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India - Fairs & Festivals
Ride through the ancient kingdoms of Shekhawati and experience the complete spectrum of life in Rajasthan, from subsistence farmers, who maintain a very simple existence to the privileged life of the princes. The Indian state of Rajasthan where our rides are located was once known as Registhan “land of desert”. Ride over a wide variety of terrain including not only desert, but farmlands, rocky gorges, acacia forests, jungle, scrub and the fertile Aravali hills.
Historically this is one of India’s richest regions, littered with magnificent forts and palaces that were once home, and in many cases still are, to royal princes. Some of these are now hotels where you stay during the ride.
A very special feature of these rides are the horses – the Marwari with their characteristic ears curling in at the top. The horses come from the stables at Dundlod Castle, home to Kanwar Raghuvendra Singh, known as Bonnie. Bonnie is a warm and considerate host, and also an expert horseman. He is a direct descendent of Kesari Singh who built Dundlod Castle in the 1750’s. At Dundlod Bonnie has set up the largest Marwari stud farm in India and has established a breed improvement programme.
The Fairs and Festivals is a six day ride in Rajasthan, followed by visits to Jaipur the bird sanctuary at Bharatpur, one of the largest cattle and horse fairs at Bateshwar, and the iconic Taj Mahal at Agra, ending with the sights of Delhi over the festival of Diwali.
The Marwari horses are spirited and forward going. You should be a competent rider confident on a horse in the open at all paces. There are some long stretches of canter and you need to be able to keep your distance from the horse in front. On the riding days you should expect to cover 25km to 30km each day possibly more on some days.
The tack is English style Indian army saddlery.
Accommodation during the ride is in a combination of hotels and safari style camps. The hotels are often previous forts and palaces which have been converted into hotels but retain much of their original charm and features. Amidst the sometimes faded grandeur, it is possible to imagine the buildings in their glory days. The bedrooms are all different varying in size and decorations but all comfortable with private bathrooms.
The safari style camps have large spacious tents and are furnished with made up beds and fabric printed walls. Separate shower and toilet facilities are set up and hot water is provided in the morning and evenings. Camps are fully staffed and the support crew will prepare each new camp to await the arrival of the riders each evening.
The date of the Fairs & Festivals ride is designed to fit in with the Festival of Diwali, which changes each year according to the Lunar calendar and is normally in late October/early November. It is possible to leave from Jaipur after the riding but you will miss the visit to Bateshwar Fair Agra and Diwali. There are other itineraries to coincide with the Pushkar Fair in October/November the Nagaur Fair in January/February and a ride each year running over Christmas and New Year. See separate pages.
|Holiday||Experience LevelExp Lvl||Arrive - DepartArr - Dep||Price||Itinerary||Availability|
|Fairs & Festivals||
||25 Oct 2018 - 8 Nov 2018||14 nights 14 ngts||£2,687.01||Full|
|Fairs & Festivals (ending Jaipur)||
||25 Oct 2018 - 3 Nov 2018||9 nights 9 ngts||£2,023.73||Full|
|2018||10 or more riders||6 to 9 riders||3 to 5 riders||Single Supplement (6 or more riders)||Single Supplement(3 to 5 riders)|
|Fairs & Festivals - ending Jaipur (9 nights)||£2,023.73||£2,091.51||£2,401.36||£411.78||£452.55|
|Fairs & Festivals (14 nights)||£2,687.01||£2,778.99||£3,161.47||£656.40||£697.17|
INCLUDES accommodation; full board except in Delhi Jaipur Bharatpur and Agra where lunch is not included; riding; sightseeing in cities; some entrance fees; all road transfers.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT If you are willing to share then the single supplement is reduced by 50%. If we find you a sharer then there is no single supplement.
PAYABLE LOCALLY Lunch in Delhi Jaipur Bharatpur and Agra; some entrance fees; camera fees; drinks; laundry; tips.
NEAREST AIRPORT Delhi.
TRANSFERS The Fairs and Festivals Ride includes all road transfers from and back to Delhi.
NOT INCLUDED International flights to Delhi.
The ride is in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan with sightseeing in the Golden Triangle of Delhi Jaipur and Agra.
Rajasthan has a hot dry climate. The monsoon is from June to September during which it is particularly hot. Rain outside the monsoon months is unlikely.
The rides are scheduled for the cooler months of October to March. At this time the maximum temperature would be around 24°C during the day. Evenings can be cool (c. 5°C) and you should bring a warm sweater and be prepared for a chilly morning just in case there is a snow fall in the Himalayas – the temperature does drop suddenly at times. When camping, the cold nights are felt much more and you are advised to bring warm clothes for sleeping.
It was brilliant - I felt fully briefed about what to take/expect - checklist of equipment, tipping culture etc. This was an amazing holiday was extremely well planned! The riding part took us 'behind the tourist curtain' and was such a unique experience! The places we stayed at were varied and we were frequently surprised by beautiful converted havelis/palaces! It was the riding that attracted me to the holiday,of course, but I am glad I stayed for the sightseeing days too - Jaipur and Agra were amazing - and the Taj, well, words fail me!!! The holiday ended with a ricksaw ride through Old Delhi as the preparations for Diwali too place - this summed up India for me - hot, crazy, colourful - amazing!
Josephine ,WarwickshireOverall rating: 5/5
The colours smells and sounds of India are such an exciting combination that will capture your heart and imagination. The horses are also enchanting with their curling ears and endless stamina.
You are riding through the desert so take a bandana to pull up over your mouth to keep the dust out on canters.