Current as of: December 5, 2023 - 05:54
1 out of 7 - Leisurely
Rajasthan, the Land of Princes, is full of monuments to warriors past. The imposing forts of Jodhpur and Jaipur bear testament to the battles that once raged here, while the Taj Mahal and palaces in Udaipur and Fatehpur Sikri offer a softer side to the rich history of North India. In addition to exploring these historic landmarks, we stay in the charming town of Bundi, exploring blue alleyways, forts and a hillside lake, and every year we run a special departure to visit the Pushkar Festival.
16 November 2023, 5 November 2024 and 26 October 2025 (land only) are the departures including Pushkar Festival.
Join us to celebrate Exodus’ 50th anniversary! Select departures of this trip feature extra inclusions to mark the occasion: a sunset boat ride on Lake Pichola, Udaipur, followed with dinner by the lake, a local birthday celebration and a special edition Exodus kitbag. For departure dates, see the Dates & Prices tab or to see other trips with Special 50th Anniversary Departures click here.
This trip has been rated Activity Level 1 (Leisurely).
This is very much a cultural trip but fast paced and jam-packed with many of the highlights in Rajasthan. The tour is not overly demanding, but some days can be busy and long, particularly where travelling is combined with sightseeing. You won’t have a lot of downtime on this trip that packs in so many of the sights Rajasthan has to offer!
The roads are generally pretty good, but local traffic and/or road damage after the monsoon can sometimes slow us down. We travel mainly on comparatively quiet roads for at least half the journey. In Ranthambore National Park, tiger spotting is from a large open truck called a canter. Longer distances are covered by private bus and should take around six to seven hours; however, delays are possible and journey times can increase. At times it can be quite hot and dusty (except December to February) and the bustle of the Indian cities can be tiring. This trip does involve a lot of time on the road; however, this gives you the perfect opportunity to see the diversity of one of India’s most colourful states.
Please note, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is 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 schedule is never published so it is not possible to forewarn our clients of when work will be taking place.
Festivals – Holi and Diwali
Some departures may coincide with the festivals of Holi and Diwali. These can be quite local celebrations within communities and families and are not necessarily marked to the same extent throughout the country. We will endeavour to seek out possible opportunities to see the festivities; however, we cannot guarantee what may or may not be going on in the area visited during the trip.
Holi celebrations typically involve people throwing coloured powders and water at each other and smearing powder on each other’s faces. This tends to be done in local communities and families so it is not always possible to be involved though you may see the colourful results of this boisterous festival left on the streets. During Holi, local monuments and markets will close so departures over Holi Festival will have a slight adjustment to the itinerary. Where possible, you will be offered a cultural experience with local musicians and dancers performing as well as an opportunity to play with colours, dance, and enjoy drinks and food. You can also purchase locally the traditional white kurta outfit to look the part and avoid getting your own clothes covered in the coloured powders.
During Diwali, the festival of lights to mark the start of the Hindu New Year, people may illuminate their houses and shops and sometimes celebrate on the streets with fireworks. Lasting up to five days, it is difficult for us to predict what may be going on in the areas visited on our trips during Diwali. Where something is happening, we will endeavour to see how our groups can witness the festivities.
Some departures will be in Pushkar during the festival. These are marked on the website with a slightly amended itinerary. You will have two nights in Pushkar (one night replacing a stay in Jodhpur).
Group normally four to 16, plus local leader and driver. Our Indian team of leaders have proved very popular with their incredible knowledge, passion and hospitality adding greatly to the experience. There is no better way to experience Indian culture than letting an Indian guide show you around their country.
During the game drives each vehicle will be accompanied by a local Forest Guard (mandatory by the local authorities). The Forest Guards are part of a initiative by the national park authorities to generate employment opportunities for the local villages surrounding the area. They have excellent awareness of the local wildlife and skilled in tracking however, many have very limited English skills so will often communicate through hand signals rather than conversation.
Adult min age: 16
Min group size: 4
Max group size: 16
Flights usually depart London in the evening.
The adventure starts at our hotel in Delhi. Your leader will leave details of your welcome meeting time in the hotel reception. The rest of the day is free for you to explore.
Accommodation: Hotel Pooja Palace (or similar)
For those who are on the flight inclusive package we land in Delhi and transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is free. Land only please make your way to our start hotel. Your leader will leave details of your welcome meeting time in the hotel reception. (Delhi sightseeing is on Day 12)
Accommodation: Hotel Pooja Palace (or similar)
This morning we visit the walled city of Old Delhi; crowded, full of activities and still influenced by the great Mughals who once ruled from the ramparts of the majestic Red Fort. We visit the 17th-century Jama Mosque (the largest mosque in India) and Rajghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. We also see India Gate and the vast colonial buildings as we navigate the city.
In the afternoon we transfer to Ranthambore National Park (approximately 6 hours drive).
Accommodation: Standard hotel
Today we take two game drives in Ranthambore National Park. The reserve was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1957 and in 1974 became part of Project Tiger. Sadly, after initial success, poaching has drastically reduced the tiger population. However, Ranthambore is still considered one of the best places to spot wild tigers and many of our groups over the last few years have seen the elusive predator. Ranthambore is also home to a great variety of other wildlife, including several species of monkey, deer, crocodile and birdlife.
Accommodation: Standard hotel
Today we leave Ranthambore and drive to Bundi, a delightful town with a rustic setting on the Azavali foothills. It is best known for its palaces and the beautifully decorated stepwells that were used to collect water during the monsoon centuries ago. In the afternoon, we visit Bundi Fort, one of the most beautiful palaces in India and home to outstanding miniature paintings portraying the history of the palace and its royal family. The fort is high on a hill overlooking Bundi and its Krishna blue stonewashed houses. (Approximately four hours’ drive)
Accommodation: Standard hotel
Today we set off on our 145mi (235km) journey to Udaipur. 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. (Approximately five hours’ drive).
Accommodation: Comfortable hotel
On the east side of Lake Pichola, the main palace commands an unsurpassed view across the shimmering lake to the dusty Aravalli Hills.
The lake has two islands, each with a palace to rival that on the mainland; Jag Mandir and Jag Nivas (the latter is now the Lake Palace Hotel) rise out of their own reflections in the lake waters. Udaipur is surrounded by a massive bastion with five gates and dominating the town is the City Palace of the Maharana. The sumptuous apartments are decorated with multi-coloured mosaics, elaborate mirror work and inlaid tiles; half of these can be visited as the current Maharaja still occupies the rest of the palace. We spend the morning visiting the City Palace and Jagdish Temple, with a huge black-stone image of Jagannath, an aspect of Lord Vishnu. If time allows, it may be possible to visit the gardens of Gulab Bag or take a boat trip on the lake. The afternoon is free to enjoy this evocative city.
Join us to celebrate Exodus’ 50th anniversary! Select departures of this trip feature extra inclusions to mark the occasion: Udaipur Sunset boat ride in Lake Pichola followed with dinner by the lake, a local birthday celebration and a special edition Exodus kitbag. For departure dates, see the Dates & Prices tab.
Accommodation: Comfortable hotel
Following the scenic road out of the beautiful lakeside town of Udaipur, we head towards Jodhpur. On the way, we visit the 15th-century Jain temple at Ranakpur. The main temple, beautifully carved from marble, is dedicated to Adinath. It has 29 halls supported by 1,444 pillars, each delicately carved with a different design. 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 6mi (10km) in circumference and is dominated by the massive fort that stands on a rocky hill commanding the surrounding desert. (Approximately seven hours’ drive).
Accommodation: Standard hotel
First thing in the morning, we visit the magnificent Meherangarh Fort, from where you will have a great view of the blue houses, painted to distinguish them as those of Brahmins. The fort itself looks massive from the outside but inside there is an impressive collection of finely carved sandstone screens and lattice windows, and the palaces themselves are very finely decorated. We then head to Pushkar, pilgrimage town and home to the annual Pushkar Festival. Steeped in mysticism and surrounded by the desert, this little town is a holy site on the fringes of a lake and a great place to relax and soak up the atmosphere. (Approximately six hours’ drive).
Accommodation: Comfortable hotel
Pushkar Festival departures: 16 November 2023, 5 November 2024 and 26 October 2025
The itinerary for these departures is slightly amended to spend two nights in Pushkar (days 8 and 9) and removing the night in Jodhpur, this is done to maximise time at the festival. Accommodation in Pushkar during the festival departure will be provided in ensuite Swiss Cottage Tents (canvas tents designed to emulate Swiss cottages) with attached bathroom. The facilities are basic and on occasion hot water and electricity can be limited but your leader will assist with any issues if they occur. All meals will be included.
In the morning, we do some sightseeing; in the centre of town is the holy Pushkar Lake surrounded by several temples, including a Bramha temple said to be the only temple in the world dedicated to this deity. A dip in the lake waters and worship at Bramha temple ensure salvation. In the afternoon, we drive to Jaipur. (Approximately three hours’ drive)
Accommodation: Standard hotel
A day of sightseeing. The Pink City of Jaipur is one of the most attractive and colourful cities in India. Rajah Jai Singh abandoned his nearby fortress and palace at Amber in 1727 and laid out a planned city of broad avenues, built of sandstone and painted pink at a later stage.
In the centre of Jaipur is the City Palace. Formerly the residence of the Maharaja, it is now a fine museum containing rare manuscripts, paintings, royal garments and weapons. Close to the palace is one of the most intriguing sights in India, the observatory of Jai Singh. This is an assembly of immense astronomical instruments made of marble and brass set in a pleasant garden. We also see Jaipur’s impressive landmark, the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds. A few miles from the main city is the splendid Amber Palace, rising above a lake. The imposing hilltop fort contains large courtyards and interiors with fine decorations including inlaid alabaster panels and a Chamber of Mirrors. Jaipur is a centre of many handicrafts, such as durries (woven rugs), carpets, printed cloth, semi-precious stones and leatherwear; it will be difficult to leave a workshop without buying anything!
Accommodation: Standard hotel
Holi Festival Departure: 16 March 2024
For 2024 Holi Festival departure, all monuments in Jaipur will be closed during the festivities, instead you will be given the opportunity to join the colourful celebrations and purchase locally the traditional white kurta outfit to look the part and avoid getting your own clothes covered in the coloured powders.
The usual Jaipur sightseeing will be divided over day 9 on arrival into Jaipur and the morning of day 11 before departing to Agra.
This morning we transfer to Agra (approximately four and a half hours). On the way, we visit Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted royal city of Emperor Akbar. This impressive and well-preserved citadel became his capital in 1571, after the blessing of a local Moslem holy man correctly predicted the birth of a longed-for son, his successor Jehangir. The mosque, designed to hold 10,000 worshippers, the palaces, residences and halls of audience, are constructed of decorative red sandstone. But this magnificence only lasted 14 years; Akbar left Fatehpur Sikri in 1584 to secure his outlying territories, leaving this city much as we see it today.
This afternoon we will visit the imposing Red Fort of Akbar, whose mighty sandstone walls enclose the beautiful white-marble Pearl Mosque and the palaces, halls, courtyards and fountains of his sons and successors, Jehangir and Shah Jahan.
We have a very early start to see the incredible spectacle of the sun rising over the Taj Mahal. The Moghul emperor Shah Jahan built the beautiful white-marble building in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631. This is often the highlight for many guests and no trip to the region would be complete with out seeing this impressive feat of architecture and history.
Later, we will take the train from Agra to Delhi. Depending on the train schedule, we will arrive into Delhi early afternoon or early evening. Your Leader will advise the journey times with you.
It’s your last night together so your tour leader will help arrange a group for dinner if you would like to attend.
Accommodation: Hotel Pooja Palace (or similar)
The adventure ends after breakfast. If you’d like to spend a bit more time exploring this magnificent city, speak to your sales representative about extending your stay.
Those on the flight inclusive package will depart for London this morning for the daytime flight back to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out from the hotel.
We spend 12 nights in hotels, mostly standard city tourist hotels. Service and amenities are generally adequate.
Single supplement from £ 260
All breakfasts included.
You should allow at least 1,400-2,400 Indian rupees (approximately US$20-US$35) 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. Where meals are not supplied, our group leaders always encourage people to try local restaurants and street food vendors. They can make recommendations, which will help boost small businesses and celebrate local specialties. In Jaipur, Udaipur and Delhi, clients can even see how the food is made, such as masala chai (tea), samosa (mashed potato snacks), jalebe (Indian doghnuts) and lassi (yoghurt drink). In most towns, there is a good selection 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 visit. Tea and soft drinks are very cheap. A (large!) bottle of beer is approximately 300-400 rupees (approximately US$4-5). Mineral water is available in the bus in large containers. Please bring a water bottle with you to refill. Please note, service in restaurants can be quite slow.
We use a private air-conditioned bus for our journey. For the train trip from Jaipur to Delhi, we use air-conditioned chair class.
Game drives in Ranthambore National Park: Due to restrictions enforced to limit the number of visitors, tiger spotting is from a large open truck called a canter that seats a maximum of 22. The canters are licenced and usually allocated by the National Park authorities and while our local contacts do their best to secure the most appropriate vehicles, we are unable to guarantee vehicle standards, maintenance or seat belts fitted across all vehicles.
During October/November and February/March/April, the days are normally warm to hot and nights cool or mild. Humidity is very low with little or no rain. Evenings in Delhi can be surprisingly cool. It gets very cold in the early mornings and evenings in December and January and warm clothes are essential. Fog is also a real possibility during this period. Please note, night-time temperatures in Delhi can be very cold and only a little above freezing in December and January.
Start hotel: Hotel Pooja Palace, 15A/11, W.E.A., Puja Park, (Near Karol Bagh metro station), Karol Bagh, New Delhi-110005 (India)
Phone: +91 11 25745275
Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately.
Airport: Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL)
The start hotel is approximately 35 minutes’ drive from the airport. Exodus provides free arrival transfers to the start hotel from the airport for all customers. If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.
Exodus provides free departure transfers for all customers to Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) from the end hotel.
Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.
Location start: Delhi
Location end: Delhi
Exodus offers free airport arrival and departure transfers on any flight for this trip. Unless specified otherwise, the transfer will be to the start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel, and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers may be shared with other Exodus customers on the same flight, or on a flight with similar arrival times. All those taking advantage of the free airport transfers must provide full flight details for both arrival and departure in advance.
Clothing should cover shoulders and be on or below the knee. Women especially should always dress conservatively to avoid unwanted attention and not to cause offence; vests, tight fitting trousers, short skirts and shorts are not recommended.
For Holi Festival departures, it might be a good idea to take some old clothes, underwear and footwear which you don’t mind throwing away afterwards. You can also purchase locally the traditional white kurta outfit to look the part and avoid getting your own clothes covered in the coloured powders.
Please note: The Indian government has banned e-cigarettes and related products. You can’t buy e-cigarettes in India or bring them into the country. Please ensure you do not pack these in your luggage.
To avoid possible problems at immigration, make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of entry into India.
Travellers from the UK, US, CA and EU normally need a visa to enter India. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.
Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.
• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/asia/india
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/india
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/india/entry-requirements
• USA: www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/India.html
Travellers eligible for an e-visa, which includes those from the UK, US, CA and EU, can apply at www.indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html.
For more information on applying for your Indian Visa, including details required for your start hotel and local reference contacts, please click on this link: Indian Visa Information
There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, hepatitis A, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, rabies and tuberculosis. The risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your doctor or travel clinic for further advice.
You will also require a yellow fever vaccination certificate if arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Proof of a polio vaccination may also be required by some travellers. Please confirm all requirements and recommendations with your doctor or travel clinic.
Additionally, dengue, a viral disease spread by mosquitoes, is a known risk in India. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, so we strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
Some of our India trips spend time at altitude. In regions over approximately 6,560ft (2,000m), there is little risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For trips above 9,840ft (3,000m), 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.
The risk of malaria on this trip is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.
Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
India's time zone: Asia/Kolkata (UTC +05:30)
India's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins), D (three round pins) and M (three round pins) – 230V, 50Hz
India's currency: Indian rupee (INR). Please note, it is illegal to import or export rupees. Do not accept torn or very dirty Indian banknotes from banks or in change as they will almost certainly not be accepted as legal tender in India. You can normally change money back from rupees into US dollars or British pounds at the departure airport, but you must produce an exchange receipt showing that you changed money in India.
ATMs are widely available (Visa and Mastercard are best). However, you should not rely on these 100 percent of the time, so please take some cash too. Please inform your bank before departure that you are travelling to India and carry the relevant telephone number with you in case they put a block on your card.
You can pay with credit cards in bigger shops all over India.
Well-known brands of travellers cheques can be exchanged but we advise against taking these now as changing them is often difficult.
You can bring British pounds or US dollars. Money change facilities are available on arrival at Delhi international airport although better exchange rates may be available in the city. You can change US dollars and British pounds in cash in Delhi and in the other main cities on this itinerary.
Many sites now charge a small fee for video cameras and you should allow another 650 rupees (approximately US$8) for these. It is recommended that you allow at least 650 rupees per day for personal expenditure such as stamps, postcards and soft drinks. Shopping opportunities throughout this tour are endless and we suggest you take money for souvenirs; even if you are generally not a keen shopper, we have found that most people succumb to some of the wide variety of handicrafts on offer.
India has very good opportunities for shopping, especially for locally made goods, and during your trip it is highly likely that your local guides will take you to emporiums as well as workshops where these goods are made. Many people find this a great opportunity to buy local handicrafts, silk, jewellery and carpets. Guides will often assume that visitors will want to go shopping, it is very much part of the culture, but if you do not wish to go, please make this clear to your local guide at the time.
Sometimes it is possible to do the following:
Tipping is part of the culture in India and is usually expected. Tipping can often be an awkward affair, especially when in an unfamiliar country where you are not sure when or how much to tip. As such, your tour leader will offer to arrange and look after a group tipping kitty, which will be used to tip hotel staff, local sightseeing guides, bus drivers as well as any other support staff used throughout your trip. Your leader will suggest how much to contribute, depending on group size, but it is usually in the region of 2,200-2,500 rupees (approximately US$35-US$40) per person.
For departures that travel during Holi Festival (25 March 2024 & 14 March 2025) your Leader will look to arrange some activities for you to enjoy and join in with the festivities. There will be a small supplement between 600 – 1600 rupees (approximately US$7-20) per person which is usually deducted from the Kitty. Price depends upon the location and festival inclusions for Holi celebration.
At any time during the trip, your leader will happily show you an account of how the kitty is being distributed. Please note, for smaller groups the leader may have to collect more than the above amount.
Tipping of leaders is not included in the kitty and is at your own discretion. If you wish to show your appreciation, a tip around 410-500 rupees (US$5-US$6) per person per day would be appreciated. By definition, gratuities are not something that can be included in the tour price.
We work hard to create trips that improve life for the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.
Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:
How this trip helps improve life for local communities.
How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.
How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.
Tips for sustainable travel on this trip
Your safe participation
When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.
Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.
By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.
When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.
You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.
Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.
Trip Note validity
These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.
The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.
Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.