Castle to Castle Safari

Rajasthan India: (IT-INIR01)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/india_rajasthan_castle.aspx

Introduction
Rajasthan India

Combine the adventure and thrill of a horse safari with the privilege of staying in some of the most beautiful Heritage and palace hotels in Southern Rajasthan. This safari starts in the rugged mountain landscape around Kumbhalgarh and takes the riders from Kumbhalgarh to Ranakpur through the heart of the Aravalli Mountains and the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary down till the edge of the Great Thar Desert near Narlai and Jojawar.  Ride across great landscapes, through tiny villages and experience traditional Rajasthani culture. Overnight stays are in chosen Heritage Hotels along the way.

Accomodation
Accommodations on this ride are split between luxury hotels and heritage hotels. We stay in Udaipur, Kumbhalgarh, Ganero, Narlai, and Ranakpur.

Currently we are using these Heritage hotels:

Day 1: Shiv Niwas Palace, Udaipur.
Day 2: “The Aodhi” Kumbhalgarh.
Day 3: King's Adobe or Heritage Hotel “Fateh Bagh.
Day 4: Rawla Narlai.
Day 5: Rawla Jojawar.
Day 6: Udaipur in Shiv Niwas Palace or Jodhpur at Ajit Bhawan or similar.
*These hotels are subject to change at the tour operator's discretion.

Shiv Niwas Palace,Udaipur
Where royalty has always felt at home, today you are invited to an experience of a lifetime

Shiv Niwas Palace Hotel
The crescent-shaped palace was built in the early 20th century, in the reign of Maharana Fateh Singh (period of reign: 1884-1930), and has been meticulously maintained and preserved. The palace was reserved exclusively for visiting dignitaries and guests of the House of Mewar. Today it is a Grand Heritage Palace for guests, combining the elegance of the last century with modern 21st century amenities.
Shiv Niwas Palace offers beautiful, yet differing suites and rooms to choose from 17 individually decorated suites carry original furniture and portraits that have been with the royal family for generations. All the suites look out onto the natural panorama of Udaipur. Unparalleled splendor and spaciousness characterise each room.
Guests to Shiv Niwas Palace like to return time and again. The hospitality is unchanged from the not-so-distant times when Shiv Niwas Palace was a royal guesthouse.
The distinctive character of Shiv Niwas Palace contributes substantially to the success of events of all types. Events benefit from a unique combination of history, luxury, impressive architecture, personalised service and the finest cuisine.
The ancient guesthouse of this palace has witnessed the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II nd also the shooting of the famous James Bond film Octopussy. It is famous for the traditional Rajputana hospitality The moment you step inside the doors of this hotel, you are sure to remember the royal past of the Rajput dynasty. The Shiv Nivas Palace hotel is three times winner of the prestigious award for the best national hotel in the Grand Heritage category.

Shiv Niwas Palace Hotel Pool


Aodhi Kumbhalgarh



Kumbhalgarh known for its 15th Century Fort Situated at 3500 ft. above sea level, 3 kms long of of 25 feet thick walls which is unique.
Hidden by trees, besides the hills crowned by the ruggedly majestic Kumbhalgarh Fort, nestles The Aodhi, a sanctuary-resort where the legacy of valorous kings of Mewar and their braves still lives. The hotel is located literally on the top of the Mountain, appx. 18 Km from the nearest village at the bottom of the mountain.
A beautifully located peaceful hotel in the middle of a reserve with superb dining, good competitively priced french wine (rare in India), generous service, intimate rooms distributed in the forest and great view of the Kumbhalgarh fort in Rajasthan.
Accommodation: Aodhi Hotel offers 26 rooms categorized into Deluxe Rooms and Deluxe Suites. All the deluxe suites and rooms are elegantly appointed with private balconies and sitting areas. The suites are equipped with modern facilities like attached bath with running hot and cold water, color television and direct dial telephones.

Fateh Bagh Ranakpur



This hotel has faithfully preserving the richness of Rajput architecture for 21st century visitors. It was in 1802 AD that Rawla Koshilav flourished as a palace on the foothills of Aravallis near Jodhpur. In 2002, almost 65,000 pieces of the crumbling palace werre tranplanted in a senic spot in Ranakpur, amidst the orchards and on the banks of a rain fed river, to create Fateh Bagh.
Facilities
Swimming pool, nature walks, Handicraft boutique, visits to the world famous Ranakpur Jain Temples; same day laundry and dry-cleaning; travel and tour guides; travel desk; money exchange available 24-hours; airport transfers and cars/ limousines on demand.


Rawla Narlai in Narlai



It makes no very persuasive effort at tourism and it prefers horses to camels, so the small town of Narlai is a bit removed from the popular icons that represent Rajasthan. In fact, the horses of Marwar are legendary for their endurance and their gait; what’s more, they descend from an old lineage—native Indian ponies crossed with Arabian horses with a dash of Mongolian. Narlai is 140km from Udaipur, 160km from Jodhpur. And Rawla Narlai, a 17th-century palace turned hunting lodge, is now a hotel  and offers visitors wonderful experiences. Upon entering the Rawla Narlai, there is a palpable sense of detachment from the outside world. Situated in Rajasthan midway between Jodhpur & Udaipur, it exudes a unmistakable, inimitable experience that has become to be a signature of this 17th century "villa". Wake up to the sounds of this 17-century village and take in the spiritual energy from the invigorating air descending from the Shiva Temple, lodged deep in a primal cave high on the hill. The village is caught in a time warp, since the Royal family moved back to the Kingdom of Jodhpur. Life has continued much as it was then in Narlai.
This is a lovely heritage hotel with a few rough edges, but its many good points and tons of charm certainly outweigh any little issues. The thing to bear in mind is that it's a tiny little village several hours drive from anywhere; this is the great charm of the place and the reason to visit; not a glossy metropolitan boutique.
The property built around a series of courtyards with fountains and beautiful blossoming trees, and a small temple of its own. Rooms are large, and clean, with aircon and fan, and a separate dressing room and bathroom (shower) and private terrace. There's an immersion heater switch for hot water in the bathroom. As in other heritage properties, there's no TV, but there was wifi. Rooms are shady, which is to be expected in a traditional building in a hot country with strong sunlight. A shady room is a cool room! Dinner is served by candlelight on a terrace underneath the granite rock mountain and is delicious.
"You must must MUST do the stepwell dinner. It might sound a bit cheesy, but trust me, it's an utterly magical experience. A 6th century stepwell, hundreds of oil lamps, the most delicious food, beautiful music. Step back in time a thousand years. Wonderful!!! "






Rawla Jojawar



Set amidst the Aravalli hills, this little garrison fort was once a major principality of the Royal house of Marwar. Bestowed with the title of Rao, the nobles looked after this little fiefdom for about two centuries after its construction in the 18th century. Known by the name of Rawla Jojawar the fort is now converted into a heritage hotel. The two young sons of the present Rao and Rani Sahiba Maharaj Singh ji, Nagendra and Amitvikram singh respectively, are looking after the hotel in the Rawla, recently restored into its old world splendor.
Thirty five breathtaking rooms, none being alike, each has its own character and beauty, with it a décor to match. They were lovingly renovated out of the existing sprawling Rawla keeping the ancient traditions of Vaastu, or architectural principles in mind, no new buildings were needed.. All rooms have air conditioning and are connected to equally pretty bathrooms with all the modern amenities.
A beautiful pool is located by the side of Zanana Mahal – once a ladies only preserve. Ideal for a relaxing swim and taking in the warm Rajasthan sun. The deck is sometimes a venue for tantalizing dinners.
The cuisine served to the visitor is designed by Vedihi – daughter in law to Rao sahib, she and an expert chefs of Rajasthani cuisine. She prefers to blend the cuisine with western dishes for the benefit of travelers from different cultures. But the serious connoisseur is encouraged to experiment with Rajasthani cooking in the family kitchen.
The grand buildings of the Rawla provide ample options for dining venues, pool side to the Bar Terrace, Pol Terrace, or the Dining Hall.

Castle Ghanerao



This castle accommodation is beautiful and discovering it is like a step back in time. It's charming altogether, rooms are huge and there are many little places and corners where you can sit and enjoy the nature, the quiet, the chaï !! The staff is very friendly and visibly fond and proud of the place. they take great care of you, and always enjoy discussing about where you come from, and about their place of course. The dining room is impressive in itself ! Like other palaces and castles in Rajhastan, they are little known to tourists (apart from groups) and you can feel "alone in the world" in this part of the world ! This is real India!

This is an incredibly picturesque hotel - yes a bit dilapidated palace with lovely carvings, hidden courtyards, terraces and lattice work. Rooms are clean and have coloured glass windows, alcoves, paintings, pretty textiles. The view of the stars at night from the rooftop is simply spectacular. No modern luxury but a good trade off worth making as the atmosphere is really very special and it is sufficiently comfortable to enjoy yourselves and get a good night's sleep.



 

Riding

Nearly all the horses we use for safaris and trail riding are Marwari horses. This breed is native in Rajasthan and best suited for long rides in this region.



Formerly bred for the purpose of war , the Marwari horse has Arab and Turkmeni ancestors, which were brought to India by Central-Asian and Muslim invaders. His home is the desert kingdom of Marwar from where it spread through the whole of Rajasthan. Its name means quite literally “from the land of death”. Over centuries it was bred in the harsh desert climate of Rajasthan by warring Rajput clans.

The Marwari horse is a medium-sized, elegant horse. The most distinguishing features of the Marwari horse are its lyre-shaped ears, which curve inward and often meet at the tips. Besides providing a sharp hearing, they can be turned by 180 degrees. The Marwari has a longish head with a broad forehead, wide-set and alert eyes and a well-shaped rather small mouth. It is elegantly proportioned with a proud head carried on a well-arched neck. The legs are straight and sound with small and very hard hooves.

The riding style is different to both English and Western and on the spirited Marwari horse. We offer lessons on the horses prior to the ride. A couple of extra days for pre-safari lessons may make your riding experience more enjoyable. Please let Hidden Trails know if you would like to book lessons before your ride.

Let us introduce you to our special royal Marwari horses, an ancient breed of warhorses whose history is entwined with the history of Rajasthan and the Rajputs. It is rightly said that “one cannot separate a Rajput from his horse” and there is a saying: “If God did not create the horse, he would not have created the Rajput.”

This makes it quite clear what a role the horse played and is still playing in Rajasthan. The cow is holy but the horse is divine and still serves as a symbol of strength and wealth. So a visit to Rajasthan is a visit to a horse country of the finest order. In every village a fort can be found, in every village some horses can be found. And even in these poorer village horses, often thin and over-worked, one can still see a former gleam of royalty in their eyes.

The Marwari horse used to be the horse of the king and his nobles. Bred for war and show, they still display a remarkable pride and dignity. Their ears are distinctively curved inwards in a lyre-shape and often meet at the tips, which makes them unique and easily recognizable.

The fortunes of the Marwari horses changed with the ascendancy of the British in India. British officers found the Marwari to be undersized and hot tempered, so they imported shiploads of Australian Whalers who were quick, tough and inexpensive.

The Maharajas turned to luxury and extravagance and copied British ways. Instead of keeping Marwari horses, they bought expensive thoroughbreds or Australian mounts. Having surrendered their very reason d'etre, India's former kings and nobles lost a fundamental part of their soul and left their heritage and traditions behind.

After independence things did not improve for the Marwari horse, in fact the situation worsened. Being perceived as a symbol for the despised feudalism, many Marwari horses were castrated, killed and scattered. The breed was neglected for decades and few pure specimen survived.

Finally the Marwari horse was saved by its own people. Local land gentry managed to rescue a few animals and started their own breeding programs. Tourism and horseback-safaris have provided a tremendous boost to the revival of the Rajput culture and ultimately to the future of the Marwari horse. Today there are countless breeders in Rajasthan, Gujarat as well as the Punjab and the prospect of the Marwari horse looks brighter than it has for a long time.

The safari is run by a member of the noble family of Boheda Shaktwat and his wife. The Shaktawats of Boheda trace their lineage to Shakti Singh (1540-1594), brother of Maharana Pratap. By killing two soldiers who were chasing Maharana Pratap after the battle of Haldi Ghati, Shakti Singh saved his brother's life and was thus rewarded with extensive jagirs (land grants) and titles.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Udaipur. We collect you from the airport and bring you to Udaipur, City of Lakes and one of the most beautiful towns in India. Transfer to your hotel to relax and freshen up. The rest of the day we invite you for a sightseeing tour of Udaipur or if you prefer you can also relax and enjoy the serenity and amenities of your hotel. Overnight stay at Hotel Boheda Palace, Udaipur.

Day 2: After breakfast we will pick you up from your hotel and take you to our farm, around 8 km outside Udaipur. You will meet your horses and guides here and get a first introduction. Then we take you for a Half-day ride through the foothills of the Aravalli Mountains around Udaipur. Your ride will take you past a couple of lakes, through the mountains, sometimes following tracks, sometimes dried river beds. You have the opportunity to get comfortable with your horse and if necessary change mounts. After the ride there will be lunch at the hotel and then we take you by car to Kumbalgarh. Arrival there, at your heritage hotel “The Aodhi” in the early afternoon. Get fresh and then we take you to visit the historic Kumbhalgarh Fort.  Enjoy the great views all around and if you like stay there till the fort is illuminated after nightfall. We will then bring you back to your hotel. Overnight stay at “The Aodhi” Kumbhalgarh.

Day 3: Descending from the height of Kumbhalgarh Fort down into the valley of Ranakpur you will cross the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and have a chance of glimpsing some wildlife such as monkeys, wild boar or antelopes, smaller mammals such as mongoose or rabbits and countless birds such as nightingales, kingfisher, meena, peacocks or jungle fowls. The sanctuary accounts for a great variety of more than 250 different species of birds. The ride leads from the top entrance of the Sanctuary near Kumbhalgarh down right to the foot of the mountain, an ascent of 800 high meters. In the beginning the views over the mountains are amazing then the riders get swallowed up by forest and now the only sounds come from the birds and animals around them. Much of the forest up here is dry deciduous virgin forest and it is home to an astonishing variety of animals big and small. Depending on the season the forest is lush and green or more autumnally golden and yellow. At times the riders will have to cross streams and rivers which flow high after the monsoon or might be completely dry in spring. At lunch time the riders reach as small Jain temple in a serene valley surrounded by mountains with the Kumbhalgarh Fort situated majestically on top. After lunch the riders continue through the lower reaches of the Sanctuary before they finally leave it behind to cross a village and continue their ride through the fields of the Ranakpur valley.
Arrival at the Ranakpur Jain Temple is around one hour later. Visit the temple and enjoy the exquisitely carved marble pillars, each one of the 1444 different from the rest. After your visit we will bring you to your hotel, the gorgeous Heritage Hotel King’s Abode just a short drive away from the Jain temple. Overnight stay in the Heritage Hotel “King’s Abode”.

Day 4: After breakfast we will collect you from your hotel and you start the ride through the serene Ranakpur valley and further down the way to the Rajasthani Bagar which is the fringe area between the hills and the Thar Desert in the North-West. Today the ride leads over an open plain dotted with small villages and little fields. Occasionally Nilgai Antelopes, India’s largest antelope, can be spotted. You will cross the little town of Sadri which is quite an adventure for riders as well as for the locals with lots to see. On the other side the ride continues over sandy tracks. The terrain on this side of the Aravalli Mountains is now level and soft. Plenty of opportunity for long trots and canters! After lunch the riders reach the peculiar temple of Ketlaji built at the side of one of the many hills rising out of the plain in this area. At the foot of the temple is a small lake and plenty of shops selling food and religious items for the pilgrims coming here. The riders pass directly through here before leaving the village and continuing through a dried up river bed towards Narlai. The safari ends near the village of Narlai, famous for its pretty havelis and fort which has been converted into a Heritage Hotel.
Here the riders can ride straight to their hotel Rawla Narlai, an old palace converted into a prime Heritage hotel. The afternoon is free to discover the palace and make use of all the amenities of the property. Overnight stay in Rawla Narlai.

Day 5: Today the Aravalli Mountains will be finally left behind and the ride continues in the Rajasthani Bagar, an open and arid plain with sandy ground. Instead of bullocks, the villagers here use camels for their work and you will encounter quite a few all day long. The horses are eager to go fast, feeling the soft ground under their feet and seeing the wide plain before them. Open ground and long sandy village roads invite for long canters and gallops. Arrival in the small town of Jojawar in the afternoon and ride to the hotel Rawla Jojawar. The rest of the day is free to enjoy the hotel or visit the small typical Rajasthani town. Overnight stay in Ralwa Jojawar.

Day 6: After breakfast transfer back to Udaipur. The remainder of the say can be used for some additional sightseeing or just relaxing. Overnight stay in Udaipur in Hotel Boheda.

Day 7: Program ends after breakfast.

Note – The above sample itinerary is subject to changes at the discretion of the tour operator.


Rates and Dates for Castle to Castle Safari

Rates include:

Accommodations in heritage hotels, breakfast and dinner with non-alcoholic drinks, warm picnic lunch on trails, 4 riding days (4-6 hrs each).

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    20197 day trip, AP$2590

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionUS$
2019 Round trip transfer from Udaipur is included $0
2019 Single supplement $400

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 02/03 - 02/09 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 2 /8 Reserve
A 2019 03/31 - 04/06 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 2 /8 Reserve
A 2019 09/01 - 09/07 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 2 /8 Reserve

Dates Note:
This trip is available any time during the year with a minimum of 2 riders.

Rates do not include:

Alcoholic beverages, Step-Well dinner in Rawla Marlei, sightseeing options from New Delhi via Agra, entrance fees, extra excursions

Other Info
Meeting: Udaipur
Airport: New Dehli or Udaipur
Transfer: Udaipur

Climate:

Climate: Summer: 38.3 degree C (Max.) 28.8degree C (Min)

               Winter: 28.3 degree C (Max.) 11.6 degree C (Min)

Rainfall
: 61 cms

Clothing:
 Summer: light tropical

                 Winter: light woolen

Best Season:
September- March.

What To Bring:

What to Bring for Rajasthan Castle to Castle Safari

This list is only a guideline for you

 

Travel documents and Voucher

Flight tickets

Passport

Visa (check with your consulate)

 

RIDING GEAR

Riding breeches or comfortable jeans for the ride

Riding boots (short) + Minichaps

Riding helmet  (recommended for all trips)

Riding gloves

Hat (with chin strip) for sun protection

Lightweight Rain coat

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING

Jacket or sweater for cool evenings

Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts

Jeans

Shorts

Underwear and socks

Pyjama

Bag for dirty clothes

Swimsuit

 

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING

Personal Toiletries

Small backpack  or bag to carry with you on when you ride

Insect protection

Personal medications

Sore cream (for the emergency)

Small flashlight

Handkerchiefs

Adapter for electric appliances

Camera and enough extra films and batteries

Sun hat and sun block

 

  •      (each horse has two saddle bags, but your lunch packet and water bottles have to fit in before anything else can)

    Your luggage will be transported by car, so you do not have to take everything with you on horseback. We do, however, recommend that you use lockable bags or suitcases. Princess Trails is not responsible for the loss of any valuables unless they are handed to us before the safari. For each item we will give you a receipt.

    Malaria:
    Rajasthan has a very low malaria risk and this mainly during the rainy season (end of June till end of August). Rajasthan is in any case a low risk area without the more severe form of malaria tropica prevalent in Africa. We thus do not advice any malaria medication.
    Some non-aggressive mosquitoes can be there in March around certain camp sites during dusk so we advise our riders to bring some repellent in order to protect themselves against bites.
    Effective repellents can be also purchased locally at a low cost. In any case usually, a normal repellent is sufficient to prevent bites.