Explore the ‘land of kings’ while staying in forts and palaces in pink, white, blue or golden cities!
The high point of the holiday for us was Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. Staying at Garh Jaisal in that magnificent golden sandstone fort and watching the birds wheel around over the city at sunset was unforgettable.
Rajasthan is known for its former royal palaces and forts. Many of these are now heritage hotels, along with other havelis (mansions) where you can get a taste of old-world opulence. You can even fly over these beautiful landmarks in a hot air balloon, though if you prefer your travels to be less flighty, perhaps a journey in the ‘Palace on Wheels’ is more suitable for you (8 days in a luxury train).
The state is one of India’s most colourful, with painted cities, men with handlebar moustaches wearing bright pink or yellow turbans and women wearing stunning, vibrant purple saris, as well as decorated elephants, excellent gemstone jewellry and painted handicrafts including puppets.
Camels feature strongly in Rajasthan whether you’re in the Thar Desert in the west or visiting one of the famous camel and animal fairs in Pushkar, Bikaner or Chandrabhaga.
But of course, wildlife very much has a place in this state too, with a variety of excellent national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. A tailor-made holiday in Rajasthan can include exactly what you want.
- Jaipur: Known as the Pink City, Jaipur is Rajasthan’s capital. It’s an integral part of the Golden Triangle tour (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur). The famed focus of this walled city is the Palace of the Winds, but you should also visit Jantar Mantar observatory, and the stunning Amber Palace just outside of the city. The blue town of Bundi, south of Jaipur, is also worth a visit – Kipling thought so!
- Jaisalmer: The ancient golden city in the Thar Desert. Known for its havelis, temples and palaces built from exquisitely carved sandstone, the 12th-century fort is still home to over a thousand people. Enjoy the history and the desert.
- Jodhpur: Visit Mehrangarh Fort which looms over the blue-painted houses in the city of Jodhpur. We also highly recommend a visit to one of the nearby villages of the Bishnoi tribe who are eco-warriors by religion.
- Udaipur: The white city or City of Lakes. Visit palaces, havelis and temples, and take boat trips on the lakes. Lake Palace (can we add a link??), a white marble hotel on an island in Lake Pichola, is one of the most famous and luxurious hotels in the city.
- Wildlife Reserves: Rajasthan is also home to many wildlife sanctuaries and nature reserves such as Ranthambore, Desert park, Sariska, Kumbalgarh and Keoladeo Ghana. See our section on Indian wildlife safaris.