Known as the 'Land of the Kings', Rajasthan has enthralled and delighted visitors since the beginning of time. Stretching from the Thar Desert to the Aravalli mountain range, and filled with colorful cities, palaces, tombs, and temples, Rajasthan is a magical place to explore. Journey through the heart of the state, visiting both bigger cities and little-known towns, sleeping out in the desert, and visiting some of India's holiest places, before finishing up with a trip to Agra to experience the magic of the Taj Mahal at sunrise.

Highlights

  • Take an exhilarating rickshaw ride through Old Delhi
  • Explore Rajasthan's open-air art gallery, Mandawa
  • Visit India's most beautiful forts, palaces, temple & tombs
  • Ride a camel across the Thar Desert at sunset
  • Experience a magical sunset on the lake at Jaisalmer

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Delhi Delhi
Day 2 Delhi Sightseeing Tour Delhi
Day 3 Delhi to Mandawa, Sightseeing Mandawa
Day 4 Mandawa to Bikaner, Junagarh Fort & Camel Farm Bikaner
Day 5 Bikaner, Camel Safari Bikaner
Day 6 Bikaner to Jaisalmer Jaisalmer
Day 7 Jaisalmer to Dechu, Village Visit & Sunset Camel Ride Dechu
Day 8 Dechu to Jodhpur Jodhpur
Day 9 Jodhpur Sightseeing Jodhpur
Day 10 Jodhpur to Udaipur via Ranakpur Udaipur
Day 11 Udaipur City Tour, Sunset Boat Cruise & Cultural Evening Udaipur
Day 12 Udaipur to Pushkar Pushkar
Day 13 Pushkar to Jaipur Jaipur
Day 14 Jaipur Sightseeing Jaipur
Day 15 Jaipur to Agra via Abhaneri & Fatehpur Sikri Agra
Day 16 Taj Mahal, Agra City Tour, Drive to Delhi Delhi
Day 17 Departure from Delhi  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Delhi

Delhi is a fascinating blend of old and new, from the culture to the architecture
Delhi is a fascinating blend of old and new, from the culture to the architecture

Welcome to India! We will meet you upon arrival at the airport. Once you have checked into your accommodation and we've gone through all the details for your tour and answered any questions you may have, the rest of the day is to do with as you please! Relax after your long journey, venture out into the neighborhood and go exploring, or just sip on a chai and watch the world go by.

One of the oldest living cities in the world, Delhi has seen the rise and fall of many kings and rulers—from the early dynasties to the British Empire—each leaving its mark in the grand palaces, forts, temples, and tombs scattered across the city. A fascinating blend of old and new, with bustling markets and street stalls standing alongside skyrises, colonial-era European-style buildings, and some fine examples of Indo-Islamic architecture, there is no better place to start your Indian adventure!

Day 2: Delhi Sightseeing Tour

Go on a tour of Old and New Delhi and drive past the Presidential Palace
Go on a tour of Old and New Delhi and drive past the Presidential Palace

We begin our city tour with a trip to the center of Old Delhi past ancient monuments, narrow streets, and bustling bazaars. Passing by the dramatic Red Fort, our first stop is Jama Masjid, one of the biggest and most beautiful mosques in India, which was built in the 17th century by Shah Jahan, who also built the Taj Mahal.

After that, we make our way to Chandni Chowk, the most famous market in the old city where you can find everything from gorgeous saris to silver jewelry. We will take an exhilarating rickshaw ride in the market and then visit Raj Ghat, the sober memorial of Mahatma Gandhi.

After lunch, we will head to New Delhi, where we will drive along the Rajpath passage in front of the Colonial-era government buildings that were designed by famous British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, including the Presidential Palace and India Gate, a stone archway with an eternal flame beneath it that was built to honor the tens of thousands of Indian soldiers who gave their lives fighting for the British Indian Army in the First World War.

We round off our city tour with a trip to the 16th-century Humayan's Tomb,  a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring several royal tombs built in the beautiful Persian Mughal style.

Day 3: Delhi to Mandawa, Sightseeing

The interior of the 19th-century Snehi Ram Ladia haveli in Mandawa
The interior of the 19th-century Snehi Ram Ladia haveli in Mandawa

After breakfast, we say goodbye to the bustling capital and make our way to the beautiful small town of Mandawa, about 5-6 hours southwest of Delhi. Known as the 'open art gallery of Rajasthan', Mandawa is famous for its forts and havelis (mansions), that are adorned with exquisitely painted frescoes.

When we arrive, we'll go on a half-day sightseeing tour of the town. Commissioned by wealthy merchant families from the 18th to the early 20th centuries,  the Shekhawati region is dotted with so many beautifully painted havelis that discovering them is like a treasure hunt,  with the fine art adorning the walls and ceilings perfectly contrasting against the otherwise flat, barren landscapes of the region.

Travel Time: 5-6 hours
Travel Distance: 170 miles (275 km)

Day 4: Mandawa to Bikaner, Junagarh Fort & Camel Farm

Explore the historic city of Bikaner on the edge of the Thar Desert
Explore the historic city of Bikaner on the edge of the Thar Desert

Today, we'll leave the painted frescoes and beautiful Havelis of Mandawa and drive through the Thar Desert to the historic city of Bikaner in northeastern Rajasthan. Established by Rao Bika, the son of Maharaja Rao Jodha (the founder of Jodhpur), in 1488, Bikaner quickly became an important stop on the trade route between Central Asia and the Gujurat coast, before coming an important cultural center for arts and architecture under Mughal rule in the 16th century.

We should arrive into Bikaner with plenty of time to go on a half-day sightseeing tour of this beautiful city. Our tour starts with a visit to the majestic Junagarh Fort, which was built by Raja Rai Singhji between 1571 and 1611, with funds used from his successful war exploits as the army general in the court of Emperor Akbar. Inspired by his overseas trips, Junagarh Fort is comprised of palaces, temples, pavilions, monuments, and art, and is also home to the Karan Mahal palace, which was built by Karan Singh in the 1630s, the Badal Mahal (weather palace), and the Ganga Niwas Palace. 

Later, we continue our tour of Bikaner town and visit the Camel Breeding Farm. The evening is free to explore the local Bazaar.

Travel Time: 3-4 hours
Travel Distance: 124 miles (200 km)

Day 5: Bikaner, Camel Safari

Go on a half-day camel safari through the Thar Desert
Go on a half-day camel safari through the Thar Desert

We start our day with a visit to Bikaner's exquisitely carved Jain temples,  the oldest existing structures in Bikaner, and take a tour of some of the best the 19th-century Havelis, before driving out to the nearby village of Raisar and heading out into the desert on a half-day camel safari. 

As we make our way through the sand dunes, we'll visit Panpalsar village to witness traditional villages, mud houses, and colorful costumes. At sunset, we'll reach the camp where we'll be served tea and snacks, before heading back to the city for one last night in Bikaner.

Day 6: Bikaner to Jaisalmer

The Gadsisar Lake in Jaisalmer is the perfect spot for sunset
The Gadsisar Lake in Jaisalmer is the perfect spot for sunset

After breakfast, we drive to Jaisalmer. Founded in 1156, the 'Gold City' is often described as a golden mirage rising at the heart of the Thar Desert, and is famous for its impressive walled citadel, royal cenotaphs (empty tombs and monuments), and beautiful lake.

Once we enter this fortified town you will almost feel like you've taken a step back in time with images of medieval majesty visible in its narrow lanes, its magnificent palace and Havelis, temples, and of course, the skilled artisans and the ubiquitous camels who call Jaisalmer home.

Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel and relax a little. In the evening, you will be free to take a walk in the Jaisalmer Bazaar and take in the sunset at the Royal Cenotaphs in Bada Bagh or Lake Gadi Sagar, the water reservoir located south of the fortress.

Travel  Time: 6-7 hours
Travel Distance: 205 miles (330 km)

Day 7: Jaisalmer to Dechu, Village Visit & Sunset Camel Ride

Take a sunset camel ride through the Thar Desert
Take a sunset camel ride through the Thar Desert

Wake up early to see the city come to life, or relax a little in the morning before having breakfast and checking out of the hotel. Today, we're making our way to Dechu, a few hours east into the Thar Desert.

Later in the afternoon, we'll head out on a jeep ride to explore nearby villages in the desert and take a walk around to learn more about the people who live here and their lifestyle. After that, we'll head back to camp and go on a sunset camel ride across the dunes.

In the evening, we'll enjoy an optional cultural performance, before retiring to our luxury accommodation in the desert. On your way to your room, don't forget to look up! This is one of the best places to experiencing the full beauty of the night sky in northern India.

Travel Time: 2.5 hours
Travel Distance: 100 miles (160 km)

Day 8: Dechu to Jodhpur

Jodphur is also known as the Blue City
Jodphur is also known as the Blue City

After a night in the desert, we head back to civilization, making our way to the Blue City, Jodphur, the second-largest city in Rajasthan. Built by the powerful Rajput chief Rao Jodha in the year 1459, Jodhpur is the cultural capital of Rajasthan, with historic temples, forts, and palaces, fascinating architecture, and beautiful art.

In the evening, choose to relax or go for a sunset stroll around the Clock Tower and the beautiful bazaars in the winding narrow streets, where you can find everything from spices to silver and saris.

Travel Time: 3-4 hours
Travel Distance: 90 miles (145 km)

Day 9: Jodhpur Sightseeing

Visit Jaswant Thadar in Jodhpur on our city tour
Visit Jaswant Thadar in Jodhpur on our city tour

Overlooking the beautiful Blue City, Mehrangarh Fort (Majestic Fort) is the perfect place to begin our tour of Jodhpur this morning. One of the most formidable and impressive structures in India, this fort is an architectural marvel. Built in 1459, the interior consists of several amazing palaces, with stunning detail and intricate carvings.

After exploring the fort, we'll visit the royal cenotaphs of Jaswant Thada. This impressive 19th-century mausoleum was built out of sheets of marble so thin that they emit a warm glow when illuminated by the sun and is set in beautifully manicured gardens with pavilions and fountains.

This evening, we go on a traditional Bishnoi tribal village safari. A village safari is a perfect way to experience traditional village life. You will visit villagers in their homes and be received with warmth and friendliness. Here, you'll learn about the communities and understand their worlds, and see their entrepreneurial skills whilst they share their life stories.

Day 10: Jodhpur to Udaipur via Ranakpur

Visit the 15th-century Jain Temple in Ranakpur
Explore the 15th-century Jain Temple in Ranakpur

In the morning, we leave the arid desert behind and drive through the beautiful Rajasthani countryside and the Aravalli Hills on our way to the 'Venice of the East', Udaipur. En route, we'll stop to visit the beautiful Jain temples of Ranakpur.

One of the five most important sites of Jainism, Chaturmukha Dharana Vihara is one of the biggest and most beautiful Jain temple complexes in India. Construction on this magnificent marble temple is said to have taken nearly 3,000 men over fifty years. We visit the majestic four-faced temple, or Chaturmukha. Built atop a hill, this magnificent white marble building is an architectural marvel, with 1,444 uniquely carved pillars.

After wandering through the tranquil temple, we'll get back on the road and make our way to the lakeside city of Udaipur. Said to be the most romantic city in India, Udaipur is also known as the 'Pearl of Rajasthan' and 'the City of Sunrise'.  After we arrive, the evening is yours to relax. We recommend heading to the shores of Lake Pichola to watch the sun set over the city's beautiful temples, palaces, hills, ghats, and stairs.

Travel Time: 6-7 hours
Travel Distance: 174 miles (280 km)

Day 11: Udaipur City Tour, Sunset Boat Cruise & Cultural Evening

Ghats along the shores of Pichola Lake, Udaipur
Ghats along the shores of Pichola Lake, Udaipur

Our tour of Udaipur begins with a visit to the beautiful City Palace on the shores of Lake Pichola. Comprised of several different palaces built over the generations by various Maharanas (warrior kings), who ruled over Udaipur at the time, the complex was completed in 1725. Explore the individual palaces and learn about the different architectural styles and elaborate detailing like the filigreed balconies, beautiful carvings and painted frescoes. 

Following that, we'll visit the biggest and most beautiful temple in Udaipur, the Jagdish Temple, which was built in 1651 by Maharana Jagat Singh. After stopping for lunch, we'll continue on to the Sahelion Ki Bari, or the Garden of the Maids of Honor, which was built in the 18th century to provide an escape from the overpowering heat (and politics!) of the court for the queen and her ladies in waiting. The ornamental garden includes fountains, pools, pavilions, and statues.

At sunset, we'll take a boat out on Lake Pichola to admire this beautiful city from the calm and tranquil waters, before spending the evening enjoying a cultural performance of Rajasthani Folk Dances (Dharohar) at the famous Baghore ki haveli. Located on the ghats of Pichola Lake, this 18th-century mansion features exquisite carvings and glasswork and provides the perfect stage for a performance of traditional dance and music of Rajasthan.

Day 12: Udaipur to Pushkar

Visit the Holy Lake in the spiritual city of Pushkar
Enjoy a sunset prayer ceremony on the Holy Lake in Pushkar

After breakfast, we'll head to Pushkar, a small spiritual town on the edge of the desert. An important Hindu pilgrimage spot, Pushkar is known for its tranquil lake, quiet streets, and temple dedicated to Brahma, the only one of its kind in all of India.

When we arrive, we'll check into the hotel before visiting the Temple of Brahma and the sacred lake. In the evening, we'll attend a prayer ceremony in Varah Ghat and enjoy the melodious sound of the bells from all the temples and the divine atmosphere as the setting sun and the golden sky is illuminated over the water.

Travel Time: 4-5 hours
Travel Distance: 174 miles (280 km)

Day 13: Pushkar to Jaipur

Jaipur's famous Palace of the Winds was built to let the royals see onto the street below
Jaipur's famous Palace of the Winds

We'll start our morning with a hike up to the beautiful Savitri Temple, a Hindu pilgrimage site with amazing views over the town below. After heading back down to the city, we'll check out of the hotel and leave for Jaipur.

The journey to Jaipur should take around 3 hours, and the scenery is beautiful. Going from the sleepy spiritual town of Pushkar to Rajasthan's biggest city feels a little like a culture shock, but in a good way. Built by Maharaja Jai Singh II in 1727, Jaipur was the first planned city of its time, featuring dazzling palaces, lush gardens, lakes, bazaars, and imposing forts.

Once we arrive, you're free to explore! In the evening, we will head downtown to explore the spice bazaars and learn about the different ingredients used to make traditional Rajasthani dishes and buy some spices to take home.

Travel Time: 3 hours
Travel Distance: 93 miles (150 km)

Day 14: Jaipur Sightseeing

Our first stop on our Jaipur city tour is the Amer Fort!
First stop on the Jaipur city tour: Amer Fort

Before Jai Singh II established Jaipur in 1727, the nearby city of Amer was the capital of the Kachwaha Rajputs for nearly 700 years. We'll start our city tour here, with a trip to the impressive Amer Fort. Also known as the Amber Fort, this massive palace was built atop a hill overlooking the historic city in the Hindu-Muslim style.

When we arrive we will take a jeep ride to the top and enjoy the beautiful views over the lake before exploring the fort's opulent interior, like the mirrored palace, the Sheesh Mahal, and the Sukh Niwas(Hall of Pleasure), with a channel of water cascading through the middle of the vast chamber offering an early 17th-century form of air conditioning.

Back in Jaipur, we'll pass by the magnificent and unique five-story Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), which was built in 1799. The unusual style of this building was designed to allow the ladies of the court to watch processions and parades along the street below without being seen. 

Then, we'll make our way to the City Palace, where the royal family still lives today. Built in 1727, this massive place complex showcases Jai Singh II's unique blend of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal architecture and features impressive halls and pavilions along with historic museums and collections.

After touring the palace, we'll visit Jantar Mantar, Jai Singh II's 18th-century solar observatory, which is one of the biggest and most well-preserved observatories in India and an astronomical treasure-house.

Day 15: Jaipur to Agra via Abhaneri & Fatehpur Sikri

Visit the famous Abanheri stairwell
Check out the famous Abanheri stairwell

Today, we make our way from Jaipur to Agra, stopping en route to visit the historic Abhaneri Stepwell and the abandoned Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri. 

The trip from Jaipur to Abhaneri should take around two hours, when we'll stop to visit the architectural marvel, Chand Baori. Built on the edge of the Thar desert over a thousand years ago, this mesmerizing staircase leads down to a huge well where the local people have harvested rainwater for millennia. Located in front of the Harshat Mata temple, the Chand Baori is one of the deepest and largest wells in India and is dedicated to Harshat Mata, the Goddess of Joy and Happiness. 

Our next stop is the fascinating one-time capital of Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri. This beautiful and imposing citadel with its red sandstone frescoes was abandoned in 1585 after having served as the political capital of Akbar for 14 years. We take a tour through the deserted streets and admire the ancient palaces, meeting halls, and mosques, before continuing our journey onto Agra, where we will witness the architectural wonder of the golden age of the Mughals.

Upon arrival, check in and relax. If you feel up to exploring, head to the banks of the Yamuna river to watch the glowing sunset illuminate the white marble exterior of India's most iconic building, the Taj Mahal.

Travel Time: 5 hours
Travel Distance: 137 miles (220 km)

Day 16-17: Taj Mahal, Agra City Tour, Depart from Delhi

Visit the stunning Taj Mahal at sunrise
Experience the changing colors of the Taj Mahal at sunrise

At sunrise, we visit one of India’s incredible monuments, the breathtaking Taj Mahal. Watch as the world's most famous monument to love is illuminated by the dawn colors as the light touches the white marble details on this intricate and majestic architectural marvel.

Then we return to the hotel for breakfast, before making our way to Agra Fort, with its red sandstone and white marble palaces. Built on the site of a historic fort on the banks of the Yamuna river in 1565 by Mughal Emperor Akbar after he moved the capital from Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort was the main residence of the Mughal royals up until 1638 when the capital was moved to Delhi. 

Following that, we are making our way back to Delhi for one last night in the bustling capital. Once we arrive and check in to our hotel, the evening is at leisure. Pick up some last-minute souvenirs, do some sunset sightseeing, or even watch a Bollywood film at the cinema, before the tour ends in the morning.

Travel Time: 4 hours
Travel Distance: 137 miles (220 km)

Map

Map of Essence of Rajasthan: Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur, Agra,  & More - 17 Days
Map of Essence of Rajasthan: Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur, Agra, & More - 17 Days