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Rajasthan – What to see and do in the desert state

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<span>The largest state in India is home to the pink city of Jaipur, famous for its well organised bazars; lose yourself inside the walls and barter to your heart’s content. </span><span>Each city has ancient well preserved forts and holy temples to venture to which are full of history and culture. Rajasthan has two national parks where you can see the wild tiger, plus there is a huge desert to explore. </span><span></span>

Shinod Lukose

My Destination local expert on

Rajasthan

Hawa Mahal

 

Situated within the pink walls of the main bazaar in Jaipur is Hawa Mahal, known as the Palace of Winds. If you’re not looking up, you can walk straight past it. Sat perfectly in-between the shops and buildings of the market, the palace forms a triangle tower above the other pink terracotta colored buildings. This was originally built for women of aristocracy to be able to look out onto the ‘real world’ of Rajasthan without having to get down and dirty with the commoners. Tiny pretty stained glass windows line each level of the palace.

 

Thar Desert

 

As one of Rajasthan’s top attractions, if not in the whole of India, the Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert spanning nearly 200,000 square kilometres is something not to be missed. From Jaisalmer, which is known as the entrance to the Thar Desert, camel trekking trips are easily bookable from day trips to three night long treks. The desert actually forms a natural boarder between India and Pakistan with dunes as high as 152 meters in the south.

 

Amer Fort

 

Just outside the pink city is the 16th century Amer Fort, built of orange stone. It is one of India’s oldest and best preserved Hindu Forts. Ride a pretty painted elephant up the steep hill to the main square, and then explore the cleverly built tiny and almost secret passageways. Roam between the artificially cooled gardens and rooms where intricate marble still remains on the ceilings. Cobbled paths, high gates and levelled open squares overlook the Maota Lake.

 

Palace on the Lake

 

Made famous by Ian Fleming’s novel Octopussy and 007 is Udaipur’s Palace on the Lake. Previously called Jag Niwas Udaipur it is known as the ‘city of lakes’ due to its huge amount of lakes. The Palace on the Lake is now a 5 star hotel, brimming with luxury, probably why Udaipur is also known as Venice of the East as lots of the hotels are completely surrounded by water.

 

Ranthambore National Park

 

As one of the largest parks in Northern India sprawling over 350 square kilometers, Ranthambore National Park is best known for being able to see tigers naturally in the jungle. The park is about 120 kilometers south of Jaipur and was once one of the leading hunting grounds, but since 1972 it has been a tiger reserve. It also gained National Park status in 1980.It’s home to the infamous leopard, lazy looking sloth bears, hyenas, lakes, rivers and of course the Ranthambore Fort dating back to the 10th century.