“From the startling architecture to amazing legends of heroism and romance, the royal forts, palaces and other ancient buildings of Rajasthan are even today standing still to narrate the stories of the past”- The Incredible Rajasthan
Rajasthan is appropriately named as “the Land of Kings”. It is indeed one of the most beautiful states of India replete with lavish palaces and majestic forts of ‘maharajas’ depicting their fabulous kingdom. The interesting stories associated with the leftovers of romantic and rich past of the state makes it the most preferred choice for the tourists to visit at least for once in a lifetime. In addition to the evocative remnants and restored luxury, Rajasthan has much more to showcase and captivate the attention of the tourists. This iconic state is the land of deserts, places, vivid art, rich culture and tradition.
The state is also famous for its colorful festivals, traditional cuisines and spectacular handmade artwork. Filled with the incredible attractions and surprises, it is listed among the must-visit state of India. In order to witness the real beauty of this vivid state of India, it is important to take well-organized Rajasthan holiday tours.
Given below is the list of some of the best destinations to visit in Rajasthan. Travelling to Rajasthan will be incomplete without exploring these magnificent places:
Build by Rao Jodha, a Rathore Rajput in 1459, Mehrangarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India. Even today this captivating ancient fort is run by the ancestors of the Maharaja of Jodhpur. Located on a 122 m high hill, 400 feet above the city and surrounded by magnificent thick walls, the fort has seven entry gates. Out of seven gates, the travelers mostly look for Lohapol (Iron Gate) that has several small tragic hand prints, the sati marks of the widows of Maharaja Man Singh, who in 1843 threw themselves on his pyre. All these, still grab the attention of the visitors and raise their curiosity to get deep into the history and learn more about the place.
Located at a distance of 11 km from Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan, the Amber Fort and Palace famously known as the Amer Fort is one of the popular forts of Rajasthan that attract the tourists from around the world. It is acknowledged for representing various elements of the Hindu tradition in an artistic manner. Built with the marble and red sandstone, the Amer palace complex comprises of the Diwan-e-Aam (the Hall for Public Audience), the Diwan-e-Khaas (the Hall for Private Audience), the Sheesh Mahal (also known as Jai Mandir) and the Sukh Niwas (Hall designed for artificial cooling). This palace has served as an imperial residence for the Rajput Maharajas and their families.
Situated in Udaipur at Ranakpur, the Jain temple is listed among the most stunning one out of all the other Jain temples in India. Devoted to the first Tirthankara of Jainism, Adinatha, this temple is made from light colored marble. It has distinct shikharas, turrets, domes and cupolas. The temple is well-supported by more than one thousand marble pillars that display marvelous carvings, which are the most attention grabbing features of this temple. It has four faces that represent the four directions of Tirthankara’s invasion.
Located in Amber town just 1km away from the Amber palace lies the farm of Elefantastic that currently offer habitat to 24 female elephants and 1 male elephant. The visitors can enjoy an exciting elephant ride and have an unforgettable experience inside the elefantastic. They can even wash/bathe, decorate and ride the elephants. It is one of the excellent places to bathe and feed the elephants.
The royal Kumbhalgarh fort is located approximately 82 kms away to the north of Udaipur, the ‘City of Lakes’. It is the second important fort of Rajasthan after Chittorgarh in the Mewar region. Constructed by Rana Kumbha in the 15th century distended through the 19th century, Kumbhalgarh is the birthplace of Mewar’s great king Maharana Partap. The fort is now open for the tourists and is amazingly lit each evening for a few minutes.
The Dilwara Jain temples are located around 2½ kilometers from Mount Abu, the only hill station of Rajasthan. Built between the 11th and 13th centuries by Chalukya, these temples are famous around the world for their fascinating marble work. There are five legendary temples of Dilwara namely Shri Mahaveer Swami Temple, Shri AdiNath Temple or Vimal Vasahi Temple, Shri ParshavNath Temple or Khartar Vasahi Temple, Shri Rishabdaoji Temple or Peethalhar Temple and Shri NemiNathJi Temple or Luna Vasahi Temple. The temples are dedicated to five Jain Trithankaras and are regarded as a pilgrimage place for the Jains.
Situated in Bharatpur, the Keoladeo Ghana National Park once known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is a renowned avifauna sanctuary in India. It offers a habitat to over 230 species of birds and is declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. Keoladeo National Park is a best place for the ardent bird lovers and wildlife photographers. The travelers can spot various birds like darter, stork, spoonbill, cormorant, egret and black ibis in large numbers.
The Junagarh Fort in Bikaner city of Rajasthan is an impressive ancient fort famous for its monumental majesty and historic charm. Formerly known as Chintamani, the fort was renamed in the early 20th century as Junagarh or “Old Fort” after the ruling family shifted to Lalgarh Palace outside the limits of the fort. Even though, this fort has been attacked many times in the past, it has never been conquered by the enemies. With huge towers and ramparts for defence, it is one of the most striking monuments of Incredible Rajasthan.
Chittaurgarh (Chittorgarh) fort is the personification of the high spirit, romance and pride of the Rajputs. It resounds with the history of sacrifice and heroism, evidences of which can be still witnessed within the frightening fort of Chittorgarh. This ancient fort is considered as one of the most stupendous forts of the country and a real pride of Rajasthan State. Located on the edge of approximately 180 meters high mound and covering over 700 acres of massive area, the fort was initially built by the Mauryans in the 7th century. However, more structures were added to it later on by the successive rulers of Mewar.
Located in the Pink City of India, Jaipur, the Govind Dev Ji temple is devoted to Govind Dev Ji (Lord Krishna). The idol of the Lord placed in the temple was brought from Vrindavan by the founder of Jaipur, Raja Sawai Jai Singh II. However, it originally belonged to Srila Rupa Goswami, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s follower, who found the original Govindevji deity about 450 years ago. The legendary tale associated with this beautiful temple states that the image of the Lord Krishna placed in the temple looks just like the form of Krishna during his manifestation on the earth.
Sheesh Mahal or the Hall of Mirrors is situated at Amber fort in Jaipur. Build by Raja Man Singh in 1592 with red sandstone and white marble, the beauty of this fort is blown up by the Maotha Lake. Sheesh Mahal is one of the world famous forts because of its unique construction. The ceilings and walls of the hall are superbly covered with the mirrors that would reflect any splash of ray and light up the hall deliberately.
Located between the Aravali Mountains and the Vindhya plateau, the Ranthambore National Park is one of the most famous sanctuaries of the country. Widespread in an area of 1,334 sq km, the famous park is acknowledged for its Royal Bengal tigers. The visitors can easily spot the rare Bengal Tigers near the lakes and fens even during the daytime. The park was the hunting place of the Maharajas of Jaipur till 1970. Later in 1980, it was declared as a national park and the tiger reserve of India. It is renowned as a heritage site due to the pictorial leftovers of the fort within the park.
Located in the heart of Udaipur, Pichola Lake is the largest and most picturesque lakes of Rajasthan. It was built by Pichhu Banjara in 1362 during Maharana Lakha’s ruling period. Later on, Maharana Udai Singh enlarged this lake. The lake consists of several lakes, which accompany the lake’s calm water. Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir are the two islands that are located within the Lake and give mesmerizing views of the lake to the tourists.
Bagore-ki-Haveli in Udaipur is located right on the waterfront of Pichola Lake at Gangori Ghat. Built in 18 century by Amir Chand Badwa, the Prime Minister of Mewar, this ancient building has over hundred rooms showcasing the fusion of traditional and modern artwork. The walls of the haveli are decorated with breathtaking mirror and glass work. After the death of Badwa, the haveli was occupied by Maharana Shakti Singh of Bagore and therefore, named as Bagore-ki-Haveli. In 1986, the building was handed over to the West Zone Cultural Centre (WZCC) that planned to convert the deteriorated haveli into a museum.
Pushkar Yoga Garden in Pushkar (Ajmer) is a yoga centre based on an ancient ashram tradition. It is a beautiful and peaceful place to practice and study yoga for a healthy and happy life. The centre offers exclusive yoga classes and meditation courses under the guidance of a professional and trained yoga guru, Yogesh Yogi. It is a must visit garden for the yoga enthusiasts.
The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is one of the largest astronomical observatories built during the ruling period of Maharaja Jai Singh II in the early 18th century. It comprises of a set of around 20 main fixed instruments. Designed for examination of the astronomical positions through the naked eye, this uniquely designed architectural structure is the best preserved historic observatories of India. It is one of the impressive instrumental innovations that grab the attention of the visitors.
Located serenely on the banks of Lake Pichola, the City Palace of Udaipur is the most spectacular and largest palace complexes of Rajasthan. Initially built by Maharana Udai Singh, the present appearance of place is the result of the additions done by his successors. With a perfect blend of Medieval, Chinese and European architecture, the entire place is built with marble and granite. It has many domes, arches, towers, terraces, courtyards, rooms, pavilions corridors, and hanging gardens. The City Palace consists of 11 wonderful palaces resembling each other, but built by the different rulers.
Famous for its impressive architecture work, the Patwaon-Ki-Haveli was the first haveli put up in Jaisalmer. It has a cluster of five small havelis and was built by Guman Chand Patwa, who was a renowned and rich trader of that time. Lined together in a narrow lane, Patwaon-Ki-Haveli is the largest Haveli in Jaisalmer. Currently occupied by the government, the visitors can witness the beautiful art work across the haveli.
Jaisalmer Fort, also known as the ‘Sonar Quila’, is one of the world’s largest forts and the second oldest fort of Rajasthan. Nestled on the top of the Trikuta hill in Jaisalmer city on the sandy land of the Great Thar Desert, it was constructed by the Bhati Rajput ruler Rao Jaisal in 1156 AD. The highly impressive architecture of the fort simply represents the great Indian artwork and military glory. Made of sand stones, this fort is the true jewel of the city.
Built by the Birla Group of Industries, one of the business tycoons of India, the Birla Mandir temple originally known as Lakshmi Narayan Temple is located at the foot of the Moti Dungri Fort in Jaipur. Devoted to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu, this temple is built with a modern approach using white marble. The beautiful shrine and idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu along with other Hindu goddesses and gods can be seen inside the temple. The walls of the temple are well decorated with impressive carvings of the Hindu symbols and old quotes from the Upanishads and Geeta. This temple is a true example of the perfect blend of the traditional values and modern architectural approach.
Located in the heart of Jaipur, the City Palace of Jaipur was once the Maharaja’s reign. The complex of the palace includes the Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal and many other courtyards and buildings. Initially built by Sawai Jai Singh II between 1729 and 1732 AD, many additions have been made in the original architecture of the palace by the other rulers later in the 20th century. The architectural style of this old building was largely based on the blend of Mughal, Rajput and European styles. The Chandra Mahal of the complex has been now turned into a museum showcasing unique handcrafted products, uniforms of the rulers of ancient time and lots more related to the royal inheritance of the City Palace.
The Hawa Mahal also known as the ‘Palace of The Winds’ is located in the heart of the Pink City of India, Jaipur. Built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799, it’s a five-storey palace that belongs to the Kachhwaha Rajput dynasty. This ancient building is believed to be constructed in the form of Lord Krishna’s crown with pink and red sandstone. It was build for the royal women to have a view of daily life from the windows as they were not allowed to go out in the public. The pyramid shape and 953 windows or ‘Jharokhas’ of the Hawa Mahal are its main attraction that really magnetizes the visitors.
Located on the southern island of Lake Pichola, the Jag Mandir also known as the “Lake Garden Palace” was constructed by three Maharanas of the Sisodia Rajputs Mewar Empire. Initially started by Maharana Amar Singh in 1551, the construction of this magnificent palace was continued by Maharana Karan Singh and finished by Maharana Jagat Singh I. The palace is named after Maharana Jagat Singh to pay tribute for his great deeds. The museum inside the palace and eight life-sized elephants carved from the white marbles are the main highlights of the palace. The travelers can also enjoy mouth-watering cuisines in Darikhana Restaurant located in the palace complex.
Karni Mata temple of Deshnok is one of the famous temples of Rajasthan dedicated to Karni Mata, an incarnation of Goddess Durga. This Hindu temple’s beautiful white marble and solid silver doors were donated by the Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner Dynasty. The most interesting aspect of this temple is that there are thousands of rats in the temple that dine with people and run over their feet. They are regarded as the holy animals and also called kabbas. It is said that the kabbas are the tribal people of the Charan community of Deshnok. The travelers from far flung areas visit this temple to pay respect to these holy animals.
Perched on the rocky edge of Aravali Hills, the Nahargarh Fort offers an overlook of the Jaipur. Built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1734 to boost the defence of Amber, the fort was originally named Sudarshangarh Fort and later changed to Nahargarh, which means ‘abode of the tigers’. It is acknowledged for its extended wall that connects it to the Jaigarh Fort. The fort is the perfect amalgamation of the Indo-European architecture. The Nahargarh Fort is a two storey building that was constructed for the king and his twelve queens. It is mainly divided into nine apartments well equipped with the bedrooms, lobby, toilets, stores and kitchens.
The Jal Mahal also known as the “Lake Palace” is situated on the Man Sagar Lake. It is enveloped by the mighty Aravalli Hills with ancient forts on one hand and busy Jaipur city on the other hand. Constructed by Jai Singh II in the 18th century, it is a simple structure with a pavilion and terrace garden. It is believed to be built by the royal family to take pleasure of cool breeze flowing from the lake. The palace is amazingly designed and impresses everyone with its stunning surroundings.
The above mentioned places are some of the popular tourist attractions in Rajasthan. During your holidays in Rajasthan, exploring these places will leave you with a mesmerizing experience. You will surely love to scratch the history and great deeds of the royal Rajputs while enjoying a quality time with your loved ones. So, plan a visit to an incredible Rajasthan state of India and cherish unforgettable memories.
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