Welcome to Delhi, India! a monumental city with a vibrant mix of old and new teeming bazaars, stately British boulevards, powerful Mughal palaces and forts, and intricate, ethereal towers, temples and tombs. On arrival at Delhi International Airport you will be met and assisted by our company executive and transferred to your hotel.
Overnight in Delhi
Post breakfast, tour of Old and New Delhi visiting Raj Ghat, Mahatma Gandhi’s serene and evocative cremation site, India Gate (the War Memorial) and the Presidents House (from the outside), the Baha’i Lotus Temple (closed on Mondays) - this distinctive lotus shaped marvel in marble is a symbol of peace, the Qutub Minar a stunning 240-foot minaret, the tallest in the world surrounded by an elaborate complex built in the Indo-Islamic architectural tradition.
Drive to Agra. On arrival check-in.
Agra is one of India’s prime tourist destinations for specifically this reason, though its attractions also extend to an array of other impressive historical sights. The Taj, however, is in a league of its own and is a must-see for any visitor to the city. Commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the 15th century as a memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, it is an architectural masterpiece of exquisite craftsmanship and perfect proportions. Enjoy your evening at your own leisure (no services offered). You may visit the city’s hidden alleyways and lively spice markets, hop on a cycle rickshaw and admire colorful Hindu temples and traditional mosques. Or visit a local restaurant to enjoy amazing Indian food.
Overnight in Agra
This morning visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise (closed on Fridays). Often considered the pinnacle of Mughal art in India, the Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. When declaring it a world heritage site, UNESCO described it as “the jewel of Muslim art in India”. There are few words that can describe the magnificence of this monument. Marvel as light and colors transform this stunning monument in the beautiful dawn glow.
Return back to the hotel. Later take a marble craftsmanship demonstration.
Overnight in Agra
Half day tour of Agra: Starting with the visit of Itmad-Ud-Daulah monument, known as the "Baby Taj", the first Mughal structure totally built from marble. We will also visit the Sikandra, the sandstone and marble tomb of Akbar which blends Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Christian motifs and styles.
Later we will discover the Agra Fort, another UNESO heritage site built and added to between the 16th and 17th centuries by successive rulers of the Mughal Dynasty. The fort was built primarily as a military structure, but Shah Jahan upgraded it to a palace and later it became his gilded prison for 8 years after his son Aurangzeb seized power. The elegant building inside reflects an interesting synthesis of Hindu and Central Asian architectural styles.
Drive to Jaipur en-route visiting Fatehpur Sikri an eerily abandoned capital from the Mughal Empire between 1570 and 1586. Akbar built this city to celebrate the birth of his son and future heir to the throne, Emperor Jahangir. While Akbar is believed to have been illiterate, he took great interest in the arts and architecture; Fatehpur Sikri is one of his masterworks.
Sadly, it served as capital for little more than a decade, eventually abandoned for lack of accessible water.
On arrival check in to the hotel. Jaipur, Rajasthan’s capital is also known as the Pink City. The origin of this nickname becomes immediately apparent as you enter the old city walls and greet the pink-colored buildings that rise at every turn
Rest of time at leisure.
Overnight in Jaipur
Authentic Rajasthani dinner with Local family: After a traditional welcome by your host, learn about their culture, cuisine, rituals and festivals. Listen to the stories of the Pink City from your charming hosts, admire the traditional décor of Hindu gods and Savor the great flavors of Rajasthani cuisine. Sit down with the family to feast on naans, lentils, curry, and dal- bati etc, as well as many other dishes typical of Rajasthan, including a dessert or sweet dish.
Start with an exhilarating excursion to Amber Fort perched on top of a hill. A royal ride on elephant (subject to availability) up the hill like the Maharajas of past times and visit the Jagmandir (the hall of victory). Perched on a hillside on the outskirts of town, the palace was constructed in the 1590s by Maharaja Man Singh, the commander of Akbar’s army, and was largely motivated by the highly defensible location. This is a beautiful and very well preserved structure, built on four levels and surrounded by ruins, which served as the backdrop for the Mira Nair movie “Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love.” Enjoy your afternoon at leisure.
Overnight in Jaipur
Half Day Jaipur city tour:
Start exploring the city by a stop at the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds). This magnificent structure was built to allow the royal ladies of the palace to discretely watch the grand processions along the main street.
The City Palace was built between 1729 and 1732 by the ruler of Amber Sawai Jai Singh II. City palace has a large part of total area of Jaipur which is surrounded by battle door. The palace complex was built like there is another city in a city. A complex of courtyards, gardens, buildings, temples, fountains, pounds, courts, horse stable, workshops and playgrounds.
Continue to the impressive Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory built in the early 1700s by Maharaja Jai Sing II, the astronomer to which this city owes its name. The term "Jantar Mantar" literally means "instruments for measuring the harmony of the heavens". It houses various architectural and astrological instruments that have caught the interests of astronomers, historians and architects around the world. It is considered to be one of the largest observatories ever built.
While you are in the city, you can also visit the nearby popular street markets of Jaipur like Renowned Johori bazaar with hundreds of jewelry vendors, plus handcrafted clothing, furniture, art & more.
Drive to Pushkar a sacred city for Hindus. Surrounded by hills on three sides and sand dunes on the fourth, Pushkar forms a fascinating location and a befitting backdrop for the annual religious and cattle fair (held in November). A quiet, secluded desert town for 51 weeks a year, for just a few days it becomes an incredible and authentic extravaganza during the annual Pushkar Fair. Drawing people from all around the globe, it is also quite possibly the largest camel and cattle-trading fair in the world
Afternoon, arrive in Pushkar; check in to the hotel. Enjoy a walking tour of the holy city of the God, Brahma; visit the holy Pushkar Lake and the famous 8th century Brahma Temple dedicated to Lord Brahma the creator of the universe and the only Bull temple in the world. Experience a special Pooja ceremony at a Ghat with a Hindu priest on the banks of Pushkar Lake.
Overnight in Pushkar (Special Deluxe Tents during the Pushkar Camel Fair).
After breakfast drive to Udaipur. Udaipur is the majestic city of lakes and palaces. Founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1559 and fondly referred to as Rajasthan’s most romantic city, its rich history is matched by its picturesque setting among the Aravalli Mountains and three manmade lakes. On arrival in Udaipur; check in to the hotel.
Overnight in Pushkar
Sunset cruise on Lake Pichola: Sailing past picturesque Ghats and palaces, stopping at the island of Jag Mandir, a 17th century water palace that witnessed two important historical events. It was the refuge for Prince Khurram, later known as Shah Jahan, when he was exiled by his father and later during the uprising of 1857, the island offered safety to several British families who fled from nearby Née much.
Begin our day at the City Palace, overlooking the blue waters of Lake Pichola. Maharana Udai Singh initiated construction in 1559 A.D. and it was subsequently expanded, with impressive uniformity, by several succeeding Maharanas. The palace consists of a number of beautiful courtyards and gardens. The main hall has been converted into a museum, housing opulent artifacts and original works of art. Inside the complex we will find the exquisite crystal gallery, exhibiting 19th century pieces including crystal chandeliers, tables, sofas and beds.
We will continue walking towards the Jagdish Temple to study its many remarkable friezes. Lavishly built in 1651 by Maharana Jagat Singh, it is easy to understand why Jagdish is the most venerated Hindu temple in Udaipur. Afterwards we will explore the Old City, wandering through its bustling streets lined with art shops, spice vendors, tailors and more.
Overnight in Udaipur
Drive to Jodhpur, en-route visit Ranakpur Temple built in the 15th century and located in a valley on the western side of the Aravali Range. Ranakpur is considered one of the five holiest sites of the Jain community and is exceptionally beautiful. Over 1444 marble pillars, each differently carved in exquisite detail; support the temple although legend has it that it is really impossible to count the pillars. Not to be missed in the temple is one carving out of a single stone with 108 heads of snakes and numerous tails.
Continue drive to Jodhpur, arrive and check-in.
Overnight in Jodhpur
Morning visit the city of Jodhpur. Mehrangarh Fort rises four hundred feet above the skyline of Jodhpur from its rock precipice on Bhaurcheeria hill. The foundation of Mehrangarh Fort was laid on May 12, 1459 by Rao Jodha, the fifteenth Rathore ruler who wanted to shift the capital from nearby Mandore to Jodhpur. In all its history, Mehrangarh Fort has never been taken in a siege. Mammoth and imposing from the outside, the interiors of the fort are light and detailed in contrast. Several palaces can be found inside the complex, boasting intricate carvings and sprawling courtyards.
Later visit Jaswant Thada, popularly known as the ‘Taj Mahal of Marwar’. This architectural landmark was built in 1899 by Maharaja Sardar Singh of Jodhpur State, in memory of his father, Maharaja Jaswant Singh I. Built from intricately carved marble sheets and boasting some beautiful carved marble lattice work, the impeccable design and architecture is symbolic of the fine craftsmanship of a bygone era. Beautiful sculptures, carved gazebos and frescos characterise the cenotaph, with the tiered garden offering superb views across to the fort and over the city.
Later drive to Jaisalmer founded by Prince Jaisal in 1156. Jaisalmer was a major staging post on the trade route across the forbidding Thar Desert. The first glimpse of the honey colored walls of the fort, rising out of the hot and barren desert is magical. Untouched by time, Jaisalmer, with its golden crenulated walls, narrow streets lined with exquisite havelis, has a medieval ambience.
Overnight in Jaisalmer.
Post breakfast proceed for the city tour of Jaisalmer.
Jaisalmer Fort, often referred to as the Golden Fort because of the color of the stone, encloses palaces decorated with delicate jali or lattice worked screens, carved doors and floral carvings and elaborately carved 12th to 16th century Jain temples. The havelis in both the fort and the town are exceptional, similar in style to the homes of Venetian merchants; the havelis were the mansions of wealthy traders. The houses are decorated with beautifully carved facades, screens and windows. Each haveli has an inner courtyard surrounded by richly decorated apartments. Walk through the narrow streets of the fort to see the Nathmalji-ki-Haveli with its beautiful arched roof with carved brackets in the form of peacocks; Patwon-ki-Haveli the most elaborate and magnificent haveli and best known for its latticed façade and Salim Singh ki Haveli. Outside the walls of the fortified town is the small oasis of Gadi Sagar, which led Prince Jaisal to found his city.
Overnight in Jaisalmer
Enjoy a unique camel ride: See the sunset at Sam Dunes known for its enormous stretch of sweeping dunes with little or no vegetation that make it a surrealistic landscape with ever changing patterns carved by winds on the sand. Enjoy a camel ride out on the dunes at sunset before returning to “base camp” for beer/soft drinks and snacks while being entertained by folk singers and dance performances.
After breakfast drive to Bikaner. Upon arrival check in to the hotel and enjoy your day at leisure. Bikaner exhibits a rich history of Rajput’s; there are so many Havelis, palaces temples, and museums that offer a pleasing picture of a bygone era. In Bikaner, one can go back in history and can experience the rich culture and hospitality that melts hearts.
Arrive and check in to the hotel. Rest of the day at Leisure
Overnight in Bikaner
Post breakfast , visit the Junagarh Fort, begun by Raja Rai Singh in the 16th century, but was added on over the next three centuries. The outer wall, built of light red sandstone is surrounded by a moat, and within are beautifully designed palaces with balconies, kiosks, fine jali or latticework screens with richly decorated interiors. The Badal Mahal in the fort has walls covered with stories from Krishna’s life, whilst the walls of the oldest palace, the Lal Niwas, are elaborately decorated in red and gold.
Later drive to Mandawa. Arrive at Mandawa; check in to the hotel. Enjoy a walking tour of Mandawa dominated by a painted arched gateway adorned with Lord Krishna and his cows. Visit Chokhani and Ladia Havelis and the street with Saraf Havelis
Overnight in Mandawa
DAY 14 : END OF ITINERARY
After breakfast at the hotel travel back to Delhi and transfer to Indira Gandhi international airport to check in for onward flight.