ITINERARY - 1 Thar Desert to The Aravalli Hills Ride
Arrival at Rohetgarh, (40 Km) from Jodhpur & O/N Rohetgarh. Rohetgarh is an old family property of the Thakur of Rohet, and now converted into a Hotel with beautiful rooms, Pool etc. The Garh is walled all around and set within a village in the semi-desert country.
AM: Ride 12 Km through scrubland to visit the hamlets of the Bishnoi tribe. You will see herds of Blackbuck & Chinkara. Return to Rohetgarh for lunch.PM: Leisure at Poolside or Village walk. O/N Rohet Garh
AM: Ride again though sandy tracts and scrubland, passing quaint hamlets of mud-huts occupied by the various colourfully clad tribes of the desert (25 Km ride)NOON: Lunch at the splendid Sardar Samand Palace property of the Maharaja of Jodhpur, situated at the edge of a huge lake, on a hill overlooking miles of open county around you.PM: Relax in the luxurious Palace with its comfortable rooms, Pool on the terrace, and watch the birdlife on the Lake. O/N The Sardar Samand Palace
Ride off after an early breakfast, through open scrubland, along dusty trails, passing through villages upto Utwan. (22 Km.) Here we stop for a picnic lunch, prepared hot on site.PM: We start getting into greener tracts, skirting the huge Hemawas Dam, until by sunset we reach Sodawas. (23 Km.)O/N Karni Kot, Sodawas a county mansion of Th. Sunder Singh who will be your Host.
Another long day-another early start. 20 Km through Farms and bigger villages. You watch the landscape change from dry thorny scrub of the first two days to taller trees and rich fertile farmlands. You will see the multifarious use of oxen in ploughing, carting and irrigation. Arrive at an Old Shiva Temple for Lunch.PM: Ride on and we start getting into low hillocks and open grassland, and 22 Km later we are at an ancient 200 yr old castle in the middle of a small rustic shepherds village. The castle has been provided with modern amenities. O/N Kotri Castle.
AM: Ride off after breakfast past rich farmland, lakes and villages to Ranakpur. (25 Km.) Lunch at Maharani Bagh.PM. Drive by Jeep (4 Km) to visit the famous Ranakpur Jain Temples circa 1462 AD. The huge structure is marble and intricately carved deities and Apsaras adorn the pillars, domes and walls of this awe inspiring structure.O/N: The Maharani Bagh Orchard Retreat of the Maharani of Jodhpur. You will be staying in cottages within the Orchard.
AM: We now ride into the Aravalli Hills, Through wooded country, and part of the Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary. One can spot Deer and wild boar while on horseback though the Sanctuary, and come into a valley inhabited by the Tribal Garacias. Lunch at the Hunting Lodge of the Ghanerao family.PM: Now the tough part of the ride. We climb 2000ft in 3 hrs, through the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife sanctuary to arrive at "The Aodhi Hotel".Later visit the famous Kumbhalgarh Fort built 1462 AD by the Maharana Kumbha as a retreat for the forces of Mewar, This Fort has a history of many battles and remains as probably the only unconquered Fort.O/N The Aodhi Hotel. A luxurious Hotel managed by the HRH Group.
END OF RIDE
Accommodation & Meals
As dusk falls we arrive at a Fort, Palace or Rawla (a small mansion of erstwhile nobility). All these properties are still owned by genteel aristocrats who have gracefully converted their homes to classic heritage hotels combining luxurious modern amenities with timeless traditional charm. What enhances the experience is that the owners are almost always present as your personal hosts to bore you with tales of their glorious family history. Just accept the free drink and let your eyes glaze over while the local performers attempt to entertain you. We use the following heritage hotels.
Samode Hotels ·
Shiv Niwas Palace ·
Umaid Bhawan Palace ·
Ajit Bhawan Palace ·
Ranbanka Hotel ·
Fort Chanwa Luni ·
Rohet Garh ·
Sardar Samand Palace ·
Karni Kot Sodawas ·
Kotri Raola ·
Rawla Narlai ·
Maharani Bagh Orchard ·
Ghanerao Castle ·
The Aodhi Kumbalgarh ·
Fodder: We start the day with a full English breakfast - cereals, eggs, toast, juices and fruit. Lunches and dinners consist of the varied flavours of Rajasthan traditional Indian curries, with a choice of Continental though we take great care to go slow on the chillies and not burn the western palate (unless specially requested for!).
Regional InformationRajasthan -
the most arid part of India lies west of Delhi and bordering Pakistan. The land is fertile nearer Delhi and as we travel westward we get into more arid areas until- we get to the bordering towns of Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Barmer. The Aravalli mountain ranges run roughly north to south , East of the Aravali being plateau and the fertile North .The west going into the desert.The International Airport in Delhi is your gateway to Rajasthan- (though Mumbai too is well connected by Air.) There are daily flights ex Delhi to Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur . Most of the flights leave early morning so one can connect direct from an international flight. The other option is to take a part time room at a nearby airport Hotel - or if you do want to go into the city, and get ripped off at the shops - we can arrange hotel accommodation including pick ups etc. for you.We recommend that you fly into Jodhpur and out of Udaipur. ( however you may choose to fly in and out of the same destination) To recover from jet lag it may be advisable to stay a day or two in Jodhpur taking in the sights and to prepare yourself for the oncoming saddlesores !! Once again at the end of the ride keep a day or two for a stay in a luxurious Palace Hotel in Udaipur to recover. We will be happy to do all your reservations on flights, hotels, airport transfers etc. - all just so that you can be meat on our table !! Honestly Jodhpur and Udaipur are really beautiful cities.The temperatures between October and March range from 4 - 18C min and 25 - 35C max. But the sun is strong - so all you white folks bring your sunscreen lotion. Rainfall is scarce but one can expect an occasional shower in October/Nov and then again in March. No dont need to bring rain gear- just get wet and enjoy it. It is scarce. ! The main rains are in the monsoon which is from Mid June to August. If you plan to ride in the post monsoon months Oct, Nov, Dec the countryside will be mostly cultivated and green - great malaria weather so dont forget your pills(?) Later in Jan ,Feb, March- it will be much drier and the harvesting season will be beginning. ( note for asthmatics!)Please do feel free to contact us for any specific information.
The Horses, The Equipment - Your Ride
The horses you will ride are pure-bred Marwari, half-bred or thoroughbred polo ponies from the polo stables of the Noble Houses of Mewar. They have all been polo trained and are light on the mouth.( or so they say!). They range in height from 14.3 to 15.3 hands. The horses have individual grooms who take care of the mounts at all night halts and at water stops along the ride. The client will note the care with which the horses are groomed. The client will also note not to groom the rear of the horse.The saddlery is English or Universal Steel Arch Cavalry etc. Clients are advised to bring their own hard hats, boots and chaps and a seat saver if you think you may need one.The sun is strong so it is advisable to bring long-sleeved shirts, a wide-brimmed hat and plenty of sunscreen lotion. The evenings can get chilly, so a light sweater and jacket are required. Nights in Dec/Jan can be quite cold so clients are advised to bring along a boyfriend/girlfriend - anything to keep you warm.Your ride will take you from the semi-desert zone near Jodhpur the capital of the erstwhile State of Marwar. This is a town with immense history and great architecture the Mehrangarh Fort and Umaid Bhawan Palace being the more prominent among them. The ride moves through the Bishnoi tribal belt the eco conservationists of the desert, by virtue of religion. These are a people who would die protecting an animal and that is why you get to see blackbuck and the Indian gazelle in plenty in the areas they inhabit. We move into dry farmland where you can see the multifarious use of oxen in ploughing, carting and irrigation. As we approach the Aravalli hills, you begin to encounter the Rabari herdsmen the nomadic shepherds who travel thousands of kilometers with their flocks searching for pasture for their sheep. The lakes near the hills abound in migratory water birds and the odd crocodile in the sun, after a hearty meal of last weeks tourist.The hills have over a hundred species of exotic forest birds. The end of the ride brings us into the erstwhile State of Mewar, where elaborately carved hill temples (Ranakpur) and historic forts (Kumbhalgarh) are a common sight.At the end of the ride, you proceed to Udaipur by car. This is the city of lakes and exotic palaces Shiv Niwas and the City Palaces complex are the most exquisite of these.