Rajasthan has something in store for all types of travelers – if you love to wander the deserts, lose yourself in the impressive architecture of the palaces and forts, satiate your shopping frenzy in the bazaars, enthrall your taste buds with the local cuisine, or relax and rejuvenate with glamping in the countryside!
Here’s a quick guide on travel tips for royal Rajasthan that all first-time visitors to the desert state must know.
#1: How to start your tour?
As the largest state in India, Rajasthan encompasses several towns and villages, with four major cities – Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, and Jodhpur. A road trip across Rajasthan is most preferred as you get to explore the fascinating, colorful, off-beat tourist destinations along the way. For instance, on the way between Udaipur and Jodhpur, you can stop at Ranakpur and Kumbhalgarh. And Ajmer and Pushkar lie en route from Jaipur to Udaipur.
If you’re planning to cover the entire state, the best option is to join a luxury package tour that takes you on a road trip in air-conditioned coaches or private cars.
#2: How to decide on the itinerary?
Most tourists fly to Jaipur/Udaipur and then travel by road to Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. The famous road trip circuit in Rajasthan is Jaipur – Udaipur – Jodhpur – Jaisalmer – Jaipur. The return journey from Jaisalmer to Jaipur takes over ten hours, and you can include an overnight stop at Bikaner, to break up the drive and avoid road fatigue.
#3: Where to stay?
As one of the top tourist destinations in India, attracting tourists from all over the world, Rajasthan has a wide range of travel accommodations to suit all types of travelers. For a unique experience, you can opt to stay in a luxurious heritage palace that has been converted into a contemporary hotel with all modern amenities. It gives you a glimpse into the rich Rajasthan royal culture.
#4: What to see?
There is no shortage of interesting sightseeing spots in Rajasthan. It’s historically rich and vibrant, with dozens of stunning palaces, majestic forts, impressive Havelis, breath-taking architecture, lively cultural performances, exciting camel and ATV rides, and more.
The palaces, forts, and museums in Rajasthan are well-cataloged and have adequate signage and audio guides. It makes it easy for everyone to visit, even if you don’t know the local language. However, you have to be wary of fake guides who charge expensive fees without showing you the rich history of the place. To avoid falling into tourist scams, it’s highly recommended that you join a reputed tour package. These packages assign an authorized local guide for your group. The guides show you every nook and corner of the place you’re visiting while highlighting the significance of each spot.
#5: What to eat?
Just like the culture, the cuisine of Rajasthan is vibrant and diverse. Here are some of the must-eat foods while in Rajasthan:
Dal Baati Churma
The most-loved mixed lentil dal is served with Baati, a hard bread. You can also find stuffed Baatis filled with onion, peas, lentils, and Sattu.
A traditional Rajasthani meat curry simmered in spices and loaded with red chilies. Warning: Not for the faint-hearted. Finish it off with a tall glass of buttermilk to cool down your taste buds.
It’s a popular Rajasthani dessert made with wheat flour, soaked in sugar syrup.
#6: What to buy?
If you’re looking to pick up a few memorable souvenirs to take back home for friends and family, Rajasthan will not disappoint you. From colorful local Rajasthani artifacts to traditional attire, Rajasthani bedspreads to Pashmina shawls, the markets, and bazaars of Rajasthan are a shopaholic’s paradise. When street shopping, make sure to practice your best bargaining skills and quote 30-40% of the sale price.
An alternative is to visit Government-authorized handloom shops. Though prices are a bit higher here, the quality is genuine, and the products you purchase here will last longer.
#7: When to visit?
Most of Rajasthan is a desert and can have extreme temperatures. The best season to visit is from October to March, as the weather cools down and is pleasant. If possible, try to avoid the peak summer months from April to September, as the weather is scorching and dry.
#8: What to pack?
One of the biggest mistakes most travelers make is that they assume Rajasthan is hot and pack only light cotton wear. While that’s true during the day, note that since it’s a desert, the evenings get a little nippy, and temperatures drop down to single digits during winter nights. So, make sure to carry warm jackets or outerwear that you can layer up or down, accordingly. And, don’t forget to pack flat, comfortable walking shoes as there is plenty of walking, and hiking involved. Other essentials include a scarf, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, and mosquito repellent to protect yourself from the heat and pests.
A state of palaces and forts for a memorable holiday experience
Majestic palaces, rich cultural heritage, mouth-watering food – it doesn’t get more Indian than Rajasthan. No matter the type of traveler you are, Rajasthan will enthrall and captivate you with a lifetime of memories. Are you ready to explore?