Discover romantic, colourful cities set among pristine desert dunes

Colourful and chaotic, vibrant and romantic – welcome to Rajasthan. Explore India’s captivating northwest on this 15-day tour, taking in fairy-tale desert cities, the treasures of the maharajah and forts with fascinating histories. Marvel at the grandeur of the Taj Mahal in Agra, travel across the Thar Desert on camelback and immerse yourself in romantic Jodhpur. This tour doesn’t just cover Rajasthan’s many bucket-list worthy sites, but also immerses you in the thrum of daily life with time spent in traditional villages, market wanderings and plenty of memorable meals. Add a touch of comfort and some very special heritage property accommodation for a true Rajasthani travel adventure.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Delhi, India
Finish
Delhi, India
Destination
India
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
HHKR
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • As part of our Comfort range, this trip offers immersive travel in Rajasthan with more inclusions than an Original tour – like daily breakfasts and feature stays in restored palaces.

  • You may have seen hundreds of photos of it already but laying eyes on the Taj Mahal for yourself during a guided tour is bound to leave a deep impression.

  • Fall in love with Bollywood during a screening of one of the latest blockbusters at Jaipur's spectacular art-deco cinema the Raj Mandir.

  • Visit a family for dinner in Jaisalmer for a home-cooked meal and an evening of sharing local culture, food, stories and traditions with new friends.

  • Travel by camel into the pristine dunes of the Thar Desert, stopping at a few small villages before reaching your camp for a night under the stars.

Is this trip right for you?

  • In order to see as much as possible in the vast north of India, this tour involves some long travel days. We use a variety of transport to get around, from train to private vehicles, auto-rickshaws and a flight. Packing light will make moving around easier!

  • Don’t underestimate the weather any time of year in India. In summer months, heat can be extreme. In winter months, some travellers have been surprised at the cool of the evenings. A hat, sunscreen and clothing that can be layered will serve you well year round.

  • If you would prefer a trip to Rajasthan in our Original- or Basix-style of travel, search code HHSC for our Classic Rajasthan tour (Original) or code HHRR for our North India Revealed (Basix) tour on our website.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
Arrive in Delhi and enjoy a complimentary transfer from the airport to your hotel. Your adventure begins with an important group meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive in Delhi with time to spare, perhaps pay a visit to the World Heritage-listed Humayun's Tomb or the 12th-century Qutub Minar. If you want a local to show you around, why not check out one of our Urban Adventures – day tours that give you a crash course in a destination.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Culture Vulture Urban Adventure - INR2500
  • Delhi - Gandhi's Delhi Urban Adventure - INR2700
  • Delhi - City Food Crawl Urban Adventure - INR3500
  • Delhi - Home-Cooked Experience Urban Adventure - INR4000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

Please advise your booking agent of your flight details no later than 14 days before your tour begins.
Today you will experience one of India's express air-conditioned trains as you travel to the Mughal city of Agra (approximately 3 hours). After arriving you'll visit the spectacular Taj Mahal. Ponder the beauty of this 17th-century masterpiece of white marble set amid beautiful formal gardens. You'll learn more about its history as you explore the site with your local guide. You will also visit the nearby Agra Fort, a huge complex built originally as a military structure of red sandstone by Emperor Akbar in 1565. In your free time a visit to Sheroes Hangout, a social enterprise that employs women affected by acid attacks, is well worthwhile.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Agra Fort
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will rise early and leave for Jaipur. Your first stop is the deserted Mughal kingdom of Fatehpur Sikri (approximately 1.5 hours). Built during the reign of Emperor Akbhar, it was abandoned shortly after his death due to a lack of available water. The stunning mosque, Jama Masjid, strikes a lovely pose within the settlement, combining Persian and Hindu aesthetics. See its staggering 54-metre-high main entrance called Buland Darwaza (Gate of Victory) which commemorates Akbar’s great victory in Gujarat. You will stop for a traditional thali lunch (a plate of various selections) en route to Jaipur, the capital of the state of Rajasthan. Here traditionally dressed Rajput men wearing colourful turbans and sporting magnificent moustaches will make their way through crowded streets packed with cars, camel carts, rickshaws, trucks, and bicycles. You will also find bustling, brightly-coloured bazaars filled with hand-crafted textiles, folk art and semi-precious stones (the local specialty).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Fatehpur Sikri - Guided tour
  • Jaipur - Walking & market tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today there's an excellent optional activity – a hot air balloon experience over Jaipur. This is a highlight for many travellers. You will then travel 11 kilometres out to the stunning medieval Amber Fort. This 16th-century marvel is a great example of Rajput architecture. Take your time, as you'll need several hours to explore this massive fortification. Next you'll visit the various rooms and apartments of Jaipur's Royal City Palace, one of India's finest. Continue to indulge in the delights of Indian culture by watching a Bollywood film of action, romance, drama or music (sometimes all rolled into one) at the renowned Raj Mandir Cinema. An option for free time today is to see one of five astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jaipur - Walking & market tour
  • Jaipur - Bollywood Movie at Raj Mandir Cinema
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
Optional Activities
  • Jaipur - Balloon Safari - USD260
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will drive from Jaipur to the Shekhawati region (approximately 5 hours). Mandawa is a remote town in the centre of the region, an old trading outpost between the Middle East and China. Our lunch stop today will be in Nawalgarh. On arrival in Mandawa, check into our first Heritage Property stay of the trip.
Accommodation
  • Heritage Property (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Due to our stance on child protection we will no longer be visiting the Asha Ka Jharna project. We believe when children are at school, they should be free to learn and play in a safe environment. Tour groups who visit schools can disrupt children’s ability to learn by visiting during class time, and also present a child protection risk.

Visiting schools and giving gifts also promotes a belief that all tourists are safe and perpetuates ideas of inequality. The Intrepid Group no longer offers travellers the opportunity to visit or volunteer at schools as part of our included or optional activities.
Enjoy a day of exploring this amazing town, which is often referred to as an outdoor museum. Mandawa is famous for its ornate havelis (private residences). You'll notice that some are faithfully restored and others are crumbling. The havelis of this particular part of India are recognised around the country for their lavishly painted walls and art. Perhaps unwind at the day's end with a cold beer and sample some of the spicy local North Indian fare together for our included dinner. Stay again in our Heritage Property tonight.
Accommodation
  • Heritage Property (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mandawa - Haveli tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Travel deeper into the Thar Desert to the fortified town of Bikaner (approximately 5 hours). Bikaner was an important staging post on some of the great caravan routes, and thus houses a multitude of bazaars along with an impressive fort and palace.  We continue on to Junagarh Fort. Another beautiful Heritage stay tonight.
Accommodation
  • Heritage Property (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bikaner - Junagarh Fort
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will wind along a remote desert road to the yellow sandstone citadel of Jaisalmer (approximately 7 hours). Watch as it rears its head in the arid, flat desert like a scene from 'One Thousand and One Nights'. Explore the snaking alleyways of Jaisalmer which are filled with markets and intricately carved houses. Located on the banks of Garsisar Lake in the Mehar Bagh Garden is the Jaisalmer Folklore Museum, which is well worth a visit. Enjoy another Heritage Property stay tonight.
Accommodation
  • Heritage Property (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jaisalmer - City tour
Optional Activities
  • Jaisalmer - Folklore Museum - INR10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy further time exploring the immense Jaisalmer fort today. Within the fort itself is a maze of houses, temples, shops and restaurants, not to mention some 3,000 permanent residents. Track down some dazzling Rajastani fabrics, marvel at the spectacular facades of the Patwa ki Haveli and Salim Singh-ki-Haveli. Or you may wish to simply wander the labyrinthine paths and soak up the atmosphere. As night falls you will visit a local families home and partake in a special evening of traditional Rajasthani food.
Accommodation
  • Heritage Property (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
No trip to Jaisalmer is complete without a desert safari, so today you'll experience one of the main highlights of your adventure. Your camel safari (approximately 1 hour) out to the pristine sand dunes of the Thar Desert is an adventure you're not likely to forget. Visiting some small villages (dhanis) along your travels, your day culminates with a relaxing dinner by the campfire. Cap it off by camping out under the stars, falling asleep to the desert ambience in your comfortable permanent tent.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jaisalmer - Camel safari & overnight desert camp
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today you drive across the desert to discover Rajasthan's second-largest city, the frenetic Jodhpur (approximately 6 hours). Jodhpur abounds in antique shops and, according to many a traveller, has the best lassi in India. It's also where the famous Jodhpur trousers originated. While you are here you will explore the colossal Mehrangarh Fort. A highlight of the fort is the expansive views from its ramparts. In your free time you can visit India's last great palace, the Umaid Bhawan Palace. The palace was built in the years between 1929 and 1944 and named for Maharaja Umaid Singhji. His successors still reside there.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jodhpur - Meherangarh Fort
Optional Activities
  • Jodhpur - Umaid Bhawan Palace - INR100
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
See our guide to Jodhpur here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/jodhpur-blue-city-india/
From Jodhpur you will travel through the beautiful hamlet of Ranakpur (approximately 3 hours). Ranakpur is the home of a host of beautifully carved white marble Jain temples. These staggering complex temples attract Jain pilgrims from all over India, making Ranakpur one of the most important pilgrim destinations for Jains in India. We enjoy lunch at a temple today. From here you will continue on your journey to gorgeous Udaipur (approximately 5 hours).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ranakpur - Jain Temples
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Enjoy some time exploring the atmospheric laneways of Udaipur. You will also visit the City Palace while you're here, one of the largest royal palaces in India. This structure took 400 years to build and hosts a range of treasures and antiquities, from vivid murals to royal utensils. Spend your free time today exploring the streets as you please, or perhaps venture further afield into the rolling hills. A boat ride across the water is a great way to see this impossibly charming townscape from another angle.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Udaipur - City Palace
  • Udaipur - Lake Pichola boat ride
  • Udaipur - City walk
Optional Activities
  • Udaipur - Ayurvedic Massage - INR1200
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
See our guide to Udaipur here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/venice-of-the-east-india-udaipur/
After a free morning, take a flight back to Delhi (approximately 1.5 hours, arriving at around 5.30 pm). You'll be collected and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy an evening of free time. You can can continue to explore Delhi, arrange onward travel or simply relax and unwind. If you are staying longer, there is much to see. Raj Ghat is a monument that marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. It is now incorporated into the National Gandhi Museum. Hauz Khas Village is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown – it's a hip artistic enclave set amid an interesting historic site.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Gandhi's Delhi Urban Adventure - INR2700
  • Delhi - City Food Crawl Urban Adventure - INR3500
  • Delhi - Home-Cooked Experience Urban Adventure - INR4000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

14 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Auto rickshaw, Camel, Jeep, Plane, Private minibus, Private vehicle, Shuttle Bus, Train

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (1 night), Heritage Property (4 nights), Hotel (9 nights)

Included activities

  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Agra Fort
  • Fatehpur Sikri - Guided tour
  • Jaipur - Walking & market tour
  • Jaipur - Bollywood Movie at Raj Mandir Cinema
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
  • Mandawa - Haveli tour
  • Bikaner - Junagarh Fort
  • Jaisalmer - City tour
  • Jaisalmer - Camel safari & overnight desert camp
  • Jodhpur - Meherangarh Fort
  • Ranakpur - Jain Temples
  • Udaipur - City Palace
  • Udaipur - Lake Pichola boat ride
  • Udaipur - City walk

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. An airport arrival transfer is included in the price of your tour. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or no later than 14 days before your tour begins.
2. A single supplement is available on this trip and is valid for all nights on tour with the exception of the camel safari in the Thar Desert.
3. Hot air balloon excursions are operated by Sky Waltz in Jaipur. Flights operate from 1 September to 31 April and last approximately 60 minutes. 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 260 per person (subject to change). Flights are subject to availability and weather conditions (tickets are fully refundable in case of bad weather).

Essential trip information

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