Table of Contents
This post may contain affiliate links to things like tours, hotels, Amazon associates and products. These help me earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.
Looking for the perfect Rajasthan itinerary? You’re reading it! When it comes to your first India trip, I always tell people to choose Rajasthan. India is such a diverse destination with everything from beaches to backwaters, mountains and more. But there’s something about the colourful, busy streets of Rajasthan that match what the mind conjures up when someone says ‘India!’.
The quirk of Rajasthan’s colourful cities is part of what makes the region iconic: blue Jodhpur, white Udaipur, pink Jaipur and golden Jaisalmer. You instinctively what to see how much of the city is suited and booted in its signature hue. However, there’s more to Rajasthan than this, as I’ll cover in this article.
Whether you’re travelling solo in India or with friends, you’re about to have a blast!
India Lonely Planet
Accommodation: Booking.com / Hostelworld
Activities: GetYourGuide / Viator
Getting around: bus / train (12Go)
Travel insurance: True Traveller (European travellers) / Hey Mundo (other nationalities) / Safety Wing (digital nomads)
I’ve been to Rajasthan 3 times and during my most recent trip, I hosted a tour with my Insta followers & blog readers in tow. So I’m certain I have mapped out the perfect 2 week Rajasthan tour!
How to get around during your Rajasthan itinerary
Train is the quickest and most efficient way of moving around Rajasthan. The official booking website is tricky for foreigners to use so I suggest buying tickets on the 12go website. There are several train classes with AC First Class Sleeper being the best, then AC2, AC3 and Sleeper Class being the cheapest.
Buses are also an easy option that can be booked on 12go. However, trains generally feel more atmospheric and typical of the India travel experience, so I rarely take buses in India apart from places trains don’t operate like the mountainous regions of Dharamsala and Rishikesh (not in Rajasthan).
Flights are cheap in India and often the most convenient way to move large distances, such as between north and south. But for Rajasthan, the journeys are short enough to do it all by train.
Travel insurance for India – although I’ve had 3 trouble-free trips, you’d be mad to travel India without insurance. Getting sick is common and health and safety isn’t always the best.
I use True Traveller (for UK & Europe residents) since it’s affordable but covers everything you need including valuables and pre-existing health conditions. Last time I claimed, they paid out within 48 hours! Get a quote now.
For travel insurance for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing.
14 day Rajasthan travel itineraries
The fast-paced 2 week itinerary:
- Day 1 – explore Delhi
- Day 2 – travel to Agra
- Day 3 – early Taj sunrise and travel to Jaipur
- Day 4-5 – Jaipur
- Day 6 – travel to Ranthambore and afternoon safari
- Day 7 – morning safari and travel to Pushkar
- Day 8 – Pushkar
- Day 9-10 – Udaipur
- Days 11-12 – Jodhpur
- Days 13-14 – Jaisalmer.
- Note – this is for those hell-bent on doing & seeing everything in a short holiday! I would personally do this over 3 weeks instead.
The leisurely 2 week itinerary:
- Day 1 – Delhi
- Day 2 – travel to Agra
- Day 3 – Agra
- Day 4-7 – Jaipur
- Day 8-9 – Pushkar
- Day 11-12 – Udaipur
- Day 13-14 – Jodhpur.
- Note – this 2 week Rajasthan itinerary skips Ranthambore Nat Park and Jaisalmer city. This is because it’s my least favourite of the cities and the furthest away, but if you’re keen to camp in the desert, skip Udaipur instead. This will save you time as it‘s quite far south.
Delhi: 1 day
At the risk of starting on a negative note, Delhi is not my favourite city in the world. It’s relentlessly crowded and hectic with bad pollution, intermittent (at best) pavements and little respite from the chaos. Still, this is where your Rajasthan trip itinerary will likely begin and, since you’ll be fresh into your India travels, you should still have energy!
Things to do in Delhi:
- Take a rickshaw ride around Old Delhi and stop to see and smell colourful spice markets
- Visit the Red Fort, a 17th-century Mughal fortress with museums inside
- In the evening, visit India Gate, an arch commemorating Indian soldiers killed in WWI. It’s an atmospheric area where locals hang out and will definitely want to snap selfies with you!
- Walk around the upmarket Hauz Khas neighbourhood (South Delhi) known for historic ruins and fashionable cafes
- Visit the Lotus Temple also in South Delhi.
How to get around Delhi: one option is DIY-ing it by taking the Delhi Metro which is clean and cheap with a women’s and children’s carriage. Alternatively, hail Uber or Ola taxis around. Another option is getting your accommodation to arrange a taxi tour of the highlights or book a day tour with GetYourGuide.
Where to stay in Delhi
In terms of the best Delhi neighbourhoods to stay, it’s tempting to pick somewhere near Old Delhi but this can be VERY hectic. A better option is to stay in calmer Central New Delhi (near Connaught Place) or somewhere in residential, leafy South Delhi like Hauz Khas. Just factor in plenty of time to get around the city in traffic!
Hostels in Delhi: J House in upscale South Delhi with beds from €8 inc breakfast & dinner | Joey’s Hostel near to the centre with free Wi-Fi, Xbox, TV and rooftop from €4.
Hotels in Delhi: great options are Bloomrooms with spacious rooms, a 24-hour front desk, laundry facilities and daily breakfast. Prakash Kutir B&B is a lovely hotel in Kaus Hauz with rooftop views.
Foodie visiting New Delhi? I can personally vouch for a Chef’s Tour who lead the best street food tours around the world! During this 4-hour tour, you’ll try paneer tikka masala, pani puri and much more while experiencing the culture during a Sikh temple visit. Book for just €35.
Agra – 1 day
Many people would say a Rajasthan itinerary is incomplete without gawping at the famous Taj Mahal! Having seen it with my own eyes, I’m inclined to agree.
If you’re on a tight time frame and just want to see the Taj, you can take a guided day tour from Delhi. Alternatively, stay overnight in Agra so you can get up early and see the World Wonder at sunrise. You could head onwards to Jaipur later that day, or tour the other Agra attractions and stay a second night.
Although the Taj gets all the attention (and rightly so), there are several other worthwhile things to do in Agra for example visiting Itmad-ud-Daula known as the ‘baby Taj’, plus Agra Fort and other mausoleums.
Tip for visiting the Taj Mahal – bring just your phone and water. Security is high so, if you want to enter in good time before the crowds arrive, you’ll waste time having your bag searched. Items like phone stands and tripods are not allowed.
Getting to & around Agra
Trains from Delhi to Agra take as little as 2 hours. Book your ticket on 12go.
To get around, a tuk tuk tour is a good idea to reach all the attractions as Agra is quite spread out. If you’re just visiting the Taj, you may be able to walk there depending where your hotel is located.
Where to stay in Agra
To save time, buy Taj Mahal tickets in advance, either on the official website or on GetYourGuide with skip-the-line access.
Jaipur: 2-3 days
Our next stop is pretty pink Jaipur. It’s a city that divides the masses and I have to admit after three visits, I’m still undecided! On the one hand, it’s full of spectacularly beautiful palaces and elaborately decorated gates. On the other, there are few pavements and it’s not pedestrian friendly. You generally have to catch transport around and subsequently miss the local life.
Read next: 3 day Jaipur itinerary
Also, many of the entry fees for the Jaipur tourist attractions are unreasonably high so it’s a place that may eat into your India travel budget. Still, iconic Jaipur is a destination you’d regret missing, plus it’s a necessary launching point for your next Rajasthan itinerary stops.
- Amer Fort (Amber Palace) – this majestic fort surrounded by mountaintop walls is worth a visit for the intriguing ‘palace of mirrors’ and pastel wall art created from natural vegetable dyes. Don’t miss the stepwell! On the downside, the entry fee is high at 500 rupees, and the sad elephant rides outside are heartbreaking to see.
- Nahargarh Fort – this fort isn’t half as impressive but the panoramic views over Jaipur are far superior. Entry is 200 rupees and it’s a 20-minute drive from Jaipur (I paid 500 for the return trip with a tuk-tuk driver).
- Hawa Mahal – this 18th-century pink palace with hundreds of windows was once a residence for wealthy wives to look but not be seen. Snap your photos from outside (or Wind View Cafe across the road) or pay to go inside and learn about the history via an informative headset.
- City Palace – this is another place with a high entry fee (700 rupees plus 3,500 rupees (!) if you wish to go into Chhavi Niwas blue room, one of the most Instagrammable places in Jaipur). Is it worth it? To see the beautifully painted doors with the regular ticket, yes. I didn’t do Chhavi Niwas, though.
- Jantar Mantar – built for astronomical observations in the 1700s, this is one of the most impressive and accurate premodern observatories in the world! If you’re intrigued by horoscopes, even more reason to visit.
Getting to & around Jaipur
Trains and buses take as little as 4 hours from both Delhi and Agra. Use 12go to reserve your seats.
To get around Jaipur, I’d recommend a rickshaw tour or air-conditioned car tour to beat the heat and escape the teaming streets. But make sure you get out to walk around the market area near Hawa Mahal. It’s so atmospheric with colourful handicrafts and spices on offer.
Where to stay in Jaipur
Hostel: the Hosteller is one of the best hostels in Jaipur with dorms, privates and a rooftop restaurant and swimming pool. Book from €5 a night.
Hotel: for an upgrade, Khandela Haveli is an amazing hotel with a rooftop restaurant and comfy bespoke rooms. Book from €31 a night.
Where to eat in Jaipur? Don’t miss Kitchen With A Cause, a social enterprise taking people from the streets and training them to work in hospitality. It’s a little more expensive than most local restaurants but the food is divine and it’s all for a good cause! Also, the cocktails are fab.
Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore isn’t a classic stop on a Rajasthan backpacking itinerary because it caters more to hotels than hostels and it’s hard to get around on foot. Still, if this isn’t a problem and you like the idea of exploring a land akin to the Jungle Book, I think a trip to see wild tigers in Ranthambore will be a highlight of your India trip!
Ethical animal tourism and India rarely go hand-in-hand, but Ranthambore bodes well for the tigers who live freely in the vast national park. Apart from being monitored for conservation, they’re largely undisturbed – apart from by the safaris cars, which they can choose to walk away from into the bush. Often they do so, like any wildlife experience, it’s a gamble whether you’ll see them or not.
How to visit Ranthambore
Step one is to board a train from Jaipur to Sawai Madhopur station. Once you’re there, jump in a tuk-tuk to whichever hotel you’ve booked, most of which are set along long, dusty roads. To organise a tiger safari, simply talk to your hotel. If you’re pushed for time, email them in advance.
Tiger safaris depart late afternoon and early morning for the best chances of spotting the nocturnal big cats. Safaris cost between 1,500 and 2,000 rupees depending on whether you book a spot in a 6 seater or 22 seater.
Where to stay in Ranthambore
Since there’s little else to do in the area and it’s hard to get around, I suggest you stay somewhere fairly nice so you can relax around your safaris. Ideally, somewhere with a restaurant so you don’t need to go foraging for food all the time.
I recommend Hotel Tiger Haveli (€20 a night) and Jungle Cave Resort (€55 a night). If you have the budget, the latter is great with a swimming pool and large luxury tents with beds, air-con and ensuite bathrooms inside.
Pushkar: 1-2 days
I love pretty Pushkar. This small city set around a manmade lake is one of India’s most important holy cities due to the legend that creator god, Brahma, dropped sacred lotus petals here.
Not only is it a cultural place to visit as part of a 2 week Rajasthan itinerary, but it’s a relaxing respite from the bigger, more hectic cities. It’s also somewhere to take a break from heavy North Indian curries and enjoy lighter cuisine at cute cafes.
Things to do in Pushkar:
- Relax around Pushkar Holy Lake and catch an evening aarti (offering to the gods using fire) at 7pm
- Hike (or ride the cable car) to Savitri Mata Temple
- Take an easier 15-minute hike to Gayatri (Pap Mochani) Temple
- Visit the Brahma Temple, the world’s only temple dedicated to the god of creation
- Go shopping! Pushkar is a shopper’s dream and very affordable. Buy silk clothes, leather bags and silver jewellery.
Read next: Everything to do in Pushkar
Where to eat and drink in Pushkar:
Tips for visiting Pushkar:
- Pushkar is a vegetarian city so there’s no meat (including no eggs) but there’s still dairy
- It’s a holy city so there’s no alcohol either, but many places will subtly serve you a beer off-menu
- Watch out for scams: especially beggars asking for food products and taking you to shops charging a lot, plus ‘priests’ offering you flowers then demanding money and threatening to curse you if you won’t pay!
Getting to Pushkar
Most travellers will come from Jaipur by way of a 4-hour bus because the closest train station (Ajmer Junction) is a 30-minute drive away. Use 12go to book buses and trains in out of Pushkar.
However, if Ranthambore takes your fancy, visit the National Park between Jaipur and Pushkar. You’ll want to board a train from Sawai Madhopur station (super close to Ranthambore) to Ajmer Junction and catch a taxi the rest of the way.
To get around Pushkar, it’s easy to explore on foot. You may wish to get a tuk tuk to whiz you to the hike starting points.
Where to stay in Pushkar
Hotel – stay at Hotel Moti Mahal to take advantage of the swimming pool, relaxing grounds and roof terrace restaurant. Book from €25 a night.
Hostel – the best-rated hostels are Moustache Hostel with a colourful courtyard, organised activities to meet others, and dorms from €4 a night; Madpackers Hostel with a rooftop cafe and yoga classes, and Zostel with a pool.
Udaipur: 1-2 days
Visually, Udaipur doesn’t resemble the other cities in Rajasthan. This calming city all painted white is characterised by serene lakes and exquisite palaces, dating back to its days as the capital of the Mewar Kingdom.
Of course, it’s still India so don’t expect a totally peaceful, horn-free zone! But to add a bit of R&R to your busy Rajasthan trip itinerary, it doesn’t get better than relaxing on a rooftop cafe in Udaipur and looking out over the serene lakes.
Things to do in Udaipur:
- Visit City Palace – inside this majestic palace, each room has a different look. The residence offers sublime lake views and, if you want to treat yourself, a highly-rated restaurant and bar
- Relax around Lake Pichola and soak up the essence of Udaipur
- Take a boat trip on the lake and admire Taj Lake Palace, the Maharana’s summer palace
- Visit the lake palace by staying overnight (€400 – eek!) or having a pricey dinner at the restaurant
- Journey to the hilltop Monsoon Palace 10kms from Udaipur, best known for its amazing sunsets
- Tour Jagdish temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, preserver and protector of the universe.
Getting to & around Udaipur
Trains from Ajmer Junction (near Pushkar) take 5-6 hours to reach Udaipur starting from 400 rupees. This is one of the longest journies of the trip and the reason many travellers skip Udaipur since the journey to Jodhpur after is also a long one.
To get around Udaipur, it’s easy to walk. The only place you may wish to hire transport to is the Monsoon Palace on the hilltop.
Where to stay in Udaipur
Jodhpur: 1-2 days
The Blue City is another necessary addition to any 2 week Rajasthan itinerary. Jodhpur’s nickname is no exaggeration. Vast swathes of the city are washed in two different shades of blue: historically, one for Brahma priests (individuals at the top of the complex Indian social caste system) and others for jewellery makers.
Why all the blue? The mix of copper sulphate and limestone wards off bugs and gives the city a calming air.
Things to do in Jodhpur:
- Mehrangarh Fort – set atop a 120m hill, this spectacular palace founded in 1459 by Rajput ruler, Rao Jodha is a wonder, far superior to Jaipur’s Amer Fort. The museum displays unique art and materials used in its construction like gold, tiger eye, indigo and turquoise. Entry is 600 rupees.
- Jaswant Thada – this striking white marble building is the final resting place of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, built in 1899 by his son. As it’s moments from the Fort, it’s well worth visiting.
- Umaid Bhawan Palace – this ancient palace has been converted into a 5-star hotel and celebrity wedding venue. Without splashing out €500 to stay overnight, you can tour the property and visit the museum as a tourist for 100 rupees.
- Ghanta Ghar (clock tower) and surrounding streets including the Stepwell – these historic features of the ancient city give character to the otherwise hectic streets.
- Street art in the Blue Corridor – don’t miss these funky modern murals showing Indian people and culture!
Eat at Stepwell Cafe and Sam’s Art Cafe. Don’t miss the amazing gelato shop beside Sam’s!
Somewhere I missed and heard about afterwards was the famous omelette shop of Jodhpur. With rave reviews, cheap prices and lots of filling options, I’ll definitely be checking it out next time!
Getting to & around Jodhpur
Bus is the best way to travel if coming from Udaipur. Journies take around 4 hours and prices start from 300 rupees.
To get around Jodhpur, it’s easy to walk in the city centre near the Clock Tower and blue streets. In fact, half the fun is finding atmospheric blue alleys. However, you’ll want to get a taxi up to Mehrangarh Fort.
Where to stay in Jodhpur
Easily the best place I stayed in India was Krishna Prakash Heritage Haveli. This heritage property where the owner grew up boasts bespoke rooms with beautiful Indian furniture. The rooftop restaurant views of the Blue City and the Fort are unrivalled! Book from €25.
For hostels for budget backpackers in Rajasthan, try Moustache or the Hosteller which are the best-rated in town.
Jaisalmer: 2 days
The Golden City at the heart of the Thar desert is the final colourful city of your Rajasthan itinerary having already visited the Pink, Blue and White cities!
Despite the distinctive look created by yellow sandstone architecture, the real appeal of Jaisalmer is not in the city: it’s the chance to camp overnight in the desert! Many local companies will organise the excursion for you, departing Jasisalmer in the afternoon of day 1 and taking you to a modest desert campsite with open-air beds and a campfire.
Here, you’ll have dinner and beers and stay warm beside the fire while admiring the incredible stars and milky way. Although sleeping outside may seem scary or uncomfortable, I can assure you that’s not the case. It’s such a fun experience and I slept well! Just pack a sleeping mask or you’ll walk up early.
Word of warning – many companies offer desert camping excursions using camelback safari to get there. I HIGHLY recommend avoiding these because the camels are badly treated. Please take a tour by Jeep instead!
Things to do in Jaisalmer (after camping in the desert):
- Jaisalmer Fort – built with golden sandstone and offering views out over the city, this is one of Rajathan’s most impressive forts. Visit Desert Boy’s Cafe in the fort complex for a cool drink and spectacular scenery.
- Gadisar Lake – a peaceful lake with temples and shrines. If you hire a guide, they’ll enlighten you as to the legends surrounding it. Visit at sunset and hire a paddle boat!
- Kothari’s Patwon ki Haveli – these heritage houses with intricate details were built in the 19th century by wealthy merchants. They’re spectacular from the outside but filled with tourist knick-knacks inside.
Getting to & around Jaisalmer
Buses and trains from Jodhpur take around 5 hours and start from 400 rupees. Book on 12go.
To get around Jaisalmer, you can walk or jump in a tuk tuk if it’s hot, which it usually is!
How to get back to Delhi if ending your Rajasthan itinerary there?
By the time you’ve travelled to Jaisalmer close to the border with Pakistan, you’re a long, long way from your starting (and probably finishing) point of New Delhi!
I recently travelled from Jaisalmer back to Delhi by train and although it was a long 18-hour journey, it wasn’t terrible. We boarded at 11pm and went straight to bed, then woke up and spent the day eating and reading while watching the world slip by before arriving at 5pm.
It’s worth noting I did this journey with friends rather than solo. If I had been travelling solo like I often do in India, I feel perfectly safe getting trains alone in the daytime but I’m not sure I’d take a night sleeper by myself.
Use 12go to book train journeys in India. I recommend the AC2 (air conditioning second class) sleeper because it’s comfy and affordable. For an upgrade, get AC1 or, to save money, go for AC3.
Useful info – visas
Don’t forget to get your visa for India because you can’t do it on arrival. For many nationalities, India offer e-visas with 30-day visas costing $25 and 1-year visas (multiple entry) costing $40. If you’re only planning 2 weeks in Rajasthan, obviously the first will suffice.
If you’re not sure of your plans, I’d suggest picking the longer one as the price difference isn’t huge and there’s SO much to see and do in India. A trip to Rajasthan is an obvious choice for many people’s first time, especially as many of the safest places for solo travel in India are here, but there’s also Goa, Kerala, the Himalayas, Varanasi and so much more.
Best season for visiting Rajasthan
The winter is January and February while summer is March to May. Then, there’s a few months of monsoon and temperatures return to pleasant levels by October.
The best time for backpacking in Rajasthan is November to March. Outside of this season, it’s either very hot or stormy. However, I visited before in August and things weren’t too bad.
Useful tips for backpacking Rajasthan
- Make sure to check with your healthcare professional before the trip about what vaccinations you need.
- Cash is king! But you can only withdraw 10,000 rupees (€120) at a time. ATMs are often out of cash, so don’t wait until you’re totally out.
- Dress-wise, it’s advisable to cover your legs and shoulders (women and men) especially when visiting places of worship. Showing more skin often equates to more attention and stares so is best avoided.
- Get ready for selfies! Locals love to take photos with foreigners. You will get a lot of looks and stares during your trip to India but keep in mind that 95 times out of 100, it’s curiosity rather than anything more sinister. Remember you can always say no to selfie requests if you’re not feeling it.
- Tipping is not mandatory but since things are cheap and local wages are low, I’d recommend doing so. In terms of haggling, start at half what the shop vendor first asks so you can meet in the middle. But again, this is a livelihood for many so maybe don’t fight too hard unless you’re on a real budget!
Wondering what to wear and pack for India? Read my complete India packing list for women
Staying healthy in India
In terms of hygiene and food safety in India, it can be a bit random. You can do everything right and still get sick or go crazy and be fine! If you do get ill, don’t witch hunt which food vendor or dish did it; maybe you didn’t wash your hands properly! However, as a general rule:
- Avoid international food – I’m not sure why but this is always what gets you sick!
- If eating street food, stick to busy places as they’ll have a fast turnover of food. If there’s lots of locals there, it’s a good sign.
- Take probiotics prior to your trip and during. Tablets are your best bet but adding kimchi and kombucha to your diet is a great option prior to travel (but I’ve noticed some boujee Indian cafes starting to serve kombucha these days).
- Use hand sanitiser frequently – I’d suggest taking this one step further and regularly cutting your nails because you get so much dirt down them.
- Carry rehydration sachets (brought cheaply from any pharmacy) in case you get sick. They’re a game-changer!
Thanks for reading my Rajasthan itinerary!
Read more India blogs:
- 3 day Jaipur itinerary
- Things to do in Pushkar
- Where to eat in Pushkar
- Complete India budget break down
- Tips for your first solo India trip
- India female packing list
- Places to travel solo in India
- Top things to do in Amritsar
- Rishikesh travel guide: yoga, nature and the Beatles!
- Rishikesh cafe guide: 16 cute and hippie cafes
- Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala travel guide: visiting Little Tibet!
- Guide to Pondicherry travel
- The best cafes in Pondicherry
- Auroville day trip from Pondicherry
- Where to eat in Palolem, Goa
These are my trusted resources:
Getting around by air – it’s easy to get between cities by flight. I use Skyscanner and search by whole month to find the best value dates.
Buses – buses are comfy and efficient. Use 12Go to book.
Trains – these are a good option for long journeys because you have a bed rather than a seat. Use 12Go to book.
For hotels, I use Booking.com – they also have self-catering apartments. You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.
Browse tours and activities on GetYourGuide. I also check Viator and Klook in case they have a better price.
For food experiences with passionate local chefs and foodies, check out EatWith.
Pack the latest copy of India Lonely Planet.
Need travel insurance? I use True Traveller (for UK & Europe residents) since it’s affordable but covers everything you’d need including various activities, valuables and pre-existing conditions. Unlike some companies, they insure you if you’re already travelling / don’t yet have your flight home booked. Get a quote.
For travel insurance for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing.
Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and tips!