Rajasthan is one of the most sought after tourist destination in India. To me, Rajasthan was always a dream that kept tempting me for years but one that I could never achieve for a multitude of reasons.
Now , why was I so interested in Rajasthan??? In childhood, Rajasthan was synonymous to colours for me. The child in me loved the colourful dress worn by women along with tonnes of silver jewellery. As I started learning History in higher classes, I was moved by the heroism exhibited by Rajput warriors. I wanted to visit the land of great warriors. I also wished to experience the life in desert and stay in desert camp. In recent years, two major interests that I developed, travelling and using artificial jewellery also kept attracting me to Rajasthan.
The trip finally happened in September. My close friend and college senior, Asha, accompamied me for the trip. Even though I planned a 10 day trip I was unable to cover the whole of Rajasthan due to the sheer size of the state. I had to be limit my itinerary to the major cities of Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Pushkar and Ajmer. We spend two days in each city to learn its history, visit major tourist spots and enjoy the local food. We spend half day each in Pushkar and Ajmer. Here is the detailed itinerary of my trip.
Day 1 – 29/08/19 – Udaipur
We reached Udaipur at around 9 am by flight. We checked into our room located in the old part of city by 10.30 Am. All the tourist attractions are located in the old part of city. Hence it’s better to choose a stay here so that you can walk to all places. We started our sightseeing around 12Pm. We first visited Jagdish Temple which is more than 350 years old. It is beautifully decorated with ornate carvings. Then we visited the City palace. It is a wonderful palace complex made entirely of marble and granite. It’s better to avail the service of a guide who explains the history and significance of each part. .
We skipped the boating in Lake pichola as the rates were exorbitantly high. But after leaving Udaipur we learned that only the boat service of the royal family trust were charged high. Boats of locals can be used for much lesser price. By the time, we finished visiting city palace it was evening. We moved on to Gangaur ghat, from where we could enjoy Lake Pichola. Next to Gangaur ghat is Bagore ki haveli, a small museum. Since it closes at 5 Pm, we couldn’t visit the museum. Haveli is more famous for the arts show which takes place at 7pm. The tickets are issued from 6Pm and there is a long queue to watch the show. Show was one of the most memorable parts of our trip. We enjoyed the folk dances, drama, and puppet show. Show gets over by 8 pm. We walked back to our stay.
Places visited : Jagdish temple, City palace(entry 300Rs, 300 Rs for guide), Gangaur Ghat, Arts show at Bagore ki haweli(100Rs plus 150 Rs for mobile camera)
Stay : Bed and Breakfast near Gadiya Devra. Rent was 750 Rs(twin sharing). Ph: 9352506701. It’s a budget homestay in old part of city.
Day 2 – 30/8/19 – Udaipur
We started early and spend some time enjoying morning view of Lake pichola from Daiji footbridge build across the lake. Then we visited Karni matha temple which is located on the Machla Magra hills and involves a moderate trek. We wanted to enjoy the cable car ride and so we went to temple in colourful cable cars which also gives you a wonderful view of whole of Udaipur. The cable car service starts at 8.30 Am. We reached at 7.30 and so spend some time in the park nearby. There is also a beautiful small pond called Dudh Talab.
After returning from temple we hired an auto for entire day as we had to visit many places and were running short of time. We started with Fateh sagar lake which I didn’t find much interesting. Moti magri is the memorial of Rajput warrior Maharaja Pratap and has a huge bronze statue of Maharaja astride his favourite horse , Chetak. More than the statue what attracted me was the museum in the complex which housed paintings that gave you an overview of life of many kings. I fell in love with Maharaja Pratap after reading his history that was exhibited in the museum. Then we went to Badi lake which is located 12 kms from the city. It had started drizzling and at Badi lake we were lucky to witness tribal village fair that takes place once in a year to welcome monsoon.
When we left Badi lake , there were heavy showers with thunder. Since our auto had no proper side covering, we were drenched by the time we reached monsoon palace situated 10 kms from the city. Thepa lace is situated on a hill so we had to leave the auto at the gate and take a jeep to reaach the top. The palace is supposed to offer a panoramic view of city’s lakes and palaces but due to rain we couldn’t see anything. Palace itself has nothing much to offer. It is famous for its sunset view that we missed because of rains. After that we visited some shops in Hathi pol Bazar and finally the auto driver(Said khan – 9783647877) left us at bus station. He charged very reasonable rate (800Rs) considering the distance travelled and time spend(nearly 8hrs). At 8.30 Pm we boarded our pre booked bus to Jaisalmer.
Places visited : Daiiji Foot bridge, Doodh Talab, Karni matha temple (110Rs), Fateh Sagar lake, Moti Magri(90Rs), Badi talab and Monsoon palace(entry 75Rs, jeep service 95Rs)
Day 3 – 31/8/19 – Jaisalmer
We reached Jaisalmer by 8.30 Am. Our host, Ali picked us and took us to home stay which was located inside the fort. By 10 Am, we set out to explore the fort. We hired a guide at Rs 100/hr. Beware of the guides. They act as agents for shops. So they try to lure you to vist shops/ havelis etc. Tell the guide right away that you don’t want to do any shopping and not to take you to any haveli. There is so much to see in the fort including a centuries old Jain temple. We took three hours to see the fort. At 3.30Pm, Ali had arranged a cab to take us to the Sam sand dunes located 30 km from Jaisalmer, where you can experience the real desert.
On the way we visited Kuldhara ghost village. We reached our desert stay at 5pm. At 5.30 we were taken for a camel safari and returned back by 7.30. Camp organisers had arranged some local singers and tribals to perform dance and music. After that we were served traditional dinner.
Sightseeing – Jaisalmer fort, Haveli (50Rs), Jain temple(30 Rs), Kuldhara, Camel ride, Dance and music show
Stay : Thar desert camp ( 2000 per person including camp stay, camel safari, jeep safari, pick and drop at jaisalmer, kuldhara, kabha visit)
Day 4 – 1/9/19 – Jaisalmer
Early morning around 6.20Am we left in an open Jeep , to watch sunrise and do some dune bashing. On the way back we also visited a Banjara camp and interacted with people there.
After breakfast we went to visit Ali’s village Siyalon Ki vasti which was located around 12 kms from the camp. We spend some time there interacting with villagers, understanding village life. On way back, Ali let me drive his gypsy and we visited Kabah fort, Kabah village and an oasis. We reached back at Jaisalmer by 4pm. Rest of the evening we spend on the terrace of our home stay from where we could experience a beautiful sunset .
Things done : Jeep safari, Sunrise in desert, banajara visit, village visit, Kabah fort, Kabah village, Oasis, Sunset from fort
Stay : Rumi’s home stay – Ali (7742455158)- 750Rs – very good place inside the fort
Day 5 – 2/9/19 – Jodhpur
We left for jodhpur by 7 am train. We reached at 1pm. After having lunch with friends who were visiting Jodhpur, we went to our homestay, El nido palace. It was a bad choice. We faced lot of inconveniences. In the evening, we explored the blue houses that were located in the old part of city and interacted with few locals.
Sightseeing – Blue city
Stay – El nido palace (not recommended)
Day 6 – 3/9/19 – Jodhpur
At 7 am, we visited nearby step well and clock tower. We also visited Kunj Bihari temple, a very olden Krishna temple. Then we hired an auto and went to Rao Jodha desert National park for a trekking. Next we visited Meharang Fort. We also did some shopping at local bazar. At 11pm we caught a train to Jaipur.
Sightseeing – Stepwell, Clock tower, Kunj Bihari temple, Rao jodha park, Meharang fort, Shopping
Day 7 – 4/9/19 – Jaipur
We reached Jaipur at 5am and hired a cab to our stay. After freshening up, we took a bus to Ajmeri gate at 9.30 Am. We explored Albert museum and had brunch at Masala chowk nearby.Masala chowk is a food court with more than 15 stalls that sell authentic rajasthani food. Then we visited Jal mahal and went to Amer fort by public bus. Even though we had planned to visit Jaigarh fort, we dropped it as we were very tired.
Sightseeing – Ajmeri gate, Albert Hall, Masala Chowk, Jalmahal, Amber Fort
Day 8 – 5/9/19 – Pushkar , Ajmer
We left by pre booked bus to Ajmer by 6.15 Am and reached by 8.45 Am. We took another bus from there to Pushkar. We reached around 10 Am. We hired a buggy to take us to temple. As some festival was going on, the temple was crowded. We got out after darsan at around 11.15Am. We visited the Pushkar market and did some shopping .
We then took a bus to Ajmer at 1.30 Pm and reached at 2 Pm. After visiting Dargah we took pre booked bus to Jaipur at 3.30 Pm and reached by 6.20 Pm. The bus drivers are so unreliable in Rajasthan. Earlier at Ajmer, a bus driver told us that he will be taking his bus after half hour and that a bus which goes before his bus will come soon. We waited for the bus to arrive. Meanwhile the earlier bus was filled and he took it within 10mts and we were kept waiting. Secondly, our prebooked bus was at 3.30. We arrived at 3pm and occupied our seat. The bus left at 3.20PM, 10 mts ahead of time. Both times it was Rajasthan transport corporation buses and not any private vehicle.
Sightseeeing – Brahma Temple at Pushkar, Shopping, Ajmer Dargah
Day 9 – 6/9/19 – Jaipur
We took a cab to Hawa mahal and also visited City palace. At city palace we did hire a guide. But after visiting we understood there was no need for any guide as all things were written clearly in front of artefacts. Afternoon was spend shopping at Bappu Bazar ( Sheets and blankets), Johri Bazar ( semi precious necklace) and Chameli market ( artificial jewellery).
Things we did – Hawa mahal, City palace(entry 200Rs, guide 150 Rs), Shopping
Day 10 – 7/9/19 – Jaipur
We took a cab to airport and left Jaipur by 10.30 Am flight and reached Cochin by 5.30 pm.
Places visited – Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Pushkar, Ajmer, Jaipur
Travel expense including flight charge from Cochin- 15,490 Rs
Food expenses – 3800 Rs
Sightseeing charges – 2030 Rs
Lodging – 4250 Rs
Total expense – 10D 9N – 25,570 Rs
Rajasthan is the land of kings and great warriors, magnificent forts and palaces, rich tradition and culture, vibrant colours and delectable cuisine. There is something for all kinds of travellers – solo, group, friends, family, couples etc. If you want to spend few peaceful days you can enjoy the serenity of numerous lakes, if you want to understand history you should visit forts, museums and palaces, if you are a gourmet then Rajasthan has a lot to offer in the form of street food, cuisines and desserts. If you want to feel rush of adrenaline then you have options like ziplining, hot air balloon, paragliding etc. I’m sure if you visit Rajasthan you will return with a treasure trove of memories like me!!!!
For more photos related to my trip please visit https://www.facebook.com/Wind-in-my-hair-308490250040609/