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Rajasthan, ‘The Land Of Kings” is India at its exotic and colourful best. The destinations suggested below take us through a time machine a few hundreds of years back in time. We find ourselves in extremely remote tribal areas of Rajasthan where life is as primitive as primitive can be. This enables us to capture images of tribal life at its best – in all its traditional colours and innocent hospitality. The highlight of the tour is stays in royal palaces, forts & amp;castles – imposing buildings replete with luxury, character and Old World charm. Life outside these amazing buildings is a contrast. Life is very primitive and traditional; typical homes with mud plastered or cow dung plastered walls and hay thatched roofs; narrow lanes or trails broad enough only for camel carts or donkey carts; traditional costumes of men & women; primitive agricultural techniques of plough being drawn by men or bulls; traditional occupations of wood carving, block printing, pottery etc.
For most people here, their world ends where the village ends. The village itself is self-sufficient; they have their local bazaar and a village temple with a village deity in it. – the deity is supreme and responsible for anything and everything that effect the day to day life of the natives. The only other God that comes a close second to their village deity are members of the royal family who inhabit the palaces, forts and castles that dominate their village. The feudal respect for the rulers has been retained over several generations. Time seems to have come to a standstill here. The experience is like travelling through a living museum. The Tour is a photographer’s paradise offering innumerable opportunities to capture virgin lifestyle images unchanged for centuries. Finally, the distances between destination are very small. This not only cuts out the travel time, but encourages people to have time in hand to explore the country side on the way at their own pace. You would have an opportunity to interact with the locals, visit villages and tribal homes etc.
You could do all this and more without worrying about loosing time on journeys. Also, we believe that the sights and experiences that come up on way to a destination are more fascinating and natural compared to the destination itself. Of Course the crowning Glory of the tour is the Taj Mahal – the most photographed monument in the worldA fitting climax to our back street adventures in Rajasthan.
Romance of Rajasthan Tour Packages begins with an arrival in Delhi. Traditional welcome with garlands as your representatives welcome you aboard your Luxury Coach. The ride to your luxury hotel,The Connaught, is a 30-minute drive during which time your representative would introduce, India as well as some common Indian customs and courtesies.
Upon arrival at the hotel, whilst our representatives organize your check in, a refreshing welcome drink is served to you – ‘namaste’ and welcome to India !
Overnight will be in Delhi.
Following a leisurely breakfast, ride out 122 kms to the obscure village of Neemarana which is dominated by the majestic Neemrana Fort, which is India’s oldest heritage resort. Situated on a majestic plateau, concealed in a horseshoe formation of the billion-year-old Aravalli ranges, Neemrana fort Palace Heritage Hotel has 40 air-conditioned rooms. Each room has its own unique character and history. On the basis of theme the rooms have been named as the Malabar room, Barsat Mahal, Chandra Mahal, Mata Mahal, Surya Mahal, Gopi Mahal and the Sheesh Mahal.
Afternoon, we visit the adjoining tribal villages where life has not changed for centuries. We explore the tribal country surrounding the imperial fort. The lifestyle here remains unchanged for centuries and untouched by modern times.
Overnight will be in Fort Neemrana.
Following breakfast, we check out of our hotel and ride into the heart of the Thar Desert to Mandawa, which used to be a medieval Indian trade city and still has beautifully preserved houses of medieval Indian traders in typical Rajput (Rajasthani) style.
Upon arrival, check into Castle Mandawa which is a curious mixture of the old and the new. Medieval turreted towers, palanquin-roofed balconies, blend with modern comforts in old-world 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 struck by the resident timekeepers at the fort every hour.
Afternoon, we walk through the main (and the only) street of the town. We visit some of the ancient and beautifully preserved ‘havelis’ (mansions). They would give us an idea of how families lived in those days. The havelis have beautiful paintings depicting mythological themes on the walls. Made from vegetable dyes these paintings have lasted centuries and still are quite sharp. Today, the world comes to this storybook town to see its colourful frescoes on every subject under the sun, that is, ranging from the religious to the erotic; from copies of popular English prints to witty social satire, rendered in the inimitable style of the local artist
Overnight will be in Mandawa.
A short ride through Arabian Night country brings us to Dundlod, which has beautifully preserved houses of medieval Indian traders in typical Rajput (Rajasthani) style.
Upon arrival, check into the Dundlod Castle which is beautifully built in traditional Rajput style – High wooden doors, bamboo thatched roofs, mud plastered walls and floors, ethnic dcor etc. However, all these traditional charms encapsulate all the modern luxuries sought by discerning tourists. The place is an embodiment of the cultural amalgamation of the Rajputana and Mughal Schools of Art and Architecture. Its motif of flowers and foliage, minarets, mythological paintings, archaic furniture, wall hangings of arrows, and shields have remained unchanged since ages.
Staying in Dundlod Fort is almost like living through the days of James Tod who once described the splendors of Rajasthan. On every dawn the first ray of the sun falls over the fort as an eternal blessing to this land of mystique and charisma.
This afternoon we take time to explore the fascinating town of Dundlod. A cluster of forts, havelis, and baolis – these words best introduce Dundlod, a small village situated in the heart of the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. Visiting this village is like visiting an open-air art gallery that has not changed much since the time it was built.
Overnight will be in Dundlod.
Following breakfast, we check out of our hotel and drive we ride to Samode Bagh. Built more than 400 years ago, it is modelled on the geometric style of the Mughal Garden. Members of the Samode family came here to enjoy rare moments of privacy and relax in the airy pavilions, surrounded by rippling water fountains. A special feature of the stay here is the accommodation being provided in the tents. Meeting point at the Bagh is the elegantly furnished Durbar tent. Dune coloured tents, all luxuriously furnished with every comfort, the lawns, fruit trees, grape vines, and the flowering shrubs make the stay here a memorable one. Evenings come alive with local folk music and dances in the magic of a campfire. One can swim in the private pool or take camel rides to explore the countryside.
We will use our time here to explore at a leisurely pace the adjoining tribal villages. Also, for those interested, a visit can be arranged to the Samode Palace, now a heritage hotel. Built in the characteristic pattern of an open courtyard with rooms leading off the arched corridor that runs along all the four sides of the building. The Sultan Mahal is on the first floor-an exquisite room with a marble pillared verandah. It has the famous Jaipur blue tile decorations. Every inch of the ceiling and the walls are covered with floral, paisley and geometric motifs painted in vegetable colors
Overnight will be in Samode.
Following a leisurely Breakfast, we ride to Jaipur. In a land steeped with heritage , picturesque with exquisite architecture , in a state vibrant with heroic memories and romance ,lies the dream city of Jaipur . The people are dynamic, martial and, need we say it, colourful. Here every walk through the by lanes is a walk through history. Indeed, Jaipur could be compared to a vast open-air museum. Pink turbans jostle with saffron ‘odhinis’ (ladies scarves). Camel’s buggies and elephants are as commonly found as motor cars and buses
Upon arrival check into Hotel.
Afternoon is designed for escorted walks with our guide in Jaipur’s shady animated streets – or for independent discovery. The city is best explored on foot and only the inquisitive visitor willing to go into the rastaas (streets) and galis (lanes) will feel the spirit of the city. Jaipur’s colorful bazaars tantalize the eye with enameled blue pottery, exquisite gem-studded jewelry, engraved brass work, traditional block-printed fabrics and brightly patterned dhurrie rugs together with traditional crafts and miniature painting.
Overnight will be in Jaipur.
This morning we visit Amber Fort, the former capital of the royal Jaipurs. Few fail to be moved by the dramatic Rajput grandeur of this hilltop fortress-palace 11 km north of Jaipur. Set on the dry wrinkled Aravali Hills, and surrounded by fortified battlements, the palace straddles two sepia-hued tundra hills overlooking Maota Lake, and its sprawling crenellated walls lattice the surrounding hills. We ride up to this hilltop palace on a caparisoned, painted elephant, passing through the ancient main gate where Maharajas of Jaipur have entered for four hundred years. Our guide will elaborate on the history of this architectural masterpiece with its mirror-studded alcoves, dazzling mosaics and water-cooled swings that delight today’s visitors as they did their former royal residents.
We visit the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds, a five-storied structure of pink sandstone with semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed windows overlooking the main street of the old city. It was built in 1799 so that veiled royal women could peer down unseen by the world through its 593 stone screens.
Following lunch, a tour Of City Palace & Observatory. The City Palace in the heart of the old city is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The center of the palace is a seven storied building called Chandra Palace, with fine vies over the gardens and the city. The palace lies in the heart of the city and occupies the whole central grid. The fortified wall has seven gates and was built for protection from invading armies and animals that lived in jungles which surrounded the wall that time. Next, we visit the Solar Observatory – an astronomical treasure house, with solar device that give accurate predictions till date. The Palace Of Winds, a five-storied structure of pink sandstone has semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed windows overlooking the main street of the old city.
Overnight will be in Jaipur.
Following breakfast, drive to Pushkar . Upon arrival check in to Pushkar Palace.
Afternoon, walk through this amazingly fascinating religious town. According to legend, the origin of Pushkar dates back to the time when Lord Brahma was on his way in search of a tranquil land to perform a ‘Yagna’. A lotus fell from the hand of the Lord into this valley. A lake sprang up on this spot and was dedicated to him. A Brahma temple located here which is supposed to be the only temple dedicated to this God, is a popular place of pilgrimage. It would be fascinating to walk along the maze of narrow lanes and streets.
Overnight will be in Pushkar.
After break fast, we drive to Bikaner. We would have opportunities to stop on the way for pictures as well as to interact with local tribes.
Upon arrival check in to Gajner Palace, a summer resort of Bikaner Maharajas. The palace situated on the embankment of a lake, has often been described as ‘ an incomparable jewel in the Thar desert’. Afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the incredible charm of your hotel
Afternoon, proceed on a guided tour of the city. Bikaner was founded in 1486 A.D by the Rathore prince, Rao Bikaji, hence the name Bikaner.
Bikaner, has many magnificent buildings made of Reddish Pink sandstone that transcends the surrounding barren wilderness. Unlike other cities of Rajasthan, Bikaner has been able to preserve its traditional aura of the medieval era. We visit the Junagadh Fort. One of the most imposing forts of northern India– Junagarh Fort– has remained unconquered till date. This fort was built in 15th century by one of the most able and trusted generals of Akbar.
We also visit the Camel Breeding Farms . Take a ride on one or watch the calves gamboling, or submit to a Raika or a Rebari from traditional camel breeder, over a cup of camels milk at the camel breeding farms just eight Kms away from the city. This farm is the only of its kind in Asia.
Overnight will be in Gajner.
Following break fast, we drive to Jaisalmer. The drive is through desert country with scantly vegetation and life stock in view.
Upon arrival, check in to Hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure. We suggest you walk along the old city to explore traditional and typical Jaisalmer. The havelis (mansions) in a beautiful state of preservation are a fascinating sight.
Overnight will be in Jaislamer.
Morning, we visit the residential portions of the fort where one third of the population of the old city lives. The design of houses remains as they were a couple of centuries back and so are the lifestyle of people occupying them. This is because most of the families continue to work for generations for the rural (though only titular now) hence there is a sense of continuity. The houses are arranged in narrow lanes and have small windows from where the shy child or the girl peeps. This is the city believed to be the home of the most handsome men and women in Rajasthan.
Afternoon, we drive to Sam, a dessert outpost. Enroute we visit a few typical dessert villages, which have a sprinkling of huts. The rough terrain here does not support cultivation, hence the entire village work as causal labourers in road works or community projects. Inspite of their poverty and hard life the people are very friendly and seem to be aware that they are proud owners of very expressive and beautiful faces. We move on to Sam where we explore the dessert. Against the backdrop of the setting sun and the huge expanse of the dessert the camels with their long shadows would be excellent pictures.
Evening drive back to the Hotel in Jaisalmer.
Overnight will be in Jaislamer.
Following breakfast, we drive to Jodhpur.
Upon arrival, check into the legendary heritage hotel.
Afternoon, ride horse carriages to the Clock Tower Bazaar. This is one of India’s largest and most colourful whole sale market especially with respect to clothes, fabrics, spices, vegetables etc.
Overnight will be in Jodhpur.
Following breakfast, proceed on a guided tour of Jodhpur. Our tour includes the massive fort. In olden days this must have been impregnable since its rocky base is scraped straight down making it nearly impossible to ascend. Once inside, royal palaces abound with fascinating history and priceless jewels, on to the armoury and Jaswant Tara – the Royal Crematorium.
Following the tour we ride out to Rohet. Upon arrival check into the Rohetgarh fort.
At Rohet, one is transported in to a world of the past, a world of honour and of chivalry, of glory and of pride; a world of vibrant colours and spectacular magnificence. Past centuries come to life at the historic boundary walls of Rohet- the 16th century fortified deserted home of a Rajput clan. Within the precincts of these time weathered walls is our hotel, the impressive Rohetgarh Fort- a bastion of proud Rajput traditions bathed in the ambience of unmistakable Rajasthani culture where one can, even today experience the famed warm and courteous Rajput hospitality. Frescoes on the tall gateway, brightly painted in the traditional style, using traditional motifs and colour schemes herald your entry to this charmed world the bygone era.
The gateway leads to a compound where a profusion of flowers frame the archways in welcome. The portico is a warm and informal place decorated with the artifacts and trophies of many years. Exquisitely carved furniture, delicate hand block prints, original paintings and photographs decorate your rooms, which though redolent with the romance of a bygone era, provide all the modern amenities. Antique hunting riffles, shields & spearheads, daggers and original paintings form the backdrop of the dinning room. The swimming pool here is in beautiful settings and is an oasis in a dessert.
The food at Rohetgarh is special; each recipe is both traditional and typical, handed down the generations and jealously guarded to retain its pristine flavours. You savour only the very best of Rajasthani cuisine’s, food favoured by the Royalty. The 16th century descendants of the Rathore ruling family still live here and host the guests. The members of the Royal family interact with the guests and interesting stories and anecdotes are narrated.
This afternoon, we would explore Rohet, which is a fascinating small feudal town, which seems to be straight out of the Arabian Nights. There is no proper road here – only one main dust trail. On either side are typical thatched houses and shops of all kinds – colourful bangles, silver jewellery, potters, fruit vendors on carts, dress shops, tailors etc.
Overnight will be in Rohet.
Following breakfast we travel to Sodawas. Upon arrival, check into Sodawas Kot.
Sodawas was given in Jagir (Fief) to Late Thakur Bishan Singhji by His Late Highness Maharaja Shri Umaid Singhji of Jodhpur in the Year 1943 along with two other villages, before which it was a ‘Khalsa’ Village, meaning for Three Decades it was under the direct rule of Marwar State(Jodhpur). Upon arrival you enter through a grand gateway into the Sodawas Kot, which is still owned by the family of Thakur Bishan Singhji.
The Kot has ten bedrooms and every modern amenity. The family drawing and dining rooms have been opened to receive guests in true Rajput Hospitality. Traditional Rajasthani Cuisine for which the House is well known for, is served with a mild and delicate blend of spices adapted to your taste. The family will join you and will give you an opportunity to discuss their traditions, culture and the rich heritage of Marwar erstwhile State of Jodhpur. Folk Music and dance are performed in the evening specially for us. The beautifully designed stables will interest Horse lovers. Once the much loved stallion and mare of the Late Thakur Sahib were stabled here.
Beyond the Kot walls the guest encounters breath taking green fields of mustard and wheat; and in the village, one can see artisans working on the local crafts of the region.
This afternoon we walk through the main boulevard, which is wide enough to take a bullock cart. We visit the local school here to witness the kids sitting in rows on cotton mats. We also visit the colourful bazaar as well as the village temple to witness the day to day. Life here is very simple and uncomplicated and traditional virtues still intact. People here may be very poor, but they are extremely friendly and hospitable, willing to share out their meagre possessions with you.
Overnight will be in Sodawas.
Following breakfast we ride to Narlai, stopping several times for photos and walks through the countryside to interact with and witness the life styles of the natives.
Upon arrival check into Rawla Narlai.
Situated in the Narlai village, Rawla Narlai, is a 17th century fortress renovated over the years to have 15 exquisite double rooms. Rawla Narlai is full of surprises; it is situated in the heart of a typical Rajasthani village bustling with activity and bursting with colours. But, inside the Rawla (fortress) there is only serenity and stupendous view of a gigantic350 ft single rock of granite dotted with caves and temples and crowned by a statue of a white elephant – proud guardian to the open desert on one side and the crumbling Aravali hills on the other. Maharaja and Rani Swaroop Singh, and their sons oversaw the careful restoration of this hunting lodge, with aesthetics, comfort, and atmosphere that will embrace your senses. Comfortable rooms and modern bathrooms blend with the ancient way of Narlai, while offering a warm and homely atmosphere.
The charming rooms are all stylised from references from the past adding more to your experience at Rawla Narlai. The chef prepares you a delicious meal, garnished with care made from Secret Recipes handed down for generations to the Royal family. In the evening bathe in the moonlight under the starry sky, listening to hypnotic and chanting rhythms by local musicians who will rekindle the sprit in you. The peace and calm of the gentle rustling leaves, the sun bathed courtyards and the star lit nights adds an air of romanticism to this wonderful fortress.
Afternoon, we would have an escorted stroll through the small town, bustling with activity and bursting with colour- perhaps pausing to see the rich handicrafts or even to design your own silver Tabiz, a ancient lucky charm, both for women and men- worn around the neck, at the silversmith.
Overnight will be in Narlai.
Wake up to the sounds of this 17-century village, and take in the spiritual energy from descending from the Shiva Temple, deep in a primal cave, on the hill overlooking your room. You may hear whispers of the early morning chanting coming from the many temples and mosques. At breakfast you are encouraged to feed the harmless monkeys, if they come down from the hills, as a token of prayer to Lord Hanuman. After breakfast we have an escorted stroll through the small bazaar, bustling with activity and bursting with colour.
Following breakfast, we drive to Kumbhalgarh. We would have photo stop several times as we walk through the countryside as well as interact with primitive tribals.
Upon arrival we check into the fine Aodhi Lodge – a property of the Royal family of Udaipur.
Afternoon, we explore the beautifully preserved and one of the most majestic forts of India. 13 mountain peaks surround the impregnable fortress of Kumbalgarh (54 Kms) at a height of 3281 ft. Seven towering gateways pierce the massive walls of this prominent fortress of Mewar. The young Udai Singh founder of Udaipur took shelter here from his treacherous uncles. These impregnable walls dotted with cannonballs defeated Emperor Akbar.
Overnight will be in Kumbalgarh
Following breakfast a two-hour drive to Udaipur. We would have an opportunity to explore the feudal village of KumbhalGarh. The people here are extremely friendly and hospitable. We witness their ethnic tribal lifestyle.
Upon arrival check into the hotel.
Welcome to Udaipur, the famed “City of sunrise “. Founded in 1567 by Maharana Udai Singh, from the lineage of the legendary Sisodias of Mewar – the decedents of the sun God. A city where the sun truly never set, where tradition and a strict code of heroism were happily united with a love of fine living. A city that has come to be an oasis of romance in the warrior state of Rajasthan. Afternoon is at leisure for nature walks or for visits to the bustling bazaars or just to enjoy your charming heritage hotel overlooking the tranquil Lake Pichola. Overnight will be in Udaipur.
Morning, we proceed on a tour of this “Lake City”. Udaipur is a cool oasis in the dry heart of Rajasthan. It is probably the most romantic city in a state where every city has some romantic or exotic tale to tell. The huge city palace towering over the Lake Pichola is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. Though it is a conglomeration of buildings built by successive rulers, it manages to retain a surprising uniformity of design and affords very fine view of the lake and the city from the upper terraces. The Jagadish temple next to the city palace enshrines a black stone image of Lord Vishnu and his vehicle- a mighty bird called garuda – in a brass image. The temple is a very fine example of Indo-Aryan Art.
Overnight will be in Udaipur.
Morning at leisure. Afternoon, transfer to the airport to connect you to Delhi flight. Meeting and assistance upon arrival at Delhi airport and check into Hotel Imperial.
Home Visit & A Farewell Dinner: This evening we visit and Indian family for an Indian home experience. The evening is designed to give you a ‘feel’ and insight into Indian family life as well as experience typical Indian hospitality and home made Indian food.
Overnight will be in Delhi
The main group departs to the airport for their onward flight.