Sorry that this has been a long time coming, we’ve been incredibly busy working through details, making plans and booking all sorts of exciting things for you… and watching tennis.
We’re primed and ready now though so hold on to something, you’re about to take on a large amount of information.
Let’s start at the very beginning…
Back in February after the excitement of last year’s Dumball, we were chomping at the bit to get started again and with our good friends at Intersight, we hatched a plan to take over the North of India in January 2017. The plan was a good one involving Mahindra Jeeps, Deserts and a whole bunch more of the India we have grown to love. We made some initial plans and started taking deposits from you lovely folks and we very quickly got ourselves a very strong crowd signed up to take India by storm. If you are reading this and haven’t placed a deposit yet, there are still a few places left here.
In May, Dumball LTD sent me (Chief dogsbody and sometime blog writer Fletch) to India to spend 10 days tracing our proposed route, looking at accommodation and trying to find us some interesting things to do en route. Good news is, much of it was brilliant! Lots of beautiful cities and landscapes, plenty of interesting cultural stuff and more than enough roads blocked by cows. One of my jobs was to seek out the best possible route, the most adventurous way to get from New Delhi to Goa…and I’m pleased to say that after a couple of months of research…the route is now set in stone (well sand).
The New Route!
The original route runs from Delhi, through the Rajasthani desert to Jaipur then to a camp in Osian that is in the middle of the desert. On my recce, it soon became clear that the middle of the desert is quite…well un eventful.
Our guys on the ground told me that the ‘real’ desert, the proper sandy duny, camely desert is even further East but they reckoned that was too much of a diversion from our current route. But what is the point of driving a jeep if you’re not going to hit real desert? And after all, this is the dumball, and we like diversions.
On arriving back in England, we poured all of our collective brain power together to come up with a solution to this problem. This was creative problem solving at it’s best and here is the outcome…
We are going to fly you all, into the heart of the desert!!!!!!
At no extra expense to you, we have managed to sort out flights from Delhi to Jodhpur where we’ll be holding the official starting party in a Palace – yes a bloody desert Palace!!
This means that we won’t be travelling 7 hours to get there in the first place (which I’ve got to say, I wasn’t looking forward to). Instead, on the Saturday in the beautiful surroundings of the Ummed Jodhpur you’ll be given the keys to a Mahindra Jeep that you can call your own for the next 9 days. We’ll spend the morning in the grounds of the palace – decorating your jeep, and donning your fancy dress before heading off to Jaisalmer, that’s where ‘The Real Desert’ lives!
If you have already booked your flight/accommodation in New Delhi all you need to do is get a taxi back to the airport on the morning of Friday 13th where one of our dumball crew will meet you at the domestic terminal. From there you are in our bosom – you are on the dumball. A contact mobile number will be provided.
Just outside of Jaisalmer a desert camp awaits us. We will light a fire, dance, sing, and in the morning we’re going to be riding camels and desert jeeps across sand dunes like this!!
That is more like it. Then we’ll then be heading down through the desert to Udaipur where we’ll pick up the original route.
But wait, there’s more, we’ve done even better.
The last leg of the rally had us finishing in Calangute, Goa. We were told by a few people that this was a great place to go for a party at the end of our journey and I was really looking forward to seeing the place. Unfortunately, the beach just didn’t live up to expectations. It might be a little harsh to label it the Indian Skegness but it wouldn’t be entirely unwarranted. After the great time we had in Palolem last year, we needed something at least as good, or if at all possible, better. And I think we might have found it..
This is Club Mahindra in Goa
We’re going to be finishing off the rally this year in style at a swanky resort where we’ll be having our very own private beach party with DJs, dancing, awards and fireworks! After what is set to be one of the most challenging Dumballs ever (actually probably THE MOST CHALLENGING) we thought you deserved a bit of luxury and this is most certainly that. What better place to finish the rally than a beautiful resort which bares the name of our trusty steeds. From there, you’re in a great position to explore the other beaches of Goa or hop on a plane back to sunny England.
And the rest of the route???
The driving this year is going to be very different from last year. Northern India is nowhere near as well populated as the South so the towns are fewer and further between. There are lots of small restaurants between towns serving excellent food made with local spices and fresh produce. If you’re not a fan of Indian food, I’d suggest you pack a lot of rice crackers! The drives are going to be long every day so buckle in, because this aint for beginners. As always, this will be a test of your endurance: and that is why we are fundraising- because this is a challenge…and we are ready to rise to it!
We’re stopping in some amazing places and we’ve managed to get Hotels within a short tuk tuk drive of the city centres so you’ll be able to go and get lost in the winding streets of Udaipur and sample the delights of the Sarafa Market in Indore (my favourite part of the trip!)
On top of that we’re taking you through the beautiful Yawal Wildlife Sanctuary to not one, but two world heritage sites. It’s a bit of a challenge but we’re confident that the more hardy amongst you will be able to get to see both the Ajanta and Ellora caves in one day! And they’re really worth a visit….
So here’s the CONFIRMED 2017 route as it stands….
THURSDAY 12th JANUARY TIME TBC – Those of you flying with Dumball One to Jodphur from the UK (see below for special deal) will meet at Heathrow…and the fun will commence.
FRIDAY 13TH JANUARY 11:00 – If you are already in India, get yourselves to New Delhi airport, meet up with the dumball crew and we’ll whisk you off to Jodphur in the heart of the desert for our grand opening ceremony.
FRIDAY 13TH JANUARY 20:00 – Opening party in Jodhpur
The opening party to end all opening parties in the beautiful surrounds of the Ummed hotel in Jodhpur
SATURDAY 14TH 08.00 – GET YOUR JEEPS and head to JAISALMER
We’ll be handing you the MAHINDRA JEEPS. You’ll have the morning to unleash all of your creative ambitions, decorating your Jeeps for the rally. Advice here is DREAM BIG!!!! take a look at some of the pics from last year to see just how much can be achieved in a few hours if you know what you’re doing (or even if you really don’t as in many cases). After a morning’s hard graft we’ll be jumping in our jeeps and heading through the desert to Jaisalmer
SUNDAY 15TH 09.00 ENJOY THE DESERT then head to BARMER
We’ve given ourselves some time here to really get out into the desert and make the most of it. We’ve planned some great activities for you all to make the most of our time amongst the sand dunes. After a day making friends with the camels we’ll be heading to the desert town of Barmer for the night.
MONDAY 16TH 09.00 DRIVE TO UDAIPUR
Heading out of the desert, we’re going to be travelling through the Aravalli hills to this stunning city. It’s tiny crooked streets and impressive palaces make it one of the most romantic cities in India we’re told, you can decide that for yourselves…
TUESDAY 17TH 09.00 DRIVE TO INDORE
We’re leaving Rajasthan and crossing over into Madhya Pradesh today. We’ll be signposting you to some stunning waterfalls you can visit on the way to the state’s largest city.
WEDNESDAY 18TH 09.00 DRIVE TO AURANGABAD
Plenty of opportunities for you to go exploring temples and Buddhist caves today as you travel through Maharashtra to the ‘City Of Gates’.
THURSDAY 19TH 12.00 DRIVE TO PUNE
The shortest day’s drive should give us plenty of time to take in some of the historic sites of Aurangabad before we head for the cultural capital of Maharashtra.
FRIDAY 20TH 09.00 DRIVE TO CLUB MAHINDRA, GOA
Our final drive and the longest day’s driving. Spend some quality time with your beloved Mahindras before you say a fond farewell to them. When you arrive at Club Mahindra in Varca Beach we’ll have to whisk away the jeeps so they can be stripped down to their original paintwork and handed back to their generous owners. Don’t panic though, you’ll soon be relaxing round the pool or down on our private beach in this stunning resort.
SATURDAY 21ST 10.00
A day to do as you wish, relax on the beach and prepare yourselves for the night ahead………
18.30 Beach Party BBQ, Dj, dancers, a big awards ceremony, and a free bar! Say goodbye to the Dumball in style.
SUNDAY 22ND – IT”S ALL OVER.
We’re no longer in charge, it’s up to you. Stay and relax in the sun, go home and impress everyone you know with your stories or maybe ditch your job and go explore further……
One last thing…Flights!!!!
If you’d like to travel with Dumball One to Jodphur, we’ve got a deal on some flights with BA. The flights will cost around £450 (TBC) for areturn ticket and leave Heathrow on Thursday 12th at 8pm. Internal flights in India have fairly limited numbers so in order to ease the burden on the flights from Delhi, we’ll be taking our crew to Jodphur via Mumbai. You can pick ythe date of your return journey from Goa to Heathrow on either Monday the 23rd or Friday the 28th of Jan, your choice. To book your place on the flights, add £450 to your balance when paying, or contact us directly at email@example.com and we will connect you with our agents.
And so a fond farewell
For those of you who have already paid your deposits, check your emails on Friday 8th July for the private link to pay your balance. This needs to be done by 30th July to confirm your place.
Catch you all very soon
Dumball One x