Rajasthan is where to fall in love with India. Welcome to mystery, to enchantment, to unsurpassable beauty. To ravishing colour and light. To timelessness. To a kaleidoscope of cultures, religions and landscapes. To a richness of humanity. To exotic splendour. Where a thousand lifestyles breathe as one nation. A fascinating tapestry of languages, customs and beliefs. It is a whole continent in a country, as large and varied as Europe.
Of all her states, Rajasthan is perhaps the most tribally diverse, artistically decorative, architecturally magnificent and regal in India. It is impossible to experience and absorb in a single trip the magnitude of what India offers:
a cacophony of colour, the austere and atmospheric landscapes of desert and ancient Aravali mountains, the romance of Rajasthan’s heritage and chivalry, the hospitality, warmth and humour of her people whether from regal lineage or simple, dignified desert-dwellers, the spine-tingling music, and their abundantly diverse, arts and crafts.
- superb heritage properties and romantic palaces that make you feel like royalty
- music and authentic folk performances under starry skies
- majestic monuments steeped in Mughal history and chivalric tales
- fabulous shopping for the beautifully hand-made
AT A GLANCE
Now in its 21st year!
LENGTH: 14 Days
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderate
TYPE: Small Group Tour | AoL Escorted | Bespoke
STYLE: Culture | Heritage | History | Crafts
START | FINISH: Delhi | Delhi
All meals, entertainment, tour leader, local and expert guides, entry fees
Luxury, Heritage + Royal Tented Camps
Luxury mini coach and internal airfares included
10-23 January 2019
Per person from: USD 10500
Minimum 6 guests
This evening at a cocktail party at the grand and iconic Imperial hotel, you will meet your fellow adventurers and your esteemed guide Durga Singh, Marieke’s beloved colleague for over 20 years.
This morning, fly to the quintessential Raj city of Jodhpur and settle into the glorious tented camp exclusively established for us within the ramparts of the ancient fort. If numbers are less, we stay instead at the former summer pleasure palace of the Maharaja.
This evening, enjoy your first camp-fire under the stars with traditional folk entertainment. You might even dance.
This morning explore the imposing, magnificent, burnished red sand stone Mehrangarh Fort that soars above the washed out indigo blues of the old city. , “I have just seen the eighth wonder of the world” said Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. This afternoon wander through the maze of alleys of the old bazaar where colourfully clad Bishnoi women come to shop and where we open a Pandora’s box of treasures in an ancient renovated haveli.
This morning there is a safari to the countryside to visit the Bishnoi tribes, the original conservationists who for centuries have protected animals and plants and still live traditional lives. This afternoon, gents learn the art of turban tying and ladies beget glamour in preparation for your invitation to HH Maharaja’s birthday celebrations on the lawns of the majestic Umaid Bhawan Palace, one of the world’s largest residences built in the art deco style of early 20thC.
This morning travel to Chanoud Garh, the ancestral home of the sophisticated Singh family who painstakingly restored the 330-year-old palace into a sanctuary with great respect to the original building’s style and character.
Enjoy meeting the local Rabari tribes and in the evening a sundowner over the salt lakes.
This morning visit the splendid living Jain temple at Ranakpur with over 1444 white marble pillars, carved in exquisite detail. This afternoon settle into your sumptuous palace suite at Devigarh – one of Art of Living’s all-time favourite boutique hotels. Surrounded by the majestic austerity of the Aravali mountains, this is a divine small hotel (18thC fort on the outside and sleek contemporary Indian on the inside) with wonderful food, service, pool and spa and your sanctuary for three nights.
This morning descend into the magical city of Udaipur for a full day’s excursion – an oasis of white marble, soothing lakes and green hills in an otherwise arid region. Explore the City Palace, visit the local miniature painting school and by mid afternoon punt across the lake and catch the sun setting over the Lake Palace.
This morning explore some local sites. At Nagda are the remains of temples of the early 10th century AD, dedicated to Vishnu that retain their original splendour and perfect geometry. Mingle with pilgrims and devotees at the Eklinji, a lively Hindu Shiva temple, elaborately constructed from marble and sandstone and patronised by the Mewar royal family.
This afternoon is at leisure so you can enjoy the pool or spa at the hotel.
This morning reach the charming, unspoiled village of Deogarh and settle into your elegant, boutique accommodation and meet dear friends and your hosts, one of Rajasthan’s most hospitable families. This evening, drinks are served in the courtyard, warmed by braziers before a splendid dinner of family recipes. If leopards have been sited, there may even be an opportunity at dusk to go and spot one.
Today enjoy a gentle trek through the beautiful Aravali hills that enjoy a vast and varied birdlife. Relax on bolsters under colourful tents as a lavish “bushtucker” lunch is prepared for you over open fires overlooking a vast temporary lake created by the past monsoon.
Today is the longest travel day on this tour. Lunch en-route is with a gracious family who have opened their home to visitors near the holy city of Pushkar. This afternoon reach the “Pink City” of Jaipur and check into your hotel, formerly an 18th century aristocratic palace set in capacious gardens.
The largest city of Rajasthan is is a marvellous synthesis of Hindu, Jain and Mughal influenced architecture. All around the magnificent palaces and buildings are bazaars teeming with people, camels and horses.
Amber Fort, built in the 16thC, is the epitome of royal architecture and has enjoyed a sensitive restoration in recent years. Nearby is the wonderful Anohki Textile museum celebrating the history of block printing for which the city is famous. After lunch segue back to the heart of the Pink City visiting the City Palace and the UNESCO-listed Royal Observatory (Jantar Mantar), an enthralling 18thC observatory of still functional sculptural forms.
Jaipur is also a shopper’s paradise and we’ll make sure your interests are catered for.
Today’s excursion takes in Jawahar Kala Kendra designed by architect and urban planner, Charles Correa that serves as a cultural hub and preserve Rajasthan’s myriad arts and craft.
We also try to visit the Gyan Museum, a private collection of 3000 years of cultural heritage and the newly inaugurated Sculpture Park in one of the lesser known forts.
The final evening is celebrated with a special party that includes caparisoned elephants and soul-stirring musicians.
After a leisurely breakfast/brunch, guests returning to Delhi will be driven to Delhi to arrive in time at the airport before evening departures home.
Alternatively, guests wishing to have a little extra time in Jaipur may elect to fly back to Delhi late afternoon, at a small additional expense.
SUGGESTED TOUR EXTENSIONS:
Jaipur Literary Festival
Gujarat Tribals + Textiles Tour
Ranthambhore National Park to spot tigers
Bharatpur and Keoladeo Ghana National Park for bird twitchers
Varanasi and the temples of Khujaraho
Your Tour Leader, Marieke Brugman has designed, refined and escorted this unique tour for more than two decades as well as leading cultural and gastronomic Tours to other regions of the sub-continent and has developed a lifelong attraction to the exotic and compelling experience that ignites all the senses with the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, festivals, music, bazaars like no other on earth. Indeed, it makes you think about the meaning of life, in ways that you don't, living in the west. She brings to the tours meticulous planning, humour, passion and inspired conversation.
Your Tour Guide + Escort, Thakur Durga Singhji is an exceptional guide and host. A proud, aristocratic Rajput, Durga brings his culture and country vibrantly alive.
A rare Renaissance man his interests are as diverse as philosophy, religion, contemporary politics, farming, tribal culture, music and poetry.
Durga sports not only a grand moustache but also a wonderful sense of humour. A marvellous and engaging raconteur, his insights will leave a lasting impression and cement new friendships. Durga is revered as one of India’s most in-demand guides and has been Marieke’s friend and professional colleague for over two decades, accompanying all her programmes in India.
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