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Exploring Rajasthan on a Backpacker's Budget

Digital Pilgrim's picture

Rajasthan has always been one of the top tourist attractions, both for Foreign tourists as well as Indian travellers. There is a common notion that visiting Rajasthan as a tourist is very expensive and not for backpacker foreigners or common Indian middle class families. But what I feel is totally different. Proper planning of tour itinerary, selecting the right routes, planning everything at least four months in advance and learning from the experiences from people who has already been there will definitely make it a low budget destination. Believe me, you can enjoy your comfortable tour of the biggest Indian state within a very short budget.

Now, comes the question 'how?'. Let me answer it step by steps. 

Step1.

Start planning at least 100 - 120 days in advance.

Step2.

Fix the itinerary span. That is you should decide how many days your trip should last. To cover at least 55% of Rajasthan, you need ten days. If you want to cover whole of Rajasthan, you need 18 days. It sounds a bit unbelievable but proper planning, choosing the right days of week, choosing the right train from innumerable options available, choosing the right halting point, choosing the right starting point, selecting the right destinations will surely make it possible. 

Step3.

Choose your destinations. In Rajasthan, you will find reserve forests which differ from other Indian Reserve forests, massive forts spread all over the state with rich significance in Indian history and cultural heritage, temples with great architecture and eye catching rock carving and other exhibits of fine arts, places with rich heritage of folk and traditional Rajasthani music, colorful desert landscapes, great variety of flora and fauna, many museums with very rich collections and some places with anthropological importance.

Here is a list of some popular destinations in Rajasthan. I have attached outline of my opinions on them against each of them.

Chittaur Fort - a very ancient fort that played an important roll in Indian history. It bears memories of Rana Pratap, Rana Vijay Singh, Rani Padmini and her Jawahar Brat, Meerabai, Alauddin Khalji, some more empires of Mewar dynasty, Rana Kumbh and many other unforgettable characters of history. 
chittaurgarh.png

This is a part of the Chittaur Fort. The fort is huge and every nook and corner has got it's own tale. They take us back to some important historical phenomenon .

 

Mount Abu - a picturesque hill station in the Aravallis with the Great Dilwara temple near by. Dilwara temple showcases unbelievable majestic creations in rock carving, artistic and undoubtedly world's best in it';s category.

dilwara.png

Water ripple carved out of a single marble stone ceiling measuring 8 meters X 8 meters.

Mandalgarh - famous for the ancient Mandalgarh fort and the magnificent architecture of steps leading to a very deep well.

Bhilwara - A very ancient town with Badnore fort nearby, a very interesting place to visit for those who has inclination to anthropology.

Jaigarh Fort - A massive fort in the outskirts of Jaipur which has never been conquered. It has the world's largest canon on wheels - a must visit.

Haldighat- famous for the historic battle of Haldighat.

Jaipur - the capital city of Rajasthan, a must destination for foreigners which shows ancient India in a nutshell to them. It has famous attractions like Haawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, some old markets for handicrafts and a must visit museum.

Jodhpur -  The district head quarter of Marwar district, the origin of brave Marwari people spread round the globe. It has the massive and historical Mehrangarh fort and Umaid Bhawan - a luxurious palace with a museum of royal collections - another must visit.

Kumvalgarh Fort - 15th Century fort, a beautiful one built on the hill top bears the memories of Maharana Kumv.

Ajmer, Pushkar Lake and Taragarh Fort - Ajmer Sharif, a Darga, is a very holy place of religious importance for the Muslims, Adhai Din Ka Jhopdra is a very interesting destinations for all. Pushkar Lake is a holy destination for Hindus near Dabitri Hills. Annual Pushkar Fest attracts lots of foreigners. Taragarh fort is worth visiting, differs from other forts in Rajasthan in its architecture.

Udaypur -  a comparatively modern palace with beautiful lake of the Maharanas of Chittaur is there. It's bright and decorated but lacks the typical ancestral flavour of Rajputana.

Bikaner - desert city which gives you a typical feeling of the desert life style and desert food. The Junagarh fort is there which is totally different again from all other Rajasthani fort in architecture and ornamentation.

Jaisalmer- desert city with a golden colored beautiful fort inside which life continues.Its' a living fort. It is surrounded by unforgettable golden desert landscape. Added attractions are camel safari, belly dance is desert camps in the evening. But these attractions are expensive and foreigners go for them.

Ranthambore - largest national park of India with good number of tigers and great variety of animals. Safari's are attractive, but takes at least two full days to cover all aspects of Ranthambore. Visiting Ranthambore, staying there, food and safari are a  bit costly than expenses involved in visiting other Rajathan destinations. 

Sariska Tiger Reserve - Dense forest with costly safari. Tigers are rare there these days.

Neemrana Fort -  A comparatively modern but luxurious hill fort town with gorgeous architecture.

Step-4

Choose your start point and end point. This is very important. The destinations are often very well connected by express trains and long distance bus service. If, you sit for long hours to do so, gradually you will find that you have shortened the total number of days to a good extent. This can be achieved by choosing the right route. To make routes more smart, you may need to exclude one or two of your selected destinations and may include one or two those fall in the route.

There are good train connectivity between destinations and it will help you plan your tour in such a way so that you travel by night trains, reach the destination in early in the morning, check into hotels, get fresh, visit your destinations according to plans and then leave for the next destination again late in the night by train. By shortening the total time span of your tour, you can cut down the budget to a great extent.

A few brainstorming sessions with all India railway sites open (for both express and local passenger trains) will reduce your budget to a good extent.

Step-5

Fix your budget for lodging. Proper route planning will reduce the number of hotel stays to a lot extent. If, you plan your trip six months in advance, you can look for cheaper yet comfortable accommodation through various sites. You can search for budget accommodations and dharamshalas in your preferred destinations. Budget accommodations are available throughout Rajasthan. If you find that you can not locate budget accommodation in some particular destination, you can re-arrange your tour plan so that you can avoid long stay at that destination.

Step-6

Try to avoid eating out in luxurious restaurants. Go for local vegetarian restaurants. Even small vegan restaurants and street side food stalls in Rajasthan offer hygienic food.

Step-7

Always carry plenty of drinking water with you. Collect the water from your hotel or railway stations. Otherwise you have to keep on buying water from street shops which are costlier and not always hygienic.

Step-8

If possible, pre book your local transport. Prefer cheaper three wheelers are they ply almost everywhere in Rajasthan and they are cheap. It is possible to find a few phone numbers of people operating three wheelers in Rajasthan over the Internet.

Step-8

Try to secure accommodations near to your reaching and departure points, such as railway stations or bus stand if you travel by bus. These will reduce cost of local transport.

I believe that if you plan your tour following the above mentioned ones, you can really enjoy Rajasthan at it's fullest in a backpackers' budget.

Questions and comments are welcome.