Ride past undulating sand dunes flanked by the Aravalli mountain range and the typical rural countryside
Admire historical stalwarts: weathered forts and breathtaking Jain temples
Savour Mughal influenced curries and smoky tandoori food
Get lost in the meandering markets, buzzing with wonderful chaotic energy
Feel the pulse of Rajasthan by taking a came ride in sand dunes and seeing amazing wildlife from the vantage point of your bike
Rajasthan defines the ‘quintessential’ India experience – vibrant colours, abundant wildlife, pale brown ornate palaces emerging from the sands of the Thar Desert, vivacious dances, unblemished villages in the interiors and delicious distinct food from the rest of the country.
You ride past villages in an unparalleled expanse of sandy setting and Aravalli hills. Parts of your trip will transport you back into the world of Kings, Forts and Battles. As you lose yourself in the captivating folklores and fascinating tales spinning from every crevice of this magnificent state, be sure to keep your eye on the road. An eclectic array of splendid forts, grand palaces and revered temples will make the journey even more salubrious! And you actually get to play ‘royalty’ by staying in some of the best-restored ‘havelis’ (traditional palatial homes) and hotels. All in all, a prolific cultural and rural biking trip that will leave you in absolute wonder! India’s pride on the travel map of the world, the unique landscape and architectural marvels of Rajasthan provide the most exotic backdrop to your cycling vacation!
Arrival Note: Take a connecting flight to Udaipur either from Delhi or Mumbai International Airport. Most of the international flights to Delhi and Mumbai arrive around midnight hours. Allow at least 3 hrs of layover time between your international and connecting flight to Udaipur. We recommend to take either Jet Airways or Air India flight from Delhi for Udaipur as they fly from same terminal (T3) as international arrival terminal (T3). All other low-cost domestic airlines fly from T1 terminal at Delhi (keep minimum 4 hrs layover if flying from here). Please note, during peak winter season (late Dec – early Jan) in Delhi, many of the domestic flights get delayed and some cancelled from or to Delhi due to heavy fog here. Mumbai is a good option around that time.
We recommend to arrive a day earlier at Udaipur; do a bit fit and get ready for early morning biking the next day.
Day 1: Udaipur
Arrive in Udaipur and be greeted by your trip leader. We check into the plush Fateh Prakash Palace overlooking the Aravallis in the distance and relax for some time. The sobriquet ‘city of lakes’ fits perfectly to Udaipur – there are six large and many smaller lakes here.
Explore the ‘City of lakes’ on a short half day long loop on the bike, swerving to untreaded nooks and corners through the beautiful rural countryside and absorbing this historic capital of Mewar at your own pace. A colourful landscape unfolds here with brightly clothed village women. Here you can see a typical hamlet of Rajasthan with people busy with farming. We get to discover kingfisher, langoors, cows, goats, peacocks along the way and a chance to take a refreshing ride around Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar and Badi Lake.
Later, we cover some Udaipur highlights – a boat ride in the Pichola Lake, and a guided walk of the City Palace. The City Palace is enclosed in a large complex on the banks of Lake Pichola and has many more palaces inside.
Meals: Lunch or Dinner Distance cycled: ~ 30km / 21mi
Day 2: Devi Garh
This day we start early in the morning and ride past small villages, mountainous and greener landscape and see more than thousand years old saas bahu and eklinji temples along the way. The ride is undulating and gives a chance to witness the rural life around Udaipur from close quarters. Having received numerous accolades from leading travel magazines, Devi Garh is the erstwhile residence of the local rulers of village of Delwara. Now luxuriously restored, the hotel is a heaven for tasteful extravagance, which you experience for two nights.
This day, is set aside for some more indulgence. We have kept it relatively free for you to fill your own time. Start your day at the yoga or meditation pavilion for an elevating morning. Pamper yourself to a traditional Ayurvedic massage at the hotel’s spa or visit Devi Garh’s closest highlight, the village of Eklingji. Home to the famous namesake temple, the village is on the outskirts of Devi Garh. Dedicated to a lady saint, Meera, the temple was built in 734 A.D. If you sill have some miles left in your legs take a ride into the village to see this ancient testimony to India’s glorious history and the other 108 temples that are built in the same complex. This little village is quite a temple destination with many more made in black marble and granite.
At Devi Garh, traditionally inspired designs, motifs and materials come together with contemporary architectural facets here. Soothe your body, stimulate your mind strengthen your spirit at Devi Spa.
If you’re up for riding then we can also take a gorgeous loop around Devigarh passing through village houses and farms surrounded with spectacular Aravalli Hills.
Today, we start in the shuttle and drive up the Aravalli hills to our starting point for the day. The ride is extremely gorgeous today and takes you through the interior parts of Rajasthan. The beautiful landscape unfolds like a poetry in motion as you bike through picturesque countryside to Kumbhalgarh, a historic fort town from the 15th century. Here, we stay at The Aodhi, a heritage property close to the Kumbalgarh Fort. Later in the evening, we climb the rugged Kumbalgarh Fort, surrounded by a 35km wall with 365 temples within.
This morning, we hop onto the bikes and make our way to Narlai, through the rugged Aravalis and undulating stretches. This is the most wholesome ride of the tour as you get a balanced day of different topographies.
Narlai lies at the epicenter of an area rich with more than 400 historic temples. Arriving in Narlai, settle into the Rawla Narlai, an enchanting 17th century mansion. Formerly used as a hunting lodge, it is located in the heart of a typical rustic Rajasthan village amidst craggy rock-scape interjected with village houses. Rawla boasts of an esteemed guest list with the likes of Mick Jagger and Francesco Clemet having stayed here.
Today we ride to Ranakpur. En-route we visit Ranakpur Jain Temple. Jainism is an ancient religion from India that teaches that the way to liberation and bliss is to live a life of harmlessness and renunciation. This architectural wonder in white marvel is known for exquisitely carved 1444 pillars.
We start cycling early this day across lush millet vegetation and carpets of yellow mustard fields. This is a fairly easy terrain to ride in so you can enjoy the vistas with ease.
Later we take a shuttle and arrive at Jodhpur, the second largest city of Rajasthan and has earned a moniker of ‘Sun City’ for its bright clear skies and sunny weather. Notice how a large number of houses here are blue in colour – a striking contrast to the pale sandy colour of the city. The towering Mehrangarh Fort, a key highlight of Jodhpur, looms over the city from a small hill and can be seen from everywhere.
The afternoon is left to explore the magnificent 15th century Mehrangarh fort built by Maharaja Man Singh. Clutching onto a 100 feet perpendicular cliff, the fort epitomises the majestic history of Rajasthan. One of the best-preserved forts of India, it is replete with antiques, artifacts, palanquins and intricate carvings spread over the period rooms and galleries. The fort expands over 5kms on top of the hill. So colossal are its proportions that Rudyard Kipling called it “the work of giants”.
Here we have chosen one of the most architecturally delightful hotels at Jodhpur, to end your journey with complete immersion in history and a charming slice of Rajasthan’s grandeur, at the Raas Hotel. Winding through the quaint streets of the city, the hotel comes as a pleasant luxurious oasis in the jumble of houses and markets – undoubtedly an authentic location for you to get inducted into the Rajasthan culture. Check in and relax in this perfect synthesis of contemporary designs, modern facilities and old world charm of Jodhpur – you can see the famous Mehrangarh Fort from every room here.
Today, you can venture out into the markets on your own. The narrow market streets splashed with colour in the form of bright textiles, silver jewelry, ethnic bags and more – a classic taste of Rajasthan’s vibrant culture.
Our trip concludes late-morning at the hotel. Your leaders will make arrangements for transportation to the Airport.
The terrain on the route varies from flat desert to grasslands to rolling hills. Maximum altitude is 1100m near Kumbhalgarh. In general the route slopes gently uphill from the Thar desert to the Aravalli mountain ranges till the village of Narlai. From here the hills begin. Nearly 30% of the route is flat and the remaining is amidst rolling hills. Average distance cycled per day is approx. 40 kms.
Explore nature and wildlife of Rajasthan. Commonly spotted animals include Antelopes like Bluebull, Blackbuck and Chinkara. Jackal, Fox and Wildboar can sometimes be spotted too. Herds of Camel can be commonly seen grazing by the sides of the roads. Common birds include Peacock, Kingfishers, Hornbill.
Flora – Flora varies greatly with the geography. In the desert region around Jodhpur Dhok, Acacia, cactii, Khejad trees, and shrub jungles are common. Closer to the Aravalli ranges fields of Mustard, Wheat, Maize, Barley etc. dot the landscape.
Rajasthani food is influenced by the harsh desert climate. Forced to improvise with whatever little the desert could offer, the cuisine has over the millennia evolved distinct flavors and tastes found nowhere else India. You can get to savor local delicacies like Rajasthani Lal Maas, Ker Sangri(desert beans), Besan Gatta, Dal Bati Churma etc.
Culture – This is culturally one of the most vibrant regions of Rajasthan. Experience the lifestyle of the Bishnois – one of the world’s oldest environmentalist communities who protect trees and wildlife. Come across wandering gypsies called Rebaris.
In Udaipur meet Bhil Tribals still residing in little stone huts perched on hilltops. Pose for photographs with tribal women dressed in intricate jewellery and tattoes.
Watch the millennia old Persian Water Wheel being used to irrigate wheat fields near Kumbhalgarh.
In Jodhpur listen to folk musicians called Manganiyars play traditional Rajasthani instruments like the Ravanhatta – said to be the oldest extant bowed instrument in the world and the predecessor of the Cello and the Violin.
Recommended Reading List
“Where Silence Sings : Sounds and Rhythms of Rajasthan” by Tripti Pandey is an illustrated volume that provides easily accessible insights into the history, culture and traditions of Rajasthan.
Pauline Van Lynden’s Rajasthan is considered a classic collection of photographs and notes on Rajasthan.
Scott, Marin, Giant, Trek
When you have a road and the thrill of a journey ahead of you, it’s imperative to have a good bike to enjoy it. All our bike tours in Rajasthan run on some of the best hybrid bikes in the cycling tour industry (and we maintain them meticulously). Upright position, good traction and optimal balance between performance and comfort are some of the characteristics.
Having undergone the rigmarole of meeting rooms and pie charts, Pankaj savors nothing but hot cups of tea and some local gossip with villagers in faraway places. The last seven years have been largely on his set of wheels, since he set out to explore his own bizarre country - the long bumpy rides, traversing miles of isolated roads and sharing stories with strangers has been absolutely worth it! Pankaj is a native of Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Art of Bicycle Trips
from our friends
“Trip Leaders were very well informed and was able to relate historical sites and religious beliefs to what is happening in India today. And we loved having Dibbin on the trip also. He was fun and easy to be with. It was an excellent trip and the highlight of our time in India. the driver was excellent and very supportive. ”
“Kamal was terrific guide…very accommodating….gracious and willing to adapt to our preferences…we would be very happy to ride with him again!!! the adventure lived up fully to that …that was represented and more… no negatives…of course wish I had my younger legs…but felt we did quite well….and would happily do it again.”
Mr and Mrs JacobsUSA
“Thank you for helping us explore Rajasthan by bike. It was a great window into a world we would otherwise have been unlikely to see/experience”
“We are home and every day remembering things we enjoyed about our bicycle trip. Thanks again for everything you did to make it great for us. As your sign on the office in Udaipur says, it “changes perspective,” and it will stick with us for a lifetime. Rajasthan was so much more (beautiful, lively, crazy, stunning, peaceful, rural, mesmerizing, etc) than we imagined. Definitely “art of the bicycle trip.”
Jolene and SamUSA
“Thinking about our great time in India with you and the bike trip as I roll thru my 1000 pics! My anticipation was one of crowds, congestion, busy highways, no personal space and OMG it never happened! From our arrival in New Dehli to our departure in Mumbai we were so engrossed in enjoying the experience, we had no time to notice any of this. Rajasthan has got to be one of the most colorful and intriguing parts of your country. The biking was perfect for us, challenging, but at the same time so varied that I never felt overwhelmed with a distance to accomplish. Visits to the tiny villages opened my eyes to a simpler life style with such contentment. Lodging was certainly an important component for me, after a day on the bike seat, and I was never disappointed. My favorite being the Sadar Lake hunting lodge, and the serene surroundings, a step back in time, but with the class of a NYC hotel. The route was always interesting with some sort of historical treasure along the path, be it a huge 300 year old fort, a busy bazaar, or an over the top palace. My favortie day of all, was thru the mountains, a loop thru various villages, watching the people harvest and plant their crops. An impromptu swim into the most crystal clear pond, Mohkem leading the ranks with an exquisite cannonball, that left us with our sides hurting from laughter. And yes would I come back? How about to Kerala next fall, with 8 of my friends. You are the best and AHHHHH India! BJ”
“That wasn’t just a great vacation, those were some of the best days of my life. I had no idea it would be so beautiful, so fun and exciting. Those young men Adi and Arjun are really extraordinary. We are very grateful to you. I can hardly express it.”
“We had a fantastic time on our holiday. Arjun and Dilip made a great team, and Arjun was first rate – he really did make this the ‘trip of a lifetime’ for us.”
“We much enjoyed our trip. The itinerary was well chosen and a good balance between bicycling & Tourism. The hotels were well chosen & we appreciated your efforts to find ones that had real Indian flavour to them. Adi helped us appreciate the local cooking and we had a number of memorable meals. Altogether a great experience and we will not hesitate to recommend your trips to friends or to come again ourselves.”