Rajasthan | The practical guide & our tips for organizing your trip

Rajasthan | The practical guide & our tips for organizing your trip


Before you leave for Rajasthan, please consult our practical guide to help you organize your trip.


I’ve put together a short list of things I think you need to know to plan your trip to North India and Rajasthan: climate, accommodation, transport, food, safety, car hire, guide prices and a few pointers to help you plan your stay and avoid unpleasant surprises!


I invite you to read all our other articles on Rajasthan to help you prepare for your trip:


  • Offset

Plus 03h30 in summer in New Delhi and plus 4h30 in winter. When it’s 12pm in France, it’s 3.30pm in India.

  • Thefts

Allow around 12 hours for a flight from Paris to New Delhi

  • Flight comparator to buy your internal flights Cleartrip
  • Companies for your domestic flights: Air India, Indigo, Jet Connect, Spice Jet, GoAir, Jet Airways. We flew 3 times to get here. Please note that the weight limit for your luggage with these airlines is often 15kg! We also had a flight cancelled at the last minute, from Bangalore to Delhi (low occupancy on the flight so they cancelled your journey by email).
  • Example of theft

Varanasi → Cochin with a stopover in Mumbai, flight time 8h including stopover. Prices in 2015: 12000R/p

Bangalore → Delhi, flight time approx. 2h15. Prices in 2015: 5500R/p

Please note that luggage is limited to15kg/pon Air India and SpiceJet.


➡️ Find your cheapest flight to India with Skyscanner


  • Currency

The local currency is the rupee (Rp)

You can change euros (in cash), generally commission-free, at exchange offices, in some banks and in some chic hotels.
When traveling in India, remember to carry small denomination notes for your expenses, and always avoid bills that have been taped or torn at the edges: you won’t be able to use them.

You can pay by credit card in most hotels and more upscale restaurants. Always check that there isn’t a small commission on every payment. For boui-bouis in the streets, payment is made in cash.

Today, English-language ATMs can be found almost everywhere in the country. You can easily withdraw rupees with Visa and MasterCard.

Please note that there is a maximum amount authorized per week (check with your bank) and a commission for each withdrawal.


  • Language

The most common language is Hindi, but almost all Indians speak English with a distinct accent.

We all know someone who has been ill at one time or another on a trip to India. The famous Tourista! It comes mainly from the spicy and different foods we eat, and from water. Be sure to take some medication for this in your first-aid kit (spasfon, and anti-diarrheal from type loperamide or Imodium but also smecta. Don’t drink tap water, and make sure that plastic bottle tops are not used.

For vaccines, it is recommended to hepatitis A and typhoid, and be up to date on universal vaccines. (DTP)

As far as mosquitoes are concerned, there is no malaria in India. As in other countries around the world, the risk of being bitten often occurs at sunrise and sunset. To avoid being bitten as much as possible, remember to wear long, covering clothes, light colors, use mosquito repellents for skin and clothing, ointments… and don’t forget that mosquitoes hate spicy food, so eat lots of spices! The risk of being bitten by mosquitoes is multiplied during the monsoon season.

  • Passport valid for at least 6 months after planned return, with 3 blank pages (2 facing each other).
  • A visa is required, and there are 2 types:



Valid for stays of less than 60 days and for 2 admissions. The formalities are carried out online, in French, so I recommend this site with which I work. Click on this very detailed link to start the process .

Make your request at least 10 days before departure. (officially, from 120 days maximum to 4 days minimum before departure). You will need to print out the confirmed request and present it on arrival.

This evisa must be used within 120 days of obtaining it (entry into the country), and is valid for entry into India by air and sea (to Cochin, Goa, Mangalore, Mumbai and Chennai), but not by land.



This is the classic, multiple-entry tourist visa, valid for 6 months from the date of issue (not from the date of entry into India), and also allows you to apply for special permits for Sikkim. The stay cannot exceed 90 days. The application is completed online. Click on this very detailed link to start the process.

Count on about 140€ per visa per person without shipping costs for the regular visa. All rates are available online.

You’ll need an adapter. Remember to buy a universal one and take an extension cord with you to connect several appliances at the same time.

There’s no shortage of accommodation in India. On a trip to Rajasthan, it’s a good idea to try out different categories and styles of hotels to vary your experience. They can be found all over the country:



In India, you’ll find a variety of so-called classic accommodations, hotels that can be booked on sites like booking. On the other hand, I’ve had good and bad experiences with the classic hotel business: reservations in hotels that no longer existed, or really dirty hotels. In every major city in India, you’ll also find hotels from major international chains such as Marriott, Sheraton…



We tested a few palaces in India, from former residences and palaces of Maharajas, transformed into hotels after the loss of their privileges. Because of their size, they are often located away from the hustle and bustle, in residential areas and gardens. Some establishments have just the name but not necessarily the service or decor that goes with it, so be careful. I remember a night in a Palace in Rajasthan where the rooms were gigantic and barely decorated, the corridors empty… You have to look hard to find the nuggets.



This is a fairly new concept in India, given the accommodation already available. Boutique hotels offer a different experience, as they are often located in trendier parts of the city, more intimate with just a few rooms, and more like little havens of peace. The decor is meticulous and sophisticated, the style worked and contemporary.



There are many Heritage Hotels in Rajasthan. Most of these are former private buildings such as forts or Maharaja palaces, converted into charming hotels where you can experience a fairytale of a thousand and one nights at affordable prices. They are often located in both town and country, and are often part of a program to protect Indian heritage.



Havelis are a bit like Ryads in Morocco. It would be a shame to miss them and not try one out on your trip. These are usually magnificent Indian-style residences, small palaces or mansions that once lined the ancient silk routes, providing room and board for caravans. The Havelis have now been restored and converted into a hotel. The atmosphere is refined, often with a patio or landscaped courtyard, and few rooms.



Staying with a local is a unique experience in India, whether in Rajasthan or Kerala. We did this several times during our round-the-world trip, at the Cambodia including. As everywhere else in the world, you need to have the right contacts to sleep with a family that is welcoming and clean (sheets, toilets, showers…). Indian families often transform their homes to make you feel welcome. It’s a great opportunity to discover the Indian countryside and local customs, spend time with women and children and learn how to cook. It’s a major source of income for these families, who are delighted to welcome you. We have great memories of it on all our trips, including the one to India.



It is possible to sleep in a tent during a trip to Rajasthan. The campsites strongly resemble the Saharan tents sometimes found in Morocco. They offer all the comforts of home in the middle of nowhere. You could try this type of accommodation during a night in the Thar Desert near Jaisalmer.



This type of accommodation is becoming increasingly popular, and is often located near national parks or close to nature. They come in standard and luxury categories. The price is justified by criteria such as exclusivity, location, comfort and the food offered, often organically grown. Sleeping in an ecolodge also means being aware of and paying attention to resources such as water, electricity and the environment…


Travelling to India is a journey in itself. Here are the different modes of transport you’ll find in the country.


  • Train

For the more adventurous, the country boasts a huge rail network, one of the most extensive in the world. It’s a cheap and efficient means of transport, to be sure, but often very, very crowded. We took it 1 night and you have to do it for the experience. On the other hand, keep a close eye on your belongings, choose a bunk in the middle as there are often rats in the carriages, and take a sleeper with doors that close to avoid having Indians over your head when you wake up in the morning! (sisi)

There are 2 kinds of trains in India:

  • the express, i.e. the mainline trains that connect the country’s major cities
  • the passenger trains, which circulate more locally and stop everywhere. You really need to reserve your place in advance, especially during their holidays and the very high tourist season (December-January) and during the Indian school vacations (May-June).

For train timetables, departure and arrival cities, click on their private site for ease of use


  • Bus

Having seen the overcrowded buses and heard stories of tourists being raped in Rajasthan, it didn’t make me want to get on them or try them out. They are generally less crowded than trains, but less comfortable and more dangerous.

There are 2 types of bus:

  • State buses (government buses)
  • Private buses (often more expensive). If your budget allows, these are often more reliable, comfortable and, above all, faster.


  • Rickshaws

Rickshaws are either motorized (autos-rickshaws) or non-motorized (bicycles-rickshaws) and can be found just about everywhere in all major cities. It’s a really great way to get to know a big city and spot new places. It’s a bit like the tuk tuks in Asia, where the drivers
often earn a commission when they drop you off at a store or hotel. Be firm about where you want to go, negotiate the price before you get on and ask them to put the meter on. Always ask another Indian for an approximate price. This will give you an idea.


  • Car rental

For practical reasons, we preferred to use the services of a driver and a car. We love this freedom, we love stopping whenever we feel like it to take photos and take our time, so this situation just seemed like a no-brainer. It’s inevitably more expensive than taking the bus or train, but it’s so much better, especially once you’ve seen the state of the roads and the anarchy of the local traffic.
Don’t forget to check the vehicle’s condition (spare wheel, door locks, working horn, etc.).

I prefer to warn you, but the horn is an integral part of driving in India! You’ll have to get used to it, because for the locals, it’s a way of warning the vehicle, pedestrian or tractor next door that you’re in danger, or warning the cow in the middle of the road that you’re about to overtake it!

Rajasthani cuisine is spicy, mainly vegetarian (sometimes goat and chicken) and surely one of the most fragrant in the world. There is virtually no pork (over 180 million Muslims in India) or beef, as the cow is sacred. You’ll find these few dishes almost all the time, as they are the staple of Indian dishes.

South Indian cuisine, on the other hand, is essentially vegetarian: rice, vegetables and spicy sauces with different flavors such as coconut.

Some of the Indian dishes and specialities you’ll taste:

Masala Papad = Cumin cake with crushed tomatoes + onions + coriander sprinkled on top
Veg pulav = rice with vegetables
Shave tamater = crunchy chip mix + tomatoes + masala
Paneer Buttar masala = diced cheese in sauce + masala. Paneer is a fresh cheese, somewhat similar to English cottage cheese or Italian ricotta.

Palak paneer kofta = masala + chopped spinach
Aloo Pyaj = potato chunks + onions + masala
Chapati =roti
Chach =yoghurt mixed with water + spices
Lahasun chatni = masala + spicy garlic sauce
Dal fry or Dhal = lentil preparation

The curry = a dish that can be prepared with all kinds of foods (chicken, mutton, fish, but also vegetables, etc.). The secret is, of course, the blend of spices so characteristic of the country.

Tandooris = pieces of meat or fish marinated in spiced yoghurt and cooked in the tandoor, a clay or metal jar-oven.

Biryani and pulao = rice pilaf dishes flavored with saffron and cooked with or without meat, in vegetarian or egg versions. It’s spicy, inexpensive and nourishing.

Kebab and kofta = the former is a skewer of grilled minced meat, while the latter consists of meatballs or vegetables, minced and cooked in a spicy yoghurt sauce.

The korma = a sauce made with yoghurt, cashew nuts, almonds, various seeds…

Rotis and chapatis = unleavened wholemeal pancake mixed with water. The former is baked in the oven (tandoor), the latter on a cast-iron griddle (tawa). These are the most common breads.

The Naans = white sourdough flour cake bound with milk, traditionally baked on the inside of a tandoor oven. Delicious ones include butter and cheese naan. Sometimes with garlic (garlic naan) or garnished with almonds or dried fruit.

The markets are bursting with fruit. On the other hand, avoid fruit salads served in the street (hygiene problems!).
Indescribable in number, these pastries are generally made with semolina, curdled milk or honey.

The tea (or spiced chai tea in Hindi) is the national drink. Served with milk, otherwise you have to specify that you want black tea.

Lassi is a popular drink made from fairly runny yoghurt. We drank a lot of it in South India.


Bottled water price: 20R

Fruits : 10R bananas, 30R-40R apples

For two people, you eat 300R and you have several small dishes to enjoy. Don’t forget to eat Indian-style, i.e. with your fingers. You’ll get a better sense of the flavors.


  • Safety

I felt safer in South India than in North India, where men’s gaze is insistent and heavy towards women. I was much more careful about what I did and how I dressed in Rajasthan than in Kerala. Personally, I’d never do the north of the country on my own, as I think it can quickly become dangerous for a woman on her own. I invite you to click here to read my impressions of the country.


  • Local life

There are some codes to consider when you come to India.

We rarely shake hands with the person opposite, unless he or she has taken the initiative. Kissing is also rarely done, as it is interpreted as a sexual act. I was able to do this in the host families who welcomed us, as we spent several days with them.

The advantage of having a driver guide for the duration of your trip is that he’ll teach you all these country customs and the right gestures to adopt: the “namaste” greeting, the position to adopt in front of the deities….

If you’re visiting a Hindu temple or a mosque, you’ll need to take off your shoes, and sometimes even your socks! Leather objects and clothing are forbidden in Sikh temples, and it is imperative to wash hands before entering.

In India, it’s very hot but avoid dressing lightly and indiscriminately, especially in the north of the country. We strongly avoid outfits that are too short, even Bermuda shorts, tank tops and plunging necklines

As a couple, Antoine and I weren’t too demonstrative with each other in the street. In India, no one kisses in public or hold hands.

We eat with the right hand because the left hand is impure

To say yes or no, a left-to-right movement of the head while swinging to the side is almost identical.



On a 3-week stay in Rajasthan, it’s not easy to understand Hinduism, their gods and all their reincarnations! So to help you out, here are a few gods to remember! When the world was created, there were 3 great gods:

Generator or creator = BRAMA

Operator, protector = VISHNOU (who is reincarnated, among others, as Hanouman, god of the Monkeys)

Destroyer, destroyer = SHIVA



In India, cows are sacred and live among the inhabitants in the streets, by the roadsides and near the houses, and despite these obstacles, they will never be crushed! They’re like mothers, you have to feed them, protect them and take care of them in the Hindu religion. In Indian mythology, the God Shivah is often depicted in temples alongside bulls called Nandi and the God Krishna often has a cow. He is often depicted with his flute on his side and is said to have 60,000 wives! The goddess Ratha is his wife.

The god Shivah often has fine features (because the Hindus believe that fine features are symbols of femininity and beauty), so he can be confused with his wife Parvati. When she’s not happy, she turns blue, and becomes recognizable by her many arms, one of which bears the head of a severed man. It is sometimes called kali and would be stronger than Shivah 🙂

« Ganesh » or « Ganesha » is the elephant god and brings good luck. He’s one of Shivah’s 2 sons, why the elephant head? According to mythology, Parvati, wife of Shiva, wanted to take a bath alone and asked her son to watch the door. Ganesha didn’t let his father Shivah in, who insisted on going home. Furious, he cut off her head. Parvati, torn, asked for him to have a head at sunrise. Early in the morning, they found nothing but elephants around the temple, so they took an elephant’s head 🙂

This god can be found everywhere, and is one of the figurines you’ll want to bring back with you on your trip. In India, you can’t cook meat if the god Ganesha is in the kitchen. The Elephant symbolizes luck, prosperity, it’s also a good luck charm, the guardian of the door to avoid demons. the Cheval symbolizes power and strength. The Paon is India’s national bird and the symbol of love.



The swastika called Swasdik is often found in all temples. It’s a Hindu symbol of joy, prosperity and good luck.
It was reclaimed by Hitler as a Nazi symbol, but for thousands of years it has been the symbol of the Indians.



Ladies, prefer light pants such as sarouels, flowing pants, dresses or long skirts, and tee shirts for your staycation. Forget short shorts, mini dresses and tank tops, unless you love being stared at every 5 minutes and having your photo taken every 2 minutes! Comfortable shoes, flip-flops, a kway just in case, a little wool for the evening or the desert.

For souvenirs, we invite you to read the article.


We all know about monsoons in India, and we’d like to avoid them! Comme c’est un grand pays, le climat est aussi variable en fonction des régions:

  • North India: mid-November to end of March.
  • Ladakh: mid-May (see June) to late September/early October.

The monsoon season often starts from the end of June to September in the north of the country. Torrential downpours hit the country. In summer, the heat and humidity are a real pain. It can be very hot, up to 50 degrees

For in South India, the best season would be from mid-November to the end of March, except for the South-East and extreme South (Chennai, Madras to Trivandrum), due to the late monsoon around October-November.

  • Minimum rikshaw race cost 50R
  • Minimum tuk tuk fare in town 50R according to distance
  • Cost of City Palace boat 630R/p for 1h tour
  • Car rental costs 3000r/j about brand Yundai. Rentals in New Delhi are more expensive.
  • Average hotel price: 1000R or around 15 euros (it’s very difficult to find a hotel in India at 5euros a night, so count between 10 and 15 euros for the cheapest). You can find hotels around 400R like in Varanasi or Delhi (600R) but pay attention to the hygiene of the sheets, the bathroom…
  • Average Haveli price 1500R one bedroom
  • Tipping: give about 50R to 100R for the baggage handler who drops your luggage in the room and 10 euros for your driver (full trip)


Please note that, as an accredited tailor-made travel designer, I can help you create your own personalized itinerary for your stay in India. Please send me an email at : contact@mademoiselle-voyage.fr

Before you leave, don’t forget to read all our other articles on Rajasthan to help you prepare for your trip:



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