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The Tailor-Made Guide to Rajasthan Travel

The Guide to Rajasthan Travel

**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Regardless of this, please be advised that all opinions expressed in this blog post are genuine and authentically my own.**

Author: Barry Pickard


The Hawa Mahal in Jaipur. A pink building with hundreds of small windows, making it a highlight of Rajasthan travel.

Rajasthan is a mesmerising state in northern India that beckons travellers with its rich history, vibrant culture, and awe-inspiring landscapes. Known as the “Land of Kings,” Rajasthan is a tapestry of ancient forts, opulent palaces, and colourful bazaars. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or an intrepid wanderer, Rajasthan promises an unforgettable adventure.

An imposing sand coloured palace, with steep steps leading up to it, making this a highlight of Rajasthan travel.
The Amber Palace, Jaipur

Rajasthan sprawls across almost 350,000 square kilometres, making it the largest Indian state by area and almost one and a half times the size of the UK! The vast Thar Desert dominates the western quarter, which is hemmed in by the Aravalli Mountain range which acts as the spine of Rajasthan, with a Steppe-like climate to the east.

A room with colourful stained glass windows, showering light into a palace reception room, making it a highlight of Rajasthan travel
Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

Rajasthan’s past is woven with tales of valour, romance, and dynasties. From the Rajput warriors to the Mughal emperors, this land has witnessed epic battles, grandeur, and architectural marvels. If you’re an independent traveller who wants to explore India on your own terms, Rajasthan is an excellent place to start.

A palace courtyard with a black and white chequer floor making it a highlight of Rajasthan travel
The City Palace, Udaipur

During my travels around Rajasthan, I spent time in the engaging cities of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Bundi, while also visiting Pushkar, Chand Baori in Abhaneri and Chittorgarh Fort along the way. This, of course is just scratching the surface of Rajasthan and I look forward to exploring this region again soon to discover more.

In this blog post, I’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide to travelling around Rajasthan independently. I’ll cover everything from transportation and accommodation to food, sightseeing, and shopping. I’ll also give you tips on how to stay safe and respectful of local customs. All information in this post is based on my own experience travelling around Rajasthan, backed by extensive research to bring you everything you need to know to have your own amazing experience. 

Guide to Rajasthan travel

Don’t forget that Tailor-Made Itineraries delights in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting Rajasthan appeals to you, reach out to me by email. I would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating the fascinating attractions mentioned in this guide of Rajasthan travel or indeed, just those of individual cities like Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur.

Guide to Rajasthan travel

A Guide to Rajasthan Travel:

A Journey Through India’s Land of Kings

What is Rajasthan Known For?

Magnificent Forts and Palaces dominate this land, with the majestic Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, the elegant City Palace in Udaipur, and the iconic Amber Fort in Jaipur. Each fortress has its own spellbinding story of kings and queens, battles, and opulence.

In a country of vibrant cultures and traditions, Rajasthan really stands out. Folk music, dance, and colourful attire are a feast for the senses here. Witness the Kalbeliya dance, savour traditional dishes of tasty daal, and shop for exquisite Bandhani textiles.

Best Time to Visit Rajasthan

Weatherwise, the best time to visit Rajasthan is from October to March (with December to February being the coolest months), however, this is when it is most popular and accommodation more expensive. Winters tend to be mild and sunny during the day.

Summer in Rajasthan, which runs from April to June, tends to be very hot, with the temperature soaring above 40°C, making outdoor activities challenging.

The monsoon comes to Rajasthan in July and can last till mid-September, however, the further west you go in Rajasthan, the less rainfall is received. Jodhpur, for example, tends to be one of the driest cities in India, so I wouldn’t let that put you off from visiting during this time. It is at this time that the state tends to be at its greenest and the lakes brim with water.

I visited during August, when it was still very hot, but if you can tolerate this, it can be a great time to explore the region on a budget without the hassles of too many tourists.

How Long Should You Stay in Rajasthan?

To get a good appreciation of this vibrant state, aim to spend at least two weeks here. The cities of Rajasthan are brimming with interesting and fascinating attractions, and you should plan to have at least two full days in whichever city you visit. If you have less than two weeks spare, look to concentrate your stay on two to four of Rajasthan’s cities. Depending on the transportation option you choose for getting between the cities, you should expect to take up to a day travelling between each city and major attraction.


Getting to Rajasthan

The Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi is the main gateway to Rajasthan for foreign travellers. The first major city in Rajasthan that you would reach from New Delhi is the state capital, Jaipur, which is about a five-hour drive from the airport.

The larger Rajasthani cities have domestic airports, which have daily flights with New Delhi and the other major Indian cities. Apart from Jaipur, which has an international connection with Dubai, Rajasthan’s airports do not support international flights. There are plans, however, to transform Jodhpur’s airport into an international one.

Rajasthan has an extensive railway network connecting the region’s cities with each other and India’s major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Agra etc. Similarly, the bus network is equally well connected and, for the most part, the roads are in very good condition, at least between the cities where many of the roads are National Highways.

Hiring a driver is a more economical and personalised way of travelling Rajasthan than booking with a bus tour operator. This is my own preferred mode of transport when travelling in India, and Rajasthan in particular. I used the excellent services of Vivek at Just To Travels to organise this for me – website & email.


Read on to discover the attractions of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Bundi.

Top Five Attractions in Jaipur

Amber Palace


The Amber Palace was commissioned by Man Singh I, the general of the Mughal emperor Akbar, in the late 16th century, and is a mesmerizing blend of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles. Its sandstone and marble walls gleam under the warm Indian sun. The fort complex is divided into four courtyards, each with its own unique architectural features.

Large sand coloured palace that sprawls along a hillside ridge, with a lake in the foreground, making the Amber Palace a must see of Rajasthan travel
Amber Palace, Jaipur

Jaigarh Fort


Sitting imperiously above the Amber Palace, with views stretching out over the city of Jaipur, lies Jaigarh Fort, an imposing defence, with architectural brilliance. Built in the early 18th century by Maharaja Jai Singh II, this formidable fortress served as a strategic stronghold outpost for the Kachwaha rulers of Jaipur.

Fortification walls on a hill top looking down over a green, verdant valley below, making Jaigarh Fort one of Rajasthan Travel's must see desitinations
Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur

Hawa Mahal


Standing gracefully amidst the bustling Pink City, the Hawa Mahal, or "Palace of Winds," is a mesmerising five-story structure that stands out for its unique honeycomb-like façade and intricate latticework. Built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, the Hawa Mahal served as an extension to the royal City Palace, allowing the royal ladies to observe street processions and festivities without being seen from outside. Its unique design also allowed for natural ventilation, keeping the palace cool during the hot summer months.


A striking orange building front, with hundreds of small windows, making this one of Rajasthan travel's must see destinations
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

The City Palace

The City Palace stands in the heart of the vibrant "Pink City." This grand palace complex, built between 1729 and 1732 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, served as the seat of the Kachwaha rulers of Jaipur until the early 20th century.

A dark pink building with a large gateway, with visitors milling about, making this one of Rajasthan travels must see destinations
City Palace, Jaipur

Galta Ji Temple


Galta Ji is a revered pilgrimage site, with natural springs, sacred kunds (water tanks), and intricate architecture, and has been revered for centuries by Hindus. The origins of Galta Ji Temple can be traced back to the early 15th century when Payohari Krishnadas, a Ramanandi saint, established a hermitage at the site. Today, the site is often referred to as the ‘Monkey Temple’ since the surrounding hills are home to a variety of monkeys, which are often seen frolicking around the temple complex. 

A temple built into the side of a hill, with a pool in the foreground, making this one of Rajasthan travel's best highlights
Galta Ji, Jaipur

Other Attractions in Jaipur

Pay a visit to the Albert Hall Museum, which stands as a testament to the region's artistic prowess and historical significance. You can also admire the iconic Jal Mahal palace, which emerges gracefully from the shimmering waters of Man Sagar Lake. Jaipur is dominated by a series of forts, and the Nahargarh Fort will provide you a panoramic view of the sprawling city below. You can also discover the magnificent astronomical prowess of an era long past, by visiting Jantar Mantar and its 19 massive fixed astronomical instruments. 

Guide to Rajasthan travels

Top Five Attractions in Jodhpur

Mehrangarh Fort


Mehrangarh Fort was built by Rao Jodha in 1459 and is perched on a cliff, about 400 feet above the surrounding old town. The fort has remarkably diverse architecture from different periods, right up to the 20th century, due to the various phases of its construction by subsequent rulers. The fort has several palaces and a museum showcasing the elegance and extravagance of past days. The museum houses a collection of artifacts, including paintings, costumes, and weapons, that reflect the rich cultural heritage of the region.  

Throne room with multi-coloured mosaics and stained-glass windows, making the palaces within Mehrangarh Fort one of Rajasthan travels must see attractions
Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

Jaswant Thada


Jaswant Thada is a beautiful white marble cenotaph located on a ridge across from the Mehrangarh Fort. It was built in 1899 by Maharaja Sardar Singh of Jodhpur in memory of his father, Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. The monument is a true representation of traditional Rajasthani architecture, which is renowned for its opulence and grandeur. The monument is also referred to as the “Taj Mahal of Marwar.” 

White stone mausoleum with steps ascending to it, with a beautifully manicured garden in the foreground, making Jaswant Thada one of Rajasthan travels must see attractions
Jaswant Thada, Jodhpur

Toorji Ka Jhalra Bavdi  

Toorji Ka Jhalra Bavdi is an ancient stepwell located in the Blue city of Jodhpur. It was constructed in 1740 by Maharani Tanwar Ji, the spouse of Jodhpur’s ruler Maharaja Abhay Singh Ji. The stepwell was part of the water harvesting system of the city and was designed in an exquisite manner. Viewing galleries also known as Jharokas are constructed around the steps that were used to keep lamps to illuminate the place at night.   

A stepwell with hundreds of steps leading down to a pool of water, making the Toorji Ka Jhalra Bavdi a highlight of Rajasthan travels
Toorji Ka Jhalra Bavdi, Jodhpur

Blue City

Jodhpur is famous for its blue-painted buildings, which are mainly located in the old town area below the southern cliff of the Mehrangarh Fort. The reason behind the blue colour is not clear, but there are several theories. One theory suggests that the colour blue is associated with Lord Shiva, who is believed to have saved the planet by drinking a poisonous substance that turned his body blue. In addition to these striking blue buildings, this area of Jodhpur is also famous for its colourful street art.

Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum

The Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum is a part of grand palace that serves as the royal residence of Maharaja Gaj Singh II. On completion in 1943, the palace became of the world’s largest private residences. Today, a part of the palace has been set up as a museum opened to the public. The museum is well-maintained and displays the antiques belonging to the maharajas and the royal family. You also get a glimpse of the luxurious rooms that the Maharaja lived in. 

Huge palace with thin towers set in a well manicured lawn and garden, making the palace one of the hightlights of Rajasthan travels
Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum, Jodhpur

Other Attractions in Jodhpur

There is another significant stepwell that can be visited within the city, called the Tapi Baori. Meanwhile, the Mandore fort and temple complex is just a short drive to the north of the city. A full day excursion could also be made to the village of Osian, where you can experience a desert safari.

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Top Five Attractions in Udaipur

City Palace


The City Palace, a marvel of Mewar architecture, was built over a period of nearly 400 years. Its construction began in 1553, started by Maharana Udai Singh II, the founder of Udaipur. As you wander through its grand corridors, you’ll be captivated by the intricate carvings, stunning frescoes, and sparkling mirror work that adorn its walls. From the historic Baadi Mahal to the enchanting Peacock Courtyard, every corner of the City Palace tells a story of its glorious past.

A large white stone palace will many pillars and terraces, making the palace one of Rajathan travels must see attractions
City Palace, Udaipur

Jagdish Temple


The Jagdish Temple is an architectural marvel, nestled amidst the bustling streets just to the north of City Palace. The temple, an epitome of Indo-Aryan architecture, was built in 1651 by Maharana Jagat Singh I. This three-storied temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, stands as a testament to Udaipur’s rich spiritual heritage. Its intricate carvings, towering shikharas, and stunning stone sculptures are a visual treat.

Intricately carved white stonework with images of elephants, making the temple one of Rajathan travels must see attractions
Jagdish Temple, Udaipur



Jagmandir is an island palace nestled in the heart of the serene Lake Pichola.  Also known as the “Lake Garden Palace,” Jagmandir was built in the 17th century. Its construction was started by Maharana Karan Singh II and was later completed by his successor, Maharana Jagat Singh I. The main attraction is the palace itself, but from here you can enjoy a leisurely boat ride around the lake, dine at the stylish restaurant that offers local and international cuisine, or simply relax in the lush gardens and soak in the beauty of your surroundings with a drink from the bar.

An island palace in the middle of a lake, making Jagmandir one of Rajathan travels must see attractions
Jagmandir, Udaipur

Lake Pichola


Lake Pichola is an artificial freshwater lake created in 1362 AD named after the nearby Picholi village. Maharana Udai Singh II, enchanted by the charm of this lake with the backdrop of green hills, founded the city of Udaipur on the banks of the lake. A boat ride on the tranquil waters of Lake Pichola will captivate you with the stunning views of the city and the mountains in the distance. The lake is enveloped by lofty Palaces, temples, bathing ghats and elevated hills on all its sides. In the southern part of this lake, there are island palaces like Jagniwas and Jagmandir, which add to the lake’s charm and grandeur.

View for lake from a hill top. The lake has two islands and the city of Udaipur circles the shore. The sun is setting. Lake Pichola is one of Rajathan travels must see attractions
Lake Pichola, Udaipur

Manshapurn Karni mata Ropeway

The thrilling Manshapurna Karni Mata Ropeway is a gondola with breathtaking views, connecting the Deendayal Upadhyay Park with the summit of Machhala Hill. As you ascend on the ropeway, you’ll be captivated by the panoramic views of the city, the serene Lake Pichola, and the majestic City Palace. The ride itself is an adventure, offering a bird’s eye view of the city that is truly unparalleled.

A set of colourful gondolas ascending a hill, which is covered in verdant greenery, making the ropeway one of Rajasthan travels must see attractions
Manshapurn Karni mata Ropeway, Udaipur

Other Attractions in Udaipur

A pleasant hour or two can be spent wandering around the sprawling gardens of the Gulab Bagh, with its large rose garden, aviary and miniature railway. The Vintage & Classic Car Collection, at the Palace Hotel is also located just outside the garden’s northern gate. A little further afield is the Monsoon Palace, which could be a lovely half-day excursion.

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Top Five Attractions in Bundi

Garh Palace


The Garh Palace was built in the 17th century by Rao Raja Bhau Singh and further expanded over several centuries by various rulers of Bundi. Today, the palace is decaying in parts and partly preserved in others. The palace complex is a cluster of numerous palaces, each with its own unique charm. Among these, the Chitrashala, also known as the Ummed Mahal, stands out for its beautiful frescoes depicting scenes from the life of Lord Krishna.

A sprawling partly ruined palace that clings to a hillside, making the palace one of Rajasthan travels must see sites
Garh Palace, Bundi

The Taragarh Fort


The Taragarh Fort, which translates to ‘Star’ Fort, is a sprawling chain of walls, citadels, and defences, that dominates the steep hill which overlooks the Garh Palace and the city below. Within the fort is a small palace called the Rani Mahal, built for the wives and concubines of kings. There are also a number of stepwells in the vicinity of the palace that can be explored. The star of the show, however, must be the amazing views of the city and countryside below.

Stone path leading up to a ruined set of fortifications, making this fort one of Rajasthan's must see attractions
Taragarh Fort, Bundi

Raniji Ki Baori


The Raniji Ki Baori, also known as the Queen’s Stepwell, is a beautifully maintained well that was built in 1699 by Rani Nathavati Ji Solanki, the younger queen of the ruling Rao Raja Anirudh Singh of Bundi. The stepwell descends to a depth of 46 metres and has more than 100 steps. The well is surrounded by superb carvings on the pillars as well as a grand arched entrance.

An enclosed stepwell, with stairs leading down to a pool of water, making this baori one of Rajasthan travel's most impressive stepwells.
Raniji Ki Baori, Bundi

Dhabhai Kund


The Dabhai Kund is the most impressive stepwell in Bundi, also known as the City of Stepwells, with its symmetry really capturing the attention. It is situated within a pleasant tree-lined enclosure, but access can be made to the complex at all times.


Huge stepwell, with hundreds of steps leading down to a well, making this stepwell one of Rajasthan travel's must see sites.
Dhabhai Kund, Bundi

Sukh Mahal


On the banks of the Jait Sagar Lake, with its armada of water lilies, it is easy to see why the Sukh Mahal is also known as the Palace of Bliss. Constructed in 1776 as a summer retreat for the royal family, the palace’s most famous resident was probably Rudyard Kipling, and it is said that much of his novel Kim was written here.

Elegant pavilion on the shores of a lake with thousands of water lilies, making this palace a must see attraction of Rajasthan's travels
Sukh Mahal, Bundi

Other Attractions in Bundi


A visit to the 84 Pillared Cenotaph is also recommended. This beautiful monument was constructed in 1683 and is supported by 84 pillars. 

Guide to Rajasthan travels

Read on to discover the places you can visit between the three cities, how to get around the cities and where to stay.

Other Cities & Attractions to Visit in Rajasthan

Within an hour’s drive from Jaipur there is the opportunity to view what is perhaps India’s most impressive step well. The Chand Baori Stepwell, in the village of Abhaneri, is massive construction from the 8th & 9th centuries, containing an amazing 3,500 steps.

A stepwell with thousands of steps leading down to a pool of water, making this  stepwell the most impressive of Rajasthan's travels
Chand Baori Stepwell, Abhaneri

It is well worth adding a day or two to your itinerary to stay at the Ranthambore National Park or the Sariska Tiger Reserve and enjoy a safari tour, with the chance of seeing these majestic felines in the wild.

Between Jaipur and Jodhpur is the pilgrimage destination of Pushkar, with its scenic lake, bathing ghats and annual camel fair. It was at Pushkar that it was said the deity Brahma performed penance, and the city is now one of the few places in India that hosts a temple to the creator god.

A lake surrounded by buildings and ghats, with birds  flying  over it, making Pushkar one of Rajasthan travels highlights
Pushkar Lake, Pushkar

Between Udaipur and Bundi is the imposing Chittorgarh Fort, which sprawls over a hill 180 m in height, covering an area of 280 ha. Dating back to the 7th century, the fort now encompasses 4 palaces, 19 large temples, 4 memorials and a few victory towers.

A large open well surrounded by fortifications, with the city of Chittorgarh in the background below, making the fort one the must see attractions of Rajasthan travel
Gaumukh Kund, Chittorgarh Fort

There are a number of other cities within Rajasthan, just brimming with delights. Jaisalmer, known as the ‘Golden City’, boasts mesmerising sandstone architecture, including the iconic Jaisalmer Fort. Kota has its impressive City Palace, with its stunning gardens and museum. Tonk is a cross-cultural town with Rajput and Muslim architectural influences, and a stunning mosque. While Bikaner, with its Junagarh Fort, complete with palaces and temples, stands as a testament to the city’s royal past. Likewise, the fort at Nagaur will also take your breath away.

Getting Around the Cities

If you have chosen to hire a driver and car to take through Rajasthan, ensure that they are booked to drive you between the attractions in each city. This would be the easiest way to get around.

Please note that if you have never driven in an Indian city before, do not even contemplate hiring a car or scooter. It takes a special set of skills to drive here which are only learned if you have grown up on these roads!

Uber is an easy way of getting around Rajasthan’s cities. Aircon is standard (don’t be scared to ask them to turn it up!), its comparatively cheap (if you are from Europe/America), and there is always one just a couple of minutes away.

For short journeys, the auto-rickshaws are a handy alternative, and an exciting experience that you need to have at least once on your trip.

Where to Stay

There are plenty of options for accommodation in Rajasthan’s larger cities, ranging from budget to luxury hotels and guesthouses, with all the main global hotel brands well represented. The popular accommodation aggregators like Expedia and are also full of options. However, when you look at smaller cities, like Bundi, your options are more limited.

One type of accommodation I would advise staying at is a haveli. A haveli is a traditional townhouse or mansion, and many have been converted into hotels. Staying in a haveli can be an unforgettable experience, offering a chance to become immersed in the local culture and history.

Heritage hotels are similar to havelis but tend to be larger converted palaces and often more expensive. Another great experience all the same. 

I stayed at the modern Trident Hotel Jaipur and found it very comfortable, with excellent service. Located on the shores of Man Sagar Lake, with a great view of the Jal Mahal, with lovely restaurants and bar, it was an ideal base for my Jaipur exploration.

Although I didn’t actually stay there, the meal at the Taj Hari Mahal in Jodhpur was excellent and I could tell that this is a very special hotel, if you are looking for a little luxury. My focus, however, was more on the budget end, and I spent three nights in The Prem Beacon, Jodhpur. It was cheap and cheerful, clean and friendly, and I found it adequate for working remotely.

I stayed at the Hotel Boheda Palace in Udaipur and found it very comfortable, with excellent service. Just a ten-minute walk from the shores of Lake Pichola, the hotel has a lovely rooftop terrace, served by a good restaurant, with an excellent view of the City Palace. It was an ideal base for my Udaipur exploration.

I stayed at the Dev Niwas in Bundi and found it very comfortable, with excellent service. Just a ten-minute walk from the Garh Palace and also the centre of the city, the hotel has a lovely terrace, served by a good restaurant, with an excellent view of the Garh Palace.

Read on to discover what to eat and buy.

What to Eat in Rajasthan

The cuisine of northern India, as in the rest of the country, is diverse, tasty and relatively cheap. Vegetarian meals are at the forefront of most menus in Rajasthan, and it can be difficult to get meat dishes (unless you go to a Muslim restaurant). Beef will never be on the menu, but buffalo is a good alternative when available.


The cuisine uses lots of spices and the dishes can be hot, however, if this is not to your taste, restaurants are very happy to reduce the heat if you ask when ordering. 

What to try:

Kachori – flatbread stuffed with a spicy, sweet, and savoury filling of potatoes, onions, and spices.

Kadhi – curd-based curry with fried gram flour and fritters called pakoda.

Gatte Ki Sabzi – dumplings made from gram flour in gravy.

Safed Maas – mutton-based dish, with fresh cream and yoghurt.

Laal Mass – spicy mutton made with lot of red chilli.

Aloo Baingan – eggplant and potatoes, cooked together with onions, tomatoes and spices.

Murgh-E-Sabz – boneless strips of chicken with vegetables and local spices.

Ghevar – a traditional fried dessert made with maida (refined flour) and ghee (clarified butter).

Makhaniya Lassi - drink made with curd, milk, rose water, and saffron, topped with unsalted butter and chopped dry nuts.


What to Buy in Rajasthan

Rajasthan has a rich history of making amazing handicrafts, with each city specialising in certain types. Jaipur, for example, is famous for its blue pottery and kundan jewellery (jewellery with precious gems), while Jodhpur is a good place to buy Rajasthan’s famous tie-and-dye fabrics and sarees, called bandini or bandhej. Then Udaipur excels in the beautiful traditional paintings of Rajasthan including the Pichwai, Phad and Rajasthani miniature paintings, especially in the shops in the Haathi Pol bazaar.


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Etiquette in Rajasthan

When visiting sites of any religion, it is respectful to keep your shoulders and knees covered. You are normally asked to remove your shoes as well. Additionally, Sikh temples require you to wear a head covering if you are a man. Many sites will provide suitable clothing so that you can enter, but not always. Note that you might not be allowed to visit mosques during prayer times.