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Deserts & Palaces of Rajasthan

Jodhpur, Jaipur & the Thar Desert
 
Gain insights into captivating Rajasthan’s contrasting cultures with your own guide: visit forts and palaces of the Maharajas, marvel at the vast desert, travel by camel to a camp, learn about the traditional desert people, and enjoy warm hospitality in authentic, welcoming guesthouses.
Deserts & Palaces of Rajasthan. 9 nights
Deserts & Palaces of Rajasthan. 9 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A journey through Rajasthan with a guide

Rajasthan is the ‘Land of Kings’ – of fabled palaces and forts, and of cities rich in history and bustling with life. It is also synonymous with the tranquillity and mysterious beauty of the Thar Desert, which was created, so legend goes, by the falling of an arrow shot by Rama, and is characterised by vast horizons, camel trains and fairs, demoiselle cranes and other wildlife in abundance. Thus Rajasthan is a region of great contrasts, exhibiting the richness and creativity of both man and nature. This holiday gives a wonderful sense of all this, taking you from the fabulous world of the Rajput Maharajahs right into the heart of desert communities – or dhani – where life among the dunes is simple but surprisingly diverse.
Your adventure begins in Jodhpur, dominated by the formidable Mehrangarh Fort, beneath which lies a jumble of blue-painted houses. From here, you journey to the edge of the Thar Desert to experience a very different side of Rajasthan. Here, in a largely untouched area of gently undulating semi-desert, lie the scattered houses of Hacra, between which roam herds of goats, cows and camels. Hacra is also home to a warmly hospitable people who live in harmony with – and great sensitivity towards – their surrounding landscape. You may encounter farmers harvesting watermelons or repairing camel saddles, hear musicians playing traditional songs, or see peacocks, blackbuck or the odd gazelle sauntering through the undergrowth. After a memorable camel safari during which you spend a night under the stars in a tented camp, you finish your adventure in Jaipur, whose grand palaces and noisy bazaars again highlight the sharp contrasts of this magnificent region.
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

We provide you with your own local guide who accompanies you as you explore. Because it's privately guided, you get to set the pace and have a say in how you spend your days, and can pause as often as you like to take photos and admire the views.
  • Arrival in Delhi
    You arrive in colourful and tumultuous Delhi. You will be collected from the airport and taken to a hotel to freshen up before heading for the railway station to board the overnight Mandor Express, bound for Jodhpur. Depending on your flight arrival time, you may have chance for a quick exploration of Delhi in the afternoon.

    Night 1: on the overnight Mandor Express, bound for Jodhpur.
    As this is a day of travelling, we class your first day of exploration (ie the following day) as Day 1 of the itinerary.
  • Explore Jodhpur
    On arrival at Jodhpur (known as the ‘Gateway to Thar’) early in the morning, you are met at the station by your driver, with whom you have the whole day to explore as you wish. Many people head straight for the mighty Mehrangarh Fort, and you may wish to do the same. An architectural masterpiece whose formidable walls seemingly grow organically from its rocky perch, it towers over the ‘old town’ – which is spread out in a jumble of blue cubes far below – and features the Maharaja’s extravagant palace, several ornate temples and extensive gardens in which to relax beneath shady trees. So, the ‘Blue City’ really is blue, with its Brahmin painted houses, and you can also enjoy browsing the spices, sweets, silver and handicrafts at busy bazaars beneath the famous clock tower. Your hotel, the Haveli Inn Pal, is handily located for the sights.
  • Free morning in Jodhpur then travel to Hacra
    You have the morning to further explore this exotic city. After lunch you begin your journey by car (2hrs) towards the edge of the vast Thar Desert and the small village of Hacra, not far from the town of Osiyan. Here you stay five nights – four in a traditional jhumpa, or thatched village roundhouse, and one in a tented desert camp.
  • Explore the Thar Desert
    ‘How do people manage to live here?’ is the type of question that comes to mind here on the fringes of the desert; but the Rajput community (a caste considered to be chivalrous, loyal and brave) manage to do so with great amiability and sensitivity towards the surrounding landscape and natural world. Theirs is an undeniably simple way of life, but one that is a true privilege to share for a few days, in order to gain a valuable insight into their time-honoured customs, habits and traditions.

    We include a day trip to Osiyan to visit the town’s remarkable cluster of ruined Brahmin and Jain temples dating from the 8th to 11th centuries, and the rest of your time can be spent getting to know your hosts and exploring the surrounding area: wander slowly between the craftsmen, shoemakers and weavers of the village; or join a camel ride into the rolling dunes, hoping to spot blackbuck, chinkara gazelle, Indian wild ass, desert fox or even a wolf. Between November and February, another optional visit which we recommend is to nearby Khichan, where flocks of around 6,000 demoiselle cranes (or kuraj as they are known locally) gather in special enclosures to be fed by locals.

    The undoubted highlight of your time in Rajasthan is a camel safari and walk (10-12km) out into the ever-changing sand dunes of what is the ninth largest subtropical desert in the world. Your guide and handler provide a picnic lunch and you get to spend a memorable night under the stars in a dome-shaped tent before returning to Hacra.
  • Travel to Jaipur
    Bidding farewell to your hosts in the desert, you return to Jodhpur (2hrs) after lunch. There is time to enjoy dinner (pay locally) before catching the evening train to fascinating Jaipur, India’s first planned city and now the most populous in Rajasthan. You are met at the railway station for the short transfer to the Umaid Bhawan Hotel.
  • Explore Jaipur
    Despite its size and chaotic nature, the ‘City of Victory’ charms visitors with its stunning palaces and bargain-filled bazaars, and today is spent discovering Jaipur’s staggering wealth of sights with the aid of your included car and driver.

    We recommend a short trip out to the hill-top Amber Fort to admire the views and the dazzling display of Rajput architecture. Once back within the ‘Pink City’ – bound by ancient, crenellated walls – don’t miss Hawa Mahal (‘Palace of the Winds’), a breathtaking, delicately honeycombed, pink sandstone structure, constructed in 1799 to enable ladies of the royal household to watch the life and processions of Jaipur. The top offers great views over the impressive City Palace and Jantar Mantar, both worthy of a visit in their own right – the latter is a remarkable 18th-century astronomical observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh II, the great warrior-astronomer who was also the founder and creator of Jaipur itself.
  • Flight to Delhi
    Your discovery of Rajasthan ends with a short early morning flight from Jaipur back to Delhi, from where you fly home.
 

Accommodation

Please bear in mind that your accommodation is much simpler than on other Inntravel holidays, and although the facilities are not what you might expect to find in Europe, this is more than made up for by the uniquely welcoming atmosphere. As well as comfortable city hotels in Jodhpur and Jaipur, you get to stay in a specially constructed jhumpa (a thatched roundhouse) in Hacra, on the edge of the Thar Desert, plus a comfortable, domed tent under the stars.
 

Extend your stay

Why not combine this journey with a stay in the Indian capital, Delhi, or a visit to 'The Golden Triangle'? Please contact us for details.
 

Prices

All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). Prices vary according to number of people in your party.

 
Prices (£ per person)
15 October 2019 - 9 April 2020 & 15 October 2020 - 2 March 2021

Party of 4+
• 15 Oct 2019 - 29 Feb 2020: £895
• 1 - 31 Mar 2020: £945
• 15 Oct 2020 - 21 Feb 2021: £960

Party of 2 or 3
• 15 Oct 2019 - 29 Feb 2020: £1095
• 1 - 31 Mar 2020: £1145
• 15 Oct 2020 - 21 Feb 2021: £1165

Party of 1
• 15 Oct 2019 - 29 Feb 2020: £1695
• 1 - 31 Mar 2020: £1745
• 15 Oct 2020 - 21 Feb 2021: £1775


Extra night prices (£ per person)
Jodhphur, double room: £42 15 Oct 2019 - 9 Apr 2020; £46 15 Oct 2020 - 2 Mar 2021
Jodhphur, single room: £85 15 Oct 2019 - 9 Apr 2020; £94 15 Oct 2020 - 2 Mar 2021
Jaipur, double room: £65 15 Oct 2019 - 9 Apr 2020; £72 15 Oct 2020 - 2 Mar 2021
Jaipur, single room: £118 15 Oct 2019 - 9 Apr 2020; £130 15 Oct 2020 - 2 Mar 2021


Included travel: rail journeys (Delhi-Jodhpur, Jodhpur-Jaipur with reserved berths/seats); all connecting transfers by car

Further travel details: You will be met at Delhi airport and transferred to a hotel and later to the railway station for the 2115 train to Jodhpur (arrives 0750 the next morning - we reserve berths in two-tier, air-conditioned, 2nd-class carriages). On your evening jounrey from Jodhpur to Jaipur (departs 1950, arrives 0050) we reserved seats in 2nd-class air-conditioned carriages

International flights are not included, but we are able to arrange flights from the UK and our specialist India team will be happy to help you select the best options for your proposed itinerary and provide a quote.

For your outbound, there are direct flights from London to Delhi (approx. 8-9 hours). Alternatively, you can fly indirect from UK regional airports via Europe or the Middle East (approx. 12 hours including the connection). The return flight is indirect, comprising a domestic flight from Jaipur to Delhi, and an international flight from here direct to London (approx. 14 hours including the connection). Any night(s) spent flying is in addition to the 9 nights of the holiday itself.
 
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  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Delhi (return from Jaipur)

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Delhi. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Delhi (via Dubai) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Edinburgh - Delhi (via Heathrow) British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Leeds Bradford - Delhi (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Delhi (via Doha) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Gatwick - Delhi (via Dubai) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Delhi British Airways,  Virgin Atlantic 
    Heathrow - Delhi (via Abu Dhabi) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Heathrow - Delhi (via Doha) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Heathrow - Delhi (via Dubai) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Heathrow - Delhi (via Muscat) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Delhi (via Dubai) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Delhi (via Abu Dhabi) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Manchester - Delhi (via Dubai) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Manchester - Delhi (via Heathrow) British Airways 
    Manchester - Delhi (via Muscat) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Delhi (via Heathrow) British Airways 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Delhi. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £30 per person for our flight booking service (£50 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

What is included
  • 9 nights (including 1 on train)
  • 5 dinners
    5 lunches/picnics
    8 breakfasts
  • local guide in Hacra
  • car and driver in Jodhpur (1 day) and car, driver & guide in Jaipur (1 day)
  • all transfers
  • rail travel Delhi-Jodhpur & Jodhpur-Jaipur
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help.
  • All British citizens require a tourist visa to enter India.
    An E-visa system operates for tourists requiring a visa for stays of up to 60 days. You must apply for the E-visa no earlier than 120 days prior to arriving, but also a minimum of 4 days prior to your arrival in India. The visa will be valid for 60 days from your date of arrival. Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from your date of arrival in India and have two blank pages. You can apply for the visa here:
    https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
    If you are travelling to India for more than 60 days then visa applications are submitted and processed by post; we advise that you allow up to 3 weeks to obtain your visa by this method. You can find full details and obtain an on-line Visa Application Form by visiting http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk. If you or any member of your party is not a British citizen or holds a non-British passport, you should check passport and visa requirements at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html.
  • The NHS website www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk gives a general outline of the immunisations you are likely to need, though you should seek advice from your doctor or practice nurse in good time before your holiday for more tailored information. There are no reciprocal health agreements between the UK and India. It is therefore all the more important that you have comprehensive travel insurance to cover you in the case of illness or an accident. You will need to take sensible health precautions while travelling in India, and we will send you full details with your holiday documentation.
  • The tropical, semi-arid desert climate here can be divided into the seasons of autumn, winter, summer and monsoon. The autumn and winter seasons (October to March) are in many ways the best time to visit, avoiding excessive heat and humidity, while still generally enjoying warm, dry conditions. During October and November, daytime temperatures do not exceed 30°C, vegetation is still green and the nights gradually become cooler. From December through to March, temperatures range from 8-28°C, with low humidity and little rainfall. As well as sunscreen and sunglasses (essential items for travel to this part of the world), you should pack layers for added warmth once the sun goes down as it can get decidedly chilly.
  • English is widely spoken in Delhi and Mumbai, but much less so in the rural villages where the local dialects are most prevalent. Most villagers will be delighted to try to communicate with you, while your guide will act as interpreter and even instruct you in the rudiments of the local dialect of Hindi spoken in Madhya Pradesh, Kumaoni (Himalayan foothills), Marwari (Rajasthan), Malayalam (Kerala) or Kannada (Karnataka)!
  • India is five-and-a-half hours ahead of GMT all year round, and is therefore four-and-a-half hours ahead of BST.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 per person. More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 8/18/2019 8:38:52 AM