One of the newest additions to the RARE portfolio is bespoke expedition company, Bijaipur Horse Safaris. It is based out of Castle Bijaipur, a centuries old fort of the Udaipur state. Owner Oliver Saurabh Sinclair, a photographer by profession, grew up in the area and has been fascinated by horses since he first started riding as a young child. Along with cousin Pradyuman Singh, they set up Bijaipur Horse Safaris to offer clients a unique insight into their home.
In Indian culture, the horse is well known for its ornamental role in royal processions, and most importantly as a battle worthy, agile, dependable and loyal beast in the fleets of many kings and emperors. The stables of Bijaipur have a special bloodline of Marwari Horses. Their most distinctive feature are curved ears that can swing 180 degrees to adapt to the desert winds. Local legend believes the Marwari horse to be divine; it is celebrated for its bravery and loyalty. This hardy animal has a fiery nature, peacock-like head and a silky coat.
They were used widely up until the British arrived in India with a faster, newer model and as a result, Marwari horses were replaced in noble stables by larger thoroughbred and Australian Waler horses and rather unfortunately became a poor man’s horse. Saddened by the plight of their beloved horses used in wedding processions and pulling puling carts through the streets, some royal houses have recently started establishing Marwari breeding programs in an attempt to improve bloodlines and reclaim their heritage.
Sustainable, Responsible Tourism is at the core of the operations at Bijiapur Horse Safaris. Although they have their own stable of 15 horses, Oliver and Pradyuman lease horses from local owners for the safaris, so that profits go back to the community. The horses are regularly checked and the owners receive regular training not only in how to take care of these sweet animals but also in the many facets of riding. Each riding programme is highly customized and is put together following extensive consultation with clients, based on the ability and fitness of the riders. Tuition is available for those who need it.
As you head out of Bijaipur town, you will be trotting along farmlands of mustard and fenugreek. Curious villagers’ wave at you as they see the passing entourage. As you traverse flat sandy river beds, some sand dunes and age-old granite mountains, you can see many ancient temples, unspoiled rural villages and meet local tribes, whose way of life goes back centuries. Along the way experience the rich abundance of wildlife this region has to offer: Blackbuck antelope, Porcupine, Demoiselle cranes, hyena, and occasionally a shy leopard.
On some days, out of nowhere almost like a mirage in the distance, an oasis appears in the desert. Under a spreading safari-style gazebo, muslin curtains flapping in the breeze, are leather and cane sling chairs, safari-style folding tables and even a retractable daybed. Lunch is served along with cold cocktails and there is time for a snooze before you move on.
Depending on the route, overnight stays typically tend to be in surrounding royal homes in Chanoud, Bhadrajun and Bhenswara. The riding is mainly done in the mornings allowing for other activities such as cycling, cooking lessons, massages or lounging by the pool. Dinner is usually al fresco under a glittering canopy of stars.
Itineraries start from three nights extending to about six or seven depending on interest. Bijaipur is within easy driving distance of a number of RARE properties in Rajasthan: Shahpura Bagh, Bhainsrorgarh, RAAS Devigarh and Chanoudgarh.
This hotel had a lovely pool and very nice gardens where there were plenty of birds in the morning. A fantastic welcome with drums and garlands and a lovely light room in the old part of the...
I stayed here over Christmas and New Year 2019-20, on a Wild Frontiers tour. I absolutely loved it here. It is really beautiful. The staff and the proprietor (Rao Singh) are very friendly and did...
We stayed for three nights and really enjoyed being in the amazing building. The staff are very friendly and helpful. We were a bit under the weather when we arrived, following a hectic week of...
Nearest Airport : Udaipur Airport
Nearest Railway Station : Udaipur