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If you’re planning a trip around India, undoubtedly Rajasthan is on your itinerary. This is one of the most popular states in India to travel through, due to the well-trodden tourist trail, stunning architecture, and endlessly fascinating history.
Not to mention, it’s home to some seriously Instagrammable sites, like the Jaipur City Palace, the Mehrangarh Fort, and the Pushkar desert.
There’s a huge diversity in places you can visit in Rajasthan, from stunning lakeside cities like Udaipur to the colorful pink and blue cities of Jaipur and Jodphur, respectively. Historic city palaces feature some of the finest architecture you’ll find outside the Taj Mahal – with half the crowds, to boot.
Please note, for the ladies: India is a conservative country with different rules about what’s appropriate and what’s not than you might be used to. That said, it’s not as conservative as you may think – for example, crop tops and tank tops are perfectly fine to wear. For tips on how to dress from a Western woman who’s made India her home, check out this guide on how to dress in India
So, if you’re planning to explore India on your holiday, here are all the spots in Rajasthan with the most beautiful photo spots. Hey, everybody’s gotta gram.
Jaipur is known as “the Pink City” for its pinkish-red sandstone buildings that make it so unique – plus there’s tons to do in Jaipur! It’s the capital of Rajasthan state and therefore it’s a little busier and more hectic than other places in Rajasthan, with 3 million inhabitants. If you’re set on getting the best photos, it’s important to wake up early and try to hit the spots before the crowds and tour buses do – you’ve been warned!
The City Palace in Jaipur is an ornately decorated building from the 1700s that’s seemingly made for Instagram. It’s now a museum, but parts of it are still used as a royal residence to this day. Right in the heart of downtown Jaipur, this is a can’t-miss photo op when you’re visiting the Pink City.
The Hawa Mahal – also known as the Palace of the Winds – is probably the most recognizable spot in Jaipur. With its trademark pink color, insanely symmetrical windows, and grand stature, it doesn’t get much more photogenic than this.
Apparently, the palace’s facade was built to resemble a high wall blocking the royal women, so they could people-watch undisturbed!
The Amer Fort is one of the most stunning buildings in Jaipur – if not all of India. Perfectly combining Hindu and Muslim architecture, this historic 16th century building is built on a hilltop for epic views of the city below.
Udaipur is considered one of the most beautiful places in India, and is even called “the Venice of the East” for its stunning lakes, historic architecture, and romantic vibes. It’s a much smaller city than Jaipur, with less than half a million inhabitants, so it’s rather relaxed and a nice place to take a break from the often frenetic pace of India. There are plenty of things to do in Udaipur so it’s worth saving a few days on your Rajasthan itinerary for it.
Just as Jaipur has a city palace, so does Udaipur, and it’s just as photogenic. The architecture dates all the way back to 1559 and is done in a mix of architectural styles. Fun fact: what’s now called “City Palace” used to belong to 11 different rulers, but has now been unified into one complex!
The rooms are gorgeous to explore during the day, but it’s also a sight to behold at night. Grab your tripod, cross the lake, and take some beautiful long exposure shots to capture the magic of Udaipur at night.
This Hindu temple features intricate carvings in a stunning alabaster white color. It’s located right on the lake, right next to the City Palace, so it’s easy to get to after you’ve visited the palace.
Jag Mandir Island Palace
Built on a natural island in Lake Pichola, Jag Mandir is also called the “Lake Garden Palace.” With architecture dating back to 1551, this is one of the older and more stunning spots in Udaipur. It was used as a summer home and party spot by the royal family – and with views like that, it’s not hard to see why!
Whereas Jaipur is known for its many shades of pink, Jodphur is called “the Blue City” as all of its houses are painted in ombre shades of deep blue. The most Instagrammable feature of this city is pretty much any of the viewpoints where you can see the sprawling blue houses, but Jodphur is also home to historic palaces and intricate buildings that are beautiful for photographers as well.
By now, you’ve probably gathered that Rajasthan digs its hillside forts. Mehrangarh is one of the most beautiful spots in the Blue City, with some of the best views of the blue houses due to its location.
In addition to being insanely photogenic, it’s also home to a fascinating museum of fine and decorative arts, and has one of the best nighttime viewpoints at the terrace restaurant.
This stunning memorial site is right near Mehrangarh Fort and is one of the most beautiful spots to take photos in all of Jodphur. The white marble pillars are dreamy, perfect for Instagrammers and architecture buffs alike.
Jaisalmer is one of the main entryways to the Thar Desert, aka the Great Indian Desert. Here, you’ll find stunning orange sands formed into perfect Sahara-esque dunes. It’s possible – and extremely affordable – to take scenic camel rides into the desert and even camp there overnight under some of the brightest stars you’ll find in all of India.