Looming to itself an unparalleled Royalty, Rajasthan greatly boasts of its magnificent forts, prosperous culture and exceptional landscape that add to the attractions in Rajasthan. To come to think of it, when we plan a trip to Rajasthan we happen to focus on things that we mostly read or hear about , however the fact remains there is so much that we miss out in this approach! THEREFORE we have sort out a list of 50 things that you must try on your tour. Our list shall focus on things from what you should see in Rajasthan to what activities you can enjoy in Rajasthan, from where to shop in Rajasthan to which festivals you must attend in the state, this list indeed will be your ultimate Rajasthan travel guide, so further ado let us get started with it!
Temples in Rajasthan
Temples are amongst the famous attractions in Rajasthan. These magnificent temples are mostly influenced with the architecture style of 8th century. Great symbol of religious faith and belief and source of ultimate harmony of the state; you shall be more than amazed at visiting some of the temples. Here are few shrines that you must visit in Rajasthan:
- Monkey Temple: A Temple with a Difference- Situated about 10kms from Jaipur in Khania Balaji town, the Monkey Temple is also known as Galtaji Temple. A temple complex would be a better word to describe it as the other name as Monkey Temple can only be justified then. Amongst the many sacred shrines inside the temple structure you shall be more interested in going to Ramgopalji Temple where large groups of monkeys reside. Try not to carry any bags in your hand when you visit the Monkey temple, the notorious tribe of apes present here can be uninvited guests…LOL.
- Dalhanpur Temple Ruins: Walk through the Royal Ruins- We know that history does intrigue you and that is why you are on Rajasthan tour. Just when you decide to visit those magnificent forts that blind you with their superlative architecture, you might consider visiting Dalhanpur Temple Ruins in Jhalawar district. It will be all together a new experience for you to visit this beautiful place that sprawls in the 2 sq km on the bank of the river Chappi (54kms from Jhalawar City). Carved Pillars, Sculptures and Torans are what will catch your eyes here.
- Govind Dev Ji Temple: Worship the Prince of Vrindavan in Rajasthan- Situated in the famed City Palace is one place that you must visit in Jaipur. The temple is located between Chandra Mahal and Badal Mahal and is known for its gorgeous Radha Krishna deity. It is believed that after getting instructions in dreams from Govind Dev Ji (Lord Krishna), Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II got the idol from Vrinadavan to become the central deity in the City Palace complex. The gorgeous deity is not only impeccably beautiful but also demonstrates the strong faith of Rajasthan. Visit this pious shrine and be blessed.
- Moti Dungari Temple: Seek Blessings of the Lord Ganesha- Influenced with the Scottish castle architecture, Moti Dungari Temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and is highly revered. This 18th century temple sprawls in 2kms of area and is situated in the palace of Rajmata Gayatri Devi. The architecture of the temple and the central deity of Lord Ganesha is what you should look out for here.
Forts in Rajasthan
Needless to reason why you should visit forts in Rajasthan! I mean nothing can over shine the charm of these grandiose…A reflection of creativity and the might of the rulers of Rajasthan, these forts are something that you should set your eyes on when you are travelling to Rajasthan. Here are few forts and palaces that should be in your to do and see list for Rajasthan.
- Sunset View of Jaiselmer Fort: Witness Nature’s Best- If given a chance, I can go on bragging about Jaisalmer Fort, which is also known as the Golden Fort or the Sonar Qila. Being one of the best places to visit in Rajasthan, the Jaisalmer Fort can amaze youwith the awe-inspiring architecture and let you enjoy some of the best sunset views in Rajasthan. I mean there is nothing better than watching the sun going down from the Bada Bagh Cenotaphs… the feeling is simply indescribable! If in case you are in Jaisalmer, this is one of the things to do in Rajasthan for you!
- City Palace and Museum: Stroll in the Royal Alleys- Located in the heart of the city of Jaipur, City Palace is one of the most important places of tourist interest in Rajasthan. The majestic residence of the royal Kachwaha Rajput clan gives you plenty of reasons to visit this place. You shall fall in love with the architecture and the grandness of this palace and shall be out of words with the rich collection of antiques that this palace showcases in its recently converted museum. The Peacock gate is yet another attraction of City Palace. Visit here to woo yourself with the lifestyle of royals!
- Amer Fort: Nothing Short of a Fairyland- Now this piece is a classic, right from the fairyland! Amer Fort is situated 11kms from Jaipur and is known for its marvelous architecture. Each portion of the palace is exquisitely designed and will leave you awe-inspired! The superlative mirror work inside the palace is the main attraction of Amer Fort. An elephant ride to the gateway of the fort and the evening Light and Music show is what you are going to love here. There is no way that you can miss out on this masterpiece in your Rajasthan tour.
- Jal Mahal: Fall in Love with Jaipur- Breathtaking is what anyone who visits Jal Mahal for the first time exclaims AND truly it is! Built in somewhere around 1738, Jal Mahal as the name suggests is situated amidst the Man Sagar Lake. Used earlier as a lavish spot where the Kings and Queens hosted duck hunting parties, you can today as well rediscover the chronicles of golden time here.
- Jantar Mantar: Observe the Wonderful Astronomical Heritage- Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II’s masterpiece indeed! Reflecting his love for science, Jantar Mantar is one of the best places to visit in Jaipur. The structure is honoured as the World Heritage Site in India under the criteria III and IV. The lavish observatories have approximately 14 geometric devices that were used for measuring time, tracking constellations and observing the orbits around the sun. If these reasons are not enough, I recommend that you visit Jantar Mantar and experience the charm by yourself.
- Nahargarh Fort: Witness the Resplendent Vista of Jaipur- Another jewel from the lap of Jaipur, Nahargarh Fort is yet another place to see in Rajasthan. Nahargarh is named after Nahar Singh, who is believed to have haunted the place and hindered the construction of this palace. The legend has it that in order to pacify the spirit of Nahar Singh a temple was constructed in the palace. You shall love the architecture here, the perfect blend of Indo-European style and the surrounding beauty makes this place a treat for tourists in Jaipur.
- Jaigarh Fort: Celebrate the Victory of Royalty- Reckoned to be the part of Amber Fort, as the fort is believed to be attached with the later through a passage, Jaigarh or Victory Fort is another marvelous example from the book of Rajputs. Visit the Cannon foundry situated inside the fort and also witness the then world’s largest cannon known as Jaivan Cannon here. You shall also love the view from the top of the fort that overlooks the Aravalli Hills.
- Ishwari Minar Swarga Sal: Stand Tall and Enjoy the View- If you are somewhere around Tripolia Gate, you can see this structure standing tall! The Ishwari Minar is in fact the tallest building in Jaipur and that is the reason why you should visit it. You can climb up to the top of the minar to get the splendid view of the old city, for which the stairs lay well from the busy market of Chandpol. Trust me, you can’t get a better view of the old city from anywhere else than this!
- Umaid Bhawan Palace: Enjoy the Regal Walk- I am not sure how many of us can afford to stay in this palace, which has partly been converted in to a hotel by Taj BUT all I know is that one can certainly pay a day visit to this spectacular regal mansion situated in Jodhpur. You will fall in love with the architecture here as this palace offers an opportunity to a detail tour inside it.
- Sheesh Mahal: All that Glitter is Mirror- Why Sheesh Mahal has been mentioned in the list individually when we have already spoken about Amer Fort in Jaipur? Well, the answer is simple! It simply needs special attention! The palace’s interior made largely of mirror, coloured glass and mosaic and with the petite of light the palace starts to glitter spectacularly. Therefore Sheesh Mahal is indeed one place that must be visited in Rajasthan.
- Hawa Mahal: Rendezvous with the Royalty- A prominent landmark of Jaipur, Hawa Mahal is one place that you have to stop by. Although a part of the City Palace, this edifice needs special mention due to its architecture exceptionality. Relive the experience of watching the streets of Jaipur from here just like the women of the royal family who used to observe everyday life activities from the Jharokhas or Windows here.
- Gatore ki Chhatriyan: Where the Royal Lay at Peace- Once a cremation ground for the royals of Rajasthan, at Gatore ki Chhatriyan (Near Nahargarh Fort) you can see another marvel of Rajput architecture. Cenotaphs or Chhatriyan, which are built as a memoir for each royal heir who was cremated here have concreted a fabulous structure that now holds exemplary architectural importance. You shall like queer peace that you experience only here and of course architecture does not fail this structure as well.
- Chittorgarh Fort: the Rajput’s Masterpiece- Considered one of the largest forts in India, the majesty of Chittorgarh Fort can by no means be ignored. This is one of the prime heritage sites in Rajasthan and is known for architectural grandeur and the massive structures …Truly the ROYAL reflection of Rajasthan!
Activities in Rajasthan
Like I said, Rajasthan is the kaleidoscope and to experience it to the fullest, you have to come out of your comfort zone. There is adventure waiting on each street and corner of Ranjasthan AND all you have to do is to look for it whole heartedly. Let me give you a head start, so you can decide well what your choices for activities in Rajasthan are.
- Choki Dhani Ethnic Resort: Experience Authentic Rajasthani Hospitality- Hospitable… treat for gastronomists… heaven for luxury seekers… YES that’s Chokhi Dhani for you! If you are in Jaipur and you haven’t visited Chokhi Dhani then you are at a loss. This is one place that gives you the real idea of hospitality and culture in Rajasthan. Staying here or merely eating here is up to your budget, rest visiting here is a must! Serving the Rajasthani cuisine with incredibly warm heart and putting up the cultural show that will woo you in an instant… YOU just can’t help but fall in LOVE with this place.
- Camel Breeding Farm: Get Up Close to Ship of the Desert- OK, this is one of those offbeat activities in Rajasthan that I believe one must take up. You can visit this special Camel Breeding Farm situated near Bikaner, where research on camels takes place. This place is open for visitors between 10 AM to 5 PM everyday and one can enjoy camel ride and ice cream made of camel’s milk here. It is one of its kinds of experience and I recommend that you must go for it!
- Dune Bashing: Let the Adrenaline Take Over- Aah! Just what you need in the great Thar Desert! Dune Bashing has become extremely popular in Rajasthan, especially in Jaisalmer. A revived form of adventure, where you get to seat yourself on a jeep and loiter through the rugged desert in order to destroy the sand dunes, it is indeed adventure at its best!
- Gypsy Snake Dance: Get Jiggy with the Kalbeliyan Tribe- You are simply going to LOVE it! Visit Jodhpur and you shall come across this hypnotizing performance by the nomadic tribe of Rajasthan called Kalbeliya Tribe. Watch the brave Kalbeliya men who defang the snakes and watch the lovely Kalbeliya women dance to the tune of flute. Their rhythmically wriggling slender waists can compete to any of those international belly dancers… At Jodhpur you are certainly up for some memorable time!
- Vintage Car Rally: Watch the Old Beauties Taking the Ramp Again- Just when you think that you have seen enough in Jaipur, you are again stung with a surprise. You shall be feeling enthralled if you have visited Rajasthan in January and February. The serpentine streets are taken over by the roars of Vintage cars at the Vintage Car Rally that is held annually about the same time. The royal march of cars will leave you awe-inspired for sure!
- Abhaneri Step Well: Exalt the Marvel of Imperial Architecture: Similar to Rani ki Vav (Now UNESCO World Heritage Site in India), the Abhaneri Step Well or the Chand Baori in Dausa district is definitely a places to see. An ancient structure created in the 8th or 9th century to harvest rain water, it is something you must see in Rajasthan. You shall be impressed with the colossal size and architecture of this step well.
- Royal Elephant Polo: An Experience of the Lifetime- Elephant rides are common in Rajasthan as it is a royal house of India BUT how about Royal Elephant Polo? Well, you can’t participate in the game for that matter but of course you can watch a lively game of Elephant Polo in Jaipur. An experience of its kind, you are promised a cheerful event!
- Shilpgram Museum: Ethnicity Welcomes You- We all go to Rajasthan for authentic culture hunting isn’t it? Well, if that is the case then Shilpgram Museum near Udaipur has to be included in the list of places to see in Rajasthan. Exhibiting the lifestyle and culture of the state, Shilpgram Museum will be your guide to Rajasthan for sure. The museum is situated only 3kms from Udaipur and thus can be easily reached.
- Speed Boating: An Adventure Ride that You Shall Cherish- It’s time for some fun AND speed boating in the Fateh Sagar Lake- an ideal activity to do in Rajasthan. In the hot climate of Udaipur, you shall love to get splashes of water over you while you ride a high speed boat. An absolute rejuvenation is guaranteed! The boat ride is available all year round between 8.00 AM to 4.30 PM.
- Trekking in Alwar: Traverse through Distinct Rajasthan- Adventure enthusiasts! Here is something that you are going to enjoy to the core…Trekking in Alwar. Unlike any place in Rajasthan, Alwar is blessed with lush green hills and salubrious climate and trekking in Alwar during winters can be an ideal activity for all you adventure buffs. Sariska-Alwar-Amber is the popular trekking trail. However, if you are running short of time or looking for an easy trek then you can trek to Naldeshwar, where the famous Mahadeva temple resides.
- Watch Puppet Show: Long Live the Traditional Entertainment Realm- This is one of those things that you cannot afford to miss out in Rajasthan AND if in case you are at Thar Heritage Museum in Jaisalmer, you must stop by to watch the Puppet Show in the evening. Also, make sure to visit this private museum where the owner takes you on tour of the same himself. You shall be extremely impressed for his love for Rajasthan and his knowledge about the same.
- Zip Lining and Flying Fox: Swing in the Royal Air- Adventure comes handy in Rajasthan and I am sure you will be interested in taking activities like zip lining and flying fox here. There are basically two places that you can enjoy these activities in Rajasthan one at Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur and the other at Neemrana Fort, which is at a small distance from Delhi. Enjoy the splendid top view of the Chokelao garden and Rani Ser Lake while zip lining in Mehrangarh Fort.
- Trekking in Mount Abu: To the Woods We Go!- This trek in Mount Abu is more like a wildlife exploration. Organized by a person called Charles, you can be a part of something unforgettable in Rajasthan. You have the choice here to decide which type of trek you want to opt as there are half day, full day and overnight treks available. Interact with the villagers while you choose for an overnight trek and if you are lucky you might be able to spot many wild species as well…All together a fabulous experience!
- Enjoy the Nightlife at Klay Oven: Become the Creature of the Night- Although nightlife is not a very popular culture in Rajasthan, you will have a night of your life in Jodhpur! Take the night slow while you sit in this posh club Klay Oven that overlooks Mehrangarh Fort and Umaid Bhawan Palace. Enjoy some classy cocktails or two and try some great flavours of Hookah here along with losing yourself to some brilliant music! If you are looking for a place to party in Jodhpur, your search ends at Klay Oven!
- Bicycle through Jaipur: Peddle on the Royal Pavements- One of the most wonderful experiences in Rajasthan or to be precise in Jaipur would be to bicycle around the city. There are many operators who tailor special interest bicycle tour in Rajasthan and trust me if you want to see the real Jaipur, there isn’t a better way than to bicycle your way around.
- Pony Ride at Nakki Lake: Ride a Good Horse! It is indeed a great feeling to ride a pony to stroll along lakeside. It is in fact one of things that you must try in Rajasthan and the best place to do so would be Nakki Lake in Mount Abu. You can easily get a pony for a ride here that takes you from one end of the lake to the other. Also, you have the great opportunity to capture some of the best views of Rajasthan here.
- Spend a Day with Elephants at Dera Amer: An Elephant’s Day Out! Have you ever thought of giving an elephant a shower or painting its trunk? Well, if you have and you have the desire to do so, Dera Amer is a place for you. Located near Jaipur, Dera Amer is a wonderful place to be at! Besides giving a bath to an elephant and painting its trunk, you can enjoy sumptuous meals here and can also take up trekking to the nearby forest.
- Watch a Movie at Raj Mandir Cinema: Get Classy at Cinema- An opulent movie theatre, Raj Mandir is the major attraction in Rajasthan tourism. The meringue-style architecture keeps it class apart and you shall learn why once you get inside it (Although it is quite tough to get a ticket when a new movie is released). However, if you are adamant to see this place, you won’t be disappointed; our suggestion is to book a ticket well in advance!
- Visit Bundi: Go Down Royal Memory Lanes- Wander through the serpentine alleys of this quaint-style city. A popular travel destination, Bundi will take you down royal memory lanes. Adding to this exciting visit is the view of the Bundi Palace that seem to protrude from chain of hills here… MAGNIFICENT view it has! 60 step well, lake and markets all add to your cherishable memories of Rajasthan.
- Participate in the Kite Festival: Make a Rainbow of Your Own- Makar Sankranti is the time that you have chosen to go to Rajasthan, then you must visit Jodhpur, where the annual Kite Festival takes place. The view is surreal with thousands of small and big kites soaring up in the sky… it is a rainbow REDEFINED! This festival has gain international popularity as well, so don’t be surprised if you see many foreign tourists competing here.
- Visit National Parks: Listen to the Wildlife Calling- There is always a wildlife calling in Rajasthan! Amongst many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, you are suggested to go to Ranthambore National Park in Sawai Madhopur, Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar and Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur. Enjoy jeep safari and spotting tigers like Machhli (Ranthambore) and several species of birds (Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary) in these famous National Parks in Rajasthan.
- CHave Lassi: Sip and Slurp the Indian Beverage- If you are in Jaipur and you haven’t tasted the special Lassi at Lassiwala then you are certainly missing on something great! I suggest you pay a visit to Lassiwala that stand opposite Niro’s and serve absolutely creamy Indian beverage. Do not be fooled, there are many Lassiwala shop in this area, but the real one is marked with the SHOP NO. 312.
- Experience Hot-Air Ballooning: Soar Up in the Sky Keep the Eagle’s Eye! One of the most hair-raising experiences that one could come across is Hot-Air Ballooning. Soaring high in the sky and the view of the vista of the marvelous land of Rajasthan…what more could you wish for? You can try hot-air ballooning at Pushkar, Jaipur and Ranthambore. It is indeed one of the best experiences that you can avail yourself in Rajasthan.
- Visit Bhangarh: Be Ready to be Thrilled- Looking for an extra dose of thrill? Then you must visit Bhangarh Fort in Alwar district of Rajasthan. The fort remains in ruins and is believed to be haunted and is in fact one of the proven most haunted places in India. You can visit this fort during the day time and listen to plethora of eerie stories from locals about how spooky this place is.
- Ajmer Sharif: Let There be Showers of Blessings- The holy resting ground of Sufi Saint Moinuddin Chishti, Ajmer Sharif has become one of the major attractions in Rajasthan. Situated in Ajmer, this sacred shrine is known for granting people their wishes. Well, reason may be any, but this is certainly one place that you must see in Rajasthan.
- Visit Rural Rajasthan: Catch the Traditional Rajasthan Live- A tour to rural Rajasthan has become an essential part of state tourism. Considered an offbeat activity to do in Rajasthan, in which will take you on a graceful journey through the alleys of traditional Rajasthan. Visit the Bishnoi and Pali and get the taste of culturally rich state here.
- Visit Anokhi Museum of Hand Painting: Marvel at the Rajasthani Skills- A museum well-maintained inside a restore Haveli, Anokhi Museum exhibits the brilliant skill of block printing. This three-storied museum also showcases exemplary collection of fabric and its print. It is one of those offbeat places to visit in Rajasthan that highly enlighten you about this much-skilled state.
Fairs to Attend in Rajasthan
Colourful Rajasthan and its multi-hued festivals, this is one thing that attracts tourists here. Most of the festivals in Rajasthan revolves around animal trade and cultural celebrations and distinctively marked by dance and music. On your Rajasthan trip; do not forget to include attending one of these exhilarating fairs happening every now and then in the state.
- Nagaur Fair: Make Merry and Enjoy the True Colour of Rajasthan- One of the largest cattle fair in Rajasthan, Nagaur Fair is held in the city of Nagaur (Between Jodhpur and Bikaner). Decorated animals, Long Mustache Men, Colourful Turbans and Dance and Music… You are guaranteed the time of your life here!
- Ganguar Mela: Imbue in the Vivid Colours of Rajasthan- Soak yourself in the colours of Rajasthan at Gangaur Mela, which is celebrated after Holi. In this festival the unmarried women worship Hindu Goddess Gauri aka Parvati. Traditional display of dance and music ensures a cheerful event to witness to all tourists here.
- Pushkar Camel Fair: Witness the Unparalleled- An enthralling 5 days fair, Pushkar Camel Fair is something that you should see in Rajasthan. Taking place during the months of October and November, you are likely to imbue yourself in the true colours of Rajasthan. Camel Race, Camel Decoration competition and the completion for longest mustache are the major attractions of Pushkar Camel Fair.
Shopping in Rajasthan
A shopper’s paradise, Rajasthan has all it takes to woo you BIG TIME! Jewellery, pottery, leather items, paintings, textiles, stone items, wooden furniture…WHOA the list just doesn’t end! Shopping is one activity in Rajasthan that you have to take up. Here are few places that you must visit in Rajasthan for shopping.
- Sadar Bazaar: Shop till You Drop! This flea market in Jodhpur will leave you gasping for sure! You can find everything and trust me EVERYTHING here and that too at reasonable prices… of course like many Indian markets bargaining is the KEY here as well.
- Johri Bazaar: Shop for Women’s Best Friend- A tourist attraction in almost all its ways, Johri bazaar has its own set of fans! You are likely to find exquisite pieces of gold and silver jewellery. So, make sure to visit this place if in case you are in Jaipur.
- Shopping For Kagzi Pottery: Take Back Home a Mini Rajasthan- Shop for one of the rare artwork in Rajasthan called the Kagzi Pottery of Paper Thin Pottery. These make for some lovely souvenirs that you would love to take back. If you are in Alwar, you are strongly recommended to visit one of the markets where Kagzi pottery is available.
I am sure the list of things to do in Rajasthan must have incited an urge in you to visit this wonderful state. Honestly it is Bizzare! And I must admit that when I started writing this blog I was running out of ideas BUT now when the 50 things to do in Rajasthan have come to an end I still have a collection of activity suggestions that I would have included… Rajasthan, YOU are truly the essential part of INCREDIBLE INDIA! I strongly insist that you make this diverse state that displays several shades of life and culture your next holiday destination.