Colourful Rajasthan Tour
Rajasthan is India’s most famous tourist destination for good reason- massive palaces and huge forts and other wonderful monuments, not to mention endlessly fascinating ‘old city’ areas in all the major cities and many smaller towns.
On this tour you’ll visit Jaipur, popularly known as the Pink City, enjoy the stunning beauty of Taj Mahal at Agra (not in Rajasthan at all!), visit the Brahma temple and Akbar’s Palace at Pushkar, and a lot more besides
Day 1 - Arrive at Delhi
You’ll be met on arrival at Delhi airport and assisted with the transfer to your hotel. India’s capital has a long and storied past as the centre of many kingdoms and empires. Modern Delhi is a sprawling metropolis with a fascinating blend of the past and the present. It is a perfect introduction to the composite culture of an ancient land, and a window to the kaleidoscope that is India. Overnight in Delhi.
Day 2 - Delhi
Begin your tour with a full day of sightseeing around Delhi including Old Delhi highlights such as Humayun's Tomb, Red Fort and the Jama Masjid plus a drive-by tour of some of New Delhi’s famous sights (the ceremonial avenue - Rajpath, the imposing India Gate, Parliament House, the President's Residence and more). Qutb Minar is located some distance to the south of the other places of interest and getting there may mean omitting other places due to traffic issues. Overnight in Delhi.
Day 3 - Delhi – Agra
Begin the driving part of the trip with a relaxed 3 hour drive to the fort and landmark heritage hotel at Neemrana. On arrival, check in at the hotel and relax. Time later in the day to explore the nearby Kesroli Fort and 11-level-deep stepwell and local traditional village during Rural Rajasthan holidays trip. Stay overnight at hotel.
Day 4 - Agra - Jaipur
These days there are not many days of the year when the Taj ‘lights up’ with the rising sun- sadly, Agra’s air quality means that most days the sun rises as through mist, fog and haze rather than out of a clear blue sky. Our usual advise is to have breakfast and visit the Taj mid-morning when many of the crowds have dispersed. After spending ample time at the Taj- this is not a place to rush through- depart Agra and head out to Fatehpur Sikri. Due to water shortages, this majestic Mughal capital was operational for only a few years before it was abandoned- the result is an almost perfectly preserved complex of buildings which stand as testimony to the genius of Mughal architecture. Proceed from here and, if time permits, make the short detour, not long before reaching Jaipur, to the spectacular stepwell at Abhaneri. This is variously described as the oldest, deepest or widest stepwell in India, but regardless of which of these claims is true is certainly very beautiful indeed. At the end of a long day, check-in at your Jaipur hotel and relax. Overnight in Jaipur.
Day 5 - Jaipur
The Pink City of Jaipur is Rajasthan’s largest city as well as its present-day capital. Easily the busiest and most cosmopolitan of the cities you’ll see in Rajasthan, Jaipur has a number of famous and iconic sights- the best way to avoid the crowds is to visit the city-centre highlights in the morning (the City Palace, Palace of the Winds and Hawa Mahal, the Palace of the Winds) before heading out to Amer Fort in the afternoon. Emperor Man Singh I initiated the construction of the Amber Fort in 1592 CE and the building was completed by his descendent Jai Singh. As remarkable as these monuments are, for many people the real highlight of Jaipur is the vast market area within the walled city where you can find just about everything imaginable from precious gems to total chintz and most things in between. A walking tour to properly explore this vast area is highly recommended. Overnight in Jaipur.
Day 6 - Jaipur - Pushkar
You’ll have time in Jaipur to take an early morning tour within the old city if you wish, before driving 3 hours or so out to Pushkar. This famous small town, built around the eponymous lake, is home to an important creation story in Hindu lore and also the site of one of only a handful of temples dedicated to Brahma. Something of a low-key destination, this is a great place to walk and explore without any set schedule. Most of the time Pushkar is a peaceful, even laidback place, but for a few weeks each year around early November it becomes a major trading hub as camel and cattle breeders from across North India (not to mention thousands of pilgrims) descend on the town for the annual camel and cattle fairs. Overnight in Pushkar
Day 7 - Pushkar - Udaipur
Join a guide for morning sightseeing around Pushkar including the Brahma Temple and the sacred ghats around the lake before driving south into the Aravali Hills and the city of Udaipur. If you’re not put off by the idea of a little extra driving, and want to see another of Rajasthan’s most impressive forts, a detour to Chittorgarh can make a nice addition to the day. Picturesque Udaipur awaits at the end of the day. Overnight in Udaipur
Day 8 - Udaipur
Udaipur’s major sights (the intricately carved Jagdish temple, the rambling City Palace and Saheliyon-ki-Bari gardens) can be covered in the morning, leaving time for exploration of the many lanes and alleyways of the old city area in the afternoon. You might also like to take a boat ride on Lake Pichola, before dining at one of the many restaurants overlooking the lake. Overnight in Udaipur
Day 9 - Udaipur - Jojawar
Depart by mid-morning and drive through the hills to the sublime Jain temple complex at Ranakpur. No guides are permitted here and despite being a busy and popular site it is still largely peaceful and serene. Absorb the beauty of the temples for a while, then head on to the small town of Jojawar, where you’ll find a warm welcome at the heritage hotel, and former maharaja’s stately home, Rawla Jojawar. In the latter part of the day head out on a jeep tour, or go bird-watching. Overnight in Jojawar
Day 10 - Jojawar - Jodhpur
Morning excursion by train in the Aravali hills- this is a delightful journey through some lovely scenery, and a great way to see something of local life close up. For railway enthusiasts the engineering involved in the track construction will delight as well. Later drive to Jodhpur- be sure to ask your driver to stop in the small town of Rohet where one of Rajasthan’s most famous snack-food empires has grown around a single stall, selling just one thing- deep fried, potato-and-mint stuffed sweet peppers. The queue is long, but the wait more than worth it! Continue into Jodhpur and settle in with later afternoon/evening exploration in the highly atmospheric old city area. Overnight in Jodhpur
Day 11 - Jodhpur
The Blue City of Jodhpur (light blue allegedly deters mosquitoes- please feel free to try it out) is famous for many things including bustling markets focused on textiles and spices, the beauty of Mehrangarh Fort and the highly atmospheric old city area. A recently-restored historic stepwell provides a social hub for locals, while the shopping in the old city is excellent. There are many NGO-supported craft co-ops operating around Jodhpur which are worthy of support and whose wares can be purchased from boutiques here. Overnight in Jodhpur
Day 12 - Jodhpur - Jaisalmer
Today you will leave the semi-arid lands around Jodhpur for true desert as you head towards the ‘golden city’ of Jaisalmer. Unlike the other forts of Rajasthan which are largely museums, or abandoned completely, Jaisalmer Fort is still home to a large population and as such is regarded as a living fort. It’s a 5 hour drive from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer, so you will likely arrive mid-afternoon, with free time later in the day. For environmental reasons, we don’t book hotels within the fort itself- the 12th century plumbing was never designed to cope with modern water-use and the fort is degrading as a result. We feel you can enjoy Jaisalmer just as much staying outside the fort, and ensuring that this incredible structure is preserved for future visitors to enjoy and marvel at. Overnight in Jaisalmer.
Day 13 - Jaisalmer
Sightseeing of Jaisalmer to start the day, with lots of time to explore the fort and interact with its inhabitants- wandering musicians, street chefs, craftspeople, sadhus and many more make their homes here. Later continue your tour with visits to other places of interest around the city- the sandstone havelis near the fort are particularly impressive. In the afternoon, visit the abandoned ghost town of Kuldhara before heading out to Khuri to see the sunset over the desert with options for a camel ride and cultural show with dinner also available. Overnight in Jaisalmer.
Day 14 - Jaisalmer – Bikaner
Your tour has now reached its westernmost point, and the long journey east back to Delhi begins today. Firstly drive around 4 hours to Bikaner, a desert outpost city famous for its impressive fort, rambling markets and camel farm. Visit these during the afternoon, with an optional detour to Deshnok and the infamous Karnimata ‘rat temple’ here. Overnight in Bikaner
Day 15 - Bikaner – Mandawa
Your next destination is the unique Shekhawati region, dubbed by some as the largest open-air art gallery in the world. In many of the villages of this area, traditional merchants’ homes are decorated with mural paintings depicting desert and village life and culture. Overnight in Mandawa
Day 16 - Mandawa – Delhi
Further time to explore the towns and villages of Shekhawati in the morning, before the last leg of your trip, a 6-7 hour drive back into Delhi. Overnight in Delhi or depart late in the evening.