Adorned by the rustic charm of the great Thar Desert, Rajasthan or the ‘Land of Kings’ is undoubtedly one of the most gorgeous tourist destinations in the country! A melting point of colourful cultures and traditions, a canvas painted with all the royal shades and tales this state in the north-western part of the country wears many hats!
Dotted with imperial palaces, impressive forts, magnificent havelis, enchanting lakes, romantic destinations, and much more, Rajasthan can be called as the ‘Mecca’ among all the popular tourist destinations in India! Fondly called the ‘Desert Capital of India’ or the ‘Cultural Capital of India’, it is one such destination that needs to be explored and not just travelled. And for those, who are already enchanted by the royal grandeurs and appeal of Rajasthan or are planning for a Rajasthan tour, here are some of the most popular tourist destinations in Rajasthan that must not be misses at any cost.
Although it holds true for the whole of India that it is a country brimming with bright supple hues and that vibrancy courses through its veins, there is one landmass in the western most region of this country that breathes, eats, sleeps, dances, sings colours, that Indian state is Rajasthan. With a hint of melody lingering to its very name rajasthan is a wondrous heaven for the overzealous travellers who are on a constant lookout for a rainbow vacation!
Now whoever says basics are a person’s best friend must think again. Rajasthan is such a whiplash of colours that it is dizzyingly pleasant and this colour mainly comes from the clothes that traditional Rajasthanis adorn. With tribes changing within couple of miles radius, Rajasthan is inhabited by hundreds of different tribes boasting their own peculiar style of clothing. From tie and die to block print to intricate hand weaving this state is a paradise for a compulsive shopper. You will be mistaken in if think it is just the humans who are fashion conscious, wait till you see the Rajasthani camels gloating in their fancy attire!
Well rajasthani food has the beauty of catering to the green campaigners as well as animals-on-plate lovers offering the most diversified scrumptious platter. If you had the chance of seeing that daawat scene from the movie Jodha Akbar where food is served to the emperor then let me tell you Rajasthani food is far more varied and vibrant ranging from beautiful red garlic chutney to bright yellow kadhi. The far west has entirely different menu than the eastern Rajasthanis. Describing the state’s food in words will be in injustice to its richness as it is best enjoyed live by all the five senses.
Festivals are always colourful so no surprise there but rajasthan takes its festival fervour to another level making it the most colourful cacophony you’ll ever see. Teej and Gangaur are two festivals celebrated by the locals exclusively in Rajasthan, when women dress in laharia and apply heena on their hands and feet and processions are carried out on the streets which are a major tourist attraction. Now there is a festival especially for the ‘green lovers’, camel festival in Puskhar which is a trade fair that also hosts multiple competitions for foreigners and locals. Diwali is best celebrated in Jaipur, keep that while visiting Rajasthan.
Not anywhere in the world can it be found, so many dance variations with this little geographic stretch as Rajasthan. Showing off their most vivid culture through synchronized dances and graceful moves these rajasthani dances are a treat to eyes. Most famous dance, kalbelia is performed by snake charmers, there is ghoomar, gair, teratali, manjira, chari etc which leave you undoubtedly awestruck.
A state where its cities are themed on various cannot go wrong in declaring itself the most colourful place on earth! The capital city, Jaipur is known as the Pink City. Not that it is completely bathed in the bubblegum pink colour but a subtle shade on the ancient buildings makes it look pristine. The blue city Jodhpur holds true to its name as the tiny houses are all bathed in ink blue. The desert city Jaisalmer is the one painted in yellow. It is almost like gods took rajasthan to be their canvas and accidently poured all their colours here but with ingenious perfection.
Rajasthan is home to the maximum number of forts and palaces in India. The colossal forts and majestic palaces scattered around the state are testimonies to its glorious heritage, and shine light on its royal past. That apart, the architectural magnificence of these structures is spellbinding.
One could explore the corridors of the hundred feet Mehangarh Fort in Jodhpur, marvel at the fabulous beauty of Amer Fort and visit the City Palace in Jaipur – the largest in the state. One could also admire the intricate details in the “jharokas” of Patwon ki Haveli in Jaisalmer.
Rajasthan is home to a great number of wildlife in India. Some of the most famous wildlife sanctuaries worth checking out are Desert National Sanctuary, Jaisalmer, Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, where visitors can enjoy foot tracking and horse safaris, and National Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary, Kota.
When it comes to national parks, one must visit the Ranthambore National Park, a great place for observing tigers in their natural habitat. Sariska National Park, Alwar, is another park worth visiting due to its significant tiger population.
One of the best places to experience the charms of desert safari is Jaisalmer, which also hosts the Jaisalmer desert festival. Camping under the shining stars with the silence of the desert only broken by the whispering wind – it’s a magical experience! Another way of experiencing the rich and colorful Rajasthani folk culture is participating in the Desert Festival, which is held around January to February every year.
Undoubtedly, Rajasthan is one of the top cultural States in India. The people here are adorned in brightly colored costumes called “angarakha” and “Ghaghara”. Cuisine of the state involves foodstuff like buttermilk, “khud khargosh” (rabbit meat), “dal baati churma”, “gatte ki sabzi”, etc.
Farming is the main occupation followed by the people of Rajasthan and the most widely grown crops are wheat, bajra, pulses etc. However, just like anywhere else, there is a modern side of Rajasthan too which is reflected in the swanky malls, parks etc.
One of the best places for shopping in India is Rajasthan. This is because, shopping here is another way of discovering the cultural side of the city. For ethnic handlooms, handicrafts and artifacts, no city is better than Jaipur. Some of the best places are Johari Bazar and Bapu Bazar. Jodhpur is the best place to head to for items ranging from antiques to accessories. Clock Tower Market and Nai Sarak are the best options.
Hathi Pol Bazar, famous for Rajasthani miniature paintings and Bada Bazar in Udaipur display a wide range of exotic items. Another exciting place for shopping is Sadar Bazar in Pushkar, where one can get items like puppets, leatherwear, textiles, and a lot more.
There are several beautiful lakes in Rajasthan. While some act as prominent landmarks, others embellish the beauty of the areas around them. Of course, Lake Pichola in Udaipur City, enjoys a popularity like no other. An artificial freshwater lake, it houses two islands, Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir. One can also find the Fateh Sagar Lake here. Then, there is the Nakki Lake in the hill station of Mount Abu, which is considered to be sacred. Another great fascination is the prominent Sambhar Salt Lake, which is India’s largest inland salt lake.
Rajasthan is home to several heritage hotels that allow one to experience the royal lifestyle first hand, besides getting acquainted with the princely traditions and culture of this state. One such heritage hotels is Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, which is also known as the “Jewel of Jaipur.”
Carved of golden-yellow sandstone and dressed in opulence, Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur delivers a truly exotic experience. No other hotel is as unique and fascinating as the Lake Palace in Udaipur. Some other famous heritage hotels are Fort Rajwada in Jaisalmer, Shiv Niwas Palace in Udaipur and Khimsar Fort, Khimsar.