- Airport – Jaipur International Airport (JAI)
- Language – Hindi
- Population – 73.5 million
- Currency – Indian Rupee (INR)
- GDP (India) – $1.9 trillion USD (7th Overall)
Located on the West side of the country, Rajasthan is India’s largest state by area and is a must-see for anyone going on an Indian exploration. Be sure to set aside a few days on your itinerary to visit this beautiful state rich in tradition and history. It shares borders with Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, making it easily accessible both by flight and road.
A Little History
In ancient times, Rajasthan was part of the Indus Valley Civilization, the cradle of civilization in the Indian subcontinent. Thousands of years later, this state came to become the home of the Rajputs, some of the bravest warriors of India. If you are planning on spending a few days here, below is a list of spots you cannot miss!
How to Get There
If you’re traveling directly to Rajasthan from outside India, the best way to arrive is by flying into Jaipur since it’s the only international airport in the state. If you are already in India, you can fly into any of its five domestic airports (Udaipur, Kota, Bikaner, Jodhpur or Jaisalmer), or come by car if you are in any of its bordering states.
Where to Stay
It is best to spend a night or two in the different cities described below as you tour the state. While there are numerous hotels that fit every budget, you should spend at least one night in a fort or a palace to get pampered like the princes and princesses of ancient Rajasthan!
Ranthambore National Park
For the adventurous types, a day trip to The Ranthambore National Park will get your adrenaline flowing! A favorite hunting spot of the bygone Maharajas, it’s not uncommon to within feet of tigers while on a safari in this National Park.
Apart from the tigers, many leopards, crocodiles, antelopes, deer and sloths call this park their home. For the history lover, travel back in time as you tour the Ranthambore Fort, a World Heritage Site, which is located inside the Park.
Tip – Do not fall into the crocodile lakes that are found around the fort!
City Palace of Udaipur
Make sure to visit the City Palace of Udaipur, one of the biggest palaces in Rajasthan. A vision of grandeur and beauty, it is an example of how well the architectural designs of the Rajputs and Mughals have blended. Take a peek into how the kings lived as you walk around its numerous corridors, rooms, gardens and colorful pavilions. This place is sure to leave you fascinated with its vivid paintings and ancient furnishings.
When you are tired of walking around, have tea in the Sunset Terrace, FatehPrakash Palace, and watch the setting sun on the calm waters of Udaipur Lake.
From Udaipur, take a road trip to the Kumbhalgarh Fort. The drive up the hills will instill a sense of being one with nature as you are surrounded by picturesque fields of mustard as far as the eyes can see, intermittent streams of water and an occasional group of camels that walk lazily along the road.
Tip – Chat up the driver to hear tales of ghosts that haunt the hills. Don’t try to chat up a ghost if you see one!
Kumbhalgarh fort is the birthplace of Maharana Pratap Singh, a legend among the Maharajas of Rajasthan. This fort is surrounded by more than 20 miles of wall, the second longest wall after the Great Wall of China, making this fort nearly unconquerable during the numerous battles that took place here. You can almost hear the echo of marching soldiers as you wander inside the fort.
Rajasthani cuisine has been influenced by the ingredients of the dry region coupled with a scarcity of fresh vegetables. Famous dishes include Bajreki roti (millet bread) and BikaneriBhujia, and very often your cuisine will be vegetarian.
- While in Udaipur, get your taste buds tingled at the Nataraj Lodge Restaurant where you get to taste all the specialties of Rajasthani cuisine in an unlimited buffet
- Have lunch at a roadside dhaba while driving between destinations and make sure to ask for the mango lassi
- It is common to find a camel with its owner near a dhaba. Don’t miss a ride on one!
Once you are done visiting the Southern part of the state, travel up north to Jaipur -The pink city of India. One of the most famous attractions here is the Hawa Mahal, translated into the Palace of Winds, because of it’s numerous windows and passageways. Constructed of pink sandstone, it is in the shape of the crown of Lord Krishna. Walk all the way to the top to get a breathtaking view of the city.
Tip – Do get a fair bit of shopping done in Jaipur. Visit the Gem Palace, the city’s oldest jewelry store. Don’t be surprised if you see emeralds the size of eggs being cut and polished here!
Other places to see in Jaipur are the City Palace, the Amber Fort, and the Jantar Mantar Observatory. Although they are all forts and palaces, you can find something unique in each of these palaces. The Peacock Gate in the City Palace is exquisite and the architecture of Amber Fort is striking.
Tip: Visit Sheesh Mahalin Amber Fort. There is a hall in the palace that is made entirely of pure glass and carved with beautiful paintings of flowers.
With so many attractions, Rajasthan has something for every kind of traveler from the explorer, to the shopper, to the person who just wants to relax. You can be sure a visit to this charming and mysterious state will not disappoint.
Have a favorite activity or question about traveling to Rajasthan? Share it below!