Palaces of Rajasthan incl Jaisalmer Desert Fair Photo Tour
Wednesday February 5th - Tuesday February 18th, 2020
We have conducted many photo tours throughout India. We recognize many of our photo friends enjoy some luxury once in a while.
So, on this tour we will be living like Maharaja’s and staying in some of the finest and unique accommodations available in Rajasthan.
The group assembles in Delhi. From there we fly to Jaisalmer where we will stay for a few days, the highlight being the Jaisalmer Desert festival The festival is celebrated amidst the beautiful dunes of the Thar Desert about 40 km from Jaisalmer. The locals dress in traditional and bright costumes. They sing and dance depicting the tragedies and accomplishments of the desert. Camel polo, camel races, gymnastic stunts on camel backs are interesting photo-opportunities. We also visit the 12th century Golden Fort and stroll through the narrow cobbled medieval streets.
On to Bikaner and to the fabulous Junagarh Fort, a large 5-storeyed structure, the surrounding wall of which is more than one kilometer in length. Its sumptuously decorated interiors are much better preserved than any other fort in Rajasthan. The old city of Bikaner retains a medieval air with its maze of narrow lanes and some beautifully carved haveli’s in red sandstone, while outside the walls, many palaces and mansions survive.
Mandawa is a small town situated in the heart of Rajasthan's Shekhavati area, famous for its painted haveli’s (mansions). They were built in the 19th century by Marwari merchants who took over as patrons of the arts. They built haveli’s lavishly decorated with frescoes which became the symbol of the status of the Marwaris and a home for their extended family, providing security and comfort in style. We have an optional afternoon camel ride to nearby villages which is an interesting way to get to know the Shekhavati desert. It is a short but scenic ride and the local people are friendly and welcoming.
Samode is a small village nestled among rugged hills where cobbled narrow streets curve up till you reach the fairytale palace, where we will stay. This superbly restored eighteenth-century palace was put on the map by its starring role in the 1984 mini-series "The Far Pavilions". The exclusive rooms have an old world charm replete with antique furniture, and fabulous modern bathrooms. There are two delightful swimming pools, and several atmospheric dining areas. This will definitely be a highlight of the tour.
Moving on through Jaipur we then travel to Deogarh. Deogarh is a pleasant, little-frequented town midway between Pushkar and Udaipur. The market is dotted with shops selling silver jewelry, clothes, fabrics, food stuffs and just about everything one needs in a Rajasthani household. The road winds its way up to the top of the hill up to the beautifully renovated Deogarh Mahal Palace, one of Rajasthan's most spectacular palaces.
At Deogarh railway station we board the morning train to Phulad. This little passenger train doesn’t have a name. It just has a number: 222. The engine laboriously and slowly pulls the train through the most beautiful forest and hills that you get to see in Rajasthan. It takes us through some pretty, rugged and cinematic terrain.
In Udaipur we visit the spectacular 15th century Kumbhalgarh Fort. Set around the vast Pichola Lake and dominated by dramatic palaces, Udaipur is Rajasthan's most picturesque city. High whitewashed houses and narrow, winding alleys lend it an almost medieval charm. The huge City Palace, still the residence of the Maharana, is carved out of yellow sandstone and stands on the banks of the Lake Pichola, from where you have fabulous views over the lake and the famous Lake Palace Hotel. Visits to the City Palace, Jagdish temple, and a motor boat ride on Lake Pichola are all included.
For James Bond fans, you will recognize many locations seen in the 1983 movie "Octopussy".
We also enjoy marvelous views of the activity on the ghats used by local people for washing and bathing, the City Palace complex which dominates the eastern banks of the lake, and the Aravali Hills to the west. We also pass the famous luxury Lake Palace hotel, and stop to visit the pleasure island of Jag Mandir.
The photo tour ends in Udaipur.
During most of the 13 nights on this photo tour we will be staying in unique accommodations. Some are palaces and some are haveli’s.