A Rajasthan Roadtrip (8 day itinerary) and Best Places in Rajasthan

Last Updated on January 18, 2024 by Christine Kaaloa

vA Rajasthan Roadtrip (8 day itinerary) and Best Places in Rajasthan
A Rajasthan Roadtrip (8 day itinerary) and Best Places in Rajasthan

 

Embarking on a Rajasthan roadtrip itinerary through the enchanting state of Rajasthan promises a journey steeped in history, culture, and architectural marvels.

This 8-day itinerary will share the best places to visit in Rajasthan. Starting from the bustling streets of Delhi to the golden sands of Jaisalmer, unfolds the rich tapestry of this culturally vibrant region. Join us as we explore the unique character of each city, discover cultural treasures, and unravel the secrets of Rajasthan’s diverse landscapes, accompanied by valuable Rajasthan roadtrip tips.

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Why is Rajasthan popular with first time travelers?

RAJASTHAN is known as the “Land of Kings. “ It’s a popular, dry and arid Indian state on the western side of India bordering Pakistan. You can  experience historical lakeside palaces & havelis, desert safaris, bustling markets, expert craftsmanship and fabulous architectural monuments.

Each city has its unique character, that lends to the culture, history and architectural beauty of Rajasthan, allowing travelers to immerse themselves in the diverse facets of this enchanting state. Whether exploring the bustling markets of Jaipur, the desert heritage of Bikaner, the spiritual ambiance of Pushkar, the romantic lakes of Udaipur, the golden sands of Jaisalmer, or the blue-hued lanes of Jodhpur, Rajasthan promises an unforgettable journey through time and tradition.There’s a reason why travelers love it.

Read about getting an Indian Tourist Visa for U.S. Citizens

How many days to spend in Rajasthan?

The ideal duration to spend in Rajasthan depends on the cities and attractions you plan to visit, as well as your travel preferences and mode of transportation. A comprehensive exploration of the major destinations like Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer could require at least 10 to 15 or 21 days. If you have only 7 to 10 days, then you’ll want to focus on highlights.

Unless you’re traveling with a tour or a doing day tours, trying to see a city in one day is going to be hard. So it’s not advised to allot one day per city. You’ll want some down-time in between.  Read my tips on trip planning for India

Additionally, it’s vital to consider India travel times between cities,  and any additional side trips or activities you may want to include in your Rajasthan experience. The average time it can take to get between some of these top Rajasthan cities can take 5-6 hours by car if you’re connecting the dots from city to city. Train can take longer depending upon Express trains and local. So by the time you arrive in a new city, your day is already half over and you’ll need to stay the night. Read more about the trains in India.

Read Beginners Guide to Traveling in India

6 Best Places to Visit in Rajasthan: An Overview of Enchanting Destinations

  1. Jaipur – The Pink City

    • Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, is a vibrant blend of history and modernity. Known as the Pink City, it boasts architectural marvels like the Hawa Mahal, City Palace Patrika Gate and the magnificent Amer Fort. The bustling markets of Jaipur offer a kaleidoscope of colors, making it a paradise for shoppers seeking traditional Rajasthani handicrafts
    • Rajasthan door group tours
  2. Bikaner – The Desert Gem

    • Nestled in the heart of the Thar Desert, Bikaner is a city steeped in history. The Junagarh Fort, an imposing structure showcasing Mughal and Rajput architecture, stands as a testament to the city’s royal legacy. Bikaner is also famous for the Karni Mata Temple, home to thousands of rats considered sacred.
  3. Pushkar – The Sacred Town with a Lake

    • Pushkar, a tranquil town surrounding the sacred Pushkar Lake, is a significant pilgrimage site for Hindus. The Brahma Temple, one of the few dedicated to Lord Brahma, adds a spiritual aura to the town. The annual Pushkar Camel Fair, a vibrant celebration of culture and tradition, attracts visitors from around the world.
      View of Pushkar from Savitri Mountain, pushkar, view of pushkar
      View of Pushkar from Savitri Mountain
    • Udaipur – The City of Lakes & Palaces

      • Udaipur, often referred to as the City of Lakes, is a romantic destination with a backdrop of majestic palaces. The City Palace overlooking Lake Pichola and the serene Jag Mandir are iconic landmarks. Boat rides on the lake provide a picturesque view of the city’s architectural splendor. Take in a wonderful cultural performance at Lok Dharodar.
      • udaipur trip guide_lake view
        udaipur trip guide_lake view
    • Jaisalmer – The Golden City & its Desert Life

      • Jaisalmer, located in the heart of the Thar Desert, is renowned for its golden-hued architecture. The Jaisalmer Fort, a living fort with bustling markets within, and the intricately carved havelis, such as Salim Singh Ki Haveli, showcase the city’s artistic brilliance. The Sam Sand Dunes offer a mesmerizing desert experience.Alternatives to Jaisalmer: if you’re not into riding camels because it’s cruel exploitation, then doing a jeep safari tour in Osian or a leopard safari in Jawai Bandh are sustainable alternatives. Just research your operator to make sure they are ethical where wildlife treatment is concerned.Here’s 30 responsible tips to shed a guideline
    • Jodhpur – The Blue City

      • Jodhpur, known as the Blue City, captivates with its azure-painted houses and the towering Mehrangarh Fort. The Jaswant Thada, a marble cenotaph, and the bustling Sardar Market add to the city’s charm. Jodhpur is a perfect blend of historical grandeur and vibrant local life.Alternatives to Jodhpur:  Osian and Bishnoi Village make great day trips if you’re looking for hidden gems. At Osian, you can do a jeep safari in the desert and visit village. At Bishnoi Village, they live harmonious with the wildlife surrounding their village and you can take a safari there as well.
      • Jodhpur
        Jodhpur

         

      • Wanna join a my India group trip or make it a private tour? Dive into local culture, food and off-beaten-path gems without the stress

    • An 8-day Rajasthan roadtrip itinerary

      DelhiJaipur– Bikaner- Deshnok– Bikaner – Jaisalmer– Jodhpur

      Day 1 & 2: Delhi to Jaipur – A Royal Beginning

      Our Rajasthan road trip itinerary starts in India’s capital of Delhi, but we’re leaving it to head towards the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur.   Buckle up for a 5-6 hour dive. Known for its splendid palaces, bustling markets, and colorful streets, Jaipur is a blend of tradition and modernity.  Jaipur, with its iconic Hawa Mahal, Red Fort and City Palace, set the tone for a royal adventure. The narrow lanes of the old city, are vibrant with local markets and culture.

      Side trips: On your way to Jaipur, take a side trip to the famous Chand Baori Stepwell in Abhaneri. This ancient architectural marvel, with its intricate steps and geometric patterns, is a testament to the engineering prowess of ancient India

      Another side trip is Ranthambore to do a tiger safari at the Rathambore

Day 3: Jaipur to Bikaner – Of Forts and Temples

Leaving the Pink City behind, our Rajasthan road trip itinerary ventures northwest towards Bikaner. This desert city is famous for the Junagarh Fort, a remarkable structure that showcases a fusion of Mughal and Rajput architectural styles. Bikaner also houses the Karni Mata Temple in Deshnok, home to thousands of rats considered sacred by devotees. The temple is devoted to the 15th century goddess and is really in the small village of Deshnok outside of Bikaner. It is fun if you like odd things like me, but it’s not for those squeamish with mice as they roam the grounds freely.

The city’s local markets, characterized by narrow lanes and vibrant shops, offer a chance to explore Rajasthani handicrafts and indulge in some souvenir shopping. Bikaner’s unique charm lies in its well-preserved heritage and the warm hospitality of its people.

hawa mahal
hawa mahal

Day 4: Bikaner to Jaisalmer – Into the Golden Horizon

As we journey further west, the landscape transitions to the golden hues of the Thar Desert, leading us to Jaisalmer. The ‘Golden City’ is renowned for its stunning Jaisalmer Fort, a living fort with a bustling market and intricately carved havelis. The Sam Sand Dunes, just outside the city, beckon with a mesmerizing desert experience, complete with camel safaris and breathtaking sunset views – all complemented by our thoughtful “Rajasthan roadtrip tips.”

Exploring Jaisalmer offers insights into the Rajasthani way of life, with its rich cultural heritage and traditional architecture. The city’s narrow lanes, lined with exquisite havelis, add to the allure of this desert gem, and our “Rajasthan travel tips” ensure you make the most of your time in this captivating city.

Day 5: Jaisalmer Sightseeing – Sand Dunes

A full day in Jaisalmer allows for a deeper exploration of its cultural treasures. Gadisar Lake, surro

unded by temples and ghats, offers a serene escape. The Desert Cultural Centre provides a glimpse into the region’s artistic and historical legacy. As the day draws to a close, the Sam Sand Dunes invite you to witness the magical colors of the desert at sunset, an experience that will stay etched in your memory .

Jaisalmer, rajasthan
Jaisalmer fort, rajasthan

Day 6 & 7: Jaisalmer to Jodhpur – The Blue City Beckons

Heading south, our Rajasthan road trip itinerary takes us to Jodhpur, the ‘Blue City,’ known for its azure-hued houses and towering Mehrangarh Fort. This city seamlessly blends history with modernity, offering a unique charm that captivates every visitor. The Jaswant Thada, a marble cenotaph near the fort, adds to the city’s architectural grandeur.

The bustling Sardar Market offers a variety of local handicrafts, spices, and textiles. Jodhpur’s distinct character lies in its vibrant streets, adorned with shades of blue and bustling with the energy of daily life.

 

Jodhpur Side Trip

Take a day trip from Jodhpur to the nearby Ranakpur Jain Temple, a stunning marble temple surrounded by lush greenery. Alternatively, visit the Bishnoi Village to experience rural Rajasthan, where traditional communities coexist harmoniously with nature. Safaris are offered there and you can do a village stay. Osian is another substitute for desert safaris.

Day 8: Jodhpur to Delhi

The journey back to Delhi, we can take the overnight Indian train.

Rajasthan roadtrip : What to Expect of Highways and Roads

It’s hot and dry: Rajasthan, being Northern India, is shrouded mostly in desertSand, dry heat, arid landscape,  rural farming … and camels. The Indian highway is more interesting than western highways. There doesn’t seem to be any rules as to what can be on it. Bicycles, farm carts and tractors… It’s common to see camels pull farm carts here, as well as pedestrian traffic walking on the side of the road.

It’s colorful: Tan women in bright colored saris balance huge straw baskets or metal pots on their heads after coming from their farming work. Sometimes, they carry water jugs after having come from a well.

It can be noisy: If you haven’t heard the noise pollution in Indias cities yet, then let me spill it– there’s a lot of honking! The honk is the rule of India driving. You’ll see hand-painted “Blow Horn” signs on the back of many trucks. The reason is that honking alerts fellow drivers, rickshaw drivers, bike riders, pedestrians, cows, etc… that someone is coming up behind you and will pass. It’s like saying to someone- “Hey you, I’m going to crash into you if you don’t turn around.” This is the one courtesy rule of driving in India.

india driver

crazy Indian roads Rajasthan

driveby jaisalmer women

tata cars in India

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road rules india

Personal side note of Getting Scammed in Delhi

Reflecting back on what I originally wrote here in 2008 on my first trip to India, when my friends and I were suckered to take a scam tour…  I call it a scam tour because it is a common scam in Delhi…. redirection.  We  were taken to a fake “Delhi tourism office” and sold a tour that was an upsell of one we had planned ourselves, but the quality was bland, mediocre and didn’t justify the money we paid. We were naive and feeling vulnerable, as strangers to India. We second guessed ourselves.  But the operator did give us a tour with a driver that was occasionally our guide, a small and worn Tata car and hotels. The quality was bland but decent and only at times, uncomfortable. But the price tag was higher than it should’ve been for four of us and no extras were included, like guide tours, entrance fees or activities. It was bare bones. Additionally, we were taken to many shops that gave our operator – or driver (it wasn’t quite clear at times)- commission kickbacks for bringing us.

Friendship dynamics

Additionally, we were four “friends” who only knew each other through one point-of-contact friend “Margaret”. So we were all meeting each other for the first time and were in different places in our travel experience, career and budgets. Of course, there’s different friendship dynamics at play. My friend Margaret and I worked on the trip planning and it was a backpacker’s itinerary. Regina was also from Hawaii but more of an independent and experienced traveler and joined us for parts of the trip, because she had already been to India. Dan, was joining us in India but he required more comfort; backpacking was not his style and wanted nice hotels.  Ultimately, you can guess how the vote swung.

The desert landscape and passing villages are a blur and while I am excited about the newness of this all, I DO spend half of the time sleeping sandwiched between another body and the door, with my ass pinched tight into the back of a little Tata car. Shitty idea to take this scammy tour. I can’t help but feel annoyance and regret for not having voiced my dislike in a stronger way. It grates on me. Lesson learned.

No one wants to outright admit it for fear of feeling stupid, but we’ve been scammed into taking an Indian tour we didn’t want or need. We bought a tour from one of those scam tour agencies you read about in traveler forums. Having a driver was supposed to lend more time and freedom to our sightseeing. It doesn’t feel that way. Four people in a small Tata car is not comfortable. Myself, Regina and Dan (the biggest and tallest of the group) co-mingle sweat in a cramped backseat, while tiny Margaret assigns the luxury of the front seat with the air-conditioner. Time and freedom was Margaret and Dan’s push for the tour package over the local trains we planned to take. No freedom. No breathing room to roam.

Time? It’s been hours and I’ve been my ass has been welded one position. Why don’t we rotate? No one speaks up. I infuriate myself further by not speaking up… a truly useless Asian habit. Either way, Margaret is Kul’s favorite, so it feels a little safe to keep her there, as we don’t know if Kul is trustworthy or if he’ll be the future aid to more scams . I certainly don’t trust him right now.

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