15 Non-Touristy Places in Rajasthan | Solo Female Travel
Brimming with dusky Havelis, golden-sand deserts, bustling markets, and adventure sports, Rajasthan is a paradise for travellers who want to explore India’s regal culture and photogenic landscapes. In the last few years, Rajasthan has become one of India’s most visited places for solo female travellers. Here are my tips for travelling solo as a woman across India. From history buffs and culture savants to adventure lovers, the “Maharajaland” has something for every traveller coming to the state from various parts of the world. You can also choose to enjoy the royal Rajasthani hospitality or experience its rural side with regional tribes. So prepare yourself for an amazing roller-coaster ride filled with fascinating sights and extraordinary stories.
Here I must confess, I have nothing but love for Rajasthan. For all those who plan to travel to India for the first time, I highly recommend a trip to majestic Rajasthan. Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, and Udaipur are among some of the visited places in Rajasthan.
However, my recent solo trip to India’s largest state was nothing short of an unforgettable adventure in the lap of history. I came closer to new experiences, historic learnings, thrilling adventures, and different shades of colours in various cities of Rajasthan. My eyes couldn’t stop smiling at the sight of radiant lakes, massive forts, and golden dunes.
Besides some of the well-known escapades in Rajasthan, I also got an opportunity to explore the state’s offbeat side as a solo female traveller.
1. Ghost hunting in Kuldhara
While I only knew about the haunted ruins of Bhangarh fort before my recent solo trip to Rajasthan, I learned about other mysteries and scary tales of other parts of the state from the bygone eras. According to legends, a little hamlet of Kuldhara in Jaisalmer has been abandoned since the early 19th century. Lying about 18-20 km to the west of Jaisalmer city, Kuldhara is slowly becoming a popular place to visit in Rajasthan.
When I spoke to locals around the village, I realized that ghosts had inhabited the old ruins for more than two centuries. When I walked through the cursed village’s ruins, I found a renovated temple amidst the cluster of broken houses. Interestingly, locals of the neighbouring villages ensure that the gates of Kuldhara are closed as the sun sets on the golden-coloured dunes. So if you wish to explore this haunted gem, you can take a cab or hire a rental from Jaisalmer city.
2. Temple trail in Pushkar
The small town of Pushkar is famous for its incredible temples. From the famous Brahma temple to the Old Rang Ji temple, Pushkar has the power to uplift your spiritual vibes. Also, no trip to Rajasthan is complete without a visit to the Temple City of Rajasthan! Tucked between the vast ranges of Aravali and a beautiful lake, Pushkar provides a perfect getaway from Jaipur.
I enjoyed a blissful evening in Pushkar, sipping a hot cup of chai (tea) by the ghat and listening to musical chants from the temple. So say your prayer at the temples or sit at the ghats to gaze at the natural beauty. Pushkar will provide you a soulful experience!
There are various ways you can reach Pushkar. The Pink City of Jaipur is about 150 km away from Pushkar. It is well connected with trains, buses, and cabs to help you reach the temple city. Also, Pushkar is about 15 km away from Ajmer. If you visit the Ajmer Sharif Dargah, you can take a cab to Pushkar town for your next stage of the temple trail in the evening.
3. Unwind at Chandelao Village
Travel beyond the main cities of Rajasthan to the well-kept secret of Chandelao Village for an offbeat experience in Rajasthan. The perfect spot for peace seekers, the homestay at Chandelao Garh is a classic royal Rajasthani experience! It is an 18th-century Rajputana Haveli, now maintained by the landowners of the village. You will find yourself surrounded by traditional Rajasthani food, traditions, and performing arts in this village homestay.
You can also take a walk around the village for a kaleidoscopic view of multiple patterns and colours. Caught in a time capsule, this Rajasthani village is the focal point of local art and handicrafts. You can also shop for various fabrics at the Pipar Bazaar or take a bird-watching expedition. Chandelao Garh will provide you with the experience of a lifetime.
Around 40 km away from Jodhpur, Chandelao Garh is best for a day-long trip from the city’s bustling noise to the land with an old soul. To experience the deep roots of Rajasthan, you can easily book a stay at the homestay through their website or travel sites. (https://www.chandelao.com/index.php)
4. Learn sustainability from Bishnoi Village
The Bishnoi community is the second-largest settlement in Rajasthan, known for its sustainable living. Located around 22 km from Jodhpur city, residents of the Bishnoi community worship and protect nature and animal species. To understand their sustainable living and capture a glimpse of Marwar’s tribal life, one must take a safari to the Bishnoi Village when in Rajasthan. Simultaneously, the Bishnoi village provides a splendid experience in the lap of exotic nature and wildlife.
From witnessing the finest works of pottery to learning how to weave “magic carpets,” a trip to the Bishnoi community should be on your must-do list in Rajasthan. Attention, solo female travellers, you can book a half or full-day safari ride at very reasonable prices here.
5. Walk around India’s lost Stepwells
Stepwells or Baolis are India’s architectural marvels, and Rajasthan has some of the most beautiful Baolis in the country. In Jodhpur, you can visit the 18th century-old Toorji Ka Jhalra that is approximately 200-feet deep. Decorated with intrinsic carvings of elephants and lions, the stepwell is a must-visit attraction in Jodhpur. During the summer season, the 250-year-old structure provides cold relief to the locals around the city.
There are as many as 50 Stepwells (both big and small) in the ancient town of Bundi. One of the most famous stepwell in Rajasthan and my personal favourite is the Raniji ki Baori, consisting of 50 stairs. It is a glorious architectural spectacle at its best. It also has various structures facing each other, along with a sleek entrance with stunning pillars and a huge arched gate.
However, the most renowned stepwell in Rajasthan and the largest in the world is the Chand Baori at Abhaneri, constructed with 3500 narrow steps. Chanda of the Nikumbh Empire built this three storeys ancient stepwell in 800 AD to solve the water crisis. Abhineri is a small village situated around 90 km from Jaipur city.
Note: There are different opening and closing timing for these Stepwells. I would recommend you to research well before embarking on a trip to these places across the state. Also, if you go to these Stepwells during the hot season, you might get an opportunity to take a jump in one of them.
6. Star-gazing at Sambhar Lake
About 80 km from Jaipur, Sambhar Lake is the largest inland saltwater lake in India. If you visit Jaipur, then a small de route to this unexplored gem must be on your travel itinerary. Receiving water from five rivers – Runpangarh, Khari, Samaod, Khandela, and Mendham, the Sambhar Lake touches three districts in the state- Jaipur, Nagaur, and Ajmeri. Its vastness and panoramic beauty make it the perfect spot for taking a walk during a full moon night. Sambhar Lake-town has become one of the most visited places in Rajasthan in recent times.
Several Bollywood films have been shot at the Sambhar Lake. The Sambhar Lake-town also houses the popular Devyani Temple and Kund, as well as Jageshwar Temple. You can experience surreal sunrise and sunset at Sambhar Lake or click stunning pictures at the Banjaron ki Chhatriyan monument near the railway station. I must tell you, Sambhar’s landscape reminded me of Rann of Kutch’s beauty in Gujarat.
If you can get permission to camp on the lake, don’t miss the opportunity to gaze at the galaxy of stars or explore astrophotography. When in the Sambhar Lake-town, you must try their sweet delicacy called ‘feeni.’
One can travel to Sambhar by train or road from Jaipur, Jodhpur, or Ajmer. The Rajasthan State Transport operates regular buses to Sambhar.
7. Shrine of Bullet Baba
The Om Baba Temple, also known as the “Bullet baba Temple” has an enthralling story to tell. Locals in the small district of Pali worship a Bullet Bike in this temple. While this may sound weird in words, it has a fascinating story behind it. Located at the Pali-Jodhpur highway, people stop by at this temple to pray for a safe journey ahead.
According to locals, Om Prakash Rathod died during an accident on this road while driving the bullet bike. After the accident, whenever the local police attempted to bring the bike from the accident site to the station, it kept coming back to the ditch where it had fallen. Since then, locals believe that Om Prakash’s spirit helps travellers through this bike, making the temple a must-visit place in Rajasthan. Beguiling isn’t it!
The temple is located on National Highway 65 in Chotila village of Pali district near Jodhpur.
8. Savour the flavours of Lal Maas
Meat lovers gather to taste the treat of royalty in Rajasthan. Laal Maas or red meat is a traditional meat dish of Rajasthan prepared using lamb/mutton and lots of red chillies and spices. Back in the day, it was a favourite among the royalties. Now, traditional Rajasthani cuisine is incomplete without Laal Maas on the table. Borrowed from the kitchens of Maharajas, this legendary dish is now easily served in various restaurants across the state. You can relish the flavourful dish with naan bread or Missi Rotis. I had the best Laal Maas at the Kalinga Restaurant in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
9. Get high on Bhang Lassi
In Jaisalmer, I tried the infamous bhang lassi (buttermilk) at the Doctor Bang store. Don’t get confused by the name! It is not an actual doctor’s clinic but a place where you can savour some of the best delicacies mixed with the ‘bhang’ (made with female cannabis plant’s buds). It has become a popular spot among the locals and tourists, such that the Government of Rajasthan approved its authorization. The shop sells various food items infused with different bhang portions, from chocolates to juices and sweets.
Established in the early 1970s, the shop is currently run by Chander Prakash Vyas, popularly known as Babu. While I tried a small portion of lassi, I would recommend my fellow solo women travellers to take precautions before relishing the dishes. For first-timers, I would suggest you steer clear of the bhang-infused buttermilk.
10. Asia’s largest open art gallery
Take a tour of the colourful Shekhawati culture in the quaint town of Mandawa in the Jhunjhunu district. Known as Asia’s largest open-air art gallery, the historic town of Mandawa is home to the Fresco Havelis in Rajasthan. Mandawa’s beautifully decorated residences were built by merchants of the 18th century.
Visit the artsy side of Rajasthan in Mandawa for an offbeat experience in the state. While the Mandawa Fort was built to protect the trading activities of Shekhawat merchants, it is popular among tourists. It is also famous for its hand-painted interiors, intricate mirror-work, and striking frescoes. The fort is a heritage hotel now, allowing visitors to explore the Jhunjhunu region’s antiquities.
Home to India’s foremost merchant families, Mandawa boasts of multiple beautiful Havelis that exhibit a flawless blend of legacy and royalty. Some of the popular Havelis in Mandawa are Lakshminarayan Ladia Haveli, Chokhani Double Haveli, and Binsidhar Newatia Haveli.
The town is well-connected by trains, buses, and cabs from various cities of Rajasthan. Mandawa is approximately 30 km away from Jhunjhunu railway station and around 190 km off Jaipur in the north.
11. Transverse the international border
The border town of Longewala needs no introduction. With Pakistan 150 km away from Jaisalmer, Longewala safeguards India’s western frontier at the international border. Near the border, you can also visit the popular Tanot Mata temple. While visitors cannot go beyond the temple, you can visit the border by getting permission from the BSF Commandant located at the temple. You have to show an ID proof to receive permission to see the border post where you come across fencing wires that divides India and Pakistan at the international border.
You can also visit the Longewala War Memorial. It tells the tale of India’s victory over Pakistan in the battle of 1971. There are exhibits of battle tanks and jeeps from India and Pakistan’s armies that will take you on a memorable run. However, you must know that there will be no mobile coverage in the area, and photography is strictly prohibited at the border.
Read to know if India is a safe destination for solo women travellers.
12. Getaway to Thar
Located in the Jodhpur district, the ancient desert town of Osiyan is home to some of the most enticing temples and architectural marvels of Rajasthan. The town is popularly known as the ‘Gateway to Thar’ since it is situated at the Thar Desert border. Travellers from all over the world visit the town of Osiyan to discover the legacy of strikingly sculpted and well-preserved temples such as the Harihara Temple and Sachiya Mata Temple. The town’s main tourist attraction is the Surya (Sun) Temple, fabricated with awe-inspiring carvings of lotus flowers and serpents.
During my trip to Osiyan, I got an opportunity to explore the history behind the ruined myriad temples that date back from the 8th to 11th centuries. So it is truly an oasis inside the Thar Desert! As it is located just 60 km from Jodhpur, you can plan a day-long excursion to explore the hidden temple town.
13. The story of Pokhran
About 110 km east of Jaisalmer lies the heritage city of Pokhran, dotted with ancient temples, royal Havelis, and monumental structures. One of the village’s main attractions is the majestic Pokhran Fort that is made of red sandstone. It now operates as a heritage hotel that houses a museum exhibiting costumes, armoury, paintings, and pottery from the bygone era. Fun fact: This remote region in the Thar Desert served as the testing site for India’s first underground nuclear tests in 1988.
In Pokhran, I also interacted A LOT with the local potters and weavers to learn about their region’s journey. The best time to visit Pokhran is during winters when the temperature is cool. You can explore the fort or take a walk around the massive Thar Desert during the sunset.
14. Live a rooted life in Rusirani
Located on a hillock in rural Rajasthan, Rusirani Village is a small hamlet where people live a deep-rooted life in family, traditions, and culture. It is situated about 100 km from Jaipur amidst the Aravali Hills near the Sariska National Park. Interestingly, it is named after the Queen of Alwar – “Rusirani” means angry Queen. In the 2000-year-old village of Rusirani, you can come closer to the rural life and panoramic views of Rajasthan. With an untouched heritage and rural living, Rusirani village provides you with the best of both worlds. You can also learn more about the lives of residents of the village. Participate in the local activities, or explore the Rusirani fort and Neelkanth Temple’s marvelous architecture.
In short, you can have a wholesome experience in this village settled in a time capsule! I camped under the starry sky, ate local food, and took away lots of memories during my trip to the Rusirani village.
15. Camp in the golden desert
Camping under the stars in the Thar Desert is one of the best things to do in Rajasthan. As I reached the place where I camped for the night, I was left spellbound at the sight of perfectly sculpted dunes of Thar Desert.
While camping in the golden dunes, you must not miss the opportunity of dancing with tribal women dressed in vibrant ‘ghaghra’ and listening to soulful Rajasthani tunes. In the night at the campsite, we sat around the bonfire to share our experiences across various parts of Rajasthan. Several tour agents organise camping amid the desert for individuals and groups at different prices. You can also choose to ride a camel around the desert and adore a colourful sunset around the dunes.
So when you visit the captivating cities of Rajasthan, I implore you to look beyond the popular, known places and palaces and unravel the mystery behind unknown villages and the state’s offbeat culture. Try not to be a regular tourist in Rajasthan, but experience the unexplored destinations. After all, there is no better experience than unearthing lesser-known places. From eating royal delicacies to living like a royal, the land of Maharajas has endless experiences that will stay with you throughout your life. (Just like they did with me) Happy trailing!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.