Rajasthan is best known for its excellent tiger-spotting territory in Ranthambore National Park, where you can watch langurs playing and hopefully see majestic striped predators, the real Shere Khans. Jaipur is the dazzling 'pink city' where you can tour the Amber Fort or see the City Palace, while in the contrasting blue city of Jodhpur you can stay in Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace, a regal spectacle that’s still home to the royal family.
Find water the edge of the Thar Desert at Chand Baori – one of the best preserved Indian stepwells – and sit pretty on a boat on Lake Pichola, the setting to Udaipur and its splendid palaces. And for off-the-beaten-track glamour, Rajasthan is the best place for luxurious camps in the wild and heritage hotels once home to maharajas. Visit a village in the hills and have a private dinner by a beautiful candlelit stepwell at Rawla Narlai, follow in the steps of Rajput warriors and stop under Chhatra Sagar’s billowing canvas tents in rural Rajasthan and track leopards from Relais & Châteaux camp, Jawai.
Where is Rajasthan?
Rajasthan is the largest state in north-west India. It shares its western border with Pakistan, and its eastern border meets several Indian states including Uttar Pradesh (where you’ll find Agra, home of the Taj Mahal) and Madhya Pradesh (home to Bandhavgarh and Kanha national parks). Rajasthan’s capital, Jaipur, is four hours’ drive or a two-hour flight from Agra, and five hours’ drive or an hour’s flight from Delhi – these three classic destinations are easily visited as part of a Golden Triangle tour. Rajasthan is also one of India’s most famous places for tiger safaris; it’s where you’ll find Ranthambore National Park.
Rajasthan is vast but relatively easy to get around. There are trains including luxury services like Maharajas’ Express and Deccan Odyssey which stop at Jaipur and Ranthambore en route to Delhi and Mumbai. Taxis are readily available in cities like Jaipur and a car and driver is one of the best ways to cover a broader itinerary or get to harder-to-reach hotels and camps. A guided tour is the easiest way to visit the most important attractions accompanied by local guides.