Trip Details at-a-Glance
|Lodging:||18 nights hotels|
|Meals:||All meals included|
|Activity:||Cultural Adventures, Walking|
Overland travel with walking tours, cultural explorations
- Experience the rich traditions of Rajasthan's more remote towns, with their legacy of ancient temples, palaces, havelis (mansions), and imposing fortresses
- Attend the Holi Festival in Siana, a spirited affair with singing and dancing
- Explore the grand cities and palaces of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, and Udaipur, with a stay at the legendary Lake Palace Hotel on Lake Pichola
Recent Photo Blog Posts
Choosing the Right Trip
We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.
We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.
Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.
Join Trip Leaders extraordinaire Hashmat Singh and his wife, Priya, for an incredible journey that explores not only the rich traditions of Rajasthan’s celebrated walled cities of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, with their grand forts and bustling bazaars, but also the region’s smaller towns, where the sumptuous palaces of erstwhile princely families, their empires lost to the Indian union, have been transformed into atmospheric “heritage hotels.” From the painted havelis at Mandawa and the Jain temples of Ranakpur to the traditional villages near Siana and the romance of Udaipur, Rajasthan’s glorious culture comes alive in our interactions with the people and in the arts and tribal music we have a chance to experience. The highlight of our adventure is the Holi Festival in Siana, where we mingle with the locals in a wildly exuberant event heralding the approach of spring, complete with singing, dancing, and the enthusiastic flinging of vividly colored powder and water on participants (everyone is fair game, but don’t worry—we’ll provide you with the proper clothes!).
Itinerary at a Glance
For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary
Delhi, India / Neemrana, Rajasthan
After meeting in Delhi, we begin our journey with a drive to the historical town of Neemrana, set just at the edge of Rajasthan. Here we visit the local village and the baori, a 17th century step-well that goes down nine levels into the ground with pillared hallways and verandas. Overnight is at the Neemrana Fort-Palace, a former 15th century fort converted into a heritage hotel.
Mandawa, Shekhawati Region of Rajasthan
The towns of Shekhawati, a semi-desert region in north Rajasthan, are a virtual open-air art gallery, famous for the breathtaking frescoes depicting mythological, historical, and folk themes that appear on the walls of numerous forts, palaces, and havelis (mansions). Our base is in Mandawa, a fairytale town right in the heart of the Shekhawati area and the perfect place for exploring many of the nearby towns. Overnights are at the Castle Mandawa, a former historic fortress renovated and modernized into a luxury hotel.
Bikaner / Nagaur / Phalodi
In Bikaner, we explore Jain and Hindu temples and stroll the narrow streets of this beautiful town. Heading to Nagaur, our explorations include a walk through the old quarter of town to visit many of its mosques and temples, the colorful market, and the palaces of Ahhichatragarh Fort (also known as Nagaur Fort), famous for its wall paintings and the layout of its now empty water system of aqueducts, wells, and cisterns. In Phalodi, an old caravan town and a center of trade for camels, sheep, and salt, we explore the town’s narrow lanes, havelis, and Jain and Hindu temples.
Remote and desert-bound, the golden city of Jaisalmer lies on the ancient trade route that linked India with the trading centers of Central Asia. The narrow streets of the walled city preserve a traditional way of life as craftsmen still work in ancient arts, including stone carving and silver jewelry. Our explorations include the traditional merchants’ havelis and the hilltop Golden Fort, which contains a seven-story palace with its Megh Durbar, or Hall of Clouds. Overnights at a former princely home set on the outskirts of town.
In Jodhpur, we see the vibrancy of Rajasthan on a princely scale. Seven massive gateways lead into the walled city, with its temples and palaces, gardens and lakes, and its bustling lanes and bazaars. We visit the great Mehrangarh Fort and enter a series of palaces and courtyards that house a royal collection of rare miniature paintings, silver howdahs, palanquins, armor, and royal cradles. Overnights at a boutique hotel set in the middle of the colorful old town and market, with absolutely spectacular views of Mehrangarh Fort.
Siana / Holi Festival
The wildlife of the region around Siana includes the chinkara, Indian striped hyena, desert fox, civet cat, and leopard. We enjoy a leopard-tracking safari by 4WD vehicle and visit the local village, with its potters and woodworkers. Our arrival in Siana is timed for the first day of the Holi festival and this evening we’ll attend the lighting ceremonies. We spend the following day (called Dhuleti) visiting local villages and celebrating this wildly colorful and riotous festival with them. Overnights at a simple but comfortable lodge.
Ranakpur Jain Temples / Udaipur
We head to Ranakpur, famous for its marvelous complex of finely ornamented Jain temples set in a beautiful forest where peacocks and langur monkeys roam. Our fascinating journey ends with a flourish in Udaipur, one of the most romantic cities in the world, with its oasis of palaces, traditional havelis, parks, fortresses, and temples. We stay at the legendary Lake Palace, the 250-year-old former summer palace of the Maharaja of Udaipur, one of the world’s most breathtaking heritage hotels, set on an island in tranquil Lake Pichola. Depart on Day 19 via Delhi.
For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary
What the Trip is Like
This trip is Level 2, Easy to Moderate. The emphasis of our trip is on India’s culture—its markets, villages, and people—along with some wildlife and bird viewing and exploring historical temples, palaces, and forts. There are simple walks in archaeological sites and through market areas of towns. While this trip is not expected to be physically strenuous, our travel days can be demanding, including drives of at least four hours every second day over rough village roads by private bus.
Along this adventure, we enjoy a unique collection of accommodations, including several palaces, fortresses, and havelis (private mansions) now converted into fine heritage hotels. We’ve selected our hotels for character and comfort as well as location, as in Nagaur, where we stay at a stunning heritage hotel built in the heart of an ancient fort on the edge of the Thar Desert, and Jodhpur, where we overnight at the only boutique hotel within the city walls. Our lodging also includes more remote properties like Ranakpur’s Maharani Bagh Orchard, a casual nature retreat with Jain temples nearby, and a very simple lodge in Siana, base for our Holi celebrations. Highlighting our hotel list is our grand finale stay at the legendary Lake Palace Hotel, former summer palace of the Maharaja of Udaipur.
Please note: Rajasthan is a popular destination and we will see other travelers almost everywhere we visit, especially in the famed fort cities. However, much of the trip visits areas that are not frequent tourist destinations (in fact, few non-Indians venture into the areas like Phalodi and Siana). As with any trip to India, this is an expedition designed for those who are adventurous in body and spirit, and have a sense of humor, curiosity, and enthusiasm about new peoples and places, and an openness to the unexpected.
We may encounter delays in airports and while traveling by land. It is important to remember that we are in an area of the world where transportation doesn't always run on strict schedules. While our trips generally operate smoothly, we should be prepared for occasional delays. We can usually make up the time, or amend our schedule to adjust to these changes.
Future dates have not been set for this itinerary. Please contact us if you would like to be notified of trip dates once they are available.
Prices are for 2015
$8795 (14-16 members)
$9195 (11-13 members)
$9495 (8-10 members)
Single supplement: $2745
Forced single supplement: $2745
Internal airfare: $340 (subject to change)
more on pricing
Trip Payment Schedule
At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20% of trip cost
60 days prior to departure: Balance
Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule
More than 90 days prior to departure: No charge!
90-46 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost
Trip Cost Includes:
- Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders and local guides
- All meals included
- Ground transportation, entrance fees and service charges, baggage handling
- Airport transfers for trip members