Rajasthan Itinerary - 7 Days / 10 Days
Any trip to India cannot be complete without visiting Rajasthan. This north-western state of India is favorite amongst the travelers, and with good reason. The colorful cities, glorious history, grand palaces/forts, intricately carved temples, and golden sand dunes can attract almost every type of traveler. Let us not forget the vibrant culture, warm locals, traditional bazaars, exotic wild-life, and mouth-watering cuisine.
Rajasthan is the largest state in India stretching over an area of around 3.5 lakh square kilometers. Planning an itinerary for Rajasthan can be challenging. Getting around the massive state is time-consuming as internal flights are limited and ‘popular’ cities are set far apart. Unless you visit Rajasthan for a month, you cannot visit all the attractions. However, most of us have limited time to spare and have to focus on the major highlights. This 7-day and 10-day itinerary will take you through the must-visit sites of Rajasthan.
All the big tourist cities in Rajasthan like Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Udaipur are linked to Delhi and Mumbai by flight. So, you can make any of them your starting point. I would recommend Jaipur, as the capital city is very well connected to all the major cities of India. There are convenient options available to reach Jaipur whatever may be your mode of transport. Flights to Jodhpur and Udaipur are very limited and are prone to cancellations and rescheduling. Flights to Jaisalmer have started recently, but they are available only in the peak winter season.
PS: The sites marked with ‘*’ are a must-visit.
Jaipur is an intrinsic part of the popular Golden Triangle route, so reaching it is never a problem. The chaotic and cosmopolitan city of Jaipur might not impress you at first sight. However, you will soon fall for the charms of the ‘Pink City’. The majestic forts, the historical City palace, captivating Jal Mahal and blush-hued streets of Johari Bazaar makes this city a coveted destination.
Shopaholics can shop in the crowded by-lanes of Johari Bazaar, Bapu Bazar, Nehru Bazar, and Chameli Bazaar for some vibrant treasures – handicrafts, gemstone jewelry, bangles, bedspreads, jutis (traditional shoes), and the colorful Bandini and Leheriya scarves (Rajasthani style tie-dye). You will need all your bargaining skills if you don’t want to be ripped off. Don’t forget to savor the local delicacies – Ghewar, Phinni, Daal Baati Chuma, Mawa Kachori, and Pyaaz Kachori.
Places to visit in Jaipur:
- Amber fort* – The spectacular 16th-century fort built on a hilltop was home to the chivalrous Rajput rulers. The sprawling complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Nahargarh Fort – The fort was built in 1734 as a retreat for the royal Rajput family
- Jai Mahal Palace – A water palace built in the middle of a lake
- City Palace* – The gorgeous palace, where the royal family still resides, is the perfect blend of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture.
- Hawa Mahal façade* – You can skip going inside
- Jantar Mantar – Features world’s largest sundial
Jodhpur is nicknamed ‘The Blue City’ as the major chunk of the city is painted in all possible shades of vivid blue – a perfect destination if you are looking for some striking shots. The highlight of Jodhpur is the Mehrangarh fort – the imposing 15th-century fort perched on a hill offering panoramic views of Jodhpur. The stunning Umaid Bhawan Palace is worth a visit though only a small part of it is open to tourists. The rest has been converted into a luxury heritage hotel. If you are rolling in money, you can stay the night at the royal retreat.
You should experience the Blue City Heritage walk* which takes you deep into the historical old city. The narrow chaotic lanes are the best place to taste the local flavors of Jalebi, Mirchi Bada, Samosa, Kachori, and Makhaniya Lassi. Still not done with shopping? You can find all the traditional stuff in Jodhpur too and maybe at better prices.
Places to Visit in Jodhpur:
- Mehrangarh Fort* – Home to many beautiful palaces and courtyards, the grandeur and size of the fort is a reminder of past royal splendor. The museum exhibits many rare artifacts.
- Umaid Bhavan Palace – The magnificent palace is one of the largest royal residences in the world.
- Jaswant Thada – The elegantly crafted white marble mausoleum displays beautiful Jaali work and opulent domes.
- Toorji Ka Jhalra Stepwell* – The architectural wonder, recently restored, depicting the age-old traditional water management system.
Surrounded by the majestic Aravalis, Udaipur is undoubtedly the most beautiful city of Rajasthan. The stunning Lake Palace, built in the middle of sparkling Lake Pichola, and the fascinating City Palace are the jewels of Udaipur. You can find grand palaces, ruins, gardens, sacred ghats, forts, Havelis and lakes wherever you go.
The romantic city has been nicknamed ‘The City of Lakes’ and ‘Venice of the East’ as it is surrounded by many picturesque artificial lakes like Fateh Sagar Lake, Jaisamand Lake, and Rajsamand Lake. During the rainy season, Udaipur is just breathtaking with lush green mountains, brimming lakes, and the gushing waterfalls which sprout all over the countryside. Explore the quaint waterfront pathways and enjoy hot fire-roasted corn-cobs sold on the roadside stalls. Udaipur specializes in local handicrafts, heritage jewelry, and Rajasthani sculpture & paintings.
Places to visit in Udaipur:
- City Palace* – a massive complex of 11 palaces, courtyards, art galleries and sprawling gardens built by various Warrior Kings. You get some amazing views of the city and Lake Pichola from the top.
- Lake Pichola* – Take a boat ride and watch the golden sunset. The lake is surrounded by mountains, palaces and ghats providing you stunning views especially in the evenings when the city is illuminated. You will pass the legendary Lake Palace during the boat ride. (If you are in mood to splurge, stay at the Lake Palace Hotel)
- Jag Mandir- Another palace built on an island in the Lake Pichola. It was used as a summer resort by the royal family
Jaisalmer is situated in the far west of Rajasthan and reaching it is not easy, but it is worth the effort. The highlight of ‘The Golden City’ is the Sonar Fort which is still home to 4000 people living in the golden sandstone havelis. The town is located on the edge of the yellow sand dunes of the Thar desert. You cannot come this far and not embark on a camel/jeep ride across the vast desert to admire the stunning sand dunes. Spending the night on the golden dunes in a tent is highly recommended. Jaisalmer is famous for colorful mirror-work-embroidered fabrics and camel leather products.
Places to visit in Jaisalmer:
- Sonar/Jaisalmer Fort* – The ‘living fort’ is buzzing with shops, cafes and havelis. There are many beautiful Jain temples within the complex.
- Gadisar Lake reservoir – Artificial reservoir surrounded by temples
- Bada Bagh* – The big garden housing the Royal Cenotaphs.
- Explore Havelis – Patwaon ki Haveli, Salim Singh ki Haveli and Nathmal Ki Haveli
The small. town of Pushkar is centered around the sacred Brahma Lake. The only Brahma temple in the world exists in Pushkar, and so it is a significant pilgrimage site for the Hindus. You can find countless temples and Ghats in Pushkar where devotees perform various religious rituals. The town is also famous for the Camel Fair which takes place in November every year.
The majestic Jain temple located in Ranakpur is dedicated to Tirthankara Rishabhanatha, the very first Jain God. The 15th century Ranakpur temple is an architectural marvel which is supported by more than 1400 pillars. All the pillars are intricately carved and each pillar is said to be unique. The detailed carvings of mythological figures and animals on the pillars and domes will leave you spell-bound. Ranakpur Jain Temple is one the five most revered pilgrimage site for Jain followers in India.
Things to know before you travel to Rajasthan
- The best time to visit Rajasthan is between October-March. Summers can be scorching hot and quite intolerable. December and January are peak seasons and you will see a surge in hotel/flight rates. Early mornings and late evenings can be quite cold in Rajasthan, so be prepared.
- Rajasthan is quite conservative and one should dress accordingly, especially while visiting temples. Wear loose cotton/linen during the daytime as days are usually warm. Scarves can come handy to cover your shoulders and knees. In Rajasthan, women generally do not venture out alone at night and the solo travelers should take all the necessary precautions
- Tourists are easy targets, so one should always be alert – while shopping, taking local transport, visiting temples, and buying tickets.
- Public toilets leave a lot to be desired and you won’t usually find any toilet paper there. Keep a look-out for good restaurants and hotels as the restrooms there would be much cleaner and better equipped.
- Once you are in Rajasthan, internal flights won’t save any time. The best way to travel between cities is to hire a private taxi for the entire stay. Taxis are not very expensive in India if booked through proper channels. The roads are quite good and having a car during your entire stay can be quite convenient. If you are on a budget, you can always use the intercity trains and buses. They are quite comfortable, efficient, and affordable. For commuting within the city, use Uber/Ola or book local tours. Public transport is quite basic and very crowded, so refrain unless you are on a shoe-string budget.
- Never drink tap water anywhere. It is best to use the bottled water of a reputed company.
- All the cities have plenty of stay options and you can always find accommodations within your budget. Hygiene and cleanliness here may not match the western standards, so check the reviews before making your bookings. If you want to experience the life of the royals and money is no constraint, you are in for a treat. Rambagh Palace and Raj Vilas in Jaipur, Umaid Bhavan In Jodhpur, Lake Palace and Uday Vilas in Udaipur, and Suryagarh in Jaisalmer are few of the best heritage hotels in the world. Check out some more India Travel Tips
Suggested 7-Day Rajasthan itinerary
Day 1-2: Reach Jaipur to start your 7-day Rajasthan itinerary. You will be spending two days in the Pink City exploring the historical sites, local bazaars and the delicious local cuisine.
Day 3: Depart for Jodhpur in the morning via Pushkar. The drive to Pushkar will take around 2 hours. Spend 2-3 hours in Pushkar and then leave for Jodhpur. You can also take a morning train from Jaipur. You will have to give Pushkar a miss if you travel by train.
Jaipur-Jodhpur : Distance-380 km / Driving Time-:Around 6 hrs
Day 4: Enjoy a full-day of sightseeing in Jodhpur. Start early and embark on the Blue City Heritage Walk to explore the old city.
Day 5: Final stop of our 7-day Rajasthan itinerary is Udaipur. We will stop mid-way at the stunning Ranakpur temple. You will reach the temple in three hours. Spend couple of hours in the sacred town and leave for Udaipur. Have a relaxing evening. If you want to see one more fort, you can also stop at the Kumbhalgarh Fort while traveling from Jodhpur to Udaipur.
Jodhpur-Udaipur : Distance-250 km / Driving Time-Around 4.5 hrs
Day 6-7: You need at least two days to explore the beautiful city of Udaipur. You have the option to depart via train on the 7th night or take a flight to your next destination on the 8th morning
If you can spare three more days, use the opportunity to explore Jaisalmer.
Suggested 10-Day Rajasthan itinerary.
Day 1-4: During this 10-day itinerary, the first four days we will be following the same route as mentioned above: Jaipur-Pushkar-Jodhpur
Day 5: Leave Jodhpur for Jaisalmer early in the morning as you have a long drive ahead. The rest of the day is for exploring the Golden city.
Jodhpur-Jaisalmer : Distance-285 km / Driving Time-Around 4.5 hrs.
Day 6: Another day of sightseeing in Jaisalmer. You can spend the night under the stars on the golden sand dunes of the Thar desert.
Day 7: Have a relaxed morning and leave for Jodhpur whenever you are ready. Our next stop in the 10-day Rajasthan itinerary is Udaipur via Jodhpur. We cannot go to Udaipur directly from Jaisalmer, so we have no option but to go back to Jodhpur and spend the night there.
Day 8-10: Drive to Udaipur on the 8th morning and stop at Ranakpur temple en route. Spend a couple of days in Udaipur and then it is time to take flight/train for your onward journey.
If you can find a convenient flight/train from Jaisalmer to your next destination, you can opt for another route. Jaipur-Udaipur-Jodhpur-Jaisalmer-Return Back. It will save you an extra journey from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur.
The 10-day itinerary can easily be extended to 14 or 21 days as we have excluded so many places from our itinerary. Mount Abu, Chittorgarh, Bikaner, and Ranthambore National Park are a few of the places which should be visited when you are in Rajasthan. If you want to add them to your itinerary, comment below and I would be happy to help in any way.