Horses have played a major role in the culture of Rajasthan for over a thousand years. In the 11th and 12th centuries, local rulers developed a distinct breed from a mixture of desert ponies and Arabian stallions. Known as the ‘Marwari’, it was famed for its resilience and courage in battle and later formed the mainstay of the 50,000-strong Mughal cavalry.
The breed fell out of favour in British times, but after Independence saw a revival as many aristocratic Rajput families began breeding programmes. Today, numerous stately homes retain stables of Marwaris, distinguished by their inward-turning ear tips and free-flowing gait. The horses make perfect mounts for rides in the flat, arid scrubland of Rajasthan.
Your TransIndus consultant will be able to advise you on the best places to stay if you’re keen to ride. An old favourite of ours is Rohet Garh, which offers a full equestrian program, from hour-long hacks around the property to fully fledged, six-night expeditions, passing through traditional desert villages.
Over in Pali District, at the foot of the Aravalli Hills, Horse India is another great outfit specializing in longer equestrian holidays, taking in a mix of livestock fairs, romantic Rajput forts and picturesque tracts of the Thar Desert. You sleep in elegant Rajasthani hunting tents, the team driving ahead to set up camp each day. And the Marwari horses are among the most beautiful in India.
This is a great way to get off the beaten track and experience rural life, but an option we only really recommend to experienced riders. Your TransIndus consultant will have plenty more information.