During this 17-day excursion through Rajasthan, you'll see an array of palaces, monuments, villages, and deserts up close and personal. You'll spend the first two days in Dehli, where you'll visit historic mosques and tombs and take a rickshaw ride through the marketplace. Go on to visit an array of villages—from Mandawa to Bishnoi—where you'll learn about traditional life. Sightsee through historic cities such as Jaisalmer, Udaipur, and Jaipur, and one of the highlights is seeing the famous Taj Mahal made of white marble.

Highlights

  • Take a rickshaw through the old marketplace of Shahjahanabad in Delhi
  • Interact with locals throughout the trip, and learn about traditional arts and crafts
  • Ride through the desert dunes of Jaisalmer by camel cart
  • Visit Agra, including a sunrise tour of the iconic Taj Mahal

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Delhi Delhi
Day 2 Day of sightseeing in Delhi Delhi
Day 3 Delhi to Patan Patan
Day 4 Patan to Mandawa Mandawa
Day 5 Mandawa to Bikaner Bikaner
Day 6 Bikaner to Jaisalmer Jaisalmer
Day 7 Full day tour in Jaisalmer Jaisalmer
Day 8 Jaisalmer to Jodhpur Jodhpur
Day 9 Excursion to Meherangarth Fort and Bishnoi Village Jodhpur
Day 10 Jodhpur to Udaipur Udaipur
Day 11 Day of sightseeing in Udaipur Udaipur
Day 12 Udaipur To Bundi Bundi
Day 13 Bundi to Jaipur Jaipur
Day 14 Full day tour of Jaipur Jaipur
Day 15 Jaipur to Agra Agra
Day 16 Visit Taj Mahal and Agra Fort Agra
Day 17 Agra to Delhi for flight home  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Delhi

The India Gate in New Delhi

After clearing immigration and customs formalities, you will meet a local representative for a traditional “Swagat” welcome, who will explain the tour and hand over your travel documents. You will transfer to your hotel in Delhi by a private car and stay there for the night. 

Day 2: Day of sightseeing in Delhi

Outside the mosque of Jama Masjid in Old Dehli

After an early breakfast, start your day with a visit to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, a white marble Gurudwara topped by golden onion domes and constructed at the site where the eighth Sikh Guru, Harkrishan Dev, stayed before his death in 1664. The sanctum sanctorum is the main temple building that houses the tenth and final Guru, Granth Sahib. Raagis (classical singers) sing verses from the Holy Book throughout the day, adding to the overall spiritual experience.

You'll visit the large communal kitchen where volunteers bake chapattis and cook rice and lentils for the devotees, pilgrims, and visitors, estimated around 10,000 to 15,000 people a day. Continue on your guided tour to Old Delhi and New Delhi, where you'll visit Jama Masjid, the principal mosque of Old Delhi. Built in 1656 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, it is the largest and most well-known mosque in India.

Take a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk, the old marketplace of Shahjahanabad, to see Red Fort. You'll then reach Jama Masjid, located in the center of the Old City, that's built from red sandstone and white marble. The edifice dominates the skyline of the busy Chawri Bazar in central Delhi and is considered the largest mosque in India.

Visit Raj Ghat, Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial, which is a simple black marble platform that marks the spot of his cremation. You'll also see India Gate that commemorates the sacrifice of 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during World War I.

After lunch, you'll visit Humayun's Tomb, a memorial constrcuted in 1562 for Mughal Emperor Humayun that is considered to be an inspiration for the Taj Mahal. The complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the first example of this type of Mughal architecture in India.

Day 3: Delhi to Patan

Rani ki vav, a UNESCO world heritage site, in Patan

After breakfast, depart for Patan. Check in at Pathan Mahal, a charming palace representing the traditional architecture of Rajasthan.

Step out of the gates of the palace to explore the quaint alleys and roads of the village, where you can find Rajasthani men and women busy making bangles or pots. The temple also adds to the already existing serenity where you can spend a few spiritual moments on your own. Then, you'll explore a nearby stepwell, also known as baori, which is unique to North India.

If you want to take a break from your busy city schedule, check out the swimming pool area where you can lay on deck chairs or take a refreshing dip in the pool.

Day 4: Patan to Mandawa

Frescoes and mural paints in Havelis of Mandawa village

After breakfast, depart for Mandawa village in the Shekhawati region. You'll arrive in the afternoon and check into your hotel, then visit the neighborhood of Havelis decorated in murals done by the wealthy merchants “Marwaris” Rajasthanis in the 19th century.

Day 5: Mandawa to Bikaner

The 16th-century Junagarh Fort in Bikaner

In the morning, you'll leave for Bikaner, a desert city founded in 1488. On arrival, check in at the hotel.

In the afternoon you'll visit the Junagarh Fort. Built between 1588 and 1593 by Raja Rai Singh, General of the
Army of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, the fort has a wall of 968 meters long with 37 bastions and two entrances. Suraj Pol, or the Sun Gate, is the main entrance to the fort. Within the fort, the Prachina Museum displays traditional textiles and royal portraits.

The evening is free to explore the city's Bazaar.

Day 6: Bikaner to Jaisalmer

The royal cenotaphs of Bada Bagh during sunset

Today you'll leave and take the road towards Jaisalmer, often described as Golden City or a golden mirage rising at the heart of the Thar Desert. En route, you'll stop in a typical village of the region to meet the locals. If time permits, you'll also visit Fort Pokhran, a citadel dating back to the 14th century.

On arrival in Jaisalmer, transfer and check in at the hotel. Later in the afternoon, departure for Bada Bagh to visit the royal cenotaphs, which is the best place to admire the sunset and photograph the walled city.

In the evening, you will be free to take a walk in the Bazaar of Jaisalmer.

Day 7: Full day tour in Jaisalmer

A scenic shot of Jaisalmer Fort, the only “Living Fort” in India

After breakfast, you'll head out for a day in Jaisalmer. See carved Jain temples, followed by the 19th-century Havelis (merchants' houses) of Patwon ki Haveli and Nathmalji ki Haveli. The city transports you to medieval India, where princes of Rajputs ruled. Witness Jaisalmer Fort perched on an 80m high hill, the only “Living Fort” in India. Then walk into town and discover Lake Gadi Sagar, a water reservoir located south of the fortress.

You'll experience the rural desert life of Jaisalmer and ride through the desert during a camel cart safari to witness sunset views and the Sam sand dunes.

Day 8: Jaisalmer to Jodhpur

An overview of Jodhpur, also known as the Blue City

Head out on a six-hour journey to Jodhpur, where you'll check in at the hotel upon arrival. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure. You're able to participate in the Brahmins and a walking tour of “Blue City”—stemming from the multiple blue buildings spanning across the city—if you wish, which shows you the lesser-known parts of Jodhpur. Learn about legends from the past, meet and interact with locals, and walk down narrow alleyways dotted with Indigo colored houses. 

Day 9: Excursion to Meherangarth Fort and Bishnoi Village

An exterior shot of Jaswant Thada made of white marble

Start your day by visiting the Meherangarh Fort, located on a rocky peak that reveals panoramic views of the city. The fort is an architectural masterpiece of impressive dimensions and carved facades, not to mention its museum that holds collections of crafts and ancient weapons.

After visiting the fortress, discover the Jaswant Thada, a cluster of royal cenotaphs in white marble built in memory of Maharadja Jaswant Singh II. Walk in the bazaar around the Clock Tower, where you can find spices, grains, fruits, vegetables, tea, and sari items. Also, you'll witness the houses painted blue.

Take a Jeep to the village of Guda Bishnoi, where a Rajasthani group of native Indians have developed programs to help communities. You'll see the economic solutions that the villagers have invented. After this excursion, you'll head back to the hotel.

Later, you'll be driven to Kumbhalgarh, a small place at the foothills of the Aravalli mountain range, and spend the rest of the night in the hotel.

Day 10: Jodhpur to Udaipur 

The Jain temple in Ranakpur complete with over a thousand pillars

In the morning, you'll take the road to Udaipur, known for its marble palaces. On the way, visit Ranakpur and the 15th-century Jain temple “Chaumukha,” dedicated to Adinath and complete with 1,444 pillars finely carved uniquely of one another in 29 alleys, plus the Temple of the Sun God with its erotic sculptures. After the visit, we continue by the road to Udaipur.

Upon arrival, check in at the hotel. At sunset, you'll enjoy a boat ride on Lake Pichola as you pass Udaipur’s skyline dotted with mansions. Admire stately palaces on the lake's islands.

After, you'll head back to the hotel for the evening. 

Day 11: Day of sightseeing in Udaipur

A shot of the City Palace over the rippling waters in Udaipur

Today you'll explore Udaipur, nestled in a valley surrounded by the green hills of Aravalli. Visit the City Palace, built in 1725 by various Maharanas (Warrior Kings) after Udai Singh that was once the home of Mewar's rulers. Visit Saheliyon-ki-Bari, an ornamental garden with lavish decorations, then drive around Fateh Sagar Lake. The afternoon is yours to stroll the traditional market and enjoy the city.

In the evening, you'll go to the Dharohar cultural show, which gives you a sneak peek into the vibrancies of Rajasthan with different dance forms like the Chari dance and puppet shows. After the one-hour show, head back to the hotel for the night. 

Day 12: Udaipur To Bundi

The Taragarh Fort reflecting Rajput architecture in Bundi

After breakfast, make a 6-hour journey toward Bundi and check in at the hotel. Once you settle in, visit Garh Palace and Taragarh Fort, with walls and basins that represent Rajput architecture. You'll also visit a water reservoir, the Raniji ki Baori.

In the evening, you'll have free time to wander through the streets of the city and in the Bundi market.

Day 13: Bundi to Jaipur

One of seven gates in the walls of Jaipur's Old Town

After breakfast, leave for Jaipur. On arrival, transfer and check in at the hotel.

Travel 20m to Bagru, the land of the art of hand block printing, which lies on the Jaipur-Ajmer road. You'll learn about the traditional 500-year-old process done by the Chhipas on textiles with vibrant colors.

Day 14: Full day tour of Jaipur

The Hawa Mahal, or Palace of Winds, in the Pink City of Jaipur

After having breakfast at the hotel, take a car to the 10th-century Amber Fort that rises above a lake.

After lunch in town, visit the Hawa Mahal, also known as the Palace of Winds. See the City Palace Complex, where the Maharajah still lives, which houses a collection of old objects and weapons belonging to the family. Close to the palace is Jantar Mantar, the observatory of Jai Singh. 

In the late afternoon, you'll leave for a two-hour village safari. You will cross the villages called dhani and have a chance to interact with locals to understand the lives of farmers. Many of them still live in huts made of plaster of clay, cow dung, and hay, forming a facade without termite that blends into the surrounding sands. 

Day 15: Jaipur to Agra

Harshad Mata Temple, one of the post-Gupta medieval monuments, in Abhaneri

After breakfast, depart for Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal. En route stop for a visit to Abhaneri, an ancient village famous for its post-Gupta medieval Chand Baori temple and Harshat Mata.

After the visit, continue to Agra, where you'll check-in at the hotel upon arrival. At night, you'll have the option to attend the show “Taj Mohabbat”, a theatrical representation of the love story of the emperor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz. 

Day 16: Visit Taj Mahal and Agra Fort

The iconic Taj Mahal

This morning, visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise and experience the color-changing effects of the rising sun on the marble monument. 

After breakfast, you'll leave for Agra Fort, built of red sandstone and white marble that is symbolic of the Mughal Empire. You will then visit the marble factory to experience the art of marble inlay, a traditional technique that involves carefully cutting and engraving marble shapes by hand.

Day 17: Agra to Delhi for flight home

An aerial shot of the city of Agra, home to the Taj Mahal 

After breakfast, you are free to spend the day as you please before departing for Delhi, where you'll catch your international flight back home. 

Map

Map of Palaces, Villages, and Deserts of Rajasthan - 17 Days
Map of Palaces, Villages, and Deserts of Rajasthan - 17 Days