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Rajasthan, off the beaten track

Most tours offer quick visits to Rajasthan, taking in Jodhpur, Jaipur and, sometimes, Jaisalmer. I suggest you get off the tourist trail to explore and appreciate this stunning part of India.

Bundi, a hidden treasure

Here's my well kept Rajasthani secret... A town that few or no tourists have heard of and the perfect hideaway during a vacation in India. Spend a few days away from the crowds of tourists you'll find elsewhere in the region.

Strategically situated in Rajasthan between Jaipur and Udaipur, Bundi is a magical place. It's known as the 'City of Lakes' thanks to a plethora of wells, fountains and ponds that are dotted around. It's also overlooked by a magnificent palace. You'll love exploring its little streets and its markets will win you over.

Stopover at Pushkar

For travelers not on a tight schedule during their vacation in India, I recommend you visit the holy town of Pushkar; you can take courses, participate in workshops and learn about manual crafts.

Couture, jewelry making, goldsmithing (or indeed, working in silver or bronze)...the town boasts several master craftspeople. For several years they've taken on students at rock bottom prices, whether you're a foreigner, tourist or local.

Bear in mind that Pushkar is a holy town, so alcohol, red meat and cigarettes are banned. But who cares, its amazing architecture and lakeside setting are worth the sacrifice.

The Rajasthani countryside

On the banks of Lake Udaipur

Although, once upon a time, it was one of Rajasthan's best kept secrets, over the past decade this town has grown in popularity to become one of India's tourist hotspots. This 'Venice of the East' (to use its nickname) is also one of the most charming towns in the region. With its lake and canals, it's a romantic place, particularly when the sun sets.

If you want to enjoy parts of the town that are not tourist ridden, I suggest you find a hotel away from the center. Head towards the outskirts of town, to the banks of the lake, where you'll find numerous guest houses and rooms. They're comfortable, with terraces and great views over the lake. For me, it's the best way to enjoy a bit of peace and benefit from its beauty - without the incoveniences of staying downtown.

Zipline above the palaces

Finally, I recommend that any visitor wishing to view the town from above, take a trip on the the biggest zipline in Asia. It's found above the ancient Maharajah's palace, which has since been converted into the luxury Neemarana Palace Hotel.

Nina Montagné
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Updated 2 June 2015
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