Classic Rajasthan14 days & 13 nights, Escorted Discovery Group
Escorted Discovery Group
Delhi, Alsisar, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaipur & Agra
The princely state of Rajasthan is India at its colorful best, home to magnificent, ornate palaces and majestic forts. Following a tour of the sights of imperial Delhi, travel through the heart of the historic state of Rajasthan, discovering its culture and traditions, explore the romance of a bygone era and complete your comprehensive journey at the astoundingly beautiful Taj Mahal in Agra.
Day 1Arrive Delhi
On arrival, you will be met and taken to your hotel.Eros Hotel - 2 Nights
Shah Jahan founded the city of Shahjahanabad, now referred to as Old Delhi, in 1648. The famous Red Fort in the heart of Old Delhi was once the most opulent fort of the Mughal empire and it boasts the Diwan-i-Am, Hall of Public Audience, and the Diwan-i-Khas, Hall of Private Audience. A short drive from the fort is the Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in the world, built by Shah Jahan to dominate his city. When the British chose Delhi as their capital in 1911, they appointed two architects, Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker, to plan and build a new city to rival the fabled cities of the Mughals. New Delhi was thus built in true colonial style with tree-lined avenues, colonial bungalows, the Parliament House, the War Memorial Arch and the Viceregal Palace, now the official residence of the president of India. Your tour will include a visit to the Jama Masjid mosque and a drive past the India Gate, the Red Fort, President's Palace and Parliament House.Eros Hotel (B)
Day 3To Alsisar
Drive from Delhi to Alsisar, a journey of 163 miles and approximately 6.5 hours.Alsisar Mahal - 1 Night (B)
This afternoon there will be a walking tour through Alsisar village to see the painted Havelis. Depending upon availability of guides this excursion may take place at Mandawa, or another village in the Shekhawati region.
Day 4To Bikaner
Drive from Alsisar to Bikaner, a distance of 118 miles and journey time of approximately 5 hours.Laxmi Niwas Palace - 1 Night (B)
Enjoy an afternoon tour of Bikaner. On this tour, you will visit Junagarh Fort, one of the most interesting forts in Rajasthan, with its sumptuously decorated interiors. Built in 1588 by Raja Rai Singh it is unusual in that it was one of the few major forts of Rajasthan that was not built on a hilltop. Instead, it was built on the desert plains; its rugged sandstone bastions and graceful pavilions and balconies are silhouetted against the sky.
Proceed on a evening walking tour of Bikaner. Explore on foot the old city area of Bikaner with its array of colorful bangles, vibrant spices, tea stalls and local vegetables before you head to a snack shop with your guide. The snack capital of India offers regional savories which are crispy, at times spicy, but nevertheless worth trying and taking back home.
Day 5To Jaisalmer
Drive from Bikaner to Jaisalmer, a journey of 207 miles and approximately 7 hours, including stops.Jaisalkot - 2 Nights (B)
In the morning, explore Jaisalmer fort, one of the largest in the world. The majestic fort's yellow sandstone walls are a tawny color during the day and turn a magical honey gold during the sunset against the picturesque yellow desert. During your tour, visit the Gadisagar Lake - rainwater reservoir built in 1367, the delightful Folklore Museum and the famous Nathwon and Patwon Ki havelis. Later in the afternoon, drive to the outskirts of Jaisalmer for a camel ride and to view the sun setting against the picturesque sand dunes.Jaisalkot (B)
Day 7To Jodhpur
Drive from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, a journey of 180 miles and approximately 7.5 hours, including stops.Ajit Bhawan - 1 Night (B)
This afternoon, proceed on a tour of Mehrangarh fort. The magnificent Mehrangarh fort is set high on a hill overlooking the city. Inside are some of the most intricately ornamented palaces with exquisitely carved panels and latticed windows. The palaces have evocative names: the Moti Mahal, or Pearl Palace; the Phool Mahal, or Flower Palace; and the Sukh Mahal, or Pleasure Palace. The ramparts of the fort offer stunning views of the blue-painted Brahmin houses for which the city is famous. On your way down from the Mehrangarh fort you will visit Jaswant Thada, a beautiful white marble cenotaph built in 1899 to honour late Maharaja Jaswant Singh II.
Day 8Ranakpur - Udaipur
Drive from Jodhpur to Ranakpur, a distance of 118 miles and journey time of approximately 5 hours.The Lalit Laxmi Vilas Palace Udaipur - 2 Nights (B)
En route visit the Ranakpur Temples. Ranakpur is one of the largest and most important Jain temple complexes in India. The main temple is the Chaumukha Temple, or Four-Faced Temple, dedicated to Adinath and built in 1439. This huge and superbly crafted temple has 29 halls supported by 1,444 pillars, no two of which are alike. Within the complex are two other Jain temples dedicated to Neminath and Parasnath and, a little distance away, there is a Sun Temple.
Outside the temple precincts, your local guide will highlight the salient features of this exquisite temple complex, as guiding is not permitted inside the Ranakpur Jain Temples. However, audio guides are available for a small charge. To secure an audio guide, additionally, you may be asked for a refundable deposit and a photo ID. The photo ID and the deposit will be returned to you when you hand-in the audio guide upon completion of your tour of the Ranakpur temples.
Drive to Udaipur, a distance of 62 miles and journey time of approximately 3 hours.
This morning, enjoy an excursion to Eklingji and Nagda. Eklingji and Nagda are 14 miles from Udaipur set in a deep ravine containing Eklingji Lake. The white marble Elalinga Temple with a two-storey mandapa to Siva, the family deity of the Mewars, dates from 734 AD but was rebuilt in the 15th century. There is a silver door and screen and a silver nandi facing the black marble Siva. At Nagda there are three temples: the ruined 11th century Jain temple of Adbhutji and the Vaishnavite Sas-Bahu ('Mother-in-law/ Daughter-in-law') temples. The complex, though comparatively small, has some very intricate carving on pillars, ceiling and mandapa walls.The Lalit Laxmi Vilas Palace Udaipur (B)
Enjoy an afternoon walking tour of Udaipur. Your tour includes the City Palace and the gardens of Saheliyon ki Bari. The City Palace is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan, comprising many buildings added at different times by various maharajas. Perhaps the most beautiful are the Moti Mahal with its mirror inlay and the Chini Mahal with its iridescent tilework.
Udaipur is also famous for its traditional miniature paintings, which are mural-like paintings mainly depicting incidents from Rajput or Mughal history and legends, or stories from the Hindu Puranas. Visit a miniature painting studio to see several fine examples of these works of art, which are beautiful if looked at from a normal viewing distance but much better appreciated close-up where you can see the fine details that is a result of the hours of care and dedication of the artist.
Walk through the colorful sprawling markets in the Old City. Browse through the shops selling embroidered and block printed fabrics, jewellery and carved wooden artefacts. Get a glimpse of the vibrant culture as you walk past various shops selling a wide array of items.
Day 10To Jaipur
Drive from Udaipur to Jaipur, a journey of 248 miles and approximately 7 hours, not including stops.The Lalit Jaipur - 2 Nights (B)
Enjoy a morning excursion to Amber. The ancient Rajput capital is located on a hill 7 miles north of Jaipur. Amber was the capital of the Kachhwaha Rajputs from 1037 until the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh founded Jaipur in 1727, but the majestic fort-palace was not begun until about 1600. The building was added to by successive Rajput rulers, however, the architecture displays many Mughal influences in addition to the traditional Rajput designs. Whilst visiting the palace you will be able to explore the intricate chambers and hallways, the maze of passages and courtyards and witness the wonderful views of the Jal Mahal water palace below.The Lalit Jaipur (B)
En route to Amber, there will be a brief photo stop at the 'Hawa Mahal', known as the Palace of Winds. Built in 1799, it is a remarkable facade structure, constructed of red sandstone overlooking one of the main streets, specifically meant for the ladies of the Royal family, who would sit behind the trellis screens and comfortably observe the activities on the streets without being seen.
Proceed on an afternoon tour of Jaipur. Tour Jaipur, known as the 'Pink City' of Rajasthan, since so many of its buildings are painted in a lovely pink hue. The City Palace, with its museum, is still the home of the Maharaja of Jaipur. On show are an extensive collection of art, carpets, textiles and weapons, all beautifully preserved. Across from the City Palace is the observatory or Jantar Mantar, a curious collection of sculptures each of which has a specific purpose such as measuring the position of the stars, altitudes and calculating eclipses. It is the best preserved example of the original five observatories built by Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur. You will also visit the colorful local bazaars.
The award-winning Anokhi museum, set up in the early 2000s, works closely with local craftsmen from in and around Jaipur to preserve the craft of hand block printing. Your tour of the museum includes an introduction to hand block printing and a short demonstration as how to hand-print your own scarf. The museum, set in a heritage building, with galleries scattered around different floors, currently requires guests to climb steep stairways. The museum is supported by the creators of the Anokhi clothing brand, which sells hand-block print garments through dedicated retail outlets across India.
The Anokhi museum is closed on Mondays and during local holidays. Every summer the museum is closed between mid-May and mid-July for maintenance. The museum's design, regrettably, is not suitable for wheelchair users.
To celebrate Rajasthani food and the cultural influences that make the cuisine so unique, you will also pay a visit to Laxmi Mishtan Bhandar (LMB as it is popularly known). Located in the old bazaar of Jaipur, LMB is a famous restaurant and sweet shop. Taste a traditional sweet as your guide tells you about the history of this unique shop.
Day 12Fatehpur Sikri - Agra
Today you will be transferred from Jaipur to Agra, a distance of 146 miles and a journey time of approximately 8 hours including a stop for lunch (payable locally) and visit to Fatehpur Sikri.Courtyard by Marriott Agra - 1 Night (B)
The magnificent deserted red sandstone city of Fatehpur Sikri with its forts, palaces and mosques is located 23 miles from Agra. The city, designed as a tribute to the Sufi saint, Sheikh Salim Chisti, who had predicted the birth of Akbar's son and heir, was begun in 1571 and was abandoned just 15 years later due to a shortage of water.
This afternoon, visit the Taj Mahal. Today, you will be taken to the Taj Mahal, built as a monument of eternal love by Shah Jahan to his bride Mumtaz Maha. The Taj Mahal looks amazingly graceful from almost any angle. It was built over a period of 20 years by 20,000 laborers and craftsmen, and displays superb craftsmanship. The close up detail of the Taj Mahal is as exquisite as the overall architectural design, with semi-precious stones and beautiful patterns covering the marble surface.
The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.
The Taj Mahal is undergoing exterior refurbishment work and different parts of the building will have scaffolding erected during this process. The expected date of completion is Summer 2018.
Day 13To Delhi
Enjoy a morning tour of Agra Fort. Akbar began Agra Fort in 1565, with additions to the citadel being made through to the time of Akbar's grandson, Shah Jahan. The citadel consists of marble palaces, ornate alcoves and terrace pavilions.Holiday Inn New Delhi International Airport - 1 Night (B)
Drive from Agra to Delhi, a distance of 125 miles and journey time of approximately 4 hours.
Day 14Depart Delhi
You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport.(B)