India’s most quintessential land of mosaic cultures, festivals, architecturally sound palaces and a history of maharajas – Rajasthan is a treasure chest of incredible opportunities for the perfect sojourn of an avid traveller.
From forgotten forts to elaborate traditional events, your journey here will be more than rewarding. Starting your expedition from the Sun City of Jodhpur, historically known as Marwar, is a great way to ease your way into the depths of Rajasthan’s rich heritage. As you go on identifying each little detail that makes Marwar what it is, you will start realizing just how marvellous this travel really is.
The Blue City of Jodhpur, a masterpiece, is more than meets the eye. A folk musician strolling along the narrow pathways playing the ancient Ravanatha instrument in the desert wind is not a rare sight here. Walking around on an ordinary day you will realize just how extraordinary life here really is.
The Sardar Market is the most accurate representation of the spirit of Jodhpur. Midst the sweet smells and mindless chatter of the spice and handicraft shops in the bazaar stands the century-old clock tower. Another wonderful treat is the Umaid Bhawan Palace. The beautiful building with a Burmese teak interior has a display of eccentric clocks and on the outside, a lineup of the maharaja’s sparkling classic cars.
A tour of the rural life of Marwar is a time unmatched. Walking into a village you will spot many a man in elaborate turbans tending to herds of cattle and women churning butter in humble earthen pots. Here you can try your hand at milking the cows and goats just like the villagers do! The village Talab is a great opportunity to learn about the ancient water-management system in the area to deal with the droughts.
Meet the Sundar Rang, a group that focuses on empowering the rural locals by encouraging and promoting their handicrafts. One of the main heritage sites in the city is the Mehrangarh Fort. Honestly, walking around the fort and getting to know the sombre history here is a unique experience.
After the goodbyes in Jodhpur comes a riveting journey into the magnificent desert town of Bikaner. The city is not tourist-heavy and is a great way to explore the unadulterated Rajasthani culture. The Junagarh Fort here is one of the most beautiful visits. The intricately carved walls and colour-reflecting mirrored passages at the fort are a breathtaking look into its 15th-century history.
Take the Merchant’s trail around the old town to discover the ancient red-sandstone buildings and many Jain temples. Bikaner boasts some of the oldest constructions, one of them being the Rampuria Haveli with its magical Victorian architecture. Don’t forget to treat yourself to a maharaja-style thali of the best Rajasthani cuisine at the Narendra Bhavan before you leave!
Still giddy with the memories in Bikaner, move onto the royal city of Jaisalmer. Built-in 1156 AD the Jaisalmer Fort is a cultural hub laced with hotels, houses and temples and quite a few restaurants and handicraft shops. A kilometre from there is the Patwon ki Haveli – The most beautiful architecture to come across! With delicate arches and patterned mirrors and paintings on the walls, this building is the oldest Haveli in Jaisalmer.
Don’t miss out on the camel safari to the Sam sand dunes in the Thar Desert. Many travel to the dunes for a golden sunset view, but there are also overnight camps in the area that offer travellers a chance to connect with like-minded people, get acquainted with the rural cuisine and sleep under a star-studded sky. Make sure to stop by at the Desert Cultural Centre & Museum for a tour of the remarkable exhibits of the Rajasthani culture.
As you make your way ahead, Udaipur is the much-needed calm and rest on a long journey. The lavender peaks of the Aravalli Range, pleasing palaces, seamless streets that reveal the peaceful nature of the sleepy town – Udaipur is a way to take a moment to appreciate the beauty that surrounds one.
Take a sunset tour at the Lake Pichola, watch over the beautiful views of the city from the Monsoon Palace and stroll about the open markets for the most exquisite local trinkets and maybe a traditional dance performance when you least expect it.
Udaipur, after all, is the best segue to the burst of culture that’s yet to come! Have yourself a short stay at Pushkar on your way to the city of Jaipur. Pushkar is a world of mystical happenings. The locals offer an array of fascinating experiences from palm-reading, henna-tattoos to holistic healing and reiki. The town is known to have the only Brahma temple in the world, among many other temples around. Take a breather here to bask in a sunrise before you leave for the tourism-jackpot of Rajasthan – Jaipur.
Last but not least – Here’s your welcome to the Pink City of Jaipur. Packed to the brim with colourful bazaars, loitering locals in gorgeous attire, cycle-rickshaws and majestic buildings, Jaipur is a traveller’s dream-come-true! Markets here are full of the blue pottery that the city is known for, and many a traditional silver and gold, gemstone-studded jewellery.
Experience an Elephant ride through the Amber Fort, then move on to admire the honeycombed-artistry of the Hawa Mahal and stop at the Jantar Mantar for the ancient astronomical instruments. When the big city tires you from its endless possibilities, wind down over music and cocktails at a magnificent heritage hotel in the area.
A thorough traverse through Marwar into the heart of Rajasthan’s history, customs and spirit is an unforgettable time unlike any other.