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General Area: North India
Season: Oct to March
Duration: 13 Nights / 14 Days
Temperature: Min 10ºC To 15ºC & Max 20ºC To 25ºC
The vastness and diversity of India is difficult to capture in one tour, but a visit to these very different cities reveals the jewels of the subcontinent and provides an introduction that, we hope, will be a beginning to a lifelong attraction to India. The diversity of landscapes and culture offer everything you want during your holiday in Rajasthan tour.
Rajasthan is synonymous with all that is grand and most impressive in Indian architecture and history. It has dry and rugged environment, abounding in classical and ancient traditions, where palaces, temples, fortresses and royalty exist alongside villages and tribes.
This journey begins with vibrant, colourful bustling towns, stunning rural villages, sights of deep historical and religious significance, areas of great natural beauty, sand dunes and cultural richness of some lesser known parts of Rajasthan, which is wholly characteristic of the country.
Arrive in Delhi, we will be there inside the arrival hall to greet you at Delhi international airport and transferred to the hotel in central Delhi. Delhi is the nation’s capital and India’s third largest city with a population of 10 million plus, covering an area of 1483 sq km. It is located in the northern part of India, at a height of 239 m above sea level, and is a bustling metropolis. The main languages spoken are Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi, although English is also widely understood. Delhi is also a major travel gateway and is one of the busiest entrance points for overseas airlines, being a major link to all other northern and southern cities.
There is Old Delhi and New Delhi, although the demarcation between the two has begun to blur and areas to the north, south, east and west of Delhi are becoming increasingly popular. New Delhi was designed and built by the British and remains the hub of major political and commercial activities giving the city a cosmopolitan air. It is graced with wide roads, stately monuments, government buildings and embassies, and green parks and gardens. Overnight at hotel, New Delhi
After breakfast our guide will collect you from the hotel for the sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi.
Begin with old Delhi by visit to Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque, built of red sandstone and white marble in the middle of the 17th Century. Then enjoy strolling around Chadni Chowk (Silver Street), once the Imperial Avenue down which Shah Jehan rode at the head of lavish cavalcades, and endless little alleyways, today bustling with silversmiths’ ateliers and shops and stalls selling almost everything! You may also like to visit the Red Fort, built in 1648 during the reign of Shah Jehan in red sandstone, which gave the fort its name. There is a museum that houses a 14th century manuscript of the Holy Quran.
Sightseeing of New Delhi includes a visit to India Gate, built in memory of Indian soldiers killed during the First World War. Rashtrapati Bhawan, built in the early 20th century as the Imperial residence of the Viceroy is today the official residence of the President of India and Parliament House and unique circular building with huge colonnades, houses the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament.
Drive straight to one of Delhi’s most striking monuments is the 70-meter high Qutb Minar, which looms majestically across the wide plains of Delhi.
The tour ends with a visit to Humayan’s Tomb; the first Mughal garden tomb, built by his grieving widow, Hamida Begum, of red sandstone and white marble. The tomb houses 100 graves within it. Visitors are immediately struck by the tomb’s resemblance to its more famous cousin, the Taj Mahal, with its four grand gateways, octagonal base-plan, soaring niche-shaped arches, lofty double domes and the symmetrical garden with its central canal. Wander round the gardens, the air filled with the sounds of peacocks and a wide variety of birds; and sit quietly on a bench watching the sun go down.
After completion of your tour you drive back to the hotel, rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight at hotel, New Delhi
After Breakfast you will drive to Agra (200 Km – 3½ hours), Agra is a city that is still associated with the memorable Mughal period during which, in the 16th and 17th centuries, Agra was the capital of India. The city has many monuments that epitomize the high point of Mughal architecture. It was here that the founder of the dynasty, Babar, laid out the first formal Persian garden on the banks of the river Yamuna. Here, Akbar, his grandson raised the towering ramparts of the great Red Fort. Within its walls, Jehangir built rose-red palaces, courts and gardens, and Shah Jehan embellished it with marble mosques, palaces and pavilions of gem-inlaid white marble. Agra is home to some of the world famous monuments that are an epitome of skilled craftsmanship and timeless beauty; the crowning glory being, of course, the Taj Mahal.
After lunch, our guide will pick you from the hotel lobby for the sightseeing tour of Agra. We start with Agra Fort standing like a crescent on the banks of the Jamuna River, enclosed by forbidding 20-meter high walls with a 12-meter moat between them, three successive Mughal emperors – Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jehan – helped create this massive structure which is notable for its smooth blending of Hindu and Muslim architecture. The Fort houses palaces, courts, mosques, baths, gardens and gracious pavilions within its premises. Among the fascinating structures is the red sandstone Jehangiri Mahal built by Akbar for his Hindu queen, Jodhabai, this being one of the earliest constructions illustrating the fort’s change from a military structure to a palace. The Diwan-i-Am, the Diwan-i-Khas, the Khas Mahal, the Palace of Mirrors, the Pearl mosque, the Nagina Masjid, the Garden of Grapes, and the Fish Pavilion are the other monuments in the fort complex.
We drive straight to visit Taj Mahal- Completed in 1652, skilled craftsmen from Persia, Turkey, France and Italy and some 20,000 laborers’ worked for 17 years to build this edifice, constructed by Emperor Shah Jehan as a mausoleum for his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal stands serene and awesome, on a raised marble platform, by the banks of the Yamuna River. The main architect of this symbol of eternal love was Isa Khan, who was brought all the way from Shiraz in Iran. After Shah Jehan was deposed and brutally imprisoned in the Agra Fort by his son, Aurangzeb, he spent the rest of his life looking wistfully at his wife’s final resting place, just across the river.
Overnight at hotel, Agra
Today we drive to Jaipur en-route we visit Fatehpur Sikri served as the capital of the Mughal Empire between 1570 and 1586. But as abruptly as it had been built, it was abandoned. A popular legend is attached to the city’s conception; Emperor Akbar was without a male heir and therefore made a pilgrimage to seek the blessings of the powerful saint Sheikh Salim Chisti. His prayer was fulfilled and soon a son was born to him. In honour of the saint, Akbar named the prince Salim, and decided to found a new city to celebrate his birth. And thus, the magnificent Fatehpur Sikri, the new capital, came into being. The city was intended to embody the noble ideals and the humanitarian bent of this dynamic emperor. Although a Muslim, Akbar was famous for his incredible tolerance towards other religions and he is said to have indulged in a great deal of study and discussion in this field in his new capital. He also created a new religion, Deen-e-Elahi, which attempted to fuse positive aspects of all the major religions.
Continue your drive towards The Rose Pink City founded by Maharaja Jai Singh II (1693-1743), is the capital of Rajasthan. The Old City (Known as the Pink City) is a great place to wander around. The whole city was painted in Pink colour by Maharaja Man Singh II when Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, visited Jaipur in 1876 AD. Today, every home within the city is obliged by law to maintain its facade. It is a very well planned city laid out in a grid pattern and was designed by a young Bengali engineer and scholar by the name “Vidyadhar Bhattacharya”.
Jaipur got its name from its founder Sawai Jai Singh (1693-1743), who had the vision to create a meticulously planned city as his capital. Jaipur was and remains the only city in the world, symbolizing the nine divisions of the universe, through nine rectangular sectors sub-dividing it. Jaipur is a royal city & this is its most noticeable aspect, small buildings & festivals testify it. Jaipur & its surroundings are rather like an endless museum. The city also offers an endless variety of crafts. Jewellers here still fashion the beautiful enamel-on-gold pendants, studded on the reverse with precious stones or pearls & turquoise that one sees in miniature paintings. Jaipur’s lacquer bangles are famous all over the world. Upon arrival at Jaipur, check-in to the hotel, evening free at leisure. Overnight at hotel, Jaipur
In the morning visit Amber Fort with you guide, we will take Elephant ride to reach Amber Fort, the fort is in the north of Jaipur and the regional capital for 6 centuries before Jaipur was built. Rising majestically on the slopes of a hill, this 11th century fort and palace complex is a blend of Hindu and Muslim styles. It may be possible (subject to availability) to enjoy an elephant ride up the ramparts of the fort. The earlier constructions in the inner apartments designed by the Hindu founder are austere, while later constructions abound in the rich flourishes characteristic of Muslim influence. The Diwani-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience) affords a view of the strategic location of Amber. The Jai Mandir (Hall of Victory) is the finest example of the artistic exuberance of the day – panels of alabaster, fine inlay work, a shimmering Hall of Mirrors, renowned for its fine mirror work. The Sukh Nivas (Hall of Pleasure) has 17th century air conditioning.
Exploring Jaipur with your guide, one of the best planned cities in India built of rose-pink sandstone by the great astronomer-king Jai Singh II in 1727. The City Palace stands in the center of the city. Part of it is still the Maharaja’s residence, while most of the complex has been developed into a museum containing rare manuscripts, fine specimens of Rajput and Mughal paintings, royal apparel and an Armory.
Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) is the landmark of Jaipur. It stands on one of the main streets, a curious building, elaborate and fanciful, built of pink sandstone with a delicate honeycomb design. Rising five stories high, it is composed of semi-octagonal overhanging windows, each with its perforated screen, which allowed the ladies of the court to look onto the main street without being seen. Jantar Mantar is the observatory, built by the founder of Jaipur Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. The huge stone instruments were devised to study the movements of the sun, moon and planets and are incredibly accurate.
There is time to wander through the colourful bazaars, a veritable collector’s paradise where you can watch ancient craft forms. Meenakari or enameling delicate patterns of birds and flowers fired in glowing red, deep green, peacock blue and white; the gold jewel is then given further sparkle with emeralds, rubies, white sapphires and dangling pearls. In tiny ateliers you can see the age-old tie-dye methods of cloth printing, with yard upon yard of vivid turquoise, ochre and crimson cloth unfolding.
Overnight at hotel, Jaipur
Morning at leisure after lunch check out from the hotel, our representative will collect you from the hotel and take you to airport, board you Spice Jet Flight No. SG -2981 departing from Jaipur at 15:25 hours and arriving Jaisalmer at 16:40 hours. Upon arrival at Jaisalmer airport you will are met by our representative and transferred to the hotel.
Jaisalmer’s strategic position in the western extremity of Rajasthan is in the heart of the Thar Desert. The ancient city, which stands on a low range of hills, surrounded by a stone wall three miles round, was founded in 1156 AD. Within its walls lie temples, forts and palaces, all built of yellow sandstone. It was a major stop on the caravan route between Kashmir and China. The camel-train routes between India and Central Asia brought it great wealth. The merchants and townspeople built magnificent houses and mansions, all exquisitely carved from wood and golden sandstone.
After check-in to the hotel, with a chance to shower, we’ll have your first walk round this enchanting city, surrounded by a stone wall three miles round. In the evening visit Bada Bagh, to view the royal cenotaphs with their beautifully carved ceilings and equestrian statues of former rulers. Watch the sun go down, turning the city a beautiful golden brown – this incomparably romantic and totally unspoiled city has been dubbed the ‘Golden City’ because of the color imparted to its sandstone ramparts by the setting sun return to your hotel after dusk with time at leisure. Overnight at hotel, Jaisalmer.
After breakfast take a sightseeing tour of Jaisalmer with our guide, visiting Jain Temples, Gadisar tank, Fort, Patewon ki Haveli, Nathmalji-ki Haveli and Salim Singh’s Haveli.
About a quarter of the old city’s population resides within the walls and nothing seems to have changed here for centuries. Enter the fort through a forbidding series of massive gates leading to a large courtyard fronted by the former Maharawal’s seven-story palace. Also within the walls are a group of beautifully carved Jain temples built between the 12th and 15th centuries. The Jain Temples in the fort are decked with deities and dancing figures in mythological settings. The library attached to these places of worship contains some of the most ancient manuscripts in India, some dating back to the 12th century, written on palm-leaf in black ink with hand painted wooden covers.
We start with the Jaisalmer Fort ‘Sonar Kila’ is located on the top of the Trikuta Hill and it is visible from a distance of about 15 kilometers from Jaisalmer. From a distance, the Jaisalmer fort seemed to be rising from the heart of the Thar Desert. The ramparts, bastions and the long-stretching walls of the fort dazzle gloriously during early morning and at sunset. The Fort is vibrant with homes, shops and stalls hidden in the laneways. At the entrance is Manik Chowk, the main market place with tiny shops selling jewelry, beautiful embroidered textiles, camel hair blankets and a variety of wares. Desert nomads and their camels add to the bazaars colour, heralding an entire “city” that is alive. Atop the fort, stand two cannons, least intimidating. The view of the entire toy-like golden town is enchanting.
Later walk through the narrow alleyways where the havelis are located. Centuries ago, Jaisalmer’s strategic position on the camel route between India and Central Asia brought it great wealth. The merchants built magnificent mansions, all exquisitely carved from the golden yellow sandstone. Nowhere else in Rajasthan are the havelis quite as exotic as in Jaisalmer. Down in the city are the renowned havelis or mansions of Salim Singh, Nathmalji and the Patwas, every house boasting superb lattice work in innumerable and intricate designs.
We also visit Gadsisar Lake is one of the major attractions of Jaisalmer. Just leave the madding crowd behind and venture towards the outskirts and you will find yourself next to the famous Gadsisar Lake. Contrary to the popular belief, it is not an oasis but a water conservation tank made around 1400 A.D. by the then maharaja of Jaisalmer, Maharwal Gadsi Singh. Can you believe this structure just outside the city walls once acted as a reservoir that controlled the entire supply of water to the arid city.
In the late afternoon take an excursion to the Khuri or Sam sand dunes (40 km/01 hour), here you will enjoy the camel ride and witness the sun set against the sand dunes. Dunes of Sam will give you some idea of the pace and space of desert life. Upon arrival in the village you will be taken to the nearby sunset point on the dunes to see the sunset. The sun setting over the vast expanse of the desert is a breathtaking experience.
Overnight at hotel, Jaisalmer.
Today you drive to Manvar located 180 km from Jaisalmer, in the midst of the wilderness surrounded by the sand dunes is the splendid isolated splendor of Manvar Tented camp. The concept of MANVAR Desert Camp seems to trace its birth to the 17th century when while on his way to the battlefields, the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, known for his luxurious lifestyle, used to set up royal style camps. These camps were equipped with all the amenities. This tradition was followed by later rulers as well as those of Rajasthan for their hunting trips, royal gatherings and recreational activities.
Each of the thirty tents is carefully placed for commanding views over the desert wilderness. They are extremely luxurious – more like mini-marquees with smart polished traditional camping style teak furniture, rich jute rugs and lovely custom designed block-printed tent linings. Beds are large, can be arranged as single, double or twins, and have electric lamps on side tables that light the tents effectively at night. Delicious Indian Meals are provided in the strategically located dining tent (the central durbar) which offers breathtaking views of the sunrise, sunset and the surrounding country side.
Enjoy an afternoon camel safari through the sand dunes of Rajasthan’s Great Thar Desert. You may see the desert fox, Indian gazelle (chinkara), blue bull (nilgai) and other desert wildlife; as well as mustard and red chilli fields. The evening brings the sights and sounds of local musicians and dancers, as you sit around the camp fire.
Overnight stay in Manvar Camps, Manvar.
The shorter excursions around Manvar by jeep are especially for those who want to experience the adventure of being “off the beaten track” among the colourful desert people of Rajasthan. At these little rural places there are no grand sights but that is the point; here you will see a Rajasthan where way of life little-changed over the centuries. The village tour will allow you to share the fascinating culture of these friendly people and show you the beauty and tranquility of the vast desert. The journey into the desert is an opportunity to come in proximity of village life in one of the harshest conditions of the world. The desert landscape is spellbinding. For miles altogether, there is nothing, but from this aridness one can expect the unexpected as groups of women appear and disappear in their colorful clothes, apparently going nowhere. Visit the homes of the inhabitants living in the desert ( bishnois, rajputs, meghwals). Also see some homes of the desert craftsmen ( carpenters, metal smiths, cobblers ) See unique desert adapted species of flora and fauna , Visit the farms in the desert and learn about farming ( chilli, mustard ) in the desert , See & climb the untouched sand dunes .
Later we drive to Jodhpur; the city is situated at the edge of the Thar Desert. Jodhpur was founded by the Rajput chief Rao Jodha in 1459. The city was the erstwhile capital of the Marwar state.
The city is surrounded by a 10 km long wall with eight gates serving as entrances. The new city is settled around this walled area. There are about one hundred towers in the city, most of which are surrounded by defensive battlements. Jodhpur is a major export center of handicrafts. This princely state is also referred as “The Blue Town of Rajasthan”.
Once the capital of the strong and powerful kingdom of Marwar, Rajasthan’s largest princely state, this is the land of the valiant
Rathore kings, whose courage was a match for the tyranny of the Thar Desert. Dotted with palaces, havelis, temples and houses washed pale blue; the city and its people live under the watchful gaze of the imposing Meherangah Fort. Jodhpur’s heart beats in its crowded bazaars, in the maze of jumbled lanes, in the warmth and hospitality of a hardy desert people.
Late afternoon enjoy the sightseeing tour of Jodhpur with your guide. Jodhpur is the land of the valiant Rathore kings, whose courage was a match for the tyranny of the Thar Desert. A bleak scarp rears up 120 meters from the desert valley. Straddling the rocky crevices is the massive Jodhpur Fort, its sheer walls reflecting the strength of its warrior builders. The fort is entered through seven gates, each a formidable barrier. The museum within the fort is one of the finest in Rajasthan and displays royal apparel, ancient paintings and manuscripts, fabled treasures of the royal household and an armory. An interesting section displays folk musical instruments from different regions of Rajasthan. Delicately latticed windows and pierced screens worked in sandstone form the dominant motif within the rugged casket of the fort and the palaces are exquisitely decorated.
On the road down from the fort, the splash of blinding white marble on the left is Jaswant Thada, Maharaja Jaswant Singh II’s cenotaph, built in 1899 – all previous rulers have their cenotaphs at Mandore. As with the Taj Mahal in Agra, the marble is from Makrana. The town below has many more fine buildings and temples and is interesting to walk through, particularly the market near the clock tower. Overnight at hotel Jodhpur
Morning is at leisure, after having breakfast check-out from the hotel and drive two hours towards South-West to Chanoud Garh. Your hosts are incredibly welcoming here, and will help you settle into the 300-year intimate and elegant old palace which will allow you to experience the historic side of Rajasthan. Built by Thakur Anoop Singh Ji, Chanoud Garh has been in the hands of the same family for 13 generations and is steeped in history. The fort has been carefully restored, with much attention taken to respect the original building’s style and character. A stay at Chanoud Garh is a wonderful opportunity to experience staying in a
maharaja’s palace. This delightful family-run hotel can be found within the heart of India’s Rajasthan, in the village of Chanoud, and provides a fascinating insight into the daily lives of the area’s friendly villagers. A stay here enables you to interact with the locals and will give you a real sense of being at home despite being a million miles away.
Later in the afternoon you will be taken on a jeep drive into the countryside. You will drive through the Rabari villages, which provides a fascinating window into rural life and interacting with the locals defines a stay at Chanoud Garh. You’ll see cattle herders returning home after day of grazing the cattle, and visit to the nearby salt lake is
simply stunning and highly recommended for a sunset or sunrise excursion, alternatively relax on the shores of picturesque Chanoud Lake. Overnight at hotel Chanoud Garh
After a leisurely breakfast today, you will be taken on a walking tour of the village. Here you’ll see the Rabari villagers starting their day, cooking food, tending to cattle, children getting ready to go the school, etc and you will get a true sense of the village going through its daily routine. If the school is open today you will also get to visit the village school and interact with the children. While you may walk through the village or take a bullock cart which the children will love. Return to the hotel in time for lunch.
Rest of the day may be spent in leisure or you may go to a nearby hill for some hiking. From the top of the hills the views of the countryside are amazing.
Overnight at hotel Chanoud Garh
After breakfast drive to Venice of East Udaipur, en-route we will visit Ranakpur Jain temples, one of the five main holy places of the Jain’s. Its 500 years old temples are unique in their style & design, with no other place in Rajasthan having the same ambience and setting as that of Ranakpur. The most famous is the Chaumukha Temple sprawling over 48,000 square feet with 29 halls, 80 domes & 1,444 distinctively carved pillars. Another temple worth visiting is the Sun Temple having polygonal walls with impressive carvings of warriors, horses & splendid chariots. The temples in Ranakpur are quite unique in style and design. The ceilings of the temples are carved with fine, lace-like foliate scrollwork and geometric patterns.
The domes are carved in concentric bands and the brackets connecting the base of the dome with the top are covered with figures of deities.
Udaipur is known as the Venice of the east. It is also called the city of lakes. Udaipur is a fascinating blend of sights, sound and experiences and inspiration for the imagination of poets, painters and writers. Considered one of the most beautiful cities in India, Udaipur was the last capital of the state of Mewar. It was founded in 1567 by Maharana Udai Singh, who re-established his capital here, on the banks of Lake Pichola, after fleeing from the sacking of Chittorgarh by the Mughal Emperor, Akbar. It is a city of palaces, gardens and lakes. The city is dominated by the massive city Palace, which overlooks Lake Pichola. Picturesque havelis (Mansions), ghats and temples line the lake front, with the lively bazaars of the old walled city stretching behind them.
In the evening our guide will meet you at the hotel lobby for the sunset boat ride on Lake Pichola. The name derives from Pichola Village was submerged and Maharana Udai Singh enlarged the lake after he founded the city. He built a masonry dam known as Badipol and lake is now 4 km long and 3 km wide. This picturesque lake encloses the Jag Niwas Island and the Jag Mandir and the City Palace extends along its eastern banks.
Overnight hotel at Udaipur
The guide will collect you from the hotel in the morning and will take you for the sightseeing of Udaipur city. Visit to the City Palace which stands on the crest of a ridge overlooking Lake Pichola. The largest palace in Rajasthan, it was built at various periods but still preserves the harmony of design, enhanced by massive octagonal towers surmounted by cupolas. Now a museum, it is a labyrinth of courtyards richly decorated with inlaid mirror-work, galleries covered with frescos, temples and roof gardens which afford a wide panorama below.
Sahelion-ki-Bari (Garden of the Handmaidens) is a good example of the Hindu art of landscape gardening on a princely scale. Ornamental pools with finely sculptured cenotaphs of soft black stone are surrounded by a profusion of fountains.
The Jagdish Temple in the old town was built in the mid-17th century and has a remarkable bronze statue of Garuda, the mythical bird, facing his revered master Lord Vishnu. The shops and craftsmen’s ateliers in the narrow streets of the bazaar justify endless walks. In the evening you could explore Udaipur at your own, as the hotel is in the walking distance from the main city. Overnight hotel at Udaipur.
Our representative will meet you at the hotel lobby and transfer you to the Udaipur airport to board your flight to Delhi.
What to bring for the trek
Good Warm internal clothing (woolen and fleece, thermals), water proof and wind proof clothing, Comfortable hiking boots with good resistance against the snow and water with a good grip, haversack, sandals, walking sticks, gaiters, woolen/tennis socks (quite a few pairs) and stocking, gloves, cap, sunglasses (very important), Sunscreen lotion, day sack, camera and binocular (OPTIONAL), water bottle, torch and batteries, though the water is very clean and pure and we do provide boiled water once you are in trek still in order to be extra careful you can get few chlorine pills as mountain water is supposed to be hard.
What we provide during the trek
Accommodation in two men tent (high altitude alpine tents of good quality), heavy foam pad mattresses, sleeping bags, Breakfast/tea, all meals (good quality food), services of experienced guide, cook, all the camping equipment, utensils and crockery, kitchen cum dining tent, toilet tent, oxygen cylinder and adequate medical kit.
Day temperature in the sun is pleasant but windy but nights are cold. The temp at night and in rain and snow (especially in Sep and Oct) can really go down; sometimes below zero so you have to be well prepared.
That has to be done individually itself.
It is also possible that a route change may become necessary due to weather, inaccessibility through the mountain passes due to heavy snow, condition of the trail and physical fitness of the clients.