India is an incredibly diverse and impressive country. Dreamlike 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 gets his money’s worth.
Here are some of our personal favorites for a great Rajasthan trip.
- Ranthambore National Park
The 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 fortunately the poaching of the 1990s was finally stopped. That’s why you can meet here today one of 50 Bengaltigern in the wild. The best season is the European winter. However, you always need a good deal of luck and patience – it is best to do more than a safari, because the tigers are shy and the number of vehicles allowed in the park is very limited.
But even those who do not meet any tiger, can enjoy here on various animals such as deer, antelope, bear, many species of birds and crocodiles.
It is imperative to follow the instructions of the rangers 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 much to offer. With 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, is particularly impressive in the old city center. The best view is from a café with a rooftop terrace across the street.
Early in the morning, pay a visit to the Jal Mahal, the water palace. This is inaccessible to visitors, but offers an incredibly beautiful photo opportunity from the shore to the sunrise. It’s best to enjoy it with a cup of chai in your hand! From here, you can quickly get to the Amer Fort. Avoid the elephant treks (why, are you reading here ), the way up is also easy to handle on foot and when you get to the top, you have a beautiful 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 while travelling through the India’s Palace on Wheels.
Where Jaipur is pink, Jodphur is blue. The origin for the love for everything blue in the Blue City is unclear. But regardless of whether it was a matter of donating coolness in the often very hot summer, or honoring Shiva, the god of the color blue, the color has left a lasting mark on the cityscape. Even if the color is often bleached today, the blue shimmer can be guessed anywhere. In addition, Jodphur is also called the city of the sun, which usually shines here all year round – ideal for travelers from the colder countries.
Highlights you should not miss in Jodhpur are the Mehrangarh Fort, which is one of the most beautiful in India and is directly accessible via a shortcut on foot from the old town. The Jaswant Thada Tomb and Toorji-Ka-Jhalara are also worth a visit. Especially the latter, the Jodhpur Stepwell, offers a great photo backdrop and for the very brave (caution the police sells here the tourists!) A cool down.
- Karni Mata Temple – the rat temple
An unusual highlight among the many temples in Rajasthan is the Karni Mata Temple. South of Bikaner is this Hindu temple, the Karni Mata is dedicated to a manifestation of the goddess Durga and is also known as a rat temple. There are currently around 20,000 rodents living inside, supplied with food and drinks by visitors. Cats are undesirable because the rats, both real and stone, are worshiped.
The access of the Blessed Sacrament is denied to non-Hindus, but the rest of the temple and its little inhabitants, everyone may admire. However, like almost everywhere else in India – taking off your shoes. Timid guests are allowed to start their socks. Either way, it is considered auspicious when a rat is running over your feet and especially an audience with the rare white rats is much sought after by followers of the goddess.
- Camel Market Pushkar Mela
If you travel to Rajasthan in November, you should not 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 Fest is celebrated here and probably the largest camel market in the world takes place. If you want to be in the city for Pushkar Mela, you should look after your accommodation in time, as Pushkar is usually a manageable town with 16,000 inhabitants. During the camel market, however, there are up to 200,000 two-legged visitors and over 30,000 animals.
On five days then trade is driven and camels, horses, goats and products of the region change their owners. But after the work is done, the fun is not too short. There are camel races, a beauty contest for camels and a meanwhile tug of war between Rajasthanis and tourists.