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Cities covered: Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Longewala, Jodhpur, Kumbalgarh, Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Kota
Total expenses: Rs. 54,000 (Inclusive of food, tolls, hotels, entrance fees etc.)
Road conditions: Excellent (Highways in Rajasthan are incomparable to any other roads)
Ever since the lockdown started easing out gradually, we were itching to go on a trip to our country. We started with taking short weekend trips to Neemrana, Uttarakhand but these short trips were not able to satisfy our hunger for adventure and travel. We were yearning to wake up in distant cities, eat breakfasts with a view, most importantly, feel happy and content. Finally, in the month of November, our anniversary month, we decided to take a break from our monotonous schedules for the last 9 months and started planning a road trip across one of our most beloved states – Rajasthan. Frankly, Rajasthan is like a second home to us, but we realized we never have been to beyond Jaipur and this time, we wanted to touch and feel Rajasthan in its entirety. So, all set, our date was decided – 22 November 2020, the day it all began. The last one week was spent in getting the car serviced, getting new set of tyres, purchasing some necessary accessories to keep our home (Ford Endeavour) for the next 2 weeks or so in a perfect condition. With a detailed research, we decided not to drive for more than 6-7 hours a day and keep our plans flexible. So, we booked our stays with MMT only one day before our next destination. Here’s the route and initial plan we decided:
Gurugram -Bikaner- Jaisalmer- Jodhpur- Kumbhalgarh- Udaipur- Chittorgarh- Kota- Gurugram
Please Note: There are no Covid report requirements in Rajasthan but there is night curfew in almost all the major cities we visited, except Jaisalmer. Markets starts closing from 7 P.M. and night curfew timings are from 8 P.M. to 6 A.M.
Day 1: Gurugram to Bikaner (430 kms/ 7 hrs):
Since we had a long distance to cover the first morning, we decided for a head start and left at 6:20 a.m. in the morning. We followed google maps for the route and it took us through Jhajjar in Haryana. After approximately 25 kms, we came on a proper highway. Since, we left early in the morning, we were able to ditch all the morning traffic through the cities and were able to join the highway with a single but comfortable road in a quick time. Although a single road highway, but its in excellent condition and one can easily put the car on cruise mode and forget about it.
No of tolls: 3
Total toll: Rs 155
Tip: Although the route is very comfortable and scenic, there are very few decent restaurants / dhabas along the way. Better to carry your own food and water during these times to avoid eating pitstops.
We arrived at around 1:30 in the afternoon at out hotel, Hotel Desert Winds. Located on one of the widest roads in the city, this hotel is a decent budgeted hotel with ample parking and a restaurant. We paid around Rs 1300 per night (excluding breakfast) for 2 nights here.
After a brief rest, we decided to visit Karni Mata temple (famously known as Rat Temple). Its at a drive of almost 45 minutes from the city. There is free parking in the premises and all Covid related precautions are being taken in the temple.
Day 2: Bikaner sight seeing:
Next morning, we decided to have breakfast at one of the most famous shops in Bikaner, Chhotu Moti Joshi, but its just the name that is left. Kachori sabji was below average, expensive, and was not even served properly. Nevertheless, we left for the famous Junagarh Fort, which is located at the heart of the city, with ample free parking inside the fort itself.
Entry fee for Indians: INR 50 per person
Note that the ticket price also includes guide fee which is allotted to 5-6 tourists. If you want to have a separate guide, the charges are Rs 300. We would recommend to go with the common guide as they are pretty good and can click good pictures for you for a small tip.
Although this is not a very big palace, like the other palaces of Rajasthan, but still a must visit. There are beautiful courtyards, perfect picture spots, royal ornaments and traditions still can be felt inside the fort.
Our next stop was the Camel Research Centre located around 8 kms from the city center. This is the place where one can have a close look at how camels are bred, treated, various types of camels and have a sip of products made from fresh camel milk.
Entry fee: INR 50 per person
Camel milk products: INR 20 per item (Buttermilk, milk, flavored milk, coffee, etc.)
We were the only people inside that center and spent an hour or so watching around different types of camels. They also offer camel rides at INR 100 per person.
Our next stop was Devi Kund Sagar (Royal Cenotaphs): Located on the route way back to city, we decided to spend some time here at these Royal cenotaphs.
Entre fee: INR 5 per person, no parking fee
This was the most calm and serene place we visited in Bikaner. Not much people visit here. Marble cenotaphs, with cool air passing by makes it a perfect stop to rest and sit for a couple of hours.
Day 3: Bikaner to Jaisalmer (330 kms/5hrs)
No of tolls: 5
Total toll: 260
After a heavy puri bhai breakfast, we decided to head to Jaisalmer, the last big city before Indo-Pak Border. We headed via NH11, and it’s a double road for a good distance, but after it it’s a single road, but trust us, you don’t want to miss driving on this incredibly beautiful road. Desert on both sides, least traffic, frequent army traffic passing by, the only time you would press the brakes is to let a herd of sheep pass by, or to deflect a cow standing in the middle of the road. Although the road is pretty good and one could drive at any speed, we decided to drive within the specified limits, i.e. 80 kms per hour, and reached Jaisalmer in 5 hours. Here one can find some decent options for meals.
We had planned the next two days in a very different manner. We had decided to book a homestay in the middle of the desert, rather say a hut with no electricity, no running water but with some great people. We literally took the road less travelled, with gravel on both sides, sand beneath our tyres and excitement in our eyes. Just a tip here, since the roads to reach our place was a bit tough, take care of your tyres as they might suffer some damage here. While it was very much easier in our SUV to cross the patch, hatchbacks and sedans might face a little bit of trouble to drive on.
The stay we chose was an experience booked via Airbnb. We walked around the dunes with no-one but animals to guide us, slept under the stars with moonlight to guide us, ate a simple but lovely dinner around the bonfire.
Day 4: Jaisalmer: Camping in the desert:
We were up early in the morning as we had an exciting day to look forward to. We had tied up with our host for a private safari with tented stay in the dunes with no people nearby. It was purely magical, words just cannot describe our feelings that night. Sleeping in the middle of the desert in a tent, with winds howling all night, and a sky full of stars at 3 in the night, made us appreciate the small things around us so much and we woke up with tears in our eyes.
Day 5: Jaisalmer: Kuldhara Village
What a lovely sunrise it was the sun coming up the dunes, its light shining up the nearby areas like gold, we are sitting with hands in hands and living the life we want to. What else one can want? After a hefty egg breakfast in the desert we decided to go back to our huts but visit Kuldhara village in between.
Kuldhara village charges: Car entry: INR 80
Passenger: INR 50 per person
Kuldhara is a heritage site in Rajasthan. Abandoned over 200 years ago it is believed to be cursed by the residents who left it.
We moved on to our hotel in the city, Hotel Tokyo Palace. It’s a really haveli converted into hotel property situated very near to the fort, with sufficient parking on the street outside. We booked it initially for 2 nights at 1400 per night (including of breakfast), but decided to extend it for another night and got a great deal from the hotel itself at INR 1000 per night.
Once we freshened up, we decided to visit the Bada Bagh (Cenotaphs). They are located at a distance of 6-7 kms outside the city on the road to Longewala.
Entry fees: INR 100 per person
Many notable films have been shot here, including Salman Khan’s Tere Naam. Although a guide is not necessarily required here, we decided to get one just to get a history of the place for around Rs. 100.
Our next stop was Gadisar Lake. It is situated right in the city, ample parking space but was a bit crowded.
Parking: INR 50 per car
Boating: INR 100 for 2 paddle boat for half an hour
In the evening, we decided to visit the Jaisalmer Fort, the only living Fort in India, where normal people are still living. This fort is open for public without any entry ticket and one cake take a three wheeler to reach at the top for INR 40. There are a lot of restaurants, shops and scenic points up at the fort, from where one can have an entire view of the Golden City of Jaisalmer. Walking distance from almost every corner of the city, a bit steep walk, may be 10 mins..one can also get auto for Rs. 40 to reach the fort. Do not take guide, not required at all. So many cafes and shops, one can spend a couple of hours easily there.
Day 6: Longewala & Tanot Mata temple (115 kms/ 2hours)
Your visit to Jaisalmer is futile if you do not go to the iconic Longewala post. The most reminisced Indo-Pak war of 1971 was fought here where the latter faced a brutal defeat. For the sake of our fallen heroes and for the pride of India that you hold, do visit Longewala War Memorial. Longewala war memorial is not just a destination. It is an emotion that every proud Indian holds within. India not only emerged victorious in the 1971 battle with Pakistan but also birthed incredible stories of courage and sacrifice that have been inscribed in gold.
The distance to cover from Jaisalmer Fort to Longewala is 124 kilometers (77 miles) via Ramgarh road. It is an effortless drive on the world-class roads minus any bump. Windmills, patches of sand and desert vegetation make the ride quite interesting. The milestones too give a good photo opportunity on the way.
Do visit Tanot Mata temple as well.
Jaisalmer war museum is closed since lockdown.
Day 7: Jaisalmer to Jodhpur (280 kms/4 hrs)
No of tolls: 3
Total toll: INR 130
Must visit places: Jaswant Thada (Rs 30 parking and Rs 60 entry fees). It is also known as the "Taj Mahal of Marwar".
Day 8: Mehrangarh Fort (Rs 50 parking, 300 Rs entry fees). One can walk down to the old city, but its not as beautiful as it is in the pictures.
Umaid Bhawan museum is closed since the lockdown.
Recommended: Don’t forget to eat at Janta Sweet House, the best shop for meals and sweets in the city.
Day 9: Jodhpur to Udaipur via Kumbalgarh (260 kms/6 hrs)
No of tolls: 4
Total toll: 185
Kumbalgarh Fort, Parking INR 35, entry fee – INR 70 (can only be booked online, better to book in advance, internet connection not good)
Have you heard of the “The Great Wall of China”? Of course, you might have. What if we ask you of the second longest wall in the world after The Great Wall of China? Confused!! Don’t know? Won’t you be surprised if we say it’s present in the Indian state of Rajasthan? Shocked!! Exactly what we were when we heard that Kumbhalgarh Fort in Rajasthan has got the second largest wall in the world. The fort wall extends to the enormous length of 36 kilometres and is popularly known as “The Great Wall of India”.
Spend evening watching the beautiful sunset at the Fatehsagar lake and enjoy the local food.
Day 10: Udaipur
Must visit places:
Saheliyon ki Baari (INR 20 per person) also known as the Garden of Maidens, is one such marvel of nature created by man for a woman.
Sajjangarh (INR 220 for 4 wheeler and INR 70 for ticket) Looming at a great height, the fort offers an exhilarating bird eye view of Udaipur City overlooking the two lakes- The Pichola and Fetehsagar.
City palace: (Do not take your car, better to go by auto, entry fees; INR 300 per person). The City palace, Udaipur is a fantastic compendium that opens up pages of the fascinating stories of the rise of this city, the journey of the Mewar Kingdom and the life of this dynasty’s bravest and most famed warrior, Maharana Pratap, son of Maharana Udai Singh II. It stands tall over Pichola Lake, having served as an abode for the ruling royalty. The balconies, cupolas and towers of the palace give a wonderful view of the lake and the surrounding city, the complex actually consists of four major and several minor palaces that collectively form the magnificent City Palace.
Recommended: Must visit Yummy Yoga roof top restaurant for some lip smacking food and enjoying evening with the beautiful view of the lake.
Day 11: Udaipur to Chittorgarh (120 Kms/ 2 hours)
The Chittor Fort or Chittorgarh is the largest fort in India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is regarded as one of the most outstanding forts of the country and is indeed the "Pride of Rajasthan State".
You can purchase a Chittorgarh Fort entry ticket priced at Rs 15.
Day 12: Chittorgarh to Kota (180 kms/ 3 hours)
Places to visit in Kota
We wanted to meet some of our family and friends so we stayed for a night in Kota. This is a beautiful city with so many options of local food to try out specially Onion kachori.
Must visit: Seven Wonder park and spend evening walking by the Kishore lake.
Day 13: Kota to Gurugram via Jaipur (480 kms/ 8.5 hours)
We drove directly from Kota to Gurugram. Since, we have already visited Jaipur couple of times. If you want you can stay for 2 or 3 days and enjoy the beautiful Pink city.
Hope you enjoyed reading our blog! We have tried to answer all the questions, in case something is still unanswered you can drop your query in the comment section. We will be happy to answer the same.
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