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Trace the old camel caravan routes through Rajasthan on this colourful two-week journey. Discover magnificent forts, ancient temples and bustling market towns while winding your way through Rajasthan's must-sees and lesser-known hidden gems. On this special departure, we'll pass through Pushkar's annual Camel Fair, a truly one-off experience.
Explore Tour Leader
9 nights premium hotel
4 nights comfortable hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our tour starts in New Delhi, the capital of India. The city has been the heart of numerous empires and dynasties over the centuries, from the Mughals to the British Raj, making Delhi as it stands today a rich patchwork of cultures.
For those arriving in time, our tour leader will meet us in the hotel reception at 5pm for a welcome meeting. We'll then set out for our first glimpse of the city with a walk to Hanuman's Temple, arriving in time to see the evening prayer rituals. Afterward, we'll explore Connaught Place, a colonial-era circus of shops, bars, restaurants and street vendors.
If you'd like an airport transfer, you'll need to arrive into New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), around a 45-minute drive from our hotel.
If you'd like to join the city tour today, you'll need to arrive at the hotel by 4pm. If you're booking your own flights, we recommend giving yourself at least one hour to clear the airport, plus 45 minutes to transfer to the hotel. The latest your flight should arrive is 2pm. If you miss the welcome meeting, our tour leader will catch you up as soon as possible.
The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa (or similar)
We'll set off to explore the two sides of Delhi this morning. Old Delhi is a maze of old, narrow streets, lined with bazaars and pocketed with mosques and temples, whereas New Delhi feels a world away with its wide leafy boulevards and grand colonial-era buildings.
We'll start in the calmer area of New Delhi, driving along the avenues and taking in the major sights that begin to tell the story of India's rich history. We'll visit India Gate, the impressive column of Qutab Minar and the UNESCO-listed Mughal site of Humayun's Tomb, a precursor to the great Taj Mahal.
After lunch, we'll take to cycle rickshaws to explore the winding lanes of Chandni Chowk bazaar in Old Delhi, a sprawling market where you can buy almost anything from household wares to souvenirs. We'll also view the Red Fort from the outside and Jami Masjid Mosque, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and one of the biggest in India.
With an early start this morning, we'll make our way to the station to catch a train to the Rajasthani hub of Ajmer. Travelling by train is a rite of passage when journeying through India, from the bustling railway platforms to the chai wallahs that ply their trade through the carriages, offering hot tea and snacks along the journey. India has one of the largest rail networks in the world, and it serves as a vital lifeline for many Indians - connecting small towns, villages, and rural areas with larger commercial centres. As the train rattles along the tracks and the greenery of Delhi gives way to the dry yellow plains of Rajasthan, we might get the chance to chat with some locals in our carriage who are often interested to see tourists travelling by train.
We'll stop in Ajmer for lunch (not included) and take a short walk through the market, stopping to visit the Adhai Din Ka Chopra, one of the oldest mosques in India. We'll then continue by bus to the small rural village Bijay Nagar, around a two-hour drive away.
Set back from the village and amongst farmland lies the estate of Bijay Niwas Palace, built 100 years ago by Maharaja Rao Singh. It has since been converted into a homely heritage property where the family of the Maharaja still live today. The property retains its original charm with hallways and drawing rooms adorned with memorabilia from a bygone age. There's a collection of heritage rooms within the main house and cottage rooms set within the lush gardens. Room sizes and styles differ but they're all twin-share with en-suite facilities and air-conditioning. The property also has a pool.
This evening, we'll have the chance to enjoy some famous home-cooked Rajasthani food. Be sure to try the creamy Chana Masala (chickpea curry) and for those brave enough, the ubiquitous Rajasthani dish of Lal Maas - a fiery mutton curry made with red chillies and garlic paste.
Bijay Niwas Palace (or similar)
Leaving the village of Bijay Nagar behind this morning, we'll set off along the rural road. Our first stop is the imposing UNESCO-listed Chittorgarh Fort. This sprawling fort sits on a hilltop towering over the surrounding plains and houses an astounding four palaces and nineteen temples. After our visit, we'll continue through the semi-arid scenery before reaching the oasis of Udaipur, a total drive of around four hours.
Set within the rolling Aravalli Hills and made up of a series of natural lakes, Udaipur is understandably and affectionately known as the Venice of the East. The city wraps itself around its largest lake, Lake Pichola, and has a more relaxed feel than many other Indian cities.
This afternoon, we'll have some free time to explore the city on foot, and this evening there's an optional boat ride out on Lake Pichola to take in the twinkling lights of the city from a different perspective.
Hotel Rampratap Palace (or similar)
Today we'll explore the highlights of Udaipur starting with the City Palace. Sat on the eastern bank of Lake Pichola, this huge palace complex was built over 400 years and blends a mix of Rajput and Mughal architecture. Next, we'll visit Jagdish Temple, which is constructed of three stories of ornately hand-carved stone to honour the Hindu Lord Vishnu. It's the biggest temple in Udaipur and is regarded to be one of the most beautiful examples of Hindu iconography in the world.
This afternoon is free to explore more at your own pace. For those who wish to, there are optional visits to the Monsoon Palace, or a short walk into the Aravalli Hills to watch the sunset.
This morning, we'll set off on the four-hour drive to the temple town of Ranakpur, one of Rajasthan's hidden gems. This little-visited town is home to some of the most beautifully sculpted Jain Temples in India. Situated in a wooded valley, the temples date back to the 15th century with the carvings depicting scenes from the lives of the Jain Saints at that time. We'll visit the Adinath temple, which houses 1444 exquisitely carved pillars - each one a complete original.
We'll then continue to Jojawar, a small rural village set in the heart of Rajasthan. Our accommodation tonight is inside a beautifully converted 300-year-old fort. The heritage-style rooms are modern and comfortable and there's a pool and courtyard to unwind in, too.
Heading out of the fort and into the village at dusk, we'll take a walk with a Jojawar resident to get a step closer to local life in the thriving village. Along the way, we'll encounter barber shops, ironmongers and children playing cricket in the streets, as well chai stalls and villagers offering their prayers at the temple. This is all watched on by the holy cows that freely roam the streets. It offers a great insight into a simpler way of life far away from the busy Indian cities.
Rawla Jojawar (or similar)
Today, we'll journey to Jodhpur, a three-hour drive away. Jodhpur is known for its blue houses and historic temples. It also has a long tradition with horses and is the origin of Jodhpurs - the breeches that are named after Jodhpur's horsemen.
After settling in, we'll set off to explore the majestic Mehrangarh Fort, built across the top of a steep escarpment 125m above the plains below. It has a huge, sheer drop to the south where it overlooks the city. Our visit affords wonderful views, not only across Jodhpur but also way into the distance across the surrounding desert plains. Finally, we'll head back down into the city to the bustle of the main square with its clocktower and colourful bazaars.
Hotel Mandore (or similar)
Leaving Jodhpur behind, today we'll take the five-hour drive to the desert city of Bikaner. We'll stop en route at Kolayat, a pilgrimage site popular with Hindus thanks to the holy waters of its lake. We'll have some time at the ghats and we'll also visit nearby Karni Mata - the so-called 'rat temple' dedicated to the worshipping of rodents.
We'll then continue to Bikaner. Situated directly on the ancient camel caravan routes that came from Africa and West Asia, Bikaner was once a great trading centre. Its colourful bazaars and reddish-pink sandstone buildings hint at its ancient wealth. Bikaner was also a defensive town and was the home of the famous Imperial Camel Corps of the British Army. We'll plan to arrive in the late afternoon and the rest of the day is free
Gajner Palace (or similar)
Heading out to discover Bikaner this morning, we'll take a tour of the Junagarh Fort. Built by Raja Rai Singh (1571-1611) it is distinguished by its light red sandstone high defensive walls. The well-preserved palaces within the fort area are noted for their fine stone carvings. We'll also visit the Bhandasar Jain Temple, before heading into the old town and its local market. Here, we'll get the chance to learn how some Indian snacks are made, such as vegetable samosas, chole aloo tikka (potato pancakes) and Kulfi (a type of pistachio ice cream). Of course, we'll have a go at tasting them, too.
A full day's driving is ahead of us today as we move away from the yellow hues of the Thar Desert and towards the greener lands of Jaipur. Passing farms and rural settlements we'll see flashes of bright reds and pinks from the iconic Rajasthani turbans worn by most men, and the deeply coloured saris adored by the women in this part of the world. These bright colours contrast the stark, dry landscape and present excellent photo opportunities along the way.
We'll also stop off in the town of Fatehpur, famed for being the land of the haveli, a type of elaborately decorated mansion constructed by wealthy merchants and aristocrats. Many affluent Marwaris settled here and left behind a collection of beautiful homes.
We plan to reach Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, by the mid-afternoon and the rest of the day is free.
Traditional Haveli (or similar)
Affectionately known as the Pink City, Jaipur was first painted terracotta pink by Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh to celebrate the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1876. Nowadays, Jaipur is a bustling metropolis that's far outgrown its original boundaries. Within the crumbling walls pink buildings, ornate facades and narrow alleys give a sense of old-world charm.
This morning, we'll head to the outskirts of the city and visit the dramatic Amber Fort, perched high on a hillside with impressive views back down to the city. We'll make a stop along the way to view the famous Palace of the Winds, built to allow the ladies of the harem an opportunity to look out over the city. This afternoon, we'll visit the lavish and well-preserved City Palace with its fine collection of textiles, costumes and armoury. Jai Singh, the great Maharajah-astronomer, built his extraordinary (and very accurate) star gazing observatory (Jantra) here. We'll have the opportunity to visit the observatory as well as the Old City.
We'll leave the state of Rajasthan today as we cross into Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India with over 240 million inhabitants. The state is a major industrial and commercial centre, and being on the main Indo-Gangetic plain, it benefits from rich soil for agriculture, too.
On the way to Agra, we'll stop and visit the deserted city of Fatephur Sikri. Founded in 1569 and abandoned just 16 years later, it's a perfectly intact example of Akbar's imperial court. Among the many noteworthy buildings is the Panch Mahal, most likely built as a pleasure pavilion for the ladies of the harem. In the centre of the courtyard is the Pachisi Board where the emperor played a game of chess with slaves as pieces. Perhaps the finest structure of all is the lotus-shaped central pillar of the Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience), an extraordinary capital supporting a vaulted roof.
The journey to Agra will take around five hours. On arrival, we'll have some time to relax, then, as the sun begins to set, we'll make our way to one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the Taj Mahal. The marble-domed building is perhaps one of the world's greatest symbols of eternal love, having been created by Shah Jahan as a funerary monument to his beloved wife, Mumtaz. Over 300 years have elapsed since its construction, but it still stands unscarred by age. It took over 22 years to build (1630-52) and an army of builders, artisans, and craftsmen to create the architectural masterpiece of marble and sandstone, which is said to change its colour depending on the time of day. We will aim to visit at sunset, when the surface of the Taj takes on a soft golden hue.
Hotel Clarks Shiraz (or similar)
This morning, we'll visit Agra Fort. Built by Akbar the Great, entirely from red sandstone, it blends Persian, Islamic and Hindu architecture. The story goes that after losing his grip on power and being imprisoned by his son, Emperor Shah Jahan was confined here to a high tower, where he spent his dying days gazing longingly downriver at his beloved Taj Mahal.
We'll also explore the gardens of Metah Bagh and the tomb of Itmad Ud Daulah, more commonly known as Baby Taj due to it being regarded as the first attempt at a Taj-like structure by the Mughals. After lunch, we'll return to Delhi around a four-drive away.
Ramada by Wyndham Gurgaon Central (or similar)
Our tour ends at our hotel in Delhi.
There are no activities planned today, so you're free to depart at any time. If your flight leaves later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you'd like a hotel transfer, you'll need to depart from Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL).
There is considerable variation between the different regions of India but, in general, the climate is tropical. Summer temperatures on the plains are very hot, but cooled by the South-West Monsoon, which lasts from June- September. During these months it can be very wet and therefore very humid. At altitude, temperatures can become quite cool at night even in the summer and may drop below freezing between December and February so warm clothing is necessary. In the winter, northern and mid India can be very cool, with cold evenings, so warm clothing, including plenty of layers, are essential. The south of India remains warm and sunny during the winter months.
3 Pin Round
Catholicism, Hindu, Islam and Sikhism
Hindi and English.
Bear in mind that between November and March daytime temperatures are warm and comfortable, but evenings and nights in the desert can be extremely cold and hotels rarely have heating arrangements comparable with the UK. Lightweight clothing plus warmer garments are essential. Local people may be offended by western styles of dress. Brief shorts tight fitting clothing etc. should be avoided by both men and women.
Comfortable shoes and sandals.
One main piece of baggage and a daypack. Please note on internal flights lugagge limit is 15kg.
Accommodation in India is as varied as the country itself and standards might not always meet those back home. Service can be slow, especially when travelling with a group and a number of hotels in India don't serve alcohol due to complicated licencing laws or for religious reasons. Hot water is not always available at small properties and with a group staying, you might find the water is cooler if you're showering last. Hotels also don't usually have heating, so it can become chilly in the winter months, however, blankets will always be provided. Due to the growth in tourism in India, it's not always possible to stay at our listed accommodation and an alternative will be found. In Delhi, we'll stay in a small hotel, chosen for its location in the Karol Bagh area. It's walking distance from markets and restaurants and within easy reach of Old and New Delhi. All rooms have air conditioning and en-suite facilities. Due to the nature of the low-rise buildings in the area, some rooms are internal. If you have an issue with your room, please speak to your tour leader. 20
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
\red5\green99\blue193;\red177\green45\blue26; India: Holders of passports endorsed British citizen, as well as Australian, New Zealand and US passport holders may be eligible for the e-Tourist Visa to enter India. Unfortunately the Indian government are not currently granting visas for anybody travelling with a Canadian passport. The visa can be applied for through the official Indian government visa website only - \ul \ulnone . Please check all eligibility criteria that can be found on the website but important points are listed below - You must be arriving into one of 29 selected entry points which can be found via the official Indian Government website link above. However, you can exit from any of the authorised immigration check posts in India. Passports must have at least 6 months validity from the date of arrival in India and at least two blank pages for stamping. Visa applications will take approximately 4 days to process. There are different validity visas and the costs are as follows: 30-day validity (travelling between April and June) - $10 30-day validity (travelling between July and March) - $25 1-year validity - $40 5-year validity- $80 Those applying for a 30 day electronic visa can only apply within 30 days of arrival for your visa to be valid. Furthermore double entry is permitted and you can only obtain two 30-day visas in a calendar year. Please note these costs are subject to frequent change so you should check on the official Indian government visa website mentioned above. Biometric data will be collected on arrival in India. If you are not eligible for the e-Tourist Visa, please refer to VFS Global to apply for your Indian visa - \ul \ulnone Whilst the online form offers a relatively quick way to apply for a visa, some applicants have reported difficulty in completing the form. If you do require assistance, then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. They can complete the online visa on your behalf for a service fee + the visa cost. See \ul www.travcour.com \ulnone If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846 . It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.20
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against Tetanus, Infectious Hepatitis, Typhoid and Polio. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue and Zika Virus. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.