Must see attractions in Rajasthan

  • Top ChoiceSights in Jaipur

    City Palace

    A complex of courtyards, gardens and buildings, the impressive City Palace is right in the centre of the Old City. The outer wall was built by Jai Singh II, but within it the palace has been enlarged and adapted over the centuries. There are palace buildings from different eras, some dating from the early 20th century. It is a striking blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Amber

    Amber Fort

    This magnificent fort comprises an extensive palace complex, built from pale yellow and pink sandstone, and white marble, and is divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard. It is possible to visit the fortress on elephant-back, but animal welfare groups have criticised the keeping of elephants at Amber because of reports of abuse, and because carrying passengers can cause lasting injuries to the animals.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Jaipur

    Hawa Mahal

    Jaipur’s most-distinctive landmark, the Hawa Mahal is an extraordinary pink-painted, delicately honeycombed hive that rises a dizzying five storeys. It was constructed in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh to enable ladies of the royal household to watch the life and processions of the city. The top offers stunning views over Jantar Mantar and the City Palace in one direction and over Sireh Deori Bazaar in the other.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Jaipur

    Jantar Mantar

    Adjacent to the City Palace is Jantar Mantar, an observatory begun by Jai Singh II in 1728 that resembles a collection of bizarre giant sculptures. Built for measuring the heavens, the name is derived from the Sanskrit yanta mantr, meaning 'instrument of calculation', and in 2010 it was added to India’s list of Unesco World Heritage Sites. Paying for a local guide is highly recommended if you wish to learn how each fascinating instrument works.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Bharatpur

    Keoladeo National Park

    This tremendous bird sanctuary and national park has long been recognised as one of the world’s most important bird breeding and feeding grounds. In a good monsoon season over one-third of the park can be submerged, hosting over 360 species within its 29 sq km. By far the best time to visit this park is October to February, when you should see many migratory birds. At other times, or even after poor monsoon conditions, it can be dry and relatively bird-free.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Jodhpur

    Mehrangarh

    Rising perpendicular and impregnable from a rocky hill that itself stands 120m above Jodhpur’s skyline, Mehrangarh is one of the most magnificent forts in India. The battlements are 6m to 36m high, and as the building materials were chiselled from the rock on which the fort stands, the structure merges with its base. Still run by the Jodhpur royal family, Mehrangarh is packed with history and legend.

  • Sights in Eastern Rajasthan

    Suraj Mahl’s Palace

    At the centre of Deeg – a small, rarely visited, dusty tumult of a town about 35km north of Bharatpur – stands the incongruously glorious Suraj Mahl’s Palace, edged by stately formal gardens. It’s one of India’s most beautiful and carefully proportioned palace complexes. Pick up a map and brochure at the entrance; photography is not permitted in some of the bhavans (buildings).

  • Top ChoiceSights in Udaipur

    City Palace

    Surmounted by balconies, towers and cupolas towering over the lake, the imposing City Palace is Rajasthan’s largest palace, with a facade 244m long and 30.4m high. Construction was begun in 1599 by Maharana Udai Singh II, the city’s founder, and it later became a conglomeration of structures (including 11 separate smaller palaces) built and extended by various maharanas, though it still manages to retain a surprising uniformity of design.

  • Sights in Mt Abu

    Delwara Temples

    These remarkable Jain temples are Mt Abu’s most remarkable attraction and feature some of India’s finest temple decoration. They predate the town of Mt Abu by many centuries and were built when this site was just a remote mountain wilderness. It’s said that the artisans were paid according to the amount of dust they collected, encouraging them to carve ever more intricately. Whatever their inducement, there are two temples here in which the marble work is dizzyingly intense.

  • Sights in Jaisalmer

    Jain Temples

    Within the fort walls is a maze-like, interconnecting treasure trove of seven beautiful yellow sandstone Jain temples, dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. Opening times have a habit of changing, so check with the caretakers. The intricate carving rivals that of the marble Jain temples in Ranakpur and Mt Abu, and has an extraordinary quality because of the soft, warm stone. Shoes and all leather items must be removed before entering the temples.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Jodhpur

    Mehrangarh Museum

    The fort's museum encompasses its former palace, and is a superb example of Rajput architecture. The network of courtyards and halls features stone-lattice work so finely carved that it often looks more like sandalwood than sandstone. The galleries around Shringar Chowk (Anointment Courtyard) display India’s best collection of howdahs (seat for carrying people on an elephant’s back) and Jodhpur’s royal palanquin collection. The superb audio guide is included with your ticket, but bring ID or a credit card as deposit.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Bikaner

    Junagarh

    This most impressive fort was constructed between 1589 and 1593 by Raja Rai Singh, ruler of Bikaner and a general in the army of the Mughal emperor Akbar. You enter through the Karan Prole gate on the east side and pass through three more gates before the ticket office for the palace museum. An audio guide (requiring an identity document as a deposit) is available in English, French, German and Hindi, and is very informative.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Jaisalmer

    Jaisalmer Fort

    Jaisalmer’s fort is a living urban centre, with about 3000 people residing within its walls. It is honeycombed with narrow winding lanes, lined with houses and temples – along with a large number of handicraft shops, guesthouses and restaurants. You enter the fort from the east, near Gopa Chowk, and pass through four massive gates on the zigzagging route to the upper section. The final gate opens into the square that forms the fort’s centre, Dashera Chowk.

  • Sights in Jaipur

    Isarlat

    Piercing the skyline near the City Palace is this unusual minaret, erected in the 1740s by Jai Singh II’s son and successor Iswari. The entrance is around the back of the row of shops fronting Chandpol Bazaar – take the alley 50m west of the minaret along the bazaar or go via the Atishpol entrance to the City Palace compound, 150m east of the minaret. You can spiral to the top of the 43m minaret for excellent views.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Jaisalmer

    Fort Palace Museum

    Towering over the fort’s main square, and partly built on top of the Hawa Pol (the fourth fort gate), is the former rulers’ elegant seven-storey palace. Highlights of the tour include the mirrored and painted Rang Mahal (the bedroom of the 18th-century ruler Mulraj II), a gallery of finely wrought 15th-century sculptures donated to the rulers by the builders of the fort’s temples, and the spectacular 360-degree views from the rooftop.

  • Sights in Bundi

    Bundi Palace

    This extraordinary, partly decaying edifice – described by Rudyard Kipling as ‘the work of goblins rather than of men’ – almost seems to grow out of the rock of the hillside it stands on. Though large sections are still closed up and left to the bats, the rooms that are open hold a series of fabulous, fading turquoise-and-gold murals that are the palace’s chief treasure. The palace is best explored with a local guide (₹700 half-day plus ₹100 for guide entry).

  • Top ChoiceSights in Bikaner

    Bhandasar Temple

    Of Bikaner’s two Jain temples, Bhandasar is particularly beautiful, with yellow-stone carving and vibrant paintings. The interior of the temple is stunning. The pillars bear floral arabesques and depictions of the lives of the 24 tirthankars (great Jain teachers). It’s said that 40,000kg of ghee was used instead of water in the mortar, which locals insist seeps through the floor on hot days. The priest may ask for a donation for entry, although a trust pays for the temple upkeep.

  • Sights in Fatehpur

    Le Prince Haveli

    This 1802 haveli (traditional, ornately decorated residence) has been stunningly restored by French artist Nadine Le Prince and is one of the most exquisite havelis in Shekhawati. Visiting students of art history conduct the detailed guided tours (45 minutes, French or English) on the fresco technique and the history of the havelis and the merchants who built them. There’s a small gallery and a garden bar in which to relax with a post-tour refreshment. Rooms have been converted into beautifully decorated guest rooms.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Bundi

    Chitrasala

    Within the Bundi Palace complex is the Chitrasala, a small 18th-century palace built by Rao Ummed Singh. To find it, exit through the palace’s Hathi Pol (Elephant Gate) and walk around the corner uphill. Above the palace’s garden courtyard are several rooms covered in beautiful paintings. There are some great Krishna images, including a detail of him sitting up a tree playing the flute after stealing the clothes of the gopis (milkmaids).

  • Top ChoiceSights in Jaisalmer

    Patwa-ki-Haveli

    The biggest fish in the haveli (traditional, ornately decorated residence) pond is Patwa-ki-Haveli, which towers over a narrow lane, its intricate stonework like honey-coloured lace. Divided into five sections, it was built between 1800 and 1860 by five Jain brothers who made their fortunes in brocade and jewellery. It’s all very impressive from the outside; however, the first of the five sections, the privately owned Kothari’s Patwa-ki-Haveli Museum, richly evokes 19th-century life and is the only one worth paying entry for.