Picture a Rajput palace, its ochre-washed walls rising sheer from a sandstone outcrop to apartments encrusted with domed cuppolas and pleasure pavilions. Now imagine gazing from one of the courtyards hidden within it across a mass of flat rooftops to a horizon of scrub hills and dried river beds. It’s a vision you could encounter a hundred times or more in Rajasthan, literally ‘Land of Kings’, where India’s northern plains segue into the mighty Thar Desert.
Nowhere else in the country boasts such flamboyant architecture. Traditional dress is more prevalent here too than most other regions, with the men wearing bulky turbans dyed vibrant colours, and the women decked from head to toe in embroidered textiles and heavy silver jewellery. Couple all this with some world-class heritage accommodation in converted royal palaces, and you’ll understand why Rajasthan offers the perfect recipe for a luxury holiday.
Our tour itineraries will guide you through the state’s highlights, from its salmon-coloured capital, Jaipur, to the majestic lake city of Udaipur. But they also include stops at some lesser known gems – such as fort hotels deep in the countryside, and tented camps out in the desert – where you can gain a taste of off-track, rural Rajasthan as few visitors experience it.
Best Time to Visit Rajasthan
Rajasthan experiences extreme fluctuations in temperature, thanks to presence along its western flank of the Thar Desert. From November to March, cloudy days are rare and rainfall virtually nil. Humidity levels may fluctuate slightly, and some days see periodic casts of very high, thin cloud, but for the most past, every winter day dawns bright and blue in the Land of Kings.
All of the hotels we use have air-conditioning in the rooms, so you won’t need to worry about extra blankets in late December and January, when night time temperatures can fall into single figures. You will, however, need an extra layer (or two) on safaris: morning drives, in particular, can be chilly when travelling in an open-topped Jeep.
Come armed with sun hats and high-factor cream whatever time of year you visit Rajasthan as the afternoons are invariably very warm. Many of our hotels have lovely swimming pools for this reason, with daybeds and parasols so you can relax outdoors.