- Duration 15 days
- Difficulty 2/5
- Group Size 6 minimum
31 October-15 November, 2019
India – where to start? The most spectacular, diverse, exotic and ‘foreign’ place I know. It is a test of all the senses. The itinerary is based around Rajasthan culture, the spectacular annual Pushkar camel fair where, thousands of camels, horses and cattle come to be traded. It is classic India, overwhelming, colorful, chaotic, unfathomable, gorgeous, bizarre and amazing, where everything is a photo and we interact fully with the local people. Not only are we here for the culture but the wildlife too is spectacular. Many people have no idea how diverse and accessible the wildlife really is. We will see many mammal and bird species on our travels through Rajasthan. Tigers, in my opinion, out-cat all other cats, their stare alone seems to slice through you like a laser. The trip is exhilarating, adventurous and charged with anticipation and fun.
USD $8,500 Per person sharing
Single Supplement: USD $1,995
Arrival: Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi (DEL)
Departure: Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi (DEL)
Arrival Time: Afternoon of 31 October, 2019
- Accommodation for 15 nights on a shared room basis.
- All surface transfers.
- Internal Airfare.
- Entry fees to parks.
- Still camera fees in monuments & parks.
- Government tourist taxes.
- All activities as per the itinerary.
- All meals from first morning in Delhi to dinner on the final day.
- Tips/gratuities paid to naturalists, drivers.
- Ground transport in air conditioned vehicle.
- Local guide plus two Pete Oxford Expeditions trip leaders
- Any expenses of a personal nature such as telephone calls, beverages, liquor and wines.
- International airfare.
- Cost incurred in obtaining visa.
- Videography fees in monuments & parks.
- International departure tax.
ADay 1: October 31st, 2019: Arrive in Delhi
On arrival in Delhi, you’ll be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel. We overnight at the Hotel Taj Mahal New Delhi. (Rooms available 14:00 onwards). NB: Flights into Delhi usually arrive in the middle of the night.
BDay 2: November 1st, 2019: Delhi fly to Jaisalmer
After breakfast we fly to the extraordinary town of Jaisalmer. The westernmost town of any significance and also known as the Golden City, has a real medieval feel behind the protective city wall, with bustling narrow streets, lined with tradesmen selling their wares, crenellated honey-colored sandstone walls and exquisitely carved buildings. Many of the small shops are occupied by descendants of the original owners. No cars are allowed within the walled town nor camel carts beyond the fortress gates. Overnight at Fort Rajwada Hotel or similar.
BDays 3 – 4: November 2nd & 3rd, 2019: Jaisalmer
We spend three nights in Jaisalmer soaking in the vibrant culture and looking for camel herders in the Great Thar Desert.
Dinners and overnights at Fort Rajwada Hotel or similar.
CDay 5: November 4th, 2019: Jaisalmer to Jodhpur
After breakfast we leave by road to the city of Jodhpur. This will take a good portion of the day but we will be traveling through interesting scenery, looking for birds and antelope and interacting with local people along the way. On arrival we will be transferred to the opulent Taj Hari Mahal hotel, which stands in six acres of beautiful gardens.
CDay 6: November 5th, 2019: Jodhpur
After breakfast at the hotel we depart to Jodhpur for a visit to the labyrinth of narrow streets in the ‘Blue City’ and the formidable Mehrangarh Fort which is still run by the Maharaja. Jodhpur is the second most important city of Rajasthan and built up around the impressive fort which was constructed on a high sandstone bluff. There is a lot to do and see in Jodhpur, it is a people-photographers dream.
The city was the center of Marwar, one of Rajasthan’s largest princely states and a fierce rival of the feudal states of Jaipur and Udaipur. The city is dominated by the ancient fortress with crenellated walls that once gave protection during the rounds of battles fought by the warring Rajput states. As we tour Jodhpur on foot we will include a fascinating walk up to the uninhabited Mehrangarh Fort through the narrow, winding streets of Jodhpur’s medieval bazaars. As we walk through the Loha Pole, one of the entrance gates to the fort, we’ll pass by a wall where we can see the handprints of the widows of the Maharaja Man Singh. His wives committed sati, burning themselves alive on their husband’s funeral pyre following his death in 1843, a part of the tradition of the Rajput code of honor. The British outlawed sati but it still occurred throughout the 19th century and into the 20th. We’ll also visit Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Museum, a group of former palaces. One of these palaces, the Moti Mahal (the “pearl palace”), still houses the throne on which all the former rulers were crowned; other palaces contain fascinating artifacts such as a solid silver elephant saddle and ornate cradles built for the infant princes. Overnight – Taj Hari Mahal hotel.
DDay 7, November 6th, 2019: Jodhpur to Pushkar
We leave Jodhpur by road for the fascinating journey, cross-country to Pushkar where we arrive for our stay of three nights in a deluxe tented camp.
DDays 8 – 9, November 8th – 9th, 2019: Pushkar
The itinerary we have designed is based around the largest camel fair in the world – Pushkar, Rajasthan, a town first established in 1156AD. The camel fair puts us in the heart of Rajasthan, India’s most colorful state on the edge of the Great Thar Desert. As we believe whole-heartedly that it is better not to rush through destinations we have allowed ample time at the camel fair in order to absorb and understand its patterns and therefore maximizing on the incredible photographic opportunities for which Rajasthan is famous. The fair has two components, firstly the animal market, where many thousands of camels will be congregated, and elaborately decorated for sale, as well as hundreds of cattle and horses. Their semi-nomadic tribal drivers flood into the area from all points of the compass. Merchants too flock to the market selling wares from camel leather whips and shoes to exotic and heavy bangles, glass beads, mirror-studded clothing and printed cloth. Entertainers follow the trail to entertain the swelling numbers and side shows of jugglers, acrobats and magicians are set up all around. Horse and camel races are frequent with heavy betting on the sidelines. The atmosphere is electric. The colors too and the exotic outfits of the Rajasthanis are simply mind-boggling.
The animal fair however peaks a few days before the full moon at which time the pilgrims begin to arrive for the second component which is where holy pilgrims mass to bathe in the sacred Anasagar Lake. According to Hindu legend the lake emerged where a petal fell from the lotus flower that Brahma, Lord of Creation, used to kill a demon. Pushkar is also the site of the only temple in the whole of India dedicated to Lord Brahma.
The overall scene at Pushkar is at first overwhelming, not to mention ever-changing hence we shall stay a full three nights in comfortable tented accommodation close to the center of activity. Overnights in a deluxe tented camp.
EDay 10, November 9th, 2019: Pushkar to Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
After our last breakfast in Pushkar we depart for Ranthambore (approx 6 hrs drive) and check in to the Ranthambore Kothi Lodge, for our stay of four nights. We will do our first game drive this afternoon.
All meals at the lodge.
EDays 11 – 13, November 10th – 12th, 2019: Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
We will have morning and afternoon game drives into the park, returning to our hotel during down time.
Ranthambore National Park is located in the Sawai Madhopur district of south-eastern Rajasthan, this park protects a rich mosaic of deciduous woodland, bamboo thickets and marshes over an area of 1,300 square kilometres (500 sq miles). Dominated by the 10th century Ranthambore Fort which sits atop a plateau 700ft above the plains, this scenic reserve contains high concentrations of herbivores such as Spotted Deer, Sambar, and Wild Boar, and it is this abundance of prey species that supports one of the healthiest populations of Bengal tigers in the world. Tigers, a cat that, in our opinion, ‘out cats all other cats’ will be our focus however the reserve is host to an incredible array of other visible species of mammals, such as sloth bear as well as birds.
Overnights – Ranthambore Kothi Lodge
FDay 14, November 13th, 2019: Agra
After a final game drive for the elusive tiger we leave Ranthambore. Once again we travel by road through the fascinating surroundings, stopping often to enjoy the hubbub that is classic India. Once at Agra we will most likely take tuk-tuks to a vantage where we can photograph the famous Taj Mahal from across the Yamuna River. We check in to our hotel. Overnight Jaypee Palace.
ADay 15: November 14th, 2019: Taj Mahal to New Delhi
We will be up early for a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal.
One of the Wonders of the World, built by Emperor Shah Jehan in memory of his beloved consort Mumtaz Mahal, this beautiful mausoleum is pure white marble and an architectural marvel. Construction of the Taj begun in 1631 and was not completed until 1653. A total of 20,000 people worked on the building. The Taj Mahal is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Turkish, Indian and Islamic architectural styles.
We return to our hotel for a late breakfast after which we depart by road for Delhi.
Arrive to Delhi and transfer to our hotel. This is a good time to visit the Khan Market or old Delhi. This can be decided on the day. Dinner and overnight in the Taj Mahal New Delhi. As many flights leave in the middle of the night most people will be flying out tonight or in the early hours of the morning so the trip ends here (check out on November 15th is at 11:00am).
Discover the world with experienced travelers
Photographer | Owner | Trip Leader
Pete Oxford is a professional conservation photographer specializing in wildlife and indigenous cultures. Pete and Reneé have lead more than 30 trips to India. In fact it is probably their favorite country on Earth. Pushkar for Pete is where he has many of his strongest portraits of Indian people. Pete is especially good at interacting with local people and his friendly demeanor towards them will give the group great access past their natural shyness. We will come away from India overwhelmed by what we have seen – we always do.
Logistics | Owner | Trip Leader
India is my favorite country. There is simply so much to appreciate and enjoy. The bustling traffic steering nonchalantly past sleeping cows in the road, the vibrant colors, shopping for spices in the local markets (and then attending a local cooking school to better use them at home), the architecture, the friendly people – the wildlife! Everywhere you look there is something of interest: brightly clad women, with elegant poise, fetching water from a well, or a tree laden with fruit bats in the middle of town. In a country where people are mostly vegetarian and show inordinate reverence for animals, there is wildlife everywhere, coexisting happily with people.