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Colonial or small characterful hotels, tea plantations, havellis
These dreamy little hotels today belong to the descendants of those who lived here in the colonial era, who are your highly affable, energetic and involved hosts.
Historic forts and opulent palaces (India)
Few structures evoke the majesty of the Indian courts as splendidly as the country’s numerous palaces and ancient forts.
Village trek houses (India)
Village walks are a great concept and an increasing number of sophisticated travellers are seeking something beyond five-star luxury – although even here it is possible!
Owner Managed Retreats (India)
Staying at establishments which are owner managed is becoming increasingly popular, allowing one to experience real India.
Tented camps and luxury safari lodges
The subcontinent has a wide range of wildlife camps – from intimate, owner-managed camps to luxury lodges. The owner-managed camps are intimate and are set in magnificent locations either overlooking a river or the forest.
Royal Tented Luxury Lodges
These small, often luxurious boutique style camps are found all over Rajasthan - from the Thar desert, to Nimaj, overlooking a lake, to outside the tiger reserves in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and occupying locations on the outskirts of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur.
Houseboats and luxury cruises
A trip to South India is incomplete without a journey on a traditional house boat. Locally known as kettuvallam, these traditional rice barges are made by tying jackwood planks together with coir rope and then coating them with black resin made from boiled cashew nut shells.
Design Inspired, Luxury Boutique Hotels
You will enjoy fine food and an intimate atmosphere in our specially selected luxury boutique hotels. These usually are smaller independent properties including city hotels and retreats.
Luxury trains in India
Welcome to the world of luxury train travel in India, where pampered guests can drink in scenes of daily life from a cocoon of comfort. In India, the rail network is an essential part of life. The second-largest system in the world, stretching nearly 64,000km, it could be wrapped twice around the Earth.
Private Villas and Houses
Goa and Kerala are best known for some of the country's finest beaches. The Dutch and Portuguese both left their mark on these coastal towns, which means you will find charming properties from simple, private houses right on the beach that one takes over exclusively, to sumptuous villas. Sri Lanka has a wealth of beautiful, colonial style villas on the coast and beautiful houses in the tea plantation regions.
Luxury Beach Lodges and Hotels
We have a wonderful array of luxury beach lodges and hotels in India and Sri Lanka.
Robinson Crusoe retreats – India and Sri Lanka
Away from the mainland are the Andaman and Lakshadweep Islands, where you can discover India’s best-kept secrets.
Resorts – five-star and lower – India, Bhutan, Burma and Borneo
These are larger hotels, again, either placed in a city in India such as Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai, Bangalore or Bhutan, such as Paro, Thimphu and Bumthang.
Bhutan Accommodation Style
Elegant hotels like the Uma Paro and the Aman group rub shoulders alongside resorts and the more basic, traditional Bhutanese hotels that have their own particular charm.
Maldives Accommodation Style
Resorts that just breathe imaginative and inspired luxury in one of the world’s most beautiful seascapes – this is sybaritic bliss at its most blissful!
Nepal Accommodation Style
Award-winning heritage hotels, atmospheric walking or trekking hotels, vibrant hubs of activity, pioneering jungle lodges, and camps and mountain lodges.
Sri Lanka Accommodation Style
Sri Lanka is a country that has effortlessly preserved its wealth of colonial houses and converted these into the most stunning and stylish boutique hotels, homestays, country retreats and seaside villas. It has also built itself some exceptional modern examples.
Borneo Accommodation Style
Borneo is one of the ultimate diving and snorkeling destinations in the world. These resorts are often wonderfully isolated and many have turtle nesting sites that you can observe in carefully controlled night watches.
Burma (Myanmar) Accommodation Style
There is an array of accommodation to choose from in Myanmar. The majority of choice is for larger hotels but as tourism develops there are an increasing number of smaller, more boutique style places and those with a difference that go that extra mile.
Days 1 - 2: Delhi
You will fly from London to Delhi and you will be driven to a beautiful Lutyen’s style home outside of the city, in exquisite farm land. You can simply relax after your flight, or there are ample opportunities for stretching the legs around the farm with walks along the valley or scramble up the nearby knoll to see and enjoy the countryside.
Days 3 - 5: Pench National Park
Fly from Delhi to Nagpur then continue by car to Pench National Park, located in the undulating Satpura Hills. Stay at a gorgeous luxury tented camp located at the edge of wildlife rich buffer zone. Go on Jeep safaris in the morning and afternoon for a chance to spot tigers. At night, be adventurous and sleep on the star bed to see the sky and the nocturnal wildlife!
Days 6 – 8: Kanha National Park
You drive from Pench to Kanha which will take around 5 hours, driving in air-conditioned comfort. Rural India is full of colour as it passes you by. Situated in the heart of Central India and spread across rugged hills and wide valleys in the beautiful Maikal Hills, Kanha is one of India's finest wildlife parks with a healthy tiger population and superb birdlife. Here you again have the opportunity to go on Jeep safaris in the morning and afternoon.
Day 9: Bhoramdeo Sanctuary
Take an amazing cycling ride through the Maikal Hills and the tribal areas of Chhattisgarh. This takes you towards the eastern spur of Kanha Tiger Reserve arriving at the market town of Chilpi, an important gathering place for both Gond and Baiga tribes. You will be met by your driver and transferred down the Chilpighat to Bhoramdeo Wildlife Sanctuary. Spend the night at a beautiful local farmhouse retreat nestled at the foot of the hills.
Days 10 – 12: Kanker
You are driven to the rambling bougainvillea Kanker Palace in the heart of Chhattisgarh. The colonial bungalow, now a family home of the erstwhile ruling family, is an ideal base in this least-explored part of the country. You can explore the local area and have privileged access to hidden tribal villages. You will stumble across forest shrines, visit temples, wander among weekly rural markets, and maybe see incredible cultural festivals!
Days 13 – 15: Maheshwar
Fly to Indore and continue by car to Maheshwar, a fairytale town set by the banks of River Narmada. Visit Ahilya Fort sitting high on the ramparts, wander down to the river to visit the most beautiful temple-palace complexes or drift on a boat at sunset. You can also enjoy some of the finest food in India whilst sipping a drink and watching the sun set over the kilometre-wide Narmada. The following day you will visit the picturesque ruins of Mandu.
Day 16: Delhi
A final day in luxury. You will depart Indore on an internal flight to reach Delhi where we suggest a top hotel located next to the airport, which means that you are in place for the early morning return flight to London.
Prices from GBP £5670 or USD $7940 per person.
(Prices subject to currency exchange rates and exclude international flights)
The diversity of a Rajasthan vacation is astounding – not only does the region boast beautiful architecture, from the art deco influences by Le Corbusier to buildings and monuments designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, but desert countryside and nomadic cultures, too. With its ancient sandcastle forts, pastel-coloured cities, dust-speckled light and its swathes of scarlet, fuchsia and marigold textiles, India's largest state is sure to induce a bout of wanderlust.
Located in the north-west of India and covering an area roughly the size of Germany, Rajasthan has the most tightly-packed collection of cultural sights of any Indian state, thanks to the legacies of the Rajput warriors and Mughal emperors. For soft adventure and sheer spectacle, Rajasthan is hard to beat.
The transport network is second to none which makes it easier to traverse even for a first time visitor, offering an incredible opportunity to relive the lost era of the kings and queens.
Where should I go?
There is such a host of special experiences on offer for your holiday in Rajasthan – from walking through the old bazaars with an expert guide in the evenings, or a private meal in a historic fort or beautiful setting, situated behind the hills of the famous Amer Fort. Float on the Venice of the East in Udaipur, take an art tour with an artist, or visit the Jantar Observatory with an expert on astronomy.
In rural Rajasthan, be involved with a group of elders discussing the problems their village faces in the 21st century, and see the palaces and forts which house miniature art and Rajput treasures. Perhaps stay in Ranthambore National Park, one of the country’s most romantic parks, and where you can take one of the best tiger safaris in India.
Or visit the Taj Mahal and other gems of Mughal and Rajput architecture. This is the India of rich colours, ornate and opulent palaces and gorgeous royal tented camps. Here are the colourful festivals of Pushkar and Nagaur.
There is a miscellany of things to do, from camel-riding on a Thar desert safari and perhaps watching the villagers making the pottery that they use every day, to riding on the magnificent Marwari horses. Or stay in beautiful havellis, dining with the owners (who may be the descendants of nobility) and where you will, in all likelihood, depart more as friends than just visitors.
What we’ve outlined here is just a glimpse of what one may experience on one of our Rajasthan tours, and there is so much more to it beyond the oft-visited Golden Triangle.
- Utterly designed and tailored around you and your requirements
- Totally unique every time you travel with us
- The very best hand picked guides which can make the difference between a good and an outstanding holiday
- Established over 30 years ago we have been around longer than most
- Our specialists come from, have lived in or travelled extensively in the regions we cover
- Unparalleled knowledge provides you with the best possible experience
- Philanthropy is our philosophy
- Our founding principle is to always ‘put something back’
- An amount from each holiday is donated to our selected conservation and humanitarian charities
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
Nicola Shepherd, founder and CEO of The Exploration Company, organises unusual trips for HNW and UHNW clients ranging from birthday parties at an Indian Maharajah's palace to reliving Sir Vivian Fuchs's 1950s expedition to the South Pole. Citywealth caught ...
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