After a relaxed breakfast, proceed for the full day guided city tour of New Delhi & Old Delhi. 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, being on the banks of the river Yamuna, many cities have risen and fallen over the last five millenniums.
Morning: Drive to Neemrana (200 kms/04 hrs) and on arrival, check in at hotel. Afternoon: Guided visit to the Neemrana Fort. Built since 1464 AD, Neemrana Fort Palace is India’s oldest Heritage Resort. Situated at 122 kms on Delhi/Jaipur Highway, sited on a majestic plateau, concealed in a horseshoe formation of the Aravalli ranges, Neemrana became the third capital of descendants of Prithviraj Chauhan III, who was killed in battle by Mohammad Ghor in 1192 AD. The property covers 25 acres and the stepped palaces cut into the hillsides to sprawl over 3 acres and rise to 9 levels. Overnight in Neemrana Fort.
Morning: Drive to Nawalgarh (200 kms/04 hrs) and on arrival, check in at hotel. Afternoon: Guided visit to the Nawalgarh (Shekhawati region). Optional horse safari in the nearby villages. Shekhawati is a colourful fantasy having a fascination uniquely of its own. The open-air art galley, as it is popularly called, is famous for its plethora of painted havelis, all commendable pieces of the rich artistic tradition of this region. It is famous for its Havelis (mansion) built by rich merchants of the region, display a unique architectural style that evolved around the courtyards to ensure safety and privacy of the women folk and protection from the heat of the long and harsh summers. The Havelis, painted predominantly in blue, maroon, yellow, green and indigo have beautiful wall paintings that adorn their walls.
Morning: Guided city tour of Bikaner. Afternoon: Free for independent activities. Bikaner, the royal fortified city, with a timeless appeal in the North State of Rajasthan, retains the medieval splendour that pervades the city’s lifestyle. More popularly called the camel country, the city is renowned for the best riding camels in the world. This city 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 and bright and cheerful folks make the visit Bikaner an interesting experience. Visit the Junagarh Fort, built in 1593 AD by Raj Rai Singh, one of the best in Rajasthan. It comprises of 37 palaces with pavilions, mosaic courtyards, carved balconies, kiosks and windows dotted all over the structure. The Shish Mahal, the Grand Durbar Hall, the 17th century Karan Mahal, Anup Mahal and the Phool Mahal bring to life the grandeur of a bygone era. The Fort museum has a rare collection of Sanskrit and Persian manuscripts and miniature painting.
Early Morning: Drive to Jaisalmer (331 kms/07½ hrs) enroute visit the rat temple at Deshnoke. On arrival in Jaisalmer, check in at hotel. The 600 year old Karni Mata Temple at Deshnok (30 kms) is dedicated to Karni Mata - an incarnation of Goddess Durga. The most interesting thing about the temple are the rats who scamper freely within the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and are regarded as sacred and are fed by priests and devotees owing to the belief that they will be reincarnated as holy men.
Morning: Guided city tour of Jaisalmer. Afternoon: Free for independent activities. (Optional: A short camel safari in the Thar Desert). Rising from the Thar Desert like a golden mirage is the city of Jaisalmer. The Jaiselmer fort etched in yellow sandstone 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, havelies, temples and typical desert life of men women cattle and camels. The 80 meter high 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. The Havelis of Nathmalji, Patwon and Salim Singh all in Yellow Marble of Jaisalmer are exquisite works of art.
Morning Guided visit to Rohetgarh Fort. Afternoon: Free for independent activities (Optional Horse safari)Rohetgarh “Garh” in Hindi means Fort. The principality of Rohet was control from this little Fort- Palace by the royalty which lived here and who gave their elegance to the Maharaja of Jodhpur. The descendents of this royal family still live here and maintain a very interesting residence where guests are introduced to their royal past.
Morning: Drive to Udaipur (235 kms/05 hrs), enroute visit the Temple complex at Ranakpur. On arrival in Udaipur, check in at hotel. In a quiet and picturesque glen, which runs into the western slopes of the Aravalli hills lies the remarkable 15th century Jain temples. Though over 500 years old, the temples here are 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.
Morning: Guided city tour of Udaipur. Afternoon: Free for independent activities. (Optional: Boat ride in Lake Pichola). Udaipur, the city of Dawn, is the Jewel of Mewar - a kingdom ruled by the Sisodia Dynasty for 1200 years. Its kaleidoscope of fairy-tale palaces, lakes, temples, gardens and narrow lanes strewn with stalls, carry the flavour of a heroic past, epitomizing valour and chivalry. Their reflection of these building in the placid waters of the Lake Pichola is an enticing sight.
After breakfast, drive to Dungarpur ( 260 kms/05hrs) and or arrival check in at hotel. Afternoon: Walking tour of the villages (optional camel cart ride)Deogarh town is nestled among the oldest mountain range in the world - the Aravalis. The surrounding rugged, rocky hills are dotted with beautiful lakes and a number of majestic old forts, and tales of battles fought by the Chundawats, one of the premier chieftains of Mewar, are still echoed in the village folklore. Deogarh - famed for its miniature paintings, the Deogarh school bears a close affinity to the Mewari art form. Examples of this style are depicted in the murals and frescoes which adorn the fort walls. One can also view a collection of over 200 original paintings owned by the present Rawatsahib, who is himself a historial and connoisseur of art.
Jaipur - the capital of Rajasthan, is colour washed pink - the colour associated with hospitality in Rajput culture. This Pink City of fairy tale palaces, rugged fortresses perched on barren hills and broad avenues is picturesque. The first planned city of its time, Jaipur is encircled by a formidable wall. Morning: Excursion to Amber Fort. Drive past by Hawa Mahal, known popularly as the Palace of Winds, is a facade built for the Ladies of the Royal household in the 19th century. The Amber Fort, the capital of the erstwhile State of Jaipur until 1728 is perched on a hill. It has halls of Public and Private audience, a Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) various marble palaces which are marvelous examples of ancient Rajput architecture. The Temple of Amba (Mother Goddess), the patron deity of the Royal family is at the entrance to the palace. Ride an elephant to ascend the hill on which the Fort is situated.Afternoon : City tour of Jaipur. Visit the City Palace - the former royal residence built in a blend of the Rajasthani and Mughal styles which houses a museum with a superb collection of Rajasthani costumes and armoury of the Mughals and Rajputs, including swords of different shapes and sizes with ornate handles. It has an art gallery with an excellent collection of miniature paintings, carpets, royal paraphernalia and rare astronomical works in Arabic, Persian, Latin and Sanskrit. Also visit the Jantar Mantar - an astrological and astronomical Observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh in 18th century which is remarkable for its accuracy even at the present times.
After breakfast, full day guided excursion to Pushkar (145 kms/04 hrs) Surrounded by hills on three sides, Pushkar, 11 kms from Ajmer, abounds in temples. of these the most famous is the Brahma temple - the only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma in the country. Once a year, during the Kartik Purnima, the entire region comes alive with a pulsating Camel and Cattle Fair. There is a week long celebration with an explosion of fun, frolic, games and laughter with threads of religious fervour. Bedecked and festooned cattle wait in the clouds of sand and the pious gather at the break of dawn to take a dip in the holy Pushkar Lake to absolve themselves of all their sins.
This exquisite city built by Akbar the Great in 1569, in red sandstone, with its forts, palaces and mosques was abandoned 14 years after its creation due to political reasons. The Diwan-i-am - a vast courtyard in which the emperor gave daily public audience; Diwan-i-khas - a large quadrangle which contained all the major functions of the Palace, Pachisi court, the Emperors private living quarter, Jodha Bhai’s Palace, Mariam’s Palace, Birbal’s Palace, Hawa Mahal and Panch Mahal are some of the important buildings of this residential complex. The Friday Mosque and the exquisite tomb of Sheik Salim Chisti are in the religious grounds set aside in a separate enclosure adjacent to the secular buildings.
Early Morning: Guided visit to Taj Mahal at sun rise. After breakfast, visit to Agra fort. Agra is famous as the home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World - the Taj Mahal. The architectural splendor of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces in Agra is a vivid reminder of the opulence of the legendary Mughal Empire. Agra was their capital for nearly a hundred years from 1564. A pleasant town, with a comparatively easy pace, Agra is known for its superb inlay work on marble and soapstone by artisans who are hereditary craft persons. The city is also famous for its carpets, gold thread embroidery and leather shoes.