Executive Edge luxury travel designer Lauren Owide recently experienced an incredible 10-day ‘ colourful Rajasthan’ tour of India. Here she shares five reasons why this is an ideal experience for those interested in the colours and culture of this special destination…
Cultural treats at every turn
This ‘Colorful Rajasthan’ tour is all about culture, and that culture is what makes India utterly unique. At every destination, in every town, city, village, temple, market, the main focus was concentrated on culture. Highlights for me included an Old Delhi rickshaw ride, a farm stay at Shahpura Bagh, visiting a local school at Shahpura, sundowners at an abandoned fort at Shahpura, Palace hotels at Jaipur and Udaipur, Lake Pichola and, of course, all the faces you encounter along the way.
Old Delhi sets the tone
Old Delhi was my personal highlight and it was our very first activity after the visiting the incredible mosque Jama Masjid in the famed Chandni Chowk in the heart of Old Delhi. So it was a case of going straight into the thick of Old Delhi and I loved it and it certainly set the tone: it was colourful, confronting, chaotic, beautiful, full of people going about their daily business and I could have spent more hours observing it all.
The magic of the Taj
The Taj Mahal speaks for itself and it’s hard to find words to do it justice. As you approach through the dark entrance, she is revealed in all her glory, far off in the distance and overwhelmingly large, and you quickly realise you are part of a deeply moving experience. Holding one’s mobile phone up over the other heads with people swarming unfortunately presents an aspect of tourism that I prefer to ignore, but it’s hard to avoid this situation at a site like the Taj. If you can find a quiet moment to be alone with her, she is magnificent and will give you your pinch-yourself moment many times over.
For the love of Elephants
Visiting the elephants at Dera Amer was a special encounter. This is a project set up privately and run by the Singh family in which you get to spend some time with the gentle Giant “The Asian Elephant” with dinner. The camp is at the foothills of the Aravali Range and surrounded by the wilderness of a reserved forest with no urban civilization in the vicinity, just a few hamlets housing the local villagers occupied by farming on the fields bordering a pretty lake.
What will I remember most about the trip? The people, and the lesson their lives and challenges taught me on a personal level. Poverty is everywhere and the sadness of this is hard to swallow but, again, that’s the side of tourism we can’t avoid when travelling to countries like India. What gave me peace with this issue was what my guide Jay explained to me. Jay said the people know their lives are hard, they know there is better out there but they don’t dwell on that or wallow in it – they accept their lot in life and know that if they are grateful, humble and hard-working then next time it may be different.