how long would people recommmend to do all this in? 2/3 weeks with reasonable pace?
If you also go to Kolkata and Varanasi I would spend at least 4 weeks. For Rajasthan alone I would spend 4 weeks. It can be shorter but that is exhausting, especially in India. It not goes always easy in a country like India.
Heard abt your trip. If you need any help about Kolkata then let me know as i am from there and have met quite a few travellerspoint members here and taken them around the city also made friends with them. Let mw know when you will be in Kolkata and maybe we can meet up for a cup of coffee.
i agree what is written here. dont spent too much time in jaipur its not a nice city at all. instead spend maybe a day or two more in pushkar which is a very nice place and excellent for shopping... :-)) i did the camel safari in bikaner which is an excellent alternative to jaisalmer as there are not so many tourists and it is cheaper. dont take night buses if possible. i know this can happen everywhere in india. but our bus (private bus, by the way) left at 6am from bikaner to jaisalmer and as our driver was driving without lights (very common in india) he didnt see the camel cart and we had an impressive accident. so at least during the day you know the see what is happening on the street!
and for the solo women traveller: dress as modestly and conservative as possible because indian men are not used to single women travellers and dont behave always like the should... and if they get too close to you or try to touch you dont be afraid to shout at them and even hit them (indian women do the same). otherwise, india is great!
You could book your accomodation at the government tourism hotels.
the bookings can be done via the web itself
i had done all my bookings online when i had been to rajasthan last nov.