Rinse rice under running water in a sieve, add to saucepan, bring to a boil with almost double the volume (approximately 1 cup) of lightly salted water, cover and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. Allow to expand. Add cardamom, milk, cream, sugar, butter and saffron to rice, bring to a boil and simmer uncovered on low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Finely chop pistachios and set aside 1 tablespoon for garnish. Stir remaining pistachios, raisins and rose water into rice pudding. Cover rice pudding and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
To serve, scoop rice pudding into dessert bowls and sprinkle with remaining pistachios. Peel lychees and use to top rice pudding.