Ditch the popular haunts inside the walled city of Jaipur and go on these day trips from the city for a quick getaway. By Sushmita Srivastav
Jaipur, the regal capital of Rajasthan, is a sea of forts, palaces, and streets brimming with vibrant knick-knacks. But the wonders of the Pink City do not end there. On its outskirts lie offbeat, desolate destinations that are ideal for a rebound road trip.
A scenic drive of 42 kilometres from Jaipur via NH 48 takes you to the 475-year-old Samode Palace, which is now a heritage hotel sporting beautiful intricate carvings, royal suites, and Mughal gardens. Close by is the Shekhawati region, which was the meeting point of camel caravans from the Middle East, China, and India in the 18th century.
Once home to over 100 villages and forts, the region is perfect for a weekend of social distancing. It brims with forlorn havelis and frescoes. The town of Mandawa in Jhunjhunu district, with dozens of dilapidated Shekhawati mansions, is the pick of the region and is home to the fort-turned-hotel Castle Mandawa Hotel.
Another erstwhile princely state, Alwar, 149 kilometres from Jaipur, is home to ancient mosques and tombs, the beautiful Lake Siliserh, and an imposing fort with a museum displaying Persian manuscripts and Mughal miniature paintings. Stay at Neemrana’s Hill Fort Kesroli and head to the Sariska Tiger Reserve (107 kilometres from Jaipur) for a dose of wilderness.
For exciting wildlife sightings, there’s nothing quite like Ranthambore National Park (190 kilometres from Jaipur)—stay at Sawai Vilas for a luxe holiday. While Bhangarh, at just 83 kilometres, lures the adventure lover in you with its spooky folklore, the country’s largest salt lake in Sambhar is a smooth drive of an hour and a half, and makes for the perfect destination for camping and stargazing.