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We’ve navigated the blushing streets of Jaipur, haggled in Udaipur‘s markets and found the best spot in to admire Elephant Rock in Narlai village to bring you this all-encompassing itinerary across Rajasthan (with a pit stop in nearby Delhi for good measure). We’ve got affiliate links to our experiential friends at Nemo Travel throughout this article in case you feel inspired to book your trip.
India’s largest state by area, Rajasthan covers more than 10 per cent of the country, meaning that any trip to this so-called Land of Kings needs to be carefully planned. Between the rose-hued streets of Jaipur, the ethereal Narlai village and Jawai’s hills peppered with wild leopards, you’ll be hard pressed to see all of the area’s spoils in one trip. But we’ve haggled our way through markets in Udaipur, tussled with tigers (read: respectfully gazed at from a safe distance) in Ranthambore and ventured to Delhi to bring you the ultimate north Indian itinerary.
Experience the best of Rajasthan
Days 1-3: Delhi
If you’re visiting North India, it’s well worth tacking on a trip to Delhi and diving into the city before heading to Rajasthan. Set up camp at The Leela Palace New Delhi hotel, where elegant chandeliers, magnificent architecture and a rooftop pool provide a tranquil respite from frenetic streets. Dump your bags and explore Old Delhi on an adrenaline-inducing rickshaw ride, zipping along alleys and traffic-packed roads. Stop at Bukhara Restaurant (widely considered the world’s best Indian) to refuel with tandoori dishes and its legendary black daal. If reservations are proving tricky to get (as often the case), nip round the corner to Dum Pukht, Bukhara’s sister restaurant and a favourite among Delhiites.
Start your second day with a meditation or yoga class before reimmersing yourself in the city’s streets to visit Jama Masjid (one of India’s largest mosques) and the tomb of Humayun, a lauded Mughal emperor. Alternatively opt for a day trip to the historic city of Agra, exploring the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, returning to Delhi in time for a tour through the busy market area of Chandni Chowk, sampling street food under the cover of night.
Days 3-7: Jaipur
Make the transfer to Jaipur (four and a half hours by train or five by car) and meander along the Pink City’s blushing streets, where speeding rickshaws swerve around dawdling camels and the salmon-hued Hawa Mahal beckons travellers. On the city’s outskirts, Amanbagh hotel provides a quiet base among the rolling Aravalli Range. With a name meaning “peaceful garden”, the hotel echoes the city’s aesthetic with rose-tinted walls, marbled floors and shaded courtyards in which guests can bask in regal elegance.
Hike up the hills surrounding the hotel for views over the city before heading to Dera Amer, home to some Rajasthan’s majestic elephants. After a working life spent at Amer Fort, elephants retire to this safari camp, where they are free to spend days roaming, eating and bathing to their heart’s content. Come dusk, delve back into the city for a candlelit dinner at Bar Palladio Jaipur, or book into a Bollywood-style dance class.
Days 7-9: Jodhpur
From the Pink City to one that’s blue, travel to Jodhpur, the second largest metropolis in Rajasthan. Start with a visit to the towering Mehrangarh Fort to enjoy views across the city before choosing between dinner at Chokelao Restaurant, located inside the fort, or venturing into the city to feast at Indique. Later, bed down at RAAS Jodhpur, a converted 18th-century haveli (a traditional Indian townhouse) set within the old town.
The next day, get to grips with the city on a Blue City Heritage Walk, which takes you deep into the bazaar, or try the Bandhani Art Experience for a tour through Ek Minar Masjid, learning about Jodhpur’s creative scene en route. If you’re looking to explore beyond Jodhpur, take an excursion to the “Golden City” of Jaisalmer, where yellow sandstone buildings meld naturally into the plains of the Thar Desert.
Days 9-11: Narlai and beyond
Next up, take a break from city life in rural Rajasthan. Wander through colourful Narlai and surrounding villages before riding out on a Marwari horse, characteristic of the Jodhpur region. As evening draws in, hop onto a bullock cart to be whisked away to an ancient stepwell, where dinner awaits. The 17th-century royal retreat-turned-boutique hotel Rawla Narlai lets travellers stay in the thick of village life. Spend mornings lazing by the pool with views of nearby Elephant Rock, and later join a game drive to spot wild leopards darting across the landscape.
Days 11-14: Udaipur
After a few days among red-turbaned farmers and inquisitive children, the decadent palaces and lively bazaars seem like a whole new world (pun intended). Nicknamed the Venice of the East, the city is interspersed with lakes which sparkle against a backdrop of the Aravalli Range. Stroll on the banks of shimmering waters to stumble upon sacred ghats, or nip down backstreets lined with havelis and temples.
Book a suite at Hotel Amet Haveli to stay in spacious rooms with balconies overlooking the lake. From here, while away mornings jostling through crowds and bartering for souvenirs at the nearby market and stop for lunch at the in-vogue Artist House. The city is known for its contemporary-art scene, so take time to learn about Udaipur’s artisans and craftspeople – this place is brimming with local creatives keen to showcase their work. As dusk falls, be sure to return to your hotel to watch the fiery sunset over the lake.
We’ve teamed up with Nemo Travel to help make experiences bookable. They’re a luxury travel company which brings together insider advice with innovative technology. Catering to the modern traveller, its unique itinerary builder gives you the power to design a bespoke trip at a price that suits you. We’re thrilled to be partnering with them to bring you the best in experiential travel at the click of a button.
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