India - Rajasthan, Thar Desert

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Into the Thar Desert

* Thar Desert hamlets, warm hospitality  * Golden Triangle: Delhi, Jaipur, Agra  * Taj Mahal * Camel safari, desert camping

From vibrant cities to undulating dunes, this unique holiday captures the richness of Rajasthan. Experience the simple charms and traditional Indian hospitality of a charming desert hamlet and enjoy a camel trek and night among the dunes. Immerse yourself in life in the Thar desert and discover time-honored traditions. Visit the Taj Mahal and India's great cities.

 

The Blue City

Your stay in Hacra is book-ended with stays in some of India's most vibrant cities. Visit the magical ‘Blue City’ of Jodhpur, the gateway to the Thar Desert.  Look down from the magnificent Amber Fort over the painted houses and bustling bazaars, explore the city and stay in a friendly Haveli guesthouse.

 

Hacra jhumpa huts

Discover local traditions

This holiday offers a rare insight into life in the desert, which is simple yet surprisingly diverse. Sweeping dunes, scattered houses, camels, peacocks and gazelles await, as well as a warm welcome from a community of musicians, shoemakers, craftsmen, weavers and farmers all keen to introduce you to their time-honoured customs and traditions.

 

Jhumpas and Dunes

You stay in one of three, twin-bedded, thatched 'jhumpa' roundhouses, owned and managed by the community of Hacra. You eat, in the shaded dining area, simple and delicious vegetarian dishes lovingly prepared by the villagers. Relax and watch black buck, gazelle and peacock wander through the village without concern.

 

 

Desert life

With four nights here, you have time to get to know your hosts well. Meet farmers herding goats and cows or repairing camel saddles, help with the watermelon harvest, discover the local music and watch as blackbuck saunter between the farmsteads. Enjoy local walks through the neighbouring hamlets in the cool morninngs and relax in the warmth of the afternoon and enjoy the gentle village scene. Enjoy a day trip to the nearby town of Osiyan to see the renowned Jain temples.

 

 

Camel Trek into the Dunes

The highlight of your stay is a camel journey into the desert dunes spending a night under canvas beneath the desert sky.  The camel safari provides a gentle excursion through the scattered villages towards the main sand dunes, stopping for a leisurely picnic lunch. Sit out under the night sky with a myriad of bright stars - far from any light pollution.

 

The Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle - Delhi, Jaipur and Agra - is on the to-do list of most people visiting India, and with good reason. Discover the fascinating architecture of these three cities, visit palaces and temples, and find out what makes the wonder of the world, the Taj Mahal, so special.

 

 

 

 

We look after you from the moment of your arrival at Delhi airport. Your holiday includes overnight rail journeys and transfers to the desert, accommodation in the village jhumpa guesthouses and in the cities, with all meals provided during your stay with the communities. Please feel free to tailor your holiday to your exact requirements.

 

 

Your Outward Journey

Day 1 Arrive Delhi, overnight Delhi guesthouse. There is so much to see in Delhi; choose to visit Humayan's Tomb, the Lotus Temple or Akshardham, explore the Red Fort or shop in Dilli Haat.

Day 2 Enjoy a day in Delhi before an evening transfer to Old Delhi station to catch the overnight Mandor Express train to Jodhpur.

Day 3 Spend a full day in the dazzling Blue City of Jodhpur. Explore old palaces and a magnificent hill fort. Spend a night in a comfortable, small hotel converted from an ancient Haveli.

With the Community of Hacra

Day 4

After breakfast, a 2 hour road transfer will transport you from the busy city to the great Thar desert and the hamlet of Hacra. Stay in twin-bedded jhumpa cottages, with a separate shower and toilet building.

Day 5 - day 8

During your stay in Hacra you will get to know the community, have guided village walks, see the traditional crafts of shoe-making and rug-making, watch the watermelon harvest and enjoy local folk music, and relax in the evening warmth as blackbuck and peacock emerge from the undergrowth. Take a day trip to the nearby town of Osiyan to see the remarkable cluster of Jain temples. Enjoy a camel safari and walk (10-12 km) to the sand dunes, taking a picnic lunch, and spend a night in the tented camp among the dunes.

The Golden Triangle

Day 9

Return to Jodhpur by road to catch the evening train from Jodhpur to Jaipur, Rajasthan's capital. Overnight Jaipur hotel.

Day 10

Full day to explore the pink city of Jaipur. Take in the Hawa Mahal palace and the Janta Mantar royal observatory; look down over the city from the grand Amber Fort.

Day 11

From Jaipur, a day train takes you to Agra.  Discover the majesty of the Taj Mahal, a dazzling white marble mausoleum built in memory of the wife of Shah Jahan.

Day 12 Return to Delhi by train for your transfer to the airport for your homeward flight.

Flights

We ask our guests to make their own arrangements for international travel to India. For Village Ways holidays in Rajasthan, the nearest airport is Delhi. Travel information for India can be found here.

Transfers

We look after you from the moment of your arrival at Delhi airport. Your holiday includes overnight rail journeys and transfers to the desert, accommodation in the village jhumpa guesthouses and in the cities, with all meals provided during your stay with the communities. In the city and during transfers, meals are at your own local charge. We have devised each of our holidays to provide a good balance between activity and relaxation; please feel free to tailor your holiday to your exact requirements.

The suggested itinerary can be extended if you wish to spend more time exploring the Thar Desert and the cities, or shortened if your time in India is limited. Add extra nights with the community of Hacra and add a visit to Keechan to see the demoiselle cranes. Add a visit to Agra and Jaipur. Our knowledgeable staff will be delighted to help fashion the holiday to suit you.

Jodhpur

This is one of the major cities of northern Rajasthan, formerly the centre of a Princely State. The city has much to offer in terms of old palaces, the magnificent hill fort and shopping, especially in the bustling bazaar in the old town. Add extra nights here to allow yourself time to fully explore this vibrant city.

Demoiselle Cranes

The small village of Keechen lies some 60 km to the northwest of Hacra, near Phalodi, accessed by road. For over 150 years the villagers of Keechen traditionally feed the handsome Demoiselle Cranes (kurja), which migrate through the area between October and March, creating an unofficial bird sanctuary but is supported by several international bird conservation organisations. A visit to Keechan can be arranged on your return journey.

Agra

For many guests, a visit to India would not be complete without a visit to the Taj Mahal, regarded by many as one of the wonders of the world. Whether you wish to make a day trip by train, enjoy an overnight stay with time to explore more of Agra, or whether you wish to be transferred by car, we can arrange a visit to suit you.

Jaipur

Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan, hosting some incredible architecture and seeped in history. Not to be missed are the Jantar Mantar observatory and the renowned Amber Fort. Add a visit here to complete the Golden Triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.