Rajasthan: Taj to Tribals, Forts to Palaces, Hills to Desert Hikes

  • Duration
    16 Days
  • Region
  • Category
  • Best Time
    • October - March


Trek Grade: Easy

Rajasthan is a land of valour and chivalry going back many thousands of years where great warriors and kings called the Rajputs ruled. Their history of courage kept the invaders at bay and maintained their traditional way of life. The state is dotted with hill forts, palaces and temples that are pieces of art with some of the finest stone carvings of the most intricate level seen there. These are marvels of the world and beauties to behold. Meet the Rajasthani people who to a large extent still live a traditional lifestyle with colourful turbans of the men and the colourful dresses of the women bringing a slash of brightness against a stark desert landscape. The Aravali Hills which are one of the oldest mountain chains on Earth, bisects the state from North to South separating the greener Eastern Rajasthan from the more barren Western Rajasthan. These hills and dunes give ample opportunities for the more active and adventurous travellers to explore active holiday options too. Welcome to the land of colour, cultures, traditional people, golden sands, ancient hills, spectacular historical structures of which many are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and an amazing wildlife of birds and animals.

Tours Highlights

  • A 16 days journey with explorations of Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur and some hiking through the Aravali Hills at Gadoli & Kumbhalgarh and through the sands of the Thar Desert at Jamba
  • English speaking local guide Including all applicable taxes and entrance fees at the Monuments
  • Assistance at airports & transportation by SUVs or, coaches depending on group size
  • Flight Jodhpur to Delhi
  • Prices on request

Destinations Covered

Detailed Itinerary

  1. Day 1 Arrive Delhi


    After clearing immigration and customs, our representative will meet you at the receiving area and escort you to your hotel. Thereafter, arrive at the hotel and check-in.

    Delhi is a dynamic city where the past coexists with the present. While historic evidence shows that the area around Delhi was first occupied around 2,500 years ago, Hindu mythology predates that by another 500 years. The British captured the city in 1803 and when they decided to make it the capital of India in 1911, they commissioned Sir Edwin Lutyens to draw up the plans. The result is slightly surprising with spacious tree-lined avenues punctuated with architecture which is among the most striking in the world.

    Overnight at the Hotel (No Meals)

  2. Day 2 Delhi


    After breakfast, experience the combined charm of Old and New Delhi.

    On the tour of “Old Delhi,” you will head out to explore this exotic locale with its narrow dirt roads, myriads of people and inexpensive and colorful bazaars that keep alive the traditional workmanship for which Delhi has always been famous. Drive past the Red Fort, and visit the Jama Masjid, one of the largest Muslim mosques in India.

    A bicycle rickshaw will take you into the heart of Chandni Chowk (the silver square - so named because of the silver merchants).

    Drive past India Gate, a 42-metre archway built in memory of Indian soldiers killed during the First World War and Rashtrapati Bhawan, built in the early 20th century as the Imperial residence of the Viceroy. Today, it is the official residence of the President of India.

    Thereafter, visit the most prominent Sikh Gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship, in Delhi. It was originally a bungalow belonging to Raja Jai Singh, a 17th century Indian ruler. It is open to people of all faiths, castes or creeds. The premises house a sacred pond in which devotees bathe. They believe that this would wash off their misdeeds and thus allow them to attain peace of mind. The 'Langars' or the community kitchen proves to be the ideal example of prodigious hospitality of the Sikhs. Anyone and everyone can have scrumptious meal irrespective of caste, color or class.

    From here, visit the capital's most striking monument; the 70-meter high Qutab Minar. Post visit of monument return back to the hotel and relax, rest of the day will be at leisure.

    Lunch and dinner on own.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  3. Day 3 Drive Delhi / Agra (210 kms / 130 miles / 4 hrs approx)


    After breakfast, depart for Agra.

    Agra has a rich historical background, which is amply evident from the numerous historical monuments in and around the city. The earliest reference for Agra comes from the epical age, when Mahabharata refer Agra as Agravana. In the sources prior to this, Agra has been referred as Arya Griha or the abode of the Aryans. The golden age of the city began with the Mughals. Akbar made it the center of art, culture, commerce and learning. Later, Agra came to its own when Shahjahan ascended to the throne of Mughal Empire. During the peaceful reign of Shah Jahan, his passion for architecture came to the fore and world-famous architectural masterpieces were constructed. He marked the zenith of Mughal architecture, when he built the Taj in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. However, after the reign of Shah Jahan’s son Aurangzeb (1658-1707), and the gradual disintegration of the empire, the city passed from one invader to another before the British took charge early in the 19th century.

    Later, visit the imposing Red Fort of Agra (also known as Agra Fort). A creative, architectural, and strategic masterpiece, the Fort is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In a cruel twist, Emperor Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal and whose grandfather built the original Fort and who also assumed the throne himself, was imprisoned here at the end of his life by his own son - in a room looking out on the Taj Mahal across the river. This evening savour a travel highlight as you embark on a tour of the Taj Mahal, the magnificent tomb of white marble built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, who had implored her husband to build a monument symbolizing their undying love for each other. Some 20,000 labourers and artisans from around the world spent 21 years constructing what became Mumtaz’s mausoleum, which was begun in 1632. Along with its exquisite symmetry, the Taj features striking examples of pietra dura, a decorative art in which craftsmen embed precisely cut semi-precious stones in marble to form dazzling patterns.

    Lunch and dinner on own.

    Overnight at the Hotel (B)

  4. Day 4 Agra / Gadoli (160 kms / 99 miles / 3.5 hrs approx)

    Gadoli, Aravali Hills

    After breakfast, drive to Village Gadoli.

    On arrival, check-in to Dera Village - The Clement Retreat. An eco-friendly Retreat, located in the lap of nature - where "Simplicity forms Art of Living" palable in Thought, Expression and Comfort. Away from hustle-bustle of the crowded cities, towards pristine and untouched lives of the real people of the land.

    Set in the heart of India and nestled at the base of India's oldest range of fold mountains - the Aravali Hills, Dera Village - The Clement Retreat is located in the rural countryside of Rajasthan. The green paddy fields surrounding the Retreat, the bonfire place, the well-planned garden and organic farms– all add to make the retreat a perfect oasis of calm, away from the hustle and bustle of cities.

    After lunch at the retreat, we set out on a camel/camel cart safari through the surrounding villages to meet the local Meena tribes people who live in mud huts that they decorate inside with floral and animal designs. Largely an agricultural people, the Meena have maintained much of their traditional culture and customs, as we see for ourselves up close.

    Lunch and dinner at the retreat.

    Overnight at the Retreat (B, L, D)

  5. Day 5 Gadoli

    Gadoli, Aravali Hills

    To really get to know a place, you have to feel its earth beneath your feet. A short, two-and-a-half-kilometer trek to a quaint hillside temple is not only a great way to stretch your muscles, but to also get acquainted with the surrounding countryside and the rich flora and fauna.

    From the ‘commanding heights of the temple, you can see verdant green fields, little villages, and country roads spread out below you. In the far distance, a medieval monument is visible through the morning haze. A feeling of peace and wellbeing pervades the air.

    Later hike up and climb the hills to reach the ruins of the ancient city called Garhmora where ancient dwellings, temples, walkways and other remnants of ancient bygone life is still visible. Located at an elevation the hike gives wonderful views of the surrounding valleys filled with crops of wheat and mustard, the yellow flowers of which is really enchanting.

    Rest of the evening is at leisure or you have an option to play a game of cricket with the retreat staff members.

    In today’s time, there is no better time to play than while on a vacation. The Retreat provides the opportunity to play Cricket, Badminton, and Croquet, invoking the old-world charm of playing in the garden with friends. Not to worry if you are short of players - Our staff is more than happy to join you in one of the games.

    There is also a collection of indoor games - Table Tennis, Snooker and board games if you are so inclined.

    Overnight at the Retreat (B, L, D)

  6. Day 6 Gadoli/Jaipur (103 kms / 64 miles / 2 hrs approx)


    After breakfast, check-out and drive to Jaipur. Enroute visit spectacular Step-wells ‘Chand Baori’ that lie hidden deep in the village of ‘Abhaneri’. This 10th century built zigzagged stepwells is a geometric wonder where Royals used to picnic, and today a popular spot through the film ‘Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’. BBC Travel called Abhaneri Stepwell, one of the 10 Great Unknown Wonders of the World.

    On arrival, check-in to the hotel.

    Jaipur is the largest city in Rajasthan and was built in the eighteenth century by Sawai Jai Singh as India's first planned city. Jaipur is a major tourist attraction amongst Indian as well as international travellers. Jaipur is often called the Pink City in reference to its distinctly colored buildings, which were originally painted this color to imitate the red sandstone architecture of Mughal cities. The present earthy red color originates from repainting of the buildings undertaken for a visit by the Prince of Wales in 1876. This royal place is also rich in heritage, culture and architecture with its splendid fortresses, majestic palaces, tranquil temples and beautiful havelis; Other than these captivating attractions, Jaipur displays exquisite handicrafts and spectacular jewellery. These intricate works of art add life and color to this Pink City's uniqueness.

    Jaipur city has been declared as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

    Today day is free to explore the colorful local markets of Jaipur on your own. Jaipur is famous for handicrafts, jewelry, pottery and textiles.

    Lunch & Dinner on own arrangements.

    Overnight at the Hotel (B)

  7. Day 7 Jaipur (103 kms / 64 miles / 2 hrs approx)


    After breakfast, proceed for the sightseeing of Jaipur including a visit to the Amber Fort, and a photo stop at the Palace of the Winds, the Hawa Mahal in the morning. Amber Fort, is a UNESCO World Heritage site built by the Kachhawah Rajputs as their capital from 1037 to 1728 and considered the pinnacle of Rajput architecture.

    We tour the unoccupied citadel this morning, to admire the fresco-covered portal, the impressive room of mirrors, walls of jewel-encrusted marble, and the royal apartments offering beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding valleys.

    We continue on to Jantar Mantar, the incredible open-air Royal Observatory (ca. 1728) housing oversized astronomical instruments and a UNESCO World Heritage site; and City Palace, former residence of the Maharajas of Jaipur, built in the shape of the city itself and now converted to a museum that houses the rulers’ magnificent art collections. Explore the local markets as Jaipur is most famous for its handicrafts.

    Lunch & Dinner on own arrangements.

    Overnight at the Hotel (B)

  8. Day 8 Jaipur – Udaipur (393 kms / 244 miles / 7 hrs approx)


    After breakfast, check-out from hotel and drive to Udaipur.Arrive Udaipur and check-in to the hotel.

    Set around a series of artificial lakes and known for its lavish royal residences, Udaipur has always been an inspiration for the perfect vacation of India! The world of lavish, chivalrous kings and gorgeous yet fearless queens reverberates their immortal tales in all of the forts and palaces of its cities. Set amidst a vast desert, the magical land of Rajasthan is synonymous with romance and chivalry that forms an integral part of the experience. Rich in culture and full of colour, it is a grand open-air museum, where the imperial forts, opulent palaces, amazing havelis, dances, music, arts and crafts and rich cuisine are on display for the world to capture the true element of this striking land.

    Enjoy the pleasant boat ride on the Lake Pichola in the evening.

    Lunch & Dinner on own arrangements.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  9. Day 9 Udaipur


    After early breakfast, take a 20 min ride to reach the starting point of the trek Tiger Lake located in the northwest of Udaipur, this lake is locally known by the name “Badi Lake” after the village Badi, on arrival at the starting point we will meet our local navigator who is a local resident and will also accompany us on the trek, we will spend some time at the lake enjoying its calm water and beauty, later we will commence our trek to Morwania Village.

    On this trek we will see few small villages which are though small but very authentic, we will walk through agricultural fields and get to know about the crops grown here and will see the farmers doing their daily work which would be very interesting.

    On our halfway mark we will stop at a selected location to relax ourselves, later we will continue towards the Morwania Village watching the local life, on reaching the village we will visit the house of the chief family here who have also organized delicious organic Rajasthani lunch for us, later enjoy the delicious lunch. After the lunch drive back to the hotel.

    Afternoon, explore the City Palace, an imposing edifice of granite and marble, standing atop a ridge overlooking the blue waters of Lake Pichola and the exquisite Lake Palace. Also visit the Crystal Gallery - the world's single largest private collection of crystal under one roof housed in the Fateh Prakash Palace. Visitors here are privy to one of the most exclusive and exquisite crystal collections.

    Dinner on own arrangements.

    Overnight at the hotel (B, L)

  10. Day 10 Udaipur -Ranakpur - Kumbhalgarh (127 kms / 79 miles / 3 hrs approx)


    Today, you drive to Kumbhalgarh, stopping along the way at Ranakpur, home to some of India’s most exquisite Jain temple architecture. Situated in the lovely valley of Aravalli Hills, are the ornately carved temples of Ranakpur which are the holiest places for Jain pilgrims, the Chamukha temple is three-storied, with 80 domes supported by 1444 carved pillars, each different from one another.

    On arrival in Kumbhalgarh, check-in to the hotel.

    Afternoon, visit Kumbhalgarh Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site under the group - Hill Forts of Rajasthan, built in the course of the 15th century by Ran Kumbha. The fort has the second largest wall in the world after the Great Wall of China. This gigantic fort enclosed by a huge wall stretching for 30 kilometers has numerous palaces and temples. The fort has seven grand gates and ramparts, one within the other. The panoramic view of the forests and hills from the top of the fort is impressive.

    Lunch & Dinner on own arrangements.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  11. Day 11 Kumbhalgarh


    After breakfast, transfer to the starting point of the trek. Meet your trekking guide and local navigator to get the briefing of the trek, later start trekking in the sanctuary area, its 3 Kms downhill in the beginning and then it would be a mixture of uphill and downhill terrain, the kumbhlgarh wildlife sanctuary is home for various animals like wild hogs, sloth bears , leopards, antelopes etc and numerous birds species, if lucky we might see some animals in the sanctuary area but witnessing some amazing bird species is assured.

    We will take a halt on our halfway mark for refreshment thereafter we will continue our trek and finish it close to a village.

    Afternoon is at leisure.

    Lunch & Dinner on own arrangements.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  12. Day 12 Kumbhalgarh – Jodhpur (174 kms / 108 miles / 3.5 hrs approx)


    After breakfast, drive to Jodhpur. Upon arrival, check-in to the hotel.

    Located on the foothill of a sandstone hillock, the city of Jodhpur seems like an oasis in the vast desert. The city is known by three names as the "Sun City" for the bright, sunny weather it enjoys all year. It is also referred to as the "Blue City" due to the vivid blue-painted houses around the Mehrangarh Fort. Being at the onshore of Thar Desert, referred as the “Gateway to Thar”, life has been influenced with ways of the desert folks (gypsies can be found in many parts of the city) The forts and palaces, temples and havelis, culture and tradition, spices and fabrics, colour and texture, a booming handicrafts industry, all add up to make this historic city worth a visit.

    Afternoon, visit the impressive Meharangarh Fort has been in existence since 1459 and is one of the most astounding constructions and architectural marvels from its day and age. The towering building has extremely high walls and gates, and the closer it is explored, the smaller you begin to feel! Inside the fort is a network of courtyards and palaces including a museum that houses a splendid collection of items from the Maharajas, salvaged to display regally out of pride for their long bout of warding off attackers.

    Apart from the grand Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada is also one the hotspot of the Blue city. Immaculate in white marble, this mausoleum was built in 1899 in the memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II.

    Return back to the hotel and relax.

    Lunch & Dinner on own arrangements.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  13. Day 13 Jodhpur - Jamba (158 kms / 98 miles / 3.5 hrs approx)

    Jamba, Thar Desert

    This morning, check out from the hotel and drive to Jamba. En-route visit Osian town, popular due to its oasis-like appearance. This ancient township is dedicated to retaining the past. The most notable about Osian’s remarkable style is the great attractions of the fifteen beautifully preserved and sculpted temples. Created in the 8th and 9th centuries, no two temples are alike out of this incredible group. Wandering inside these breathtaking buildings, you’ll find some of the most beautifully decorated walls, shrines, sculptures and original use of stone.

    On arrival , check into Dera Dune - The Clement Retreat, a retreat, set atop a 100 feet high sand dune with panoramic views of the Thar Desert.

    In the distant reaches and vast expanse of the Thar Desert, far off the beaten tourist trail is the unique and inspirational Dera Dune - The Clement Retreat. This is a perfect place to get away from the big cities and enjoy the solitude of the desert life. Magnificently perched atop stabilized sand dune, it is a wonderful base to explore this remote area of Rajasthan and, most importantly, to interact with the living cultures of rural India. Spectacular sunsets from the sun deck call for a quiet moment with the rare colors that tint the western horizon. The eastern front is equally haunting in the early hours of the morning. Each is an individual experience with the superpowers of nature.

    No visit to the desert can be complete without the mandatory camel cart ride, so be adventurous and make sure you give it a try. Take an exciting camel safari to nearby dune to for a witness the beautiful sunset while enjoying the sundowner.

    Lunch and dinner at the Retreat.

    Overnight at Dera Dune - The Clement Retreat (B, L, D)

  14. Day 14 Jamba

    Jamba, Thar Desert

    After breakfast, explore the lodge’s sand dune surroundings on foot and walk in the footsteps of desert-adapted wildlife. You could spot the chinkara which is an antelope or, pack of vultures, lone eagles, peacocks, sand partridges and other desert life. Take the time to sit in the stillness under a unique Jaal tree and be enchanted by the views from atop the dunes. A dramatic landscape of dunes and gravel plains, enjoy a dune hike/walk with our expert guides, one which is completely private and tranquil. Highlight will be the climb up to the highest dune in the region called Phultuk from where the views of the surrounding deserts are really lovely and where you find the old dwelling place of a hermit sage.

    Afternoon is at leisure.

    Overnight at Dera Dune - The Clement Retreat (B, L, D)

  15. Day 15 Jamba

    Jamba, Thar Desert

    With packed breakfast, drive to Kheechan to see the site of thousands of Demoiselle Cranes, where you shall be surprised to see a very different relationship between the Humans and the birds. Eyes having devoured the feast of this sight to behold, you come back at the retreat, enjoy your Lunch by the Poolside.

    Afternoon, enjoy a desert jeep safari, an AC 4WD in the desert, to explore small village communities. This excursion will take you into the living cultures of Rajasthan’s desert, giving you a chance to see close up life in rural Rajasthan. The villages are built with painted adobe walls, and village life continues unaffected by the big cities nearby.

    The Bishnoi tribes that inhabit this region are a fascinating community. All Bishnois follow the 21 (bis-noi) tenets laid down by the 15-century guru Jambeshwar. They fervently believe in the sanctity of animal and plant life so wildlife finds a natural sanctuary around their villages.

    Interact with the weavers, specialized in making woollen rugs of camel hair and hand-knotted carpets have geometric motifs and formal designs.

    Overnight at Dera Dune - The Clement Retreat (B, L, D)

  16. Day 16 Jamba – Jodhpur drive/fly to Delhi and departure


    After breakfast, check-out and transfer to Jodhpur airport to connect with your flight to Delhi. On arrival, connect with flight to onward destination.


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