“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
Day 1 – Arrive Delhi
Welcome to India! On arrival at Delhi Airport, you will be greeted by our guide in the arrival hall, who will escort you to your hotel and assist you in check-in. Later, embark on a sightseeing tour of Delhi. Begin with exploring the Old City of Delhi, where Mughal art and architecture still survive in the narrow lanes lined with havelis, mosques and food stalls serving authentic Mughlai food, an integral part of Indian cuisine. Old Delhi tourist places include Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk Raj Ghat, and Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation site. Also visit Humayun’s Tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the first garden-tomb in India, which was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal. Later, discover the Imperial New Delhi showcasing spacious, tree-lined boulevards and noteworthy buildings. Notable attractions include Connaught Place (CP), the Presidential Palace and India Gate. Overnight, stay at hotel.
Day 2- Delhi – Mandawa
After breakfast, drive to Mandawa, situated 250 km (approximately five hours) from Delhi. The city of Mandawa lies in the Shekhwati region of Rajasthan and dates back to 18th century. Mandawa is called the “Open Art Gallery” of Rajasthan as the city is adorned with magnificent havelis (mansions) boasting of intricate frescos and paintings. It has been featured in various Bollywood movies too. On arrival in Mandawa, check-in at hotel and spend some time at leisure. Later, explore your surroundings and stroll through the markets, a haven for lovers of art and paintings. Tonight, for dinner be sure to savour Shekhawati dishes of Rajasthani cuisine, especially kair – sangri ki subzi for main course and ghevar for dessert. Overnight, stay at hotel.
Day 3 – Mandawa – Bikaner
Spend the morning exploring some of the famous havelis of Mandawa that are known for their fresco paintings. A few of these famous havelis are Jhunjhunwala Haveli, Murmuia Haveli and Goenka Double Haveli. Round off your morning tour with a visit Thakur Ji Temple and Mandawa Fort. Later, drive to Bikaner, around 220 km (approximately five hours) from Mandawa. Established by Rao Bika and the Jats in 15th century, Bikaner became popular around the world for its snacks and sweets. The colourful city of Rajasthan in Thar Desert still retains its old-world charm and reflects the chivalry, courage and bravery of royal Rajputs. On arrival in Bikaner, check-in at hotel. This evening, explore the markets of Bikaner, a shopper’s paradise for leather products, embroidered mojri (slip on shoes), cotton and wool products. Overnight, stay at hotel.
Day 4- Bikaner – Jaisalmer
After breakfast start your city tour at Junagarh Fort, that provides an insight into the lavish lifestyle of the erstwhile Maharanas of Rajasthan. The fort complex houses temples, palaces and a museum. Then, visit Laxmi Niwas Palace, the former royal abode of the king of Bikaner Maharaja Ganga Singh. Designed in the Indo-Saracenic style, the palatial building is a magnificent structure of red sandstone that blends with its beautiful surroundings. Later, discover the Karni Mata Temple, popularly called the “Temple of Rats”, home to 20,000 rats. Afterwards, drive to Jaisalmer, 330 km (approximately six hours) away. Jaisalmer is the heart and soul of the Great Indian Desert – Thar Desert, and is often referred to as the “Golden City” of India. On arrival in Jaisalmer, check-in at hotel. Overnight, stay at hotel.
Day 5 – Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer owes its title of the “Golden City of India” to the yellowish-golden tinge that is present in most of the city’s architecture. This colour comes from the yellow sand and the yellow sandstone used prominently in constructions. Jaisalmer is also famous for its hospitality and for having the warmest people in the country. The day is dedicated to discovering the living fort of Jaisalmer, where a quarter of the city’s population still resides. Raj Mahal (Royal Palace), Laxminath temple and Jain temples are the main areas to explore within the fort. Jaisalmer is also famous for its spectacular havelis, many of which you can visit. In the evening, enjoy a sun downer on the Sam Sand Dunes while watching a beautiful sunset. Dinner is also served on the dunes with live traditional music, songs and folk dance performances. Overnight, stay at hotel.
Day 6 – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur
After a relaxed breakfast drive to Jodhpur, 300 km (approximately five hours) from Jaisalmer. The princely city of Jodhpur is called the “Sun City” for the sunny weather it enjoys all year round. It is also called the “Blue City” as most of the houses here are painted in blue. On arrival in Jodhpur, check-in at hotel. Later, you can explore the famous Jodhpur markets – Tripola Bazaar, Sardar Market and Clock Market. They are the best places to buy famous tie-dye textiles (bandhani), mojri (footwear), and traditional Indian handicrafts. Like the other cities, Jodhpur is also very well known for its snacks and sweets. Taste some of its popular snacks such as pyaaz ki kachori, badaa, gathiya and sev, relish the traditional Indian ice-cream called malai kulfi, and don’t forget the world famous Motichur laddu. Overnight, stay at hotel.
Day 7 – Jodhpur
Today you spend the day discovering the Blue City. Start at the mighty Mehrangarh Fort, one of the largest forts in India. The fort houses some of the finest palaces and its museum preserves many priceless relics exhibiting Indian chivalry life. Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), Sheesha Mahal (Mirror Palace), Daulat Khana (Treasure), Armoury Gallery, Palanquins Gallery, Turban Gallery, Loha Pol (Gate) and Dedh Kemgra Pol (Gate) are the major attractions of the fort. Nestling on a rocky hill, the fort offers a breathtaking panorama of Jodhpur from its ramparts. Also, stop at the elegant Jaswant Thada, the cenotaphs of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II and other maharajas. The cenotaphs of the maharanis are at Mandore. In the afternoon, take a jeep drive through Bishnoi village. The locals are ardent ecologist and are responsible for preserving many endangered species liks the black buck antelope. Overnight, stay at hotel.
Day 8 – Jodhpur – Ranakpur – Udaipur
This morning, drive to Udaipur, 260 km (approximately five hours) from Jodhpur. The drive today takes you across the Aravali Hills, the older mountain range in the world. The scenery along the way is superb and you will see many vignettes of Rajasthani rural life. Your first stop this morning is at the white marble temples of Ranakpur. Considered one of the architectural gems of this area, these profusely and intricately carved temples belong to the Jain religion. The stunning carvings are in contrast to the dictates of simplicity and austerity promoted by this religion. On arrival in Udaipur, check-in at hotel. This evening, unwind with a boat ride on the waters of Lake Pichola. Overnight, stay at hotel.
Day 9 – Udaipur
Embark on a sightseeing tour in and around Udaipur. The gleaming Lake Pichola, the fabulous palaces, havelis, temples and bustling markets with the majestic Aravalli Hillls in the backdrop, make Udaipur a royal romantic destination. Udaipur city tour starts with a visit to the City Palace. The royal abode of Maharanas of erstwhile, the palace displays an elaborate and flamboyant style which combines both the Rajasthani and Mughal architectural design. Strategically placed on a hill top, the palace gives an impressive view of Udaipur and its beautiful sites such as the Lake Pichola, the Jag Mandir, the Monsoon Palace and Neemach Mata Temple. In the evening visit Jagmandir Island, Ahar (Udaipur’s royal cremation ground), Shilpgram (a crafts village) and Sajjan Garh (Monsoon Palace). Overnight, stay at hotel.
Day 10 – Udaipur – Pushkar – Jaipur
Early morning, check-out from the hotel and drive to Jaipur, 430 km (approximately six hours) from Udaipur. Founded by Maharaja Jai Singh II in the year 1727, Jaipur is the first planned city of India. Jaipur is famously called the “Pink City” of India as the city was painted pink to commemorate the visit of Prince of Wales in 1876. Many of its avenues remained painted in pink till long, giving the city a distinctive appearance. En route, take a halt at Pushkar, an ancient city nestling on the shore of Lake Puskar. It enjoys the title of “Tirth Raj”, which means the king of pilgrimage sites for Hindus for it houses the famous Lord Brahma Temple that is said to be the most significant of the Brahma Temples. On arrival in Jaipur, check-in at hotel. Overnight, stay at hotel.
Day 11 – Jaipur
Start the day with an excursion to the Amer Fort. Perched on a hill in the suburbs of Jaipur, the fort was once the capital of Rajasthan. Former residence of Rajput Maharajas, the fort is notable for its grand architecture showcasing Hindu style of art. Later, explore the City Palace complex that is comprised of two palaces, Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal, a museum, a vast array of courtyards, gardens and buildings. The palace is a blend of the Shilpa Shastra of Indian architecture with Rajput, Mughal and European styles. Diwan-I-Aam (Hall of Public Audience), Bhaggi Khana (a museum), Pitam Niwaa gate and Peacock Gate are a must-see. Other places to visit include Hawa Mahal (Palace of Wind), Jal Mahal (Water Palace), and Jantar Mantar (an observatory). Make sure to spend some time in the charming markets of the Old City. Overnight, stay at hotel.
Day 12 – Jaipur – Fatehpur Sikri –Agra
Today drive to Agra, 240 km (approximately five hours) away, the home of the icon of eternal love, Taj Mahal. En route, visit Fatehpur Sikri. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing the grandeur of Mughal architecture and well worth the time. On arrival in Agra, check-in at hotel and embark on a city tour. This evening, visit the magnificent Taj Mahal, described by poets as “a teardrop on the cheek of eternity”. The monument was built as a mausoleum by Shah Jahan in the memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. When included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, it was described as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. The ivory-white marble tomb surrounded by picturesque gardens attracts millions visitors all year round. Overnight, stay at hotel.
Day 13 – Agra – Sikandra – Delhi
After breakfast, check-out from hotel and drive to Delhi, 240 km (approximately four hours) away. Before you leave the city, visit the mighty Agra Fort – a World UNESCO Heritage Site. En route, stop at Sikandra to visit the Tomb of Akbar the Great. The tomb of the great emperor is an architectural marvel showcasing the splendid Mughal architectural style. Construction of the tomb was commenced by Akbar himself and was completed after his death by his son, Jahangir. The four white marble minarets at entrance of the tomb from the South gate are similar to those of the Taj Mahal. On arrival in Delhi, check-in at hotel and the rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight, stay at hotel.
Day 14 – Depart Delhi
Today your India travel comes to an end. We arrange your drop to Delhi Airport, from where you will board your flight back home. If required, our representative will be at hand to assist you with a smooth check-out from the hotel and escort you to the airport. We advise you to arrive at the airport at least 3 hours prior to departure and keep your passport and printout of airline ticket handy to avoid last minute hassles. This itinerary is only a slice of the wonderful diversity and beauty that India has to offer and we hope that you will return soon to discover more. Namaste!