The honor of being the largest and most royal state of India irrevocably rests upon the shoulders of Rajasthan, travelling to this magnificent land is like traveling through time and finding yourself amid majestic forts, vigorous battlefields, royal ceremonies, and never seen before landscapes. A land that illuminates fluorescent palaces and dusky Havelis, also promises its visitors flamboyant street markets that pierce through the soul of shoppers. Like the radiant lakes twinkle as the sun glares on it, you too can breathe in something new, something exciting by visiting some of the less-visited places which are nothing less than pockets of serenity amid the chaos in Rajasthan you cannot miss.
1. Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajsamand-
Its isolated and concealed position, atop a lofty hill surrounded by concentric hills and valleys, by taking advantage of the terrain’s natural contours, gave it a commanding view and strategic importance.
From there, follow the paved contour path upwards through successive fortified pols (gates) to the fort’s three palaces, at different levels. These are Kumbha Palace, Jhalia ka Malia (Palace of Queen Jhalia), and the topmost Badal Mahal. There are more than 300 temples scattered within the fort.
A building housing several canons is another highlight. The place is particularly spectacular around sunset and just afterward when its structures are reminiscently illuminated.
2. Chand Baori, Dausa-
It is one of the largest step wells in the world built to ensure that people in the arid Abhaneri region of Rajasthan had a dependable water source.
It was also a community gathering place for the locals and Royals during summers. The well has a pavilion and resting room for the royals at one side. It is an architectural wonder with 3500 perfectly symmetrical and narrow steps with over 13 stories extending approximately 30 m (100 ft) into the ground.
The play of light and shadow on the steps makes the structure look captivating. The geometric patterns of the stepwell are almost hypnotic.
3. Taragarh Fort, Bundi-
The fort built at 500 meters above from ground on the hill, made up of serpentine stone. Lakshmi Pol, Phuta Door, and Gaugudi Gate are the three doorways which serve as entrances to the Taragarh Fort.
During its glorified days, Taragarh Fort was well known for its tunnels which run in a criss-cross pattern along the entire hillside. There are several bastions around the fort, out of which Bhim Burj is the largest. It said that there was a massive cannon placed here that had the power to shake the earth.
Another bastion, called the Chauhan bastion has some deep-water reservoirs. There are a couple of mahals inside the fort complex and a probable Baradar. The fort has Miran Saheb ki Dargah. Dudha Mahal which is situated inside the fort has beautifully frescoed walls.
4. Kuchaman Fort, Nagaur-
It is perched atop a 300 m high cliff, occupies an area surrounded by ten glorious gates from different sides and thirty-two bastions. This fort shows the historical significance of the Rathore rule in Rajasthan.
There are carvings of miniature paintings and murals on the outer walls of the fort. The interior walls of the fort are engraved with the inlay works of glass, semi-precious stones, and gold. The walls and pillars are painted with gold artwork of motifs, flowers, and frescos.
The architectural brilliance features hanging terraces and long balconies. The fort also got a glass palace, called Sheesh Mahal which is covered entirely with the glass of various sizes, shape, design, and length.
5. Osian Temples, Jodhpur-
Also known as ‘Khajuraho of Rajasthan’ situated on the verge of Thar desert. The major temples of the place are that of Lord Surya, Lord Harihara, Goddess Sachi, and Lord Mahavira. Surya temple of Osian built in the latter part of the 10th century has walls and ceilings adorned with story-telling paintings and scriptures.
The most intriguing portrays in mostly carved-designed temples is an interweaving mural of serpents and lotuses, which covers a substantial part of the ceiling. The most important aspect of the temple from the architectural point of view is the array of nine magnificent arches built in the entryway of the temple.
Each archway has written on them the name of nine facets of Goddess Durga. Tirthankar Mahavira Temple, built-in 783 AD, has an elaborate balcony with splendid carved pillars. Similar pillars support the main hall of the temple, balconied windows, Mandapas, and entryway.
Mandawa is better known for its magnificent Havelis, spectacular forts, and plenty of other attractions built by many wealthy and crucial merchants of the bygone era.
The merchants of Mandawa built up mesmerizing Havelis with colorful carvings and several other architectural marvels. However, they migrated to other areas and left the magnificent architectural marvel of theirs in the shadows of anonymity.
The massive Mandawa Fort built by several Rajput Rulers was the initiating point for the business merchants to join in for their massive living there as per their social status. Majorly the marvelous carvings, intricate designs, and beautiful art and architecture made the fort of this region known.
7. Neemrana Fort, Alwar-
Neemrana Fort is an epitome of excellence due to its beautiful architecture which spread over 6 acres. The fort comprises three mahals namely- Kasturi, Jalgiri, and Darbar Mahal. The fort is built in such a way that it foresees the natural beauty of the palace and looks like a magnificent fort from the ground-level view.
The building materials used are red sandstone, marbles, and granites. It has large pavilions, rooms, halls, gardens, and swimming pools. There are large terraces and large windows to see the natural beauty of the palace. The fort is built in layers and in fragments that are in a cluster of massive structures. Inside the fort the craftsman’s works are mind-blowing.
The marbles used here are well polished and still not faded in time. The carving work on marbles and woods are nearly fascinating. The fort palace is now 550 years old and strong enough to last another 1000 years to come.
It is an archetypal town spectacle of royalty in the bevvy of royal town Jhunjhunu of Rajasthan. However, the only thing that makes Mahansar a little loud is the impressive Mahansar Fort founded in 1768 by the Shekhawat Thakurs.
The fort looks old-fashioned, rustic with a renovation. The fort gives the village a defining perspective, beautiful architecture, and a mix of muted and vibrant colors. Like it’s a fort, the town looks splashed in yellow colors, with occasional red or blue buildings and a green-colored mosque.
The village is an elongated version of the fort. It is because then it is easier to capture the essence of the place.
Dozens of trading families who settled in Nawalgarh prospered and gave the town nearly a thousand beautiful Havelis, dozens of large masonry-lined tanks, massive wells, and many memorial chhatris, all adorned with beautiful frescoes.
The town grew around the Bala Quila. In town, one sees two distinct styles of traditional architecture, the purely Indian style and partly Indian and partly European style features on later Havelis.
All Havelis were constructed in the vernacular style featuring courtyards, an adjoining nauhara, and arched gate structures with heavy and intricately carved wooden doors. The upper brackets under the eaves, arches above the vaults, and projected balcony forms were used liberally in earlier times. The Havelis were invariably and extensively painted.
10. Baroli Temples, Chittorgarh-
The temple complex consists of nine temples, each temple built around a natural fountain, emerged on the rocky bank of the Chambal River, only eight of them are within a walled enclosure.
The structural design within the complex, such as Pancharatha shikhara, entrance archway, pillars, and niches depicts exquisite stonework with intricate carvings. This feature is especially visible in the most prominent and largest temple of the complex, where every aspect of the building from Shikhar to portico and pillars shows elaborate carvings.
Apart from temples, the complex also houses a sacred step-well, a couple of lone pillars, an elaborated hall, Rangmandapa, all of which feature the same intricate stonework, demonstrating a perfect fusion of Nagara and Pratihara architecture style.