fun things to do with kids in rajasthan india   Travel for Kids
India
   
     
   

Rajasthan

Cenotaph
Rajasthan is a high desert, dotted with massive forts and shimmering palaces and medieval cities, such as Bikaner, Jodhpur or Jaisalmer on the western edge of the great Thar desert. In Bundi, our kids wrote, "Our haveli was very elaborate, with colored glass, with various ornaments. We sat on the roof drinking tea, eating cheese sandwiches, and gazing at the seven hundred year old palace." Traveling with kids in Rajasthan is a unique adventure.
 

Havelis (mansions) in Jaisalmer – It’s quite a schlepp to Jaisalmer on the edges of the Thar Desert in a far corner of Rajasthan, but nothing is quite like it. Just wandering around the narrow twisty streets or looking over the rooftops ("like sandcastles" said my kids) is an unforgettable experience. To see how rich merchants lived in luxury, visit the four story havelis (mansions). The children were impressed that each stone panel took six months to carve in lacy, intricate patterns.

Kids riding in a camel cart, India
  Camel safari (Pushkar, Jaisalmer) – Two popular places for camel safaris are Jaisalmer and Pushkar. We took an overnight camel safari from Pushkar. The hotel, which arranged for the camels and camel drivers, wisely suggested a camel cart for the kids. The kids tried riding on camels for short periods, but were happier sitting on comfy blankets piled up in the camel cart.
Kids flying kites, Rajasthan
  Pushkar – Pushkar is noted for hundreds of Hindu temples, but my children remember flying kites from the rooftops. There are plenty of kites stores in Pushkar to shop for inexpensive tissue paper kites (stock up because they will crash). Spend an afternoon watching your kites soar above this holy city.
    Mehrangarh Fort (Jodhpur) – If you’re into forts, especially huge, massive, tons-of-stone forts, Mehrangarh Fort is most majestic and imposing. In the fort museum, look for the kitschy cannon shaped like a dog. The kids imagined it would sneeze out a cannon ball.
Lake Pichola (Udaipur) – While Lake Pichola shimmers and glistens, it’s easy to imagine you’re a raja being ferried to your water palace in the middle of the lake. Take an hour boat ride around the lake on the dock in front of the City Palace. The boat stops at the Jag Mandir, a crumbling pleasure palace with plenty of open spaces to run around.
    Kumbhal Fort (outside Udaipur) – From Udaipur, take a day trip to Kumbhal Fort. Kumbhal Fort is light on tourist traffic and the battlements look like the Great Wall of China. Perched on hilltop above the fort, the palace commands spreading views of hills in the distance and great spots for a picnic lunch. (In the palace, don’t miss the Maharana’s bathroom.)
Tower of Victory
Tower of Victory, Chittorgarh Fort (Chittorgarh) – Another day trip from Udaipur is Chittorgarh fort. Inside the sprawling Chittorgarh fort, nothing is more impressive than the Tower of Victory, intricately carved with gods and goddesses, inside and out! Best of all, you can climb up inside the tower, winding round and round, up stone steps for 8 stories. The stairway is so narrow that when you meet people climbing in the opposite direction, it's like a Delhi traffic jam.
Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary (Bharatpur) – This bird sanctuary, vast expanses of wetlands and drylands, is a perfect place to rent bikes, take a picnic and spend the day (or two) wandering around. The park has many water birds, Sambar deer, blue bulls, jackals and pythons, all of which are easy to see. Guides speak English and are very knowledgeable about the birds and wildlife in the sanctuary.

Junagarh fort and palace (Bikaner) – Bikaner is off the beaten track, but well worth a stop. The bazaar is non-touristy and Junagarh fort is a special favorite. The museum has the best collection of antique weapons, swords, daggers, maces and arrows. The palace is a dazzling fantasy, with marble fountains, coronation room, music room, exotically decorated private apartments. Don’t miss the golden Krishna swing.

Ranthambhore National Park (Ranthambhore) – The big attraction at Ranthambhore is tigers, but this park is amazing because it is wild land populated with marvelous animals, such as wild boar, langur monkeys, Sambar deer, spotted deer, egrets and herons, and peacocks. You ride around in jeeps or open seated buses and if you’re lucky, you’ll spot a tiger lurking in the shadows.
   

Shopping

     

There is an abundance of shopping opportunities in Rajasthan. Shop for wooden and cloth puppets, miniature paintings (in Udaipur), turbans and vests for boys, brightly colored Indian clothing for girls, carved wooden camels, little miniature brass cooking pots, silver and gold jewelry, and silver trinkets such as ornamental daggers and tiny elephants.

kids books india
     
 
Finders Keepers?
Robert Arnett, Smita Tuakhia

Go for a bus ride through Rajasthan, drinking tea at roadside stops and visiting temples (just like our trip). When the author loses his wallet, the boy who finds it, doesn't want a reward – it's dharma. (Picture book)

 

     
Tigers at Twilight (Magic Tree House)
Mary Pope Osborne

The magic tree house drops Jack and Annie into the Indian jungle to look for a gift from the forest. Along the way, they swing in the trees with the langur monkeys, ride on the back of an elephant and help an injured tiger. (Easy reader)

 

 
Tigers at Twilight
(More children's books on other India pages)
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