Princess Trails Bespoke Adventure

The Journey To Udaipur

I contacted http://www.princesstrails.com/history.html#pg via their web page and received prompt and helpful communication. They were super flexible and quickly helped me to make all the arrangements. After a life-changing experience achieving my teacher training at the Yoga Shala in Rishikesh. It was time to say goodbye to my new set of amazing international friends and set off solo again.

I had a super exciting and slightly daunting twenty-four journey ahead of me, starting with travelling by taxi from Rishikesh to Haridwar. The driver took me to the wrong coach station leading to a mad dash by super-fast Tuk Tuk to catch my overnight coach from Haridwar to Jaipur.

You can buy a ticket from any good travel agent in the towns and you get a self-contained pod bed with charging point, air-con and fulling closing door and duvet set. Having survived the overnight coach which was a bumpy and occasionally life-threatening ride. It was great to see my Tuk Tuk driver arranged by the hostel waiting for me.

I spent the next two days exploring the amazing sites of Jaipur by tuk-tuk and had a private room in a relaxed, friendly, traditionally decorated hostel on the outskirts of Jaipur. Having befriended the young Tuk Tuk driver, he kindly took me to meet his adorable family. It was a pleasure to experience local culture, and it delighted his young sisters to decorate my hands with traditional henna work.

If you were to take a similar journey, I would highly recommend visiting Jaipur. Especially the Jal Mahal Floating Pink Palace. It is an abandoned palace set in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan. They say they built the mysterious island as a royal summer retreat for parties.  Although the red-walled fort looks flat, it actually has five levels, with four being submerged under the lake.

On the third day, my faithful Tuk Tuk driver took me to the Maharana Pratap Airport, Udaipur’s local airport. I arrived in the late afternoon where I easily found Mr Virendra Singh Shaktawat who had kindly come to collect me and was waiting.

Hotel Boheda Palace Bespoke Package

I arrived at the http://www.hotelbohedapalace.com/, where I received a very warm welcome. Mr Virendra Singh Shak of Princess Trails also owns the Hotel Boheda so you can opt to stay there instead of camping. It’s also a great option if you are a solo traveller rather than a group or if you wish to make a bespoke trip and not a full safari as I did. The hotel is fabulous with a wonderful roof terrace restaurant and a nice selection of traditional and western food.

Princess Trails offers a variety of accommodation and safari packages if you have a longer trip I would highly recommend getting in touch with them and checking out this link to find out what they can offer http://www.princesstrails.com/safaris.html#pg.

Day One: Mountains and Jungles

I woke up early in my fabulously decorated and luxurious room and headed up to the roof terrace to do some sunrise yoga and then choose a delicious option from the breakfast menu. The hotel made me up a packed lunch to go with me and a car took me to the stables. The staff matched me with a very nice young mare that could be a little strong so they felt she would enjoy having an experienced rider onboard.

So after giving them a hand to prepare the horses (optional) we set off through the local villages in the foothills. We spent the first day riding through the stunning mountain villages guided by a local groom and a german working student who had been returning to Princess Trails for many years and had become good friends with the family.

We then began climbing through forest and jungle to reach mountain paths that led us along cliffs and ledges. The Marwari horses were agile and sure-footed, making a light word of the difficult terrain. We continued through the jungle and tiny mountain villages that even the boldest event horses would have had a great deal to say about. The sun was hot, and I would recommend taking sunscreen or a shirt to cover yourself in the midday heat.

After a few hours riding we stopping for a leisurely picnic of traditional breads, eggs and salad with hot tea and fruit. We sat and chatted In the shade while the horses took a rest and while the groom fed and watered them. Back at the ranch, the horses live mostly out in paddocks. They come into the stables when needing a break from the sun and flies.

Day Two: Lakes and Safari

On day two, they drove me to the fabulous Jaisamand Lake in the chief tribal region of Rajasthan. It is a stunning wildlife sanctuary and protected area. On top of the hills surrounding the lake are the two historical former summer palaces of the queens of Udaipur. They then accompanied me on a boat ride across the stunning lakes where you can take great photos of the palaces while relaxing in the sun and a fresh breeze.

Later we drove to the regions famous Safari Park, where they endeavour to protect animals and their natural habitat. We met up with the Marwari horses here who arrived by truck; they are not of a Western standard but the horses were happy and accustomed to the non-ramp procedure! I had asked to keep the same Mare for the whole three days, but you can do as you wish.

Princess Trails has exclusive use of the Safari Park for their riding guests, and it was a thrill to enter through the massive iron gates that keep the public out and the wild animals in! We had a wonderful ride through the park with a mix of terrain and often getting glimpses of exotic birds and game. We had many sightings of water buffalo, gigantic game and birds of prey.

We rode to some extraordinary lagoons, and after several hours had arrived at another exit, where we found a local stall to drink tea while the staff came to collect the horses. Back to the fabulous Boheda hotel by car for a well-earned shower and another delicious meal from their restaurant menu. It was another unforgettable day riding across shallow lakes and stopping at lagoons made a special experience.  .

Day Three: Low Lands and Lagoons

On the third day, it was my last ride, a pleasant short ride through farmland and smaller villages, along fields and through palm groves. We visited the beautiful Lotus Lake, which sits like a serene oasis inside the hills. We stopped to take photos before returning to the farm, galloping across the lowlands of the mountains, and it privileged us to see so many birds and beasts.

The Marwari breed is a wonderfully brave and sure-footed little horse, elegant with a kind and noble nature, sensible yet responsive and eager to go. With their moon-shaped ears that make them seem as if they were the last of the mythical creatures, they really were a very special horse to spend some time with.

The Verdict

What are you waiting for this is a must for any Equine Nomad or World of Horses Explorer. If you’re a complete beginner, it’s probably a little too much although I think they would try to cater for you and provide non-ridden activities. But if you have some experience, or you are in a group, they will easily be able to adapt the rides to suit you. You will have an amazing time with these special horses.

If you’re a super experienced rider, then you will love it and I would recommend letting them know and asking about a bespoke package where you can choose from the ride options. As always, be super honest about your riding ability. Some of this terrain is tricky and the horses are sensible but are blood horses.

Udaipur is a fabulous city, and I enjoyed visiting the lakes where I took a boat ride to the island hotels and restaurants. I visited some spectacular ornate buildings and temples. In Udaipur, the local markets are bustling you will find small craft shops produce some stunning silk paintings and other traditional goods. This is one of my favourite places in India, and I was privileged to visit a traditional dance and music night at the theatre, which was incredible.

As a solo female traveller, the coach station from Haridwar was not a magnificent place to be waiting alone. I later found out that not even Indian women would go there alone, so have your driver wait with you until the coach arrives or take another route. Be careful of Gurus who will charge you for their readings in Jaipur and being taken to clothing and fabric shops which will try to convince you to go into business with them.

In Udaipur, I felt very safe, and both accommodations looked after me exceptionally well. The Boheda Hotel even prepped and sent me away with a day’s worth of packed lunch food for my onward journey to Mumbai by train.

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