Have you seen Hanuman Ji?
8 highlights in Rajasthan you shouldn't miss
India is an incredibly diverse and impressive country. Fantastic sandy beaches in the south and dreamy mountain villages in the north, lively jungles and lonely deserts, chaos and silence - a land of diverse contrasts, in which every traveler somewhere at his expense.
But none of the 29 Indian states embodies the classic image of India like Rajasthan. The state in the northwest of India is the largest state in area and borders Pakistan in the west. Here your India dreams will come true thanks to the fascinating contrasts of old magnificent buildings, sacred cows, dusty streets and lively bazaars.
If you don't have time for a complete tour of India, you should definitely come to Rajasthan. Many of the most famous India highlights are at home here. We'll tell you our personal favorites for a great Rajasthan trip here.
1. Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park is named after the nearby Rantahmbhor Fortress from the 10th century. Part of the park is the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, which is one of 53 tiger reserves in India. The former hunting ground of the Maharajah was declared an animal sanctuary in 1973 and luckily poaching in the 1990s was finally stopped. That's why you can meet one of 50 Bengal tigers in the wild here today. The best season is the European winter. However, you always need a good dose of luck and patience - it's best to do more than one safari, because the tigers are shy and the number of vehicles that are allowed into the park is very limited.
But even if you don't meet a tiger, you can enjoy various animals such as deer, antelopes, bears, many species of birds and crocodiles.
The instructions of the rangers must be followed and caution is advised, because no one is safe from the king of the jungle.
Choosing a single attraction in Jaipur is almost impossible as the capital of Rajasthan has a lot to offer. Thanks to its terracotta-colored houses, Jaipur is also called the pink city, which is particularly evident in the early evening light. Then the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of the Winds, in the old city center is particularly impressive. You have the best view from a café with a roof terrace across the street.
It is worth visiting the Jal Mahal, the water palace, early in the morning. This is inaccessible to visitors, but offers an incredibly beautiful photo opportunity from the shore at sunrise. The best way to enjoy it is with a mug of chai in hand!
Not just fancy a cup of chai, but a real food adventure through India?
From here you can quickly get to Amer Fort. Avoid the elephant tours (why, read here), the way up is easy to manage on foot and when you get to the top, you have a wonderful view.
A visit to Jaipur is also particularly suitable for shopping, the city is known for silverware and textiles and the colorful markets are a worthwhile photo opportunity.
Where Jaipur is pink, Jodphur is blue. The origin of the love for everything blue in the Blue City is unclear. But regardless of whether it was about providing coolness in the often very hot summer or honoring Shiva, the god of the color blue - the color has had a lasting impact on the cityscape. Even if the color has often faded today, the blue shimmer can still be guessed everywhere. In addition, Jodphur is also called the city of the sun, which mostly shines here all year round - ideal for travelers from colder countries.
Highlights that you shouldn't miss in Jodhpur are the Mehrangarh Fort, which is one of the most beautiful in India and can be reached directly via a shortcut on foot from the old town. The Jaswant Thada Tomb and Toorji-Ka-Jhalara are also worth a visit. The latter in particular, the Jodhpur Stepwell, offers a great photo backdrop and a cooling off for the very brave (be careful, the police like to drive away tourists here!).
4. Karni Mata Temple - the rat temple
An unusual highlight among the numerous temples in Rajasthan is the Karni Mata Temple. This Hindu temple is located south of Bikaner. It is dedicated to Karni Mata, a form of the goddess Durga, and is also known as the rat temple. Around 20,000 rodents currently live inside and are supplied with food and drinks by visitors. Cats are undesirable here because rats - both real and stone - are revered.
Access to the Holy of Holies is denied to non-Hindus, but everyone can admire the rest of the temple and its small inhabitants. However, like almost everywhere in India - take off your shoes. Timid guests can leave their socks on. Either way, it is considered lucky if a rat runs over your feet and an audience with the rare white rats is particularly popular with followers of the goddess.
5. Pushkar Mela Camel Market
If you travel to Rajasthan in November, you shouldn't miss a visit to the Pushkar Mela camel market.
During the autumn full moon (the dates are based on the Hindu lunar calendar), the Kartik Purnima festival is celebrated here and the world's largest camel market takes place. If you want to be in town for the Pushkar Mela, you should find accommodation in good time, because Pushkar is usually a small town with 16,000 inhabitants. During the camel market, however, up to 200,000 two-legged visitors and over 30,000 animals can be found here.
For five days there is trade and camels, horses, goats and regional products change hands. After the work is done, there is also plenty of fun. There are camel races, a camel beauty contest and a tug-of-war between Rajasthanis and tourists that has now become a tradition.
6. Jaisalmer desert safari
Jaisalmer is also called the golden city thanks to its sand-colored houses that shimmer especially in the evening sun. As a former caravan town, right on the edge of the desert, it is the perfect starting point for a camel safari in the Desert National Park.
The Thar is a sandy desert that stretches across the Pakistani border (there it merges into the Cholistan) with sand dunes that are up to 150 m high. Safaris are offered from October to March, as temperatures quickly reach around 50 ° C in summer. A visit after the monsoon season is especially nice, when the desert is surprisingly green. No matter when, sun protection for the day is a must, as is warm clothing for the night.
Most tours offer a camel ride of several hours and a night or two in the desert. Depending on your comfort requirements, you sleep on simple camp beds or you can of course also glow. Regardless of the price, a night in the ‘one million star’ hotel is unforgettable and offers pure campfire romance. Getting up early is also worthwhile, because the sunrise in the desert is a highlight in Rajasthan.
Udaipur is a postcard motif that has come true and is not called the Venice of the East for nothing. The city is surrounded by three man-made lakes - the most famous is Lake Pichhola near the city center. Against this romantic backdrop, old palaces and temples beckon to explore and get lost.
The Maharaja's palace, in which the Maharana von Mewar ruled until 1956, now functions as a hotel and museum. The Lake Palace Hotel, located in the middle of Lake Pichhola, is just as idyllic. It has already been used as a backdrop for numerous films such as “The Tiger of Esnapur” and the James Bond film “Octopussy”. What is good enough for Roger Moore should also be good enough for you - at least for a sunset with the most beautiful view over the lake.
8. Galta ji - the monkey temple
Galta ji, the monkey temple, is like in a jungle book that has come true. The complex outside of Jaipur is dedicated to the sun god and inside there is a temple for the monkey god Hanuman. The buildings are abandoned and the plaster is crumbling, but that doesn't bother the monkey gang. They bathe and have fun in the bathing establishment-like facility that stretches up the mountain. Young and old then jump from the roofs into the cool water and are clearly master of the house here. Visitors are welcome but have to pay a fee for cameras. As always when cheeky monkeys are involved, you should take good care of your sunglasses and other loose items.
And should you get in their way and suddenly be used as a stepping stone for a wet monkey, you can at least convince yourself that it brings luck - after all, you are in the temple of the monkey god.
You can also experience the best of Rajasthan on our Rajasthan Experience.
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