Colours of India
Colours of India
Deserts, Forts and Palaces
Rajasthan and Gujrat welcomes you with colored turbans, legendary mustaches, and the mischievous looks of the locals. The King’s land can be as green as it can be arid and yet it still shines, thanks to the prosperous period of sovereigns in their forts, palaces, and refined havelis. Experience a self-driving tour in Rajasthan and immerse yourself into this enthralling and animated region. Your drive will be full of surprises. Is this real or fantasy? You won’t know for sure. Imagine traversing one of the most colourful regions in India and staying in palatial accommodation and luxury camps in exotic location. Now add to that some desert tracks and dune bashing and the picture gets even better. The local delicacies and an unforgettable farewell party in shadows of a fort that was venue for batman film Dark Night rising….
• Drive in Rann of Kutch, a salt marsh in the Thar desert a world heritage site.
• Udaipur – The City of Rolling Hills, Lakes and Palaces
• Kumbhalgarh - massive 20-foot-thick outer wall covers over 36 km - it is billed as being second only to the Great Wall of China.
• Royal hospitality at Udaibilas and Rohitgarh - family-run lakeside palaces
• Experience Indian desert life, culture, wildlife and landscape at Manvar desert camp
• Jaisalmer – A fairy-tale fort, the sand dunes of the desert and vast star-studded skies.
• Jodhpur – An imposing fort with a bustling market and true Rajasthani hospitality.
Day 1 – Arrival Delhi
Arrive in Delhi, usually in the evening. You're met at the airport and transferred to the Imperial Hotel
Unlikely connections of the old and new are seen everywhere in Delhi – bullock-carts and cars; hand-pulled trolleys and trucks; Western fast food café’s and roadside golgappa ‘watery Indian bread’ carts; buses and rickshaws; suits and traditional Indian wear. Delhi is said to have been destroyed and rebuilt seven times during the reign of different royal dynasties, hence the legend of the “seven cities of Delhi.” Modern archeological evidence show settlements in the region dating back to 1000 BC. Apart from Indraprastha, these included Quila Rai Pithora, Siri, Jahanpanah, Tughlakabad, Ferozabad and Shahjahanabad. Much like its hybrid culture, Delhi’s architecture is a fascinating mix of Indo-Saracenic monuments and a new urban metropolis. Its historic heart, Old Delhi, is a dense network of narrow alleys and tightly packed markets and houses while New Delhi conceptualized by the British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and designed by Hebert Baker is symmetrical, lined with rows of trees, wide roads and grand colonial buildings. Then there is the “globalized” Delhi of glass-cased corporate offices, shopping malls, brands and dizzying traffic. Also known as ‘Dilli’ by the locals, the smells, sights and sounds of this city sweep your senses, disorienting and fascinating you at the same time. Gateway to the rest of India, Delhi is a truly cosmopolitan city and set to leave a lasting impression on every visitor.
Welcome cocktails in Blue rooms and introduction to your team in India.
Overnight at The Imperial Hotel
Day 2 – Delhi / Ahmedabad / Dasada – Approximate driving day of 2.5 hours
After breakfast transfer to airport for flight to Ahmedabad
Jet airways, 9W 647 Delhi / Ahmedabad 1310/1445 hrs
On arrival you will be transferred to Dasada enroute visiting Modhera Sun temple.
Constructed in 1026 c.e. by Bhimadeva of the Solanki Rajput clan, it is an exemplary model of art and architecture from the 11th century — a style that will later influence the development of temple architecture in the neighbouring region as well. The Temple
also has a rectangular step tank with about 108 shrines. In another part of the temple, you can see a panel of traditional erotic sculptures in a style that rivals that of Khajuraho and Konark. Unlike the Konark Sun Temple in Orissa, which rests on 12 wheels of a chariot, Modhera has been built on the petals of a lotus.
Continue drive to Dasada. Check into hotel Rann Riders
Late afternoon try your 4x4 vehicles on safari to see Wild Asses and flamingos.
Overnight at Rann Riders
Day 3 - Little Rann of Kutch
After breakfast we will go for full day excursion to Little Rann of Kutch on self-driven 4 x 4 vehicles
The Rann of Kutch is a geographically unique landscape that was once an arm of the
Arabian Sea. As the land separated from the sea by geological forces, it became a vast,
featureless plain encrusted with salt that is inundated with water during the rains. The Wild Ass Sanctuary, covering a large part of the Rann, is the home of the last remaining population of the chestnut-coloured Indian wild ass (khur).
The diversity in Little Rann was spectacular - as we will be driven around, we will able
to spot wild asses, nilgai's(Blue bulls) and even tiny dessert foxes. As you drive deeper into the Rann, the landscape became less dry and more marshy and soft. In some places
pools of water remained and were the defacto residence of migratory birds like flamingoes, demoiselle cranes, black headed egrets and pelicans. The roads to the Wild Ass Sanctuary though are not for the faint of heart and a 4x4 vehicle is a necessity for driving around. As we drive through the stark landscape with cracked-earth surface as far as we could see, it will be hard to believe that this place is underwater for most of the monsoon rain season. The water starts retreating around October leaving big pans of crusty salt. Migratory workers live in the Little Rann during the remaining eight months harvesting the salt and selling them.
Drive back to hotel Ran Riders in the evening.
Overnight at Rann Riders
Day 4 - Little Rann of Kutch / Dungarpur – Approximate driving day of 5 hours
After breakfast get ready to enter into Rajasthan. Your first stop in Rajasthan is Dungarpur. The Dungarpur is named after 'the town of hillocks' and the capital of the former princely state of Dungarpur. It is located in the southern part of Rajasthan. It was founded by Dungariyabheel king in the 13th century.
Dungarpur is a picturesque town surrounded by hills on three sides. It is located near Udaipur. It was founded by Rana Dungar Singh in the early 13th century. Dungar means a hill or a mountain and pur means a town, thus Dungarpur means a 'hill-town'.
Dungarpur is also famous for its unique style of architecture. The palaces of the Dungarpur princes and the residences of the noblemen are adorned by a new style of jharokhas (window), which was developed during Maha Rawal Shiv Singh's reign (AD 1730-1785). The goldsmiths and silversmiths of Dungarpur and Banswara are well known for their lacquer painted toys and picture framing.
It is also a birdwatches paradise with lots of ducks, moorhen, waders, ibises at the lake, tropical green pigion, grey hornbill etc. in the woodlands.
Reach your hotel Udaibilas by Lunch time. Evening explore the country side and tribal hamlets if time permits.
Evening dinner will be hosted by the Royal family for the group.
Overnight atUdaibilas Palace
Day 5 - Dungarpur / Udaipur – Approximate driving day of 2.5 to 3 hours
Breakfast at the hotel
Later 2.5 to 3 hrs highway drive to Udaipur
Udaipur is certainly the most romantic city of Rajasthan. The Land OfMewar, it is characterised by the gently rolling Aravali Hills, several lakes and numerous palaces. The pace of life, particularly in the Old City is much more relaxed here and, having a
smaller population and being relatively traffic free, the old city is a charming place to saunter around at leisure. Ancient traditions remain, shop keepers start the day with morning pujas, temples are worshipped at and the ladies remain shy if curious. It all adds to the charm of this gentle city.
On arrival check into hotel Fateh Prakash
Afternoon sightseeing of Udaipur
Visit the Jagdish Temple commissioned in 1651 by the Maharana and has been a continuous place of worship ever since. Each pillar in the hundred-pillared hall is intricately carved with gods and goddesses. However, more impressive even than this architectural marvel is the level of devotion from the attendees each and every day.
City Palace complex, perhaps the most elaborate of all the palaces of Rajasthan, from where affairs of state were conducted as well as it being the family home. It is made up
of numerous palaces and halls and courtyards, some of the most famous being the Garden Palace, with hanging gardens, fountains and terraces, the Palace of Joy, the sheesh mahal or mirrored palace, peacock square as well as art galleries and a wonderful collection of miniature paintings.
The Saheliyonki Bari or Garden of the Maidens, made up of beautiful lotus pools, marble pavilions and elephant- shaped fountains, was built by the Maharana for his queen who was accompanied to Udaipur by 48 maidens who formed part of her dowry. It was a place for them to enjoy away from the intrigues of court life.
Sunset Boat ride: Lake Pichola at the very heart of Udaipur is more than just a lake, it is the site of palaces and is surrounded by the Aravali Hills and city palace complex, all of which forms a dramatic back drop for the sunset cruise.
Overnight at Fateh Prakash
Day 6 – Udaipur / Kumbhalgarh / Rohet - Approximate driving day of 6 to 7 hours
Morning drive to Roheten-routre visiting Kumbhalgarhfort. It involves mountain terrain, highway and country road.
Explore the beautifully preserved and one of the most majestic forts of India. 13 mountain peaks surround the impregnable fortress of Kumbhalgarh. Seven towering gateways pierce the massive walls of this prominent fortress of Mewar. Built in the 15th century, Kumbhalgarh Fort was named after Rana Kumbha, who got the fort erected. One of the most beautiful Forts and Palaces, this fort holds the distinction of remaining unconquered till date. Majestically situated amidst the Aravali ranges forming an enchanting backdrop. This formidable medieval citadel stands majestically as a mute witness to the past glory of its Kings and Princes. Being fortified with 33 kms of walls, more than 25 ft thick - in fact, the second longest continuous wall in the world. The most interesting feature of Kumbhalgarh Fort is that it houses another fort within its precincts. Named the Kartargarh Fort, this smaller fort comprises of a palace built by Maharana Fateh Singh.
Lunch at the restaurant in the fort
Later continue drive to Rohet. Rohet village, 40km south of Jodhpur on the Pali road, is home to one of the area’s most appealing heritage hotel named Rohet Garh. Check into hotel
This lovingly tended 350-year-old manor has masses of character and a tranquil atmosphere, which obviously helped Bruce Chatwin when he wrote The Songlines here,
and William Dalrymple when he began City of Djinns in the same room, number 15. The hotel boasts a gorgeous colonnaded pool, charming green gardens, great food and lovely, individual rooms.
Later in the evening drive around the country side
Overnight at Rohet Garh
Day 7 – Rohet / Manvar Desert Camp- Approximate driving day of 5 hours
Early breakfast at the hotel and drive to Manvar – this route involves country roads, highway and sandy tracks, sand dunes.
Manvar is located right in the heart of the Thar Desert. It is a beautiful destination offering an opportunity to enjoy Rajasthan’s desert life, culture & wildlife. Located 4 miles from the Manvar resort, in the midst of the wilderness and surrounded by sand dunes, the camp consists of 30 authentic tented suites with permanent bathrooms, hot and cold water and many of the modern conveniences of a hotel in a comfortable tented suite. The tent’s large windows with adjustable flaps to allow light and fresh air inside, with permanent insect netting to keep out the occasional pest. On chilly desert nights, each tent is provided an electric blower for heat. They are arranged in a semi-circle around a central ‘durbar’ Hall.
Picnic Lunch en route. Arrive by late afternoon at the Manvar Desert Camp. Evening sunset camel safari.
Evening camp fire and folk entertainment
Overnight at the Manvar Desert Camp
Day 8 – Manvar Desert Camp / Jaisalmer –Approximate driving day of 6 to 7 hours
After breakfast check out from the camp and take the backroads to reach Jaisalmer. Mix of country roads, highway and sandy tracks.
Jaisalmer today is a remote outpost in the Thar Desert. It was once a flourishing trade centre, strategically located on the busy caravan trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia. Its earlier rulers grew rich by looting gems, silk and opium from the caravans, but by the 16th century Jaisalmer had become a peaceful town, whose wealthy traders and rulers vied with each other to beautify their austere desert surroundings with splendid palaces and mansions (havelies). Made of the local golden yellow sandstone, they are the most spectacular examples of the Rajasthani stonemason’s art.
Travellers never forget their first impressions of Jaisalmer, a high rugged hill with a golden-walled city shimmering on top of it. Jaisalmer’s principal attraction is its very real feel of antiquity- the majestic sand-coloured fort up on the hill, the medieval town of lace-like havelis and narrow cobbled back-streets, the proud Rajput men in their turbans and patterned slippers (many bearing rifles or bandoleers).
We explore Jaisalmer city before checking into the hotel. We explore Jaisalmer fort which is still inhabited by approx.4000 people and is a fascinating place to explore, with its warren like streets, Royal Palace, intricately carved merchant havelis and 15th century exquisite Jain Temples. On the edge of town is the former capital Lodhurva, whose carved stonework is poetry in motion, Gadisar Lake was built as a reservoir over six hundred years ago and was used as the main water source for the entire city, today it attracts migratory birds and photographers. Later check in to the hotel
Overnight at Suryagarh
Day 9 – Jaisalmer / Jodhpur– Approximate driving day of 5 hours
After breakfast we take a highway to reach Jodhpur to be time for lunch.
Jodhpur is on the eastern fringe of the Thar Desert and serves as the gateway to the wonderland of sand dunes and shrubs, rocky terrain and thorny trees. Rao Jodha established Jodhpur in 1459 AD. The spectacular Mehrangarh Fort was hewn out of the rocks and the city of Jodhpur emerged out of the sands of the Thar Desert to form the flourishing kingdom of Marwar strategically placed on the trade route between Delhi
and the Middle East. It was also a flourishing trading centre of wood, cattle, camels, salt and agricultural crops. The past, in fact, is never very far behind in Jodhpur where palaces, forts, temples and other elegant monuments of architectural and historical worth vie with each other for attention.
We check into our most luxurious hotel during the tour, The Umaid Bhawan Palace by Taj hotelsand it is best way to say good bye to the land of diversity
Afternoon explore the forts. Undoubtedly, the Meherangarh Fort is the reason most people visit Jodhpur. It is iconic and rises above the city, proud and imposing for all to marvel at.
Evening farewell dinner at the hotel
Overnight at the Umaid Bhawan Palace
Day 10 – Jodhpur / Delhi / Departure
Morning leisurely breakfast and later transfer to airport to board Delhi flight and take your international flight for onward destination
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