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Rajasthan always conjures up visions of palatial residences, royal retinues, and opulence on the grandest scale. Even in modern times, visitors can experience the luxuries and that were once exclusively reserved for royalty. From palace hotels to elephant rides, a re-creation of the ‘maharaja life’ is a big attraction here! On the itinerary are the pink city of Jaipur, golden Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur, and Udaipur. In every city, there’s much to admire, and so much to do. Trips to the forts and palaces, and outdoor adventure like dune-bashing and boating are popular recreation choices. Come enjoy everything that Rajasthan has to offer. It’s worth it.
No other city exudes royal privilege quite the way Jaipur does. Rajasthan’s Kachwaha dynasty ruled the erstwhile Jaipur state and built the entire city of Jaipur as per the principles of vaastu. The grand City Palace takes pride of place in the city-centre and its opulent interiors are open for public viewing. The Jantar Mantar Observatory and Hawa Mahal, commissioned by the ruling maharajas, demonstrate a superior understanding of architectural engineering and design. These attractions are very popular on the tourist circuit and definitely worth a visit. Take a ride up to Amber Fort the old fashioned way - on elephant back - and experience the journey up the ramparts like the Maharajas did. If you’re feeling adventurous, Jaipur offers Ballooning and Paramotoring as a unique way to see the city.
In the rugged and hostile terrain of the Thar Desert, Bikaner was seen as an oasis. The city was founded by Rao Bika, who built a fort to mark his newly-acquired territory. Although that fort fell to ruin, almost a century later, it was replaced by the Junagadh Fort, which survives to this day. As Bikaner welcomes tourists to experience its unique lifestyle, it celebrates its dessert heritage with pride. Bikaner’s most famous export - Bikaneri bhujia - is world famous. A great initiative here is animal husbandry, to protect local breeds like the elite Marwari horses of Rajasthan. An interesting stopover is the camel breeding farm, where you can enjoy a refreshing glass of camel milk and pick up souvenirs. Visit the unique Karni Mata Temple, where rats are worshipped.
Jaisalmer offers a dessert experience like no other. The city is built around the spectacular Jaisalmer Fort that dominates the city from an imposing height. In fact, this is one of the few ‘living forts’ in India and a sizeable chunk of the population continues to stay within its precincts. Patwon ki Haveli is one of the beautifully adorned mansions in the fort. Not far from the city centre is the Gadsisar Lake, lined with beautiful temples along the lakeside. In fact, Jaisalmer is the perfect city to explore on foot, so check out its unique attractions - the puppet show near Gadsisar Lake, the numerous kachori stalls to tempt your taste buds, and handcrafted antique silver jewellery that’s a special item here. To experience the dessert at its most magical, take a drive out to the famous Sam Sand Dunes. Take a dessert safari, or go dune-bashing - make it trip to remember.
Jodhpur is also known as the Blue City, because much of its architecture is washed in beautiful shades of indigo-blue. As the seat of the royal Marwar clan, Jodhpur is all you imagine a royal city to be. Here, mighty forts, magnificent palaces, and mesmerizing streets are filled with untold treasures. High above the main city, the Mehrangarh Fort towers over the valley below. Another architectural marvel is the Umaid Bhawan Palace, acknowledged to be among the finest palaces in India. This is also the principal residence of the Jodhpur royal family. Not far from here, is Jaswant Thada, a mausoleum for members of the royal lineage. Jodhpur has so much to explore, so much to enjoy, you’ll find that time flies. Do try to pack in as much as possible… and of course, visit again.
Once upon a time, when maharajas ruled, opulence was a way of life. They built great cities and palatial residences and patronized the arts. But rarely is grandeur on such a scale continued into the modern day. Udaipur’s City Palace manages to preserve its regal heritage and retain the grace of a bygone era. Its massive fortified structure is virtually a city within the city. Situated on its outer periphery, the famous Jagdish Temple too has a long heritage of welcoming devotees - for almost 400 years! No Udaipur trip is complete without a Boat Ride on Lake Pichola, so make sure you keep an evening free for the excursion.