Angel Holidays & the Exotic Marigold Hotel

Marigold Hotel
Marigold Hotel

Thanks to all travellers who’ve booked our epic journey across the desert state of Rajasthan, India (28th Oct – 19th Nov, 2016). We’re flattered so many signed up for this exploratory trip, with little more than a list of places we might visit; no definite plan or itinerary. It’s a testament that people trust the authentic way of ‘Angel’ travelling.

Many of you have been with us to Nepal, Peru or Cambodia & Laos, and if you may like to join too, please read on.   The trip cost is just £1,490 for over 3 weeks (based 2 sharing) plus flights which we help you find. We’ve now got some more detail to the trip with some very interesting surprises, not least we’re off to the Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Our journey will begin in Delhi with a short tour of the city, followed by a drive into the desert frontier town of Mandawa; here we’ll stay in an old ‘haveli’ trader’s house (all en-suite) for an unusual night. The next day we ride camels out into the desert, for a night’s camping under the stars by campfire.

Next we reach the desert city of Bikaner. Here we’ll stay in a classic hotel, Maharaja style. This is home to a cousin of the Maharaja of the city, a friend of Angel Holidays. From here, we’ll take you to a camel breeding farm to see herds of camels coming in, in the late day sun, as well as Karni Mata – a unique temple devoted to thousands of live rats featured on the BBC (entrance is optional).

We then head into the desert again, this time near the town of Phalodi, and largely in the middle of nowhere. Our accommodation will be a mixture of Swiss tents (luxury tents where you can stand & en-suite) or comfortable bungalows. We’ll come here to witness an unusual phenomenon. Each morning, nature permitting, 25,000 demoiselle cranes fly in on migration from the Himalaya, to this small village in a ‘huge cloud of birds’ to be fed by the locals. This striking spectacle has also been filmed on the BBC.

From here we move to the far west of the Thar desert, around 200 miles from the Pakistan border to the magical citadel of Jaisalmer; rising out of the sand like something from ‘Arabian Nights.’ You’ll enjoy free time and rest here in this magical location.  We’ll then drive south, to the blue city of Jodhpur and take you to explore its bazaars, show you the opulence of the city’s Maharaja or you can even zip-line around its fortresses’ walls (something that London Major Boris Johnson boasted about).

After this we’ve added something special to the trip; a visit to the annual Puskhar camel festival: the largest collection of livestock on earth. Here, you’ll be staying in Maharaja styled tents for two nights (with en-suite) and enjoy free time at this once in a lifetime event. Traders, herdsman and tribes people come together to trade and celebrate desert culture.

From Pushkar we move south; to the most romantic city in India: Udaipur – with its rooftop restaurants and palaces in this stunning lake location.  Angel Holidays has become friends with the owner of the ‘Exotic Marigold Hotel’; the hotel used for the two movies with Judy Dench, Richard Gere etc.  We’ve arranged a visit to this hotel and lunch on its grounds – all complementary on us. We’ll also take you on a fascinating walk to a nearby village, unspoilt by time, where old herders drink opium and people still live in traditional Rajasthani ways.

On to Udaipur, a beautiful place, so we’ve allowed 3 nights here.  Time to rest, wander, shop or simply enjoy being here.  There are many outdoor rooftop restaurants where you can enjoy dinner in the desert over looking its palaces and lake.  From Udaipur we take a train journey, Indian style, right across the desert and to the pink city of Jaipur; the capital of Rajasthan.

It’s here we’ve our second ‘Marigold’ connection.  An old mansion in the city, owned by Brigadier Singh, a friend of Angel Holidays, was used for the BBC documentary ‘The Real Marigold Hotel’ with Bobby George, Wayne Sleep, Jan Leaming etc. Here they lived for 3 weeks exploring what it might be like to retire in the city. If you might like to go there for dinner on its rooftop one evening, let us know and we can arrange this.

At this point we’ve added another surprise to the journey: a visit to Ranthambhore National Park, where we’ll take you on safari into the Indian bush in search of tigers. This is a stunning park, once a hunting ground for British royals and Maharajas, and we’ll take you on two game drives. Finally, we move to Agra, to crown our journey with a visit to the magnificent Taj Mahal.  After this we return to Delhi.

We hope you’ll agree this is a fantastic holiday.  We’ve added some meals that weren’t in the original plan; full board in Pushkar and Ranthambhore for example.  Other nights you’ll be able to enjoy some fantastic meals from romantic rooftops to ‘al fresco’ dining out Indian style.

As with all our trips, we’ve allowed some free time for you to explore and savour these stunning locations at your own pace.  You’ll also enjoy the support of being in a friendly group, and can rest whenever you want to, you don’t have to come on all our day trips. We’ve a private bus and will enlist the help of local guides in some locations.  Some hotels will have swimming pools to enjoy the winter sun!

If you may want to join this trip, please let us know.  We just need a deposit of £190. We can provide a detailed itinerary shortly.  As with all our journeys, a concise dedicated guide book will be given to all travellers on this trip.  A shorter, two week version of this holiday is planned for 2017.

We look forward to hearing from you.  Angel Holidays


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