Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.
Review received from CF of Tynset on 05/03/2019
Arrive at either Udaipur or Jodhpur airport in the morning from Delhi and drive 3 hours to the little hamlet of Kotri in the foothills of the Aravalli, in time for lunch. In the afternoon you will meet your horses and will ride out through open countryside past hills and farmland so that you and your horse will get to know each other. Tonight you will stay at Kotri Raola which is a 200 year old castle with modern facilities or a similar hotel. 1-2 hr ride.
Ride out past farms and lakes, you see the colourful shepherds-(rabari's) with their sheep, and the farmers working the fields. You will soon arrive at a lake where we transfer to Jeeps and drive past the town of Sadri to arrive at Maharani Bagh for lunch.(3 hr ride)
In the afternoon a visit to the Famous 15th cent. Ranakpur Jain Temples by Jeep and return. Overnight in Kotri Raola.
In the morning ride out past open farmland, to the rocky hills of Narlai. (3 hrs ) Lunch.
An afternoon of leisure - climb the Rock of Narad, & visit the many temples in the village. Overnight at Rawla Narlai (a Classic Heritage Hotel of The Ajit Bhawan Group of Hotels)
Morning ride out through farmland and open scrub, passing lakes towards the Aravalli hills until we arrive at Ghanerao. ( 4 hr ride) Lunch.
Free afternoon to explore the town with its stepwells, cenotaphs and bazaar. Overnight at Ghanerao Castle ( a circa 1606 castle of the family of Ghanerao )
After breakfast a ride out into the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, past tribal garacia villages and farms along the Aravalli. Ride up a steep trail through the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary climbing 2000ft to the The Aodhi. ( 3 hrs ride)
AfternoonVisit the unconquered Kumbhalgarh Fort, with its huge bastions, 9 gates, and 36 Km of unbroken 20ft thick wall. (circa 15th cent) . Overnight at the The Aodhi Hotel. (A property of the HRH Group of Hotels )
Morning depart for Udaipur (2 hrs) or Jodhpur (4 hrs) for your afternoon flight
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.
India (Lonely Planet Country Guides) - Sarina Singh
City of Djinns - William Dalrymple
The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia - Paul Theroux
An Indian Summer - James Cameron
Into India - John Keay
No Full Stops in India - Mark Tully
Rajasthan; India's Enchanted Land- Raghubir Singh
Rajasthan; Land of Kings - S. Matheson & R. Beny
The Royal Palaces of India – G. Michell & A. Martinelli
Arts and Crafts of Rajasthan - A. Nath & F. Wacziarg
Plain Tales from the Raj - Charles Allen
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
The horses are Marwari horses which are indigenous to India and range from 14hh to 16hh. The exotic beauty and vigour of the Marwari horse is their lasting heritage. Marwari was bred to lift the heart in battle and please the eye. He is easily recognised by his proud carriage, upright graceful neck and distinctive aquiline head, the crowning glory of which are the unique inward curling or scimitar shaped ears set high on the poll and without exception unique to the noble Indian horse. The intelligence and natural regal bearing of the Marwari is blended with tremendous equipoise, graceful animated gaits and stamina. He displays an alert stillness when in repose and incredible elan vital in action. Hardiness and longevity have enabled the breed to survive wars, famine and droughts. The Marwari agreeably adapts to different life styles and environmental conditions and performs in various sports and formal riding disciplines. Loyal, tireless and competitive, the Marwari has evolved from one of the world ancient breeds to present a new archetype of beauty, brilliance and personality.
The Marwari horses are warm blooded and forward going and very light to ride - a little like Arab and Thoroughbred horses. They are very kind natured, intelligent and surefooted and swift to respond to their riders wishes. The riding style is English and the tack utilised is cavalry saddles and usually snaffle bridles.
Riders should be happy to ride fit, responsive horses at a walk, trot and canter. There is plenty of assistance on hand with mounting and dismounting and this is a full service ride (so no need to groom or tack up the horses).
The weight limit for this ride is 209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
Accommodation is in Castles and Heritage Hotels on twin share basis. All meals included from arrival at lunch on Day 1 to Breakfast on Day 5.
Accommodation on this trip has a wonderful local flavour with some very impressive settings: historical palaces and forts which provide twin rooms. Some are grand but modest in decoration whilst others offer every modern luxury.
The meals have an Indian flavour but European dishes are also provided as desired. The hygiene is scrupulous and it is extremely rare for any guest to have an issue with the food on this ride. Bottled mineral water is always at hand.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.
General information, correct as of 3rd February 2014:
You must obtain a visa before travelling to India. If you arrive without a visa, you will be refused entry. Visas can be obtained online via the Indian government agency, VFS Global - http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk/ On this website you will find a step by step guide outlining the forms you need to fill in. You will also be required to send your passport and 2 approved photographs so factor in enough time for this to be done and for your passport and visas to be returned to you. There are a number of companies who will charge a fee to check your information for you before it is submitted, so you could take advantage of these if you are not confident that you have filled out the forms correctly. There are also Visa collection centres in London and Leicester, however these do not guarantee a same-day visa and can entail hours of queuing.
Always keep a copy of your passport and your Indian visa separate from your passport, in case of loss. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months. For further information on entry requirements, visitors are advised to check with the Indian representation in the UK at India House, Aldwych, London, WC2B 4NA. Telephone: (020) 7836 8484.
The British High Commission in India can be found at Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi - 110021. Telephone: +(91-11) 26872161. Email: postmaster.nedel@ fco.gov.uk.
The Foreign and Commonwealth office also provides travel advice on their website at www.fco.gov.uk
The temperature although warm during the day (max 30C) will drop in the evenings to approx 13C. It is therefore essential to have a warm fleece to hand especially when camping.
Anti-malaria precautions are advised as necessary to some areas at certain times of year. If you have recently visited a place known for yellow fever you will need a vaccination certificate. Your G.P. will advise on necessary vaccinations and precautions.
For up to date information on health matters please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org or visit the departmwetn of health's web site on www.dh.gov.uk
Voltage is the same as in the UK and most appliances such as battery chargers for videos, hair dryers etc. can be plugged in with appropriate adapters. These are available for purchase at most airports and travel shops
Electricity is available on all hotel nights for charging electronic equipment. Mobile phone reception and 3G is widely available, many hotels have wifi.
While the days are warm (25 - 35°C), the nights can get a bit chilly (04 - 15°C). The coldest months are December and January.
Riding boots/Half chaps & boots/shoes
Long sleeved shirts
Scarves for the dust
Riding Helmet/wide brimmed hat/peak cap
Insect repellent, anti - malaria pills & other personal medications
Jacket/cardigan for the evenings and mornings
Swimming gear (some of the resorts have nice pools.)
Change of shoes for evenings
Windcheater or light waterproof
Warm woollen or fleece clothing
See departure dates, other dates are available on request for groups with minimum of 4 people for a period of 5 days, 4 nights, 3 days riding.
Ranakpur Jain Temples, Kumbhulgarh Wildlife Sanctuary.
The wildlife sanctuary is known for its population of wolves and you may also encounter four horned antelope, leopards and sloth bears.
PERSONAL TOILETRIES: For peace of mind it is recommended that should you require any sanitaryware you take this with you. A toilet roll with inner cardboard tube removed will take up little space and may be an invaluable item.
BEGGARS: You will not visit India without coming into contact with many distressing facets of this unfortunate community. Without appearing harsh, it is strongly advised by the Indian Authorities and charity workers in the country not to give to these people. Should you wish to do something extra to help these communities then a donation to an established charity will go much further and give you a relatively hassle free visit.
TAXIS/RICKSHAWS; In major cities these should be metered and have a tariff rate. If in doubt agree a fare before departing and check that the meter is used. Do not be persuaded to go where the drivers get commission
India forms a natural sub-continent with the Himalayas to the north. The Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, which are sections of the Indian Ocean, lie to the west and east respectively.
The official language of India is Hindi written in the Devanagari script and spoken by some 30% of the population as a first language. Since 1965 English has been recognised as an 'associated language'. In addition there are 18 main and regional languages recognised for adoption as official state languages. There are another 24 languages, 720 dialects and 23 tribal languages.
India will sideswipe you with its size, clamour and diversity - especially if you enjoy delving into convoluted cosmologies and thrive on sensual overload. Nothing in the country is ever quite predictable; the only thing to expect is the unexpected, which comes in many forms and will always want to sit next to you.
The time difference for India is GMT/UTC +5.5hrs and the dialling code is +91. India has adopted metric weights and measures.