What comes to mind when you think of Rajasthan? The desert of course – beautiful golden sand dunes, brightly decorated camels, Kalbeliya dancers and mirchi pakoras ! And having travelled to most of Rajasthan, I can tell that if you haven’t explored the Delhi Jaisalmer route, you’ve not seen Rajasthan. Jaisalmer is the where the desert is. You can of course catch a glimpse of it at Osian which is nearer to Delhi but Jaisalmer is where you ought to be.
Delhi to Jaisalmer by road trip is not a weekend vacation from Delhi and you need at least a week off to explore Jaisalmer and the nearby places. There is also no direct Delhi Jaisalmer flights and the nearest functional airport is in Jodhpur (Jaisalmer has a newly buit airport to its credit for over a year now but it looks like the government has no plans to make it functional. What a waste!).
Perfect Season: September to December and March to Early April.
IN PHOTOS: Jaisalmer in the monsoons (September).
Delhi to Jaisalmer Train Time:
- CORBET PARK LINK – Departs everyday at 04:40AM from Delhi and reaches Jaisalmer at 11:15PM (18 hours, 35 minutes)
- RANIKHET EXPRESS – Departs everyday at 04:40AM from Delhi and reaches Jaisalmer at 11:15PM (18 hours, 35 minutes)
- DELHI JAISALMER EXPRESS – This is the delhi to jaisalmer fastest train. It departs everyday at 05:35PM from Delhi and reaches Jaisalmer at 11:35AM the next day (18 hours). This is my train of choice as it does not waste the whole day.
All these trains stops at Delhi Cantt, Palam and Gurgaon as can save you precious travelling time if you stay around these parts.
Delhi to Jaisalmer Flight:
Is jaisalmer airport operational? The Jaisalmer airport is not operational as of now and the nearest airport is Jodhpur. As for the question why jaisalmer airport is closed, I have often wondered about the same thing and the local knowledge to that is that the flagbearers of Jodhpur tourism do not want an Airport to Jaisalmer because if that happens, the tourism in Jodhpur will take a hit.
Delhi Jodhpur flights are operated once a day by Air India and Jet Airways in the morning. The flights are extremely expensive and can cost you from 9,000-14,000 one way if booked fairly in advance. I would suggest using miles if you are a member of Jet Privilege or Flying Returns. It costs you 5000 miles plus taxes on Jet Privilege (one way) and 6500 miles plus taxes on Flying Returns (one way).
You will need to either take a cab or train to Jaisalmer, hereafter (same train schedule as above). There are no decent AC buses from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer.
Delhi Jaisalmer by Road: Now this is my favourite option – a road trip. Let me just start by saying that there are no decent buses on this route but the roads are fabulous for a car journey. Below is the the longest and most meaningful Delhi Jaisalmer road trip itinerary. You can skip places if you do not have that much time or if you’ve already visited some places as weekend getaway from Delhi.
Day 1: Delhi – Jaipur
- 6:30 AM – Start from Delhi. Start on time to miss the Gurgaon traffic. Start later if you stay in Gurgaon, Aerocity, Dwarka or Mahipalpur. You can also start later if on a Saturday / Sunday.
- 10:00 AM – Stop at the Neemrana Fort for breakfast and coffee and just longing around the beautiful property. You can of course decide to stay here for a whole day if on a longer trip or decide to skip it altogether.
- 2:30 PM – Reach Bhangarh Fort. Bhangarh is one of the top haunted places in India. Make sure you reach on time and it closes at 5 PM. You need an hour minimum to see Bhangarh Fort. Carry some food in a lunch basket that can be had here.
- 4:00 PM – Leave for Jaipur via Dausa.
- 6:30 PM – Check into a hotel in Jaipur. We tried a Bed and Breakfast in Jaipur and were very pleased. You can spend a day or two in Jaipur depending on the places you’d like to visit. You can also skip jaipur altogether head straight to Ajmer.
Day 2: Sightseeing in Jaipur. Must try Pandit ki kulfi and Rawat ki Pyaz Kachori while you’re there.
Day 3: Jaipur – Jodhpur
- 9:00 AM – Leave for Dargah Ajmer Sharif after breakfast. Take the NH8.
- 11:00 AM – Reach Ajmer Sharif and spend some quality time here.
- 1:00 PM – Lunch and sightseeing at Pushkar.
- 7:00 PM – Reach Jodhpur via NH 112. You can also take a detour to visit Nagaur Fort and Khimsar instead of taking the NH 112 to Jodhpur.
Day 4: Sightseeing in Jodhpur
Day 5: Shopping in Jodhpur / Day trips to Salawas and Pipad cottage industries for homemade dhurries and block printing.
Day 6: Jodhpur to Jaisalmer
- 8:30 AM – Leave for Jaisalmer after breakfast.
- 1:30 PM – Lunch in Jaisalmer. Try Nachna Haveli or the hotel you’re checking into. You can go to 1st Gate in the Fort Area near parking for some wood fired oven pizzas.
- 5:00 PM – You can choose to relax in the afternoon before heading out to the Sam Dunes for a relaxing evening of folk dance, camel ride, desert sunset and Rajasthani feast ! You can also choose to camp out in Sam Dunes.
Day 7: Explore Jaisalmer. Try Bhang at the Govt. Bhang shop. Take Bhang cookies for your friend back home !
Day 8: Day trip to Tanot Mata Temple. You can also visit the India – Pakistan border if you can arrange the permit for it.
Day 9: Visit the Kuldhara ruins, Bada Bagh, Gadisar Lake and Jain Temple.
Day 10: Extra day to relax / Shop or visit the Golden Fort and Havelis. You can also make a trip to the Khuri dunes which are said to be better than Sam as they are less touristy.
Day 11: Jaisalmer to Bikaner
- 9AM – Leave for Bikaner after breakfast.
- 2PM – Reach Bikaner for Lunch. Check into a hotel. Relax or continue with the sightseeing. Stay overnight.
Day 12: Bikaner to Shekhawati Region of Rajasthan
- Spend the day exploring Bikaner.
- Leave for Shekhawati after lunch (you can leave early next day as well).
Day 13: Explore the Shekhawati Region for its heritage Havelis and Frescoes.
- There are many heritage havelis to be explored in this area.
- Explore havelis in Mandawa and Nawalgarh.
Day 14: Hopefully you have booked a luxury hotel to end your trip with and Day 14 can be spent just relaxing at the property. some of my personal favourite recommendations in this region are Hotel Vivaana, Alsisar Haveli and Neemrana’s Piramal Haveli.
DAY 15: Drive back to Delhi