Delhi - half day tour of Old Delhi in Cycle Rickshaws. Sariska – game viewing and looking for tiger. Jaipur – guided tour of the city and Amber Fortress. Karauli – explore a village in the heart of rural Rajasthan. Chambal River – an oasis of calm and tranquillity. Unchagoan - rural village of Uttar Pradesh. Nainital – a hill station at the heart of the Kumaon region. 6 days on the road with a motorbike.
Sketch Itinerary :
New Delhi | Sariska National Park | Jaipur | Karauli | Chambal | Unchagaon | Nainital | Kathgodam | New Delhi
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On this tour we focus on the North of India, the land of the Maharajas, with our ride taking us from the desert landscape of Rajasthan to the foothills of the Himalayas. From the Tiger Park of Sariska to the Fort and Palaces of Jaipur and the ancient temples of Bateshwar; we head via the rural village of Unchagaon and climb up to the Kumaon region, to Nainital and views of the Himalayas.
The journey includes six days riding a motorbike through the rural states of the north of India. Our Motorbike Safari – We provide Royal Enfield motorbikes; with a choice of either 350cc or 500cc (choice to be advised at the time of booking). These are rugged and reliable machines, but we ask that participants have held a motorbike licence for 2 years before joining our safari, in order to handle the bike and be comfortable with the sometimes chaotic traffic conditions in India.
Each group has two Globally Immersed riders; a support rider at the front and a Local Tour Leader at the back. We provide a map each day, covering that day’s ride so each rider can navigate the route; however we usually take a break every hour, to allow us to re-group. With the group is a support vehicle. During the tour we cover about 1150 kilometres.
There is one long day of about 250 kilometres, but on the other 5 days of riding we cover an average of 180 kilometres per day. We ride mostly on well-maintained roads, with some time on main roads and the rest of the time we use less-crowded routes. There are a few short stretches of unpaved road as well. The tour is open to pillion passengers as well, at a reduced cost. Insurance – Our motorbikes are insured, on a third party basis, by our supplier.
Whilst this means that any injury to a third party is covered, and that we are therefore legally allowed to drive our bike in India, participants are advised to inform the Insurer covering their own bike at home that they will be driving in India and obtain an extension of their comprehensive cover to cover them in India for the duration of the tour.
You will need to bring your International Driving Licence and we ask that you bring your own helmet preferably with a drop down visor against the dust, gloves, and sturdy boots as a minimum requirement. Other items of kit are detailed in the Safari packing list below. Fuel – Your first tank of fuel is included in the cost of your tour.
Highlights: Once capital of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, Old Delhi is a maelstrom of colour, noise and chaos, and, using a mixture of the old and the new - the metro and a cycle rickshaw ride
Description: After checking in at our hotel this morning we meet our Tour Leader and discuss the tour ahead of us. In the afternoon we take a short ride, to familiarise ourselves with our machines and to check that there are no mechanical issues. Once everyone is comfortable, we set off on our first run with our bikes, in quiet streets in New Delhi, near the India Gate. Once everyone is comfortable with their bike and ready for tomorrow, we take to other transport in the afternoon as we head for the narrow streets of Old Delhi. Once capital of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, Old Delhi is a maelstrom of colour, noise and chaos, and, using a mixture of the old and the new - the metro and a cycle rickshaw ride - we reach the Chandni Chowk Bazaar, at the heart of the Old City. A highlight of Old Delhi is the Jami Masjid mosque. Built of red stone, the Jama Masjid, also known as Masjid - e - Jahanuma, is the largest mosque in India. The courtyard of the mosque measures around 1000 square meters and has a capacity of 100,000 people. In the centre of the courtyard is a tank and Hauz. This was built for the purpose of Wazu, compulsory ambulation done before Namaaz. In front of it is a raised platform called the Dikka. The mosque is so big that the Muatllawi (the second cleric), used to stand on the Dikka and repeat the Ayats said by the Imam (the chief cleric) to the devotees who were unable to hear him. The mosque took some 14 years to construct. From the top of the southern minaret there is a view of New Delhi. Nearby is the imposing Red Fort. Built in the 1600s it's imposing red sandstone walls stand over 30 meters above the heart of the Old City which swirls around it. We'll take a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk and have a wander through the Spice Bazaar. Be sure to have a camera ready to capture all the wonderful sights including the chaotic electrical wiring, monkeys, traders on bikes with massive loads, and the traffic in general which by some kind of sixth sense and tolerance means drivers and pedestrians seem to just miss each other.
Highlights: morning we set out on our first full day with our bikes
Description: This morning we set out on our first full day with our bikes. With our support vehicle and mechanic following behind in case of any problems, we set out in a minibus for the edge of town, as the teeming streets of central Delhi are not the best place to begin our ride. As we clear the city we leave the minibus and take to our bikes and, with our luggage taken on ahead, we head via Gurgaon, Daruhera, and Alwar to Sariska. As it's our first day on the road our run is only about 180 kilometres so we are at Sariska by lunchtime, with the afternoon free to explore the Reserve. Sariska National Park, sometimes referred to as a Tiger Reserve, covers some 800 square kilometres of the Aravali hills and is covered by forest and grasslands dotted with rocky landscapes. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1955 and attained National Park status in 1979. Whilst there are tigers here, the park is also home to a wide variety of carnivores and their prey. On our afternoon game drive we may see leopard, sambar, nilgai and chital; antelope, langur, wild boar, jungle cats and hyena. Here too are peafowl, sand grouse, quail and crested serpent eagles, whilst crocodiles lurk in the lake. After our afternoon game drive we return to our hotel.
Locations: Sariska national park
Highlights: We ride through the local villages to Jaipur; afternoon guided tour of the Jaipur city
Description: On our second day on the road we cover a little less distance. We ride through the local villages via Tanagazi, Pratapgarh and Thala Dhola on a ride of about 120 kilometres as we head for Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. We have the rest of the day in the 'Pink City', as Jaipur is often called. After checking in at our hotel in the centre of the city, we have an afternoon guided tour which will include visits to the City Palace, including the collection of textiles and Rajasthani costumes, before we visit the remarkable observatory built by the Maharajah and astronomer Jai Singh. The highlight of the tour, however, is perhaps the Palace Of The Winds. Built in the late eighteenth century, this 5 storied structure is arguably the most iconic structure in the city. There will also be time to explore the narrow alleyways and bustling streets of the Old City.
Highlights: Karauli - explore a village in the heart of rural Rajasthan.
Description: We start today with a ride out of the city, as we head to the Amber Fort. Reached by a winding pathway, this hilltop Fortress gives a glimpse of the opulence of the Mughal world with the stunning Chamber of Mirrors being perhaps the most memorable part of the complex. After drinking in the views over the surrounding plains we leave Jaipur behind as we ride through several local villages, including Bassi, Ramgarh, Lalsot and Gangapur, before reaching Karauli. The run is around 150 kilometres so we will be in Karauli by lunchtime, where we check into our accommodation for the night. We are staying tonight at a Heritage hotel, the Bhanwar Villas Palace. Built as a royal residence in 1938 by the then Maharaja of Karauli, and now converted into a hotel, the Palace is built in a colonial style, with an art-deco interior. Once settled in we have the afternoon to explore Karauli. Surrounded by red sandstone walls, the city has always been well fortified since its beginnings in the fourteenth century, and indeed even today it is dominated by the old Fortress. We start our tour of the village, heading, by camel cart, to the Fortress. Once the residence of the Royal Family here - said to be descended from Lord Krishna - the place is now abandoned and inhabited largely by geese and monkeys; a silent reminder of earlier times. From the Fort we head for the Madan Mohanji Temple where our half day sightseeing tour ends.
Highlights: Chambal River - an oasis of calm and tranquillity.
Description: After early breakfast today we head for Dholpur, before continuing through Pahari, Rajakhera, Pinahat and Bahon to Chambal, on a ride of some 220 kilometres, before we reach our overnight stop near the Chambal River. Here we check in to our Heritage hotel, the Chambal Safari Lodge, located in the countryside near the village of Jarar, between the sacred river Yamuna and the Chambal River. This afternoon we can take a short bike ride to the local villages around the Chambal, which provide an interesting insight into rural India. We can still find a potter at his wheel making earthen ware kullars (cups),or a cobbler using the simplest implements to fashion and repair a most interesting variety of leather items, and shops selling all manner of goods from jaggery blocks to hand-woven quilts. In the late afternoon we ride to the ancient temple complex at Bateshwar on the river Yamuna, about 10 kilometres from our Lodge. The complex consists of more than a hundred temples dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. Referred to as Surajpur in ancient texts, Bateshwar derives its current name from its reigning deity Lord Bateshwar Mahadev (another name for Shiva). The ravines surrounding the temples and river are home to a number of Naga sadhus (snake worshiping ascetics) who have carved out little caves and temples within the mud walls. We return to the Lodge for dinner.
Highlights: Optional boat ride at Chambal River; Unchagoan - rural village of Uttar Pradesh.
Description: A possible early start this morning, as before breakfast we have opportunity to take an optional boat ride on the Chambal river, on an early morning game cruise. We will be going in search of crocodile and gharial (a rare species of crocodile), in an area famous for its beautiful scenery and sandy canyons, where thieves and robbers once hid before attacking travellers . We return in time for breakfast, and later we ride for some 250 kilometres, arriving in the late afternoon at the village of Unchagaon, where we check into our accommodation at Fort Unchagaon. The Fort has something of a history. Its Jat rulers can trace back their family tree to one of the several prestigious Jat zamindaris, which came into prominence during the decline of the Mughal Empire. For years, the family held a seat of honour in western Uttar Pradesh formerly known as the United Province during the days of the British Raj. Along with the Sikhs, Marathas, Rohallas, Rajputs, French adventurers and the East India Company, it vied for generations to fill the vacuum left by the Mughals. The Jat rulers of Unchagaon originally belonged to Pilana in Rajasthan. The fort came into the possession of the present family in 1859, quite by chance. The owner, a Rajput zamindar, lost it when he fought against the British during the mutiny of 1857. After checking in at Fort Unchagoan we have an opportunity to discover something of the life of the villages around the area by leaving our motorbikes and taking bullock and pony cart rides. It is also possible to take a brief pottery making class or listen to folk song sessions in the evening. The hotel also provides a small golf course, as well as squash and badminton courts.
Highlights: Nainital - a hill station at the heart of the Kumaon region.
Description: A change of scenery today, with the landscape very different to the Rajasthan desert of our first few days. After breakfast we set off along twisting mountain roads as we climb into the hills passing through forest and small villages, until we reach the hill station of Nainital, where we arrive after a ride of around 230 kilometres. We check in at our heritage hotel, Balrampur House, once the summer palace of the Maharaja of Balrampur, hand back our motorbikes and say goodbye to our support crew before setting out to explore. The town is a pleasant destination at the end of our last ride. Once the summer capital of British India, Nainital is just as popular today as it was then; offering a wonderful escape from the summer heat of the plains, and lying beside a glacial lake backed by a ridge with snow-capped peaks beyond rising to over 2600 metres. The area is a mixture of pinewoods, open country and small lakes, and the views from some of the hills behind the town are simply fantastic. In the afternoon we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Nainital and its surrounding lakes. The lakes include Khurpa Tal - considered to be angler's paradise - and Naukuchia Tal, the mysterious lake with 9 corners, and surrounded by dense forested hills on all sides. Then there is Sat Tal - literally meaning seven lakes - a group of small lakes nested together. In the evening we can visit the Naina Devi temple or take an optional boat trip on Naini Lake; the lake is the heart and soul of the city with everything centred around it.
Highlights: Explore the Mall, in the centre of town, or take an optional cable car ride
Description: After breakfast we have the morning free in Nainital. We can explore the Mall, in the centre of town, or take an optional cable car ride and spend time at Thandi Sadak. In the late afternoon we leave Nainital and drive for about an hour to Kathgodam, where we head for the railway station and board the "Shatabdi Express" train for the journey to Delhi, travelling in AC Chair class. We arrive in Delhi in the middle of the evening and transfer to our hotel.
Highlights: After breakfast today our tour ends.
Description: Return to Onward Destination