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Overlanding from Delhi to Mumbai

Our ever-exploring sales consultant, Sarah has recently got back from our Delhi to Mumbai trip and she tells us all that happened on her overlanding adventure...

 

 

Day 1

Our trip started early in the morning flying from Gatwick to Istanbul. When we got on our second flight from Istanbul to Delhi, time flew by watching all the new movies back to back! We landed in Delhi early on Day 1 and watched the sun rise over Delhi as we drove to the hotel. We had our group meeting in the evening, then we all went out for a group meal to get to know each other abit better.

Day 2

Very early start for our first day on the truck, with a long drive to Bikaner. For the first few hours, the truck was very quiet, apart from the odd snore. After we stopped on the road side for breakfast, the truck livened up abit. We got to appreciate our first taste of Indian countryside and the small towns we drove through. We arrived into Bikaner in the afternoon, with just enough time to have a wonder around the town and to see the fort.

Day 3

Today we drove to Jaisalmer, appreciating more of the beautiful Indian countryside en route. We stopped to visit the Karni Mata Rat Temple on our way. This was a squeamish experience for quite a few people, especially as you are not allowed to wear shoes into the temple!

 

 

When we arrived into Jaisalmer, we settled into our hotel on the out skirts of the town. The evening was topped off with an amazing dinner with the whole group, on a roof top restaurant watching the sunset over the town.

Day 4

We organised a tour around Jaisalmer, showing us the city and fort and some of the local markets. The group reconvened after lunch to head out for our camel safari. We drove out in the truck to meet our ‘caravan’ of camels on the edge of the Thar Desert. We climbed, some of us not very gracefully, onto our camels and set off! We rode for about an hour and a half into the dunes, before we stopped to set up camp.

The guides cooked us an amazing dinner, and some local people joined us performing some brilliant music and dancing. We then rolled out our sleeping bags and mats, and got comfortable in the dunes to enjoy our night out under the stars.

 

 

Day 5

Waking up to the sun rising through a cloudy sky over the desert is a very tranquil way to start the day. Once we had had a small breakfast, we packed up camp and jumped back onto our camels for our trek back out of the desert. The truck was waiting for us to arrive back, and then we transferred back to Jaisalmer for the afternoon to relax and explore more. A small sand storm swept through in the afternoon turning the town and sky into an eerie shade of red. When the sand began to settle we all went up to the roof to enjoy the sunset and a beer on our last night in Jaisalmer.

Day 6

We left this morning, very nearly getting the truck stuck, on our way to Jodphur. On our way, we stopped to visit the Sambhali Trust. This is a charitable project that works for the empowerment of women and girls in Rajasthan, with a base in Jodphur. We were given a talk on how the project started as well as how the trust helps local women. We were then given a tutorial; women learned how to wrap a Sari and men learned how to wrap a turban with some….interesting results!

 

 

Day 7

Our tour leader had organised for us to be picked up by tuk-tuks to take us to our tour of the Meherangarh Fort. Some of us chose to take an exhilarating zip line over the gardens of the fort. We then continued on the self guided tour of the fort, with beautiful views out of Jodphur.  A few of us walked down the road to visit the Jaswant Thada, a beautiful marble cenotaph next to a picturesque lake built in memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. We then continued walking down back into Jodphur, where we went and explored the local market.

 

 

Day 8

Another early morning to start our drive to Udaipur. En route today we visited a large Jain temple in Ranakpur. When I first saw the temple, it looked like part of Angkor Wat had been dropped into the middle of this woodland in Western India. The majority of the temple is made of beautiful marble, with over 1400 pillars, 29 halls and 80 domes throughout the 48,000 square feet temple complex. We had lunch at the temple restaurant before we continued on to Udaipur.

When we arrived in Udaipur, we could not take the truck into the city, so we met a ‘fleet’ of tuk tuks waiting for us to take us into the city. Our hotel was only 50 metres from the edge of the lake. And the roof top of the hotel gave us incredible sunset views. We also got tickets to see a local dancing show, which was entertaining to say the least!

Day 9

First day in Udaipur, and the group met on the roof top to have breakfast overlooking Lake Pichola. We split up to venture out, and a small group of us went to explore the Pichola Lake, and it's famous temple islands of Jagniwas and Jagmandir, on a stunning and peaceful boat cruise. We then spent the next couple of hours exploring the City Palace on the lake edge. In the late afternoon, we took tuk tuks up for an evening ride on the Udaipur Ropeway, to see the stunning vista of the city and lake at sunset.

 

 

Day 10

We enjoyed another roof top breakfast before hurrying away to start our 5 hour cooking course. Not only did we learn, and help to make, some traditional Indian foods such as Chapattis, Chai Tea, Dhal and butter chicken, we more importantly had to do some tasting! On our return to our hotel we found a great roof top café that also hosted movie nights. Most whole group went; we watched the sunset from the roof top, and then enjoyed an amazing curry whilst watching Lion, one of my most memorable nights of the tour.

 

 

Day 11

We left Udaipur early in the morning to start our drive down to Mandu. When we arrived we had our first night camping, and we got a cooking station set up to have our first meal under the stars. After dinner we walked into the local village as the Holi Festival celebrations began after sun down.

Day 12

This morning we got up early to go and explore Mandu, before we began Holi Festival celebrations. We visited the Jahaz Mahal, or the Ship Palace, which is the fort in Mandu. Almost completely deserted, we were able to explore the serene expanse of architecture and gardens. We then visited the Hoshang Shah. Again with so few visitors it felt like we had the place to ourselves. Our tour guide showed us how the architects designed the buildings to maximize acoustics.

When we came back into the town, we were warmly greeted by locals playing music and celebrating. We joined the locals walking through the village bringing light and color to those families who needed it. By the end of the day, nearly everyone was covered head to toe in colourful paint! We then all quickly showered at the campsite before heading on to a wild campsite for the night.

 

 

Day 13

We got up early to start our drive to Ajanta. This is an incredible network of 29 Buddhist rock caves and paintings, some dating back as far as the 2nd century BCE. The caves included monasteries, store rooms, dining halls; a cave/room for every part of the Buddhist lives. We then walked from the cave complex which is nestled in a canyon up a winding footpath to over look the whole complex. We camped at the top of the canyon, where we celebrated a fellow passengers’ birthday!

Day 14

This morning we packed up camp and headed down the valley to another set of beautiful religious caves in Ellora. The caves at Ellora are a combination of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain religions. The Hindu temples are the most impressive, with the Kailasa Temple twice the size of the Parthenon in Athens and one-and-a-half times as high. It was carved out of solid rock from the top down, and it is estimated that it entailed removing 200,000 tonnes of rock! We camped just outside Ellora for the final time.

  

Day 15 

Our last day on the trip, with a long drive down to Mumbai. Lots of beautiful landscapes, as well as great tunes and plenty of card games to keep us occupied! When we finally arrived in Mumbai,w e found our hotel, and got setlled in. Then we all went out for a final dinner together at a local restaurant.

Day 16

It was time to head off and leave the group to catch my return flight to London.

 

For me the best way to describe India is a barrage of smells, colours, noise and culture. The food was incredible; ten times better than any curry you would ever have in England. And for me, the culture and history was more intense, exciting and enjoyable than I expected.

 

If you want to discover more about Sarah's trip then check out the full itinerary below...

PRICES FROM:
$1,067 USD+
KITTY FROM:
520USD
DAYS:
16
PHYSICAL CHALLENGE:
LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE:

 

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