The land of Maharajas and royalty, the Indian state of Rajasthan is made up two words “Raja” and “Sthan” which together stands for the lands of the monarchs. Apart from being the largest of all states it is also one of the most colourful and vibrant states in the country known for maintaining and revelling in its deeply rooted cultural heritage. Along with the palaces and forts it has, Rajasthan also comprises of the India’s only desert, The Thar Desert.
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Owing to its rich cultural heritage, unique traditions, amazing monuments, palaces and forts, this state has gained a lot of popularity amongst national and international tourists. Considering the revenue it generates from its tourism, Rajasthan ranks fifth in the list of the most visited places of India.
For proper sightseeing tours in Rajasthan, one would need no less than fourteen to thirty days. The various palaces, wildlife sanctuaries, lakes, villages etc. in this state not just offer you a Rajasthan sightseeing experience but also endows one with the variation of tradition and culture found in all these place.
Best time to visit Rajasthan : September-March
Famous cities of Rajasthan :
5. Shekhawati Region
Jaipur, one of the regal cities in the world, plays an important role in the history of India. The capital of Rajasthan, also known as the ‘Pink City’, is a visitor’s delight and dotted with numerous architectural marvels. Here is a list of some of the main tourist attraction destinations in Jaipur:
1. Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal or the most commonly known Palace of Winds is a famous Palace located in the heart of Jaipur. This palace serves as famous tourists’ spot, which attracts attention of almost all the tourists coming to this city with its charming architecture. Built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in 1798, this palace forms a part of the City Palace complex.
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The exterior of the palace is five storey building having an architectural shape of the honeycomb of a beehive consisting of nine hundred and fifty three windows. This windows were intended to solve two fold purposes; one being to act as a veil and allow the female members of the royal family to observe the daily affairs of a normal day life happening on the streets outside the palace and the second being to provide an air conditioning to the interior of the palace using the ‘venturi’ effect. Owing to such an interesting design the palace is also known as the specimen of fanciful architecture.
2. Amber Fort
Amber fort is one of the most important spots when it comes to Rajasthan sightseeing. This fort was built in 1532 by Raja Man Singh-I with additions by Sawai Jai Singh. It is known for its architectural marvel and the artistic style of portraying Hindu elements. The Amber Fort complex is spread over an area of four square kilometre and one can see observe the aesthetic ambiance of this fort by observing its four level layout plan.
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The four important buildings that the fort complex encompasses are Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas, Sheesh Mahal and the Sukh Niwas. Surrounding the Sukh Niwas, an artificial cool climate is created by placing water cascades in such a manner that when the winds blow through them they carry cool air inside. The fort is built up of red sandstone and marble which shines like a red beauty in the glow of the morning sun.
3. Central Park
Located in the heart of Jaipur, the Central park is the largest park that this city has. This park has been efficiently created by the Jaipur Development Authority and consists of a lush green beautiful garden, polo club and the Rambagh Polo Ground. As the park has a polo ground, one can enjoy a lot Polo actions happening here. Above that, this place also serves as a favourite spot for Army officers to chill out in its very jolly and sporty environment.
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Apart from this, the Central Park has a five kilometre long jogging track which serves a hot spot for a lot of Jaipurites to exercise and burn a few calories. The Central Park acts as a place of interest for several bird watchers, as a lot of migratory birds come here during nesting season owing to it lush green vegetation. Some of the other attractions of this park include musical fountain, temple and stone states.
4. Jantar Mantar
Photo Credit : Richard Moross
Jantar Mantar is one of the hottest destinations for sightseeing in Rajasthan. Located in Jaipur near the City Palace, this place is basically an open observatory having a collection of architectural astronomical instruments. Its name has been derived from two words ‘Jantar’ meaning Instruments and ‘Mantar’ meaning Formula. Although Sawai Jai Singh had constructed several of these observatories around the country, this once is the largest and the best preserved one.
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This observatory consists of fourteen major instruments or geometric devices and has some religious significance too due to the fact that ancient Indians astronomers were Jyotisa too. It was declared as a national monument in 1948 and it is also inscribed in the list of the World Heritage sites. The instruments of this monument are still used to predict the weather condition for farmers and this place is also considered as the most impressive of work if the Vedic thought that still exists.
5. Amber Palace Museum
Photo credit : bookchen
The Amber Palace museum is one of the favourite destinations for Rajasthan City Sightseeing Tours, owing to the popularity of the Amber Fort and its historical significance. This museum in its initial days served as the residence of the royal Rajput family, which in present times displays royal artifacts depicting Rajasthani and Mughal culture and architecture.
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This museum houses a wide collections of coins, puppets, photographs of the royal family, a huge variety of weapons like swords, shields, guns, muskets and a fifty kilogram mortar ball, beautiful antiques and rosaries dating back to the fifteenth century and specimens of more than twenty thousand species of insects and plants. This museum is opened to tourists all days a week throughout the year except for some public holidays like Diwali, Holi, etc.
Popularly known as the ‘City of Lakes’ or the ‘White City’, it is one of most picturesque cities in Rajasthan. Opulent palaces, glorious forts, alluring lakes and the scenic beauty make it one of the most romantic cities in the world. Some of the imposing tourist destination in Udaipur are mentioned below:
6. Lake Palace
Image Credits: Kalyan Neelamraju
Named after its founder, the Lake Palace of Udaipur was originally known as the Jag Niwas. This palace is spread across an area of four acres of natural foundation rock island located in Lake Pichola. This palace was constructed here to serve as a summer palace to the royal family. It was built with a lot of architectural intellect and it faces to the East so that the members of the royal family could pray to their deity, the Sun God at the crack of dawn.
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Apart from its beautiful architecture and surrounding, this palace also has lot of historical significance. During the Indian Sepoy Mutiny of 1847 the then the ruler of Udaipur maharaja Swaroop Singh offered refuge to many Europeans form Nimach and protected them by getting all the boats of the city destroyed so that no one could travel to this lake palace to harm his guests.
However somewhere after 1970s the royal family felt that the maintenance of the palace was quite expensive and that they should convert it into a hotel, so that the revenue earned from it could be used in maintaining this palace. Leading to this thought, this palace was converted into a heritage hotel in 1971 by the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, which in current times has eighty three rooms including seventeen suites. It is considered as one of the most romantic hotels of the country along with being an important destination for Rajasthan City Sightseeing Tours.
7. City Palace
Image credits: Alan Grinberg
When it comes to sightseeing in Rajasthan, the first thing that comes to mind is the City Palace of Jaipur and Udaipur. Both of these palaces are unique in their structures and are flamboyantly designed in the Mughal and Rajput style of architecture. While the City Palace of Jaipur still serves as the residence of the members of the royal family, the City Palace of Udaipur is just tourist destination now.
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The best part of both these palaces are that they are basically a palace complex comprising several other building which are equally significant and have their own interesting history. Although both the palaces have a difference of two centuries in the time of their construction both them equally look beautiful, magnificent and astounding.
8. Fateh Sagar
Pristine water, lush greeneries and scenic islands make this lake, one of the most sought after tourist spots in Rajasthan. Situated in Udaipur, this man-made water body is often called the pride of the city and is popular for its boat rides, islands and the fascinating water fountains. It also houses some of the picturesque and vibrant parks in Udaipur.
9. Sas-Bahu Temple, Nagda
Crafted with perfect geometrical calculations, this 10th century temple is situated in Nagda settlement of Udaipur. One of the prehistoric temples in Rajasthan, it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and comprises of two distinct monuments, each of which faces the other and is embossed with intricate carvings.
?Jodhpur, the 'Sun City' or 'Blue City' is known such due to its pleasant sunny weather and vibrant outlook. Painted in blue, this second largest city in Rajasthan is the home to some of the major tourist attraction places. Here are some of the places to visit in Jodhpur :
Photo credit : Axel Drainville
The town of Mandore has been an important seat of ruling for Rajput royal families. This ancient city was the seat of the Mondarva royal family of the Perihar dynasty in the sixth century AD, which was passed on to the Rathore clan as a dowry, when the princess of the Perihar dynasty got married to Chundaji the scion of the Rathore clan. This place remained as the ruling seat of the Rathore’s until 1459 when Rao Jodha, the then ruler decided of shifting his capital to Jodhpur.
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This town is a famous spot for Rajasthan City Sightseeing Tours because of it various historical monuments and the now ruined Mandore fort, which was once a fine piece of architecture built with thick walls of substantial size. The main highlight of this fort is a huge temple whose outer walls depict finely carved designs of plants, birds, animals and planets. The other attraction of this town is the beautiful Mandore Gardens consisting of several temples and chhatris of which the temple of the thirty three crore Gods and the government museum by the name of Hall of Heroes are the most famous.
11. Mehrangarh Fort
Image Credit: Prashant Ram
Mehrangarh also known as Mihirgarh is a Fort that was built by Rao Jodha in 1459 and the name stands for the Sun God who has been the chief deity of the Rathore dynasty since ages. This fort is one of the largest forts in the country, which is situated at a hillock overlooking the whole city at a height of four hundred feet from the sea level along with being enclosed by imposing thick walls.
This fort complex consists of several palaces and courtyards which are known for their intricate designing and architecture. This fort houses one of the well maintained museum of the Rajasthan state and also this fort has been the venue for the shooting of the very popular Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.
12. Umaid Bhawan Palace
Image Credits: Kiersten Chou
Built somewhere between 1928 and 1943, this opulent palace is one of the largest in the world. Crafted in the perfect fusion of Eastern and Western architecture, a portion of this majestic structure is now under the flagship of Taj Group of Hotels, while the other part is still used by the royal family as their official residence.
Shekhawati Region :Standing graciously on the ridge of a yellowish sandstone, Jaisalmer depicts the glorious history of Rajasthan and its mighty rulers. Also known as the 'Golden City', it is situated at the heart of the Thar Desert and is the home to some of the magnificent forts, palaces and other historical buildings.Here is the list of the best sightseeing places in Jaisalmer:
13. Jaisalmer Fort
Image Credits: Massimo Montorfano
Situated in the Jaisalmer City of Rajasthan, the Jaisalmer Fort is one of the largest fort in the world which dates back to 1156 AD. It was built by the Bhati Rajput ruler Rao Jaisal. The name of this fort has got its name from its founder and it stands proudly stretching amidst the golden glow of the great Thar Desert. This fort changes its colour from tawny lion to fading honey gold from morning till sunset, which has led to it being referred to as the Gold Fort or the Sonar Quila.
This fort has a very interesting history about the construction of its walls along with the very popular rulers who has ruled through it. This fort has a three layered wall of which the outer wall was built of solid bricks to reinforce the weak sedimentary rock foothill on which this fort is built, while the second wall protects the forts from snakes and the third wall was used to spill boiling oil, water and boulders to the enemies who in case gets trapped between the second and third walls.
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The notable rulers who were been able to capture this fort are Ala-ud-Din Khilji and the great Mughal emperor Humayun. At present this fort is one of the most visited of all places in Rajasthan when it comes to Rajasthan City Sightseeing Tours. The annual footfall recorded at this fort is more than six hundred thousand tourists, which has led to the massive commercial activities and vehicular traffic conditions in and around this place.
14. Gadsisar Lake
The rulers of Rajasthan are well known for their architectural genius and expertise. Gadsisar Lake in Jaisalmer is one of the best examples of their legendary vision. Constructed in the 14th century, this artificial lake was built by MaharwalGadsi Singh to conserve the rainwater and fulfil the water requirements of the city. Fringed with minutely carved chattris, temples and bathing ghats, it is also one of the sacred pilgrimage sites in Jaisalmer.
15. Sam Sand Dunes
Jaisalmer experience is never complete without a safari to the Sam Sand Dunes! Located 42km from the city, these dunes are ideal for desert camping and camel safaris. Dune bashing is also gaining much popularity and enticing thousands of visitors who wish to experience the thrill and excitement of this game.
Sikar is a well-known city located in the Shekhawat region of Rajasthan. This city is famous for its historical importance and the various old havelis that are located here. Owing to these features, Sikar is considered to be an importance destination for sightseeing in Rajasthan. The fresco paintings on the ancient havelis and an array of temples in this city have always captivated the interest of all those who visit this place.
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The primary attraction of this place is the Sikar Fort and the kind of architecture and designs done in the palace reflects the rulers love for architecture and painting. Sikar was originally the residence of the royal family of the Shekhawat Rajas and it continues to remain so even in current times.
Photo Credit : Sumeet Moghe
Founded by the Jat Chieftain Churu in 1620 AD, the city of Churu is like an oasis that stands in the middle of the desert and opens the gateway to the great Thar Desert. This place is a desert region of Rajasthan and is known for its shifting golden sand dunes. Churu is also famous for its old havelis with finely done fresco paintings. The havelis for which the place is quite known are Kanhaiya Lal Bagla Ki Haveli and Surana Haveli.
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The city also has a four hundred year old fort located at its center and a Dharam Stup, which reflects as a symbol of religious equality. The main economy of this town is agriculture of oilseeds especially mustard and animal husbandry. Apart from this the city has no large or medium scale industries. Currently, several small scale industries are setup across the town most of which, deal in granite slabs and tiles have helped it to develop.
Image credits: thetwem-flickr
Dundlod is a famous town located in the Jhunjhuna district of Rajasthan. This town is situated in the heart of the Shekhawati region lying seventy kilometres north of the Nawalgarh Fort. This place is well known for its havelis and forts. The Dunlod Fort being the major attraction of this place attracts hundreds of tourists who are taking Rajasthan City Sightseeing Tours in and around this region.
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This fort features the unique amalgamation of Rajput and Mughal art and architecture with stained glass windows, beautiful antiques and an amazing library. Another hot spot in this town is the Bhagirathi Mal Goenka Haveli, which sets a fine example of the mirror work done on the windows of the inner courtyard. This place also exhibits some delicately preserved paintings too.
Other Famous places for Sightseeing in Rajasthan:
19. Bisalpur Dam, Tonk
Photo Credit : ohan Bichel Lindegaard
Bisalpur is a very famous village in the state of Rajasthan and has gained a lot of prominence. For, it has the biggest gravity dam in the in the Jaipur region, which is built over the Banas River near Deoli in the Tonk district. The dam was built in 1999 in order to provide sufficient water supply to the farmers and the inhabitants of this region for the purpose of irrigation and water supply.
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This dam has an active capacity of 1, 040, 000 cubic meters of fluid along with having dimensions of 39.5 m in height and 574 m in length. The other important attractions of this place are the Gokerneshwar Mahadev Temple and Bisaldev Temple.
20. Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary
The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the hot spot destinations for Rajasthan sightseeing. This wildlife sanctuary is located in the Aravalli Mountain ranges, which is one of the oldest ranges in the country. This place had got the recognition of being a wildlife sanctuary in 1980. This wildlife park is spread across an area of hundred and fifteen square kilometres and consists of igneous rocks having lots of cavities due to the effects of natural weathering by winds and water.
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This sanctuary has wide bio diversity of the flora ranging from xenomorphic sub-tropical thorn forests to sub-tropical evergreen forests. Around hundred and twelve species of plants, thirty animal species including predators like Leopards and two hundred and fifty species of birds are found in this place. The history of this place mentions about the presence of lions and tigers as well, although there had not been any sighting of either of the animals for the past four to five decades. If you are visiting the various wildlife sanctuaries in the state of Rajasthan, then this place is must to be included in your Rajasthan City Sightseeing Tours.
21. Phatta's Memorial (Ram Pol), Chittorgarh Fort
Image credits: Saad Akhtar
Located in the Chittorgarh Fort, this memorial is also known by the name of Ram Pol, which is the seventh gate and the main entrance to the fort. Ram Pol or the Lord Rama’s gate has beautifully crafted entrance, which features Rajput style of architecture.
This gate was built in the memory of sixteen year old young soldier who sacrificed his life battling against the invaders trying to take over the fort. This young martyr was newlywed and was still grieving the death of his father, yet he fought valiantly and kept up to his valour and determination. Owing to this, the Rajputs decided to set up an example of this boy by building this beautiful memorial.
Photo Credit : Cosimo Roams
Nagda is a small town in the state of Rajasthan which was founded by the fourth ruler of the Mewar dynasty, Nagaditya. Originally, this town served as the capital of Mewar and was known by the name of Nagahrida. Nagda is famous for its various big and small temples especially the Sas-Bahu temple (meaning 'Mother-in-law and Daughter-in-law' respectively).
This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is the only one of its kind present in the world. The Sas-Bahu temple is built in two structures one by the Sas and the other by the Bahu. While the Sas temple is bigger in size and has a torana in its front the Bahu temple is more beautifully designed along with having an octagonal ceiling that adores eight beautiful figures of intricately carved females. Both of these temples face towards east and are constructed on the same platform.
23. Neelkanth, Dausa
Photo Credit : Ramón
The word NeelKanth stands for “Blue Throat” or in other words Lord Shiva. The city of Dausa is famous as Devnagri amongst travellers and fellow Indians due to the fact that five different images of Lord Shiva namely Sahajnath, Somnath, Gupteshwar and Neelkanth are situated in the temples of this region.
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The temple of Neelkanth is located on the plateau of a nearby hill that truly reflects the ancient glory along with the charm of the spiritual presence here. This temple is accessible through rope way and tourists visit this temple in abundance to get the feel of this spiritual presence and due to this, Dausa is considered to be one of the important places to visit while taking Rajasthan City Sightseeing Tours.
24. Ranthambore National Park
Image credits: Ray Morris
Want a rendezvous with the tiger? Then don’t miss out the Ranthambore National Park. One of the prominent hot spots for Rajasthan sightseeing, this wildlife park was declared as a tiger reserve in 1973 along with getting the accreditation of being a National Park in 1980. Ranthmabore National Park is considered to be one of those wildlife parks where the sightings of tigers are the best.
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This beautiful and dense forest is situated on the edge of a plateau along with being bounded by the Chambal River in the South and Banas River in the North. This park covers an area of approximately three hundred and ninety square kilometres which is towered by the majestic Ranthambore Fort along with several temples dedicated to Lord Ganesh, Shiva and Ramlalji.
At present this forest has around two hundred and seventy different species of birds and more than thirty species of animals. The current tiger count in this National Park is around forty five.
25. Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
Adding to the list of important destinations to visit during Rajasthan sightseeing tours, the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is a magnificent forest that covers an area of five hundred and seventy eight square kilometre located in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan. The forest takes its name from the majestic fort of Kumbhalgarh located in the periphery of this jungle.
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This wildlife sanctuary is the home to several species of flora and fauna of which many of them are highly endangered. The wildlife attractions of this jungle include wolf, leopards, sloth bear, hyena, jackal, jungle cat, sambhar, nilgai, chausingha (the four horned antelope), chinkara and hare along with some commonly found bird species such as grey jungle fowl, red spur owls, peacocks, Parakeets, golden Oriole, grey Pigeons, Bulbul, Dove and white breasted kingfisher.
But what makes the jungle more famous amongst the tourists is the fact that unlike most of the wildlife sanctuaries in India, foot tracking and horse safaris are available here, which makes the safari even more adventurous. In the recent times this forest has been much in news as the Supreme Court of India had passed a judgment favouring the relocation of a number of ions in this sanctuary in order to increase their total population.
26. Jain Temples
The Western State of Rajasthan has a very close connection with Jainism. Its South Western part served as the major base for Svetambara Jainism while its Northern and Eastern parts served as the as the main centre for Digambara Jainism in ancient times. Owing to these close historical connections with Jainism, several Jain temples can be seen in around this region.
27. Sand Dunes Village
The Khimsar Sand Dunes Village, perched on the edge of the great Thar Desert is a perfect destination for desert adventure, wildlife safaris and leisure. This village is situated amongst the enticing sand dunes of the Thar Desert and it is only accessible by jeep, camel or horseback. This village has a very rustic yet romantic appearance, which consists of several luxury eco-friendly huts to make your stay even more opulent and mesmerizing.
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This beautiful place is situated around ten kilometre from the Khimsar Fort, which makes it an interesting drive to travel to and fro from the fort and enjoy the scenic beauty here. This village consists of a small lake, which at times appears to be just a mirage. Apart from this, the hospitality of this resort is run by the members of the royal family and their courtiers who still reside in the Khimsar Fort.
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