Rajasthan the land of palaces and forts is one of the most visited tourist destinations in India. Words don’t match the pride and the glory this place holds. It has some of the most colorful cities in India. Jaipur is pink, Udaipur is white, Jodhpur is blue, Jaisalmer is golden and Jhalawar is purple. This Rajasthan travel guide is filled with ideas & tips to kick-start your vacation planning.
Rajasthan is more than just a desert. Many historic palaces, forts, beautiful lakes and mountains are spread across the entire state. Some of these structures are also recognized as world heritage sites by UNESCO. These serve as a great source of inspiration for the history and architecture enthusiasts. Mount Abu is the hill station of Rajasthan where it is impossible to find a spec of dry land and it is also a place where the temperature plummets to minus seven during winter!
There are more than 30 palaces and forts in the entire state. It also has a countless number of havelis and very old buildings.
1) Traveling to Rajasthan
Flights to Rajasthan :
The international airport at Jaipur provides a direct connection to places like Dubai, Malaysia, Muscat, Bangkok, and Sharjah. It is also well connected with some of the major cities in India. Apart from that Delhi international airport is the nearest one to reach Rajasthan.
Rajasthan by Train :
The cities across the country are well connected with a great network of local and express trains. Major cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata have direct train routes to Jaipur. The cities within Rajasthan are connected with local trains.
Rajasthan Road Trip :
Rajasthan has a great road transport facility with 20 national highways which ensure a smooth ride. The most popular one is the NH8 which connects major cities like Udaipur, Jaipur, Delhi, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and many other cities. Bus facilities are provided by the Rajasthan government and are operated by Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC). Traveling on your own vehicle is also a great option as the national highways are well maintained and also can be used to commute within the cities in Rajasthan.
2) Best Time to Visit Rajasthan
October to March is considered the best time to visit Rajasthan as the temperature is optimal for sightseeing and other activities. This is the peak time as people from all over the world come during this season to explore the beautiful city.
Temperature around the year:
Summer (April – June) – ( 24℃-45℃ / 75℉-105℉ )
Summers are pretty harsh with the temperature rising up to 48°C. Ideal places to visit during this season would be Mount Abu, Kumbhalgarh or Ranakpur. The weather is pleasant and well suited for exploring these places. If you would like to explore the cities then evenings are the best time as the temperature is quite moderate.
Monsoon (July – September) – ( 21℃-35℃ / 70℉-95℉ )
Monsoon is far more refreshing as the temperature tends to drop across the state. This is the perfect time if you want to avoid the crowds during the peak seasons. Bundi, the lake city of Udaipur and the Keoladeo national park are a must visit during this season.
Winter (October – March) – ( 13℃-30℃ / 55℉-85℉)
The temperature continues to drop throughout and winter sets in at the beginning of October. This is the peak tourists season. From October to March temperature variations are high and sometimes goes up to 0°C. This is the best time to go out into the desert and other parts of the state as the sun is not that intense.
3) Duration Of Stay – How many days?
Rajasthan is one of the largest states in India. Cities like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer are the most popular tourist destinations. Stay for two nights at each of these places and explore every nook and corner of each city. Add a day more to explore some activities and fun things to do around the city.
4) Traveling with-in Rajasthan
Various local transports are available for transportation within the cities. Buses, cycle rickshaws, autorickshaws, taxi, metro are some of the options available. On any transport without a fixed fare agree on the price before you start the journey. At nights, the fares are high and some drivers even charge extra for the baggage. Carry a lot of extra cash or coins to the taxi and rickshaw fares. Carry a proper map, a business card of the hotel you are staying in and also take care of your belongings.
Auto rickshaw (Tuk-tuk) and Shared Tempos
Indian auto rickshaws are three-wheeled, canvas-roofed automobile which provides room for 2-3 passengers with limited luggage. Jaipur has increasing numbers of quiet, comfortable, electric auto rickshaws. Auto Rickshaws are mostly cheaper than taxis (except Uber and Ola Cabs).
Tempos are oversized auto-rickshaws with room for more than two passengers, running on fixed routes for fixed fares.
Local & Intercity Buses
Lots of urban buses are available to get to various places around the city. These are often jam-packed and travel at a super speed (except for the rush hours). It is better to opt for an auto-rickshaw or a taxi for a comfortable commute. Both normal and luxury Buses run between most major cities of Rajasthan. You get convenient overnight buses to Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and other major cities.
Cycle rickshaws are a pedal cycle with two rear wheels, which has a bench seat for passengers. Some of them have a canopy which can be raised during hot sun or rain. In cities like Jaipur, this remains the major means of local transport. Fares have to be fixed in advanced. The rickshaw walas are among the poorest people in India, so a tip or two will be appreciated.
Share jeeps are common among areas that are off the main road routes. These are fairly cheap and often fully packed. If you are having trouble locating one try asking the local people around.
Taxis are usually metered and can accommodate 3-4 passengers including baggage. If the driver demands more money or claims the meter is broken then better opt for another taxis.
Ola and Uber cabs are an efficient way to get around in larger cities. You can book major transfers and both city and out-station tours on Trodly as well. These can be easily booked in advance at best rates.
In tourists areas, some taxis refuse to use the meter and a fare has to be negotiated beforehand. Avoid all these by choosing a prepaid taxi instead.
Indian airports and most of the train stations have prepaid taxi and radio cab booths right outside the building. We can book a taxi for a particular destination at a fixed price (including the luggage). Do hold on to your payment coupon until you reach your destination.
Radio cabs are a bit extensive than prepaid taxis. They are air-conditioned and also provide the company’s chauffeurs. These cabs also have an electronic meter and a GPS tracker which is tracked by the company to avoid any issues.
Metro Train in Jaipur
While in Jaipur you can take advantage of the metro transport to get around the city. Jaipur Metro is the first metro in India to run on double-story elevated road and metro tracks.
Rental bikes/Self-drive cars
Apps like zoom car and many other local services provide vehicles on rent. They have various options like cars, vans, bikes etc catering to your needs. These can be a great option if you prefer to travel without a driver.
5) Places To See in Rajasthan
Jaipur, the city of pink is known for its palaces, forts, and temples. It is one of the most popular tourist places in Rajasthan. Some of the major attractions of the city include the Amer Fort, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Nahargarh Fort, and the City Palace. These monuments highlight the Rajput architecture and traditions. Intricate designs, beautiful landscapes, and the royal aesthetics are the things to observe.
Mehrangarh Fort, this flawless fort which looks as if it’s grown out of the hill is a must visit in Jodhpur. The fort is encircled with gigantic walls which encloses several castles and zenanas. Every nook and corner of this immense structure will poke the curious historian inside you. Follow it with a visit to the Jaswant Thada also known as the Taj Mahal of Marwa, elegant Umaid Bhavan Palace, and Mandore Gardens.
Udaipur is home to Rajasthan’s largest palace, city palace. With a facade of staggering 30.4m high and 240 m long, this towering structure will be more than a handful to explore. The city of lakes has some mind-blowing attractions like the lake palace at the banks of Lake Pichola and the Garden Palace. The 15th-century fort of Kumbhalgarh situated near Udaipur is a must visit. There are lot of things to see and do in Udaipur and is a must visit on any Rajasthan holiday.
IV) Mount Abu
The one and only Hill station in Rajasthan. With the highest altitude at 1700 meters is a consolation in the scorching desert heat. Guru Shikhar is the highest peak in Mount Abu, the view from up there is mesmeric. The Dilwara Jain Temples near Mount Abu is another example of the mastery of Rajasthani architecture. This enthralling marble edifice will blow your mind. Another spot you should not miss by any chance is The Nakki Lake; this lake located right beside Mount Abu is a popular boating spot.
Jaisalmer – The golden city of Rajasthan is known for its majestic forts, grand palaces, ancient havelis, great sand dunes, and the astounding view of the Thar desert. The view of the entire city from the Jaisalmer fort is breathtaking, indulge in the serenity of the Gadi Sagar lake, camp under the open sky of the Thar desert, witness wildlife at the desert national park, admire the craftsmanship at some of the most artistic havelis, and finally visit the India Pakistan border.
Chittorgarh, the city ruled by brave kings lies on the banks of river Berach and Gambini. One of the landmark monuments of this city is the Chittorgarh fort. This fort was home to some of the bravest and heroic rulers of Chittor. The Vijay Stambh, the Kirti Stambh, Rani Padmini’s Palace, Fateh Prakash palace are some of the must-visit historical structures within Chittorgarh.
Ajmer is considered as the most significant place for the Islamic culture. Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chishti is one of the well known Muslim pilgrimage centers in Ajmer. All these places provide as a great example of Muslim architecture.some of the prominent places to visit are the Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Taragarh Fort, Adhai Din ka Jhonpra, Akbari fort, and museum.
Ajmer is also a notable town for Jain Religion. Some of the Jain places to visit are the Nasiyan Jain Temple, Nareli Jain Temple, Rang Temple. Apart from these, there is Prithviraj Smarak, Anasagar Lake, and Buland Darwaza.
Also Read: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rajasthan
6) Wildlife in Rajasthan
I) Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park is famous for its Tigers. Surrounded by the Aravali and Vindhya hill ranges, this park is a serene location filled with soothing green vegetation and wildlife. Ranthambore National park is considered to be one of the best forests in India with its thriving wildlife, mostly Tigers. Ranthambore fort which is also located in the Park is another exciting place from where you can watch the mighty predators in action. This fort, like every other fort in Rajasthan, has a rich history of resilience against foreign invaders.
II) Keoladeo Ghana National Park
Keoladeo Ghana national park located in the Bharatpur region is a wildlife and bird sanctuary. It is a world heritage site under the category of national parks. This place is an important bird breeding and feeding grounds in western India. During monsoon, the entire national park gets filled with birds of more than 360 species. It is also the winter habitat for aquatic birds. Animals like deer, nilgai, boar can be spotted rarely in this national park.
III) Sariska National Park
Sariska national park located in the Alwar district of Rajasthan is the most visited national parks in Rajasthan. This national park is stretched across an area of 800 sq. kilometers and is separated into various segments. Siliserh Lake and Jaisamand lake within the national park is the home to various crocodiles and water snakes. Ruins of an ancient temple of Garh Rajor is also located within the sanctuary. Animals of distinct species like a wild dog, jungle cat, hyena, jackal, and Bengal tigers are found here.
7) Things To Do in Rajasthan
I) Camel Safari and Desert Camping
One of the things that you should not miss when you are visiting the deserts of Rajasthan is the camel ride. Ride through the desert on a camelback and observe the rustic beauty of the rural desert life of Rajasthan.
One can also stay at the desert camps and experience a day of living in the desert. These camps host events like traditional Rajasthani dance and music to keep their guests entertained.
Home to the second largest fort in Rajasthan, Jaisalmer is the ‘typical Rajasthan’ with the Thar covering most of the part. In here the sand dunes with the golden dust is another attraction which will take your breath away, these sand dunes which change shape with every wind is a sight to behold. You can indulge in activities like quad biking, jeep riding, Camel riding and even Paragliding above Thar.
II) Dune Bashing
Known as desert safari, Dune Bashing is an adventure to explore the sand dunes of the desert. People who love adventure will definitely enjoy riding through the desert on a car and not on a camel.
III) Hot Air Balloon Ride
Enjoy flying in the open and get a bird’s eye view of the entire city with a balloon ride in Jaipur. It is an hour long ride and this is available only in Jaipur. The beauty of the pink city is breathtaking from up there.
Adventure enthusiasts take a zip line ride to get a glimpse at the majestic forts of Rajasthan. Feel the thrill of riding from one hill to another overlooking the mighty hills. It is one experience you do not want to miss.
To have the best zip line experience visit the one in Neemrana Fort in Alwar district.
V) Kite festival
International Kite Festival, held on the occasion of Makar Sankranti is a must visit if you are visiting Rajasthan in January. Held on 14 of January every year, this festival attracts tourists and participants from the entire country. Celebrate the festival and enjoy the pleasure of flying kites.
Rajasthan is also famous for its vibrant and colorful street markets. Here you can find items like handicrafts, ethnic jewelry, leather goods, miniature paintings and much more. Johari Bazaar in Jaipur is known for handmade jewelry, Clock Tower market in Jodhpur is famous for spices. Traditional Bandhani fabrics are found in Nai Sarak market in Jodhpur. Shop for some miniature paintings and home decor at the Hathi Pol Bazaar in Udaipur. Don’t forget to try the traditional Rajasthani sweets at Kote Gate in Bikaner.
VII) Bike Tour
Touring the land of Forts dotted with glimpses of glory is one of the perfect ways to experience the scent and life of Rajasthan. In Rajasthan, most of the roads are in good condition. With a company of friends who shares the interest of riding, a motorcycle tour through Rajasthan will definitely prove to be a good memory you can cherish forever.
VIII) Tuk Tuk Ride
Rajasthan is famous for its eco-friendly Tuk Tuks. Mostly driven by women, Tuk Tuk Ride will come in handy when it comes to easily commuting inside the city. These drivers know the city like the back of their hand they can take you through some offbeat roads on request! How exciting is that?
8) Golden Triangle Tour Popular Rajasthan Itinerary
One of the most popular tours that cover some of the major cities like Delhi, Agra and Jaipur are the Golden Triangle Tour. It is the perfect tour for first-time visitors to India.
One can get an insight into the cultural history of India. from roaming the streets of old Delhi, the historical places of Jaipur to the magnificent Taj Mahal this tour covers it all.
9) Offbeat Places in Rajasthan
Bundi is a beautiful town which is 36 km from Kota. This town is filled with palaces, lakes, forts, hills, and temples. Main attractions of Bundi is that the town is surrounded by orchards of a variety of fruits. By the rivers, you can also find fields of cotton, barley, and wheat. It is less crowded and the rural folks are very friendly. The houses in Bundi have a bluish hue similar to Jodhpur and these are designed to keep the houses cool during summer. Some of the places to visit in Bundi are the Bundi palace and fort, lake Jait Sagar, Lake Nawal Sagar, Raniji ki Baori.
Pushkar known as the town of fairs and festivals is one of the oldest cities in India. Surrounded by the hill on all sides this town is famous for its tranquil and serene atmosphere. It is also a famous Hindu Pilgrimage and every year devotees from across the country visit this town. Some of the main attractions of this town are Pushkar Lake, Brahma Temple, Gurudwara Singh Sabha, Savitri temple, Rangji Temple and much more. Also, visit the famous Pushkar Camel Fair which is celebrated during the month of November. All the camels are dressed in colorful attires and various competition like camel race, Matka Phod, longest mustache and bridal competitions are held here.
bikaner is full of exciting tourists places. the forts and palaces of the main attractions of the town. The Junagarh fort is the most amazing fort and it also encloses various mosques, Hindu temples Buddhist monuments, Gothic archways and beautiful mansions within it. Lalgarh Palace and Museum, Gajner Palace and Lake, Laxmi Niwas Palace, and Rampuria Haveli are some of the places you must visit when looking around at the tourist places in Bikaner.
Alwar has gained more popularity in the recent times. This forgotten city is now visited by plenty of tourists from all over. There are lots of activities and sightseeing options to explore in Alwar like jeep safari in Sariska national park, a night visit to some of the haunted houses, admire the marvels of the Bhangarh Fort, visit to the Alwar museum. One of the must visit places is the Neemrana Fort. This fort offers exciting activities like vintage car tour, camel ride and zip line across the fort.
Also Read: 10 Offbeat Places in Rajasthan
10) Palace on Wheels Train
Experience the Royal lifestyle at one of the oldest and luxurious trains in India. Palace on Wheels which was started on 26th January 1982 is run by the Indian Railways and the Rajasthan Government. Before independence, these trains were used only by the royal families on India. In 1982 Rajasthan Government launched it to attract more tourists. This is one of the finest luxury trains in India and takes you on a beautiful journey through Rajasthan.
This Palace on Wheels begins its journey in New Delhi, through Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh and comes to a halt at New Delhi. But the best part about the journey is the train itself. Intricate interiors and decor reflect the royal lifestyle of the Rajputana Kingdom.The Indian Maharaja-Deccan Odyssey, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, Maharajas Express are some of the latest luxury trains that were introduced recently in India.
11) Rajasthan Travel Trips
- It’s highly recommended that you choose a guide who is an authorized personnel with an ID from the State Government and the Tourism Board
- Dress modestlyAvoid stares by avoiding tight, sheer and skimpy clothes.
- Have head cover handy for women (and sometimes men) visiting some places of worship – especially gurdwaras (Sikh temples).
- Wear Cotton Clothes but keep woolen clothes handy too because in Rajasthan days are hot and nights are chilly. I winter it will be too cold. So dress according to the time you travel.
- Food is spicy and greasy- carry antacids with you.
- For economical stay options, ask locals for a ‘Dharamshala’’. Use services like AirBnB or Oyo Rooms.
- Transact in cash at merchant stores – not all shops take credit cards or, if they do, they charge extra.
- Carry plenty of small bills for taxi and rickshaw fares as drivers rarely have change.
- Carry a business card of the hotel in which you are staying, as your pronunciation of streets, hotel names etc may be incomprehensible to drivers. Some hotel cards even have a sketch map clearly indicating their location
12) FAQ & Information for Traveler to Rajasthan
Q1) How safe is it to travel in Rajasthan?
Rajasthan is considered to be a safe place for tourists even during the night. But it is advised to travel in a group rather than being alone at night. In case you need any help and assistance you can call the police at 100 and Ambulance at 102.
Q2) What kind of cuisine is available in Rajasthan?
Rajasthani dishes are unique and flavorful. For tourists, it is better to keep bottled water handy. The first few days of your visit prefer to eat mildly flavored food and avoid spicy food. If you have a sweet tooth then Rajasthani Desserts are a must try.
Q3) What are the famous museums in Rajasthan which one should not miss?
Some of the most famous museums are Government Museum of Ajmer, Albert Hall Museum (Jaipur), Bharatpur palace and museum (Bharatpur), Government Museum of Jaisalmer, Shilpgram (Udaipur).
Q4) Do people of Rajasthan understand English or other foreign languages?
Most people can converse in English. But it is better to hire a tour guide who is comfortable in speaking your native language. They not only help you with sightseeing but also help you with any other queries you may have. Make sure that the tour guide is government recognized tour guide and not any local guide.
Q5) Which Vaccination is necessary for foreigners visiting Rajasthan?
Precautionary vaccinations to consider before coming to India are Hepatitis B, Dengue, Malaria. Do carry mosquito repellents and safety nets.