Duration : 13 Night/ 14 Days
Destination : Delhi - Agra - Jaipur – Pushkar - Khimsar - Jodhpur - Deogarh - Udaipur
India is a lovely country steeped in history. We start and end this trip in Delhi with its busy streets, buzzing evening bazaars and many historical sights. We marvel at the magnificent Taj Mahal and at the pink city of Jaipur. We visit hill forts and palaces and get a taste of what India was like when it was ruled by the Maharajas. We stay in heritage properties including a fort and palace allowing us to experience life as an Indian royal buildings and Heritage India Tour.
Today we begin our tour in India's capital city, Delhi. Start the afternoon by exploring the tomb of the 2nd Mughal king Humayun. Completed in 1572 this is one of the many buildings that inspired the Taj Mahal. The main tomb building is made from red sandstone with a white marble dome. The tomb complex also contains Persian style gardens that had never been seen before in India. Next stroll through the gardens surrounding India gate, the memorial for soldiers from the British Indian Army who died between 1914 and 1921 in the Afghan war and the First World War. Over 13 thousand soldiers names are inscribed into the stone of the gate making this a very moving place despite the busy location. Finish the day by seeing some of the government buildings including the Indian presidents house.
Today we drive to the city of Agra situated on the banks of the holy Yamuna river. The city is famous all over the world for being home to many historic sights most notably the majestic Taj Mahal. The afternoon is free to relax and explore. In the evening we go to see a theatre show which tells the epic love story that led to the creation of the Taj Mahal.
Early morning visit to the magnificent Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal was built by the emperor Shah Jahan in the late 17th century in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The building is made from white marble inlaid with precious and semi precious stones. In the afternoon we visit Agra fort, another stunning example of Mughal architecture, built by emperor Akbar in 1565.
Today we drive to the pink city of Jaipur. The city was first established in 1727 and was India's first planned city. On the way we stop at Fatehpur Sikri to see the grand mosque and tallest gateway (buland darwaza) which is 55 metres high. The mosque was completed in the late 16th century and was designed to hold 10 thousand worshippers. In the evening we visit the Birla Temple built by the well known Birla family to worship Lord Vishnu and his wife Goddess Lakshmi. The temple is built purely from white marble and contains an array of delicate carvings. This is an oasis of calm in a busy city.
Today we have a full days sightseeing in Jaipur. First we enter into the old city and head to see the spectacular "Hawa Mahal" or wind palace with its many intricately designed windows,this is a major landmark of Jaipur. From here we take a short walk to Jantr Mantr, one of the best observatories in India containing a collection of instruments made from marble and brass. Next we visit the city palace museum which is still the residence of the current maharajah and royal family of Jaipur. The museum houses a wide selection of artefacts and uniforms allowing an insight into life long ago. The palace is also home to the beautiful mosaic peacock gate in the entertainment hall. We finish off the day by driving to the Amer fort just outside Jaipur. The fort was built in the 16th century from red sandstone and marble. Situated on the top of a hill the fort commands stunning views of the surrounding countryside and also over the lake below.
Today we drive to the holy city of Pushkar, a desert town on the fringes of Pushkar lake. The lake is said to have been created by lord Brahma himself and in the evening we visit the temple of lord Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. We then go to the ghats at the lake to see the prayer ceremony that takes place there every evening. Pushkar is also famous for its camel fair which is the biggest in India.
Today we drive to Khimsar fort which is located on the edge of the Thar desert. The fort was constructed in 1523 to defend the village from invaders. Today part of the fort is still home to the royal family of Khimsar while the rest has been converted into a heritage hotel. The evening is free to relax in the surroundings of the fort and enjoy living like royalty, take a swim in the pool and gaze at the views from the roof terrace.
Today we take a safari into the desert to see the wildlife that calls this harsh landscape home. Later on we take a trip to the local sand dune and climb up to watch the sunset from the top. The top of the dune also offers fabulous views of the desert landscape as well as looking across to the fort.
Today we set off for Jodhpur known as the sun city due to its year round warm sunny weather. Along the way we stop at Ranakpur to visit the Jain temple there built to honour the founder of the Jain religion and said to be the most magnificent of the Jain temples. The temple was built in the 15th century and is intricately carved from marble. In the afternoon we visit Meherangarh fort which sits on a hill in the centre of the city and was built during the reign of Jaswant Singh between 1638 and 1678. The fort is known for its many beautiful screens and lattice windows carved from sandstone as well as it's expansive courtyards. The fort sits 120 metres above the city and commands an excellent view of the city below allowing you to clearly see the houses painted blue to distinguish the Brahmin families. After the fort we visit the Jaswant Thada which is a traditional cremation ground of Jodhpur Rulers. Here there is an intricately carved white marble memorial built in 1899 by Maharajah Sardar Singh in memory of his father.
Today we drive to Deogarh a town on the eastern side of the Aravelli mountain range. The town itself is bustling with small shops selling everything from electrical goods to local handicrafts and there is a beautiful lake which is an ideal spot to look out for a selection of birds. The main attraction in Deogarh is the palace hotel which still retains much of its original charm. There are beautiful courtyards as well as large roof terraces offering stunning views of the town, lake and surrounding countryside. Each room in the palace is unique and we get a real taste of the life of a maharaja during our 2 night stay.
This morning we take a train ride along with the local villagers on wooden bench seats and with a lovely breeze coming in through the open windows. The train runs on a narrow gauge track and the signals used are all manually operated. Our journey takes us up into the hills for wonderful views of the land below, we pass through tunnels and over bridges and get a real sense of life in this part of the country. We also look out for different wildlife including monkeys playing in the hills. The rest of the day is free to explore the town and enjoy the lovely palace hotel.
Today we set off for the city of Udaipur seen by Indian people and travellers alike as the most romantic city in India and known as the Venice of the east due to its many lakes. The main palace gives a stunning view over lake Pichola. This evening we take a boat ride on the lake to see the palace from the water and also to get a closer look at the lake palace now a luxury hotel.
Today we start of by visiting the Jagdish temple built in 1651 by the Maharana of the time Jagat Singh. The temple is dedicated to lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe and is the largest temple in Udaipur. After we go to the city palace of the Maharana situated on the east side of lake Pichola. Half of the palace is still used by the current maharaja who is part of the longest surviving dynasty in the world. The palace is extensive with beautiful paintings, glass mosaic peacocks and a large collection of silver artefacts including a silver carriage. Later on we take a walk through the Sahelion Ki Badi gardens and see the many fountains and beautiful plants and flowers there. The gardens are a peaceful place to relax at the end of a busy day.
Today we fly back to Delhi. In the afternoon we visit the Jama mosque built by emperor Shah Jahan and completed in 1656. This is the best known mosque in India and was built to hold 25 thousand worshippers in its courtyard. After we go to Raj Ghat the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi father of the nation. The gardens here contain a black marble platform which marks the spot where Gandhi was cremated and there is an eternal flame kept alight at one end. Later we spend some time in the old city of Delhi and explore the many narrow winding streets there.
Tonight we will have a final group dinner to mark the end of the trip.
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