Pushkar Fair Safari

Rajasthan India: (IT-INRT03)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/india_rajasthan_pushkar.aspx

Introduction
Rajasthan India

Once a year we organize a horseback safari from Udaipur to the Camel Market and Pushkar Fair in this little town at the edge of the Thar Desert.
Being a certain highlight of our safari year, this safari is certainly most spectacular firstly for its great landscapes and secondly of course for the participation in the colorful Pushkar Fair, probably one of the most vibrant festivals of India.
The safari trail leads from the Aravalli Mountains with its unique geographic features down into the great Thar Desert and the little town of Pushkar. Considered a holy town, once a year Pushkar sports the biggest Camel Market of India, which is also a religious festival and a handicraft fair.
There are only a few places of interest along the way but the rather substantial change of landscape taking place is simply breathtaking.
After leaving the Aravalli Mountains behind, the riders will enter the semi-desert stretching around the edges of the Thar Desert where man fights hard in order to make a living from the poor soil. Camels replace horses and cows and the stony terrain of the hills gives way to the sandy desert ground.
A few highlights are along the route such as the interesting tribal culture of this region or the impressive fort at Kharwa, which our riders can visit. The local noble family is much interested in horses and if at home, never misses a chat.
But the real highlight of this safari is of course the Pushkar Camel Fair where every year around 25 000 animals, camels, horses and cattle, are traded. It is also a major festival so many people of the region come to Pushkar in order to enjoy the fair, take part in the religious ceremonies or indulge in purchasing all sorts of items.
The first set of dates is our safari Udaipur to Pushkar. The second set of dates is our safari from Pushkar to Udaipur (Pushkar Return Safari).
The time spend on the Pushkar Fair in both safaris is equal.

Terrain: From the Aravalli Hills to the flat sandy plains of 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 very often the night has to be spend in the nature away from human dwellings.
However all of our campsites are chosen with great care and offer a maximum safety and superb views. Away from the busy Indian towns or villages they are a paradise for nature lovers and bird-watchers.

Though away from civilization, our camp offers all necessary facilities to the riders. The tents are comfortable and inviting with double or single occupancy. Each tent is equipped with beds, chairs, bedrolls, and floor covering. The camp is having both toilet and shower facilities. 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 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.

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

Itinerary Udaipur-Pushkar - Subject to changes


Day 1: Arrival in Udaipur and time for sightseeing. Dinner and overnight in middle class hotel.

Day 2: Udaipur to Deogarh
After breakfast you will have the chance to either take a boat ride on Lake Pichola in Udaipur or do some sightseeing of the Eklingji / Nagda temples on our way to Deogarh, the starting point of the Safari. In the afternoon we will take a test ride to make sure we are well matched with our horses.  Overnight stay in our safari camp

Day 3: Deogarh to Jormuda
On the first safari day the trail will lead through the lower hills of the  Aravalli Mountains. Todays route takes us through small villages and across lush, fertile lands.  Around 4 pm we will arrive in the safari camp where we will spend the night. Overnight stay in our safari camp
 

Day 4: Jormuda - Kherda
Another day of riding through the hills. After lunch we can visit a number of tribal villages. They are usually situated on top of small hills surrounded by a wall of thorn bushes. The houses are built in clusters with thatched roofs and with walls made of mud. Often they are nicely decorated with white tribal paintings. Here we can experience first hand the unique culture of the Rajasthani tribes. Overnight stay in our safari camp

Day 5: Kherda - Lalpura
Today the landscape becomes more level and open. The main range of the Aravalli Mountains lies behind us and today we must navigate through a handful of ravines and canyons on the way to Thar Desert. The landscape is changing again and the lush vegetation is giving way to thorn trees and shrubs. .In the villages camels are becoming an increasingly common sight and cows are being replaced by goats. Overnight stay in our safari camp

Day 6: Lalpura - Jawaja
Today we enter the semi-desert which borders the vast expanse of the Thar Desert. The ground becomes sandy and the predominant colours are now yellow and brown. The terrain has leveled out and the hills are left behind. Open desert invites opportunity for long trots, canters and gallops and we may spot some antelope. Overnight stay in our safari camp

Day 7: Jawaja - Kharwa
Another day of riding through semi-desert brings us closer to Pushkar. We will encounter herds of cattle, camels and sheep either going or coming from the fair. Trading in Pushkar has taken place many years before the fair came into being and in the course of nearly a month thousands of animals will arrive in the otherwise sleepy town of Pushkar. We will have lunch today by the very impressive Kharwa Fort which we can visit afterwards. We should arrive back at camp in the late afternoon. Overnight stay in our safari camp

Day 8: Kharwa - Pushkar
The last day of the safari the trail before reaching Pushkar leads us over sand roads and through thick thorn bush vegetation which is home to Nilgai and Chinkara antelope. Villages are rare at this point on our ride and the sand roads invite faster riding. Arrival in Pushkar is around 3:30 pm but a part of the Mela (fair) has to be crossed in order to reach our camp which is situated within walking distance of the fairground. The riders will have a short glimpse of the fair and the camel market. In the evening we may have a chance to walk over to the fair or perhaps attend some of the evenings activities going on there. Overnight stay in our safari camp

Day 9: Pushkar Fair
After breakfast we will can visit the Pushkar Fair on horseback. Since the trading ground is on a huge sand dune outside the town, this is a very comfortable and easy way to discover it. After the fair we will visit the area around Pushkar. Pushkar is situated at the edge of the desert and is surrounded by spectacular scenery. The countryside here is dry and infertile making agriculture rather hard. Many farmers choose the business of raising camels here, due to their adaptability in drought stricken areas.Overnight stay at middle class hotel

Day 10: Departure day
Morning free to do sightseeing in Pushkar and then departure.

*Possibility to add on other sight-seeing options for the tours end.

--- the second week runs in the opposite direction of the first week.-----

Itinerary Pushkar-Udaipur - Subject to changes


Day 1: Arrival in Pushkar and transfer to our camp (transfer from Udaipur is available). Afternoon free to explore the Fair and to get to know the horses. Overnight stay in our safari camp.

Day 2: Pushkar Fair

After breakfast the riders can see the Pushkar Fair on horseback. Since the trading ground is on a huge sand dune outside the town, it is a very comfortable and easy way to discover it. Lunch can be either eaten in our camp or, if the riders want, packed and eaten along the way. In the afternoon they can set out on their own to either visit Pushkar or have another round at the fair. At the fairground, colorful programs are taking place all day long. Horse and camel races run, as well as fun competitions such as water pot races or a turban tie competition. Information about the timings will be given by us in the camp.

Day 3:
Pushkar - Kharwa

Beginning the safari, the trail leads over sand roads through thick thorn bush vegetation. Occasionally a field can be seen where a farmer tries to grow pulses on the infertile land. The main means of livelihood here is animal husbandry. On the way a small temple can be visited and the riders can admire the ruins of ancient forts. Arrival in Pushkar is around 3:30 pm but a part of the Mela (fair) has to be crossed in order to reach our camp which is situated within walking distance of the fairground. The riders will have a short glimpse of the fair and the camel market. In the evening they have a chance tp walk over to the fair or attending dance programs.

Day 4:
Kharwa - Jawaja.

Another day of riding through semi desert, encountering hundreds of animals going to Pushkar or coming from the fair. Today the trail leads through tribal land and the riders can admire their hamlets and villages.

Day 5:
Jawaja - Lalpura.

On this day the riders will slowly leave the desert behind. The land however still is level but the hills can be seen in some distance. Flocks of cattle, goats, sheep and many camels are passing. All head towards the Pushkar Fair or are driven back home. Occasionally the riders will encounter nomads with colourful turbans and huge moustaches herding their camels to Pushkar. They transport everything they own and need for a living on the back of their animals. The small children and women with infants are allowed to ride, the rest of the family is walking.

Day 6:
Lalpura - Kherda.

The main range of the Aravalli Mountains is laying in front of the riders now. The climate is still dry and so is the vegetation. But now trees are lining the way and the thorn bush vegetation is left behind. Stretches of open country invite for an occasional gallop and the horses enjoy the soft and level ground. Camels are still a regular sight.

Day 7:
Kherda - Jormuda.

Today the landscape becomes hilly. The desert is left behind and the riders enter the lower ranges of the Aravalli Mountains. The riders can visit a number of tribal villages. They are usually situated on top of small hills surrounded by a wall of thorn bushes. The houses are built in clusters with thatched roofs and walls made of mud. Often they are nicely decorated with white tribal paintings. Here the riders can experience first hand the unique culture of the Rajasthani tribes. After arrival in the camp, which is nicely situated at a small lake, Jormuda Fort can be visited.

Day 8:
Jormuda - Deogarh.

On the last safari day the trail will lead through the low Aravalli Mountains. The route goes through villages and fertile lands. On the way the riders have a chance of visiting temples and see Baoris (step wells) with marble chattris (small pavilions). Around 4 pm the camp will be reached.

Day 9:
Transfer back to Udaipur after breakfast, afternoon sightseeing in Udaipur, overnight stay in middle class hotel


Day 10:
Program ends after breakfast

 



--Subject to changes--

 


Rates and Dates for Pushkar Fair Safari

Rates include:

Accommodations (8 nights in tented safari camp and 1 nights in middle class hotel in Udaipur). Transfer from Udaipur/Pushkar included, all meals, and evening entertainment during safari.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    201910 day trip, AP$2360

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionUS$
2019 Transfer from Udaipur/Pushkar included $0
2019 Single supplement $225

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 10/30 - 11/08 10d / 9n 10 day trip, AP 2 /12 Reserve
A 2019 11/08 - 11/17 10d / 9n 10 day trip, AP 2 /12 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

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

Other Info
Meeting: Udaipur or Pushkar
Airport: New Dehli or Udaipur
Transfer: From Udaipur to Pushkar or from Pushkar to 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:   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
  • 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 already)

Your luggage will be transported by car, so you do not have to take everything with you on horseback. We however recommend you to use lockable bags or suitcases. 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.