HOME OF MAHARAJAS, MONUMENTS AND MAJESTY
This is not a marathon but a pleasurable drive through one of the world’s most exotic landscapes. You don’t even have to ship your car either as we provide a great 4×4 with insurance and back-up
The Royal Rajasthan Rally roars away from Delhi for a fantastic drive through the colourful and historic state of Rajasthan – home of Maharajas, monuments and majesty. The 22-day event includes the ultimate luxury combined with adventure and game park safaris on the tail of tigers and leopards. The route has been carved out of our unrivalled experience of India where we have driven the byways for more than 20 years looking for the best places and hotels to visit – as well as getting to know Maharajas. We have put together a memorable route which explores this wonderful state where there is a photo opportunity on virtually every corner.
From our start at the Trident in Delhi our first overnight is in Mandawa, dubbed India’s Open Air Museum due to its wonderful Havelis. A tour of the town is organised on arrival. From Mandawa we head for Pushkar and the amazing Pushkar Camel Fair where 30,000 camels and their handlers home in on the town for a week of trading and celebrations. The camels are dressed up, paraded, shaved, entered into beauty contests, raced, made to dance, and traded. It’s one big carnival accompanied by an array of musicians, magicians, dancers, acrobats, snake charmers and carousel rides to entertain the crowd.
After a day off to experience the Camel Fair our next stop is Nagaur, once a vital strategic crossing centre in Rajasthan and home to a magnificent fort inside the city walls. From Nagaur we head into the desert to Jaisalmer – for centuries one of the most important trading towns on the east west spice route. Since the partition of India in 1947 it has been on the front line of India-Pakistan politics, but nowadays is peaceful and a popular tourist destination. On the way there we stop at Pokhran for a wonderful lunch in the Fort.
Amongst the great things to do in Jaisalmer we take a camel ride to watch the sunset over the dunes. Our next stop is Jodhpur and the unforgettable Umaid Bhawan hotel which dominates the town. It was built from 1929 to 1943 by the Maharajah of Jodhpur to give work to his people in a period of famine. It has 347 rooms and includes a dome to rival St Paul’s Cathedral in London. In Jodhpur we visit the Mehrangarh Fort with one of the finest displays of Rajasthani culture and artefacts. Not to be missed.
Then we head to Narlai where we have our first safari – this time looking for Leopards. Here also is one of the finest step wells in Rajasthan where we will have a romantic dinner under the stars. The internationally renowned Lake Palace in Udaipur is where we lay our heads for the next two nights. Set in the middle of Lake Pichola it has been seen in a number of films – including James Bond – and is one of the world’s top hotels. Udaipur is one of the finest towns in Rajasthan with museums, stunning buildings and a scintillating lake.
Next we head to Bundi and the area that Rudyard Kipling set the Jungle book. Here we stay at the magnificent Bhainsrorgarh Fort Hotel set high on the cliff overlooking the Chambal River. Tigers are next on the agenda as we spend two nights in Ranthambore where, at the last count, there were more than 60 tigers waiting to be snapped – although they are pretty shy normally. A couple of drives, one in the evening and the other the next morning should give a sighting. We take a break from cities next as we go to Samode Palace outside the Pink City of Jaipur.
We do make a day trip into Jaipur to see the great Jantar Mantar, The Amber Fort on elephant, City Palace and the market. Although our drive into Delhi is the last day on the road we still have one more experience to savour – an Indian train journey to Agra and the Taj Mahal on the latest express train line. Finally, our last night is spent in Delhi before leaving this amazing country.