In 1853, Jaipur's prosperous ruler King Sawai Man Singh got all city walls painted in pink to welcome the Prince of Wales, Edward VII. In the semi-desert lands of Rajasthan, Jaipur is the place for you if you are tired of frequenting hill stations in Northern India. A glorious past of Kings and palaces blended with a culture of pride and hospitality and topped up with a sepia urbanism, that's Jaipur for you!

Places to see

The list is always large. The time is often less. Therefore you must semi-plan your itinerary as you pack for Jaipur. Nevertheless, here are some personal recommendations we would like to give!
Let's begin with the best village in Jaipur, Chokhi Dhani. Spread over 10 acres, Chokhi Dhani (or Good Village) is an ethnic theme village, set up for tourists for both visiting and staying. The village is a 3-5 hour long engaging destination with ethnic culture of Jaipur at its best. The best time to visit the village is around 4 or 5 in the evening.
After a not so expensive ticket (including an unexplainably delicious dinner) you get to see a rustic and rural village with kiosks or performances including magic show, puppetry, archery, machaans, cots, Rajasthani dance, tarot reading, free Baajra ki Roti, camel ride, live ethnic music band, and countless other entertainment options. Travel around till the evening hour and make sure you have enough appetite because the dinner (for which you paid with the entry ticket) is Rajasthani food served in traditional style (usually savoured while seated on the ground, but dining tables are also available) with various dishes, unlimited servings, and ready to serve traditionally clad staff! Food is perhaps the biggest attraction of Chowki Dhaani. Please note that the village also offers luxury ethnic resorts for night stay. It has royal cottages, haveli suites, multicuisine restaurants, banquet halls, spa, and barbeque among various other luxuries for tourists.
Next on a good itinerary should be the forts and palaces throughout the city. The most beauteous ones are Nahargarh Fort and Jaigarh Fort, two hill fortresses in proximity to each other. The fort of Amber, which was the former capital of Rajasthan, is a spending sight too.

After these, some more places you may go for include Jaipur's famous Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Rambagh Palace, and Albert Hall Museum. All the forts have two things in common, a strong hint of Jaipur's glorious past and infrastructural marvels. Another beautiful must-see place is the Jal Mahal. You will find it if you enter Jaipur from Delhi's direction, a large lake and a solitary palace standing in its centre, with 4 floors submerged in the lake and one above water. The history and concept of Jal Mahal are enough to qualify it as a must-see place!
Another must-not-miss experience is to watch a polo match at the Rambagh Polo Ground. Even if there are no tournaments on, exhibition matches as well as practice sessions usually happen every evening between 4 pm and 6 pm. However, owing to Jaipur's bristling heat, no matches happen during summer months.

Also nearby is the holy town of Pushkar (170 km) which is worth a visit at least once. After that, you'll probably be compelled to travel there anyway as the town will leave you spellbound with its pristine beauty that prevails over the cacophony in its markets and at the lakeside ghats.




Shopping
Jaipur has so much to sell to so many people, and at low prices. Johari Bazaar, Bapu Bazaar, Nehru Bazaar, and Kishnapol Bazaar are the famous markets where national and international tourists get best deals on items like jewellery, ethnic clothes, accessories, souvenirs, Rajasthani arts and crafts, miniature paintings, marble statues, mirror work items, and other stationery & decorative items. Even if you are a non shopper, strolling through the local shopping markets, it is enough to fill your eyes with the rustic beauty of this city. Recently, Jaipur has seen a rise in various shopping malls and multiplexes, including the famous World Trade Park.


Mount Abu is the only hill station in the state of Rajasthan. It is nestled in the lap of the Aravallis, offering a pleasant respite for the parched state. On of the most visited hill stations in North India, Mount Abu is famous for its scenic vistas and water reservoirs. The town is also a highly revered pilgrimage destination for Hindus and Jains boasting of beautiful temples and palaces.

 

Places to See
Nakki Lake and the Dilwara Temples are one of the most impostant things to see in Mount Abu. While the man-made lake is the focal point of the town, Dilwara Temples are set in quieter surroundings. Another site worth exploring is Achalgarh, a 14th century fortress with battlement walls set atop a mountain peak. It offers splendid views and here a 10-minute hike would take you to the Jain Temples within the fortified walls. Also visit the Gaumukh Temple in Mount Abu. Besides the religious significance, the site is favoured for walks and picnics.

Climb up to Guru Shikhar, Mount Abu's highest peak, which offers scenic views of the surroundings. You can also visit a shrine and temple located there. Another temple, the Adhar Devi Temple, is where you can climb up 365 stairs carved into the mountain to reach the rocky cave where the idol is placed. The climb can be arduous so be sure to carry a bottle of water and take breaks at regular intervals. Another must do during a holiday in Mount Abu is to go bird watching in the Mount Abu wildlife Sanctuary which boasts of over a 100 species of birds. The quintessential hill station, Mount Abu also boasts of a Sunset Point, which reportedly offers the best sunset view in the Aravalli ranges.

The most celebrated event in Mount Abu is the annual Summer Festival. Spanning three days in the month of June, it is devoted to showcasing tribal art and culture. A boat race at Nakki Lake is part of the itinerary; however, it's the dance and music performances by various local groups that dominate the event.

A holiday in Mount Abu can be extended to include a day or two in Udaipur (186 km), the "City of Lakes". One of the primary tourist destinations in the country, Udaipur is known for its magnificent palaces and for the cultural heritage that the city has inherited from its glorious royal past.

Shopping
Mount Abu has vibrant markets around Nakki Lake. Just browse around for carved sandstone, marble and sandalwood items. The ubiquitous Rajasthani curios - bandhini print cloth, puppets, footwear, jewellery, miniature paintings, etc - are also a great tourist favourite. Since Mount Abu lies quite close to the Rajasthan-Gujarat border, there are many shops selling Gujarati embroidery items and leather work also.

You can also shop for Kota sarees, Sanganeri print cloth and Jaipuri quilts in Mount Abu. Rajasthali, the Rajasthan government handicrafts emporium, Khadi Bhandar, and the Fair Price Rajasthan Emporium, all offer good quality handicrafts at fair prices.



The colourful city of Jodhpur revolves around the Rathore clan and is named after Rao Jodha, the chief of the Rathore clan. Set at the edge of the Thar Desert, this imperial city echoes with tales of antiquity in the emptiness of the desert. The graceful palaces, forts and temples strewn throughout the city bring alive the historic grandeur of this city. Lending a romantic aura to Jodhpur, are its exquisite handicrafts, folk dances, folk music and the brightly attired people.
Places to See

Jodhpur is a storehouse of culture and history. It abounds in history and you will see numerous forts, palaces and beautiful lakes dot the city. The Government Museum, Umeid Bhawan Palace, Mehrangarh Fort, Balsamand Lake and some ancient temples like Chamundaji temple, Rajranchodji temple are some of the places you must see while there.

Located on one of the hilltops, the Mehrangarh Fort is a show stealer in Jodhpur. Built in 1806, the alluring architecture of the fort ensures that every tourist in the city visits the fort. The Jaswant Thada is a white marble cenotaph built in 1899 in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. Then there is the 20th century Umaid Bhavan Palace, which is also known as the Chittar Palace because of the Chittar sandstones used to build it. The palace has now been converted into a luxury hotel.

You can also visit the Clock Tower and Government Museum, which displays a rich collection of weapons, textiles, miniature portraits, local crafts and images of Jain Tirthankaras. This museum is located in the lawns of 20th Umaid Bhavan. Art lovers should visit the Kaman Art Gallery to see some unusual paintings on display by local artisans.

Short excursions to the beautiful Mandore Gardens, Ocian Jain Temples and the Mahamandir Temple are a must on a trip to Jodhpur. Another thing you absolutely cannot miss out is a safari, not a regular one, but one in the desert! Yes, Jodhpur is the place to enjoy desert safaris and the graceful camels dance their way into the sea of sand. Also indulge in an open jeep ride, navigating your way into the Bishnoi tribal villages to get a close peek into the unique tribal life of the region.

There are plenty of getaways from Jodhpur for a day's trip. Fort Pokhran is a massive, cream-coloured, 14th century fort, 168 Km from Jodhpur. Mandore, about 8 kilometres from Jodhpur is the ancient capital of Marwar. At the foot of the hills amidst gardens, commemorative cenotaphs line the silent city.

A shrine reportedly of 300 million gods contains the life size statues of local deities and heroes. Kota is a blend of the ancient and the modern, Kota today is a modern town throbbing with activity and progressive industrialization. But the old world charm lingers. A fort overlooks the Kota Dam complex and palace here.

Shopping
Jodhpur is a haven for shoppers! Name it and it is here. Traditional jewellery like bajuband, bala, gajra and gokhru are some the master creations of Jodhpur. Come heat or cold, you will still see some Rajasthani women sporting these as a part of their tradition. For the more hep, Jodhpur has junk and silver jewellery on offer. If you search, you search really hard, you may even stumble upon some beautiful stone pieces.


Udaipur's biggest charm lies in its location: the foot of the Aravallis. They surround the city protectively, gifting it breathtaking views of the hills that rise and fall. Famous as the City of Lakes, evenings in Udaipur, especially by the lake side is an amazing experience, which can also be enjoyed from the city's numerous rooftop restaurants.

Udaipur is a jewel of Mewar with rich history, culture and Rajput-era palaces. Also called the most romantic city in India, it definitely is the most serene of all.
Places to See

Lake Pichola: With a picturesque setting on the banks of Lake Pichola, the magnificent City Palace is the star attraction in Udaipur. The towering structure houses a museum and two heritage hotels. From its extensive grounds along the Lake, enjoy a view of the pristine white Lake Palace, which has also been converted into a hotel and is being operated by the Taj group.

Moti Magri: A popular site for picnics and leisurely strolls, Moti Magri or Pearl Hill is a memorial dedicated to the Rajput legend Maharana Pratap. It overlooks the Fateh Sagar Lake, offering some splendid views, especially towards sundown.

Sajjangadh or Monsoon Palace: This is another site that offers awesome views of the city from its location atop a hill overlooking all the lakes of Udaipur. It's definitely worth a visit.
Saheliyon-ki-Bari: It is a vast garden set on the embankments of the Fateh Sagar Lake.

Hotel.Experience old world hospitality with chic interiors at 1559AD, offers great variety of Indian & Continental cuisines.

Kumbhalgarh (80 km) is a famous fort near Udaipur. Famous for its fortified wall, which is known to be the longest in the country, Kumbhalgarh is also home to a wildlife sanctuary. A secluded town away from the hustle bustle of city life, it offers solitude and a touch of the typical regal environment that is expected of every destination in Rajasthan. Another popular getaway from Udaipur is Ranakpur, which is known for its Jain temples. These centuries old structures are fine architectural gems and feature intricate carvings.



Shopping
Udaipur is a shopper's delight. The winding galis - Jagdish Market, Lake Palace Road, Bhatti Chowk, and Clock Tower offer interesting bargains. Some of things must-buys include: handicrafts like puppets, bandhini cloth, silver jewellery, hand-made paper products and miniature paintings made in traditional Mewar style.


Jaisalmer is dominated by the colour yellow, actually a dull yellow, just like the sand that surrounds it. Merging well in the surrounding Thar Desert, the town of Jaisalmer is pretty, picturesque and pristine. The 800 year old honey coloured Fort atop the Trikuta Hill towers over this sun kissed city, presenting an enchanting scene. Home to beautiful havelis and palaces, Jaisalmer also offers visitors the fascinating panorama of the desert. With its magnificent structures and characteristically Rajasthani people, Jaisalmer holds a mirror to the true culture and heritage of Rajasthan. A visit to this quiet town leaves most spellbound and puts you in a trance, compelling you to return, over and over again...
Places to See
The prominent structure in town and its most prized possession is definitely the 800 year old Jaisalmer Fort, popularly known as the Sonar Qila, with reference to its golden colour. With its 99 bastions and some interesting havelis and temples housed within it, the Jaisalmer Fort is highly recommended for a visit. Formed mostly of yellow sandstone, the majestic structure is decorated with paintings and carvings that dot the walls inside its periphery. Within the Fort also lie famous 12th and 15th century Jain Temples with Dilwara style paintings and architecture. Also visit the Desert Cultural Centre Museum on Gadi Sagar Road, which remains open from 10 am to 5 pm each day. Along with its rare collection of coins and manuscripts, the centre also houses traditional textiles, weapons, musical instruments and various books on the history and culture of the region. The other prominent attractions of the Golden City are its famous havelis - Patwon ki Haveli, Salem Singh ki Haveli and Nathmalji ki Haveli. Set in narrow lanes, these intricately carved structures are testimony to the rich artistic heritage of Jaisalmer. To compliment the delicate carvings on the yellow sandstone exteriors, the havelis feature elaborate mirror-work in the interiors, creating a fascinating piece of artwork.

Jaisalmer is a town that enchants you. And if you're not bowled over by the various sights that it offers, try some interesting activities that will surely leaving you asking for more. While on a tour of the Jaisalmer Fort, plan ahead and visit it at such a time that you can spend some time lounging around there after the regular sightseeing tour.

The most exciting excursion that you can plan around Jaisalmer would have to be to Sam Sand Dunes. A vast area covered with rolling mounds of fine sand, Sam is barely 42 km away from the city and is very popular for day trips as well as overnight camp excursions. You can drive there in a sturdy SUV, jeep or similar vehicle. Taxis can be hired in the city for the same as well. Ideally you should opt for an overnight camping package.

Shopping
Curios, trinkets, camel leather items, textiles, woven jackets, jutis, mirror-work linen and exquisitely carved wooden boxes, all this and more should feature on your wish list while shopping in Jaisalmer. The main shopping areas are Sadar Bazaar, Sonaron ka Baas, Manak Chowk, Pansari Bazar and Seema Gram. Shopping in this town also allows you to get a feel of its culture, its myriad facets and varied colours, all of which combine to form a truly royal portrait.

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