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Rajasthan

Ask shoestring howdah we do it! - Trip for singles

Book From   € 799,-
GROUP SIZE: 4-24 | 22 DAYS

Rajasthan

Here you can find the day-to-day description for Rajasthan

Any extensions for this tour can be found at the bottom of this page.

Highlights

There's plenty to do in this beautiful region. Select below or on the map opposite, the highlight you want to read more information about. Read through carefully and then go directly to the tour description.
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Delhi

Delhi

A visit of the Jama Masjid, the great mosque in Delhi, is definitely worth a visit. |India

Nawalgarh

Nawalgarh

A unique experience in Nawalgarh is meeting the locals who are more than happy to give you a tour of their own house. |India

Bikaner

Bikaner

In Bikaner you'll find impressive forts, palaces and public buildings that are decorated with carvings from the rose-red limestone that is typical for this region. India

Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer

Experience the life in the old fort walls of Jaisalmer. The walled city Jaisalmar is a sight in itself with the many gorgeously decorated house fronts, small alleys and intimate bazars. |India

Jodhpur

Jodhpur

Jodhpur is also called the blue city because of the colour of the houses. You cannot omit a visit of this city. |India

Udaipur

Udaipur

The picturesque Udaipur offers precious palaces and temples. With its many lakes, palaces and temples, Udaipur is surely one of the most romantic places of India.|India

Pushkar

Pushkar

The town Pushkar was built around the holy Pushkar lake. At the shores of the lake, you'll find priests that offer you flowers to sacrifice in the lake. This can be an interesting experience! |India

Jaipur

Jaipur

Visit Jaipur, also known as the pink city! |India

Agra

Agra

Admire the Taj Mahal in Agra! The Taj is a mausoleum, built by Shai Jahan for his loved wife Mumtaz.|India

Varanasi

Varanasi

Varanasi, the holy city for the Indians, is a place not to be missed during your holiday! |India

Day to Day description

Transport Route Overnight stay
1 Delhi Delhi
2 Delhi Delhi
3 Bus Delhi - Nawalgarh Nawalgarh
4 Nawalgarh Nawalgarh
5 Bus Nawalgarh - Bikaner Bikaner
6 Bus Bikaner - Jaisalmer Jaisalmer
7 Jaisalmer Jaisalmer
8 Bus Jaisalmer - Jodhpur Jodhpur
9 Jodhpur Jodhpur
10 Bus Jodhpur - Kumbhalgarh Kumbhalgarh
11 Bus Kumbhalgarh - Ranakhpur - Udaipur Udaipur
12 Udaipur Udaipur
13 Bus Udaipur - Pushkar Pushkar
14 Bus Pushkar - Jaipur Jaipur
15 Jaipur Jaipur
16 Bus Jaipur - Keoladeo NP - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra Agra
17 Train Agra - Varanasi Night train to Varanasi
18 Varanasi Varanasi
19 Varanasi Varanasi
20 Train Varanasi - Delhi Night train to Delhi
21 Delhi Delhi
22 Delhi End of tour

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Day 1: Delhi

Welcome to India!

Your tour starts in New Delhi. Your travel companions will also arrive this first day, the exact time will be depending on their flight schedule. You will meet your English speaking tour leader at 8.00 hrs A.M. on day 2 in the lobby of your hotel in Delhi. Settle in to your new surroundings and take it easy as you begin to adapt to a destination full of new sights, sounds, smells and traditions!

Day 2: Delhi

A free day to explore this chaotic city! The contrast between the old and new areas is enormous: The old area is a stifling, colourful, oriental ants’ nest characterised by narrow alleyways, temples and mosques, the Red Fort and the Jama Masijd, the biggest and most beautiful mosque in India, are found here. The new area is a grandiosely built metropolis with long, broad, straight streets, pavilions and parks. Between buildings are hundreds of monuments which each tell part of the story of the city’s past.

Day 3: Delhi - Nawalgarh

Today we travel to Nawalgarh in Shekhawati, a region in the west of Rajasthan, famous for its colourful population and beautiful houses. Shekhawati was an independent state from 1471 until 1738, when it was added to the Jaipur kingdom. It is situated on the old caravan route between the Gujarat ports and Delhi and there is a busy trade of opium, cotton and herbs. The rich merchants built beautiful houses, called havelis, and reservoirs, temples and caravan-serais (hotels for merchants).

Karigari Project

The Literacy India Foundation, an organisation dedicated to fighting illiteracy, started the 'Karigari Project', which we support in collaboration with our local agent in India. 'Karigari' helps women to be self-sufficient through offering courses in sewing, embroidery, driving, learning to use the computer and learning to read.

Read More

Day 4: Nawalgarh

Free day. You can explore the villages and towns of the Shekhawati region on your own, or join a tour organised by your tour leader. Shekhawati is no longer on the trade route and many of the original owners of the havelis have moved to Delhi or Mumbai. Many havelis have a 'guard' that inhabits the property to collect what little money tourists bring and he (and his family) occupy one of the rooms of such a property. Most of the havelis are covered with frescoes dated from 1760 to 1920. Some are dilapidated, others are still in good condition and have been beautifully restored but all without exception are worth looking at.

Day 5: Nawalgarh - Bikaner

Bikaner, where impressive fortresses, palaces and public buildings are decorated with pink-red sandstone. Camels pull carts through the narrow streets as they have done for centuries and a long market street leads to the imposing Junagarh Fort. The fort’s wall is over half a mile long, has 37 bastions and two huge gateways and inside are beautifully restored temples and pavilions.

The brave among you may wish to go by taxi to visit the rat temple of Karni Mata in the nearby town of Deshnoke. Here the rats are sacred and worshipped and you must go barefoot in the temple, where you will find yourself accompanied by a churning mass of thousands of rats.

Day 6: Bikaner - Jaisalmer

Today we travel through the desert to Jaisalmer, reputed to be India’s most beautiful walled city. Culture lovers will adore the fortifications, exquisitely crafted merchant houses called ‘havelis’, temples and medieval street-life. You may choose to take a 4x4 trip into the desert, where antelopes live amongst the sand dunes.

Day 7: Jaisalmer

Free day in Jaisalmer. Make sure to take a look at the havelis of the walled city. One of the most attractive havelis is the Patwan haveli, with its gorgeous façade and wall painting and the Salim Singh and Nathmal haveli. All three are within walking distance from the city wall. Visit the old fort with its 99 towers, the exquisite Jain temples and the fort-palace.

On the south east side of the city is the Gadi Sagar, the lake which provides the city with water. Around four miles north of the city are the cenotaphs, monuments built to honour the cremation of the maharajas.

Day 8: Jaisalmer - Jodhpur

Today we arrive in the walled city of Jodhpur, known as the ‘gateway to the Thar Desert and dominated by an immense fortress, which towers over the market. From here there is a fantastic view over the blue-painted houses of the city which gives it the nickname, the Blue City.
The blue colouring relates to Brahmin because they are traditionally inhabited only by members of that caste. The common view is that the blue wash was originally applied to help protect the houses against insects!

Day 9: Jodhpur

The day is yours to discover Jodhpur.The sights include the Mehrangarh Fort and the Umaid Bhavan Palace. In contrast to the fort, the palace was only completed in 1943, just before the maharajas of Jodhpur were forced to relinquish their power. Since then, part of the palace has been turned into the best hotel in the city. If you are in the market for a souvenir then Jodhpur is a particularly good place to buy antiques.

Day 10: Jodhpur - Kumbhalgarh

You continue your journey today to Kumbalgarh. Here you can visit the 15th century Kumbalgarh Fort, built by Mahharana Kumbha. The strategic location at an altitude of 1100 meters in the Aravalli Mountains meant that it was taken only once in its entirety. The fortifications are 36 kilometers long and the site includes palaces, gardens and water features, as many as 360 temples and 700 bunkers with cannons. Thanks to its high location, Kumbalgarh Fort has a great view of the surrounding area.

Day 11: Kumbhalgarh - Ranakhpur - Udaipur

You can join an optional walk from Kumbalgarh to Ranakpur with picnic lunch, which will take about five hours (only possible October - June). Along the way you will enjoy the Indian countryside and the friendly peasant population. If you do not want to walk you can go with the bus.

The monumental Chaumukh Temple in Ranakhpur, one of the most stunning Jain temples in India. Here you’ll see the incredibly detailed masonry that gives the temple its reputation. The complex dates back to the 15th century and has 1444 pillars, all of which differ from each other. From here we drive another three hours to Udaipur.

What can I do?

Sustainable travel means taking into account the people, nature and culture so that travel remains possible in the future. The negative effects of tourism are increasingly palpable. 'So what can I do?', you may ask. Shoestring gives you 10 tips. Read More

Day 12: Udaipur

Today is a free day in Udaipur. Built around a number of artificial lakes Udaipur has a multitude of palaces and havelis, parks and gardens. The Lake Palace, one of the best hotels in the world, stands in the middle of Lake Pichola. The city is partially walled; but in places the wall has fallen into disrepair. Udaipur is a dream city in which you can wander for hours without running out of sites to marvel at. You may wish to visit the other palaces and temples especially the Jagdish temple, situated in the busy centre of the city. If you have time left, there will be numerous small excursions to sites in the city, such as Eklingji, famous for its temple built in honour of Shiva, and the Jain temples in Nagda.

Day 13: Udaipur - Pushkar

Today you will travel to Pushkar, a picturesque white town that is the destination of so many pilgrimages. The town is built around the sacred Pushkar Lake. According to legend, the lake owes its existence to the god Brahma, who laid a lotus flower at a site where a sacred spring later came in to existence. The Brahma temple is the most important temple in Pushkar. Just outside Pushkar there is another temple, built on top of a hill, from which there is a spectacular view over the town and the lake.

How green can you go? TIP

Due to its sacred reputation, no meat or alcohol may be consumed here. There are also more stringent dress codes, and officially, no motorised vehicles may enter.

Day 14: Pushkar - Jaipur

Early in the morning we leave for the capital of Rajasthan, the ‘Pink city’ of Jaipur, arriving in the afternoon. To the North, the city is surrounded by hills that are dotted with forts and palaces. The streets are filled with Rajasthani men, in their huge turbans and equally large moustaches, and women, decked in jewellery over the most colourful saris in India.

Day 15: Jaipur

Spend a second day fully exploring magical Jaipur. About 7 miles north-east of the city is the famous Amber Fort. Before Jaipur was built, Amber was the capital city of the region for some 600 years. The actual fort stands at the top of a hill surrounded in all directions by hills, upon which smaller fortifications are also built. There are many marble statues and mosaics to admire here and the views are incredible.

'Bollywood' is the dance style known by the Indian films produced in Mumbai (Bollywood). It is actually a mix of all kinds of styles, such as belly dancing, kathak, Indian folk dance, modern dance, jazz and even western. Sounds like fun? then you can participate in a 'Bollywood Dance class'.

Day 16: Jaipur - Keoladeo NP - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra

Today we leave to visit Fetehpur Sikri, an abandoned imperial city not far from Agra. But before that you may want to join an optional rickshaw trip through Keoladeo National Park (only during the months of November - February), the largest bird reserve in India and the old hunting terrain of the Maharaja of Bharatpur. It is home to more than 400 species of bird, such as the fish-eagle, different species of crane, heron and duck. Besides birds, you can also see nilgau antelopes, pythons, wild boar, hyenas and jackals. In Fatehpur Sikri Emperor Akbar built his capital city, however, the glory was short-lived and soon after Akbar’s death the city was completely deserted. Happily, the remains of the city still give a good indication of what life was like under his rule. The ancient city consists of a number of very well-maintained palaces, the most notable being the stunning Jama Masjid, and the Buland Darwaza. In the afternoon or at the end of the day (During November - February) you will arrive in Agra.

Day 17: Agra - Varanasi

You are free to explore Agra, the city made famous by the Taj Mahal. The gigantic Red Fort, home to the emperors of old, and the bazaars in this vibrant city will not leave you unmoved.

How green can you go? TIP

In the evening we board the night train travelling through the heart of the country to Varanasi the most sacred city in India. During the train ride, we will stay in reserved third-class sleeper carriages with air conditioning where you will normally be provided with a blanket, a pillow, two sheets and a hand towel. The train ride in India is an experience in itself.

Day 18: Varanasi

A chaotically busy city, with buffalo and sacred cows that roaming the strets. However, outside the city centre, through the back alleys and narrow streets, you experience the true soul of the place. Mother Ganges, the holy river, in which thousands of people wash away their sins each day, ashes of the dead are scattered and leaves bearing candles are placed as an offering to the river. The steps (ghats) along the banks of the river are seven miles long on the left bank and are one of the most spectacular sights in the country.

Sustainable travel

As a responsible company our mission is to increase and improve sustainability in our business. Find out more about the measures that we currently take as well as our further plans to ensure we achieve our green ambitions. Read More

Day 19: Varanasi

Free day to explore Varanasi. We thoroughly recommend a boat trip at dawn along the Ganges, where you can also visit the Golden Temple and Kashi Vishnanath, the Grand Mosque.

You may also opt to visit Sarnath, a nearby sacred site for Buddhists where the Chinese, Japanese and Thai temples are particularly worth a visit.

Please note that during monsoon season in India (especially in August) the water level of the Ganges is high and thus the flow is dangerous. For this reason, it is prohibited under Indian law to sail on the Ganges. This information is subject to change.

Day 20: Varanasi - Delhi

At the end of day 20 we take the night train back to Delhi. Again you will sleep in reserved air-conditioned berths. The journey takes about 12 hours (of course, the time is subject to change).

Day 21: Delhi

You will arrive into Delhi this morning for what will be the last day of your tour. The group will normally depart later this evening. Your tour leader will say his farewells today but your room is booked until day 22. Enjoy your final day in this bustling city by browsing the markets, looking for souvenirs or perhaps by relaxing at the hotel before the conclusion of your trip.

Day 22: Delhi

We wish you a comfortable journey home and are sure you will take with you some wonderful memories of India. Your personal ‘my.shoestring’ page on our website is the perfect way to make contact with other travellers before and after your trip. You can read and create journals from trips and upload your photos onto the photo gallery. Visit my shoestring today.

When booking your tour, please check to see whether you need any post-tour nights.


FESTIVAL TOURS
2018:
On the trip departing on January 10, 2018 visit the Camel Festival in Bikaner.*
On the trip departing on January 22, 2018 visit the Desert Festival in Jaisalmer.
On the trip departing on February 16, 2018 visit the Holi Festival in Jaipur.**
On the trip departing on July 31, 2018 visit the Teej Festival in Jaipur.
On the trip departing on November 5, 2018 visit the Pushkar Fair in Pushkar***


Note: The travel routes during festival tours may be adapted. Please check the 'News' section for information. For more information about the festivals themselves please look under 'More info' and 'Festivals'.

*On the trip departing on 10 January 2018 you stay one day less in Jodhpur and one day extra in Bikaner so you can celebrate the Camel festival on 14 January in Bikaner.

**On the trip departing 16 February 2018 you stay one day less in Shekhawati and one day extra in Jaipur so that you can fully enjoy the colourful Holi Festival.

***On the trips departing 18 October 2017 and 5 November 2018, you stay one day less in Shekhawati and one day extra in Pushkar so that you can better enjoy the Pushkar Fair.


Extend your trip

  • Amritsar Extension

    You may like to opt for an extension in Amritsar at the end of your tour.

    Please specify when booking if you would like this extension. You can indicate this by ticking the appropriate box in the booking form.

    This special package to Amritsar starts from € 149 per person (based on two people sharing a room). If you would like a single room then you pay a supplement of € 69.

    Amritsar Extension

    Amritsar is the state capital of Punjab. You will become acquainted with the friendly Sikhs with their turbans and colourful robes. The Golden Temple is the landmark of the city. This magnificent temple complex is located in the center of the old town, where it is buzzing with activity. The actual sanctuary (Hari Mandir) is surrounded by water called Amrit Sarovar, roughly translated as "Pool of Nectar", from which the city derives its name. The Hari Mandir has a dome, which has the shape of an inverted lotus flower. The Golden Temple is an oasis of calm. It is wonderful to relax a couple of hours here and witness the rituals that take place. In addition to the Golden Temple, there are a number of attractions in Amritsar: the old city, with the Durgiana Temple and a small golden temple, a mosque and many markets.

    Schedule for the Amritsar extension:

    Day 22: Transfer from hotel to Delhi train station, travel by train from Delhi to Amritsar, transfer from train station to hotel in Amritsar. Scheduled train times: Departure from Delhi at 16:30, Arrival in Amritsar at 22.35 (train times subject to change).

    Day 23: Free day Amritsar.

    Day 24: Transfer from the hotel in Amritsar to the train station, travel by train from Amritsar to Delhi, transfer from train station to hotel in Delhi. Scheduled train times: Departure from Amritsar at 16:50, Arrival into Delhi at 23.05 (train times subject to change).

    Day 25: Delhi.

    Day 26: End of extension.

    Included:

    Private transfers by car / bus; train travel Delhi-Amritsar and Amritsar-Delhi; hotel accommodation.

    Excluded:

    All meals; optional excursions; entrance fees; tips

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