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Meeting the people of the Thar Desert

Meeting the people of the Thar Desert

€1500 per person

Meet the fascinating people of the Thar Desert in remote villages of Rajasthan

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote in The Little Prince: “I have always loved the desert. We sit on a sand dune. We see nothing. We hear nothing. And yet, something radiates in silence … “ There are no better words to describe the desert. Desert of the Sahara or desert of Thar, the magic operates every time.

The Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, is a vast arid region in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent that forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan.  It is the 9th largest subtropical desert in the world covering approximately 2,340,000 km2, 85% of which is in India and the remainder being in Pakistan. 

The Thar desert covers mainly Rajasthan (2,000,000 km2) but also extends into Gujarat (Kutch region), Punjab and Haryana.

The Thar is home to various ethnic groups, Hindu and Muslim mostly, who have developed very specific customs and traditions.  Among them we find the Bishnois, protector of nature, the ‘gypsy’ (Banjaras, Bhopas, Sapera ..), the Bhils, known as fine archers, and the Garasias, Sahariyas and Rabaris.  This trip takes you to rich encounters with those desert people in remote villages in Rajasthan, from Udaipur to Jodhpur and from Barmer and Jaisalmer.

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Day 1

Arrival in Udaipur, the city of lakes

Namaste! We welcome you warmly at the airport and drive you to your hotel on the shores of the Pichola Lake. Overnight in Udaipur in a heritage hotel.
Day 2

City of Lakes Tour

We will spend the morning visiting the places of interest of Udaipur: City Palace, Jagdish temple, Bagore ki Haveli museum, the royal gardens of Saheliyon Ki Bari. Then, in the afternoon we will visit villages inhabited by the Bhil community all around Udaipur. Overnight in Udaipur in an heritage hotel on Lake Pichola.
Day 3

Udaipur - Ranakpur via Kumbhalgarh

Departure for Kumbhalgarh. We will explore the sprawling Kumbhalgarh fort built in the 15th century by the Maharaja Rana Kumbha and whose walls cover a distance of 36 km, the largest after China. After lunch, we will drive to Ranakpur, famous for its magnificent Chaturmukha Jain Temple, a true architectural marvel. This monument of 1444 pillars is one of the most beautiful and largest Jain temple in India. Overnight in Ranakpur
Day 4

Ranakpur -Jodhpur via several typical villages

We leave for Jodhpur, the blue city, crossing the beautiful landscapes of the Aravallis mounts. We will stop on the way to visit a Bishnoi village and we will make several impromptu stops on the road. In this region, there are men wearing the most impressive turbans of Rajasthan. Arrival in the evening in Jodhpur. Overnight in an heritage hotel.
Day 5

Jodhpur & Bishnoi villages

After breakfast, we will visit the main centres of interest of Jodhpur: the Meharangarh fort which is no doubt one of the most beautiful forts of Rajasthan, the mausoleum Jaswant Thada and the Umaid Bhawan palace which is the current home of the Maharaja of Jodhpur and his family. In the afternoon, we will go and see some Meharangarh villages and then, in the evening, we will stroll though the bazaars of the blue city. Overnight in an heritage hotel.
Day 6

Jodhpur - Jaisalmer

We leave for the golden city of the desert. Check in at the hotel and then visit of the fort of Jaisalmer, its palace and its beautiful Jain temples. Overnight in Jaisalmer Fort in an heritage hotel.
Day 7

Jaisalmer, the golden city

Continuation of the visit of Jaisalmer. We will walk down in the lower town and visit the three main havelis (mansions) whose architectural finesse leaves you speechless. We will also stroll through the bazaars of the city where we can see many desert dwellers. At the end of the day, we will visit the Gypsy 'Bhopa' musicians community for a private concert and dinner. The place is modest, but definitely authentic. Overnight in Jaisalmer Fort in an heritage hotel.
Day 8

Fascinating Thar Desert

Departure for the desert of Thar. After settling in a resort with typical huts, we will visit several sites and villages inhabited by different communities. At sunset time, we will in the dunes to admire this natural spectacle and enjoy a meal cooked on a wood fire. Back to the resort or overnight in the dunes.
Day 9

Fascinating Thar Desert

We will explore the Thar Desert a little further, till remote villages. Perhaps we will have the chance to see nomadic peoples and observe different species of animals typical of this region such as the Nilgai Antelope. Back to the resort at the end of the day.
Day 10

Thar Desert - Barmer

Departure for Barmer, a city still little visited, but that offers an authentic rural India. Check in at the hotel near the dunes of Mahabar.
Day 11

Barmer, an authentic town of the Thar desert

On the morning, we will stroll through the bazars of Barmer where you will meet characters that seem straight out of an old Bollywood movie. We will also visit an Ajrakh workshop (block printing), a specialty of Barmer. Then, we will make try to meet with the young Maharaja of Barmer, Rawat Tribhuwan Singh Rathore, who will tell us some anecdotes about his city and his family. Return to the hotel.
Day 12

Barmer and around

After breakfast, we will go and discover the surroundings of Barmer. We will first visit the ancient Hindu temples of Kiradu that were built around the 11th and 12th century AD by a Rajput clan. Then through a narrow road, bordered all along by dunes strewn with dry bushes, we will arrive at a small salt desert (Redana Rann). In the evening, a special dinner awaits you with Barmer specialties accompanied by a concert of traditional Rajasthan music. Overnight in Barmer.
Day 13

Barmer - Mount Abu

For the end of this trip, we will come out of the Thar desert for a little quiet time in Rajasthan's only mountain resort, Mount Abu. Along the way, we will make several impromptu stops depending on the villages we cross. Arrival in the evening at Mount Abu. Overnight at Mount Abu.
Day 14

Mount Abu, the hill station in Rajasthan

The day will be dedicated to visiting the various places of interest of Mount Abu: Lake Nakki, Toad Rock, the sumptuous Jain Dilwara temples of the 11th and 13th century, the temple and fort of Achaleshwar and Guru Shikhar, the peak highest in the Aravalli range (1722 m). Overnight in Mount Abu.
Day 15

Mount Abu - Udaipur

Return to Udaipur and end of the trip. Looking forward to meeting you again. Namaste.
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