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Explore Rajasthan in depth on this amazing holiday to India – visiting Golden Triangle and a Tiger reserve, as well as the pink city of Jaipur, Jaisalmer deep in the Thar Desert (where you can ride a camel at sunset), Jodhpur & the beautiful lake city of Udiapur with its many palaces. Also visit the Tal Mahal in Agra. English speaking guides, all transfers, jeep safaris & excursions included.
Palace of the Winds
Day 1 : Arrive
You will be met at Delhi Airport by your driver and transferred to your hotel in this ancient capital of kingdoms and empires that is now a sprawling metropolis.
Delhi's strategic location was one of the main reasons why successive dynasties chose it as their seat of power and today it is a conglomerate of seven cities. The division between the old walled city and New Delhi marks a division in lifestyles, with the old city retaining its past traditions whilst New Delhi strives to match the pace of the 21st century.
Day 2 : Old Delhi
Today enjoy a full day tour of modern New Delhi and the 17th century walled city of Old Delhi, which came to prominence when Shah Jahan moved his capital here from Agra.
In Old Delhi enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through 300-year old Chandni Chowk market, a maze of lanes crowded with noisy shops selling an extraordinary variety of items and foods, and past the Jamia Masjid (or Friday Mosque), the largest in India, and drive past the imposing walls & battlements of the Red Fort, once the most opulent palace in the Mughal Empire. We continue to the Raj Ghat - the simple but moving memorial on the site where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated.
In the afternoon our tour of New Delhi starts with a visit the Qutub Minar, an ancient victory tower built of red sandstone and marble in 1199 and still the tallest minaret in India. With its imposing cylindrical towers and surrounding ruins, it is today a World Heritage site. Our next stop is Humayuns Tomb, the beautiful mausoleum of the Mughul emperor Akbar, that inspired the Taj Mahal.
We drive along the Rajpath - the capital's broadest avenue - where you will see the imposing arch of the India Gate war memorial, Parliament House, the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential residence built for the Viceroy of India, and the government buildings on Raisina Hill.
Day 3 : Taj Mahal
This morning we drive 3.5-hours from Delhi to the ancient city of Agra, set along the banks of the Yamuna River and originally the capital of the Mughal Empire.
Agra is world renowned as the home of the Taj Mahal - that great symbol of love built by emperor Shah Jahan in the 16th century as a memorial to his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal.
On arrival we visit Agra Fort, a massive structure with walls over 70-ft high and 1.5-miles long that encompasses an astounding collection of well preserved buildings, many of them completed during the reign of Shah Jahan. After he was deposed by his son, he was imprisoned in this fort where he remained until his death - spending the rest of his life looking out along the river to the final resting place of his beloved wife.
At the end of the day we visit the stunning Taj Mahal. This magnificent white marble mausoleum took 22 years to build and, apart from its stunning design and perfect symmetry, it is noted for its elegant domes, intricately carved screens and some of the best marble inlay work ever done. Sunrise and sunset are particularly good times to visit and see the dome subtly change its colour.
Note: Taj Mahal is closed every Friday. You cannot take anything in with you except your camera, water and medicine.
Day 4 : Sightseeing
This morning ask your guide to take you across the river to view the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Also visit the much quieter Itmad-ud-Daulah - fondly known as the "Baby Taj" as this mausoleum, built to honour the grandfather of Mumtaz, was the forerunner of the Taj Mahal.
Afterwards we travel 1-hour to the magnificent red sandstone royal city of Fatehpur Sikri, built by the emperor Mohammad Akbar as the capital of the Mughal Empire. The city was abandoned due to water shortage, when the capital was moved north to Delhi, and in more recent years the fort has provided a dramatic backdrop to several famous films.
We then drive 15-minutes to Bharatpur Station to board the express train (air-conditioned chair car) travelling for 2.15-hours to Sawai Madhopur in southeast Rajasthan.
You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel situated near Ranthambore National Park. This world famous tiger sanctuary was originally the hunting grounds of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Today it is the largest wildlife reserve in northern India, covering an area of over 250 sq miles (400 sq km).
Day 5 : Ranthambore National Park
This morning enjoy a game drive in Ranthambore National Park.
Early morning is the best time to see tigers, but be aware that it is extremely difficult to find them in the jungle and sightings are never guaranteed. Best viewings are generally at the end of the dry season (March to May, although it is extremely hot from April onwards), when the tigers search out the waterholes - but you need to take at least 4 game drives for a good chance of a sighting.
Other animals you can hope to see include leopard, hyena, jackal, jungle cat, caracal, civet, desert cat, mongoose, ratel, sloth bear, langur & macaque monkeys, wild boar, palm squirrel, flying fox, porcupine, long-eared hedgehog, marsh crocodile, tortoise and soft shelled turtle. Also antelope such as sambar deer, chital, nilgai, chinkara and black buck.
In the afternoon return to the park for another game drive. In addition to the many mammals and reptiles, there are over 270 bird species - including eagles, falcons, owls, graylag geese, flamingos, parakeets, fly catchers, bee eaters, grebe, terns, woodpeckers, hornbills and kingfishers.
Note: Zones 1 to 5 of this tiger reserve are closed during the monsoon season (July to early October), but Zones 6 to 10 remain open.
Please note we always try to book jeep safaris, but these can only be reserved 90 days in advance and cannot be guaranteed - in which case your game drive will be in a 20-seater canter. In the winter months, morning safaris require warm clothes including woolly hats and gloves to protect you from the wind chill in your open vehicle.
Day 6 : Jaipur
After a final early morning jeep safari in Ranthambore National Park, return to your hotel for breakfast.
We then travel 4-hours to the chaotic and colourful "Pink City" of Jaipur - home to over 3 million people. On arrival check into your hotel in this capital city of Rajasthan.
Day 7 : Jaipur
Today enjoy a tour of the city of Jaipur.
Our first stop is to view the magnificent Hawa Mahal (the "Palace of the Winds") designed in the form of the crown of the Hindu god Krishna. This five-storey frontage looks like a bee's honeycomb with 953 small windows, each decorated with intricate latticework so that the court ladies living in secluded purdah could watch royal processions, without being seen themselves. Built of red and pink sandstone, it is particularly striking early in the morning when lit by the sunrise.
We continue to the Amber Fort This magnificent royal palace was built from pale yellow & pink sandstone and white marble and is divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard. You will enter via the main courtyard (Jaleb Chowk) where returning armies would display their war booty and women could view them from the veiled windows of the palace. Once inside explore the amazing Palace of Mirrors and Hall of Public Audience (with optional elephant ride up the ramparts).
We then visit the Jantar Mantar Observatory, the largest stone and marble crafted observatory in the world and a World Heritage site. It is the best preserved of five observatories built by Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur. It has 17 large instruments, many of them still in working condition.
Our day finishes with a visit to the nearby City Palace, the former Royal Residence part of which is now a museum. One of the major attractions here is the armoury with its impressive array of pistols, blunderbusses, flintlocks, swords, rifles and daggers used by the Maharajas of Jaipur. The Textile and Costume museum on the first floor is another fine display, with items from all over India.
In the evening enjoy the unique experience of dining with a local family, where you will taste spicy Rajasthan food and gain insight into their Hindu lifestyle, with different generations living under the same roof.
Day 8 : Bikaner
A full day on the road today as we drive for 6-hours to Bikaner, travelling through the deserts of Rajasthan - "the Land of Kings".
Along the way we stop to visit the Deshnok Temple famous for its rats, which are treated as sacred and given protection here. This 600-year old temple, with its huge intricately carved silver gates, is dedicated to Karni Mata.
Continue to Bikaner, tucked away in the desert and characterized by its beautiful sandstone architecture. In the late afternoon we visit a Camel Farm.
Day 9 : Junagarh Fort
This morning we visit the impressive Junagarh Fort, built by Raja Rai Singh in the 16th century on the desert plain, but many palaces were added 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 and fine jali (lattice work) screens with richly decorated interiors. The Badal Mahal (Palace of Clouds) inside the fort has walls covered with stories from the life of Lord Krishna, whilst the walls of the oldest palace, the Lal Niwas, are elaborately decorated in red and gold.
After our visit we travel 6-hours to the golden city of Jaisalmer and enjoy the real life scenes of the Great Thar Desert with its vast expanses of sand dunes and thorny shrubs. Here you will see Rajasthani women dressed in colorful skirts, veils and heavy silver jewellery balancing a number of pots on their heads, as they march in a group to the nearest water-head, while men in turbans lead their camels.
We check into our hotel in Jaisalmer. Named after its founder, the Rajput king Maharawal Jaisal Singh, this fortified hilltop town stands on a ridge of yellow sandstone, crowned by its fort. Many of the houses are finely sculptured and the fort contains the palace and several ornate Jain temples.
Day 10 : Jaisalmer
This morning we expore Jaisalmer, a city untouched by time and a major staging post on the trade route across the forbidding Thar Desert.
We visit commanding Jaisalmer Fort, called the "Golden Fort" because of its honey-coloured sandstone walls that rise out of the hot barren desert. The fort encloses elaborately carved 12th to 16th century Jain temples and several palaces decorated with delicate jali (lattice work) screens, flora carvings and carved doors.
The narrow streets of the fort and the city are lined with exquisite havelis (private mansions). Similar in style to the homes of Venetian merchants, these were the mansions of wealthy traders. Each haveli has an inner courtyard, surrounded by richly decorated apartments with beautifully carved facades, screens and windows. Three of the most famous are Nathmalji-ki-Haveli, with its beautiful arched roof with carved peacock brackets; Patwon-ki-Haveli with its elaborate 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. It is well worth visiting to see the large number of shrines around it and the migratory birds, which it attracts. You can also visit the markets of Jaisalmer with their handicrafts, tie and dye products and camel leather footwear.
In the late afternoon a special treat awaits - a Camel Ride into the sand dunes at sunset.
Day 11 : Jodhpur
Today we leave Jaisalmer and travel 6-hours to the historic city of Jodhpur, the second largest in Rajasthan and known as the Blue City because of its many blue-painted houses.
This old walled and gated city encircles Mehrangarh Fort, with the modern city sprawling outside its walls. On arrival we visit this 15th century impregnable fort towering above its 6-mile (10-km) wall, with soaring archways and many beautiful palaces, each decorated with exquisite engravings, lattice and mirror work. It has a museum with an unusual collection of miniature paintings, glided palanquins and a solid silver howdah presented by a Mughal emperor to the Maharaja.
We also visit Jaswant Thada - a cluster of royal cenotaphs in white marble built in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. We finish with a visit to the Clock Tower and Sardar spice market.
Day 12 : Udaipur
Today we drive 6-hours from Jodhpur through the mountains to beautiful Udaipur.
Along the way we view the vast and impregnable 15th century Mewar fortress at Kumbalgarh. Built by Rana Kumbha, this was the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, the great king and warrior of Mewar. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, these great walls extend over 24 miles (38 km) and are second only in length to the Great Wall of China. They are wide enough to take eight horsemen riding abreast and the fort offers a superb bird's eye view over the surrounding countryside.
We also stop at Ranakpur to visit its famous Jain Temple. Constructed of light coloured marble, this grand temple has very distinctive domes, shikhara, turrets and cupolas that rise majestically from the hill. Over 1,444 marble pillars support the temple, each one carved in exquisite detail and no two are the same. It is said that it is impossible to count the pillars. There is one beautiful carving made out of a single rock of marble, with 108 heads of snakes and numerous tails where you cannot find their end.
Continue to Udaipur and check into your hotel in this serene city of lakes.
Day 13 : Udaipur
Today enjoy a half tour of the highlights of Udaipur, the former capital of the kingdom of Mewar that offers history and culture, as well as some lovely scenery. It is famous for its many Rajput palaces, such as the Lake Palace that covers an entire island and is now a luxury hotel.
We visit the City Palace, the focal point of the city with several areas of interest such as the Suraj Gokhada balcony, Badi Mahal garden palace, Sheesh Mahal palace, Mor Chowk (peacock courtyard) and Zenana Mahal (queen's palace). The Crystal Gallery at Fateh Prakash palace has possibly the largest collection of crystal in the world including objects d’art, furniture, washing bowls and even a crystal bed.
Next we visit the Jagdish Temple, with its imposing sculpted figures and heavily ornamented interiors and Sahelion-ki-Bari Gardens, constructed for 48 maids who accompanied the wife of Maharaja Sangram Singh II as dowry.
Afternoon is at leisure to relax at your hotel or enjoy some shopping. Alternatively you can visit the temples at Nagda, Eklingji and Nathdwara. Nagda has an ancient Mewar palace dating back to the 6th century and its Sas-Bahu temples are exquisitely carved. Eklingji was built of sandstone and marble and its 108 temples are enclosed by high walls, with a roof comprised of hundreds of knobs. Nathdwara is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre that is famous for nurturing intricate Pichwai paintings that portray Lord Krishna.
In the evening enjoy a boat ride on Lake Pichola (subject to water levels).
Day 14 : Mumbai
Transfer to Udaipur Airport for your flight to Mumbai, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel situated near the airport.
Formerly known as Bombay, this is the most populous city in India and its commercial capital, as well as the home of the Bollywood film industry.
Day 15 : Departure
Transfer to Mumbai Airport for your flight home.
|No of pax||Age Limit||Price per pax (Rs)|
|Adult||Above 12 years||$ 2900 / Adult|
* Mentioned prices may vary depending upon date of travel, hotel availability, surge pricing and seasonal rush.
Payment Terms & Methods :
* Some Advance Percentage of total booking amount
* Airfare/Transport fare to be paid full at one time in advance.
Cancellation & Refund Policy :
* Upon cancellation, refund will be made after deducting the Retention Amount.
* Retention Amount varies as per the number of days left before your package start date.
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