Morning after breakfast city tour of this imperial British capital of the 20th century. Visit the Qutub Minar - the tallest free standing minaret in stone in the world; then onto Humayun's tomb - the first Mughal construction in India from 1565 AD. Also see the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the India Gate built in the earlier half of the 20th century. Drive through the old city past the Red Fort and visit the Jama Masjid - the biggest of its kind in India. Here take a rickshaw through the winding streets of the old city to see the life of the people in this part of the world. A perfect introduction of your tour. The rickshaw puller pulls you through the imperial avenue the Chandni Chowk where you will find each and every small business under the sky. Finally, reach Rajghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, where your chauffeur is waiting for you to take you to your next stop the Birla Mandir, a Hindu temple in activity.
In the morning see this beautiful village of Shekhawati that used to be an important caravanserai of the yesteryears. See the many havelis of this quaint little town built by the rich and the famous merchants of the 18th and 19th centuries. These havelis have been painted with activities of daily life and of deities to break the monotony of the desert life.
Then proceed towards Bikaner en route stop at Fatehpur to see the splendid havelis of the local merchants of Shekhawati. Reach Bikaner by lunch time.
See the Junagarh Fort, a royal museum that encompasses history of Bikaner from its days of construction that dates back to the 16th century. Later visit the camel breeding farm, a unique experience. Evening time free to stroll in the busy market area of Bikaner city centre.
After breakfast we set towards our journey across the Thar Desert to reach Pokaran for lunch. Visit the 15th century fortress where the 3rd Mughal emperor, Akbar the Great, was born in 1543. The bazaar in the middle of this village is very colourful and full of local flavours. After lunch continue towards Jaisalmer and arrive by evening to witness the sunset over the desert with the most imposing edifice of the town behind you.
Jaisalmer, Rajasthan Morning an exclusive visit of the Jain temples inside the Sonar Kila.. The Jains are a community that respects life and are pure vegetarians by religion. Visit the citadel's palace that houses a museum with a huge collection of robes and artifacts from the royal family of Jaisalmer. Visit the Patwaon ki haveli with intricately designed latticed windows used by the ladies to view the external world. Also see the Gadisar Lake.
Later, we go to Sam or Khuri village. Here we have loads of excitement in store for you. Upon arrival in the village you will be taken to the nearby sunset point on the dunes to see the sunset by camel carts. After sunset return to the village where your stay is arranged in mud huts. Evening listen to the haunted tunes of the desert by the local artists and musicians. A lifetime experience. Dinner and night in the desert mud huts.
ToDay -we reach Jodhpur the blue city by early afternoon.
Post lunch session introduces you to the fabulous spice market of Jodhpur the 2nd largest city in Rajasthan. Walk along the market to feel the odours of the spices filling the air around you Then go to Mandore gardens the then capital of Marwar to view some of the fabulous cenotaphs and the hall of local heroes of the wars. Drive back to Jodhpur and see the Umaid Bhawan Palace, the present residence of the king of Jodhpur. Retire to your hotel and relax.
After breakfast drive up to the majestic Mehrangarh fort, the stronghold of the Rathore princes from 1453AD. We see the superb collection of paintings and arms and ammunitions. The view of the city from the rampart walls is breath taking.
Later an hours drive brings us to the world of animals - Luni, the palace amidst the more rustic life of Rajasthan.
After lunch we take you on a safari to discover the hidden beauty of the jungle life. Here you would be visiting the Bishnoi villages. Bishnois are a tribe that respects life in every form - animals trees and even dead branches. They are vegetarians and even in the villages they protect the animal life and don't let anybody practice hunting in the vicinity of their villages. They live in a joint family system where the oldest member is generally the head of the family.
Then we would like you to witness the opium ceremony with the Patels - a rich tribe. It is a ceremony prevelant in this part of Rajasthan where the youth offers opium to drink mixed with water to the elders of the family when they come back from work in the fields.
ToDay -cross the entire stretch of desert to reach the most holy cities of Pushkar and Ajmer.
Pushkar happens to be the holiest places according to the Hindus as it is considered that Lord Brahma (the Creator) and his wife Saraswati (the godess of learning and music) performed a ritual in the lake. Here we visit the only Brahma temple of the world before intermingling with the local colours in the local bazaar. Pushkar is the world famous for its cattle fair held each year in the month of October/November. Proceed towards Ajmer.
Ajmer is the pious city for the Muslims. Surprisingly both the cities are at distance of 11km from each other. Visit the Durgah built in fond remembrance of Khwaja Muin ud Din Chisti where the Muslim pilgrims from all over India throng during the festival times. Later visit Mughal emperor Akbar's Palace where his son Jehangir received Sir Thomas Roe to grant him the permission of trade to East India Company with India, that changed the history of India completely and slowly and steadily India became colony of the British Empire. Continue towards Jaipur and reach by late evening and check into the hotel.
Jaisalmer, Rajasthan Visit the Amber fort in the morning; included is an elephant ride at the Amber fort. See the marvelous Shish mahal built in the 17th century in a fusion style of Hindu and Islamic art. Also see the hall of public audiences and Maharaja Man Singh's Palace who had twelve queens.
After lunch set off to see the Pink city visiting the observatory Jantar Mantar built in 1727 by Sawai Maharaja Jai Singh II who was a mathematician , an astronomer an astrologer and a great musician of his era. He built five observatories throughout India - Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi, Mathura and Delhi but only the one at Jaipur is functional. Then visit the City Palace of the Maharaja of Jaipur with a fabulous collection of robes and saris in cotton and silk with gold lattice work. The City Palace houses a collection of paintings also in the painting gallery and of course a collection of arms and ammunitions in the ammunition gallery. Dinner at your hotel.
Leave the Pink city after breakfast and reach Fatehpur Sikri by early afternoon. Visit this abandoned city built by the Mughal emperor Akbar in the second half of the 16th century. Fatehpur Sikri was built by Akbar after his Hindu wife bore him the long awaited son who was born after the renowned sufi saint Salim Chisti blessed Jodhabai Akbar's hindu wifewith a son. Also visit Jodhabai's palace the biggest palace in Fatehpur Sikri even bigger than the emperor's palace himself as this was the queen who bore him his heir to the throne. Continue towards Agra and reach Agra by early evening. Relax at your hotel or go to the local bazaar to see the lifestyle of the people.
Taj Mahal is awaiting your arrival toDay -morning. A must see with the rising sun as the Taj Mahal is bathed in the golden rays of the morning sun. Built by Shah Jahan, the Taj is a white marble memorial that houses the tomb of his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. This monument took 22 years to be completed and was designed, and planned by Persian architect Ustad Isa. Apart from its stunning design, balance and perfect symmetry, the Taj is also noted particularly for its elegant domes, intricately carved screens and some of the best inlay work ever seen anywhere in the world.
Then see the Agra Fort built by Akbar where Shahjahan was imprisoned by his own son Aurangzeb.
Post lunch visit Itmad ud Daulah - it is the first mughal building built out completely of marble. In many contexts it is referred to being the predecessor of the Taj Mahal. Then visit Sikandara the tomb of the great emperor Akbar.
ToDay -we drive to go to Gwalior the erstwhile stronghold of the Scindia rulers. Reach Gwalior by early afternoon and after lunch start your visit.
A trip to Gwalior is incomplete without a visit to the fort, Scindia Palace and the tombs of Ghaus Mohammed and Tansen. Also visit the Gurjari Mahal the palace of the Gurjar queen Mrignayani toDay -housing an archaeological museum. Also see the teli ka mandir and the Saas bahu ka mandir inside the fort. Later continue towards Orchha.
Orchha is a medieval village where time has stopped. You feel the timelessness of this spot. Orchha is a medieval city founded by Bundela rulers with palaces and temples of the 16th and 17th century - which have remarkably withstood the onslaught of time. The river Betwa picturesquely flanks the city.
See the beautiful Palace Complex - Jahangiri Mahal and the Raja Mahal. Closely study the intricacies of the mural paintings in the Raja Mahal and visit the Laxminarayana Temple. Post lunch continue towards Khajuraho about 182 km away by road and check in to your hotel. After a brief refreshing time you will be taken to the near by auditorium to witness the cultural heritage of India through the medium of dances.
Varanasi Morning sight seeing shows us the temples built during the 9th to the 11th centuries by the powerful dynasty of Chandela rajputs. The temples with their erotic sculptures are a feast to the eyes. The Chandelas built 85 temples in all but toDay -only 20 temples stand intact. Visit the eastern and western group of temples before being transferred to the airport to catch your flight to Varanasi. (1525hrs) Upon arrival (1605hrs) in Varanasi transfer to the hotel. Rest of the Day -free.
Early in the morning (0500hrs) we take you to banks of the river Ganges where we board a boat to see the morning ablutions of the Hindus from the security of our boat. The boat ride starts from Dasashwamedh Ghat and ends at Manikarnika Ghat along the sacred Ganges. See the Kashi Vishwanath temple and the Gyanvyapi kund and the mosque attached to it. Also visit the Benares Hindu University the largest residential university in India with more than 3000 residential students.
Return to your hotel for breakfast. Later visit Sarnath the sacred city for the Buddhist all over the world. It was here that Lord Buddha preached his first sermon to his first five disciples. Also worth visiting is the museum with artifacts dating back to 3rd century BC. Visit the nearby ruins of the ancient seat of learning in Sarnath In time transfer to the airport to return back to Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi you will be taken out for a farewell dinner and then transferred to the international terminal for your flight back home.