The Christmas Ride begins like the first part of the Pushkar Fair ride and continues through and along the Aravalli Hills to end in Jaipur.
On this riding tour in India you will get to spend Christmas Eve in an 18th century castle and New Year in a fort situated on a hill overlooking a village famous for its miniature paintings. The Marwari horses will carry you across the changing landscape, and you will also visit some of the architectural wonders of India.
During the non-camping portion of the trip, accommodations have been reserved in luxurious hotels, converted palaces, which are more rustic and distinctive, and charming heritage-type lodgings. On the camping portion of the trip, two person walled tents, toilets and hot and cold running water are provided. Hot water and electricity are reliable in most of the hotels, however, in some of the smaller villages the supply may be limited, but service is excellent and the beds are comfortable.
If you like Indian food, you will be happy as dinners are served buffet style with a very wide choice of tasty dishes with fresh vegetables and fruit. Not all dishes are highly spiced as these places cater usually to European guests.
Dec. 21: Arrive in New Delhi and overnight in Hotel Vasant Continental or similar hotel. Rooms available from 12pm. If time permits, sightseeing of Delhi.
Dec. 22: After an early breakfast, drive to Dundlod (about 6 to 7 hours). Arrive Dundlod and transfer to Dundlod Fort where you would stay for two nights. This is not a regular hotel – but more like a home and the starting point of the rides in Shekhawati.
Dundlod: The Dundlod Fort in the heart of the Shekhawati was built in 1750. This majestic fort surrounded by a moat, is a mix of Mogul and Rajputana architecture. The majestic Diwan Khana (the Audience Hall) is furnished with Louis XIV furniture.
Dec. 23: This morning visit the stables, which have some of the best Marwari horses in the country, and try out the horses riding in and around Dundlod. In the afternoon have time to relax and visit Dundlod town and see the frescoes.
Dec. 24: After breakfast, ride to Churi Ajitgarh (about 20 km). The ride to Churi takes you across villages, farmlands and some quaint farmers’ dwellings. The terrain is soft and sandy and ideal for riding. Arrive Churi and transfer to hotel Vivaana Culture Hotel which at one time used to be a Haveli (a merchant’s mansion) with beautiful frescoes for which the entire Shekhawati is famous for.
Shekhawati is a region of which Churi Ajitgarh, Mandawa, Mehansar and Alsisar are parts. This region is Rajasthan’s open air Art Gallery. No other region in India or perhaps, even in the world, has such a large concentration of high quality frescoes as the region of Shekhawati. In the beginning this semi-arid region had only its blank monochromatic palette to offer. No school of painting thrived till history and circumstances took up this colorless page and made it blossom with art for almost two centuries – from 1750 to 1930. Today this region is commonly called the Open Air Art Gallery of Rajasthan.
Dec. 25: After breakfast, ride to Mandawa (about 25 km) passing through villages and farmlands speckled with the Khejri trees. The terrain is quite flat except for the sand dunes which keep coming up now and then. Arrive at Mandawa and stay at the Castle Mandawa – a very imposing and luxurious hotel. Enjoy Christmas celebrations.
Dec. 26: Ride to Thimoli (about 28 km) passing through a nice sandy countryside, farm lands and villages. There are good chances of seeing some wildlife in the form of the Nilgai antelope (which is the biggest antelope in India) and the graceful Chinkara gazelle. Overnight in the comfortable tented camp.
Dec. 27: After breakfast, ride to Mehansar (about 25 km) passing through a very beautiful landscape comprising of sand dunes, farm lands and villages. Again, there are good chances of seeing some wildlife in the form of the Nilgai and Chinkara gazelle. Arrive Mehansar and ride into the Narayan Niwas Castle. Please Note that the Narayan Niwas Castle is a private home and facilities are quite basic. Hot water is supplied in buckets. Please do not expect any luxuries here. However, the hosts are lovely people and they make you feel at home.
Dec. 28: Ride to Gangiasar (about 25 km). The ride on this day again is through the desert country – which is still quite devoid of major developments. The pace of the ride is fast like on the previous days and you get some good canters. You get to ride over a very open and interesting area and see small farmer’s dwellings. Most of the time the terrain is soft and sandy and there are good chances of seeing the Chinkara Gazelle and the Nilgai antelope. Overnight tented camp.
Dec. 29: Ride to Alsisar ( about 22 kms). The ride on this day again is very interesting. It is full of lovely sand dunes – besides small hamlets and farmlands. Today also there are good chances of seeing the Nilgai and the Chinkara gazelle and if lucky, the endangered Blackbuck Antelope. The distance today is short and you can arrive Alsisar early and have a relaxing time at the lovely hotel – the Alsisar Mahal.
Arrive in Alsisar – which is quite a large village and ride into the Alsisar Mahal – which has been converted into a hotel very recently and where the rooms have been tastefully renovated in order to provide all the comforts to the guests. The hotel has a lovely swimming pool – a nice place to relax after a ride.
Dec. 30: Ride to Ghanghu ( about 25 kms ). This is a very interesting ride as it takes you across small villages, open sandy land dotted with khejri trees (a tree in the desert) and farmer’s dwellings. At times you may have to ride over some sand dunes. There are very good chances of seeing some wildlife in the form of the Chinkara gazelle, the Nilgai antelope and maybe the endangered Blackbuck antelope also. Overnight tented camp.
Dec. 31: Ride to Churu (about 25 km). Like on the previous days, the ride today is through a desert like country with opportunities of good canters. You come across sand dunes, open land and some farmers’ dwellings. The hotel in Churu is Malji ka Kamra. It is used to be Haveli (merchant’s mansion) belonging to a wealthy merchant and now has been converted into a very nice and comfortable Heritage hotel and it is here that you will have the New Years Eve celebrations.
Jan. 1: After an early breakfast, bid goodbye to your horses and staff and drive to Jaipur (approximately 4 hrs drive). Arrive Jaipur and transfer to hotel Narayan Niwas Palace for overnight. Spend the afternoon sightseeing in Jaipur.
Jaipur: The rose-pink capital of Rajasthan, is surrounded on all sides by rugged hills, crowned with forts. Enclosed by embattled walls, the city was built early in the eighteenth century. The Maharajah’s palace stands in the center of the city amidst lovely gardens. Houses with latticed windows line the streets, their rose-pink color lending enchantment to the scene and almost magical at sunset. Jaipur is aptly called the ” Pink City of India”. It takes its name from the famous Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, who founded the city in 1728. A keen astronomer, he built an observatory which still exists and is equipped with quaint masonry instruments of remarkable size. This observatory (called Jantar Mantar) is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Jaipur is noted for its craftsmen skilled in the art of cutting precious stones and famed for its garnets and rubies. It is equally well known for brass inlay work, lacquer work and the printings of muslin.
City sightseeing: The City Palace which now houses a museum containing rare manuscripts, painting and an armory; the Jantar Mantar observatory- built in the 17th century by Jai Singh- with a sundial 90 ft. high; the Museum amidst the Ram Niwas Palace Gardens founded in 1876 with a large collection of antiques; the palace of Winds, a landmark of Jaipur made of pink sandstone and of unique design
Jan. 2: In the morning more sightseeing, of the Amber Fort including an elephant ride.
Amber Fort: 12 km from Jaipur lies the city of Amber with an ancient imposing fort cum Palace overlooking the lake at the entrance to a rocky mountain grove. Built in the 17th century, the palace is a distinguished specimen of of Rajput architecture and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Jai Mandir (hall of victory) is so delicately ornamented with fine inlay work that it glows. The fort of Jaigarh, crowning the summit of a peak is of amazing beauty and grandeur.
Fly back to Delhi at 4:30pm, transferring to Hotel Vasant Continental for the night.
Jan. 3: Transfer to international airport for return flights. Rooms will be available until noon today.
This itinerary is flexible and changes may occur at the guide's discretion due to weather or other unforeseeable circumstanced
Trip Dates & Pricing
Please note that guests will be coming back from Jaipur on the evening of January 02 and will have rooms available in Delhi until noon of January 03, therefore international flights out of Delhi can be booked any time after 12pm on January 03.
Additional Pricing Information:
A Visa is required for India.
Ride price is set, guaranteed and final at the time deposit is paid.
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We are still glowing from our amazing, glorious, magical adventure in India. Everything was perfect! Thank you again for your terrific advice and putting us in contact with the outfitter who we are enormously grateful to. Riding in India was, without the shadow of a doubt, the most wonderful and delightful riding... Read more