Rajasthan lies in northwest India and is one of the country’s most popular tourism regions thanks to its accessibility from Delhi (the main entry point for most international visitors), diversity in landscape and rich cultural history and monuments.
Not only can you visit centuries-old UNESCO-listed hill forts and palaces, you can also explore ancient Hindu and Jain temples, go on desert safaris, taste mouthwatering street food and sail on peaceful lakes – there’s something on the Rajasthan tourism itinerary for every type of traveler!
Because of its proximity to the country’s major international airport, most first-time visitors opt to spend 1 week in Rajasthan, taking in the state’s wondrous sights; however, if you have more time you can easily bundle a trip to Rajasthan with the classic India Golden Triangle Route that also encompasses Delhi and Agra.
Looking for the best places to visit in Rajasthan in 1 week? Read on for some essential travel tips to make your trip a breeze, and a 7 day Rajasthan itinerary that will cover a handful of the major cities in the state.
Quick Rajasthan travel tips
- Best time to visit Rajasthan: In general, India’s peak tourism season runs from around October/November to March. If you visit during the other months, the midday heat can be fairly unbearable, and you’ll need to get an early start if you want to beat the soaring temperature. However, the crowds thin out significantly so you’ll have to weigh up the pros and cons of visiting during peak versus off-peak season.
- Currency in Rajasthan: The local currency is the Indian Rupee or INR. The exchange rate is approximately 60 INR to 1 USD – cash is king in India, and you should get your hands on a few thousand Rupees for the duration of your trip. The good news is that major hotels and tourist restaurants will accept credit cards.
- Tipping in Rajasthan: Tips, as always, are not expected but very much appreciated by people in the hospitality and service industries – it seems that most people tip their guides 1000 – 2000 Rupees per day, and their drivers 500 – 1000 Rupees per day. Obviously there is no fixed rule on how much to tip, so exercise your own best judgment and tip what you are comfortable with!
- Dress code in Rajasthan: In general, both male and female travelers should aim to dress on the conservative side in India. I recommend covering your shoulders and knees, so pack loose pants, skirts, dresses and tops to go sightseeing in Rajasthan. However, don’t let the warm midday sun lull you into a false sense of security, as the temperature can plunge well below 10 degrees Celsius in the early mornings and evenings so make sure you pack a warm sweater or jacket as well. For those going on a morning safari in Ranthambore or another national park in Rajasthan, pack a down jacket and scarf as the wind chill can be seriously bitter!
- Water in Rajasthan: It is not safe to drink tap water in India. You should boil water before drinking or use a water purifier bottle.
- Staying connected in Rajasthan: You can purchase a local SIM card at the airport in Delhi upon arrival, and most hotels offer free Wi-Fi.
- Visa requirements for India: If you hold a passport from one of the countries on the “approved” list then you are eligible to apply for an e-visa. The official e-visa website is located here and the country-specific visa fees can be checked here.
- How to get to Rajasthan: There are several domestic airports in Rajasthan, so you can, for example, fly into Jaipur to begin your Rajasthan tour. However, if you are traveling to Rajasthan state from Delhi then the easiest way is to drive to Jaipur to kick off your 1 week in Rajasthan as it only takes 4 hours or so (and domestic air travel can be pretty hectic).
- How to get around Rajasthan: Once you have arrived in Rajasthan, skip the internal flights – it’s much easier and quicker to drive from city to city. Alternatively you can also take local trains or buses to move around.
- What to bring to Rajasthan: Plenty of sunscreen, refillable water bottle, wet wipes and/or hand sanitizer, a few packets of pocket tissue (for the public toilets), comfortable walking shoes or sandals. I used my Canon 6D for most photos, though these days many smartphones can take incredible travel photos as well. If you are a drone hobbyist I wouldn’t bother packing a drone as India has strict drone laws.
Planning a trip to India? Check out this collection of India destination guides and travel tips!
How to plan a perfect Rajasthan tour itinerary
Rajasthan is a big state with lots of historic cities to visit, which is why you’ll need to be selective about where to go in Rajasthan if you only have a week or two. Getting around Rajasthan is also time-consuming (despite being relatively well-connected by highways), so you’ll need to set aside plenty of travel time between cities.
While I typically prefer to travel on my own instead of through tour companies/agencies, our private tour through Rajasthan was made complete by the knowledge of the Top Indian Holidays’ guide, Yuvraj, and experienced driver, Ravi. A private Rajasthan tour may be right for you if:
- You are traveling alone or with young/elderly family members
- You’re short on time and don’t want to faff around with public transportation
- You do not enjoy group travel with strangers
- It’s your first time to India
- You want a guide to explain the history and cultural significance of the monuments, but don’t want to be babysat and coddled
- You don’t mind spending more to make sure the trip goes off without a hitch
However, it’s probably not for you if you prefer slow travel and have time to spare. I was traveling with my mum and only had 1 week in Rajasthan, so we had to make the most of our time on the ground. That being said, despite the long drives between cities we typically got an early start at 8 or 9 AM to beat the crowds, and were finished with our Rajasthan sightseeing by 4 PM which gave us plenty of time to explore on our own in the evenings or relax by the hotel pool.
There are tons of options when it comes to private India tours and reputable tour companies – I understand that it can be overwhelming. I highly recommend getting in touch with Top Indian Holidays for their incredible guides, helpful customer service representatives and experienced drivers. You can read more reviews from other travelers here or e-mail them at info [at] topindianholidays.net. We have used their company twice so far (and already hoping to plan a third mother-daughter trip with them to Kerala!) – the first time was to Delhi, Agra and Jaipur in 2018 and the second time was to Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Pushkar in 2020.
For those planning an independent trip to Rajasthan there are a plethora of transportation options for you to pick from: you can book trains online in India, or check this website for bus schedules and tickets. Alternatively you can also ask your hotel to book point-to-point inter-city transfers for you, and take local transportation or Uber within select cities.
*Quick note: If you’re a longtime Yoga, Wine & Travel reader then you’ll know that I only recommend services, hotels and experiences that I have had positive personal experiences with. Just so you know, we were paying customers with Top Indian Holidays and I was not compensated for this article.
1 week Rajasthan itinerary
I fell in love with Rajasthan when we visited earlier this year – I had my first taste of this colourful state back in 2018 when we visited Jaipur as part of the classic Golden Triangle itinerary, and knew right there and then that I had to go back to experience more. Rajasthan has a sophisticated and well-established tourism infrastructure which makes it a fantastic destination for first-time visitors to India, and though it receives far more tourists than places like Karnataka in south India the crowds at major landmarks and attractions are still fairly manageable.
In my opinion, the best itinerary for Rajasthan for first-time visitors should span at least a week if possible, as there is a lot to experience and see. Read on if you are looking for a Rajasthan travel itinerary for 7 days and some recommendations on what to do and where to stay.
Note: This 1 week itinerary for Rajasthan covers Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jaipur, and is also do-able in reverse – this is a rough guide to help you decide how many days to spend in each city. Wondering where to go in Rajasthan? Keep reading!
Days 1 and 2: Jaisalmer
Your 1 week Rajasthan itinerary begins in Jaisalmer on the far west of Rajasthan. Due to its more far-flung location it can be a hassle to reach, but you have several options if you are traveling from Delhi to Jaisalmer: either take a domestic flight straight to Jaisalmer, or if there are no flights available you can fly to Jodhpur and embark on a 5 hour drive. You will need at least 1 full day in Jaisalmer, ideally 2 to account for travel time.
In Jaisalmer, don’t skip the Sonar Quila, a “living fort” which to this day is home to approximately 4000 residents who live in the havelis, and operate shops and hotels; visit the merchant havelis; see the man-made Gadisar Lake reservoir; explore Bada Bagh; and check out the dunes of the Thar desert. Read this guide for the best things to do in Jaisalmer.
Day 3: Jodhpur
Get an early start on day 3 of your Rajasthan tour and embark on the 5-hour journey from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur. You should arrive in Jodhpur at about 1 PM which gives you plenty of time to go sightseeing in the Blue City. In general you should be able to get a good taste of the city and visit the major Jodhpur tourist attractions within 1 day.
Jodhpur features the 15th century UNESCO-listed Mehrangarh Fort, built from red sandstone and visible from almost all corners of the city. Once you have explored the fort, head to the neighboring Jaswant Thada monument before making your way over to the Old City to see the Toorji ka Jhalra stepwell and wander around the iconic blue buildings. I also highly recommend setting aside an hour or two to wander around the bustling Sardar Market, one of the oldest street markets in Jodhpur. Read my guide to spending 1 day in Jodhpur here!
Days 4 and 5: Udaipur
Udaipur is a 5-hour drive away from Jodhpur so get an early start and hit the road. About mid-way between Jodhpur and Udaipur is the majestic Ranakpur Jain Temple – make sure you stop here to explore the 15th century temple as it is one of the most significant temples for Jains in India. The intricately designed temple is said to have appeared in a dream to the architect, and visitors can enter with a detailed audio guide that describes the history and architectural elements. There is a strict dress code so you’ll need to make sure you dress appropriately and cover your arms and legs.
After spending an hour to 90 minutes in the Ranakpur Jain Temple, it’s time to move on to the “White City” or “City of Lakes” – Udaipur is yet another spellbinding city that you must have on your Rajasthan trip itinerary. Unlike the dry desert landscape of Jaisalmer, Udaipur resembles a lush oasis with its seven sapphire-shaded lakes and towering emerald hills.
During your 2 days in Udaipur tour the Ahar Museum; wander through the massive City Palace; take a sunset boat ride on Lake Pichola; and walk around Jagmandir island. Foodies also absolutely need to set aside 1 night for a wonderful traditional Rajasthan cooking class. Udaipur is also the perfect place to take it easy and immerse yourself in the laid-back, breezy atmosphere of the city. Click here to read my quick Udaipur travel guide!
Days 6 and 7: Jaipur
Jaipur is a UNESCO-listed city, one of the top places to visit in India and a permanent fixture on the ty. If you’ve visited India before and toured the Golden Triangle that spans Delhi, Agra and Jaipur then you may have already explored the Pink City; that being said, this magical destination is one of those places that you’ll want to re-visit time and time again.
The city’s nickname is derived from the fact that a large portion of the city was painted a unique shade of pastel pink to welcome the Prince of Wales from Britain in the late 19th century. Jaipur has a dozen-or-so must-see landmarks and attractions: don’t miss the splendid City Palace; tour the hilltop Amer Fort; watch the sunset from Nahargarh Fort; see the glittering Jal Mahal lake palace; explore the intricate astrological instruments at Jantar Mantar; and check out the Hawa Mahal’s facade.
After your whirlwind 1 week in Rajasthan you can head back to Delhi via expressway in just over 4 hours.
2 weeks in Rajasthan
Have more time in Rajasthan and want to cover more ground? Here are some additional destinations that you might want to add to your Rajasthan itinerary!
Ranthambore National Park: Ranthambore National Park is approximately 3 hours away from Jaipur. This wildlife reserve is one of the biggest national parks in India, and is popular with visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of an Asian tiger in the wild.
Chittogarh: The Chittor Fort or Chittorgarh is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest in India. The fort is approximately 3 hours away from Udaipur and is “strongly associated with Rajput history and folk lore. Furthermore the sheer number and variety of architectural remains of early date (ranging from the 8th to the 16th centuries) mark it as an exceptional fort in its scale and monumentality comparable to very few other Indian forts.”
Kumbhalgarh: Kumbhalgarh, or the Kumbhal Fort, is the second most important citadel after Chittorgarh in the region. Located about 2 hours from Udaipur, Kumbhalgarh dates back to the 15th century and features fascinating ruins as well as a 30-plus-kilometre stretch of wall.
Bikaner: Bikaner is on the far northwest of Rajasthan known for its array of opulent forts and palaces. It’s believed that the founder of Bikaner, Bikaji, established the city after leaving his father – the founder of Jodhpur.
Pushkar: Pushkar is a small, religious hub and a popular destination for hippies from India and beyond. The sacred city is dominated by Pushkar Lake and its 50-plus ghats that devotees use for religious rituals including cremation, and is also known for being home to one of the only Brahma temples in the world. Pushkar is also well known for the annual Pushkar Camel Fair that attracts camel and cattle traders from around the country. As the city is sacred, no alcohol and meat is served.
The city is about 3 hours west from Jaipur or 5 hours north from Udaipur. A word of warning: be mentally prepared for severe hassling in Pushkar as scam artists run rampant – it can be exhausting when you can’t walk 100 metres without someone trying to tie a bracelet to your wrist or sell you a trinket.
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Ready to go sightseeing in Rajasthan? I hope this 1 week Rajasthan itinerary helps you plan your trip more efficiently – it is a massive state and you will be absolutely enchanted by the sights and sounds of Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaipur and beyond.
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