Rajasthan is an interesting travel destination, an amalgamation of different travel experiences. There are some stunning forts and palaces to explore in Rajasthan, cultural villages to take a tour of, rugged sandy terrains for a quintessential desert safari, and much more. If you are travelling to Rajasthan any time soon, keep this list of things in Rajasthan handy. You do not want to miss out on these awesome Rajasthani experiences:
Things to do in Jaisalmer
1. Thrilling – Dune Bashing
Jaisalmer in Rajasthan has a quintessential desert terrain, with barren lands and plenty of sand dunes. Dune bashing is an interesting way to explore the sand dunes. You get inside a 4*4 and go on a rugged, off-roading experience, travelling through the sand dunes of the region. It is a different kind of thrill when you get to destroy the sand dunes, knowing you are not doing any harm to the environment.
[Check out exciting things to do on a Jaisalmer tour]
2. Camel Safari- A rustic tour
Don’t miss out on a quintessential rustic desert experience when in Rajasthan. The best regions of Rajasthan for a typical desert safari are Osian, Bikaner and Jaisalmer. You get to travel to some remote places of Rajasthan during the desert safari and explore some interesting ruins of the place. There is a story associated with the ruins and forts of Rajasthan, stories that captivate you from the word go.
3. Visit Patwon ki Haveli
A historical masterpiece- One of the most prominent of all havelis in Jaisalmer is the Patwon ki Haveli. It is an ostentatious haveli which dates back to the early part of the 19th century. The haveli was built by Guman Chand Patwa, who is believed to be an influential trader back in those days. Walk through the haveli and marvel at the intricate architecture of it which is still in very good shape despite all these years.
Things to do in Jodhpur
4. Visit the Mehrangarh Fort- A visit to the times gone by
One of the largest forts in India, the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur towers above the rest of the city. The fort is situated atop a vertical cliff and is in pretty good shape. There is a museum too you can visit which houses various artifacts belonging to the royal times.
5. Capture the blues in Jodhpur
If Jaipur is the pink city of Rajasthan, Jodhpur can safely be called the blue city of Rajasthan. Most houses in the old part of the city are painted blue, making for a great photo-op. Try capturing the blues of Jodhpur in the early morning hours, when the sun creates an impressive visual effect.
6. See the gypsy snake dance- you will forget Shakira
While in Jodhpur, don’t miss out on a performance by the Kalbeliya tribe. The women of the tribe perform the traditional Kalbeliya dance, where they move to some groovy Rajasthani music. Their movements are as lithe as snake, making for an impressive experience.
7. Tour Sadar bazaar in Jodhpur– one for the shopaholics
When in Jodhpur, don’t miss out on a street shopping experience in Sadar Bazaar. It is a flea market where you can shop for almost everything under the sun. There are jewelry shops, shops selling leather goods, shops selling
8. Tour the Umaid Bhawan Palace – a royal legacy
Udaipur is home to many beautiful forts and palaces, dating back to the royal times. One of these is the Umaid Bhawan Palace, one of the largest private residences in the world. A part of the palace has been converted into a heritage hotel, operated by the Taj Group. While a stay in the palace may be out of bounds for most, you can always take a tour and be awed by the legacy of it.
Things to do in Jaipur
9. Elephant ride at Amer Fort, Jaipur- A gigantic experience
One of the most popular tourist attractions of Jaipur, an elephant ride upto Amer Fort can be a really interesting experience. The fort itself, built by Raja Mana Singh I, is an interesting architectural symbol of the royal times. The architecture of the fort is a mix of Hindu and Rajput influences, and like other forts of Rajasthan, you can feel the ornate aura here too.
10. Attend a royal wedding- Indian weddings just got fatter
Indians are known for their lavish weddings. But a traditional Rajasthani wedding takes the experience to a whole new level. If you ever get a chance, do attend a royal Rajasthan wedding. You will be treated to the most sumptuous buffet, and get to experience the famed Rajasthani hospitality that tourists crave for around the world.
11. Hot air ballooning- a sky ride the old way
How about flying in the air, not in an airplane, but in a hot air balloon? Popular across the world, hot air ballooning has finally come to India. You get take a hot air balloon ride in Rajasthan. Flights can be arranged from Pushkar, Jaipur and Ranthambore. It is an eclectic flying experience, one which kind of takes you back to the old times.
12. Vintage car rally in Jaipur- see old beauties
Much of Rajasthan is about taking a trip back in time, with a visit to old forts, palaces and monuments. If you are interested in visiting modern history, watch the vintage car rally while in Rajasthan. The car rally is organized every year in Jaipur, between the months of January and February. There are some really old beauties you can see at the rally, such as an Austin which dates back to 1923.
13. Watch a game of Royal Elephant Polo a royal experience
Elephants have for long been associated with the Indian royal class. When in Rajasthan, you can watch these gigantic animals in a whole new avatar- in a game of polo. Jaipur plays host of elephant polo tournaments throughout the year. It is a fun game, and a royal one too.
14. Visit the Nahargarh Fort – for a spectacular view of Jaipur
One of the most well preserved forts of Rajasthan is the Nahargarh Fort. The fort is built on Aravalli Hills, overlooking the city of Jaipur. The fort is a luxury resort too, with its traditional Rajpur elements still intact. You can savor the luxury of the fort with a stay here and come here just for a spectacular view of the Pink City.
15. Visit City Palace Jaipur- a story of the olden days
The capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur, houses the City Palace complex, which comprises of Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, and several other buildings belonging to the royal era. The palace dates back to the time of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh and stands out for its architectural marvel. You can see several artifacts belonging to the royal era at the palace, which tell a story of the old times.
16. Take part in Gangaur Mela- A riot of colors
Every year, right after holi, the city of Jaipur comes alive with the Gangaur Mela. It is a festival which lasts for two weeks and is all about celebrating the culture and traditions of Rajasthan. You can sample delicious Rajasthani cuisine during the festival, watch colorful traditional dances and so much more. An eclectic feature of the festival is the unmarried tribal men and women marrying only by eloping during the festival.
17. Visit Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary- a haven for bird lovers
If you are a bird lover, you will love spending time at Bharatput Bird Sanctuary, now called the Keoladeo National Park. It is a World. Heritage Site which is home to more than 200 species of different birds. Situated close to the city of Jaipur, the best time to visit the park is during the winter months when several migratory birds flock to the reserve.
18. Visit Johri Bazaar in Jaipur- go jewellery shopping
Apart from its many historical monuments, and being the capital city of Rajasthan, Jaipur is also well known for its Johri Bazaar. The market is renowned for its several shops selling authentic gold and silver jewelry. Take a tour of the market and get your hands on exquisite pieces of jewelry here. The market is a tourist attraction in its own right.
19. Visit Abhaneri Step Well- a mystical experience
You probably won’t find any mention of the place in most travel guides. Yet, it deserves a visit. Located close to the city of Jaipur, the Abhaneri Step Well is a water reservoir dating back to 9th century AD. You can descend a few steps into the water reservoir marvel at the architecture of the establishment. There is a small temple too closeby which is worth a visit.
20. Stay at Rambagh Palace- luxury personified
Once the residence of Maharaja of Jaipur, the Rambagh Palace is now a luxury hotel owned by the Taj Group. A stay here means you get to live the life of the royal class. However, it does not come cheap. The palace has seen several high profile guests over the years, including some of the most famous sportspersons, film actors, and political dignitaries. If your pockets allow though, a stay in Rambagh Palace is an absolute delight.
Things to do in Pushkar
21. Kite flying- reaching for the skies
A colorful and traditional sport of India, kite flying is still actively enjoyed in Rajasthan. Every year, Pushkar plays host to a kite flying festival. You can participate in the festival, and connect with locals as well as tourists over this fun game.Many have even found the love of their life during the kite flying festival in Rajasthan.
22. Visit the Pushkar Fair- A fair very different than the rest
Traditional fairs may be a dying event across India, but the Pushkar Fair remains as strong as ever. It is a camel and livestock far which lasts for 5 days. The fair takes place between the months of October and November. You can witness some traditional dance forms of Rajasthan during the fair, apart from some really eclectic competitions such as a fight for the longest moustache.
Things to do in Jaisalmer
23. Visit the Jaisalmer Fort- a tryst with history
One of the oldest forts in Rajasthan is the Jaisalmer Fort, situated in Jaisalmer city. The fort, also known as Sonar Quila, immediately captivates you with its sand stone and impressive architecture. There is a market situated close to the fort where you can pick up some interesting miniatures of royal artifacts.
24. Visit the Gadsisar Sagar Lake- It will enchant you
It is not just Udaipur which has some of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Gadsisar Lake in Jaisalmer is an equally beautiful manmade lake, which once served as the source of water for the entire city. There are temples and shrines built close to the lake which are worth a visit too. If possible, visit the lake during the winter months, when it makes for an interesting bird watching venue too. And don’t miss out on the story of the king and the prostitute which is associated with the lake and the Krishna temple located closeby.
25. Visit the Thar Heritage Museum- a quirky little place
Now, the Thar Heritage Museum isn’t one of those large national museums which tons of artifacts to explore. Located in the backstreets of Jaisalmer, the museum is private property and owned by a passionate individual interested in preserving the history and culture of Rajasthan. The owner of the museum himself takes you on a tour of the museum and knows a lot about the different artifacts that are placed here. You can even watch a short puppet show in the evenings, making the experience even quirkier.
26. Visit the Desert National Park- a magnificent ecosystem
Even the most arid regions in the world can breed life, and one of the best examples of that is the Desert National Park. Located on the outskirts of Jaisalmer city, it is one of the largest national parks of the country. A large part of the park’s ecosystem comprises of sand dunes. The national park is frequented by several species of birds, including the rare Great Indian Bustard. There are fossil remains of plants and animals too in the region. In fact, fossils of dinosaurs as old as 6 million years old have also been found in the area.
Things to do in Udaipur
27. Visit the Shilpgram Museum- for an arty experience
Don’t be misled by the name. The Shilpgram Museum is actually an ethnic village which has been set up to promote the traditional arts and crafts of India. Located in Udaipur, at the foothills of the Aravallis, a tour of the village lets you explore the many different forms of traditional crafts which are practiced by several tribes of India.
28. Visit Kumbhalgarh Fort- a breathtaking experience
When in Udaipur, don’t miss out on a visit to Kumbhalgarh Fort. It is arguably the most magnificent of all forts in Rajasthan, with several structures to explore. There is even a light and sound show in the evenings to enjoy. When visiting the fort, be prepared to walk a lot, since there is a lot to be explored here.
29. Horse riding- ditch the camel
While a camel safari is a quintessential desert experience, horse riding is more of a colonial one. What better location for a colonial experience than the majestic landscape of Udaipur. You can go on a horse safari in the region for 2 hours, 4 hours, or even a full day, complete with camping in Swiss tents and a very rustic experience. During one of the longer safaris, you almost feel like a nomad, in search of that coveted treasure which are the thieves are after.
30. Visit the Bagore ki Haveli- a Rajputana experience
The name itself speaks much about the traditional Rajputana experience. This majestic haveli in Udaipur has been converted into a museum, which several artifacts of the Rajput kingdom on display. Take a tour of the haveli and get to know the revered Rajput tradition and culture.
31. Visit Saheliyon ki Badi- an ornamental garden
One of the many manmade delights of the city of Udaipur is the Saheliyon ki Badi, a small ornamental garden built on the shores of Fateh Sagar Lake. Back in the royal times, princess and her friends used to come to the garden for a stroll, and hence the name, which translates to “Garden of Maids.” The garden has several fountains which are operated with an energy conservation principle. Take a stroll in the garden and you almost feel like the royal class itself.
32. Visit Fateh Prakash Palace- another Udaipur marvel
Udaipur just does not cease to surprise you. It is home to stunning lakes and palaces, one of which is the Fateh Prakash Palace. Located on the shores of Lake Pichola, the palace was built by Maharana Fateh Singh. A part of it has been converted into a heritage hotel. You can stay at the palace cum hotel and inside you can see several miniature paintings and other artifacts dating back to the royal times.
33. Visit Monsoon Palace- another royal epitome
Located in Udaipur is the majestic Monsoon Palace, perched high atop a hill, giving magnificent views of the lakes and palaces of the city. The palace dates back to 1884 and was originally built to track the monsoon clouds, and hence the name. A symbol of Mewar rule in the region, the palace is illuminated in all its brilliance in the evenings, making for a stunning sight.
34. Visit Ranakpur-a holy village
Ranakpur is a rustic village of Rajasthan, located close to the city of Udaipur in Pali district of Rajasthan. The village is well known for its many Jain temples, the most notable of which is the Ranakpur temple. The village of Ranakpur is considered to be one of the holiest places for Jains. Take a tour of the village and explore the many beautiful temples which date back to the royal times.
35. Visit the Fateh Sagar Lake- an absolute beauty
Located a bit further from Pichola Lake in Udaipur is the Fateh Sagar Lake, a major tourist attraction of the city. The calm waters and the hills in the background make the place absolutely beautiful. The lake is named after the famous ruler, Maharana Fateh Singh.
36. Boating on Lake Pichola- A romantic ride
One of the most romantic things to do in Rajasthan is to take a boat ride on Lake Pichola with your special someone. Located in Udaipur, the city of lakes, Lake Pichola is one of the oldest lakes of Rajasthan, and undoubtedly, a major tourist attraction of the city. The lake is surrounded by hills on one side, palaces on the other, and some beautiful temples too.
37. Visit the Chittorgarh Fort
One of the best known forts of Rajasthan is the Chittorgarh Fort, located close to the city of Udaipur. The fort stands out for its ornate architecture and a luxurious setting. There are several palaces and tall buildings within the fort which are worth a visit. If possible, pay a visit to the fort at night, when it illuminated and looks all the more stunning.
38. Visit Devigarh Palace- epitome of Rajasthani luxury
Another stunning palace of Udaipur is the Devigarh Palace. It has been restored and converted into a resort recently. The palace has been voted as one of the best in terms of design by different travel and design magazines. Take a tour of the palace and walk through the same rooms that once the royalty walked through.
Other things to do in Rajasthan
39. A cultural stay in Chokhi Dhani Resort
A Rajasthani experience cannot be complete without experiencing the colorful customs and traditions of Rajasthan. A part of the cultural experience of Rajasthan can be had at Chokhi Dhani Resort. It is an ethnic resort close to Sanganer, where you are treated to traditional folk dances of Rajasthan, dinner by the bonfire and so much more.
40. Jeep Safari in Ranthambore- A wild experience
One of the wildest things to do in Rajasthan, literally, is take a jeep safari tour of Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary. It is one of the most well known wildlife reserves of the country, home to tigers, elephants and a lot of other species of wild animals.
41. Palace on Wheels- a kingly experience
Don’t just limit yourself to visiting the forts and palaces in Rajasthan and imagining how life must have been for the royal class. You could feel like the royal class yourself with a journey aboard the Palace on Wheels. It is one of the best luxury train ride sin the world which takes you through Udaipur, Jodhpur and several other cities of Rajasthan. Make sure you book your seat well in advance, for the train usually is completely booked for an year or more.
42. Ziplining at Neemrana Fort- Shout your lungs out
About a couple of hours drive from Delhi is Neemrana Fort, one of the many forts in Rajasthan. But it is a little different than the rest. At Neemrana Fort, you can go ziplining. In other words, you can go from one hill to the next with the help of wires suspended high above the ground. You cannot help but shout your lungs out as you zip across the mountains.
43. Chhatra Sagar Nimaj- A royal camping experience
Almost everything in Rajasthan is a royal experience. How can camping be left behind? Chhatra Sagar Nimaj is a camp located by the Chhatra Sagar Nimaj dam in Pali-Marwar district. The camping tents face a beautiful lake, andthe camp itself combines a rustic and a royal experience. You can enjoy a camping experience here during the months of October to March, since the camp is closed during monsoon and summer months.
44. Take the blessings of Dargah Sharif, Ajmer
Dargah Sharif in the city of Ajmer is the shrine of Moin-ud-din Chishti. It is a place revered by people of all religions. Each year, several thousand pilgrims descend to the shrine to offer their prayers and seek blessings. One of the holiest times to visit the shrine is during the time of Urs, which is a 6 day festival. It is said that a prayer offered at Dargah Sharif does not go unanswered.
45. Visit the Bundi Fort- an ornate masterpiece
The Bundi Fort in the city of Bundi in Rajasthan may not be as well as known as some of the other forts of the state. However, it deserves a visit for its ornate architecture. Like most forts of Rajasthan, the Bundi fort too has a story to tell. Visit the fort and explore the many buildings that lie within its boundaries.
46. Take a trip to Mount Abu- an eco-tour in Rajasthan
Mount Abu in Rajasthan is a popular hill station of India. In the royal times, it was visited by the royal class and the British for leisure. Take a trip to Mount Abu and explore the interesting architecture of the place, which comprises of colonial style bungalows and royal homestays as well. There is a small sanctuary too in Mount Abu where you can go bird watching or even spot leopards and langur.
47. Take a jungle safari in Sariska Tiger Reserve- an encounter with wildlife
One of the most adventurous things to do in Rajasthan is to take a wildlife tour in Sariska National Park. Situated in Alwar district, the national park was opened in 1955. It is one of the best habitats for tigers in India and has been actively involved in the Tiger Project. Take a safari through the reserve and spot several species of wild animals, and some exotic species of birds too.
48. A visit to Bhangarh- be spooked
Bhangarh is an ancient city which is located in Alwar district of Rajasthan. The ruins of the city are believed to be haunted. It is also believed that anyone who visits the ruins of the Bhangarh Palace after dark does not ever return. In fact, the city is off limits after dark, and despite being an ancient city, the Archaeological Survey of India does not have an office here. Take a tour of Bhangarh during the day and hear spooky stories from the locals themselves.
[Also check other haunted places in India]
49. Tour Bishnoi Village- a tryst with ethnic Rajasthan
If you are interested in a peek into the age old customs and traditions of Rajasthan, there is nothing better than a taking a village tour in the desert state. Tour the Bishnoi Village and learn about the various customs and traditions of Rajasthan that are still practiced in this part of the state. A tour of Bishnoi Village lets you get up, close and personal with ethnic Rajasthan, and also gives you a chance to explore the mystic Thar Desert.
50. Visit Junagarh Fort- for its architectural marvel
You just can’t get tired of visiting all the forts and palaces of Rajasthan. Each one has a different story to tell and different architecture to mesmerize. Junagrh Fort is located in Bikaner, in the arid region of Thar Desert. It is one of the few forts of Rajasthan which are not built atop a hill. The city of Bikaner has been established around the fort, which houses several temples and palaces, each testimony to the times gone by.