Backpacking in Rajasthan

2:46 PM

Rajasthan is one such destination in India where backpacking can still be relaxed. Not familiar with Backpacking? it’s nothing but carrying a single backpack for the whole trip, using public transport for commute, often a long duration trip and experiencing local flavors and culture.
Out of the endless list of tourist attractions in Rajasthan, we limited our destinations to the western desert plains of Rajasthan covering Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner with an inclusion of Jaipur.
This part of Rajasthan is mainly stocked with forts, palaces, havelis, Jain temples and Cenotaphs. Apart from numerous monuments, the never ending Thar desert is definitely a must visit and for shopaholics there is a lot to explore and foodies will get lot many dishes to fulfill their appetite.
As a tourist in Rajasthan, one would feel welcomed, as they say locally “Padharo Maare Des”, which means “Welcome to my land”.
We started our journey from the blue city and then traversed through the golden city & red city, and finally ended up at the beautiful pink city; Yes, Rajasthan is colorful even with its identity of its cities.

Here I jot down some of my memorable experiences of the whole trip.

Jodhpur: 
The blue city is famous for its gigantic Mehrangarh fort which is one of the largest forts in India and the Umaid Bhawan Palace, one of the world's largest private residences. Do not miss out to enjoy the rooftop candlelit dinner with amazing view of Mehrangarh fort lit in the backdrop, it's an experience of a lifetime.
Sheesh Mahal, Mehrangarh Palace
Sheesh Mahal, Mehrangarh Palace
Places visited: Mehrangarh fort and Palace, Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum, Mandore gardens and museum, Jaswant Thada, Ghanta Ghar
Birds eye view of the Blue city from Mehrangarh fort
Birds eye view of the Blue city from Mehrangarh fort
Things to do: take the short trek route to Mehrangarh fort instead of taking the regular taxi, have dinner at one of the roof top restaurants to enjoy the night view of the fort when it's lit up.
Shopping: Nai sadak, National Handloom near Janta sweets, market around Ghanta Ghar
Food: Janta sweet home, nai sarak road-kachori and mirchi vada, ker sangri, The Curry’s rooftop restaurant.

Jaisalmer:
The city is often termed as golden city for its imposing fort, which is also a UNESCO world heritage site and the havelis surrounding the fort all built with yellow sandstone, and during sunset the whole city turns golden in color due to its yellowish sandstone structures. The exquisite Jharokhas or the bay windows all through the city only adds to the glamour of the city. One should experience the beauty of the city on foot, walking through the narrow lanes and the heritage havelis both inside and outside the fort.
Jaisalmer is one of the most romantic getaways in India for its aesthetic monuments, endless desert, beautiful sunscapes and rooftop candle lit restaurants.
Mandir Palace, Jaisalmer
Mandir Palace, Jaisalmer
An excursion from Jaisalmer will take you through the dunes of the Thar desert near the villages Sam and Kanoi, which is a must visit to experience the desert sand dunes. While returning back, you can explore one of the many desert attractions including the abandoned village Kuldhara, Khaba fort and the Jain temple of Amar sagar.
Sunrise at the Sand dunes of Kanoi, Thar desert
Sunrise at the Sand dunes of Kanoi, Thar desert
Places visited: Jaisalmer fort & palace, Patwa ki haveli, Gadisar Lake, Mandir palace museum, Nathmal ki haveli, Salim ki haveli
Sand dunes of Sam & Kanoi, Kuldhara village, Jain temple of Amar sagar.
Things to do: Sunset Camel Safari at Sam dunes, sunrise jeep safari at the Thar desert near Kanoi, heritage walk inside the fort and around the havelis
Shopping: Gandhi Chowk road, local markets around Patwa Haveli & fort gate, Fort road, and around Gadisar Lake
Shopping near the Jaisalmer fort gate
Shopping near the Jaisalmer fort gate
Food: Hotel Victoria restaurant at the edge of the fort for an amazing view of the city below with a romantic candle lit dinner, Golden roof restaurant with picturesque views of Jaisalmer fort & Mandir Palace, Jaisal Italy rooftop restaurant at the fort gate for a closer view of Jaisalmer fort.


Bikaner:
Bikaner is a vibrant desert city often less influenced by tourism. The city is mostly famous for Junagarh fort and often tourists miss out to explore the Bikaner style havelis like the Rampuria group of havelis. Many heritage buildings including the Junagarh palace, Lalgarh Palace and the Rampuria havelis are built with red sandstone and to follow the trend many houses are also painted in red. Bikaner is also famous for its sand dunes, but we had already experienced the sand dunes of Jaisalmer, so we gave it a miss.
Anup Mahal, Junagarh Palace
Anup Mahal, Junagarh Palace
Places visited: Junagarh fort & Prachina Museum, Rampuria group of Havelis, Lalgarh Palace
Things to do: try out the local street foods on station road, Heritage walk around the Rampuria havelis
Rampuria group of Havelis, Bikaner
Rampuria group of Havelis, Bikaner
Shopping: Station road, MG road, around Kote gate, and Teliwara road for Kundan jewelries
Food: many shops on Station road including Bhikharam Chandmal, Bishanlal Babulal Bhujiawala.
Malai Ghewar, Jalebis, kachoris, Bhujiya, Puri & Lassi at Chhotu Motu Joshi sweet shop.

Jaipur:
Popularly known as the pink city, hosts two UNESCO world heritage sites, the Amber fort and the Jantar Mantar. While Amber fort along with Jaigarh fort is for history buffs and adventure seekers, Jantar Mantar is for science enthusiasts. Shopping is a must do while you are in Jaipur, and is one of the hottest shopping destinations in India. After the sun goes down the city gets a different look altogether with Amber fort, Hawa Mahal, Albert Hall, Birla temple all lit up. If time permits go for a one day excursion to Chand Baori step well.
Sheesh Mahal, Amber Palace
Sheesh Mahal, Amber Palace
Places visited: Albert museum, Birla temple, Amber fort and palace, Jaigarh fort, Jal mahal, Jantar mantar, City palace & Museum, Hawa Mahal
Things to do: shopping at Johari bazaar and bapu bazaar, trek to Jaigarh fort through the secret tunnel.
Jaigarh fort overlooking the Aravalli mountains
Jaigarh fort overlooking the Aravalli mountains
Shopping: Jaipur is one of the best places for shopping in India. There are over ten markets to shop including Sireh Deori/Hawa Mahal Bazaar, Johari Bazaar, Bapu Bazaar, Nehru Bazaar, Kishanpol Bazaar, Tripolia Bazaar, Chandpol Bazaar.
What to shop: Bandini tie and dye fabrics, rich embroideries, traditional bangles, souvenirs, Joothis, kids traditional dresses, razai, bed-sheets, artwork, etc.
Shopping streets in Jaipur
Shopping streets in Jaipur
Food: Dal Bhati Churma, Sweet Kachori in Rawat Mishthan Bhandar and Peacock Rooftop restaurant for a typical Rajasthan ambiance with good food and live music.

Apart from Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Jaipur, Rajasthan has many prominent tourist attractions and landmarks spread across the state, which I have reserved for my future visits.
Having explored the Rajput and Marwar region of Rajasthan, looking forward to explore the historical Mewar region covering Ranakpur, Kumbhalgarh, Udaipur, Chittorgarh along with Ranthambore and Keoladeo National Parks, and some notable landmarks of Bharatpur, Deeg and Chand Baoli.



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