Royal Rajasthan and Holy Ganges
Arrive in Delhi (International flight details awaited). On exiting the aerobridge you will be met and assisted through the airport’s immigration and baggage reclaim and then in the arrival hall you will meet our representative who will assist you to your vehicle and transfer to the hotel. Standard check-in time at hotel is 1400 hrs.
The capital of India, Delhi is home to 16 million people, making it the third largest city in India. The strategic location of the city made it an attractive location for invading armies, and it served as the capital for many great empires that ruled India. Many of these Empires built significant monuments, and whilst the Mughal and the British are the most visible, while driving through the city you will see ruins from previous capitals, the earliest dating back to the 12th century.
Overnight: The Imperial
This morning after breakfast you will be taken for the sightseeing tour Delhi.
Pulsing with energy and colour, Old Delhi is laced by a maze of narrow lanes, which twist and turn between the tall, leaning buildings. You will witness the hustle and bustle of thronged bazaars where you will experience the full sights, sounds and aromas indicative of the Indian sub continent. In Old Delhi you will visit the famous Red Fort surrounded by shops and bazaars, the Jama Masjid with its tapering minarets and wonderful marble domes and Chandni Chowk. In Old Delhi you will also have an opportunity to experience a rickshaw ride.
Also will visit the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, the temple of the Sikhs. Their turbans and beards make the men easily identifiable with the sect. Sikhism developed as an antithesis to the caste ridden and ritualistic forms of Hinduism and developed as a simple religion whose foundation was “sewa” – socially responsibility irrespective of a person’s social standing. Thus every Sikh Temple has the famous community kitchen, where it is considered a privilege to assist cooking the food and serving a simple meal to pilgrims, the economically challenged or a visitor.
You will also drive through the government buildings area. You will glimpse the magnificent Parliament Building, built in a circular shape supported by 144 pillars. The Rashtrapati Bhawan (the official residence of the President of India) is spread over 330 acres and was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Also drive past the India Gate, an arch which is a war memorial and honours the 90,000 soldiers of the British-Indian army, who lost their lives fighting for the British during WW1.
Visit Humanyun’s Tomb was built in the 16th century and is architecturally considered the forerunner of the Taj Mahal. Commissioned by the widow of Humayun, the second Mughal emperor, it was subsequently used as a burial place for members of the royal family. Today it is one of the most beautiful sites of North India.
Overnight: The Imperial
This morning after breakfast, you will be escorted to the airport to board the flight for Varanasi:
Flight: AI-406 (Air India)
Departs Delhi: 1015 Hrs
Arrive Varanasi: 1135 Hrs
Upon arrival in Varanasi you will be received and taken to your hotel.
One of the seven holy Cities of India, Varanasi is the holiest of them all with a spiritual and religious legacy that goes back 5000 years and it is the oldest living city in the world. Situated on the banks of the holy river, Varanasi is also known as “Kashi”, the city of light. The focal point of the city is the “Ghats” or steps that lead down to the river. This is where pilgrims and local people gather for a cleansing dip in the holy river, worship the rising and setting sun and cremate the dead. It is believed that to be cremated in Varanasi is to escape the cycle of rebirth.
Early this evening you will time your visit to the river at sunset. In contrast to the early mornings when the Ghats are a mass of people performing a wide variety of rituals, at sunset the main sounds are the temple bells as the priests start their preparations for the evening “aarti” ceremony. In the distance you will see the fires of the crematorium as the last of the cremations are performed before the sun goes down, and there are a few pilgrims taking a final dip in the river. Whilst the city is still busy, crowded and noisy, sunset slows and quietens life along the river. You will arrive at Ghat in time to watch the evening “aarti” ceremony, when priests perform a ritual to put the river gods to sleep and to ward off any evils.
Overnight: Brijrama Palace
Sunrise and sunset are the most auspicious times in Hinduism. At sunrise at 0530 Hrs you will once again take a boat down the river. People flock to the river to greet the rising sun and you will see a panorama of life in a pilgrim town. The activities vary from pilgrims taking a bath in the holy river, to yogis meditating on the steps leading to the river bank to women doing laundry and washing vessels. There is a certain timelessness about the sights which is extraordinary.
Disembarking you will walk through the narrow lanes of the old city, which has a history that goes back to 2500 BC. You will see many vignettes of life which are unique to the city and rituals which are almost as ancient as Varanasi. You will share the very narrow lanes with cows, children going to school, holy men, shrines and vendors selling items needed to perform “puja” in the temples.
Also visit to The Kashi Vishvanath Temple (or the Golden Temple) is a gold spiraled temple rebuilt in the 18th century, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The spire is covered with tons of gold plating donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab. Note: Only Hindus are allowed inside this temple.
Return to the hotel for breakfast.
Later you will visit The Bharat Mata Mandir is dedicated to Mother India and has a marble relief map of Mother India. The new Vishvanath Temple, built in 1966 is one of the tallest in India, and is located at the Benaras Hindu University, which itself is the largest residential university in Asia and is considered a great seat of learning of the ancient script of Sanskrit. The marble Shiva temple modelled on the old Vishwanath temple is open to all castes.
In the afternoon you will be taken for a visit to Sarnath. This is where the Buddha gave his first sermon in 500 BC. The wonderful archeological park which has excavations revealing stupas, temples and monasteries, including the very spot where the Buddha preached, is a peaceful and serene site. Nearby the temple have murals on the wall tracing the key events that transformed Prince Siddharth into becoming the Buddha (enlightened one). Note: Sarnath Museum remains closed on every Friday
Overnight: Brijrama Palace
This morning after breakfast you will be driven to airport to board a flight for Agra (Operates only on Monday/Wednesday & Saturday):
Flight: AI 406 (Air India)
Departs Varanasi: 1210 Hrs
Arrive Agra: 1320 Hrs
Upon arrival in Agra, you will be met and taken for sightseeing of Agra Fort.
This was the seat of the mighty Mughal Empire before it shifted its capital to Delhi, and it is home to some of their most inspired architectural creations including the Taj Mahal. In the 16th and 17th century, the Mughal Courts were at their most powerful, and were great patron of the arts, and Agra attracted artisans, poets and musicians from across India as well as Persia and Central Asia, transforming Agra into a cultural and architectural paradise.
Agra Fort – When the Mughal Emperor Akbar established his supremacy in Northern India, he began his first architectural venture, rebuilding the fort as a beautiful fort palace. The work was completed by his son and grandson, highlighting the Mughal’s ability to blend defensive and decorative architecture. Richly decorated with marble and mosaic, it was in a part of this fort that Shah Jahan spent the last years of his life, imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb. His private quarters where he was confined, has a magical view of the Taj Mahal across the river Yamuna.
Later you will be taken to the hotel and assisted with smooth check-in.
Overnight: The Oberoi Amarvilas
Early this morning visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise.
The Taj Mahal is at its best at sunrise – just when the light, playing on the marble of the tomb and the reflections in the stillness of the waters, presents this incredible building in all its beauty, majesty and splendor. It is a monument of love built by Shah Jehan in 1630 for his Queen, Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains. For twenty two years 20,000 men labored day and night to build this masterpiece, which has held the world awe struck ever since. The Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world.
Return to the hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast, you will be driven (approximately 4.5 hrs drive) to Jaipur.
You may also stop to see the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah which is the third of Agra’s great monuments. It was the first Mughal building to use the craft of facing buildings with white marble and decorating them with inlaid semi-precious stones, and art which reached its zenith in the Taj Mahal. Though lacking the grandeur and artistry of the Taj Mahal, Itmad ud Daulah it is small, intimate and serene.
On the way you will stop to see one of the Mughal Empires most inspired creations, Fatehpur Sikri. Fatehpur Sikri was built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar to honor the Saint Salim Chisti who foretold the birth of Akbar’s’ son and heir. Built entirely in vibrant red sandstone architecturally it draws its inspiration from Hindu, Persian and Islamic styles.
Upon arrival, you will be assisted with smooth check-in.
A labyrinth of fascinating bazaars, opulent palaces and a futuristic observatory, Jaipur was the inspiration of the ruler Sawai Jai Singh, who moved the capital from Amber in 1727. Jaipur was designed by a young architect from Bengal and together they planned a city along the ancient Hindu treatise of “Shilpa Shastra”, a science similar to the better known Feng Shui. Jaipur is laid out in a geometric grid of streets and squares making it one of the earliest planned cities in India. In honor of the visit of the Prince Edward, then the Prince of Wales, the City was painted in rich terracotta, a tradition which has continued through the years. This is the reason why Jaipur is often called the “pink city”. Today it serves as the State capital for Rajasthan.
You take a morning tour today, visiting the old and modern city as it is waking and preparing for the day. You take battery rickshaw from the Maharaja Jai Singh circle popularly referred to as “Statue Circle” and you drive to Central Park where locals gather for morning walks, yoga, exercise etc. you also participate in private yoga session including “laughing yoga”. From here you continue to the old city travelling through the narrow lanes stopping take a photograph at the iconic “Palace of the Winds”, beautiful in the morning sunlight. You stop by the flower market and you path leads you to the 300 year old Krishna temple in the old city which has a beautiful fresco and carved pillars.
You will arrive in time for the morning singing and “aarti” Ceremony. During the walk you see the roadside tea shops, street food, pavement barbers, people at shrines greeting the morning sun – all preparing to start their day. You continue to “Shubhash Chowk” where the milkmen gather bringing fresh milk in traditional cans, a sight unique to Jaipur and stop at the farmers market where local produce is sold.
Return back to the hotel for breakfast.
Later you will be taken to visit Hawa Mahal followed by a visit to City Palace. The sprawling City Palace which is painted pink in keeping with the color theme of the old city, is a blend of predominately Rajput and Mughal styles of architecture. Within the palace complex are several museums including an interesting textile gallery exhibiting a fine selection of textiles and costumes from the royal collection. You will have a tour of the ceremonial area with a cup of Tea.
From the City Palace you enter the extraordinary “Jantar Mantar”, the astronomical observatory built by Raja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1827. Roughly translated the name means “The Formula of Instruments”. This is one of five observatories he built in northern India. The instruments resembling massive futuristic structures are actually highly sophisticated instruments which are accurate even today.
Early this morning after breakfast, you will famous Amber Fort – Amber, the ancient capital of the region, still recalls its heydays in the majestic ramparts rising steeply along the contoured hillsides. Here, elephant still carry visitors in stately splendour to the Main Palace, through unusually high gateways, obviously designed to accommodate this archaic mode of transport. It is an extremely well preserved building and very delightful to explore. Visit the Jagmandir or the Hall of Victory glittering with mirrors, Jai Mahal and Temple of Kali.
Later you will walk down through the lanes of Amer Town. Jaipur is famous for hand block printing, and is a great place for guests to learn this skill and create their own clothes. To experience the same, you will stop at Anokhi Museum for hands on painting experience. (Anokhi Museum is closed on Monday)
After some artistic experience, you will move towards the historic 16th century Stepwell in Jaipur known as Panna Meena Ka Kund, also popularly known Panna Mian Ki Naoli. This beautiful Kund has a unique architecture and styling designed by a Brahmin and constructed by craftsmen and engineers. The main attraction of the plain is its symmetrical step walls.
In the evening, you will visit the private estate of Dera Amer. Arrive at the medieval Gopal ji Temple, and receive a traditional Indian welcome before being seated on your elephant, handed a flute of sparkling wine and then transported through this pristine valley, at a leisurely pace to the camp. There is time for a freshen up before proceeding to witness the beautiful sunset from the rocks where sundowners are served. In the evening, take in the calm of your surroundings, and the beautiful night skies as you sit next to the crackling bonfire being served cocktails and snacks from the live barbecue. Your personal chef prepares the evening meal and a local musician entertains you with traditional ragas, passed down to him through the generations then dines under stars listening to the sounds of the jungle.
This morning you will be driven to Udaipur (approx. 5.5 hrs drive). Arrive in Udaipur and you will be met and transferred to the hotel.
It is said that the ghost of Udaipur looks towards Chittorgarh, for it was after the tragic fall of that fort, that Udaipur, a fairy tale city of marble palaces and lakes came into existence. The Udaipur city was founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1559 and became the capital of the region of Mewar. The rulers of Mewar, the Sisodia Rajputs trace their dynasty to AD 566 and believe they are the defenders of Rajput honor. Unlike other Rajput royal families, this was a fiercely independent clan who refused to enter into matrimonial alliances with the Mughals or military alliances with the British. The city is dominated by the massive City Palace which overlooks the lovely Lake Pichola with its romantic island palaces.
Evening will be at leisure.
This day you will begin the sightseeing of the city with City Palace. This sprawling palace was built over three centuries and is a series of four interconnecting palaces, illustrative of various architectural styles. In the main it is a blend of Rajput military architecture and lavish Mughal inspired decorative art on the inside. In terms of an exemplary eye to detail and craftsmanship, few palaces match the artwork in this palace. Also of particular note here is the exquisite collection of priceless Rajput Miniature paintings done in the Mewari tradition.
Visit to Crystal Gallery – Crystal Gallery has been hailed as probably the single largest private collection of crystal anywhere in the world. The visitors here are privy to one of the most exclusive and exquisite crystal collections. It was in 1877 that Maharana Sajjan Singh ordered the crystal collection from the Birmingham-based F&C Osler Company. The collection includes a bewildering number of objects d’art, dinner sets, perfume bottles, decanters, glasses, washing bowls and even furniture.
In the afternoon you will head for a walk in the old city with your guide. Sharing space with cows, elephants, people, and the walk through the winding lanes is an interesting insight into lifestyles in what is referred to as “small town India”. Shops selling a variety of items, unexpected folk art decorating the walls of houses and small architectural gems like a latticed work Haveli window.
In the evening you will be taken to Lake Pichola for the exclusive boat ride.
Early this morning you will be taken for the cycling tour of the city. It is a great ride to a very pretty aspect of Udaipur very rarely visited by tourists. You will be riding past the three lakes west of Udaipur town. You will be taken by boat to your hotel’s jetty (at Dudh Talai) where our cycling team will be waiting to assist you. You will mount up on our Trek MTBs, helmets are provided, and you follow the cycling guide on a specially selected route that takes you through nearby villages, farms, and rolling hills – A typical feature of Mewar countryside, with villages and fields settled in its lush green valleys. Your route takes you through Sisarma village where you can stop to see its serene temple. Riding on through the village’s Guava orchards and fields, you cross two more villages till you reach Lake Badi, a manmade lake that traps monsoon water before these waters reaches the bigger Fatehsagar Lake near the town. After some refreshments, you head back towards Udaipur town, on reaching the Lake Fatehsagar you will follow its bank and back into town and to your hotel where the ride ends. Our truck and your car will always follow you as you cycle so you have an option of stopping and driving on where ever you wish.
Spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Enjoy breakfast this morning at the hotel and spend some time at leisure.
Later you will be escorted to airport to board your flight to Delhi:
Flight: AI 472 (Air India)
Depart Udaipur: 1510 Hrs
Arrive Delhi: 1630 Hrs
Upon arrival in Delhi, you will be met and transferred to the airport hotel.
Overnight: The Oberoi Gurgaon
- Varanasi: Evening Aarti at the Ghats, Sunrise Boat ride at the river Ganges, visit to Sarnath
- Agra: Sunrise visit to Taj Mahal
- Jaipur: Dawn tour, special tour of the ceremonial areas of City Palace, walk in the Amer town ending with a hands on block printing workshop at Anokhi Museum, visit the heritage stepwell Panna Mina ka Kund, Elephant experience followed by dinner at Dera Amer.
- Udaipur: Cycling tour around the city
- Start destination:
- New Delhi
- Final destination:
- 12 nights and 13 days
‑ Accommodation for 12 nights at the hotels as mentioned above
‑ Breakfast at all the hotels
‑ Transport in an AC Toyota Innova (for 2 pax) & AC Tempo Traveller except 2 AC Innova (s) in Varanasi (for 4 or 6 pax)
‑ Services of an English speaking local guide for sightseeing at all the destinations
‑ Entrances to the monuments as per the itinerary
– Special activities as mentioned in the itinerary
‑ Porters’ fee at the airports only
‑ All currently applicable taxes
- Not included:
– International/Domestic air fare, visa fees, airport tax or any kind of insurance cover.
– Items of personal nature like drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips, camera fees etc.
– Any other meals than those mentioned in the itinerary.
– Car at disposal or any sightseeing on leisure days – unless specified above.
– Early check-in or a late check-out room (s) at any hotel (s) – unless specified above.
-Liability for change in itinerary due to reasons beyond our control like change in flight and train schedule cancellation of flights/trains, political disturbances, natural phenomenon, etc.
– Any other item not specifically mentioned above as ‘INCLUDED’.
– Any other Govt. tax increase.