Here we have mostly shared our own experiences from individual trips to different places in India and Abroad, but recently some of our foreigner friends/followers have started sharing queries about planning trips in India. One of the fellow Travel Photographer from France wrote to share about places to be explored in Rajasthan. I know it's a difficult task, but here we are trying to list down some of the popular places and regions which would offer some great experiences & subjects to capture. The palaces of Jaipur and Ajmer/Pushkar, lakes of Udaipur, the desert forts of Jodhpur, Havelis of Shekhawati & Mandawa and sand dunes of Jaisalmer - all of them are unavoidable for real explorers and travellers.
Rajasthan, which is also known as colorful state of India, is one of the most popular states amongst Indian and Foreigner tourists. Tourism in Rajasthan state is becoming more popular with each pasing day. The state is rich in terms of culture, heritage, history, food and lot more.
Capital city of Rajasthan State of India is a must visit place, if you are planning s trip to colorful state of the nation. Jaipur has some of the beautiful architectures in form of forts, castles, havelis. The city is named after ruler of Amer fort, Jay Singh. Jaipur is also known as Pink city. All the buildings in Jaipur are painted with pink. Jaipur , the Pink City, is noted for the ancient houses made of a type of sand stone dominated by a pink hue.
Some of the interesting places to visit in Jaipur city are - Amer Fort, Jal Mahal, City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Sawai Man Singh Museum, Bapu Bazar, Birla Temple, Chokhi Dhani etc. Jaipur is a one of the major tourist destination in India. In Conde Nast Traveller Readers Choice Survey 2008, Jaipur was ranked the 7th best place to visit in Asia .As per TripAdvisor's 2015 Traveller's Choice Awards for Destination, Jaipur ranked 1st among the Indian destination for the year. Planning a trip to Jaipur from Delhi is super easy and hence it's also one of the popular weekend destinations around Delhi, especially in winters.
Rajasthan state is famous for its forts, carved temples and decorated havelis of huge sizes, which were built by Rajput kings in pre-Muslim era Rajasthan. Jantar Mantar, Dilwara Temples, Chittorgarh Fort , Lake Palace , miniature paintings in Bundi and numerous city palaces and havelis are part of the architectural heritage of India.
Whenever we think about desert and beautiful Jaisalmer comes to our mind. Most of the photographs of camel rides in sand dunes are clicked around beautiful Jaisalmer. If you are looking for some of the unique experiences of desert safari, camping in sand dunes and watching star trails, Jaisalmer is the place for such exceptional experiences. Jaisalmer has many artistic structures and monuments of local historical importance. Medieval mud fortress of Jaisalmer and walled township make it a popular tourist destination. Prices range wildly and one has to bargain for everything, hotel rates included. Jaisalmer is comparatively costly town and if you plan to do shopping, there is high scope of negotiation.
Udaipur is historic capital of Mewar in former Rajputana Agency. Maharaja Udai Singh founded this city. Udaipur is also known as ‘Venice of the East’ or ‘Lake City’ or ‘City of Lakes’. Udaipur is again internationally popular tourist destination because of it’s history, culture, scenic locations, old palaces and lakes. Tourism, local handicraft, metal & mineral industries and agriculture are some of the main components of Udaipur’s economy. Some of the popular places to explore in Udaipur include - City Palace, Lake Palace, Jag Mandir, Monsoon Palace, Jagdish Temple, Fateh Sagar Lake, Sukhadia circle, Saheliyon ki Bari, Lake Pichola.
Jodhpur is a popular tourist featuring many palaces, forts and temples around Thar Desert. Jodhpur used to be the capital of Marwar kingdom. Some of the most popular places to explore in Jodhpur include - Mehrangarh Fort, Umaid Bhawan Palace , Jaswant Thada , Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower), Mandore , Kaylana Lake & Gardens , Balsamand Lake Mahadev Temple (Mandalnath), Ratanada Ganesh Temple, Sardar Samand Lake and Palace, Veer Durgadas Smarak, (monument, park and museum), Bhim Bhirak Caves. Jodhpur is also very popular amongst bollywood folks. Plenty of bollywood movies are shot in Jodhpur.
If you are roaming around Rajasthan, don't forget to buy Lacquer bangels.
Tiger tourism is one of the popular tourisms in India and lot of folks visit India to see Bengal Tigers in the wild. Rajasthan also has a Wildlife sanctuary at Sawai Madhopur. Ranthambore National park is one of the popular tiger reserves in the country and lot of folks visit Ranthambore for seeing tigers in the wild. And forests of Ranthambore also have plenty of peakcocks, deers and various other birds & animals. Ranthambore fort and Hanuman temple inside it is something which adds different flavor to your trip.
If you are interested in exploring some of the popular havelis of Rajasthan, you must have heard of Mandawa, Shekhawati, Churu, Rampur or Jhunjhunu. Some of the popular havelis in this region are Sewaram Saraf Haveli, Ram Pratab Nemani Haveli, Hanuman Prasad Goemka Haveli, Goenka Double Haveli, Murmuria Haveli, Jhunjhunwala Haveli, Mohan Lal Saraf Haveli, Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli, Aakharam ki Haveli. When I visited Churu to explore these havelis, we stayed in a haveli called - 'Malji Ka Kamra' . Some of the havelis have been converted into hotels now and few of them are doing good job at offering beautiful experiences of stay in Rajasthan. Walking around the streets of Mandawa and Shekhwati regions is a brilliant experience. There are some national award winning families of artists in this part of Rajasthan. Frescos of Shekhawati are worth exploring.
Most of these Havelis have water bodies around them, which are called as 'Johra'. These are huge water bodies which were used by specific families staying in these havelis. There are also some interesting temples around Churu and Ramgarh.
Surajgarh is another place in Jhunhjunu which has some havelis which are converted into hotels.
There are few families around this region of Rajasthan, who tell stories popularly known as - Pabu ji ki phad. There are few sand dunes around this region and if weather allows, you can plan night camping under the twinkling stars around yellow landscapes.
In last few years Bundi has gained special attention in Rajastha. Most of the houses in Bundi are painted in blue. Some of the popular places to explore in Bundi include - Taragarh Fort, Bundi Palace, Raniji ki Baori, Nawal Sagar, Nagar Sagar twin steps wells, Dabhai Kund, Sukh mahal, Jait Sagar Lake, Phool Sagar, Kshar Bagh and Chaurasi Khambon ki Chhatri.
Pushkar is a unique town in Rajasthan where moods of town keep changing during the day. Morning starts with chants around the holy lake (Pushkar lake) near Bramha temple and gradually market starts getting busy with lot of trades. By evening all roof top cafes are high on music.
Some of the restaurants and cafes don't treat Indians well. So please do read restaurant & cafe reviews by Indians and decide. If you are foreigner, you will get a good treatment. Here I also want to warn that you can avoid Lonely Planet recommendations, because they worked in a bad way for me. I will be doing a separate post on that soon.
Pushkar Camel Fair is very popular which attracts lot of Indian and International tourists from different parts of the world. This camel fair is a great opportunity for Photography enthusiasts to shoot different kinds of subjects/experiences and learn through challenging situations this Fair offers. Camel Trading, Horse dance, races, Foreigner's Bridal competition, Dance competitions and lot of interesting events happen throughout the week.
Mount Abu is popular hill station in Rajasthan State of India, which is in Aravali mountain ranges and places around Gujrat border. A decade before Mount Abu was part of main trips of Rajasthan, although the popularity of Mount Abu has gone down over time. This place is still very popular amongsts Gujrat tourists. Some of the popular places to explore in Mount Abu are - Achalgarh Fort, Durga Temple, Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary, Dilwara Temples, Nakki lake.
Bikaner is famous for various arts and crafts and especially beautiful carved windowpanes called jharokhas. Many of the travellers recommend Bikaner as a place to explore authentic taste of rajasthani cuisines. The various fairs of Bikaner attract a huge number of visitors from all around India and the world. The famous temples like Karni Mata and Laxmi Nath Temple etc. are also worth the visit. Some of the place and things of interest in Bikaner include - Junagarh Fort, Lalgarh Palace, Gajner Palace, Bikaner Camel Safari Day Tours, Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary, Ganga Singh Museum.
Chittorgarh has largest fort in India - Chittor fort. Rana Kumbha Palace is another interesting place to explore. Some of the places to explore around Chittorgarh include – Kalika Mata temple, Vijay Stambha, Kirti Stambha, Rana Kumbha’s Palace, Rani Padmini’s Palace.
If you are searching for Rajasthan, I am sure that you must have heard of haunted fort in Bhangarh. The haunted nature of the fort creates a curiousity and hence people end up visiting this fort. Without saying much, I would recommend you to check out the Bhangarh experience shared by an avid traveller Animesh.
A post can't do justice to enlist interesting places in Rajasthan, but to chose the best options for you, I would recommend you to check out other links mentioned in this post and make your own list. If you have any questions, please drop us those through comments.