WRITTEN BY
Tyler Roney

PUBLISHED ON
November 14, 2017

LOCATION
India

India’s size and geographical diversity can make it difficult for travelers to get around, often spending hours in a car to get to camps in the wilderness. But, new flights from places like Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mysore are making the exotic more accessible.

From new gateways to Rajasthan to hopping from Mysore to Hampi, these three new flights will make traversing India much faster and much more convenient.

SpiceJet to Jaisalmer

ABOVE: The Chhatris at Bada Bagh in Jaisalmer.

October saw the start of flights carrying passengers from Delhi to Jaisalmer. The sand dunes of Jaisalmer are famed around the world and are now just an hour away from Delhi.

Interestingly, the airport currently used by the new SpiceJet flight was itself of interest before it was brushed off; part of a spate of new airports opened by the government in 2013, the disused airport – often called a “ghost airport” – made headlines for its eerie, empty halls. The 78-seater began embarking on daily flights from Delhi to Jaisalmer on October 29.

ABOVE: The Serai from Sujan, a luxury tented camp.

Now resurrected, the new flight opens up an easy way for travelers to find their way to places like Sujan The Serai, a luxury tented camp just outside Jaisalmer. The 100-acre private estate of indigenous desert scrub draws inspiration from the royal caravan sites of Rajputana, and inside its sandstone carved walls is some of the finest luxury – from the fine dining to the Thar Sundowner experience – to be found in the whole of western India.

ABOVE: Two sadhu holy men seeking alms on the street in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.

The airline said in a statement that SpiceJet had also introduced direct flights between the Pink City of Jaipur, making it the only Indian carrier to connect the two-key tourist sites, also stating that they would recommence flights between Delhi and Jodhpur.

No-frills from Mysore to Bellari

ABOVE: Elephant procession for Dasara in Mysore.

Lesser-known tourist base Mysore is now connected to historic Hampi via the Bellari airport in Karnataka with Truejet.

A stepping stone to the Berambadi State Forest and the Kaveri River, Mysore is becoming a tourist destination in its own right. The best time to go is during Dasara, when the Amba Vilas Palace, or Mysore Palace, is at the center of the colorful festivities. Even the zoo is historic in Mysore, dating back to 1892.

ABOVE: View over Hampi, one of the most important UNESCO sites in India. Hampi can now be reached from Mysore or Hyderabad.

However, the most important recent flight to Bellari is one out of Hyderabad. After almost a decade without convenient air travel, Hampi is set for an influx of travelers thanks to a new route that opened in September. Including a stay at the unique quarters of the Hampi Boulders, Hampi is fast becoming one of the most important cultural destinations in India.

Delhi to the Dunes of Bikaner

ABOVE: A Rajasthani man with his decorated camel at the Bikaner camel festival.

Air India will be trafficking passengers from Delhi to Bikaner, the colorful northwest Rajasthani desert city. The much-awaited daily flight between India’s capital Delhi and Bikaner took off on September 26. There travelers will be able to find experiences they won’t be able to find elsewhere.

ABOVE: Junagarh Fort in Bikaner in Rajasthan.

Founded in the 15th century, Bikaner is famous for its surrounding dunes, sweltering desert weather, and vivid Rajasthan culture. The short flight replacing the overnight train journey will get travelers to the Junagarh Fort, Laxmi Niwas Palace, and the Bhandasar Jain Temple. Travelers can also hop on the back of a camel and get trekking over the regions famous dunes.

ABOVE: One of the 25,000 rodent residents of Karni Mata.

Most interestingly, however, aren’t the many giant centuries-old temples and forts but a rather smaller temple: the Karni Mata Temple. In what is truly a unique – though not necessarily recommended – experience, travelers will find this temple housing around 25,000 black rats. Yes, rats. Named for the female warrior sage Karni Mata whose children were reincarnated as rats, it’s said that the temple rats come from a punished deserting army. Food is offered to the rodents – which have been known to regularly crawl on their benefactors.