India

Explore the desert kingdoms and historic cultures of India's Rajasthan

Country Information

India, Nepal & Sri Lanka

India Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)

India, Nepal & Sri Lanka


(Interest Type(s))

Romantic Getaways

,

Adventure Travel

,

Family Travel


(Tour Length)

12 Days


Tour Highlights

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  • New graphic smExperience the many faces of Delhi, India’s frenetic capital city and the world’s second most populous city
  • Explore the dune-colored, desert city of Jaisalmer, and savor a stay at a luxury desert camp and spa
  • In Jodhpur, enjoy a ride in horse carriage to the Clock Tower Bazaar, one of India’s largest and most colorful markets
  • Visit the fascinating, 500-year-old Ranakpur Temples, magnificent Jain temples situated in the deep secluded valley in the Aravalli Hills
  • Take in the abandoned ghost capital of Fatehpur sikiri and Agra’s fabled Taj Mahal – both remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Day 1: Delhi, India
Welcome to India. Upon arrival, after clearing your immigration and customs, you will be met by Big Five airport facilitation staff carrying placard of your name in visitor’s arrival hall. You are welcomed and transferred to your hotel with necessary assistance. Lodhi - Lodhi Deluxe Room

Day 2: Delhi
Explore the vibrant city of Delhi, old and new, with its teeming bazaars, British-designed boulevards, modern commercial centers and the powerful reminders of Mughal palaces and forts.  Drive past the Red Fort, built in 1648.  Board the ‘cycle rickshaw’ for a unique experience from the Red Fort, through “Chandni Chowk” or Silver Street, experiencing the sights and sounds of this busy avenue heading west from the Fort. Later, visit the Jama Masjid, the greatest mosque in India. It was completed in 1658 by Shah Jahan, who also built the Taj Mahal and the Raj Ghat, the simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. New Delhi offers visits to such sights as the Qutab Minar, 72-meter-high, one of the most perfect towers in the Persian world.  The Iron Pillar has survived the vagaries of weather for more than 1500 years.  Continue with a drive through Embassy area, the Government buildings (1921-1930) and Connaught Place, the heart and main shopping district of the capital. Lodhi - Lodhi Deluxe Room (B)

Day 3: Delhi / Jodhpur / Jaisalmer
Today, you catch your onward flight to Jodhpur. Upon arrival, you will be received by our staff and driven to Jaisalmer. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel, a member of The Relais & Châteaux.  The rest of the day is at leisure. A luxury desert camp and spa, The Serai has 21, large canvas tents set on 30 acres of a 100-acre estate of indigenous desert scrub in the Great Thar Desert. The Serai - Luxury Tented Suite (B)

Day 4: Jaisalmer
Following breakfast, visit the residential portions of a fort where one third of the population of the old city lives.  The design of the houses echo back a couple of centuries as do the lifestyles of people who live there.  Most of the families continue to follow in their families footsteps, which creates a sense of continuity. The houses are arranged in narrow lanes and have small windows.  The city is said to be home to the most handsome men and women in Rajasthan.  This afternoon, enjoy an excursion into the countryside, visiting typical desert villages, each with a sprinkling of huts. The rough terrain here does not support cultivation, so many in the villages work as causal laborers for road works or community projects. Despite poverty and hard living conditions, the people are friendly and welcoming. Explore the desert around Sam on camelback and watch the dramatic setting sun. The Serai - Luxury Tented Suite (B)

Day 5: Jaisalmer / Jodhpur
This morning, you travel to Jodhpur, the home of the Rathore rulers of the princely state of Rajasthan.  A high 10-kilometer/six-mile long stone wall protects the fortified city.  Upon arrival, you check in to your hotel, with the remainder of the day at leisure. Raas - Luxury Room (B)

Day 6: Jodhpur
Discover the city within the stone wall and its imposing fort on a low range of sandstone hills, about 125 meters/410 feet  above the surrounding plains.   Founded in 1459, Mehrangarh Fort is intricately adorned with long carved panels and latticed windows of exquisite designs in red sandstone. Jaswant Thada is an imposing, 19th century, white marble cenotaph built to commemorate the acts of bravery and generosity of the rulers of that era.  This evening, you enjoy a ride in horse carriages to the Clock Tower Bazaar, one of India’s largest and most colorful wholesale markets, noted for its clothes, fabrics, spices and vegetables. You will see all sorts of wares set out on pavement shops, including a set of laughing dentures signifying a pavement dentist! Raas - Luxury Room (B)

Day 7: Jodhpur / Udaipur
Travel to Udaipur by road and en route visit the fascinating marble Ranakpur Temples, magnificent 15th-century Jain temples situated in the deep secluded valley in the Aravalli Hills.  More than 500 years old, these temples are superbly preserved in a near-perfect condition.  In the center is the main temple, Chaumukha, with its 29 halls that are supported by 1444 pillars, of which no two are exactly alike. Every exposed surface is carved and every corner and angle is engraved with Jain images.  You will see two other temples as well as the Temple of the Sun God with its erotic sculptures.  Continue your drive to Udaipur and check-in to your hotel.  Oberoi Udaivilas - Premier Room (B)

Day 8: Udaipur
After breakfast, investigate the city of Udaipur, a cool oasis in the dry heart of Rajasthan.  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 degree of uniformity in its design. It affords very fine view of the lake and the city from the upper terraces.  The Jagadish Temple next to the city palace enshrines a dramatic black stone image of Lord Vishnu and a brass image of his vehicle - a mighty bird called Garuda. The temple is an outstanding example of Indo-Aryan Art.  Afternoon, enjoy the boat ride on the placid water of Lake Pichola, which is fringed with hills, gardens, havelis, ghats and temples. It is the scenic focus of Udaipur, with two islands that are the home to Niwas Palace and Jag Mandir.  Oberoi Udaivilas - Premier Room (B)

Day 9: Udaipur / Jaipur 
Following breakfast, you set out on a drive through the countryside to Jaipur. Upon arrival, check in to your stunning hotel, once the residence of the Maharaja and called the ‘Jewel of Jaipur.’  The remainder of the day is at leisure to enjoy this magnificent property. Rambagh Palace - Palace Room (B)

Day 10: Jaipur
Enjoy a tour this morning of the impressive Amber Fort, situated on a ridge just outside the city.  At the foot of the hill, you mount a caparisoned elephant (subject to availability) for a slow but steady climb up the ramparts to the main gate, making your entrance as generations of visiting royalty once did.  The fort, took more than 100 years to build and was completed in the early 18th century.  Although deserted now it offers a fascinating insight into the lifestyle of the Moghul ruling families.  Jaipur, "The Pink City," is spectacularly set within surrounding rugged hills, dotted with ancient ruined fortresses. Visit the imposing City Palace, which remains the royal home to the Maharaja, although several rooms are now open to the public. Many antiques and artifacts of the ruling family are housed here, including an amazing collection of weaponry.  Also on the menu are visits to the Hawa Mahal "Palace of the Winds", and the open-air Jantar Mantar Observatory, with its vast array of astronomical instruments. Enjoy a stroll through the colorful bazaar before returning to your hotel. Rambagh Palace - Palace Room (B)

Day 11: Jaipur / Agra
Today, you will be driven to Agra. En route visit ghost capital of Fatehpur sikiri. These magnificent buildings are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, represent one of the best preserved collections of Mughal architecture in India.  The city was established in 1569 by the Mughal emperor Akbar, and served as the capital of the Mughal Empire for a relatively short time - from 1571 to 1585. The Imperial complex was abandoned in 1585, shortly after its completion, due to lack of water and its proximity regions of increasing turmoil. The profusion of sculpture is breathtaking. Also, the white marble mosque in the secular section is stunning and very sacred. Pilgrims from far and near come to pay their respects.  Continue on to Agra, most famous as the site of the fabled Taj Mahal (closed on Friday).  This afternoon, you will encounter this monument, constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal "the lady of the Taj".  It has been described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love, for the emperor was heartbroken when Mumtaz died after 17 years of marriage, during the birth of her 14th child. The construction began about 1632, employing thousands of artisans and craftsmen, and was completed about 20 years later.  The Taj is regarded by many as the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architectural styles.  Oberoi Amarvilas - Premier with Balcony (B)

Day 12: Agra / Delhi / Depart
On your final day in India, you visit Agra Fort, which lies on the bend of the river Yamuna, almost in the heart of the town.  It was originally a brick fort, and was first mentioned in 1080 AD.   Realizing the importance of its central situation, Akbar the Great, the third and greatest ruler of the Mughal Dynasty, made it his capital.  The fort was in ruins when he arrived, so he had it rebuilt with red sandstone. Some 4,000 builders worked on it daily for eight years, completing it in 1573.  Later today, you are escorted to Delhi airport in time to connect your onward flight. (B)

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