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Study Trip

The Highlights of Rajasthan

Wednesday, 17th to Saturday, 27th January 2018
Leader: Khun Jumbhot Chuasai, Former Honorary Secretary of the Siam Society

 

 

The colourful, exotic state of Rajasthan (Land of the Kings) encapsulates the essence of India.  This is the home of the Rajputs, a group of warrior clans who variously claim descent from the sun, the moon and the flames of a sacrificial fire, who controlled this part of India for over 1,000 years.  The Rajputs’ highly evolved code of chivalry and honour is akin to that of the mediaeval European knights.  Fiercely defending their territories to the death, the Rajputs entrenched themselves in this harsh desert land, building huge forts, many of which still stand today.

Rajasthan is also replete with beautiful palaces, containing fountains, gardens, mirrored halls and airy galleries.  Today, many of these have been converted into luxury hotels.  Perhaps, the most lasting impressions that visitors take away with them after travelling through this state is that of colour.  In Rajasthan, colour – apparent in turbans, in the long skirts worn by Rajasthani women, and in their headscarves – create beauty amid the starkness of the landscape.

We will have an opportunity to stay in a haveli or "private home" with a mixture of rural Mughal and Indian heritage, palaces where once the courts of Maharajah were held. The trip will take you from the pink city of Jaipur to the palace of Maharajah of Udaipur overlooking the glorious Lake Pichola which is regarded as the most romantic spot in India. Surrounded by an amphitheater of hills and set on three beautiful lakes, Udaipur is perhaps the most picturesque place on the subcontinent.

You will also have a memorable experience of rural life in Jojawar village of bygone era where your hosts, descendants of a noble family dated from 1780, will offer you a unique "homestay" in a village rich with culture so varied, and colorful. You will be enchanted and impressed by the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, one of the world's largest private residences today. Named after Maharajah Umaid Singh, grandfather of the present owner, Gaj Singh, this edifice has 347 rooms and serves as the principal residence of the Jodhpur royal family. This is a trip of dream and fascination.

Under the leadership of Khun Jumbhot Chuasai, the Siam Society will arrange a study trip for members to visit Jaipur (Eastern Rajasthan), Udaipur (Southern Rajasthan), and Jodhpur (Western Rajasthan).

 

The tentative programme will be as follows:

Day 1: Wednesday 17 January: Bangkok – Jaipur

07:30 p.m. Meet at Suvarnabhumi International Airport check-in counter for Thai Smile
10:05 p.m. Depart Bangkok Suvarnbhumi Int. Airport for Jaipur by Thai Smile flight TG/WE 2343

Day 2: Thursday, 18 January: (Jaipur)

01:15 a.m. Arrive Jaipur. On arrival, transfer and check into the Shahpura Haveli.  A mixture of Mughal and Indian heritage.  (room reserved for immediate occupancy)
- Overnight in Jaipur.
 

Jaipur is where the enduring charisma of the past blends with the throbbing vitality of today.  Where a colorful cast of characters - from painters and potters to artists and antique dealers - present a fascinating picture of a city that is alive to both tradition and change.

Raja Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur was no ordinary man.  He was a scholar and an astronomer, keenly sensitive to beauty, a formidable   general, who tempered   power with wisdom. In building Jaipur, Jai Singh's vision took him beyond architectural beauty, for in the sprawling, barren plains beneath Amer, the former capital; he gave India its first planned city, which has remained unique in two and a half centuries.  Jai Singh made Jaipur a haven and a center of commerce and religion.

Today, Jaipur has spread far beyond the pink crenellated walls that once defined its boundaries. It presents a fascinating picture of a city where growth, evolution and change are sustained by tradition.

- The morning is at leisure to relax from the previous day’s flight.
- After lunch, visit Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds, a good example of Rajput artistry made of red and pink sand stone, beautifully outlined with white borders and motifs painted with quick lime.
- Our next highlight is the open air royal observatory “Jantar Mantar”. Maharaja Jai Singh, the creator of Jaipur loved mathematics and science, sending emissaries to the court of Mirza Beg in Samarkand who had built an observatory in 1425. Spending much of his time studying astronomy, he constructed masonry observatories at Delhi, Varanasi, Ujjain, Mathura and most  impressively the `Jantar Mantar’ at Jaipur, built between 1728 and 1734.
- Opposite the Observatory is the City Palace and Museum with its fine collection of textiles.
- The City Palace occupies the center of Jaipur, covers one seventh of its area and is surrounded by a high wall.  It differs from conventional Rajput fort palaces in its separation of the palace from its fortifications, perhaps modeled on the Mughal architectural style with its main building scattered in “a fortified campus”. The Royal family occupies a portion of this Palace, with other areas converted to museums, displaying their vast collection of textiles and costumes, an array of armory, miniature paintings and carpets, the finest of which was displayed at the “Flowers Underfoot – Indian carpets of the Mughal Era” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
- Dinner and overnight in Jaipur.

Day 3: Friday, 19 January: (Jaipur)

- After breakfast, we trace Jaipur’s history at the Amber fort, the former seat of the Rajput rulers of Jaipur. Ascending the fortress seated in a jeep, wander around the beautiful palaces and visit the Shiladevi temple (which continues to be the private temple of the Royal family) with its exquisite marble carvings and silver door.
- Lunch is arranged at a local restaurant.
- There is an option to visit the Galtaji Temple also known as the Monkey Temple, recently featured in National Geographics award winning series `Monkey Thieves’. This temple is rarely visited by tourists but it is a fascinating sight to see hundreds of monkeys surrounding the `Hanuman’ (Monkey God much revered by Hindus) Temple.
- Jaipur has a variety of attractions, many best explored individually. Shopping in Jaipur is quite exhilarating. The bustling bazaars are laden with souvenirs, carpets, world famous gems and jewelry, the specialty being the traditional hand block printed fabric, antique textiles and handicrafts.
- Overnight in Jaipur.

Day 4: Saturday, 20 January: (Jaipur – Udaipur)

- After an early breakfast, check out and transfer to the airport for the Spice Jet flight SG 2623 to Udaipur which departs at 8:40 a.m. and arrives at 9:55 am.
- The city of Udaipur or the city of `sunrise’ that combines real beauty with a picturesque association of a great and glorious past. The legendary Ranas or kings of this state traced their ancestry back to the sun! It stands in a valley, amidst green hills on the banks of the wide, steel blue lake Pichola and is regarded as the most romantic spot in India. Surrounded by an amphitheater of hills and set on three beautiful lakes, Udaipur is perhaps the most romantic and picturesque place on the subcontinent. The city and its splendid palaces have a great and glorious past.
- In Udaipur, we stay at Fateh Prakash Palace. Located on the eastern shores of the picturesque Lake Pichola, the palace seems to have floated straight out of a fairytale.
- Directly from the airport, we proceed to see the massive City Palace, crowning a ridge in which the city clusters along the lake. Begun in the 16th century the palace is a maze of reception halls, residential suites and internal courts built above the water. The most elaborate of the inner courts is the `Mor Chowk' or Peacock Court. On its walls are peacocks modeled in high relief and faced with colored glass mosaic. Similarly, brilliant glass mosaics adorn the upper level where male attendants are shown holding flywhisks and flags. Despite its lack of symmetry, due to more than two hundred years of building additions, architectural unity at the City Palace is achieved through the repeated use of `jharokas’ and domed `chatris’ that punctuate the upper part of the walls. A gilded sun-face emblem of the Udaipur rulers is prominently displayed.
- We then check-in at the Fateh Prakash Palace.  Enjoy lunch before checking-in.
- At sunset, take a boat ride on Lake Pichola.  On little islands from the water’s edge rise marble palaces of pure white that glistens like fairy castles. Lake Pichola was created in the 15th century by a wealthy gypsy merchant who built a small dam here to allow his grain carts to cross over during the monsoon. Sailing around at sunset, we pass slowly by the hillside hunting gazebo of the Udaipur kings and the high towers and turrets of the fortified City Palace walls. Lakeside `havelis’ of old Udaipur with their cupolaed balconies reflect in the waters and the high triple arched Gangaur bank, where women bathe and wash their clothes and where the colorful Gangaur festival is celebrated each year in spring.
- If the Venetian owned the Pichola (Lake) he might say with justice, "See It and Die" – Rudyard Kipling.
- Overnight in Udaipur.

Day 5: Sunday, 21 January: (Udaipur)

- Following breakfast, take a 40-minute drive to visit the interesting little temple of Eklingji, (shoes & socks must be removed) which is an important pilgrimage site where people flock to worship Lord Shiva, the protector and destroyer.  Also, visit the nearby ancient temples of Nagda, which date back to the 4th century.
- We then proceed to `Devra’ to experience an interactive cooking demonstration by the gracious lady of the house, Jyoti Singh followed by lunch. Devra is a colonial style house built on top of a hillock in the lap of the Aravali hills.  It overlooks the city of Udaipur and offers grand panoramic views of the Udaipur environs, once the scene of many a hunt and battle.
- Return back to the hotel with the rest of the day at leisure.
- Overnight in Udaipur.

Day 6: Monday, 22 January: (Udaipur – Jojawar via Ranakpur)

- After a leisurely breakfast, check out and drive to Ranakpur to visit the spectacular Jain temples, situated in the remote and peaceful Aravalli valley. Among the five holy Jain sites, this is one of the best temple complexes in the country.
- Lunch is hosted at the Kings Abode.
- Post lunch, continue your journey to Jojawar, a 2 hour drive through some dramatic country side.
- In Jojawar we stay at the Kesar Bagh.  A great place to enjoy the warmth and hospitality of the Nobel family, your hosts who will show you their land and its people.
- The evening enjoy, the bird watching tour by Jeep
- Overnight at Jojawar.

Day 7: Tuesday, 23 January: (Jojawar)

- This morning activity is the popular train safari.
- This meter gauge train goes through one of the most scenic ghat section passing through two tunnels which were hand chiseled. This track was laid in 1930 by the British to connect the Kingdoms of Udaipur and Jodhpur. Nothing much has changed since then and this journey is sure to take you back in time. The speed of the train gives you enough time to interact with the locals traveling with you.
- Return to the hotel for a cooking demonstration followed by lunch
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Our evening activity is for horse lovers:

A great opportunity to ride one of the finest Marwari horses. Horses are the best way to get into the heart of the rural countryside around Jojawar.

- Overnight in Jojawar.

Day 8: Wednesday, 24 January: (Jojawar – Jodhpur)

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This morning, we proceed on the exclusive Jeep Safari.

The country around Jojawar boasts of very interesting landscapes, with the picturesque Aravalli hills in the east and broken rocky hills interspersed with farms and scrub forests all around. Our Jeep safari covers this terrain and ends with a high tea at an ancient horse lord temple.

Return back to the hotel and mid -morning, check out and drive 3 ½ hours to Jodhpur where we stay at the Umaid Bhawan Palace.  Built by the late Maharaja Umaid Singh. This Palace is one of the world’s largest and grandest royal residences and Maharaja Gaj Singh, the grandson of Maharaja Umaid Singh resides here with his family.

- Jodhpur was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha, a chief of the Rajput clan ‘Rathores' and boasts one of the country's most spectacular fortress and palace complexes. It was from here that those baggie tight horse riding trousers `jodhpurs' took their name.
- The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the Palace (you may choose to explore a section of the palace) or shop for some wonderful textiles of Rajasthan.
- Overnight in Jodhpur.

Day 9: Thursday, 25 January: (In Jodhpur)

- This morning, drive up to the Meherangarh Fort and its Museum section which has a well-documented collection of the Maharajas private art and miniature paintings. The ‘impregnable’ fort remained the royal residence until the Umaid Bhawan was completed in 1943.
- We then ride a tuk tuk into the city center and enjoy a heritage walk through the old city. A fascinating experience as you walk through and perhaps visit a few local homes, pass through the bazaar laden with spices, grains, utensils and other daily use items.  In the market square sits the towns hairstylist and barber, a `local’ dentist.
- Lunch is arranged at the Raas.  An original eighteenth-century Haveli, restored to reflect the unique character of Jodhpur and Rajput architecture which can be found throughout the building, in everything from its intricately carved stone panels to its antique shrines to the arches surviving from the stables.
- The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the Palace or shop for some wonderful textiles of Rajasthan.
- Overnight at the Umaid Bhawan Palace.

Day 10: Friday, 26 January: (Jodhpur – Delhi – Bangkok)

- The morning is at leisure.  Later check out and transfer to the airport for the Air India flight AI 476 which departs at 2:55p.m. and arrives Delhi at 4:20 p.m.
- On arrival, transfer and check into the Roseate house (close to the airport) where day use rooms are reserved until departure back home.
09:00 p.m. Transfer to airport for flight to Bangkok.

Day 11: Saturday, 27 January: (Delhi – Bangkok)

00:20 a.m. Depart Indira Gandhi Int. Airport, Delhi, India for Bangkok by Thai Airways International Flight TG 316
05:45 a.m. Arrive at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Int. Airport.

Booking

Bt. 196,000 per person sharing a double room. (or Bt. 199,000 for non-members)

Bt. 261,000 for using a single room.  (or Bt. 264,000 for non-members)

A deposit of Bt. 80,000 and photocopy of passport must accompany the booking. Payment in full is required one month before the start of the trip (i.e. by Saturday, 16 December 2017)

Please pay by cash or cheque payable to “The Siam Society”. Alternatively, you can deposit/transfer the money to the Siam Society travel account at the Thai Military Bank, Asoke Branch saving account no. 053-2-18000-7. Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us.

Your reservation will be confirmed as soon as the deposit has been made. There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges.

Includes/Excludes:

The contribution includes all meals as mentioned in programme, accommodation, entrance fee, tips to local guide and driver and other costs incurred to make this trip possible.

It excludes: visa fee, personal expenses, tips for additional service, any chargeable beverages/drinks (e.g. hotel minibar), payment or offering for photographing and video shooting, individual service apart from the group, other expense of personal nature like telephone calls, laundry etc.

Cancelation charge:

30 days before the start of the trip:                          No cancellation charge
30 – 15 days before the start of the trip:                   50 % of the tour cost
less than 15 days or cancellation without notice:        No refund

 

source:wilipedia.com

The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary. Seats are limited. Please book your place as soon as possible. For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert or Khun Supanut.