20 Things to Do in Rajasthan for an Amazing Vacation
The state of Rajasthan is a colorful kaleidoscope of modern luxury to ancient royalty. Popularly known as the “Land of the Royals”, the state of Rajasthan is an enchanting realm of rich history, diverse geography, warm hospitality and colorful culture. Explore this India’s premier destination with our Rajasthan Tour Packages where a broad smile of the locals and the royal heritage awaits you at every turn.
Nestled in the heart of India, Rajasthan transports you back in history and unfolds the rich heritage like a fairytale story. As you enter Rajasthan, mesmerize in the opulent palaces, imposing forts, and intricate architecture, where each structure narrates its own tale. From the golden sands of the Thar Desert to the lush Aravalli hills, Rajasthan showcases a remarkable geographical mosaic. The vivid landscapes transition seamlessly, offering a captivating blend of colors, cultures, and traditions.
20 Best Things to Do in Rajasthan
1. Visit the Historic Forts
Listen to the heroic tales of the Rajputana kings and dive into the royal heritage of this state by visiting the Historic Forts in Rajasthan. Amongst the popular ones are the Amber Fort of Jaipur known for its intricate paintings, ornate halls, mirror frescos at the Sheesh Mahal, etc. Kumbhlagarh, Chittorgarh, Meherangarh, Nahargarh, Taragarh and the Ranthambore Fort stands proudly today and are a true testament to Rajasthan’s architecture and reflects the spirit of their rulers.
Visiting the Sonar Qila of Jaisalmer is like walking straight into history as it is the only living fort in India. Thus, visiting Jaisalmer Fort is one of the best things to do in Rajasthan. These formidable structures, perched atop rocky hills or nestled amidst arid landscapes, offer panoramic views of the surrounding regions and transport visitors to a bygone era.
2. Indulge in Adventure Activities
The vast desert landscape and the oldest mountains of India – the Aravali hills in Rajasthan together make a perfect playground for adventure sports in Rajasthan. Satiate the adventurer in you by participating in these adrenaline-pumping activities in the golden Thar Desert like sandboarding, dune bashing, desert camel safari, and quad biking.
Embark on the jeep safari in the majestic Ranthambore National Park and get a chance to encounter some majestic creatures like leopards and tigers. Experience hot-air ballooning to get a surreal perspective of Rajasthan’s fort, palaces, and arid landscape from the skies. The lakes of Rajasthan also offer an array of water activities like speed boating, kayaking, jet skiing, paddle boating, etc.
3. Visit the Haunted Places
Unveil the mysterious and chilling side of this vibrant state by visiting the historical sites and palaces bearing the eerie tales that have endured through generations. Visiting these haunted places of Rajasthan is one of the best things to do in Rajasthan as they are deeply intertwined with their history and folklore and offer an alternative perspective to its regal charm.
One such place is the famous Bhangarh which narrates a sorcerer’s curse that led to the fort’s abandonment. The Kuldhara Village in Jaisalmer was abandoned overnight which renders its haunted spirit. Other places to visit in Rajasthan to experience paranormal activities are Sudhabay in Pushkar that houses a ghost fair, Chand Baori, Rana Kumbha Palace, Mehndipur Balaji Temple, etc.
4. Take Elephant and Camel Rides
Traveling on Camel and Elephant backs has always been a mode of transportation in Rajasthan since ancient times. So taking a camel or elephant back ride while visiting this state is one of the best things to do in Rajasthan. You can enjoy an elephant ride while visiting the Amer Fort in Jaipur. The elephant village near is a place where you can bathe, feed and pamper these gigantic mammals.
You can go for a camel ride almost anywhere in Rajasthan. Taking up a desert camel safari in Jaisalmer or Bikaner, a camel cart ride at Pushkar Fair, a visit to India’s Largest camel breeding center in Bikaner and attending the famous camel festival are just some of the ways to know more about these animals of Rajasthan.
5. Live like the Royals for a Day
To truly immerse yourself in the regal lifestyle of Rajasthan, there is no better way than to stay in their luxury heritage hotels. Staying in the heritage properties is one of the best things to do in Rajasthan to live some moments king-like.
These properties blend history, elegance, and impeccable hospitality, offering a glimpse into the extravagant lifestyles of the erstwhile Maharajas and nobility. The floating Udaipur’s lake palace, The Rambaugh Palace in Jaipur, Jodhpur’s Umdaid Bhawan Palace, and the Suryagarh Palace, once served as royal residences are now preserved architecture with world-class amenities to offer an unparallel experience of princely living.
6. Visit the Museums
Venture into the soul of Rajasthan’s historical legacy and India’s regal past to gain a deeper understanding of history, culture and extravagant lifestyles by visiting the magnificent museums of Rajasthan. The museums in Rajasthan are known for housing an exquisite array of artifacts like elaborate jewelry, elegant furniture, royal paintings, intricately designed weapons, and ornate textiles that showcase the luxury and craftsmanship of the royal courts, allowing visitors to marvel at the unparalleled splendor of Rajasthan’s heritage.
Other than housing the artifacts of the royal family members the museums of Rajasthan also house antique items, weapons, ancient manuscripts, etc from all over the world as bought by various traders and rulers. Visiting the Albert Hall and Doll Museum of Jaipur, City Palace Museum of Udaipur, Vintage Car Museum of Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer War museums is one of the best things to do in Rajasthan for a history buff.
7. Marvel at the beautiful Palace Interiors
Marveling at the exquisite palace interiors is one of the best things to do in Rajasthan to understand the artistic legacy and the rich heritage. The several palaces across Rajasthan that once served as Royal Residences to the kings and the queens have been beautifully decorated with several intricate features like captivating frescos, ornate doors and windows and intricate interiors with mirror work, etc.
The City Palace of Jaipur showcases a blend of Mughal and Rajputana architecture with the 4 most beautiful ornate doors based on the seasons. Udaipur’s City Palace is equally fascinating with its Mor Chowk’s three peacock-themed mosaics. Jodhpur’s Umaid Bhawan Palace showcases the Art Deco style and boasts a remarkable collection of antique clocks. The Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, which is also a symbol of Rajasthan’s beauty, with its iconic symmetrical facade of jaalis and paintings was made to provide cool ventilation during summer
8. Relish the Local Cuisine
Embark on a gastronomic adventure as you relish your taste buds with the iconic foods of Rajasthan. Try some famous dishes like Dal Baati Churma, a hearty combination of lentils, baked wheat balls, and sweet crumbled bread served with the Rajasthani style garlic chutney. Enjoy the famous snack called Pyaaz Kachori – a deep-fried delicacy filled with spiced onions and the tangy Mirchi Vada.
The dishes like Bajri ki Roti. Gatte ki Sabzi, Ker Sangri, and Lal Maas are a part of the traditional cuisine of Rajasthan and are a must-try. Do not forget to try the famous sweets – Ghevar a delicious dessert made of deep-fried batter, soaked in sugar syrup and Mawa Kachori with a sweet filling of milk solids, coconut and dry fruits.
9. Attend the Colourful Festivals
The best way to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of this state is by attending the colorful festivals of Rajasthan. The celebrations of various festivals in Rajasthan are an opportunity to interact with the locals, understand their customs and traditions, savor the festive food and be a part of the lively festivities.
See the true side of rural Rajasthan with the Pushkar Camel Fair and the Bikaner Camel Festival which is a cultural extravaganza with various competitions like camel race, traditional performances and much more. Other popular festivals to attend in Rajasthan that is celebrated with great pomp are Diwali, Marwar Festival, Jaipur Literature Festival, Gangaur and Teej. If you ask me, you must attend the Holi Festival in Pushkar market if you love crowded but happening parties and spend the Makar Sankranti evening in old Jaipur where the sky is filled with colorful kites and post-dawn the lanterns and fireworks fill the night sky.
10. Watch Traditional Performances
One of the best things to do in Rajasthan is to watch the traditional performances that narrate tales related to the culture of Rajasthan. Listen to the music, watch the twirl of the dancers with their colorful dresses and immerse in the stories of love and valor that come to life with the puppet shows that define this vibrant state.
Enjoy the lively Kalbelia dance that celebrates the nomadic heritage and features the serpentine movements of a snake. The Ghoomar dance is a celebration of womanhood where the graceful twirls of colorful attire will captivate the audience. These performances can be enjoyed at places like Bagore ki Haveli in Udaipur, Chokhi Dhani in Jaipur, and some desert campsites in Jaisalmer. The impromptu traditional performances can also be seen on the main markets and popular streets across various cities in Rajasthan.
11. Go Shopping in the Colourful Market
The markets in Rajasthan are a paradise for shoppers with an array of handicrafts, textiles, jewelry and artifacts that displays the region’s craftsmanship. Some of the best buys while shopping in Rajasthan are Kundan jewelry, Jaipur Quilt, Camel leather goods, colorful textiles with colorful embroidery and mirror work, hand-carved sculptures, puppets, bandhani and block print clothing, blue pottery and home decor items, gemstones and a lot more.
Some of the famous shopping places in Rajasthan are Jaipur’s Johari and Bapu Bazaar, Jodhpur’s Sardar Market, Udaipur’s Shilpgram and Haathi Pol Market and the Sadar Bazaar of Jaisalmer. If you are into hippie items like tie-dye clothes, hemp items, and psychedelic artwork, then the colorful Pushkar market is the perfect place for you.
12. Attend the traditional art workshops in Jaipur
If you are someone who is interested in art and traditional handicrafts, the capital city of Jaipur offers a plethora of workshops to get a first-hand experience of learning about the traditional art and craft of Rajasthan.
You can participate in workshops on blue pottery that teach the traditional techniques that go into making pottery. You can print your own piece of cloth in block-printing workshops with natural dyes and colors. You can also learn jewelry making and miniature paintings by participating in these workshops organized in museums, local art galleries, government workshops, etc.
13. Visit the lakes of Rajasthan
The lakes in Rajasthan add more to the natural charm and graces the arid landscape of this enchanting state. Taking a romantic boat ride in the Pichola lake of Udaipur (also known as “the city of lakes”) is one of the best things to do in Rajasthan. You will not only spend some quality time gliding on the serene waters of Pichola Lake but will also get a chance to marvel at the stunning royal buildings in the lake and around.
You can also indulge in several water sports in other lakes in Rajasthan like Fateh Sagar Lake, Nakki Lake, Ana Sagar Lake, Badi Lake, Jaisamand Lake and Gadisar Lake. Visiting the unique Sambhar Salt Lake which is also India’s largest inland saltwater lake is one of the best things to do in Rajasthan.
14. Visit the Famous Religious Sites
Along with the royal heritage and the golden Thar desert, there are some unique and must-visit religious sites in Rajasthan. This state houses several beautifully carved and intricately decorated Jain Temples in Dilwara, Ranakpur, Jaisalmer Fort, etc. An interesting fact about Rajasthan is that it also houses a unique temple dedicated to a Royal Enfield and a temple full of rats which is also known by the name Karni Mata Temple.
The Tanot Mata Mandir on the Jaisalmer Border is believed to protect the Indian Army based here. The Pushkar town is renowned for housing the only Brahma Temple in the world, making it a must-visit site. The Mehendipur Balaji temple in Dausa district is renowned for its exorcism activities. The Ajmer Sharif Dargah dedicated to the famous priest Salim Chisti is also one of the popular sites to visit in Rajasthan. Visiting these unique temples in Rajasthan is one of the best things to do in Rajasthan and listening to the legends and stories behind them can be an intriguing experience.
15. Visit the National Parks
The state of Rajasthan is also blessed with rich arid biodiversity. Taking a jeep safari in the National Parks is one of the best things to do in Rajasthan to get a closer look at the wildlife in this state. Along with the famous national parks, there are also some leopard reserves in the Aravali hills which offer an excellent opportunity to spot the leopards. Some popular places to go on a leopard safari are Jawai and Jhalana reserves.
The famous national park in Rajasthan is the Ranthambore National Park, famous for the spotting of tigers, leopards, nilgai, deer, sambhar, golden jackal, etc. Other National parks include the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, Desert National Park, Kumbhalgarh, and Mount Abu wildlife sanctuary. The Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur is a paradise for bird watchers as several migratory birds flock to this place from all around the world during migration.
16. Go Camping/ Glamping
One of the best things to do in Rajasthan is to go camping in the golden Thar desert. The city of Jaisalmer houses several desert camps to choose from, according to your budget. These campsites are located in the Sam Sand Dunes with well-decorated Swiss tents, giving you the royal feel. You can also relish in the traditional cuisine, go on desert adventures and enjoy the traditional dance performances here. Going camping in the desert also provides opportunities for stargazing.
Glamping is another emerging best things to do in Rajasthan as there are now several properties in the countryside of Rajasthan that have set their unique glamping resorts. They accommodate you in royal tents, swiss cottages, geodesic domes, etc with all the modern amenities and comfort.
17. Visit the Indo-Pak Border
Rajasthan is one of the largest states in western India, and shares its borders with Pakistan. This provides an excellent opportunity to take up border tourism in this state. The Longewala Border in Jaisalmer is also an army post where you can go for border tourism.
The Tanot Mata Temple near the Jaisalmer border is a revered pilgrimage site in Rajasthan. The temple survived during the 1971 Indo-Pak war which attributed to the goddess’s divine protection of the region. The museum near the temple houses war remains from this war, which will foster a deeper connection with the nation’s history and security forces.
18. Travel on a Luxury Train
The Palace on Wheels is a luxurious train journey that takes you through the enchanting landscapes of Rajasthan. This iconic train is a combination of modern comforts and the royal charms of the bygone era. This train traverses through the major cities of Rajasthan like Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Sawai Madhopur and Bharatpur.
The luxury experience onboard the Palace on Wheels is unparallel. The lavish cabins adorned with elegant fabrics and rich furnishing exude royalty. Personal attendants cater to every need, ensuring a seamless and pampered journey. Sumptuous meals, a fusion of traditional Rajasthani and global cuisines, are served in opulent dining cars. Cultural performances, traditional music, and regal hospitality are seamlessly woven into the experience, creating an immersive tapestry of Rajasthan’s heritage.
19. Explore the Stepwells
The step wells in Rajasthan are classic architectural marvels that intertwined history, utility, and aesthetic grace, and visiting these unique structures is one of the things to do in Rajasthan. These step wells are called “Baori” or “Bawdi” and were used as water reservoirs in ancient times. These architectural wonders boast distinct features, such as intricately carved pillars, galleries, and ornate facades that showcase Rajasthan’s splendid craftsmanship.
These stepwells were used to store water all year round and the steps were built for easy access to the water, despite the heat and arid weather. Additionally, there were also used as spaces for social gatherings and religious ceremonies. The Abhaneri stepwell is one of the most beautiful step wells in the country. Other popular step wells to visit in Rajasthan are Panna Meena ka Kund in Jaipur and Toorji ka Jhalra in Jodhpur.
20. Explore the 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Rajasthan is a crown- jewel in the heart of incredible India that proudly hosts a collection of 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that narrate the state’s rich history, architectural grandeur and diversity of Rajasthan. The six majestic hill forts of Rajasthan – Chittorgarh, Amer Fort, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambore, Jaisalmer and Gagron are the symbol of power and exemplify the valor of their kings have gained their place in this list.
Other than these the majestic pink city of Jaipur has recently been added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Cities, dues to its planning, bustling marketplaces, entry gates and junctions, etc. The Jantar Mantar – an astronomical observatory in Jaipur is also a part of this list. Lastly, the Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur is another UNESCO gem that is a haven for avian enthusiasts.
Frequently Asked Questions About Things to Do in Rajasthan
1. What are the top tourist attractions in Rajasthan?
The majestic forts and palaces in Rajasthan are some of the must-visit places in Rajasthan to get a glance at the royal past. Other than these you can visit the lakes and the magnificent golden Thar desert to indulge in some adventure activities. The haunted places like Bhangarh and Kuldhara village add to the intriguing experiences in Rajasthan. You can also visit some unique religious sites across this state.
2. Can I go on a desert safari in Rajasthan?
Yes, the state of Rajasthan is known for the vast expanse of the golden Thar desert and going on a desert safari in this state is one of the best things to do in Rajasthan. You can go for a desert safari on a camelback or in a jeep, which will be an adventurous ride. Along with desert safari, you can also go for camping, sandboarding and stargazing here.
3. What are some shopping options in Rajasthan?
While shopping in Rajasthan, you can find unique items such as colorful Rajasthani outfits, turbans, block-printed clothes, Rajasthani puppets, bandhani print clothes, mirror work lamps, leather footwear, jewelry, Rajasthani handicrafts, lacquer bangles, traditional paintings reflecting Indian and Mughal royalty, and gemstones in Jaipur.