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BALOTRA HORSE FAIR SAFARI JODHPUR TO TILWARA

12 nights 13 days Ride from Jodhpur to the heartland of the famous Marwari horse to visit India's biggest rural horse and cattle fair at Tilwara (Balotra). The safari recreates the age-old charm of horseback travel. Let your senses sway to the romance of the desert as you pass forts, palaces and historical landmarks. Gallop on the deserts, plains, canter through the hills or just get off and trek along. Spend evenings in camps and swing to the folk dances.

DATES: MARCH/APRIL


 
 
DAY 01: ARRIVE DELHI
You will arrive Delhi International Airport. Following customs & immigration formalities and baggage collection, our representative will meet you as you EXIT the ARRIVALS TERMINAL building after which you would be transferred to your hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel, proceed for check-in to your rooms. Overnight at the hotel The Park, Delhi
 
 
DAY 02 : DELHI
Today you will have a full-day city tour of Old and New Delhi Delhi has long been a centre of power almost continuously since the 13th   Century.  No fewer than seven cities have been built on this site, side by side.  The huge city is divided into Old and New Delhi; the former also comprises the seventh city, Shahjahanabad and the areas further north; the latter has at its core the plan of the capital created by the British in 1911.Sightseeing of Old Delhi will include the Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Raj Ghat.  The Red Fort was built by Shah Jahan on the eastern edge of the city along the Yamuna River.  The entrance through the fort is via the imposing Lahori Gate which leads to a roof passage known as Chatta Chowk. At the end of this is the Naquar Khana (drum house) which marks the entrance the royal enclosures.  There are six main palaces but one of the best known is the Diwan-I-Am, the hall of public audience which was dominated by the legendary jewel-studded Peacock Throne.  Sightseeing of New Delhi includes the Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India, which was built by Shah Jehan.  Also see Raj Ghat which is a memorial to Mahatma Ghandi. The tour continues with India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhawan, Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar.  Rashtrapati Bhawan was once Viceregal Lodge on Raisina Hill and is now the residence of the President of India.  The 16th century Humayun’s Tomb is one of the finest examples of a garden tomb and is of a style which was perfected at the Taj Mahal at  Agra.  Finally visit the five storied Qutub Minar which was built in 1199 and is now one of Delhi’s landmarks. Overnight at the hotel The Park, Delhi.
 
 
DAY 03 :  DELHI/JODHPUR
Flight to Jodhpur.
CD 7471 0610 / 0800 hrs / OR / JET AIRWAYS
Assistance on arrival. Transfer to Hotel Ratan Vilas Palace. Built in 1920, by Maharaj Ratan Singh of Raoti, a keen horse lover and one of the greatest Polo players of his times, Ratan Vilas with its imposing Red Jodhpur sand Stone carved exterior and simple yet comfortable interiors is a genuine heritage edifice in sylvan setting. The villa continues to be the home of the grandson of Maharaj Ratan Singh, Maharaj Bharat Singh and his family. In order to utilize this beautiful place the family decided to take in guests and now Ratan Vilas is a family run Hotel. AFTERLUNCH drive45 minutes to the base camp where our horses and safari team have arrived from nawalgarh .The guests are welcomed with folk music and given welcome gifts . The safari riding leader helps the guests pick and choose their horses ---riding around the countryside . Return to hotel Ratan Vilas Jodhpur for dinner and over night.

 
 
DAY 04 : JODHPUR
Morning sightseeing of Mehrangarh fort and explore parts of the old city of Jodhpur with car and guide. Late afternoon drive to the base camp riding in the countryside. Jodhpur is on the eastern fringe of the Thar Desert and serves as the gateway to the wonderland of sand dunes and shrubs, rocky terrain and thorny trees. Rao Jodha established the Rathore Dynasty in Jodhpur in 1459 AD. The spectacular Mehrangarh Fort was hewn out of the rocks and the city of Jodhpur emerged out of the sands of the Thar desert to form the flourishing kingdom of Marwar, encompassing some 36,000 square miles and strategically placed on the trade route between Delhi and the Middle East. It was also a flourishing trading center of wood, cattle, camels, salt and agricultural crops. The past, in fact, is never very far behind in Jodhpur where palaces, forts, temples and other elegant monuments of architectural and historical worth vie with each other for attention. Mehrangarh Fort spreads over five kilometers on a hill. It houses a palace intricately adorned with long carved panels and latticed windows exquisitely wrought from red sandstone. It also has a museum with a rich collection of palanquins, howdahs, royal cradles, miniature paintings of various schools, folk music instruments, costumes and impressive armory. Overnight Ratan Vilas Palace.
 
 
CROSS COUNTRY SAFARI BEGINS
Each day you will cover a distance of 25 to 30 Kms riding through open countryside, farms and villages. The route follows the dry riverbed of river LUNI .
 
 
DAY 05 : JODHPUR/LUNI/SATLANA
Morning drive to base camp to commence your safari. The ride goes through dry flat area. The lunch halt is in a small rain catchment area besides a temple to folk divinity ‘mamoji’. Then ride through flat arid region you reach the dry riverbed of the LUNI. Enjoy the performance of the camps folk musicians. A Camp barber who also does massages will be available to relieve you of any aches and pains of the hard days ride.. Overnight stay in deluxe luxury camp. During the safari you will pass through many settlements of the Bishnoi community who have made environmental protection their religion. The Bishnoi people follow 29 principles laid down by Guru Jambhoji, who made environmental and wildlife protection a "religion" in the fifteenth century. Common throughout Rajasthan and Gujarat they are renowned for a concern for nature, particularly their refusal to harm the black buck, which now survive only in Bishnoi villages. Bishnoi beliefs came to the political forefront in 1730, when the king of Jodhpur ordered his men to collect wood for his new place. Despite the pleas of Bishnois, felling commenced in the small village of Khejadali near Jodhpur. In desperation Amritdevi, a Bishnoi women, hugged a tree. The fellers, assuming that the King’s request was to be respected, ignored her plea. She and 362 of her fellow people lost their lives trying to protect the forest. On hearing the news the king recalled his men and accorded state sanction to the Bishnoi religion, a turning point in the history remembered each September when thousands attend a festival at Khejadali.

 
 
DAY 06 :  SATLANA/GHANA
Riders go upstream in the large expanse of the dry LUNI riverbed. Being very sandy the going is slow leaving the river bed the ride takes you through villages and dry scrub country the festival of colour holi  has just passed so in this region people  are still celebrating with dancing and drum music… Before reaching the camp the ride crosses 8/9 kms of protected bush land which is the protectorate of the Ramdeoji Temple. Such temple protectorates are called ‘Oran’. The camp is in the field of a farmer in the evening we may have the farmers family or other ladies of the nearby village come visiting our camp. Overnight in Camp

 
 
DAY 07 :  GHANA/KARMAVAS
The ride on this day will take you through flat dry desert land arid but not sandy. Riders will be surprised at the clean well-maintained clay houses of the villagers.  The movement will be west / northwest and as they approach the camp site low hills of the Aravali ranges will be visible on the horizon typical desert flora will be seen on this day. Overnight in Camp.



 
 
DAY 08 : KARMAVAS/ASOTRA
Riding towards the hills passing acacia clusters you cross the village of Mangala the lunch spot is in the backdrop of the hillock facing the dry Luni riverbed. We are lucky to find few trees of the ‘Jaal’ which offer cool shade for rest after Lunch ride on to Asotra a big surprise….a green belt. Around ASOTRA aquifer created by the ancient saraswati river basin from 2000 BC has been discovered. As a result farmers pump water by electric pumps and raise crops and riders will go through this fertile oasis belt. Our camp is in a farmers field and riders are able to meet the villagers and the family.  Overnight in Camp
 
 
DAY 09 : ASOTRA/BALOTRA FAIR (TILWARA)
Ride on to Balotra to reach the exiting fair. Lunch en-route just beyond Jasol. Evening reach Tilwara. Explore exploring the fair grounds on arrival. Evening campfire and folk entertainment.
 
 
BALOTRA HORSE & CAMEL FAIR
In southwest Rajasthan 145 Kms. From Jodhpur on the banks of the dry seasonal river Luni is a small village "TILWARA". The closest town 19 Kms. From Tilwara is Balotra falling in district Barmer of Rajasthan. It was here many centuries ago that the famous ruler MALLINATHJI ruled. He is worshipped as a divinity. The temple to Mallinathji is located on the opposite bank of the dry river Luni from Tilwara village. Every year in the first fortnight of the Hindu month of "Chaitra" a large fair is held here. Horses, camels, bullocks and in the last phase donkeys come to the fair. The fair according to the Christian calendar falls in the month of March./April. The owners of the animals camp in the dry riverbed. They may use their carts or make temporary dwellings from acacia bushes. The prosperous horse owners and traders bring their tents and attendant staff, cooks etc. The animal owners occupy the dry riverbed for many kilometers. They cook, sleep & trade in these temporary dwellings called "AALI" in the local dialect. At sunrise and sunset horse owners display their horses riding up and down the riverbed. Audiences and buyers cheer them. Any body can accost the riders and bid or negotiate the deal. Now the state government organizes horse-judging competitions. The function last year was presided by The Maharaja of Jodhpur. The fair is held in the heartland of our Indian breed of horses.

The 'Marwari', some very good horses come to the fair. People from far away states the Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat & Maharashtra come to purchase animals to this fair. It is rare spectacle to see 5 to 7 thousand horses, 15 to 20 thousand camels and about 30 to 40 thousand bullocks and cattle and their owners in the flat expanse of the dry sandy riverbed. The market places, which come up, sell all kinds of goods. Camel carts, water tanks, earthenware utensils, rugs, ropes, horse tack, camel saddles, colorful girdles, beds, doors, brass, copper and steel pots and pans. Many stores of recycled material like conveyor belts, parachute materials, musical instruments & all things which villagers would buy. The fair is a photographer paradise. It takes a visitor to atmosphere of biblical times. One feels to have walked into the past. Our safari camp is set up 1 to 1 and half kilometers on the banks of the riverbed overlooking the fair site. Guests go on their horses and ride around the fair. At a pre-decided point our grooms await them so they can leave their horses and walk around if they want to. Guests have to be warned that temperatures in March are warmer then January / February and can go up to 28-38. However they will be more then rewarded by this extraordinary event and will enjoy the visit immensely. The lunch halt will be a long one and more riding will be done in morning and late afternoon. This fair is much larger then the famous Pushkar or Nagaur camel and cattle fair and is not frequented by tourists. At sunset and sunrise there is spectacular display of horse rider on the flat riverbed. It is an unspoiled horse fair. Overnight in Camp.

 
  DAY 10 : BALOTRA FAIR
Morning and evening ride. Afternoons explore the fair grounds. Evening campfire and folk entertainment. Overnight in Camp.
 
  DAY 11  : BALOTRA FAIR
Morning and evening ride. Afternoons explore the fair grounds. Evening campfire and folk entertainment. Overnight in Camp.

 
 
DAY 12  : BALOTRA FAIR/JODHPUR/DELHI
Morning ride around fair ground. After lunch drive to Jodhpur (4 hr). Dinner at Ratan Vilas. Rooms will be available for Wash & change. Later transfer to airport for flight to Delhi. CD 7472 1920 / 2110 hrs in case evening flight non-operational then guests may have to leave very early and connect the morning flight. On arrival you will be met and transferred to The Park, Delhi.
 
  DAY 13 : DEPARTURE DELHI
Depart Delhi for onward journey or fly back home.
 
 
 
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