The SUV Trail: Royal Rajasthan

A road trip to Rajasthan in the Volvo XC60 makes for a luxurious ride
Image courtesy: ©Volvo Cars

Pair the royal circuit of Rajasthan with a Luxury SUV – and you have an ideal road trip. Here are the must visit forts and palaces of Rajasthan for the next time you want to travel the road in style.

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

Rising skywards from a rocky hill, the mighty Mehrangarh Fort towers over the blue city of Jodhpur. A 300m walk from the old city brings you to Jai Pol, the main entrance. You can enter the fort for free, while the museum requires a ticket. Past the museum, the ramparts offer sweeping views of the city and are lined with canons, offering a glimpse into its historical past as a formidable and impregnable structure facing approaching enemies. This architectural marvel is one of India’s most magnificent forts.

Driving Distance: Chittor–Jodhpur 320km

Top Tip: Back your royal ride through Rajasthan with a capable SUV that lets you travel in comfort and luxury. The Volvo XC60 helps make a road trip better. Features such as city safety with full auto brake, dynamic stability and traction control system, water repellant front side windows, pre prepared restrains and sculpted seats goes a long way in ensuring comfort and safety. The XC60 comes with advanced AWD, Hill descent control and a class-leading 230mm ground clearance for those rocky mountain trails.

 

Chandra Mahal, City Palace, Jaipur are the private quarters of the royals
Chandra Mahal, City Palace, Jaipur are the private quarters of the royals
Image courtesy: ©Shweta Andrews

City Palace, Jaipur

Right in the centre of the old city, the striking City Palace showcases both Rajasthani and Mughal architecture and features buildings from different eras. The Mubarak Mahal (Welcome Palace) with its beautiful arches and colonnades now forms part of the Maharaja Sawai Mansingh II Museum that houses an exceptional collection of royal costumes and shawls. The armoury and the Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience) art gallery feature fascinating collections of weaponry and art exhibits respectively. The Chandra Mahal is the residence of the descendants of the royal family and a 45-minute guided tour is available for select parts.

Driving Distance: Delhi–Jaipur 283km

Red stone and marble architectural beauty come together at the Amber Fort
Red stone and marble architectural beauty come together at the Amber Fort
Image courtesy: Rajasthan Tourism Board

Amber Fort, Amber

A stunning palace complex in pink and yellow sandstone awaits you at Amber. Highlights include the Diwan-i-Am with its ornamented columns, the Sukh Niwas (Hall of Pleasure) with its ivory-inlaid sandalwood door, and the famed Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace) with its glass-covered walls and ceiling. The Jai Mandir (Hall of Victory) is known for its mirrored ceiling and views of the Maota Lake from the palace ramparts. A complex below the fort and near the lake hosts the Amber Sound & Light Show in the evenings.

Driving Distance: Jaipur–Amber 11km

Chittorgarh Fort, Chittor

The imposing Chittorgarh Fort is the largest fort complex in India, making the 5 hour drive from Jaipur to Chittor absolutely worth it. A 1km ascent takes you atop the plateau where the surviving palaces, temples and towers lie. These include the Meera Temple and Kumbha Shyama Temple in their ornate Indo-Aryan style with tall sikharas (spires). Climb the 157 steps up the nine-storey Victory Tower for a glorious view. Padmini’s Palace, Suraj Pol and the Tower of Fame are some other attractions.

Driving Distance: Jaipur–Chittor 306km

Umaid Bhawan Palace tops it for sheer luxury and grandeur
Umaid Bhawan Palace tops it for sheer luxury and grandeur
Image courtesy: Umaid Bhawan Palace

Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

This honey yellow sandstone construction with teak and marble interiors was built between 1928 and 1943, and still serves as the residence of the royal incumbent. One section is a Taj hotel featuring massive rooms and suites designed for a royal experience. You’ll have to stay at the hotel for the full luxury experience, as casual visitors are only allowed to visit the museum located on one side of the building. This has photos of the elegant interiors of the palace and a quirky collection of ornate clocks. The maharaja’s collection of gleaming classic cars is on display by the entrance gate of the museum.

Driving Distance: Chittor–Jodhpur 320km

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