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 03: Delhi / Ahmedabad (Spice Jet 201 -0615/ 0700 Hrs) Ahmedabad / Dungarpur (170 Kms) Early morning transfer to the airport to board your flight to Ahmedabad
Meeting & assistance upon arrival at Ahmedabad and drive to Dungarpur
Upon arrival check into the Udai Bilas Palace
The history of Udai Bilas Palace, Dungarpur, Rajasthan dates from the mid-19th century, when Maharawal Udai Singhji-II, a great patron of art and architecture built a wing of bluish grey local stone " Pareva" overlooking the lake and the " Ek Thambia Mahal," featuring intricate sculptured pillars and panels, ornate balconies, balustrades, bracketed windows, arches and frieze of marble carvings, a veritable marvel of Rajput architecture. The Udai Bilas Palace was enlarged in 1940 by Maharawal Laxman Singhji, who built three new wings around the " Ek Thambia Mahal" (Literally one- pillared Palace) and thus created the famous " courtyard of the palace. The result is an architectural expression exquisitely detailed. Still the royal residence, the Palace offers accommodation in the houseguest tradition with seventeen spacious and lavishly appointed bedrooms. No two rooms are alike; each room enchants with its own personality, spaciousness and modern comforts and offers a unique experience. The Furnishings are mostly from the 20th century art-deco style, marble bathrooms with English fixtures and running hot and cold water. Meals are served either in the banquet hall, which displays crystal chandeliers, or in the more intimate family dining room. Continental or Chinese dishes are also served.
Day 04: DungarpurThe district is the stronghold of Bheels, a tribe whose history of occupancy in the Aravalli Range is said to date back to 4000 B.C. They are one of the oldest and most primitive tribes of the world. This morning we will visit some of these unspoiled Bheel hamlets in and around the town. We will witness and photograph age-old tribal lifestyles and customs handed down over the centuries. You would have an opportunity to meet villagers who have never seen white people!! Say hello to people, allow them to get used to you and then, you may go ahead with your pictures. You would soon end up as the pied piper followed by scores of noisy and happy children!!!
We return to our hotel by mid morning to enjoy the destination at leisure. Udai Bilas Palace is a round-the-year paradise for bird watchers.
The cooler months from mid October to February are the best to see winter migratory birds when birds can be observed in attractive plumage. One can see from the Palace itself at remarkably close range egrets, night and pond herons, white necked and painted storks, coots and winter or resident ducks among others, depending on the season of your visit. Birds are also plentiful in the surrounding woodlands where one can hope to see the Grey Hornbill, Gray Partridge, Green Pigeon, Peafowl, Peacocks, Paradise flycatcher and the Golden backed woodpecker, to name a few representative species.
Day 21: Jaipur / Fatehpur Sikri / Agra (245 Kms) After breakfast we 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 will continue our drive 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 22: Agra / Delhi (205 Kms) Delhi / Departure Agra is the city of the Taj Mahal, perhaps the most photographed monument in the world. However, there is a degree of enigma about the Taj. Once you hear about a building so much and once you see so many pictures of a building your expectations are real high; and this is the enigma about the Taj Mahal. No matter how many pictures you have seen or no matter how high your expectations are the Taj never lets you down - the unparalleled glory and beauty of the building surpasses beyond all human imaginations. At sunrise we visit one of the greatest sights of one's lifetime - Taj Mahal. 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 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.
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
Day 12: Jaisalmer / Manvar (210 Kms) Following a leisurely breakfast we will drive to Manvar
Upon arrival, check into Tented Camp
Rest of the day is at leisure. Manvar offer great outdoor adventure and a taste of the Thar Desert. We would enjoy a camel safari today to the Mustard and Red Chili fields in the middle of the desert.
Day 13: 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.
Later we will drive to Jodhpur
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 14: JodhpurAfter breakfast, proceed on a guided tour of Jodhpur. Our tour includes the massive fort. In olden days this must have been impregnable since its rocky base is scraped straight down making it nearly impossible to ascend. Once inside, royal palaces abound with fascinating history and priceless jewels, on to the armoury and Jaswant Thada - the Royal Crematorium. This evening, we would ride horse carriages to the Clock Tower Bazaar. This is one of India's largest and most colourful wholesale markets especially with respect to clothes, fabrics, spices, vegetables etc.
Rest of the day is at leisure for independent activities. Jodhpur is a veritable shopper's paradise with entire streets and localities in the walled city devoted to single commodities. The city is famous for bandhani and lahariya, block printed textiles, silver jewellery, antique furniture, wood and metal handicrafts. Carpets and durries can be found on the Umaid Bhawan Palace road. Jodhpur is home to many talented and skilled craftsmen like textile dyers, metal engravers and die-makers and probably the last of the tailors of the classic Jodhpur breeches.
Day 15: Jodhpur / Shahpura Bagh (140 Kms)Morning we drive off the beaten track to reach Shahpura Bagh an aristocratic Estate. Set amidst the golden sands of Rajasthan at Shahpura one finds an oasis - A dazzling shimmer of sunshine on water that hovers on the edge of a mirage. Shahpura Bagh has just opened its doors to visitors for the first time. A stay here with the family and the Ruler himself, offers a rare opportunity to experience a royal way of life, preserved in a timeless corner of Rajasthan. Simple in decoration, but grand in proportion, Shahpura
Upon arrival check into hotel Shahpura Bagh situated on the edge of the lakes where man and nature exist in harmony with each other. This was the summer residence of the rulers of Shahpura. The 30-acre estate was granted by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to Rajadhiraj Suraj Mal, Rana Pratap's grandson in 1630 AD for successful military campaigns against the Marathas and Afghans.
Shahpura Bagh has exquisitely furnished spacious bedroom over 600ft with walls that are coated with limestone. The traditional charm and décor blends delightfully to facilities and services discerning tourists would see - all rooms have world space radios, coffee and tea makers, hair dryers, phone system as well as eco friendly herbal toiletries. The place is still the residence of the descendants erstwhile Royal family and they are your present hosts. They meet you, share stories and put your holiday in perspective. It is their personal touch and their local knowledge that make the stay a memorable fairy tale.
Shahpura Bagh is also a food-lover's heaven. You can take your pick from authentic home cooked Rajasthani food prepared over fire or home-cooked continental and tradition meals, tempered to suit your palate.
Day 16: ShahpuraToday make short trips into farms & villages and forts; these farms are great for bird watching. You will have a great time with simple activities like boating, air gun, target shooting, farm visits as well as having fun with someone like Sat and Jai. They are the host brothers who will escort you around.
You will enjoy your visit to Ram Dwara, the revered ancient temple. Also, the old city palace reveals the integration of Rajput and Mughal traditions in architecture while the geometrical symmetry of the baoli (step wells) inspires a serenity that lingers. The Dhikola Fort stands majestically on a hill, surveying a vast expanse of verdant green and lakes.
In evening we explore the unending shopping options of Shahpura. There are many goods on sale in the marketplace. Suggest get a leather mojari or local footwear, made to your size.
Day 17: Shahpura / Ranthambhore (90 Kms) This morning we will drive to Ranthambore
Upon arrival check into the delightful Vanyavilas hotel. For the duration of your visit, you will be pampered and cared for beyond imagination. Experience and discover the magic of romance and rejuvenate body and mind with our spa treatments. Long after you have returned to real life, the Unforgettable Experience of staying at The Oberoi Vanyavilâs will remain a vivid memory.
Afternoon jungle excursion in open top vehicle
Day 18: RanthambhoreMorning & afternoon Jungle excursions in open top vehicle. Ranthambhore is known to have India's Friendliest tigers Assured of protection; these nocturnal creatures are seen often in the day. Sprawled on the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges of Rajasthan, Ranthambhore National Park encompasses an area of 410 Sq. km. in which lives a healthy population of about 40 tigers. A large number of deer inhabit the area and leopards are occasionally sighted. The Pandam Taloa lake, located adjacent to the Jogi Mahal hunting lodge, is the park's favorite water source. Smaller pools at Raj Bagh and Milak also attract a variety of wild life The best way to explore Ranthambore is in open top vans as the park is well connected by arterial roads and tracks.
Day 19: Ranthambhore / Jaipur (170 Kms) Morning we drive to the Pink city of Jaipur.
Upon arrival check into your hotel Rajvilas
Rest of the day is at leisure to explore the unending shopping options of Jaipur along with our Guide. 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 20: Jaipur After a leisurely breakfast we visit Amber Fort, the former capital of the royal Jaipurs. Few fail to be moved by the dramatic Rajput grandeur of this hilltop fortress-palace 11 km north of Jaipur. Set on the dry wrinkled Aravali Hills, and surrounded by fortified battlements, the palace straddles two sepia-hued tundra hills overlooking Maota Lake, and its sprawling crenellated walls lattice the surrounding hills.
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, proceed on a tour of City Palace & Observatory. The City Palace in the heart of the old city is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The centre of the palace is a seven-storied building called Chandra Palace, with fine vies over the gardens and the city.
Day 08: Rohet / Mirvana (220 Kms)Following breakfast ride out through desert country to Mirvana. For miles altogether, there is nothing but sand, but from this aridness one can expect the unexpected as groups of women appear and disappear in their colourful clothes, apparently going nowhere. Just as suddenly, medieval cities rise, magnificent for their architectural heritage, and are just as suddenly lost to sight. Mirages? No, in the Thar, these are only too real. We will have opportunities to stop on the way and interact with tribals and villagers in remote countryside.
Upon arrival check into Mirvana Nature Resort. Escape from the hustle and bustle and enjoy a delightful stay at Mirvana Nature Resort, which offers the tranquility of greenery within an otherwise harsh desert. Mirvana Nature Resort is a perfect place to experience nomadic desert life at its best.
Evening we visit the nearby Sand Dunes and enjoy camel rides as we explore desert life in all its peace, tranquility and of course draped in its colourful richness. We enjoy tea as we witness the Sun setting in the horizon and camels with their shepherds forming nice sillouttes in the foreground
Day 09: MirvanaToday we explore the primitive Sadakore village which exists back in time. Traditional camel dung plastered homes, crafts, occupation take us back in time. The disarming hospitality of the natives and their brightly coloured traditional outfits form an indelible imprint on our hearts and minds.
Besides, Sodakore is a destination for several domestic bird species during the winter season. It is a classic habitat for the Great Indian Bustards, which are an endangered species. Some major fauna present are the Desert Fox, Desert Cat, antelope species, like the Chinkara and Blue Bull.
Day 10: Mirvana / Jaisalmer (55 Kms) After breakfast we will drive to Jaisalmer. The drive is through desert country with scantly vegetation and life stock in view.
Upon arrival check the hotel Taj Rawal Kot
Rest of the day is at leisure to walk along the old city to explore traditional and typical Jaisalmer. The havelis (mansions) in a beautiful state of preservation are a fascinating sight.
Day 05: Dungarpur / Udaipur This morning, we drive to Udaipur.
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.
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 06: UdaipurAfter breakfast, 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.
This afternoon we explore the bustling bylanes of Udaipur which have artisans practicing their traditional crafts handed down to them by their elders. Khari printers do decorative floral patterns in gold and silver on plain or printed fabric. Block printers print various designs and patterns in different colours with the help of wooden blocks. You'll also find artisans carving furniture, making puppets and traditional wooden toys. Along with engraving and embossing on brass, silver, jewellery, copper and even pottery, Meenakari is a specialty of this region.
Day 07: Udaipur/ Ranakpur / Rohet (240 Kms)Following breakfast we ride out to Rohet Enroute we visit Ranakpur.
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. From here we continue our ride to Rohet.
Upon arrival, check into Rohetgarh Fort
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.
Late afternoon we enjoy jeep safaris to visit the heart of Rajasthan villages where traditions centuries old still permeate life styles. One can witness the 'ceremony' - a ritual by which guests are welcomed. Gaily attired men and women carry on their chores and one can catch a glimpse of their norms and customs. The smoothened mud floors of the village huts remind one of the simple and traditional living here.
As evening descends, the darkness of the night is lit up by the flickering flames of fire around which the rhythmic movements of the folk dancers assumes shape in brilliant colours; truly an electrifying experience.