Horseback Riding in India

Pushkar Fair and Diwali Festival Ride

Overview

The Pushkar Camel Fair is one of the great historical and colorful events of India. For untold centuries tribesmen have met at the full moon to trade camels, cattle and horses. Of late years there have been some 200,000 people and 50,000 animals.

The itinerary also includes the Diwali Festival, one of the most important Hindu festivals. Experience the full festivities and lighting in the small community of Dundlod.

You will cross varied undulating terrain on athletic, forward horses as you travel through rural Rajasthan on your way to or from the fair.

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. Some of the hotels have swimming pools. On the camping portion of the trip, two person walled tents are provided, and hot and cold running water also. Hot water and electricity are reliable in most of the hotels, however, in some of the smaller villages the supply may be somewhat limited, but service is excellent and the beds are comfortable.

  • Overview:
    The horses used are the indigenous Marwari breed and thoroughbred crosses, some of them polo ponies. The Marwari is a slim athletic breed, the average size being 15 h.h. Army/military type English saddles are used.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Marwari and Marwari cross
  • Trip Pace:
    moderate to fast
  • Tack:
    English trekking
  • Weight limit:
    195 lbs

Delhi

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Nov 13: Arrive in Delhi and transfer to the Hotel Vasant Continental or similar. Rooms will be available from 12 noon. If time permits, enjoy the afternoon sightseeing in New Delhi: The old city, built by Shah Jehan in the 17th century, stands today as an epitome of the whole history of Indo- Islamic architecture. New Delhi, designed and constructed by the Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker is a mixture of east and west. The public buildings in red sandstone are in the Moghul style. It has a circular Parliament House and an imposing Central Secretariat in two blocks which stand at the approaches to Rashtrapati Bhawan, the residence of the President of India.

Delhi is today the political, economic and cultural capital of the World’s largest democracy and has also become one of the greatest tourist centers of the World.

  • Sightseeing of New Delhi: Visit Humayun’s Tomb aptly called predecessor of the Taj Mahal. Drive past Safdarjung’s Tomb, the Qutab Minar, 72 meters high and one of the perfect towers of the Persian World. Nearby, amidst the ruins of the Quwut – ul – Islam Mosque stands the Iron pillar which has stood the vagaries of the weather and not rusted over 1500 years. An orientation drive through New Delhi includes the Embassy area, Government Buildings. Drive past Jantar- Mantar Astronomical observatory and through Connaught Place, New Delhi’s main shopping center.

Overnight in Delhi.

Day 2

Nov 14: After an early breakfast, drive to Dundlod (about 6 to 7 hours) and transfer to Dundlod Fort where you would stay for two nights.

  • 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. This old building has been beautifully maintained and now has all modern comforts.  It has a huge banquet hall and each bedroom is different with its own charm.  The Fort is located on the edge of a small village of the same name.

Today is one of the most important festivals of India, called Diwali, and you will witness the celebrations.

  • Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, is held and celebrated every year in honor of Lord Rama’s (one of the Indian Gods, the hero of the Ramayana and a reincarnate of Lord Vishnu) return to his capital Ayodhya after the exile of fourteen years. Thousands of years have passed by, and yet so ideal is the kingdom of Rama that it is remembered to this day. Consequently, to commemorate the return of Rama, Sita and Lakshman to Ayodhya people celebrate Diwali with the bursting of firecrackers and by lighting up their houses with earthen diyas (lamps) or other lamps in the grandest style, year after year.On the Diwali day prayers are offered to Lord Ganesha, the elephant headed God and to Goddess Laxmi – the Goddess of wealth. It is believed that the Goddess of wealth would grace your home/business on this day.It is worth taking a walk in the market areas – the shops are beautifully decorated and are crowded with people in lovely dresses and costumes.At night the whole town is lit up with earthen oil lamps, candles and fire works reverberates with the sound of crackers and sounds of joy and happiness.
Day 3

Nov 15: Try out the horses riding in and around Dundlod. In the afternoon, after a short ride around Dundlod, visit one of the best Marwari Horse breeding farm/stables of the country and where you would also be given a display of the sport of tent pegging – which was developed in India and now is fast becoming a popular equestrian sport.

Overnight Dundlod Fort.

Day 4

Nov 16: Ride to Mandawa (about 22 km) passing through several villages, farmers dwellings and farmlands. The terrain is soft and sandy and very good for riding. Arrive Mandawa and transfer to Mandawa Castle or Desert Resort for overnight.

  • Mandawa, a remote feudal principality in the center of the Shekhawati region, was a trading outpost for the ancient caravan routes that stopped here from china and the Middle East. The Rajput ruler of Mandawa, Thakur Nawal Singh, built a fort in 1755 to protect this outpost. The township that grew around the fort soon attracted a large community of traders, who settled here. When the caravan traffic ceased in the late 18th Century, the traders created business empires in other parts of the country, but returned to Mandawa to built palatial mansions in their hometown.Like many historic homes, Castle Mandawa is a curious mixture of the old and the new. Medieval turreted towers and planquin- roofed balconies blend with modern comforts in old- world rooms. Family portraits, antique cannons and arms add to the charm of this family- run resort where tradition still runs strong. Even time is measured by different a clock….a huge brass gong struck by the resident timekeepers at the fort every hour!
Day 5

Nov 17: Ride to Dundlod Stables (about 22 km). Leave the horses at Dundlod
Stables and drive to Nawalgarh (about 8 kms.) The ride on this day is mostly on soft sandy terrain passing through small villages and farmlands. Because of a busy highway between Dundlod and Nawalgarh, crossing the highway has become a bit risky and we have to leave the horses at Dundlod and drive to Nawalgarh, where you transfer to Roop Niwas Kothi for overnight. Later, visit the frescoed havelis.

  • Dundlod, Mandawa, Churi Ajitgarh and Nawalgarh are a part of the Shekhawati region which 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 until 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. The town of Nawalgarh was founded in 1737 A.D. and exudes an old charm with its colorful bazaar having the largest number of painted Havelies in the Shekhawati region. The various Havelies are covered with frescoes depicting the whole gamut of social and religious life and where history is painted with humor.
Day 6

Nov 18: After breakfast drive to Khirod (about 10 km) where you will meet up with the horses and then ride to Bhairon Ji Temple (about 28 km), passing through several villages and farmers’ dwellings. The landscape changes dramatically on this day as it takes you close to the great Aravali range of hills. After lunch, ride for some time through farm lands, then follow a dry river bed running parallel to the Aravali hills. Camp overnight in tents near a small temple.

Day 7

Nov 19: Ride to Kochor (about 25 km). The ride takes you across a varied terrain  consisting of flat land and sand dunes, passing through quaint villages and farmland. After lunch you get to see a big salt water lake with the hills in the background. Overnight in tented camp near Kochor village.

Day 8

Nov 20: Ride to Danta (about 20 Kms). Today’s ride is a short one – you ride along  a huge lake and across a spectacular landscape of sand dunes, hills and farmlands – cross several villages and see a couple of old forts until you reach Danta Fort. The village of Danta, is surrounded by two fortresses on top of a hill. One of the fortresses is now a hotel, the Danta Kila (kila means fort), where the night is spent.

Day 9

Nov 21: After an early breakfast, bid good bye to your horses and the grooms and drive to Pushkar ( about 04 hours drive). Arrive Pushkar and transfer to Aaram Bagh Resort or similar. After lunch, visit the Pushkar Fair – which at this time, will be at its peak as far as the animals are concerned.

  • Pushkar: Excitement, gaiety and keen sense of competition fill the air as the long journey to Pushkar begins. Spirited columns of people with camels, horses, bullock-carts, cars and jeeps head for Pushkar soon after Diwali.The origin of Pushkar is lost in myth. It is believed that Brahma, the creator, was in search of a place to perform a Vedic yagna (sacrifice). As he pondered, a lotus fell from his hands and water gushed from the spot. Today, the faithful bathe in the holy waters of the Pushkar lake on Kartik Poornima(full moon in November). And on its banks, a mammoth 200000 people and some 50000 cattle become a part of the annual Pushkar fair.A city of Pilgrimage from time immemorial with over 500 temples and 52 bathing ghats ( steps leading into a river or lake), which are linked to the lunar calendar, enclose the lake. Each ghat has its own miraculous qualities and powers of healing. Pushkar begets a legacy of timeless architectural heritage. Pushkar radiates an ambience of peace and spirituality that casts a lure to visit again and again.The fair offers a matchless opportunity to trade in cattle and leather goods. Womenfolk shop for bangles, clothes, utensils and sundry household items.The most dramatic events of the festivities are the cattle auction and the camel race.Sports involving the camel – the friend of the desert folk of Rajasthan are a legion. Equally diverting are the gaily dressed rural folk.
Day 10

Nov 22: Full day in Pushkar – visiting the fair and the town. Overnight Aaram Bagh Resort or similar

Day 11

Nov 23: After breakfast, drive to Jaipur (about 3 hours). Arrive
Jaipur and transfer to Hotel Alsisar Haveli or similar. Spend the afternoon sightseeing.

  • 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
Day 12

Nov 24: 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.

In the afternoon you can rest or shop, or do more sightseeing. Spend another night at Hotel Alsisar Haveli or similar in Jaipur.

On the shorter itinerary option depart Jaipur in the afternoon and arrive in Delhi in time for departing fights abroad.

Day 13

Nov 25: After an early breakfast drive to Agra (about 4 hrs). Visit
Fatehpursikri  A UNESCO World Heritage Site ) en route. Arrive in Agra and transfer to Hotel Jaypee Palace for overnight. Spend the afternoon sightseeing at Agra Fort.

  • Agra Fort: The Agra Fort (a UNESCO World Heritage site) is one of the most important and robustly built stronghold of the Mughals, embellished with number of richly decorated buildings encompassing the imposing Mughal style of art and architecture. It was constructed by the third Mughal emperor Akbar on the remains of an ancient site known as Badalgarh between 1565 and 1573. He ordered to renovate the fort with red sandstone and some 4000 builders daily worked on it and it was completed in 8 years (1565-1573).
    This powerful fortress of red sandstone, semi-circular on plan, is surrounded by a 2.5 km long and 21.4 m high fortification wall. Double ramparts have been provided here with broad massive circular bastions at regular intervals. There are four gates on its four sides, one of the gates was called “Khizri-gate” (the water gate) which opens to the river front, where ghats (quays) were provided. The fort has survived through the onslaught of time, nature and men. Spreading over an area of about 94 acres of land, it comprises many fairy-tale palaces, such as the Jehangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, built by Shah Jehan ( the builder of Taj Mahal ), audience halls, such as the Diwan-i-Khas; and two very beautiful mosques.
Day 14

Nov 26: Morning sightseeing of the Taj Mahal

  • The Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan in memory of his beloved consort Mumtaz Mahal, is a beautiful mausoleum is pure white marble and an architectural marvel. Built in 1631-48 in Agra, seat of the Mughal Empire, the monument sums up many of the formal themes that have played through Islamic architecture. Its refined elegance is a conspicuous contrast both to the Hindu architecture of pre-Islamic India, with its thick walls, corbelled arches, and heavy lintels, and to the Indo-Islamic styles, in which Hindu elements are combined with an eclectic assortment of motifs from Persian and Turkish sources.

After lunch drive to Delhi (about 4 hr) and transfer to the International airport in time for flights home.

Itinerary Addendum

This itinerary is flexible and may change at your guide's discretion due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

Departure Dates

Trip Starts
Trip Ends
Nov 13, 2020
Nov 26, 2020

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $4,470
  • Pricing Variation
  • $4,080Shorter trip option November 13-24 without going to Agra and with one night fewer in Jaipur.
  • Single Supplement
  • $1,185
  • $1,025During shorter trip option November 13-24 without going to Agra and with one night fewer in Jaipur.
  • Transportation
  • $175On shorter option November 13-24 you fly from Jaipur to Delhi on the 24th. This price is subject to change.
Additional Pricing Information:
A Visa is required for India.  


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Contact Bayard Fox

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 trip we have ever been on. Everything was more than perfect! Horses were fabulous - Cathy was delighted how gently her Marwari treated her and Annie tried hard to pack her horse with us for the trip home. Canters in the soft sand were sublime and traveling throughout the small villages a beautiful experience. We especially loved the people we met and the places we stayed. The guide was positively the most fabulous person to be with both on horseback and beyond. A true gentleman, a fountain of information, and most pleasurable to be with.

John and Cathy Hyucke, 2014