Travel guide to Rajasthan, India

Amer Fort, Jaipur

Having been born and raised in India, my love for travel started young when I extensively travelled around India with my family as a kid. I have tons of fond memories traveling to different parts of India from the North to the South, East and West. India is such a beautiful and diverse country with so much to offer! Each part of the country has something unique and its quite impossible to cover all of it in just one trip!

During this trip aside from spending time with family in our hometown in Bangalore, we only travelled to the beautiful state of Rajasthan, so I will only cover Rajasthan in this travel guide.

Why Rajasthan?

City palace, Udaipur

Rajasthan is easily one of the most beautiful states and most visited states in all of India. It is home to the maximum number of forts and palaces in India. The colossal forts and majestic palaces scattered around the state are testimonies to its glorious heritage, and shine light on its royal past. And apart from that the architectural magnificence of these structures is spellbinding.

Rajasthan is so diverse by itself and has so much to offer from history to national parks to deserts and more. In this regard, it reminds me so much of Morocco! If you are a fan of luxury hotels like I am – Rajasthan also boasts to have some of the best luxury resorts in the world! That alone can convince any luxury hotel connoisseur to visit the destination.

Amer fort, Jaipur

We only visited the first 3 spots in the below list in Rajasthan this time (which I will cover in this guide) but here are few different popular regions to consider adding to your itinerary. I will provide a few accomodation suggestions for the rest too :

  • Jaipur – the Pink City
  • Udaipur – the City of Lakes ( also called Venice of the east
  • Aravali Hills – a beautiful offbeat getaway in the hills
  • Ranthambore National Park – famous for their tigers
  • Jaisalmer – for the beautiful Thar desert
  • Jodhpur – the Blue City
FYI If this is your first time to India consider also doing Delhi and Agra ( for the Taj Mahal!). They are relatively close to Jaipur. I have travelled to both in the past which is why we skipped it this time around.

How to get there?

You can fly into Delhi ( if you are starting your journey there) or Jaipur too. Both have international airports. Many other spots in Rajasthan also have domestic airports like Jodhpur, Udaipur, etc. So a combination of flights and driving around will have you covered for the trip.

How to get around ?

I recommend renting a car and driver for your time in India. If you aren’t used to driving in India – it can be chaotic 🙂 to say the least. We were with my dad so we had our own car since my dad was comfortable driving. You can also reach out to your hotel who can arrange transfers for you.

Other tips :

  • Best time to go to Rajasthan : October to March is the best for pleasant weather. Avoid the summer months as it gets super hot from April – June.
  • What to pack clothing wise : Lots of breathable airy clothing was my choice of clothing throughout. Maxi dresses, linen pants, blouses, comfy sandal, setc were my picks for easy outfits to explore in. You can also pack a few dressy options for evenings. I always try to dress a little on the modest side when in India, especially in public spaces. So its always a good idea to pack extra scarves to cover your shoulders if you feel the need to.
  • Currency : INR or rupees. Most places acceot card, but always have cash handy too.
  • Please carry your own reusuable water bottle and carry a travel first aid kit. From our own personal experience I must note we had a terrible case of food poisoning in Delhi despite having only bottled water and eating only at our hotel! Indian food is absolutely delicious, but the spice and dairy ingedients might not agree with all so its always a good idea to tread lighly and also be prepared.
  • How much time is needed? Perhaps 2 nights at each city/spot is sufficient.

 

PART 1 : JAIPUR

Jaipur, the Pink City is Rajasthan’s capital and the state’s biggest city. The streets are filled with palaces, temples and so much history at every corner. You can eat and stay like royalty, shop for handicrafts and jewelry and find bliss amid the commotion here! This is a must visit on your Rajasthan trip.

Where to stay?

When you travel to Rajasthan, you must experience staying in a heritage property and the state has plenty to choose from – from palaces to forts to mansions! We wanted to experience it all so we stayed in a palace in Jaipur, in a fort in the Aravallis and in a mansion (haveli) in Udaipur.

In Jaipur we stayed at the beautiful Rajmahal Palace RAAS Jaipur. This 290 year old heritage palace was built in the early 1700s by Majaraja Sawa Jai Singh 2. It’s original Rajput construction vibes and Art Deco vibes are very evident throughout the property. What I loved most about Rajmahal Palace RAAS stunning heritage hotel was its eclectic decor that had the perfect mix of old-world culture and modern contemporary style. Read more in my blog post here.

 

Things to do :

This was my second time to Jaipur and it was just as beautiful as I remembered it to be! This list is a compilation of what we visited from last time and this time around.

City palace doors
Also if you are looking for a local Jaipur expert check out @puneetyadav – he’s an amazing photographer and Airbnb experience host! We had the best time exploring Jaipur with him. We not only got to visit the best photo spots but also got to see the city through the eyes of a local which was all the more special!
Here are 10 must see spots in the pink city of Jaipur ( Ps : they are all super photogenic ) :
1) City Palace
2) Amer Fort
In and around Amer Fort
3) Patrika Gate
4) Hawa Mahal
5) Gaitor cenotaphs
6) Maharani Ki Chatriyan
7) Jal Mahal
8) Jagat Shiromani temple
9) Jantar Mantar
10) Bar Palladio

PART 2 : ARAVALLI HILLS ( SAWAI MADHOPUR AREA)

After Jaipur we made our way to the beautiful Aravalli Hills for a getaway. Located just 3 hours away, this is doable by a quick car/taxi ride. If you are looking for something off the beaten path definitely add this to your itinerary. Ranthambore National park is also very close to the Aravalli range so you could totally combine the two.

Where to stay ?

One of my favorite hotel brands Six Senses recently opened their first property in India – Six Senses Fort Barwara in September 2021. So when we planned our India trip, one of the first places that was on my itinerary was Six Senses Fort Barwara! I was dying to visit this stunning bucket list luxury property in Rajasthan and I can now confirm that it is even more magical in person.

Six Senses Fort Barwara is located in a historic fort, which is what makes this stay an incredible experience by itself. This beautiful 14th-century fort was sensitively converted to become a Six Senses sanctuary of well-being , and it took them 10 years to sustainably restore it. Originally home to a Rajasthani Royal Family, the fort has 2 palaces, 2 temples and 48 beautiful suites within the fort walls.

Walls of the 14th Century fort!

A large part of the property retains the original fort wall and remains from 700 years ago, while the rest has been reinterpreted to perfection to seamlessly blend it with the historic facades. Staying in this 700 year old fort made us feel like we experienced living like royalty in a whole other era and it was so magical! Read more about our stay in this blog post. 

Things to do :

1 ) Relaxing in the resort which is an epic destination by itself

2 ) Morning hike and sunrise picnic in the Aravalli Hills

3 ) Cultural walks to nearby villages (Barwara Village, Shri Chauth Mata Temple, Shiwar Village, Shiwar Fort)

4 ) Trying your hand at local arts and crafts such as pottery (see above)

5 ) Safari to Ranthambore National Park to spot some tigers! ( we really wanted to do this but had no time unfortunately). The park is just an hour away so I highly recommend adding this to your itinerary.

 

PART 3 : UDAIPUR 

Often noted as “the most romantic spot on the continent of India”  Udaipur is a unique tourist destination and is known for its history, culture, scenic locations and the Rajput-era palaces. It is popularly known as the “City of Lakes” and the “Venice of the East”. It was my first time in Udaipur and I immediately fell in love with this gorgeous city! To get to Udaipur, you could fly for Jaipur, it is a short 1 hour flight.

Where to stay ?

We stayed in a beautiful boutique hotel called Amet Haveli, located right on Lake Pichola. The Present Amet Haveli Was built during the rule of Maharana Jagat Singh Ji –2nd of Udaipur between 1734-1752 A.D. He was the builder of the famous Jag Niwas which is presently known as Lake Palace in Udaipur.

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The property is so pretty and reminded me so much of a traditional riad in Morocco! All the rooms face the picturesque lake and they also have one of the best restaurants in town here called Ambrai. Location wise it is super central located in the old city area of Udaipur, so you can get around everywhere to kost popular spots either by foot, tuktuk, boat ride or cabs. I don’t recommend driving around in the old city since the roads are super narrow! More in my blog post here.

Ambrai restaurant at Amet Haveli

Amet Haveli was a beautiful boutique hotel in the mid-range, however if you are looking for hotels in the luxury range, Udaipur has some of the best hotels in the world, some of my faves ( which we also got to visit for lunch) :

  • Taj Lake Palace
  • The Oberoi Udaivillas

Oberoi Udaivilas

  • The Leela Palace Udaipur

Leela Palace, Udaipur

 

Things to do :

Some popular things to do in Udaipur :

1 ) City Palace

2 ) Boat Ride on Lake Pichola

3 ) Sunset at one of the ghats – Ambraai Ghat was my fave!

4 ) Jagmandir 

5 ) Fateh Sagar Lake

6 ) Shopping for handicrafts

 

PART 4 : OTHER PARTS OF RAJASTHAN

We only visited parts 1, 2 and 3, but I wanted to also include quick accomodation suggestions ( in the luxury sector) for some other popular spots of Rajasthan. These are all on my list for next time around!

1 ) Ranthambore National Park – famous for their tigers

Where to stay : Sujan Sher Bagh, Oberoi Vanyavillas or Aman-i-khas 

PC : Stock free images

 

2 ) Jaisalmer – for the beautiful Thar desert

Where to stay : Sujan the Serai

PC : Stock free images

3 ) Jodhpur – the Blue City

Where to stay : RAAS Jodhpur or Taj Umaid Bhavan

PC : Stock free images

Thanks for stopping by! xoxo

Jyo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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