When the Desert Genie Grants a Secret Pass to Offbeat Rajasthan | HolidayIQ Blog

When the Desert Genie Grants a Secret Pass to Offbeat Rajasthan

When the Desert Genie Grants a Secret Pass to Offbeat Rajasthan HolidayIQ

A land fought for and fiercely defended from invaders: Legends of sacrifice, heroism and glamorous royalty haunt every nook and corner of Rajasthan. History and nature have delicately painted this collage of cultures with the richness that never seizes to amaze. This is why I left the city behind. I packed a backpack and landed in Rajasthan to see what the place had in store for me. The words “Jaane Kya Dikh Jaye” gave me the open mind needed for such a trip.

Food and art welcome you at Jaipur

Food and art welcome you at Jaipursource: HolidayIQ

‘Ask and you shall receive’ seemed to be the first thing you realise when interacting with the local folks. Whether it’s the food or places to see, the locals are your gateway to discovering what you never thought could exist.

You land in Jaipur and you soon find out there’s no better refreshment than a warm Jaipur Ki Kachori at the famed Lakshmi Misthan Bhandar in Johri Bazaar, or for that matter at Rawat Misthan Bhandar or Kanji near the Sindhi Camp bus stand. 

Source: architizer.com

If you love art like me, skip the conventional palaces and tourist haunts and dive deep into Jaipur’s historic and cultural heritage at the Jawahar Kala Kendra. I was lucky to experience a cultural festival in progress and enjoyed a cup of coffee at their in-house coffee shop.

Built by goblins, Taragarh Fort at Bundi

Built by goblins, Taragarh Fort at Bundisource: HolidayIQ

Rudyard Kipling said, “Jeypore Palace may be called the Versailles of India... but the Palace of Bundi, even in broad daylight, is such a palace as men build for themselves in uneasy dreams - the work of goblins rather than of men.”

Inspired by this rather intriguing parody, I set out to find this palace myself. I covered the 220 km by the state-run bus service in about 5 hours from Jaipur. There is a direct train and AC taxis are available on hire from Jaipur for those who wish to travel in luxury.


Legend has it that the fort, in this quaint little town, was never conquered. The towering palace is built precariously on the mountain slope overlooking the Nawal Sagar lake.

Amazing frescos and mirrors, welcome you through narrow cobbled walkways. The magnificent architecture boasts of over 50 baoris (step wells).

I spent a day exploring the fort and found prehistoric rock paintings, a beautiful waterfall straight peep out of humongous rock formations and some old temples. A lesson in the region’s rich spiritual past.

Where the protagonists change with time, Narlai

Where the protagonists change with time, Narlaisource: HolidayIQ

290 km away from Bundi, in the embrace of the Aravalli hills is a wilderness that was once the hunting grounds of the Jodhpur royal family. I took the state run bus service to save money and also try the spicy local food, en-route.

Temples dot the landscape as you inch closer to Narlai, indicating spirituality, a rich history and a sense of mystery conjured up by the deserted look these jewels bare.

Erstwhile Havelis have been converted into luxury heritage hotels, erstwhile hunting grounds host guests armed with a camera to capture spot deer, chitals and leopards while on safari, that is what Narlai is all about.


The sight of a perfectly camouflaged leopard against rocks that have stood the test of time, put things in perspective.

Rajasthan Direct

You will be privileged to visit the ancient Adinath and Lord Shiva temples. Raised among rock formations of the Aravallis, they present the region’s exquisite craftsmanship through fine mural work.

I set off on a bus to cover the 450 odd km toward Jaisalmer in anticipation of visiting the abandoned village of Kuldhara, only to yield to the temptation of taking a break at Barmer.

Artistic finesse in the Thar, Barmer

Artistic finesse in the Thar, Barmersource: HolidayIQ

This town is in the middle of the Thar, long stretches of barren land, harsh weather, rough terrain, but is known for its finesse in terms of art and culture. This topped with the proposition of locally cooked laal maas will entice you to stop over.

Swati’s Kitchen

The final 180 km to Kuldhara is a spectacle of the Thar in all its beautiful desolation.


Legends that deliver goosebumps, at Kuldhara

Legends that deliver goosebumps, at Kuldharasource: HolidayIQ

This tiny village established around the 13th century, about 18 km from Jaisalmer was abandoned by its inhabitants nearly 200 years ago for unknown reasons. Residents of the surrounding villages will tell you legends of its inglorious past. In the era of powerful kings and ministers, Kuldhara was home to the Paliwal Brahmins.

It is said that due to the repressive regime of the local chieftain, one night, all the residents literally disappeared from the village leaving behind an empty settlement, said to be haunted by their spirits.

Tomas Belcik

The village and its temples may give you a chill, but the surrounding is pristine arid desert forests. Roam the empty alleys with your loved one. You will discover a strange closeness which draws you together in the adversity.

Ancient markets of Jodhpur

Ancient markets of Jodhpursource: HolidayIQ

Before leaving Rajasthan, I needed to visit a place where I could buy things that would remind me of this journey through time and how much an open mind can absorb. As always, the locals had the answer.

The old Sardar Market in Jodhpur has everything. From the conventional to unexpected variety of traditional Bandhej clothes, Mojris (Rajasthani shoes), handicrafts, textiles, bangles and spices, this was a perfect signing off to a trip that had pleasant occurrences at every turn. This is as they describe it “Har mod pe aap ko, Jaane Kya Dikh Jaye”.

Disclaimer: All the information given in this article has been compiled by the HolidayIQ content team. Department of Tourism, Govt. of Rajasthan is not responsible for any factual error.

The views above are collated from opinions expressed by travellers on www.holidayiq.com

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