India is a huge country, and it would take years to visit it right. With all the places to visit in India, there is a good reason if Rajasthan is the most visited of the Indian states. It is literally full of interesting places to see, both in terms of landscapes and in terms of cities and sites. Mostly desert, in Rajasthan there are also gentle green hills; and the fortresses and temples are scattered everywhere, reminding us of an era when Rajasthan was the land of the maharajas.
Here are 5 places to see in Rajasthan that are absolutely unmissable.
From Jaipur you can drive from car which take approx. 4 hours to reach Alsisar is a world unto itself, light years away from the chaos, the liveliness and the noise of the capital of Rajasthan. This town, which today has just 7000 souls (a trifle in a country where the cities under one million inhabitants are considered small), in the past, was an important commercial hub, a desert outpost where silk and cotton merchants they stopped to do business.
For this reason, Alsisar is still full of haveli, structures similar to caravanserai, with several courtyards surrounded by rooms and access to the upper floors. The women, who could not take part in business meetings, could observe what was going on behind the window screens, so as not to be seen. Today haveli are some wonderful places to visit. Some still retain the ancient trade registers. There are also some interesting temples in Alsisar.
In reality what makes Alsisar a pleasant place to visit is the atmosphere. Here life goes quiet and smooth. The barber welcomes customers in his shop. Women, covered in colored saris, go around covering their faces to protect themselves from the looks of the curious. There is that he goes to buy vegetables for dinner. The children play at the park and come to greet the few tourists.
Bikaner is a 4-hour drive from Alsisar, and has just over half a million inhabitants. It is not a quiet town like Alsisar, but it certainly is not even rowdy and chaotic when Jaipur. And indeed it receives far fewer tourists than the capital. Yet the Janugarh Fort is magnificent, huge and with beautiful courtyards, finely decorated rooms, doors and gates that are masterpieces and the view of the city from the fort is simply splendid.
Moreover, in Bikaner there are excellent hotels and restaurants – some, like the Gallops, offer a beautiful view of the illuminated fort in the evening (in addition to serving the best of Indian cuisine).
Just 70 km from the border with Pakistan, Jaisalmer is simply unmissable. City of just 70000 inhabitants, but that receives many tourists every year, not only Jaisalmer counts on a beautiful fort. Only in the case of Jaisalmer this fort, located on a hill overlooking the city, is still inhabited by about 3000 people. Inside there are shops, restaurants, small hotels and temples.
The view of the fort from afar is splendid , and its streets offer unforgettable life splits: imagine the usual motorbikes and scooters that roam everywhere, the dogs and the cows that run undisturbed, the street vendors, the stalls with the fruit … it’s a riot of colors.
The only problem with Jaisalmer is that the increasing influx of tourists who stop inside it causes an increase in the consumption of water with consequent infiltrations, which affects the fort itself that is slowly collapsing, with concern from the authorities that so they invite tourists to take advantage of hotels outside.
- Desert of the Thar
You cannot forget to visit Jaisalmer and do not miss to go for a Camel Safari in the Thar Desert, especially because you get there a little over half an hour’s drive. Who can, on a camel safari for a few days, sleeping in fields immersed in nothingness, savoring the total silence that is something very rare in India? But if the weather is short, it’s still nice to go and see the sunset from the dunes and then dine under a roof of stars, accompanied by the rhythm of traditional music.
- Ranakpur Jain Temple
Ranakpur Jain Temple is probably the most spectacular temple of Rajasthan. It is a temple dedicated to the jain – religion cult which, through very austere practices, aims at liberation from the cycle of reincarnation. It is a sacred place for the faithful, who go there to pray, while the tourists walk through the various courtyards, taken to observe the domes, the columns, and the intricate decorations.
Access to the temple is monitored very strictly: you have to be dressed appropriately, you have to take off your shoes and you cannot bring inside any kind of drink, food, cigarettes, or head in leather. Visitors are searched one by one. Be careful that inside various characters turn, with the excuse of making a prayer.