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    Riding in Rajasthan summary

    Our rides through the colourful Indian region of Rajasthan are often planned to coincide with either the Pushkar Fair in October and November or the equally absorbing Nagaur Fair in February. Guests have the choice of joining set departure dates or putting together a group of their own making.

    Our Rajasthan rides combine riding high spirited Marwari horses (distinguished by their inward curling ears) for up to 30 kilometres a day, with a fascinating insight into the culture of a state rich in history and intrigue. On non riding days we can arrange visits to the stunning places and temples of Jaipur, Jodphur and Udaipur, as well as the Taj Mahal and the 14th century Jain Temples at Ranakpur situated in a peaceful valley through the Aravali range of hills.

    Accommodation during these rides is in a combination of grand palaces, five star hotels, extraordinary private homes, and luxurious tented camps. An approximate distance of 25 km to 30 km is covered every day. After a hearty breakfast, we ride for three or four hours, stopping for a hot buffet lunch, sometimes in the grounds of a typical farmhouse belonging to the “Thakur” (head) of the village, at other times an oasis. After a short siesta, we resume the ride for a further two or three hours or so arriving at our overnight destination in time for tea. Some sightseeing (if there is some place to visit) before changing for drinks and dinner to the accompaniment of local folk musicians in the hotel or by the campfire.

    Please see the separate itinerary tabs for the Pushkar Fair (first and second half), the Forts and Palaces ride, the Naguar Fair and the Christmas special or contact Wild and Exotic for further information on any of our rides.


    Pushkar Fair short itinerary

    Day 1: Arrive in New Delhi and overnight in hotel Imperial or similar hotel.

    Day 2: This morning you will be transferred by road to Dundlod (about 6 hours), where you will have lunch and overnight at Dundlod Fort, which is Bonnie Singh’s somewhat faded family home. The Dundlod Fort in the heart of the Shekhawati was built in 1750 and is a mix of Mogul and Rajputana architecture. The Fort provides simple accommodation and is located on the edge of a small village of the same name.

    Day 3: Today you will try the horses and ride in and around Dundlod visiting various villages and temples. In the evening there will be the opportunity for another ride around Dundlod. The terrain around this semi-desert area is soft and sandy and is ideal for riding with plenty of opportunities for some good canters. Overnight Dundlod.

    Day 4: Ride to Mandawa (about 25 kms.) passing through villages, farmlands speckled with the Khejri trees. The terrain is quite flat except for the sand dunes which you will come across occasionally. Arrive Mandawa and ride into the imposing Mandawa Castle where you will overnight.

    Day 5: Ride to Nawalgargh (about 28 kms) and visit the frescoed havelis. Dundlod, Mandawa and Nawalgarh are a part of the Shekhawati region, which is Rajasthan’s open air Art Gallery. No other region in India or perhaps, even in the world, has such a large concentration of high quality frescoes as the region of Shekhawati. In the beginning this semi-arid region had only its blank monochromatic palette to offer. No school of painting thrived till history and circumstances took up this colourless page and made it blossom with art for almost two centuries – from 1750 to 1930. Today this region is commonly called the Open Air Art Gallery of Rajasthan. The town of Nawalgarh was founded in 1737 A.D. and exudes an old charm with its coulourful bazaar having the largest number of painted Havelies in the Shekhawati region. The various Havelies are covered with frescoes depicting the whole gamut of social and religious life and where history is painted with humour. Overnight at the Grand Haveli hotel.

    Day 6: Ride to Bhairon Ji Temple (about 32 kms.), passing through several villages and farmers dwellings. The landscape changes dramatically on this day as it takes you close to the great Aravali range of hills. After lunch, ride for some time through farm lands, and then follow a dry river bed running parallel to the Aravali hills. Camp overnight in tents near a small temple.

    Day 7: After breakfast, ride for half a day (about 18 kms) to Bajore, a small village, where we end the ride. After lunch, bid good bye to your horses and grooms and drive to Samode Bagh (about 2 hrs. drive). Arrive Samode and transfer to Samode Bagh in the most luxurious tents. After wash and change, there would be a Gala Dinner at the Samode Palace. Overnight in Tents in Samode Bagh.

    Samode Bagh was built 150 years ago by a son of the illustrious Pritviraj Singh Ji of Amber. The Bagh is modeled on the geometric style of a Mughal garden where members of the Samode Royal family came to enjoy rare moments of privacy. Samode Bagh is a garden paradise situated 4 km from Samode village, nestled on 20 acres of beautiful grounds combines warmth and luxury, an atmosphere that is quiet, relaxed & elegant. It is a romantic hideaway where you can be as active or contemplative as you wish. Samode Bagh offers a unique experience of a tented camp where the dune-coloured tents are luxuriously furnished with every comfort. They are tents with a difference- spacious, with carpeted floors, electric lights and heating, each with their own en suite marble bathrooms with showers, hot and cold water, an attached dressing room and a front private porch. The inner fabric used is specially designed and printed with floral motifs in warm earthy colours. The ceiling is of muslin with a pattern printed in gold creating an ambience of gracious living. The garden is about three blocks long and is enclosed by a 15-foot high stone wall. The tented camp brings visitors closer to the soul of the country. A 200 feet long row of fountains fed from natural springs and wells are displayed all along the garden. Victorian and traditional Rajasthani décor echo life in a 16th century luxury camp. Relive the splendour of the bygone age recreated in a tented encampment- unique experience in royal living.

    Day 8: After an early breakfast, drive to Amber (about one and a half hours) just outside Jaipur. Arrive Amber and climb up to the Amber Fort on Elephants. The Amber Fort lies 12 kilometres from Jaipur. The city of Amber with an ancient imposing fort cum Palace overlooks a lake at the entrance to a rocky mountain grove. Built in the 17th century, the palace is a distinguished specimen of Rajput architecture. The Jai Mandir (hall of victory) is so delicately ornamented with fine inlay work that it appears to glow. The fort of Jaigarh, crowning the summit of a peak is of amazing beauty and grandeur. After visiting the Amber Fort, drive into Jaipur (20 minutes) and transfer to Hotel Rajputana Palace Sheraton. After lunch you will have the opportunity to visit Jaipur, and spend the afternoon sightseeing.

    The rose-pink capital of Rajasthan is surrounded on all sides by rugged hills, and crowned with forts. Enclosed by embattled walls, the city was built early in the eighteenth century. The Maharaja’s palace stands in the centre of the city amidst lovely gardens. Houses with latticed windows line the streets, their rose-pink colour lending enchantment to the scene and almost magical at sunset. Jaipur is aptly called the Pink City of India. It takes its name from the famous Maharana Sawai Jai Singh, who founded the city in 1728. A keen astronomer, he built an observatory which still exists and is equipped with quaint masonry instruments of remarkable size. Jaipur is noted for its craftsmen skilled in the art of cutting precious stones and famed for its garnets and rubies. It is equally well known for brass inlay work, lacquer work and the printings of muslins.

    Sightseeing opportunities include The City Palace which now houses a museum containing rare manuscripts, painting and an armoury; the Jantar Mantar observatory- built in the 17th century by Jai Singh- with a sundial 90ft.high; the Museum amidst the Ram Niwas Palace Gardens founded in 1876 with a large collection of antiques; the palace of Winds, a landmark of Jaipur made of pink sandstone and of unique design. Overnight Jaipur at the Rajputana Palace Sheraton.

    Day 9: You may spend the morning at leisure to relax or shop. After an early lunch you will be driven to Pushkar, a journey of approximately three hours. On arrival at Pushkar you will be transferred to Pushkar Resorts, a very comfortable resort resembling an oasis in the desert. You will be spending the next two nights here.

    The origin of Pushkar is lost in myth. It is believed that Brahma, the creator, was in search of a place to perform a Vedic yagna (sacrifice). As he pondered, a lotus fell from his hands and water gushed from the spot. The faithful bathe in the holy waters of the Pushkar lake on Kartik Poornima (full moon in November). On the banks of the lake, a mammoth 200000 people and some 50000 cattle become a part of the annual Pushkar fair.

    The fair offers a matchless opportunity to trade in cattle and leather goods. Womenfolk shop for bangles, clothes, utensils and sundry household items. The most dramatic events of the festivities are the cattle auction and the camel race. Whatever is going on at the fair it is not hard to sense the feeling of excitement, gaity and competition at the Fair.

    Day 10: In Pushkar.

    Day 11: You will be transferred to Jaipur in time to connect with the scheduled flight to Delhi. On arrival at Delhi you will be transferred to the International Airport to connect with your flight home, or alternatively you can be transferred to a Delhi Hotel if you are not flying home the same day.

    Notes:

    The cost of this ride is based on two people sharing accommodation. It includes all accommodation on bed and breakfast basis except on the ride and at Pushkar, where it is on full board. It excludes international airfares, domestic airfare between Jaipur and Delhi, and monument entrance fees, visas, gratuities and items of a personal nature. For those not prepared to share accommodation a single supplement is applicable.

    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.


    Pushkar Fair and Kumbhalgarh ride itinerary

    Day 1:  On arrival into Delhi you will be met and transferred by road to Samode Bagh, a journey of approximately 3 ½ hours. Samode Bagh was built 150 years ago by a son of the illustrious Pritviraj Singh Ji of Amber. The Bagh is modeled on the geometric style of a Mughal garden where members of the Samode Royal family came to enjoy rare moments of privacy. Samode Bagh is a garden paradise situated 4 km from Samode village, nestled on 20 acres of beautiful grounds combines warmth and luxury, an atmosphere that is quiet, relaxed & elegant. It is a romantic hideaway where you can be as active or contemplative as you wish. Samode Bagh offers a unique experience of a tented camp where the dune-coloured tents are luxuriously furnished with every comfort. They are tents with a difference- spacious, with carpeted floors, electric lights and heating, each with their own en suite marble bathrooms with showers, hot and cold water, an attached dressing room and a front private porch. The inner fabric used is specially designed and printed with floral motifs in warm earthy colours. The ceiling is of muslin with a pattern printed in gold creating an ambience of gracious living. The garden is about three blocks long and is enclosed by a 15-foot high stone wall. The tented camp brings visitors closer to the soul of the country. A 200 feet long row of fountains fed from natural springs and wells are displayed all along the garden. Victorian and traditional Rajasthani décor echo life in a 16th century luxury camp. Relive the splendour of the bygone age recreated in a tented encampment- unique experience in royal living.

    On arrival at Samode Bagh you can relax and swim before being joined by riders from the first half of the Pushkar fair ride. This evening you will visit the Samode Palace before returning to Samode Bagh for dinner and an overnight stay.

    Day 2: After an early breakfast, you will be driven to Amber (about one and a half hours) just outside Jaipur. On arrival in Amber you will climb up to the Amber Fort on Elephants. The Amber Fort lies 12 kilometres from Jaipur. The city of Amber with an ancient imposing fort cum Palace overlooks a lake at the entrance to a rocky mountain grove. Built in the 17th century, the palace is a distinguished specimen of Rajput architecture. The Jai Mandir (hall of victory) is so delicately ornamented with fine inlay work that it appears to glow. The fort of Jaigarh, crowning the summit of a peak is of amazing beauty and grandeur. After visiting the Amber Fort, drive into Jaipur (20 minutes) and transfer to Hotel Rajputana Palace Sheraton. After lunch you will have the opportunity to visit Jaipur, and spend the afternoon sightseeing.

    The rose-pink capital of Rajasthan is surrounded on all sides by rugged hills, and crowned with forts. Enclosed by embattled walls, the city was built early in the eighteenth century. The Maharaja’s palace stands in the centre of the city amidst lovely gardens. Houses with latticed windows line the streets, their rose-pink colour lending enchantment to the scene and almost magical at sunset. Jaipur is aptly called the Pink City of India. It takes its name from the famous Maharana Sawai Jai Singh, who founded the city in 1728. A keen astronomer, he built an observatory which still exists and is equipped with quaint masonry instruments of remarkable size. Jaipur is noted for its craftsmen skilled in the art of cutting precious stones and famed for its garnets and rubies. It is equally well known for brass inlay work, lacquer work and the printings of muslins.

    Sightseeing opportunities include The City Palace which now houses a museum containing rare manuscripts, painting and an armoury; the Jantar Mantar observatory- built in the 17th century by Jai Singh- with a sundial 90ft.high; the Museum amidst the Ram Niwas Palace Gardens founded in 1876 with a large collection of antiques; the palace of Winds, a landmark of Jaipur made of pink sandstone and of unique design. Overnight Jaipur at the Rajputana Palace Sheraton.

    Day 3: This morning you will have the chance to visit the Amber Fort. After an early lunch, you will be driven to Pushkar, a journey of about three hours. On arrival in Pushkar you will be transferred to Pushkar Resorts, where you will be spending the next two nights. The Pushkar resorts is a luxurious oasis, in the desert. The origin of Pushkar is lost in myth. It is believed that Brahma, the creator, was in search of a place to perform a Vedic yagna (sacrifice). As he pondered, a lotus fell from his hands and water gushed from the spot. Today, the faithful bathe in the holy waters of the Pushkar lake on Kartik Poornima (full moon in November). And on its banks, a mammoth 200000 people and some 50000 cattle become a part of the annual Pushkar fair. The fair offers a matchless opportunity to trade in cattle and leather goods. Womenfolk shop for bangles, clothes, utensils and sundry household items. The most dramatic events of the festivities are the cattle auction and the camel race. Sports involving the camel – the friend of the desert folk of Rajasthan are a legion. Equally diverting are the gaily-dressed rural folk. Whatever there is to see at the fair, you will be caught up in the excitement, gaity and sense of competition that fills the air at Pushkar fair.

    Day 4: You are free to spend the day visiting Pushkar Fair.

    Day 5: After an early breakfast, you will be driven to Rohet, a journey of about five hours. You will arrive in time for lunch, and will be transferred to Hotel Rohetgarh. Overnight in Rohetgarh.This is the 16th Century fortified desert home (now a hotel) of the descendents of the Rathore clan. It is like an oasis in the Desert. Sprawling landscaped gardens complete with wild peacocks and a beautifully designed swimming pool with four charming pavilions at each corner where musicians perform in the evening as dinner is served by the poolside. This is a recognised Heritage Hotel and unlike many other hotels of its kind, Rohetgarh was never abandoned and has housed the present family for over 300 years.

    Day 6: Today you will meet your horses, and get to try them out, by riding in and around Rohet, and to the nearby villages inhabited by farmers and the “Bishnoi” people who are great environmentalists and protect the wild animals and other gifts of nature. Besides riding on a good terrain you get to visit the homes of the villagers and see the life style of these people. The area boasts of good wildlife including the Blackbuck and Nilgai Antelopes and the Chinkara Gazelle as well as a variety of bird life.

    Day 7: After an early breakfast, you will ride from Rohet to Sardar Samand. The journey is about 26 kilometres and will take approximately five hours. The ride passes through several villages and farm lands and through acacia bush. This day’s ride is done in one stretch and we arrive at Sardar Samand in time for lunch. You are free in the afternoon to relax and enjoy the wonderful swimming pool, and fabulous birdlife in the grounds of the Palace. Saradar Samand Palace is a superb art deco hunting lodge built by Maharaja Umaid Singh of Jodhpur in 1933 and it still retains the original fittings. The resort offers the most spectacular views overlooking a large lake teeming with bird life. Overnight in Sardar Samand Palace

    Day 8: After an early breakfast, you will ride from Sardar Samand to Sodawas, a distance of 46 kilometres. Overnight in Hotel Karni Kot in Sodawas. This days ride is long and takes about 7 Hours but is interesting and passes through several villages and farm land. The landscape changes dramatically after lunch and you get to see hills and lakes. The hotel in Sodawas was built in 1945 and used to be the home of the local chieftain. It was also used as “court” where the chief used to settle the disputes – but now has been converted into a hotel and is being run by the descendents of the local chief. This property also has beautifully designed stables.

    Day 9: Ride from Sodawas to Kotri (about 40 Kms). Today’s ride takes about six hours. You will notice a dramatic change in the landscape from this day onwards – besides passing through several villages, you see many more hills, including the Aravali range of Hills – which you would be climbing when going to Kumbhalgarh.

    The Rawla Kotri is the private house of the local chief and is more than three hundred years old and has a great deal of charm. It is situated in the midst of the Kotri Village which is a small, interesting village inhabited by farmers and artisans. This is where we stay for two nights – being cared and looked after by the family.

    Day 10: Today you ride from Kotri to Ranakpur. The journey takes between four and five hours, and you will cover a distance of about 26 kilometres. Ranakpur is situated in the peaceful valley of the Aravali range of hills. Ranakpur is famous for its huge but beautiful 14/15thcentury Jain Temples, constructed of white marble. The Ranakpur temple complex is the biggest in India having 29 halls and 1444 pillars each of which are intricately carved. Todays ride is also finished by lunch time so that you can visit the famous 14th Century Jain Temples – which are often considered equal to the Taj Mahal in beauty. Overnight in the “Maharani Bagh Orchard Retreat” – a lovely property comprising of cottages built by the Maharaja of Jodhpur in the midst of an orchard.

    Day 11: Today you will ride from Ranakpur to Kumbhalgarh (about 20 Kms) through the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary in the Aravali Hills. Riding time today is about five hours. The ride after lunch is quite slow as you have to climb about 2000 feet through a beautiful forest. If lucky, you might come across a leopard or a sloth bear. Overnight in Kumbhalgarh at the Aodhi Hotel, situated in the Aravali hills. The hotel, belonging to the Maharana of Udaipur has also got a small stable of twelve horses. Guests are sure to enjoy the swimming pool there. The well appointed rooms allow the visitors an uninterrupted view of the countryside. Kumbhalgargh is also known as the “eye of Mewar” and lies atop the Aravali range of hills at a height of about 3500 feet. The seat of the world’s oldest dynasty, it holds the distinction of being unconquered. The Kumbhalgarh fort was built in the 15th Century by a Rajput ruler, Maharana Kumbha of Mewar. The fort has structurally been an unassailable destination – guarded by several iron gates and walls that were impossible to scale. The fort is famous for its parapets having a parameter of 36 Kilometres around the fort and wide enough to hold eight horses. It is like a mini great wall of China. Within the Fort are more than 350 temples spread over the entire area. The scenic surroundings are spellbinding.

    Day 12: After breakfast you will be driven to Udaipur, which takes about three hours. On arrival at Udaipur you will be transferred to your hotel (Shiv Niwas Palace or similar). You will be able to spend the afternoon visiting the City Palace, and taking a boat ride in Lake Pichola.

    Udaipur is set amidst the verdant Aravali hills of southern Rajasthan. It is a serene and beautiful city. In dramatic contrast to the battle-scarred, desert-bound fortress towns of Rajasthan, it presents an enchanting picture of white marble palaces, placid blue lakes, and a girdle of green hills that keep the wilderness at bay. Udaipur, also known as the city of lakes, was founded by Maharana Udai Singh after he was overcome by the misfortunes that his old capital of Chittorgarh had to face. Repeatedly ransacked by the Mughal armies, the Chittorgarh Fort (120 Kms from Udaipur) saw some very fierce battles. In 1567, the army of Emperor Akbar ransacked the fort and forced Maharana Udai Singh to seek refuge in the surrounding Aravali hills. Udai Singh then, on the advice of a holy man, set about building the new city of Udaipur.

    The City Palace is a work of art and has many carved balconies, arches and decorated pillars. Located inside are the Suraj Jharokha or the Sun Balcony, Badal Mahal, Sheesh Mahal (Mahal means Palace), Bheem Vilas and the peacock courtyard. The Zenana Mahal, Fateh Prakash, Durbar Hall and the City Palace Museum are other places of interest. Close to the City Palace is the Jagdish Temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath. It has imposing sculpted figures and heavily ornamented interiors. At a short distance is the Sahelion ki Bari (the Garden of Maidens) which has four pools and delicately carved kiosks and elephants in white marble.

    Day 13: This morning you will be transferred to the airport in time for your scheduled flight leaving for Delhi. Arrive Delhi and transfer to International Airport for International Departures or to the Hotel where there will be two rooms for wash and change before leaving for the International Airport for flights for abroad (if your flight is much later).

    Notes:

    The cost of this ride is based on two people sharing accommodation. It includes all accommodation on bed and breakfast basis except on the ride and at Pushkar, where it is on full board. It excludes international airfares, domestic airfares between Delhi and Jaipur and also between Udaipur and Delhi, and monument entrance fees in Delhi, visas, gratuities and items of a personal nature. For those not prepared to share accommodation a single supplement of is applicable.

    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.


    Wild and Exotic Indian forts and palaces ride with Diwali Festival and Pushkar Fair Itinerary

    This riding adventure incorporates a cultural tour of Rajasthan, a beautiful Indian state rich in history and intrigue. The ride presents the perfect opportunity to visit the forts and palaces for which Rajasthan is famous, together with an exploration of the surrounding countryside. The itinerary also includes a visit to the celebrated and colourful Pushkar Fair, which takes place each year in October and November.

    Day 1: On arrival into Delhi  you will be met and transferred to Hotel Vasant Continental or similar. (Rooms will be available from 12 noon). The afternoon will be spent on a half day sightseeing tour of Delhi.

    The old city of Delhi, which was built by Shah Jehan in the 17th century, stands today as the epitome of the whole history of Indo- Islamic architecture. New Delhi was designed and constructed by the Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker families and is a mixture of east and west. The public buildings in red sandstone are in the Moghul style. It has a circular Parliament House and an imposing Central Secretariat in two blocks which stand at the approaches to Rashtrapati Bhawan, the residence of the President of India. Delhi is today the political, economic and cultural capital of the World’s largest democracy and has also become one of the greatest tourist centres of the World.

    In New Delhi you can visit Humayun’s Tomb aptly called the predecessor of the Taj Mahal,  drive past Safdarjung’s Tomb, the Qutab Minar, which is 72 meters high and is one of the perfect towers of the Persian World. Nearby, amidst the ruins of the Quwut – ul – Islam Mosque stands the Iron pillar which has withstood the vagaries of the weather and has not rusted over in 1500 years. An orientation drive through New Delhi would include the Embassy area, Government Buildings and Birla temple. Drive past Jantar- Mantar Astronomical observatory and through Connaught Place, New Delhi’s main shopping centre.  Overnight: in Delhi.

    Day 2: After an early breakfast, you will be driven to Dundlod Fort (duration six to seven hours), which is Bonnie Singh’s somewhat faded family home. The Dundlod Fort in the heart of the Shekhawati was built in 1750 and is a mix of Mogul and Rajputana architecture. The Fort provides simple accommodation and is located on the edge of a small village of the same name. Today is the date of one of the most important festivals in India called the Diwali and you will be here to witness this grand festival: Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, is held and celebrated every year in honour of Lord Rama’s return to his capital Ayodhya after an exile of fourteen years. Lord Rama is one of the Indian gods; he is the hero of the Ramayana and a reincarnate of Lord Vishnu. Thousands of years have elapsed, and yet so ideal was the kingdom of Rama that it is remembered to this day. Consequently, to commemorate the return of Ram, Sita and Lakshman to Ayodhya, people celebrate Diwali by letting off fire crackers and by lighting up their houses with earthen diyas (lamps) or other lamps in the grandest style, year after year. On the day of Diwali prayers are offered to Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God and to Goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth. It is believed that the Goddess of wealth will grace your home or business on this day. It is well worth taking a walk in the market areas as the shops are beautifully decorated and crowded with people in lovely dresses and costumes.  At night, the whole town is lit up with earthen oil lamps and candles and the explosion of fire works reverberate within the other sounds of celebration.  Overnight: at Dundlod Fort.

    Day 3: Today will be spent in Dundlod and you can try out the horses riding in and around Dundlod. In the afternoon, after a short ride around Dundlod, visit one of the best Marwari Horse breeding farm and stables in the country.  Overnight: at Dundlod Fort.

    Day 4: Today you will ride to Mandawa (a distance of approximately 22 kilometres) passing through several villages, farmers’ dwellings and farmlands. The terrain is soft and sandy and very good for riding. On arrival at Mandawa you will be transferred to the hotel Castle Mandawa, a remote feudal principality in the centre of the Shekhawati region, which was a trading outpost for the ancient caravan routes that stopped here from China and the Middle East. The Rajput ruler of Mandawa, Thakur Nawal Singh, built a fort in 1755 to protect this outpost. The township that grew around the fort soon attracted a large community of traders who settled here. When the caravan traffic ceased in the late 18th Century, the traders created business empires in other parts of the country, but returned to Mandawa to build palatial mansions in their home town. Like many historic homes, Castle Mandawa is a curious mixture of the old and the new. Medieval turreted towers and planquin- roofed balconies blend with modern comforts in period rooms. Family portraits, antique cannons and arms add to the charm of this family- run resort where tradition still runs strong. Even time is measured by a different clock….a huge brass gong is struck by the resident timekeepers at the fort every hour!  Overnight: at Castle Mandawa.

    Day 5: Today you will ride to Churi Ajitgarh (approximately 25 kilometres). The ride on this day is mostly on soft and sandy tracks passing trhough a couple of villages, farmlands and farmers dwellings.  The terrain is quite flat but occasionally you come across some sand dunes, so you will get the opportunity of some good long canters over them,

    Day 6: Today you will ride to Nawalgargh (approximately 25 kilometres). On arrival into Nawalgargh you will be transferred to the Roop Niwas Palace.  Later that day, you will visit the frescoed havelis. Dundlod, Mandawa and Nawalgarh are a part of the Shekhawati region which is known as Rajasthan’s open air Art Gallery.  No other region in India or even perhaps, in the world, has such a large concentration of high quality frescoes as the region of Shekhawati.  Before its development, this semi-arid region had only its blank monochromatic palette to offer.  No school of painting thrived until history and circumstances took up this colourless page and made it blossom with art for almost two centuries: from 1750 to 1930.  The town of Nawalgarh was founded in 1737 A.D. and exudes an old charm with its colourful bazaar having the largest number of painted Havelies in the Shekhawati region.  The various havelies are covered with frescoes depicting the whole gamut of social and religious life where history is painted with a sense of humour.  Overnight: at the Grand Haveli.

    Day 7: Today is a ride to Bhairon Ji Temple (a distance of about 38 kilometres), passing through several villages and past farmers’ dwellings. Today, the landscape changes dramatically as the ride takes you close to the great Aravali range of hills. After lunch, the ride for some of the time is through farm lands and it then follows a dry river bed running parallel to the Aravali hills.  Overnight: in a tented camp near a small temple.

    Day 8: Today you will ride to Kochor (approximately 25 kilometres).  The ride takes you through varied terrain consisting of flat lands and sand dunes, and passes through quaint villages and farmland. After lunch you will be transferred to view a large salt water lake with the local hills providing an attractive backdrop. Overnight: in tented camp near Kochor village.

    Day 9: After an early breakfast, you will bid good bye to your horses and grooms and you will be transferred by road to Pushkar ( a journey of approximately  four hours).  On arrival into Pushkar you will be transferred to the Pushkar Resort or similar hotel.

    After lunch, you will visit the Pushkar Fair which at this time, will be at its peak, showing a wide variety and number of various animals and livestock. Excitement, gaiety and a keen sense of competition fill the air as the long journey to Pushkar begins. Spirited columns of people with camels, horses, bullock-carts, cars and jeeps head for Pushkar soon after the festival of Diwali. The origin of the Pushkar Fair is lost in myth. It is believed that Brahma, the creator, was in search of a place to perform a Vedic yagna (sacrifice).  As he pondered, a lotus fell from his hands and water gushed from the spot. On this evening, the date of the full moon in November, the faithful bathe in the holy waters of the Pushkar Lake on Kartik Poornima.  On its banks, a stupendous throng of  200,000 people and some 50,000 cattle become a part of the annual Pushkar fair. A city of Pilgrimage from time immemorial with over 500 temples and 52 bathing ghats (steps leading into a  river or lake which are linked to the lunar calendar), enclose the lake. Each ghat has its own miraculous qualities and powers of healing.  Pushkar begets a legacy of timeless architectural heritage and radiates an ambience of peace and spirituality that casts a lure to visit again and again. The fair offers a matchless opportunity to trade in cattle and leather goods.  Womenfolk shop for bangles, clothes, utensils and sundry household items.  The most dramatic events of the festivities are the cattle auction and the camel race. Sports involving the camel – the friend of the desert folk of Rajasthan are legion,   equally diverting are the gaily dressed rural folk. Overnight Pushkar Resort.

    Day 10:  Today you will have a  full day in Pushkar visiting the fair and town. Overnight Pushkar Resort.

    Day 11: After breakfast, you will be transferred by road to Jaipur (about 3 hours drive). On arrival at Jaipur, you will be transferred to the Hotel Narain Niwas Palace. The afternoon will be spent sightseeing in Jaipur.

    The rose-pink capital of Rajasthan is surrounded on all sides by rugged hills, crowned with forts. Enclosed by embattled walls, the city was built early in the eighteenth century. The Maharaja’s palace stands in the centre of the city amidst lovely gardens. Houses with latticed windows line the streets, their rose-pink colour lending enchantment to the scene and appearing almost magical at sunset. Jaipur is aptly called the “Pink City of India”. It takes its name from the famous Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, who founded the city in 1728. A keen astronomer, he built an observatory which still exists and is equipped with quaint masonry instruments of remarkable size.  Jaipur is noted for its craftsmen skilled in the art of cutting precious stones and famed for its garnets and rubies. It is equally well known for brass inlay work, lacquer work and printing on muslin.

    You will have the opportunity to visit the City Palace which now houses a museum containing rare manuscripts, paintings and an armoury, the  Jantar Mantar observatory- built in the 17th century by Jai Singh- with a sundial 90ft.high, the Museum amidst the Ram Niwas Palace Gardens founded in 1876 with a large collection of antiques, the palace of Winds; a landmark of Jaipur made of pink sandstone and of unique design.  Overnight: at the Alsiar Haveli or similar in Jaipur.

    Day 12:  The morning will be spent sightseeing at the Amber Fort. Twelve kilometres from Jaipur, lies the city of Amber with an ancient imposing fort/palace overlooking the lake at the entrance to a rocky mountain grove. Built in the 17th century, the palace is a distinguished specimen of Rajput architecture, the Jai Mandir (hall of victory) is so delicately ornamented with fine inlay work that it glows. The fort of Jaigarh crowning the summit of a peak is of amazing beauty and grandeur. In the afternoon you will be at leisure to rest, shop or do more sightseeing. Overnight: in Jaipur.

    Day 13: After an early breakfast, you will be transferred to the city of Agra visiting Fatehpur Sikri on the way. The deserted city of Emperor Akbar literally means “The City of Victory”. The audience halls, palaces, and mosques are still in a state of unaltered perfection as are the tombs of Shiekh Salim Chisti, Panchmahal and the Buland Darwaza. On arrival at Agra, you will be transferred to the Hotel Jaypee Palace.

    This afternoon is devoted to sightseeing at Agra, the Agra Fort and the city.  Just over 200 kilometres from Delhi and lying on the river Yamuna, Agra is famous the World over as the “City of the Taj”. The fort, built by Emperor Akbar, the maze of courtyards, mosques and private chambers of the fort, echo the story of the Mughal Empire. Moti Masjid, Jasmine Tower and Itmad-ud-Daulah reflect the skills of the ancient Indian architects and artists.  Overnight: Jaypee Palace in Agra.

    Day 14: This morning you will visit the Taj Mahal and Sikandra.  One of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal built by Emperor Shah Jehan in memory of his beloved consort Mumtaz Mahal, is a beautiful mausoleum of pure white marble and an architectural marvel. The Taj by moonlight is a breath-taking sight. Sikandra is the tomb of Akbar the Great, built in red sandstone inlaid with marble and is a striking sight. After lunch, you will be driven to Delhi (a drive of about four to five hours) and transferred to the Vasant Continental hotel or similar near the International airport. Two rooms will be made available for washing and changing. After dinner, you will be transferred to the international airport in time for your international flight home, which departs Delhi very early the next morning.

    Day 15: Depart this morning for your international flight home

    Notes:

    This tour can also be 12 days if you chose not to visit Agra at the end of the trip.

    The price of this ride is based on two people sharing accommodation and providing at least 8 people participate on the ride. A single supplement may occur for those not prepared to share accommodation.

    The cost includes all accommodation as described in the itinerary or similar on full board basis except in Delhi, Jaipur and Agra where it will be on bed and breakfast basis, all transfers by and sightseeing by non AC car/coach, all riding arrangements, English or French speaking guide in the cities, monument entrance fees in Jaipur and for one visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra and Fatehpursikri. The cost also includes one bottle of water per day during the ride. The cost includes all luxury taxes/VAT and also 4.98 % service tax payable to the Government.

    The cost does not include lunches/dinners in Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, camera fees if any and monument entrances fees in Agra ( except for one visit to the Taj Mahal ) and items of personal nature such as visa costs, fees, tips, laundry, drinks.

    The cost of the international airfares as per the itinerary is from £175 plus taxes per person and are subject to availability.

    Visitors to India require a visa, which Wild and Exotic can assist with if instructed but cannot be held responsible for failure to obtain a visa for whatever reason:

    On-line application: E-Tourist Visa facility is now available to foreign nationals of several countries (including the U.K.) visiting India for tourism purposes. One applies for this E-Tourist visa online. Before travelling the applicant receives a letter/email from the E-Tourist Visa office – which you carry with you to India.  On arrival the applicant’s Visa is stamped on the passport. This is proving to be an efficient method.  Please visit the site: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

    By mail: Applicants wishing to send the application by post must select UK- London” as Mission, while filling the application form online for Visa. Applicants must pay for the full visa fee including, service fee, courier fee (Or include return Self-addressed special delivery envelope only) either online or send a postal order in payable to VF Services (UK) Ltd. The VFS website for India visa applications is http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk/ (which is the India section of the VFS global website www.vfsglobal.co.uk)

    Some people have encountered difficulty when applying for their visa, and it is therefore important to apply as soon as possible if you have not already done so. However, please note that validity of visa starts from the date of issue and not from the date of travel and standard visas usually expire after 6 months of being issued. It is therefore essential that you do not apply to early that the visa expires before or during your holiday. All applicants must ensure they print both the online application form and appointment confirmation letter, and bring both when attending the application centre for their appointment. All applicants must also ensure that the signature on the application form is written only within the box provided.

    In person: at the application Centres below. Please note all applicants must have prior appointment to apply in person at all application centres. No applications will be accepted without a prior appointment.

    London:India Visa Application Center 60-62 Wilton Road, Victoria, London, SW1V 1DE.India Visa Application Center 142-148 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7DU.

    Birmingham: India Visa Application Center 20 – 21 Pemberton Street Birmingham B18 6NY

    Edinburgh: India Visa Application Center 66 Handover Buildings Rose Street, Edinburgh EH2 2NN

    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.

    Wild and Exotic Christmas ride itinerary

    Day 1: Upon arrival into New Delhi you will be collected from your international flight and transferred to the Vasant Continental hotel or similar for an overnight stay. If time permits, you will enjoy some sightseeing of Old/New Delhi: The old city of Delhi, built by Shah Jehan in the 17th Century, stands as the eptiome of the whole history of Indo-Islamic architecure. New Delhi, designed and constructed by Sir Edwin Luyens and Sir Herbert Baker is a mixutre of east and west. The public buildings in red sandstone are in the Moghul style. Delhi is today the political, economic and cultural capital of the world’s largest democracy and has also become one of the greatest tourist centres of the world.

    Day 2: This morning you will be collected from Delhi and transferred by vehicle (approximately 6-7 hours) to the Dundlod Castle for lunch and an overnight stay. The majestic Dundlod Fort, in the heart of the Shekhawati, was built in 1750 and is a mix of Mogul and Rajputana architecture. The Fort is surrounded by a moat, and has been beautifully maintained and is equipped will all the modern comforts. There is an impressive banqueting hall and each of the bedrooms exudes their own unique charm. The stunning Diwan Khana (the Audience Hall) is furnished with Louis XIV furniture.

    Day 3: Today you will meet your horses and ride to Mandawa (approximately 22 kilometres), passing through villages and farmlands speckled with the Khejri trees. The terrain is quite flat except for the occasional sand dune. On arrival at Mandawa you will ride into the impossing Mandawa Castle where you will overnight.

    Day 4: This morning you will ride 25kms to Nawalgargh, to visit the frescoed havelis. The town of Nawalgarh, which was founded in 1737 A.D, exudes an old charm having the largest number of painted Havelies in the Shekhawati region. The various Havelies are depicting the whole gamut of social and religious life and where history is painted with humour. Dundlod and Nawalgarh are a part of the Shekhawati region which is Rajasthan’s open air Art Gallery.

    Day 5: Ride to Bhairon Ji Temple (about 35 kilometres), passing through several villages and farmers dwellings.  The landscape changes dramatically on this day as it takes you close to the great Aravali range of hills.  After a delicious lunch, you will ride for some time through agricultural land, before following a dry river bed running parallel to the Aravali hills. Tonight you will have a special Christmas dinner and celebrations. Overnight in tents near a small temple.

    Day 6: Today you will ride to Kochor (about 30 kilometres). The ride takes you across a varied terrain consisting of flat land, and sand dunes, passing through quaint villages and farmland.  After lunch you visit a spectacular salt water lake with the hills towering in the background.  Overnight in a tented camp near Kochor village.

    Day 7: Today you will ride to Pachar (about 35 kilometres). Today’s ride is a very interesting one passing through scattered villages, with a varied terrain including hills, a dry river bed, and open farm lands.  There will be the opportunity to see the indigenous Nilgai Antelope. Overnight in a heritage hotel, called Hotel Golden Castle in Pachar.

    Day 8: During the ride from Pachar to Bharija (about 30 kilometres) you will see some ancient forts in the distance.  Overnight in tents.

    Day 9: Ride to Kuchaman (approximatedly 25 kilometres). Today’s ride to Kuchaman is through one of the most beautiful areas of Rajastahn and is one of the best riding days. As you near Kuchaman you will see the towering fort of Kuchaman perched high up on a hill.  Overnight camp near Kuchaman.

    Day 10:  Today you will ride from Kuchaman to Nawa (approximately 25 kilometres).  You will canter across the salt flats of Kuchaman, a stunning valley in the Aravali hills, dotted with small viallages and temples, and then on to the great Sambhar Lake, which is the largest salt water lake in India).  On arrival at Nawa you will camp overnight in a camp near the salt flats.

    Day 11: Today you will ride from Nawa along the Aravali hills to  Roopangarh (appproximately 25 kilometres). On arrival at Roopangarh, you will stunned by the serpentine entrance of the Roopangarh Fort which is a 17th century batttle fort, which is now a comfortable hotel.  The Roopangarh Fort was built in 1653 by Maharajah Roop Singh, the fifth ruler of Kishangargh. It is located 125 kilometres from JAipur and was teh capital of Kishangarh for a hundred years.

    Day 12: After an early breakfast, you will be transfered by vehicle (approximately 3 hours) to Jaipur, and will be transfered to Hotel Alsisar haveli or similar. You will have plenty of time to sightsee the rose-pink capital of Rajasthan, set within it’s walls, surrounded by rugged hills that are crowned with forts. Jaipur is noted for its craftsmen, skilled in the art of cutting precious stones and famed for its rubies. It is equally well known for brass inlay work, laceuer work and printing of muslin. Overnight in Jaipur

    Day 13:  12 kilometres from Jaipur is Amber Fort – an ancient imposing fort/palace. You will be transfered by vehicle for this short journey to enjoy the grandeur of the Fort, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. This evening you will be tranfered to the airport to return to Delhi. Overnight in Delhi.

    Day 14: You will be transfered to the international airport in time for your homeward flight.

    Notes:

    The cost of this ride is based on two people sharing accommodation. It includes all accommodation on bed and breakfast basis except on the ride and at Pushkar, where it is on full board. It excludes international airfares, domestic airfares between Delhi and Jaipur and also between Udaipur and Delhi, and monument entrance fees in Delhi, visas, gratuities and items of a personal nature. For those not prepared to share accommodation a single supplement is applicable.

    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.

    Wild and Exotic Nagaur Fair Ride Itinerary

    Day 1: Upon arrival into Delhi you will be collected from the airport and transferred to the Imperial hotel or similar. Rooms will be available after 12:00 noon.

    Day 2: You will be free to explore Delhi at your leisure. A half day guided tour of New Delhi will be arranged in the morning. In the evening you will board the overnight sleeper train for Bikaner.

    Day 3: You arrive into Bikaner in the morning, and will be transferred to the Laxmi Niwas Palace. This imposing red sandstone palace, lying on the outskirts of the town was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh, in commemoration of his father Maharaja Lal Singh in the early 20th Century. This oriental fantasy designed by Sir Swinton Jacob is among the purest forms of a Rajput palace, full of European luxury. The day will be spent sightseeing round Bikaner and visiting the Camel Breeding Farm.

    The city of Bikaner lies on the northern point on the triangle of the desert cities of Rajasthan. Bikaner is a royal walled city dating back to 1486 AD. It was established by a Rathore prince, Bika and came to be called Bikaner after him. Bika was the eldest son of the founder of Jodhpur state – Rao Jodha. Bikaner was well protected from its enemies by the harsh desert, which surrounded this rich city. It was, however, a major trade centre as it stood on the ancient caravan route linking Central Asia and North India with the Gujarat seaports. Other outside influences were minimal and this city was able to keep its medieval flavour alive – in fact, this is true of the city even today. The main shopping area lies around Kote Gate which has interesting bazaars where it is possible to see traditionally clad men and women rubbing shoulders with their modern counterparts as they go about their daily chores. Various buildings of architectural note include the Junagarh Fort, and the 14th century Jain temples built by two brothers and named after them – the Bhandeshwar temple and the Sandeshwar temple. While the former is rich in mirror work and frescoes, the latter has stylised enamel and gold leaf wall paintings.

    Day 4: After breakfast you will be driven to Gajner, approximately 40 minutes drive from Bikaner and transfer to Gajner Palace which is now a beautiful hotel by the edge of a lake.  After lunch you will meet your horses and try them out, riding around Gajner. Overnight Gajner Palace.

    Gajner Palace is an incomparable “Jewel in the Thar Desert” built on the embankment of a lake by His Late Highness Maharaja Ganga Singhji of Bikaner. During winter, this palace with its beautiful lake and surrounded wooded areas becomes the home of different species of migratory birds, most renowned amongst them being the Imperial Sand Grouse. Endangered Antelopes like Black Bucks, Nilgais, Chinkaras and other animals like the Wild Boar roam freely in this area, which is now a preserved sanctuary. The Gajner Palace is a beautifully architectured red sandstone palace.

    Day 5: In the morning you will ride out about 35 kilometres towards a village named Jai Singh, which is in the Thar Desert near the border of Pakistan.  Trees and grass are sparce. In some places the wind and shifting sands have created spectacular sand dunes, which tower above the plain.  Despite the austerity of the land a surprising number of people have learned to eek out a living here.  You will be spending the night camping.

    Day 6:  Ride about 35 kms to Dohra Farm. The ride on this day takes you across several farms and huge sand dunes where you are likely to see Chinkara gazelles. Overnight in camp near a large sand dune.

    Day 7: Today you will be riding about 30 kilometres to Tantwas village, where you will be spending another night camping in the desert. While riding through this area you see several Chinkara gazelles and if lucky, you might also come across the Desert Fox.  Overnight in Camp.

    Day 8: You will ride to Khari village, a distance of approximately 35 kilometres. You pass through a couple of small villages and several farmlands and large sand dunes. On this day there are good chances of seeing the elusive desert fox. Overnight in Camp.

    Day 9:  You ride for approximately 30 kilometres today to reach Nagaur. The ride takes you across several farm lands and villages. On this day you also get a chance to climb up on one of the largest sand dunes of this area. There is a small temple on top of this sand dune and you get a lovely view of the entire area. On arrival at Nagaur you will be spending the night in a camp close to the fair. The fair will already be full of camels and other animals.

    Day 10: Spend the day in Nagaur visiting the fair on horseback and on foot.  There are about 25,000 camels on display as well as a number of horses and cattle.  People come from hundreds of miles away to buy and sell, and it is an excellent chance to see the ways of ancient India. There are many shops selling handicrafts, cloth, jewelry, and are excellent places to practise your bargaining skills!  Few tourists visit this fair, as it is little known abroad and is mainly for local people. Overnight in camp.

    Day 11: After breakfast, bid farewell to your horses and the camp staff and drive to Khimsar, which is approximately a one hour drive from Nagaur. On arrival in Khimsar you will be transferred to Khimsar Fort hotel where you spend the night in great luxury. Khimsar is a large desert village with a magnificent castle built by an oasis centuries ago.  It has been beautifully restored and converted into a splendid hotel with all the luxuries of Steam bath and Sauna, the traditional Ayurvedic massage and a lovely swimming pool – all of which are going to be very welcome after the ride in the desert!

    Perched on the edge of the great Thar Desert in the heart of rural India, the unique fort at Khimsar offers a wide range of experiences. The battle scarred walls and turrets remind one of a glorious past as a centre of much warfare, as well as commerce and trade. The fort was built by Rao Karamsiji, the 8th son of the Jodhpur founder, Rao Jodha, who moved to this region, and founded the royal dynasty at Khimsar. The initial construction of the fort began in 1523, but the family moved in during the 18th century when a new “zenana” (ladies) wing was constructed. Today the Khimsar Fort ranks high among the premier classified heritage hotels of India.

    Day 12: After breakfast and an early start, drive to Jaisalmer, which is approximately four to five hours drive from Khimsar. On arrival you will be transferred to Hotel Fort Rajwada. After lunch you will have the opportunity to visit Jaisalmer, which has the reputation of being one of the most picturesque walled towns in the world.

    Jaisalmer is a 12th century desert stronghold in the Thar desert, often called “a mirage of golden stone”. Very few cities can boast of the magnificence, sheer magic and brilliance of this Desert city. Jaisalmer Fort seems to rise out of the desert haze, its yellow sand stone walls and 99 bastions taking on a golden hue in the afternoon sun.

    Rawal Jaisal laid the foundation of this city in 1156 A.D. and built the city on the spice and silk trade route. Not only the Princes but also the merchants prospered and their riches were displayed in the exquisitely carved and ornamental “havelis” (houses), which they built. Their houses, now under the protection of the government, are notable for their intricate 18th and 19th century workmanship and sandstone carvings, and are fascinating to visit.

    Day 13: This morning you will have the opportunity to look round Jaisalmer and soak in the sights of this magnificent city. In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to shop for gifts and trinkets. Overnight Hotel Fort Rajwada.

    Day 14: After an early breakfast, you will be driven to Jodhpur, a journey of approximately five hours. On arrival in Jodhpur you will be transferred to Bal Samand Palace, a beautiful hotel owned by the Royal Family of Jodhpur. Five kilometres north to the city of Jodhpur lies the Bal Samand Lake. This outstanding location is the site for the Bal Samand Palace, an excellent example of Rajput arhitecture in red sandstone surrounded by wide expanses of lush green gardens. After lunch you will have the opportunity to visit Merrangarh Fort and the city of Jodhpur.

    Jodhpur, the former capital of Marwar state was founded by Rao Jodha Singh. A flourishing trading centre in 16th century, today the city has grown to become the second largest city of Rajasthan and is still one of the leading centres for wood, cattle, camels, salt and agriculture in Rajasthan. However, the past is never far behind and the city boasts of some very fine reminders of this glorious past — Palaces, Forts, Temples and other elegant monuments of architectural and historical value.

    From its towering height of 400 ft, atop a steep hill, Mehrangarh Fort is Jodhpur’s most remarkable monument, enclosing within its mighty ramparts a complex of ethereal palaces notable for their exquisite latticework. Rao Jodha began work on this massive citadel in 1479. Certain halls in the palaces have been made into a museum with a display of the royal collection of arms, palanquins, howdahs, cradles, miniature paintings, and personal heirlooms. From here, the view of the city is breathtaking. Overnight in Jodhpur.

    Day 15: After an early start you will be transferred to the railway station, where you will board the early morning train to Jaipur. On arrival into Jaipur you will be transferred to the Hotel Raj Palace or similar. After lunch you will have the opportunity to visit the City Palace, the observatory and the Museum.

    Jaipur the capital of Rajasthan is often referred to as ‘The Pink City’. It is surrounded on all sides by rugged hills, crowned with forts. Enclosed by embattled walls, the city was built early in the eighteenth century. The Maharaja’s palace stands in the centre of the city amidst lovely gardens. Houses with latticed windows line the streets, their rose-pink colour lending enchantment to the scene and almost magical at sunset. Jaipur takes its name from the famous Maharana Sawai Jai Singh, who founded the city in 1728. A keen astronomer, he built the Jantar Mantar Observatory, which still exists and is equipped with quaint masonry instruments of remarkable size, which you will have the chance of seeing today. Other places of interest include The City Palace housing a museum containing rare manuscripts, painting and an armoury, the Ram Niwas Palace Gardens Museum founded in 1876 which houses a large collection of antiques; the palace of Winds, a landmark of Jaipur made of pink sandstone and of unique design. Jaipur is also noted for its craftsmen skilled in the art of cutting precious stones and famed for its garnets and rubies. It is equally well known for brass inlay work, lacquer work and the printings on muslin. Overnight in Jaipur.

    Day 16: This morning you will visit the Amber Fort. Lying 12 kilometres from Jaipur lies the city of Amber, and the Amber Fort. Built in the 17th century, the palace is a distinguished specimen of Rajput architecture. The Jai Mandir (hall of victory) is so delicately ornamented with fine inlay work that it appears to glow. The Fort of Jaigarh, crowning the summit of a peak is of amazing beauty and grandeur. This afternoon you will be transferred to Jaipur airport in time to connect with your flight to Delhi. The flight arrives at 19.00hrs. On arrival you will be transferred to the International Airport in time for your flight home. If requested Wild and Exotic can arrange further accommodation in Delhi or other extensions to your holiday.

    Notes:

    This ride can also be four days shorter if you chose to go from Nagaur to Jodhpur to return home on day 10, so not visiting Khimsar and Jaisalmer, Jaipur and the Amber Fort.

    The cost of this holiday is based on double accommodation, and eight people joining the ride. A single supplement is applicable. The cost of this ride includes all accommodation on bed and breakfast basis, except in Bikaner, Jaisalmer and whilst riding, where it is on full board. The cost also includes all road transfers mentioned in the itinerary. Lunches and dinners are not included in Delhi, Jodhpur and Jaipur. Both international airfares and local flights are excluded from the cost. Gratuities, items of a personal nature, visa fees and any monument entrance fees in Delhi are also excluded from the cost of this itinerary.

    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.


    Wild and Exotic fact sheet for riding holidays in India

    Accommodation: The accommodation during these rides is a combination of fabulously grand palaces, art deco hunting lodges, private houses and tents. Where we use tents, they are large, colourful and comfortable measuring either 14 or 12 feet square. Tents are made of thick canvass, and each has three folding windows in addition to the entrance. All tents are carpeted and furnished with proper beds, one small table and two chairs, mirror, and candles with candle stands and towels. We also carry separate bags with nametags, for bed sheets to ensure they do not get mixed up and each guest uses their own linen for the duration of the ride.

    Activities: Cultural tours on various historic sites, including magnificent forts, palaces and cities. Guests also attend local markets, fairs and festivals where they may purchase leather, jewellery and other goods. We also offer fishing for mighty mahseer in the foothills of the Himalayas as an extension before or after your riding holiday. Wild and Exotic can also arrange bespoke travel throughout the Indian sub continent, including visits to tiger reserves, southern India, and the Indian Ocean. Please contact us with your requirements and we will revert with a quote and availability.

    Clothing List: A clothing list will be sent on request, and with all confirmed bookings.

    Drinks: No drinks are included in the price.

    Horses and Tack: Marwari Horses, the local Indian breed. These horses are well trained, easy to ride and have excellent stamina. The average height is around 15 hands. The tack is English style and Indian Army saddlery. Our camp staff, including grooms, consists of about twenty people to attend to guest’s every need. One jeep always follows the horses at a distance, and the group leader, (either Mr Raghuvendra Singh (Bonnie) or Nirbhay Singh), is in radio contact with the jeep at all times. The jeep transports grooms; guest’s carry on bags/cameras and cold drinks for whenever they are required.

    How to Get There: There are daily flights from the UK to Delhi. As ATOL licence holders 6445, Wild and Exotic can arrange ATOL protected return flights to Delhi or other destinations within India from the UK subject to dates and availability. Guests usually arrive in Delhi in the evening before the start of a riding itinerary, and are met and transferred to a hotel for their first night in India before flying to Rajasthan the following morning to begin the ride.

    Insurance: It is essential that you have full medical and holiday insurance. Wild & Exotic can arrange this if instructed.

    Meals: All meals at campsite are served fresh and hot and prepared by our skilled camp staff. For breakfast we serve fruit juice, cereals, bread, butter, jam and marmalade, eggs to order and fruits. There is a proper dining table and chairs at the camp. For lunch, a buffet is laid out and the food is served hot, normally soup, two or three vegetables, lentils, chapattis (Indian bread), rice and dessert, and other Indian dishes including chicken or lamb. On non camping days local dishes served at hotels, palaces and private houses are of a very high standard, and usually feature three delicious courses each evening.

    Rides: 4 – 6 hours in the saddle. On moving days we enjoy delicious lunches prepared at shady picnic spots by camp staff, followed by a well deserved siesta.

    Riding Ability: You should be comfortable at all paces, and fit enough to ride between 4 and 6 hours a day.

    Single Supplement: Is only charged for those who are not prepared to share accommodation.

    Size of the Rides: Maximum of 14 guests.

    Toilets / Showers: Ensuite bathrooms are usual where the accommodation is not in tents. When camping shared shower facilities are provided by a specially adapted wagon. Hot water is provided in the morning and evenings for washing. Private loo tents are also set up according to the size of the group.

    Visas:  Visitors to India require a visa, which Wild and Exotic can assist with if instructed but cannot be held responsible for failure to obtain a visa for whatever reason:

    On-line application: E-Tourist Visa facility is now available to foreign nationals of several countries (including the U.K.) visiting India for tourism purposes. One applies for this E-Tourist visa online. Before travelling the applicant receives a letter/email from the E-Tourist Visa office – which you carry with you to India.  On arrival the applicant’s Visa is stamped on the passport. This is proving to be an efficient method.  Please visit the site: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

    By mail: Applicants wishing to send the application by post must select UK- London” as Mission, while filling the application form online for Visa. Applicants must pay for the full visa fee including, service fee, courier fee (Or include return Self-addressed special delivery envelope only) either online or send a postal order in payable to VF Services (UK) Ltd. The VFS website for India visa applications is http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk/ (which is the India section of the VFS global website www.vfsglobal.co.uk)

    Some people have encountered difficulty when applying for their visa, and it is therefore important to apply as soon as possible if you have not already done so. However, please note that validity of visa starts from the date of issue and not from the date of travel and standard visas usually expire after 6 months of being issued. It is therefore essential that you do not apply to early that the visa expires before or during your holiday. All applicants must ensure they print both the online application form and appointment confirmation letter, and bring both when attending the application centre for their appointment. All applicants must also ensure that the signature on the application form is written only within the box provided.

    In person: at the application Centres below. Please note all applicants must have prior appointment to apply in person at all application centres. No applications will be accepted without a prior appointment.

    London:

    India Visa Application Center 60-62 Wilton Road, Victoria, London, SW1V 1DE.

    India Visa Application Center 142-148 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7DU.

    Birmingham: India Visa Application Center 20 – 21 Pemberton Street Birmingham B18 6NY

    Edinburgh: India Visa Application Center 66 Handover Buildings Rose Street, Edinburgh EH2 2NN

    Weather: Best months to visit are October to February inclusive to coincide with the Indian Fairs and Festivals.

    Weight Limit: On application to Wild and Exotic, weight limit is determined by the rider’s experience.

    .


    India general information and map

    Capital: New Delhi

    Getting there: There are regular direct flights from London to Delhi and Bombay with several major airlines including Air India, British Airways and Virgin. Flying time from London to Delhi takes 8 hours and 45 minutes, and from London to Bombay takes 9 hours and 15 minutes.

    Time: GMT plus 5 hours and 30 minutes.

    Try not to miss: The culture and history of Rajasthan, whose extravagant forts, palaces and temples are famous throughout the world, and a legacy from the aristocratic Maharajas that once ruled this semi desert landscape. Unmissable sights in Rajasthan include the Taj Mahal, the Amber Fort and the 14th century Jain Temples at Ranakpur situated in a peaceful valley through the Aravali hills. If possible time your visit to coincide with either the Pushkar Fair in autumn or the equally absorbing Nagaur Fair in February, where thousands gather to witness colourful stockmen plying their trade, accompanied by cattle, camels and horses. Rajasthan is especially well served by the quality and variety of accommodation available to the visitor, ranging from the most extravagant palaces and forts to historic family houses.

    The great forests of central India that are home to the last of the sub continent’s once flourishing populations of wild elephant, tiger and rhinoceros. Three of the best places in which to glimpse a sight of the iconic wild tiger are in Bandavgarh and Kanha National Parks or at Ranthambore tiger reserve, where we work with lodges offering high standards of comfort and service, and with guides who have a proven track record of providing their clients with regular tiger sightings. The Himalayan foothills in the north are also spectacularly beautiful, divided by deep forested valleys whose fast flowing rivers are home to mighty mahseer fish.

    Kerala lies between the Deccan Plateau in the south west and the azure Indian Ocean. The pace of life throughout this rural region of palm trees, lagoons, lakes, rivers and canals is noticeably slower and more laid back than other parts of India, making it the perfect antidote to the dust and bustle of Rajasthan. Further north, the beaches of tropical Goa have retained the charm and ambience that made this region so attractive those seeking an alternative lifestyle in the sixties.

    Visas: UK passport holders require visas for India, which must be obtained prior to travel.

    Why India: For the colour and culture of Rajasthan, the chance to see a tiger in the wild in either Bandavgarh or Kanha National Parks, and the west coast’s sleepy Indian Ocean.

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    “We did have the most fantastic holiday – I was quite overwhelmed by India and am keen to go back to see some more”
    Mrs Sykes, Riding in Rajasthan, November 2011


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