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: 15 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
13-27 January 2021
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 Udaipur and check into your palace suite at Raas Devi Garh Fort Palace at Delwara where you are two nights. This is one of Rajasthan’s most spectacular heritage properties. This afternoon explore Nagda’s temples of the early 10th century AD, dedicated to Vishnu. Though now in partial ruins one can still marvel at their original splendour and perfect geometry. Mingle with pilgrims and devotees at the Eklinji Hindu temple elaborately constructed from marble and sandstone with an incarnation of Shiva – the family deity of the Mewar royal family who are the temple ‘s patrons.
This afternoon is at leisure so you can enjoy the pool or spa at the hotel.
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 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.
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 elegant stone cottage at Bera Safari lodge. This afternoon enjoy an excursion into local villages with Bishnoi Rabari tribespeople who have lived in harmony with nature for centuries.
Jawai is one of the most recently established Conservation Reserves rich with wildlife and bird varieties. A healthy population of 50+ Leopards is in this region, and it’s one of the few places on earth where leopards thrive among human settlements, Shatrunjay’s team heads out early morning to locate leopards based on the previous day’s movement patterns and tracks and signs to ensure the best possible leopard viewing. Enjoy two game safaris.
This afternoon 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.
Visit the grand Royal Cenotaphs and the museum at Umaid Bhawan Palace, one of the world’s largest residences built in the art deco style of early 20thC. This afternoon is time to enjoy the pool and spa at the hotel or to explore the fabulous shops near the beautifully restored stepwell.
Midway on the drive north to Bikaner, stop at ravishing Nagaur Fort, one of Rajasthan’s most impressive restoration projects and example of Rajput-Mughal architecture. Built in the early 12th century on the remains of a fourth-century mud outpost, the fort was expanded by successive rulers until the mid-18th century. Check into your divine boutique hotel for the night, the former home of the last reigning Maharaja of Bikaner, who – like his namesake hotel – was influenced by the Bombay art deco movement, a love of travel and contemporary European tastes.
This morning, visit the grand sights of this royal desert outpost – not least the impressive Junagarh Fort and museums and Rampuria Mansions. After lunch drive to Deeppura Garh where you stay two nights. Deeppura Garh is one of the most alluring new additions to rural Rajasthan – a 200 year old fort that has been lovingly restored by Italian fashion designer Maria Grazia Baldani and interior | architectural designer, Philippe de Villegas, a Belgian man of exquisite taste, imagination and chutzpah – where the Mediterranean meets India.
Today you have the option of resting within the walls of this elegant retreat or undertaking an excursion to some of the towns of Shekhawati that from the 14th century onwards, were important trading posts on the Silk and Caravan routes from Gujarati ports to the fertile and booming cities of the Ganges plain. Shekhawati merchants who prospered sent funds home to construct and decorate their extraordinary abodes with whimsical, elaborate, story-telling frescoes that ornamented their courtyard havelis inside and out.
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 healthordisease.com 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.
BOOKINGS & ENQUIRIES
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