The much-awaited tie-up between the Abu Dhabi private jet operator Royal Jet and the luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent has culminated in the inaugural Regal Rajasthan tour.
Abercrombie & Kent, which this year opened an office in Abu Dhabi, offers bespoke travel arrangements anywhere in the world.
The week-long trip to Rajasthan, from December 11 to 17, is priced at Dh190,000 per person, based on two sharing. For those travelling solo, the package costs Dh240,000. The experience is limited to just 18 guests, who will fly in one of Royal Jet's fleet of Boeing Business Jets.
As with such tours in the past, the itinerary has been put together by Geoffrey Kent, the founder and chief executive of Abercrombie & Kent. Mr Kent is known for his attention to detail, having pioneered the sector more than 50 years ago.
“Our first odyssey to Rajasthan promises to be an enchanting experience that encapsulates the ultimate in private travel,” said Mr Kent.
The Regal Rajasthan tour will take clients to Jaipur, the state capital, for an elephant safari before jetting on to Agra for an exclusive viewing of the Taj Mahal before the gates are opened to the public.
Guests will then head to Jodhpur for a game of polo hosted by Gaj Singh, the maharaja of Jodhpur, followed by a stop in Udaipur for a private tour of Mewar, the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. The tour ends with dinner at the palace.
q & a: Rich history and wonderful wildlife
Why is Rajasthan such a popular tourist draw?
The northwestern Indian state, which was home to several kingdoms, during and before British rule in India, is scattered with beautiful palaces and forts. The forts in Chittorgarh, Amber, Gagron, Jaisalmer, Kumbhalgarh and Ranthambore have Unesco World Heritage status. There are also many nature reserves, including Ranthambore and Sariska, which are said to be among the best places in India to spot tigers. A large part of Rajasthan, mostly towards the west, is covered by the Thar Desert, making it the driest state in India.
If it’s so dry, what is the weather like then?
Temperatures in the summer can top 45 degrees Celsius and in winter it can drop to below freezing in certain parts. But there are patches of dry thorny forests that increase in density and greenery in areas with more rainfall. Rajasthan, which means the land of kings, is now the largest state in India after Uttar Pradesh, which was split in 2000 to form another state called Uttarakhand. Rajasthan’s area is nearly equal to that of Norway or Italy.
When is the best time to visit?
After the monsoon (June to September), when temperatures are cooler, marking the onset of many fairs and festivals, including Puskhar fair, one of the world’s largest camel and livestock gathering, usually held between October and November.
Anything else to see?
During any stay in Rajasthan's Udaipur, a must-see is the Taj Lake Palace, a luxury hotel set on four acres of rock in Lake Pichola. The hotel featured in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy, as the home of titular character Octopussy.
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