Take a backpack full of essentials, slip into your comfy shoes and sneak out of this big sad world of blinding competition and hatred. For once you’re out there in the other world that is off the grid, you truly realise the vagueness of it all. “Into The Wild” managed to capture this in perhaps its truest essence.
So far among all my sojourns, the best that I recall was perhaps the Rajasthan trip.
Ah! Rajasthan, you beauty. The land of the Royals, the one that gives you all as also blindfolds you into its mirage like the paramour that disappears leaving you perpetually thirsty.
I am absolutely in love with Rajasthan. So here I whisper to you the top 10 things you should never miss out on when in Rajasthan.
- Desert Safari On Camels (or car!)
One of the very first pictures that unanimously come to our minds with the word Rajasthan is desert and, hence, camels. You look at the endless vastness of the sand around in a whole new light from the back of these majestic queer creatures. Jaisalmer offers you the best camel rides, followed by Pushkar.
If adrenaline rush is what you are looking for, take your own or rent a SUV and go dune bashing in Thar Desert and feel the thrill pump up through your veins.
- Desert Camping (On A Moonlit Night)
If you’re in the desert, keep your calendars free for a night camping in the desert. The soft silence around a bonfire on a cold desert night, romanticized by all the stargazing and soothing moonlight is perfect for Honeymooners. Delicious authentic desert cuisine, puppet shows, folk song and dance performances by the Kalbeliya and other tribes accentuate the Rajasthani flavour.
- Royal Relics
Rajasthan attracts tourists from across the world primarily for its rich historical heritage still carefully preserved within these royal forts. Take a look at where the legendary Jodha Bai spent her childhood in Amber Fort, or witness the medieval war tactics practised at Jaigarh and Nahargarh Fort. Don’t forget to drop in at the magnificent Golden Fort of Jaisalmer, Meherangarh Fort, the unparalleled Udaipur Palace, and of course, the infamously haunted Bhangarh Fort. Witness the confluence of centuries of history and myth unfold before your own eyes.
Also, if possible, leaf through James Todd’s “Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan” before you leave for a tour of the forts.
P.S. If you’re not a person afraid of heights, opt for zip-lining to enjoy an exquisite bird’s eye view of the forts.
- Jungle Safari
What many tourists often forget is that Rajasthan is the land of the best national parks and sanctuaries in India. Ranthambore National Park, Sariska Tiger Reserve, Keoladeo National Park, and Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary offer safari rides through the exclusive wildlife of this zone which surprisingly is a rich biodiversity hotspot. A jeep ride through the silent forests and you may be lucky enough to come across tigers, deer, boars, elephants, bears and birds to name a few.
P.S. Please maintain absolute silence not to scare the lovely beasts and do not tease the animals in any way.
- Visit Chand Baori
The Abhaneri step-well or Chand Baori as it’s more commonly known is a must-see for architectural splendour. Not far from Jaipur city, pay a visit here and be awed by the amazing architectural and scientific prowess of the medieval people.
- Go Trekking in Mount Abu
Yes, Rajasthan does offer spine-tingling adventures for those mountain-lovers too. Go for trekking through the winding mountain roads offering wilderness at its best, preferably in the pre-Winter season. All you nature lovers, if lucky enough, might spot a few exclusive bird species too, if not, sit for a break with the local villagers and mesmerize yourself with their sprightly folklores.
P.S. If time permits, drop in at the Dilwara Temple. In my humble opinion, it is perhaps the best marble marvel I have seen since the Taj Mahal.
- Hot Air Balloon Ride Through Jaipur
This activity offers you a unique view of the royal land filled with its amazing forts and nowhere-else ecological exclusivity. This is very popular among international tourists and I recommend this strongly, as your Rajasthan trip would be incomplete otherwise.
- Be A Part of The Kite Festival and The Vintage Car Rally
Align your tour dates wisely, and do not miss out on this beautiful kite festival in Jodhpur organised on Makar Sankranti, 14th January.
If you are an avid car enthusiast, this is one thing you must attend in Jaipur and be delighted at the rally of the bestest of the best vintage luxury cars.
- Visit Ajmer Sharif
Whether you are a spiritual person or not, this is one place where the mind attains a peace unexplained. Pay a visit to this holy shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti and express your deepest desires and prayers.
- The Amazing Cuisine of Rajasthan
The desert land offers perhaps one of the best cuisines rich with colours, flavours and variety. Try the famous Gatte ki Sabzi, Dal-Bati-Churma, Chikki and other Bikaner sweets. Dine at Chokhi Dhani which satiates your taste buds best with the flavours of Rajasthan. If possible, drop in the rural households sometimes, and enjoy Rajasthan at its root amidst a hearty talk with the lovely people here.