Why celebrities choose Rajasthan for their tailor made holidays to India?
Diamond in the Rough
Rajasthan is mainly sand and dust. It’s a fact. The Thar Desert sprawls across the western part of the state and the general feel of Rajasthan travel is hot and arid. While most shirk the mystery of the desert, some seek out adventure.
On the 31st of December, 2007, Madonna, Guy Ritchie and the kids stepped off a chartered Kingfisher jet from the Maldives and headed straight to the desert for their Rajasthan holidays. On New Years Eve they were treated to traditional Rajasthani folk music, with performances by Langa, Manganiar and Kalbelia dancers, all part of Rohet Garh’s “Wilderness Camp”. Madonna liked it so much that not only did she join in, dressed in tradition attire of ghagra and choli (long skirt and blouse), but their host says she threatened to perform “a remake of it in English” in the future. The next two days Madonna indulged in one of her favourite activities, horse riding. They rode on thoroughbred Marwari horses, bred by the ancient rulers of Rajasthan and famed for their stamina, bravery and loyalty, from The Wilderness Camp to Fort Chanwa Luni, another heritage hotel, where they rested that evening and indulged in some kite flying.
If it’s good enough for Madonna it’s good enough for us. The queen of pop illustrated that tailor made holidays in India can maintain luxury whilst being off the beaten track.
We would be lying if we said Rajasthan was only desert: it’s got glamorous cities, a legendary mountain, and some lush greenery to boot. When Katy Perry and Russell Brand chose Ranthambore national park as the location for their wedding the tabloids were flooded with pictures of flourishing forests and wild tigers. Russel had previously proposed to Miss Perry at the Rambagh Palace Hotel, Jaipur, buying her a £600 Indian dress for the occasion. They enjoyed private dinner and fireworks, which they viewed from atop an elephant. As if that was not romantic enough, the pair were then lead to the Mughal Garden, which had been specially lit by hundreds of candles for the occasion. Brand had arranged for the ring to be hidden amongst the flowers. Needless to say the wedding had a lot to live up to.
The couple’s families and 80 or so guests stayed at Vanya Vilas, Sher Bagh, and Aman-I-Khas resorts. They hired 13 vehicles so that their guests could freely explore the nature reserve and also get some shopping done in the daytime, so they had suitable Indian attire for the wedding. Russel Brand even found time to spot a male tiger himself, T 24 to be precise. For the wedding itself a huge Ganpati had been brought in, along with two big shaadi-style thrones, sofa sets, flowers, elephants, camels and horses. They opted for a Hindu style ceremony and then later in the evening Dj Shival was requested by the guests that they only wanted “Bollywood music”.
The Royal Touch
It is not news that the regal charm of the area is one of the main attractions of Rajasthan holidays. However, few individuals take the concept of “living like a king” as far as the A-list Rajasthan travellers. The Mehrangarh fort, up on the hills overlooking the city, a historical Maharajan site, has captured the desires of a number of high end travellers. Kipling described it as “the creation of angels, fairies and giants”. Meanwhile Naomi Campbell was recently enamoured with the venue and hosted a dinner for 175 guests in 2012 as a celebration of her beau Vladimir Doronis’ 50th birthday. Previously it was the setting for the reception of Liz Hurley’s wedding to Arun Nayar, which culminated in a magnificent fireworks show in which the city of Jodhpur played a supporting role as the backdrop. Both parties opted for an Indian theme, with saris and Rajasthani cuisine.
For tailor made holidays to India like these you need a hotel to match, and luckily Jodhpur is well equipped, in the form of the Umaid Bhawan Palace. All the aforementioned parties spilled over into the current Maharaja’s, Gaj Singh, residence. Madonna also stayed there, taking full advantage of the Maharaja’s Suite with its fake leopard skin sofas, but also indulging in a bath carved from a single piece of pink marble found in the Maharani’s Quarters. She booked both rooms and at the end of her aforementioned trip and as thank she performed Karaoke for the Maharaja as a special thank you for his hospitality.
So… if you are going to take tailor made holidays in India and want to do it in style then Rajasthan is the place to go. Live life like a king, or a celebrity, depending on your fancy and relish in the riches of rulers gone by. Modern day Rajasthan travel is filled with luxury, surprises, and chances to indulge in the finest splendour of India’s tourism opportunities. So drop by and party in the Mehrangarh fort, stay out in the desert, and go searching for tigers in Ranthambore, for the true luxury experience, next time you come to India.