Rajasthan Holiday Planning Guide
One of the jewels in India's crown, Rajasthan is probably at its most appealing when seen from the berth of an express train. An epic railway journey across India's largest state reveals sleepy villages frozen in time many centuries ago, ancient fortresses and temples with commanding views over the surrounding landscape, and giant cities teeming with life, noise, heat, color, and spice. To see as much as you can during your trip to Rajasthan, explore the famous Golden Triangle, which includes the cities of Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. Other notable destinations worthy of a well-rounded Rajasthan itinerary include Bikaner, famed for its sweets, and Udaipur, known for its lakes and romantic backdrops.
Places to Visit in Rajasthan
Destinations in RajasthanJaipur
: In addition to the rich and interesting history visitors can learn through various ancient buildings and other sites, Jaipur is known as the Pink City thanks to the color of the brick used in buildings for centuries.Udaipur
: Reminiscent of Venice due to its system of lakes, Udaipur offers innumerable Rajasthan things to do, such as sightseeing and long walks along historical sites, buzzing old markets, and peaceful lake shores.Jodhpur
: Discover the city’s royal history through palaces, parks, and various other sites of the peculiar Blue City, with its postcard-like panorama showcasing shades of blue.Jaisalmer
: Dating back to the 12th century, the World Heritage Site of Jaisalmer boasts immense evidence of its past glory, which can be seen through its walled fort, temples, and palaces.Amer
: Including Amer in a Rajasthan itinerary provides every tourist with the opportunity to step back in time to the first century CE and walk around the majestic parts of the colossal royal palace.
Popular Rajasthan Tourist AttractionsAmber Fort
: Best known for its detailed architecture in the Hindu style--complemented by a variety of painted and carved ornaments--Amber Fort is a hilltop complex boasting lush, colorful gardens, religious sites, and breathtakingly designed halls.City Palace of Udaipur
: With its white facade that can be seen from miles away, City Palace of Udaipur represents an enormous complex at the lakeside, offering visitors an opportunity to explore its gardens, halls, and the historically important museum.Mehrangarh Fort
: For those interested in the local history, Mehrangarh Fort is the source of stories and memorabilia, from its cannon scars on the walls to the important and valuable artifacts in the on-site museum.Hawa Mahal - Palace of Wind
: The 18th century women’s palace, Hawa Mahal-- Palace of Wind--is a delicately designed pink building boasting numerous windows and terraces, as well as an impressive interior worth seeing on your Rajasthan trip.Jantar Mantar - Jaipur
: For astronomy lovers, Jantar Mantar - Jaipur, a World Heritage-listed site, offers over 20 different observation structures used in scientific research that visitors can see and try.City Palace of Jaipur
: Discover all the nooks and crannies of City Palace of Jaipur, a mesmerizing complex built in an eclectic blend of Eastern and Western architectural styles.Lake Pichola
: Join a guided tour around Lake Pichola to explore the artificial lake and all its interesting sites and natural views.Ranthambore National Park
: The natural habitat of tigers, bears, leopards, and other wild animals and birds, Ranthambore National Park houses an ancient fort and a number of religious sites, making it very appealing for tourists.Jaisalmer Fort
: Jaisalmer Fort, or the “Golden Fort” as it is known among the locals, is a hilltop complex built out of sandstone, that houses a palace and numerous other facilities the residents used in the 12th century when it was built.Jain Temple - Ranakpur
: Wander around Jain Temple - Ranakpur, a religious site built entirely of marble, and enjoy the sights of 15th-century shrines and statues.
Planning a Rajasthan Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in Rajasthan with Kids
In the country with such a rich history and tradition, your Rajasthan vacation with young ones will be memorable thanks to the innumerable things to do and see. All the cities and smaller towns offer sites--especially the famous colored cities--that are popular especially with children because of their striking hues. There are 10 such cities in India, four of which belong to Rajasthan.
The first of those--the capital--is Jaipur
, the Pink City, which got its name from the reddish stone of the palace and the rest of the city. Jaisalmer
, on the other hand, is characterized by yellow sandstone and the color of the sand around it, earning it the name of Golden or Yellow City. Most kids find Jodhpur
, the Blue City, almost magical, as it resembles a cartoon with all of its vivid blue walls and the royal palace. The White City, Udaipur
, with detailed architecture will make them feel like ancient princes and princesses.
Things to Do in Rajasthan with Kids
On your Rajasthan holiday, you’ll want your kids to experience interesting and memorable sights and activities. As one of the most popular regions of India, characterized with various natural, historical, and cultural sites, Rajasthan won’t disappoint.
If your kids would like to know more about the royal past and the lives of the ancient rulers, visit one of the royal residencies, such as City Palace of Udaipur
, Hawa Mahal - Palace of Wind
--the women’s residence--or Jaisalmer Fort
, the yellow medieval fortified town. Museums are also a great place to learn things, so consider visiting Folklore Museum
While you’re in town for the museum tour, don’t miss one of the most interesting Rajasthan things to do, riding camels, at Real Desert Man Camel Safari
If you’re all feeling adventurous in Jodhpur, you might want to try seeing the panorama from air by ziplining, which you can do at Flying Fox Jodhpur
For the little animal enthusiasts, Udaipur Zoo
provides kids with a close encounter with some of the most beautiful wild animals, such as tigers, in a safe atmosphere.
Tips for a Family Vacation in Rajasthan
When planning your Rajasthan trip, plan to make reservations before going. Decide on which cities you want to visit and book ahead, whether it’s a resort you’d like to stay in, or a rented house. That way you’ll likely get your preferences and ensure there will be no surprises, which is especially important if you’re traveling with babies and toddlers.
If you’re planning to visit more than one city, take into account the distance between sites and the time of year due to the heat and sand. Don’t forget to buy all the travel necessities, such as diapers, wet wipes, snacks, and a lot of water.
When dining in Rajasthan, as with the rest of India, be sure your kids aren’t intolerant to some of the spices; they might find them different and strong.
On your sightseeing excursions, bring lots of water and be sure you’re covered in light clothes to protect you from the sun. Comfortable, closed-toe shoes are also advised, and you should consider hats, especially for the kids.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in Rajasthan
Cuisine of Rajasthan
India, and therefore Rajasthan, is known for its varied and colorful cuisine. As the essential part of a culture, cuisine is almost always influenced by history, as well as the climate and the geographical position of an area. As a dry region, Rajasthan is characterized by food which doesn’t require a lot of water for preparation, and can endure hot temperatures for some time without spoiling. These meals aren’t based on meat and fresh vegetables, but rather on milk, dry spices, and pastries, such as all kinds of bread with different flavors.
On your Rajasthan trip, you’ll want to taste some of the regional dishes, such as kadhi,rice with yogurt and spices, mirchi bada--the chili potato filled bread--or churma, crushed wheat with different spices. Popular snacks include bikaneri bhujia, dried or baked beans to which all kinds of flavors are added.
As far as sweets are concerned, don’t miss the bagel dipped in sugar syrup called ghevar, or imarti, a flower-shaped crunchy chip made of urad flour and saffron.
Shopping in Rajasthan
If you’re looking for big and luxurious shopping malls on your Rajasthan vacation, you may be disappointed since the region is well-known instead for its colorful street markets, kaleidoscopes of spices, scents, sounds, and light. You can find those in all of the cities, usually in the Old Town areas.
Jaipur is the most common place to go for these, as it offers several bazaars that sell a variety of handmade items and souvenirs. Bapu Bazar
sells camel leather products and natural perfumes, whereas Tripolia Bazar
is a great choice for jewelry.
In Jodhpur, check out Sardar Market
for a variety of toys, colorful sarees, and spices. Jaisalmer Fort
houses a grand bazaar that showcases numerous handmade souvenirs, clothes, textiles, and local food.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to Rajasthan
Interesting Facts About Rajasthan
● On your Rajasthan holiday, you’re bound to see a variety of palaces and forts; this region is abundant with them because of the area’s rich royal history.
● The Thar Desert that surrounds the cities, namely Jaisalmer, is the largest sand area in the country.
● Most of the famous Bollywood movies were filmed somewhere in Rajasthan.
Holidays & Festivals in Rajasthan
Due to a fairly large number of festivals throughout the year, you’ll likely be there to attend at least one during your Rajasthan vacation.
Holi is a cultural holiday celebrated in all of Rajasthan on March 13 every year, and it’s followed by music events, public parties and dances, processions, and contagious good vibes and atmosphere.
Jaipur is known for two great festivals. The first one, the International Kite Festival, takes place on January 13-14 when the enthusiasts gather for the showing and flying of their colorful silk kites. The second--the Elephant Festival--happens on March 13 as part of the Holi celebration, and offers the chance to see these majestic animals in a parade.
In Udaipur you can attend Mewar Festival on March 29, the spring celebration, when locals wear traditional clothing and the whole city goes out to see the dances and parades. Flamenco and Gypsy Festival happens in Jodhpur on March 18, when people gather to watch performances of the ancient local culture of different dances.
Useful Rajasthan Travel Tips
Climate of Rajasthan
Since it’s situated in northwestern India, Rajasthan has several seasons, but different parts of the region also differ in climate. While the west is genuinely dry, the northern areas are wet, hilly, and fertile. Summers are usually the same in all parts of the region as far as the temperature is concerned, so from April to June the average temps hover around 38 C (100.4 F). During this period you can expect dry, hot wind called Loo.
After summer comes the monsoon period, with the constant rains and high humidity, from July to September. Winter is perhaps the most pleasant time of the year, from December to March. This is when most people plan their Rajasthan vacation, since the temperatures sit around 28 C (82.4 F), however, they sometimes fall as low as 4 C (39.2 F), so you’ll need to be prepared with a jacket and warmer shoes just in case.
Transportation in Rajasthan
Considering the fact that it’s a region offering much to see and do, you’ll want to put as many places and sites on your Rajasthan itinerary as you can. To be able to go from one town to another, you’ll need to use the modes of transportation available.
Most tourists opt for trains for going between cities, since the largest ones are several hours apart. You can buy tickets ahead of time or on the spot before the train leaves. You’ll find overnight trains with sleeping areas, so book these if it fits your schedule, as it will save time. Taxis are another option, although they are mostly used inside the cities. You also have the option to rent a car if you’d like to stay longer somewhere.