Things to Do in Rajasthan
One of the biggest national parks in North India, Ranthambore National Park is particularly popular with travelers hoping to spot an elusive tiger in the wild. Although tigers are the main draw here, the reserve is home to other critters—including sambar deer, wild boars, sloth bears, striped hyenas, and hundreds of bird species—and a 10th-century fort.
A huge, 15th-century fortress overlooking the “blue city” of Jodhpur 410 feet (125 meters) below, Mehrangarh (Mehran Fort) is owned by the Jodhpur royal family to this day. The citadel is enclosed by thick, imposing walls and contains a museum, courthouses, gardens, and several magnificent palaces with vast courtyards and elaborate architecture.
Kumbhalgarh Fort is an enormous citadel situated deep in the desert outside of Udaipur. It was built in the 15th century and took over a decade to complete—unsurprising given that its walls stretch some 22 miles (35.4 kilometers) in total. Second in length only to the Great Wall of China, it is sometimes dubbed the "Great Wall of India."
One of the largest forts in India, Chittaurgarh Fort—sometimes spelled Chittorgarh—is said to date back to the 7th century. The hilltop complex, which reigns supreme over the desert city of Chittor, comprises a series of temples, towers, and palaces, many of which are adorned with intricate carvings.
One of a handful of tiger reserves across India, Sariska Tiger Reserve offers visitors the chance to see all sorts of birds and mammals in their natural habitat. Once the private hunting grounds of the Maharaja of Alwar, the reserve occupies a forest on the edge of the desert and is home to all sorts of creatures, including tigers.
Ajmer city, in the state of Rajasthan, is best known for being near the sacred Hindu town of Pushkar. Ajmer itself is an important city to Muslims—it’s home to Sharif Dargah, a shrine to a Sufi saint—as well as Jains. While many visitors use it as a base for exploring Pushkar, it’s also a worthwhile destination.
Situated smack in the middle of Man Sagar Lake, on the road that runs between Jaipur and Amber Fort (Amer Fort), the 18th-century Jal Mahal (Water Palace) is a gorgeous red sandstone palace that’s accessible only by boat. Though currently closed to visitors, the dreamlike structure is still an incredible sight to behold from shore.
On the banks of Lake Pichola, Udaipur City Palace showcases centuries of traditional architecture, starting from when the foundations were laid in the middle of the 16th century. Successive rulers added on to the original, resulting in what today is an enormous complex with 11 palaces connected by mazelike passageways.
High on a hilltop, towering majestically over the village of Amber on the outskirts of Jaipur, this 16th-century fort palace is worth visiting for its grand architecture that blends Muslim Mughal and Indian Hindu (Rajput) elements. Here, you’ll find labyrinthine passageways, elegant royal halls, and fabulous views of desert landscape.
Palace of Wind (Hawa Mahal) is easily one of Jaipur’s most iconic attractions. This stunning red and pink sandstone structure in the heart of the Pink City features rows of carved screens and more than 900 lattice-worked windows that allow in just the right amount of breeze to keep the 5-story complex cool.
More Things to Do in Rajasthan
Bagore Ki Haveli is an 18th-century mansion (or haveli), situated by the water’s edge of Lake Pichola at Gangori Ghat in Udaipur. It was built by Amir Chand Badwa, the Prime Minister of Mewar and served the royalty of Mewar before being left vacant for 50 years. The building has since been restored to its original architectural style and now features a museum.
This grand haveli features more than 100 rooms situated around pleasant courtyards. Some of the rooms have been set up to evoke the period in which the house was inhabited, including the private quarters of the royal ladies; their dressing rooms, bedrooms, living quarters, worship rooms, and recreation areas. Others serve as galleries, displaying an intriguing collection of photographs, royal costumes, unusual monuments, and even the world’s biggest turban.
Bagore Ki Haveli features intricate carvings and colorful glass and mirror work, with peacocks in the Queen’s Chamber created with small pieces of colored glass to dazzling effect.
Situated in Rajasthan’s Aravalli Hills, not far from Amber Fort (Amer Fort), Nahargarh is the oldest of three forts built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh (Jai Singh II). Dating to 1734, this majestic fort—aka the Tiger Fort—is largely in a state of ruin, but is still worth a visit for its amazing view of Jaipur city below.
Dating back to 1726, the Jantar Mantar is an observatory with 19 fixed astronomical instruments. The tools in this UNESCO World Heritage site can be used for everything from tracking astronomical movements to predicting eclipses. It's one of five such north Indian observatories, all of which were built by Jai Singh II.
Built between 1928 and 1943, the sprawling grandeur of Umaid Bhawan Palace can be seen for miles around. It’s the world's largest private residence. Part of the palace is a luxury hotel, part of it royal quarters, and some of it is dedicated to the Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum.
The museum charts the history and heritage of Umaid Bhawan. It tells the story of how Maharaja Umaid Singh appointed a well-known Edwardian architect to design the palace in an art-deco style. It also displays an archive of pictures taken of the palace over the years, as well as a unique antique clock collection.
The museum also houses a whole range of historical artifacts that belonged to the royal family, including everything from trophies to weaponry, along with an impressive vintage car collection. There is a small gift shop located just outside for those looking to take souvenirs home.
Created in 1362, centuries before Udaipur was established, the freshwater Lake Pichola is surrounded by beautiful old palaces, temples, and homes, many dating back hundreds of years. The whitewashed Lake Palace that is situated on an island in the north part of the lake is now a hotel run by the luxury Taj Group.
Madho Singh founded the town of Bhangarh in 1631, and at its peak it encompassed a seventeenth century fort and some 10,000 dwellings. Approximately 300 years ago, Bhangarh was deserted for no known reason, leaving behind a complex of well-preserved ruins. Today it’s widely regarded as the most haunted place in India.
While staying past dark in the fort is prohibited, a few brave souls who have managed it have reported several strange phenomena, including the sounds of footsteps or a woman screaming and the sensation of an unseen presence nearby.
Sajjangarh Palace (known as the Monsoon Palace) is set on a hilltop with fantastic city views. It was originally built as a getaway during the monsoon season and as an astrological center, but the latter project was never finished. The palace has also been used as a royal hunting lodge, and even appeared in the James Bond film Octopussy.
The Mubarak Mahal (Welcome Palace), was originally constructed in the late 19th century as a reception hall for foreign dignitaries. Today, this part of Jaipur’s City Palace houses the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, which showcases royal family artifacts including weaponry and regal garments.
Well-kept grounds, beautiful fountains, a small museum and towering marble elephants are just part of what makes Saheliyon Ki Baria destination for travelers visiting Udaipur. Its unique history adds to the wonder of this enchanted city escape, since these quiet lotus pools, open pavilions and lush landscapes were originally created as respite for a group of 48 women who traveled with a princess to the city as a part of her marriage dowry. Today, visitors can wander the grounds where queens once watched dancers perform and explore the famous fountains that shower natural lake water in a landscape that visitors describe as almost rainforest-like. Be sure to pack a camera. Despite some noted maintenance needs, Saheliyon Ki Bari remains a picture-perfect destination.
Located inside Ranthambore Fort in Ranthambore National Park, Trinetra Ganesh Temple is believed to be the oldest Ganesh temple in Rajasthan, constructed in about 1300. It’s an especially significant temple to devotees, who revere the temple because it contains idols of not only the Hindu elephant-headed god, Ganesh, but his entire family.
Keoladeo Ghana National Park is a former royal duck-hunting spot that today hosts some 350-odd of species of migratory birds throughout the year. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is lush and expansive; depending on when you visit, you may spot everything from pelicans to osprey to elusive Siberian cranes.
Built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in the 18th century for his second queen, Sisodia Rani, Sisodia Rani Palace and Garden is a beautiful complex situated on the outskirts of Jaipur. The palace interiors feature exquisite frescoes depicting scenes from the story of Lord Krishna, while the terraced gardens are filled with fountains and greenery.
Although Jaigarh Fort is often overlooked by tourists in favor of the better-known Amber Fort nearby, this majestic garrison in the Aravalli Range is certainly worth a visit, particularly for anyone with an interest in military history. The 18th-century red sandstone structure is also considered among the best-preserved old fortresses in India.
- Things to do in Udaipur
- Things to do in Jaipur
- Things to do in Pushkar
- Things to do in Jodhpur
- Things to do in Jaisalmer
- Things to do in Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand
- Things to do in Uttar Pradesh
- Things to do in Jammu and Kashmir
- Things to do in Agra
- Things to do in New Delhi
- Things to do in Lahore
- Things to do in Maharashtra
- Things to do in Odisha
- Things to do in West Bengal
- Things to do in Tamil Nadu