Traversing Rajasthan on the back of a noble Marwari horse and riding over the fair in traditional Rajasthani style is an unforgettable experience no horse lover should miss. It is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure which will bring you to a country straight out of 1000-and-one night, combining cultural experiences with a first-class equestrian adventure. On your way you will cross mountains and desert, visit crumbling forts and ancient temples and spot Indian wildlife such as antelope, peacocks, gazelles and many more. All in all, the Pushkar-Fair Safari is a perfect blend of culture, nature and the visit to the most famous and certainly the most colorful festival of Rajasthan.
The Pushkar Camel Fair is the only one of its kind in the world and is one of India's most colorful and vibrant festivals. Featured in numerous magazines, travel shows and films, it is definitely worth attending, doing so from the back of a Marawari horses is moving the experience to the top of the class. Enjoy the world’s most vibrant agricultural festival with over a 100,000 farm animals including 10,000 horses and of course, that most curious of creatures, the camel. All of this is crowded into an otherwise sleepy town, replete with jugglers, magicians, everything that was and still is a vital part of India.
In Pushkar itself the riders can visit and ride over the Camel Fair. This is the ultimate way of getting to and experiencing the Pushkar Fair. Every year thousands of camels, cattle and horses are brought to Pushkar, making this fair the biggest in Asia. Thousands of people flock to attend the festivities, the religious celebrations and the life-stock trading. The sleepy town of Pushkar becomes a flurry of activity with camel and horse races, street theatre and a variety of stalls selling almost everything. Jugglers, musicians, comedians, tourists, traders, animals and devotees, all come together for a couple of days in this Fair. As written in the Lonely Planet “it is truly a feast for the eyes and should not be missed if you are anywhere near”.
Accommodation is usually in our tented safari camp but can also be arranged in heritage/resort hotels along the way (on certain routes). Our safari camp consists of spacious double tents with flooring, proper beds including pillows, sheets and blankets, windows for ventilation and a small pre-tent to leave shoes/boots or to enjoy a morning tea. Showers and bathroom facilities are provided in our bathroom trolley with running water (hot water is supplied in buckets).
The tents are usually grouped around a central dining area and surrounded by a traditional textile “fence”. The kitchen is open-air, hidden by another textile screen. This camp layout is not modern but in fact very ancient. Already the Maharajas of old times used to travel through their kingdom in this fashion and later the hunting camps of the British Raj where modeled in the same fashion. Thus we lean on an old Rajput tradition, which is quite natural as our family descends from an old noble Rajput family of Udaipur.
On safaris the riders normally start in the morning around 8-9 o’clock depending on the season and of course on the riders. Breakfast is taken in the camp while our boys make the horses ready. A normal safari day includes between 5 and 6 hours in the saddle plus a lunch break (lunch is either taken as a lunch packet or brought to the riders by our jeep) and several smaller breaks for sightseeing on the way or a tea stop in the little hamlet by the way.
Arrival in the next safari camp is as a rule in the late afternoon. The riders are awaited by tea/coffee and some snacks and of course an inviting shower. Depending upon the place, the rest of the afternoon can be used to do some local sightseeing, a trip to the next village, an evening walk through the countryside or simply some relaxing in the camp which is normally placed at a particular beautiful spot, besides a lake (ideal for bird watchers) or sporting a great view.
After nightfall we usually prepare a campfire and sometimes some village musicians/artists from the local village come to the camp to perform for us. Depending on the locality the riders can thus experience local folk dances, theater, music, puppet shows or even horse dance. In some places the local village women come and show the female riders the age-old traditional henna patterns, which are then applied on hands and feet for decoration. The younger ones usually speak some English; hence this is a great opportunity to learn more about Indian village life.
Thus every day there is something new to experience and to see, our safaris never get boring and we have many surprises for the riders in store. In some places this may include a visit to the local temple at prayer time, a bullock-cart ride, interaction with local village people, a camel ride, horse dance, the participation in an Indian festival or ceremony and many other things.
Day 1: Arrival in Udaipur. Transfer to your middle class hotel and afternoon sightseeing of Udaipur.
Day 2: Transfer to Banaria. Transfer by car to Banaria, visit to Eklingji and Nagda temples on the way. Arrival in the safari camp around lunchtime or early afternoon. After arrival there is time for an evening ride to get to know the horses. Overnight stay in our safari camp.
Day 3: Banaria – Jormuda. A day ride through the hilly landscape of the Aravalli-Mountains. The riders traverse the typical Indian jungle consisting of light forest with dry deciduous trees such as Sal, Indian teak or Acacia. In the lush green valleys farming is done, mainly with the help of oxen. Arrival in the camp around 4 pm afterwards visit to Jormuda Fort.
Day 4: Jormuda – Kherda. Another riding day through hill country. Occasionally the riders will be able to spot the elusive Cheetal deer and in the bushes there are plenty of peacocks and monkeys. The area around is mainly tribal and the riders will note the curiously looking tribal villages usually perched on a hilltop surrounded by thorn bushes. The houses are made of brown colored mud, often decorated with drawings or white lines.
Day 5: Kherda – Lalpura. Today the landscape becomes more level and open. The main range of the Aravalli Mountains is laying in the back now. The climate becomes drier and so does the vegetation. Trees give way to thorn bushes and the soil becomes sandy. Stretches of open country invite for an occasional gallop and the horses enjoy the soft and level ground. Camels become a regular sight.
Day 6: Lalpura – Jawaja. On this day the riders will truly feel the nearing desert. The land is now level and the hills are left behind. Flocks of cattle, goats, sheep and lot’s of camels are passing, all heading towards the Pushkar Fair. Occasionally the riders will encounter nomads with colorful turbans and huge mustaches herding their camels to Pushkar. They transport everything they own and need for a living on the back of their animals. The small children and women with infants are allowed to ride, the rest of the family is walking.
Day 7: Jawaja – Kharwa. Pushkar and the Thar Desert are coming near. Another day riding through a half desert, encountering hundreds of animals. Again the trail leads through tribal land and the riders can admire their hamlets and villages. After arrival in the camp the massive fort in Kharwa can be visited.
Day 8: Kharwa – Pushkar. On the last day of the safari the trail leads over sand roads through thick thorn bush vegetation. Occasionally a field can be seen where a farmer tries to grow pulses on the infertile land. The main means of livelihood here is animal husbandry. On the way a small temple can be visited and the riders can admire the ruins of some ancient forts. Arrival in Pushkar is around 3:30 pm but a part of the Mela (fair) has to be crossed in order to reach our camp, which is situated within walking distance of the fairground. The riders will have a short glimpse of the fair and the camel market. In the late afternoon and evening they already have a chance in walking over the fair or attending some dance program. Overnight stay in our safari camp in Pushkar.
Day 9: Ride around Pushkar. The last day is dedicated to the Pushkar Fair and Camel Market. The riders can visit the fairground on horseback before going on a ride around Pushkar or first see the Fair on foot and later set out for a ride, this can be decided by the group themselves. Overnight stay in our safari camp in Pushkar.
Day 10: End of the program after breakfast.
Notes: Please note this safari is organized only on fixed dates. Starting point is Udaipur and finishing point is Pushkar. For the Pushkar return safari the starting point is Pushkar and the finishing point is Udaipur.
Let us take you into a whole new world, different from everything you have experienced previously, it will make your heart beat faster and will remain an unforgettable experience for the rest of your life.
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