Known as the Land of Kings, Rajasthan is the jewel in India's crown, with ancient citadels, imposing forts, and ancient palaces stretching from the mountains to the desert. This 16-day tour takes you from the busy streets of Delhi to the edges of the Thar desert, where you'll explore some of the oldest and biggest forts in Asia, before heading back down through the mountains to Ranthambore to go looking for Bengal tigers in the wild. And, after all that, you'll visit the Golden Triangle of Jaipur, Agra, and Delhi, where you'll visit the ancient capital of Amer and see the sun rise over the Taj Mahal.

Highlights

  • Explore India's amazing Golden Triangle: Delhi, Agra, & Jaipur
  • Visit the magnificent 7th-century Chittor Fort
  • Wander through colorful bazaars and spice markets
  • Search for wild Bengal tigers in Ranthambore National Park
  • Gaze in awe at the red sandstone frescos of Fatehpur Sikri

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Delhi Delhi
Day 2 Delhi City Tour Delhi
Day 3 Delhi to Jodhpur Jodhpur
Day 4 Jodhpur Sightseeing Jodhpur
Day 5 Jodhpur to Ghanerao Desuri
Day 6 Ghanerao to Udaipur via Ranakpur Udaipur
Day 7 Udaipur City Tour Udaipur
Day 8 Udaipur to Bundi via Chittorgarh Bundi
Day 9 Bundi Sightseeing Bundi
Day 10 Bundi to Ranthambore Ranthambore
Day 11 Tiger Safari in Ranthambore National Park Ranthambore
Day 12 Ranthambore to Jaipur Jaipur
Day 13 Jaipur & Amer City Tour Jaipur
Day 14 Jaipur to Agra via Fatehpur Sikri Agra
Day 15 Taj Mahal & City Tour, Agra to Delhi Delhi
Day 16 Departure from Delhi  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Delhi

Welcome to Delhi!
Welcome to Delhi!

Welcome to Delhi! The bustling capital city of India is one of the oldest living cities in the world and has seen the rise and fall of many empires, with each dynasty of kings leaving behind monuments and memories to commemorate the grandeur of days gone by. Famed for its fascinating and varied Indo-Islamic architecture and history, modern Delhi is a breathtaking blitz between the old and the new,  with busy bustling streets and markets standing alongside historic palaces, modern skyrises, and colonial-era European-style buildings.

Your driver will meet you at the airport and take you to the hotel to go over the details of the tour and answer any questions you have! After that, the rest of the day is yours to do as you please.  Go exploring or shopping, relax around the hotel, or find somewhere to sit and drink a chai and watch the world go by.

Day 2: Delhi City Tour

Delhi's 16th Century Humayun's Tomb is said to be a prototype for the Taj Mahal
Delhi's 16th Century Humayun's Tomb is said to be a prototype for the Taj Mahal

Today is dedicated to exploring New Delhi.  You will start your sightseeing tour along the Rajpath passage in front of all the British-era government buildings that were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, and pass by India Gate—a stone archway with an eternal flame burning beneath it that was built in 1931 to commemorate the tens of thousands of Indian soldiers of the British Indian Army who were killed fighting in WW1.

After this, you will make your way to the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage-listed Humayun Tomb, a beautiful red sandstone memorial built in 1562 to honor the second Mughal emperor by his grieving wife. It is surrounded by several other equally as beautiful and unique buildings in lush manicured gardens and has been described as a prototype of the world-famous Taj Mahal. 

Spend the rest of the afternoon and evening at your leisure. You can do some shopping in the bazaars and the street markets, squeeze in some more sightseeing before sunset, or just find a quiet spot to relax.

Day 3: Delhi to Jodhpur

See the Blue City from the beautiful Mehrangarh Fort
See the Blue City from the beautiful Mehrangarh Fort

After breakfast, head to the airport for your flight to Jodhpur, the Blue City. The cultural capital of Rajasthan, Jodhpur was built by powerful Rajput chief Rao Jodha on the edges of the Thar Desert in 1459. These days, the city is as well known for the impressive forts, palaces, and temples as it is for the blue color of the houses, which were painted that way to help keep the buildings cool and to keep the dreaded mosquitoes at bay.

Upon arrival, you'll be picked up by your driver and English-speaking guide and taken to the hotel. The day is free to explore at your own pace. The city is full of narrow lanes and beautiful bazaars, with tea shops where you can sit and sip on a cup of chai and watch the world go by.

Travel Time: 1.5-2 hours
Travel Distance: 297 miles (478 km)

Day 4: Jodhpur Sightseeing

The spectacular Jaswant Thada was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh in 1899
The spectacular Jaswant Thada was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh in 1899

Your sightseeing tour around Jodhpur begins with a visit to Mehrangarh Fort (Majestic Fort). This impressive fort sits atop a nearby hill, looking down over the city. Whilst the outside looks pretty formidable, the interior is home to several beautiful and opulent palaces, like the Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace) and Phool Mahal (Flower Palace).  

After that, you'll make your way to Jaswant Thada with its white marble royal cenotaphs which were built in the memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II in 1899. Inside the beautiful main mausoleum, the cenotaphs are all painted with portraits of the various Jodphur leaders. 

In the evening, take a walk through the bazaar around the Clock Tower where you can find everything from spices, and grains to tea, fruits, vegetables, silver, and fabric. Round off your tour through the city with a walk through the town where you can see all the houses painted blue.

Day 5: Jodhpur to Ghanerao

Stop to visit the 15th-century Kumbhalgarh Fort on the way to Ghanerao
Stop to visit the 15th-century Kumbhalgarh Fort on the way to Ghanerao

Say goodbye to the Blue City and continue your journey through Rajasthan and onto the historic village of Ghanerao, stopping en route to visit the UNESCO World-Heritage listed 15th-century Kumbhlgarh Fort. This amazing fort is one of the hidden gems of Rajasthan and is one of the best examples of medieval Rajput architecture. It's also home to what is colloquially known as the Great Wall of India, the second-longest continuous wall in the world after the Great Wall of China at 22 miles (36 km) long.

There are three palaces and over 360 temples in the fort itself, most dedicated to Jain deities.  After you visit the hilltop fort and admire the panoramic views from the top, you'll continue onto Ghanerao near Desuri. This small village is also home to several different Jain and Hindu temples, including the Muchhal Mahavir temple which was constructed around 1020 CE. When you arrive, make your way to the Ghanerao Royal Castle and take a quick tour of the town before settling in for the night.

Travel time: 3-4 hours
Travel distance: 90 miles (145 km)

Day 6: Ghanerao to Udaipur via Ranakpur

Explore the stunning Ranakpur Jain Temple as we make our way to Udaipur
Explore the stunning Ranakpur Jain Temple as we make our way to Udaipur

Wake up early to squeeze in some last-minute sightseeing or have a nice lie-in before you hit the road again and head to Udaipur, the 'Pearl of Rajasthan'.  En route, stop to visit Ranakpur and its famous Jain temples in the Aravalli Mountains.  Take a tour through the intricately-carved and incredibly detailed 15th-century Chaumukha temple, with its 1,444 individually carved pillars, before stopping at the Temple of the Sun God and continuing the journey to Udaipur.

Cradled in green hills and surrounded by lakes, the 16th-century city of Udaipur is also known as the 'City of Sunrise' and 'Venice of the East', and is one of India's most beautiful and romantic cities. At sunset, take a boat trip out onto Lake Pichola to see how the setting sun illuminates Udaipur's amazing white marble palaces, bathing ghats, and temples.

Travel time:  3 hours

Travel distance: 71 miles (115 km)

Day 7: Udaipur City Tour

Udaipur City Palace, as seen from Lake Pichola
Udaipur City Palace, as seen from Lake Pichola

You'll begin your city tour of Udaipur with a visit to the City Palace Museum before stopping at Sahelion-ki-Bari and swinging by the Jagdish Temple, the biggest and most beautiful temple in Udaipur.

Completed in 1725, Udaipur's City Palace is the largest in Rajasthan and is famous for its ornate details and beautiful views overlooking the lake. It actually consists of multiple palaces, linked by harmonious design and connected by a maze of narrow passageways. One is still home to the royal family today!

After visiting the City Palace,  make your way to Shaelion-ki-Bari or the Garden of the Maids of Honor, a beautiful garden with colorful fountains, intricately-carved pavilions, and marble elephants. Built in the 18th century, men were forbidden in this garden, where the queens and their ladies-in-waiting came to relax and escape the heat and the politics of court.

Spend the evening at leisure or wandering around the narrow lanes of this laidback city, before taking in another epic sunset over the lake.

Day 8: Udaipur to Bundi via Chittorgarh

Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh Fort

Continue your journey through India with a step back in time as you head to Chittorgarh, to visit the largest fort in India and Asia, Chittor Fort. Built by a succession of Maurya rulers in the 7th century on the banks of the Gambhri River, this huge fort and UNESCO World Heritage Site was once the capital of Mewar.

Standing atop a huge hill offering amazing views over the surrounding countryside, the fort has several historical palaces and temples, including the Kalika Mata Temple. It is still seen as a symbol of Rajput bravery, resistance, and chivalry. After touring the fort, continue on to the sleepy town of Bundi, located in southern Rajasthan.

Known for its intricately designed bauris (step wells), Bundi was named after the famous canal that ran between the two hills of the city, which has now been converted into the Nawalsagar Lake. When you arrive, go for a wander through the town and watch the sunset over the hills.

Travel Time: 6 hours
Travel Distance: 174 miles (280 km)

Day 9: Bundi Sightseeing

The historic city of Bundi was an independent state until 1947
The historic city of Bundi was an independent state until 1947

Spend the day exploring the historic city of Bundi with its historical sites and unique architecture. You'll start our tour with a visit to Taragarh Fort with its famous art collection and beautiful views, before making our way to Bundi Palace, which was built atop a hill to avoid being attacked by armored elephants, and Chaurasi kambhon ki Chatri.

In the afternoon, make your way to Rani Ji Ki Baori, the most famous of Bundi's 50+ step wells. If you feel like exploring more, we also recommend visiting Dabhai Kund, the biggest step well in Bundi, which is slightly overgrown but features amazing carvings and details. Nagar Saga Kund is also worth a visit. At sunset, head down to the lakes to enjoy the beautiful views or spend the evening relaxing in the hotel.

Day 10: Bundi to Ranthambore

Opt to go on an afternoon safari through Ranthambore National Park
Opt to go on an afternoon safari through Ranthambore National Park

Today, head to Ranthambore National Park, one of the biggest national parks in north India, and one of the best places to see bengal tigers in the wild. The drive out to Ranthambore from Bundi will take about three hours. When you arrive, you'll have the option to go on an afternoon safari.

Safaris in the park run from 6.30 to 9.30 am, and 3.30 to 6.30 pm. In between, you can explore the 1000-year old Ranthambore Fort, which is situated atop a hill and offers magnificent views over the park.

The former hunting reserve of the Maharajas of Jaipur, Ranthambore has been a sanctuary of wild animals since 1955. The park itself is beautiful, between the rugged Ravelled and Vindhya hills, highland boulder plateaus, and lakes and rivers providing a home to hundreds of species of birds, mammals, and reptiles, including leopards and the elusive Bengal tigers. There are about 25 species of mammals including caracal, fishing cat, wild cat, jungle cat, civet, langur monkey, sloth bear, wild boar, sambar deer, spotted deer, Indian gazelle, nilgai antelope, golden jackal, Bengal fox, and striped hyena. 

Travel Time: 3 hours
Travel Distance: 96 miles (155 km)

Day 11: Tiger Safari in Ranthambore National Park

Enjoy the beautiful scenery as we search for the elusive Bengal tiger
Enjoy the beautiful scenery as we search for the elusive Bengal tiger

The former hunting reserve of the Maharajas of Jaipur, Ranthambore has been a sanctuary of wild animals since 1955. The park lies between the rugged Ravelled and Vindhya hills, highland boulder plateaus, and lakes and rivers providing a home to hundreds of species of birds, mammals, and reptiles, including leopards and the elusive Bengla tigers. There are about 25 species of mammals including caracal, fishing cat, wild cat, jungle cat, civet, langur monkey, sloth bear, wild boar, sambar deer, spotted deer, indian gazelle, nilgai antelope, golden jackal, Bengal fox, and striped hyena. 

Wake up early to meet your naturalist guide and go on a sunrise safari jeep tour through the park in search of tigers and other animals. After your three-hour safari, return to the hotel for lunch and to go on an optional visit to the fort before going on an afternoon wildlife tour to maximize your chances of seeing the park's most elusive residents.

Day 12: Ranthambore to Jaipur

Head downtown at sunset to explore the chowks and street markets in Jaipur
Head downtown at sunset to explore the chowks and street markets in Jaipur

This morning, leave Ranthambore for Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. Also known as the Pink City, Jaipur became the capital in 1727 when Maharaja Jai Singh II moved his capital from nearby Amer.

The first planned city in India of its time, Jaipur is the only city in the world symbolizing the nine divisions of the universe. Famed for its palaces, forts, and sublime architecture with Hindu, Jain, and Mughal influences, Jaipur is also known for its colorful bazaars and warm people. The journey from Ranthambore should take around 3.5 hours. 

Travel Time: 3.5 hours
Travel Distance: 111 miles (179 km)

Day 13: Jaipur & Amer City Tour

Visit the historic Amer Fort on our Jaipur city tour
Visit the historic Amer Fort on our Jaipur city tour

You'll start your day with a drive out to the old capital of Amer, about 6 miles (11 km) from modern-day Jaipur. On the way, stop by Jaipur's most distinctive landmark, the Hawa Mahal. More commonly known as the Palace of the Winds, this iconic 5-story building with its 953 tiny windows or jharokas was built by the king in 1799 to allow the ladies of the court to observe the goings-on on the streets below without being seen.

Then, make your way to Amer Fort, the residence of the royal family for nearly seven centuries. The exterior of the fort is majestic and imposing, but the interior is rich and beautiful, with several palaces dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Spend the morning exploring the fort and enjoying the beautiful views over the mountains and lake below.

After that, return to Jaipur and on to the City Palace. A perfect blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture, with extravagant halls and palaces and galleries full of beautiful historic art, City Palace has been the royal residence since 1727. Following a tour of the palace, visit Jantar Mantar, Jai Singh II's giant 18th-century astronomical observatory. 

In the afternoon, meet some local women artisans in Jaipur. They'll teach you the historic art of block printing using the oldest printing technique in India. You'll have the chance to make your own handkerchief using local Rajasthani woodblocks. Whilst you work, you'll have the chance to chat with the women and learn about their lives.

Day 14: Jaipur to Agra via Fatehpur Sikri

Visit Agra Fort at sunset for your first glimpse of the Taj Mahal!
Visit Agra Fort at sunset for your first glimpse of the Taj Mahal!

Today, leave the Pink City and drive to Agra, the historic capital of the Mughal Empire. Stop en route to visit the abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri, Mughal Emperor Akbar's one-time capital, before it was moved to Agra in 1525.

When we arrive, we'll make our way to the Red Fort, the old royal residence on the banks of the river Yamuna. Built by Akbar in 1565, this beautiful red sandstone and white marble fort is an architectural marvel and is considered to be one of the finest examples of Hindu and Mughal architecture.

In the evening, head to the banks of the river Yamuna to see the sun setting over the Taj Mahal, and the whole spectacle reflected in the water. If you want to explore more, you can take a visit to the Moonlight garden which was built to line up perfectly with India's most iconic monument, and looks truly magical in the evening.

Travel Time: 4-5 hours
Travel Distance: 150 miles (240 km)

Day 15: Taj Mahal & City Tour, Agra to Delhi

Visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise and see the white marble change color with the light
Visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise and see the white marble change color with the light

Get off to an early start today as you make your way to the Taj Mahal first thing to watch the sun rise over the world's most magnificent monument to love. One of the new Seven Wonders of the World, there is nothing quite as magical as seeing the sun reflect over the beautiful white marble exterior of this fully symmetrical architectural marvel.

Built in the 17th century by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, in honor of his favorite wife after she passed away in childbirth, the Taj Mahal took an estimated 20,000 craftsmen and 1,000 elephants 22 years to complete.

After spending the morning exploring India's most iconic monument, head back to the hotel for breakfast before visiting Itmad-Ud-Daulah, a beautiful mausoleum that was completed three years before construction started on the Taj Mahal, and was said to have provided inspiration for the famous monument.

In the afternoon, leave Agra and make your way back to Delhi, where you'll spend the final night of the tour. You can choose how to spend the last evening of your trip, from sightseeing or shopping to relaxing or visiting a local spa or splashing out on dinner at a nice restaurant.

Travel Time: 4-5 hours
Travel Distance: 130 miles (208 km)

Day 16: Departure from Delhi

It's time to say goodbye to India
It's time to say goodbye to India

After breakfast, it's time to say goodbye. Depending on what time your flight is, you can spend the day last-minute shopping for souvenirs or sightseeing, before transferring to the airport to begin your onward journey.

Map

Map of Discover Rajasthan: Temples, Tigers, & Taj Mahal - 16 Days
Map of Discover Rajasthan: Temples, Tigers, & Taj Mahal - 16 Days