Think you know Rajasthan? Think again. Here’s our pick of six of the most epic experiences you can enjoy in the royal state of India.
With a regal history, ancient architecture, exotic wildlife, mouth-watering cuisine and colourful culture, Rajasthan is a kaleidoscopic wonder. This ‘Land of Maharajas’ brims with royal palaces, majestic forts, vibrant bazaars, heroic tales, gorgeous landscapes and more. Allow us to help you curate the most amazing Rajasthan itinerary with our handpicked selection of six out-of-this-world experiences.
Take a hot air balloon ride in Pushkar
Imagine floating across the stunning desert landscape of Pushkar as the sun slowly bathes the world in its golden light. Take to the skies in a hot air balloon and drift over the desert, lakes and temples of Pushkar. The most popular season for hot air ballooning is during the annual Pushkar Fair, where you can catch a bird’s eye view of the thousands of camels gathered for the famous fair. Ranging from an hour to three hours, hot air balloon rides are best experienced during sunrise or sunset for that perfect photo.
Go ghost-hunting in Bhangarh
This experience is not for the faint-hearted, but, if you pride yourself on being an adventurous traveller, grab your flashlight and venture into the darkness. Begin your trail with the ‘most haunted place in India’, Bhangarh Fort. Built by King Madho Singh, the tiny town of Bhangarh was deserted when a magician, after having been spurned by Princess Ratnavati, cursed the area. There are so many legendary tales surrounding this fort that the government has banned people from entering the premises after 6pm. Bhangarh is just one of many Rajasthani towns like Kuldhara, Sudha Bay and Chand Baori, that abound with tales of evil spirits, witches, ghosts and all things supernatural.
Ride a camel in Jaisalmer
What’s a desert escape without a camel ride? Camels are synonymous with Rajasthan and are an intrinsic part of the royal experience. Explore the majestic sand dunes of the amazing Thar Desert with a camel ride. Thrilling and adventurous, camel rides are a unique mode of experiencing Rajasthan’s rich culture. Take up this exciting activity during sunset and watch the big ball of fire disappear behind the dunes. End the ride with a traditional music and dance performance, mouth-watering barbecues and cocktails.
Spot wildlife in Ranthambore or Sariska
The royal state has also been blessed with some of India’s most fascinating wildlife and is home to many popular reserves and national parks. But the star of Rajasthan’s wildlife attractions is undoubtedly the Royal Bengal Tiger. Make your way to the ever-popular Ranthambore to spot the big cats in their natural habitat. If you’d like to head down the lesser-known paths, Sariska and Keoladeo are other national parks where you can try your luck spotting tigers, leopards, sambar, chital and exotic birds.
Try desert camping in Jodhpur or Jaisalmer
Leave the bustling city behind and escape to the desert sands of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer for a unique glamping experience. One of the best ways to witness the timelessness of the desert and enjoy Rajasthan’s heartwarming hospitality, glamping is sure to become the highlight of your entire escape. At Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, you’ll find luxurious tents scattered across the sand dunes of the Thar Desert. Every tent features opulent design, contemporary amenities, and lavish facilities, promising a memorable time for you and your loved ones. If you can manage to pull yourselves away from the magnificent, tented camps, there are plenty of desert experiences waiting for you, from stargazing sessions, barbecues, Rajasthani dances and music nights. It gets chilly in the desert, so make sure to bundle up.
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Stay in hotels that are literally palatial
Royalty reigns supreme in Rajasthan, as evidenced by the state’s many gorgeous palaces, forts, temples and mansions. What better way to experience Rajasthan’s regal vibes than at a palace hotel? Originally the residences of the state’s many, many kings and queens, the area abounds in ancient palaces that have been carefully restored and redesigned into heritage hotels. These palace hotels give you the best of both worlds: a glimpse of the glory of the bygone era and the comfort of contemporary amenities. From the epic Taj Lake Palace, positioned in the middle of Lake Pichola, to the iconic Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, to the stunning hilltop Neemrana Fort-Palace, there’s a palace hotel for every traveller.
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How to reach Rajasthan: Fly to Jaipur International Airport (JAI), which is well-connected to major international destinations. From the capital, Jaipur, you can fly to Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur and more.