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Drenched in colours and steeped in history, the state of Rajasthan is home to a dizzying array of architectural gems and immersive cultural experiences. Highlights include:

  • Experience the ancient and the modern in the capital city of Delhi
  • Visit the medieval city of Bikaner and the stunning Junagarth Fort filled with palaces and temples
  • Explore the imposing hilltop fort in the ‘blue city’ of Jodphur
  • Discover Udaipur, thought to be India’s most romantic city, and enjoy a boat ride across a shimmering lake of ethereal palaces
  • Visit the Amber Fort and the famous Palace of the Winds in India’s ‘pink city,’ Jaipur
  • Learn the secrets behind the mysterious ghost city of Fatephur Sikri
  • Marvel at the romantic and awe-inspiring Taj Mahal in Agra

 

Day 1:  Arrive in Delhi

Upon arrival in Delhi, guests are met at the airport by a representative and transferred to their hotel for check-in. India’s capital city is the hub of the country and offers a fusion of crumbling, narrow lanes in Old Delhi and wide imperial avenues in New Delhi. It is a hectic, noisy and buzzing metropolis crammed full of ancient ruins and monuments, incredible architecture, luxury hotels and magnificent museums.

Overnight in Delhi.

 

Day 2:  Delhi – Mandawa

In the morning, enjoy a combined tour of Old and New Delhi. Drive past the Red Fort for a photo opportunity at this site which houses the 300-year-old walled city.  The city was built by the Emperor Shah Jehan in 1648 as his capital and is hence named after him. Opposite the fort are the black-and-white onion dome and minarets of the Jama Masjid, the most elegant mosque in India. See the Kotla Firoze Shah, ruins of an old fort from the 14th century with the 13 meter-high Ashoka Pillar from the 3rd century BC. Visit Raj Ghat, where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated in 1948.

Continue to the Presidential Palace, the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the secretariat buildings – the centre of all government activity – and down the main avenue, the impressive Rajpath, to the World War I memorial arch, the India Gate, the High Court Building and the Old Fort. Visit the Qutub Miner, 72 meters high, and the ruins of Quwat-ul-Eslam (Light of Islam) Mosque. See Delhi’s most curious antique, the Iron Pillar, which dates back to the 4th century AD.

In the afternoon depart by vehicle for Mandawa.

Overnight in Mandawa.

 

Day 3:  Mandawa – Bikaner

Travel to Bikaner, a medieval-flavoured city set in the harsh dusty desert along the old caravan route. The atmospheric old city is a labyrinth of streets lined with red sandstone havelis and beautiful Jain temples. Explore the Junagarh Fort, surrounded by high walls and a wide moat and containing thirty-seven palaces, pavilions and temples built by different kings. The interiors are richly decorated with intricately painted ceilings.

Overnight in Bikaner.

 

Day 4:  Bikaner – Jodhpur

Following breakfast, drive to Jodhpur. Rao Jodha, a chief of the Rajput clan ‘Rathores’, founded Jodhpur in 1459, and it is the home of one of the country’s most spectacular fortress and palace complexes. It was from here that the tight horse-riding trousers ‘jodhpurs’ took their name.

In the afternoon, embark on a city tour of Jodhpur. Visit the imposing Mehrangarh Fort, which sprawls along the top of a steep escarpment. Started in 1459, it has walls up to 36 meters high and 21 meters wide towering above the plains. It’s a fine example of Rajput architecture and remained the royal residence until the Umaid Bhawan Palace was completed in 1943. The Fort’s museum houses the Maharaja’s private collection of art and artefacts.

Overnight in Jodhpur.

 

Day 5:  Jodhpur – Udaipur

On the journey to Udaipur visit the massive white marble Jain Temple at Ranakpur, a deep, secluded valley. It contains over 29 halls and 1,444 towering pillars, covered in intricate and delicate carvings.

Continue on to the picturesque city of Udaipur, often described as the most romantic city in India. The centrepiece is the ethereal Lake Palace, which appears to float magically on the lake, set against the backdrop of the distant Aravalli Hills.

Overnight in Udaipur.

 

Day 6:  Udaipur

Spend the day discovering the sights of the white city, most of which are located around the shores of Lake Pichola where you will find ornately turreted and balconied palaces, whitewashed havelis and bathing ghats. Visit the imposing City Palace, the former home of Mewar’s rulers, and see the Sahelion-ki-bari, a quaint, ornamental garden and the scene of royal parties for centuries. Drive around Fateh Sagar Lake and visit the fantastically carved Indo-Aryan Jagdish temple. In the evening enjoy a lazy boat ride on Lake Pichola past islands and palaces.

Overnight in Udaipur.

 

Day 7:  Udaipur – Jaipur

Depart Udaipur for Jaipur by vehicle. Popularly known as the “Pink City”, Jaipur was built in the 18th century and is surrounded by rugged hills topped with fortresses, and dotted with palaces. Ambling camels and brightly-clad peasants reflect Jaipur’s desert heritage. This picturesque city, sits in desert land and is encircled by the rugged ranges of the Aravallis.

Overnight in Jaipur.

 

Day 8:  Jaipur

Start the day with a visit to the Amber Fort, perched high on a narrow rocky ridge and fortified by high ramparts. Wander around the beautiful palaces and visit the Shiladevi temple, the private temple of the royal family.

In the afternoon, continue the tour to the City Palace, hosting a delightful blend of Mughal and traditional Rajasthani architecture. See the gigantic, astronomical instruments in Jantar Mantar, the open-air observatory, and stop by the delicately honeycombed, pink sandstone Hawa Mahal, or Palace of Winds, a five-storey structure of pink sandstone with finely detailed trelliswork and elaborate balconies.

Overnight in Jaipur.

 

Day 9:  Jaipur – Agra

Drive to Agra, visiting the 16th-century ghost city of Fatephur Sikri en route. It was inhabited for only 14 years until the magnificent palaces, houses, pavilions and mosques with their sandstone arches and courtyards were totally abandoned. Today the crumbling remains are inhabited only by birds of prey.

Overnight in Agra.

 

Day 10:  Agra – Delhi

Visit the graceful white marble Taj Mahal, built by Shah Jahan over 22 years, in memory of his beloved wife who died after giving birth to her fourteenth child in 1631. The exterior is inlaid with precious stones and covered with beautiful calligraphy while the interior features carved relief work. Dominating a bend in the Yamuna River is the 16th century red sandstone Agra Fort which contains palaces, mosques and audience halls. His own son imprisoned Shah Jahan in the fort, and it is where he lived out his final years.

Following the excursion, continue on to Delhi for departures/onward travel.

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