A mixture of desert and forest, The Land of Kings has many places to visit and things to do. I tried describing the Indian state in an introduction earlier and in this post, I will list some important notes I made in my diary, tips on making it really easy to travel through this vast landscape as well as my expenses for a months stay in Rajasthan.
Important Notes and Tips
The state is well connected with trains, use them well. Despite various private operators have air-conditioned sleeper buses running throughout the state and even to other parts of India, they are not very comfortable for long journeys.
Book your trains a few days in advance, try getting them done through travel agents they charge a rupees extra but help you out with the best available options.
The rickshaws (or tuk-tuks) are not metered, negotiate the price before getting the ride. A short distance of about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) costs about Rs. 30 while a long 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) should cost about Rs. 150 to Rs. 200. These prices will change on the basis of the fuel prices in the state at the time of my travel a liter of petrol was priced at Rs. 79.
Try the Dal Baati Churma. Baati is a hard bread made from wheat, it is then mixed with Dal. Churma is a sweet made form the same bread.
Main languages are Hindi and Marwari. If you know either it is extremely easy to communicate with the locals. English is also known by many people in the region. A phrase book for Hindi or Marwari will be useful if you plan to visit some remote areas.
Plan your visit between October and March, it is the best time to visit Rajasthan as in in winter the state becomes a lot more lively with its fairs and festivals. I missed out on this, but I sure want to go back for one of these festivals.
Culture and religion is very important for the people of Rajasthan, so if you have some different views don’t mix them with the locals.
Do not mix with many locals who already appear shady, I had one such instance which ended up in a fight where the only person who got beaten up was me.
If you are going for a long camel safari, do some research first. Many organize these tours and are known for fooling tourists. Visit the Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor or similar website and search for legitimate camel safari agencies.
DO NOT THROW PLASTIC IN THE DESERT.
Try visiting as many forts and palaces as possible, they are simply marvelous and elegant. Each has its own story and its own unique experience.
Travel light. I carry my camera gear, laptop and other electronics in one backpack, while everything else goes in a medium sized rucksack.
I am not much interested in shopping, but Rajasthan is a great place to pick up some interesting stuff you can bring back home for yourself or your friends. It is quite cheap.
Try the Rajasthani Thali, and there are some excellent restaurants throughout Rajasthan which offer such meals. Check them out online. A really amazing one was the Gypsy restaurant in Jodhpur.
A desert safari is a must, there is no point coming to Rajasthan if you don’t have a desert sunset on your list.
There are many museums and wildlife sanctuaries, visit these you’d feel awesome!
If you have enough time, try visiting of the remote villages. The people there are quite welcoming and you can as fix something like this through a local tours and travel agencies.
When in the desert, sleep out under a thick blanket of stars.
I managed to stay in Rajasthan for an entire month in just Rs. 20,000.
As I stayed long in most places the rent went down and I spent about Rs. 5,000 for sleeping.
I was welcomed by my friends and many other locals for food. As a matter of fact the reason I had to visit a restaurant was free Wi-Fi. Regardless, this should be about Rs. 300 per day for one person which rounds it of to about Rs. 10,000 (lets add an additional Rs. 100 for those special days) for a month.
When I was in a city, I walked most of the time and hitched rides or took the bus if I had to go far. For long distances, I booked trains. Moving around was not very expensive, I might have spent at the most Rs. 1,500 while using transport in the state.
I think the rest of the money accounts for some beers, the pants I got stitched, getting some photos printed and other shopping.
I think a Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 30,000 would be a decent amount to travel through Rajasthan as a backpacker.