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ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design

8. Five locations to explore Rajasthan

sagome di donne, uomini e cammelli sulle dune al tramonto
 
Are you a natural born globetrotter? You might sip your cup of tea on a stony terrace, or in the middle of a desert in Rajasthan – an enchanted land with an extraordinary past and a unique present. Five locations you don’t want to miss in this vast region of rajput, merchants and nomads - to spend some days exploring or traveling for weeks through a completely different culture.

 

 

 
Jaipur, pink shades of life
Inside those pink walls, a color wanted by the maharaja that built the city to welcome foreigners, there’s an old town centre (XVIII a.D.) with orthogonal roads, royal quarters, the “Hawa Mahal”, the astronomic park and secular bazaars pulsing with life as long as decrepit, old-fashioned frescoed noblemen houses. Beyond the walls of the new Jaipur, in overflowing growth and dense traffic, you can find delicious boutiques and lavish shopping centers.
In the distance, you can see fort Amber, where the history of the city began in medieval times and the time seems to be frozen. Jaipur is the ideal place to introduce Rajasthan to you.
WHERE: Jaipur, Rajasthan’s capital, is located at around 265 km from Delhi (4 hours of travel by car, or 5 and 45 minutes by train).
DON’T MISS: The City Palace; Jantar Mantar, the astronomic park, Hawa Mahal, “Palace of Winds” or “Palace of the Breeze”; Badi chaupar, the rotary connecting the two major routes of the city with the portico market. Near the mountains, you’ll find Amber fort, ex-capital of the city; Galta, a temple complex with pools for sacred ablutions is placed within 6 km.
From January 24 to January 28th Jaipur hosts and important literature festival, and a lot of Indian writers attend the celebration.
TRAVELING: You can cherish frescoes on the haveli, Shekavati’s merchants, around 120 km north from Jaipur. From there you can reach Jaisalmer, across Bikaner (540 km far away).
 

 

 
Jodhpur, the blue city
In the middle of an harsh land called Marwar (the land of death), a dynasty was able to prosper – fighting its way against neighbor kings and the mughal’s empire. Today its fortress, the Mehrangarth Fort, witnesses its endurance of from a majestic hill surrounded with blue-walled houses, the color that identified the Brahmins’. A little city full of wisdom and legends to be slowly tasted, between sumptuous halls finely embellished or shady alleys. You won’t miss the exquisite dying fashion in which clothes get dotted in color baths after knotting it.
WHERE:  Jodpur is at around 330 km from Jaipur (around 5:30 hours by car, or 5-6 by train) and 590 km from Delhi (1 hour by plane).
DON’T MISS: Mehrangarth Fort, the largest and most beautiful fort in Rajasthan; the Jaswant Thada, an elegant white-marbled cenotaph; the Umaid Bhawan Palace, built in the beginning of the last century in an Indo-Saracen architecture style – and today partially private house, partially hotel, partially museum of maharaja’s personal collections. At around 9 km from the city you’ll find Mandore, the old capital, with splendid royal cenotaphs.
From January the 14th for three days, in Jodpur, you can attend the International Kite Festival, the kite flying celebration where you can watch or join the fighter kites war.
 

 

 
Jaisalmer, the gold in the desert
Like a jewel, this city is surrounded by a golden desert; you’ll be charmed by his fairytale atmosphere. This is not because of a royal fort, nor an hotel in an haveli, and not for the stony temples: to catch your fantasy is the immense vastness of the yellow stones that look like they are created by the god of the sun itself. Once you cross Jaisalmer’s mighty entrance, walking through the stone embellished havelis – you are going to understand what I’m talking about. This is nothing less than magic, casted by the enchantment of the buildings and the people – bewhiskered men and colorfully-dressed women. A museum in a fortress, survived droughts and tempests to gift the world with one thousand and one nights’ days on the silk road.
WHERE: 570 km far from Jaipur (the closest airport is in Jodhpur, 270 km)
DON’T MISS: the fort. Formerly built in 1156 and from that year constantly rebuilt and modified till it became a fortified citadel with pebbled roads; Rajmahal, the partially restored royal palace; Jain temples of Parsvanath and Chandraprabhu; the havelis, above all Patwon-ki-haveli; Gadisar’s catchment out-of-town. Don’t forget to add to your to-do-list a camel safari across the desert.
From February the 23th to the 25th, don’t miss the marvelous Jaisalmer Desert Festival, where you’ll discover the desert hidden treasures.
TRAVELING: On the road for Jaipur, stop in Bikaner (352 km far away, around 6:30 hours by car), well-known for the camel’s festival she hosts (26-27 of January) and her Karni Mata Temple (the temple of rats), 30 km far away.

 

 

Udaipur, a realm on the water
The charming, knightly legend behind the Rajput sweetens into the waters of Pichola Lake. When you sit on the stairs, time freezes and life slows up: the white splendor of the palace reflecting on the lake, and behind you, you can feel the overflowing life in the medieval alleys painted in white. Little temples in every corners and deep stepwells embellished with marbled arches – gifted by queens of the city, to the city herself.
WHERE: Udaipur is 276 km far from Jodhpur (5 hrs by car), 417 km far from Jaipur (via Ajmeer), and 663 km far from Delhi (14 hours by car, 1:30 by plane).
DON’T MISS: City Palace’s complex has a 400 years long history and a wonderful garden hidden on the roof; Jagdish’s temple; Bagore ki Haveli (XVIII a. D.)
TRAVELING: Tired of deserts and palaces? Around 173 km far away from Udaipur (3:30 by car) you can focus on your inner self and the holy arts with the Mount Abu’s vista: a little mountain centre in the middle of a sheltering forest, with a delightful lake and Jain temples in Delwara, a refined marble-house of the gods finely engraved.

 

 
Bundi, the hidden pearl
A bicycle, a map and a developed sense of direction. That’s all you need to explore the little, sleeping city of Bundi. Beside the two main roads, where the commercial activity takes place, alleys become a true labyrinth. The ancient façade of the city is not touched by the renovation brought by tourism. Decadence has its charm, and monuments look more authentic when you can delight in them all alone. From the fortress on the hill to the lake sprinkled with blossoming lotuses, everything in Bundi will make you daydream.
WHERE: 214 km from Jaipur (4 hours by car)
DON’T MISS: Garth Palace, built within VII and XVII, and it’s hall of frescoes, the Chitrashala; the impregnable fortress of Targarth. Of it, remains the walls of the XIV. Raniji ki baori and the other fifty stepwells.  
TRAVELING: You’ll find that Bundi is an ideal place to rest for a couple of days and forget your journey, enjoying the sunsets in a warm, friendly atmosphere. But don’t forget: there are also places to see: waterfalls, medieval temples... On the road to Jaipur, a little deviation will bring you to the exotic Ranthambore reservation. If you’re lucky, you can see a tiger. However, the ancient ruins of the palaces are now inhabited by monkeys and other forest animals that will pay you off the visit in any way.

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