Located in the north-western part of India, Rajasthan, the land of Maharajas, symbolizes the country’s opulence and grandeur from the bygone days. The state boasts a rich history, cultural heritage, kaleidoscopic festivals, folk music, traditional art & crafts, delectable cuisine, religious sites, magnificent forts and beautiful havelis. The state’s representative melodic tune, ‘Padharo mhare des’, beckons the spirit of a traveler to blend with its magnificence and charm.
The tourism industry of Rajasthan, considered to be one of the major contributors to the state’s GDP, has shown positive growth year-on-year. According to the Rajasthan Tourism Department, the state attracted more than 5.19 crore tourists in 2018. Heritage properties, star category and budget hotels, and motels have sprung up across the state to cater to the tourist influx.
Rajasthan Tourism Information
|Area||342,239 square kilometers|
|Main Cities||Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Ajmer, Bikaner, Sawai Madhopur, Pushkar, Mount Abu, Alwar, Chittorgarh, Bharatpur, Bundi, Bhilwara|
|Official Tourism Website||http://www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in/|
|Major Railheads||Jaipur (JP), Kota (KOTA), Ajmer (AII), Jodhpur (JU), Bharatpur (BTE), Bikaner (BKN), Alwar (AWR), Abu Road (ABR), Udaipur City (UDZ), Jaisalmer (JSM), Kishangarh (KSG), Chittaurgarh (COR)|
|Airport||Jaipur International Airport, Jodhpur Airport, Jaisalmer Airport, Maharana Pratap Airport (Udaipur), Kishangarh Airport, Bikaner Nal Airport, Kota Airport|
History of Rajasthan
Archaeological evidence indicates that many areas in present-day Rajasthan used to be a part of the Indus Valley and Vedic civilizations. For a little over the next millennium, certain parts of the region were ruled by the Mauryas, Indo-Greeks, Indo-Scynthians, Guptas and Hunas, before the rise of the Rajputs in the 7th century CE. In 1192, Muslim rulers established their presence in the region; most of the Rajput rulers accepted the Mughal dominion under Akbar’s reign.
Post the Mughals’ decline, the Jats took control over the region for a brief period before it came under the influence of the Marathas and then, the British. After the independence of India, the erstwhile Rajputana Province went through many stages before it was recognized as the Indian state of Rajasthan in 1950. The present-day state boundaries were formed in 1956.
Geography & Climate
Rajasthan majorly comprises the uninhabitable Thar Desert and Aravalli range, which traverses the state from southwest to northeast. The state shares its northwestern and western borders with Pakistan. It is bordered by Punjab in the north, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh towards the northeast, Madhya Pradesh in the southeast, and Gujarat in the southwest.
Rajasthan is defined by its extreme temperatures. Summers are harsh, monsoons are pleasant and winters here are quite chilly. Places like Mount Abu or Ranakpur can be visited during the summer season. However, the best time to visit the state is October-March.
Places to Visit in Rajasthan
- Temples: Khatu Shyam Temple, Shrinathji Temple, Eklingji Temple, Brahma Temple, Karni Mata Temple, Akshardham Temple, Amareshwar Mahadev Temple, Dilwara Temples, Atmateshwar Temple, Ramdevra Temple, Tanot Mata Temple, Devka-Sun Temple, Galtaji Temple, Kalika Mata Temple, Kiradu Temples, Mangarh Dham, Parshuram Mahadev Temple, Ranakpur Jain Temple, Rani Sati Temple, Neelkanth Temple, Birla Temple
- Mosques: Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Nabi Qadi Hamid Al-din Masjid, Ukha Masjid, Khanzadon ki Masjid, Khanqah of Shaikh Suhrawardi Mosque, Mosque of Bai Tilokdi Kalawant, Shrine of Shah Hafiz Ullah, Taleti Masjid, Shahi Masjid, Shaikhon Ki Masjid
- Forts: Mehrangarh Fort, Amber Fort, Nahargarh Fort, Bhangarh Fort, Anupgarh Fort, Bala Quila, Badnore Fort, Barmer Fort, Bhatner Fort, Chittorgarh Fort, Dev Giri Fort, Gagron Fort, Hill Fort Kesroli, Gugor Fort, Jaisalmer Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Jalore Fort, Jhalawar Fort, Juna Fort, Junagarh Fort, Khejarla Fort, Kumbhalgarh Fort, Ranthambore Fort, Lohagarh Fort, Taragarh Fort, Neemrana Fort
- Palaces: Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jag Mandir Palace, City Palace Udaipur, Alwar City Palace, Garh Palace, Bhamashah ki Haveli, Bhanwar Vilas Palace, City Palace Karauli, City Palace Jaipur, City Palace Dholpur, Jal Mahal, Juna Mahal, Lalgarh Palace, Laxmi Niwas Palace, Maan Mahal, Moti Mahal
- Lakes: Anand Sagar Lake, Anasagar Lake, Balsamand Lake, Diablab Lake, Doodh Talai Lake, Gadisar Lake, Fateh Sagar Lake, Kaylana Lake, Gaib Sagar Lake, Jaisamand Lake, Lake Jait Sagar, Lake Foy Sagar, Pichola Lake, Sambhar Lake, Pushkar Lake, Udaisagar Lake, Nakki Lake, Man Sagar Lake
- Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks: Ranthambore National Park, Machiya Safari Park, Desert National Sanctuary, Sariska National Park, Ramgarh Vishdhari Sanctuary, Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary, Keladevi Wildlife Sanctuary, Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Darrah Sanctuary, Sita Mata Sanctuary, Mount Abu Sanctuary, National Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary, Mukundara Tiger Reserve, Baretha Wildlife Sanctuary, Jaisamand Sanctuary, Tal Chhapar Sanctuary, Bassi Wildlife Sanctuary, Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary, Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Todgarh Raoli Wildlife Sanctuary
- Museums: Ahar Archaeological Museum, Ajmer Government Museum, Albert Hall Museum, Alwar Government Museum, Amer Archaeological Museum, Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing, Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum, Maharao Madho Singh Museum, Government Museum Jaisalmer, Dolls Museum, Prachina Museum, Fateh Prakash Palace Museum
Cuisine of Rajasthan
The royal heritage and the geographic features of Rajasthan have influenced the cuisine of the region. Traditional food items like Dal-Baati-Churma and Bikaneri Bhujia are appreciated by foodies across the globe. Popular dishes of Rajasthan also include Kabuli Pulao, Laal Maas, Mohan Mass, Panchkuta/Ker Sangri, Pittod Ki Sabji, Besan Gatta Sabji, Ker-Dakh Sabji, Lacha Pakori, Govind Gatte, Bajra Roti, Lahsun Ki Chatni, Mogor Ki Sabji, and Haldi Ki Sabji. Some of the must-try sweets are Balushahi, Ghevar, Alwar Ka Mawa, and Gujia.
Shopping in Rajasthan
- Jewelry and gemstones
- Puppets and stuffed toys
- Jodhpuri juttis
Things to Do in Rajasthan
- Attend the Pushkar Camel Fair
- Go for a Thar Desert Safari
- Visit Ranthambore National Park
- Enjoy hot air ballooning over heritage properties in Jaipur
- Enjoy folk music and ghoomar dance
- Enjoy local food at dhabas
- Attend the gangaur festival
- Shop at local bazaars
- Visit the forts and palaces
- Watch a puppet show
How to Reach Rajasthan
By Air: There are seven airports in Rajasthan, which connect the state to major Indian cities and foreign countries. There are direct flights available to Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune and other destinations in India. The state is also connected to foreign cities including Sharjah, Dubai, Muscat, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok via Jaipur.
By Rail: Rajasthan is well-connected by rail, Jaipur being the headquarters of the North-West Railway. Jaipur and Kota, the two major railheads in Rajasthan, connect it to most of the Indian cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Superfast trains like Rajdhani Express and Duronto Express run through the state.
By Road: There about 20 national highways passing through the state. A four-lane highway, NH-8 connects Delhi to Mumbai and passes through Udaipur and Jaipur. One can avail a taxi or hop onto a bus run by the Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRT) or a private operator to travel in and around the state.