Why go to Rajasthan
Rajasthan is considered to be a royal destination in India. It offers mainly two kinds of sights: first is the great Indian desert- the Thar Desert, second is the heritage sites- the forts, palaces and other monuments.
The Hilly Rajasthan
Besides this, Rajasthan has some hilly region too- the Arawali Mountain Range which is the only mountain range in the state of Rajasthan. The famous hill station called Mount Abu lies here which is not much far from the city Udaipur.
Cities within Rajasthan
Since Rajasthan is a very large state and every city is much far from another city. For example the distance between Jaipur and Jodhpur is more than 300km which is a 6hrs long journey either by road or train.
Likewise the distance between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer is also around 250km which is again a 5 hrs long journey. If you want to explore beyond Jaisalmer and want to reach Longewala or Tanot Mata Mandir, it is again 150km far from Jaisalmer, for which one extra day is required.
Jopdhpur to Udaipur is again 6hrs road journey. The other cities like Bikaner, Barmer, Ajmer etc also are all located at a considerable distance from one another.
Now, how to plan a Rajasthan trip now?
Therefore, exploring all the destinations in Rajasthan in a single journey is very cumbersome if not impossible. If someone is a solo traveler, than it may be manageable, but a family trip covering all the Rajasthan is almost impossible. That’s why it’s advisable to plan a Rajasthan trip according to certain popular tourist circuits.
Popular tourist circuits in Rajasthan
The popular tourist circuits in Rajasthan is Jodhpur-Jaisalmer circuit, Udaipur-Mount Abu circuit, Jaipur-Bikaner-Ajmer circuit etc. Some people consider Jaipur as a part of the popular golden triangle circuit of Delhi-Agra-Jaipur which is identical to another popular golden triangle circuit of Puri-Konark-Bhubaneshwar in Odisha.
My 7 Days Rajasthan Trip Itinerary
In March 2019, I performed a 7 days family trip to Rajasthan covering Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur and a little bit Ajmer. Let’s have a look on this itinerary:
1st Day: Arrival at Jodhpur
Arrival at Ajmer Railway Station as I could not get confirmed tickets directly to Jodhpur from my city. Ajmer to Jodhpur is a 140 km and 4 hrs long journey by bus. You will find state roadways bus all the day, may be even at every 30 minutes. The train was late by 4 hrs so I reached Ajmer at 9 AM, caught the bus to Jodhpur at 10 AM, finally reached Jodhpur at 2 PM.
After arrival at hotel, nothing much was to be done that day except taking rest and exploring the local city street market. The hotel I stayed at Jodhpur was Hotel Rudransh Inn.
If you like to taste any Rajasthani flavour, there are a plenty of options here like Dal Bati, Churma, Kachodi etc.
2nd Day: Jodhpur the Blue City Local Sightseeing
Jodhpur is a medium size city with a population of more than 10 lakhs. It is often termed as the Blue City because from the ancient times, it has been a tradition to paint the outer walls of houses in blue color. But, nowadays this tradition has been demolishing but still 50% instances of the blueness still appear when you have a bird eye view of the city from a certain height of any fort or palace.
The Ummed Bhavan Palace or commonly called Jodhpur Palace was our first site to visit. It is a heritage hotel, perhaps the largest heritage hotel in the world. But sadly only a small part of this palace is open for the tourists, rest is kept private. This is also a five star hotel which you can book from any hotel booking portal like MakeMyTrip, for which you will end up paying Rs 50,000 for a night! The Ummed Palace is elegantly made and has a large wide campus, also has a collection of vintage cars before the Independence. The entry fee is Rs 30 for the palace.
The Mehrangarh Fort is the second most important historic site after the Ummed Palace. The fort is also commonly called as Jodhpur Fort which is situated at some height from the city, that’s why you can watch it from anywhere in the city. You will need to buy an entry ticket worth Rs 100 to enter the fort.
The Jaswant Thada is another monument just a few kilometers away from the fort. It is mainly a elegant marble structure mausoleum, also known as the Taj Mahal of Mewar or Rajasthan. A small lake or water reservoir is just touching the foot of this monument which was perhaps made with a purpose of drinking water supply in the past centuries. The entry ticket price for Jaswant Thada is Rs 60.
After the lunch break, we proceeded to the historical Mandore Garden located at a distance of 8 km from the main city. In fact it is not just a garden as the name implies, but inside this botanical garden, as you proceed, you see a lot of old temples, ruins of Mandore fort, statues etc. The enrty is completely free and you can easily spend a few hours here.
3rd Day: Jodhpur to Jaisalmer Road Journey via the Osian Village and Jaisalmer War Memorial
Jaisalmer is at at distance of about 250 km from Jodhpur. You can travel either by road or train, each journey takes about 5 hrs to 6hrs approximately. The highways of Rajasthan are all in very good condition so, you won’t face any problem in road trip.
There are further two ways to travel by road from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer. One route is via the Osian Village which is an ancient village where an old historical temple lies. The other route is via Pokharan– that Pokharan where nuclear testing was done in 1998. The later route takes half an hour more time than the former.
So, we traveled first via the Osian village route, returned via Pokharan route. In the Jodhpur-Jaisalmer route, Osian village lies approximately 70 km from Jodhpur, just one and a half hrs away. Tourists take a small halt, visit the ancient temple, prey, give their offerings and come back. Everywhere in Rajasthan, you can hear their local tradition song “Maharo Desh” played with the help of common instruments by the street performers.
After that, we constantly proceeded for more than two hrs. It was time to lunch now, but in this highway, you cannot find restaurants all the way. There are certain halts which the drivers know about. Food in Rajasthan is much spicier than other part of India. Even the Desi Chana Masala as oily as any recipe of chicken or mutton.
As we were getting closer to Jaisalmer, the greenery slowly begin to disappear and sand dunes begin to appear. It was now a desert like feeling. Even in the month of March, the sunlight was quite scorching, immediately we were experiencing whenever getting down from the AC car for a break. Some camels and horses were seen walking on the road.
Just 10 km before reaching the Jaisalmer city, it was our last stoppage at the Jaisalmer War Memorial located just beside the Jodhpur-Jaisalmer Highway. This War Memorial is like a museum related to our armies’ glorious memories of wars, their struggles, weapons etc. Mainly you find here is the memories related to Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971. A small documentary movie is showed to the visitors. The entry ticket is Rs 30 only, but if you want to watch the movie also, pay Rs 30 extra for it.
At around 4pm, we reached our Hotel Golden Haweli in the Jaisalmer City. The hotel was like a palace made of golden stone, later I came to know that every building of Jaisalmer is made of golden stone, that’s why it is also known as the Golden City. The hotel price was inclusive of daily morning breakfast, also has a swimming pool in the campus.
4th Day: Jaisalmer the Golden City local sightseeing
If you are anywhere within the city Jaisalmer, you can see the great historical Jaisalmer Fort or the Sonar Fort. It is situated at some height above the city. In ancient times, the fort was itself the whole Jaisalmer city.
You can enter the fort with a ticket of Rs 100. It is estimated that even now, about 5000 people live inside the fort. Totally made from Golden stone, it is a wonder in Rajasthan. Even now, you will observe the vibrant stone art, sculpture and ruins of ancient life there.
Proceeding on wards, we reached the Gadisar Lake which was once made with a view to supply water for the residents of ancient Jaisalmer city, but now it has turned into a tourist spot.
Around this lake, you can also observe some temples and statues. The water has become dirty nowadays and no longer serves as any drinking purpose. But, you can see some fishes moving in the lake.
Further, we arrived at a street which is full of Havelis. You must have heard the name of Patuwon Ki Haweli which is also an example of interesting architecture. Although people say that these hawelis look beautiful only from the outside, but, however, you desire to visit the interiors too, you need to pay Rs 100 as the entry fee.
Another interesting fact about the hawelis is that some hawelis are govt owned and some are private too.
5th Day: Desert Camel Safari at Sam Sand Dunes and Night Stay in Desert Camp
If you think that you can see the desert near the Jaisalmer city, you are wrong! The nearest and easiest place to see the great Indian Thar Desert is Sam Sand Dunes which is 50 km away from Jaisalmer.
The Night Stay at camps
In the desert you can stay here in camps, which may be temporary or permanent. An all inclusive package of night stay, breakfast, dinner, evening folk dance program and the camel safari- will cost you between Rs 4000 to Rs 5000. If you want to book a stay alone, you can do it too. We stayed at Rajasthan Desert Safari Camp.
Cost of all inclusive camp package
Now you may want to do a desert safari without which it is worthless to visit here. There are two types of desert safaris- the jeep safari and camel safari. The jeep safari price is somewhat Rs 1000-1200 Rupees per head and the camel safari will also around the same. But if you take an all inclusive package of camp stay, the camel safari will be free.
The Details of Camel Safari
Since it was the month of March, still the sun was quite bright, so we proceeded for the Camel Safari at 5 pm. The camel owner will help you to ride the camel for just 2 km from the camp, merely 20 minutes journey. It is really an amazing experience to ride a camel for the first time in life.
As you reach the dunes, you are lost in such a creativity of nature. So far, I had seen only mountains, rivers and oceans, but it was a first time desert experience. A lot of villagers rush to meet you and begin to perform their traditional songs ‘maharo desh’. As the sun sets, tourists move back to their camps.
The Evening Folk Dance Program at the desert camp:
It was the last thing we has in the desert camp. At 7 pm in the evening, the local folk dancers perform their dances which is very traditional as well as somewhat adventurous too . They perform many risky stunts like walking on a bottle, broken glass pieces, and dancing while balancing some load on their head. The gallery was full of foreigners among them we only were Indians. The dinner was served after this 1 hr long program.
6th Day: Jaisalmer to Jaipur via Jodhpur
After finishing the desert safari near Jaisalmer, now it was the time to proceed towards Jaipur. You can directly catch a train from Jaisalmer to Jaipur which is a 12 hrs long journey or you can opt the 500 km long road journey too. However, if you travel by an overnight train, you can spend the journey easily and save time.
But, as our itinerary was booked upto Jodhpur by road, so we traveled from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur by road via Pokharan. This route takes half an hour more as I have told earlier. Pokharan has some heritage sites mainly the Pokharan Fort.
Reaching Jodhpur in the afternoon, we caught a train to Jaipur which is again a 6 hrs journey. Overall we reached Jaipur at 9 pm.
7th Day: Jaipur Local Sightseeing- The Hawamahal, City Palace, Amer Fort etc.
Although you can’t complete the Jaipur sightseeing tour in a single day, we tried our best to cover most popular sites in a day. But I will recommend minimum two days for Jaipur sightseeing.
Firstly we were off to the Amer Fort which is located at some distance from the city center. In the same route, the Jalmahal lies on the way. We took a small halt here, watched the palace which is surrounded by a lake.
Afterwards, we arrived at the Amer Fort. It has a large campus, entry ticket is Rs 100 here too. The fort is also situated on a hill at some height like other forts of Rajasthan. You can have a panoramic view of the city from the top. Not only the main palace, there are a no of other important historical monuments inside this fort.
There are some other forts located nearby the Nehalgarh Fort and the Jaigarh Fort. But every fort requires you to spare minimum 2 hrs visit time.
Now it’s the time to say something about the Hawamahal which is easily visible while traveling within the city. But you see only the one face from the road, for full inside view, you need to buy entry ticket worth Rs 50 to enter the Hawamahal.
The nearby monuments- the City Palace and the Jantar Mantar are also located in the same campus, but require separate entry tickets.
The City Palace entry ticket is the most expensive- Rs 200 now. But inside views are awesome. The Jantar Mantar entry ticket is worth Rs 50 only but still more expensive than the Delhi Jantar Mantar entry fee.
This is the overall itinerary of our Jodhpur-Jaisalmer-Jaipur trip of 7 days excluding the to and fro journeys from your city to Rajasthan.
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