Rajasthan state,spread across 3,42,000 sq km in northwest India, has an impressive array of travel destinations. Bisected by the hills of Aravalli Range, Rajasthan has a varied landscape ranging from desert and rocky terrain to wooded hills, thick forests and fertile plains. This diverse landscape is dotted with historical towns, mighty forts, magnificent palaces and wildlife sanctuaries. While the cities and towns of Rajasthan have embraced a change in the lifestyle, many villages have still kept their antique culture intact. Here is the complete list of travel destinations in Rajasthan:
Jaipur is one of the most sought after travel destinations in Rajasthan. If you are planning a tour to Rajasthan, you can’t miss to explore the art and architecture encased in Jaipur. This city is home to some of the splendid forts and palaces of Rajasthan. The moniker “Pink City” owes to the reddish paint applied on the palaces and buildings in the walled city. Today Jaipur’s populace is brimming out with the aspirations to join the league of the metropolises of India. But amidst the fast pace of life, the monuments here are surprisingly well-protected unlike many other cities of India. Read More
Location: Jaipur is 261 km southwest of Delhi. Jodhpur is 337 km west and Udaipur is 394 km southwest of Jaipur.
The lakes, palaces, havelis and the medieval charm of Udaipur attract tourists from across the world. Situated in the lush green Girwa valley in the south Rajasthan, Udaipur was the capital of the erstwhile Mewar kingdom. Mewar Rajputs are known for their denial of accepting the sovereignty of the Mughals. This kept them constantly at war with the Mughals. But there must have been times of peace when they built the elegant and ostentatious palaces for themselves. Udaipur’s lakes and the surrounding hills add to the romantic appeal of the palaces. No wonder this small city is often listed as one of the most romantic cities in India. Read More
Location: Udaipur is 650 km southeast of Delhi via Jaipur. The distance from Jaipur is 394 km.
A mighty fort and a grand palace have made Jodhpur a popular travel destination in Rajasthan. The imposing Mehrangarh Fort is the identity of Jodhpur. Yes, Umaid Bhawan is a grand edifice and one of the finest palaces in Rajasthan, but Mehrangarh Fort remains the star attraction in this city. Rao Jodha of Rathore clan built this towering fort on the top of a lone hill in 1459. The town was developed around the base of the hill and was fortified with a 9.5 km long wall which had 101 bastions and seven gates. Today Jodhpur has expanded to become the second-largest city in Rajasthan. But the streets, alleys and bazaars of the old city still retain that old-world charm. Bishnoi villages, known for their way of living in harmony with the nature, make for an interesting excursion out of Jodhpur. Read More
Location: Jodhpur is 337 km west of Jaipur and 590 km southwest of Delhi.
Jaisalmer was once the desert kingdom of Bhatti Rajputs. Today it is the most visited travel destination in the desert region of the state of Rajasthan. In 1156, Rawal Jaisal chose the lone hill, called ‘Trikuta’, to build his fort. Along with the palaces and temples, this fort also enclosed a small township and bazaars. While the royals have left the palaces, the township is still inhabited and bazaars are still bustling. That’s why they call it a living fort. Jaisalmer town was built around the base of the ‘Trikuta’ hill. Jaisalmer’s location on the ancient trading route from India to Afghanistan and Central Asia brought the prosperity to the kingdom. The traders who made it good created a few artistic havelis in the town which are worth exploring. Read More
Location: Jaisalmer is 280 km west of Jodhpur and 780 km southeast of Delhi.
Bundi is a small town nestled in a valley and surrounded with the pristine hills in southeast Rajasthan. Home to a magnificent and eccentric palace, Bundi looks like a town from the medieval era. Though it doesn’t receive hordes of tourists, it is a destination of choice for heritage explorers. It seem that its people have deliberately chosen to keep themselves isolated from modernization despite the proximity with the bustling town of Kota. Surprisingly, Bundi was the capital of the Hara rulers and Kota was its subsidiary until 1624. Rao Deva Hara established Bundi in 1241 and Rao Bar Singh completed the Taragarh Fort, that overlooks the town, in 1354. Read More
Location: Bundi is 218 km south of Jaipur and 300 km northeast of Udaipur.
Chittorgarh, situated in southern Rajasthan, is one of the largest and also one of the oldest forts in India. This sprawling fort is spread across 700 acres on the top of a rocky hill. As per the recorded history, Bappa Rawal of Sisodia clan had established this fort in the 7th century. But there are evidences to suggest that the fort had existed before Bappa Rawal took hold. Today this fort encloses the remains of an ancient town that was abandoned by its ruler who found it hard to protect it against sieges. This fort was once the seat of power of the Mewar kingdom but the three historical sieges and the bloodshed that ensued forced the rulers to shift. This gave birth to Udaipur and Chittorgarh became a chapter of history until some curious travellers found it out. Read More
Location: Chittorgarh Fort is 120 km east of Udaipur.
Ranthambhore National Park
Ranthambhore is the most popular sanctuary in Rajasthan and is one of the finest tiger reserves in the country. The deciduous forests of Ranthambhore are home to a diverse fauna. Animals like panther, hyena, jackal, several species of deer, wild boar, langur and a variety of birds call this sanctuary their home. But most of the tourists come here to spot the black-striped big cats – the tigers. While the chances of spotting a tiger are high, many tourists go back disappointed. The safaris are done in park jeeps and canters, twice a day. And there is a cap on the number of vehicles that can enter per day, so it’s advisable to book the safari in advance. You can book your safari at www.rajasthanwildlife.rajasthan.gov.in.
Bikaner, just like Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, lies on the ancient caravan trading route. It was founded by Rao Bika who belonged to the Rathore clan of Jodhpur. In the quest of having his own kingdom, he established Bikaner in 1486. The Junagarh Fort here boasts of richly decorated interiors. It is the most well-preserved fort in the western Rajasthan, albeit is location on the flat land makes it less appealing. The streets of the walled city are lined by scores of havelis (mansions) with beautiful facades. Camel safaris into the desert are available from Bikaner, but they are nowhere close to what you can get in Jaisalmer and a few other places like Osian.
Location: Bikaner is 445 km west of Delhi and 335 km northeast of Jaipur.
Pushkar, situated in central Rajasthan, receives huge number of travellers from across the world. It attracts pilgrims, backpackers, hippies, solace-seekers and culture explorers. This town has received its name from the Pushkar Lake, which is considered as sacred by the Hindus. It is believed that a holy dip in the lake during the Hindu months of Kartik (October/November) cleanses the soul of all impurities. It is during this period that the popular ‘Pushkar Cattle Fair’ takes place. Tents and campsites spring up during this phase to accommodate scores of pilgrims and travellers that throng the town.
Location: Pushkar is just 15 km from Ajmer and is 145 km from Jaipur.
Shekhawati is the name of a region spread over 300 sq km in the northwest of Jaipur. This region is meant for the travellers interested in exploring the medieval art and culture. The towns and villages of this semi-arid region are full of profusely painted havelis. Owing to this, the region has earned a moniker ‘open-air art gallery’. These havelis were built by the local Marwari merchants – Birlas, Goenkas, Poddars, Singhanias – who had migrated to the port-cities of Mumbai and Kolkata to earn out of the maritime trade. There was a custom that whoever flourishes invests in making their natives more beautiful. This led to the creation of so much of art.
Location: If you are entering Shekhawati from Jaipur, Sikar city is your gateway which is 114 km northwest of Jaipur.
Mount Abu is a hill station in the Aravalli Range. It is a favourite getaway of the denizens of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Gurushikhar, located in Mt Abu, is the highest point in Rajasthan. There are a few interesting short hikes in the town and Nakki Lake is the major attraction. Dilwara’s Jain temples, situated nearby, are the most ornate Jain temples in the country. Achalgarh, 8 km beyond Dilwara, has a Shiva temple situated on a hill.
Location: Mount Abu is 165 km east of Udaipur.
Keoladeo Ghana National Park
Keoladeo National Park, situated in the eastern Rajasthan, is the most popular bird sanctuary in the country. It is spread across 29 sq km and can be accessed only by a cycle rickshaw or a bicycle. You can also walk inside the sanctuary. The best time to visit is after monsoon which ends in September. The park attracts about 375 species of birds which includes about 190 migratory species. It is known for its aquatic species of birds which swoop down on its wetlands after the onset of monsoon. Keoladeo Ghana is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Location: The entrance to Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary is just 3 km from Bharatpur town.
The massive Kumbhalgarh fort, built by the Mewar rulers, was never invaded. The fort’s outer wall measures 36 km making it the second longest wall in the world. Situated in the Aravalli hills, this fort makes for an interesting drive from Udaipur. You need to ascend a ramp to reach the palace, a 15-20 min climb. There are breathtaking views of the Aravalli hills from the rooftop terrace of the palace. The vast expanse of the fort is dotted with the Jain and Hindu shrines. Some of them are situated near the entrance of the fort and are worth visiting. The Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, spread over 578 sq km, is to the west of the fort. Many resorts and retreats have developed near Kumbhalgarh making it an offbeat getaway. Read More
Location: Kumbhalgarh is 86 km north of Udaipur.
Nestled in the pristine wooded valley of the Aravalli Range, north of Udaipur, is the wonderful Jain temple complex of Ranakpur. The largest temple, built in 1439 and dedicated to Lord Adinath, is a fine example of Western-Indian temple architecture. Of the 1444 pillars in this temple, no two have similar carvings. The salubrious environment of Ranakpur has led to the development of a few resorts in the vicinity. Many travellers, who are looking for solace in the forested hills, prefer spending a few days here.
Location: 90 km north of Udaipur.
Bharatpur is known for its proximity to the bird sanctuary called Keoladeo Ghana National Park. Founded by the Jats, Bharatpur town is centered on the seemingly impregnable Lohagarh Fort. The double ramparts of this fort were surrounded by a wide moat making it hard to break through. It withstood several attacks from British and Marathas until 1805 when British broke in. Out of the three colleges inside the fort, one has been turned into a college and the other two house the state museum.
Location: Bharatpur is 203 km south of Delhi and is just 58 km east of Agra. Jaipur is about 185 km west of Bharatpur.
Deeg, a small and dusty town, 30 km northwest of Bharatpur was once the summer retreat of the Jat rulers of Bharatpur. Today it is one of the offbeat tourist places in the eastern Rajasthan. A lavish palace complex, flanked by two reservoirs and studded with brilliant fountains, was built here. The palace apartments are centered on a formal garden. While the fountains are switched on only once a year during the Monsoon Festival, the palace complex deserves a visit if you are in the vicinity.
Location: Deeg is 35 km north of Bharatpur
Alwar, nestled in the Aravalli hills, was the capital of Rao Pratap Singh. He belonged to the Kachhwaha clan (Jaipur royals) but set up his own kingdom. Its city palace has government offices on the ground floor and a museum upstairs. The hilltop fort of Alwar, called ‘Bala Qila’, has remains of the palaces and temples. It can be reached by a steep 4 WD track after obtaining permission from the police station. From Alwar, you can go on excursions to Siliserh Lake and Sariska Tiger Reserve. Alwar is only visited by the people keenly interested in history.
Location: Alwar is 150 km northeast of Jaipur and lies on the railway route to Delhi.
Ajmer, today a small and congested town, was founded in the 7th-century by Chauhan Rajputs. It came under the Mughals in 1556 during Akbar’s rule. This town is popular across India for its ‘Dargah Sharif’ which is a tomb of Khwajah Moinuddin Chisti. It is situated in a huge complex which includes a bazaar and two mosques. Akbar had built a small fort here which has been turned into a museum. The Mayo college building (1875) is an excellent example of Indo-Saracenic architecture; it houses a museum as well. The ‘Adhai-Din-ka-Jhonpra’ (meaning: a hut of two and a half days) mosque is situated to the west of the ‘Dargah Sharif’. The Taragarh Fort is an hour’s drive from Ajmer, once an impenetrable fort lies in ruins today.
Location: Ajmer is 140 km east of Jaipur.
Khichan (or Kheechan) and Phalodi
The villages of Khichan and Phalodi are just 4 km apart. The area around these villages serves as a winter home for scores of demoiselle cranes who migrate here from Central Asian Lands. The land beyond these villages is covered with sand dunes and mustard fields. The red sandstone havelis of Khichan are worth checking out.
Location: Phalodi is 142 km northwest of Jodhpur and lies on the Jodhpur-Jaisalmer railway route.
The major attraction in Nagaur is Ahhichatragarh Fort, which dominates this historical village. The fort has the palaces built by the Mughals and the Marwari rulers. Several temples and havelis of the village are also worth exploring.
Location: Nagaur is 140 km northeast of Jodhpur
Dungarpur literally means city of hills. It is in fact a village overlooked by Juna Mahal – a 13th century palace. This palace is appreciable for its richly decorated interiors. There is another 19th century palace, called Udai Bilas Palace, by the Lake Gaibsagar. Built in Rajput and Mughal styles, this palace is now a heritage hotel.
Location: Dungarpur is 106 km south of Udaipur.
Kota has a history but today the city, amidst the pace of modern life, seems less concerned about it. This town was once under the Bhil Tribals. In the 13th century, the Bhil ruler of Kota, named Koteya, was killed by Jait Singh of Bundi and Kota was added into their kingdom which was called ‘Hadoti’. In 1624, Jahangir, the Mughal emperor, seperated Kota from Bundi and handed its regin to Rao Madho Singh of Hara clan. Today there are a few palaces in this town. Out of them the simplistic city palace is open to the visitors and a palace called Umed Bhawan has been converted into a heritage hotel.
Location: Kota is 38 km south of Bundi.
The small town of Jhalawar, surrounded by the orange groves and poppy fields, was once the capital of the Jhala rulers. It was seperated from Kota in 1838 by the British. Its Garh Palace houses the government office. The ‘Bhawani Natyashala’ theatre within the palace complex was established in the early 20th century. The nearby town of Jhalarapatan has several 11th century temples. Gagron Fort, surrounded on three sides by the rivers, is just 10 km from Jhalawar.
Location: Jhalawar is 120 km south of Bundi via Kota.
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