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India - Punjab Rides
As well as riding the beautiful Marwari horses, the focus of this riding holiday is visiting Hola Mohalla, a Sikh festival which is usually in March. You ride through the three states of Harayana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, and end at Anandpur Sahib to enjoy a full day amongst the spectacle of the Hola Mohalla festival.
Hola Mohalla was started by the tenth Sikh Guru in the late 17th century as a gathering of Sikhs for military exercises. Today Sikhs travel from all over India (and the world) to join in the three-day festival. There are many colourful processions especially the Nihangs dressed in their traditional costumes, who give displays of their martial arts of swordsmanship, archery and horse riding. The temples are full of people listening to orations and music.
The ride ends quite close to the town of Kalka which is the starting point of one of the most famous train journeys in the world to Shimla. We offer a non-riding extension to travel to Shimla by train and stay three nights in Shimla for the Hindu festival of colour – Holi – which is quite a spectacle.
The horses are Marwari who have been transported to the Punjab from their home at Dundlod in Rajasthan. The Marwari are keen and forward going. The pace is dictated by the terrain. Much of the riding is at a walk and trot but there will be opportunities for canter particularly in the later part of the week, when you ride along the canals.
You should be a competent rider confident on a forward going horse at all paces.
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. Please note that “twin bed accommodation” may mean a double bed and a much smaller single bed.
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 ride runs on one date each year to coincide wtih the Sikh festival of Hola Mohalla which is usually in March.
INCLUDES accommodation; full board on the ride; breakfast and dinner in Delhi; breakfast in Shimla; riding; sightseeing in Delhi & Shimla; some entrance fees; all train and road transfers.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT is $455.00 for the ride (7 nights). If you are willing to share during the ride then the single supplement is reduced by 50%. If we find you a sharer there is no single supplement. The single supplement for the Shimla extension (3 nights) is $245.00 and is charged until we find you a sharer.
PAYABLE LOCALLY Lunch in Delhi; lunch and dinner in Shimla; some entrance fees; camera fees; drinks; laundry; tips.
NEAREST AIRPORT Delhi
TRANSFERS are included from and back to Delhi
Our ride takes you through the foothills of the Himalayas starting and finishing in Chandigarh the capital of Punjab and Haryana. There is the option of extending after the ride to visit Shimla.
The Punjab’s climate is characterised by extreme hot and extreme cold. Summer temperatures (April to June) can rise to 38°C. In winter (December to February) temperatures can fall to zero. The majority of rainfall occurs in the monsoon season (July to September).
Since the ride takes place in March this is a transition month between winter and summer. The maximum day time temperature should be around 24°C during the day. Evenings can be cool (c. 5°C). You should bring a warm sweater and jacket 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 and evenings in camp.
If you are continuing onto Shimla then you will notice it much colder since you will be at an altitude of over 2,000 metres.
Great to ride through Indian villages and meet such incredible people and see the way they live. Massive hearts, genuinely fascinated by Westerners and such lovely attitudes. The people in India who put together the logistics were fantastic, so interesting and such kind souls.
Jane ,BirminghamOverall rating: 5/5
This is a great riding adventure. It is fascinating to ride through rural India and experience the myriad of life. Hola Mohalla is an assault on the senses and is fascinating.
I recommend staying on to visit Shimla and doing one of the most famous train journeys in the world.You will be in Shimla for Holi - the festival of colour - well worth experiencing.