“The stunning mosques, temples, palaces and forts of Rajasthan reveal its importance as a centre of religion, royalty - and historic battles. This tour visits these architectural wonders - as well as seeking out stunning wildlife.”
Delhi | Agra Fort | Taj Mahal at sunrise | Game drives in Ranthambore National Park | Fatehpur Sikri | Bundi | Udaipur | Chittorgarh Fort | Jaipur | Amber Fort | Jodhpur
Description of Rajasthan desert adventure
Rajasthan is filled with imposing forts – testament to its warrior past, when battles raged across these landscapes. But there are many exquisite palaces, too – Rajasthan was also the “Land of Princes”. This small group, Rajasthan desert adventure holiday takes you across the state, introducing you to its history, culture and nature.
Along the way you’ll visit many forts – learning about the unique history of each, including the Red Forts of Delhi and Agra, Bundi’s hilltop fort, ad the incredible Amber Fort at Jaipur. India’s different religions are explored through its mosques and Hindu temples, including Jama Mosque – the largest in India, the while marble Pearl Mosque and the Hindu pilgrimage town of Pushkar. And no tour of northern India would be complete without a visit to the Taj Mahal; you’ll arrive there in time for dawn– just as the white marble exterior s changing colour with the sunrise.
A day in Ranthambore National Park reveals quite a different side of Rajasthan; it’s one of the best places in the world to spot endangered tigers, along with monkeys, crocodiles and deer. And for an extra special twist to this Rajasthan desert adventure holiday – once a year, we offer a departure which includes the renowned Pushkar Camel Fair.
Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.
Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: Rajasthan desert adventure
Wildlife This tour includes the wonderful chance to visit Ranthambore National Park for 2 game drives. Ranthambore is a tiger reserve under Project Tiger- a conservation effort which has now been running with progressing success for over 40 years. Tigers have been targeted for centuries by poachers for their fur and various body parts for Chinese medicine, but with increasing tourist numbers investing in a mutually safe form of tiger tourism, population numbers are on the rise. By paying National Park fees at Ranthambore, this tour contributes to the upkeep of this vital habitat for the tigers, deer, crocodiles, bird and plant life etc.
Charity For years we have been involved in campaigning for tiger conservation in Bandhavgarh. In late summer 2014 we teamed up with The Corbett Foundation, an Indian charity dedicated to conservation-oriented research. They have proved instrumental in enabling us to get the funds to where they are needed. Through this we have now completed the building of a community hall at Tala Village, solar pumps in the park for wildlife and staff in the dry season, bio gas plants and smart stoves for villagers and provided the salary for 2 full time teachers at the government school. Our work in India continues to be of great significance and most recently we have been able to purchase a 4 wheel drive medical vehicle and pay for outreach medical support.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Local Craft & Culture We are keen to encourage guests to engage with the culture of India and to purchase local crafts and services where possible. Your local guide will be able to recommend the best of the area’s colourful and vibrant markets and small businesses and through our commerce, tourist wealth is more evenly distributed. You might pick up some street food in Delhi, in Jaipur take the opportunity to explore the emporiums specialising in block printed material and blue pottery or in Agra visit a hand-knotted carpet factory. There are locally crafted gifts and souvenirs available by most of the landmarks we visit, and your guides will be able to advise you on which to buy and which to avoid. For example, some bangles and other decorative items in Jaipur claim to be made of ivory and, although this is mostly fake, we are against the popularisation of this kind of product and make a point of including a warning in the briefing.
Accommodation & Meals On this trip, you will spend your nights in various hotels and you will notice that our hotels employ locally and use local produce from markets in the area wherever possible. The hotels are waste and energy conscious and have their own policies like asking guests to turn off the power when leaving a room in order to save electricity. 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 e.g. Masala Chai (Tea), Samosa (Mashed Potato Snacks), Jalebe (Indian Donuts), Lassi (Yoghurt Drink), etc.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
Reviews of Rajasthan desert adventure
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 13 Jan 2009 by Monica Filkova
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
All visits to Rajastani palaces, forts and havelis were a fantastic experience, especially since the city guides were really good and very excited to tell us all about it. The Taj Mahal is certainly a highlight, but my top experience was visiting the living and breathing city within the walls of Jaisalmer fort. Other highlights for me included the miniature painting school in Udaipur, the carpet and block printing workshop in Jaipur, the observatory in Jaipur and the makrana marble workshop in Agra. The artisans make truly beautiful things! And they always have given the beauty of the palaces.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Choose a tour which minimises road travel as roads are poor and travel times are 2-3 times longer than what you'd expect. At least some of the longer journeys should be with an overnight sleeper train or a flight (eg Jaipur-Agra). Go after mid November if you don't like hot weather - the first week of our tour (1st week in Nov) was unusually hot with temperatures close to 40C!
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?
Yes, as hotels and restaurants were local, but on the road there are only very over-priced restaurants (only for tourists) and if possible alternatives should be used both in favour of the tourist and the wider local community. Also, we were taken to quite a few workshops or middlemen who work with local artisans via cooperatives, but it would have been good to have more time to spend in markets and spread our custom a bite wider, although any attempt to do that was necessarily hampered by the pushiness of the vendors which makes it very difficult to look and consider a purchase.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Rajasthan, Agra and Delhi are definitely the best place to go for a first visit to India and offer many beautiful sights. The tour has good coverage of the state (as many tours don't go all the way to Jaisalmer), but was very fast-paced with lots of long drives which certainly detracts from the enjoyment factor.