Road Trip in Rajasthan – Why is it a must-do & How to Plan?

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Taking an open road for adventure can be stimulating. After taking numerous road trips, we found out that the journey is the real destination. To make a road trip amplifying we usually spread the trip out into more days than we need. And yes, a road trip in the North-West Indian state of Rajasthan, are surprises in detours. A road trip in Rajasthan is a drive into retro Indian road scenery. The ancient village, royal palaces, dust, and desert make a trip here a delightful blend of old India jostling space with the modern one.

road trip in rajasthan
Beautiful bright weather (in December) and smooth roads!

There is something about taking a road trip in Rajasthan, getting behind the wheel, and just driving away. There are so much freedom and the urge to experience life as we want, go where we want is overwhelming. In this Rajasthan road trip blog, we have compiled some combinations that will help you plan a tour in Rajasthan. Most of these routes include the best places to visit in Rajasthan. But first, let us give you the top 5 reasons why a road trip to Rajasthan is a must if you love the thrills of a road trip as much as we do.

road trip in Rajasthan
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5 reasons why you must do a road trip in Rajasthan

A closer look at Rajasthan’s Art and Folklore

Far from India’s bumper-to-bumper city life, these scenic back roads and country highways let you finally lose the crowds- and maybe yourself, in a cinematic landscape of desert villages, old forts, and placid rocky mountains. Rolling into rural Rajasthan, you will fell you have gone back in time. Life in Rajasthan is entangled in traditional customs and beliefs. Arts and folklore are part of daily life. Its charm lies in its conventionality. A road trip in Rajasthan could mean a close look at local life. Whatever they showcase in their dances, music, paintings, architecture is visible in actual form in rural Rajasthan.

a glimpse of Rajasthani Art 👆

The desert-drive experience in India

The Thar Desert is massive. It is 77000 square miles and only a certain percentage of it is motorable. Usually, the thought of a desert resonates with a barren empty land covered by colossal dunes. But contradictory to routine thoughts life in the Thar Desert is a concurrence of imagination and inventiveness that defies the word “inhospitable”. So ditch the cell phone and hit the gas pedal, dude. Chasing the sunset in the desert is so much fun. Imagine driving on a desert that extends to Pakistan, dunes all around, few shrubs dispersed here and there and bones of cows and camels.

rajasthan desert

Knock some epic sites off your bucket list

Rajasthan has an ever-present history and it has always been crucial in shaping modern India. Some of the sites have thronged travel books for ages. And what better way to tick off that bucket list than to take a road trip to some of these places. Rajasthan has been the most sought-after destination by domestic and international tourists. Some of the places in Rajasthan are so famous, just in case you get lost on your road trip, you will end up in a seemingly familiar town or city.

After the hype surrounding the movie Padmaavat, visit the Chittorgarh Fort and Vijay Stambh (image above) was on Sonakshi’s bucket-list. Here’s she ticking it off in style!

Rajasthan is a big state, so seeing its famous places all in one trip could mean resigning yourself to driving in highways for hours on end. But you do not have to do that. Instead, you need to plan a route that takes the drive through scenic state highways and local back roads to connect the dots.

Experience authentic Rajasthani Food

The clarified butter gets more aromatic, the spices get more pungent and the curd gets thicker as you go deeper into Rajasthan. The spicy ‘Lal Maas’ curry, a dish made of mutton in a sauce of yogurt and red Mathania chillies tastes best when you are dining at a desert camp. Cities and towns in Rajasthan are filled with restaurants that serve some of the best Rajasthani dishes and desserts. And all these at decent prices.

food of rajasthan
Rajasthani delicacies!! [ref]

Stay at unique accommodations

All across Rajasthan are palatial houses that have been converted into hotels, boutique stays, and guest houses. Some of these accommodations are endowed with plush suites accentuating swanky curves and antique furnishings. A road trip in Rajasthan can take you to known and unknown destinations, where a night’s stay is an experience in the Rajasthani tradition. A road trip in Rajasthan is an amalgamation of looking a life through the windshield and thinking back through the rearview mirror at what you have left behind.

lake pichola at night
The Taj Palace Hotel in right in the centre of Lake Pichola. Isnt that unique!!

How to plan a Rajasthan road-trip

Now that we have given you enough reasons to entice you for a road trip in Rajasthan, it is time to help you plan it as well. The following part of this blog-post will help you plan the nitty-gritty of the trip and inspire you to get out of your home more often and hit the road.

Best time to visit Rajasthan

Winters in Rajasthan begins from mid-October and extends to mid- March. And ideally, this is the best time to take a road trip to Rajasthan. Moreover, during these months Rajasthan hosts some beautiful festivals and if you can position one or two of these festivals in your travel timeline and itinerary, it would greatly enhance your road trip. From October till March, the air in Rajasthan is less humid and nights are cooler, so driving on the roads is much agreeable. The national parks are closed during the monsoon months.

road trip in Rajasthan
Epic sunsets of Rajasthan (I shot this one from the car)

a 3-day trip itinerary

If you intend to make a short road trip, we suggest you do the Jaipur–Ajmer–Pushkar route. The total distance would be around 181 miles and you can keep two nights for Pushkar and one night for Jaipur. It takes around 45 minutes from Ajmer to Pushkar. So if you start early from Jaipur, you will have ample time to visit Ajmer and move on to spend the night in Pushkar. Jaipur is certainly worth your time and there is plenty to keep a traveller engaged. Hence we suggest you keep a full day in Jaipur to drive around to the important sites in the city.

a 7-day trip itinerary

In a place like Rajasthan, a simple drive can turn into an over the top adventure. The Jodhpur–OsiyanJaisalmerBikanerMandawaJaipur route is perfect for a 7 days road trip in Rajasthan. You will cover an approximate distance of 745 miles where you get to visit the imposing Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, the ancient trading town of Osiyan, Kheechan village famed for its migratory birds, temples, and forts of Jaisalmer, a camel breeding farm in Bikaner, see the colourfully painted palaces of Mandawa and indulge in the markets of Jaipur. And this road trip gets better if you are staying at a tented camp on dunes in Jaisalmer.

Rajasthan road trip map

Pro Tip: Stop munching on potato chips and aerated soda water in the car. Instead, stay hydrated with water. Rajasthan roads are filled with eateries and we suggest you keep enough space in your bellies to savour the local cuisine.

Rajasthan road trip from Delhi

When you are taking a road trip from Delhi to Rajasthan, the usual first pit stop in Jaipur. But we recommend is taking the Delhi- Alwar ( Sariska Tiger Reserve) – Sawai Madhopur ( Ranthambore) – Bhilwara – Udaipur – Jodhpur- Jaisalmer – Bikaner – Jaipur route. This would mean a 1398 miles road trip but can be worked out to different total miles depending on the time on your hand. A road trip is not calibrated based on markers but by moments that you encounter. This road trip to Rajasthan from Delhi will take you through all the famous places of Rajasthan. And not to mention the number of forts and palaces that would whizz past your window. A Rajasthan road trip should ideally mean at the end of the day: dusty boots, messy hair, and sparkling eyes.

rajasthan road trip map
This was the route we took for our Rajasthan Road Trip from Delhi

Rajasthan road trip from Mumbai

If you are driving from Mumbai, your first point of arrival in Rajasthan would be Udaipur. However, we suggest you take a break at Vadodara in Gujarat before driving to Udaipur the next day. An ideal trip from Mumbai should take you through this route: Mumbai – Vadodara – Udaipur – Jodhpur – Jaisalmer – Bikaner – Jaipur – Ranthambore – Bhilwara – Udaipur and back to Mumbai. This road trip would cover around 1784 miles. A slightly shorter version would mean skipping Jaipur and Sawai Madhopur (Ranthambore) and this would reduce the round trip to 1565 miles. And if you want to reduce it further you can take the Mumbai – Vadodara – Udaipur – Mt.Abu – Jaisalmer- Udaipur and back to Mumbai route. This would mean 1367 miles in total.

Rajasthan road trip map

Taking a road trip to Rajasthan will remind you of the freedom of the open road. It is captivating and liberating. It would involve long drive hours from Mumbai. And hence an able-bodied car, a good navigation appliance, and plenty of cheerfulness are recommended. Most of the state highways in Rajasthan are well marked, however, desert roads could be deceiving occasionally. Remember roads in Rajasthan are made for journeys, not the destination. So it is best to bond over with the journey and make every moment worthwhile.

ALSO READ: Day trip to the spectacular Fossil Dunes in Abu Dhabi
In the end…

When you are on a road trip in Rajasthan you will realize that some of the most scenic roads are the detours you did not intend to take. You will get into a Zen cadence that throws the sense of time out of the window. The most enticing part of a Rajasthan road trip is the traditional lifestyle and accessible people.

Battle-maimed forts, imposing palaces, and colours running riot are just the perks of being in a prodigious state, so much layered with history and age-old sophistication.

This blog-post was co-authored by Amitabh Sarma. An avid traveller and an ardent trekker, Amitabh loves to explore destinations by road and has already clocked more than 140,000 km on motorcycles across India.

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