Things to Do in Rajasthan - page 2
This portion of Jaipur’s City Palace is the residence of the royal family and former Maharaja of the Pink City. Located in the west end of the palace complex, it stands seven stories tall and is also known as “Palace of the Moon.” As members of the royal family still reside here, visitors are only allowed on the first floor — which holds a museum of royal artifacts and decorated halls.
The Chandra Mahal is part of the City Palace that was built between 1727 and 1734, and is one of the oldest buildings in the site. There are paintings, historical murals, mirror work and floral decorations to gaze upon. The flag of the royal family still flies atop the highest tower, and the queen’s flag is flown whenever the king has left the palace.
The Amber Fort, built in 1592, once served as the palace and capital of the Kachchawahs during their reign until 1727, when the capital was moved to Jaipur. While the fort was abandoned in the eighteenth century, the remaining palaces, temples and courtyards are surprisingly well preserved and have retained much of their original beauty and craftsmanship. In 2013 the Hill Forts of Rajasthan, including Amber Fort, were awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.
Located about 7 miles (11 kilometers) from Jaipur, the Amber Fort sits on a hill top and faces out over the Maota Lake. To enter the fort, you must make the steep climb by foot, jeep or elephant, passing beneath the Sun Gate and into the inner palaces. Plan to spend a minimum of half a day at the Amber Fort, taking care not to miss the Shila Davi Temple (dedicated to the goddess Kali) with its intricately worked silver doors, the glass mosaics of the Mirror Palace and the filigreed marble windows.
Ranthambore National Park is one of the largest national parks in north India. Situated in the Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan, historically it was the former hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur. Today the park is a major wildlife tourist attraction, where visitors come in particular to see the famous tigers that live here.
Those hoping to see the tigers in their natural habitat won’t be disappointed, with sightings of the big cats occurring at most times of the year, but particularly in November and May. Other wild animals that live here include leopards, wild boars, hyenas, and sloth bears. The park also features lush jungle and diverse plant and bird life, plus one of the largest banyan trees in India. Aside from its verdant jungle and wild animals, Ranthambore National Park is also known for being an important heritage site, with ancient ruins scattered across the lush landscape.
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Chand Baori, one of the deepest and largest step wells in the world, is also one of India’s most overlooked and incredible sights. An Escher-like maze of 3,500 symmetrical stone steps descent 100 feet (30 meters) into the ground, culminating in a well where locals once came to draw water. The well is so deep, the temperature at the bottom is often several degrees cooler than on the surface.
The well, along with nearby Harshat Mata Temple, were built between 800 and 900 AD by King Chand Raja, and was believed to be dedicated to Hashat Mata, the Hindu goddess of joy and happiness. Stone sculptures carved into the walls of the well depict scenes from Hindu mythology. A popular filming location, the well featured in scenes from The Dark Knight Rises, The Fall and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
The city of Ajmer is a whirlwind of activity and excitement tucked between the quiet Ana Sagar Lake and the picturesque Aravalli Hills. The fifth largest city in Rajasthan, Ajmer is known as an important hub for Islamic history, culture and early Muslim architecture, as well as a destination for followers of the Jain religion. For this reason, travelers will find a number of noteworthy religious structures, like the Dargah Sharif of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, which is visited by some 125,000 people each year.
History lovers can check out Taragarh Fort, which once guarded the city and is believed to be among the oldest forts in the world. Ajmer’s main museum, known as Magazine, is a shining example of Mughal architecture that dates all the way back to 150. Visitors can also explore the Digambara Jain Temple and Lake Foy Sagara, a man-made lake that’s ideal for evening bird watching.
Madho Singh founded the town of Bhangarh in 1631, and at its peak it encompassed a seventeenth century fort and some 10,000 dwellings. Approximately 300 years ago, Bhangarh was deserted for no known reason, leaving behind a complex of well-preserved ruins. Today it’s widely regarded as the most haunted place in India. While staying past dark in the fort is prohibited, a few brave souls who have managed it have reported several strange phenomena, including the sounds of footsteps or a woman screaming and the sensation of an unseen presence nearby.
The first palaces, courtyards, gardens and pavilions that make up Jaipur’s City Palace were built in 1727 by Maharaja Jai Singh II, ruler of the kingdom of Amber, in what is now Jaipur. The complex was added on to through the centuries, with some of the newer structures dating from the twentieth century. The royal family, one of the richest families in India, still lives in the Moon Palace (Chandra Mahal) on the site.
As you enter the first courtyard you’ll see the Guest Pavilion (Mubarak Mahal) which was built in the nineteenth century. The structure now serves as a museum housing a collection of textiles, accessories and musical instruments from the local royalty of the past. The City Palace armoury next door to the museum has one of the most extensive collections of rather vicious weapons on display, among them is an 11-pound (5-kilogram) sword.
This small lake sits under the massive Amer (Amber) fort just outside of Jaipur and includes a small island in its center, lush with gardens. The Kesar Kyari Bagh, or saffron garden, contains plants that are said to have been planted by a Maharaja in the 15th century, and all of the plants sit on a raised square platform base with intricate stonework laid between the colorful patterned plants.
The lake provides a serene setting from which to look up at Amer Fort on the hillside. The fort and palace are reflected on the water’s surface, and Maota Lake once served as the main source of water for the Amer Palace. The other garden on the lake, Dilaram Bagh, is named after its architect, and both gardens were clearly created to be seen from above, with geometric patterns that can only be seen from up the hill.
Things to do near Rajasthan
- Things to do in Udaipur
- Things to do in Jaipur
- Things to do in Jodhpur
- Things to do in Sawai Madhopur
- Things to do in Ranthambore National Park
- Things to do in Jaisalmer
- Things to do in Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand
- Things to do in Madhya Pradesh
- Things to do in Gujarat
- Things to do in Alwar
- Things to do in Ahmedabad
- Things to do in Indore
- Things to do in Uttar Pradesh
- Things to do in Punjab
- Things to do in Jammu and Kashmir