With its wild desert scenery, ancient sandcastle forts, pastel-coloured cities, dust-speckled light and its swathes of scarlet, fuchsia and marigold textiles, the cities of Rajasthan is sure to induce a bout of wanderlust. Marvel at the frescoes and havelis, or shop at the vibrant bazaars. Apart from being a sightseeing option, the grand palaces, temples, and museums of the cities reveal the famed architectural heritage of the state.
Arrival in Jaipur
Arrive in Jaipur and check in to your hotel. India's official 'pink city', there's much more to Rajasthan's capital than its pink-red tinged buildings and historic splendour. Look out for the odd camel strolling through Jaipur?s busy streets as you make your way past hawkers and cycle rickshaws against a backdrop of its vibrant terracotta edifices. This majestic home to erstwhile royals is complete with old-world charm surrounded by colourful markets and chaotic streets. The grand palaces and havelis surrounded by mighty fortresses make Jaipur a dazzling place. Head out in the evening to catch a glimpse of the city at night.
Amer Fort Excursion
After breakfast, proceed for a city tour. Amer Fort, 11 kms away, is a nice little hike through ancient cobbled pathways towards the fascinating serpentine stairs that lead up to the fort. It is built on separate levels; step out onto each courtyard for amazing views of the Aravall is beyond. The main palace and public halls are well maintained and one can still feel the grandeur of the world. The Amber Fort gets reflected on the surface of Maota Lake?s water, creating a mesmerizing scene. Drive back towards downtown Jaipur past the gorgeous Jal Mahal literally built on the man-made lake.
City Tour of Jaipur
Jaipur's Hawa Mahal, built specifically so women from the royal household could look out into the street has a lovely screen with a hundred windows that you can look out through before you go to Jantar Mantar. This astronomical complex, home to the world?s largest stone sundial, dates back to the 18th century and measures time still accurate to 2 seconds. The City Palace, close to Jantar Mantar, is an overwhelming complex of exquisite palaces, gardens and courtyards, decorative art and carved doorways. The Palace Museum houses collections of rare manuscripts, armoury, costumes, carpets and miniature paintings.
The vivid street markets are one of the best street shopping experiences you can have here. Jaipur's old markets, including the Baapu Bazaar, have the best of Rajasthani handicrafts, camel-leather products, open-toed shoes, paintings, khadi kurtas, the list is endless.
Drive to Jodhpur visiting Ajmer and Pushkar
After breakfast drive to Jodhpur. Enroute visit Ajmer and Pushkar. Nestled in the Aravallis south west of Jaipur, Ajmer was founded by Raja Ajaypal Chauhan in the 7th century AD. Ajmer promises religious places, regal architecture and exquisite bazaars. The mausoleum of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti is an important place of worship for Hindus and Muslims alike.
An 11 kilometre drive from Ajmer will take you to ancient city of Pushkar, known for its religious significance and rare temples. Pushkar's narrow lanes complete with the heady aroma of perfume and rose water, past sweet shops crowded for their delicious malpuas they dish out. Move on to the 52 ghats that surround the holy Pushkar Lake. Stroll through the crowded lanes of Pushkar, hike the holy hills beyond and visit its renowned temples. Spectacular views of Pushkar Lake and the town greet you on your arrival. Hike down to the Brahma Temple, one of the rare temples dedicated to Lord Brahma, with its interesting mythology and history. Pushkar is one of the best places in Rajasthan to get some of the exquisite Rajasthani costume jewellery and embroidered clothes. Watch the camel festival that kicks start with songs, music and exhibitions during the annual Pushkar fair held during October/November.
Arrival in Jodhpur
Later continue to drive to Jodhpur, and transfer to your hotel.
Situated on the boundary of the Thar Desert, Jodhpur is the second largest city of Rajasthan after Jaipur and has been given the name 'Blue City', due to the blue-painted houses around the mighty Mehrangarh Fort. From blue houses and towering forts to reflective lakes, Jodhpur offers delightful scenic vistas all around. Jodhpur is also famous for its magnificent historical monuments, temples and palaces. Some of the major attractions around Jodhpur are Jaswant Thada, Umaid Bhawan, Museum and Zoo. Get to see the authentic Rajasthani village experience by taking an optional visit to the Bishnoi village and partake in various activities like Pot making, weaving, block painting, and Bishnoi family visit.
City Tour of Jodhpur
Post breakfast, head for a half day tour of the city. This 'Sun city' stuns you with its architectural marvels and this half-day tour begins with a drive to Mehrangarh Fort. Founded by RaoJodha, back in 1459, Jodhpur was the capital of the Marwar region, thanks to its strategic position, elevation and rocky ridges. Legend has it that the construction of the Fort led to Jodhpur being plagued by drought after a hermit who lived here cursed it. Visit the museum inside for its historical artefacts. The beautiful white-marble Jaswant Thada is a cenotaph, burial ground for the rulers of this region. Walk to the tiered gardens and small lake before driving down to the historic Ghanta Ghar (clock tower). Sadar Bazaar, the bustling local market near the tower, is filled with little shops of traditional jewellery, bright clothes and innumerable eateries. Move on to Umaid Bhawan Palace, one of the world's largest private residences, still home to the erstwhile royal family with a part of it leased to Taj Hotels. Visit the museum and have a look at the antiques before the drive back to your hotel.
Drive to Jaisalmer
Check out from your hotel and drive to Jaisalmer. Around 286 kilometres for Jodhpur, the route is pretty scenic and boasts of some beautiful landscapes of the Thar Desert. An epitome of everything Rajasthani, from every postcard you've probably ever seen, the spectacular sandstone royal desert town of Jaisalmer is charming and mysterious all at the same time. Self-explanatory as a 'golden city', Jaisalmer's Fort is perched on a yellow sandstone ridge, keeping a watchful eye over the ever-spreading town beyond its walls. Check in to your hotel, relax for a bit and head out for a lovely evening stroll.
City Tour of jaisalmer
A new day dawns and it's time to explore the city of Jaisalmer. Drive down to Jaisalmer Fort after breakfast. The thriving township that occupies every nook and corner of this fort is a sight for sore eyes. Havelis, Jain temples, shops, hotels and restaurants can be found in abundance. Cobbled, narrow alleys give you glimpses into life inside this living fort. Our local guide will tell you more on the history of these temples and havelis. Visit the temples dedicated to Rikhabdevji and Shambhavdevji. A mere kilometre away is Patwon ki Haveli, the oldest haveli in Jaisalmer, a cluster of 5 smaller havelis. Maintained by the government, this haveli has beautifully designed gateways and arches, paintings and mirror work on its walls. Move on to Nathmahal Ji ki Haveli, originally meant as the erstwhile Prime Minister’s residence. Two life-size sandstone elephants stand guard at the entrance of the haveli. A little down the road is the 17th century Salim Ji ki Haveli, with a roof that resembles a peacock. Take a look out of one of the 38 balconies, each of which has been designed in a different way.
In the evening, Visit the Sam sand dunes for a camel safari later in the afternoon. The padded soles of the camel's feet make a mockery of otherwise tough-to-walk on dunes. Watch the sun slowly go down over the dunes before retiring for the night in camps near the dunes.
Head back to your hotel after this day long tour and call it a night.
Transfer to Jodhpur
Tinged with indigo, the city of Jodhpur abounds with forts, palaces, temples, havelis and houses built in vivid shades of blue. There is much more to Jodhpur; get an exciting and eco-friendly tour around the streets of Jodhpur on a cycle. Ride around the alleys and the fort wall and get to know the different communities and its history. Apart from this, what is also special about Jodhpur is its puppet show. Practised by the local agrarian communities, with wooden dummy dolls, colourful attires; the puppet show is an amazing way to enjoy an evening in Jodhpur. Another feature and a must thing to do that help complete Jodhpur travel guide is savouring the Rajasthani cuisine which is served widely in the city.
Who can no to the shopping treats while vacationing in this heritage city? Explore its bustling flashy bazaars to catch the best of true Rajasthani fabrics, chic mojaris, authentic antiques, classic handicrafts, and traditional jewellery. Nai Sarak, Sojati Gate Market, Mochi Bazaar, Umaid Bhawan Palace Market, and Kapraa Bazaar are some of the best bazaars around.
The beautiful blue of the city, the brown desert and the enormity of Mehrangarh Fort is best witnessed from above. What better adventure than to paraglide over Jodhpur. Drive down to the paragliding site for a brief on before the instructor straps you into the safety harness. Make that run and soar in tandem with your instructor for a bird’s eye view of “the sun city” in all its glory (Optional).
After breakfast drive to Mount Abu enroute visiting Ranakpur. Ranakpur in the Aravali ranges is home to an exceptionally beautiful Jain temple complex. The intricate and superb architectural styled Ranakpur Jain Temple was built during the reign of Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. This temple is wholly constructed in light coloured marble and comprises a basement covering an area of 48000 sq feet. There are more than 1400 exquisitely carved pillars that support the temple. There are more than 1400 exquisitely carved pillars that support the temple. In the complex, there are several temples including Chaumukha temple, Parsavanath temple, Amba Mata Temple and Surya Temple.
Arrival in Udaipur
Later continue to drive to Udaipur; arrive at the beautiful city of Udaipur and check in to your hotel. The 'City of Lakes' presents a seriously contradictory picture of what arid Rajasthan is presumed to be. Udaipur, with its contiguous artificial lakes, small islands and numerous palaces is a rarity in everything it signifies here in the desert. Have the rest of the day at leisure. In the evening, you can head out to experience the city.
City Tour of Udaipur
After breakfast, head out for a City tour. Udaipur is a Pandora?s Box filled with culture and royalty against a backdrop of spectacular lakes. The tour begins with a drive to City Palace with its spectacular architecture buildings and towers that make a palace complex constructed over 400 years. Our local guide will take you around Fateh Prakash Palace and the renowned Crystal Gallery with collections dating back to 1877 from dinner sets and perfume bottles to decanters and washing bowls. City Palace also has a vintage car museum, Diwan-I-Aam (hall of public audience), Diwan-I-Khas (private audience hall) and BhaggiKhana which is also worth a visit for palanquins and old carriages on display. Look out for lovely views of Lake Pichola and Lake Palace here as well. Head over to Jagdish temple in the vicinity with its double-storey Mandapa (hall). Winding alleys take you to ghantaghar (clock tower) that was made back in 1876. Move on to Sahelionki Bari with lush green lawns and fountains, originally made for the 48 maidens who accompanied the princess of Udaipur as part of her dowry. Later visit the Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandir or the Folk Art Museum.
Explore Udaipur on Boat
One of the best ways to explore Udaipur is by boat. Take sunset cruises on Lake Pichola and take a trip to Jagmandir, the island palace.
The world's second longest fortified wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an 86-kilometre drive away from Udaipur. Clearly not Chinese, The Kumbhalgarh fort and its walls make a good 38-kilometre long trek through undulating terrain. Set off with our local guide early morning on a hike through the forest. Keep your eyes open, you just might get lucky enough to cross a leopard dozing on a tree (optional).
It is now time to depart after this grand Rajasthan tour. After breakfast in time transfer to Udaipur Airport. Along with pictures, you take a ton of memories along wherever you go.