Arrive into Delhi, India today. International flights typically arrive in the late evening or very early morning hours of Day 2. Guests are greeted by on REI representative at the airport and escorted to a nearby airport hotel. No meals included.
This morning we wake up and catch a late morning flight to Jodhpur. Also known as the Blue City for the sapphire-washed color of its houses, Jodhpur is set right at the edge of the Thar Desert and strewn with forts and palaces that date back to the 15th century. Upon arrival we head off to the Mehrangarh Fort and Jodhpur?s dazzling old town. Walking through the massive battlements of the Mehrangarh Fort, we discover the intricate artworks detailing the interior. Next, we explore the historic alleys of Jodhpur. Meet craftsmen who have been making brass lamps and swords for generations and shop keepers selling spices, wood crafts, jewelry, fabric and much more. Overnight at a classic heritage hotel in Jodhpur. Dinner included.
Flight: 1 hour; Walking: 2-3 hours
Embark on a scenic bike ride through rural Rajasthan. Just south of Jodhpur the traffic clears and several roads wind through the picturesque countryside. Yellow mustard fields pop with color and peanuts, maize and squash fill the fields. As we pedal further we enter the villages of white-turbaned Bishnoi, a people renowned as stewards of the environment and Hindu followers of Guru Jamboji. Over lunch we have a discussion of local traditions and then we and learn techniques used to make their intricately woven dhurrie rugs. Return in the afternoon for some rest and relaxation at our hotel. We overnight in Jodhpur. All meals included.
Cycling: 25 miles; Terrain: mostly flat paved roads.
Departing the city, we begin today?s ride heading south, deeper into Rajasthan and towards the ancient rise of the Aravalli Mountain range. Arriving into the quaint town of Kotri, we have lunch and settle into an historic home for the evening. In the afternoon, we take a guided walk through the village. Overnight in Kotri. All meals included.
Cycling: 17.5 miles; Terrain: mostly flat paved roads; Driving: 2 hours.
Another day, another lovely ride ? this time to India?s most prominent Jain temple. We begin riding from our doorstep, following quiet rural roads. After a break for lunch we continue in the support vehicle to the marble wonder that is the Ranakpur Jain temple. Constructed in the 15th century, the temple is a testament to devotion and artistry; there are twenty-nine halls supported by 1,444 pillars, each adorned with hundreds of carved figures, with no two alike. The high priest explains the interior of the temple and leads us in a special meditation exercise. Rested and restored, we drive high into the Aravalli Mountains for a second ride up to our mountain retreat. Overnight near Kumbhalgarh. All meals included.
Cycling 1: 16.2 miles; Elev. +425/-195?; Cycling 2: 10.5 miles; Elev. +1,000/-880?.
Stretch your muscles and your mind with optional yoga. Refreshed and revitalized, we put on our walking shoes and head off to Kumbhalgarh Fort. The massive fort is encompassed by a 36-kilometer long boundary wall, the second largest after the Great Wall of China. There are seven majestic gates and seven ramparts, one within the other. This afternoon, our ride is a nice long descent with a few small hills in between. On the route, we pass farmers and herders and take the time to chat with local villagers. Our final destination is the town of Deogarh; we overnight in a lovely heritage hotel in the center of town. All meals included.
Walking: 2 hours; Cycling: 23.2 miles; Elev. +970/-1,790?.
Give yourself a break! Choose to rest this morning, or join your guide for a bike tour of the surrounding area. Our hotel, an impressive restored fort from the 18th century Mewar aristocracy, is filled with history. Just outside the gates of the hotel are the narrow streets of a bazaar with merchants selling exquisite textiles and silver jewelry. Enjoy the day at your leisure and take in this unique setting. Overnight in Deogarh. Breakfast and Lunch included.
Optional cycling: 20 miles; Elev. +300/-300?.
This morning we visit the Sas Bahu temples, both dedicated to Vishnu and adorned with ornate carvings. From here we mount our bikes and begin riding along winding roads and over hills, making our way towards the City of Lakes, Udaipur. After checking into our stunning historic hotel, you have free time to walk the hotel grounds, visit the onsite aviary, and enjoy a spa treatment or marvel at the views from the infinity pool. Overnight near Udaipur. All meals included.
Cycling: 16 miles; Elev. +800/-800?; Driving: 2 hours
The area surrounding our hillside retreat is tended by farmers and villagers; there are endless opportunities to cycle and explore. Returning to the hotel we have a break before heading into Udaipur for a sunset boat cruise. On calm days the mirror-like waters of Lake Pichola reflect the stunning beauty of the Taj Lake Palace and the impressive edifice of the City Palace on the eastern shore. Dining on the shores of the lake, we watch the sun set and the palace lights twinkling in the distance. Overnight near Udaipur. All meals included.
Cycling: 20 miles; Elev. +500/-500?
We take time to explore Udaipur for a few hours this morning before departing for the airport. Enjoy a stroll along the lakeside promenade or indulge in some last-minute shopping. Udaipur is an excellent place to find many fine items. We transfer to the airport by 3pm for flights departing this evening. Bid farewell to your guides and fellow travelers, or join REI on an extension to explore the cities of Jaipur and Agra. Breakfast and lunch included.