DESERT TRADITIONS – SHADES OF INDIA: 5 Cities…5 Colours…5 Adventures plus…
October 2020


  • Amer Fort Jaipur
  • AT Ranakpur Temple
  • AT The turban


5 Cities…5 Colours…5 Adventures plus…

Rajasthan, land of kings, warriors and glorious treasures, is truly a feast for the senses. Join Carole Douglas and her experienced team who will lead you through days filled with vibrant colour, tantalising tastes, tempting textiles, rich aromas and the melodies of local life. Follow in the footsteps of Joanna Lumley to the painted palace of Juna Mahal, meet camel carers, mingle with artisans, designers and performers and enjoy the sparkling festival of Diwali on the edge of the Thar Desert accompanied by camels, dancing gypsies, music and feasting.

There is no better way to appreciate the arts of life than trying your own hand under the guidance of masters. We invite you to discover the flavours of fine Rajasthani cuisine during an exceptional culinary class, see royal and folk embroidery traditions in action, design your signature perfume with a connoisseur, respond to the rhythms of desert music during festival time and create your very own miniature painting, playful puppet and printed shawl!


Tuesday November 3rd     Arrivals: Accommodation Niranta Airport Hotel (inside main terminal)

Rendezvouz in Mumbai

UDAIPUR – the White City
Wednesday 4th to Saturday 7th November     Accommodation: Haveli Mahendra Prakash

Highlights: Juna Mahal (Dungarpur), city palace and lake tours, optional evening cultural event, miniature painting, royal and folk embroidery, fine dining.

Sunday November 8th     Accommodation: Ranakpur Hill Station or similar

Highlights: Meet the camels – Rajasthan’s state animal! Visit Camel Charisma, a social enterprise that develops, promotes and markets camel products. Meet the founder Dr. Ilse Kohler-Rollefson and Raika – traditional camel herders. Camel Charisma is inspired by Rajasthan’s camel pastoralists and provides economic incentives in order for camel breeders to continue keeping camels for livelihood and to contribute to the sustainable management of the Thar Desert. In recent years, a range of all-natural, environmentally friendly and locally hand-crafted products has been developed from camel milk, camel wool and camel dung.

Jodhpur – the Blue City
Monday 9th – Wednesday 11th November     Accommodation: Ratan Vilas or similar

Highlights: Explore worlds of tints, textures and taste with bhandej (tie and dye) artist Iswar Devani and dhurrie weaver Roopraj whose family offers a fine, healthy and sustainable dining experience. Visit magnificent Mehrangarh Fort and ramble on down through the legendary blue city. Spend time with one of the world’s first environmental defenders – the Bishnoi community and meet the local potter who turns a fine wheel. Ramble through Clock Tower market where treasures await the eagle eyed and banter and barter are lively!

Thursday November 12th     Accommodation: TBA

We break our journey to Jaisalmer in the textile rich area of Barmer.
Highlights: Visit to women’s cooperative GVS that specialises in the applique work for which the area is famed and we also pass through Balotra for Ajrakh block printing.

Jaisalmer – the golden city
Friday 13th – Monday 16th November     Accommodation: Fort Rajwada

Time out to prepare for Diwali celebrations on Saturday 14th.
Highlights: Diwali – the festival of light. Be immersed in the glitter of this deep night when light prevails over dark, good over evil and celebrates the return of Lord Rama to Adodhye. Dance to the rhythms of great local music, enjoy a day exploring the world’s only living fort and take a long slow camel safari into the Thar desert at sunset. Meet women who stitch for dowry and for livelihood. Unforgettable!

Bikaner – the red heart of Rajasthan
Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th November     Accommodation: TBA

The wild west of the desert area, Bikaner has a vibrant outpost feel and offers opportunities to uncover historic trading routes and practices.
Highlights: Visit Junagarh Fort featuring palaces, pavilions and shrines that exhibit a mix of architectural styles with the earliest dating back to the 16th century. The fort boasts seven gates, marble courtyards, wells, gardens, an old jail, galleries, and corridors. Successive rulers built their own sets of lavishly decorated chambers, the interiors of which stood in stark contrast to the medieval military architecture. See the best collection of royal costumes, historic portraits, and Sanskrit and Persian manuscripts. The most notable feature of the whole complex, however, remains the intricate carvings in red and yellow stone. Spend a morning at the Camel Conservation Centre, an afternoon at a tranquil palace and no visit is complete without exploring the living textile arts of the old city streets and marvelling at the historic and (sadly) disappearing Rampuria merchant havelis.

Jaipur – The Pink city
Thursday 19th- Monday 24th November     Accommodation: Alsisar Haveli

Welcome to the diverse and culturally rich epicentre of Rajasthan.
Highlights: Textiles and tastes! Visit Amber Fort, Anokhi Musuem, Brigitte Singh and Anokhi’s flagship store for a great lunch. Experience an immersion into indigo and a culinary experience like no other during a cooking class with the elegant and urbane Durga Singh. Meet puppet masters in their own colony and enjoy trying your own hand, and finally shop till you drop (if that is your inclination) in boutiques, bazaars and back streets!

Tuesday 24th November    

Depart for Mumbai and connecting flights home.

Post Tour Extra
Two nights in Ranthambore tiger sanctuary.
Please book in advance. Cost to be determined by numbers.


Land only, per person twin share AU$7,950
Single Supplement AU$2,025 (TBC)

• Domestic air travel (incl taxes) within India
• Land transport
• Twin-share accommodation
• Meals as per the final itinerary (daily breakfast plus celebration meals)
• Drinking water
• All transfers, entrance fees, workshops (some material costs may apply), sightseeing as per itinerary
• All applicable tipping for hotel porterage, guides and drivers
• Services of tour leader and cultural expert, Carole Douglas
• Services of professional guides throughout the itinerary
•Program handbook, pre-tour information package, related materials

• Return international air travel
• Meals not listed in final itinerary
• Tipping for personal services including meals and room services
• Beverages with meals, alcoholic drinks, morning and afternoon teas
• Visa requirements of the tour member
• Tuk tuk transport in and around cities
• Travel Insurance
• Items of personal nature (telephone, laundry, room and personal services etc)

We recommend that Australian passengers book their international flights through Alumni Travel who offer the best fares available at the time of booking. Airfares are subject to change up until final payment has been received. Once the ticket is issued, airline cancellation and amendment conditions will apply. If you have additional travel in mind and require an earlier departure there may be a supplement payable.

I’m Interested…How Do I Find Out More?
Contact Carole Douglas at Desert Traditions who will talk you through the tour, send you a questionnaire which will allow her to shape the tour to suit your requirements and to supply further information.
PO Box 152 Manly NSW Australia 1655
Phone: 02 9949 3787 Mob: 0438 772 795

I’m Ready…How Do I Book?
Fill in the online Booking Form, read and agree with our Terms & Conditions, select your payment option for your deposit of $750.00 per person to Alumni Travel and Submit. Upon receipt of your Booking Form and deposit, you will receive a confirmation of your place in writing.

The deposit is accepted as a first installment of the tour cost and will be fully refunded if the arrangements can not be confirmed or the tour is cancelled by Alumni Travel. To meet our supplier policies, final payment is due at least 60 days prior to tour departure. You will receive an invoice 2 weeks before final payment is due.

Any cancellation from the tour needs to be done in writing. The cancellation date will be taken from the day your written cancellation is received by Alumni Travel. Because of the tour cancellation charges imposed by our various suppliers, the following cancellation charges apply, per person:

Over 60 days $50.00 – Administration Fee
59 – 30 days 50% of tour cost
Within 30 days 100% of tour cost

If a difference occurs between these cancellation conditions and those imposed by our suppliers, then the conditions of the supplier shall apply.

There is no refund before or after travel has commenced or for any unused portion of the tour, either in regard to the standard group arrangements or separate independent arrangements.

Any payments by credit card will be subject to a 2% non-refundable Merchant Administration Fee.

It is standard policy with our company that all our international travellers have some type of international travel insurance, so that you are covered for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise. A comprehensive Insurance brochure is available from Alumni Travel. The insurance brochure contains the terms and conditions under which insurance cover will be offered to you.

If you would like Alumni Travel to assist you with any additional arrangements pre or post tour, please contact our office for assistance at time of booking. All arrangements need to be finalised at least 30 days prior to your departure.

An administration fee of $30.00 per amendment will be charged for any changes made to any reservation within 30 days prior to your departure. Any additional charges imposed by our suppliers will also be payable.

It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure that they possess the necessary travel documentation for the tour, such as a valid passport and any required visas. Your passport should be valid at least 6 months beyond the end of your journey and have two clear pages for each country to be visited in your journey.

In the event that passenger numbers do not reach the minimum number of tour participants (8, excluding the tour leader) required for the tour, it may be necessary to either surcharge or cancel the tour. If such an event does occur, you will be notified at least 60 days prior to the tour departure.

Tour prices have been calculated on the basis of exchange rates and tariffs as at time of print and are subject to change up until final payment has been received. Once final payment is received, no surcharges will apply. Should you decide to cancel your arrangements on the basis of a change in the tour price, normal cancellation charges will apply.

Ready to take the journey of a lifetime?