To us, India is the ultimate travel destination and Rajasthan is a microcosm of this incredible country. The places to visit this desert state include Raj palaces, colourful cities, unique culture and experiences unlike anywhere else on earth.
Give yourself a little time to explore and you'll see a historic and majestic side of India in this "Land of Kings".
1. Slow it down on a rooftop in Udaipur
If you've been in India for a while or hey even if you just arrived you might be in need of a bit of quiet relaxation. This feeling came to us about a month into our Indian trip and everyone told us the perfect place would be Udaipur. They weren't wrong. Even the streets are a little less crazy here.
You can happily while away the days drinking mango lassis on a rooftop as you watch daily life unfold beneath you. Add to that the incredible lakeside sunsets and you have yourself the perfect Indian holiday, within your holiday as it were.
2. Be overwhelmed by endless blues and pinks at Jodhpur and Jaipur
There's nothing more iconic in Rajasthan than the blue and pink cities of Jodhpur and Jaipur. It's not just a gimmick in a couple of sections, the majority of these cities are bathed in their colour of choice!
We love getting up high on a rooftop or viewpoint and taking it all in. Both cities have such a unique character and architecture that make them so memorable. Your camera will be in overdrive so clear out those memory cards.
3. Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Mehrangarh Fort is no ordinary palace / castle / fort! Perched on the top of a hill, it dominates Jodhpur and really is a sign of the immense power of the ruling family.
The audio tour is fascinating and you'll listen to the current Raja take you through the history of the palace, giving glimpses into lives and customs you would otherwise not know about. Leave plenty of time for this one, it really is huge!
4. Make a journey by rail
Trains really are the best way to get around in India. It's not just the scenery you pass along the way, or even that they let you hang out the train and feel the breeze. It's about the people you meet, it's a great way to meet locals, especially as you are often on a long journey, and the trains are definitely not known for their speed. It won't be long before your seat mate or three will happily be sharing their food with you while you entertain the children.
Even if you don't end up meeting anyone chugging along the Indian countryside listening to the calls of 'chai, chai, chai' will be a memory you won't forget in a hurry.
5. Take a camel into the desert, Pushkar
Pushkar is all about two things: religion and camels. Every year, the town hosts a huge camel fair which draws in thousands of people. If you want to attend this spectacle make sure you book early, sadly we were unable to book accommodation and had to visit outside this time.
Even if you can't attend the fair, Pushkar is still an incredible place to visit. We loved hoping on a camel and heading out into the nearby desert, where the landscape changes within a matter of a kilometre. Hold on tight if your steed spots a wild camel in the distance, when a quiet amble turns into a frenzied canter!
If you're not heading to Pushkar, then a great alternative is taking a camel safari in Jaisalmer. Spending a night in the desert sounds like an amazing experience.
If you're looking for more things to do in Pushkar, then check out the best things to do in a day in Pushkar.
6. Marvel at Ranakpur
After leaving Udaipur, we were working out how to get to Jodhpur with all the trains being fully booked, we decided to treat ourselves to a taxi. The taxi driver suggested stopping off at Ranakpur (groan, another temple). But Ranakpur is something else! It's huge and set in the most picturesque valley, surrounded by mountains. The Jain temple is covered in ornate carvings and is an incredible place to spend an hour or so just wandering between its many columns. It was one of our favourite temples from a year spent in Asia.
7. Explore Amber Fort, Jaipur
By the time it came to visiting Amber Fort, I'll admit it. I was fort-ed out. And then we saw it and all other forts were forgotten. This was my favourite fort in all of India. It is beautiful, the setting itself perched on top of a hill is wonderful but it is also all in the detail.
The patterns are intricate and so delicately done and adorn all the walls and ceilings. Whatever you do, don't give this one a miss.
8. Stumble on a Raja Wedding
Spoiler alert, if you travel for any length of time in India it is likely you will be invited to a wedding. They are often lavish affairs and are as bright and colourful as you would probably imagine them to be. It's wonderful to watch the dancing and you will probably feel like you've stumbled onto the set of a Bollywood movie.
9. Sunset boat trip in Udaipur
You can see the sunset from the lake shore of course but taking a sunset cruise seems to be de rigour in Udaipur. It also allows you to get as close as you can to the magnificent Lake Palace hotel (unless you're lucky enough to be staying there of course). It was a really peaceful way to spend an hour and the vibe on the boat was friendly and upbeat.
10. Gorge on delicious Indian Food
Ok so this could be anywhere in India but we did our fair share of gorging in Rajasthan and we think you should too. It's always a pleasure when there is a bias towards vegetarian food, something I never experience in the west and in Rajasthan they have whole veggie menus. The food is spicy and full of flavour, with their own versions of popular dishes; like the Kadhi. You can wash it all down with a saffron lassi, speciality of Jodhpur.
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