The western side of half of Rajasthan comprises of the wild, inhospitable Thar Desert. Every time I think of it, images of immensely vast, arid and parched landscape occur in my head; landscape that evokes an overwhelming sense of endless mystery. And why not? You can spend years unearthing the hidden gems of Rajasthan and the Thar Desert only to conclude that the royal land of the maharajas is indeed a vast expanse replete with massive forts and colossal palaces with traces of its regal past lying about in each and every of its crevice.
Obviously, prominent cities like Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur, etc. hold great importance; it’s the lesser known destinations that exhibit Rajasthan’s true essence and bring you face to face with its heritage and culture.
So, step away from the tourist trail for once and blindly travel back to time with these equally mesmerizing offbeat destinations in Rajasthan:
1. Bundi: Bundi is a rich city in the North West region of Rajasthan known for its highly bedecked forts and palaces and several stepwell reservoirs. The city of Bundi is particularly known for its unconquered Taragarh Fort.
Attractions: Bundi Palace, Nawal Sagar Lake, Ranjit ki Baori, Sukh Mahal, Jait Sagar Lake, etc.
Distance from Jodhpur: 360 km
Distance from Delhi: 480 km
2. Osian: Osian is an ancient civilization in the Jodhpur District, often regarded as the Khajuraho of Rajasthan for the remnants of numerous Jain and Hindu temples. Encompassed by sand dunes and containing various hamlets, Osian is a getaway destination from Jodhpur, which is also known for exciting camel safaris.
Attractions: Sachiya Mata Temple, Sun Temple, Harihara Temple, Mahavir Jain Temple, etc.
Distance from Jodhpur: 65 km
Distance from Delhi: 580 km
3. Narlai: Somewhere midway between Jodhpur and Udaipur, Narlai is a hidden treat nestled right in the heart of Aravalli Hills, one of the world’s oldest mountain range. Some people describe Narlai as one of the most beautiful parts of Rajasthan, and in my opinion this statement holds completely true.
Attractions: Rawla Narlai, a heritage resort, Kumbhalgarh Fort, Chaturmukha Jain Temple, etc.
Distance from Jodhpur: 138 km
Distance from Delhi: 600 km
4. Mahansar: The quaint little town of Mahansar in the Shekhawati region is known for 5 ornate havelis bedecked with gold leaf paintings known as ‘Sone Chandi ki Dukaan’. This heritage town dates back to 1768 and is very popular for its heritage liquor known by the name of Mahansar Liquor.
Attractions: Bissau Fort, Mahansar Dance Hall, Mahansar Fort, Sone Chandi ki Dukaan, etc.
Distance from Jodhpur: 344 km
Distance from Delhi: 243 km