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
This is a progressive ride, so nights are spent in different locations. You will be staying in 5 different locations total.

Description
All accommodations for this trip will be in Heritage Hotels. All rooms contain a TV, telephone, AC, ceiling fan, and private bath. Spa services are available at each hotel for additional cost. Swimming pools can be found at all hotels except for Night 1. Laundry is available for an additional fee. WIFI is free of charge everywhere, however as some hotels are in the countryside so there might be a problem with speed or sometimes no connections at all.

Hotel Itinerary

Night 1 & 6: Boheda Palace Hotel in Udaipur
Featuring the architecture of a bygone era and located just 1.9 mi from Udaipur City Palace and Lake Pichola, Hotel Boheda Palace offers free WIFI throughout the property, a rooftop restaurant, and a 24-hour front desk. It has a gorgeous terrace with views of the surrounding area, the hotel also offers luggage storage and laundry facilities as well as a tour desk. Each air-conditioned room features local décor and is equipped with a wardrobe, work desk and a satellite TV. The attached bathroom has shower facilities and contains complimentary toiletries.

Night 2: The Aodhi in Kumbhalgarh
Offering majestic views of the Kumbhalgarh Fort, The Aodhi, a sanctuary resort features an outdoor swimming pool. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property. The suites are equipped with tiled/marble flooring, sofa and satellite TV. Tea/coffee and ironing facilities are available. The private bathrooms come with a hairdryer and shower.

Night 3: King's Adobe in Ranakpur
The hotel features 28 beautifully appointed guest rooms, many of which include television LCD/plasma screen, private pool, whirlpool bathtub, non smoking rooms and air conditioning.

Night 4: Rawla Narlai
Offering a seasonal outdoor pool and views of the mountains, Hotel Rawla Narlai is located in Nārlāi in the Rajasthan Region, 30 mi from Kumbhalgarh. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property. Certain units have a seating area to relax in after a busy day. The rooms are equipped with a private bathroom fitted with a shower.

Night 5: 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 new generation is looking after the hotel, recently restored into its old world splendor.
The hotel features 35 rooms, each with its own character and beauty. 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.

These hotels are subject to change at the tour operator's discretion.

Room Occupancy
The single supplement fee is mandatory if we are unable to find another rider to share.


Meals
All meals are included from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 7. Over the day you will enjoy a continental breakfast plus fruits and Indian choice, picnic lunch with cold beverages (Indian vegetarian food), and 3-course buffet style dinner. Alcoholic beverages are not included but alcohol can be purchased (not expensive) or brought. Beer, wine (Indian), whiskey, rum, gin and vodka are available.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to most dietary restrictions with prior notice.
 

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding


The Marwari Horse
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.

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.



Our Horses

Our horses live in comfortable stables and paddocks and are left to roam free during the day on our farm. All our Marwari horses were handpicked by us as we wanted to have only the best suited horses for our safari. As we have some foals every year, some of our riding horses were born in our stable and raised and trained by us. In fact we are very proud that today we have a stable of finest Marwari horses fit for riding and breeding. We believe in the principle of Natural Horsemanship which means that we keep our horses as natural as possible and train them according to NHS. Some of them are ridden with a hackamore, just a halter or even a simple neck rope. All are very well trained, obedient and a pleasure to ride. Our horses are cared for with love and affection. They are properly fed, vaccinated, de-wormed and shoed. We have imported saddle tack for all of them in order to maximize comfort for horse and rider. On the safaris we take only horses which are 100% fit and prepared. Already before the safari we try to find a suitable horse for each rider according to riding skill and preference. Spare horses go along each trail in case another horse goes lame or one rider wants to change. Our family’s faith has been intertwined with those horses for generations and the passion for them is unbroken.

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.

Guides
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- subject to changes

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.
 


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 Expired
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: Maharana Pratap Airport in Udaipur (UDR)
Transfer: Udaipur airport or railway station

Climate:


Udaipur area

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

76

83

92

100

104

99

90

87

90

92

86

79

Average Low Temperature (°F)

49

54

63

73

81

81

78

76

74

67

59

51

Average High Temperature (°C)

24

28

34

38

40

37

32

31

32

33

30

26

Average Low Temperature (°C)

9

12

17

23

27

27

26

24

23

19

15

11

Source: NOAA

 

Seasons
The largest state in India, Rajasthan's climate can be divided into 4 seasons: summer, monsoon, post-monsoon and winter. Temperatures vary depending on the season and the region.

Summer (April to June)
Summers in Rajasthan are particularly hot with temperatures rising up to 48°C during the day. However, in places like Mount Abu, Kumbhalgarh or Ranakpur, the weather is pleasant and the views offered are breath-taking.

Monsoon season (July to September)
Monsoon is a far more pleasant experience, the temperatures tend to drop across the state and the rain showers transform the arid landscape of Rajasthan. It is a particularly good time to visit if you wish to avoid the crowds you'd usually find during peak tourist season.

Post Monsoon and Winter (October to March)
The temperatures continue to drop once the monsoon has passed, and come October winter sets in that lasts till March. During December and January, there can be a severe variation in temperatures during the day and the night. In fact, temperatures are known to drop as low as 0°C. This is the best time to visit Rajasthan as the desert sun is not as intense and the days are pleasant.

What To Bring:
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.

Each horse has two saddle bags, but your lunch packet and water bottles have to fit in before anything else can. 

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