Unique things to do in Rajasthan

BY Mariellen Ward

Rajasthan is a large desert state in north India famous for a rich history that endures in its magnificent palaces, forts, and monuments.

Though Rajasthan is a popular tourist destination in India, the traditional culture is still very much in evidence. Local festivals such as Teej and Ganguar are celebrated with time-honoured rituals, traditional arts and crafts such as block print textiles, lac bangles, blue pottery, and leather juttis (shoes) are found in abundance, and visitors can enjoy puppet shows, folk music and folk dance.

There is no end of things to do, see, and experience in Rajasthan, the following are just eight of our favourites.


Things to do in Rajasthan

Explore Amber Fort

Location: 11 kilometres from Jaipur
Suitable for: families with older kids, history buffs

Amber Fort, on the outskirts of Jaipur, is one of the most magnificent forts in all of India and is a firm fixture on most Rajasthan itineraries.

The massive, rambling fort sits atop a plateau, a commanding presence constructed of yellow sandstone, pink sandstone, and white marble. The fort was built by Raja Man Singh in 1592 and includes the former royal palace of the Jaipur royal family. Many of the rooms and courtyards are beautifully maintained and give visitors a feel for courtly life in the 16th century.

In the evening, a spectacular light and sound show recounts the history of the fort.

Climb Mehrangarh Fort

Location: Jodhpur
Suitable for: families with older kids, history buffs

Another spectacular fort in Rajasthan, Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur is also a must-visit.

The fort is located on a hill in the centre of Jodhpur, creating a striking backdrop to the city below. The imposing edifice is very well maintained, and a self-guided audio tour will take you through many fabulous rooms as well as many stirring stories of romance and chivalry.

Next door to the fort, don’t miss the Rao Jodha Desert Rock park. The park was rewilded to restore the natural ecology of the region and is a great place for a quiet walk.

Watch pilgrims at Pushkar Lake

Location: Pushkar
Suitable for: couples, adventurers

Pushkar is a sacred town in central Rajasthan built around a small lake. Legend has it that Lake Pushkar was created when Lord Brahma dropped a lotus. Consequently, Pushkar is the site of a temple dedicated to Lord Brahma – one of the only Brahma temples in India.

At dawn, pilgrims descend the ghats (steps) to the lake to worship and bathe. Sunrise splashes colour on the still lake, and the air is filled with incense, temple bells, and reverence.

The peaceful, time-honoured scene is beautiful, serene, and worth getting up early for. In the autumn, the Pushkar Camel Fair attracts thousands of people who come to celebrate Kartika Purnima (the full moon).

Take the train from Delhi to Jaipur

Location: Start at New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS)
Suitable for: families, couples, rail enthusiasts

No visit to India is complete without a journey by rail. Taking the train from New Delhi railway station to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, or to Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan, will give you a journey of a few hours – long enough to see the changing landscape as you move from the centre of the city out to rural India.

The experience will also give you the opportunity to appreciate the mighty Indian railway system. The Indian rail network is the fourth longest in the world, with an operating route length of about 65,000 kilometres, and an average of 22 million passengers per day (in 2018, pre pandemic).

See the havelis of Shekhawati

Location: Shekhawati
Suitable for: couples, history buffs & adventurers

The Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, northwest of Jaipur, was on the caravan routes that passed through the state in the 18th century.

As local merchants became rich, they built havelis (mansions) adorned with intricate carvings and colourful frescoes throughout Shekhawati. Many are still standing though often in a state of disrepair.

There are a number of small towns worth exploring to see havelis, but the two best places are Nawalgargh and Mandawa. In Nawalgarh, look for the Aath (eight) Haveli complex, plus Chokhani Haveli, Bansidhar Bhagat Haveli, and Jodhraj Patodia Haveli.

Take a camel safari

Location: Jaisalmer
Suitable for: families with older kids, thrill-seekers

The 11th century Jaisalmer Fort rises like a golden sandcastle from the baked earth of the Thar Desert, at the very western edge of India.

After touring the fort and the city of Jaisalmer, try a camel safari. Jaisalmer is the ideal place to explore the nearby sand dunes by camel, and camp overnight under the stars.

A camel safari includes a camel ride on the sand dunes to a camping spot, where local delicacies are cooked for you over an open fire. As you sit around the fire after dinner, local musicians entertain you with evocative folk songs of star-crossed lovers whose ghosts still haunt the desert. Magical.

Tiger safaris in Ranthambore

Location: Ranthambore National Park
Suitable for: families, adventurers & wildlife fanatics

Seeing a tiger in the wild is on many bucket lists and Ranthambore is one of the best places in India to spot a wild tiger. The beautiful reserve is dotted with ancient ruins, temples, and lakes.

Declared a tiger reserve in 1973, Ranthambore covers approximately 400 square kilometres and is home to a thriving tiger population of about 70 adults and dozens of cubs.The skill of the local guides and naturalists will help track and locate tigers as you drive through the beautiful park, enjoying the scenery and the presence of many birds, mammals, and other animals including crocodiles, deer, monkeys and more.

A three or four night visit will give you the chance to go on four to eight wildlife safaris.

Spot leopards in Narlai

Location: Narlai
Suitable for: families, adventurers & wildlife fanatics

Rajasthan is known for its leopards as well as tigers. Narlai village, between Udaipur and Jaipur, is surrounded by the Aravalli mountain range and is a great place to see leopards.

You can stay at the heritage resort Rawla Narlai and enjoy a wildlife safari in the rugged neighbouring region of Godwad. Or you can stay in Udaipur and take a day trip to Narlai to explore rural Rajasthan, visit local villages, and take a jeep safari in search of the elusive leopards that roam the region.

Mariellen Ward

By Mariellen Ward

Mariellen is an award-winning India travel writer and leading destination expert, based in Delhi.


Yonder is a specialist India tour operator, including tailor-made, luxury holidays to India which can include any of the must see places discussed in this article.

Previous holidays which we’ve booked include India’s Golden Triangle and Tigers tour, a culture, wildlife and backwaters tour in Kerala and the hidden India Rajasthan tour. These can be great inspiration for your own itineraries.

We can also arrange luxury holidays which explore all the different aspects of India such as our Incredible India tour.

All Yonder itineraries are crafted on a tailor-made, one-off basis, so you can be sure that your holiday will be as individual as you are.