Road Trip On Your Mind? Here Is Why You Need to Consider Rajasthan

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Road trip across Rajasthan

Photo of Road Trip On Your Mind? Here Is Why You Need to Consider Rajasthan by Mary Martina

In the attempt to get away from it all, few things compare to the freedom and elation a great road trip can provide. And now with the winter season over, it is time to get out on the road, turn on the engine and escape to Rajasthan, an ideal destination for all types of travelers, including solo trippers and gangs of friends. Truly deserving of the title, Land of Kings, Rajasthan has something for everyone, whether you love food, forts or shopping.

Day 1: Delhi to Mandawa

Breakfast at Murthal

Photo of Road Trip On Your Mind? Here Is Why You Need to Consider Rajasthan 1/4 by Mary Martina
Murthal parathas

About 50 kms from Delhi, on NH-1, beyond Sonepat, is a lane of small dhabas which have been churning out hot delicious delights from the tandoor, giving Murthal the name ‘the paratha capital of the world.’ Filled with vegetables and topped with a huge dollop of white butter – this place is a paradise for food lovers.

Where: G.T. Road, Murthal, NH1

Driving Time: 1.5 hours {approx}

Take a Chai Break at a Roadside Dhaba

Stopping for chai is an essential part of any road trip. And with so many chai-selling points dotting the state highway, there are quite a few places where you can stop for a chai break. Order some strong Cardamom flavoured chai, catch up on some conversations with your friends and watch the traffic go by. It is small things like that make for a memorable and enjoyable trip.

Check into V Resorts Paawana Haveli in Mandawa

Photo of Road Trip On Your Mind? Here Is Why You Need to Consider Rajasthan 2/4 by Mary Martina
V Resorts Paawana Haveli, Mandawa
Photo of Road Trip On Your Mind? Here Is Why You Need to Consider Rajasthan 3/4 by Mary Martina
V Resorts Paawana Haveli, Mandawa

V Resorts Paawana Haveli, located right in the middle of the town, is a restored haveli that was built more than 10 decades ago. A beautiful heritage retreat, the resort is located on the main street, right next to the 300-year-old Raghunath Temple, making it a great base for travelers to experience Mandawa in a true and authentic manner.

The property’s doors open up to an aangan courtyard, with chaupal-style seating in the centre under a tree along with standard tables and chairs occupying the remaining space. Two small flights of stairs to the left and right take you to the rooms on the ground and first floor, respectively, and straight ahead, after a climb of a few stair steps, is another open courtyard that doubles up as a lounge area.

The 11 rooms in the property have been classified into three categories. All of them boast of an exquisite Rajasthani decor, right from the furniture and the arched niches for artefacts to the elegant fresco art on the most walls. The same vision has been maintained for the common areas, including the restaurant and the open courtyards. To retain the authenticity of the art, an artist from Jaipur was brought in to paint these murals of Rajasthani local life.

Photo of Road Trip On Your Mind? Here Is Why You Need to Consider Rajasthan 4/4 by Mary Martina
V Resorts Paawana Haveli, Mandawa

After checking into the resort, you can spend the rest of your day exploring the nearby havelis and temples. Most of them have a very unique architecture and history attached to them. Head back to the resort, where you can spend your evenings unwinding with a cup of tea and later on, enjoy an authentic dinner in the outdoor area. Trust us, some things in life are worth experiencing.

Price: INR 2,491 for standard rooms

For more details on the resort, click here.

Day 2: Exploring Mandawa and Reaching Sariska

Explore the fort and meet the Dhaani community of Mandawa

Wake up early and enjoy an authentic breakfast at the resort, after which you can head out and explore Mandawa. Located centrally in the Shekhawati region, the traditional bastion of Marwari traders, Mandawa was an important trade-town from the 17th century until a few decades ago. The prosperity of its old residents is reflected in the gorgeous havelis they built all over the town, complete with traditional Rajasthani architecture and intricate fresco paintings depicting events from Lord Krishna’s legends and scenes from the daily life of yore. So while the trading families have moved to other parts of the country, these havelis, temples and castles still stand testimony to the past era, captivating travelers from India and abroad alike. In fact, the fresco art, a style of mural painting done on directly on fresh plaster, is so visible on the buildings here that Mandawa is often referred to as the biggest open art gallery in the world.

Photo of Mandawa, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina

Spend some time exploring the Mandawa Fort and other attractions around the city. Also make sure you visit the the minuscule Rajasthani villages, called dhaanis, which have mushroomed all around the region. They have preserved a lifestyle not found in the most urbanised and tourist-frequented regions of the state. You can also spend some time shopping in the town as there is an abundance of traditional and unique Rajasthani artwork in the form of wooden artifacts, ethnic fabrics and much more to be found here. Come back for a hearty lunch, post, which you can check-out of the resort.

Head Out To Sariska National Park

The journey from Mandawa to Sariska takes close to 4.5 hours. That is why v recommend that you leave around 1-2 PM in the afternoon, so that you can reach before it gets too dark.

While there are many resorts in and around Sariska, V Resorts Utsav Camp Sariska, promises you a glamping experience, unlike anything else. The tents in the resort are comfortable, well-furnished and done up in earthy colours, perfectly matching the vibes of the Sariska National Park, which located only 10 minutes away from the resort.

PS: If you are planning to go for a safari in the morning, we recommend you retire early after dinner.

Day 3: Spend your day exploring the Sariska National Park

Sariska National Park

Photo of Sariska National Park, Alwar, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina

Set against the backdrop of the majestic Aravallis, Sariska is regarded as the place in the Mahabharata where the Pandavas found refuge during their last year of banishment. According to legend, it was here that Bhima, the strongest Pandava brother, was defeated by Hanuman. A shrine dedicated to Hanuman at Pandupol, which means “gateway of the Pandavas” in Sanskrit, is visited by thousands of pilgrims on certain auspicious days.

Historically, the beauty of the forests has also attracted a lot of attention from royalty as well. The Kankwari Fort, located within the core of the reserve, was built by the Rajput Maharaja Jai Singh II in the 17th century and was recently reopened to visitors. It had gained notoriety when Mughal emperor Aurangzeb imprisoned his elder brother Dara Shikoh here.

Photo of Road Trip On Your Mind? Here Is Why You Need to Consider Rajasthan by Mary Martina

Besides the elusive tiger, the park boasts of a truly impressive fauna that is sure to be a source of delight for any wildlife lover. From the antics of langurs to sightings of an Indian grey mongoose and monitor lizard, there are enough animals to keep you happily occupied. The nilgai or blue bull is another regular sight; however, its cousin, the four-horned antelope or chausingha is far more retiring.

This park is also an Important Bird Area (IBA), designated by BirdLife International. Since Sariska is strategically located, it attracts a range of migrating birds, apart from its host of resident species. Over 200 species are known to inhabit the park, and the most frequently sighted among them include the grey francolin, rufous treepie, jungle babbler, plum-headed parakeet, and Indian peafowl.

As with other tiger reserves, safaris take place twice a day (6-9.30 a.m. and 3-6.30 p.m.; ₹2,100 for a jeep with up to 6 people). On Tuesdays and Saturdays, and on certain religious holidays, private cars are allowed to visit Pandupol temple between 8 a.m.-3 p.m. It is best to book your safaris before-hand, as getting a spot last minute can be difficult.

PS: It is best to spend an entire day at Sariska, as it gives you the full opportunity to soak in the flora and fauna of this place at an unhurried pace. While you are here, make sure you also check out the Bhangarh Fort, which is located only 45 minutes away from the park. Constructed by Maharaja Man Sing I, this fort is famous for being one of the most haunted places in India. Entry to this fort is not allowed post 6PM, so make sure you plan accordingly.

Stay: V Resorts Sariska

Photo of Sariska National Park, Alwar, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina
Photo of Sariska National Park, Alwar, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina
Photo of Sariska National Park, Alwar, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina

V Resorts Utsav Camp Sariska is one of the country’s most sought-after destinations to have a glimpse of the all-elusive tiger. The tents are comfortable, well-furnished, and done up in earthy colours making it a perfect base to explore the arid region, unlike other hotels in Sariska. After a full day under the Sariska sun, you can enjoy a quiet dinner in the gazebo or enjoy a night of star-gazing, courtesy the telescopes that are placed at strategic locations around our sariska camp.

Prices: INR 4,700 per night for premium tents

Find out more here.

Day 4: Head to Jaipur

V Resorts Adhbhut Jaipur

Photo of Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina

Amer Palace, Jaipur

Photo of Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina

Amer Pal

Photo of Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina

The drive from Sariska to Jaipur takes a little over 2 hours. Start early in the morning and check into V Resorts Adhbhut Jaipur, which is located less than 1000 meters from the famed Amer Fort. Have a quick meal, before you head out and explore the rest of the region. Given its close proximity to the resort, start by exploring the Amer Fort, which was initially constructed by Maharaja Man Singh and later competed by the Jai Singhs before they moved to Jaipur on the plains below.

Besides the Amer Fort, other places that you can visit here include the Hawa Mahal, Abhaneri Step Well, Jal Mahal and City Palace. Also, don’t forget to stock up on bandhani-printed saris and dupattas, comfy cotton Jaipuri quilts, and colourful mojaris at bustling markets like Bapu Bazaar. And when the hunger pangs begin, dig into laal maas, bajra roti, and pyaaz kachoris at its many restaurants.

Tired after all that sight-seeing and shopping? Well head back to the resort, where you can unwind in your room, after which you can enjoy an authentic Rajasthani meal under the stars. With the backdrop formed by some light up Amer fort, this one has all the ingredients for a memorable meal.

Day 5: Pack your bags and go to Ranthambore

Photo of Road Trip On Your Mind? Here Is Why You Need to Consider Rajasthan by Mary Martina
Photo of Road Trip On Your Mind? Here Is Why You Need to Consider Rajasthan by Mary Martina

Wake up to a late breakfast, post which you can pack your bags and head out to Ranthambore. The journey from Jaipur to Ranthambore takes around 3.5 hours and you can book yourself an evening safari for the same day, which is usually conducted between 3-6PM every day. Spread over 392 sq km, the Ranthambore National Park lies between the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges. The park is divided into ten zones, and is a favourite among wildlife enthusiasts who come here almost every year to spot some of biggest cats including tigers and leopards- all well camouflaged by the park’s thick forests and golden grasslands. While a tiger sighting is always thrilling, this incredible forest, with its fiery flame of the forest trees and ancient banyans, is also no less of an experience.

Guide

Stay: V Resorts Ranthambore Vinayak is situated only 9 km from Sawai Madhopur railway station and only 2 km from the main entrance of the Ranthambore Park.

Prices: INR 1607 per night

Find out more here.

Day 6: Unwind at Ranthambore and make your way to Ghanerao

While a morning safari at Ranthambore Park is never a bad idea, you can also stay back and enjoy the hospitality at V Resorts Ranthambore Vinayak. With the resort’s open green spaces, make sure you can a hearty Indian breakfast in the outdoors. The journey from Ranthambore to Ghanerao takes somewhere over seven hours and we recommend you leave after breakfast.

Chittorgarh Fort

Photo of Road Trip On Your Mind? Here Is Why You Need to Consider Rajasthan by Mary Martina

Chittorgarh lies on the way to Ghanerao and if you are good on time you can stop here to visit the fort. Made popular by the movie Padmavati, this is one of the largest forts in the country and we highly recommend you try to include this place in your itinerary. End your day by checking into V Resorts Royal Castle, Ghanerao which is a property that dates back to more than 500 years. Home to the Mertiya Rathores, this heritage property checks all the right boxes for a royal stay.

Day 7: Explore Ghanerao

Although Ghanerao is an offbeat destination, it is a great base to explore places like Ranakpur and Kumbhalgarh, while staying away from touristy crowds. Spend your morning at the Kumbhalgarh Fort, which according to local guides is the second longest, continuous fort in the world, after the Great Wall of China. This fort is also the same place where prince Udai was smuggled to in 1535. Prince Udai who later become the successor to the throne, also founded the city of Udaipur. One of the most flamboyantly built fort, the entire area encompasses more than 360 intact and ruined temples, (some of which go back as far as the 2nd century BC when the Mauryan empire ruled India), along with palaces, gardens and stepwells and close to 700 cannon bunkers. There is also a wildlife sanctuary inside the fort, which you can visit in the afternoon.

After visiting Kumbhalgarh, you can spend the evenings with the nearby local communities, many of whom are still traditional craftsmen and artisans. Whether it is the potter community or the shoe-makers, a personal interaction with the local community is a great way to add a unique touch to your travel diaries. Highly recommended!

Guide

Photo of Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina
Photo of Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina
Photo of Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina
Photo of Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina
Photo of Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina
Photo of Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina

Stay: Unlike other heritage hotels, no two rooms in V Resorts Royal Castle Ghanerao are identical or even on the same floor. This is because a lot of attention has been paid to make every room look aesthetically unique, while transporting the guest into a bygone era. Add to that, the beautifully marbel-carved Badi Mahal and an inviting swimming pool are sure to make you want to extend your trip by a few days.

Price: INR 3,299 for Heritage rooms

Find out more here.

Day 8: Explore Ranakpur and head out to Udaipur

After an early breakfast, head to the Ranakpur temples, which is located a little over half an hour from V Resorts Royal Castle, Ghanerao. Without doubt, one of the most majestic Jain temple in the entire country, the Ranapur temple was built by a wealthy Jain business named Dharma Shah in the 15th century, under the patronage of Rana Kumbha, who was the Rajput ruler during this period.

Photo of Ranakpur, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina
Photo of Ranakpur, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina

Distinguished for its architecture, Ranakpur Temple was also voted amongst the top 77 wonders of the World. The religious intensity and stunning architecture of the temple have for many years attracted travellers from around the globe, thereby making it an unmissable spot in not just the region, but the entire state as well. After visiting the Ranakpur temple, you can come back to the resort for lunch, post which you can check-out and head to Udaipur.

Day 8: End your trip at Udaipur

Enjoy a hearty breakfast at the resort, after which you can make your way to Udaipur which is a little over 2 hours away. Situated on the banks of the pretty Pichola lake, Udaipur is named after Maharana Udai Singh II who founded this city in 1559. Its name translates to “city of dawn”, but curiously, it springs to life at dusk.

Udaipur, Rajasthan

Photo of Udaipur, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina

Udaipur, Rajasthan

Photo of Udaipur, Rajasthan, India by Mary Martina

Other than the City Palace and Fort, other places that merit a visit in Udaipur includes, Lake Pichola, Jagdish Temple, and Garden Hotel which houses a vintage car collection of the Maharaja including a 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II in mint condition. Add to that, Udaipur has smaller charms too, like the many rooftop restaurants that serve all-you-can-eat thalis and have dinner-time screenings of Octopussy, the James Bond film that was shot in the city.

Finally with some incredible views of the lake, it is no surprise that this is the ideal place to end your road trip. Don’t forget to pick up some silver jewellery and miniature paintings from the shops that line the city.

Guide

Stay: V Resorts Aravali Silence Lakend Udaipur

With over 20 elegant villas, AC and non-AC rooms, each with a separate sit-out patio and spread across a lush green property coupled with a pool, the place offers a unique experience unlike other hotels in Udaipur. Stay here for an unadulterated experience of the region.

Price: INR 3,107 for villa

Find out more here.

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Road trips are always fun. Full of memories and stories, I always prefer road trips...
Sat 06 16 18, 22:25 · Reply · Report
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