Hi there. Well it’s been ages since I’ve done a post on itineraries, so I thought I might as well look at my two experiences in Rajasthan and put together what I would recommend doing/seeing if I had a bit longer. Because it’s a large state and frankly slower travel in India is much preferable to fast travel.
Also, you have to keep in mind I am setting out an overland route, with no flying except in and out. Which means most of the time, this is a route on the rails(well, trains do float my boat! Which is a slightly confusing allegory).
Heading to Rajasthan from an international location, you’re probably going to need to fly to Delhi. Jaipur, Rajasthan’s biggest city, does have an international airport which Air Asia flies to from Kuala Lumpur, however it’s not brilliantly connected unless through Delhi or another Indian city. And so, perhaps a little oddly, the first bit of the itinerary is NOT in Rajasthan itself.
Fly into Delhi, and if you must, stay a few nights or if you feel like I do towards Delhi, get out as quickly as possible. Delhi does have loads to see and do from the Red Fort to Qutab Minar, a Railway Museum, parks, shopping, it really has it all. If only it wasn’t Delhi!
Then, as you’re in India and it’s (relatively) handy, get thee to Agra for the Taj Mahal. You really must see it if you can, even if it is busy and expensive, because it remains one of the world’s great buildings, one of the world’s great monuments. I believe the Agra Fort is pretty impressive too!
And then swing by rails into Rajasthan proper!
This will allow you to swing by Bharatpur to see the Bird Sanctuary – this is the one place I haven’t actually visited that I’m putting on the itinerary, I heard good things about it from other travellers on the road and I think it’s very probably worth visiting. Ranthambore National Park, near Sawai Madhopur, is THE place to see tigers in Rajasthan. I went there in 1999, and full disclosure – saw none. I went on a sort of driven safari and we saw a lot of antelopes but not much else. However I heard others saying how amazing the tigers were there when in Rajasthan this year. Keep in mind though, there are only apparently 85 tigers in all of Rajasthan. On the flipside, Ranthambore claims to be home to 70 of them. Then across to Udaipur.
Udaipur I visited in 1999. It was one of those places everyone you meet in Rajasthan tells you ‘you MUST visit’. And it’s not hard to see why, it’s an amazing myriad of streets and lanes along a lake which has a palace right in the middle of it. And it’s a pretty famous palace too, it featured in the James Bond movie ‘Octopussy’.
From there make your way northwards to Jaipur. It’s the capital of the state and the biggest city, and there is plenty to see and do from the City Palace to the Royal Gaitor, and the Amber Fort a short way out of town. It’s not the most amazing place in India, but hey, I prefer it in every way to Delhi. And there is a lot to see.
Pushkar is worth a day or two, or if you have longer it’s a good place to chill out for a few days and not do so much. The lake is beautiful, the temples are worth visiting, and apparently the ganga is pretty good in Pushkar too. To get there, you will probably need a bus. Get the train to Ajmer, a bus from there is only 30 minutes or so to Pushkar.
Then to my favourite city – Jodhpur! The ‘Blue’ City … well it’s blue from the right angles! There’s a couple of days’ worth of things to see and do in Jodhpur, from the Mehrangarh Fort which is simply the most brilliant in Rajasthan to the Stepwell, a great market and more. A great place to explore as well! Plus the Jaswant Thada temple on the hill and the Umaid Bhawan Palace, a little Taj-like if you see it from afar. Then a short auto-rickshaw drive to Mandore and those incredible Mandore Gardens, where suddenly everything is green – except for the monkeys.
Before calling an end to your Rajasthan experience, head out west to the desert city of Jaisalmer. An interesting place with an interesting fort, and the jumping-off point for camel treks in the desert. Perhaps the best thing I did in two trips to Rajasthan.
From there it’s a long train ride back to Delhi, although you may be able to fly back. There is more to see in Rajasthan, it’s a big place, but this is only speaking from my personal experience. What places would you include that I have left out?
Thanks for Reading – and May the Journey Never End!