Duration : 12 Night/ 13 Days
Destination : Delhi - Agra – Ranthambore - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Pushkar - Jaipur
Welcome to indias desert state of rajasthan. This part of India has a rich and fascinating royal history and here we visit stunning ornate palaces and hill forts commanding beautiful views over the surrounding countryside. We visit temples and the holy city of pushkar as well as the romantic lake city of udaipur. This Royal Rajasthan Tour allows us an insight in to the lavish lifestyle of the maharajas who once called rajasthan home.
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 Ranthambore national park. 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. We continue on to Ranthambore which was first established as a game sanctuary in 1955, it went on to become one of the project tiger reserves in 1973. The park is one of the best places to spot the elusive tiger in its natural habitat. There is also a wealth of other wildlife here including leopards, wild boar and mongoose as well as a huge variety of birds, including the rare brown faced owl, and many plant species.
This morning we have an early morning game drive to see what wildlife we can spot and to search for tigers. We will have breakfast when we return followed by some free time. In the evening we will go on another game drive to further explore Ranthambore and watch the wildlife.
This morning we will set off for Bundi a beautiful town on the foothills of the Aravelli mountain range. The town is most famous for its beautiful palaces and architecture and today we visit the Taragarh or star fort situated on a hill overlooking Bundi and commanding excellent views of the town below. After we go to see one of Bundis intricately carved step wells used to collect water during the monsoon. The wells have steps carved into the walls to allow the collection of water from the well even when levels were low.
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 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 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 the pink city of Jaipur. The city was first established in 1727 and was India's first planned city. 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 return 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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