This tour will explore the processes of cultural synthesis among the major religious civilizations of India's past, Jain, Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim. The great stupa at Sanchi and the monastic remains at Sarnath, together with the elaborately carved temples at Ranakpur, will testify to the vigor of Buddhist and Jain offshoots from early Hinduism. The many facets of later Hindu civilization will be manifest in the elaborate temples of Khajuraho, the Rajput fortified palaces of Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur, and the thriving pilgrimage center at Varanasi. The Mughal contribution to India will be seen at Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Delhi, while New Delhi will display British power. We will also examine prehistoric and tribal cultures and study the best of northern Indian art in superb museums and at world-famous monuments. Our stays in several palace hotels will provide an intimate experience of royal lifestyle. We will sample the foods of each region visited and attend several evenings of traditional dance and music. There also will be time to explore on our own and to relax and reflect on all we have seen. Although there is "never enough time" in India, we have selected cities and sites that we feel will provide a comprehensive understanding of the best of Indian art, architecture and history.
Duration: 16 Nights/17 Days
Places Covered: Delhi, Mandawa, Bikaner, Khimsar, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Deogarh, Pushkar, Jaipur, Agra.
Day 01 - Arrive Delhi
On arrival, you will be met by our representative & transferred to the hotel.
Overnight stay at hotel. Relax for the day.
Delhi, capital of India, is a vibrant and living city which presents a perfect blend of tradition and modernity.
Day 02 - Delhi
Morning excursion to India Gate, a World War I memorial. Drive past the Rashtrapathi Bhawan, residence of the President of India, Parliament House of the world's largest democracy and other government buildings. Visit Qutab Minar, Laxmi Narayn Temple and Humayun's Tomb, architectural precursor to the Taj Mahal.
Lunch at the hotel. Afternoon tour of Old Delhi.
Visit the Jama Masjid, India's best-known mosque. Enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through the lanes of colorful shopping Bazaar known as Chandni Chawk
Visit Red Fort, built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century.
Visit Rajghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.
Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 03 Delhi / Mandawa
Depart early morning to Mandawa. Check in to the resort.
Afternoon tour to the village to see the havelis and their frescoes and architecture.
Overnight stay at the Mandwa castle.
Day 04 Mandawa / Bikaner
After taking breakfast proceed by road to Bikaner, the desert town in the northern Rajasthan. On arrival check in at the hotel.
Afternoon sightseeing tour of Bikaner includes visiting the impregnable Junagarh Fort reputed to have remained unconquered till date. Built by one of the most able and trusted generals of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, Raja Rai Singh, this 15th century fort has 37 palaces, temples and pavilions that are marvels in red sandstone construction.
Also visit the Camel Breeding Farm which carries out breeding and training of camels (closed on Sundays). Overnight stay at your hotel in Bikaner.
Lalgarh Palace, built of red sandstone, was designed by a British. This palace displays a harmonious blend of Oriental and European style. Also visit the Camel Breeding Farm which carries out breeding and training of camels. Overnight stay at your hotel in Bikaner.
Day 05 Bikaner / Khimsar
Proceed to Khimsar, a remote village inhabited by Bishnoi community. Visit the Khimasar Fort which has been partially converted into a hotel. Overnight stay at the Khimasar Fort.
Day 06 Khimsar / Jaisalmer
Morning departure from Khimsar to Jaisalmer. Arrive at Jaisalmer and check in to your hotel. Evening sight of the sunset at the Cenotaphs.
Overnight stay at hotel in Jaisalmer.
Day 07 Jaisalmer
Morning sightseeing tour of Jaisalmer. Located in heart of the Thar Desert, the place is famous for its temples, forts and palaces, all built of yellow stone. Visit the Jaisalmer Fort, Manak Chowk, Patwon Ki Haveli (Mansion) & Salim Singh Ki Haveli (Mansion). Also visit the Gadisar lake, one of the major attractions of the city. Afternoon safari to Sam Sand Dunes.
Overnight stay at your hotel in Jaisalmer.
Day 08 Jaisalmer / Jodhpur
Morning drive to Jodhpur. En route visit Mandore gardens. Arrive at Jodhpur and check in at your hotel.
Afternoon sightseeing tour of the city includes the impregnable Mehrangarh Fort, which contains majestic palaces. Also visit the Jaswant Thada, a marble cenotaph built in 1899 for Maharajah Jaswant Singh II, and monuments to other Maharajahs of Jodhpur.
Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 09 Jodhpur / Udaipur
Morning departure for Udaipur. Visit en route Ranakpur, renowned for some remarkably carved Jain temples in amber stone. The main shrine of the temple is dedicated to Bhagwan Rishabdev, the first Jain Tirthankar. After arrival at Udaipur, check in to the hotel.
Day 10 Udaipur
One of the most romantic cities in India, Udaipur is a living museum that records over hundreds of years of history. Numerous lakes dot the precincts of the city. Aptly called the "city of lakes," Udaipur achieved movie stardom as the setting for the Bond movie Octopussy. No visit to the city is complete without eating in one of the restaurants while watching it on video.
Morning visit to Kumbhalgarh, located 64 kms north of Udaipur and cradled in the Aravali Ranges. The fort was built by Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. Being the birthplace of the great Rajput warrior Maharana Pratap, it is of sentimental value.
Afternoon sightseeing tour of the city involves City Palace, Saheliyon ki Bari or Garden of Maids.
Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 11 Udaipur / Deogarh
After breakfast proceed to Deogarh (140 kms). Upon arrival, check in at hotel.
Afternoon excursion to the 17th century Deogarh Mahal. Standing at a height of 2100 ft. above sea level with its bold battlements, domed turrets and balconies offering a commanding view of the surrounding Aravalli mountains and its rugged rock-strewn countryside dotted by a number of lakes.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 12 Deogarh / Pushkar
The journey between Deogarh and Pushkar involves a short, scenic, train ride on a line built for the British Officers during the British Raj.
Arrive and transfer to hotel.
Visit the holy Lake and also the famous Brahma Temple, the only temple in India dedicated to the Brahma, Creator in the Hindu Trinity of Gods.
Overnight stay at the hotel in Pushkar.
Day 13 Pushkar / Jaipur
Morning drive to Jaipur. After arrival check in to the hotel.
Spend the day at leisure. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 14 Jaipur
Morning visit to the Jantar Mantar Observatory, built by the astronomer King Raja Sawai Jai Singh II in the 18th century. Drive past the Hawa Mahal or the palace of winds.
Lunch at the hotel.
Afternoon excursion to Amber Fort and Palace, one of the finest examples of Rajput architecture. Enjoy a ride on an elephant which will take you to the fort. Situated on a hillside and overlooking a lake which reflects the fort's ramparts and terraces, the fort presents a spectacular view.
Dinner at the hotel. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 15 Jaipur / Agra
Morning visit to Agra via Fatehpur Sikri. Often referred to as "India's Pompeii", the city of Fatehpur Sikri was built by Akbar, the greatest of the Mughals. After remaining the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1570 to 1586, the city was abandoned. Various reasons are ascribed to this. The finest buildings within this area are the Diwan - i - Am, Diwan - i - Khas, Panch Mahal, Jama Masjid, Birbal's Palace, Panch Mahal, Buland Darwaza and the tomb of famous Sufi Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti. Bulad Darwaza was built in 1575 to commemorate the conquest of Gujarat by Akbar.
Evening excursion to Taj Mahal, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his consort Mumtaj Mhahal. and relish the spectacular sight at sunset. Overnight in Agra.
Day 16 Agra / Delhi
Morning excursion to Sikandra, the tomb of Akbar. Construction of the mausoleum was started by Akbar and completed by his son emperor son Jehangir. Visit Itamad-Ud-Daula's tomb, in many ways precursor to the Taj Mahal. The tomb was built by Empress Noor Jahan, wife of Jehangir in memory of her father, Ghias-ud-din Beg, in 1622-25.
Visit the Agra Fort. Sunset visit to the Taj Mahal.
Return to hotel and after checking out of the hotel transfer to the Railway Station and take a train for Delhi. Reach Delhi and cheek in at the hotel. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 17 Delhi / Out
Morning visit to Cannaught Place, heartthrob of Delhi and also its shopping hub. Return to the hotel and after checking out of the hotel proceed to the Indira Gandhi International Airport to take a flight for your ongoing destination.