6 Cities (or Towns) every Backpacker should visit in Rajasthan
If you plan to backpack through Rajasthan, then this post should help you. Be it a short trip or long one (I prefer long), in this post I have listed down the most exciting cities of Rajasthan one should visit.
Every city is much different form the other and has its own story and experience, while I will talk about each individual city in much detail in difference posts, here are six cities every backpacker or traveler should visit when he/she plans to traverse through The Land of Kings.
I would like to point out that I have not mentioned Jaipur in this list as it is a city where every traveler visits, especially when entering this Indian sate. It is a great city as well, however I do not think it is necessary to be mentioned in this post.
It is the second largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is the home to the mighty Mehrangarh Fort which watches over the blue city. It is also known as the blue city as many Brahmins have been living in the old areas of the city almost since as long as the fort existed. The city is the ancient capital of the Marwar Kingdom (The Land of Death) and although not very quaint the city has its own charm.
I spent three days in this city which seemed perfect as there was not much to do after visiting the fort and the palace. The food here was amazing, traveling through the city buses was interesting and walking around the blue houses of the old city tells each his own story.
This is known as the City of Lakes and it is in the southern pat of the state. This is city was the second capital of the Mewar Kingdom after Chittorgarh, the kingdom of the mighty Rajputs. It has a rich history and quite a few scenic locations, most of which are by the lake. It has the Lake Palace which covers an entire island on Pichola Lake. It is also called “The Venice of the East” which is an over exaggerating term for the city, but nonetheless this city is full of entertainment.
Once again I did not spend a long time in this city, a couple of days was enough for me the breathe in most of the good experience this place as to offer. The food was great and I recommend staying at one of the hotels by the lake. Drinking a beer with the lake view is fun, it is slightly expensive for backpacker budgets, but worth it as the stay is short.
If you like fried snacks and sweets (or Namkeen as the call it in India), then this city will treat you with a variety of them. It gets its name from two different names Bika and Nehra as the city was former by the collaboration of the Rao Bikas and the Nehra Jats. Before Bikaner most of this region was known as Jangladesh. It has a the Junagarh Fort which is an interesting piece of architecture, and the Lalgarh Palace and the Laxmi Niwas Palace are two really beautiful buildings. Apart form this it was quite a few other sites.
I stayed in Bikaner for a little longer as it was a much quieter than the hustle of the big cities like Jodhpur and Udaipur. The food here (mostly spicy) is great, and much of the time in this city I went out trying the different snacks and sweets available easily throughout the city.
A part of the Aravali Ranges, Mount Abu is the only hill station in Rajastha. It is generally packed with Indian tourists and it is the highest peak on the mountain Guru Shikhar. It is generally referred to as “an oasis in the desert”. It is a beautiful location and it is the home the Gurjars who migrated to the Arbuda mountain region in the sixth century.
I found a quaint guesthouse a little away form the town and stayed there for about a week. Walking around this place is really peaceful and one can sit by the lake for hours and forget about all their worries.
A sacred pilgrimage place for the Hindus, Pushkar was once a famous abode for the western hippies. A mix of the hippy culture is still strongly evident in the place, but at the same time strong Hindu culture dominates it all. It has a massive holy lake at the center which surrounded by bathing ghats, where many Hindus perform holy rituals. Pushkar is also the one of the few places in the entire world which has a temple for Lord Brahma. It hosts one of the best camel fair in the country and many backpackers still come here following the old hippy trail.
I lived the longest in Pushkar, I had a awesome guest house in the outskirts in one of the rose farms. It was quite cheap to live there and walking around the short hills and fields was an awesome experience. This places offers great variety of food as many travelers have settled here, it is a holy place and hence non-vegetarian and alcohol is not ‘officially’ available. One can also visit the town of Ajmer which is just about a half hour drive, it is an great place to spend an evening.
This is a city every backpacker will love, tourism is huge at this place and it offers something for every kind of traveler. It is also known as “The Golden City” and has a architectural marvel siting right at the center of the city. Bordering with Pakistan this is the perfect place for anyone who wants to go stargazing, camping and (or) for a camel safari in the Thar desert. The mighty Jaisalmer Fort is one of its kind, people still live in the forts and so can you if as many guest houses inside the fort offer comfortable accommodation for travelers.
It has two prime desert locations one is the Sam Dunes and the other is the Khuri Desert, I prefer the latter as it is a lot more cleaner and picturesque. Both are about an hours journey from Jaisalmer and have affordable accommodation. It is one of the best places I have ever visited in my travels and I recommend everyone who comes here to try the desert camping and safari.
I hope this has been some help to everyone who plans to visit Rajasthan, earlier I posted about my expenses and some tips for traveling in Rajasthan and you can check it out here. If you think I have left some awesome cities, do mention them in the comments as I would love to know about your experiences.