Traveling deep into Rajasthan's Thar Desert, this trip combines scenery, living cultures, and wildlife. Located on the foothill of a sandstone hillock, the city of Jodhpur seems like an oasis. The city is known by other names such as the "Sun City" for the bright, sunny weather it enjoys all year. It is also referred to as the "Blue City" due to the vivid blue-painted houses around the Mehrangarh Fort. You will also drive “off-the-tourist-trail” region to Jamba, the stronghold of the fascinating Bishnoi tribes to connect with a fascinating way of desert life.
Day 1: Udaipur (or Jawai) / Jodhpur (148 kms / 92 miles / 3.5 hrs. approx.) (B)
After breakfast, drive to Jodhpur.
Jodhpur – located on the foothill of a sandstone hillock, the city of Jodhpur seems like an oasis in the vast desert. Being at the onshore of Thar Desert, referred as the “Gateway to Thar”, life has been influenced with ways of the desert folks (gypsies can be found in many parts of the city) The forts and palaces, temples and havelis, culture and tradition, spices and fabrics, colour and texture, a booming handicrafts industry, all add up to make this historic city worth a visit. Arrive Jodhpur and check-in to the hotel. Later visit Meharangarh Fort. Meharangarh Fort has been in existence since 1459 and is one of the most astounding constructions and architectural marvels from its day and age. The towering building has extremely high walls and gates, and the closer it is explored, the smaller you begin to feel! Inside the fort is a network of courtyards and palaces including a museum that houses a splendid collection of items from the Maharajas, salvaged to display regally out of pride for their long bout of warding off attackers.
Then visit Jaswant Thada. The Jaswant Thada is an absolutely calming and soothing building to lay your eyes upon. Constructed entirely of a milky-white marble, the whimsical essence of this memorial can be felt by all in the surrounding area. The sheets of marble used to create this astounding marvel were all hand carved into what you see as the fabulous walls and domes. A warm glow surrounds the polished rock, emitting a sunny and pleasant atmosphere. Overnight Ajit Bhawan or similar. .
Day 2: Jodhpur – Jamba (160 kms / 99 miles / 3 hrs. approx.) (B,L,D)
After breakfast, drive to Jamba, the stronghold of the fascinating Bishnoi tribes. All Bishnois follow the 29 (bis-noi) tenets laid down by the 15th-century guru Jambeshwar, affectionately known as “Jamba-ji.” They fervently believe in the sanctity of animal and plant life so wildlife finds a natural sanctuary around their villages. You will spend three nights at the Dera Dune the Clement Retreats. This is an exclusive property that set atop a 100' high sand dune with panoramic views of the Thar Desert. The Resort features exquisite examples of traditional Rajasthani architecture used throughout, with stonework and carvings using local design and sustainable materials and, most importantly, utilizing the skills of local craftsmen. It has individual deluxe cottages, a swimming pool and an excellent restaurant. Rest of the day relax at the retreat.
Day 3: Jamba (B,L,D)
After early/packed breakfast, short drive to the village Khichan to witness the perfect example of the bird and human relationship, where over 20000 demoiselle cranes come to the village during the months of winter and villages feed them grains.
Then visit Potters village and Salt Pans, the sandy soil of the Thar Desert absorbs all the water but here at the foot of the sand laden dunes lays an area by some mysterious quirk of nature that does not absorb any water and is saturated with salt. Locals harvest this seemingly endless supply of salt for sale in the local markets. Return to the retreat for lunch and relaxed afternoon.
Day 4: Jamba (B,L,D)
Breakfast at the retreat and relax in the retreat till lunch. Later this afternoon, go 4 wheeling cross-country on dirt and sand roads to continue your exploration of “Jamba-ji’s” land. These excursions introduce you to traditional Rajasthani hospitality, as well as giving you a chance to witness rural Rajasthani life up close. The villages are built with painted adobe walls, and village life continues unaffected by the big cities nearby.
Bishnoi villages are immaculate, scrubbed daily by brightly clad women who are weighted down by silver jewellery and festooned with bangles right up to the length of their arms. By contrast, their tall men dress entirely in white, their large turbans. Then you will also have an opportunity to go on a camel cart safari. Return to Resort in time to watch the setting sun light up the desert.
Day 5: Jamba - Jodhpur & Fly to Delhi (AI 476 at 1500/1615 hrs.) & Departure (B)
After breakfast, transfer to Jodhpur airport to board your flight to Delhi.