The Shekhawati region of Rajasthan is worth including on your journey if you are an art lover or even someone who’s involved in architecture and history! Often referred to as the biggest open-air art gallery in the world, this unique region has old Havelis with their walls decorated with complicated frescoes. Stay in one is a great thing! Shekhawati is situated in the triangle Delhi-Jaipur-Bikaner and free of tourists! Plan your trip with this extensive travel guide to the Shekhawati area.
In Rajasthan and the Pali District, between Jodhpur and Udaipur, rural tourism is developing, making it ideal for visitors who want to explore Rajasthan beyond their town. Due to the prevalence of wild leopards in the rough terrain which can be spotted on a safari, Bera is one of the top destinations there. In Jojawar, the Rajput Fort, 300 years old, has been changed and draws visitors to the historic hotel. There’s a luxury alternative for Kesar Bagh. Chand Garh is another 300-year-old fort-palace hotel in Pali district that has turned into an exquisite heritage hotel. But the world is no longer beyond the stupendous Lakshman Sagar historic hotel. Culture Aangan has homestays in Pali as an alternative. Dorf life is fascinating you will find. You can even attend an opium meeting for shepherds in the morning!
Although more and more popular with travelers, Bundi, due to its path location off the beaten track, is often also overlooked as tourist destination in Rajasthan. The lakes, temples, markets, miniature painters, and blue houses similar to Jodhpur are an enchanting place to visit. This rather laid back city is dominated by the extraordinary and impressive palace of Bundi, which stands out from the hillside. The old, winding streets of the Old City are fascinating. Bundi has about fifty step wells and the palace with a ramshackle fort. See Bundi for the best stuff to do.
Kota and Chambal
Rajasthan’s third-largest village – Kota – sits along the Chambal River less than one hour southeast of Bundi. When you have seen its palaces, temples, and museums, go out for a boat trip along the river to discover the National Chambal Shrine. It is home to rare fauna, like gharial (a fish food crocodile) and dolphin from the Gangetic river. The boutique heritage hotel Bhainsrorgarh Fort once was a royal residence, with an enviable position over the cliff. The panorama is stunning! In addition, the temples of Badoli are nearby in the ninth century. Kota is renowned for the festival and trade fair in Dussehra in October.
Ranthambore National Park
One of Indian’s best places to spot a tiger in the wild is the Ranthambore National Park. Ranthambore is also very accessible and easy to access, in contrast to many national parks in India. This makes it extremely popular (and, sadly, it faces a lot of pressure from tourists). The park is also home to the wonderful Ranthambore Fort of the 10th century. The building is huge, with ruined pavilions, monuments and three Hindu temples. The park is full of history, witnessing a lot of battles and the rise and fall of many leaders. Plan your journey with this National Park guide to Ranthambore.
If you are driving to Ranthambore from Agra (or Bharatpur), consider staying on your way from Karauli to Ramathra Fort, an isolated heritage hotel.
The Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Bharatpur, about over one hour from Agra on the way to Jaipur, will delight birding enthusiasts. It was formerly a duck hunting reserve for the maharajas and one of India’s top birding sanctuaries and one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Over 370 birds, including a large congregation of resident non-migrant breeding birds, can be found there.
Abhaneri also has the most photographed and deepest step on the Agra-Jaipur Road in the country. King Chanda of the Nikumbha Dynasty of Rajputs built Chand Baori between the eighth and ninth centuries. Locals will nevertheless tell you a more spooky storey that ghosts built it one day! The step goes about 100 feet to the ground, down 3,500 steps and 13 levels. Every year in September there is one Abhaneri two-day festival to promote rural tourism against the evocative backdrop of the Chand Baori.