Meeting upon arrival at the Indira Gandhi International airport by our representative & transfer to hotel. Delhi - the capital of India, is a fascinating city with complexities and contradictions, beauty and dynamism, where the past co-exists with the present. Many dynasties ruled from here and the city is rich in the architecture of its monuments. Delhi is not only the present metropolis of India but also a necropolis. Because of its location on the banks of the river Yamuna, Delhi has witnessed the rise and fall of many cities over the last five millennium.
After leisure breakfast at the hotel, proceed to discover the city of old Delhi visiting India’s largest mosque, built by Shah Jahan. Ride a cycle rickshaw from the Jama Masjid through the lanes and by-lanes of Chandi Chawk, the heart of Old Delhi. Experience the life in this part of Old Delhi, which is always on the move. Visit the spice market, food street etc. The ride will culminate at the historic Red Fort - Shah Jahan’s elegant citadel in red sandstone, built in the 17th century AD. Visit the Red Fort from outside as you will visit Agra Fort in Agra, which is bigger than Red Fort and is also built by the same Mughal Emperor. The morning tour of Old Delhi will conclude at Raj Ghat, the memorial to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Mandawa by car (250 kms / 5 hrs drive). Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel. A couple of centuries back the golden era of ancient trade routes from Central Asia flourished, unhindered by international borders. Affluent Marwari traders built exquisite havelis (mansions) and painted the exteriors and interiors in brilliant depictions of mythology and folklore. Then the times changed. Trade routes got obliterated by border fences, the businesses along the routes faded and the rich traders migrated to establish fresh pastures. The deserted villages of Rao Shekhaji's Shekhawati were left in the hands of caretaker farmers & artisans who stayed back.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Bikaner by car (190 Kms / 3 ½ hrs drive). Upon arrival in Bikaner, check-in at the hotel. Bikaner stands on a slightly raised ground and is circumscribed by a seven km long embattled wall with five gates. The magnificent forts and palaces, in reddish-pink sandstone created with delicacy bear testimony to its rich historical and architectural legacy. Undulating lanes, colourful bazaars make Bikaner an interesting place.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Jaisalmer by car (310 kms / 8-9 hrs drive). Upon arrival, check-in at hotel. Jaisalmer- rising from the Thar Desert like a golden mirage is the city of Jaisalmer. The Jaisalmer fort etched in yellow sandstones stands with all its awesome splendour. The life within the citadel conjures up images of medieval majesty visible in its narrow lanes strewn with magnificent palaces, havelis, temples and typical desert life of people and animals.
After leisure breakfast at the hotel, proceed for the city tour of Jaisalmer visiting the 80 meter high Jaisalmer fort, perch on the hill, houses the entire township within its ramparts. It has enchanting narrow lanes dotted with exquisite havelis, beautifully sculptured Jain temples of the 12th-15th century, and palaces. The fort is approached through four gateways - Akhaiya Pol, Ganesh Pol, Suraj Pol and Hava Pol. Some of the most exotic mansions or havelis, all intricately latticed, are strewn all over Jaisalmer, each with a different facade.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Jodhpur by car (260 kms / 6 hrs drive). Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel. Jodhpur at the edge of the Thar Desert, the imperial city of Jodhpur echoes with tales of antiquity in the emptiness of the desert. The massive 15th centuary AD Mehrangarh Fort looms on the top of a rocky hill, soaring 125 m above the plains. The lifestyle in Jodhpur is unusually fascinating with peoplewearing lovely multi hued costumes, artistically designed. Shopping in Jodhpur bazaars is a heady experience with a colourful display of the rich collection of exquisite handicrafts. The tie-and-dye fabric, embroidered `jutis’ or slippers in suede, camel skin, velvet and leather, beautiful silk duries, marble souvenirs from Majrana , an extensive range of useful and decorative items etc., are of interest.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Udaipur by car (260 Kms / 7-8 hrs drive including en-route visit Ranakpur Jain temple).Ranakpur – In a quiet and picturesque glen which runs into the western slopes of the Aravalli hills, lies the remarkable 15th century Jain temple. Though over 500 years old, the temple here is superbly preserved in a near-perfect condition. In the centre is the main `Chaumukha temple’ dedicated to Adinath. The most distinctive features are the 29 halls supported by 1444 pillars, of which no two are exactly alike. Every conceivable surface is carved and every corner and angle is engraved with Jain images.
After leisure breakfast at the hotel, proceed for the city tour of Udaipur visiting the City Palace, a majestic architectural marvel, which is perched on a hill and towers over Lake Pichola. The palace is a majestic conglomeration of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, rooms and hanging gardens. Visit the Bharatiya Lok Kala Museum, which has an interesting collection of Indian folk art including costumes, ornaments, puppets, masks, dolls, musical instruments and deities.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Jaipur by car (310 kms / 8-9 hrs drive). Arrive Jaipur & check-in at the hotel. Jaipur - the capital of Rajasthan is colour washed pink - the colour associated with auspiciousness and Rajput hospitality. This Pink City of fairy tale palaces, rugged fortresses perched on barren hills, and a city of broad avenues is picturesque. The first planned city of its time, Jaipur is encircled by a formidable wall.
After leisure breakfast at the hotel, proceed for an excursion to Amber Fort & Palace. Drive past the Hawa Mahal, known popularly as the Palace of Winds, a facade built in the 19th century AD to enable the ladies of the Royal family to watch the happenings on the street from the decorated windows of this facade. Visit the Amber Fort, the capital of the erstwhile state of Jaipur until 1728. Perched on a hill it has the halls of Public and Private audience, a Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) and various marble palaces which are marvelous examples of medieval Rajput art and architecture. Visit the Temple of Amba (Mother Goddess), the patron deity of the Royal family, at the entrance to the Fort. Also enjoy short Elephant ride to ascend the hill on which the fort is situated.
After breakfast transfer to Agra en-route visiting Fatehpur Sikri by car (240 Kms / 6-7 hrs drive including en-route visit Fatehpur Sikri). Fatehpur Sikri-the exquisite city built by Akbar the Great in 1569, in red sandstone, with its forts, palaces and mosques, and abandoned 14 years after its creation due to political reasons. Diwan-i-am - vast courtyard in which the emperor gave daily public audience, Diwan-i-khas - a large quadrangle where all the major functions of the palace took place, Pachisi court, the emperor’s private living quarters, are some of the important buildings of this residential complex.
The Agra Fort was built by three Mughal Emperors, Akbar the Great, his son Jahangir and grandson Shah Jahan in succession. Started in 1565 AD, the fort is a masterpiece of design and construction. Within the fort are a number of exquisite buildings including Jahangir’s Palace, Khaas Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Diwan-i-Am, Diwan-i-Khas and Musamman Burj, the Octagonal tower, where Emperor Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj Mahal was imprisoned by his son Aurangazeb for seven years and died a prisoner.