Heartland of Rajasthan & Taj Mahal
Day 1: Arrive in New Delhi
Tonight, arrive New Delhi, the capital city of India. Upon your arrival, you will be met by our representative at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. After a warm welcome, transfer to your hotel for 2 nights stay.
Day 2: Day in Delhi (B)
Today, enjoy the day discovering Delhi, pacing through the city which is as historic as modern, like 2 sides of the same coin!
Enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of Old Delhi, which includes a visit to Jama Masjid, the largest Mosque in India; a rickshaw ride through narrow alleys and lanes in Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest and largest trading markets of the country; and drive past Red Fort, the place that marked the announcement of India’s freedom from the British Raj.
Later in the afternoon, discover the modern city of New Delhi, visiting the Qutab Minar, a fine example of Indo-Islamic architecture and the world’s tallest brick minaret and Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, the largest Sikh temple of Delhi, with a gold dome, still in active worship. Drive past President’s House, Parliament House and other Government Secretariat Buildings, the most imposing features of Lutyens Delhi and take a photo stop at the iconic war memorial arch, the India Gate.
Option for Heritage Walk in Old Delhi: This morning you have the option to take a Heritage Walk in Old Delhi, an exciting experience for those interested in history, heritage, culture and local life in India. The guided walk takes you down the narrow alleys of Chandni Chowk, the moonlit street, to Jama Masjid, the largest mosque of India ; the jewelry market, Dariba Kalan, selling precious stones, gems, gold and silver jewelry ; and Kinari Bazaar a wholesale market with large reserves of colorful Indian attire and other accessories. During the walk you also see ruins of beautiful Havelis (houses of noblemen of the bygone era), sculptured gates, fascinating artwork, and resident artisans and workers engaged in their daily chores. Be prepared for a culture shock as you will be walking through some of the oldest parts of Delhi today! (at extra charge)
Option for Home Hosted Dinner: This evening you have the option to learn more about local lifestyle and culture of India with dinner at an Indian home. Spend time talking to your hosts and learn about their way of life. You may also opt for a unique opportunity to step inside an Indian kitchen and learn the age old art of Indian culinary delights. Your hosts will be happy to share their secret recipes and give you some handy tips about Indian cooking. (at extra charge).
Day 3: DRIVE Delhi – Agra (B)
After breakfast, embark on a leisurely drive to Agra, city of the world famous Taj Mahal.
This afternoon visit the splendid Agra Fort, built in red sandstone, encapsulating magnificent palaces, halls of public and private audience and beautiful gardens.
Then, witness the surreal views of the Taj Mahal. Step inside this eternal symbol of love and appreciate the intricate designs and symmetries that rhyme as a poem written in marble. Taj Mahal is an extravagant display of love, built by Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. You may choose to stay back to see the glistening white marble beauty at sunset.
Option to watch a classic theater performance: This evening, you have the option to watch a live theater performance, introducing you to the story of the Taj Mahal. Watch the spectacular performance – “Mohabbat the Taj – The saga of love”, staging the largest replica of the Taj Mahal, and presenting the legend of love that created this magnificent mausoleum. (at extra charge and subject to operation of show)
Day 4: DRIVE Agra – Jaipur (B)
After breakfast, embark on a leisurely drive to Jaipur – land of the Rajputs. Jaipur is an exuberance of color, dance and traditional arts and crafts. Known, as the ‘Pink City’, Jaipur is home to ancient forts and palaces and is one of India’s most well planned cities.
En route to Jaipur, visit Fatehpur Sikri, the capital city of the Mughal Empire in the XVI Century. Continue drive to Jaipur and upon arrival check in at your hotel for 2 nights stay.
This evening explore the many facets of Jaipuri crafts such as semi precious jewels, pottery, colorful embroidered fabrics with mirror work, woven carpets, etc. – watch artisans at work and enjoy souvenir shopping in this colorful city of Jaipur.
Option for guided heritage walk through old city of Jaipur: This afternoon, you have the option to take a guided heritage walk through the temples and Havelis’ of the old city of Jaipur. This exciting two hours walking tour is a unique way to explore the living traditions, hidden riches and vibrant culture of Jaipur. Experience the warm Indian hospitality at a beautifully restored Haveli (erstwhile mansion), where you get an opportunity to interact with the resident family over high tea. The walk offers an opportunity to meet and interact with artisans, shop owners, temple priests and local people of Jaipur, making the tour engaging and insightful (at extra charge)
Option to play Golf at Rambagh Golf course: Enjoy an opportunity to play golf at Rambagh Golf course, one of the oldest and most prestigious of Golf Clubs in India. Affiliated to the Indian Golf Union, this Golf Club is an 18 Hole challenging championship course with Par 70 Yardage-6303 (SSS 70). The Course is picturesquely located with views of the Rambagh Palace, Moti Doongri Fort, Nahargarh Fort and the Birla Planetarium. (at extra charge)
Day 5: Day in Jaipur (B)
Rise early this morning to visit Jaipur’s famous Amber Fort. In route, take a guided walk through the flower market of Jaipur seeing the beautiful yellow and orange marigolds and other seasonal flowers being traded. In close vicinity is also the wholesale vegetable market where farmers bring fresh produce to begin the day’s trading. Walking through the markets brings you to a junction where you will find the interesting and unusual milk traders of Jaipur, who bring their cattle’s fresh milk to be tested for quality, priced and traded on the spot. Be amazed at the primitive technique of testing quality of milk by dipping hands into large metal milk containers and evaluating the creaminess of milk supplied!
After a brief walk through the local trading markets, drive onward to visit Amber fort, built in the XVI Century. The fort is a mesmerizing blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture. The Amber Fort was used by the Rajputs for the dual purpose of defense and private residence. The fort encompasses charming gardens and magnificent palaces made from marble and precious stones, richly decorated with intricate stonemason works and paintings, which represented royal splendor and luxury of the Rajput Era. To ascend up the fort, you may choose to walk, drive or take an elephant ride.
This afternoon take a photo stop at the Hawa Mahal, Palace of the Winds, with its unique layer-cake honeycomb windows designed to enable erstwhile women of the royal court to observe passing life without being seen; Jantar Mantar, the largest astronomical observatory built in stone, and the City Palace complex with its impressive gardens and museums.
Option for Hot Air Balloon Flight: Enjoy a sunrise or sunset hot air balloon flight, floating over forts, palaces and villages, over the pink city of Jaipur, offering splendid views of the city and its surrounds. The balloons usually land in village areas, attracting hoards of villagers. Guests find this experience and connection with the local community fascinating and unique. Drive through rural villages back to base. (at extra charge and subject to operation)
Option for Elephant Safari with Breakfast or High Tea: Early morning or evening, embark on a short drive to a wilderness camp at the outskirts of Jaipur, for a fascinating elephant safari, followed by breakfast or high tea served at the garden camp. (at extra charge)
Day 6: DRIVE Jaipur – Jodhpur (B)
This morning, drive to Jodhpur, a city ringed by high stone walls with seven gates and several bastions. This second largest city of Rajasthan was founded by Rao Jodha in 1459 A.D. Owing to its unique pale blue architecture, Jodhpur is often referred as the ‘blue hued city’ of Rajasthan.
Upon arrival, check into your hotel and freshen up.
Option to take a guided walk through the old town of Jodhpur: This evening you may opt for a guided walk meandering through the colorful old town of Jodhpur. Walk through the busy market area housing spices & grocery, meet craftsmen engaged in making tie & dye textiles, jewelry, leather items and lacquer bangles, sample some local delicacies, and mingle with colorfully dressed residents with their welcoming smiles and warm hospitality. (at extra charge)
Day 7: Day in Jodhpur (B)
Today, visit the rock-solid, and the grand palaces within the fort – Moti Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Phool Mahal, Sileh Khana and Daulat Khana, which are impressive examples of architectural excellence. Near the fort complex stands the Jaswant Thada, and a group of royal cenotaphs made of white marble. While in Jodhpur shop for the exquisite handcrafted articles such as embroidered shoes, metal curios, silverware, paintings and tie and dye fabrics.
Option for 4×4 Off-road Jeep Safari to local Villages: Later this afternoon, you have the option to experience an off-road 4×4 jeep safari to the nearby villages, to get a feel for the local lifestyle of Rajasthani villagers. Observe the local lifestyle and interact with villagers, shepherds, farmers and weavers of the region, alongside enjoying an off-road 4×4 experience through the dunes of Rajasthan. (at extra charge)
Day 8: DRIVE Jodhpur – Udaipur (B)
This morning, drive to Udaipur, a serene city set in the scenic valley of Aravalli Range, surrounded by three lakes – Lake Pichola, FatehSagar and UdaiSagar.
En route visit the famous Jain Temples at Ranakpur. Built in the XV Century, Ranakpur temples are one of the largest Jain temples in India. The temples are known for their architecture, grand structures and exquisite sculptures.
Continue drive to Udaipur. Upon arrival at Udaipur, check in at your hotel for a 2 nights stay.
Option for Horse Safari or Nature Trek with Lunch at Mountbatten Lodge: Enroute to Udaipur, you have the option to stop at a small village for a short horse safari or nature trek through the countryside down to Mountbatten Lodge at Ranakpur. The safari trek would take close to 45-60 minutes and you will have an opportunity to stop at the tribal Village Kambha to visit the local school and a potters house. Conclude the safari with lunch at Mountbatten Lodge. (at extra charge)
Day 9: Day in Udaipur (B)
After breakfast, visit the XVI Century City Palace, one of the largest palace complexes in Rajasthan comprising residence of the current Maharaja, heritage hotels, museums and galleries, courtyards and reception halls where royal events take place even today; Jagdish Temple, the XVII Century Indo Aryan Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Laxmi Narayan), the preserver of the Universe; Saheliyon-Ki-Bari, garden of the maids of honor, with beautiful green lawns, flower beds, water pools, marble elephants and bird fountains.
Enjoy an afternoon at your leisure!
Option for excursion to Eklingji Temple: This afternoon, you have the option to visit the most famous temples of Rajasthan. Located in the town of Eklingji (Kailashpuri), the place got its popular name from the temple. Eklingji Temple is positioned at a distance of 22 km north of Udaipur. (at extra charge)
Option for boat cruise at Lake Pichola, Udaipur: Enjoy an evening boat cruise at the serene Lake Pichola (at extra charge and subject to water level)
Option for Culinary tour in Udaipur: This afternoon enjoy a culinary experience with a noble family of the state. The experience includes a visit to the vegetable and spice market to familiarize with local vegetables and spices. This is followed by a 2 hour cooking demonstration showing preparation of traditional Rajasthani, north Indian cuisine. The evening is concluded with an interesting dinner with the host family. (at extra charge)
Day 10: FLY Udaipur – Delhi (B)
Enjoy the morning at your leisure at your hotel in Udaipur. This afternoon, transfer to the airport to catch your flight to New Delhi. Upon arrival at Delhi airport, connect to your flight back home.
Option to take a guided walk through the old town of Udaipur: This morning you may opt for a guided walk in the old town of Udaipur. This walk provides you an opportunity to experience the ‘real Udaipur’ – its people, its living traditions, it’s interesting localities and vibrant bazaars. Walk through the hidden alleys and meet local artisans engaged in jewelry making, pottery and bamboo craft. You can also visit the famous ghats on the banks of Lake Pichola, observe the traditional way of making clay potteries or join a family at their private residence for a cup of tea and snacks in their centuries old mansion decorated with fascinating fresco paintings and mirror work. (at extra charge)