Deserts of North India

Discover North India's desert and its cultures, wildlife and powerful Mughal architecture.

Country Information

India, Nepal & Sri Lanka

Deserts of North India Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)

India, Nepal & Sri Lanka


(Interest Type(s))

Sustainable Travel

,

Safari Tours

,

Adventure Travel


(Tour Length)

17 Days


Tour Highlights

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  • Learn about the lifestyles of North India’s desert cultures as you visit traditional villages and  local communities
  • Enjoy unique luxury tented camps in Jaisalmer, Nimaj and Ranthambore
  • Go on safari in Ranthambore National Park in search of the highly endangered Bengal tiger as well as hyena, jackal, caracal, sloth bear, sambar, chital, nilgai, chinkara and Indian hare
  • Experience Jawai, one of few leopard sanctuaries found anywhere
  • Travel to Mihirgarh, outside the city of Jodhpur, a true luxury lodge in the desert, noted for its equestrian programs

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 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 Sam Desert on camelback and watch the dramatic setting sun. The Serai - Luxury Tented Suite (B) 

Day 5: Jaisalmer / Jodhpur / Mihirgarh
After breakfast, you set out by road to Mihirgarh. En route, visit the city of Jodhpur, home of the Rathore rulers of the princely state of Rajasthan.  The city is surrounded by a high, 10-kilometer long stone wall, within which stands an imposing fort on a low range of sandstone hills, about 125 meters above the surrounding plains.  Mehrangarh Fort, founded in 1459 AD is intricately adorned with long carved panels and latticed windows of exquisite designs in red sandstone.  Jaswant Thada is an imposing white marble cenotaph built to commemorate the acts of bravery and generosity of the rulers in 19th century.  Then continue to Mihirgarh and your luxury hotel.  Mihir Garh - Suite (B,D) 

Day 6: Mihirgarh
Today, you travel to traditional villages to learn something of the lifestyle of local communities, where you are welcomed into the small, mud houses, and meet the turban clad men, and the shy, beautiful women, dressed in customary garb.  The market presents a rich display of wares for sale.  The remainder of the day you can relax at your hotel, or enjoy activities such as picnics, culinary workshops, or their well-known equestrian program which can be tailored to your interests, including the popular sunrise or sunset rides, as well as full-day rides with overnight in a luxury mobile camp.  For the serious rider, there are also extensive three- and four-day riding itinerary with overnights in mobile camps and heritage properties such as Rohet Garh and Fort Chanwa. All rides are designed such that you derive maximum pleasure of riding some of the finest horses of the ‘Marwari‘ breed, and experience and enjoy the rich culture of the land.  Mihir Garh - Suite (B,L,D)

Day 7: Mihirgarh / Jawai
This morning, you will be driven to Jawai, where you check in to this newly opened camp, which has just eight luxurious tents, each spacious tent has a private deck that looks upon unobstructed views of the spectacular wilderness. This afternoon, set out on a jungle excursion in an open Jeeps.  Leopards are Jawai’s predominant attraction, and you track these normally elusive cats with professional trackers and drivers riding in customized 4x4 safari Jeeps. Jawai Leopard Camp (B,L,D) 

Day 8: Jawai / Udaipur
This morning, you will be driven to Udaipur. Along the way, visit Ranakpur Temples, the magnificent, 15th-century Jain temples set in the deep secluded valley of the Aravalli Hills. Though over 500 years old, the temples are superbly preserved in a near-perfect condition. In the center is the main “Chaumukha temple” with its most distinctive features: 29 halls supported by 1444 pillars, of which no two are exactly alike.  Every conceivable surface is carved and every corner and angle is engraved with Jain images. You visit to two more impressive Jain temples and the Temple of the Sun God with its erotic sculptures. Continue your drive to Udaipur and check-in to your hotel.  Later, take a tour of Udaipur.  Udaipu offers a cool oasis in the dry heart of Rajasthan. The huge city palace towers over the Lake Pichola. It 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 views 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.  Afternoon, enjoy the boat ride on placid Lake Pichola, the scenic focus of the city. Oberoi Udaivilas - Premier Room (B) 

Day 9: Udaipur / Nimaj  
Today  you drive to Nimaj.  Upon arrival, check in to your hotel, with the remainder of the day at leisure.  Chhatra Sagar – Luxury Tented Room (B,D) 

Day 10: Nimaj
This morning, discover the countryside and local farms and villages.  Enjoy a visit guided by the members of the family to these settlements to understand the traditional, rural Rajasthani lifestyle, which encompass harmony, conservation and the full utilization of natural resources. Chhatra Sagar – Luxury Tented Room (B,L,D) 

Day 11: Nimaj / Jaipur
Following breakfast, you will be driven to Jaipur. After checking in to your hotel, the rest of the day at leisure to savor this opulent setting and its rich furnishings and exquisite objects d’art. Step out into expansive, ornamental gardens arranged in brilliant symmetry. Retire to rooms that were once the sanctuaries of kings and princes. Rambagh Palace exudes an unmistakable sense of history. It’s an architectural masterpiece that transcends time. Rambagh Palace - Palace Room (B)

Day 12: Jaipur
This morning, tour of the impressive Amber Fort on a ridge just outside Jaipur.  At the foot of the hill, you mount a caparisoned elephant (subject to availability) for a slow but steady climb up to the main gate as princes and kings have done before you. The Fort, completed in the early 18th century, took more than a century to build and now, although deserted, offers a fascinating insight into the lifestyle of the Moghul ruling families.  In the afternoon, export Jaipur, the "Pink City," which is spectacularly set within surrounding rugged hills, dotted with ancient ruined fortresses. Your excursion includes the imposing City Palace, still home to the Maharaja, although several of the rooms are now open to the public. Many antiques and artifacts belonging to the ruling family are housed here, including a collection of weaponry. You will also visit the Hawa Mahal "Palace of the Winds", and the open-air Jantar Mantar Observatory to see the vast astronomical instruments. Enjoy a stroll through the colorful bazaar before returning to your hotel. Rambagh Palace - Palace Room (B)

Day 13: Jaipur / Ranthambore National Park
After breakfast, you drive to Ranthambore. Check in to Sher Bagh, a pioneering camp of 12 luxurious tents nestling on the borders of the world renowned Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. This afternoon, you set out on a jungle excursion in an open vehicle. The park is known to for its tigers.  Usually nocturnal creatures, the big cats can be seen often during the day.  Sprawled on the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges of Rajasthan, the park encompasses an area of 410 square kilometers.  About 40 tigers are known to inhabit the area, and hunt some of the large number of deer found here.  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 a jeep as the park is well connected by arterial roads and tracks. Some of the popular sighting areas are Nal Ghati, Lahpur, Bakuala, Anantpur and the Kachida Valley. Tiger, panther, hyena, jackal, jungle cat, caracal, sloth bear, sambar, chital, nilgai, wild boar, chinkara, Indian hare and mongoose can be found here. Among bird species, Bonelli's eagle, crested serpent eagle, great Indian horned owl, grey partridge sandgrouse, quail, spurfowl, common peafowl, tree pie, paradise flycatcher, pheasant tailed jacana, painted stork, black stork, spoonbill, green pigeon and ducks are seen here. Sher Bagh - Luxury Tent (B,L,D) 

Day 14: Ranthambore National Park
Today, you continue to discover the jungle during morning and evening excursions in open vehicles. The camp is known to have one of the lowest environmental impacts among Ranthambhore’s lodgings. During your stay, you can expect to receive a detailed introduction to the history of the park, its  wildlife and the ongoing conservation efforts that are helping to try to preserve India’s tigers and all that thrives within the park. Sher Bagh - Luxury Tent (B,L,D) 

Day 15: Ranthambore National Park / Agra
Today, you will be driven to Agra. En route, visit Fatehpur Sikiri (ghost capital) for a tour of these magnificent, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which are still in a state of perfect preservation. The city is divided into religious and secular sections. The profusion of sculpture is breathtaking as is the white marble mosque in the secular section.  This very sacred mosque see pilgrims come from far and wide to pay their respects. Following your visit, continue your drive to Agra. Upon arrival check in to your hotel.  This afternoon, you will visit one of the most famous buildings in the world… the Taj Mahal, known far and wide as one of the most beautiful monument to love yet created.  Taj Mahal was constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal "the lady of the Taj". This extravagant monument was built by the emperor, who was heartbroken when Mumtaz died after 17 years of marriage, during the birth of her 14th child. (Taj Mahal is closed on Friday).  Oberoi Amarvilas - Premier with Balcony (B)

Day 16: Agra / Delhi
This morning, visit striking Agra Fort on the bend of the Yamuna River, almost in the heart of the town. It was built by Akbar as his citadel during the years (1563-1573) in the finest architectural style. It has imposing gates and walls of red sandstone and a moat.  Later, you will be driven to Delhi. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel. Radisson - Room until 10 PM  (B)

Day 17: Delhi / Depart
Early this morning, you will be transferred to Delhi airport in time to connect your onward flight.

 

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