Experience the past and living cultures of the Rajasthan desert, India's most colourful region where sandstone and marbled temples, forts, monuments and palaces showcase the splendour of the Mughal dynasty.
In our 9 day Colourful Rajasthan Experience you will visit this majestic and fascinating “Land of the Kings” with its magnificent forts & palaces. Stay in a retreat on top of a 100 meter sand-dune – one of its kind in the world. Visit rural villages and the Bishnoi tribe – a community known for their fierce protecting of nature & wildlife. Visit local temples and a school, experience a camel ride and observe the process of salt collection in this part of the world. The highlight for many will be a visit to the most famous monument to love – The Taj Mahal ! A once in a lifetime journey.
See our sample Festival Tour which highlights old and new Delhi, Agra's Taj Mahal and Red Fort, and the royal Mughal cities of Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodphur. We experience tranquil lakes, vast sand dunes and the unique desert animals found here. We also travel into the hidden heartland, the pilgrim centres of Mandawa, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Jamba where tribal heritage thrives. During some of the many Rajasthan fairs and festivals we set up special tented camps to enjoy the festivities.
We also offer a 17 day Colourful Rajasthan Desert Explorer with Nagaur Festival itinerary below.
2020 Departure Dates & Costs
9 day Colourful Rajasthan Experience: Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jamba
Departures Daily based on minimum 4 travellers
Tour cost: $ 1,820 USD per person twin sharing in Deluxe hotels
Single Supplement $ 695 USD
17 day Colourful Rajasthan Desert Explorer with Nagaur Festival
Departures in February based on minimum 4 travellers
Tour cost: $ 2,820 USD per person twin sharing in Deluxe hotels
Single Supplement $ 1,070 USD
Rajasthan Festival options
Tailor made itineraries of any length can be arranged
For festival programs, build your travel around the following dates...
Festival Dates (customized itineraries of any length can be arranged)
October: Bateshwar Animal Fair
November: Pushkar Camel Fair
February: Nagaur Camel Fair
Day 1: Arrive Delhi
Arrive Delhi by international flight. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Our representative will meet you at the receiving area and escort you to your hotel. The Claridges or similar for 2 nights. Delhi is a dynamic city where the past coexists with the present. While historic evidence shows that the area around Delhi was first occupied around 2,500 years ago, Hindu mythology predates that by another 500 years. The British captured the city in 1803 and when they decided to make it the capital of India in 1911, they commissioned Sir Edwin Lutyens to draw up the plans. The result is slightly surprising with spacious tree-lined avenues punctuated with architecture which is among the most striking in the world.
Day 2: Delhi (B)
After breakfast, experience the combined charm of Old and New Delhi.The day begins with the sightseeing of Old Delhi and a visit to the Raj Ghat. Drive past the Red Fort on your way to the Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque. A tour through the bazaars of Chandni Chowk is followed by a drive past the historical India Gate, the President’s estate and the Parliament House. Lunch on own. The day is concluded with visits to two of the capital’s most striking monuments; Humayun’s Tomb, and Gandhi’s memorial (closed on Mondays).
Day 3: Delhi / Agra (approx. 220km/4 hour drive) (B)
After breakfast drive to Agra and check in at your hotel. In the afternoon visit the red sandstone Agra Fort, which stands like a crescent on the banks of the Jamuna River enclosed by forbidding 20-meter high walls, with a 12-meter moat between them. Three successive Mughal emperors – Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jehan – helped create this massive structure which contains Hindu and Muslim architecture.Later visit the Taj Mahal – surely the greatest monument to love and one of the wonders of the modern world. Completed in 1652, skilled craftsmen from Persia, Turkey, France and Italy and some 20,000 laborers worked for 17 years to build this edifice, constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal (closed on Fridays). Overnight ITC Mughal or similar.
Day 4: Agra/Jaipur (260 kms/8 hrs with enroute visit) (B,L)
After breakfast, leave for Jaipur. En route visit Chand Baori, or the famous Rajasthan stepwell where an elaborate series of steps lead to wells 100 feet below the surface. Lunch included. Arrive Jaipur and check-in at your hotel. 2 nights ITC Rajputana or similar.
Day 5: Jaipur (B)
After breakfast, half-day excursion tour takes us to the Amber Fort. En route, we make a photo stop at the palace of winds the Hawa Mahal. A 5 storey building with 25cm thick facade from the 18 century having 953 windows and niches so that ladies of royal family could see the procession and events in the city without being visible to the people. Proceed to the Amber City Fort situated 130m high with the Aravalli hills around and 11 km north of Jaipur. It was the ancient capital of the Kachhawaha Rajputs till 1037.In the afternoon visit the “Pink City” of Jaipur. The City Palace occupies the center of Jaipur. It now houses the Royal residence and museums with collections of textiles and costumes, armory, manuscripts, paintings etc. Also visit Jantar Mantar (1728-34) built by King Jai Singh II who had great interest in astrology.
Day 6: Jaipur – Jodhpur (335 kms/ approx. 6 hrs drive) (B)
After breakfast, leave for Jodhpur. Arrive Jodhpur and check-in at your hotel. Overnight Welcome Hotel. The afternoon is free to explore the colorful markets of Jodhpur.
Day 7: Jodhpur – Jamba (approx. 168km/3 hour drive) (B,D)
After breakfast, visit Meherangarh Fort & Jaswant Thada. After lunch on own, drive to Jamba through the Thar Desert as the undulating dunes reflect the golden glow of the sun. Arrive Jamba and transfer to the retreat. 2 nights Dera Dune Retreat, cottage.
Day 8: Jamba (B,L,D)
We enjoy a jeep safari to see various ethnic tribes in their villages, seeing up close the lives of agriculturists, pastoralists, weavers, and potters. The Bishnoi enjoy the distinction of being some of the world’s first conservationists, as adherents of a 15th-century Hindu sect that advocates protection of the environment and wildlife. Also visit the Jamba Ji Temple and Jamba village school. Late afternoon, experience the mode of transportation common in this region – “Ships of the Desert” – as we take a camel safari through the dunes to nearby salt pans.
Day 9: Jamba – Osian – Jodhpur (B)
After breakfast, drive to visit Osian - famous as home to the cluster of ruins of Brahmanical and Jaintemples dating from the 8th to 11th centuries. After the visit, transfer to Jodhpur airport to board flight onward to Delhi or Mumbai. (Flight approx. $ 155 USD)
Colourful Rajasthan Desert Explorer with Nagaur Festival (17 days)
Day 1: Arrive Delhi
After clearing Customs and Immigration, our representative will meet you and escort you to the hotel. Shangri-la or similar 2 nights
Day 2: Delhi (B)
Delhi is a dynamic city where the past coexists with the present. While historic evidence shows that the area around Delhi was first occupied around 2,500 years ago, Hindu mythology predates that by another 500 years. The British captured the city in 1803 and when they decided to make it the capital of India in 1911, they commissioned Sir Edwin Lutyens to draw up the plans. The result is slightly surprising with spacious tree-lined avenues punctuated with architecture which is among the most striking in the world. On the tour of “Old Delhi,” you will head out to explore this exotic locale with its narrow dirt roads, myriads of people and inexpensive and colorful bazaars that keep alive the traditional workmanship for which Delhi has always been famous. Driving past the Red Fort, you trade your motor vehicle for a bicycle rickshaw, which will take you into the heart of Chandni Chowk (the silver square - so named because of the silver merchants). Negotiating alleyways, which seemingly get narrower and narrower you end up at the Jama Masjid, the largest Muslim mosque in India.
Also visit Raj Ghat - the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi (Closed on Mondays). It is a black marble platform that marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. It is left open to the sky and an eternal flame burns perpetually at one end. A stone footpath flanked by lawns leads to the walled enclosure that houses the memorial. The structure reflects his absolute simplicity. All guests must remove their shoes before entering the Raj Ghat walls. Thereafter, visit the Sikh temple Bangla Sahib, this place of ‘Sikh’ worship is open to people of all faiths, castes or creeds. The premises house a sacred pond in which devotees bathe. They believe that this would wash off their misdeeds and thus allow them to attain peace of mind. The 'Langars' or the community kitchen proves to be the ideal example of prodigious hospitality of the Sikhs. Anyone and everyone can have scrumptious meal irrespective of caste, color or class.
Day 3: Delhi / Agra (approx. 4 hour) (B)
After breakfast, depart for Agra. Though Agra's history is largely recognized with Mughal Empire, the place was established much before it and has linkages since Mahabharata, the Mythological history. The golden age of the city began with the Mughals. Akbar made it the center of art and culture. From the fort we go to “Mehtab Bagh” and enjoy the sunset on India’s great monument, the Taj Mahal (we will make the visits to the Taj Mahal tomorrow). 1 night Hotel Radisson or similar.merce and learning. During the peaceful reign of Shah Jahan, his passion for architecture came to the fore and the world-famous architectural masterpieces were constructed including the Taj Mahal. Once you settle in your hotel, visit the Agra Fort - Few forts in the world has a more fascinating story to tell than the Great Fort of Agra. Originally planned as an impregnable military structure by Akbar, the Agra Fort, over a period of time, acquired all the elegance, lavishness and majesty of an imperial palace. Situated 3 km upstream of the Taj Mahal on the right bank of the Yamuna, it took eight years to complete and entailed an expenditure of three and a half million rupees.
Day 4: Agra / Bharatpur (approx. 1 ½ hour) (B)
This morning, savor a travel highlight as you embark on a tour of the Taj Mahal, the magnificent tomb of white marble built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, who had implored her husband to build a monument symbolizing their undying love for each other. Some 20,000 laborers and artisans from around the world spent 22 years constructing what became Mumtaz’s mausoleum, which was begun in 1632. Along with its exquisite symmetry, the Taj features striking examples of pietra dura, a decorative art in which craftsmen embed precisely cut semi-precious stones in marble to form dazzling patterns. After breakfast, check-out and drive to Bharatpur. En-route visit Fatehpur Sikri. Today, Fatehpur Sikri is a abandoned, phantom city. But the inner citadel is immaculately preserved. The finest monuments within this area are the Diwan-i-Am, Diwan-i-Khas, Panch Mahal, Buland Darwaza and the tomb of Saint Sheikh Salim Chishti. On arrival at Bharatpur, check-in to the hotel - Laxmi Niwas Palace.
Day 5: Bharatpur / Ranthambore train (Shatabdi Train 1550/1802 hrs.) (B,D)
Morning, take a cycle rickshaw to explore the keoladeo bird sanctuary. Colorful kingfishers, graceful pelicans rare Siberian cranes and Trans- continental fliers - the migratory water - fowl are amongst the 375 species of birds found in the Keoladeo National Park. The most spectacular nesting is that of the egrets, storks, herons and cormorants, which make over 10,000 nests every year. This makes outstanding bird havens of the world. The park covers an area of 28.73km. Later, check-out and transfer to Bharatpur Railway station to board the train to Ranthambore. Our representative will meet you on arrival and transfer you to your hotel. 2 nights Kipling Lodge or similar.
Day 6: Ranthambore (B,L,D)
Full day to explore the national park by morning and afternoon game drives. Ranthambore National Park is one of the biggest and most renowned national parks in Northern India. The Park is located in the Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan. Being considered as one of the famous and former hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur, today the Ranthambore National Park terrain is a major wildlife tourist attraction spot that has pulled the attention of many wildlife photographers and lovers in this destination. The Park is mostly famous for its tigers.
Day 7: Ranthambore / Jaipur (B) (approx. 5 hours drive)
Another opportunity to explore the park by the morning game drive. Return to the hotel for breakfast and check-out. Thereafter proceed to Jaipur, the largest city of Rajasthan which is an epitome of magnificence and vibrancy. This royal place is rich in heritage, culture and architecture with splendid fortresses, majestic palaces, tranquil temples and beautiful havelis. Other than these captivating attractions, Jaipur displays exquisite handicrafts and spectacular jewelry.2 nights ITC Rajputana or similar.
Day 8: Jaipur (B)
Full day sightseeing of Jaipur including a visit to the Amber Fort and a photo stop at the Palace of the Winds, the Hawa Mahal in the morning. A visit to the City Palace in the afternoon, which now houses the royal residence and museums with a fine collection of textiles and costumes, armory, manuscripts and paintings, followed by a stopover at Jantar Mantar, wraps up the day.Explore the local markets or visit a jeweler’s workshop as Jaipur is most famous for its gems.
Day 9: Jaipur / Udaipur (approx. 6 ½ hour drive) (B)
After breakfast, check-out and drive to Udaipur. Udaipur, described as the “City of Sunrise,” stands in a valley amid green hills on the banks of Lake Pichola. You will be taken to the shores of Lake Pichola, where you will board a boat and cross the lake to your hotel – the fabled Lake Palace in romantic Udaipur, the “City of Sunrise.” On arrival, check-in to the hotel and rest of the day is at leisure. 2 nights Trident Udaipur.
Day 10: Udaipur (B)
After breakfast, explore this beautiful city. You will visit the Jagdish Temple, the largest and most venerated temple in Udaipur. Built in 1651 A.D. by Maharaja Jagat Singh, the temple is decorated with friezes and enshrines a black stone image of Vishnu. Walk about the Garden of Maidens (Sahelion Ki Bari), which consists of an ornamental lotus pool with delicately carved cenotaphs of black and white marble and soapstone. You can explore the rest of the Maharajah’s City Palace, an imposing edifice of granite and marble, standing atop a ridge overlooking the blue waters of Lake Pichola and the exquisite Lake Palace. This evening enjoy a private boat ride on Lake Pichola, watching the sunset on the magical Lake Palace, the lovely City Palace complex and scenic Udaipur.
Day 11: Udaipur / Ranakpur / Jodhpur (B)
Today we will make the drive to Jodhpur, stopping along the way at Ranakpur, home to some of India’s most exquisite Jain temple architecture. You will have ample time to fully explore this incredible site before continuing on to Jodhpur. Situated in the lovely valley of Aravalli Hills, are the ornately carved temples of Ranakpur. One of the holiest places for Jain pilgrims, the Chamukha temple is three storied, with 80 domes supported by 1444 carved pillars, each different from one another. This temple is dedicated to Adinathji. Thereafter, resume drive to Jodhpur, located in the foothill of a sandstone hillock, the city of Jodhpur is like an oasis in the vast desert. It is also referred to as the "Blue City" for the vivid blue-painted houses around the Mehrangarh Fort. Being on the fringe of the Thar Desert, life here has been influenced by the ways of the desert folk. 1 nights Ajit Bhawan Palace.
Day 12: Jodhpur / Nagaur (approx. 4 hour drive) (B,D)
Today you will explore the city’s beautiful palace Mehrangarh Fort has been in existence since 1459 and is one of the most astounding constructions and architectural marvels. The towering building has extremely high walls and gates, and the closer it is explored, the smaller you begin to feel! Inside the fort is a network of courtyards and palaces, (including a museum that houses a splendid collection of items from the Maharajas), salvaged to display their long history of warding off attackers.The Jaswant Thada is an absolutely calming and soothing building to lay your eyes upon. Constructed entirely of a milky-white marble, the whimsical essence of this memorial can be felt by all. The sheets of marble used to create this astounding marvel were all hand carved into fabulous walls and domes. A warm glow surrounds the polished rock, emitting a sunny and pleasant atmosphere.
Thereafter, proceed to our next destination Nagaur. On visiting Rajasthan, you will come across a perfect blend of tradition and modernity. You can get the true flavor of this rich culture by visiting the various fairs and festivals of Rajasthan. Each of these fairs and festivals are celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm. Nagaur fair is one of the most famous fairs in Rajasthan. Fair attracts several traders from all over state of Rajasthan or nearby states, who come with their livestock which includes camels, horses, bullocks and sheep. It is normally estimated that about 70,000 livestock are being merchandised each year in the festival. The cattle decorated in the generous jewels look very pretty as if they are preparing to join some kind of a pageant. Even the livestock vendors join the festival wearing colorful turbans and elegant long whiskers. 2 nights Royal Tents.
Day 13: Nagaur Festival (B,L,D)
Today full day experience the Nagaur Camel Fair and explore the colourful activities, an opportunity to buy handicraft items. Once the job of buying and selling is over, the assembled folk settle down for serious business of enjoying themselves. Rajasthani dance and music are the special features of this fair.
Day 14: Nagaur / Jamba (approx. 3 hours) (B,L,D)
Today we drive approximately three hours as we head into the hinterland to a region known as Jamba, the stronghold of the fascinating Bishnoi tribes. All Bishnois follow the 29 (bis-noi) tenets laid down by the 15th-century guru Jambeshwar, affectionately known as “Jamba-ji.” They fervently believe in the sanctity of animal and plant life so wildlife finds a natural sanctuary around their villages. You will spend two nights at the private Dera Sand Dune Retreat. This is an exclusive property, set atop a 100' high sand dune with panoramic views of the Thar Desert. The Resort features exquisite examples of traditional Rajasthani architecture used throughout, with stonework and carvings using local design and sustainable materials and, most importantly, utilizing the skills of local craftsmen. It has individual deluxe cottages, a swimming pool and beautiful restaurant. This evening the musician and dancers from nearby villages will come to dance away the evening. 2 nights Dera Dunes Retreat.
Day 15: Jamba (B,L,D)
After breakfast, go 4 wheeling cross-country on dirt and sand roads to continue your exploration of “Jamba-ji’s” land. These excursions introduce you to traditional Rajasthani hospitality, as well as giving you a chance to witness rural Rajasthani life up close. The villages are built with painted adobe walls, and village life continues unaffected by the big cities nearby. Bishnoi villages are immaculate, scrubbed daily by brightly clad women who are weighted down by silver jewelry and festooned with bangles right up to the length of their arms. By contrast, their tall men dress entirely in white, their large turbans loosely swathed around dark skinned, weathered faces. You will also have an opportunity to go on a camel safari. Return to Dera Resort in time to watch the setting sun light up the desert.
Day 16: Jamba / Jodhpur & flight to Delhi & Departure (B)
After breakfast, check-out from the retreat and drive to Jodhpur airport to connect with flight to Delhi. On arrival, check-in to the Holiday Inn hotel near the airport. Extensions may be added.
Day 17: Departure (B)
Transfer to Delhi International airport to connect with flight to onward destination.