The Luxury Tour of the Lesser-known Rajasthan


BOOKINGS FOR THIS TOUR ARE NOW CLOSED
Please contact me if you would like to know when this tour takes off next.


THE LUXURY TOUR OF THE LESSER-KNOWN RAJASTHAN
 6 to 22 January, 2020
(Average temperatures during our tour: 8 to 23 degrees Celsius)

The Luxury Tour of the Lesser-known Rajasthan is so named as we stay in the most luxurious hotels available – some former palaces, some private mansions, and because we get off the beaten tracks to places not many tourists get to.

The tour  takes us to the state of Rajasthan, the largest Indian state by area and the seventh largest by population. Covering 342,239 square kilometres it is located on the north-western side of India, where it comprises most of the wide and inhospitable Thar Desert.  It shares a border with the Pakistani provinces of Punjab to the north-west and Sindh to the west, along the Sutlej-Indus river valley. Elsewhere it is bordered by five other Indian states: Punjab to the north, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to the north-east, Madhya Pradesh to the south-east, and Gujarat  to the south-west.

Map of Rajasthan


See the end of itinerary for cost, discounts and the full list of inclusions in the tour cost.

APPLICATION FORM 


THE ITINERARY

DAY 1.
Arrivals.
Our tour begins in Jaipur, known as ‘the pink city’, the capital and the largest city of Rajasthan. After being picked up at the airport or railway, we book into our hotel  – a former nobleman’s town house built in 1892 and restored  and converted to  a luxury heritage hotel in 1994. Check in time is 12pm.  There will be plenty of time to relax after international flights and to get ready for the welcome dinner at the hotel.
Dinner included.

DAY 2.
We take a tour with a local guide to visit some of the famous local monuments including Hawa Mahel, Jantar Mantar,  the Anokhi Museum of Block Printing,  and Amber Fort .
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Young monkey at the Monkey Temple, Jaipur

DAY 3.
In the morning, we visit Galtaji built in a mountain pass in the Aravalli Hills 10 km. east of Jaipur.  The temple complex is colloquially known as the Monkey Temple due to the large tribe of monkeys who live here.

In the afternoon, we visit a sanctuary for retired working elephants  and their mahouts in a nearby village where  we can get up close, feed and paint their faces or help them bathe.  We also enjoy a traditional village meal with our hosts.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Happy elephants

 DAY 4.
Leaving Jaipur in our private luxury bus, we head for an amazing step-well traditionally used to conserve and store water and for public baths. It was dug approximately 30 metres and 13 stories into the ground, making it one of the deepest and largest stepwells in India.
After lunch, we head to our next destination, Churu from where we will explore the area amazing Shekhawati area, famous for its abandoned havelis (mansions) extensively painted with murals.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Day 5.
After the long drive the previous day, we wake up in our home for the next five days – a century old, restored haveli in the town of Churu, in the Shekhawati region.
In the morning, there is the option to take it easy settling into our hotel or to visit a school for differently-abled children a short walk away. This school was started by a mother to a special child in 2016. The school is now working with around 40 children to equip them with the training and skills to help them become independent. There is no charge for this visit, but they do appreciate donations.

In the afternoon, we take a guided heritage walking tour of Churu’s old town, the 450 year old homeland to the Marwaris – India’s most successful business community since the time of Mughals. This is our first taste of the famed painted havelis of the Shekhawati region.

Painted haveli

This area was once a part of the silk road that extended from China to the Mediterranean. Merchants made their wealth sending their goods on camels along the silk road, and built mansions, temples and step-wells, vying with each other in building ever more grand edifices. They commissioned artists to paint their homes as a sign of opulence, decorating both inside and outside with painted murals. The area is now known as ‘the outdoor art gallery’.

We have a special dinner planned for the evening.  A short drive from our hotel, we arrive at a small water reservoir typical of this area, originally used to harvest rain water. In earlier times, these reservoirs were used by travelers to pitch a tent nearby to spend the night.
By the light of oil lamps and candles, our dinner will be cooked for us over coals while we enjoy pre-dinner drinks and the sunset.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

The Royal Enfield

DAY 6.
Today we join our local guide again with a full day of travel to more towns in the Shekhawati area to see some of the best examples of the painted havelis.
For the adventurous souls, there is the option of touring the region on India’s classic motorbike, the Royal Enfield Thunderbird, at your own cost. And risk!
Contact me for the cost for the motorbike tour.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

DAY 7.
We begin our day early with a jeep safari to the Thar Desert.
We visit water reservoirs and learn about the storage and conservation of water, rural life in the Indian desert, and flora and fauna. It is not just about the landscape – we are introduced to the nuances of living and thriving in in this desert.
En route, we take a stop to enjoy breakfast.
The desert can be quite cold in the early morning, so warm gear is recommended.

In the afternoon, we visit a local farm just outside the town. The produce from this farm is  much sought after in Churu’s vegetable market.
We experience rustic village life and witness specific farming techniques that best utilise the modest water resources of the region and solar energy for power.
We enjoy a local meal with the farming community.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

DAY 8.
For our last morning in Churu our local guide will take us on a tour of arts and crafts in the town. We meet the makers in their homes and back yards and see their award-winning work: lacquer bangle making, bandhej (tie and die), miniature wood carving, pottery and silver jewelry. We have the opportunity of buying directly from the makers.

In the afternoon,  we
explore the intricate world of Indian jewelry and its prominence in Indian culture. We learn about the Indian obsession with jewelry with the makers in the back lanes of Churu: the names of various pieces and where they are worn on the body; the purpose and cultural association; which community wears which style and the different manufacturing processes.
This is the time for the Lohri Festival (a festival to worship fire) and we have the option of joining locals around a bonfire in the evening with traditional music and dancing.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

DAY 9.
Back in our private bus for the next leg of our journey to Bikaner, a city surrounded by the Thar Desert.

Detail of the silver door to the Rat Temple

In the afternoon we visit the Karni Mata temple dedicated to Karni Mata (1387 – 1538) a female Hindu warrior sage. Karni Mata Temple is also known as the Temple of Rats, famous for the approximately 25,000 black rats that live and are revered in the temple.
***For the squeamish, entering the Rat Temple is optional.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

DAY 10.
Today we visit the studio of a third generation miniature artist and a demonstration of his technique. The history of Indian miniature paintings can be traced to the 6-7th century AD. Bikaner is famous for a style of miniature painting which emerged in medieval India and was founded by Prince Rao Bika in 1488.
There will be an opportunity to buy artworks directly from the artist, Shiv Swami.

Miniature artwork by master artist Shiv Swami

Later in the day, we take a look at the beautiful Bhandasar Temple, one of Bikaner’s two Jain temples.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

DAY 11.
We continue our journey to the city of Jodhpur, set in the stark landscape of the Thar Desert. Jodhpur is popularly known as Blue city for the preponderance of houses that are painted blue.
In the afternoon, we take a guided heritage walk through the old walled city of Jodhpur.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

DAY 12.
In the morning we visit the amazing Mehrangarh Fort, one of the largest forts in India. Built in around 1459 by Rao Jodha, the fort is situated 125 metres above the city and is enclosed by imposing thick walls. Inside its boundaries there are several palaces known for their intricate carvings and expansive courtyards.

Mehrangarh Fort

We find a local place to eat lunch and immerse ourselves in the bustling Sadar Market. Or there is an option to rest at the hotel before our cooking lesson and dinner in the evening with wife and husband team, Rekha and Anil at Spice Paradise.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

DAY 13.
Today we go shopping! We head off to a shop that specialises in Bishnoi Village crafts. The Bishnoi people (read about them here) are known as the world’s first environmentalists who actually protect trees and animals with their lives: many were killed protecting trees from the axe.

We take lunch in the town with the options of: more shopping, wandering around taking photos, drawing or relaxing at the hotel. Late in the afternoon, we visit a restored step-well and on our last night in Jodhpur, have dinner at the restaurant looking over the step-well.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

DAY 14.
Checking out of our luxuryJodhpur hotel, we have a day on the road in our private bus to Bundi, our last destination on the tour. There will be plenty of stops as we explore the countryside and towns on the way, stop for chai, stretch the legs, embrace unexpected experiences, lunch and anything that takes our fancy – within reason.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

DAY 15.
Bundi, often referred to as ‘the unexplored part of Rajasthan’, is rich in natural beauty and stunning architecture. It is known for its decorated forts, palaces,and more than 50 step-wells. We will visit the highly ornate Raniji ki Baori (Queen’s Step-well) not far from our hotel – a boutique haveli in the heart of new city with views of the old town, palace, fort and lake.

Cave art near Bundi

In the morning, we don our walking shoes and hats and head for our main destination in Bundi: prehistoric rock art believed to be from the Mesolithic period dating back ten thousand years. We will take a guided tour with Kukki, the man who discovered more than 75 sites in the area. An amateur archaeologist and grocery store owner, Kukki has been honoured by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) with the status of ‘honorary archaeologist’.

After lunch in the town, we have a free afternoon to explore the bazaar and shop, take photos and meet the locals. Or rest. It’s optional.
In the evening, if luck is with us, we can take in a Bollywood movie in the historic Ranjit Talkies Cinema Hall.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

DAY 16.
Still in Bundi, we take a guided city tour including the amazing 16th-century Junagarh Fort, a huge complex of ornate buildings and halls. It is one of the few major forts in Rajasthan which is not built on a hilltop around which the modern city of Bikaner was developed.
Note: the walk to Taragarh Fort  is relatively steep and about 1.5km.

A private audience hall in Junagarh Fort

“Palace and Fortress of Boondee,” by Patrick Young Waugh, 1832

After our city tour and with heads spinning from the riches in the fort, we have a late checkout from our hotel and head back to Jaipur.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

DAY 17.
We arrive back at the palatial Jaipur hotel we started our tour with for one more night of luxury before heading our separate ways the next day.
In the afternoon, there are options to visit more destinations, go shopping in the busy bazaar or rest up before departures the next day.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

DAY 18.
End of tour and departures. Checkout time is 12pm.
Breakfast and transfer to airport or railway included.


This itinerary is correct at time of publishing.
Check out the GALLERY page for more pics from the tour.


If you are interested in joining this tour, please make contact soon as places are limited to six intrepid travellers.
APPLICATION FORM


The TOUR FEE includes:

  • transfers from Jaipur airport or railway station to our hotel in Jaipur
  • all tour accommodation
  • all meals as shown above (47 in total)
  • a constant supply of bottled water on our bus
  • all ground travel in our private vehicle and some taxis and/or auto-ricks
  • Australian guide for the whole tour
  • local guides in Jaipur, Churu, Bikaner, Jodhpur and Bundi
  • local guides at monuments
  • admission to all monuments and workshops in itinerary
  • tip to our bus driver and local guides
  • a downloadable booklet with information about our destinations
  • transfers to Jaipur airport or railway station to our hotel in Jaipur.

The TOUR FEE does not include:

  • International flights
  • connecting travel within India before or after the tour
  • meals other than those mentioned above
  • admission and guides to monuments not specified in the organised tours
  • camera charges if applicable
  • tips to individuals other than our driver and guides
  • donations at the school in Churu
  • laundry
  • all beverages, alcoholic or otherwise (except for the mineral water available on the bus)

PLEASE NOTE: The accommodation indicated in the itinerary is accurate at time of publishing. On very rare occasions, our preferred accommodation may be unavailable. In this instance, similar accommodation will be booked.


TOUR FEE  $6,500
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT  $1,495
DEPOSIT  $1,500
(*All prices are in Australian dollars.)
SEE BELOW FOR DISCOUNTS


DISCOUNTS

  • An EARLY BIRD discount of $250 applies if you book and pay your deposit before the end of September 2019.
  • For every person you introduce to Kasu Tours and bring on the tour, you will receive $100 off the price of your tour (may be used with other discounts up to a total of $350).
  • If you gather a group of 6 people to come on the tour, including yourself,  a discount of $350 applies to all six people (cannot be used with any other discounts).
  • If you have ever purchased something at Kasu Emporium or have been on previous Kasu Tour you receive a discount of $100  (may be used with other discounts up to a total of $350)
  • Comparing prices with other tours?  Some things to look out for to help you decide >>>>

TO SECURE YOUR PLACE ON THE TOUR

  • Fill in the APPLICATION FORM  here>>>
  • Your deposit (plus Single Supplement if applicable) is due with your application to ensure a place on the tour.
  • The deposit is used to secure hotel bookings, and other services.
  • The deposit is non-refundable in the event of your cancellation. However, if there is a waiting list to join the tour when you cancel and your place can be filled, you may be refunded part or all of your deposit.
  • There are only 6 places available on the tour and bookings will be processed in the order of receipt of deposits.
  • Deposits received after the tour quota is filled will be returned and the client placed on the waiting list.
  • FINAL PAYMENT is due by 31 October 2019
    Failure to make the final payment by the due date may result in cancellation of your booking and loss of deposit. 
  • PAYMENTS are accepted only by ELECTRONIC BANK TRANSFER.
    The bank account details will be supplied when you make a booking.

  • All prices are quoted in AUSTRALIAN DOLLARS
    The TOUR PRICES are based on exchange rates, cost of services and applicable taxes at the time of publication. Prices may be subject to change in the event of significant currency fluctuations or the introduction of new taxes, up until final payment is received. In the event of a price increase by parties other then KASU TOURS, whether because of a currency fluctuation, increase in taxes or a correction in advertised prices, we will advise you and you have the option of accepting the amended prices, inclusions and booking conditions or withdrawing from the tour and receiving a full refund of all monies paid. Once final payment is received, all prices will be guaranteed.

What makes Kasu Tours different? Find out here >>>


  • ANY QUESTIONS?
    Check out the FAQ page. If you don’t find the answer there, please email me.


As with KASU EMPORIUM,  a percentage of profits at KASU TOURS is donated to selected charities we work with in India.

One thought on “The Luxury Tour of the Lesser-known Rajasthan

  1. Pingback: Itinerary & cost for Rajasthan tour announced | Kasu Tours

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s