Royal Desert Safari in Jaisalmer organizes treks, camel safaris, and nights in the desert around Bikaner, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer, as well as visits to traditional villages, craftspeople's homes, little-known fairs, and ashrams. Karwan Tours in Jaipur can also help with general travel arrangements, including a hired car with driver to any location in Rajasthan. Le Passage to India functions both as an agent and as an operator, and offers custom tours as well as reliable cars and drivers in all major Rajasthan towns. Parul Tours and Travels is a tour operator. Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation also organizes city tours and excursions. It's usually easiest to book tours through your hotel or a travel agent, although a few operators allow direct booking. If you are booking through an agent, shop around—sometimes agents will try to undercut the competition by offering small discounts on their offerings: there are usually several agents next to each other on the same street, so you can go from one to another.
The dates of most of Rajasthan's festivals are determined using the Hindu calendar, so timing varies from year to year.
Pushkar's Camel Fair is in October or November, the Jaisalmer Desert Festival in January or February, Jaipur's Gangaur Festival and Udaipur's Mewar Festival are in March or April, and Mount Abu's Summer Festival is in June. Jodhpur's RIFF (Rajasthan International Folk Festival) is usually in late October or November.
The Jaipur Literature Festival in January attracts authors from around the world; speakers at the 2012 festival included Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee, Oprah Winfrey, William Dalrymple, Tom Stoppard, Kiran Nagarkar, Steven Pinker, and Richard Dawkins. The Dalai Lama will be a keynote speaker in 2013.
Karwan Tours. This Jaipur company can also help with general travel arrangements, including a hired car with driver to any location in Rajasthan. Bissau Palace Hotel, outside Chandpol gate, near Saroj Cinema, Jaipur, Rajasthan, 302016. 141/235–2785. www.karwantour.com.
Le Passage to India. This company functions both as an agent and as an operator, and offers custom tours as well as reliable cars and drivers in all major Rajasthan towns. 101 Ganpati Plaza, M.I. Rd., Jaipur, Rajasthan, 302001. 141/511–5415 or 982/905–1387. www.lepassagetoindia.com. 14/21 Lake Palace Rd., first fl., Udaipur, 313001. 0294/510–0422 or 0294/510–0432. www.lepassagetoindia.com. Shop 04, Geeta Ashram Rd., Hanuman Circle, Jaisalmer, 333001. 299/225–0355 or 299/225–0354. www.lepassagetoindia.com. Airport Rd., Ratananda circle, opposite R.S.E.B. sub station, Jodhpur, 342001. 291/251–0859. www.lepassagetoindia.com.
Parul Tours and Travels. This is a reliable tour operator. 32 Lal Ghat, opposite Kankarwa Haveli, Udaipur, Rajasthan, 313001. 0294/242–1697. www.rajasthantravelbycab.com.
Royal Desert Safaris. In Jaisalmer, Royal Desert Safari organizes treks, camel safaris, and nights in the desert around Bikaner, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer, as well as visits to traditional villages, craftspeople's homes, little-known fairs, and ashrams. Nachna Haveli, Gandhi Chowk, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, 345001. 2992/252–538. 2992/251–402. www.campsandsafaries.com.
Savaari Car Rentals. Book cars online, including airport pickups, short-distance city driving, or long hauls. 904/545-0000. email@example.com. www.savaari.com.