North of India is Rajasthan, an Indian state close to the border with Pakistan. This incredible state is a popular tourist destination for its landscapes, which include the vast Thar Desert and the magnificent Aravallis Mountains. As the center of Rajput culture, Rajasthan is also a wonderful place to explore the palaces and temples created by the Rajput kings of the past. While you are visiting the state, try to add as many of these amazing places to visit in Rajasthan to your itinerary as possible.
Udaipur is known as the City of Lakes, so it’s no surprise that the lakes are one of the main attractions. Two of the larger lakes, Fateh Sagar and Pichola, are man-made, but that doesn’t make them any less beautiful. The main reason to visit Udaipur is the opportunity to explore Udaipur City Palace, a collection of palaces, museums and gardens of different architectural styles. In the City Palace you can also admire shrines, temples, royal residences and art collections. Just north of the palace is the Jagdish Temple, the most famous in Udaipur. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple features impressive carvings and is now a landmark in the city.
The capital of Rajasthan is Jaipur, a bustling city full of interesting attractions and things to do. Jaipur forms a corner of the Golden Triangle and is an excellent gateway to the lesser known destinations of Rajasthan. There are three main forts in Jaipur: Amber Fort, Nahargarh Fort and Jaigarh Fort. The City Palace is also worth exploring, an impressive mix of Mughal and Rajput design that is so awe-inspiring that most travelers can’t see it all in one day. Jaipur is also home to several temples, as well as a grand bazaar that comes alive every night at sunset.
Also known as the Golden City, Jaisalmer is an extraordinary city located on the edge of the Thar Desert. The dominant feature of Jaisalmer is the Jaisalmer Fort, or Sonar Qila, which is still an inhabited space. Unlike virtually every other fort in India, the one in Jaisalmer is fully functional, and inside the fort are private residences, shops, and even restaurants. Buying souvenirs inside the fort is a fun experience, with common memorabilia such as bronze statues and silver jewelry. Within the walls of the fort there are also a handful of temples. These Jain temples date back to the 12th century and most are open to the public in the morning.
Although the town of Bikaner is home to a palace, a historic fort, and even a camel research center, it is known by many Indians as a destination for foodie lovers. One of the local specialties that you will definitely want to try is Kesar Kulfi, a delicious and refreshing sweet and frozen dessert on a hot afternoon. Desert safaris are also very popular in Bikaner, and you can ride a camel into the desert to explore the local culture and landscapes. You can’t miss Bikaner Fort Junagarh, built in the 16th century and now housing a vast museum on the region.
5. Ranthambhore National Park
This national park is also a wildlife reserve and is known as one of the best places in the world to see tigers in the wild. You can book a safari to explore the park and see the animals up close. A smaller open vehicle, called a gypsy, is more suitable for the more courageous visitors, and larger open vehicles, called gallops, offer a bit more protection. In addition to tigers, Ranthambhore National Park is home to wildlife including leopards, hyenas, sloths and more. On safari, you will also have the opportunity to see Ranthambhore Fort, which dates back to the 10th century.
6. Mount Abou
Mount Abu is a hill station which offers exceptional views of the surrounding area. The rocky plateau of a summit means there’s plenty of space to explore, not to mention an abundance of attractions. Lake Nakki is a must-see near Mt Abu, and you can even hire an affordable rowboat to go out on the water and admire the hills surrounding the lake. The temples of Dilwara are also of interest in Mount Abu. These temples of the Jain religion date from around the 12th century and are carved from exquisite white marble.
Jodhpur, or the Blue City, is located on the edge of the Thar Desert. Its colorful nickname is due to the city’s many blue houses, which make it appear blue when viewed from above. Filled with forts and temples, Jodhpur is a very attractive historical destination. No trip would be complete without a visit to the 15th century Mehrangarh Fort, the largest in all of Rajasthan. The fort complex is home to an impressive Hall of Mirrors, intricate sandstone screens at Zenana Deodi, Chamunda Mataji Temple, and even a number of costumes that really bring the fort to life.
The city of Chittorgarh, located on the banks of the Berach River, is known for one particularly impressive attraction: the Fort of Chittorgarh. Built in the 7th century, the fort is one of the largest in India and is guarded by seven gates. The fort is big, and seeing it all in one day can be difficult. Start with the Victory Tower, built in the 15th century and which is beautifully illuminated each night. You should also visit Rana Kumbha Palace, the oldest part of the fort, and Meera Temple, which honors Vishnu and has a large collection of idols.
Pushkar is a holy city and is best known for its Brahma temple and its annual camel fair. Brahma is one third of the holy trinity in the Hindu religion, and Pushkar is said to be the house of Brahma. The Brahma temple in Pushkar is a must see, especially because of the frequent chanting ceremonies that take place several times a day. Pushkar is also home to other temples dedicated to Vishnu, Savitri and Shiva. Every November, Pushkar comes alive with a camel fair and a Hindu pilgrimage.
The town of Bundi is a unique destination and is well known for its stepped wells. Although this means of collecting water is no longer used in the city, Bundi still has more than 50 visible stepped wells. The most famous is the Queen’s Stepped Well, which dates from the 15th century and has over 200 steps. Also noteworthy in Bundi is Taragarh Fort, built in the 16th century and now housing an astonishing art collection. Escape the urban environment with ease on one of the lakes surrounding Bundi or go on a wildlife safari at Ramgarh Vishdhari Shrine.