Rajasthan, in the north of India, is the largest state in the country, stretching for hundreds of thousands of square miles to the border with Pakistan, encompassing millions of people and thousands of villages, towns, and cities.
There are endless deserts, tall mountains, and even forests, giving Rajasthan a unique diversity matched by few other destinations in India.
The state’s name translates as ‘The Land of Kings’, because historically, Rajasthan was the domain of Princely States, and across the region, you can find the legacy of these wealthy kingdoms in the palaces, forts, and temples found in every great city.
There are a lot of places to visit in Rajasthan, from the Pink City of Jaipur to the jungles and tigers of Ranthambore National Park.
Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Rajasthan, Delhi & Agra (Travel Guide)
10 Best Places to Visit in Rajasthan
Rajasthan is a vast state, and there are endless opportunities to explore. There are sprawling cities, rural villages and beautiful national parks to visit.
It can be a challenge deciding just where exactly you might want to travel to if you are limited for time, so to help you out, here are our favorite places to visit in Rajasthan.
Chances are that if you are planning an itinerary in Rajasthan, you will be flying into and out of Delhi for your trip. The good news is that this city has some incredible things to do!
You could spend a week here and not see it all, but the good news is that you only need a day or two to hit the best sights before moving onto more famous places in Rajasthan like Jaipur and also Agra, where you’ll find the Taj Mahal.
The key to having a good time in Delhi is to make sure you stay in a good part of the city and hire a local guide with transport to maximize your time in the city.
Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan, and with excellent transport connections to the rest of the state and to the rest of India, it’s a great location to begin any trip here.
Jaipur is also the largest city in Rajasthan, and while it can be slightly overwhelming at first, there are some excellent sights to see. The city is also part of the classic Golden Triangle, a tourist trail that takes in Delhi and Agra too. Jaipur is known as the Pink City for its colorful designs.
Visit the Amber Fort and Palace, marvel at the royal opulence that the city was built upon and gaze at stunning royal retreats built on islands on the lake.
Our top recommended tours of Jaipur:
- Private Full-Day Tour of Jaipur
- Full-Day Jaipur City Tour Including Amber Fort and City Palace
- Night Tour of Jaipur City Monuments and Streets
3. Agra & Taj Mahal
While it is not technically located within Rajasthan, it is located on most routes that tour this popular state. The gem of any India itinerary is easily the city of Agra, simply because it features the world-famous Taj Mahal. Connected by a highway to the rest of the Golden Triangle, Agra is easily accessible and very popular among both tourists and travelers.
Besides the Taj Mahal, though, there are several other sites to enjoy. This includes palaces, parks and cultural sites around the city. To plan your trip, check out 9 Places to Visit in Agra Besides the Taj Mahal.
Jodhpur is Rajasthan’s second-largest city and is known colloquially as the Blue City for the brightly painted houses found here. Jodphur is home to one of the most impressive forts in the state, as well as an array of historic sites.
Mehrangarh Fort was built on a rocky outcrop high above the city to protect it from attack, and wherever you walk in the streets below, you’ll be in the imposing shadow of its walls and towers.
Close to the city, you can find an intriguing Desert Rock Park, where you can get a taste for the Rajasthani desert without having to travel too far.
In the city itself, you can admire the old clock tower and spend your day wandering through bustling local markets.
Our top recommended tours of Jodhpur:
- Private Tour: Jodhpur City Sightseeing Tour With Optional Guide
- Private Full-Day City Tour of Jodhpur
- Camel Safari Day Tour in Jodhpur
Udaipur is nicknamed the City of Lakes, and it’s one of the best places to visit in Rajasthan. Found in the south of the state, Udaipur was the lavish capital of the Mewar Kingdom, whose rulers built stunning palaces and grand buildings.
The city is surrounded by an intricate lake system, providing water and also providing spectacular vistas. Cruise across the shimmering lakes, visiting floating palaces and lakeside temples.
It’s one of the most aesthetic cities to visit in India, and you’ll be mesmerized by both the architecture and by the natural beauty. Plan your stop with 10 Interesting Things to Do in Udaipur.
Our top recommended tours of Udaipur:
- Experience Udaipur Full-Day Sightseeing Tour with Guide & Transports
- Full-Day City Sightseeing Tour with Tuk Tuk in Udaipur
- Full-Day Private City Tour of Udaipur Including Boat Ride in Lake Pichola
Jaisalmer is found in the far west of the state but despite its isolated location, it’s still one of the best places to visit in Rajasthan.
Jaisalmer is right in the middle of the vast Thal Desert which stretches towards the border with Pakistan, but the arid landscape and the dusty, dry climate are somehow enthralling to experience.
The town’s centerpiece is a 12th-century fort, known as the Golden Fortress, and this is the site of ancient royal palaces and historic temples. Being in the desert, Jaisalmer also makes a great jumping-off point to explore the endless scenery.
You can take safaris into the sand dunes and even camp out overnight in this great wilderness.
Our top recommended tours of Jaisalmer:
- Jaisalmer Private Full-Day City Tour with Havelis and Camel Ride
- Private Half-Day Tour of Golden Monuments in Jaisalmer
- Private Full-Day City Tour of Jaisalmer
Pushkar is one of the most famous destinations in northern India and one of the best places to visit in Rajasthan, but for much of the year, it’s a surprisingly quiet destination.
All that changes, however, come November, when the annual Pushkar Camel Fair brings hundreds of thousands of visitors – and camels – to the small town in the desert.
Pushkar is incredibly sacred to Hindus and Sikhs, and an important pilgrimage site too. The lake is surrounded by temples and places of worship, as it’s believed that the Lord Brahma created the town, and you’ll always find interesting local ceremonies being performed here.
A visit to Pushkar any time of the year is a cultural feast! Plan your stop around the 9 Best Places to Visit in Pushkar.
Our top recommended tours of Pushkar:
- Pushkar Day Trip From Jaipur
- Golden Triangle with Pushkar Fair
- Private Walking Tour In Pushkar Including Spiritual walk & Market Visits
8. Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park is one of the best places to visit in Rajasthan if you are looking for a change from the desert landscapes. Ranthambore is a protected area of forests and grasslands, and it’s home to some of the last remaining Bengal Tigers in India.
It’s a hugely important wildlife reserve, and you can take safaris through the wilderness in search of the elusive tigers, although given their low numbers, you have to be very lucky to spot one!
Even if you don’t spot a tiger though, you’ll see plenty of other local animals, including leopards, wild boars, hyenas, crocodiles and a huge array of bird species.
Our top recommended tours of Ranthambore National Park:
- 2-Night Private Ranthambore National Park and Wildlife Tour from Delhi
- Ranthambore Jungle Safari
- Ranthambore Tiger Safari Day trip from Jaipur
Bundi is a small town, but it’s one of the best places to visit in Rajasthan. Located directly south of Jaipur, the capital of the state, Bundi is a great place to escape the crowds and the chaos of the bigger cities.
It’s quite literally an oasis in the desert, and the colorful, ramshackle streets are surrounded by spectacular scenery.
Life in Bundi is slow, and you can leisurely explore the ancient streets of the old town without too much hassle and with none of the usual Indian madness!
You can climb the tall hills for astounding views of Bundi, you can visit the fortress, the temples and much, much more.
Bundi is small, and you can easily see the sights in just a day, but like many travelers before you, you might just find yourself staying here much, much longer than you were anticipating.
Bikaner is found in the north-west of the state, and it’s one of the most historic cities in Rajasthan. The city is in the arid Thal Desert, but since the 15th century, it’s been an ever-growing oasis in the dusty wilderness.
Visit the Junagarh Fort, which has guarded Bikaner for centuries, before exploring the bustling confines of the old town.
There are temples and cultural centers, alongside camel fairs and much more in Bikaner, making this an intriguing and somewhat off the beaten track destination to visit in Rajasthan.
Our top recommended tours of Bikaner:
Rajasthan Travel Tips
Best Time of Year to Travel to Rajasthan
Rajasthan has a wide range of landscapes, but for the most part, the state experiences an extremely arid climate, with dusty deserts and scorching weather, punctuated here and there by cooler highlands and the odd jungle-like region.
The weather in Rajasthan then can be harsh, with long, hot summers that bring high temperatures. Rainfall is limited through the year, but when it does rain, it rains hard, with seasonal monsoons sweeping across the state.
The best time of year to visit Rajasthan is the cool dry season, which falls through winter. From November through to March you have optimum temperatures averaging around 20 degrees Celsius (~68 degrees Fahrenheit).
Temperatures in summer, particularly between April and June, can frequently exceed 40 degrees Celsius (~104 degrees Fahrenheit), while July through to October is when the worst of the monsoon rainfall occurs, and the weather can be both hot and humid.
The winter dry season, while having the best weather for traveling, is also the busiest time of year to be in Rajasthan, when attractions are packed out and transport and accommodation can be booked well in advance.
If you are looking for a quieter time of year, then consider traveling in the shoulder seasons, at the start of summer, or just after the rains.
How to Travel Around Rajasthan
Rajasthan is an essential stop on the Indian tourist trail, and as such, the state is well set up for accommodating visitors, with a wide range of hotels and transport options across the region.
There are many ways to travel through Rajasthan, with options for every style and budget. Luxury travelers will be able to travel in comfort, with private drivers and guides, while staying at opulent hotels each night.
There are tour groups to join if it’s your first time traveling through India, and you’d like the comfort and security of a group, while seasoned travelers will be able to take public transport, using rickshaws, trains, and buses to visit the best places in Rajasthan.
While it’s set up for tourism, particularly touristy places, travelers will need to be aware of scams and high-pressure touts looking to make a quick buck from visitors. Just travel safely and sensibly though, and you shouldn’t encounter too many problems.
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