Travel to India on an adventure through the Rajasthan region

Travel to India and discover the country at its most colorful amid the deserts, bazaars and forts of Rajasthan. This is a land where massive hilltop fortresses loom over cities and where markets are awhirl with locals dressed in the brightest shades of scarlet, gold and rose. Take time out to experience the local traditions of remote villages. From the whirlwind of heady Delhi, to a night under the stars on a desert camel safari, to the beauty of sunrise at the Taj Mahal - this journey through Rajasthan promises to be a true adventure.

Start
New Delhi, India
Finish
New Delhi, India
Countries
India
Themes
Explorer
Code
HHSR
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
224kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Take a rickshaw to the Red Fort
  • Whistle with the birds at the Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary
  • Admire the havelis of Shekhawati
  • Explore Old Delhi
  • Shop in a Jodhpur bazaar
  • Bask in the warm glow of Jaisalmer's city walls
  • Explore the majestic Mehrangarh towering over the blue city.

Itinerary

Namaste! Welcome to Delhi. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. When you arrive for the welcome meeting, please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you have time, perhaps visit the World Heritage-listed Humayun's Tomb, the 12th-century Qutub Minar or the Red Fort. India's capital is an exciting city with abundant historical sites, museums and bazaars.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
In the morning, set off on the city’s modern metro system to explore the sights and sounds of Old Delhi on a guided walking tour. Experience the chaos of an Indian traffic jam as you inch your way through the streets around Chandni Chowk marketplace in a traditional cycle rickshaw. Visit Jama Masjid, Delhi's oldest and India’s largest mosque, and then stop by the Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) to learn about the Sikh religion.
Board one of India's faster air-conditioned trains to Agra (approximately three hours). Rich in Mughal heritage, Agra is a city of gardens, temples and open rooftops. Visit the Taj Mahal, a white marble mausoleum built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz. Zip around Agra in a motorised rickshaw and explore the spectacular Red Fort, whose sandstone walls were built to enclose the imperial city of the Mughal rulers in the 16th century. If you like, continue on to Akbar's Mausoleum to pay your respects to the great emperor.
Jump on a local bus for around two hours to Fatehpur Sikri, which is a fortified city built by Emperor Akbar in 1569. A highlight of the settlement is Jama Masjid, a striking mosque featuring elements of both Persian and Hindu design. Afterwards, drive to Bharatpur by private vehicle to visit to Keoladeo National Park (approximately two hours). Once the domain of royal duck shooters, this World Heritage-listed park is home to over 350 species of bird. Explore the sanctuary in cycle rickshaws pedalled by local amateur bird-spotters.

Notes: From mid-May until mid-August the Keoladeo Bird Park will be closed. During this period we will visit the town of Deeg, which is a small rural town rarely visited by tourists.
Take a local bus to Jaipur. The journey can take between five and six hours, and the reclining seating is comfortable enough to relax and enjoy the passing scenery. Once you arrive, be treated to an orientation tour of Jaipur, known as the ‘Pink City’. A highlight of the walk is seeing the Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal). Get among the crowds of the city’s bazaars to shop for artisan goods and semi-precious stones. In the evening, perhaps sit back and enjoy the extravagance of a Bollywood blockbuster at the iconic Raj Mandir Cinema.
For many travellers, a hot air balloon experience is one of the highlights of Jaipur. Ballooning can be done over the city on the morning of day six between September and June. For additional information, please see the important notes section of the Essential Trip Information. Visit Jaipur's Royal City Palace and/or one of the five astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur. At about 2.30 pm, we’ll visit the Amber Fort. Set on a hilltop overlooking Maota Lake, the fort is a superb example of Rajput architecture. Entering the Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors) is also a particularly memorable experience.
In the morning, head to Mandawa by private vehicle (approximately 3.5 hours). A remote town in the centre of the Shekhawati region, this was once a trading outpost on the ancient caravan routes from China and the Middle East. Enjoy a guided tour of Mandawa's ornate havelis (private residences), with some of them crumbling at the foundations and others well preserved. There’s plenty of time to explore this thriving market town and its surrounds before spending the night in a beautifully restored haveli.
Take the four-hour journey to Bikaner via a combination of private jeeps and buses. Once an important staging post on the great caravan routes, the city still contains many bazaars, palaces and a historic fort within its impressive walls. Visit Junagarh Fort, which was built by Raja Rai Singh, the sixth ruler of Bikaner (AD1571 to 1612). In the evening, travel to a nearby farmhouse and enjoy an evening of traditional Rajasthani food, music and dance.
After an early morning walking tour of Bikaner, spend free time exploring bazaars before visiting the city’s famous ‘Rat Temple’. Travel out to the 600-year-old rat kingdom of Karni Mata Temple, which is believed to be home to the reincarnated followers of the Hindu goddess, Durga. Locals believe that it's particularly favourable if one of these rats takes a shine to you and scurries over your bare feet. For the squeamish, just stand still or view from afar.
Catch an early morning local train from Bikaner to Jaisalmer, which may take up to six hours. We travel in general class, where seating is unallocated and carriages are fan-cooled only. Stock up on plenty of food and water beforehand, as temperatures can get fairly warm on this long trip. The standard of the train is pretty basic, but it can be a fantastic way of meeting the locals and like-minded travellers. Once there perhaps explore the markets, ornately carved houses and museum before the sun goes down.
Head back into Jaisalmer by camel in the morning and enjoy a free day. The city is one of the oldest Rajasthan capitals and dates as far back as AD1156, so it’s teeming with history. Perhaps explore the Jain Temple, the Jaisalmer havelis or Folklore Museum. With imposing parapets and towers at every turn, the Old Town is full of intricate stonewalls that lead to the havelis. These private mansions once homed Jaisalmer’s nobility and resemble small palaces. Tonight we sleep in a haveli-converted hotel; a comfortable base after a long day.
In the morning, travel to Jodhpur by private vehicle and local bus (approximately 5.5. hours). The city is known for its antique shops and the best lassi in India. Enjoy an orientation walking tour around the ‘Old City’ and visit Sadar Bazaar, one of the oldest markets in India. It’s built around a clock tower amid spice and vegetable markets, juice sellers and sari materials. This is a great place to test your haggling skills. The evening is then free to do as you wish.
This morning explore the colossal Mehrangarh Fort and take in the views from its ramparts, which dominate the city's skyline. Afterwards, possibly visit the nearby Bishnoi villages where you’ll find a welcoming, nature-loving community. Perhaps take a village safari tour, where you’ll come across wildlife and learn why the Bishnoi are so protective of their land. This evening, board an overnight train to Delhi for a comfortable trip of around 11 hours.

Notes: Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned, and are a great way to travel long distances so maximum time can be spent in each place. Beds are padded berths and sheets, pillow and a blanket are provided, but you may prefer to bring your own sleeping sheet. Please be aware that you may be sharing with locals in a same gender/mixed gender situation.
Arrive at the Delhi train station early in the morning. There are no activities planned for today and you’re free to depart once we’ve arrived. Train delays can occur so please don’t be surprised if we’re late. Due to potential delays, we recommend booking any international flights for after 2 pm today.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
1 lunch, 2 dinners
Transport
Bus, Camel, Cycle rickshaw, Metro, Overnight sleeper train, Private vehicle, Shuttle Bus, Train
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night), Heritage Property (4 nights), Hotel (8 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Included activities
  • Agra - Agra Fort
  • Agra - Motorised rickshaw tour
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Bharatpur - Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary
  • Bikaner - Junagarh Fort
  • Bikaner - Karni Mata Rat Temple
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
  • Fatehpur Sikri
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
  • Jaipur - Hawa Mahal photo stop
  • Jaipur - Walking tour
  • Jodhpur - City walk
  • Jodhpur - Meherangarh Fort
  • Mandawa - Haveli tour
  • Orientation Walk of Jaisalmer

Dates

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip. See under the Single Traveller section of your Trip Notes for more information.
2. This trip finishes in Delhi in the morning of Day 15. No accommodation is included on this day.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Rajasthan Adventure trips score an average of 4.7 out of 5 based on 43 reviews in the last year.

Rajasthan Adventure , January 2016

Rajasthan Adventure , January 2016