. Shan-e-india Trip !

D-85, Mahavir Enclave, Street No. 4, Palam, Dabri Road, Near Sector-1 Dwarka, New Delhi - 110045

Bikers Tour - Rajasthan

Destinations : Delhi, Bharatpur, Jaipur, The Dunes, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Ranakpur, Bambora, Bundi, Ranthambore, Bharatpur,

Duration : 14 Days / 13 Nights

A ride through Rajasthan is a journey through living history. Looking and feeling like nowhere else in India – nowhere else on Earth – this region is packed with colourful and historic sights, from the classic vistas and fort-cities of the Great Thar Desert in the west, to the cooler heights, temples and wildlife sanctuaries of more southerly Ranakpur. Historical sights abound: the ancient forts of Rajput warriors, havelis (marvellous stone-carved dwellings of wealthy traders) and the magical lake-palaces of the Rajas from whom the state takes its name. To the east of the state we will be visiting the internationally famous Ranthambore Tiger Reserve and Bharatpur bird sanctuary, before taking you to the Taj Mahal in Agra, surely the world's most famous monument to love.

Day 01 - Arrival Delhi
Transfer To Bharatpur : On arrival in Delhi you will be met by a Shan-e-india Trip representative and guided aboard your transport to Bharatpur, approximately 4hrs away. The town is on the eastern fringe of Rajasthan and is famous for the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, the entrance to which is only 500 yards from our comfortable hotel. Here, following a briefing on the trip ahead and an introduction to 'your' bike, you will be able to recover from your journey. If you don't feel up to a stroll in the park, don't worry, as you'll have an afternoon here at the trip's end in which to enjoy the wildlife.

Day 02 - Bharatpur - Jaipur
A day's ride carries us west to the bustle of Jaipur, where we will be staying in our palace hotel. The garden, replete with peacocks and parakeets, is an oasis of calm in the heart of this frenetic city. This tranquil spot is the ideal venue for a couple of beers with dinner as the sun goes down.

Day 03 - Jaipur
Jaipur, the 'Pink City', is the commercial hub of Rajasthan and a busy tourist centre. There is plenty to see and lots to do, including shopping in the busy bazaars of the historic old walled town and visiting the many Moghul-period palaces and mosques. Also recommended is a 12km rickshaw ride out to the satellite town of Amber, once the capital of Jaipur State. Here you will find an imposing hill-top fort (Jaigarh), overlooking a beautiful palace complex which is open to visitors. The views and surroundings are stunning.

Day 04 - Jaipur - The Dunes
An early start is necessary to avoid traffic as we head west out of Jaipur in the direction of Jaisalmer. As we ride, the scenery starts to change and we enter the Great Thar Desert that stretches well into Pakistan. Here we will encounter the classic sights of this desert environment: dunes, camels and brightly-clad locals. We will spend a night sleeping under the stars, on the dunes in our temporary camp, where hot food and cold beers will miraculously appear.

Day 05 - The Dunes - Jaisalmer
Breakfast in the dunes is followed by a ride through more sand-dune-and-scrub scenery, passing camel carts and bullock trains as we head up to the stunning fort-town of Jaisalmer.

The city-fort will come into view standing proud of the desert's flatness like a giant golden sandcastle. After settling into our comfortable hotel, we will head into town for dinner and you are welcome to join us.

Day 06 - Jaisalmer
Once a booming hub of east-west caravan commerce, this fairytale walled city-fort now reaps the bulk of its Rupees from tourism and general trade. The medieval streets, just wide enough for a bike to wiggle past a cow, are often described as a 'living museum'. And so they are, complete with hundreds of gift shops. A day is easily frittered away visiting temples, restaurants, the museum and the preserved sandstone havelis of yesterday's wealthy traders. Later, kick back with a beer and watch the sunset paint the city walls gold.

Day 07 - Jaisalmer - Jodhpur
An early breakfast is followed by a long ride through more classic dune scenery, passing camel carts and bullock trains. Arriving early afternoon in the 'Blue City' of Jodhpur gives the chance to visit the impressive historical sites of this bustling place. Why blue? The vast majority of buildings have been painted pale indigo, a colour traditionally signifying the homes of Brahmins (those of the priest caste), but nowadays giving the whole city an almost luminous glow when viewed from a distance. The old city is a tangle of winding streets and bazaars and is surrounded by a 10km-long wall. The vast Meherangarh Fort, that dominates the city from a hillside 5km away, is the most impressive in Rajasthan and is a 'must see'.

Day 08 - Jodhpur - Ranakpur
We head south, initially along straight roads. Before long the Aravalli Hills start to build on the horizon. As we ride into these hills, the roads start to twist and turn and the desert is replaced by forest. We will be stopping at the staggeringly beautiful Ranakpur Jain temple, before continuing on to Ranakpur itself and a quiet hotel in the cool forest, where we will stay the night.

Day 09 - Ranakpur - Bambora
A pleasant morning's ride through the hills will carry us to the very impressive Karni Fort Hotel, a restored 18th Century palace. The afternoon can be spent walking in the countryside hereabouts, visiting the nearby wildlife sanctuary, or checking out the Jagat Temple, an 11th Century Hindu edifice, complete with erotic sculptures.

Day 10 - Bambora - Bundi
Our target today is Bundi, a small city with a great deal of history. Bundi was a state in it's own right as late as 1947, when it was incorporated into Rajasthan. The city is full of ancient, and often crumbling, architecture. Nearby is the Star Fort and the absurdly grand Bundi Palace, which is certainly worth visiting to view the extravagant murals. Our hotel is, once again, an impressive converted palace.

Day 11 - Bundi - Ranthambore
Our target today is Bundi, a small city with a great deal of history. Bundi was a state in it's own right as late as 1947, when it was incorporated into Rajasthan. The city is full of ancient, and often crumbling, architecture. Nearby is the Star Fort and the absurdly grand Bundi Palace, which is certainly worth visiting to view the extravagant murals. Our hotel is, once again, an impressive converted palace.

Day 12 - Ranthambore
Two chances to get out into the forest looking for them stripeys, or to hang out at camp, soaking up the peace and quiet. The national park is open for visitors from 1st October to 30th June every year. There are two safari-trips into the park per day from October to June, one starting in the morning and the other late in the afternoon. The morning safari usually starts half an hour after sunrise and the evening safari finishes half an hour before sunset, so the timings change slightly with the season.

Each safari should have a duration of around three hours. There are two modes of transport for safaris : four-wheel-drive Suzuki 'Gypsy' jeeps (which seat up to six) and 16 or 20-seat buses - 'cantors'. A maximum of 40 vehicles: 20 jeeps and 20 buses, are allowed into the park at any one time. Thus, visitors are strongly advised to book their safaris, particularly jeep safaris, well in advance. To book safaris the authorities will need your full name, plus proof of identification. The only ID proof that is accepted for foreigners is your passport number. A copy of the ID proof is required to be submitted before every safari, so please carry multiple photocopies of your passport.

Day 13 - Ranthambore - Bharatpur
An early start will mean reaching Bharatpur in time for lunch. The afternoon is then at your disposal to visit the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, one of the world's premier bird-watching sites (with 375 species recorded)… and a World Heritage Site. Once a maharaja's hunting ground, the park has been artificially irrigated to attract migratory birds and at one time bags of up to 5000 ducks were shot in a single day. Besides the avian life, there are many jackals, nilgai (a very large antelope species), deer and even pythons to be (relatively) easily seen.

Day 14 - Bharatpur - Taj Mahal - Delhi
All good things must, at some time, come to an end. But what an end! Leaving Bharatpur by coach in the early morning, we will ferry you to the world famous Taj Mahal for some sightseeing. This white marble testament of love, built by the Emperor Shah Jahan in memorial to his second wife Mumtaz Mahal (who he lost during childbirth) took 20,000 people 22 years to construct. Many of the artisans had hands or digits amputated on completion in 1653, in order that such a monument could not be replicated elsewhere. The site of the Taj also houses one of the most impressive mosques to be seen anywhere. Following a look around, it's back on the bus, airport-bound, or into Delhi for those wishing to spend a day or two in the capital.