rajasthan-intenerary

Perfect 2-Week Rajasthan Itinerary

Rajasthan is known as the Land of the Kings. Our tried and tested 2-week Rajasthan itinerary is full of detailed information about the best historical places in Rajasthan to visit. This state in northwestern India is full of unforgettable places to visit.

Rajasthan Itinerary
Rajasthan Itinerary

Some of the highlights of our 2-week Rajasthan itinerary are the famous cities of India’s Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra and Jaipur), Udaipur (City of Lakes) and the Ranthambore National Park.

We’ve also included helpful information about where to stay in Rajasthan.

Off the Tourist Treadmill’s 2-Week Rajasthan Itinerary

By following our Rajasthan itinerary, you will visit 10 historical places in India:

Delhi – Mandawa – Bikaner – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Pushkar – Jaipur – Ranthambhore – Agra – Delhi

📍 Here is a map of our 2-week Rajasthan itinerary.

Our Rajasthan itinerary starts and ends in India’s capital city of Delhi. Your journey includes a visit to Agra in Uttar Pradesh. No first visit to northern India is complete without a glimpse of the Taj Mahal!

Watch our YouTube video to see some of the places you will visit in Rajasthan:

We hired a driver for our road trip around Rajasthan. He was our local guide and fixer. His expert knowledge meant we experienced some hidden gems along the way. You can find more information about this at the end of our post.

If you decide to travel by train, it is advisable to book your first-class tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.

Day 1 – Mandawa, Rajasthan

Our driver met us at the Indira Gandhi National Airport in Delhi.

📍 Here is a map from Delhi to Mandawa. It’s worth knowing that it will take you longer than shown to reach each destination. The state of the roads restricts the speed at which you can travel.

Our first stop was Mandawa, a lesser-known town in the north of Rajasthan in the Shekhawati region.  It probably wouldn’t feature on a typical Rajasthan tourist map,  but we came here to explore traditional ‘havelis’.

Mandawa-Haveli-Exterior
Mandawa-Haveli-Exterior

What to See in Mandawa, Rajasthan

During the 17th to 19th centuries, wealthy merchants built grand ‘havelis’ in this region which are traditional town houses or mansions. In addition to being homes, havelis were also displays of wealth and were richly decorated both inside and out with painted murals.

Mandawa-Haveli
Mandawa-Haveli

To experience the havelis in Mandawa, we opted for a walking tour with a guide. Many are being restored as they are falling into decay. Even so, the fading beauty of these havelis is intriguing.

Painted murals depict English and Indian culture and are reminiscent of Italian frescoes. The design of these havelis is as well-thought out as the decorative facades. Most had inner courtyards for women and outer ones for men to prevent women from being snatched by the local Maharaja!

Where to Stay in Mandawa, Rajasthan

Fittingly, our home for the night was the Hotel Shekhawati ($15 per night – approximately £12). This was an ancient haveli covered in faded painted murals which now offers basic but clean and welcoming accommodation.

In the early hours of the morning, we were awoken by unfamiliar chanting. First the call to Muslim prayer, then the call to Hindu prayer. Sweet Masala Chai (tea) on the roof is the only solution at this hour of the morning!

Mandawa has an approximate Hindu population of 15,000 and a Muslim population of 10,000. Both communities live respectfully side by side. Quickly, you realise the deep spirituality and tolerance of India.

The early morning chants are broadcast by loudspeakers across towns and cities. They soon become a familiar sound and constant companion on your journey around Rajasthan.

Day 2 – Bikaner, Rajasthan

The drive to Bikaner was hair-raising at times. Roads in India are like nothing we’ve ever experienced before. Flooded roads like rivers, non-existent roads, roads under construction or even roads through construction sites! Regardless of what lay in its path, the Suzuki Swift faithfully carried on and followed the route!

📍 Here is a map from Mandawa to Bikaner

You can experience the roads in India for yourself by watching our entertaining YouTube video:

What to See in Bikaner, Rajasthan?

Bikaner is a city situated in the Thar desert. It’s a hectic place full of blaring horns, cars, buses, trucks, tuk-tuks, people and animals jostling for a place on the roads. Off the main street is a bustling labyrinth of bazaars selling anything and everything. Bikaner is also known for its famous Junagarh Fort.

Junagarh Fort, Bikaner

Visiting Junagarh Fort was our first experience of the impressive forts in Rajasthan. This red sandstone fort was built for the Royal Family of Bikaner. It remained almost unconquered during its history despite not being built on a hilltop.

The fort has stunning palaces, courtyards, pavilions and balconies. Its walls are adorned with carved stone, marble, mirrors, paintings and inlaid precious stones.

Junagarh-Fort-Bikaner
Junagarh-Fort-Bikaner

Where to Stay in Bikaner, Rajasthan?

In Bikaner, we stayed at the Hotel Sagar ($51 – approximately £40).

A short walk along the road from our hotel, we found the Laxmi Niwas Palace. This is a red sandstone palace. It used to be the residential palace of the former King of Bikaner state. Visitors are welcome to stroll around the interior of this luxury hotel.

Rat Temple (Karni Mata Temple), Deshnoke, Rajasthan

If you want a truly unique experience, 30km outside of Bikaner at Deshnoke is the Karni Mata Temple. It is also known as the Rat Temple!

This is an extraordinary temple crawling with thousands of sacred rats.  It may not be high on your list of things to see in Rajasthan, but it’s a fascinating sight to behold.

Rat-Temple
Rat-Temple

This Hindu temple is dedicated to Karni Mata (an incarnation of the Hindu warrior goddess, Durga). Locals worshipping here believe that the rats are kaabe (reincarnations of Karni Mata’s devotees). They are fed by descendants of the Depavats family.

Worshippers and visitors mingle together in this unusual place. No shoes are allowed in the temple, so take a spare pair of socks to wear if you are visiting.

If a rat runs over your feet or if you see an albino rat, it is considered lucky. However, tread carefully! According to temple law, any rat accidentally killed must be replaced by a rat made of gold or silver!

📍 Here is a map from Bikaner to Deshnok.

Day 3 & 4 – Jaisalmer (Golden City), Rajasthan

The journey by car from Bikaner to Jaisalmer is 6 hours. The route was unremarkable and the roads were unfinished.

📍 Here is a map from Bikaner to Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer or Golden City is situated in the Thar desert. The impressive Jaisalmer Fort is one of the Hill Forts of Rajasthan protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The city of Jaisalmer is built on a ridge of yellow sandstone. It is crowned by Jaisalmer Fort which looks like an enormous sandcastle. Within the fort’s walls are many palaces, residential dwellings and impressive Jain temples.

Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer

What to See in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan?

We spent two nights here as there are many interesting things to see and do in Jaisalmer.

Camel Ride in the Thar Desert, Rajasthan

On our first evening in Jaisalmer, our driver arranged a sunset camel ride in the Thar Desert. Don’t have visions of being in the Thar Desert on your own! This is a serious commercial tourist operation.

Nevertheless, we had a majestic ride into the desert sand dunes. Our camel guide soon left the train and found us a quiet spot to watch the sunset alone. Michael Jackson (my camel!) had a rest while we enjoyed a cold beer (delivered by a runner!) and a stunning sunset.

Camel-Ride-Jaisalmer
Camel-Ride-Jaisalmer

Gadsisar Lake & Tilon-Ki-Pol (Gate of Tilon), Jaisalmer

Early in the morning, we visited the incredibly scenic Gadsisar Lake. This is an artificial lake made by the Maharaja around 1400 AD. The vast reservoir was built to trap rainwater and supply the arid desert city of Jaisalmer.

Access to the lake is through the Tilon-Ki-Pol (Gate of Tilon) which was built by a rich royal courtesan, Tilon. Originally, the King refused permission for her to build the gate. He felt it would be beneath him to pass under the gate to reach the lake.

Defiantly, she still built the gate! To avoid it being demolished, she put a temple on top. Apparently, today’s Royal Family still refuse to go through Tilon-Ki-Pol.

Gadsisar-Lake
Gadsisar-Lake

Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan

On this occasion, our driver arranged a guide for us to explore this sandstone structure with its maze of streets. Incredibly, Jaisalmer Fort is constructed by blocks of sandstone with no cement.

There is only one way in and one way out of Jaisalmer Fort. To enter, you pass through four gates. Intricate carvings adorn many of the buildings inside. Many of the 4,000 residents of the fort are direct descendants of the city’s former warriors and priests. There is no escaping the history of this place, it’s steeped in the past.

Jaisalmer-Fort
Jaisalmer-Fort

Chandraprabuh Temple, Jaisalmer

Make sure you don’t miss out on visiting Chandraprabhu. This stunning Jain temple was built in 1509. It was the first of seven temples built within Jaisalmer Fort in the 15th and 16th Centuries.

The temple’s intricate carvings, corridors and ceilings are amazing. Look out for the statues of the 24 Jain prophets. These are housed in individual recesses around the temple.

Chandraprabuh-Temple-Jaisalmer
Chandraprabuh-Temple-Jaisalmer

Nathmal-Ji-Ki Haveli, Jaisalmer

The Nathmal-Ji-Ki Haveli was built for the former Prime Minister. The exterior has intricate carvings and both sides are almost identical. However, there are some tiny differences. The two architect brothers who designed this haveli were fiercely competitive.

Entrance to the haveli is free. Towards the end of the tour, you will be expected to browse the traditional trinkets on sale.

Nathmal-Ji-Ki-Haveli
Nathmal-Ji-Ki-Haveli

Bada Bagh (Big Garden), Jaisalmer

At the end of the day, we headed to the outskirts of the city. You can visit the crumbling Royal Cenotaphs (chhatris) of the Maharajas of Jaisalmer state.

Bada Bagh is set on a hill and was once a garden complex. You can clamber over the hills and sit amongst the domed structures. The architecture makes for some great sunset photographs.

Royal-Cenotaphs
Royal-Cenotaphs

You can book a guided tour which includes all of these sights and a camel ride in the desert. Click here for more details of this day trip.

Where to Stay in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan?

For spent two nights in Jaisalmer and stayed at the Pleasant Haveli ($37 – approximately £29). It had a rooftop restaurant with a magnificent view of Jaisalmer Fort.

Day 5 – Jodhpur (Blue City), Rajasthan

Jodhpur is the second largest city in Rajasthan. It is situated roughly in the middle of this region.

📍 Here is a map from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur

Jodhpur is also known as the Blue City because the cube-shaped houses are painted blue. There are many theories about the reasons for the blue colour.

Some say it is to keep the houses cool. Others think it was to show which homes belonged to families of the priestly Brahmins caste. Another theory is that copper sulphate kept termites at bay.

To this day, the reason appears to remain mysterious.  Jodhpur is definitely worth visiting and you can make up your own mind.

Mehrangarth-Fort-and-Blue-City-Jodhpur
Mehrangarth-Fort-and-Blue-City-Jodhpur

What to See in Jodhpur, Rajasthan?

Jodhpur is a vibrant city with has some impressive buildings to explore.

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

Dominating the skyline and looking down on the old city of Jodhpur is the mighty Mehrangarh Fort. It was constructed by Roa Jodha in 1460. Mehrangarh is one of the largest forts in India spreading across 5 km.

It is one of the best forts to visit in Rajasthan. Majestically, the fort’s structure merges completely with the 125 m hill on which it is built above Jodhpur. In some places, the fort’s impenetrable walls are 36 m high!

A winding road leads up to the fort. You enter through 7 gates built by different rulers to mark battle victories.

The museum in Mehrangarh Fort is full of Rajasthani treasures including old royal palanquins, elephant howdahs, intricately decorated armoury and paintings.

Mehrangarh-Fort
Mehrangarh-Fort

Jaswant Thada

Not far from Mehrangarh Fort is Jaswant Thada. This serene memorial was built in 1899 in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II.

Jaswant-Thada
Jaswant-Thada

The beautiful cenotaph sits by a small lake and is set in tranquil, lush green gardens. Jaswant Thada is a beautiful example of Rajasthani architecture. It is constructed of milky-white marble. In places, the marble has been so highly polished and finely carved that it is translucent.

This mausoleum offers fantastic views across the Mehrangarh Fort and the city of Jodhpur.  Of all the monuments in Rajasthan, this place offers a quiet oasis. It’s a stark contrast to the bustling city of Jodhpur.

Jaswant-Thada-Mausoleum
Jaswant-Thada-Mausoleum

Explore the Night Market

As dusk settled, we strolled around the maze of tiny backstreets of Jodhpur and explored the night market. This is situated near the Clock Tower. The Clock Tower Market is known for its spices.

Clock-Tower-Market-Jodhupur
Clock-Tower-Market-Jodhupur

Where to Stay in Jodhpur, Rajasthan?

We stayed in the Hare Krishna Guesthouse in Jodhpur (£10). This basic hotel was situated right under the Mehrangarh Fort and had a great view from the roof top terrace. It was also very close to the Clock Tower and market.

If you are looking for an adventure, why not think about an overnight stay in the desert? Click here for details of this camel safari from Jodhpur.

Day 6 & 7 – Udaipur (City of Lakes), Rajasthan

The drive to Udaipur had a very different landscape. The route became increasingly green with arable land. On the way to Udaipur, our driver took us to the incredible Ranakpur Jain temple built in the sides of a valley in the Aravalli mountain range.

📍 Here is a map from Jodhpur to Udaipur

Ranakpur Jain Temple (Chaturmukha Dharana Vihara), Rajasthan

The Ranakpur Jain temple is an important pilgrimage site for followers of Jainism. You will be asked to remove your shoes and any leather goods (including belts) before entering the temple.

Sarah-and-Olivier-Enlightened
Sarah-and-Olivier-Enlightened

This beautiful 15th Century temple is built entirely of marble. It has over 1,444 exquisitely carved columns. None of the pillars are the same.

Columns-Ranakpur-Temple
Columns-Ranakpur-Temple

As soon as you enter this temple, you feel at peace and in the presence of a higher order. The temple has been described as a ‘heavenly plane’ and ‘heaven on earth’. It’s easy to see why.

This Ranakpur Jain temple has been designed with beautiful open spaces. These openings allow nature to be at one with the temple. The combination of magnificent marble structures and green spaces give the temple an ethereal feeling.

Ranakpur-Jain-Temple
Ranakpur-Jain-Temple

Undoubtedly, this is one of the most beautiful places we visited in Rajasthan.

What to See in Udaipur (The City of Lakes), Rajasthan?

Udaipur is known as the City of Lakes because it has 5 main lakes. These are Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar Lake, Udai Sagar Lake, Rajsamand Lake and Jaisamand Lake.

Understandably, Udaipur has been described as The Venice of the East and the most romantic spot in India. Udaipur is an overwhelmingly beautiful city. It is certainly one of the most famous places to visit in Rajasthan.

Lake-Pichola-Taj-Lake-Palace
Lake-Pichola-Taj-Lake-Palace

There are many historical places to visit in Udaipur.

Saheliyon-ki-Bari (Courtyard or Garden of the Maidens), Udaipur

Our first experience of Udaipur was the pretty gardens of Saheliyon-ki-Bari. The gardens are set on the Fateh Sagar Lake. The gardens were built from 1710 as a green retreat for the Queen, her maids and female companions.

You can walk around the beautiful elephant fountains and lotus pools.

Saheliyon-ki-Bari.Gardens-Udaipur

City Palace, Udaipur

City Palace is a a magnificent example of a Rajasthan palace. It’s a sprawling palace complex built over the course of 400 years on the East of Lake Pichola.

The City Palace complex is entirely built of granite and marble. It has an amazing façade which is 244 m in length and 30.4 m high.

The palaces are connected by courtyards (chowks) with zig-zag corridors to avoid surprise attacks. The Peacock Courtyard (Mor Chowk) was one of my favourites.

The interior of the palace is stunning. The artefacts on display are also unbelievable and include a decadent display of crystal furniture.

Mor-Chowk-City-Palace-Udaipur
Mor-Chowk-City-Palace-Udaipur

Jag Mandir, Udaipur

Once you’ve visited the City Palace, head towards the lake. From here you can take a boat tour around Lake Pichola which ends at Jag Mandir. Lake Pichola is an artificial freshwater lake constructed in 1362. It is the oldest lake in Udaipur.

Jag Mandir is a palace built on a natural island in Lake Pichola. It was constructed in 1551 as a summer resort and pleasure island for the Royal Family. Today it is a small hotel which is open to visitors.

You can walk around the grounds and flower gardens, then enjoy the view from the restaurant/bar. You could also have a treatment the spa.

The entry pavilion next to the landing jetty is lined with enormous elephants carved in stone. Even today, the present Maharana hosts parties here. Jag Mandir can also be rented for private parties.

Boat trips depart hourly from Rameshwar Ghat within the City Palace complex. A return trip costs around 700 Rupees (approximately £8).

Jag-Mandir-Udaipur
Jag-Mandir-Udaipur

For other ideas about places to visit in Udaipur, click here for our useful post about the Best Places to Visit in Udaipur in 1 Day.

If you would like to visit the Monsoon Palace just outside of Udaipur, you can take this guided tour. You will also visit City Palace and Lake Pichola.

Where to Stay in Udaipur, Rajasthan?

For 2-nights we stayed in the Shaharkot By The Lake Hotel ($32 – approximately £25). This hotel is perched on Lake Pichola underneath the City Palace walls.

Our hotel had an amazing view of Jag Mandir (the Lake Garden Palace). The Taj Lake Palace (formerly known as Jag Niwas) also appears to float magically on the water. This is now a luxury hotel.

Day 8 – Pushkar, Rajasthan

On the drive to Pushkar, our driver asked if we wanted to visit another temple. This temple was a complete surprise. It is definitely not a big tourist attraction but is worth visiting if you enjoy authentic experiences like us.

Pushkar-Lake
Pushkar-Lake

📍 Here is a map from Udaipur to Pushkar

Eklingji Temple, Eklingji (Kailashpuri), Rajasthan

About 22 km outside of Udaipur is the ancient Hindu temple of Eklingji. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built in 734 AD.

We joined lines of local worshippers and pilgrims to visit this peaceful place. You must remove your socks and shoes before entering the temple. Photographs inside are prohibited. Lockers are provided to store your possessions.

When you are ready, women and men line up separately to enter the temple. You file past locals making marigold garlands as offerings.

In the middle of this temple is a 4-faced idol of Eklingji made of black marble. The statue is 50 ft high and its 4-faces depict four forms of Lord Shiva.

What to See in Pushkar, Rajasthan?

Pushkar is a deeply spiritual and mystical town which is sometimes called tirtha-raj (King of pilgrim sites).

The town is set around a sacred lake with 52 bathing ghats. Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes were sprinkled at the Gandhi Ghat.

The lake is said to have appeared when Brahma dropped lotus petals on the ground. As a result, it is an important Hindu pilgrimage site. Devout Hindus should visit Pushkar at least once in their lifetime to bathe in the holy water. No public displays of affection are supposed to be shown here.

pushkar

Without doubt, this small town is atmospheric and authentic. There are over 400 blue-coloured temples on the banks of the lake. Spontaneously, throughout the day and night, Pushkar comes alive with processions of people chanting and drumming through the streets.

By trekking to the top of a hill, you can reach the Saraswati temple and enjoy the panoramic view of Pushkar Lake. Pushkar’s main street is a long treasure-trove of bazaars, so don’t miss out on shopping and street food.

Where to Stay in Pushkar, Rajasthan?

We stayed at the Hotel Everest ($7 – approximately £6) which was a few minutes’ from Pushkar Lake and the market.

It also had an amazing rooftop terrace. We watched the local children flying their kites in preparation for Pushkar’s Kite Festival in January.

Day 9 & 10 – Jaipur (Pink City), Rajasthan

Jaipur or Pink City is the capital of Rajasthan and the largest city of the state.

📍 Here is a map from Pushkar to Jaipur

What to See in Jaipur?

There are many places to visit in Jaipur. The city forms part of India’s Golden Triangle and has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Jantar Mantar and the Amber Fort.  Other Jaipur attractions include the Hawa Mahal and Jaipur City Palace.

Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

Jaipur’s Hawa Mahal is a red and pink sandstone building. It is also known as the Palace of Winds or Palace of the Breeze.

The Hawa Mahal is a palace which was constructed in 1799. It was built so that the royal ladies could watch everyday life in Jaipur without being seen.

The extraordinary 5-storey façade looks like a honeycomb. It has 953 windows called jharokhas decorated with detailed latticework. These windows were designed to let the wind pass through in the height of the summer.

Hawa-Mahal-Jaipur
Hawa-Mahal-Jaipur

Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

Another interesting place to visit in Jaipur is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Jantar Mantar. This is an astronomical observatory built in 1726.

Around Jantar Mantar, there are enormous stone structures. They measured the distances and positions of celestial objects with the naked eye.

Jantar-Mantar-Jaipur
Jantar-Mantar-Jaipur

Jaipur’s observatory has 19 instruments. The most significant is the Samrat Yantra which is the largest sundial in India.

Jaipur City Palace

The City Palace or Jaipur Palace is another of the important historical places to see in Jaipur.

The palace complex was built in 1729 as the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Most of the palace is still a royal residence today. However, the 7-storey high Chandra Mahal Palace is a museum which you can visit.

Jaipur-City-Palace
Jaipur-City-Palace

Amber Fort, Amer (just outside of Jaipur)

Places to visit near Jaipur include the Amber Fort in Amer which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On our second day in Jaipur, we headed off to this imposing fort. It is set high above the city with a defensive wall which can be seen for miles.

Elephants take tourists up and down the hill to the Amber Fort. However, animal welfare groups are concerned about the well-being of these animals.

Construction of this red sandstone and marble palace started in the 1600s.  It is an opulent palace which has four storeys, each with a courtyard:

1. Diwan-i-Aam (Hall of Public Audience)

2. Diwan-i-Khas, (Hall of Private Audience)

3. Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), or Jai Mandir

4. Sukh Niwas (A cool climate is artificially created by winds blowing over a fountain.)

Amber-Fort-Amer
Amber-Fort-Amer

Despite the crowds at the Amber Fort, it offers some beautiful sights. It is also fun to explore the labyrinth of corridors and stairs which link parts of the palace complex. The views from the Amber Fort are also spectacular.

Walking Tour of Jaipur, Rajasthan

After visiting the Amber Fort, our driver dropped us back in the old part of the city.

To get a feel for local life, traditions and customs in Jaipur, we followed one of the Lonely Planet’s walking tours. We found the city easy to navigate. If you get lost, just ask a local!  Jaipur sightseeing on foot was a great way to soak up the sights and sounds of the various bazaars which circle the old city.

Dried-Chillies-Jaipur-Streets
Dried-Chillies-Jaipur-Streets

Alternatively, this guided tour includes all the main sights in Jaipur including the Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar and City Palace. It also includes a visit to the Amber Fort.

LMB Hotel, Jaipur

When we were hungry, we decided to check out the LMB Hotel (Laxmi Misthan Bandar). This is a popular vegetarian restaurant in the old city which was established in 1954. While you wait for a table, check out the sweet treats on display.

For more detailed information about Jaipur, read our post about the Best Places to Visit in Jaipur.

Where to Stay in Jaipur, Rajasthan?

During our time in Jaipur, we stayed at the Crimson Park, The Heritage Jalmahal ($53 – approximately £42). The hotel was quite ostentatious but in a good location for visiting the city.

Just 100 yards along the road, you will find the Jal Mahal (Water Palace) in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake.

Day 11 – Ranthambhore National Park, Rajasthan

If you want a chance of seeing tigers in their natural habitat, it is worth making the long drive from Jaipur to Ranthambhore National Park.

Another way to save time is to take a guided trip to Ranthambore from the city of Jaipur. Click here for more details.

📍 Here is a map from Jaipur to Ranthambhore

Although numbers of tigers have declined here owing to poaching, Ranthambhore is reputed to be one of the best national parks in the country for seeing tigers.  When you visit Rajasthan, you may want to take the opportunity of spotting a tiger in the wild.

Ranthambore-National-Park
Ranthambore-National-Park

If you book a safari, you have the option of a 20-seater or 6-seater open top vehicle. The tours operate in the morning starting at about 06:30 or the evening from about 14:30. Our choice was an evening tour in a 6-seater vehicle.

Ranthambhore National Park is divided into zones and vehicles head into one of the zones. The roads in Ranthambhore are rocky so it is a bumpy ride! Take a scarf to cover your mouth and nose as it gets dusty with so many jeeps on the roads.

Disappointingly, we saw no tigers and very little other wildlife in the park. Just two deer and partridges! However, other guests returning to the hotel from morning trips had seen tigers. Whilst we still dream of seeing tigers in the wild, this was a memorable experience.

Where to Stay in Ranthambore, Rajasthan

Our choice of hotel was the Nahargarh Ranthambhore ($208 – approximately £163) because of its proximity to the National Park (750 yards).

This is a stunning hotel surrounded by a 16th century fortress. It resembles an old palace complex and has three fabulous outdoor pools. Our only regret was not staying here for two nights to relax after so many days on the road.

Day 12 – Agra, Uttar Pradesh

En route to Agra, we visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fatehpur Sikri.

📍 Here is a map from Ranthambhore to Agra

Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh

This red sandstone palace sits on a rocky ridge which is 3 km in length and 1 km wide. Surrounding the palace is 6 km walls on three sides. The fourth side is bordered by a lake. Fatehpur Sikri was built in the 16th century and within the complex is an ancient mosque.

In contrast to other historical places in Rajasthan, Fatehpur Sikri was extremely touristic. Be prepared to say no to a lot of sellers, including young children.

Fatehpur-Sikri
Fatehpur-Sikri

What to See in Agra, Uttar Pradesh?

Of course, the star of Agra is the Taj Mahal. However, there are other things to see and do including the delightful Baby Taj. We highly recommend you include all of these Indian sights on your Rajasthan itinerary.

Taj Mahal, Agra

Of course, no visit to northern India would be complete without visiting the Taj Mahal. This spectacular marble mausoleum is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was completed in 1648 in memory of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

Despite the enormous crowds and scaffolding during our visit, the Taj Mahal has an undeniable serene and poignant beauty. It’s easy to see why the poet, Rabindranath Tagore, described this masterpiece as

‘one tear drop … glisten[ing], spotlessly bright on the cheek of time, forever and ever.’

There are big queues to enter this famous monument, so skip the line by buying your tickets here in advance. It is also worth knowing that foreign tourists pay more to enter the Taj Mahal.

Taj-Mahal
Taj-Mahal

Agra Fort, Agra

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Agra is the Agra Fort which was built in 1573.

Standing in the shadows of the Taj Mahal, this enormous oval-shaped fort served as the main residence of the Emperors of the Mughal dynasty until 1638. The capital was then moved from Agra to Delhi.

Agra Fort’s double walls tower 20 m above the Yamuna River and measure 2.5 km in circumference. The fort was built in red sandstone brought from Rajasthan. Some of the structures were later rebuilt in white marble by Shah Jahan.

Originally, the Agra Fort was built for military purposes. However, Shah Jahan transformed Agra Fort into a palace. Fatefully, Agra Fort later became his prison.

Agra-Fort
Agra-Fort

The Tomb of I’timad-Ud-Daulah (Baby Taj), Agra

Whilst you are visiting Agra, make sure you don’t miss the exquisite Baby Taj.

This tomb was completed in 1628 with white marble from Rajasthan. The Baby Taj is often referred to as the ‘jewel box’. It is regarded as the inspiration for and first draft of the Taj Mahal.

Baby-Taj
Baby-Taj

The intricate craftmanship of this mausoleum is something to behold. You can only stand and gaze at the walls in wonder.

Unlike the Taj Mahal, the interior and external marble walls are studded with semi-precious stone decorations in stunning mosaic patterns.

In addition to being such a beautiful sight, the Baby Taj also seems to be a well-kept secret. We had the place almost to ourselves.

Where to Stay in Agra, Uttar Pradesh?

Whilst in Agra, we stayed at the Hotel Taj Resorts (£29). From the hotel, it was an easy walk to the entrance of the Taj Mahal.

Day 13 – Delhi

Our two week Rajasthan itinerary ended in Delhi for the flight home via Kuwait City.

📍 Here is a map from Agra to Delhi

How to Plan Your Rajasthan Itinerary

To travel to India, we flew with Kuwait Airways from London Heathrow to Delhi. We had a stopover in Kuwait City. This was the most economical option. However, it also enabled us to visit Kuwait City with an exit visa on the way home.

To accomplish our 2-week Rajasthan itinerary, we decided to hire a car with a driver. Our decision was based on the distance we wanted to cover in Rajasthan. It was also beneficial having a knowledgeable local as an experienced guide and fixer. This made our Rajasthan trip very easy.

Delhi-Driver-Tuk-Tuk
Delhi-Driver-Tuk-Tuk

The company we chose was extremely helpful. They advised us about our Rajasthan itinerary via email so that we ended up with a tailor-made experience. For more details read our post about how to hire a car with a local driver in Delhi.

You can easily adapt our Rajasthan itinerary to suit your needs. You can spend more or fewer nights in any of the places. If you want to visit somewhere else, add it to your Rajasthan itinerary. If you need more help planning a travel itinerary, you may enjoy our post about How to Plan a Tour Itinerary.

Is it Worth Visiting Rajasthan?

The Land of the Kings certainly lived up to its name. In our opinion, it is definitely worth visiting Rajasthan. The architectural magnitude and beauty of Rajasthan’s forts, palaces, temples and lakes are overwhelming and awe-inspiring.

Instantly, the past is brought back to life. Visitors to Rajasthan are transported back to ancient times of bloodshed, bravery, romance and sacrifice. However, Rajasthan’s true treasure is not the opulent displays of wealth or the gold, silver and precious stones.

What stays with you is the people who live around these stunning historical places in Rajasthan. What is memorable is the culture, deep beliefs, chaos, vibrancy and the feeling of being alive. It’s an adventure not to be missed!

Sitar-Players-India
Sitar-Players-India

We certainly feel our two week Rajasthan itinerary showed us the best places to visit in Rajasthan. For more advice about travelling in Rajasthan, click here for our 7 India Travel Tips.

A Final Note About Incredible India

India is the seventh-largest country by area and the second-most populous country on the planet. There is nowhere like India. It is a country of contrasts with landscape which ranges from deserts to cities, from mountains to beaches.

Indian Man
Indian Man

India can polarize people’s opinions even before they decide to travel here. It’s like Marmite. You either love it or you hate it. For many people, India is an acronym for I’ll Never Do It Again.

Would we visit again? Without hesitation, yes! India is unique: the colours, the smells, the noise, the dust, the dirt, the livestock and the spirituality.

You cannot be indifferent to India. It tugs at your senses and overwhelms you with its raw energy. India is chaos, it’s vibrant and it makes you feel alive. It’s one of those places that will stay with you long after you’ve returned home.

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Lily
Lily
1 year ago

This was so interesting as I’ve never been to India before. Great post!
http://Www.livingwithlils.wordpress.com

kate
kate
1 year ago

India is one place i would love to go! your trip looks amazing and the Rajasthan area is so rich iin history and culture. Its one place on my bucket list x