Rambling around Rajasthan

Rambling around Rajasthan

It’s not hard to see why Rajasthan is one of India’s most visited states. From its rich history and ornate architecture to its enchanting landscapes and vibrant culture, there’s so much to explore in the ‘Land of Kings’. To travel to Rajasthan is to experience the full breadth of India’s diverse contrasts and colours, and it’s impossible not to leave awestruck. Unsure where to start? Read on for our list of the top places to visit in Rajasthan… 


1. Jaipur, the 'Pink City'
2. Jodhpur, the 'Blue City'
3. Jaisalmer, the 'Golden City'
4. Ranthambore National Park
5. Bikaner
6. Pali District
7. Udaipur, the 'City of Lakes'


Jaipur, the ‘Pink City’

First up on our list of must-see places in Rajasthan is its captivating capital, Jaipur. Known as the ‘Pink City’ for its blushed buildings and rosy facades, Jaipur forms part of the famed Golden Triangle, along with Delhi and Agra. Places to visit in Jaipur include the royal residence, the City Palace (offering spectacular views over the city), the magnificent Hawa Mahal, with its honeycomb-like structure, and the imposing Amber (or Amer) Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Beyond the fort walls, make sure to discover the beautiful step wells, carved temples, water buffalo and monkeys. Stroll past bustling flower markets, turban stalls, painted frescoes and elephants as you sight-see your way around this palatial pink city.

Image by Jerome Galland 


Jodhpur, the ‘Blue City’ 

Jodhpur, with its blue buildings and medieval alleyways sprawling under the Mehrangarh Fort, is another one of our favourite places to visit in Rajasthan. Explore the magical markets piled high with spices, vegetables, sacks of onions, woven baskets and sugar cane pressers before admiring the milky marble cenotaph to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, the Jaswant Thada. Jodhpur’s formidable fort is also unmissable (quite literally), rising nearly 400ft high above the city’s skyline, along with its informative museum. Make sure to catch at least one sunset up here, which looks out over Jodhpur’s shimmering blue rooftops. It’s b(lue)tiful bliss.


Jaisalmer, the ‘Golden City’ 

This sensational sandstone city, rising out of the Thar desert, is an enticing urban centre in Rajasthan. Explore the imposing Jaisalmer Fort, which, unlike similar Rajasthani forts, is very much alive with shops, temples and havelis (traditional ornate mansions) connected by narrow, twisting lanes. Other must-sees include Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli and Patwa ki Haveli, both magnificent lattice-like golden structures that are a testament to the region’s architectural history. 



Ranthambore National Park 

Next on our list of the top places to visit in Rajasthan is the wildlife-abundant Ranthambore National Park. The main attraction here is the majestic Bengal tiger. Originally a private hunting ground of the maharajas, Ranthambore is renowned as one of the best places to see these big cats in the wild. Head out on a safari into a landscape filled with lakes, crags, forests and meadows to (hopefully) get lucky. Tigers aside, there’s a plethora of wonderful wildlife, from the sloth bear and mongoose to the crocodile and hyena. The regal tenth-century Ranthambore Fort is a characterful centrepiece in the park, which is also dotted with vine-clad cenotaphs, ruins and abandoned human settlements. Ranthambore is easily accessible from major cities, including Jaipur and Delhi, so is seamlessly woven into a Rajasthani itinerary. 



Perhaps the most under-the-radar spot on our list of places to visit in Rajasthan, the desert dream of Bikaner is well worth your attention. A must-see site here is, yep, you guessed it, a fort. You’ll not be disappointed with Junagarh Fort, however, from its 16th-century features and bejewelled interiors to its Mughal marble facades. Another iconic building is the Rampuria Haveli. Steeped in centuries of Rajput, Mughal and British history, this ornately carved red sandstone haveli will transport you to a bygone era. Don’t miss the maze-like streets of Bikaner’s walled old town, too, for more historic charm. Snack on namkeen (Bikaner’s take on Bombay mix) as you browse its market stalls. Bikaner is also famous for its rat temple, Karni Mata. Home to over 25,000 resident rats, the temple hosts a quirky festival in the rodents’ honour. Each to one’s own… 


Pali District 

Tigers aren’t the only big cats stalking the Rajasthani landscape. It’s leopards that rule the land in the Pali district. Nestled between Jodhpur and Udaipur, the Jawai Leopard Reserve is home to around 60 lovely leopards which love the rocky terrain, thick forest and bodies of water. Here, local herdsmen, the Rabari, live in harmony with the leopard population. Opt for a Rabari-led walking safari, wander their villages and learn all about their ways of life. While the leopards may be the star of the show in Jawai, don’t forget about the other rich wildlife found here (various migratory birds’ calls will become your safari soundtrack). The Jawai Bandh (dam) is another attraction boasting lush green surroundings and a deep water reservoir.


Udaipur, the ‘City of Lakes’ 

Last but not least of our favourite places to visit in Rajasthan is the magical city of Udaipur. Often deemed the most romantic in India, any trip to Rajasthan naturally leads to this ‘City of Lakes’. Sitting snugly upon Lake Pichola, this ‘Venice of the East’ is home to the state’s largest palace and impressive architectural feat, the City Palace. While away the hours with a cup or two of chai on a terrace overlooking Lake Pichola with the Taj Lake Palace (now a hotel) appearing to float in its centre. Afterwards, wander the crisscross-draped Aladdin-like bazaars, uncover ancient artefacts at the Ahar museum, take in the hilltop views from Monsoon Palace and discover lush Jagmandir Island. Hop on a boat ride around the lake at sunset for unbeatable views of the city’s palaces.  

Image by Jerome Galland

Written by Hannah Whitehall | Header image by Jerome Galland