Rajasthan is an Indian state located on the north-western part of the country. It is the largest (1st) state in India by area and 7th largest with respect to population. The capital of Rajasthan is Jaipur
which is also known as Pink city.
Thar desert – the world’s 17th largest desert occupies a large part of the state on its western end. 60% of this desert lies in Rajasthan and 25% is spread out in other states like
while the remaining 15% lies in Pakistan.
The area in which Rajasthan state lies today was known in ancient history as Matsya kingdom. It was a major site of the Indus Valley Civilization - a Bronze Age civilisation in the north-western regions of South Asia, that lasted from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE.
In the early medieval period. Many Rajput kingdoms like Pratihars, Chauhans of Ajmer, Sisodias of Mewar, Shekhawats of Shekhawati Sikar, Rathores of Marwar and so on, ruled this land and influenced the Rajput culture that exists here.
Rajasthan has around 19 prominent cities, including – Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur,
Ajmer, Bikaner, Bhilwara, Sikar, Alwar, Bharatpur.Buses, taxis, and auto-rickshaws are the main modes of road transport in all cities. The Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC) provides the local bus service and connecting the important towns and cities of Rajasthan from adjoining states like
, Gujarat, Punjab,
, and so on.
Trains and Planes are other modes of transportation used here. The biggest airport in the state is located 10 km away from the state’s capital Jaipur – the Jaipur International Airport, which operates domestic as well as international flights.
There are 8.1 crore (81 million) people in Rajasthan, out of which 88.5% are Hindus, 9.1% are Muslims, 1.3% are Sikhs, and less than 1% are Christians or Jains.
The people in Rajasthan state are known as Rajasthanis – most of them are also known as Marwaris.
Rajasthan has many folk-dance forms and folk music that is popular in North India too. These include – Ghoomar dance, Khalbeliya, Katputhli, Bhopa and Teratali are some examples of folk music and dance forms. These are the essence of Rajasthani culture.
Rajasthan is also famous for its handicrafts that include Block prints, tie, and dye prints, Bagaru prints, Sanganer prints and Zari embroidery which are used in various clothing designs across the country.
Rajasthan has many ancient forts, religious places, monuments and palaces that make up for some of the most beautiful tourist places to visit in Rajasthan. It is a place known for its royal traditions and is a favorite destination for people who want to get a taste of royalty, or even celebrate weddings and engagements.
Some stunningly beautiful must-see tourist placesin Rajasthan with amazing architecture include:
The capital of Rajasthan, also known as ‘The Pink City’ because of its pink and saffron colored buildings, Jaipur is the largest city of the state and was founded by Kachwaha Rajput Ruler SawaiJaisingh II. The city is well-planned with exquisite architecture and beautiful places and has lots to offer to even the most average traveler. The forts, edifices, majestic temples, gardens, museums, palaces, and vibrant marketplaces of Jaipur compel visitors from across the world to see the royal beauty of Jaipur in all its glory. Some of the best places to visit in Jaipur are - City Palace, Nahargarh Fort,
Jal Mahal, Amer Fort, Jantar Mantar, Birla Temple, Albert Hall Museum, Pink City Bazaars, etc.
A place like dream, Udaipur has been touted has the ‘Venice of the East’ and the City of Lakes by many tourists and locals alike. Founded in 1553 by the Sisodiya Rajput Ruler MaharanaUdai Singh II, Udaipur is renowned for its pristine lakes and beautiful palaces that depict the finesse of Rajputana style of architecture, most of which are made white, that makes this city a dreamland. Apart from the forts, palaces, marketplaces, and various temples, the city is also known for its stunning location at the foothills of the Aravalli Mountains and attracts visitors to admire exquisite locations such as City Palace, Lake Palace, Bagoreki Haveli, Jagdish Temple, MotiMagri, Shilpgram, Saheliyon Ki Bari, etc.
The second largest city of Rajasthan and one of the most beautiful places to visit in terms of stunning architecture, Jodhpur was founded in 1459 by Rathore Rajput Ruler, Rao Jodha Singh of Marwar and is known as the Sun City because of the sunny weather all year round. The city attracts numerous visitors throughout the year because of its rich heritage, royal forts, palaces, and the old walled city such as Mehrangarh Fort, UmaidBhavan Palace, JaswantThada, Mandore Gardens, Balsamand Lake, Masuria Hills Garden, etc.
Glimpse the heart of Thar Desert along with the beauty of the Golden City, Jaisalmer, founded in 1156 AD by the Bhati Rajput ruler MaharawalJaisal Singh which is stunningly adorned with its golden sandstone architecture. The city of Jaisalmer was constructed as a walled city and the architecture is the unique feature of it along with the beautiful art and craft known in the region. The city is the largest standing fortress and is endowed with several magnificent edifices of different kind along with eateries serving cuisines from across the globe. Some best places here are – Jaisalmer Fort, Sam Sand Dunes, Patwon-Ki-Haveli, Jain Temples, BadaBagh, Gadisar Lake, etc.
Lying on the shores of Pushkar Lake which is believed to have been created by the tears of Lord Shiva, Pushkar is often termed as the King of all pilgrimage sites in India. It is one of the oldest cities of India with several temples and ghats that are visited by thousands of devotees during the annual bath. The Pushkar Lake is considered holy and sacred and along with the annual camel fair, attracts tourists for its sacred beauty and the tranquil vibes. Places to visit here include – Pushkar Lake, Brahma Temple, Savitri Temple, Varaha Temple, Man Mahal, etc.
Founded by the Mauryan Empire and the birthplace of some major historical figures such as Maharana Pratap and Meera Bai, Chittorgarh is an ancient city consisting of distinct palaces, temples, and forts which depict some of the finest architectural designs and artistic mastery in India. Upon visiting, visitors can find several Rajput style architectures, some of them are inside the fort complex of the city with palaces, gardens, and temples and with historical significance as well. places to visit here are Chittorgarh Fort, Rana Kumbha Palace, Vijay Stambh, KritiStambh, Meera Temple, Fateh Prakash Palace, Rani Padini Palace, etc.
- Mount Abu:
The only hill station in the otherwise desert land of Rajasthan, Mount Abu offers relief to the people from the scorching sun and is nestled in the Aravalli Mountain ranges. Erstwhile known as the Arbuda Mountain, which is believed to be the place where Great Sage Vashishta retired, according to the epic Mahabharata, Mount Abu is frequented by many visitors for more than one places to visit and for some adventure sports such as paragliding, trekking, and hot air balloon ride. Some of them include – Dilwara Jain Temples, Guru Shikar, Nakki Lake, Trevor’s Tank, AchaleshwarMahadev Temple, etc.
Rajasthan is the city of the royals with great historic presence and old-age civilization that is worth experiencing. Some stunningly beautiful must-see buildings with amazing architecture in Rajasthan include:
- HawaMahal (translates to “Air fort”), Jaipur
- UmaidBhavan Palace, Jodhpur
- Chittor Fort (also known as Chittorgarh)
- Mehrangarh Fort
- Shilpgram Museum
- Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur (A palace converted to a luxury hotel!)
- Lake Pichola
- Jantar Mantar of Jaipur (A UNESCO world heritage site)
- Bhangarh fort (It is said to be a “Haunted” fort – where supernatural happenings and sights have been reported, though nothing is confirmed – an intriguing place that will give you the chills)
Ranthambore National Park
Kaeladeo National Park
Rajasthan has many historical gems to see. Some popular sites of historical significance in the state are –
- Jantar Mantar of Jaipur (A UNESCO world heritage site – an observatory and garden)
- Amer Fort, Jaipur
- HawaMahal (translates to “Air fort”), Jaipur (A palace built with red and pink sandstones, in 1799, by the Maharaja/King of Jaipur)
- Jaigarh Fort (a historic fort located on the Aravalli Mountain ranges in the state)
- Neemrana Fort (a 15th century fort in the town of Neemrana)
- City Palace, Jaipur
- Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
- Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur (A palace converted to a luxury hotel!)
- UmaidBhavan Palace, Jodhpur
- Shilpgram Museum, Udaipur (An ethnographic museum depicting the lifestyles of the folk and tribal people of Rajasthan through years)
- Kumbhal Fort, Kumbalgarh
- Chittor Fort, Chittorgarh
Some thrilling activities and things to do in Rajasthan for adventure lovers are -
- Hot air ballooning (in Pushkar)
- Camping (Jaisalmer, Pushkar, Jhalawar)
- Paragliding (in Jaipur)
- Wildlife Safari (Ranthambore, Bikaner, Bundi, Bharatpur, Jodhpur)
- Zip Lining (Jodhpur)
- Jeep Safari (Jodhpur, Bikaner, Shekhawati)
- Trekking and Hiking (Chittorgarh)
Marwari is the most-spoken language across Rajasthan and it has 5 prominent dialects - Marwari, Mewari, Dhundhari, Mewati and Harauti along with several other dialects in certain regions.
The second most-spoken language is Hindi.
Rajasthan’s cuisine is a mix of a variety of vegetarian as well as some non-vegetarian dishes which were influenced by the Rajputs who lived here, who are predominantly non-vegetarians.
Some of the popular dishes from Rajasthani cuisine include - Dal BaatiChurma, GattekiKadhi, Laal Maas (Red Meat curry), Ghevar, MawaKachori, Moong Dal halwa, Bajra Roti with Lehsun (Garlic) Chutney.
Trains, Planes and Buses are major modes of inter-city transportation within Rajasthan. For travel within cities, there are many other modes such as taxi/cabs, buses, and private vehicles like 2-wheelers and cars, or even walking and cycling.
Airports – Rajasthan has 5 domestic airports (and 1 more under construction) connecting to other states and cities in the country, and 1 International airport connecting to cities within the state as well as other parts of the country.
- Sanganer (Jaipur International) airport, Jaipur
- Maharana Pratap Airport, Udaipur
- Jodhpur Airport, Jodhpur
- Jaisalmer Airport, Jaisalmer
- Nal Airport, Bikaner
- Kota Airport, Kota
- Kishangarh airport, Ajmer (under construction)
Railway Stations – Rajasthan has a total of 597 train terminals/railway stations (at least one for each city/town, and more than 1 in some big cities) that connect to other cities and towns within the state as well as those in other states in the country. Some of the major train terminals and junctions in the state are:
- Kota Junction, Kota
- Mahamandir Railway Station, Mahamandir
- Jaipur Junction, Jaipur
- Ajmer Junction, Ajmer
- Kishangarh Railway Station, Kishangarh
- Bikaner Junction, Bikaner
- Jaisalmer Railway Station, Jaisalmer
- Abu Road Railway Station, Abu Road
Bus Terminals – Bus Terminals – Rajasthan has its own line of state-run RSRTC (Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation) buses which provide the connection between all the cities and towns within the state and neighboring states. These buses can be boarded at RSRTC stops/terminals that are available in every division and town in the state. The prominent town/city bus terminals in the state are in almost every city and town - they can be easily found and are conveniently accessible.
A place of magnificent architecture and royal history, Rajasthan is the crown of the west with exquisite architectural heritage, history singing in every nook and corner, umami cuisines, and a vibrant culture that brings the place alive, that can best be experienced in person with your eyes to behold its beauty.