I’m gonna post three images of my top five places for each and two for sixth to tenth place. I know this is highly subjective and other people might choose differently. Also, it’s difficult to come up with a ranking. There are so many incredible things to see and to experience in India.
1. Taj Mahal in Agra
The Taj Mahal was certainly the highlight of the trip. In spite of the many people visiting the place, I enjoyed every moment there. I know all the photos taken are just pale copies of shots done a million times before. I didn’t visit Taj Mahal to take pictures. I wanted to stand in front of it and see if I can feel the amazement of this one of a kind structure. And i did.
2. Karni Mata temple in Deshnoke – the temple of rats
I’ve been afraid of rats since I was a small boy. Don’t ask me why. It’s just the way it is. And the rat temple has been on a never existing list of places to visit for quite a while. It’s not only that there are rats allover the place but that one has to conquer the temple barefooted. If this isn’t a way to get rid of one’s fear, what else is? In the end I just stopped contemplating, took off my shoes and stepped in the land of cute little rats. I even mastered to see one of the very rare white rats which propels one into god like status already. I guessed there will be other places during my journey where a “god like status” is a good thing.
3. Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh fort was a recommendation by an Indian co-worker of mine. She comes from the south of India and has done a Rajasthan trip just a couple of years ago. The place wasn’t on the original itinerary but i managed to convince the driver that this is a “must do”. The old fort, that hosted the capital of the Mewar rulers until Udai Singh II left it and founded Udaipur in 1567, is one of the largest and grandest in Rajasthan. Among the many different places to visit within the walls of the fort, these are my recommendations: the gaumukh reservoir, the ruins of the rana kuhmba palace as well as the almost romantic padmini palace.
4. Mehrangarh Fort in Jodphur
Mehrangarh fort in Jodhpur already greats you with its former power from a far distance. The fort certainly keeps its promises once you step through several gates walking through several courtyards serving as official parts of the palace, as living space for the maharajah or his wifes. The museum is very professional run by a trust established by the former maharajah Gaj Singh in 1972. The audio guide included in the entrance fee is just amazing. The guided tour is well planned and there is so much extra information included, even maharajah Gay Singh contributes a couple of words. The views from the fort down to the “blue city” are also worth climbing up there.
5. Thar desert
The desert is the desert is the desert. It’s sand, dunes and the sky just disturbed by some people and camels. I enjoyed just walking up the dunes and feel the sand under my slippers. I didn’t participate in the many activities offered for tourists such as camel rides, dinner in the desert, folklore performances or even sleeping in the desert. I just walked over the dunes and took some photos.
6. Jaisalmer fort and old city
The jaisalmer fort is palace and old city within impressive walls. Looking from the edges of the wall down into the new city as well as the endless desert behind isn’t tiring at all. Walking around in the narrow streets of the old city can be a bit confusing. However, you’ll hit a wall quickly while strolling around. People here might invite you into their houses or show you the view from their roofs. Some will ask you for a little money and twenty rupees are usually enough and definitely worth to get a little look inside the life here.
7. Amber Fort in Jaipur
What an amazing early morning landscape: the amber fort just outside of jaipur. At the time of the trip I visited jaipur I was already a bit tired of visiting another fort and my brain wasn’t willing to take more information in. So, I don’t know much about the place and I also didn’t like most of the images I took there. However, the fort and its surroundings are very unique.
8. Jain temple in Ranakpur
A temple that just lives up to its destination, a place of worship, a place where gods live, built with an uncountable number of pillars giving one the illusion of something floating. The temple is located in the aravalli mountains with lush green sub tropical vegetation.
9. Havelis in Mandawa
The Havelis in Mandawa were just built for the purpose of extravaganza showing off the wealth of the traders along the old silk road. They are just lined up in Mandawa, one behind another and all of them are witnesses of a long gone time. Even though many Havelis are not really taken care of, they still exhibit their former beauty. I also loved about Mandawa that there were hardly any western tourists around. Walking through the busiest street wasn’t a race between people asking for money or trying to sell something. It was just a walk through a busy street, people minding their own business. I really enjoyed taking pictures here in Mandawa and I won’t state this about some of the bigger places I visited.
10. Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri, founded in 1569 and built during the next fifteen years by the mughal emperor akbar, is one of the best preserved examples of mughal architecture in India. Visiting the place in the late afternoon with its low lights and long shadows is a nice experience. The few visitors get easily lost in the large terrain. Just the area around the jama masjid mosque and the tomb of salim chisti was a bit busier. Now I’m slightly mad that I didn’t take more pictures here. Although this gives me a reason to come back to this place.