Popular, colourful and culturally rich, Jodhpur is one of Rajasthan's most beautiful cities. It is also known as the Sun City of India and is said to have been built in the 15th century by a Rao Jodha. This city was earlier known as Marwar and is currently the second largest city of Rajasthan. From the stunning Mehrangarh Fort (from where you can see the stunning blue city), Umaid Bhavan Palace to the bustling Sardar Market, there is tons to do and explore in this touristy city. If you like your holidays to be quiet and laidback, Jodhpur may not be for you – atleast for the first couple of days. There is too much to keep you busy. Like almost all cities in Rajasthan, there are historical forts and palaces to explore and admire. Do carry a scarf and water for your afternoon expeditions should the heat tire you out. There are also umpteen restaurants and small cafes in Jodhpur which offer you delicious food and are also very welcoming. Jodhpur is also a great place to meet like-minded travellers. Jodhpur is well connected to all the major cities of the country via rail, road and air.
The name of the city means The Hill Fort of Jaisal. The Golden City of India is known mainly for the beautiful sand dunes, marvelous palaces and old bungalows, the tranquility of the Jain Temples and of course the view of the Thar Desert. The state is full of color and is enriched with the love of art and culture. Not just the camel safaris, but sitting with the folk singers and enjoying their music about everyday life in Rajasthan is sheer bliss. The music of Jaisalmer is a mixture of folk and Indian Classical. Their language is influenced from Sindh and is a bit different from typical Rajasthani. The Gadisar Lake, Jaisalmer Fort and the Desert National Park are among the many attractions in the beautiful city. The climate is extreme so cover your body whenever you are out to escape from the heat of the sun.
Mount Abu is the only hill station in the deserts of Rajasthan. Among forts and palaces, this quiet hill station is quite popular with local tourists as well as visitors from across the country. A place of great religious reverence to the Jain community, the Dilwara Jain Temple is a set of five temples, all belonging to a different century. The temples are carved out of white marble and depict scenes of Gods and Goddesses and are a must visit for their architectural brilliance. You can also spend a day at Nakki Lake. Lying in the hills, this lovely lake offers boating opportunities to visitors. The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is another wonderful way to spend your time on this hill station and can take up your entire day, so do keep yourself free. For trekkers and adventure enthusiasts, the Guru Shikhar is the highest peak in the region and trekking here is a memorable and adventurous experience, though if you aren't an experienced trekker, you may need a little help! There are numerous hotels and guesthouses here, though depending on the type of traveller you are, it might be a good idea to do a little bit of research before settling on a place to stay.
Surrounded by the enchanting Aravali hills, Ajmer is a medieval city most popular for the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti. Once ruled by Prithviraj Chauhan, the city is a treasure house of Rajput and Islamic architecture. Ajmer, which is located in the heart of Rajasthan, also serves as the base for Pushkar, which is just 11km away. The magnificent Taragarh fort situated on the summit of the Taragarh Hill is an unmissable site for its view of the city. At the foot of this hill is the Ajmer Sharif Dargah, the tomb of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti. The large pillars or Kose that you’ll see here actually run till Agra from where Akbar and his queen visited this sanctum. You can also visit the Akbar Fort and Museum for its collection of medieval armour and sculptures. There are several other sites of Hindu, Islamic and Jain religious importance that you can look out for while taking a ride through the city on the horse-drawn tongas. Fill up on delicacies such as the Kesarganj gol chakkar, chaat and kachori at the Pandit Restaurant opposite Daulat Bagh. The women’s market is a hub of traditional lehengas and odhnis. Amidst the old-fashioned and charming city of Ajmer, Ambassador and Hotel Mansingh Palace offer two of the most conventional and luxurious stays.
Pushkar is full of colour, culture, warmth and joy! The first thing that attracts one to Pushkar is perhaps the colourful streets lined with small shops and hopeful faces. The route from Ajmer to Pushkar is stunning and unlike any other route in Rajasthan. It's quite hilly and hence surprising. Pushkar is a very small town and its first glimpse is astonishing for first timers who are expecting a big town. The town is very famous for its numerous temples, serene lake and lovely market. Do visit Pushkar Lake during the evenings, since afternoons here are quite hot unless you are visiting during peak winters. There is also a small temple next to the lake and though the temple is beautiful, the priests here make it difficult to sit in peace. They constantly pester you to perform pujas and it's a little annoying when all you want is to enjoy a few moments of silence. The market next to the temple and lake is quite fun to explore and there is tons you can take back including bangles, bandhini sarees and dupattas, palazzos and stunning silver jewellery. Don't forget to have the kachoris next to the temple since they are perhaps the best you'll have in Pushkar. Reaching Pushkar is hassle-free since there are tons of buses plying from and to major cities and it would be best to combine Ajmer and Pushkar in one trip. Do choose a traditional homestay to spend your vacation in Pushkar and you'll have an unforgettable experience!
Bikaner is said to be the most colourful of all the cities of Rajasthan. It is not as developed as the other touristy places and that's probably why it still holds the Rajasthani spirit in its true form and colour. A maze of narrow streets, fort walls and fine old Havelis outline this medieval city. The Karni Mata Temple is believed to be the holiest temple in all of the city. Thousands of rats, who are considered pious, flock and run about the temple and are protected, worshipped and even fed. Rajput art and architecture shines in all its glory in this desert city with forts, palaces and temples modelled with red and yellow sandstone. Most of the palaces, such as the Laxmi Niwas Palace and Lallgarh Palace have been turned into heritage hotels, where you may consider staying. Amongst all others, the colossal that stands out is the Junagarh Fort. The many palaces, temples in the premises are now preserved as museums and upholds the grandiose lifestyle of the past Maharanas. There are also a couple of notable Jain temples, the famous most being Jain Temple Bhandasar. Starting from Kalbeliya and Ghoomar dances to the taste and aroma of Dal Baati Churma, lehsun ki chutney and the sweetness of ghevar and halwa, from camel rides to sand dune camping, Bikaner is an array of experiences.