Day 01 Delhi
Arrive any time to the hotel, meeting with everyone. We’ll get on a rickshaw to ride around old Delhi, view the bazaars, palaces and feel the extraordinary tempo of the heavily dense population. After warming our hearts with a satisfying dinner at the hotel, we’ll gather for an evening introduction with our tour leader, who will brief us about our next days.
Day 02 Udaipur
We’ll take off for a morning flight to magical Udaipur in the state of Rajasthan. A city of more than 500 years, it is a sanctuary of colorful streets, markets and palaces. This is of no coincidence that the city is widely known to be the most romantic place in India, and possibly in Asia. We’ll take a dreamy boat ride on the mesmerizing Lake Pichola that looms between the Aravalli Mountains to the mansions and temples that line the shores, and attend a cultural Rajastani show. We’ll spend the night at Radisson hotel like true maharajas.
Day 03 Narlai
We’ll try to keep our breakfast light, because shortly we will hop on our jeeps and start the driving journey to the desert. On our way we’ll pass through local villages and get to know our vehicle, with an easy kickoff of dirt roads. We’d better get a grip on Indian driving which some say is the craziest in the world. Later we will arrive to Narlai and explore the quiet village with temples hidden in caves in a great granite rock. We will stay at the beautiful Rawla Narlai heritage resort, which used to be the hunting lodge of the Royal family of Jodhpur.
Day 04 Korta
How many times in your life did you wake up to see an elephant? Today you’ll do just that as we’ll take a short climb up the hill to an elephant statue that stares straight towards the horizon. We are not yet finished with animals for today, as we will soon see real crocodiles (in the desert!) near a water dam on our way to Korta. The residents of this village are from the Rabari sect-camel herders. In this village, women wear black headscarves and brass earrings and they run the households when men are out herding. We will have dinner and stay at the Korta Escape Hotel.
Day 05 Judhpur
After a short walk around the tiny village of Korta, we’ll drive to Jodhpur, AKA the blue city (after the houses that are painted blue). On the outskirts of the city, we’ll find a large fort called Mehrangarh fort and stroll around the interesting old city. Are you up for a crazy zipline slide? The brave ones can slide down a long zipline with breathtaking views of the Sadar Bazzar, temples and blue houses.
Day 06 Osian
We’ve planned this day for the desert roamers and sand lovers. Today we will cross the desert to Jamba where we’ll visit a mythical palace locked in the dunes. Driving off road to the town of Osian, we might discover more villages treasured in the heart of the dunes. It is hard to believe that people can survive in these hard climate conditions, but apparently it is possible. We’ll talk to local farmers who will share with us some of their desert hacks. If we’re lucky, we’ll see herds of deers and camels in the dunes and meet the hunters’ caste. At evening we will climb up to our luxurious tent hotel on a hill that boasts a magical sunset.
Day 07 Khimsar
Osian is a city with so much history, one day is hardly enough to cover. We can try and talk about history on top of a camel as we ride it in the city’s backyard- the powerful desert. Later, we will drive to Kahimsar and explore the 450 years old fort of the Karamsot Rathores dynasty in its ravishing grandeur and surprising vintage cars collection that adds up to this tinge of royalty. Oases like Khimsar are made to stay in.
Day 08 Gajner
Having said what we just did about oases, we’ll depart from Khimsar to visit the Karni Mata temple, dedicated to, no other than, Karni Mata. She was a hindu sage who is worshipped as the incarnation of the goddess Durga. The temples that were built for her memory after her mysterious disappearance, are famous for the rats that scatter around untouched, as they are considered sacred. We will award ourselves in our hotel which is an architectural beauty that used to be a palace.
Day 09 Bikaner
Today, we will feel as if we were the Maharaja himself in his hunting zone (except for the hunting part). We will visit in the Ganjer Wildlife Sanctuary that draws a variety of species to the middle-of-the-desert lake. Later, we’ll cross the desert towards Bikaner, which hits worldwide records of heat measured in the summer. Tonight we’ll sleep at a residence of the bluebloods that also hosted King George V and Queen Mary.
Day 10 Mandawa
Today we’ll shift gears and head towards Mandawa, known for the wall paintings in the Mandawa fort built for lord Krishna, and in the Havelis (mansions) that are a blend of traditional art with Victorian influences of the 18th and 19th century. Don’t be surprised if you’ll happen to bump into a Bollywood star as this is also a prime location of the Indian film industry.
Day 11 Alsisar
Prepare to put the medal to the metal for the last time in this trip, this is our last self-drive day in the desert. The guide will unfold the secrets of the mud huts and impressive Havelis of Mandawa and in between, the everlasting background will appear of the parched desert. The Havelis were intentionally built for the merchant class in a unique courtyard fashion that enabled social encounters as well as giving a medieval AC solution for the heat. Towards the afternoon we’ll reach Alsisar local palace and tour the houses in the village.
Day 12 Delhi
After devouring our plentiful breakfast we’ll leave for Delhi. This will take us a few hours so it’s time to catch up with your new friends before leaving back home. Delhi will await us to shop until we drop and at that point exactly- we’ll go out for our last beer, to drink until we’ll fall asleep, safe and sound. This is a good goodbye, and a one that will hopefully mark new beginnings for us all.
Day 13 Delhi
Time to say goodbye- and fly back home