By Soraya Rebello
There are several ways of doing Rajashthan. The options are endless. Ranging from forts to palaces to luxury hotels and camps, the platter has a whole lot with one wanting to do a little bit of sampling of everything. However, we – me and my hubby – decided to leave aside what the regular tourist does and took this sojourn on wheels, which by far, has been my best road trip. The last one I did was from Shimla to Udaipur in December 2017 with stopovers at Delhi and Ajmer. This one, however, was phenomenally different and most certainly worth sharing with all my travel buddies who love adventure and off beat locations.
My hubby Vishal and I decided to hit the road with some fresh orange juice and chips and drove to places which are not quite there in the Rajasthan to-do list. This state, often perceived to be a desert state, surprises you pleasantly with its remarkable greenery, complete with fields, lakes, evergreen trees and shrubs. Even temperatures can drop to 18 degrees during a summer night.
We started our drive from Udaipur, and took a halt at Rajsamand Lake which is beautiful and rich in history. You can hire a guide (essentially a village elder) who will narrate the stories of the great kings with nostalgia and humour. It’s an ideal place to do some fish feeding or sit under a tree, watching the ripples caused by passing winds. After an hour we got back behind the wheel for a 3-hour drive that took us to a heavenly abode: Lake Chhattrasagar. There is a tent resort here with 11 luxury tents topped with personalised service from the owners. Our exclusive tent was huge, had a bath room of almost 150 sq ft and overlooked the forest as well as the lake. It had four sit-outs with beds that were super luxurious. This blissful retreat is the best place to “do some serious soul searching”.
Indeed, it’s ideal for nature lovers, bird watchers and adventure traveller for detoxification of the mind and the body. The food is exquisite, tasty and very contemporary. The hotel engages its guests in village tours, Neelghai tours and bird safaris. And after your return, the sundowner bar by the lake keeps your spirits high.
We decided to do a little bit of off roading, and there is no other place better than the Great Indian Thar Desert for some dare devil driving. Both of us love driving but our love for SUVs is very conditional though. We love silent machines. Enter the Maruti Gypsy custom made for desert safaris. A 8-km drive into the desert led us to a unique tent resort called the Manvar Desert Resort and Camp where we dropped anchor. But hold on, before we crashed for the night we went for a camel safari (my first time) that led us to a point on the sand dunes where we witnessed a mesmerising sunset. We rode back into the campsite where local Rajasthani dancers greeted us with their musical and dance performances. A dinner table was set with rose petals and we took our seats to listen to the music. The voice of the crooner was so powerful and melodious that it needed no musical instruments. We dined under the clear blue skies thanking god for all his kindness and goodness before we walked into our comfortable air conditioned tent for a good night’s sleep.
Heading to Jodhpur from our desert camp took us just 2 hours. We had a Champagne tour around the place – an enthralling experience for sure. The views of the city were magnificent and the architecture and engineering are commendable. I would highly recommend a tour of the Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur. We then headed to a friend’s restaurant, Nuovotaashli, for some lovely food and wine.
From Jodhpur we drove to Udaipur. Along the way, we took a very short break at a resort on the outskirts that overlooks a lake. Tastefully made for the city traveller, the Tat Saraasa Resort was a relaxing retreat to end our journey on wheels. You could go swimming, get a massage at the spa, or go for a jeep safari. Or you could just ride a bicycle.
After all this, the very thought of heading back to our regular lives and getting into the everyday rat race puts me off. However I must admit that short breaks can be truly energizing and revitalising.
So go ahead guys, take a driving holiday. You deserve it – you have been working hard!