India holds much to keep every type of traveller entertained and inspired, making it the perfect place to spend your end of year holiday. From spiritual breaks, wildlife safaris, ancient sites and exciting cities to explore, Rajasthan offers the chance to explore the best that India can offer. Here’s my guide to getting the best of your winter break in Rajasthan.
Situated in North West India, Rajasthan is the largest state in India and is bordered by Pakistan. As with the rest of India, the state comes alive during December, which heralds the start of Winter. December offers the best climate to explore the region as the temperatures cool to comfortable averages of 25C (77F).
The region has a long and varied history, with the ancient ruins of Kalibanga belonging to one of the first civilizations in the world, the Indus Valley civilization. It also has a wide range of landscapes to enjoy being home to the Thar Desert and the Aravalli mountain range, one of the world’s oldest ranges. In such varied landscapes live an exciting array of wildlife, which can be enjoyed by taking trips such as luxury India wildlife tours.
Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and is a colourful and vibrant city. Rickshaws constantly on the move and the thriving Pink City bazaars help to bring this city to life and make it an exciting destination to visit. Whilst here, take in the sights of the City Palace, the Royal Observatory and the Amber Fort.
Rajasthan’s second largest city is every bit as enjoyable to visit as its capital. Jodhpur is a fantastic place to shop, especially amongst the streets of the old city. Known as the Blue City, Jodhpur is the gateway to the desert and a great place to hitch a camel ride from. The city is dominated by the Mehrangarh Fort, as well as home to the stunning Umaid Bhawan Palace.
You can’t visit India without taking in some of its sacred and spiritual sites and Rajasthan certainly offers up many opportunities to do so. Visit Pushkar, seen by many as the holiest town in India and is one of the 5 sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus. There are many temples scattered throughout the town and you’ll be able to see pilgrims bathe in the lake as part of their spiritual rituals. Important buildings to visit in the state include the temples of Brahma, Nasiyan and the Parshuram Mahadev Temple.
The landscape here is so widely varied that it really does make for a feast for the senses. Head to Jaisalmer to experience the Thar Desert and its sand dunes, a sprawling arid landscape that is best enjoyed whilst on the back of a camel. If you yearn for something greener, take the time to head up into the Aravalli Range, particularly in and around Mount Abu. There is also the Keoladeo National Park which is a great place to get the binoculars out to wildlife watch and if you’re impressed here, then I definitely recommend taking yourself to Ranthambore National Park to see the tiger reserve here.
It’s not only the natural landscape that brings such joy to the eyes. The town of Udaipur is arguably the most beautiful and romantic town within Rajasthan. Filled with picturesque lakes and stunning architecture, the vistas are magnificent and provide the perfect location to watch the sunset.
December sees the Winter Festival at Mount Abu. Running from 29th to 31st December, the festival celebrates traditional dancing and music. Enjoy the shows that are put on throughout the festival, try your hand at kite flying, enjoy the scenery by taking a ride in a hot air balloon or simply sit back and take in the fantastic fireworks display.
December also sees the Shilpgram Craft Mela in Udiapur and the Hindu festival Pancha Ganapati, which runs from 21st-25th December and is celebrated across India.