The Colours of Romance and Heroism in the Palaces and Paintings of Rajasthan

23 October - 5 November, 2023


Trip Dates:
23 October - 5 November, 2023

Trip Length:
15 days

Trip Price: £4180

On this unique itinerary, especially prepared and accompanied by Dr Hettie Elgood, enjoy unparalleled access to some of the region’s great private art collections.

These collections have been carefully chosen from the libraries, palaces and forts of Rajput rulers well known to Dr Elgood.   Many of these collections are published but it is rare to view them first-hand.  Each Maharana, Maharaja, Rawat of the regions visited derive from a proud dynastic lineage and their private collections display a distinct formula and character.   Some of the paintings illustrated religious texts such as the Bhagavad Gita or the Ramayana; others love poetry such as the Rasikapriya, the Rasamanjari, or musical Ragamalas whilst others are single page portraits inspired by the Mughal court.  Each regional school, despite a variety of artists, reveals a faithfulness to a unique style.  This makes it possible to recognise the formation of and characteristics of the atelier and even in some cases the inscribed hand of the individual artist.Through Dr Elgood’s informal and formal instruction, go behind the clichéd view of a land of fun-loving aristocrats and learn more of the richness of courtly culture - the spectacular architecture of the forts and palaces as well as the beautiful and varied artistic traditions.

The party will be staying in some wonderful ‘palace’ hotels.  Rajasthan is not just about courtly life. The role of merchant communities, especially the Jains, was central to its culture and economy through their temple building, sponsorship of religious ritual, fairs and pilgrimages and their exquisite havelis. 

This journey is open the Alumni of SOAS Specialist Art Courses. Please note that Distant Horizons has sole responsibility for the operation of this tour. The participating University has no direct control over the operation of any tours.

Trip Leader:

Dr Heather Elgood is Course Director of SOAS’ Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art. Her main interests are Persian and Indian manuscript painting, Hindu early sculpture and ritual arts. She was awarded an MBE for 'Services to Higher Education and the Arts’ in the 2015 New Year’s Honours list.

The Colours of Romance and Heroism in the Palaces and Paintings of Rajasthan. Trip Comments:

‘We would travel again with exactly the same combination of scholar, guide and operator –almost wherever they went! The balance of excursions and ad hoc decisions based on actual party travelling was perfect’.

‘The trip was excellent and great fun. Many things were included which we would not have experienced on a more normal holiday.’

‘I enjoyed the whole trip immensely. Everything worked according to plan and often we had something extra thrown in’.

‘Firstly, I think it was an absolutely brilliant trip. The organisation of everything was fantastic. All the connections happened with the minimum of fuss, nothing went wrong and the hotels were fantastic.’

‘Would do it all again – memorable and very special.’