Rajasthan is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India, for both domestic and international tourists. Rajasthan attracts tourists for its historical forts, palaces, art and culture with its slogan ‘Padharo Mahare Desh’. Every third foreign tourist visiting India travels to Rajasthan as it is part of the Golden Triangle for tourists visiting India.
The palaces of Jaipur, lakes of Udaipur, and desert forts of Jodhpur, Bikaner, and Jaisalmer are among the most preferred destinations of many tourists, Indian and foreign. Tourism accounts for eight percent of the state’s domestic product. Many old and neglected palaces and forts have been converted into heritage hotels. It is the most beautiful place in India with heritage of old buildings build up years ago by Maharaja’s of different castes.
Places To Visit in Rajasthan
Rajasthan, known formerly by the name Rajputana or the land of the kings, is the largest state in the republic of India. It covers an area of 342,239 sq kilometers which is 10.4% of India. However despite of its large size it is covered by the Great Indian Desert, Thar. The Thar Desert runs parallel to the Sutlej-Indus river valley. Being located at the forefront of Indian civilization, the state of Rajasthan has seen the age of kings thus, explaining the moniker ‘the land of kings’.
Rajasthan houses an amazing display of arts and architecture, courtesy of it being a princely state. Each individual kingdom of Rajasthan has a distinctive style of architecture and arts making it one of the most culturally diverse places in the world.
The capital of the state, Jaipur is also the largest city in the princely state of Rajasthan. It was founded in 1727, by the Kachwaha Rajput Ruler Sawai Jaisingh II, who was the ruler of Amber. Also known by the nickname ‘Pink City of India’ which is due to the distinctive saffron or pink color of the buildings. The planning of the city was done according to the Vedic Vastu Shastra (Indian architecture). The well planned streets and detailed and artistic architecture make it one of the top preferred tourist locations.
In the 2008 Conde Nast Traveller Readers Choice Survey, Jaipur was ranked 7 of the best places to visit in Asia. Jaipur has lots to offer to even the most average tourists. Forts, monuments, temples, Gardens, museums and vast market places of Jaipur bring tourists who come from all around the world to experience the food, fun and frolic at this wonderful town. Jaipur is also home to a huge no. of arts and craft with over 20 unique specializations.
Places to Visit in Jaipur
- City Palace
- Amer Fort
- Nahargarh Fort
- Jaigarh Fort
- Hawa Mahal
- Jal Mahal
- Jantar Mantar
- Pink City Bazaars
- Albert Hall Museum
- Birla Temple
- Govind Dev ji Temple
- Khazana Mahal
While in a few texts, it has been termed as the Venice of the East, the City of Udaipur is known by its common moniker, the city of lakes. The city was the capital of the Sisodiya Rajputs of Mewar and is famous for its palaces that exemplify the finesse of Rajputana Style architecture. Udaipur was founded in 1553 by the Sisodiya Rajput Ruler Maharana Udai Singh II. The Mewar Rajputs founded the city to relocate their capital from Chittor to a more secure location. Today, most of the palaces have been converted into hotels, thus attracting a huge no. of tourist crowd to this city.
The city’s picturesque location at the foothills of the Aravalli Mountains, the state of Udaipur is a unique destination. Apart from its various palaces, forts, market places, and various temples are also the reason for its popularity. The cities are well planned and the people hospitable, the place is not only famous for its palaces and monuments, the city of Udaipur has a lot to offer its visitors.
Places to Visit in Udaipur
- City Palace
- Lake Pichola
- Lake Palace
- Lake Garden Palace
- The Royal Vintage Car Museum
- Bagore Ki Haveli
- Saheliyon Ki Bari
- Jagdish Temple
- Moti Magri
The second largest City of Rajasthan, Jodhpur is also the second most populated city of Rajasthan after Jaipur. The city was founded in 1459 by the Rathore Rajput Ruler, Rao Jodha Singh of Marwar. The city was founded as Marwar’s new capital after the fall of the former capital of Mandore. Jodhpur is also called the Sun City as it enjoys a bright sunny weather all year round. Strategically, it is considered to be the most important city of western Rajasthan as it lies only at a distance of 250 kilometers from the Indo-Pakistan border.
Also, because it lies in the center of Rajasthan, Jodhpur is an important tourist destination as well. Jodhpur has been listed many a times in various tourism magazines and documentaries and has topped the lonely planet’s list of most extraordinary place to stay in 2014. The various hill forts, palaces and the old walled city are just a handful of attractions from the multitude that this wonderful city has to offer.
Places to Visit in Jodhpur
- Mehrangarh Fort
- Umaid Bhawan Palace
- Jaswant Thada
- Mandore Gardens
- Kailana Lake
- Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park
- Clock Tower
- Chamunda Mata Temple
- Balsamand Lake
- Masuria Hills Garden
The aptly named “golden city”, which comes from its view during the day, the city of Jaisalmer lies in the heart of the Thar Desert. The city was founded by The Bhati Rajput ruler Maharawal Jaisal Singh in 1156 Ad. The city gets its name from the golden sands of the Thar Desert and the same golden colored sandstone used in the city’s architecture. The city is a famous tourist spot due to its magnificent architecture and the various arts and crafts which are unique to this region. The city thrives on tourism, and can be called a home away from home for a huge no. of tourists from all around the world.
The unique feature about the city of Jaisalmer is its architecture. It was built as a walled city which makes it one of the largest forts in the world. You might want to pack a lot of paperbacks and almost 3-4 days to enjoy the life in this city to its fullest. The fort has numerous eateries that offer Italian, French and local cuisines. Visit during the months of November and December and you will enjoy this castle city to its fullest.
Places to Visit in Jaisalmer
- Jaisalmer Fort
- Bada Bagh
- Sam Sand Dunes
- Thar Heritage Museum
- Gadisar Lake
- Nathmal Ki Haveli
- Jain temples
- Salim Singh Ki Haveli
The city of Bikaner was founded in 1488 by the Rathore Rajput Ruler Rao Bika. Rao Bika was the son of the Rathore Ruler Rao Jodha who founded Jodhpur. The land was usurped from the rivaling Jat rulers of that time. However, no matter how many wars the ancient city has seen in the past, today Bikaner is another prime tourist destination and is famous for its sweets and snacks. The place is known for its forts and food.
The various arts and crafts of this place are also unique, especially the intricately carved windowpanes called jharokhas. It is one town we would personally recommend for you to visit if you want to experience the authentic taste of rajasthani cuisines. The various fairs held in Bikaner also attract a huge no. of visitors from all around India and the world. The famous temples like Karni Mata and Laxmi Nath Temple etc.
Places to Visit in Bikaner
- Junagarh Fort
- Lalgarh Palace
- National Research Centre on Camel
- Shri Laxminath Temple
- Ganga Singh Museum
- Sadul Singh Museum
- Jain Temple
Lying in the Ajmer District of Rajasthan, the holy City of Pushkar is often described as the king of pilgrimage sites in India. The town is located at the shores of the Pushkar Lake, which was created by the tears of Lord Shiva. The town is one of the oldest cities of India and the date of its origin is unknown and is often associated with the Hindu mythology. The town is famous for its temples and various Ghats which are frequented by hundreds of visitors during the annual bath. The water of the lake is considered sacred and thus is responsible for the town’s repute as a pilgrimage spot.
Perhaps the most illustrious attraction of Pushkar is the annual camel fair. It is a five day fair held where people buy and sell livestock. But that’s not all; the fair is home to a large no. of tourist crowd that is attracted by the music, dance and various events that are held here during the camel fair. Camel races are one of the major attractions as well.
Places to Visit in Pushkar
- Pushkar Lake
- Brahma Temple
- Savitri temple
- Apteshwar Temple
- Varaha Temple
- Rangji temple
- Man Mahal
Sawai Madhopur was built by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh of The Kachwaha Rajputs and was founded in 1763. While the town itself doesn’t have any notable tourist attractions, just two attractions have made this city a must visit place in Rajasthan. They are the Ranthambore Fort and the Ranthambore National park. Both of the two places are a must visit and will take up around 2-3 days for one to explore properly.
The Ranthambore forests were the hunting grounds for the Kachwaha Rajputs of Jaipur till the time India received its independence. After independence it was established as the Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary and it rose to being a tiger reserve in 1973 and got its national park status in 1980.
One should also visit the Ranthambore fort, which is a part of the UNESCO world heritage site. The fort is situated in the forests of the Ranthambore National Park. The construction of the fort predates the reign of the Kachwaha Rajput Clan and was founded by the Nagil Jat Ruler Raja Sajraj Veer Singh Nagil in 944 AD. The fort housed many different ruling clans till it finally fell to the Kachwaha Rajputs of Jaipur. The vast cultural history imbibed in this ancient architecture is a must visit indeed.
Places to Visit in Sawai Madhopur
- Ranthambore National Park
- Chamatkar Temple
- Chauth Mata Temple
- Ranthambore Fort
- Khandar Fort
The ancient city of Chittorgarh also known as Chittor, was said to have been founded by the Maurya Dynasty. However its significance rose when the Ruler of the Sisodiya Rajput Clan of Mewar captured the city in 734 Ad and made it the capital of Mewar. The place is known to be the birthplace of many great warriors and historical figures like the Great Maharana Pratap and the Hindu saint, Meera Bai. The city being an ancient place contains many different palaces, temples and forts which display some of the most advanced architectural designs and artistic mastery.
One of the major places to visit in Chittorgarh is the Chittorgarh fort, which is the largest fort in India. The fort was the former capital of mewar before its relocation to the more secure city of Udaipur. The fort was founded in the 7th century by the 1st Sisodiya Rajput Ruler Bappa Rawal and spreads over an area of 2.8 sq kilometers and its highest elevation point is 1,075 meters above sea level. Upon visiting you will experience and witness the Rajput style architecture at its best. The fort complex itself contains several palaces, gardens and temples most of which have a great historical significance.
Places to Visit in Chittorgarh
- Chittorgarh Fort
- Rana Kumbha Palace
- Fateh Prakash Palace
- Meera Temple
- Rani Padmini Palace
- Vijay Stambh
- Kriti Stambh
The place takes pride of it being the only hill station in the desert state of Rajasthan. Mount Abu is situated in the Aravalli mountain range and is a part of the Sirohi District of Rajasthan. The place apart from being a retreat for the people of Rajasthan and Gujarat from the scorching sun but has a lot of historical and religious significance. Mount Abu was known as the Arbuda Mountain, which has been mentioned in the Hindu Epic Mahabharata and is known for to be the place where the Great Sage Vashishta retired. The hill station houses many ancient sites and temples which are frequented by many pilgrims from across India along with many forts and lakes.
The place is a heavenly retreat for the sun scorched people of Rajasthan, with its lush green surroundings and various picnic spots. The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary, Trevor’s Crocodile Park, Nakki Lake and the most Famous Dilwara Jain Temples are situated here. Apart from these, one can also visit the ruins of Achalgarh Fort which was built in the 17th century. The surroundings and the cool and enjoyable weather make it a place like no other in the desert state of Rajasthan.
Places to Visit in Mount Abu
- Dilwara Jain temples
- Guru Shikar
- Nakki Lake
- Sunset Point
- Achaleshwar Mahadev Temple
- Trevor’s tank
- Mount Abu Bazaars
- Wildlife Sanctuary
- Toad Rock
Ajmer is surrounded by Aravalli ranges and is a city seeped in both history and culture. It lies near Pushkar, a major Hindu pilgrimage site and is the home of the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. This makes it a unique pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Muslims. Apart from being a pilgrimage site, it is also the home of many fascinating historic sites and therefore welcomes tourists from all over the world. In 2015, Ajmer was selected as a heritage site for the HRIDAY – Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of Government of India.”
Places to Visit in Ajmer
- Ajmer Sharif Dargah
- Taragarh Fort
- Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra
- Abkari Fort and Museum
- Anasagar Lake
- Soniji ki Nasiyan
The City of Alwar Founded by the Kachwaha Rajput Ruler Pratap Singh in 1770. The town’s name was Ulwar during those days and was changed to Alwar to bring it to the top in the alphabetically arranged list of the Princely states of Rajputana. The town is significant for its various military participations in various battles and was the first state of Rajputana to sign a treaty with the British East India Company.
The city being one of the princely states of the Rajputana has tones of tourist attractions. The forts, temples and the immense abundance of natural Fauna has brought this place in this list. The Haunted Bhangarh Fort, The Karni Mata Temple, the Historic site of Pandupole, and the Sariska Tiger Reserve are just a few of the many attraction this city houses.
Rajasthan, the land of kings and forts, with its rich cultural history will have a different flavor with every single place you visit. The aforementioned places unfold just a handful of the many secrets this ancient kingdom hides. A visit to tourist places in Rajasthan is one of the most spiritual experiences you will ever witness and is sure to captivate your mind the moment you land here.
- Ajmer – Popular for shrine of Sufi Saikhllnt Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti and Digambar Jain Temple Soniji Ki Nasiyan.
- Barmar – Barmer and surrounding areas offer a perfect picture of typical Rajasthani villages.
- Bhilwara – Popular for its textile industry. Hamirgarh Eco-park and Harni Mahadev temple are important tourist destinations.
- Bikaner – Famous for its havelis, palaces and the Karni Mata Temple in Deshnoke.
- Chittorgarh – Popular for its monument and fort.
- Bundi – Popular for its forts, palaces and stepwell reservoirs known as baoris.
- Dausa – It is popular for Chand Baori and Mehandipur Balaji Temple.
- Jaipur – Known as pink city of India and the capital of Rajasthan.
- Jaisalmer – Famous for its golden fortress, havelis and some of the oldest Jain Temples and librarirs.
- Jhalawar – Caves like Binnayaga Buddhist Caves, Hathiagor Buddhist Caves, Kolvi Caves are popular medieval architecture of India.
- Jodhpur – Famous for architecture & blue homes giving the name “Blue City”
- Kota – Known for its gardens, palaces, and Chambal river safari.
- Mount Abu – A hill station with 11th century Dilwara Jain Temples. The highest peak in the Aravalli Range of Rajasthan, Guru Shikhar is just 15 km from the main town.
- Nathdwara – This town near Udaipur hosts the temple of Shrinathji.
- Neemrana – home to the Neemrana Fort.
- Pushkar – It has the first and one of the very few Brahma temples in the world, and also his wife Savitri Devi’s temple, built on a hilltop.
- Ranakpur – Large Jain Temple complex with near 1444 pillars and exquisite marble carvings.
- Ranthambore – Situated near Sawai Madhopur. This town has historic Ranthambore Fort and one of the largest national park of India (Ranthambore National Park).
- Sariska Tiger Reserve – Situated in the Alwar district.
- Shekhawati – Located are small towns such as Mandawa and Ramgarh with frescoed havelis between 100 years to 300 years old, and Vedic period Dhosi Hill.
- Udaipur – Known as the “Venice of India”.
- Tonk – A small town near the city of Jaipur, Tonk is one of the most interesting palaces in Rajasthan and is renowned for its old havelis and mosques.
- Dholpur – The Land of the Red Stone.
- Karauli – The Land of the Sand Stone.
- Hanumangarh – History Comes Alive. Hanumangarh is a city best khown for its temples and its historical significance given that it was once part of the Indus Valley Civillization.
- Sri Ganganagar – The Food Basket of Rajasthan.
- Baran – The Land of Wooded Hills and Valleys, Ramgarh Pond.
- Pali – The Trade Center of the Royal State.
- Jalore – The City of Granite and Grandeur.
- Nagaur – Home to Indian’s Largest Salt Water Lake.
- Sawai Madhopur – Gateway to Ranthambore.
- Bharatpur – World’s Most Fascinating Bird Reserve.
- Dungarpur – Dungarpur is as exotic as the green marble found here and shipped globally and liessung in the foothills of the Aravalli range. Harsh and wild in the northeast and teeming with life in the fertile plains of the southwest, it is irrigated by two rivers, Mahi and Som.
- Banswara – The city of a hundred Islands Kagadi Pikup Weir.
- Alwar – Gateway City of Rajasthan.
Rajsamand – Marble Land of Rajasthan.
Rajasthan Fairs & Festival
Department of Tourism of Rajasthan Government organizes multiple fairs & festivals during the year. These festivals & fairs are great tourist attractions. Fairs organized in Rajasthan include:
- Camel Festival, Bikaner (January)
- Nagaur Fair, Nagaur (Jan-Feb.)
- Kite Festival (held on 14th Jan of every year)
- Desert Festival, Jaisalmer (Jan-Feb.)
- Baneshwar Fair, Baneshwar (Jan-Feb.)
- Gangaur Festival, Jaipur (March-April)
- Mewar Festival, Udaipur (March-April)
- Elephant Festival, Jaipur (March-April)
- Urs Ajmer Sharif, Ajmer (According to Lunar Calendar)
- Summer Festival, Mount Abu (June)
- Teej Festival, Jaipur (July-August)
- Kajli Teej, Bundi (July-August)
- Dussehra Festival, Kota (October)
- Marwar Festival, Jodhpur (October)
- Pushkar Fair, Ajmer (November)
Palaces in Rajasthan
Rajasthan is known for its historical hill forts & palaces, it is claimed as the best place for tourism-related to palaces.
- Umaid Bhawan Palace: It is the largest Royal Palace in Rajasthan. It is also one of the largest private residences in the world.
- Lake Palace: It is now a luxury hotel located in Pichola Lake, Udaipur.
- Hawa Mahal: It is known as “Palace of Wind” or “Palace of Breeze” because there are more than 950 Windows in the Palace.
- Rambagh Palace: Formerly a Royal Palace now converted into a Heritage Hotel.
- Devi Garh Palace: Formerly a palace now converted into a Heritage Hotel, In 2006, The New York Times named it as one if leading luxurious hotel in Indian subcontinent.
Forts in Rajasthan
The six Hill Forts of Rajasthan, spread across Rajasthan state in northern India, clustered together as a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The forts are mainly based in the Aravalli Range, and were built and enhanced between the 5th and 18th centuries CE by several Raj Kings of different Kingdoms. They comprise:
- Chittor Fort at Chittorgarh
- Kumbhalgarh Fort at Kubhalgarh
- Ranthambore Fort at Sawai Madhopur
- Gagron Fort at Jhalawar
- Amar Fort at Jaipur
- Jaisalmer Fort at Jaisalmer
Some of these forts have defensive fortification wall up to 20 km long, still surviving urban centers and still in use water harvesting mechanism.
- Mehrangarh Fort
- Nahargarh Fort
- Bhatner Fort
- Junagarh Fort
- Lohagarh Fort
- Taragarh Fort
- Jalore Fort
- Nagaur Fort
- Shergrah Fort