Discover northern India on an 11-day adventure through colourful Rajasthan

Discover India at its most colourful amid the deserts, bazaars and forts of Rajasthan. This is a land where massive hilltop fortresses loom over ramshackle cities and where markets are awhirl with locals dressed in the brightest shades of scarlet, gold and rose. From the heady whirlwind of 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
Delhi, India
Finish
Delhi, India
Destination
India
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
HHSR
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • The Taj Mahal is one of the most recognisable buildings in the world, with its poetic history and beauty having the power to surprise even the most jaded travellers.

  • Discover the rich history and architecture of the Amber Fort, with the expertise of a local guide. The kaleidoscopic magic of the Hall of Mirrors is unforgettable

  • India is famous for its great sleeper trains and you'll be tucked up nicely in your own padded bunk

  • The Thar Desert is a vast space, but the locals treat it as their own back garden. Have the chance to take a guided camel ride into the sunset and sleep under the stars

  • A hot air balloon experience above Jaipur is extraordinary. Float high over the spectacular palaces and forts with the ultimate bird's eye view

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves some long train journeys and an overnight train, which can be tiresome. Entertaining chaiwalas (tea vendors), food vendors and conversations with the locals make this a rewarding experience. For your own security, take a lock for your hand luggage on the sleeper train journey.

  • If you decide to spend the night camping in the desert, be aware that there are no structured toilet or shower facilities. Please bring along water, face wipes, hand sanitizer or other essentials you feel you may need.

  • It’s important to prepare for hot sticky temperatures during the day and cooler climates in the evening, particularly in the desert. Layers are the best way to tackle this disparity in weather.

  • We visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.

  • Long distance and overnight trains can often be delayed and occasionally cancelled due to heavy fog between Dec-Feb. Please see the transport section of the essential trip information.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018

Namaste! Welcome to Delhi. India's capital is an exciting city with abundant historical sites, museums and bazaars. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place, and make sure you’ve got your insurance info and next of kin details to pass on to your leader. If you arrive with time to spare, rejoice! There’s so much to do in Delhi and we won’t have time to cover it all in this trip. Perhaps visit the palatial Humayun's Tomb, the towering and intricately carved 12th-century Qutub Minar or the historic Red Fort.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR500
  • Delhi - Qutub Minar - INR500
  • Delhi - Red Fort - INR500
  • Delhi - Gandhi's Delhi Urban Adventure - INR2700
  • Delhi - City Food Crawl Urban Adventure - INR3500
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Ah, Delhi in the morning. It’s chaotic, sure, but the energy is invigorating. Set off on the city’s modern metro system to explore the sights and sounds of Old Delhi on a guided walking tour. They really don’t make traffic jams like this anywhere else, and you’ll see what it’s like 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 beliefs and practises. Tonight, transfer to the train station and mentally prepare yourself for the 19-hour, overnight journey ahead. Local vendors will board with various goods along the way, but it’s a good idea to bring some of your own food for the journey too. Riding the rails in India is an experience you’ll never forget.
Accommodation
  • Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Delhi - Old Delhi walking tour
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
You’re scheduled to arrive in Jaisalmer at around midday, depending on any delays. Dump your luggage at the hotel and pack a small overnight bag – it’s safari time. Head into the dunes of the Thar Desert in a jeep. Meet your guides and your ride for the rest of the journey – a camel. Set off on a three-hour ride to your basic campsite, where your guides will get a fire going to cook a traditional Rajasthani dinner while you relax and watch the sunset. You’ll be able to buy bottled water and soft drinks tonight, but there are no facilities like running water. Because of this, we recommend you bring hand sanitiser and other toiletries. Toilets are a simple long-drop style. Stretch out under a star-studded sky and spot constellations as you drift to sleep.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jaisalmer - Camel safari & overnight desert camp
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
During the winter months (December and January), temperatures in the desert can drop below zero. Your leader will monitor the weather forecast to decide whether this activity will be able to go ahead. If not, you’ll take a day trip to the Thar Desert instead of the overnight stay. Some travellers also like to bring a sleeping bag and base layers for camping in the colder months.
Mount your camel for the return journey to Jaisalmer this morning. Take a walking tour of the city and learn the history of the ornate sandstone buildings. Later, explore at your own pace. Perhaps wander among the intricately carved statues of the Jain Temples or visit the Folklore Museum to learn more about Rajasthani culture. With its imposing parapets and towers, the Old Town is full of steep stonewalls that lead to your accommodation for the evening – the havelis. These private mansions once homed Jaisalmer’s nobility and resemble small palaces. They make a very comfortable base after a long day of sightseeing.
Accommodation
  • Heritage Property (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jaisalmer - City tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Answer the call of (arguably) the nation’s best lassi and most striking vistas today and head to Jodhpur. It’s a six-hour train ride away, but it’s worth it once you see the ancient fort towering over thousands of cobalt-blue buildings. Get your bearings on a walking tour around the Old City and visit Sadar Bazaar, one of the oldest markets in India. Stroll through spice and vegetable stalls, past juice sellers and sari peddlers and maybe give your haggling skills a road test. The rest of the day is free, so perhaps grab one of the lassis we mentioned and pound the pavement in search of a dal baati. This dal and bread dish doesn’t sound too exciting, but this delicious meal is a Rajasthani classic for a reason.
Accommodation
  • Heritage Property (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jodhpur - City walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
See our guide to Jodhpur here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/jodhpur-blue-city-india/
India be can be an intense place to travel. Seek a little peace and quiet today in rural Rajasthan. Take a two-hour drive to the tiny town of Nimaj. A relaxed and quiet place, Nimaj is the opposite of a tourist trap and the perfect place to spend a day unwinding. Take a walking tour of the town with your leader, then spend the afternoon and evening as you please. Perhaps chat with the locals and learn more about their day to day life, take a stroll or relax with a book under the shade of a tree.
Accommodation
  • Heritage Property (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Hit the road and make tracks for Jaipur. Arrive and jump on an auto-rickshaw to the hotel, dump your luggage and set out on a short tour of Jaipur. A city bathed in pink, Jaipur is full of elegant buildings and delightful bazaars. The honeycomb-esque Palace of the Winds, constructed from red and pink sandstone, is a highlight of the guided walk today. After the tour, maybe follow the crowds to the markets and shop for artisan goods and semi-precious stones. Tonight, visit yet another opulent pink building, this time in the form of a cinema. The iconic Raj Mandir Cinema plays Bollywood blockbusters and tonight you’ll get to see one of these great tales unfold before your eyes.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jaipur - Walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Jaipur - Bollywood Movie at Raj Mandir Cinema - INR400
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
For many travellers, a hot air balloon ride over the ‘Pink City’ is one of the highlights of their trip. Ballooning can be done on the morning of Day six between September and June. For additional information, please see the important notes section of Essential Trip Information. If you’re afraid of heights, or just don’t fancy a float, maybe check out the Royal City Palace or one of the five quirky astronomical observatories built by Jaipur’s founder. Later this afternoon, visit the Amber Fort. Set on a hilltop overlooking Maota Lake, the fort is a superb example of Rajput architecture. Entering the glittering Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors) is also something you won’t soon forget.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
Optional Activities
  • Jaipur - City Palace - INR500
  • Jaipur - Jantar Mantar Observatory - INR200
  • Jaipur - Balloon Safari - USD260
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Head east to Agra in a private vehicle, stopping en route to see the breathtaking imperial gate of Fatehpur Sikri. Rich in Mughal heritage, Agra is a city of gardens, temples and open rooftops. Even if you’ve never heard of it, you’ll probably recognise its most famous attraction – the Taj Mahal. See this awesome monument upon arrival, taking in the splendour of the white marble mausoleum built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz. The rest of the day is free to explore the city. An amazing local social enterprise, Sheroes Hangout, is located about 10-minutes from the Taj Mahal and is an excellent place to stop for a cold drink, coffee or light meal while you are here. The initiative is part of the Stop Acid Attacks campaign and staffed by survivors.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Agra Fort
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Return to wild Delhi by train. Freshen up at the hotel and then decide how you would like to spend the rest of your day. India can be a pretty crazy place, and it’s likely you’ve formed some new friendships with your fellow travellers. Maybe head out tonight for one last meal together and say your goodbyes before the trip comes to an end tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you're able to depart the accommodation at any time after you check out at midday. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel. If you decide to stay an extra couple of days in Delhi, consider getting involved in an Urban Adventure. Can’t get enough of lentils and spice? The City Food Crawl might be right up your alley. Or maybe contemplate the legacy of one of India’s great icons on a Gandhi's Delhi Urban Adventure. Find out more at urbanadventures.com/destination/delhi-tours.
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Home-Cooked Experience Urban Adventure - INR4000
  • Delhi - Culture Vulture Urban Adventure - INR2500
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

1 breakfast, 2 dinners

Transport

Auto rickshaw, Bus, Camel, Car, Cycle rickshaw, Jeep, Metro, Overnight sleeper train, Private vehicle, Shuttle Bus

Accommodation

Camping with basic facilities (1 night), Heritage Property (3 nights), Hotel (5 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)

Included activities

  • Delhi - Old Delhi walking tour
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
  • Jaisalmer - Camel safari & overnight desert camp
  • Jaisalmer - City tour
  • Jodhpur - City walk
  • Jaipur - Walking tour
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Agra Fort

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement to have your own room is available for all nights on trip with the exception of the nights camping and on overnight trains.
2. Hot air balloon flights are operated by Sky Waltz in Jaipur. Flights operate mornings from September to June and morning and evening from September to March. Morning flights depart around sunrise and evening flights late afternoon and last 60 mins. Return transfers, tea and coffee plus light refreshments and a certificate of flight are included in the cost. You can register your interest and pay your tour leader at your joining meeting on day 1 of your trip. Payment must be made by cash in either INR/AUD/USD/GBP only and is USD$250pp (subject to change). Flights are subject to weather conditions and tickets are fully refundable in case of poor weather.
3. Using mud pack therapy the Archaeological Survey of India is planning to clean the four small canopies around the main dome of the Taj Mahal from the start of April 2018. This will be followed by the cleaning of the main dome but that could take some time as ASI is yet to calculate its load bearing capacity. The ASI’s science branch officials have stated that cleaning the four canopies will take approximately 2 months while main dome cleaning will be completed in phases. We will continue to update as information becomes available.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.

Reviews

Our Rajasthan Adventure trips score an average of 4.71 out of 5 based on 105 reviews in the last year.

Rajasthan Adventure, October 2018

James O'Brien

Rajasthan Adventure, September 2018

Richard Spooner