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Rajasthan’s Color Cities (India)


Desert driving in Rajasthan is an experience. Mighty fortresses loom dramatically out of the landscape, and you’ll share the dusty highways with camel carts and Rajput old-timers with vividly colored turbans and enormous mustaches. Kick-off in Jaipur – the pink city – touring pink-sandstone palaces, bustling bazaars and the awe-inspiring fortress at Amber.

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Follow NH48 to the Jain and Muslim pilgrimage center of Ajmer, and duck west to reach famous Pushkar, with its temple-circled lake and legendary camel fair in October or November. Return to NH48 for the rumbling ride to Udaipur, the white city – coiled like a silk scarf around the still waters of Lake Pichola. Dose up on ice-white palaces, then deviate west to the temple-strewn hill station of Mt Abu and veer north.

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As you enter Jodhpur, you’ll immediately spot the lapis-colored buildings that earned the Blue City its name – the homes of brahmins, priests in the Hindu caste system. Get another blast of Rajput military might at Mehrangarh Fort, then drive west through serious desert country to the sand-yellow city of Jaisalmer, whose fortified walls look almost carved from the desert itself.

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