There is no finer way to appreciate the diversity of life in village India than by cycling. We explore the famous palaces and forts of northern India with visits to the walled cities of Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and the Pink City of Jaipur before commencing our cycle ride. The roads are flat, the days are relaxed and we provide a backup vehicle for your convenience. Our carefully selected route takes us along quiet village roads via Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary and the amazing deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri before concluding this unique adventure at the spectacular Taj Mahal.
Although there is no commitment to extended cycling on this journey we nonetheless want to keep the ‘accent on the active’. We therefore advise some physical training before undertaking the trip to enable you to participate in optional activities. We would suggest at least one hour of cycling, 3 times a week for 2-3 months prior to travel. As for any trip, the fitter you are the more you will enjoy your experience.
If you are arriving on Day 1 you will be meet and transferred to the group hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure. A group briefing will usually be held on the morning of Day 2.
This morning we have a group briefing before heading out for the day's sightseeing. We start in New Delhi with a visit to Qutub Minar and the India Gate, followed by lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon we continue to Old Delhi, visiting the Red Fort and the Jama Masjid before transferring to the train station for our overnight train to Jaisalmer (departing at approximately 17.30hrs). Before boarding, we have the opportunity to purchased a packed dinner from a nearby restaurant which we can enjoy on the train. Travelling on the railways is one of the great experiences of India – our sleeping berths are comfortable and we reserve 2nd class air conditioned sleeper carraiges for our groups (bedding is provided).
Upon arrival in Jaisalmer (at approx 11.00hrs) we are meet by our bus and driver and transferred to the group hotel. After a rest and a chance to freshen up, you are free to wander the bustling bazaar located within the fort. Built in the 12th century, the forts massive entrance gates and narrow, paved stone lanes lead to the outer walls with superb views over the city. Late this afternoon you will be collected from the hotel for our sunset camel safari (one hour and thirty minutes).
We have a full day to explore the ancient walled city of Jaisalmer. We visit Jaisalmer Fort and the Jain temples, which contain many intricate carvings. We also explore the 'Havelis', the mansions of the wealthy merchants who made their fortunes at a time when Jaisalmer was on the old trade route between the Arabian Sea and the markets of Central India.
After our sightseeing we recommend you wander out to the Royal Cenotaphs at Barabagh to enjoy the magnificent sunset.
With an early start we can reach Jodhpur by lunchtime to allow a free afternoon to visit Meherangarh Fort. Situated on a 125-m-high hill, the fort is the most impressive in Rajasthan. It includes a complex of palaces and museums that reflect the rich cultural history of the region. From the upper ramparts of the fort, we will have 360 degree views of the entire city.
The famed 'Pink City' of Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan. The city was founded by Maharaja Jai Singh in the early 18th century, when he moved from Amber to this new site on the plains. We reach Jaipur in the afternoon. Giving us the rest of the day to explore the city.
We continue our program of sightseeing in Jaipur, visiting the Hawa Mahal, the City Palace and the Jantar Mantar; the remarkable observatory that reflects Jai Singh's passion for astronomy. There is also the Old City with its bazaars and the Hawa Mahal (the Palace of the Winds), originally built as part of the City Palace complex to allow the ladies of the royal household to watch everyday life in the city without being observed.
Departing through the outlying settlements of Jaipur and with the Amber Fort as our backdrop, we commence the bike section of the trip. Instruction and bike adjustment will take place at this point of time. We then progress along the Ramgargh road, one of the quieter veins leading out of Jaipur. This twists through small farming settlements, where we provide endless entertainment to the villagers who are intrigued at the notion of westerners riding bikes through India. By lunch we arrive at Ramgarh Lake and enjoy a lunch respite under a huge Banyan tree. After lunch we cycle on to our camp spot; in a true rural setting, with small rudimentary dwellings and endless fields of various crops. At night the camp will be established and tea will be prepared, with plenty of time for a wash and a visit to the local village before the evening meal is served.
Cycling distance: 50km
We continue riding through timeless India, with lush flowering mustard plantations flanked by overhanging willow trees, before reaching the gates to the Sariska Tiger Reserve. After a drink stop we continue on to our camp inside the park where we will have lunch. This was once home to a significant population of tigers, until a few season ago, when poaching reduced numbers. However there are many other animals in the park, and the atmosphere and natural surrounds make the visit very much worthwhile. Our camp overnight will be in the grounds of the Sariska Tiger Camp.
Cycling distance: 52km
We ride through a number of small villages to Rajgarh where we stop for lunch. After lunch we continue cycling another 15km before boarding the bus for the journey to Bharatpur via Mahua arriving at our camp in the premises of the Swaraj Resort.
Cycling distance: 38km
Today we cycle to the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary where we will enjoy a packed lunch. Our bikes provide a wonderful mode of transport to move around and explore the park, where swamplands provide habitats for hundreds of bird species. We will then travel in our vehicle for about 20km to Fatehpur Sikri, to explore Akbar's deserted capital, before continuing on to Agra.
Cycling distance: 54km
In the early morning we have a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan's mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. We continue to Agra Fort, a fitting testimony to the Great Moghuls – Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan – during the era when Agra was the capital of the Moghul empire. From the Red Fort we'll have more views of the Taj Mahal before driving back to Delhi that afternoon where our trip concludes.
Per Person, Twin Share