peasants cultivate the arid land managing to survive in the intense sun.
The unbelievable turbans, long mustaches, precious jewelry, colorful saris, decorated animals, sacred rituals and beautiful smiles, will make you fall in love with this mystical land of gypsies and nomads.
The 6 Best places to visit in Rajasthan
The capital of the region is chaotic, dirty and stressful. Maybe not the typical postcard that you imagined of India, and personally not somewhere I would spend a lot of time.
Can you imagine a city with thousands of cars, motorcycles, rickshaws, bikes, millions of people, in addition to cows, goats and all mixed up without any apparent order except the constant horn of the vehicles? Well, that’s Jaipur or any other big city in India. However, the attraction of India is also that; to see the beauty in the chaos. The city also has some attractions which are definitely worth visiting:
The City Palace, built around 1730, is a complex of buildings and gardens that allow you to feel the age of the Maharajas. Adorned with beautiful columns and pink arches, it is reminiscent of Arab architecture. Some walls also have beautiful prints in blue and yellow.
Next to the City Palace, the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds, is the major icon of the city, and a place you will definitely pass on your tour of the Pink City. It was created for the women of high caste to watch the street festivities, so they could stay unseen. The visit to the interior is recommended, but in my opinion, the best part is the facade that can be seen from the street.
The Monkey Temple is another interesting place. There is a small sanctuary where you can make an offering to the gods, besides having great views of the city.
By far my favorite city in Rajasthan; Pushkar is just the opposite of Jaipur. I’d say more a town rather than a city, small, quiet, a place where the rhythm is slow (except for the motorcycles which run throughout the country).
The most attractive part is the lake and its surroundings, which can be accessed by 52 ghats. It’s here, it is said, that Brahma dropped a lotus flower on earth and from it Pushkar was born. Pilgrims can often be seen bathing in the sacred waters.
In addition to several temples where Hindus make offerings like the Temple of Brahma, Vishnu or Hanuman, if you make your way to the terrace of any restaurant or hotel you can watch the city and the lake. The view is priceless.
It’s an area with many Gypsy camps; their clothing and accessories are, in my opinion, the most colorful of the country. I got to meet some, chat with them and take some great pictures.
It’s a very charming city, especially the area around Lake Pichola. Here, some scenes from the movie “Octopussy” of the mythical “James Bond” were filmed.
In the center of the lake, there is the beautiful Taj Lake Palace, which was built more than two centuries ago, and is undoubtedly the main attraction of the city. There are many ghats giving access to the lake where people bathe, wash their clothes or make offerings. It is a place of contemplation.
If you visit the City Palace, which is also a museum that dominates the city from the top, you can admire various clothes, artifacts and old weapons, as you walk by large galleries.
Jagdish Temple is another place you must visit, it has an impressive ornamentation that consists mainly of dancers, elephants and other details carved on the stone.
In the middle of the vast Thar desert, at the foot of the majestic Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur has hundreds of streets and alleys that create an amazing maze where everything is blue and white.
It’s a place of wonderful esthetic. Every street seems out of a fairy tale, and soft colors make it a peaceful place in the Indian chaos.
Visit the Fort to admire the big blue city from the top, and later, wander through its narrow alleys to feel that you are in another world.
Famous for the Karni Mata temple, or Temple of rats, the city has many other places to visit, including the impressive Junagarh Fort, the Lalgarh Palace or the Shiv Bari Temple. Moreover, it’s an excellent introduction to the desert and a good place to book a camel tour.
Jaisalmer is near the border of Pakistan; it is the most famous city in the Thar, and also the hottest. In my journey through Rajasthan, the thermometer reached over 50 degrees celsius.
Jaisalmer Fort, also known as the Golden Fort, is one of the largest in the world, and a must see on your visit. Other beautiful places are the Bada Bagh, the Lake Gadisar, and the nearby dunes, which are a great attraction for those seeking a Desert Safari.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
ACCOMMODATION IN HOSTELS
These are some options that I loved:
Udaipur: Moustache Udaipur.
Jodhpur: BedPool Hostel.
ACCOMMODATION IN AIRBNB
A good option for couples and groups, with rooms and apartments at great prices. If you sign up through my link, you will get $35 of Airbnb credit!
I highly recommend that you get a good insurance policy before you visit India. Trusted by thousand of adventurers, World Nomads is one of the best and more reliable options (without breaking your bank).
TIPS. BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN RAJASTHAN
1. Beware of vendors. They are very insistent, and they’ll try to rip you off.
2. Traffic is especially crazy, so look carefully in all directions before crossing
3. In Pushkar, there is a classic scam to avoid:
Someone will show up when you’re at the lake, he’ll give you a flower to place in the water, then he’ll do some prays and eventually ask you for a lot of money. When you are not willing to pay, he’ll become aggressive, will tell you that it was a ceremony made just for you, and generally try to get you into trouble until you pay him something. Do not accept anything from anyone by the lake.
4. The heat, especially from March to June is difficult to deal with, remember to drink plenty of water and protect yourself from the sun.
For more detailed information: Tourism in Rajasthan
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Hi, I’m Miguel; Adventure traveler, scuba diver and hiking lover. I have been traveling the world for the last 12 years and I hope my experiences, photos and hiking routes inspire you to travel the world too.