Known variously as 'The Pearl of Rajasthan', the 'City of Sunrise' or 'Venice of the East', Udaipur is widely regarded as Rajasthan's most beautiful city and one of the most romantic in India. The city is set around the vast Lake Pichola and is renowned for its sumptuous palaces and the atmospheric narrow lanes of its Old City. On the east shore of the lake lies the spectacular City Palace, founded in the 16th century which is now both a museum and still the residence of the Maharaja. The views from the palace across the lake are stunning, including the two island palaces - Jag Mandir and Jag Nivas, the latter now being the luxurious Lake Palace Hotel. The Jagdish Temple was built in 1651 by Maharana Jagat Singh I and contains a huge black stone image of Jagannath, an aspect of Lord Vishnu. The whitewashed buildings and bazaars of the Old City are perfect for exploration in search of souvenirs like tie and dye fabrics and miniature paintings.
At the edge of the Thar desert lies Jodhpur, Rajasthan's second largest city. Jodhpur is known as the Blue City due to the large number of pale indigo painted houses in the Old City, which signify that they are the home of Jodhpuri Brahmins, the high caste Hindus. Founded in 1459 by the Rajput chief Rao Jodha, Jodhpur is dominated by the magnificent Meherangarh Fort, which sits on steep escarpment overlooking the city, with magnificent views of Jodhpur and the surrounding desert. Inside the walls and gateways of the Fort lie many palatial buildings and courtyards of classic Mughal style, once home to the Jodhpuri Maharajas but which now house one of Rajasthan's best museums. Elsewhere in the Old City, the narrow alleys around the famous Clock Tower are very atmospheric and renowned for their bazaars selling textiles, silver and handicrafts while the immense 16th century wall which still surrounds the city is almost 10km long.
Travel to Desert Cities of Rajasthan
Organised group tours: Click here to see 12 tours to Rajasthan which may include Desert Cities of Rajasthan.