Judging from the queries that I have been getting on my last post on Jaipur, it appears that a lot of people are keen on Rajasthan tourism. It is not just Jaipur that seems to hold the charm. Everyone wants to cover more than this city. Rightly so, given the rich heritage and culture that Rajasthan tourism has been promoting. I have been warning people that one trip will not be able to cover all the places in Rajasthan – it is the largest state of India! However, to do justice, you definitely can cover some major cities at one go.
One of the major queries that I have been getting include which is the best way to experience Rajasthan tourism? Road, rail or flight? My personal opinion is to take a road trip across Rajasthan. There is so much to discover along the way. Given the nature of queries, I thought of sharing 3 best road trip options to experience Rajasthan tourism. Note that these road trips start pretty much after you have flown into a city and end with you flying out of one. The flight tickets are an option and can be replaced with a rail journey is so desired. Also, note that each option covers smaller places like Pushkar, Ajmer and Kumbhalgarh along the way.
So, here goes –
Rajasthan Tourism Road Trip One – Jaipur, Jodhpur & Udaipur
This one is the most popular circuit covering the pink city of Jaipur, the blue city of Jodhpur and my favorite Lake city of Udaipur. My suggestion here is to book flight tickets into Jaipur and fly out from Udaipur.
- Fly into Jaipur and spend around 2.5 days here. You can access the suggested itinerary here.
- Start early to Jodhpur by road. Along the way, you can stop at Pushkar and Ajmer. Both these destinations are exactly midway between Jaipur and Jodhpur. Again, between Pushkar and Ajmer, the drive time is just 45 minutes. Keep aside one full day for this road journey so that you can explore both these towns before you arrive at Jodhpur.
- Spend around 2 days in Jodhpur discovering the lovely monuments – including Mehrangarh Fort, Umaid Bhavan, Mandore Gardens and Jaswant Thada
- Start early to head to Udaipur. Again, keep aside a full day for the journey as you can stop by at Ranakpur Jain Temple and explore the Kumbhalgarh Fort along the way. You are likely to reach Udaipur only by night.
- Once in Udaipur, keep aside at least two days to explore the gorgeous city – starting with Lake Pichola, the city palace, Saheliyon ki Bari and more.
- Fly back home from Udaipur
There are two variations that I can suggest on the above plan. For this, you may need to extend your stay in Udaipur.
Option One – Cover Chittorgarh from Udaipur. This is just 2 hours from the lake city. Here you can experience the historic tales of Rani Padmavati while touring the mighty Chittorgarh fort.
Option Two – Head toward the West of Udaipur to the famed hill town of Mount Abu with its stupendous Jain Temple. This is around 3 hours from Udaipur.
Road Trip Two – Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur & Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer is extremely popular among the tourists in Rajasthan and one does not really want to leave out the Golden city. However, be warned that adding Jaisalmer means adding a long stretch to your journey for it is the further most from all the major cities of Rajasthan. Moreover, you cannot fly into Jaisalmer. The closest airport is Jodhpur. If you are short of time and are looking for just a desert experience , then I would recommend spending time in Pushkar as against Jaisalmer. It is bound to save you time and give you the same or maybe, an even better experience. However, if you are like me and enjoy heritage, there is no avoiding the golden city. So, here goes my suggestion of this road trip –
- Fly into Jaipur and see the city over the next two days
- Leave early and head straight to Udaipur via Ajmer and Pushkar. Keep aside this entire day for a road journey as you explore Ajmer and Pushkar along the way
- Spend around 2 full days in Udaipur
- Start early to Jodhpur via Kumbhalgarh, Haldighati and Ranakpur. Keep a day for this journey as you will spend considerable time at Kumbhalgarh
- Stay in Jodhpur for around 2 days and then leave for Jaisalmer. There are no pit stops here for you to explore. It is a straight journey of 5 hours.
- Spend around 2 days in Jaisalmer. Once you are done, you can either head back to Jodhpur to fly back out or Jaipur (12 hours by road) to head home
I had opted for this route, except that in my case, I chose to add a day extra at Bikaner. Bikaner is another half-way point between Jaipur and Jaisalmer. Hence on the way back from Jaisalmer, you can choose to break the journey at Bikaner, stay the night, explore the city and continue back to Jaipur. While at Bikaner, don’t miss the intriguing Rat temple with its live rats at Deshnok.
Road Trip three – Jaipur, Ranthambore, Jodhpur and Udaipur
Rajasthan tourism is not just about heritage. Throw in some bit of wildlife with the tiger spotting at Ranthambore and you can add another flavor to this place. Here is a road trip covering the same –
- Start with arriving into Jaipur and spending time here.
- Leave early and head straight to Ranthambore which is around 4 hours from Jaipur. Spend at least one day at a resort here.
- Head straight to Jodhpur. Again you can take a stop at Ajmer and Pushkar along the way,
- Keep aside around 2 full days for Jodhpur
- Start early to head to Udaipur. Remember to stop at the Ranakpur Jain Temple and Great wall of India at Kumbhalgarh Fort, thus, making this 5 hour journey a complete day trip.
- Spend at least 2 days in Udaipur before you fly back straight home from here.
Travel Tips for road trips to experience Rajasthan Tourism
- Most of the journeys that I have suggested here are just longer owing to the suggested pit-stops. Should you avoid the same, you will be able to complete most of them within 5- 6 hours. In some cases, the distance is even lesser.
- Hiring a car is not difficult in Rajasthan. You can find plenty of cab services online as well as through your hotel or resort.
- The charges for the cab would include a round trip to the city where you are hiring the cab. Even if you are not returning to your city of origin, you will have to include that journey into your trip tab. Other than that, you will have to include the Driver Bata charges and any toll charges.
- I would recommend stopping along the roadside restaurants for your meals. The small dhabas along the way treat you to some really authentic Rajasthani food. It definitely adds to the experience of the state.
- Most of the restaurants and petrol bunks have rest rooms for you to use. However note that they are not always the cleanest. Keep a hand sanitizer and toilet paper with you all the time.
- The road conditions in Rajasthan are fairly decent. A few roads are just single-laned.
- There are enough food options and shops along the roads. However, I would still recommend carrying some snacks and water in the car so that you do not waste too much time stopping around.
I hope that makes your planning easier now. Message in and let me know if you have been for any of these road trips or if you are planning one.
P.S: I have several posts detailing the cities and attractions mentioned in this post. You can search them right here on my blog.