Located in northwest India, Rajasthan borders Punjab in the north, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in the northeast, Madhya Pradesh in the east andGujarat in the south. On the western side it shares a long stretch of border with the neighboring country Pakistan. Situated on the Thar Desert, Rajasthan protects the western border of the country standing as the sentinel who never tires. The art of Rajasthan ensures that people visit the desert.
Rajasthan is diagonally divided into the hilly and rugged southeastern region and the barren Thar Desert, which extends across the border into Pakistan. Within these divisions however, it is a storehouse of varied physical feature or topographical diversity. The arid Thar also boasts of Mount Abu the only hill station in the state famous for its flora and fauna. While the Aravali hills provide the much-needed relief to this arid land, the wide spread sand dunes of the desert and arid region make it one of the toughest terrains in the world. Jodhpur (the second biggest city of the state) is the edge of the dry and shifting desert land from where on the not so arid but cultivable land starts. It is a store house of the art of Rajasthan. Moreover, the rocky range of Amber, hilly range of Mewar, river basin of Bharatpur and fertile Aravali range gives the topography of the state a unique look.
Popular Tourist Attractions in Rajasthan
Rajasthan is a classic blend of beauty and historicity. Indeed, the State has so much going for it that it's difficult to decide where to start. The very images that it conjures up are steeped in romance and beauty. A line of supercilious camels silhouetted against a magnificent desert sunset. A blur of swirling color as a Rajasthani belle dances to hypnotic music. The handsome, hawk-like face of a Rajput man, fiercely mustachioed, regally turbaned, reflecting an arrogance and power that can be traced several centuries back. It is the unyielding facade of a splendid fort or the delicate kiosks and balconies embellishing a palace wall. The bold, colorful sweep of a phat painting, depicting sword-bearing chieftains going off to battle, rainbow-hued dupattas, ghagras and cholis, twinkling with the light of a hundred tiny glinting mirrors. All of which add to attractions of this wonderland we call-Rajasthan.
Rajasthan's almost 80% of the places are regarded as the places of tourist interest. The old city of Jaipur, capital to the state of Rajasthan, painted pink that gives a magical glow to the city, is one of the must visit places of the state. The 250-year-old city of Jaipur, also known popularly as the Pink City is a startling blend of forts and palaces, teeming markets and all the bustle and modernity befitting the capital of India's second largest State. The Hawa Mahal, the exquisite City Palace and the incredible observatory of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II Central Museum, Nagar Garh Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Amber, Albert Museum, Birla Mandir Planetarium, Sisodia Rani Park, Lakshmi Narain Temple, Kanak Vrindavan, The Rajmahal Palace, Rambagh Palace (now a Luxury hotel) and the Jantar Mantar are some of the sites that say about their contemporary time.
In the bleak desert that is Rajasthan, there is also a green oasis-Mount Abu, a cool hill station, a holy mountain retreat, the Aravali range; the verdant forests alive with a variety of flora and fauna; the stunning Dilwara Jain temples; the Nakki lake at 1,200 m above sea level; the city of Ajmer; the Dargah or tomb of the popular 13th-century; a number of monuments belonging to the Mughal era; the well-fed camels and citadels; the exotic camel safaris; the worship of thousands of holy rats at Mata Kali temple are some of the most interesting aspects of the state in general. The golden city of Jaisalmer, which lies courageously as the western sentinel of India, is a place worth visiting. Major points of attraction are Jaisalmer Fort, Manakchowk, Jain Temple, and different havelis. Even further off the beaten track is the relatively unexplored Hadoti area of Rajasthan, comprising Kota, Bundi, Baran and Jhalawar. The princely State of Jhalawar, or the land of the Jhalas, was created in 1838, and unlike much of Rajasthan, has a rocky, but green and water laden landscape.
Fairs and Festivals in Rajasthan
Rajasthan has all the usual Hindu and Muslim festivals, some celebrated with special local fervor as well as a number of festivals of its own. The exact dates, determined by the lunar calendar have specific religious significance.
Major festivals in the state are Camel Festival at Bikaner in January, Nagaur Fair in January - February; Desert Festival of Jaisalmer in February;Elephant Festival Jaipur; Gangaur Festival celebrated all over the state in March - April; Mewar Festival in Udaipur; Urs in Ajmer Sharif; Teej in the months of August; Marwar Festival at Jodhpur in October; and Camel and Cattle Fair of Pushkar in November.
Rajasthan is well connected by air with almost all the major cities of India. A number of airlines both, government as well as private have regular flights connecting the state with rest of the country. The five airports of the state are, Sanganer, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur and Kota.
Rajasthan is well connected by a good network of rail. It connects the state with almost all the places of interest in the country. But comparing to the railway option, the roadways are more preferable, as well as, recommended as the railway tracks are mostly meter gauge and hence time consuming.
The best way to visit Rajasthan is by road. A good number of Government and private buses ply to the state connecting it with its nearby places of interest. Moreover, taxis and other vehicles are also available on hire from many places to the state.
Best Time to Visit Rajasthan
Rajasthan basically has three seasons- winter, summer, and monsoon. The best time to visit Rajasthan would be winter when nights are cold but days are warm with temperature ranging from 10 to 27 degree Celsius which is ideal for sightseeing and to explore different places.
Visiting Rajasthan in Winter
Rajasthan experiences mild winters from November to February when days are warm and nights are cold.
Carrying light woolens or jackets is highly recommended as there may be a drastic difference between temperature during day and night. It is also the time peak season when tourists from all over the world arrive in Rajasthan.
Visiting Rajasthan in Summer : Summer season starts with March and ends with June. During summers temperature can go up to 45 degree Celsius and it is scorching hot. Rajasthan gets very hot during this season. It is still pleasant during the morning and night. However, it gets very hot to go outside and explore.
This is the lean period for Rajasthan tourism.
Light, breezy cotton or linen cloths are best if one chooses to visit Rajasthan during this time.
Visiting Rajasthan in Monsoon
With the onset of monsoon in July, the temperature starts dropping and greenery starts enhancing the beauty of places like Udaipur and Mount Abu.
Days are still hot but it gets bearable due to rains in between.
August and September are good months to visit Rajasthan when it starts preparing itself for the upcoming season.
Tips For Visiting Rajasthan
For travel to any destination, there are certain precautions that one needs to take before starting the exciting journey. There are certain tips that the travelers should follow while traveling to Rajasthan which include:
Check the itinerary: Every trip has an itinerary which the tourists follow during the travel. By checking the itinerary, you will get an idea about the duration of stay. This will help to pack enough clothes for the stay. Rajasthan is hot during the day and temperatures drop down in the night. So, take the suitable types of clothes.
Weather updates: Before packing for the trip it is better to check the weather forecast for the stipulated time duration. This will help during the travel and for selecting the types of clothes. If the climate is hot during the stay, then visitors should select the light-colored clothes. Also, if the trip is during the winter season carry winter wears.
Make a checklist: Make a list of all the things that you need during the trip. It helps to check it while packing the luggage and this way you do not miss out any of the necessary things. Strike off the item from the list once included in the luggage. Do not forget to pack important documents like identity proof, hotel and travel reservation documents, etc. in the checklist.
Pack only necessary things: It is important to take only the things that are really needed during the trip. Carry an extra set of clothes but avoid overpacking with unnecessary things.
Save some packing space: A trip to Rajasthan is incomplete without shopping. Every person who visits this beautiful land does some shopping. There’s a lot to shop from the Rajasthani markets which include clothes, artifacts or souvenirs. Anything that you purchase will be a part of the luggage. If you are traveling by air route, the luggage limit can be a problem. Hence, it is better to save some space while packing for accommodating the shopping items on the return journey.
Cash: As Rajasthan is a part of the golden triangle, many shops here accept the card for the payment purpose. But it is also necessary to carry some cash during the travel. Some small shops or exhibitions may not have the facility for card payment. At such places, the cash may become useful. Take precaution while handling cash. Do not keep all the money at single place. This will help to ensure that some money is safe even in case of theft or robbery.
Accommodation: Rajasthan is a major tourist center, it has many hotels and lodges to accommodate many crowds. But it will be better to do the prior booking. This will help to select the hotel as well as the type of room as per your needs and wish. The advance booking also helps to get the rooms at an economic rate as the last-minute bookings become more expensive.
Separate packing: Keep the toiletries and makeup material separately. If you are on medication, then pack of medicines and keep them handy so that the medication box is easily accessible in case of emergency. If you are on specific medication, carry those in sufficient amount. Being a tourist place, you will find a chemist shop but not necessarily all the medicines are available. Thus, it is necessary to carry all the important medicines along with the proper prescription.
First-Aid box: The first-aid comes handy if anyone gets hurt during the trip. Due to the change in the climate, you may suffer from cold or dehydration. The box should contain the disinfectant, bandages and common medicines for a cough, cold, etc.
Safety and Precautions: Rajasthan has hot and dry climate and thus, it is necessary that the visitors should carry proper protective gears like a cap, goggles, scarf, jacket, etc. Wear sunscreen lotion to protect them from the scorching heat.