Aravalli Safari

Rajasthan India: (IT-INRT01)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/india_rajasthan_arvalli.aspx

Introduction
Rajasthan India

This safari includes two of the major sights of Southern Rajasthan, the mighty Kumbhalgarh Fort and the most exquisite Jain Temple of Ranakpur. 
The riders start outside Udaipur and climb from the city up into the mountains, deeper and deeper every day. Leading over rocky slopes and through long beautiful valleys, this trail is one of the most varied of our safari trails, offering steep climbs as well as open stretches of countryside to go for long gallops. It is also a trail along a historic tradition. The riders will pass the ancient Hindu temples of Nagda and Eklingji, situated on a mountain plateau, ride through the scenic Haldi Ghati Valley, once a famous battle ground and up to the mighty fortress at Kumbhalgarh, perched on the top of the highest peak of the Aravalli Mountains in the area. Kumbhalgarh was once built as a place of retreat in times of danger for the rulers of Udaipur and it has been defeated only once in its history and even then it took the armies of three major kings and treachery. All these battles have long passed, but especially Kumbhalgarh brings home the brave and belligerent spirit of the Rajputs. 
The lonely mountains around Kumbhalgarh have been converted into a Wildlife Sanctuary and are famous for its population of wolves and the peculiar sloth bears.
 Both species are to shy to let themselves be seen, but pug marks can be found and occasionally the riders can hear a wolf or a jackal howling at night. 
Most common in the sanctuary and around are monkeys, mongoose, the majestic peacocks and occasionally Swamp deer or Nilgai antelopes.
 The final highlight of the safari is the beautiful Jain temple of Ranakpur, situated at the feet of the Aravalli Mountains, far away from any major town or city. 
Renewed for its white splendor, it attracts many tourists and pilgrims from India and abroad. The safari ends on the other side of the Aravalli Mountains at the edge of the Thar Desert.

Accomodation

Accommodation during the riding portion of the tour (in most cases) will be in a safari camp. The reason for this is that many of our routes lead through scarcely populated areas away from the usual tourist paths. So often the night has to be spent in nature, away from human dwellings.
However, all of our campsites are chosen with great care and offer maximum safety and superb views. Away from the busy Indian towns or villages, they are a secluded paradise for nature lovers and bird-watchers.
Though away from civilization, our camp offers all necessary facilities for the riders' stay. The tents are comfortable and inviting, with double or single occupancy. Each tent is equipped with beds, chairs, bedrolls, and floor covering. The camp has both toilet and shower facilities and hot water is provided in buckets. Towels, soaps, etc. are supplied.

Breakfast and dinner is served in our dining area, an open space with a sunroof, tables and chairs. Breakfast is Continental style with fruits of the season, eggs and toast. Lunch will be either taken as package on the trail or brought to you by Jeep. Dinner is a traditional 3-course menu of Indian food (non-spicy). Vegetarian food preparation is possible. Our camp gives a very colorful impression, reminding of the hunting camps of the Maharajas. The tents are made in the traditional Indian style with a roofed entrance where the riders can leave their shoes. Grouped around the dinning area, they are encircled by a partition enclosure of cloth with a colorful Rajasthan pattern.

Your guides:
Our trails are 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.

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 - 8-day trip

Day 1: Arrival in Udaipur.
Arrival in Udaipur, we collect you from the airport/train station and bring you to a comfortable Haveli-style middle class hotel in Udaipur. In the afternoon sightseeing Udaipur. Overnight stay in a Haveli Hotel in Udaipur.

Day 2: Udaipur - Eklingji.
After breakfast start your ride from Udaipur, near Fateh Sagar Lake and climb up into the Aravalli Mountains, enjoying the great scenery and views over Udaipur and its surrounding valley. Visit the ancient Eklingji and Nagda Temples after your ride and stay overnight in our safari camp on the shore of a small lake in the hills.

Day 3: Eklingji – Haldi Ghati.
Today you will ride through the long beautiful valley of Haldi Ghati (which means Yellow Valley due to the color of the soil). Famous for its scenic beauty it was once upon a time the place of a great battle between Maharana Pratap, the king of Udaipur and the army of Moghul emperor Akbar. Before reaching this high valley horse and rider have to climb further up into the mountains over some rocky slopes where our horses will show you just how sure-footed they really are. At lunch time visit the battlefield of Haldi Ghati and the Chetak Chabutra and learn about the historic deeds done by Chetak, the white Marwari stallion of Maharana Pratap. When time permits it is possible to see the Maharana Pratap Museum in Haldi Ghati. After lunch break the ride continues through the Haldhi Ghati valley, a most scenic part of the ride this the riders reach our camp outside a little village. Overnight-stay in our safari camp

Day 4: Haldi Ghati - Kumbhalgarh.
Enjoy the last virgin dry deciduous forest in Rajasthan and ride through the unique scenery of the Aravalli Mountains. Today horse and rider have to do a lot of climbing as the trail winds up into the higher reaches of the Aravalli Mountains. Ascending through a winding valley along a river, the riders leave the little villages behind and come into the higher reaches of the Aravalli Mountains. Situated on top of one of the highest peaks in these mountains the final destination of this day is the little town of Kumbhalgarh. Once the riders reach the Kumbhalgarh road they are picked up by our jeep and taken the last kilometers the village of Kumbhalgarh. Tonight the riders will stay at a jungle lodge for accommodation. In the afternoon sightseeing of the Kumbhalgarh Fort. Overnight stay at a hotel in Kumbhalgarh.

Day 5: Kumbhalgarh - Ranakpur.
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 a 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. Our safari camp is situated near the Ranakpur river.
After your arrival in Ranakpur, visit the famous Jain temples there.
Overnight-stay in our safari camp near Ranakpur.

Day 6: Ranakpur - Narlai.
Today you will ride through the beautiful Ranakpur valley on the Marwar side. Here the countryside is much more arid than on the Southern side of the Aravalli Mountians towards the former kingdom of Mewar (Udaipur). The route will lead you through little villages and along fields where farming is still done with a pair of oxen.  Then 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. Overnight in our safari camp near some strangely shaped rocks.

Day 7: Return to Udaipur.
We bring you back to Udaipur after breakfast. Arrival there around Midday. The afternoon can be used for sightseeing or shopping. Overnight stay in a Haveli hotel (middle class).

Day 8: Program ends after breakfast.

--Subject to change--

  


Rates and Dates for Aravalli Safari

Rates include:

Accommodations (5 nights in tented safari camp and 2 nights in middle class hotels in Udaipur), 5 riding days with 4 to 6 riding hours each, evening entertainment during safari

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    20188 day trip, AP$1820
  • B
    20188 day trip, AP (reverse route)$1820

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionUS$
2018 Transfer from Udaipur included $0
2018 Single supplement $175

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2018 12/08 - 12/15 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 2 /12 Reserve
A 2018 12/26 - 01/02 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 2 /12 Reserve

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

Rates do not include:

A sightseeing option from New Delhi via Agra is available and can be customized. Flight New Delhi-Udaipur, entrance fees, extra excursions, alcoholic drinks

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

Climate:

This is a climate graph for Udaipur.  You will be travelling from here into the higher elevations of the Aravalli Mountain Range where climate will adjust accordingly.

Climate: Tropical
Summer temperature Minimum: 28.8 °C
Maximum: 38.3°C
Winter temperature Minimum: 11.6 °C
Maximum: 28.3 °C
Annual rainfall: 637mm

Rajasthan is one of the driest regions in India, however rainfall is comparatively high in the hilly Aravalli Range.


What To Bring:
 
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
  • Pyjamas
  • 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 will have two saddle bags, but remember your lunch packet and water bottles have to be part of what fits in them!

Your luggage will be transported each day by car, so you do not have to take everything with you on horseback.

We recommend you to use lockable bags or suitcases while in India. We are 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.