Fancy yourself a regal maharaja? Our Rajasthan itinerary accommodates you in former palaces and deluxe desert tents while revealing the diverse cultures of this vibrant region. Travel through iconic cities from Delhi to Udaipur, and take in the elaborate architecture of the ancient palaces, temples, mansions, and fortifications of this great cradle of civilization. Activities are unforgettable: tour city sights, witness a rural Thar Desert festival, visit medieval markets, meet local people, and take a 4X4 safari though windswept dunes. To visit Rajasthan MT Sobek style is quite possibly a life-changing experience!
Experience the Golden City, a 4X4 safari, and ritual bathing in the Thar Desert
Ride elephants to Jaipur's centuries-old fort, behold the Pushkar Camel Fair, and more!
Live like royalty in luxurious hotels -- former maharaja palaces -- and deluxe desert tents
Welcome to India! Arrive at Indira Gandhi International Airport in vibrant New Delhi, meet an MT Sobek representative outside of customs, and transfer to the luxury Taj Mahal (Taj Man Singh) Hotel for our welcome dinner, followed by a good night's sleep.
Take a scenic drive to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan affectionately known as the "Pink City" for its fine architecture fashioned out of pink sandstone. In the 19th century, Maharajah Ram Singh had all non-pink buildings painted pink - the color of hospitality - to welcome Britain's Prince of Wales. Upon arrival, check into your hotel, your home for the next two nights. This afternoon, visit the old, colorful markets of Jaipur, where you can purchase anything from fine gems and woodcarvings to ornamental knives, beautiful Rajasthani textiles, and trinkets.
Enjoy a half-day excursion to Amber Fort, stopping at the elaborate Hawa Mahal, the "Palace of the Winds," en route. Ride up to Amber Fort atop elephants, just as the maharajas did, arriving at the perched fort above the city for views of the surrounding Aravalli Hills. After lunch, explore Jaipur's City Palace, which occupies the center of Jaipur and houses the Royal residence and museums. Continue to Jantar Mantar, built from 1728 to 1734, where the stone and marble instruments accurately measure the harmony of the heavens.
Drive to Pushkar, a holy city (said to be the seat of Brahma) of white buildings set on the glassy shores of Lake Pushkar, known for its amazing annual spectacle of Pushkarka Mela (Pushkar Fair). Spend two days with the thousands of camels, horses, cattle, and their owners who camp in the dunes, coming to trade. Experience the festival's vibrant colors and energy as you walk through the market observing bartering tribesmen, men with large turbans, women wrapped in exquisite jewelry, and children dressed in stunning, traditional attire.
The Pushkar Camel Fair is one of the last great traditional melas in India, and you have the entire day to wander around. Your visit is timed to ensure that you witness the best camel-trading moments, and you'll see owners using all of their persuasive skills to sell their camels at the most competitive prices. Both amateur and professional photographers will delight in capturing these skilled tradespeople in action!
Head to Jodhpur today, known as "the Gateway to the Thar Desert" and "the Blue City" for the color of the buildings that surround its historical fort. After arrival, embark on a city tour, visiting the three-mile-long Mehrangarh Fort (Majestic Fort), one of India's most impressive, formidable structures. Its magnificent palaces have marvelously carved panels and latticed windows. The Fort Museum houses an exquisite collection of palanquins, howdahs (elephant saddles), costumes, and more. Later, walk through the "Blue City" of Jodhpur and see its medieval market.
After breakfast, transfer to Jaisalmer, founded in 1156 by Bhatti Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal. Often described as the Golden City, the commanding fort rises spectacularly from the heart of the Thar Desert like a golden mirage. The fort, etched in yellow sandstone, dominates the amber-hued city with its entire awesome splendor. There is no place like Jaisalmer! After checking into your hotel, enjoy a late afternoon drive out to Bada Bagh, where the royal family members were cremated. Afterward watch the sun set on Jaisalmer Fort.
Wander around the old town of Jaisalmer and Jaisalmer Fort, built in 1156. Perched on a 250-foot hill, the golden-hued fort stands like a sentinel in the barren desert landscape. It is the only "living fort" in India and within its ramparts lies an enchanting maze of narrow lanes dotted with lovely havelis (mansions), palaces, and 12th-century Jain temples. Also see Patwon Ki Haveli, the most elaborate and magnificent of all the Jaisalmer havelis, with unsurpassed stone carvings. The afternoon is free to wander around the city's lanes and alleys.
After breakfast, drive to Gajner, stopping at Keechan village on the way. Keechan is home to migratory demoiselle cranes that feed on grains donated by the villagers. In the afternoon, check out the fort of Bikaner - which, unlike its counterparts in the region, does not sit on a hill. Check into your amazing lakeside hunting lodge owned by Maharaja of Bikaner.
This morning take an early drive to watch ritual bathing at the ghats around Kolayat's lake. Kolayat is an important center of Hindu pilgrimage where thousands of holy people and local rural villagers gather to bathe. This day of the trip is the Day of Kartik Purnima, or the full moon - the holiest time for an auspicious dip in the water. In the afternoon, drive onward to Dechu in the Thar Desert. Situated on top of a sand dune, this is a great place to explore the desert life.
Embark on a 4X4 jeep safari in the Thar Desert! Driving over rural camel cart tracks and sand dunes, visit the adobe houses of various tribes who live here and learn about how they've adapted to harsh desert conditions. You'll also have a good chance of spotting Indian gazelle, Blue bull, and desert and Indian fox in the wilderness. In the afternoon, take a drive to Rohet and check into your palatial hotel.
After breakfast, drive to Udaipur, leaving behind arid western Rajasthan and heading toward the hilly regions of the south. En route visit Ranakpur, home to Jain temples dating back to the 14th century and some of Rajasthan's best marble carvings. After lunch in a shady glen, drive onward to arrive in Udaipur. Known as the City of Lakes, the romantic city and its gardens, temples, palaces, and, aptly, lakes lie in the Girwa Valley amidst the Aravalli Hills of south Rajasthan.
Udaipur's old city is a traditionally planned, fortified walled city with a maze of narrow winding lanes flanked by elaborately decorated doorways, stained-glass windows, and jali screens. Its massive havelis have large inner courtyards and shops. Visit the City Palace, built in 1570, including several palaces that blend Rajput and Mughal styles as well as temples and gardens. Half of it is still occupied by the royal family, and part has been converted into a museum. In the afternoon, enjoy a public boat ride on Pichola Lake.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch your flight to Delhi. This afternoon, meander through Old Delhi with its narrow dirt roads, myriad people, and colorful bazaars that keep Delhi's traditional workmanship alive. Visit Raj Ghat, the cremation grounds of Mahatma Gandhi, and then head to Red Fort. Here we trade our motor vehicles for bicycle rickshaws, which take you into the heart of Chandini Chowk, or "the Silver Square" - so named for its silver merchants. Negotiating alleyways, end up at Jama Masjid, the largest Muslim mosque in India. Tonight we enjoy a festive farewell dinner!
In the early morning, bid farewell to the group as you transfer to the airport for your homeward-bound or onward flight.
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MT Sobek's classic Royal Rajasthan itinerary combines the excitement of city touring with the wonders of the Thar Desert.
Our expert team of local guides have over 25 years' experience leading adventure travelers through India.
This is one of the few itineraries that includes the Pushkar Festival, adding a fascinating insight into local culture.
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Relaxed cultural touring by private van to explore cities, palaces, and temples. Desert experience includes a thrilling jeep ride and camel fair.
Relax in splendor at former maharaja palaces and five-star hotels, and enjoy desert camping at the luxurious Aagman Camp.
Daytime temperatures range between 70F and 95F while nighttime temperatures will be as low as the 50s. The weather should be dry and clear.
Our MT Sobek representative will meet you at the Delhi Airport.
Yes, you do, but you can go online to apply for an Indian e-visa, which is fast and convenient.
No, we have included this night since so many flights arrive in the middle of the night.
Yes, your transfer is included even if you arrive early.
Absolutely! Please call your Adventure Coordinator as we can organize extensions throughout India.
Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!
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"I've taken six MT Sobek trips and they have all exceeded my expectations. The staff, the food, the logistics and the communications have always been exceptional. Thank you for being my "go to" adventure travel company!"
MT Sobek Traveler
"The Pushkar Camel Festival is a unique way to experience local life in the area of Rajasthan, India. It was enthralling to watch the groups of camels, all cleaned up to impress buyers, and the groups of buyers and sellers huddled together negotiating a deal. In addition, there were numerous Indian families at the festival enjoying the many forms of entertainment offered there."
MT Sobek Traveler, Royal Rajasthan