Horseback Riding in India

Shekhawati Desert Ride

Overview

Marwari horses will carry you across the changing landscape of the Rajasthan, and you will also visit some of the architectural wonders of India. 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. Ride across huge sand dunes, through farmlands and rural villages as you travel to the Fair. Some nights are spent in well-staffed tent camps and others in exquisite palaces.

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.

  • Overview:
    The horses used are the indigenous Marwari breed. The Marwari is a slim, athletic breed, the average size being 15 h.h.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Marwari and Marwari cross
  • Trip Pace:
    moderate to fast
  • Tack:
    english trekking
  • Weight limit:
    195 lbs

Delhi

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Jan 16: Arrive in New Delhi and overnight in Hotel Vasant Continental or similar hotel. Rooms available from 12pm.

Day 2

Jan 17: Full day sightseeing of 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 Old Delhi: Visit Jama Mosque and Raj Ghat, where the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi was cremated.
  • 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 3

Jan 18: 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.
Day 4

Jan 19: 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.

Day 5

Jan 20: 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.
Day 6

Jan 21: 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 nice hotel built on top of a sand dune just outside the town.

Day 7

Jan 22: 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.

Day 8

Jan 23: 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.

Day 9

Jan 24: 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.

Day 10

Jan 25: 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, 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 and massage facilities – a nice place to relax after a ride.

Day 11

Jan 26: After a leisurely breakfast, bid goodbye to your horses and staff and drive  to Jaipur (approximately 4  hrs drive). Arrive Jaipur and transfer to Alsisar Haveli or similar 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
Day 12

Jan. 27: In the morning 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.

Spend the afternoon at your leisure.

Day 13

Jan 28: After an early breakfast, drive to Agra (about 4 – 5 hour) and transfer to Hotel Jaypee Palace or similar.

  • Agra : 204 km from Delhi, lying on the river Yamuna, Agra is famous the World over as the “City of the Taj.”

Spend the afternoon seeing the Taj Mahal.

  • The Taj Majal,  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.
Day 14

Jan 29: Morning visit to the 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 kms. 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.

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

Itinerary Addendum

This itinerary is flexible and changes may occur at the guide's discretion due to weather or other unforeseeable circumstanced

Trip Map

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.

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $4,110
  • Single Supplement
  • $865
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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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