Rajasthan, India has been famous for art and architecture for centuries. Rajasthan is also known as Rajputana, the land of Rajputs. Politically the state has gained prime importance since the ages of Mughals. Raja Bharmal of Amer married off his daughter to Mughal emperor Akbar for political reasons, which later served key importance in the history of Mughals and Rajputana.
- The state has got historic cities, forts, and palaces built from different dynasties.
- Kumbhalgarh fort on Aravali mountain ranges near Udaipur is 2nd largest wall in the world after the Great wall of China.
- Jaipur has an ancient observatory Jantar Mantar built by Jai Singh. Jantar Mantar is the 18th Century observatory which is still functioning and has been tested thoroughly.
- Sawai Jai Singh was king of Mewar in the 18th century who was also the founder of Jaipur. King was highly learned and known for his unique Nobel qualities among his peers. He conducted research in Astronomy and astrology, built observatories in his time. He was also a great photographer.
- Sawai Jai Singh’s grandson, Sawai Pratap Singh built the Hawa Mahal, which is one of the popular tourist attractions in Pink city. Hawa Mahal is also known as Wind Palace. The exterior designed with 953 small windows in the structure of bee-hive, which maintains the wind keeps the palace cool in extreme summer.
- There is Krishna-Meera Temple in Amer, which is one and the only temple for Lord Krishna and his devotee Meera. Meerabai was a poet and mystic who was born in a Rajasthani royal family.
- There is one and only Brahma temple in the world located in Pushkar, Rajasthan.
- Rajasthan is most famous for handmade art and Craft. You could see traditional art made using natural colors without using chemicals. Descendants of royal artists still continue the lineage of family art and craft. I am glad to interview some of them during my visit. Rajasthani miniature paintings, wood inlay or Takashi craft, a wooden craft in miniature art, Pichwai paintings, a devotional painting based on the stories of Lord Krishna.
- Rajasthani hand-carved pieces of jewelry are famous in the world.
- Hand-blocked prints on cloths from Sanganer near Jaipur has got its unique perspective to reveal the culture. I was delighted to shoot the Block printing process in Bhagat Fabrics, Sanganer-Rajasthan.
- Rajasthani buttermilk with Dal-Baati-Choorma and Roti with Aloo-Pyaz are the popular meals in most of the local restaurants.
How to plan a solo trip to Rajasthan?
Rajasthan is huge, it has got various landscapes, culture, art, and architecture. Planning a trip to Rajasthan is not everyone’s cup of cake. Many just think that the whole Rajasthan is dessert. In fact, it is not. The countryside of Rajasthan is not yet developed. But important tourist destinations are partially well maintained.
Jaipur, Pushkar, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaiselmer, Bikaner, Barmer, Jhunjhunu are the most popular destinations. Before planning for a visit, you may have to list out your priorities. Each part of Rajasthan offers various things to visitors. You may need to stay at least 4-5 days in one place to visit decent cites. If you prefer to visit all the possible attractions around the area, you may need at least 10 days in one place.
Traveling from one place to another is time-consuming in Rajasthan. Places like Jaisalmer, Barmer, and Bikaner does not have direct public transportation from major tourist spots like Jaipur/Udaypur. That makes your travel either pricy or time-consuming.
You will get travelers hostels in popular destinations for a decent price. I stayed in a hostel in Udaypur Eltravo which was in the center of the city and walkable to City Palace, Lake Palace, Lake Pichola, Gangaur Ghat and many more. This is the Eltravo Facebook page. It was a blast staying in this beautiful hostel Hostelavie in Pushkar. Just behind the lake and very near to the market, they offer yummy meals in the restaurant. CouchSurfing community across Rajasthan offers a travel-friendly environment.