Rajasthan, the land of deserts and forts, of history and traditions, of romance and valour, has much to offer in the field of adventure activities. Apart from some great trekking possibilities in varied terrain, Rajasthan has perfect paragliding destinations in the Arravali hills and there are a number of unusual safaris that can only be experienced in Rajasthan. Imagine yourself riding through history on a horse safari in enchanted Rajasthan, or experiencing the sand dunes of Rajasthan on the ship of the desert.
In the days of yore, when horses were as much a part of battlefields as were valiant warriors, much energy was spent in the breeding of horses. These horses were noted for their stamina and fierce loyalty to their masters. Riding still evokes images of a gallant past, and for the equestrian, the attraction of a horse safari through Rajasthan has an undeniable appeal. Trails through villages pass ancient forts and old temples.
Nights can be spent in the palaces of the erstwhile rulers of Rajputana that have been reconverted to hotels as well as in garhs or small forts owned by the descendants of the glorious Rajput rulers of yesteryears. Spend enchanted evenings experiencing the rich variety of Rajasthani cuisine, culture and entertainment on a dream holiday.
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People & Culture
Camel safaris are also immensely popular for experiencing the ambience of Rajasthan. On the caravan trails of the past, ride and walk through the sand dunes of the vast Thar Desert, the rolling landscapes and the varied flora and fauna. The stars and the moon will add to the romance of nights in the desert by a camp fire, with the strains of Rajasthani folk music to transport you to another time. The camel breeders of Raika make great guides with their intimate knowledge of the villages and waterholes on the way.
RTDC arranges camel safaris on request during Nagaur Fair and the Desert Festival.
For those who prefer the modern steed, a Jeep Safari is an option to explore. It takes you through any part of Rajasthan you choose. Safaris organised to the Bishnoi village near Jodhpur have gained popularity. Bicycle and motorbike safaris are an alternative way of discovering the history and culture of Rajasthan as you enjoy its natural splendour. Cycle polo is a keenly contested annual feature in the state. Elephant safaris are an option that is available between Jaipur and Pushkar.
The Jaipur Vintage Car Rally held annually in the month of January attracts car and rally enthusiasts as well as those who enjoy the value of beautiful antiques. Some of these prized vehicles are available on hire for pleasure rides.
The topography of Rajasthan varies from the sand dunes of the desert to the picturesque hill ranges of the Aravallis, the oldest mountain ranges in the world, making Rajasthan a trekker's paradise. There are many undulating meadows; dense forests; still, clear lakes and enchanting waterfalls and rivulets that make trekking a pleasure.
Mount Abu, 1300 m above sea level is an ideal trekking destination. Kumbhalgarh, 90 kms from Udaipur is another area in the Aravallis which is good for trekking. The exciting trails that lead to the historic Kumbhalgarh fort, the nearby wildlife sanctuary and the famous Jain temples of Ranakpur make for ideal treks. One can trek from Abu Road to Guru Shikhar, the highest peak of Aravalli; Thandi Beri to Kumbhalgarh Fort or Ranakpur to Rawali Tatgarh. Evenings are spent camping under starlit skies or chilling in a Dak Bungalow or Forest Rest House. The best time for trekking in Rajasthan is during the winter months from November to February.
At Ramgarh Lake near Jaipur, arrangements for different kinds of water sports can be made through RTDC.
Year round facilities for swimming and boating are available, with a fully equipped tourist village with 10 huts. During the1982 Asian games, rowing competitions were held in this 4km long and 2 km wide man-made lake. 10 kms from Alwar at the Siliserh Lake, there is a lovely palace hotel equipped with all facilities run by RTDC.
Udaipur, the lake city of India, also has boating facilities. Jaisamand Lake, 50 kms south of Udiapur, the second largest artificial lake in Asia with 90 sq kms of water has facilities for various water sports throughout the year.
From Jawahar Sagar to Dholpur, in the Kota region of the Chambal river, rafting is possible. There are plans to introduce a ferry service on the Chambal river from Kota barrage upstream to Bhensordgarh. One can glimpse crocodiles basking in the sun on the river banks.
India is a perfect destination for a paragliding pilot to satisfy his thirst for varied flying conditions and topography: mountain flying, coastal flying, desert flying and flying over flatlands. The Aravalli ranges in Rajasthan are perfect for flying, especially when the monsoons descend on the rest of the country.
Ballooning is another sport which is being practiced here. Annual gliding and ballooning events are held in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Pushkar, which are increasingly attracting enthusiastic respose from aero-sports lovers.
The RTDC has set up an Adventure Cell in Jaipur (Tel:0141-202586, 203531, 375466) for assistance and information regarding adventure activities in Rajasthan.
Editor: Romola Butalia   (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.