Backpacking Rajasthan, India, in two weeks is an adventure you won’t forget. Of all the places to visit in India, I feel like Rajasthan has it all: Majestic forts rising up from sand dunes, tales of jewels and unruly kings, ancient step-wells inside color-themed cities… You name it! In my opinion, Rajasthan is one of the best states in India to backpack. With that said, there are dozens of places to visit in Rajasthan but two weeks won’t be enough to see everything!
In this typical Rajasthan itinerary, I highlight all the top places to visit in Rajasthan like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Pushkar, Udaipur, plus more. This definitely isn’t an offbeat Rajasthan itinerary but I include the lesser-known destinations as well, in case you want to add those to your bucket list!
Here’s my guide to the best places to visit for 2 weeks in Rajasthan, India!
Getting to and Around Rajasthan
Most people wanting to travel to Rajasthan do so after a quick tour of India’s Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur). Oftentimes, backpackers combine the Golden Triangle with one week or two weeks in Rajasthan, seeing as Jaipur overlaps both itineraries. We did this as well, starting in New Delhi and then Agra to see the Taj Mahal before taking a 3h 30m train to the pink city of Jaipur, Rajasthan’s state capital, where we started our 2 weeks in Rajasthan itinerary.
Bus & train travel in India
Traveling by bus or train in Rajasthan is quite easy to do. But both tend to be overcrowded and fully booked, which means it’s wise to book your trips between each city in advance. Definitely do not think, as we did, that because it’s India you can just show up and hop on the next departing train (local buses, yes). It’s thanks to our host in Agra that we were able to book our trains for each place in advance. By doing so we saved tons of money and frustration!
Before traveling in India, we didn’t know that to book trains as a foreigner you needed an IRCTC – Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation – account (which is where our host stepped in and saved us). But thankfully, you don’t have to worry about this anymore so I won’t go into detail here. (Read this article to learn more.)
Now, to book trains in India, all you need to do is use the 12Go website which greatly simplifies and streamlines the process by acting as an intermediary between you and the IRCTC. You receive your ticket in your email and that’s it!
Budget Tip: Book sleeper trains (overnight journeys) to save time and money when traveling large distances between cities.
Also when planning out your trip, make sure to account for travel time in between cities…
Typical travel times between cities in Rajasthan
Don’t make the same mistake we did, which was not taking into account the return trip from Jaisalmer to catch our flight out of Delhi. (It can take over 15 hours alone to get back via train!)
Here are typical travel times by train or bus from the top places to visit in Rajasthan.
- Jaipur > Pushkar: 3h 30m (train)
- Pushkar > Jodhpur: 4 hours (bus)
- Jodhpur > Jaisalmer: 5-6 hours (train)
- Jodhpur > Udaipur: 5 hours (bus)
- Udaipur > Jaisalmer: No direct buses or trains. You have to connect back via Jodhpur. Takes 13+ hours including transfers.
- Jaisalmer > Bikaner: 5 hours 30m
- Bikaner > Delhi: 7 hours by train (can extend up to 12+ hours on slower trains)
Jaisalmer and Udaipur are two places in Rajasthan that are “out of the way” and take extra effort to reach. But they’re worth it!
Note: We personally wanted to see Jaisalmer over Udaipur, so we went straight from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer, skipping the double trip down and back up from Udaipur.
How to Spend 2 Weeks in Rajasthan, India Itinerary
Below I breakdown our 2 week Rajasthan itinerary into days so it’s easier to see what’s possible in two weeks. Obviously, feel free to personalize this to fit your schedule and budget!
Days 1-3: Jaipur (The Pink City)
Arrive early in Jaipur from Agra (approx. 4 hour train ride).
Jaipur is Rajasthan’s “Pink City” aptly named for its pink-hued sandstone illuminating the shopping bazaars, temples, and whimsical palaces. As such, it’s a must on every Instagrammer’s bucket list. We spent 2 days in Jaipur, but I highly recommend committing at least 3 days for this stunning, pink-themed capital of Rajasthan!
Top things to see and do in Jaipur:
- Get lost in the incredible Amer Fort
- See the seasonal gates and pink buildings inside the City Palace
- Marvel at the architectural pink wonder of Hawa Mahal
- Take a sunset walk on the hilltop castle of Nahargarh Fort
- Get whimsical photographs of the colorful Patrika Gate
Highlights: I loved our time in Jaipur, known as the Kingdom of Amber and the seat of the medieval Mughal Empire. The Amer Fort is one of my favorite forts/palaces and inspires a sense of wanderlust. Don’t miss an evening meal on the rooftop at the Tapri Teahouse. Sleep in the centrally-located, backpacker-friendly hostel, Zostel Jaipur.
Days 4-5: Pushkar (Famous Pilgrimage & Hippie Town)
Arrive early in Pushkar for a full day (3 hour bus ride from Jaipur).
If you’re interested in Hindu religion, camel festivals, or hippie vegan cafes perched lakeside, then squeeze in a day or two into your Rajasthan itinerary to visit Pushkar. Pushkar is one of the oldest cities in India and is a famous pilgrimage site for devout Hindus who come to worship at the only temple in the world dedicated to Lord Brahma and to dip in the sacred Pushkar Lake.
Things to do and see in Pushkar in 1-2 days:
- Eat at a lakeside vegan cafe: Laughing Buddha, Cafe Lake View, Laura’s Cafe
- Observe local life around the Pushkar Lake at sunrise
- Hike up to the Savitri Mata Temple at sunset
- Visit the Lord Brahma Temple
- Also see Ranji Temple, Varaha Temple, Pap Mochini Temple, Man Mahal
Highlights: Visiting Pushkar is optional, but I recommend it if you have time. It’s smaller and slower-paced compared to the cities. Pushkar is a great mid-way place to “take a rest” from the more chaotic side to India’s larger destinations. For a memorable time in Pushkar, visit in November in time to catch the exciting Pushkar Camel Fair.
Days 6-9: Jodhpur (The Blue City)
In case you want to skip Pushkar, take a sleeper train overnight directly from Jaipur to Jodhpur to save time. We took a 4 hour bus from Pushkar to reach Jodhpur. Take a tuk tuk from the station into the old city.
Next up on our itinerary for 2 weeks in Rajasthan is the Blue City of Jodhpur. (One of the best places to visit in Rajasthan!) Jodhpur is where you begin your journey into Rajasthan’s arid Thar Desert. It’s also where you really start to see the influence of Muslim heritage (Pakistan used to be a part of India) combined with India’s predominantly Hindu population. The result is stunning!
Best sights and things to do in Jodhpur:
- Get lost inside the Mehrangarh Fort
- Hang out at Jodhpur’s ancient Stepwell
- Stroll the outdoor bazaar (Sadar market) and the city’s Clocktower (Ghanta Ghar)
- Visit the royal family’s cenotaphs at Jaswant Thada
- Tour Umaid Bhawan, the royal family’s private residence + museum + luxury hotel
Highlights: Jodhpur’s blue-hued houses are dominated by the towering Mehrangarh Fort which is perched high on a rocky cliff. Visiting the fort is just as impressive as seeing it from down within the city streets below. Our favorite viewing point for dinner was none other than the Arch Boutique Homestay.
Also Read: 9 Best Places to Visit in Jodhpur
Days 10-12: Jaisalmer (The Golden City)
We took an overnight sleeper train from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer to save time. Travel time is approx. 5 hours. Alternatively, you can swap out these days to visit Udaipur.
Jaisalmer, The Golden City, was our last stop on our 2 week Rajasthan itinerary. (We wanted to save the best for last!) With its majestic living fort rising up from the golden desert sands and crowning the city, Jaisalmer is one of the most unique places to visit in Rajasthan.
Popular things to do in Jaisalmer’s Golden City:
- Wander inside the Jaisalmer Fort (one of the last remaining forts where people still live today!)
- Go on a camel safari (day trip or overnight)
- Discover Jainism at Patwon-Ki and Nathmal-Ki-Haveli
- Go glamping in the Thar Desert
- Watch the sunset at Gadisar Lake
Highlights: Camel safaris and camping out in the Thar Desert are two experiences not to miss out on when in Jaisalmer. Make sure to spend lots of time exploring the Jain Temples inside the Jaisalmer Fort. Look out for the Dharan bookstore to chat with locals or grab a book, coffee, and wifi.
Further Reading: 3 Days in Jaisalmer, India + Camel Safari in The Thar Desert
Days 13-14: Return Trip to Delhi / Jaipur / Jodhpur etc.,
We underestimated the time it took to go from Jaisalmer back to New Delhi (via Bikaner). The trip back took us a little more than 15 hours. We made it just in time for one last day exploring Delhi before flying out the next morning.
Make sure to leave enough time for your return trip. Cities like Jaisalmer and Udaipur are very far out, and it doubles the travel time to get there and back. So just take that into consideration when planning your 2 weeks in Rajasthan!
Other Popular Places to Visit in Rajasthan
If you have more than 14 days in Rajasthan, you can divvy up this time to visit Bikaner, Ranthambore National Park, or Udaipur.
Udaipur at dusk | source: Canva
Udaipur (The City of Lakes)
There is no direct train from Jodhpur to Udaipur. The easiest way to reach Udaipur is by direct bus which take approximately 5+ hours.
Udaipur is the former capital of the former Kingdown of Mewar. It’s said to be one of the most beautiful and “romantic” places to visit in Rajasthan, even in all of India, because of its seven artificial lakes, surrounded by majestic Rajput palaces and the Aravali mountain range.
To reach Udaipur, you must transfer through Jodhpur. From there, it takes roughly 5 hours via bus to reach Udaipur.
Tip: Alternatively, you can hire a car driver from Jodhpur to Udaipur and stop along the way at amazing forts and Jain temples like in Ranakpur and Kumbhalgarh.
Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park is a popular place to visit in Rajasthan if you have time to add it to your itinerary. Housing tigers, leopards, and crocodiles, the park consists mainly of a large wildlife reserve but also includes sites such as the Ranthambore Fort and the Ganesh Mandir temple.
Best time to visit Ranthambore: In the winter months from October to December, although the park is open until June.
Bikaner sits about halfway between Jaisalmer and Delhi and is an ancient city in the Thar Desert. Although it receives less of a crowd due to its location, Bikaner has its own impressive Junagarh Fort, Hindu temples like the Karni Mata Temple (Rat Temple), and not to mention the international Bikaner Camel Festival.
Last-Minute Travel Tips for Exploring Rajasthan
- Visas: You will need an India Tourist e-Visa to travel in India. They do not issue visas upon arrival into India. The visa process is simple and easy to do online via platforms such as iVisa.
- Travel Health Insurance: I am currently using SafetyWing travel and medical insurance for digital nomads! I was able to get coverage for ~90 days for just $108. You have to purchase once outside your home country. Read more about it here.
- Hotels in Rajasthan: Whether you want to stick to a backpacker budget or splurge, I recommend Booking.com for finding and reserving the best places to stay across India.
Are the Pink, Blue, and Golden Cities of Rajasthan on your travel bucket list? Let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
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