Last Updated: December 7, 2018 Tanisha Sharma
Knocking the doors of my brain, I often ask that why do thoughts of touring Rajasthan and gazing its architecture keep on floating like an endless ocean every now and then, and probably I know the answer…
With a royal state that is planned so as to bring peace and prosperity and is dipped in the charm of intricate carvings, anyone is bound to fall in love. The credit here goes to the Hindu, Islamic and Jain architectural influences, a big shout out from architecture lovers. Now if we come to think of it there are so many monuments in Rajasthan that picking out one is quiet a task, right? Worry not as I have listed the best monuments in Rajasthan and that too 25 of them. So get ready to give yourself visual treats and feed your mind with the stories about these best historical places to visit in Rajasthan that are going to take you by surprise.
Let the exploring begin!
City Palace, Jaipur: Get enchanted by the commingle of different styles of architecture at their best
An ethereal marvel of its kind that makes travellers gasp at the sight of its beauty is none other than City Palace at Jaipur. This beautiful palace built between 1729 and 1732 is a reflection of the thoughts of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II along with the due efforts of Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob and Vidyadhar Bhattacharya. The authentic Vastu Shastra of Indian architecture was followed for the construction of the palace. And what stands in the pink city is the shining byproduct of the Mughal, Rajput and European style of architecture. So now it’s time to go ahead and take over the palace and to do so you have the choice to enter from Virendra Pol, Atish Pol or the Udai Pol. There is another gate, Tripolia but it is reserved for the royal family. Now that you have entered, you have the whole palace and its tourist attractions like Mubarak Mahal (Auspicious Palace) which is a museum; Chandra Mahal which is a beautifully built seven storey building where the first floor is a museum exhibiting the belongings of the royal family like carpets, manuscripts and the rest of the building is the residence of the descendents; Pritam Niwas Chowk as it has four gates that are a beautiful representation of the four seasons and Gods. Peacock gate portrays autumn and has an idol of Lord Vishnu; Rose Gate personifies winter and is devoted to Goddess Devi; Lotus Gate signifying summer and revers Lord Shiva; Leheriya Gate represents spring and is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Apart from this there are a few sightseeing places you would like to stop by namely Diwan-i-Khas, Diwan-i-Aam, Maharani palace, Govind Dev Ji temple and Baggi Khana.
Patwon ki Haveli, Jaisalmer: A timeless gift by the genius businessman to his 5 sons
Oozing out royalty from every corner is the famous Patwon ki Haveli of Jaisalmer which is a cluster of 5 havelis and one of the famed monuments of Rajasthan. This Haveli is counted among the main sources of tourism in Rajasthan as its the first and largest haveli of its kind. It is believed that when Guman Chand Patwa achieved great heights in banking & finance, opium, silver and brocade business, he gifted these Havelis to his 5 sons. The construction of these Havelis started from 1805 and expanded over a period of 50 years, where the first one is known as Kothari’s Patwa Haveli and is known for taking the longest time in construction. Rest of the Havelis were sculpted by the sons of Ghuman Chand Patwa and are altogether called ‘Mansion of Brocade Merchants’ for the reason that the family ran a business of threads of silver and gold which is used in dress embroidery. Rumour has it that the family used money lending and opium smuggling as other ways to cash out money. Talking about the architecture of Patwon ki Haveli, it is truly a masterpiece of sandstone and has beautiful intricate carvings like that which are there on women’s jewellery and is any day better than Taj Mahal. While touring, you will come across a museum which houses the art and craft, paintings and artefacts that belonged to the residents of the Haveli and is a true personification of their royalty.
Nathmal ki Haveli, Jaisalmer: A palace started off from two different points ending into an enduring attraction
Those who go bizarre over minute details would love to visit this next attraction, the Nathmal ki Haveli. This must visit monument in Rajasthan was the residence of the then Prime Minister of Jaisalmer, Diwan Mohata Nathmal and at present is patly inhabited. If we go by the facts then you would be surprised to know that the construction of this haveli was started from two different points at the same time, that too by two brothers named Hathi and Lulu, interesting! As modernisation was not a thing in the late 19th century so it was hard to keep an eye on the continuity hence the Haveli is a bit irregular and isn’t the same from both sides. But that definitely didn’t stop Nathmal ki Haveli from being among the famous Havelis of Jaisalmer. The interiors and exteriors of the Haveli are adorned with elephant carvings where the 1st floor displays winsome paintings made with the use of 1.5 kg gold leaf. On the very entrance of the Haveli, two identical yellow sandstone statue of elephants are beautifully placed, giving the feel as if they are guarding the place.
Lake Palace, Udaipur: A perfect romantic getaway destination to beat the blazing summer
Without a doubt, this next destination is perfect for your honeymoon holidays in Rajasthan. Like think about it, how amazing can it be to spend summers in the Lake Palace that is set amid the waters of the Lake Pichola. Spread over 4 acres and it was around 1743-1746 that this palace was built under the rule of Maharaja Jagat Singh II and was named Jagniwas. One interesting fact about Lake Palace is that it was sculpted east facing on purpose so that when the royal family comes for a vacation in summers, they revere the Sun God at dawn. Apart from this, the palace has been the refuge of many Europeans who escaped from Neemuch on the order of Maharaja Swaroop Singh during the mutiny of 1847. With time, the beauty of the palace started fading and it was then that the managing committee decided to give the palace a new face in the form of a hotel so as to incur the maintenance expense. What we now see is the efforts of Taj Hotels and Resorts Palaces who took over the palace and revamped the area by adding 75 more rooms which makes it to 83 rooms in total but wait it still is enveloped in history and talks about the legends, a magical affair indeed!
Umaid Bhawan, Jodhpur: Admire the charm of luxury
From Udaipur, we now head to this Jodhpur’s 20th-century beauty, Umaid Bhawan. This famous palace of Jodhpur was built in the year 1929 on the highest point of Jodhpur, Chittar Hill and was formerly known as Chittar Palace. The main purpose behind the construction of this palace was for the welfare of people at the time of famine, all thanks to the wise Maharaja Umaid Singh. A special thing about this palace is that the sandstone (Makrana) that was used for the construction is a kind that doesn’t get weathered, giving Umaid Bhawan the ethereal look. This palace which is divided into three parts from that time till now has been the residence of the royal family followed by one part being taken over by Taj Palace Hotel from 1972 and the latter being a museum.
Lalgarh Palace, Bikaner: Hear the hunting tales of the Maharaja of Bikaner
Lalgarh Palace is one of my favourites among this list of top places to visit and might turn out to be yours as well. This palace in Bikaner was designed by Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob when the British controlled regency thought that Junagarh Fort was not apt for modern monarch. And that’s when the construction of this complex started for the Maharaja of Bikaner, Sir Ganga Singh who was famous for his hunting stories at his preserve at Gajner. The palace was located just 5 miles away from Junagarh Fort which at present is known as the Dr. Karni Singhji Road. The three storey Thar desert quarried red sandstone complex got its final stroke in the year 1926 and was everything that a 19th century palace should look like. Some of the famous personalities who visited the palace were Lord Curzon, King George V, Lord Harding, Lord Irwin, Georges Clemenceau and Queen Mary. At present, the west wing of the palace houses the Shri Sadul Museum which has the world’s fourth largest private library, followed by a wing which is owned by the Bikaner Royal Family. Two wings of the palace are converted into hotels namely the Lalgarh Palace Hotel which is run by the Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji Trust and The Laxmi Niwas Palace which is a luxury hotel.
City Palace, Udaipur: Explore every corner of the palace that dates back to 400 years
Maintaining its authenticity since day one as one of the largest palaces in Rajasthan is the City Palace of Udaipur, an attraction offering mind blowing views from that hilltop that you can’t possibly take your eyes off from it. This must-visit palace in Udaipur was sculpted as the capital of the Sisodia Rajput clan from the year 1559 by Maharaja Udai Singh and took over 400 years to finish, okay now you can unfreeze yourself as we have the whole palace to explore. So basically, this palace is like any other palace that you would see in Rajasthan, but what makes its special is its unique architecture and location as its set on the eastern side of Lake Pichola which was also featured in the famous James Bond movie ‘Octopussy’. Once here, you can spend some time and adore the commingle of Mughal and Rajput style of architecture and also attractions like Monsoon Palace, Lake Palace, Jagdish Temple, Jag Mandir, and Neemach Mata temple.
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur: A secret way for all the Royal women to enjoy the bustle of the local market
Another example of great architecture which was built in the year 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh is the prized jewel of Jaipur, Hawa Mahal. The mahal finds its special place on the fringe of City Palace, Jaipur. The first look at the structure of the Mahal might make you think that it’s a honeycombed hive thats spread over five storeys, feeling giddy? Well the reason for the 953 windows of the Mahal that makes it look like a beehive was to let the breeze flow in and provide an air conditioning effect inside the palace with the use of Venturi effect. The innumerous windows also acted as a veil for the royal ladies to enjoy the activities that took place in the local market. You can also enjoy a great view of the Sireh Deori Bazaar, Jantar Mantar and the City Palace.
Akbar’s Fort, Ajmer: The famous retreat of the Mughal Emperor in the 16th century
With the coming of the year 1558 CE, came the Mughal wave to Ajmer which led to the construction of the city’s most loved attraction, Akbar’s Fort. Built in the year 1570 CE, the main purpose behind the carving of Akbar Fort was to provide shelter to Mughal ruler Akbar who came on pilgrimage tours to Ajmer. Later the fort became the abode of the Mughal ruler, Salim. One of the few reasons that Akbar Fort is known for is that it served as the platform for the meeting between British East India Company’s Sir Thomas Roe and Emperor Jahangir. Along with that, Akbar’s Palace was renamed as the ‘Rajputana Arsenal’ when it was turned into a munitions house under the rule of British. This was followed by revamping a part of the palace into a museum in the year 1908 which houses an amazing collection of Rajput and Mughal sculptures and armours.
Bagore ki Haveli, Udaipur: A palace which sings the tale of the past through its many stunning museums
While the city of Udaipur boasts of many marvels, this Rajputana style carved palace, Bagore ki Haveli is one that is cherished a little extra. Built in the 18th Century on the orders of Amarchand Badwa, the Prime Minister of Mewar province, Bagore ki Haveli is an untimely masterpiece of glasswork and mural paintings which it proudly displays in its museum like setup. The palace has served as the home to the Mewar Royal Family till independence which now is used as a Western India cultural centre with a museum where a number of music performances and dance festivals take place.Apart from the witnessing the beauty of the Queen’s chamber which is embellished with peacock glasswork on the walls you can also explore the different museums like the Puppet museum which showcases the most loved part of Rajasthani culture, puppets; Turban museum which displays the different turbans worn in Rajasthan. Weapon museum exhibits the weapons that belonged and were used by the kings and their armies and lastly the Wedding depiction section which brings you close to the Indian culture and talks about the meaning and importance of weddings and the wedding customs.
Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur: Spot breathtaking sunsets and the panorama of the Pink City
Have you heard the famous tale that is attached to the name of this popular fort in Jaipur? It is said that the place where Sawai Jai Singh II was going to build this fort belonged to Nahar Singh Bhomia, a Rathore prince. The prince haunted the place until the time Sawai Jai Singh II didn’t come to the decision that a small fortress will be built in the fort for the prince and that the whole place will be named after him. Sculpted in the year 1734, the fort was made 213 m high just to protect the royal family and strengthen the defense against any attack which fortunately never took place. Nahargarh Fort has also played a vital role during the Indian Mutiny of 1857 when it was used for sheltering Europeans on the orders of the King. Some scenes of the Bollywood films like Rang De Basanti, Jodha Akbar were also shot here. Don’t forget to visit the hallway that connects the strategically set up 12 identical rooms built for the queens of Sawai Jai Singh II, so that the king could pay a visit to any queen without the other knowing about it, genius!
Manak Chowk, Jaisalmer: Make a sweet escape from the glimmering havelis and shop till you drop
Taking its place just opposite to the Jaisalmer Fort, Manak Chowk is the place from where you get access to all the beautiful havelis and palaces of Jaisalmer. This place is also perfect for all the shopping lovers as it has a wide range of anything and everything you want from a Rajasthani market. Manak Chowk built in the 18th and 19th century is also renowned as the heart of local activities in Jaisalmer.
Jantar Mantar, Jaipur: Tilt your head left and right to study space and time the fun way
Roping in international tourists to spot the world’s largest stone sundial, is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jantar Mantar at Jaipur. The man behind this famed must-see place used to study orbits around the sun along with time and space which is also considered one of the largest observatories ever built was none other than Maharaja Man Singh II, a great scholar of politics and astronomy. Among the 5 observatories that the Maharaja built in places like New Delhi, Ujjain,Varanasi and Mathura between 1724-1735, Jantar Mantar takes the spot as the largest among them all. Furthermore, the star attraction of this tourist spot are the 19 architectural astronomical instruments which allow travellers to observe from naked eye.
Ranthambore Fort, Sawai Madhopur: Adore and click the feathered creatures sheltered in the rustic and historical realms
Owning its name from Ranthambore National Park is the fort that stands tall amid once the hunting realms of the Maharajas of the Jaipur dynasty, Ranthambore Fort. This popular attraction has not only seen a number of conquests but has also been an important part in the historical development of Rajasthan. Apart from that, this fort also finds a special place as one of the UNESCO awarded Hill Forts of Rajasthan. When it comes to who constructed this fort, the name of Chauhan Kings of Rajasthan pops up. International travellers who come to the national park are pulled towards this fort as it is famous for bird watching, and also offers an awe-inspiring view of the three lakes that are situated here. The other crowd pleaser inside the fort are the Ganesha Temple, Ramlalji Temple and Shiva Temple which were curated with the use of 12th and 13th century AD Karauli Stone.
Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer: Feed your mind with the 800 years old history
Being one of the 6 forts that are designated under the Hill Forts by UNESCO, this must visit place of Jaisalmer is home to almost one-fourth of the old city’s population. Built in 1156 AD by the Bhati Rajput ruler Rao Jaisal, Jaisalmer Fort is a representation of a history that is as old as 800 year making it the second oldest fort counted among the wonders of Rajasthan. Once you come face to face with this fort, you will get to notice the epic battles inscribed on the walls and also get to hear about the trade stories with countries like Africa, Arabia, Egypt and Persia. After touring the fort and visiting the Raj Mahal, Laxminath temple and Jain temples in afternoon, you can’t miss the chance of seeing this fort from the exterior as this yellow sandstone fort is a vision at dawn.
Mandawa Fort, Shekhawati: Once an amazing fort is now a magnetic heritage hotel
Well, Rajasthan has really decided to delight you with its scenic backgrounds and Forts. As this next fort is one of the best heritage sites snuggled amid the Aravalli Hills and was founded in the year 1812 by Thakur Nawal Singh which now is turned into a heritage hotel. The beautifully decorated gateway of the fort with frescoes of Lord Krishna and his cows coneys the cultural importance of the town. Apart from this there are Lord Krishna paintings in the rooms of the fort as well along with charming mirror work and carvings. The Durbar Hall of the fort also showcases a number of stunning paintings and antiques.
Fateh Prakash Palace, Udaipur: Let your heart fall in love with the eternal grace of architecture
This palace that belongs to the city of Udaipur was the masterpiece of the mighty Rana Fateh Singh who ruled for a golden period of 1884 to 1930. The palace has been one of the vital creations of those times and was brought into use for holding court by the Maharanas of Mewar and also a perfect venue for royal functions. The palace is snuggled on the northern edge of the City Palace Complex and is one of the major tourist attractions of Udaipur perfect for honeymoon holidays. The Mewar royal family still have their hold over the palace and is one of their HRH Group of Hotels that are situated in Rajasthan. From hosting royal functions then, the heritage hotel is renowned for corporate events and ceremonial dinners.
Bhangarh Fort, Rajgarh Tehsil: Get ready to feel goosebumps at the most haunted fort of India
Tighten your seatbelts as now we head to the most haunted fort in India, Bhangarh Fort which is located next to the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar district. Built by the King Madho Singh, he named this fort after his beloved grandfather Bhan Singh. There are many legends that revolve around why this Fort is called haunted, out which one state that within the area of the fort there lived a sadhu named Baba Balau Nath. The sadhu demanded that any fort built in the area shouldn’t be tall enough to overshadow his house, and if in case this happens then the entire fort town will be in ruins. The second tale states that a wizard named N.K Sinhai fell in love with the princess of Bhangarh. And in order to make her fall in love with him, the wizard offers a love potion to the princess when she goes out for shopping and stops by to buy ittar(scent). Sensing the trickery of the wizard, the princess throws the bowl of potion on a big boulder. Unfortunately, the boulder rolls down killing the wizard, who while taking his last breath wishes for the destruction of Bhangarh and that no one would survive in the area. And much to the surprise of everyone, Bhangarh was attacked by the Mughals and was ramshackle. It’s now believed that the ghosts of the wizard and the princess surround the Fort.
Chand Baori, Alwar: Unveil the hidden mysteries of one of the World’s largest stepwells
It was around the time of 8th and 9th century that King Chand Raja from the Gurjara Pratihara clan gifted this pristine stepwell to Alwar which now is one of the world’s largest stepwell, Chand Baori. A hidden gem built for water harvesting in Abhaneri village, this stepwell has around 3500 steps that take you 20m down to the well and hence is renowned as the largest and deepest stepwell in India.
Kumbhalgarh Fort, Kumbhalgarh: Behold the sight one of the largest forts in India
There has to be something really astounding about Kumbhalgarh Fort that it is ranked as the second longest wall in the world and there is indeed something! To start with, this must-visit fort of Rajasthan was built in the 15th century by Maharana Rana Kumbhan is encircled with 13 mountain peaks. This fort also reserves a place in international records for its 36 km long fortifications. And while it is home to majestic palaces and garden what it cherishes the most is it’s 360 temples, yes that’s right.
Gagron Fort, Jhalawar: Witness the sight of a fort which is encircled by three shining rivers
Set apart from the other famous forts and palaces of Rajasthan, Gagron Fort has its own charisma and reminds you of the bravery of Khinchi emperors. To go a bit deep, first of all, this fort is one of the Hill Forts of Rajasthan that is renowned as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Secondly, this fort is surrounded by the waters of the three pristine rivers namely Sindh, Kali and Ahu. Next, it’s the Mukundara mountain ranges and a valley close by that add more magic on your day sightseeing tour to Gagron Fort. Besides, one can also find a temple housing the idols of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha and Goddess Durga along with Saint Bhagat Pipa Ji monastery and an even beautiful mosque just outside the fort. On the eve of Muharram, an annual celebration takes place at the mosque.
Taragarh Fort, Bundi: A lesser known attraction for the architecture buffs
When we talk about Taragarh Fort, the only thing that we hear praises for is its architecture and the way it pulls in overseas travellers to the otherwise run down Bundi. Popularly known as the Star Fort of India, the gateways of this Fort were famous for the crisscrossing tunnels which are a secret to the eye of travellers without a proper map. The main attractions of this fort are the Chitrashala, an arcade museum, a hanging garden, Chattar Mahal and Rani Mahal which was built especially for the wives of the rulers of that time.
Chittor Fort, Chittorgarh: An architectural maestro dipped in the stories of brave soldiers, women and children
This blog cannot be complete without talking about the largest fort in India, Chittor Fort, and the prismatic jewel of Rajasthan. Apart from being known and visited for its historical palaces, stunning gates and major towers, Chittor Fort settled in Chittaur is remembered for the courage and loyalty of not only its soldiers but also their wives and children. For them their honour was above everything and when they were asked to surrender they happily chose death over it. Furthermore, if we run through the pages of history, it is said that the fort was attacked thrice and it was in the 1303 battle that Rani Padmini the queen of Rana Rattan Singh made her path to self-immolation after the King was killed, followed by 13000 children and ladies with heroic courage giving up their lives.
Amer Fort, Jaipur: Relish the extraordinary architecture and relive the bollywood moments
This famous fort of Rajasthan got its claim to fame from some of the top Bollywood films it was featured in and was instantly the most loved tourist destination in Jaipur. Built over a period of 100 years, Amer Fort has some of the best attractions snuggled in within its realms like the Sheesh Mahal,Kesar Kyari, Maota lake to name a few. An interesting fact about the construction of Sheesh Mahal states that the Queen loved to adore and sleep under the stars but wasn’t allowed to sleep in the open space for obvious reasons and hence the beautiful Sheesh Mahal was built for her. P.S – Don’t forget to spot the secret passage between the famous Forts of Cheel ka Teela.
Junagarh Fort, Bikaner: A fort blessed with the magic of fine architectural artistry
Making its place among the top monuments in Rajasthan is Bikaner’s beloved Junagarh fort. Spreading its charm over an area of 5.28 ha, this fort is home to 37 beautifully set up palaces, pavilions and temples. Serving as the capital of Mewar, the fort till the 20th century was known as Chintamani post which it was named Junagarh Fort when the royal family chose Lalgarh Palace as their abode. What might attract you on your tour are possibly the fine wood, glass and lattice work which can be seen on the windows, balconies, kiosks and courtyard. To get access to the beautiful mahals namely Karan Mahal, Phool Mahal, Badal Mahal, Anup Mahal, Ganga Mahal, Chandra Mahal one has to gain access from Suraj Pol and Daulat pol.
So with this, we come to the end of this blog about the top 25 must-visit monuments in Rajasthan that are going to give you the ultimate taste of culture and history of this state. And I know you have already decided your route and jotted down the things you will be doing apart from going for a sightseeing tour to these heart-warming historical places. So what are you waiting for, pack your traditional outfits and get ready to enjoy a trip to Rajasthan. And if planning a vacation or choosing the right accommodation option is giving you nightmares then don’t frown and leave it all on us. As our Rajasthan tour packages are going to cover everything that you need to have the most comfortable and joyful time on your holidays in Rajasthan. Contact us at +91-9212777225 or mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and avail great offers. Also, like this blog and share it with your friends if it helped you in any way.
Published: 19 Jul, 2018
Tanisha Sharma, born and brought up in Delhi is a travel writer who longs to travel the entire world someday, exploring all the heritage sites. She also tirelessly volunteers at various animal NGOs and is quite keen about working for wildlife conservation. She loves reading romantic and fictional novels and also devotes her time listening to music. Also she likes to visit places where she can savour her favourite junk foods like momos and pizza.