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PART 1:India,Rajasthan 12 Days 
10th - 22nd January 2025


PART 2: Camel Safari in Jaisalmer National Park and UNESCO World Heritage
Jaisalmer Fort 1156 
23rd - 27th 2025


An exclusive boutique
experience for 8 Guests!


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"Embark on an unforgettable journey with Camel Treks Australia's Paul and Karen Jane Ellis and Edward Buckingham through the vibrant tapestry of Rajasthan.

 

On this splendid adventure you'll meet their many local friends in what might be best described as a 'behind the scenes' journey through Real India. From awe-inspiring wildlife and architecture to delightful culinary experiences, carefully crafted to invoke a sensory feast for the discerning traveller in our very favourite locations.

Karen-Jane Ellis ~ CTA Director"

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Local Guides with Homestay and Historic Haveli accommodation
 

Featuring luxury palaces, monumental forts, exquisite temples, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, vibrant markets, and more. Experience the warm hospitality of India as we venture off the beaten path. Our itinerary promises unique encounters, accompanied by personal attendants to savouring freshly prepared meals. 

Embark on Adventure: Bookings Now Open for International Journeys to India and Mongolia! Contact Us for Pricing and Details.


Tipping everywhere in India is customary, this tour includes all tipping so you can relax at hotels, with guides, at monuments, with drivers, and on safari!

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Rajasthan, India - Land of the Kings

Rajasthan is India at its colourful best...the incredible light, the austere and atmospheric landscapes of the desert and ancient Aravali mountains, the romance of Rajasthan’s heritage and chivalry, the hospitality and humour of the people whether from regal lineage or dignified desert-dwellers, and their arts and crafts.

 

It is also the largest state of the Republic of India, encompassing the Great Indian Desert known as the Thar. The people of this region have filled the plain canvas of

the arid desert with a profusion of vivid colours. The sheer vibrancy and festivities

in their lifestyle leaves no room for anything dull or pale. 

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Step back in time...India will change your life!

Day 1 - 10th January: ARRIVE Indira Gandhi International Airport  

 

New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport - Guest House (17.5km/30 mins)

Afternoon and Evening Shopping at Hauz Khas Village Market

Plan to email us your flight itinerary. Upon arriving in Delhi on the 10th of January, either Edward or Karen will greet you at the airport with a traditional Indian welcome, Namaste. They will transport you to our South Delhi accommodation and guide you through the check-in process, ensuring a seamless start to your journey. You'll meet fellow travellers at the evening meal, have any questions answered, and receive detailed information about today and the coming days ahead.

Prakash Kutir Bed & Breakfast offers an authentic taste of Indian hospitality nestled in the vibrant Hauz Khas Village, located in the upscale South Delhi

Discover one of South Delhi’s best-kept secrets from our family stay lodgings with a private walking tour in Hauz Khas. Explore Tughlaq and Mughal-era monuments, intertwined with some of the city’s trendiest boutiques and nightlife spots. Delve into the neighbourhood’s post-independence history, and take a leisurely stroll through Deer Park, renowned for its wild herbs and resident animals. 

Prakash Kutir offers us a home setting for two nights in New Delhi, conveniently located 4 km from Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of Delhi's most popular attractions. Built in 1192 by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate.

Prakash Kutir is also conveniently located within a 15-minute drive from colourful shopping areas such as Lajpat Nagar, Delhi Haat, and Saket. Additionally, it provides easy access to major tourist attractions including Qutub Minar, and Safdarjung Tomb, as well as recreational spots like Deer Park and Nizamuddin Tomb, affording insights into local Delhi living. We also explore art and clothing galleries at Shahpur Jat Village, Hauz Khas Village, and Lado Sarai. During our journey, we will travel comfortably in and eleven seater coach, expertly managed by Nathu for the entire duration of the journey.

SHOPPING - Prakash Kutir is within 400 metres of Hauz Khas Village Market

This artistic enclave features narrow lanes bustling with boutiques offering designer Indian clothing, handicrafts, contemporary ceramics, handmade furniture, and vintage Bollywood posters. Intriguingly, it is nestled amidst numerous 13th- and 14th-century ruins, alongside a forested deer park and a serene lake. Notable dining and drinking establishments include Naivedyam and Hauz Khas Social.

Hauz Khas Village is also renowned for its upmarket vibrant nightlife scene, boasting numerous restaurants, cafes, and bars. Let us know if you plan to venture out!

Meals Included: Dinner

Accommodation: Prakash Kutir Bed & Breakfast South Delhi

Specialist Guide: Ajay and Savita Gupta

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Day 2 - 11th January: DELHI 

Delhi ~ Architectural, historical marvels followed by Mystic Old Delhi Walking Tour and shopping at Shahpur Jat Village Market.

Embark on a captivating journey through the heart of Delhi, where history, culture, and culinary delights converge to offer an unforgettable experience. From awe-inspiring architectural marvels like the Swaminarayan Akshardham and Jama Masjid to immersive cultural encounters at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, each stop promises to unveil the rich tapestry of India's heritage. Join us as we explore hidden gems, savour tantalising flavours, and indulge in the vibrant spirit of Delhi's bustling streets.

The Qutab Minar

Discover the iconic Qutb Minar, a majestic victory tower and UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled within the historic Qutb complex in Mehrauli, South Delhi. Dating back to the 12th century, this remarkable minaret, standing tall with 399 steps, is a testament to India's rich architectural heritage. Explore the ancient ruins of Lal Kot, Delhi's oldest fortified city founded by the Tomar Rajputs, and immerse yourself in the fascinating history of this timeless marvel, a must-visit destination for travellers exploring Delhi's cultural treasures.

India Gate and The Red Fort

We tour past the iconic India Gate and Red Fort, reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe, offers a glimpse into India's history and valour. Erected in 1931, this monument commemorates the sacrifices of Indian soldiers, housing an eternal flame as a symbol of their bravery.

Mystic Old Delhi Walking Tour with Ajay - free-choice lunch on walk

Embark on a captivating journey through the heart of Old Delhi with Ajay, a seasoned guide who has called this vibrant neighbourhood home since birth. With intimate knowledge of its bustling lanes and hidden treasures, Ajay offers a unique perspective that only a local can provide. As you wind through the maze of narrow streets that define Old Delhi's commercial hub, Ajay will regale you with stories of its rich history and architectural marvels. Along the way, indulge in the culinary delights of Purani Dilli Chaat, a timeless delicacy with recipes passed down through generations. This will be an unforgettable walking tour that promises intrigue, discovery, and the authentic flavours of Old Delhi.

Shopping at Shahpur Jat Village Market

 

A mere 5 minutes walking distance from our accommodation at Prakash Kutir the vibrant shopping hub of Shahpur Jat, where independent boutiques beckon with a treasure trove of delights, from exquisite designer sarees and jewellery to laid-back casual wear. Discover the joy of hassle-free shopping in charming boutiques adorned with set pricing, offering a seamless experience for every visitor.

India delights at the Hauz Khas Village 

Renowned for its upscale and lively nightlife, offering a plethora of restaurants, cafes, and bars.This provides ample opportunities for independent culinary exploration and evening adventures. Karen and Edward will accompany guests to the Hauz Khas Village. 

Meals Included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Prakash Kutir in South Delhi 

Specialist Guide: Ajay Gupta

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Day 3 - 4: 12th - 14th January: DELHI/AGRA (220 Kms / 3.5 hrs)

Start your day with a delightful in-house breakfast hosted by Ajay and Savita at Prakash Kutir before embarking on a scenic drive to the Elephant Conservation Centre in Agra then we're off to the theatre! Tomorrow we marvel at the historic Agra Fort and prepare to be enchanted by the majestic beauty of the iconic Taj Mahal

 

The Elephant Conservation and Care Centre (ECCC)1pm 

Following lunch, we embark on a visit to India’s first and only Elephant Conservation and Care Centre (ECCC), established in 2010 in the district of Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, in collaboration with the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department. The primary objective behind its establishment was to rehabilitate severely abused and exploited elephants. Today, ECCC serves as a sanctuary for over 30 rescued elephants and stands as a living conservation education platform, aimed at changing public perception to support elephant conservation efforts.

All elephants at ECCC have been rescued from extreme distress. Some were privately owned and endured a cruel history of being used for begging, while others spent a lifetime in captivity as temple elephants or were coerced to perform in circuses. Now, liberated from the burdens of heavy loads and hot pavements, these majestic creatures spend their days happily, enjoying frequent baths, a nutritious diet, and good veterinary care. The centre boasts natural vegetation and ample open fields for daily walks, along with numerous trees for scratching, closely resembling the elephants' natural habitat. Additionally, water pools are available for the elephants to bathe and play freely.

Situated along the banks of the river Yamuna and surrounded by forested land, ECCC and the Elephant Hospital Campus offer a serene environment. A leisurely 10-minute walk through lush green fields leads our elephants to the river, where they delight in long, relaxing dips.

Our Conservation Education Tour offers an educational experience led by dedicated, experienced Education Officers. During the tour, guests are encouraged to ask questions and learn about the work of Wildlife SOS and the animals in their care. Your contribution supports the upkeep of the facility and the treatment and care of all rescued and injured animals.

Indian theatre with evening Show ~ Agra Mohabbat The Taj Show

In the evening, you will experience Indian theatre with 'Agra Mohabbat The Taj Show'. This captivating show portrays the romantic love story of Emperor Shah Jahan and his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal at the renowned Kalakriti Cultural and Convention Centre. Creative dance and dramatic lighting are showcased with a 12’ x 12’ Taj Mahal replica, offering a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of the Mughal Empire. The live show is presented in both Hindi and Urdu, with interpretation available in English, French, and German through headphones. Over the course of the one-and-a-half-hour show, more than 80 talented artists bring the lively story to life in this world-class theatre.

Da Bungalow ~ A Vacation Abode

Nestled in the heart of Agra, Da Bungalow awaits as a gateway to India's rich cultural heritage. Step onto the veranda and be enchanted by the exquisite paintings gracing the walls, each portraying regal Indian Maharajas in their splendid attire.  Outside, vibrant stained-glass windows add a touch of tradition. Inside, discover a warm and inviting space that seamlessly blends modern comforts with traditional Indian décor. Da Bungalow boasts their own in house restaurant aptly named 'Five Sense Kitchen and Bar' with chefs taking joy and pride in their delectable creations. After check-in we will enjoy a meal within Da Bungalow. 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Dá Bungalow - A Vacation Abode

Specialist Guide: Muhammad Shujat Ali 

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Day 4: 13th January: AGRA

Breakfast at Hotel - Departure to AgraCapital of Mughal Empire until 1658

 

Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage site - The Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site also known as Lal Qila, Fort Rouge, or the Red Fort of Agra, Indian theatre with evening Show! 

The Taj Mahal

Following an early breakfast we depart for The Taj Mahal, an enormous mausoleum complex commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the remains of his beloved wife. Constructed over a 20-year period on the southern bank of the Yamuna River in Agra, India, this famed complex stands as one of the most outstanding examples of Mughal architecture, blending Indian, Persian, and Islamic influences. At its centre is the Taj Mahal, built of shimmering white marble that appears to change colour with the shifting daylight. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983, it remains one of the world’s most celebrated structures and a stunning symbol of India’s rich history.

Meet descendants of the original Taj craftsmen

Throughout the day, various activities will be woven into the itinerary, including a visit to the family responsible for the ongoing restoration of the Taj Mahal, descendants of the original Taj craftsmen.

Coffee and Cake at Sheroes Hangout ~ Empowering survivors of acid attacks

Step into Sheroes Hangout and be a part of a groundbreaking initiative empowering survivors of acid attacks. This cafe is not just place to grab a bite, but a symbol of resilience, courage, and hope. Run by acid attack survivors themselves, Sheroes Hangout provides employment opportunities and a platform for survivors to reclaim their lives. Coffee and cake here supports these brave women who defy violence and adversity and we can support their journey towards self-sufficiency.

Please note that the staff at Sheroes are survivors of acid attacks, and some may have extensive facial disfigurements as a result. We understand that this experience may be difficult or triggering for some individuals. If you feel uncomfortable visiting the shop under these circumstances, we can make alternative arrangements for you, or a donation. 

The Agra Fort

We visit the Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site also known as Lal Qila, Fort Rouge, and the Red Fort of Agra. Situated about 2.5 km northwest of its more famous counterpart, the Taj Mahal, you will delve into the significance of these two architectural marvels and the captivating romance that ties them together.

Agra Fort commemorates an era defined by invasions and fortifications, where power was symbolised by grand palaces and even grander forts. The fort was constructed during such a time. Fortification has consistently been the prerogative of the mighty, serving as the dividing line between rulers and the ruled. The imposing towers and overwhelming facades instil both fear and awe, even in the bravest. However, there were those who overcame daunting adversities, leaving a mark in history—a signature that persists. Structures erected as a testament to prowess remind us of the grit and valour of the brave individuals who captured, destroyed, and built such imposing edifices.

The Agra Fort, impressive and opulent, makes it easy to visualise the days when crocodiles patrolled its moated surroundings.

Dinner at Molecule Air Bar 

Molecule is a unique AirBar and restaurant, unlike any other. Inspired by the World War II era, its concept, interiors, and experimental food and drinks transport guests to a bygone era. The architecture and design seamlessly blend visual storytelling with real-world ambiance. What sets Molecule apart is its incorporation of Molecular Gastronomy, making it a true marvel in the culinary world.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Dá Bungalow - A Vacation Abode

Specialist Guide: Muhammad Shujat Ali 

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Day 5: 14th January: AGRA/JAIPUR Uttar Pradesh (Agra - Sariska 180kms/ 3.5hours ~ Sariska - Jaipur 120kms/ 2.5 hours)  

Agra to Jaipur ~ Scenic drive to Sariska National Park, Jeep Safari, The Kankwari Fort and arrival to Tara Niwas Jaipur Hotel 

After indulging in an early breakfast at the 'Five Sense Kitchen and Bar,' we depart from Dá Bungalow - A Vacation Abode at 8am towards Sariska National Park, entering through the Sariska Gate. Following this visit, we embark on an afternoon Jeep Safari, culminating in a late supper arrival at our hotel in Jaipur.

Sariska National Park  

Nestled in the enchanting landscape of the Aravali hills, Sariska Tiger Reserve beckons adventurers with its mystical allure. Spanning over 800 square kilometers, this national park is a harmonious blend of diverse ecosystems, including majestic mountains, sprawling grasslands, verdant forests, and rugged cliffs. As you journey through its wild expanse, you'll encounter a mesmerizing array of flora and fauna, each adding to the park's magical charm.

Within the sanctuary's embrace, a rich tapestry of wildlife unfolds before your eyes. While the majestic tigers reign supreme, Sariska is also home to a plethora of other creatures, from elusive jungle cats and playful rhesus macaques to graceful sambars, spotted chitals, and elusive wild boars. But it's not just the land-dwellers that captivate visitors; the skies above are alive with the melodies of myriad bird species, including the graceful sand grouse, elusive harbor quails, and majestic crested serpent eagles.

For those embarking on this mystical journey, Sariska offers a myriad of experiences waiting to be explored. Whether it's embarking on a thrilling jungle safari, immersing yourself in the serene beauty of its landscapes, or simply basking in the tranquil ambiance of nature, there's something here for every soul seeking adventure and tranquility alike. So step into this realm of wonder and let Sariska Tiger Reserve weave its magic around you.

Sariska Tiger Reserve, also known as Sariska National Park, stands as one of the most sought-after wildlife sanctuaries in India, nestled within the Alwar district of Rajasthan. Encompassing an expansive area of 881 square kilometers, it boasts a diverse landscape comprising dry deciduous forests, scrub-thorn, grasslands, and rocky hills. Situated within the Aravalli range, renowned for its abundant mineral resources like copper, Sariska holds significant historical and mythological significance. Legends dating back to the time of the Mahabharata war narrate tales of the Pandavas seeking refuge in its dense forests to evade the Kauravas during their exile. Within the sanctuary lies Pandupol, a site where Bhima encountered Hanuman, adding to the park's mystical aura.

 

Sariska Jeep Safari and The Kankwari Fort - A 16th-century fort, originally built by Jai Singh II, located near the centre of the park.

(1pm park arrival - 5.30pm est. departure)

We embark on a jeep safari at Sariska Tiger Reserve, you'll witness stunning wildlife in their natural habitat, with the goal being to witness the parks majestic tigers. Additionally, you'll have the exclusive opportunity to explore the historic Kankwadi Fort, accessible only via jeep safari. As you journey through the reserve, keep your eyes peeled for the diverse avian inhabitants, with over 220 bird species calling Sariska home, including migratory birds from Europe, Central Asia, and beyond. Opting for a group safari enhances the experience, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to your adventure. 

Within the jeep safari we visit The Kankwari Fort situated among the Aravalli hills in the Sariska Tiger Reserve. Built by King Jai Singh in the 16th century, it served as a stronghold for political prisoners due to its natural camouflage. The fort's significance grew with the imprisonment of DaraShikoh, a tale revealing political intrigue and familial strife.From the fort's vantage point, a picturesque view unfolds, with a serene lake nearby. Intricately designed rooms, hallways, and colourful carvings adorn its walls. Open spaces, balconies, and galleries offer tranquility, enveloped by the lush natural beauty of mountains and trees. Aurangzeb's strategic choice of this fort for DaraShikoh's imprisonment underscores its historical importance. Surrounded by ramparts and guarded by soldiers, it stood as a symbol of power and control during tumultuous times in Mughal history.

Upon arrival at Tara Niwas, a charming boutique hotel in Jaipur, a delightful late evening dinner awaits you. This family-run establishment prides itself on offering quality services in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Tara Niwas Jaipur Hotel 

Specialised Guide: Ajay Kumar - Nature Guide Sariska Safaris

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Day 6: 15th January: Jaipur - A full day of exploration in Jaipur City

Breakfast at Hotel Tara Niwas with a full day ahead!

 

The sunny restaurant provides picturesque views of a charming garden and a green fountain, where guests can dine indoors or in the courtyard. Adorned with local artwork on the walls and traditional frescoes on the roof, the restaurant offers a delightful ambiance. Breakfast options include both Indian and continental cuisine, featuring vegetables sourced from Tara Niwas's chemical-free farm. Guests can also indulge in homemade bread, preserves, and cookies!

The International Kite Festival

The International Kite Festival in Jaipur, celebrated annually on January 14th - 16th, is a vibrant and popular event in Rajasthan. Drawing kite enthusiasts from across the country, it offers exhilarating kite-flying experiences amidst a festive atmosphere. The festival features both competitive Kite Wars and Friendly Kite Flying Sessions. The colourful kites, ranging in hues from indigo to pink, adorn the skies, creating a mesmerising spectacle.

 

Participants of all ages engage in spirited kite-flying activities from morning till evening, accompanied by lively rooftop gatherings and delectable feasts. It's a joyous celebration filled with fun, camaraderie, and specially crafted sweets to savour. We will certainly see kites when we are in Jaipur City. 

Hawal Mahal, Palace of the Winds - morning visit

We take rickshaw rides past the iconic Hawa Mahal, marveling at its intricate architecture and exterior beauty. Situated at Badi Choupad in Jaipur's Pink City, this palace was built in 1799 as an extension of the nearby City Palace. Featuring 953 honeycomb-shaped windows adorned with exquisite carvings, the five-story palace served as a summer retreat, allowing cool breezes to pass through. Commissioned by Sawai Pratap Singh, a Kachhwaha Rajput ruler, the palace was designed to offer privacy to royal ladies while allowing them to observe daily street scenes and royal processions.

The City Palace Museum

Jaipur, steeped in Rajput history, attracts tourists year-round with its architectural marvels. At its heart lies the City Palace, a symbol of regality and grandeur. This historic residence of the Kachwaha Rajput Clan's royal family comprises two sections: one housing courtyards and museums, the other still serving as the royal residence. Initiated by founder Sawai Jai Singh in the 17th century, the palace's architectural evolution reflects Rajput, European, and Mughal influences. Designed by architects Vidyadhar Bhattacharya and Samuel Swinton Jacob, City Palace's red and pink sandstone structures offer a captivating blend of history and aesthetics.

The Amber Palace

Amer Fort, also known as Amber Palace or Amer Palace, is a distinguished historical site located in Amber, just 11 kilometres from Jaipur. Originally serving as the capital before Jaipur, this ancient fort, built in 1592 by Raja Man Singh, stands as one of Rajasthan's renowned landmarks.

Crafted from red sandstone and marble and surrounded by the picturesque Maotha Lake, the fort's allure is undeniable. Despite its weathered exterior, its interior boasts remarkable structures such as the 'Diwan-i-Aam,' 'Sheesh Mahal,' and 'Sukh Mahal,' showcasing influences of Hindu and Muslim architecture. Attractions like the 'Shila Devi' Temple and the regal 'Ganesh Pol' gate add to its historical significance.

Built by Raja Man Singh and later renovated by Raja Jai Singh I, the fort has endured the tests of time and invasions. Structurally, it comprises four distinct sections, each with its own entrance. The main entry, 'Suraj Pol' or Sun Gate, leads to the 'Jaleb Chowk' courtyard and the 'Sila Devi' Temple. The second courtyard features the famous 'Diwan-i-Aam,' 'Sheesh Mahal,' and 'Sukh Mahal,' showcasing exquisite marble carvings, including the renowned 'Magic Flower' fresco.

The Jantar Mantar, Astronomical Observatory

The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, built in the early 18th century, is an exceptional astronomical observatory featuring around 20 fixed instruments, showcasing both known and uniquely designed masonry structures. It is India's most significant, comprehensive, and well-preserved historic observatory, constructed during the end of the Mughal period to reflect the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of Prince Jai Singh II's scholarly court.

Protected under the Rajasthan Monuments Archaeological Site and Antiquities Act, 1961, the observatory serves as a remarkable convergence of scientific, societal, and religious aspects, bearing witness to ancient traditions spanning Western, Middle Eastern, Asian, and African religions for over fifteen centuries. Its instruments, some among the largest ever built in their category, stand as an outstanding example of comprehensive astronomical tools at the heart of a royal capital during the late Mughal period.

Shila Devi Temple within The Amer Fort 

Additionally, we are arranging a Puja at the revered temple of Kali, offering a spiritual encounter steeped in Hindu traditions. Please note that temple entry cannot be reserved in advance and requires barefoot entry, abstaining from wearing any leather articles. After this enriching experience, take a leisurely stroll through the vibrant local market, immersing yourself in the diverse cultural atmosphere.

Umaid Maharaja Haveli - Evening meal

Drawing inspiration from the majestic rulers of Jaipur and Rajasthan, the Umaid Maharaja restaurant invites you into a world of opulent Rajput grandeur and splendour.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Tara Niwas Jaipur Hotel 

Specialised Guide: Tejvir Rathore

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Day 7: 16th -  January: JAIPUR - Udaipur via Kishangarh (110kms 2hours)and Chittogarh (220kms 3.5 hours)to Udaipur (110kms 2 hours)

Udaipur, founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1553, is renowned for its picturesque lakes, magnificent palaces, majestic mountains, and lush tiger reserves.

The Switzerland of Rajasthan​

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Kishangarh Snow Yard, nestled in the heart of Rajasthan's Ajmer district. Managed by the esteemed Kishangarh Marble Association, this picturesque site offers a panoramic view that captivates tourists from far and wide. Often referred to as the "ice mine," the Snow Yard mesmerizes visitors with its stunning landscape, where white marble dust creates the illusion of snow-covered hills. Explore this unique destination and witness the magic of marble craftsmanship in action.

View of Chittorgarh Fort and Lunch at the Barbarik Family Restaurant 

Lunch inside the Fort near Ratan Singh Palace in Chittorgarh. The restaurant offers authentic Rajasthani cuisine in a perfect ambiance. We'll enjoy delicious food in a pleasant and culturally rich atmosphere, where family hospitality and warmth abound.

Arrival in Udaipur - ​The Venice of the East! 

Udaipur, formerly the capital of the Mewar Kingdom, is a city in the western Indian state of Rajasthan. Founded by Maharana Udai Singh II in 1559, it is set around a series of lakes and is renowned for its opulent royal residences. The City Palace, overlooking Lake Pichola, is a monumental complex consisting of 11 palaces, courtyards, and gardens, celebrated for its intricate peacock mosaics.

Udaipur possesses a romance of setting unmatched in Rajasthan and arguably in all of India. The tag of 'the most romantic spot on the continent of India' was first applied in 1829 by Colonel James Tod, the East India Company’s first political agent in the region. Nestled beside the tranquil Lake Pichola, with the purple ridges of the Aravalli Range stretching away in every direction, the city boasts fantastical palaces, temples, Havelis (traditional, ornately decorated residences), and countless narrow, crooked, timeless streets that add a human counterpoint to the city’s natural charms. For visitors, there's the serenity of boat rides on the lakes, the bustling and colourful shopping bazaars, a lively arts scene, the quaint old-world feel of its heritage hotels, tempting crafts, clothes, wares, and some lovely countryside.

Udaipur, known as the Venice of the East, boasts many attractive sightseeing places, and Saheliyon ki Bari is one of them. This sprawling garden, with abundant natural beauty, fountains, and a museum, is sure to capture most visitors' attention. Built by Maharana Sangram Singh in the 18th century, this garden is situated on the banks of Fateh Sagar lake.

Kankarwa Historic Haveli

Kankarwa Haveli, a historic mansion, has been in the Kankarwa family for 180 years, serving as their urban residence. In 1993, the family initiated renovation works, and within two years, Kankarwa Haveli reopened, equipped with modern amenities for guests.

Today, Kankarwa Haveli stands as one of the heritage hotels in Udaipur, still managed and operated by the original family. As you step into this exquisite Haveli, you'll immediately sense a haven of rejuvenation. Soft cream-coloured walls harmonise with the vibrant hues of blooming bougainvillea, while greenery adorns the charming courtyard and every level of the Haveli.

We experience the authentic flavours traditional India cooking atop the Haveli's rooftop family kitchen, where breakfast is served every morning. Indulge in a delightful menu featuring both Indian and continental cuisine, presented in a set breakfast menu served 'family style' or in traditional 'thali' style. Delight in individual round trays adorned with a variety of vegetable and dal dishes, with the centre reserved for fragrant rice and freshly baked Indian breads. Every dish is meticulously prepared fresh daily, ensuring a unique culinary experience with no two sauces, gravies, or masalas being identical.

If fortunate, we might have the pleasure of meeting Thakurani Suchana Kunwar, the charming lady of the house and culinary genius behind the exquisite meals. The family warmly welcomes everyone to their table, trusting you will find immense enjoyment and pleasure in every bite.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Kankarwa Historic Haveli

Specialised Guide: Local Guides

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Day 8: 17th - Udaipur  

Udaipur, founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1553, is renowned for its picturesque lakes, magnificent palaces, majestic mountains, and lush tiger reserves.

1. Jagdish Temple is a very famous Hindu temple situated in the middle of Udaipur. This major attraction is devoted to Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe YES one hour est.

See full details

2. Bagore Ki Haveli Museum YES see TEXT below from earlier years.

3. Lunch at Jheel’s Ginger Coffee Bar & Bakery

4. City Palace and City Palace Muesuem of Udaipur YES

 

After breakfast at the hotel, explore Udaipur, often hailed as one of the most romantic cities in India. Spend your morning serenely discovering the intricate passageways of The City Palace Museum in Udaipur, situated within the historic 450-year-old Palace, once the royal residence of the rulers of Mewar.

 

In 1969, Maharana Bhagwat Singh of Mewar (r. 1955-1984 CE) played a pivotal role in officially declaring it open to the public. The Mardana Mahal and Zenana Mahal of The City Palace, Udaipur were entrusted to the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation (MMCF), a trust established by Maharana Bhagwat Singh himself. He also generously endowed the cause with a substantial contribution, giving rise to The City Palace Museum, Udaipur. Over the past fifty years, the museum has flourished and consistently attracts a growing number of visitors from around the world.

 

5.Lake Pichola boat ride from City palace YES shopping

6. Udaipur at Night 6pm performance in The Old City

Situated gracefully on the shores of the enchanting Lake Pichola at Gangori Ghat, Bagore Ki Haveli is a renowned destination in Udaipur. Constructed in the 18th century by Amar Chand Badwa, who served as the Prime Minister of the Mewar kingdom at that time, this haveli has undergone meticulous restoration and transformation into a museum.

This evening, Bagore ki Haveli offers a captivating experience with its main attraction, the Dharohar Dance Show, commencing around 7 pm. Held in the picturesque courtyard known as Neem Chowk, the hour-long show is illuminated by the beautifully lit balconies, setting the stage for traditional Rajasthani folk dance and music.

Audience members are seated on the floor around the stage, with large mattresses arranged on three sides of the terrace to provide an optimal view of the dance performances.

The Dharohar Dance Show is meticulously organized, beginning with a brief introduction by a Rajasthani woman dressed in traditional attire. The performances start with the rhythmic beating of a drum, the resonant blow of a conch shell, and a soulful religious song.

Choreographed dances are accompanied by skilled musicians playing the tabla and harmonium. The female dancers, adorned in vibrant Rajasthani folk costumes embellished with glasswork and embroidery, present various captivating performances.

The first dance, known as Chari Dance, features performers skillfully balancing lit brass pots on their heads. The subsequent Terha Taal Dance showcases dancers playing 13 manjiras (bells) tied to their hands and legs with perfect coordination, holding a knife in their mouths while balancing brass pots on their heads.

The Gorbandh Dance follows, where dancers adorned with camel ornaments dance with abandon, twirling at high speeds. Taking a break from the dance sequences, the Rajasthani Puppet show brings comical skits with puppets, delighting the younger audience members.

The Ghumar Dance, a high-class performance, features rhythmic circle dances synchronized with accompanying music. The grand finale, Bhavani dance, involves performers dancing with earthen pots on their heads, showcasing incredible skill and artistry, including balancing up to 13 pots while standing on broken glass.

The Dharohar Dance Show at Bagore-ki-Haveli is a vibrant and colorful presentation that brings the traditions and culture of Rajasthani folklore to life in an engaging manner. The performers' skills and artistry are truly admirable, making this a must-see for anyone visiting this beautiful Haveli.

7. Dinner at our Kankarwa Haveli roof top restaurant 8 PM to 9 PM

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

AccommodationCastle Mewar or Similar 

LIst accommodation and evening meal 

Day 9: 18th - Udaipur to Kumbhalgarh  ( see text below ) 

1. Breakfast at 8am Checkout at 9am 

2. Drive to Kumbhalgarh  Fort and Shiv Temple

3. Back to Hotel 

Day 10: Kumbhalgarh to Camel Charisma sleep in breakfast 

1. Ranakpur Jain temple 

Visit to Magan 

2. Om Banna Temple - https://www.google.com.my/travel/hotels/entity/ChcIrKH1ur6y0onRARoKL20vMG5iMXZ4MhAE?utm_campaign=sharing&utm_medium=link&utm_source=htls&ved=0CAAQ5JsGahcKEwiwx9i4wZSGAxUAAAAAHQAAAAAQBA&ts=CAEaBAoCGgAqBAoAGgA

Sadri - camel charisma afternoon and dinner rest time 

Jodhpur - 

Step well and fort - https://www.raashotels.com/the-history-of-toorji-ka-jhalra/

India's magnificent Forts

 

Day  January: ~ THAR DESERT - JODHPUR (160 Kms / 2 hrs)

 

Final Camel Safari breakfast - Journey by Road to Jodhpur, The Blue City - Arrival / Check-inn at Hotel. Afternoon, visit of the city and Fort Mehrangarh and in the evening enjoy a tuk tuk ride in the old town of Jodhpur.

After breakfast, we bid farewell to our Camel Safari friends and arrive in Jodhpur to explore Jodhpur and the Mighty Mehrangarh Fort, the formidable fortress that dominates the skyline of the Blue City.

Jodhpur, the second-largest city in Rajasthan, is famously known as the Blue City, a name that perfectly fits its character. Most of its architecture, forts, palaces, temples, havelis, and even houses are adorned in vibrant shades of blue, creating a striking visual experience. The robust forts that grace this splendid city contribute to a truly memorable spectacle.

Mehrangarh Fort, also known as 'Mehran Fort,' is situated in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The foundation of Mehrangarh Fort was laid on May 12, 1459, by Rao Jodha on a rocky hill 9 km south of Mandore. Rao Jodha, formerly known as Marwar, established Jodhpur in 1459.

Mehrangarh Fort stands as a magnificent architectural masterpiece, rising vertically and impregnable from a rocky hill that soars 120 m above Jodhpur’s skyline. It is one of the most splendid forts in India, with battlements ranging from 6 m to 36 m high. Constructed from the rock on which it stands, the fort seamlessly merges with its base.

Currently managed by the Jodhpur royal family, Mehrangarh Fort is rich in history and legend. Surrounding its base is the old city, a maze of Brahmin-blue cubes extending to the 10 km-long, 16th-century city wall. The Blue City lives up to its name, with a labyrinth of winding, glittering medieval streets scented by incense and roses. Here, shops and bazaars offer a myriad of items, from trumpets and temple decorations to snuff and saris.

In the evening enjoy a tuk tuk ride in the old town of Jodhpur.

 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Marugarh or Similar

Day 8: 18th January: ~ JODHPUR - CAMEL CHARISMA (150 Kms / 2 hrs)

Following breakfast we journey to Camel Charisma, check-in and enjoy a delicious lunch. We meet with Raika Camel Herders, and enjoy a shared evening dinner at Camel Charisma. 

We check in with our friends at Camel Charisma farm near Ranakpur village, located in Desuri Tehsil near Sadri town in the Pali district of Rajasthan, western India.

 

Camel Charisma has emerged from a prolonged struggle – a fight for recognition of the value of camels, Livestock Keepers' rights on a global scale, and acknowledgment of camel milk as a valuable source of nutrition and a nutraceutical.

 

Camel Charisma pioneered the production of bio-diverse paper from the dung of Kumbhalgarh camels. In their modest factory, local women proudly manufacture the most bio-diverse paper on earth. Their camel milk soaps are handmade from pure camel milk, coconut oil, and various scents. The Raika shear their camels during Holi and traditionally provide the wool to local weavers to craft the traditional baql, a sturdy rug they take on migration. They are working to revive this craft, introducing new designs. On our campus, they have a wool carding unit where the wool is cleaned and separated into fine and coarse fibres. The coarse wool is used for dhurries, while the fine fibers are made into shawls in collaboration with Kullu Karishma. The coarse wool is spun by men using the drop spindle, while women in Jaisalmer spin the fine fibers into yarn on the Gandhi cherka.

Camel Charisma is a social enterprise that aims to develop, promote, and market environmentally friendly products from the camel. Founded in 2010 by two visionaries, Mr. Hanwant Singh Rathore & Dr. Ilse Kohler-Rollefson, Camel Charisma draws inspiration from the experiences and close connection of Lokhit Pashu Palak Sansthan (LPPS) with Rajasthan’s camel pastoralists. It was established as an outcome of an LPPS project to revive Rajasthan’s camel husbandry, creating sustainable rural livelihoods in semi-arid and arid areas while generating job opportunities for local communities.

The purpose of Camel Charisma is to provide economic incentives for camel breeders to continue keeping camels for their livelihoods and to contribute to the sustainable management of the Thar Desert, conserving this biodiversity-rich agro-ecosystem.

Rajasthan is renowned for its rich and prolific art treasures. 

After meeting with Raika camel herders we return to Camel Charisma for a delicious homemade evening meal, certain to feature their unique camel milk delicacies!

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Camel Charisma

IMG_E0367_edited.jpg

Day 9: 19th January: ~ CAMEL CHARISMA / UDAIPUR (100 Kms / 2 hrs)

After breakfast we visit the Ranakpur Jain Temple, then travel to the Kumbhalgarh Fort, also known as 'India's Great Wall of China', then onwards to Udaipur. In the evening around 7pm we visit the Bagore ki Haveli for the Dharohar Dance Show!

Ranakpur Jain Temple

Rajasthan is renowned for its rich and prolific art treasures. Some of its architectural monuments are considered among the world's best. The Ranakpur Jain Temple excels them all as an exquisite work of art and architecture. Delicately carved sculptures in this shrine defy comparison, bearing eloquent testimony to India's cultural heritage, unique architecture, and the vision and acumen of past master artists.

This temple is the realization of the vision and efforts of four great and devout seekers: Acharya Somasundatsuri Dharanashah, the Minister to Kumbha Rana, Rana Kumbha himself, and above all, Depa or Depaa, the architect who made the realization of the dream possible.

The Chaturmukha Jain Temple of Ranakpur, in the heart of the remote and enchanting valley of the Aravallis, skirting the rivulet Maghai and enveloped in the solitude of the surrounding forest, stands in solemn grandeur. Placed on a lofty plinth, the three-story marble edifice, to which the genius of the artist has imparted exquisite artistic grace, and which his deep devotion has endowed with serene spiritual dignity, is verily a poem in stone. Majestic yet in complete harmony with Mother Nature, in whose beautiful lap it rests, this magnificent monument of devotional architecture seems bathed in celestial bliss. The very hills around, dwarfed by its imposing bearing, appear absorbed in mute meditation, as if spell-bound. The concord achieved between the bounteous generosity of Nature and man's creative expression of gratitude stands uniquely symbolized in this Divine Creation. To behold this holy shrine in its spectacularly sublime setting is to experience instant uplifting of the soul.

 

Kumbhalgarh Fort

We visit Kumbhalgarh Fort, a Mewar fortress situated on the western range of the Aravalli Hills in the Rajsamand district near Udaipur, Rajasthan, in western India. Some refer to it by the name of the fort it surrounds – Kumbhalgarh – while others simply call it The Great Wall of India.

Kumbhalgarh Fort is truly majestic, dating back to 1458 AD and surrounded by hundreds of temples. It stands as the creation of one of Mewar’s legendary heroes, Rana Kumbha. The fort features seven massive gates and seven ramparts intricately folded into one another, adorned with designed walls and strengthened by curved bastions. Within its walls, you'll find around 360 intact and ruined temples, some dating back to the Mauryan period in the 2nd century BC, alongside palaces. The fortifications extend over a length of 36 km, a remarkable feature that has earned Kumbhalgarh Fort its status as a World Heritage Site. Its unique location and grandeur make it a must-visit destination in Rajasthan, and we look forward to sharing this experience with everyone. 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

AccommodationCastle Mewar or Similar