India's desert state of Rajasthan isn't only famous for its vast and barren Thar Desert. The region, known as Land of Kings, shows India at its bright and colorful best.
Home to the fearless Rajput warriors, Rajasthan is full of forts, palaces, and beautiful old havelis (mansions). What's really appealing is that many of them have been converted into palace hotels that you can stay in.
Some of the most popular cities in Rajasthan are:
- Bikaner -- renowned for the bizarre Karni Mata rat temple (thousands of huge rats reside there!), is also a less touristy option than Jaisalmer for desert camel safaris.
- Jaipur -- the "pink city", is a must visit for the best forts, palaces, and places to shop.
- Jodhpur -- the "blue city", with its blue painted buildings, looks stunning when viewed from the lookout in the imposing Meherangarh Fort.
- Jaisalmer -- a fairytale sandstone city, with a living fort that rises up out of the desert, offers romance and camel safaris. Stay in the desert in one of these 5 Fabulous Jaisalmer Tent Hotels and Desert Camps.
- Pushkar -- is a hippie holy town that holds an amusing camel fair every year.
- Udaipur -- the city of lakes and palaces, is another place that's perfect for a romantic vacation.
For those that have some spare cash, a unique and sought after way of exploring Rajasthan is on a luxury tourist train such as the Palace on Wheels, which goes on a week long tour to the most important attractions.