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Which is better Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer or Jodhpur?

Discussion in 'Rajasthan' started by Raman, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. Raman

    Raman New Member

    Our families have come together after a long time from across India, and we would all like to go on a holiday somewhere in Rajasthan. We only have seven days that we can spend in Rajasthan and are all unable to decide upon the destination.

    None of us has seen Rajasthan before, so whatever destination we should we are looking forward to it. We want to make the right decision and due to the shortage of time we can only visit one place and therefore would like to know which is better Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer or Jodhpur?

    We want to do a lots of sightseeing from visiting forts, temples, monuments and museums. We also want to go the famous Chaoki Dhani and get the real experience of Rajasthan.
     
  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Raman! Welcome to the forum!

    These are all interesting destinations, full of history and architectural beauties. All are also located in the state of Rajasthan which means that you get to enjoy the the desert region and the views of the Aravalli mountains. Choosing one between these four destinations can be quite difficult especially if you don't know what they have to offer to you as a tourist. So for now, let's begin by giving a brief overview of these different cities.

    First, we have Jaipur, the capital of the state and also the biggest city in the state. This is also considered as the most progressive city in the state, lined with modern buildings and infrastructures. But at the same time, you can still find traces of the past of the city. It was founded around the 17th century and was the first planned city of the state too. Its proximity to Delhi, as it is the first main city you'd encounter if you come from the capital of the country, makes it a good base for visiting other places in the state. It has a number of heritage sites like forts, palaces and temples to keep one busy for a whole day. Yet you would still be able to enjoy the modernities of life, like shopping malls and complexes when in the Pink City of Rajasthan.

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    The Pink City, Jaipur

    Second, we have Udaipur, the City of Lakes, sometimes even referred to as the Venice of the East. It was founded in the middle of the 15th century by Maharana Udai Singh II. Unlike Jaipur, Udaipur is more serene and has less modern infrastructures. The main attractions here are its lakes and heritage sites. If you venture out of the city centre, you can even visit other historical places filled with lush greenery and natural beauty. Laid-back, romantic and peaceful, these are the best terms to describe the city of Udaipur.

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    The City of Lakes, Udaipur

    Third, we have Jaisalmer, the Golden City of Rajasthan. It is a great destination for witnessing the culture of the locals of the state. This is the only region in the state where there's a living fort and thus, it's a treat to be able to view such people living their daily lives inside the fort. It is also located right at the Thar Desert, thus you can enjoy a camel safari or desert safari when in Jaisalmer. And when it comes to attractions, the city won't also disappoint you as it has plenty of heritage sites that you can explore.

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    The Golden City, Jaisalmer

    Lastly, we have Jodhpur, a city yet not really a full city in the state. Is that confusing? Well, in a nutshell, Jodhpur is the second largest city in the state and yet it isn't as progressive as Jaipur nor as backward as small towns. As such, you get to enjoy this rural vibe when in the Blue City of Rajasthan. It was once the capital of the Marwars so you can also find heritage sites like a fort and palaces here. It is also located just outside the Thar Desert and is sometimes referred to as the Gateway to the Thar Desert by the locals.

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    The Blue City, Jodhpur
    So now that we have described these destinations briefly, let us dig deeper to what makes them different from each other. This way, you can fully determine which destination is the best choice for you. Here we go:

    1. Jaipur
    • Accessibility - Jaipur is well-connected to other cities in India and even in cities in other countries. The most convenient way of reaching Jaipur is through flight as it has its own airport, known as the Jaipur International Airport. It has domestic flights from Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune. It also has international flights from Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Singapore. The airport is just 12 kilometres away from the city centre of Jaipur. If you're reaching Jaipur by public transport, it's also very accessible. The Jaipur Junction Railway Station is the main railway station in the city, along with two others which are the Durgapura Railway Station and Gandhinagar Railway Station. Most trains coming from Delhi, Agra, Mumbai and Ahmedabad are directly connected to the Jaipur Junction Railway Station. If going by bus, there are direct ones from Delhi to Jaipur too. If coming from another city, you can just reach Delhi and ride a bus from there to Jaipur. If going by car, Jaipur can be easily reached through the National Highway 11. Traffic is rampant though since this is a very popular tourist destination.
    • Attractions - There are plenty of attractions around the city of Jaipur. There's the City Palace Complex, located right at the centre of the city. With its combination of yellow and pink hues, it is a very pleasant sight to the eyes. Inside the palace complex, you can find palaces, temples and beautiful gardens. The Mubarak Mahal, located within the complex, is a must visit because it holds numerous precious textiles owned by the royal family. Also located within the complex is the Chandra Mahal, its ground floor has been converted into a museum too, but houses manuscripts and treasures that also once belonged to the royal family. There's also the Maharani Mahal, housing the weaponries of the royal family. Outside the complex, you can visit nearby attractions like the Hawa Mahal, also known as the Palace of Winds. Continuing with the pink motif of the city, this palace is also in an attractive hue of light pink. The palace has over 950 small windows, just little enough to enable the royal women to view the outside festivities without being seen. Did you know that inside the palace there are no stairs, only ramps? This is because the saris of the royal women were so heavy that they needed to be wheeled off by wheelchairs, hence the creation of the ramps. There's also the Jal Mahal, the palace located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake. You can only view it from the outside though but it still floats beautifully especially in daylight. Outside of the city centre, you can visit the Amer Fort and Palace, about 30 minutes away of driving. It takes a bit of a climb to reach the palace/fort though so some opt to ride an elephant. It can take a whole day to explore the fort and its inner structures like the Sheesh Mahal and the Raja Man Singh Palace. Yet other attractions worth visiting are the Jaigarh Fort, houses the world's largest cannon on wheels and the Nahagarh Fort, which offers a beautiful view of the city of Jaipur. Both these forts were intended as additional protection to the original Amer Fort.
    • Things to do - For a real bird's eye view of the city, why not try riding a hot air ballon in Jaipur? Yes, it is very possible as several tour operators offer this thrilling activity for tourists. The ride lasts for about an hour or so but the cost is quite high at Rs. 2,500 per person. As mentioned above, you can also indulge in an elephant safari to reach the Amer Fort. Others indulge in a jeep safari that would take you around the jungle outskirts of Jaipur. You can also indulge in boating around the Man Sagar Lake. A better option would be boating in Ram Garh Lake, about an hour away from Jaipur. It is more serene and less crowded than the Man Sagar Lake. Of course, when in Jaipur, it's also a must to shop until you drop. The best rated shopping areas here are the Nehru Bazaar and the Sireh Deori Bazaar. You can find colourful textiles, handicrafts and other sorts of souvenirs here.

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    Hot Air Balloon Ride in Jaipur
    • Food - When it comes to food, Jaipur is well-known for its Rajasthani cuisine. Of course, legendary restaurant Chokhi Dhani comes first on the list. You mentioned that you wanted to visit this resort before, but did you know that it also serves the best Rajasthani thali in the city? So do indulge in eating here after you have enjoyed the bullock cart rides and the cultural shows at the resort. There's also Rawat Mishthan Bhandar, located close to the railway station of Jaipur. This restaurant serves the best pyaz kachori in the city. For mouth-watering chicken tikka, try out Sethi's Bar-Be-Que in Raja Park.
    • Accommodations - Whether you're looking for a luxury hotel or maybe a budget hotel, Jaipur has plenty of options. The Jai Mahal Palace Hotel is a top-rated luxury accommodation in the city. It was once a palace where the royals of the city resided but has now been turned into a heritage hotel. There's also the Oberoi Raj Vilas, which even has a 300-year old temple within its premises. Budget hotels that are rated good by customers come in the likes of Royal Aashiyana Palace, Hotel Baba Haveli and Hotel Savoy. There are also plenty of home stays and guest houses around the city for backpackers.
    2. Udaipur
    • Accessibility - Much like Jaipur, Udaipur is easily accessible from some cities of India. It has its own airport, the Dabok Airport, about 25 kilometres away from the city centre. It has daily flights from major cities like Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and even Jaipur. The downside is that there are no buses plying from the airport to the city centre so you need to ride a taxi to reach Udaipur from it. If going by bus, Udaipur is connected to many cities in the state and some cities out of it, like Delhi and Mumbai. By train, Udaipur has its own railway station which is connected to cities like Agra, Delhi and Mumbai. If going by road, Udaipur is well-connected to other cities by the National Highway 8.
    • Attractions - Udaipur has plenty of attractions to keep you and your family busy. For starters, you can begin with a boat ride amidst the Lake Pichola and also visit the surrounding islands within it. One of the most outstanding structures within the lake is the Jag Niwas Palace. It is now owned by the Taj Group of Hotels though so you cannot view it from the inside without staying there. Another gleaming beauty in the lake is the Jag Mandir, complete with a palace, courtyard and temple. On the banks of the lake, you can spot the grand City Palace of Udaipur. This is the largest palace complex in the state so it's definitely worth a visit. There are eleven palaces within the complex, showcasing the different architectural styles and personalities of each ruler who built it. Noteworthy of mention here is the Badi Mahal, with its beautiful garden complete with fountains, plants and shrubs. The palace itself is equally beautiful, with carved verandas and pillars. The complex also has numerous museums showcasing palanquins, statues, clay pots and other important artefacts from the bygone era. For enjoying the rich heritage and culture of the city, you can visit places like the Bagore Ki Haveli and Shilpgram. A bit further away from the city centre is the Monsoon Palace, where you can enjoy a commanding view of the city. Outside of the palace, the Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary is located, where you can spot wild animals like tigers, panthers and sloth bears.
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    City Palace of Udaipur
    • Things to do - Aside from boating, there are some activities that you can do around Udaipur. You can try riding the aerial ropeway here which leads to the Karni Mata Temple, located on top of a hillock. It gives you a great bird's eye view of the city of Udaipur. There's also another lake in Udaipur where you can indulge in boating activities, which is the Fateh Sagar Lake. The good thing about this lake is that it is less commercialised and less crowded. You can try out pedal boating, speed boating or just cruising along the lake. You can also enjoy shopping around the city, with the likes of Hathi Pole, Bada Bazaar, Tibetan Market and Sadhna Emporium.
    • Food - Udaipur has plenty of rooftop restaurants where you can enjoy the city view while munching on authentic Rajasthani cuisine. There's the Jaiwana Haveli Rooftop Restaurant, serving the most delicious palak paneer in the city. There's also the Kabab Mistri, known for their deliciously spicy dishes. The city also has numerous budget-friendly cafes like Cafe Edelweiss and Cafe Ra. They are great dining options for those who want to enjoy North Indian cuisine without digging too deep in their pockets.
    • Accommodations - Home to five-star hotels like the Taj Lake Palace (Jag Niwas) and Leela Palace, luxury hotel lovers would have a grand time here with the view of the lake amidst the mountains. For those in a budget, there are also affordable hotels around the city like Sargam Sadan and Kotra Haveli. For an authentic immersion to the culture of the residents, you can also opt for a guest house like the Little Garden Guest House and the Udai Haveli Guest House. Udaipur has something for luxury or budget travellers, but make sure you book in advance especially during peak tourist season which is during the months of December and January.
    3. Jaisalmer
    • Accessibility - Unfortunately, Jaisalmer doesn't have its own airport. The nearest airport is at Jodhpur, which is about 5 to 6 hours away from Jaisalmer. There are also no direct buses from other cities outside of Rajasthan reaching Jaisalmer. But you can just reach Jaipur, Jodhpur or Udaipur, from these cities, there are direct buses plying to Jaisalmer. Ultimately, the best option would be via train, as there are direct trains plying from cities like Delhi, Jodhpur and Bikaner to Jaisalmer. Reaching the city by road is a good option as well but you do have to halt for night stays in major cities like Jaipur and Jodhpur.
    • Attractions - Attractions in Jaisalmer are not as plenty as compared to Jaipur and Udaipur. There's the Jaisalmer Fort, also known as the Sonar Quila. It was named so because of the changing hues of the fort, depending on the time of the day that you visit. But as such, it is apparent that it has a golden yellow hue and stands tall in the city as it is located on top of a hill. Its distinction from the other forts in the country is that it is a living fort and thus, you would be able to see residents living within it. The main attraction inside the fort is the Raj Mahal, which has been converted into a museum today. You can also visit several temples within the fort like the Lakshminath Temple and Jain Temple. Also a must to visit are the numerous havelis around the fort, built by merchants and residents within it. They have exquisite carvings worth exploring, both inside and outside. There's also the Gadsisar Sagar Lake, where you and your loved ones can indulge in boating activities while enjoying the views of the temples all around. And lastly, there's the Tanot Mata Temple, revered sacred by many locals due to it being saved from the bombings during the Pakistan war.
    • Things to do - When in Jaisalmer, it's a must to indulge in a camel safari around the Thar Desert. Usually, guides would take you around the remote parts of the desert and even in the abandoned village of Kuldhara. Something more adventurous would be dune bashing around the Thar Desert, wherein a jeep would take you around the sam sand dunes of the desert. There are also other adventure activities around the desert like parasailing, paramotoring and quad biking. Also a must do here is camping around the desert so you can wake up to the beauty of the sun rising the next morning or even the sun setting before you sleep. Most tour agencies organise desert camping trips for tourists, complete with tents and cultural shows too.
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    Kuldhara in Jaisalmer
    • Food - Aside from authentic Rajasthani cuisine, Jaisalmer has plenty of other restaurants with different international cuisines. There's Cafe the Kaku, serving Mexican, Indian, Chinese and Japanese cuisines to guests. Free Tibet Restaurant offers authentic Tibetan dishes to guests and at the same time, they can enjoy the rooftop views of the city. But for authentic Rajasthani cuisine, you have to visit Zoya Ka Zayeka, another rooftop restaurant. Their home-cooked meals have been a hit for plenty of Indian and foreign tourists in Jaisalmer.
    • Accommodations - Hotels around Jaisalmer are plenty ranging from luxury ones to mid-range ones and budget ones. You can opt to stay in Surya Garh for a royal vibe and treatment. But if you're into more mid-range hotels, there are options like the Hotel Sky Plaza and Hotel Priya. There are also plenty of guest houses around the city like the Sagar Guest House and Ganesh Guest House. As mentioned before, you can also opt for camping, which also has different ranges like luxury ones or simple ones.
    4. Jodhpur
    • Accessibility - Much like Udaipur and Jaipur, Jodhpur is easily accessible whether by public transport or by car. If going by air, there's the Jodhpur Airport with direct flights from cities like Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. If coming from Jaipur, there are also direct flights from here. Jodhpur also has some railway stations but the main one is the Jodhpur Junction Railway Station. It has direct trains from Delhi, Mumbai, Agra, Chennai and Bangalore. If going by bus, there are direct ones from Delhi to Jodhpur. You can also opt to reach Jaipur or Udaipur and from these cities, ride a bus plying to Jodhpur. And lastly, by road, Jodhpur is also well-connected to other nearby cities by national highways.
    • Attractions - When you think of Jodhpur, you immediately think of Mehrangarh Fort. It is inevitable as it is the prime attraction of the city, with its white and brown facade, it's also hard to miss. Did you know the interesting story behind this fort? As many know, the fort was built by Maharaja Rao Jodha but before the fort was even built, it was cursed by a hermit that used to live there before he was driven away by the king and his soldiers. The curse was that the land was going to suffer from a curse and it won't be lifted until a man sacrifices himself. Thus, a man by the name of Raja Ram Meghwal sacrificed himself in order for the fort to be built. There's a memorial for him in one of the gates of the fort. Yet as soon as you enter the fort, many more interesting sights would greet you. Whether it's the sight of the handprints of the women who committed sati or palace of mirrors, every corner of the fort is full of story and beauty. Outside the fort, there's also the Toorji Ka Jhalara, an ancient step well which is still functional even today. Another must visit here is the Jaswant Thada, a burial ground for the royal Marwar dynasty. Featuring a garden, a lake and a white marbled mausoleum, this is an underrated attraction in the city.
    [​IMG]
    Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur
    • Things to do - Located near the desert, it's a must to indulge in a came safari when in Jodhpur. You can also try out other activities like paragliding, dune bashing and even camping in the desert. Around the Mehrangarh Fort, you can try out zip lining and enjoy a bird's eye view of the fort and city. There are also smaller villages around the desert and you can indulge in village tours. With this, you are immersed to the lives of these locals who live in such extreme weather and landscape conditions.
    • Food - Most of the restaurants in Jodhpur offer Rajasthani cuisine but there are a few that offer international cuisines. The best-rated restaurant here for local dishes is the Gypsy Restaurant. They offer delicious dishes at very affordable prices. There's also Indique, a rooftop restaurant, but more appropriate for fine dining or special nights. You also have to visit Sojati Gate so that you can enjoy the street food dishes around Jodhpur.
    • Accommodations - There are only a few five-star hotels in Jaipur, namely the Umaid Bhawan Palace and the Vivanta by Taj Hari Mahal. Both these hotels are very luxurious although expensive as well. For more modest options, you can try out Hotel Niky International or Ratan Vilas. They are more affordable but they don't compromise on quality of services. There are also home stays like Castle View Home Stay and Apple Home Stay.
    In your case, since you specifically asked for Chokhi Dhani, it seems like Jaipur is the best fit for you. Forts, palaces, monuments and museums, Jaipur has it all. It is a very modern city so you can enjoy all the tourist infrastructures and establishments. But the downside is that it has more traffic and crowds than the other destinations.

    Udaipur is more of a romantic destination and has been dubbed as a honeymooner's paradise. With its lakes and enchanting palaces, it's not hard to understand why. But even families can enjoy a visit to this heritage city, more so because it offers more serenity and peace than the former city mentioned.

    On the other hand, Jaisalmer can truly immerse you in the culture of Rajasthani people. Just one look at its living fort and its residents can give you a glimpse of a mixture of the past and the present. In addition, a camel safari around the dunes of the desert can be an adventurous activity for families and couples alike.

    And then there's Jodhpur, yet another city with such an interesting past. A stroll around its fort can truly take you back in time and even through its other attractions, which reveal such architectural prowess even decades ago. With the numerous activities that you can do around here, the whole family can enjoy their stay in the city.

    Good luck in choosing!
     

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