One of the most vibrant states of India, Rajasthan is among the top tourist hot spots in India. Its beautiful desert landscape, lip-smacking food, stunning architecture and royal heritage attracts crowds from all over the world. From mesmerising palaces to awe-inspiring lakes, there are plenty of tourist places in Rajasthan. But a holiday in Rajasthan is incomplete without exploring the states historical monuments. Many historical places in Rajasthan tell their unique story, something that definitely needs to be unravelled.
The place has always attracted tourists because of the grand hospitality and the heritage of Rajasthan. Needless to say, ‘the land of palaces and kings’ possesses the best specimens of Indian art, culture and architecture. The historical monuments of Rajasthan are something to be talked about. These monuments stand to testify countless wars and love stories, Rajasthani heritage and culture.
The stunning Aravalli ranges which run through the east border of Rajasthan gives the state an interesting mix of flora and Fauna. There are three major animal reserves located in the state which serve as a home to the Majestic tiger and the Lion, along with hundreds of other endangered animals and birds. Numerous lakes dotting the state here and there add to its charm. Furthermore, Rajasthan is also home to many important places of pilgrimage for Hindus and Jains alike. Thousands of devotees throng to some of the famous temples located in Rajasthan, seeking blessings for a happy life and forgiveness of sins for the hereafter.
If you are planning to visit this princely state any time soon, we will take you through some of the ancient and historical places in Rajasthan, that will sure to satiate the history buff in you.
Must-visit Historical places in Rajasthan
1. Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Though Rajasthan is known for a lot of forts, the Mehrangarh Fort located in Jodhpur is definitely a class apart. Perched on top of at 400 feet, the fort is a visual treat to the eyes. The fort was known to be impregnable in its time. It is home to many distinct palaces and temples inside its thick walls, protecting it from any invasions. The palace was known to be a safe haven for the Rajput family in case of enemy attacks. Every wall and pillar in the palace is engraved with unique Rajasthani carvings and paintings, narrating ancient stories.
If you want a closer look at the Rajasthan’s history, you can also visit a museum inside the vicinity that contains relics and various artefacts used by the Rajputs as well as the Moghuls. You may get to see costumes, paintings and the weaponry used by the royals. The ambience of the fort is further amplified by the various folk performances organised by the Rajasthan tourism. The outside area of the fort is covered by the breathtaking Chokelo gardens.
- Entry fees– 60 INR for Indians 400 INR for foreigners, 100 INR for video cameras
- Timings– 9 AM to 5 PM Daily
2. Umaid Bhavan Palace, Jodhpur
The Umaid Bhavan Palace in Jodhpur is an example of the diverse culture and values that were imbibed in the great Rajput rulers. An epitome of luxury, heritage, charm and class combined this, this palace has a staggering 347 rooms and was the royal residence of the Jodhpur royal family. It was named after the great ruler Maharaja Umaid Singh. Part of the palace is turned into a luxury hotel and is the favourite wedding venue of the rich and the famous. However, when the Maharaja laid the foundation of the palace, this was not what he had in mind.
According to a prediction by a sage, the end of the good rule of the Rathod dynasty would bring a period of severe famine to the place. And thus according to the prediction, the town of Jodhpur faced a severe drought for three years, something that Maharaja Umaid Singh couldn’t see. He stumbled upon the idea of building a huge palace in order to employ the farmers affected by the drought. This interesting story would surely compel you to visit the place once. The Umaid Bhavan Palace is one of the most important historical places to visit in Rajasthan.
- Entry fees– INR 15 for Indians, INR 50 for foreign nationals
- Timings– 9 AM to 5 PM, all days a week
3. Jaswant Thada, Jodhpur
An off best historical place to visit in Rajasthan but surely worth it is the Jaswant Thada in Jodhpur. It serves as a final resting place for the members of the royal family of Marwar. The ancient architectural marvel is also known as the Taj Mahal of Rajasthan because it is entirely built out of white marble.
The scenic beauty of the White marble cenotaphs against the blue skies is something that should be captured in your memories forever. The entire structure is built using thin sheets of delicately carved white marble. Moreover, the glistering water from the lake situated next to it adds to its shine. The pillars and the arches inside are covered with paintings and depiction of the life of the rulers buried in the monument.
It is interesting to note that while the entire structure was built in the Rajasthani style of architecture, the shape and design of the domes wee borrowed from the Mughal architecture. Tourists do not often visit this structure, but it is certainly on our top historical places to visit on Rajasthan because of its stunning beauty and history.
- Entry fees– INR 15 for Indians, INR 30 for foreign nationals
- Timings– 9 AM to 5 PM
4. City Palace, Udaipur
Udaipur is another major city of Rajasthan which is brimming with lots of interesting historical structures. However, the tour of the city is never complete without visiting the renowned City Palace.
Located at the banks of Lake Pichola, the mesmerising City Palace of Udaipur is definitely one of the top historical places to visit in Rajasthan. The palace showcases the elegance and the Grandeur of the Royal family of Mewar quite perfectly. The famous historical structure is built entirely out of marble and Granite, with inlay works of silver and gold, adding to its beauty.
The walls of the palace are covered with exquisite paintings of the royal family along with interesting murals. The outer landscape of the palace is beatified by an elevated garden, complete with water fountains. You can also find an art gallery in the palace that houses art pieces from China as well as Denmark. The architecture of the Palace is heavily influenced by four types of architecture- The Mughals, The Rajasthani, the European and the Chinese.
- Entry fee– INR 30 for Adults, INR 15 for children
- Timings– 7 Am to 11 PM
5. Gadsisar Lake & Tilon-Ki-Pol, Jaisalmer
Almost all the major cities in Rajasthan had to face severe drought and shortage of water due to its climate, even in ancient times. But the Rajas and Maharajas of Rajasthan were smart enough to provide solutions to their people. This endeavour eventually led on to the construction of the human-made Gadsisar lake. Located in the south of the Golden city of Jaisalmer, The Gadsisar lake was built for the sole purpose of providing a reservoir of water to the people of their region.
This lake has now gained significant historical importance due to the stunning visuals and history. The bank of the lake is covered with many ancient temples and shrines. The entrance of the lake is adorned with a huge golden arch, Tilon Ki Pol, that turns yellow with the first rays of the sun. Boating is quite popular in the lake. It is said that the lake and the gate look breathtaking in the wee hours of the day when the sun rises.
- Entry fees– fee
- Timings– 8 AM to 8 PM
6. The Karni Mata Temple, Bikaner
The Royals of Rajasthan were devout Hindu and that you why you can find many elaborate and beautifully decorated temples all around Rajasthan. These temples were dedicated to the Major Hindu gods and have managed to become important places of pilgrimage. Since they were built in the era gone by, some of them would make it to our list of major historical places to visit in Rajasthan.
The Karni Mata temple situated in the sleepy town of Bikaner is dedicated to Goddess Karni Mata. She is known to be the reincarnation of Goddess Durga. The most interesting part of the temple is a huge colony of rats running about it. The locals believe that these rats are a reincarnation of the devotees of Goddess Karni Mata herself. It is considered lucky if you find rats squirrelling over your feet.
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But do remember not to step on them as you may have to replace a dead rat with one made of gold or you may have to face the wrath of the Goddess. With people from all over the world wanting to satisfy their curiosity of seeing a temple filled with rate, this is definitely one of the major tourist attractions to visit in Bikaner.
- Entry fees– Free
7. Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasamand
There are a lot of historical places in Rajasthan that can give a major complex to the other wonders around the world. Here is the famous Kumbhalgarh fort, located on the Aravali hills. This fort is said to be the second-largest structure of its kind in the world, only next to the Great Wall of China. Built in the 15th century, the fort is regarded to be a UNESCO world heritage site.
It holds a great significance in the history of Rajputs as it is the birthplace of their beloved Maharana Pratap. It is majestically perched on top of the Aravalli hills. The strategic location and the surrounding foliage serve as a perfect camouflage for the fort. The Kumbhalgarh fort spans across 36 kilometres in length. The fort houses a stunning Neelkhant Mahadev temple, primarily dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is breathtaking. Perched on 24 delicately carved pillars, the wide courtyard and the 5 feet lingam is what makes this temple a visual treat.
There is a show that is held in the fort every evening at 6.30 PM and shows some of the important glimpses of the Rajasthan Royal family. The Kumbhalgarh fort is also completely decorated during the Kumbhalgarh festival, which takes place once a year. This is definitely one of the most important historical places to visit in Rajasthan
- Entry fees– INR 100 for Adults, INR 50 for children
8. Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
The pink city of Jaipur is a charming place, full of ancient history. Though there are many historical places to visit in Jaipur, Jantar Mantar is slightly lesser known than others. It is neither a fort nor a palace but a celestial observatory built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, who was fascinated by outer space. This is said to be the largest observatory in our country.
The place is a Unesco World Heritage site due to the presence of the world’ largest stone sundial, called the Samrat Yatra. There are a number of instruments inside the observatory which helps study the exact position and distance of the celestial objects in the sky. The structure indeed is responsible for lying the founding stone of Astronomy in ancient India.
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It is important for you to take a guide with you while sightseeing at Jantar Mantar, just to understand the purpose and significance of each structure present inside the observatory. The light and sound show is also an important aspect of the observatory. It depicts the life and times of the Rajput dynasty and the history of Jantar Mantar. This historical structure is a perfect mix of science and history. A visit to Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is a must if you are on a hunt for some historical places to visit in Rajasthan.
- Entry fee– INR 50 for Indians INR 200 for foreign tourists
- Timings– 9 Am to 5 Pm, all days a week
9. Amer Fort, Jaipur
Also known as the Amber Fort, it is located in the Amer town of Rajasthan. The town is located at a distance of about 11kms from Jaipur. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was built by Raja Man Singh I. Atop a high hill overlooking the Maota Lake, it is one of the most famous historical monuments of Rajasthan. And also a crowd-puller. The fort is mainly known for its Hindu style of artworks with its large ramps, cobbled paths and a succession of multiple gates.
The path that leads up to the fort is a peculiar zig-zag way. And it literally looks like the alphabet Z from ground level. That’s one of the most magnificent sights which travellers love to see when they start their climb towards the fort. Even though the fort looks rocky from outside, it’s a different world as you go in. Huge halls, royally designed spaces and gorgeous green gardens. The architecture of the fort is a perfect blend of Hindu and Mughal styles. The mirror works, Rajasthani paintings and carvings adorn the interiors.
- Entry fee: Indian Adults: INR 25, Indian students: INR 10, Foreign Nationals: INR 200, Foreign Students: INR 100, Elephant Rise: INR 900
- Timings: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
10. Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur
Originally named Sudarshangarh when it was built, the construction and ideation were done by Jai Singh II. It was later renamed as Nahargarh or the Abode of the tigers. Along with Jaigarh and Amer Fort, Nahargarh used to form like a protective shield around the city.
All these three forts were built with a purpose to protect the residents of the pink city. Within the fort, there are various buildings and other structures located. Dedicated to the Rathore Prince, Nahar Singh Bhomia, there’s a temple inside the fort. Diwan-I-Aam, an open enclosure where the king and the common men met to discuss issues. Nahargarh Fort is located on the oldest hills of Aravalli and provides spectacular views of the Pink City.
- Entry fee: For Indians: INR 25, Foreign Nationals: INR 200, For Sheesh Mahal and Museum: INR 350 each
- Timings: 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
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11. Jaigarh Fort, Amer
Situated on the promontory called ‘Cheel ka Tilla’ of the Aravalli range, is one of the oldest historical monuments of Rajasthan. Overlooking the Amer Fort and the Maota Lake, it was built in 1726 by Raja Jai Singh II. The main purpose of the construction was to protect the Amer Fort and its palace complex.
Rugged and sturdy, standing like a sentinel, it’s structural design is similar to that of the Amer Fort. With a length of 3 km and a width of 1 km, the fort also features a cannon named ‘Jaivanna’. It was manufactured in the fort precincts and known to be one of the world’s largest cannons. Connected by subterranean passages, Jaigarh and Amer Fort are considered as one complex.
- Entry fee: For Indians: INR 35, Foreign Nationals: INR 85
- Timings: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
12. Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
One of the most beautiful historical monuments of Rajasthan and a distinctive landmark of Jaipur. It’s beauty which is not serene, pristine or soothing. But, a perfect blend of beauty which is rustic, vibrant, geometrical yet with a class of its own. Standing tall and wide towering over the bustling streets of Jaipur, the monument is of great historical importance in Rajasthan. For travellers travelling from far and wide, the sight at first can be a bit drastic.
But, as your eyes set to the surroundings around, the structure will seem like a unique architectural piecen. Something which is entirely in sync with the city of Jaipur. Constructed in the year 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, it remains one of the most visited places in Jaipur. Basically, it was built to serve as a window for the ladies of the royal household, a space from where they can view the daily life unfolding in the outer world, i.e., the city. As you visit the topmost floor, you would get to see some of the most stunning views – Jantar Mantar and the City Palace in one direction and Sireh Deori Bazaar in the other.
- Entry fee: For Indians: INR 10, Foreign Nationals: INR 40
- Timings: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
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13. Jal Mahal, Jaipur
Located in the heart of Man Sagar Lake, it’s one of the prettiest historical monuments of Rajasthan. The perfect reflection of the half-submerged palace on the lake looks like a fairytale dream. It’s equally amazing to see the whole spectacle in the evenings when the palace is lit. The area where the lake and palace stand, used to the waterlogging site. Maharaja of Amer decided to construct a dam to prevent the famine-hit areas. The water would be secured through the construction of the Man Sagar Lake.
However, the actual credits for the construction of the palace go to Maharaja Madho Singh in 1750. Built with red sandstone, the colour of the palace stands out as a stark contrast to the blue waters of the lake. There’s also a lush garden which is constructed on the terrace of the palace. Standing for over 250 years, the palace doesn’t have any problems of water seepage. Hats off to the engineering and architecture of those times.
- Entry fee: For Indians: INR 10, Foreign Nationals: INR 50.
- Timings: 6:00 am – 6:00 pm
14. Albert Hall, Jaipur
Situated in the Ram Niwas Garden of Jaipur, it’s one of the oldest museums and historical monuments of Rajasthan. Albert Hall was designed by Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob and was opened as a public museum in the year 1887. Considered as one of the prime attractions of Jaipur, it’s a photographer’s heaven. Various ancient artefacts are on display.
It is a beautiful example of Indo-Saracenic architecture. One of the finest museums in the whole of India, it contains a huge collection of coins, textiles, crafts, statues and paintings. All are from different dynasties and time periods and gives a wide display of history and tribes of Rajasthan. The museum has 16 galleries in total, and one gallery is declared ‘gallery of the month”.
- Entry fee: Indian Adults: INR 40, Indian students: INR 20, Foreign Nationals: INR 300, Foreign Students: INR 150
- Timings: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
15. Jagat Shiromani Temple, Jaipur
Not much popular yet visited by travel enthusiasts, it’s a unique attraction of Jaipur. Jagat Shiromani Temple is one of the oldest temples the place has. Located in the Amer town, it’s a 17th-century temple in Jaipur. Basically dedicated to Lord Krishna, the fine art displayed in the temple is for one word mind-blowing. Granite, sandstones, marbles boasts a blend of Hindu, Jain and South Indian styles of architecture.
- Entry fee: For Indians: Free, Foreign Nationals: Free
- Timings: Open throughout the day.
16. Abhaneri Stepwells, Jaipur
The Abhaneri stepwells or the Chand Baori as is popularly known, is one lovely historical monument of Rajasthan. Situated at a distance of about 2 hours from Jaipur, it’s a massive stepwell built to conserve rainwater. About 20 meters deep with 13 levels, it’s one of the deepest and largest stepwells of India.
The carvings you would get to see on the stairs are quite marvellous and one excellent piece of architecture. Rajasthan is home to so of the best architectural beauties. And, Chand Baori is definitely one of them. It stands as a fantastic display of ancient engineering and architecture. The stairways which are geometrically patterned gives an exciting visual treat to the tourists.
- Entry fee: For Indians: Free, Foreign Nationals: Free
- Timings: 8:30 am – 6:00 pm
17. Birla Mandir, Jaipur
Although recently built, yet Birla Mandir is a popular historical place in Rajasthan. Coming from the chain of famous Birla Temples, it’s one exquisite place. Constructed atop Moti Dungri Hill at an elevated platform, the temple was constructed in 1977. The architecture of the building is ornamented with shining marbles. Three domes in the architecture display three approaches to religion. Open throughout the day; the temple is worth a visit at any time.
- Entry fee: For Indians: Free, Foreign Nationals: Free
- Timings: 6:00 am – 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm
18. Chittorgarh Fort, Chittor
One of the largest forts in India and historical monuments of Rajasthan, this fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the present-day town of Chittor, the fort was once the capital of the Mewar city. Sprawling over the hill and spread over an area of 180 meters, the fort precinct has several historical places.
There are also gates, temples and two prominent commemorative towers. The fort is truly an embodiment of chivalry and pride of the Rajputs. Built by various Maurya rulers in the7th century, it covers an area of 700 acres. The fort carries along with it a long story of romance, courage, determination and sacrifice.
- Entry fee: For Adults: INR 20, for Children: INR 15.
- Timings: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
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19. Junagarh Fort, Bikaner
Originally known as the Chintamani, the fort was later renamed as Junagadh or the ‘Old Fort’. It’s one of those few historical monuments of Rajasthan which has not been built on a hilltop. Specifically, one of those forts which have been constructed in the middle of the city.
The modern city of Bikaner has developed all around the fort. Constructed under the strict supervision of Karan Chand between 1588-1593 AD, it’s an intimidating structure. Located on a sprawling land of 5.28 hectare, the fort is dotted with temples, pavilions and palaces. A temple of the royal family called the “Ratan Behari Temple” is also housed in the Junagadh Fort.
- Entry fee: For Indians: INR 50, Foreign Nationals: INR 300.
- Timings: 10:00 am – 4:30 pm
20. Patwa-ki-Haveli, Jaisalmer
The famous Patwa-ki-Haveli is one such structure which exudes royalty from every corner. Considered as one of the most royal historical monuments of Rajasthan, it is the first largest haveli of it’s kind. It is counted among the main sources of tourism in Rajasthan. A cluster of 5 havelis, it towers over a narrow lane. As you enter, you would be awestruck by the intricate stonework which looks like a honey-coloured network.
The monument was built between 1800 and 1860 by five Jain brothers who struck fortune in brocade and jewellery. With an expanded time of over 50 years, the havelis had been constructed. And, among them, the first was Kothari’s Patwa Haveli which has taken the longest time to be completed. Fine wall paintings, intricate jharokhas, archways and gateways make this place an amazing sight.
- Entry fee: For Indians: INR 20, Foreign Nationals: INR 100.
- Timings: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
21. Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer
Aptly named the ‘Sonar Kella’ or the ‘Golden Fort’, it’s one of the most spectacular architectural creations. It is one of the few “living forts” in the world. The reason is that almost one-fourth of the city’s population still resides within the fort. One of the most breathtaking historical monuments of Rajasthan, the fort was the city of Jaisalmer. At least for the better part of its 800-year-old history.
It’s the second oldest fort in Rajasthan built in 1156 AD by the Rajput Rawal (ruler) Jaisal. The name of the city and the fort derived from the king. The fort has been known to stand at the crossroads of important trade routes (including the ancient Silk Road). The massive fort’s yellow sandstone walls are a shade of tawny lion colour during the day. As the day fades, it turns into a hue of smooth-gold. That’s the reason it was named as the ‘Golden Fort’. It’s no wonder why Jaisalmer Fort is among the must-visit historical places in Rajasthan.
- Entry fee: For Indians: INR 50, Foreign Nationals: INR 250
- Timings: 6:00 am – 5:00 pm
22. Kuldhara, Jaisalmer
Established around the 13th century, Kuldhara now is an abandoned village in the Jaisalmer district. Heaps of ruins surround the place as you go in to visit. Once it was a prosperous village inhabited by Paliwal Brahmins. The village had been abandoned by the early 19th century, possibly because of water scarcity. And now, it has acquired a reputation as a haunted site.
Although, it’s just a myth like all the legendary myths. Rajasthan tourism has developed it as a tourist spot. Travellers come down to gather knowledge about the history of the place. Also, it’s a really good place for taking photographs. Barren and arid, you can only see ruins and acres of sand plains throughout.
- Entry fee: Per Adult: INR 10, with Car: INR 50.
- Timings: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
23. Ranthambore Fort, Ranthambore
Located in the Sawai Madhopur, the10th-century Ranthambore fort is among the most stunning historical places in Rajasthan. The fort is known to encapsulate many temples, palaces, barracks and other attractions. The exact location of the fort is inside the wildlife sanctuary which used to be a hunting ground for the kings.
There are three temples which were built inside the fort in the 12th and 13th centuries. Inside the fort, there is a wall on which the history of the fort is written. Cobbled pathways and gardens lead the way inside the fort to the various other structures built there. You can also opt for a safari inside the fort as it’s located inside the national park. Surwal Lake, Kanchida Valley, Badal Mahal, Ganesh Temple, Hammir Court, Gupt Ganga and many such beautiful attractions are found right there.
- Entry fee: For Adults: INR 15, for Children: INR 10.
- Timings: 6:00 am – 5:00 pm
24. Lake Palace, Udaipur
Sitting like royalty amid the cool blue waters of Lake Pichola, Lake Palace is a dream destination. Spread over 4 acres, it’s a pristine white historical monument of Rajasthan. It was around 1743-1746 that this palace was built under the rule of Maharaja Jagat Singh II.
Initially, it was named Jagniwas which later metamorphosed into the name of Lake Palace. To describe the architecture of this structure, it’s a masterpiece which oozes brilliance from every corner. Striking white marble building with notable courtyards, terraces, gardens and fountains. It has now transformed into a luxury hotel which has various rooms like Ajjan Niwas, Phool Mahal, Dhola Mahal and so on.
- Boat ride: For Adults: INR 400, for Children: INR 200.
- Sunset Boat ride: For Adults: INR 700, for Children: INR 400
- Timings: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
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Or even talk in length about any one of them. Each has its own unique history and architecture. Rajasthan is one of those places which is an architect’s paradise for sure. As well for the avid traveller.