Sietske has set up a company called VakanShe For Active Women Travelers, here she writes about one of her Horse Safari Rajasthan.
Arriving in India does something to you. The vibrancy of this country is felt everywhere and the first moments you put your foot on Indian soil are always overwhelming.
New Delhi airport was a lot cleaner and better organised than I expected and so after a smooth visa check, I collected my luggage and made my way out. In the arrivals hall, I met the other women who were participating in this adventure.
As we were going on a horse riding safari we had at least one thing in common, a love of horses. And because we were an all-women group, we had another thing in common as well. All of us had booked this adventure for ourselves, traveled to India on our own, and were now looking forward to the exciting days ahead of us.
After we said our hellos and introduced ourselves, we left on a 6-hour bus drive to the northern part of India, destination: Rajasthan. The bus drive was long but gave us a chance to take in the scenery and admire the changing landscape. At times, when the driver was upset that we were stuck in traffic, I was quite happy we had the opportunity to watch life go by in the villages that we passed.
Rajasthan is India’s largest state, comprising most of the wide Thar Desert. Its name literally means ‘Land of Great Kings’. The colours, the people and the countryside of this state are beautiful. We were headed for Shekhawati, a semi-arid historical region located in the northeastern part of Rajasthan. It is far less visited than other parts of Rajasthan and offers a rich heritage and beautiful architecture. It is most famous however for its extraordinary painted havelis (traditional, ornately decorated residences), highlighted with dazzling, often whimsical murals.
When we arrived at our destination, we were welcomed at the Palace of Roop Niwas Kothi. With a mix of of traditional Raiput style and European architecture, spacious lawns and a swimming pool, it was the prefect place to relax in after a long journey and to get to know my fellow travellers better. It strikes me every time I travel with a group of women, how easily we all connect, how openly we talk and share, and a group-bond is quickly created from the start of the adventure.
The next day was a day we all looked forward to, we would meet our equine partners for the week, the marvellous Marwari horses. The Marwari horse is a rare breed, known for its hardiness, stamina and its inward-turning ear tips. The height of these horses varies between 15 and 16 hands and they come in all sorts of colours. They are slenderly built and descend from the native Indian ponies that were crossed with Arabian horses. They are an exhilarating ride, fast and sure footed!
The next day the safari truly took off. From thereon, for the next few days, we rode through scenic countryside which varies from farmland to sand dunes. We followed ancient trails and experienced the hospitality and the curiosity of the Shekhawati people. We enjoyed long lunches under the shade of trees, while the horses were watered and fed as well.
Experiencing a different culture from the spectacular seat of horse back is another way of seeing this part of India and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. Before sundown, when we arrived at the private campsite that was set up for us daily in a different location, we untacked the horses and made our way to our tents where our luggage had been dropped off already. A quick wash and change before we would settle around the campfire to eat, drink and share our stories.
The last day came too soon and we were all sad to leave this magical place. Some of us stayed in Rajasthan for a bit longer, others traveled to the coastal areas of India for some relaxation and some went to stay in New Delhi for a taster of city life. I opted for a few days in New Delhi before I flew back home and truly enjoyed being in this bustling city with its markets, book sellers and funky shops. I can’t wait to go back to this magical country and experience more of what it has to offer.
For more information on the (women only) horse riding safari in Rajasthan Click Here
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