A horse riding holiday in India has to be the very best way to explore the magic that is 'Kipling Country'. This is a huge country, in fact a sub-continent. India has a long history, amazing architecture, colourful fairs and pageantry, a rich culture, interesting wildlife and unrivalled cuisine. On horseback you can escape the crowds and immerse yourself into discovering the real India. This is a perfect horse riding location - why not come to feel the winter sun on your back as you ride or even come for Christmas? Accommodation on the rides in India varies from fabulous forts and palaces in Rajasthan to camping in the more remote areas - but remember camping in Rajasthan is in luxurious tented camps and service is second to none. You are accompanied by a personal guide to smooth the way and every attention is paid to detail. Quite amazingly our fabulous Ladakh Trail through the Himalyas is open to beginner riders, because the pace is at a walk. However, you'll need to be fit. If you are a single rider then all the Indian trail rides are perfect for you and you will soon become part of the group.
The horses used in Rajasthan are Marwaris. These wonderful creatures are much revered by the Indian people. In times past they were greatly prized war horses. Today, many are polo ponies and endurance horses.
Before we detail our various horse riding holidays in India, we will provide an overview of the locations we ride in.
Rajasthan is the largest state in India - approximately the same size as Germany - and is situated in the North West of India. The official language is Hindi but you will find most locals speak Rajasthani. English is widely spoken in the cities and larger urban areas - perhaps a hangover from British colonial times. Arts and crafts are very important to Rajasthan and these have become reknowned throughout the world - just think of the once fashionable tie-die prints and the now fashionable wooden Indian furniture. The locally found precious and semi-precious stones are incorporated into the sought after traditional Indian gold and silver jewellery. This state oozes history and was once the home of the Mughals and the brave and loyal Rajputs. Rajasthan was split into many kingdoms each ruled by a different royal family and this led to the most incredible architecture throughout the state. Wherever you look you'll feast your eyes on carved temples, splendid forts and imposing marble palaces. The capital of Rajasthan is Jaipur, known as 'The Pink City' because it was painted pink to welcome Prince Albert of Britain. Jaipur is home to the impressive City Palace, the intricate Palace Of Winds, the unbelievable large-scale Jantar-Mantar Observatory and the truly superb Amber Fort which you simply must enter by elephant!
Ladakh is a small mountainous corner of North West India known as the Trans-Himalaya. It is about the size of Scotland in area. It has both a settled population living up to 4500 metres above sea level, and a nomadic population who camp even higher. Ladakh has strong ties with its neighbour Tibet. It was independent for a long time and retains much of its former identity and influences from Tibet. Its people are either Buddhist or Muslim and in accordance with Buddhist culture there is no class structure here - unlike elsewhere in India. Women in particular benefit from this freedom. The local food is similar to Tibetan and you simply must try the 'Gurgur Cha' a soup like drink made with strong tea, salt and butter. This area of the Himalyas has a natural beauty all of its own with stunning monasteries dotted througout the mountains. There is wildlife around but you'll be very lucky indeed to spot a snow leopard, lynx or brown bear. However, bird life abounds with many birds choosing to summer here where it's cooler than elsewhere in India. There are several specifically high altitude species and even the rare black-necked crane. You should definitely look out for the Indian redstart and hoopoe amongst many others.
Both Rajasthan and Ladakh are quite simply amazing, magical places for an Indian horse riding holiday. However, you will probably enter India by flying into Delhi. Whilst you will not be riding through the streets of Dehli there are many famous sights to take in. The Red Fort and Jama Masjia (India's largest mosque) tend to be the most popular but don't miss a rickshaw ride through the heaving, narrow bazaars and the dignity and serenity of Mahatma Ghandi's tomb. Try a meal in the award winning Spice Garden restaurant in the Imperial Hotel - highly recommended.
Dehli and Rajastan have a multitude of architecturally outstanding buildings and Ladakh has its stunning monasteries but if there is one piece of architecture that everyone wants to visit in India it has to be the awesomely beautiful Taj Mahal. You will not be disappointed but try to come early and avoid the crowds. Every visitor wants a photo of themselves sitting on the 'Diana seat'. If you time your visit to coincide with a full moon you could do no better than a nocturnal visit.
Now for an overview of Unicorn's horse riding holidays in India:
Pushkar Fair, Rajasthan
What could be more romantic and special than actually staying in top class forts and palaces! Discover the people and cultures of rural India from horseback. Visit the colourful camel, horse and cattle fair of Pushkar - an event not to be missed. This fair is centuries old and dates from when tribesmen met on a full moon to trade their animals. Cover a variety of terrain and pass through many small local villages. The landscape is unique, much of it semi-desert and ideal for riding. You are able to see many forts and palaces, villages, temples and at times even the homes of the villagers. There are opportunities to observe wildlife and partake in various spiritual ceremonies and festivals during the riding.
Naguar Fair, Rajasthan
This riding holiday starts in Dehli but then you are taken by train to Naguar to meet your horses. You then experience the Nagaur Fair from the priviledged position of horseback. Naguar Fair is less touristy than Pushkar. Once a year people throng here from all Rajasthan to buy and sell working animals. Bargaining, barter deals, colourful costumes, exquisite jewellery, hand embroidered coverings and ornaments/decorations for the animals are basic features of the fair. Join in the gaiety and enthusiasm. Once the prices of horses, bullocks and camels have been settled, the day draws to a close with fun and festivity. The fair has much more to offer to its visitors. Wayside entertainment and cultural programmes are arranged which create a melodious rapture that echoes in the surroundings. This riding holiday offers more than just the fair. You also ride through the desert, soft and sandy - perfect for the horses. You'll camp & visit local villages, experiencing the local culture close up. You ride on to Jodhpur and Jaipur, staying in top class Rajasthan forts and palaces. Of course there's time to visit the Amber Fort - preferably entering with a long elephant ride! - before returning to Dehli.
Christmas Ride, Rajasthan
Unicorn is delighted to offer a horse riding in India over the Christmas and New Year period. This is a two week horseback adventure in Rajasthan. It's a from our premium range of riding holidays and your various accommodations on the trail are really special, paticularly the forts. You will also camp for a few nights in tented camps where you'll have all the services you would expect on a premium holiday. The riding is often on soft sandy terrain just perfect for the horses. The landscape is diverse and incorporates sand dunes, hills, lakes, villages, farms and salt flats. This riding holiday also provides a unique opportunity to visit havelis - these are the recently discovered opulent mansions of wealthy merchants that are adorned with the finest of frescos. After your ride, you end your holiday in India by exploring the Pink City of Jaipur, so called because it was painted pink to welcome Prince Albert. Its sights are impressive, in particular the Amber Fort. Could there be a better Christmas and New Year riding holidays?
The Ladakh Trail
Welcome to 'Little Tibet' and the most incredible scenery in the mystical and majestic Himalayan mountains. This Indian riding holiday is a trail ride and involves camping, but with hotels at both the start and end of the holiday. From Dehli you fly to Leh, the capital of the Ladakh region and at 3,400 metres, the highest airport in the world! You have a few days to acclimatise to the altitude before meeting your horse and commencing the ride. You will visit the most serene monasteries and temples perched on the mountains and experience the monastic festival at Lamayuru, the oldest and one of the most beautiful monasteries. You then ride from the lush Markha Valley into the magnificent Himalayan scenery emerging on the Rupshu Plateau. This is a camping expedition and we are accompanied by pack horses to carry our gear. Riders need to be adventurous and fit, although technical ability is not a prerequisite as the pace is at a walk, mainly due to the terrain and altitude. Therefore all riding levels from beginner onwards are aceptable. This is an opportunity to explore the remote and rugged contrasts of the Himalayas on horseback, rising to 6,200 metres above sea level. How often will you have a chance to do that!
There can be no doubt at all - these are truly magical horse riding holidays.
At Unicorn we group our holidays into several categories to help you find the rides that best suit your riding level and your requirements. Below we have listed the ride categories that you'll find on at least one of our horse riding holidays in India:
winter sun horse riding holidays
trail riding holidays
mountain riding holidays
desert horse riding holidays
horse riding holiday with camping
adventure riding holidays
advanced rider holidays
singles horse back holidays
premier range horse riding holidays
horse riding holidays suitable for beginners and novice riders
Christmas and New Year horse riding holidays
Below is a list of locations in our 'And Beyond' group where we have rides. Just click on a link to view the relevant web pages:
horse riding holidays Australia
horse riding holidays Tibet
horse riding holidays Jordan
horse holidays Kyrgyzstan
horseback holidays Mongolia
horseriding holidays New Zealand
Contact Unicorn now to arrange your dream riding holiday.