Tours of the Raj riding holiday in India - Far and Ride
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Tours of the Raj, India





Reviews



Riding through the desert villages you are way off the 'tourist' map, you see real India untouched by airconditioned coaches, a photographers paradise with a colourful image at every turn. Riding in amongst camels, buffalo, tuktuks and goats, on horses that make light work of cantering along sand dunes, riding will never be the same again. The horse fairs are truly biblical, you just have to experience this safari.

Caroline M.
The best safari trip so far! The attention to detail by Durga and Devendra cannot be matched; they think of everything and make you feel like part of the family.

S W.
Riding on these horses was an honour which I doubt can be equalled!

Debbie H.
Riding from Nawalgarh to Mahansar on my beautiful Marwari... I have milked cows, spent nights in palaces and forts, escorted a Marwari stallion on his first safari, danced around a camp fire with bells tied to my ankles, been chased by camels, cows and a pony stallion, giggled until my head nearly fell off, galloped across desert sands, slept under the stars, listened to stories of pigeon flying, kite fighting and wall climbing, been woken by a traditional folk musician each day, learnt to tie a turban, eaten all manner of delicious delights and most importantly, I have witnessed the life and culture of rural Rajasthan through the curly ears of such incredible Marwari horses. The perfect adventure.

Sally S.
 

Horses



Type of horses:

All Indian breeds - Marwaris, Kathiawadis and the Sindhis; for the layman they are horses with curly ears! They are of a fine build but are tough and fit.

Nature of horses:

The horses are spirited and very forward-going but safe and responsive.

Height of horses:

14.2 - 16 hh

Weight limit:

85kg / 187lbs

Tack type:

Indian cavalry 'Sawar' saddles - these are strong and simple but comfortable for both horse and rider. We recommend you take a seat-saver if you would like one, though they have a few available for guests to borrow.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

These breathtaking and luxurious Indian safaris combine the thrill of riding through the magnificent former Raj kingdoms with the experience of riding Indian horses such as the Marwaris, with their beautiful curled ears, and the Sindhis. As you ride across this unspoilt terrain you will interact with locals by riding through untouched villages, enjoy a taste of the desert lifestyle, view the flora and fauna of Rajasthan and listen to the rhythms of folk musicians. This is the way to see real India, sharing the experience with likeminded people who have a love for horses, nature and the environment. Your experienced guides have taken special care to ensure that the routes are as varied and interesting as possible and that you find your selected horses to be well bred, appropriately schooled and a pleasure to ride.

These trips are organised from a reputable Marwari stables based at a former palace, which can also offer based riding holidays (see 'Rajasthan Hotel' on our website). The hosts' ancestors were feudal chiefs under the Maharaja of Jaipur and they governed country estates and maintained the horses and cavalry. The Marwari horse is a lean breed, generally small in height, and is very intelligent and spirited... a wonderful endurance horse! They adapt very well to desert conditions and changes in fodder and you might know them as the horses with the beautiful curled ears! The hosts' ancestral home has been converted into a beautiful heritage hotel with extensive gardens, pool, billiards room and of course the stables. It lies around 6 hours by car from Delhi and is the perfect place to start your riding adventure in Rajasthan.

During these horseback safaris, lunch halts and campsites are in unique settings. The riding routes pass through semi-deserted terrain, forests, salt lakes, marshes and flat grasslands. Riders have the opportunity to trot, canter and to gallop at times. The support team has been carefully selected to consist of experienced riders, a talented cook (ex-army!), organised camp staff, folk musicians, efficient grooms and drivers. The hosts of these rides feel strongly that it is important to preserve the Indian breeds of horses and effort has been made to maintain the pure blood lines. The stables here use primarily Marwari horses with a few Kathiawari and Sindhi horses. The Marwaris were the traditional battle horses of Rajputana and here you will be able to experience how different they feel as you ride them across their homeland. Some of the itineraries take you to spectacular horse fairs where you will be stunned by the number of horses, camels and cattle, the quality of many of the animals on show and this real taste of old style India. These tours are a delight for photographers, those with a love of history or simply keen riders wanting to explore this fascinating country.

These are top quality riding holidays, listed as one of the top ten riding destinations in the world by The Daily Mail and The Sunday Telegraph. If you are thinking of riding in India then they are the ultimate horseback safaris, providing you with quality and well-maintained horses, luxurious camps, experienced and conscientious guides, plenty of riding hours and that special taste of the real India.

Holly from Far and Ride rode here in 2015 and absolutely loved it! She was particularly impressed with the beautiful care of these majestic horses and with the flawless organisation of the programme. If you would like to know more then please get in touch!

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Accommodation is split between one of the best palace hotels in Rajasthan (Roop Niwas Kothi), selected guests houses en route and luxurious tented campsites when you are on safari.

Usually on arrival at your destination you spend 2-3 days at Roop Niwas Kothi, which is a fascinating blend of European and Rajput architecture, though this depends on your chosen itinerary. The palace has spacious lawns, a billiards room and a private swimming pool.

The mobile camp consists of tented accommodation in Shamiana type oriental tents on twin sharing / single basis. Each tent cubicle is provided with cots, chairs, linen, white sheets, quilts, blankets, pillows, mosquito nets (dependent on time of year, not always necessary), hot water bottles and a full floor covering. Lighting in tents is by kerosene lamps. The dining tent and kitchen are lit by petromex/gas lamps.

There are also toilet and bath tents. These are one piece units with a covered roof and zippers. The bath tents have wooden floors, foot mats and hangers for clothes. The toilet tents have a wooden / metal commode with a pit. Hot water for bathing is provided in buckets both in the morning and evening. Soaps, towels, looking mirrors and wash basins are provided.

The camp is set out with a large rectangular courtyard for camp fires and folk entertainment. Each evening a different demonstration or talk is given ranging from local horse medicine, wildlife, Indian cooking or the caste system. The dining tent is on one side while the other three sides are guest tents. The adjacent space is utilised for bath and toilet tents.

Your food is prepared by an-ex Army cook who has a lifetime of experience cooking for officers moving with the Paltans. In army language this type of lunch is called 'haver sack'. The variety of menus is astounding and no two lunches have a common menu. Instead of giving individual lunch boxes, a buffet is laid out on the bonnet of the support jeep. Tea/Coffee is served piping hot in insulated containers. Portable stools are carried in the jeep, to be used by the guests at lunch time. Menus include both old Rajasthani recipes in addition to continental dishes for those who prefer it - during the week the menu will be altered according to the tastes of guests. Sometimes you may also enjoy a picnic breakfast ride served in the same way.

During camping night the dining tent has a regular sit down arrangement with chairs and tables. Fixed menu meals with a choice of Indian and continental dishes for every meal are provided. Tea and coffee after each meal and soup at dinner is for unlimited consumption.

When staying in hotels and guesthouses during your tour you will continue to eat authentic local cuisine. There is usually a spiced element to each meal, including breakfast, but for those who prefer not to eat spices then they will happily cook something else for you. Breakfast usually consists of toast, eggs (cooked how you like them, we recommend the 'Indian scrambled'!), butter, jam and something like samosas or pakoras. Lunches and dinners are always buffet style, served with chapattis.

 

Activities

These rides are point to point so each day will bring new and exciting activities. Aside from the spectacular landscape, you may have the opportunity to visit a private home and meet the family members, learn how to cook traditional Indian dishes and share them with your group and enjoy the nightly folk music performed by the team. Ladies have the opportunity to see how Indian henna is applied and might even choose a design for themselves to be painted on.

Non-riders are welcome to accompany their riding partners on the trip and travel by jeep to each destination. They are an integral part of the trip and participate in all activities except riding.

We highly recommend that riders consider extending their trip in India to include a visit to Agra and the Taj Majal - we can help you organise this so please just get in touch.

 

Further Details

Languages: English

Health requirements: Good fitness recommended - riders should be prepared for 25-50 kms of riding a day with long trots and canters.

Age limit: 12+ (under 18's must be travelling with parents and able to ride a forward-going horse).

Tuition: No.

Included: Accommodation (not all, depending on itinerary), meals, some drinks and horse riding as per itinerary.

Not included: Flights and transfers, travel insurance, accommodation not mentioned as included in itinerary, pre and post safari tours/drinks/transfers/gratuities and personal insurance, telephone calls, faxes and internet, alcoholic drinks.

 

Travel Information

Flights operate to New Delhi and Jaipur from London airports. Most visitors fly into Delhi and we can organise the transfer for you from there, using a company called Royal Expeditions.

It's roughly a 6 - 7 hour drive from Delhi to Nawalgarh where the stables are based, but the transfer company provide comfortable, well-maintained vehicles with bottled water available. They will stop half-way during your journey so that you can have lunch and a break. It is a long way but well worth it in our opinion and you can nap in the car.

Alternatively you may be able to find a good flight into Jaipur or to fly there from Delhi itself. Jaipur is 2.5 - 3 hours from Nawalgarh by car and so reduces your road time.

Airport: Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi

Alternative Airport: Sanganer International Airport, Jaipur

 

Programmes


Pushkar Fair Safari



Ride from Nawalgarh to the heartland of the famous Marwari horse to visit India's most popular camel and cattle fair at Pushkar. The safari recreates the old age charm of horseback travel. You will pass through the haunting desert riding towards forts, palaces and historical landmarks. Ride in the deserts, across plains and canter through the hills. Spend evenings camping and listening to folk music.

Day 1 (Not included in the price) - Arrival:

Arrive at New Delhi airport. There are two options; one is to arrange your own hotel in Dehli and transport to Nawalgarh the following day. The other option is to take an early flight into Dehli (BA, arrives early in the morning from Heathrow), arrange for transport to meet you at the airport and transfer you to Nawalgarh the same day. The journey takes around six hours and you will arrive in Nawalgarh in the evening. We are able to assist you with hotels and transfers and please advise us of your plans before booking.

Day 2 - Delhi to Nawalgarh:

Following breakfast you will need to take a six hour transfer from Dehli to Nawalgarh (additional cost), this can be arranged by us or yourselves - we have a good partner company that can provide this service. You will need to arrive in Nawalgarh by the evening. You will receive a royal welcome on arrival at the Roop Niwas Palace with flower garlands, folk music, horses camels and a non alcoholic welcome drink. Settle in to palace hotel and wander across the spacious lawns or take a dip in the swimming pool.

The hotel lies just 1km from the town and is a fascinating blend of European and Rajput style architecture. Today is the Diwali festival, the festival of lights. What better way to celebrate!

Dinner and overnight at Roop Niwas Kothi. 

Day 3 - Nawalgarh:

Morning meeting at the stables for tea, distribution of welcome gifts and then a ride around the palace grounds to help match you to a suitable horse. There will be a detailed briefing of the tour and an introduction talk on the ecology of this arid region, followed by lunch. 

Ride out into the countryside with picnic tea. Overnight at Roop Niwas Kothi.

Day 4 - Nawalgarh:

Morning ride with picnic breakfast followed by a visit to farms and to meet village folk. 

Afternoon sightseeing of Nawalgarh town, visiting havelis with paintings and frescoes. 

Overnight at Roop Niwas Kothi.

Day 5 - Nawalgarh / Parasrampura / Lohargal (34kms):

Today you start the first day of the mobile safari ride (trail) across the countryside. 

Morning ride heading southeast towards Lohargal. You will follow a dry riverbed with lots of Acacia bushes and the view of the Aravali range in the distance makes the ride very scenic. You will enjoy a picnic lunch in an Acacia cluster near to Parasrampura - the lunch is transported to you by jeep and this also carries folk musicians to entertain you. 

After lunch you will move towards the Aravali mountain range, at the foothills of which lies the pilgrim town of Lohargal. Legend tells that Bhima, the strongest of the five Pandav brothers and one of the heroes in the epic Mahabharat, had his mace cast here. This is how the town got it's name 'Lohargal' which means 'iron smelting'. This is also a place of Hindu pilgrimage. 

Amidst the old wells and ruined structures is the Birla Rest House which factes a 2500ft sheer rock face. In the grounds are many Banyan trees where the horses and kitchen tents are put for the night. Guests use the rooms which are furnished by the camp equipment. 

Overnight at Birla Rest House. 

Day 6 - Lohargal / Rewasa / Sujas (49kms):

Morning riders are taken southwest by jeep to cross a free way (Jaipur - Bikaner) as this is not safe to be crossed by horseback. After the crossing riders can mount their horses for a ride towards Danta, following the mountain range again and along a dry salt marsh to find the lunch spot. After a tasty lunch it's onwards to a large, marshy tract of land with salt pans. By evening you will reach your campsite.

Overnight at camp. 

Day 7 - Sujas / Kochor / Sulyas (Ramgarh) (48kms):

The riding terrain today is through a semi desert region with lots of Khejri trees and some farmhouses with mud huts. You will stop for lunch at Kochor village and then the ride passes by the Roogarh fort near a mountain pass. You will camp near a small dry water hole surrounded by acacia trees.

Overnight at camp.

Day 8 - Sulyas / Ghatwa / Shyamgarh (42kms):

Today you will ride along farm tracks then via a mountain pass at Roopgarh. The ride will pass through the village of Ghatwa where a famous battle took place between Rao Shekha and Gour Rajpurts and 25,000 men lost their lives. The area is still known as 'Godati', the area of 'Gaurs' (the erstwhile rulers). From a high sand dune adjoining the mountain ranges riders get a breathtaking view of the five famous forts of this region. Lunch is at an ancient watering hole. Later you will ride to your camp, set up against the backdrop of the Shyamgarh fort and surrounded by Ker bushes. 

Overnight at camp.

Day 9 - Shyamgarh / Bhagwanpura / Nawa Salt Lake (42kms):

Today is a morning ride towards Nawa Salt Lake. This is the most picturesque part of the safari. After lunch the ride takes you around the periphery of the 100 sq km salt lake. You will come across many shepherds and sheep flocks during the ride. Don't miss the beautiful sunrise and sunset at this campsite! 

Overnight at camp.

Day 10 - Nawa Salt Lake to Pushkar (45 kms):

Today you will leave the Marwar and Jaipur states and enter the Ajmer region which was once governed directly by the British. The people of this area have colourful dresses and ornate, brightly coloured turbans. 

Due to development in the area, riding across the land from here into Pushkar is not so safe for horse riders and so the horses are transported in the morning, after being fed, ready to meet you later in the day. After breakfast riders hear a talk from Devendra Singh on the subject of the whorls in horses' hair growth and of the beliefs connected with them when buying and selling horses. It is a fascinating topic and very interesting for western horse lovers. 

Durga Singh will then talk to riders about all aspects of the Pushkar Fair. Riders will say goodbye to the camp staff and will move in jeeps towards Pushkar, stopping en route to visit gujjar shepherds and to have a picnic lunch. A little way short of the Pushkar Fair ground you will be reunited with your horses and will mount up and ride into the fair. 

Pushkar Fair is surrounded by orchards and rose farms, being famous for typical pink Indian roses which have a strong aroma. You will arrive in the holy village of Pushkar by lake afternoon and will see the spread of white-domed houses and temples which are reflected in the tranquil lake. The fair takes place each October/November when traders and pilgrims flock to Pushkar for livestock trading, camel displays and other festivities. Pilgrims bathe in the holy lake on Ekadashi (eleventh day of the waxing moon) and this culminates with people gathering at dawn to take a dip in the holy waters on the night of the full moon (Kartik Poornima). Pushkar is a festival of sound and colour and provides an excellent opportunity for photography. 

Overnight at tourist tented camp, Pushkar. 

Day 11 - Pushkar:

Today you will explore the incredible camel and cattle fair. There will be a morning and evening rider with safari leader Devendra Singh. 

Overnight at tourist tented camp, Pushkar. 

Day 12 - Pushkar / Jaipur:

Today you will spend the morning at the fair before being driven to Jaipur, the pink city and capital of Rajasthan. There will be a sightseeing tour of Jaipur, visiting the city palace museum and the astronomical observatory. After lunch you can go sightseeing at Amber Fort. You will ascend to the fort by elephant or jeep. 

End of services. 

You will need to arrange your own transfer/flight/hotel at an additional cost (we are happy to help with this). Jaipur is around a four hour drive to Dehli (in the daytime and seven hours at night which is not recommended) or it is also possible to take an internal flight Jaipur - Dehli. It is also recommended that you spend a night in Jaipur as it is a beautiful city with so much to see. We can recommend some hotel options on request.



Minimum group size: 6
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Must be a confident rider, used to long hours riding each day.
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: Long hours in the saddle.
Departure dates: 2016: 1 - 11 November (CONFIRMED).
 
Pricing: 2016:

£2870 per person.
Single Supplement: £193 for your time at Pushkar

Safari and price starts from arrival at Nawalgarh (Day 2). Price includes: Accommodation and meals from day 2 lunch to day 12 lunch, horse riding as described, grooms services, English speaking safari leader escort, accompanying 4X4 jeep, campfire, folk music entertainment everyday at the camps, guide and entrance tickets at Nawalgarh and at Jaipur, unlimited mineral water and soft drinks, transport car/van/deluxe coach from Pushkar fair - Jaipur.

Not Included: Flights, alcoholic drinks, travel insurance, medication or expenses of personal nature laundry etc, tips.

Non rider price: £2635 per person. Non – rider spouses/friends can join the safari traveling in 4x4 jeep with an English speaking escort. They occasionally cross the riding route and are with the riders at picnic lunch and again at the safari camp.



Balotra Horse Fair Safari



This special experience is heavenly for horse lovers and photographers - this is a truly biblical horse fair attended by few other tourists and set in a beautiful environment. Untouched by modern amenities or influence, this safari reminds you of the old-age charm of travel on horseback. Guests ride local Indian breeds such as the famed Marwari horse, with its delightfully curly ears, from Jodhpur to Tilwara and the Balotra fair. The spectacular fair involves thousands of horses, camel and cattle with displays and markets not to be forgotten. Gallop in the deserts and across the plains, canter through the sandy hills or explore the river beds. The path leads you by forts, palaces and historical landmarks. You will spend evenings in camps, swinging along to traditional folk dances. 

9th March (Day 1) - Arrival:

Arrive at New Delhi airport. Services of transport and hotel on arrival at Delhi to be arranged and costed by our associate travel agency at New Delhi if required. Overnight at Delhi.

10th March (Day 2) - Delhi/Jodhpur Overnight Train: 

Day spent sightseeing in Delhi. You will then need to take the evening train to Jodhpur. Train tickets to be costed and arranged by our associate travel agency at New Delhi.

11th March (Day 3) - Arrival in Jodhpur:

Arrival in Jodhpur and transfer to hotel Ratan Vilas Palace. Built in 1920, by Maharaj Ratan Singh of Raoti, a keen horse lover and one of the greatest polo players of his time, this hotel has an imposing red sandstone carved exterior and a simple yet comfortable interior. The villa continues to be the home of the grandson of Maharaj Ratan Singh and his family. In order to utilise this beautiful place the family decided to take in guests and now Ratan Vilas in a family run hotel. After lunch you are driven 45 minutes to the base camp where the horses and safari team have arrived from Nawalgarh. You are welcomed with folk music and given welcome gifts. The safari riding leader will help you choose a horse to suit, which is followed by a ride around the local countryside and overnight at the hotel Ratan Vilas or similar in Jodhpur.

12th March (Day 4) - In Jodhpur:

Morning sightseeing of the Mehrangarh Fort and exploring parts of the old city of Jodhpur with car and guide. In the late afternoon you will be driven to the base camp for riding in the countryside. Jodhpur is on the eastern fringe of the Thar Desert and serves as the gateway to the wonderland of sand dunes and shrubs, rocky terrain and thorny trees. 

Rao Jodha established the Rathore Dynasty in Jodhpur in 1459AD. The spectacular Mehrangarh Fort was hewn out of the rocks and the city of Jodhpur emerged out of the sands of the Thar Desert to form the flourishing kingdom of Marwar. This encompassed some 36,000 square miles and was strategically placed on the trade route between Delhi and the Middle East. It was also a thriving trade centre of wood, cattle, camels, salt and agricultural crops. The past, in fact, is never very far behind Jodhpur where palaces, forts, temples and other elegant monuments of architectural and historical worth vie with each other for attention. Mehrangarh Fort spreads over 5km on a hill. It houses a palace intricately adorned with long carved panels and latticed windows, exquisitely wrought from red sandstone. It also has a museum with a rich collection of palanquins, howdahs, royal cradles, miniature paintings of various schools, folk music instruments, costumes and impressive armoury. 

Overnight at Ratan Vilas Palace or similar.

13th March (Day 5) - Jodhpur/ Luni/ Satlana:

Today the cross country safari begins!Morning drive to base camp to commence your safari. The ride goes through a dry, flat area. The lunch stop is in a small rain catchment area beside a temple to a folk divinity 'mamoji'. Each day you will cover a distance of 25 to 30kms riding through open countryside, farms and villages. The route follows the dry riverbed of river Luni. Overnight stays will be in tents in a specially set up, mobile, luxury camp. Each evening you will swing to the rhythm of the camp's folk musicians and a camp barber, who provides massages, will be available to relieve you of any aches and pains from the day's riding.

During the safari you will pass through many settlements of the Bishnoi community who have made environmental protection their religion. The Bishnoi people follow 29 principles laid down by Guru Jambhoji, who made environmental and wildlife protection a "religion" in the fifteenth century. Common throughout Rajasthan and Gujarat, they are renowned for their concern for nature, particularly their refusal to harm the black buck, which now survives only in Bishnoi villages.

Bishnoi beliefs came to the political forefront in 1730, when the king of Jodhpur ordered his men to collect wood for his new palace. Despite the pleas of Bishnois, felling commenced in the small village of Khejadali near Jodhpur. In desperation Amritdevi, a Bishnoi woman, hugged a tree. The fellers, assuming that the KingÂ’s request was to be respected, ignored her plea. She and 362 of her fellow people lost their lives trying to protect the forest. On hearing the news the king recalled his men and accorded state sanction to the Bishnoi religion, a turning point in history which is remembered each September when thousands attend a festival at Khejadali.

Overnight at camp. 

14th March (Day 6) - Satlana / Ghana:

You will ride upstream across a large expanse of the dry riverbed of the Luni river. Being very sandy, the going is very slow. After leaving the riverbed the ride takes you through villages and dry scrub land. The festival of colour Holi has just passed so in this region people are still celebrating with dancing and drum music. Before reaching the camp you will cross 8 or 9kms of protected bushland of the Ramdev ji Temple. Such temple protectorates are called "Oran". The camp tonight is in a farmer's field and in the evening you may have the farmer's family or other ladies of the nearby village visiting the camp.

Overnight at camp. 

15th March (Day 7) - Ghana / Karmavas:

Today's ride takes you through flat, dry desert which is arid but not sandy. Riders will be surprised at the clean and well-maintained clay houses of the villagers. Your movement today is west north-west and as the riders approach the campsite, the low hills of the Aravali ranges are visible on the horizon. Today you will see the typical desert flora. Overnight at camp.

16th March (Day 8) - Karmavas / Asotra: 

Whilst riding towards the hills and passed acacia clusters, the riders will cross the village of 'Mangla'. Today's lunch stop is in the backdrop of a hillock which faces the Luni riverbed. After lunch you ride on to Asotra... a big surprise as this is a green belt of land. Around Asotra, aquifer created by the ancient Saraswati river basin (from 2000BC) has been discovered. As a result, the farmers pump water using electric pumps to raise their crops. Riders will head through this fertile oasis and once again will camp in a farmer's field, meeting the farmer's family and local villagers.

Overnight at camp. 

17th March (Day 9) - Asotra/ Balotra Fair (Tilwara):

To avoid the need to ride with the traffic alongside the city of Balotra, this morning the horses depart in the early morning in the company of grooms. The riders are transported by jeep as far as Jasol, when they are reunited with their mounts and can begin the 16km ride towards the fair at Tilwara village. You will reach Tilwara by evening and can explore the fair grounds on arrival. Evening campfire and folk entertainment. 

BALOTRA HORSE & CAMEL FAIR

In southwest Rajasthan, 145km from Jodhpur on the banks of the dry seasonal river Luni, is this small village called Tilwara. The closest town to Tilwara (19km) is Balotra which falls in the district of Barmer of Rajasthan. It was here many centuries ago that the famous ruler, Mallinathji was in power and he is now worshipped as a divinity. The temple to Mallinathji is located on the opposite bank of the dry river Luni from Tilwara village. Every year in the first fortnight of the Hindu month of "Chaitra" a large fair is held here. Horses, camels, bullocks and donkeys come to the fair.

The owners of the animals camp in the dry riverbed. They may use their carts or make temporary dwellings from acacia bushes. The prosperous horse owners and traders bring their tents and attendant staff, cooks etc. The animal owners occupy the dry riverbed for many kilometres and they cook, sleep and trade in these temporary dwellings called 'Aali' in the local dialect. At sunrise and sunset the horse owners display their horses by riding up and down the riverbed. Audiences and buyers cheer them and anybody can accost the riders and bid or negotiate the deal for a horse they like the look of. 

Now the state government organises horse-judging competitions. The function last year was presided by The Maharaja of Jodhpur. The fair is held in the heartland of the Indian breed of horses, typically the 'Marwari' (with curled ears) and some excellent quality horses are brought to the fair. People from far away states such as the Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra come to purchase animals here.

It is a rare spectacle to see 5 to 7 thousand horses, 15 to 20 thousand camels and about 30 to 40 thousand bullocks and cattle and their owners in the flat expanse of the dry sandy riverbed. The market places, which come up, sell all kinds of goods such as camel carts, water tanks, earthenware utensils, rugs, ropes, horse tack, camel saddles, colourful girdles, beds, doors, brass, copper and steel pots and pans. Many stores offer recycled material like conveyor belts, parachute materials, musical instruments and all things which villagers would buy.

The fair is a photographer's paradise. It takes the visitor into an atmosphere of biblical times. One feels to have walked into the past. Your safari camp is set up around 1 - 1.5km on the banks of the riverbed, overlooking the fair site. You go on your horses and ride around the fair. At a pre-decided point the grooms await you so that you can leave your horses and walk around if you wish to. This fair is much larger than the famous Pushkar or Nagaur camel and cattle fair and is not frequented by tourists. It is an unspoiled horse fair.

Guests have to be warned that temperatures in March are warmer then January / February and can go up to 28-38. However they will be more than rewarded by this extraordinary event and will enjoy the visit immensely.

Overnight in camp.

18th March (Day 10) - Balotra Fair:

Morning and evening rides with a free afternoon to explore the fairgrounds. Evening campfire and folk entertainment. Overnight at camp.

19th March (Day 11) - Balotra Fair:

Morning and evening rides with a free afternoon to explore the fairgrounds. Evening campfire and folk entertainment. Overnight at camp.

20th March (Day 12) - Balotra Fair/ Jodhpur/ Delhi or onward destination:

Morning ride around the fair, then lunch followed by transfer to Jodhpur (4 hours) and dinner at Ratan Vilas. Rooms are available to wash and change. Later transfer to railway station for train onto Delhi.

Riders could also fly Jodhpur-Delhi if timings are suitable, however if flight is delayed or cancelled there is a chance of missing international connection if it is on the same day.

March is beginning of summer season  so it will be warm during the daytime. Riding will start early with a long lunch break and ride till late evening. Day temperature will be approximately 25 to 38℃, night temperature 15 to 20℃.



Minimum group size: 8
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: You must be a relatively experienced rider with a high level of physical fitness, happy to ride at all paces and for long hours.
Type of ride: Trail ride.
Total riding time: Long hours in the saddle.
Departure dates: 2017: 15 - 24 March
 
Pricing: 2017:

Please contact us for price.

Included on arrival to Jodhpur: Accommodation on a twin-share basis with attached bathrooms/showers rooms as stated in itinerary, sightseeing tours & excursions as specified. Entrance tickets at Jodhpur fort, airport/railway station transfers as specified at Jodhpur, all meals during safari and at Jodhpur, English speaking guide, local representatives, tour managers, transport private car/Jeep/tempo traveler Van, all meals starting from arrival in Jodhpur till departure from Jodhpur

Not included: Accommodation on Day 1, overnight train ticket to Jodhpur on Day 2, Items of personal nature such as alcoholic and other non alcoholic drinks, laundry, sundries etc, single room or sole occupancy costs supplements, personal service tips and gratuities, insurance, telephone calls, faxes and all form of communication, flights, travel insurance.
Services of arrival/departure airport, transfer at Delhi, hotel at Delhi and air/train tickets are provided and costed by our our associate company 'Royal Expeditions New Delhi' if required.

Price does not include flights or travel insurance.



Talchapper Blackbuck Sanctuary Ride



Day 1 - Arrival:

Arrive into New Delhi on a morning flight and take an airport transfer to the hotel/base stables in Nawalgarh, a journey of approximately 6.5 hours (not included in the price but can be arranged by and paid to Far and Ride). You will receive a royal welcome at Roop Niwas Kothi which lies just a kilometre from the town and is a fascinating blend of European and Rajput style of architecture. The former palace offers spacious lawns, a billiards room and swimming pool. 

After lunch you will be taken to the stables and introduced to the team who will assist you during your safari. There will be a briefing on horse riding in India and a chance to meet some of the horses. Guests arriving early in the afternoon will have a chance of a test ride today, but most transferring from Delhi will take their first ride the next day. Nawalgarh is situated in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, an area which comprises of the districts Jhunjhunu and Sikar. It is know for the painted houses, known as "havelis", which belongs to its wealthy merchant class (the Marwaris!). The region is sometimes considered as an open-air art gallery! The drive to Shekhawati is through picturesque villages and farms. 

Nawalgarh was founded in 1737AD. by Thakur Nawal Singh, a warrior statesman, whose name is enshrined in history and folklore. The town has an old world charm and the colourful bazaar offers the greatest number of painted havelis in Shekhawati. 

Tonight you will have dinner and stay overnight at Roop Niwas Kothi. 

Day 2 - Nawalgarh:

Morning ride out with picnic breakfast in the countryside, returning to Roop Niwas in time for lunch. Afternoon involves free time at the palace though an optional activity is offered - ladies are invited to have their palms decorated with henna in the traditional style. Later you will enjoy some sightseeing of Nawalgarh by car, with a guide, in order to see the havelis, frescos and painted houses. In the evening you will visit the stables and then enjoy another night in the hotel. 

Day 3 - Nawalgarh/Churiajitgarh/Nabipura (28km):

Today's ride is through semi-desert farmland towards a small woodlot and a dry watering hole, surrounded by ker bushes. There are often large numbers of blue bull antelope here and you can see them around your campsite. Overnight in camp. 

Day 4 - Nabipura / Dabri / Fatehpur Beed (30km):

Morning ride through semi-desert region and Fatehpur Beed. You will enjoy a picnic lunch near a typical Shekhawati architecture water tank, 'johda'. Three hundred years ago the Nawab of Fatehpur encircled an area, by riding on horseback from sunrise to sunset, and declared it protected. Today Fatehpur Beed is an amazing 70 sq. km area with a variety of desert plant species. Camping in Beed allows you to see desert foxes, jackal, blue bull antelope and deer. The protected area proves that if humans don't interfere then a semi-forest can be created in a desert. 

Overnight in camp, near to the ruined of a travellers home which overlooks the entire beed. This is a beautiful campsite!

Day 5 - Fatehpur Beed / Khuri / Shynanmata (34km):

Riding west today will take you into the territory of the former Bikaner state. There will be a sudden change in terrain, your surroundings becoming large sand dunes. After lunch the going will be slow. Overnight camp in the protected woodlot of the Shynanmata rock edifice temple. 

Day 6 - Shynanmata / Khuri / Talchapper (31km):

Today the ride continues west and you will leave the sand dunes and come to flat land of loam soil. Most of the ride (providing permission is given) will be through or around the peripheries of Tal Chappar, the famous blackbuck sanctuary. Scarfs/turbans will be useful here as fine dust rides when you ride across this flat ground. You will get to see blackbuck deer and also other deer species during the ride. 

Overnight camp will be set upon the peripheries of the sanctuary. 

Day 7 - Tal Chappar Blackbuck Sanctuary:

A full day ride, exploring the area surrounding the peripheries of the Tal Chappar sanctuary. Tal Chappar covers 71 sq. km. of desert scrubland and it has the largest herds of blackbuck antelope in India, as well as chinkara gazelle, desert cat, desert fox and other dry land wildlife. Flocks of demoiselle and common cranes can be seen at the nearby lakes and wet lands. Other bird life include sand grouse, quail and the cream coloured desert courser. There will be a picnic lunch and then you will return to camp. 

Overnight camp in on the peripheries of the sanctuary once again. 

Day 8 - Talchapper / Delhi:

Early morning ride and a chance to say goodbye to your horses. After breakfast you will take your transfer to Delhi or your chosen onwards destination (transfer can be included by Far and Ride). 



Accommodation: A combination of Nawalgarh hotel and luxury tents.
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Experienced riders capable of handling a forward going horse. Riders need to be fit and able to withstand long hours in the saddle.
Type of ride: Trail ride.
Total riding time: As per itinerary.
Departure dates: 2017: 21 - 28 January, 11 - 18 February (ESCORTED RIDE - CONFIRMED)

Other dates available on request for groups of 4 or more.
 
Pricing: 2017:

£2357 per rider.
£1888 per non-rider.
Single supplement for entire ride: £181 per rider.

INCLUDED: 7 nights of accommodation, all meals from day 1 dinner to day 8 breakfast, horse riding as per itinerary, groom service to look after horses, English speaking safari leader, accompanying 4X4 jeep to carry hand baggage, unlimited mineral water and soft drinks whilst on safari and at camps, campfire, folk music entertainment everyday at the camps.

NOT INCLUDED: flights, insurance, transfers from/to Delhi, Delhi hotels (if required), alcoholic drinks or extra drinks in hotels/accommodation, extra services and tips/gratuities.



Nawalgarh to Mehansar Castle



Day 1 - Arrival:

Arrive into New Delhi on a morning flight and take an airport transfer to the hotel/base stables in Nawalgarh, a journey of approximately 6.5 hours (transfer not included in the price but can be arranged by and paid to Far and Ride). You will receive a royal welcome at Roop Niwas Kothi which lies just a kilometre from the town and is a fascinating blend of European and Rajput style of architecture. The former palace offers spacious lawns, a billiards room and swimming pool. 

Nawalgarh is situated in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, an area which comprises of the districts Jhunjhunu and Sikar. It is know for the painted houses, known as "havelis", which belonged to its wealthy merchant class (the Marwaris!). The region is sometimes considered as an open-air art gallery! The drive to Shekhawati is through picturesque villages and farms. 

Nawalgarh was founded in 1737AD. by Thakur Nawal Singh, a warrior statesman, whose name is enshrined in history and folklore. The town has an old world charm and the colourful bazaar offers the greatest number of painted havelis in Shekhawati. 

Depending on your arrival time there may be time to meet your horse today and even try them out, otherwise you will be introduced to them tomorrow and given tips on how best to ride them. These are purebred Indian horses and your host, Devendra, is very passionate about them.

Tonight you will have dinner and stay overnight at Roop Niwas Kothi. 

Day 2 - Nawalgarh:

Morning ride out with picnic breakfast in the countryside, returning to Roop Niwas in time for lunch. Afternoon involves free time at the palace though an optional activity is offered - ladies are invited to have their palms decorated with henna. Later you will enjoy some sightseeing of Nawalgarh by car, with a guide, in order to see the havelis, frescos and painted houses. In the evening you will visit the stables and enjoy another night in the hotel. 

Day 3 - Nawalgarh/Churiajitgarh/Nabipura (28km):

Today's ride is through semi-desert farmland towards a small woodlot and a dry watering hole, surrounded by ker bushes. There are often large numbers of blue bull antelope here and you can see them around your campsite. Overnight in camp. 

Day 4 - Nabipura / Dabri / Fatehpur Beed (30km):

Morning ride through semi-desert region and Fatehpur Beed. You will enjoy a picnic lunch near a typical Shekhawati architecture water tank, 'johda'. Three hundred years ago the Nawab of Fatehpur encircled an area, by riding on horseback from sunrise to sunset, and declared it protected. Today Fatehpur Beed is an amazing 70 sq. km area with a variety of desert plant species. Camping in Beed allows you to see desert foxes, jackal, blue bull antelope and deer. The protected area proves that if humans don't interfere then a semi-forest can be created in a desert. 

Overnight in camp, near to the ruins of a travellers home which overlooks the entire beed. This is a beautiful campsite!

Day 5 - Fatehpur Beed / Thimoli Crossing / Dhakas (22km):

Riding north today you will go further into the Shekhawati region. The sand dunes are dotted with greenery where farmers have found water from deep tube wells. Ramgarh is a town with many painted havelis and an interested traditional market place. 

Overnight camp on farmland. 

Day 6 - Thimoli Crossing / Dhakas / Mehansar Castle (14km):

You will pass through very high sand dunes and desert villages to reach the beautiful small village of Mehansar of the Shekhawati region. The hotel is a charming, family-run hotel with basic comforts but very tasty home cooked food. 

Overnight in Mehansar castle. 

Day 7 - Mehansar / Lalsinghpura / Mehansar (23km):

Ride out with picnic breakfast. Late afternoon sightseeing of Mehansar including a visit to the Gopinath temple and the famous 'Sone Chandi Ki Haveli'. 

Overnight in Mehansar castle. 

Day 8 - Mehansar / Delhi:

Early morning ride (if time permits) and a chance to say goodbye to your horses. After breakfast you will take a transfer (around 7 hours) back to Delhi. The transfer is not included in the price but can be arranged by and paid to Far and Ride, as can a hotel in Delhi for the night before flying home the next day. 



Accommodation: A combination of Nawalgarh hotel, luxury tents and Mehansar hotel.
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Experienced riders capable of handling a forward going horse. Riders need to be fit and able to withstand long hours in the saddle.
Type of ride: Trail ride.
Total riding time: 6 days of varying length (maybe an additional short ride on day 8 if time permits).
Departure dates: 2017: 18 - 25 February, 1 - 8 April.
 
Pricing: 2017:

£2175 per rider.
£1435 per non-rider.
Single supplement for the entire ride: £151 per rider.

INCLUDED: 7 nights of accommodation, all meals from day 1 dinner to day 8 breakfast, horse riding as per itinerary, groom service to look after horses, English speaking safari leader, accompanying 4X4 jeep to carry hand baggage, unlimited mineral water and soft drinks whilst on safari and at camps, campfire, folk music entertainment everyday at the camps.

NOT INCLUDED: flights, insurance, transfers from/to Delhi, Delhi hotels (if required), alcoholic drinks or extra drinks in hotels/accommodation, extra services and tips/gratuities.