Day 01: Arrival / DelhiLate night arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car.
Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.
Welcome to India, or as we say 'atithi devo bhava' (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!
Day 02: DelhiYour morning activity begins with the historical part of the city also known as Old Delhi starting with `Shah Jehanabad' which has some dramatic remnants of the Mughal Empire in the imposing Red Fort and Jama Masjid India's largest mosque, built by Emperor Shah Jehan, creator of the Taj Mahal. You ride rickshaws through its principal street.
Chandni Chowk, originally renowned throughout the Asia with its tree-lined canal flowing down its center. These days it's a bustling jumble of shops, temples, mosques and craftsmen's workshops of goldsmiths, silversmiths, silk traders and embroiderers.
Explore the hustling and bustling of Old Delhi and streets of Chandni Chowk sitting in a cycle rickshaw.
Culminate the Old Delhi tour with a photo stop at Raj Ghat the site of Mahatma Gandhi's cremation. Built on the banks of the Yamuna River, is a simple memorial that marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated in 1948. A pretty park has been created around the memorial.
Continue on to Explore New Delhi drive through the boulevards of New Delhi and pass India Gate which is a memorial built to the 85000 soldiers who died in World War I and the Afghan battles of 1919.
At the other end of Rajpath stands the official residence of India's president, the Rashtrapati Bhavan, a complex of buildings that mix Mughal and Western architectural styles. Prior to independence, this was the home of India's last viceroy, Lord Mountbatten. Close by is Sansad Bhavan, the large though less imposing parliament building.
Lunch will be arranged at 'The Lodi' located next to Lodi Garden.
After lunch proceed to visit Qutab Minar, a tower of victory begun by the Slave Dynasty's founder, Qutb-ud-din-Aybak, in A.D. 1193 and completed by Feroz Shah Tughlaq in 1368. At its base is India's first mosque, the Might of Islam Mosque, built on the foundation of a Hindu temple. It was completed in A.D. 1300.
Like the nearly contemporary slave, or Marmeluke, rulers of Egypt, slave kings of Delhi were anything but servile. The term simply indicates that they had once been held captives. In a court awash with intrigue and opportunity, India's Turkish conquistadors regarded a slave's loyalty as more dependable than that of their own kin. Purchased, rapidly promoted, eventually freed, and forever trusted, the erstwhile slave of a royal patron was ideally placed to act as either power broker or pretender. His elevated status was equally proclaimed with monuments. The Qutb Mosque boasts a tower of victory that doubles as India's, and perhaps Islam's, most massive minaret.
Day 09: Jaipur / Fatehpur Sikri / Agra (245 Kms) Morning we will drive to Agra stopping at deserted capital city of Fatehpur Sikri. This abandoned capital of the Mughals is a perfectly preserved city at the height of the empire's splendour. The city divided into religious and secular parts has interesting well-sculpted buildings. From here we continue riding to Agra.
Upon arrival you are individually checked in at your rooms at the luxurious Amarvilas hotel, which is one of the best boutique hotels in the world. The hotel of whimsical charm has several attractions. However, being in the city of the Taj Mahal, the most relevant charm of the hotels is the unhindered view of the Taj Mahal from your bedroom. It is the most beautiful and an amazingly uplifting sight. Only 600 meters from the Taj Mahal stands this luxury resort. Discerning travelers can now appreciate the fabulous Taj Mahal while enjoying world-class luxury. The elaborate Mughal gardens, terraced lawns, fountains, reflection pools and pavilions complement the classical architecture of the hotel
You will have rest of the day free for your independent activities. The hotel offers incredible and unobstructed view of the Taj Mahal from almost anywhere
Day 10: Agra / Delhi (205 Kms) Delhi / Departure We are about to witness one of the greatest sights of one's lifetime - the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Before departure for the monument we shall be served tea/coffee and cookies so that our eyes open real wide to behold this breathtaking sight. A dawn visit to the fabled Taj Mahal to witness the magical effects caused by the reflections of the changing colours of the rising Sun on this brilliant white marble building. Later we return back to our hotel for breakfast.
After a leisurely breakfast we ride to the massive Agra Fort. The elegant buildings inside reflect an interesting synthesis of Hindu and Central Asian architectural styles. Built by Emperor Akbar, the maze of the courtyards, mosques & private chambers of the fort echo the story of the Mughal Empire. The Moti Masjid & other magnificent buildings reflect the skill of the ancient Indian architects.
Later we will drive to Delhi along one of the India's finest freeways
A Home Visit & a Farewell Dinner with an Indian Family : Upon arrival, we would visit an Indian family for an Indian home experience. The evening is designed to give you a 'feel' and insight into Indian family life as well as experience typical Indian hospitality and home made Indian food
After dinner transfer to the International airport to board your flight back home.
Day 06: Manvar / Jodhpur (75 Kms)Early morning excursion to Khichan. The tiny village of Khichan has assumed a popular appeal with the bird watching community. The local people offer large amounts of grain to birds every morning and this has attracted large numbers of Demoiselle Cranes to usurp this food supply. It is great spectacle to watch these Cranes swoop down to a especially created rectangular enclosure, for their early breakfast. The feeding session lasts for an hour and a half, one group takes off as another settles. Their flight across the backdrop of the traditional mansions of the village, presents wonderful opportunities for photography, as do the feeding birds on the ground. We are very close by and can be offered vantage positions over the terraces, by the local people who feel proud of their visitors.
Upon arrival check into your hotel Umaid Bhawan Palace. The only palace built in 20th century conceived by Maharaja Umaid Singh as a centerpiece of his massive famine-relief scheme, giving employment to hundreds of people for nearly 16 years. This opulent edifice in sandstone is still the residence of the former rulers with a part of it running as hotel and remaining part as a museum. The palace captures the imagination of a visitor by its sculpted lawns with sandstone pavements and bouquets of bougainvillea bushes. The name of the palace has been derived from the sandstones being used in its construction. These rocks do not wear out how harsh the weather might be. It took 25 years and 3000 men to give shape to this stupendous expression. The Palace was designed as a smooth combination of European classical elements interlaced with oriental ones. Massive sandstone boulders were cut from a quarry at Surasagar near Jodhpur and transported by a special narrow-gauge train to the construction sites. Master masons chiseled these rough stones into blocks of five and seven tons. The blocks were then fitted into an interlocking fashion with no mortar or cement being used in the construction. Furnished with fashionable Art Deco interiors by the Polish artist and decorator, S. Norblin, the palace consumed one million square feet of the finest marble. The world of Umaid Bhawan Palace contained everything that the royalty required - a private cinema hall, a luxurious swimming pool inlaid with tiles depicting the zodiac, gigantic royal suites, a soaring rotunda, fancy ball rooms, a majestic durbar hall, billiards room, ballrooms, banquet halls, libraries, staff quarters, servant quarters. In 1977, Umaid Bhawan opened as one of India's grandest luxury hotels.
Day 07: Jodhpur / Jaipur (325 Kms) Morning we will drive to Jaipur
Upon arrival, check into the Rambagh Palace, which is one of the most beautiful palaces in India. Originally a garden house of a favorite royal maid, it was constructed in the 19th century. The palace is open to all those who seek to be transported to the royal past, the glorious age of grace and beauty.
Rest of the day is at leisure to explore the unending shopping options of Jaipur. An essential starting point for Rajasthan craftwork is block making and block printing and we will be exploring the process from start to finish in some of the popular stores here. The opportunity also exists here to tailor make outfits to your design and size.
We also explore one of the chief attractions of Jaipur - its jewelry, which offers a variety that ranges from chunky tribal jewelry to enameled gold to modern diamond jewelry. Kundan (art of stone setting) and enamel jewelry has been a specialty of Rajasthan, particularly that of Jaipur. The stones are embossed into decorative shapes & patterns and embellished with delicate enamel ornamentation in the champeve (raised field) technique. Jaipur is well known for its gold and silver enameling. Colorful bangles made of lac and set with semiprecious stones make an inexpensive buy. The craftsmen take great pains to embed the hundreds of stones into the lac. The skilled gem-cutters of Jaipur carve enchanting little animals and birds from rock, crystal, jade, smoky topaz and amethyst. Intaglio beads & buttons and crystal scent bottles are also available.
Day 08: JaipurAfter breakfast, we proceed on a guided tour of the Amber Fort. Set on the dry wrinkled Aravali Hills, the Fort is a superb example of Rajput (Medieval Hindu) style of architecture. A slow elephant taxi takes us to the top of the Fort, which houses several graceful buildings.
We will ride up to this hilltop palace on a caparisoned, painted elephant, passing through the ancient main gate where Maharajas of Jaipur have entered for four hundred years. Our guide will elaborate on the history of this architectural masterpiece with its mirror-studded alcoves, dazzling mosaics and water-cooled swings that delight today's visitors as they did their former royal residents.
We shall visit the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds, a five-storied structure of pink sandstone with semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed windows overlooking the main street of the old city. It was built in 1799 so that veiled royal women could peer down unseen by the world through its 593 stone screens.
Later we proceed for a guided tour of the City Palace & Observatory. The City Palace in the heart of the old city is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The center of the palace is a seven storied building called Chandra Palace, with fine views over the gardens and the city. Next stop the City Palace is the Solar Observatory - an astronomical treasure house, with solar device that gives accurate predictions till date.
Day 02: Delhi / Udaipur (9W 3401 - 0545 / 0810 Hrs)Welcome to Udaipur, the famed "City of sunrise". Founded in 1567 by Maharana Udai Singh, from the lineage of the legendary Sisodias of Mewar - the decedents of the sun God. A city where the sun truly never set, where tradition and a strict code of heroism were happily united with a love of fine living. A city that has come to be an oasis of romance in the warrior state of Rajasthan
Meeting and assistance upon arrival check into the hotel Lake Palace, which is a palace on an island girdled by hills. Built on a rocky island over lake Pichola over two and a half centuries ago, once it was the summer palace of the rulers of Mewar. Today the pleasure palace is a luxury hotel like no other in the world. To stay here is an un missable privilege, affording as it does a glimpse of pleasure that once were the sole preserve of princes. The Lake Palaces Hotel amazes and delights you at every turn. It is pure white marble, every ancient inch of it - slender carved columns, fountains, filigreed screens, marble from the pinnacles of its domed Chatris to the bottom of its swimming pool, created for the private frolics of a princess.
Following rest and relaxation, we proceed on a tour of this "Lake City". Udaipur is a cool oasis in the dry heart of Rajasthan. It is probably the most romantic city in a state where every city has some romantic or exotic tale to tell. The huge city palace towering over the Lake Pichola is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. Though it is a conglomeration of buildings built by successive rulers, it manages to retain a surprising uniformity of design and affords very fine view of the lake and the city from the upper terraces. The Jagadish temple next to the city palace enshrines a black stone image of Lord Vishnu and his vehicle- a mighty bird called garuda - in a brass image. The temple is a very fine example of Indo-Aryan Art.
Evening we enjoy a boat cruise on the serene and beautiful Lake Pichola. The island palace on the Lake called Jagmandir Palace is quite fascinating. The Palace provided inspirations and ideas to the builder of the Taj Mahal. The banks of the lake provide interesting glimpses of the daily bathing and the laundry that takes place here. Looking across the lake, with the city and its great palace rising up behind the island palace, is a scene of rare beauty.
Day 04: Udaipur / Ranakpur / Rohet (240 Kms)The Ranakpur Jain Temple was built during the reign of the liberal and gifted monarch Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. The basement is of 48, 000 sq. feet area that covers the whole complex. There are four subsidiary shrines, twenty-four pillared halls and eligibly domes supported by over four hundred columns. The total number of columns is 1,444 all of which are intricately carved with no two being alike. The artistically carved nymphs playing the flute in various dance postures at a height of 45 feet are an engrossing sight. In the assembly hall, there are two big bells weighing 108 kg whose sound echoes in the entire complex. The main temple is of Chaumukh or four-faces temple dedicated to Adinath
Following the tour of Ranakpur we continue our drive to Rohet
At Rohet, one is transported in to a world of the past, a world of honour and of chivalry, of glory and of pride; a world of vibrant colours and spectacular magnificence. Past centuries come to life at the historic boundary walls of Rohet- the 16th century fortified deserted home of a Rajput clan. Within the precincts of these time weathered walls is our hotel, the impressive Rohetgarh Fort- a bastion of proud Rajput traditions bathed in the ambience of unmistakable Rajasthani culture where one can, even today experience the famed warm and courteous Rajput hospitality. Frescoes on the tall gateway, brightly painted in the traditional style, using traditional motifs and colour schemes herald your entry to this charmed world the bygone era. The gateway leads to a compound where a profusion of flowers frame the archways in welcome. The portico is a warm and informal place decorated with the artifacts and trophies of many years. Exquisitely carved furniture, delicate hand block prints, original paintings and photographs decorate your rooms, which though redolent with the romance of a bygone era, provide all the modern amenities. Antique hunting riffles, shields & spearheads, daggers and original paintings form the backdrop of the dinning room. The swimming pool here is in beautiful settings and is an oasis in a dessert.
The food at Rohetgarh is special; each recipe is both traditional and typical, handed down the generations and jealously guarded to retain its pristine flavours. You savour only the very best of Rajasthani cuisine's, food favoured by the Royalty. The 16th century descendants of the Rathore ruling family still live here and host the guests. The members of the Royal family interact with the guests and interesting stories and anecdotes are narrated.
We would also explore Rohet, which is a fascinating small feudal town, which seems to be straight out of the Arabian Nights. There is no proper road here - only one main dust trail. On either side are typical thatched houses and shops of all kinds - colourful bangles, silver jewellery, potters, fruit vendors on carts, dress shops, tailors etc.