Taj Mahal is currently undergoing restoration works on the main dome. The dome will be covered in iron scaffolding during the process of mud pack therapy to restore its original colour and is expected to last a year (April 2018).

Carrying water home, Jailsalmer, Rajasthan

Cycling through Rajasthan - Premium

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16 days
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Trip code: 
MIJP
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Cycling Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
6–16

Discover India's desert state by bike while staying in comfortable accommodation

Rajasthan has landscapes varying from green rolling hills to barren deserts. The whole state is dotted with dramatic fortresses and the countryside is a patchwork of villages and towns where we see the timelessness of rural India. From the captivating Mehrangarh Fort at Jodhpur, the lakeside palace of Udaipur, the holy town of Pushkar and onto the superb 'pink city' of Jaipur, each place has its own story to tell. A fitting way to finish the trip is at the magnificent Taj Mahal. Cycling is the perfect way to explore, offering a fascinating insight into the traditional way of life here.

Highlights

  • See the unforgettable Taj Mahal
  • Time to explore the 'Pearl of Rajasthan', Udaipur
  • Peaceful cycling along rural backroads

Key information

  • 14 nights comfortable hotels
  • 12 days cycling (including optional rides) with full vehicle support
  • Group normally 6 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 1 dinner 
  • All accommodation
  • Transfer for group flights
  • Local bike hire

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Single supplement

12 (including optional rides)

Pace:

Moderate: 13-16km/8-10miles an hour

Terrain:

100% tarmac. Mostly quiet backroads with occasional roads with traffic.

Day by day breakdown
Day 325.0km/15.0miles
Day 412.0km/7.0miles
Day 574.0km/45.0miles
Day 625.0km/16.0miles
Day 760.0km/37.0miles
Day 865.0km/40.0miles
Day 994.0km/58.0miles
Day 1185.0km/52.0miles
Day 1370.0km/43.0miles
Day 1440.0km/24.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

London
to
London
  • Day 1

    Depart London.

    Flights usually depart London in the evening.

  • Day 2

    Arrive Delhi; transfer to hotel.

    The group flight arrives in the morning. Those who have made their own flight arrangements will join us at the hotel. The rest of the day is used to assemble the bikes and explore locally before an evening briefing about our cycling adventure.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 3

    Morning cycle tour of New Delhi; afternoon sightseeing tour of Old Delhi.

    We start cycling early in the morning in order to get used to the Indian weather and city traffic. After cycling for about 25km we return to the hotel. After breakfast and a shower we start our sightseeing of New and Old Delhi by bus.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Fly to Jodhpur; afternoon city cycle tour including Mehrangarh Fort.

    We fly to Jodhpur in the morning. In the afternoon we get the bikes out and go sightseeing on two wheels. Jodhpur was founded by the Rajput chief Roa Jodha and was formerly the capital of the State of Marwar. The city is surrounded by an immense wall almost ten kilometres in circumference and is dominated by the massive fort that stands on a rocky hill commanding the surrounding desert. In the afternoon we visit the magnificent Meherangarh Fort from where we have a great view of the blue houses, painted to distinguish them as those of Brahmins. 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Ride/drive to Udaipur via Jain Temple at Ranakpur; cycle towards lakeside town of Udaipur.

    Today is a long day so we will have an early start. We begin our day cycling from the hotel for about 40km. We then take a transfer by bus to Ranakpur where there is time to visit the stunning 15th Century Jain Temple. The main temple, beautifully carved from marble, is dedicated to Adinath. It has 29 halls supported by 1444 pillars, each delicately carved with a different design. We then take a short 15km transfer by vehicle to a roadside Hindu temple. From here we then get back on our bikes and ride through the Aravlli hills for about 34km and finally transfer by bus to the stunning lakeside town of Udaipur. 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Cycle tour around Udaipur including City Palace.

    Known as 'The Pearl of Rajasthan', the 'City of Sunrise' and 'Venice of the East', Udaipur is a beautiful place regarded by both Indians and travellers as the most romantic city in India. Situated on the east side of Lake Pichola, the main palace commands an unsurpassed view across the shimmering lake to the dusty Aravalli Hills with the luxurious Lake Palace hotel adding to the scene. Lake Pichola has two islands, each with a palace to rival that on the mainland; Jag Mandir and Jag Nivas (the latter is now the luxurious Lake Palace Hotel) rise out of their own reflections in the waters of the lake. After breakfast we set off on the bikes and spend the morning exploring the countryside around Udaipur. We cycle on quiet roads past farmland and small villages as we head to Tiger Lake. Continuing on rural backroads we have the chance to visit Animal Aid, a local NGO and hospital for injured animals. We finish our ride close to the city, from where we visit the impressive City Palace. 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Ride on backroads to the fort of Kumbhalgarh.

    It's time to leave this beautiful city and turn north as we cycle to Kumbhalgarh. The route stays away from the main road and follows a less direct but quieter series of back roads and allows us to see the fascinating rural life of India. It can be hot cycling in India but the vehicle support will be on hand if required for a four-wheeled break. We arrive in Kumbhalgarh for a late lunch and in the late afternoon there is a chance to cycle to Kumbhalgarh Fort, a challenging 5km climb (there is an option to take a jeep). Kumbhalgarh has one of the finest examples of defensive fortifications in Rajasthan with a lovely temple and palace with panoramic views. 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    Ride/drive to Pushkar on quiet roads.

    It's back to the desert scenery today as we make our way to the holy town of Pushkar. Our route today follows rural backroads to the main highway from where we transfer in the vehicle. Surrounded by the desert the little town is a holy site on the fringes of a lake. Before going to the hotel we visit the bustling town, which boasts one of the only Brahma temples in India. The bustling bazaar is also interesting. 

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    Ride/drive to Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan, via rural villages and Rupnagar.

    We leave Pushkar on our bikes travelling through desert backroads and small villages to the town of Rupnagar; a marble working centre. There is the option to extend the ride by another 34km to the Naraina railway crossing, from where we transfer by vehicle to Jaipur. Cycle approx. 60km (94km including optional ride).
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Morning optional ride to Nahargarh Fort; Jaipur sightseeing.

    For those who want there is in early morning ride to Nahargarh fort. The road climbs high above the city of Jaipur. It is 13 km from the hotel to the top where we are rewarded for our efforts with magnificent views over the whole city of Jaipur. The fort was built in 1734 by Sawai Jai Singh II as a retreat from the heat of the city. After a cup of tea we have a great descent to Amber fort. The rest of the day we will spend sightseeing. First we walk up to splendid fort, which we enter through a massive gateway into the main courtyard. From Amber we drive to Jaipur.  'The Pink City' of Jaipur is one of the most attractive and colourful cities in India. Rajah Jai Singh decided to abandon his nearby fortress and palace at Amber in 1727 and laid out a planned city of broad avenues, built of sandstone, painted pink at a later stage. In the centre of Jaipur is the City Palace, formerly the residence of the Maharaja, and now a fine museum containing rare manuscripts, paintings, royal garments and weapons. We will also see Jaipur's impressive landmark, the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds. Jaipur is a centre of many handicrafts, such as durries (woven rugs), carpets, printed cloth, semi-precious stones and leather ware. It will be difficult to leave a workshop without buying anything!

    Optional cycle 13km.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Ride/drive to Sariska National Park via Pratap Garh.

    A combination of cycling and transfer as we leave the 'the pink city' behind us and return to rural India. We transfer to Jamwa Ramgarh and then cycle to Sariska via Pratap Garh and through the beautiful landscape of Aravali foot hills. 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 12

    Game drive; optional afternoon ride.

    Before breakfast we have an early morning game drive. We use open jeeps to take our morning game drive into the park. The park itself is very beautiful, interesting to explore and there is an abundance of wildlife. Leopard sighting is a possibility, besides Deer, wild boar, Antelope, Jackal, hyena, Jungle cat and other wildlife. A large variety of bird species are also found here. We return to the hotel for a late breakfast and in the afternoon there is the option to do a ride to the nearby Siliseth Lake. The rise is approx. 36km and takes us on backroads through rural villages and farmland. We can have tea at the Lake Palace Hotel with stunning views across the lake to the surrounding Aravali hills. For those who don't want to cycle they can enjoy the garden and swimming pool at the hotel. 

    Optional cycle 36km.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Ride/drive to Bharatpur N.P., renowned for its bird sanctuary, later visited by bike.

    After breakfast we begin the day's ride from our hotel to Muhwa where we then take a short transfer to our lunch spot. Another short transfer takes us to Bharatpur N.P. This park is renowned for its UNESCO World Heritage listed bird sanctuary - the Keoladeo Ghana National Park. This entire region was originally semi arid and only received rainfall during the monsoon season. The Maharaja of Bharatpur diverted water from a nearby irrigation canal and it was converted into a bird sanctuary in 1956. On arrival in Bharatpur we visit the bird sanctuary on our bikes, home to an array of egrets, ducks, coots, storks, kingfishers, owls, eagles and harriers. There are now over 360 species of birds to be found here. 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Late morning cycle to Fatehpur Sikri; transfer to Agra; visit the Taj Mahal at sunset.

    In the morning we Leave Bharatpur and cycle through the backroads to Fatehpur Sikri, the emperor Akbar's deserted royal city. This impressive and well-preserved citadel became his capital in 1571. The mosque (designed to hold ten thousand worshippers), the palaces, residences and halls of audience are all made from decorative red sandstone. But this magnificence only lasted 14 years, as in 1584 Akbar left Fatehpur Sikri to secure his outlying territories, leaving this city much as we see it today - in perfect condition. Later we transfer to Agra where we will visit the beautiful white marble Taj Mahal for sunset, built by the Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631. The Taj is serenely beautiful and never fails to amaze a first time visitor; the white marble exterior changes colour according to the position of the sun during the day and is matched by the rich interior detail. 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Visit Agra Fort; transfer to Delhi; evening free.

    In the morning we will visit the imposing Agra Fort of Akbar where the mighty sandstone walls enclose the beautiful white marble pearl mosque, palaces, halls, courtyards and fountains of his sons and successors, Jehangir and Shah Jahan. In the afternoon we transfer to Delhi by bus arriving that evening in time for dinner.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    Fly to London.

    For those who are on the flight inclusive package we depart for Delhi airport in the morning for the day flight back to London. The arrangements for those not flying with the group ends after check out.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

India

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Some of our India trips spend time at altitude. In regions over approx. 2000m, there is low to no risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For trips going to altitudes of over 3000m there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please see the TRIP NOTES for further information.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 1 dinner included.

Breakfast on day 1 of the Land Only itinerary is not included as you should be given breakfast on the flight. If you do want another breakfast it costs approx. £5 (US$8) at the hotel in Delhi. You should allow at least £15 (approx. US$22) per day for lunch and dinner. You can eat out very cheaply in India, but if you go to the more expensive restaurants most of the time, you will spend more than the suggested amount. In most of the towns there is a good choice of restaurants and a choice between Indian and Western style food. If you are a vegetarian India is probably one of the best destinations to travel to with a wide range of dishes on offer. Tea and soft drinks are very cheap. A large bottle of beer is approx. £3 (US$5). Mineral water will be in the support vehicle and you can refill your water bottle.

Weather

October to March is the ideal time to visit Northern India. Days are normally warm to hot and nights cool or mild. Humidity is very low and little or no rain can be expected. In March, April and October it can get very hot during the day. Evenings in Delhi and in the Thar Desert can be surprisingly cool, so bring a jumper as well as sun hat, sun cream and sunglasses. It gets very cold in the early mornings and evenings between December and February.

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 3 (Moderate)

This trip is classified 'Road'

12 days cycling (including optional rides), average 70km/day (43 miles), full vehicle support

Terrain and route: mostly quiet backroads with some roads with traffic

All roads are surfaced. Our route is a mixture of rolling hills and flat plains. There are three steeper climbs; the climb to Mehranharh Fort on Day 3, Kumbhalgarh Fort on Day 6 and Nahargarh on Day 9. These climbs are optional. This part of India can be very hot. Although this trip is moderately demanding there is plenty of time to explore.

Please note that the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) are responsible for the conservation of many monuments in India (including the Taj Mahal) and very occasionally this may mean that work is taking place at sites visited on this trip. The ASI’s schedule is never published so it is not possible to forewarn our clients of when work will be taking place.

Accommodation

Hotels

14 nights comfortable hotels, all en suite. On these departures we stay in a range of excellent hotels, ranging from comfortable modern properties to heritage forts and palaces bursting with character. Many have pools, and most have excellent facilities as well as restaurants serving tasty local specialties and international dishes.

Single supplements available on request from £680.

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Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on 0208 772 3936