Think of Rajasthan and the rainbow colors of turbans and sari is inevitably conjured up in the canvas of imagination. Although a harsh land when it comes to weather and geography, its association with numerous maharajas of erstwhile Rajputana has ensured that the allure of Rajasthan is indelibly itched in the popular consciousness and folklore. Countless stories of valor, romance, intrigues and sacrifices have lent a unique stature to the state and various journals and annals of the British Raj era have only added to that appeal.
Owing to its royal legacy, Rajasthan is dotted with multitudes of fortresses, palaces, temples which form the major attractions of Rajasthan. Then there are vast stretches of deserts and diversity of wildlife which have become intrinsic part of Rajasthan tourism. Further, globally renowned Pushkar fair along with Ajmer Sharif attracts millions of devotees and pilgrims alike from around the globe.
With the ‘things to do’ list in Rajasthan as varied and vast as it is, even a month’s time is too short for a fussy traveler to explore and uncover the treasure troves of this desert state. Although conditions are harsh, traveling is quite easy as the destinations are well connected by road, rail and air with railroad being the best option.
Owing to huge tourist influx, hospitality industry in the state has developed in leaps and bounds. Hotels, guest houses, lodges and homestays have come up across destinations to suit every taste and budget of the travelers. Best time to visit this vibrant state is from October till February when sun is not harsh. Mentioned below are some of the most famous destinations which should be included to make for a memorable Rajasthan trip.
Jaipur also known as the Pink City is the capital and the largest city in Rajasthan. A young Bengali architect Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya designed the city in accordance with the Shilp Shastra - an ancient Hindu treatise on architecture. Today's Jaipur is pink, visually described as the city shaded with the autumn colors of the sunset. Major attractions here include Amber Fort, City Palace, ethnic bazaars and Chokhi Dhani, an ethnic resort in the outskirts of the city.
One of the few places with temples dedicated to Hindu creator god Bramha, Pushkar is no more a sleepy little hamlet thronged by domestic and international tourists and pilgrims alike. It is said that when Bramha hit a demon with his weapon – which ironically was lotus flower – it fell to three places and one of them happens to be Pushkar where a lake sprang up. According to the legends a dip in the holy waters of the lake here ensures salvation especially when performed on Karthik Purnima (fteenth lunar day of Kartik month November–December).
Udaipur is another major tourist destination in the colorful state of Rajasthan. Udaipur is popular around the world for its Lake Palace which is considered one of the best honeymoons hotel in the world and which also featured in the James Bond movie Octopussy. There are many attractions in and around Lake Pichola including Jagdish temple, Puppet Museum, City Palace, Monsoon Palace among others. Apart from this, Udaipur is also famous for its festivals, which include Teej, Mewar festival and Shilpgram festival.
Jodhpur, also known as “the Sun City” and “the Blue City”, is famous for its historical monuments, palaces, forts and temples. This desert city is one of the favorite destinations of tourists coming from various parts of the country and the world. Some of the well-known sites to visit in the city are Mehrangarh Fort, Balsamand Lake, Osiyan temple, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Ganesha temple, etc. The festivals of the city also have a huge impact on tourists, which include Teej, Nag Panchami fair, Gangaur and Mahaveer Jayanti.
Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore, located in Sawai Madhopur, is one of the most visited national parks in India. Tourists and wildlife lovers from all across the globe are attracted by the fascination of this tiger reserve in Rajasthan. The major attractions of the park are wild animals and numerous species of birds. It includes tigers, panthers, chinkara, sambhar, nilgai, leopards, peafowl, Bonelli’s eagle, jacanas, black storks, etc. Ranthambore National Park is considered to be the best bet in India when it comes to tiger spotting due to its sparse vegetation.