Rajasthan in north India is one of the country’s most eclectic and exciting regions, with a wealth of fascinating sights to discover. It’s a particularly good place to explore if you’re interested in history and culture, as there is a host of outstanding monuments to visit.
To give you an insight into what to expect if you choose to travel to this part of the country, we’ve put together a bit of information about Rajasthan’s best cities and the unmissable sites in each of them. You can go on a tour that takes in all of these places, as well as some of India’s other top attractions (like the Taj Mahal and Old Delhi) if you book a holiday with Explore Worldwide.
As the largest city in Rajasthan and the state’s capital, it’s only fitting that we begin with Jaipur. It’s known as the Pink City, because of the colour of many of its buildings, and there are some fascinating sites to discover here.
The most famous is the Amber Fort, which sits on a hill overlooking the rest of the city. When you wander around the vast complex, you’ll be amazed by the stunning architecture, which is a combination of the Mughal and Hindu styles. Many of the rooms are adorned with intricate paintings, colourful mosaics and detailed carvings.
Another must-see in Jaipur is the City Palace, with this complex actually taking up approximately one-seventh of the city’s area. There are various buildings and gardens that you can wander around – among the most fascinating is the Maharani’s Palace, where you’ll find a display of Rajput weaponry.
Many of the cities in Rajasthan are built in the midst of a vast desert and Jaisalmer is no different. One of its most astounding monuments is its fort, which rises up out of the sands and seems to blend in with the landscape around it.
Dating from the 12th century, this enclave is a fantastic example of how forts were not only defensive structures, but also places where people lived and traded. Jaisalmer Fort still boasts homes and shops within its walls, making a visit a truly fascinating experience. It’s also worth exploring the Jain Temple (which is actually seven separate temples) that is housed within the fort to see its beautifully-decorated chambers and walls.
Bikaner is a real desert city that’s situated among sand dunes. It’s famous for its camel breeding and the area is considered to produce the best riding camels in the world. Taking a camel safari into the desert is therefore a must here.
One of its best known landmarks is the Junagarh Fort, which was constructed in the 16th century and has never been conquered. Inside, there are exhibitions about the Bikaner royal family and their reign. Another site you should explore is the Gajner Palace – a beautiful building on the shores of a lake. In years gone by, this was used as a hunting lodge and it’s set in 6,000 acres of land where creatures such as antelopes, black bucks and imperial sand grouses live. As well as admiring the intricate architecture of the palace, leave time to take a stroll in the vast grounds and look out for some of the local wildlife.
The final destination on our list is Jodhpur, which is the second largest city in Rajasthan and is often called the Blue City because the roofs of the homes in its old districts are painted a vibrant shade of blue. You’ll have amazing views of these colourful buildings from the ramparts of the Meherangarh Fort.
It is the largest enclave in the state and sits on a hill some 125 m above the city and plains, making it an imposing addition to Jodhpur’s skyline. There are some breathtaking rooms inside the fort, including the vast mirror hall, the pearl hall and the opulent flower hall, which is where the Maharaja (the region’s former ruler) used to be entertained by dancing girls.
These are just a few of the wonderful places you can discover on a holiday in north India, with many more fascinating landmarks and attractions just waiting to be uncovered in Rajasthan.