10 Experiences You Must Not Miss in Rajasthan

10 Experiences You Must Not Miss in Rajasthan

Palaces, Forts , luxury and a vivacious culture of the Royal State of India are flashed upon the screen of your mind when you read the word ‘Rajasthan’. The state gives you a glimpse of the Royal Rajputana empire that was known for its gallantry, tradition and extravagant lifestyle. Though tourism has brought most of its colours out to shine, there are many experiences that you miss while just following your fixed itineraries. And this article is aimed to bring before you the hidden jewels and fantastic experiences.

Clicking the iconic step-well with 3500 steps

Must visit places rajasthan
Be ready to be stunned by this huge step-well at Abhaneri

When the directors of The Dark Night wanted the best geometrically designed prison for the adventure of Batman as a savior, they couldn’t find a better match than this beautiful well constructed centuries back by the Rajput Kings in India’s Rajasthan. The well isn’t only a perfect selfie spot but also the best spot for architecture and sculpture lovers. The step-well, known as ‘Chand Baori’ is located at Abhaneri village. The actual purpose of the well that has a three-storied quarter on one of its sides was to serve as the Summer Holiday Home for the kings of that time. The architectural brilliance keeps it cool during the summers and warm during winters. The step-well even served as a source of drinking water till very recently. The complex around the well has some ancient idols of Hindu Gods and carvings.

 It is altogether a different experience roaming around the village of Abhaneri adorned with tiny mud houses where the ladies cook on traditional stoves wearing yellow saris.

Regular buses and private cabs ply Abhaneri which is around 95 km on Jaipur-Delhi Highway.

Walk around India’s Ancient Open Art Galleries 

Not too far from the royal city of Jaipur, inhabited the richest merchants who dealt in the business of opium and zari (golden thread) through silk route. The group of villages where they lived came to be known as Shekhavati group of villages. Each of the merchants is said to be richer than even the kings of the then Rajputana Empire. They showed off their richness by decorating the walls of their havelis (royal house) with the frescos depicting the foreign lifestyle and the characters or stories of Indian mythology. A few of them have the ceilings embellished with the real gold sheets. The village of Churu, on the other hand, has a huge haveli with around 11,000 windows. Each village would thus present before you, a new surprise as you walk around the streets awestruck at the paintings.

The merchants had abandoned their havelis when they got the opportunity to settle in the big cities like Kolkata and Mumbai during the British Era. One of the havelis also belongs to one of the richest businessman of United Kingdom, Laxmi Mittal. The best villages to stroll around are Churu, Mandava and Nawalgarh. Rajasthan Tourism Board, as well as many travel agencies, provide a special package of a tour to these villages. Or else, you can book your stay at Castle Mandawa or ‘Malji ka Kamra’ and ask them to arrange for the heritage walk around these villages. Click here to read more about these havelis if you wish to visit.

Explore the City of Lakes – Udaipur

Must visit places rajasthan
Sit by Lake Pichola at the Taj Palace Restaurant and admire the magical view of the palace as the Sun sets for the day.

At the heart of the otherwise a barren land of Rajasthan lays a city adorned with a number of lakes. Udaipur can be called an epitome of luxury and royal beauty. Apart from the splendid palaces, havelis and hotels, the city provides you an excellent ethnic experience. The traditional puppet shows, listening to the folk music at Gangaur Ghat on the lake, visiting the temples are few of such experiences.

Moreover, this is the only city that lets you enjoy a stay right in a middle of a lake. The Taj Lake Palace Hotel at Udaipur is located in the centre of the Lake Pichola with a grand view of the palace on one side and a sprawling range of Arravali Hills on the other.  For all the hippie budget travelers, a number of hostels are available in the centre of the city.

Sleep under the Stars on the Golden Sand Dunes

Ever wished to wake up to the view of a star-studded ceiling in the middle of the night! That’s exactly what you must expect while camping in the dunes of the Thar Desert in Jaisalmer. While the city itself reflects the golden granules in its pastel yellow architecture, the Thar Desert makes you fall in love with the aridity of the place. Besides camping, the Youth Hostel Association of India gives you option of trekking in the desert and camping on untouched and inaccessible dunes every night.

This would certainly be a lifetime memory and should not be missed at any cost. And my personal recommendation for the backpackers would be to stay in the Free Backpackers’ Hostel run by Dilbar Jaisalmer and he would take care of most of these amazing experiences in Jaisalmer. Or you can contact a local named Kheta for a complete rural experience.  Read My Guide to explore the Golden City of Jaisalmer.

Heritage Walk to see the Opulent Havelis in the Lanes of Bikaner

While the haviles at Shekhavati villages would take you on a historic trip of the bygone era, the Rampuria havelis at Bikaner would give a glimpse of the lifestyle of a rich family. It is said that the family was so rich that even the king used to ask for loans at the time of urgent needs. Many families in Bikaner had their own palace like havelis and led a royal life. With intricately carved wall and the doors and style inspired by the British architecture, the Rampuria Havelis makes for a unique antique structure and also resembles the old buildings of the New York City.  For some stunning pictures, it should be visited early in the morning.

Get Amazed at the Vibrant Palaces of Bikaner

Must visit places rajasthan
If you say that the whole room looks like a canvas then I would completely agree with you.. the artist might have aimed not to leave any walls plain…

Grand corridors with artistically painted walls flanked by elegant windows pillars and the antique artefacts add to the aesthetic feel of the Junagadh Palace. The palace is an epitome of artwork and is certainly a masterpiece when it comes to wall-art. The colourful rooms at Lalgarh Palace and Lakshmi Niwas Palace are also equally astonishing. Staying at one these palaces converted into luxury hotels can be an imperial experience.

Witness the Marvelous Marble Architecture of Ranakpur and Mt. Abu

Must visit places rajasthan
The temple took more than a century to be built but the intricate carvings would definitely leave you awestruck.

The man-made marvels of Ranakpur and Mt. Abu would definitely leave you awestruck with its delicate designs carved on white shining marbles. The temple is a perfect specimen of dedication, hardwork, patience and spirituality. Both the temples located at a few kilometres away from each other have been completed only due to the dedication of their builders. The work continued even while their builders came and bade goodbye to this earthly home. The temples would startle you with its flowers, devil faces and other symbols of Jainism carved on pillars, doors, and walls of this place of worship. The audio guide would entertain you with interesting stories behind each figure and carving of the temple. And you would not get enough of it in just one visit, and the sculptures would lure you to keep gazing at them.

Walk Around the Second Longest Wall of the world  

The fort, that is the birthplace of the Legend named Maharana Pratap , the brave king of Mewar, is still guarded by a mighty wall fringing the fortified area for 36 kilometres. A walk on this wall, on an early morning, would give you a panoramic view of around 360 Hindu and Jain temples built across the fort and the lofty palace overlooks the vast area at the other end as if guarding the premise that once flourished with the devoted subject of the Rana Kings. The view outside the fort is equally mesmerizing with acres of green fields spread as far as your eyes could see.

Dance on the beats of Folk Music in an Old Haveli

As the sun bids adieu and paints lake Pichola with its vigorous colours in the city of Udaipur, the traditional dancers are all ready in their vibrant attires to give you a glimpse of the astounding culture of Rajasthan.  Bagaro ki haveli, tucked on the bank of the Lake Pichola seems abandoned and quiet from its exterior, but the moment you enter, you are welcomed by the soothing sound of the ‘shehnaais’ accompanies with the resonating sound of the ‘dholak’. And the evening is filled with joy as the dancers amaze you with their graceful moves and the jingling anklets. ‘Kalbeliya’, ‘Ghumar’, ‘Terataali’, Matki Bhavai’ and other folk dances performed here would take you back to the declined era of Rajputana kings.

Devour the Spiritual Vibes at Pushkar

Must visit places rajasthan
Wouldn’t you love to enjoy a lovely morning here?

When the petals of the Hindu God Brahma fell on earth, the town of Pushkar was blessed with the formation of the lakes at the very places.  The main lake in the town of Pushkar is now fringed with the serene ‘ghaats’ painted in white and completing just a circle around the lake would acquaint you with the customs of the people belonging to different corners of Rajasthan. While the evening ‘aarti’  the atmosphere turns all the more divine. And in case you choose to be here on a Diwali night, you can expect to see the Ghaats illuminated by thousands of earthen lamps.

Scroll through other beautiful pictures of this Cultural Hub in my Instagram and also like my Facebook Page.

 

The Palace of Datia ; An Architectural Gem of India

The Palace of Datia ; An Architectural Gem of India

A bustling town of Datia, near Orchha, stands out as a mini-Vrindavan with more than a hundred of Krishna temples. It shines proudly as if it were the testimony of its king’s devotion to Lord Krishna. The little town is also mentioned in Mahabharat as Datiyavakra and also boasts of a few temples dating back to the era of Mahabharat. Read more

Vohra Wad; A European Colony in an Indian Town

Vohra Wad; A European Colony in an Indian Town

Have you ever been mesmerized by those images of the colourful houses that Copenhagen Tourism keeps flashing to attract the tourists? Well, then you would be surprised that India has its own set of such houses with a little pastel shade.

Siddhpur is a little town in Gujarat and surprisingly, the travel-crazy Gujaratis also seemed unaware of this quintessential gem. Read more

Backpacking in Gujarat; Think beyond the Rann of Kutch

Backpacking in Gujarat; Think beyond the Rann of Kutch

The shivery wind of winter brings along a flood of tourists to the only white desert of India which makes it a crowded carnival. Gujarat being my home state, I really find Rann of Kutch a touristy extravaganza during the season.

Trying to move off the touristy roads, I marked the lesser explored stops for my road trip from Gujarat to Rajasthan. Coastal Gujarat trip is what came to my mind on a first note, forests and hills were the second. In the end, I settled for the North Gujarat route considering the reasons that neither did I want to spoil the untouched coast of Gujarat nor did I want to disturb the animals in the National Parks. (I mean why… why the hell do we need to disturb the already troubled ones?) The roads will take you through the yellow blooming mustard fields and verdant farms. Though the route is quite common among the Gujjus, they hardly stop over these unsung heritage towns. Read more

Off the Grid in Orchha, A Rejuvenating Experience in a Bundeli Village

Off the Grid in Orchha, A Rejuvenating Experience in a Bundeli Village

Warm cozy bed, soft light and mild soothing cold; a perfect setting to make me lazy enough not to move out my bed despite being aware of an interesting village outside, that might be wide awake busy with their daily chores. Gathering all my strength, when I opened the door of my room’s balcony, I was wished a lovely morning by the hazy fog spread over the garden. The smell of the wet mud and misty air were all the more refreshing. And the fresh dewdrops made the red roses in the garden look glittery. And to fulfil the need of the background music to this fanciful scenery, Indian Magpie, sunbirds and Indian Rollers chirped in the sweetest way and reminded me of the imaginary fairyland described in some childhood stories. Read more

The Ultimate List of Volunteering Opportunities in India

The Ultimate List of Volunteering Opportunities in India

Volunteering at different organizations in India can be a way of traveling on a budget while you contribute to the betterment of the future of this country. There are many famous organisations that receive a huge number of volunteers and also charge for the same. While others, who are not so famous on internet, go unnoticed. While managing travel expenses is the problem for most of the backpackers, such organisations come to their rescue who provide them the basic necessities in exchange of their service to the institution.

 Here by I would try to put forward the needy institutes that provide the best volunteering opportunities for the travelers in India. Please note that I am putting only those organisations which are not too famous with people and really need the volunteers.

While it would help you spend less along with a great experience, it is a moral responsibility that you devote to the work at the institutions sincerely. Those who would be identified as taking the opportunities for granted and not working sincerely shall be immediately dismissed.  Read more

The Abandoned Havelis of the Millionaire Merchants of Mandawa

The Abandoned Havelis of the Millionaire Merchants of Mandawa

Shekhawati Region of Rajasthan has recently come to tourist limelight for its opulent havelis and open air art galleries. The distinctive feature of the art is the frescoes that have remained untouched from the brutality of nature and lack of maintenance. Another interesting fact is that the Marwari, Jain or Shekhawati merchants who dealt in business of opium and spices,  are no longer the owners of their lavish creation. Once they shifted to the big cities like Bombay and Kolkata , their havelis were left in hands of the caretaker’s family or were just left abandoned. The life of these caretakers took a dramatic turn after the new property laws post India’s independence.  They were given the ownership of these havelis.

Read more

The Golden City Jaisalmer – A Travel Guide

The Golden City Jaisalmer – A Travel Guide

It is said  that if you want to explore the traditional cultural of Rajasthan, head straightaway to Jaisalmer. And this indeed is the best advice. The city of Jaisalmer has successfully preserved and revived its traditional art and culture. The colourful Bandhani Lahengas, paghdis (turbans), most expressive puppets and tinkling ornaments, make this a cultural paradise. There can never be enough description about the architecture on this city that has a magic to leave each one awestruck. Here is the list of things to do in Jaisalmer, so that you don’t miss out the best part of it. Read more

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