Arrive Delhi Airport. You will be met at the airport by our representative who give you a warm welcome with fresh flower garlands and transfer to your hotel by Air-conditioned car. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Morning after leisurely breakfast we leave for a sightseeing tour of New Delhi. We visit the 11th century Qutab Minar Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built by Qutub-ud-din Aibek of the Slave Dynasty, who took possession of Delhi in 1206. It is a red sandstone tower, standing tall at a height of 72.5 metres and is covered with intricate carvings and verses from the holy Qur’an. The India Gate, a memorial raised in honour of the Indian soldiers martyred during the Afghan war and drive past the grand government buildings the President’s House and Parliament House all dating back to the time of British Raj.
Afternoon we drive leisurely to the home town of Taj Mahal – Agra, takes us through the beautiful countryside. Overnight stay at the hotel.
After enjoying a hearty breakfast at the hotel we leave to explore the monumental heritage of the Great Mughals, including the magnificent Taj Mahal (Closed on Fridays),a UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and surely the most extravagant expression of love ever created. 20,000 men laboured for over 17 years to build this memorial to Shah Jahan’s beloved wife. It’s a wealth of white marble and semi-precious stone – « undoubtedly the highlight of the tour ».
We also visit the imposing Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site this powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses, within its 2.5-km-long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the
Mughal rulers. It comprises many fairy-tale palaces, such as the Jahangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, built by Shah Jahan; audience halls, such as the Diwan-i-Khas; and two very beautiful mosques.Post lunch a leisurely drive takes us to the royal city of Jaipur, also known as ‘The Pink City’ due to the predominant colour of its buildings. Throbbing, vibrant capital city of the colourful state of Rajasthan where the regal ambience of yesteryear is still felt throughout the city’s numerous carved arches and once-bejewelled fortress walls.
Enroute we tour Fatehpur Sikri – a UNESCO World Heritage Site which has been described as “the world’s most perfectly preserved ghost town”. Built by Akbar in the late 16th century, it was abandoned after only 14 years, and the elegant buildings of this superb walled city remain intact to this day. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Morning breakfast followed by a sight-seeing tour of the city visiting the dramatic hilltop fortress at Amber – ascend the imposing fort on a decorated painted elephant. We wander among glittering inlays and the Hall of Mirrors. On the way back we stop to view the elegant Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds this elaborate building, now little more than a façade, is encrusted with delicate screens and carved balconies from which the royal ladies, confined to their quarters, could sneak views of the outside world.
Post lunch we tour the Maharajah’s City Palace, now partly a museum display a unique fusion of Mughal and Hindu architecture, and house a rare collection of paintings, Rajput armoury and costumesiH. Albert Hall, Situated in the middle of the garden as a centre attraction was the exquisitely built structure of Albert Hall, which was designed by sir Swinton Jacob, a British architect who designed many palaces in Rajasthan. Combining the elements of English and north Indian architecture known as the pride of the New Jaipur opened in 1887 AD, it is a very well maintained and impressive building displaying a rich collection of Art- de- fact like paintings, carpet, ivory, stone and metal sculptures and colourful crystal works etc. Later we explore the city on our own and indulge in shopping for gemstones, silver jewellery, Paintings, blue pottery and hand printed textiles that Jaipur is renowned for. Overnight stay at the hotel.
After breakfast at the hotel we will be driven to the relatively remote city of Bikaner, tucked away in the desert region of western Rajasthan. The city is dotted with scores of sand dunes. Bikaner retains the medieval grandeur that permeates the city’s lifestyle.
Enroute visiting Mandawa – The towns of Shekhawati are eminent for their amazing painted havelis. Such is the appeal of the havelis that this region is dubbed as “open art gallery of Rajasthan”. The havelis are noted for their frescos depicting mythological themes and that of huge animals. Some later day frescos shows the arrival of the British and highlighting steam locomotives and train doubtlessly for the benefit of those members of the household who did not travel to distance places by train or see this newly introduced mode of transport. On arrive at Bikaner we check in to our Hotel. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel, followed by visit to the unusual Junagarh Fort – an unassailable fortress, which has never been conquered. Sumptuously decorated with its ornately lacquered walls in red & gold and panels of dazzling coloured glass inlay set over the coronation throne. We also visit the asia’s largest Camel Breeding Farm, here we get the opportunity to see hundreds of camels, wherein we can also see the gamboling baby camel which is a very interesting sight and an experience in itself.
Later we will journey through the vast Thar Desert to the ancient caravan city of Jaisalmer – one of the last princely bastions in the region, founded on the crossroads of lucrative trade routes. Its like straight out of an Arabian Nights fable. The name Jaisalmer induces a dramatic picture of utter magic and brilliance of the desert. The hostile terrain not with standing the warmth and colour of people is simply over whelming. Enroute we stop to visit Gajner Palace, converted into a heritage hotel just 32 kms from Bikaner. Gajner is an incomparable Jewel in the Thar, Built by the great Maharaja Ganga Singhji of Bikaner on the embankment of a lake with a generous dose of flora and fauna. Around the palace is a thick forestation that attracts the guests to take up a simple walk around admiring the migratory birds in winters like imperial sand goose,antelopes, black bucks and the animal species that wander around in the form of Nilgais, chinkaras, deers etc. The hotel is spread in a large area, and the ambiance around is as raw and authentic as it was before. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Morning we set out to explore the honey-coloured fort that emerges from the flat dry desert sands and enjoy a walk through the maze of narrow streets in the city with ornately decorated ‘havelis’ in yellow sandstone, built by rich merchants at a time when the city was a key stopping place on the caravan routes from the Middle East. Jaisalmer has been described as an ‘open air museum’, and to enter its narrow cobbled lanes is to step back into another era. We also visit the impressive ‘Havelis’ which were once build by the wealthy Jain merchants, decorated with rich-carvings, stone inlays, ornamental lattice, tracery works and some of them are still in excellent condition.
Evening just before sunset we arrive at Sam Sand Dunes to see the total sandy bush less desert. It has a truly glorious stretch of sweeping sand dunes. We enjoy Camel Ride by the sand dunes and will be able to take our favourite picture with a lone camel on a desert track and the setting sun in the backdrop. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Today our drive takes us to Jodhpur through the most interesting contours of the desert landscape, the enchanting forts, temples, other royal residences and settlements retain its medieval character and comprise the town’s multifaceted attractions. Enroute we stop to visit Osian, An ancient town in the Thar Desert known for its temples. There are 15 brahminical temples and shrines, and a cluster of Jain temples, all built during the Gurjara Pratihara dynasty between the 8th and the 12th centuries.
On arrival at Jodhpur in the evening we proceed to hotel. Overnight stay at the hotel.
After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel we visit the majestic Mehrangarh Fort, Perched on a 150 m high hill its sprawl is the most formidable and magnificent fort in Rajasthan which dominates and offers spectacular vistas of the blue-hued city.
On the way down from the fort, on left is Jaswant Thada, the graceful marble cenotaph of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. The main memorial has been built like a temple with intricately carved marble stone that is sculpted by the genius artesian. A visit to this structure is through the rocky hills giving it a secluded and a mystic aura.
Post lunch we drive to Udaipur – There is no place in Rajasthan, which appeals more to the imagination of poets and painter, travellers and writers than Udaipur, an oasis in the desert state of Rajasthan. Enroute we will visit the Jain temples at Ranakpur, superbly preserved in a near-perfect condition for over 500 years. The most attractive features are the 29 halls of the temple, which have 1444 pillars of which no two are like. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Let the glorious sunrise dazzle you at breakfast. Wander through the opulent City Palace grounds and the museum, which are the testamentto the valour and chivalry of the Mewar rulers. Visit Saheliyon ki Bari (the gardens the maids-of-honour), the Jagdish temple on the shores of Lake Pichola. The Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandir is a treasure house of Rajasthani folk culture.
Early evening we enjoy the Boat cruise in Lake Pichola. The breathtaking beauty of the Lakes – Pichola and Fateh Sagar truly make Udaipur an oasis in the desert. Later we board our overnight train to Delhi. Overnight in the train.
Early morning at 0615hrs we arrive Delhi train station, met on arrival and transfer to the hotel. After lunch we leave to visit the Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi is a simple black marble platform that marks the spot of his cremation on 31 January, 1948. Two museums dedicated to Gandhi are located near by. The grandSwaminarayan Akshardham Temple (Monday closed), epitomises 10,000 years of Indian culture in all its breathtaking grandeur, beauty, wisdom and bliss. It brilliantly showcases the essence of India’s ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spiritual messages. The Akshardham experience is an enlightening journey through India’s glorious art, values and contributions for the progress, happiness and harmony of mankind.
Back to hotel for wash and change and later transfer to the international airport to Board your homeward flight or connect to your onward destination.
Mr. Sumit Srivastava
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