VEGIN’ OUT IN THE LAND OF RAJPUTS!
12 – Day North India Adventure
12 – Day North India Adventure
|GROUP SIZE||Maximum 14 people|
|GROUP MINIMUM||1 person (all our trips are guaranteed departures)|
|START DAY||Tuesday @ 4:30 PM|
|END DAY||Saturday at around 10:30 AM|
Rajputs have been known for centuries not only for their bravery and courage, but also for their warmness and hospitality. Recognized as a fearless warrior caste, they ruled Rajputana – one of the most colorful states in India, for hundreds of years. Building vast kingdoms complete with majestic palaces, impregnable fortresses and extravagant gardens, they developed a rich culture known for their unique architecture, vibrant local dances, charming folk music, tasty cuisine and brightly attired locals in their colorful dress that stand out in deep contrast to an otherwise dry and arid desert landscape.
As evident in their culture and daily lives by the murals that adorn the walls of many Rajput families’ homes and the amazing, intricately carved and mystical temples that fill the rugged terrain, the arts and spirituality were not only supported, but also encouraged by the local princely Rajput kings known as Maharajahs.
When many people think of India, the colorful images that come to mind of desert kingdoms, scenic centuries-old villages, Maharajahs and camel caravans crossing the vast desert, are those of Rajasthan. On our 12-day Vegin’ Out in the Land of Rajputs adventure these images come to life as we step back in time to the lands made famous in the journals of Rudyard Kipling, where we’ll not only visit the must-see highlights of this mysterious land, but also journey well off the beaten track to not only see, but experience, the India of a thousand years.
Come join us for 12 days of literally “vegin’ out” in centuries-old palaces, ancient Hindu and Jain temples, rural back road villages and medieval desert oasis towns while enjoying a plethora of tasty local vegan cuisines!
11 nights accommodations (3 nights at hotels, 2 nights at a charming old Maharajah’s palace, 2 nights at a Raja’s remote desert palace, 1 night at a serene hillside retreat, 2 nights at an old lakeside mansion, 1 overnight air-conditioned sleeper train)
31 meals (10 breakfasts, 1 brunch, 9 lunches, 11 dinners)
VegVoyages Adventure Leaders & Local Guides
* Airport pick up is provided only if you arrive a day or two earlier than the tour date. If you would be arriving three days or more early, please arrange for your own airport pick up.
International airfare, airport departure transfer, visa for India, personal travel insurance, gratuities and items of a personal nature.
|START DATE||March 21||October 3||January 23||March 20|
|END DATE||April 1||October 14||February 3||March 31|
Namaste! Welcome to India! Your adventure start at 4:30 PM. If you arrive early and feel like going out to see the city, just talk with your Adventure Leader who will be on hand to assist you and point you in the right direction. Make sure you get plenty of rest, as we’ll start early tomorrow. In the evening, we’ll have our group orientation meeting complete with traditional snacks and dinner where you’ll have the chance to get to know your Adventure Leader and fellow travelers while we discuss the adventure that lies ahead. (Snacks, Dinner)
In the morning we set out for Bharatpur where we’ll explore the UNESCO World Heritage Keoladeo Ghana National Park. A haven of wetlands and forests, the sanctuary is home to over 400 species of birds including a selection of herons believed to be among the best in the world, along with a wide variety of other wildlife. We’ll traverse the back trails of the sanctuary by bicycle or rickshaw (your choice) with our naturalist before returning to our hotel for dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
“We cannot thank or praise you enough for an absolutely wonderful trip. Every day brought new experiences , well planned and timed and enriched by the presence of the professional and caring team. The Vegvoyage experience took us ‘behind the scenes’ to experience the ‘real India’…. and what an experience that was!!! If you want to immerse yourself in India go with Vegvoyages!!! Thank you all so much for an unforgettable experience.”
Mary Jermyn (Dublin)
After breakfast, we’ll visit India’s most famous landmark – the stunning Taj Mahal, which of course needs no introduction. A remarkable mausoleum built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a tribute to his favorite wife – Mumtaj Mahal, when one sees it in person, the feeling is best summed up in the words of Tagore who described the tomb as “one tear drop…upon the cheek of time”. After taking in the Taj, we’ll explore the ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri. Built in the 16th century by Emperor Akbar, these well-preserved ruins were the capital of the Mughal Empire between 1571 and 1585 AD before being deserted. Returning to our hotel, you’ll have time to freshen up before dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Setting out into the desert, we’ll stop at Abhaneri village to visit its epic half- millennium-old Chand Baoli step-well, the largest step-well in India, before arriving in the romantic Kingdom of Kishangarh. Founded by a Jodhpur prince four centuries ago, the kingdom flourished with its military prowess and fortunes earned as a member of the Mughal court. Here we’ll be staying at the Maharajah’s beautiful monsoon palace built in 1870 just outside the walls of the massive Kishangarh Fort on the banks of the monsoon fed Gundalao Lake – so be on the lookout for kites, peacocks, herons and wild ducks that call the lake and nearby fields home. On arrival, we’ll head out to explore the colorful bazaar and centuries old streets of this princely state founded in 1611 AD. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
“There was no way I could have planned a trip like this on my own and enjoy it even half as much as I did with this tour. We really got to see how the locals live and see what India is really like. The food was amazing. It was a trip of a lifetime!”
Deirdre Sullivan (NY, USA)
After yoga, we’ll be guests of a local school before learning a little bit about marble. Rajasthan is famous for its marble – you’ll see it in temples, homes and palaces and today, you’ll get a chance to find out how it comes to be – from the quarry to the final product. Then, it’s off for lunch at the 1648 built Roopangarh Palace where we’ll also explore the four-centuries-old streets of its surrounding village. Heading back to Kishangarh, we’ll visit the local bazaar where we’ll buy gifts for kids at a school we’ll be guests of in Bhadrajun. As the sun sets, we’ll return to the palace for a tasty vegan dinner of local delicacies. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Today we travel to the rustic yet charming village of Bhadrajun where we’ll be staying at a 16th century palace residence. The history of Bhadrajun dates back thousands of years and is mentioned in the famous Indian epic, the Mahabharata. This picturesque village will be our home for the next two days as we focus on local village life, culture and customs. Arriving at the palace, we’ll board jeeps and head into the desert to catch sunset from atop a sand dune. As the sun dips off on the horizon, we’ll continue out to a remote and auspicious Hindu temple that dates back over 3,000 years for their aarti (Hindu ritual) ceremony. At nightfall, we’ll return to the palace for a candlelight dinner under the stars. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
“This was by far the best trip I have taken in my life. My wife and I took the Vegin’ Out in the Land of Rajputs and were left speechless by the sights we saw and the experiences we had. We were taken on walking tours of temples along lake roads where we had the chance to experience life as it is. We always felt like we were immersed in the community as it was going about its daily business, never like this was a performance staged for tourists. Our guide R.K. Singh and our driver “Bunty” made sure that we were safe and that all our worldly needs were met as we made stops in shepherd villages and larger cities alike. We were off the beaten track and went places and met people we never would have on another tour. Our accomodations were spectaular – staying in the “queens room” in an Indian palace is quite the experience. To complete our trip we met, cooked with and shared meals with Singhji’s family in Udaipur – the crowning touch on a fabulous trek.”
David M. (Ohio, USA)
After breakfast, we’ll visit a remote Bishnoi village. The Bishnois, who are strict vegetarians and strong environmentalists, are known for their protection of the trees and wildlife that surround their villages. Many of their villages, like the one we visit today – look similar to the way they’ve looked for hundreds of years. For lunch we’ll join a Bishnoi family at their home before being guests of a local girl’s school where we’ll join the students in the popular game of sitolia. From the school we’ll travel to a nearby shepherd’s village, where brightly attired locals go about their lives much as they have for centuries – their vibrant clothes standing out in stark contrast to the surrounding desert. Returning to the palace, we’ll meet for a colorful evening of traditional Marwari music, dinner, and dance. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
The magnificent 15th-century Ranakpur Jain temple – one of the five holiest sites in the Jain religion, is an awe-inspiring marble marvel sprawling over 48,000 square feet with 20 domes and 1,444 pillars. After taking in the temple complex, we’ll ascend the Aravalli Mountains to a serene hillside retreat surrounded by forests, rivers and small villages. Upon arrival, we’ll explore the picturesque hills, fields, forests and quaint Bhil villages. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
“I have taken many trips in my lifetime but there aren’t any that can compare with this one. Our food and lodging were perfect, I felt like a queen. The hospitality was perfect. Please keep up what you’re doing, you are a credit to the travel industry!”
Beverly McCloskey (Ontario, Canada)
Today we journey to the formidable 15th century medieval citadel of Kumbhalgarh. This massive fortress rises 1,100 meters from a ridge and is encompassed by a 20-mile long defensive wall with seven gates, ramparts, watchtowers and rounded bastions making it nearly impregnable. Next, we’ll drive through the rural roads of the Aravallis to the enchanting oasis city of Udaipur. Known as the Venice of the East, Udaipur is one of the most romantic cities in India. Surrounded by lakes and rich in history, we’ll spend our time here taking in the alluring princely charm of Rajasthan. Arriving at our home, a charming old noble’s mansion set along the banks of Pichola Lake, we’ll take a cruise on the lake before meeting our friends who just happen to be great chefs for a cooking class of local vegan classics. So be ready to roll up your sleeves as we’ll not only learn, but also cook tonight’s meal. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
One of the highlights of our stay here in the City of Lakes is our visit to a very special animal rescue organization known as Animal Aid. We’ll spend the morning with them out at their base where they not only offer a hospital, but also a home for the abused and neglected animals of the city. Their patients include everything from donkeys to dogs, cows to water buffalos, monkeys to pigs – whoever is in need gets the help. After lunch, we’ll visit an 18th century royal garden of fountains made to work by gravity alone, and the majestic Royal City Palace. As the sun sets, we’ll sample the tastiest cuisine the oasis town has to offer – a delicious home-cooked Mewari feast at a local Rajput family’s home while enjoying live music and folk dances. Make sure you have a good appetite – and don’t forget to bring your party shirt and dancing shoes! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
“My husband and I recently took the VegVoyages tour in India called Vegin’ Out in the Land of Rjputs, and it was incredible. We loved the food, the scenery, the culture, and most of all, the people. We saw and experienced things that we never would have had we not taken this tour. We never felt like tourists, and yet, we were well taken care of. Singhji was the greatest guide. He was kind, positive, knowledgable, and funny. We didn’t want to leave India, and we will definitely be returning. We will also be taking more VegVoyages tours in the future!”
Taylor Q. (Michigan, USA)
After breakfast, you’ll have the day free to get in any last minute souvenir shopping or just kickback and relax until we meet up to catch the overnight train to Delhi. On the way to the railway station, we’ll stop for dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Arriving in the morning by train, our adventure ends in Gurgaon after brunch. Bahut, bahut dhanyavaad (thank you very much)! (Brunch)
“I had so much fun and learned a lot. I loved the many interactions with villages and local people. The accommodations, food, activities and leadership were wonderful. I appreciate your incredible work ethic, the amount of planning and continuous effort that create our adventure, the attention to detail and compassion for the people you bring into the experience. In my eyes, you are beautiful people and a light to the world.”
Joan Learner (North Carolina, USA)