Another decade has bitten the dust, but one thing remains a constant — this country is still among the greatest places on earth to travel. Winter hasn’t yet said goodbye and the weather’s perfect for setting out on a long drive, so here’s a selection of places you can drive and ride to. Before you ask, the list is almost entirely random and isn’t in any order of ranking —they’re all great destinations. There are, of course, thousands of other equally great places you can go to, so if you know any, feel free to ignore this article and do just that — the ultimate aim is to get out and about!
It might be smelly, dusty and a little overwhelming, but the Karauli Animal Fair, held in February every year, is still a spectacle and a half. Thousands of domesticated animals (goats, cattle, camels, horses and the like) are brought here to be sold and traded, and their owners camp out alongside them, putting up colourful tents and merrily carrying on their daily activities in and outside them. You’ll see some truly magnificent specimens of animals here, and the owners are more than happy to have visitors wander around.
Produce a camera and you’ll be mobbed by people with requests for photos to be taken alongside their prized beasts. Apart from the fair, the Karauli City Palace is a magnificent edifice that is little-visited (compared to other well known Rajasthani palaces, anyway), which is a good thing because there won’t be hordes of noisy tourists around. Some of the intricate stucco and fresco work here has to be seen to be believed. The Bhanwar Vilas Palace (www.karauli.com) is the best (and pretty much the only) place to stay here, and it’s a fascinating structure by itself, being the royal residence — the current Maharaja and his wife are quite likely to be your dining companions.