Romancing Rajasthan: The Jewel of India
Saturday 9 - Tuesday 26 November 2019
CALL: 01491 825155
The desert state of Rajasthan is without doubt the jewel of India.
It’s a place where the India of fairy tales comes vibrantly to life, complete with gilded temples and marble palaces, peacocks strutting through gardens, and processions of caparisoned elephants.
This exclusive group tour, led by Rob and Sarah Kenton, includes not only the glittering attractions of Rajasthan, but also the highlights of Delhi and Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.
It’s the perfect introduction to India in all its exotic, exhilarating glory.
> Bustling bazaars and sights of New and Old Delhi
> Tour the magnificent Taj Mahal at sunrise and sunset
> Explore the pink and blue cities of Jaipur and Jodphur
> Discover the impressive temples of Ranakpur
> The Lakes of Udaipur
> Magnificent Mumbai
YOUR TRIP INCLUDES
- > Return private transfers from your home to London Heathrow
> Indian Visas
> International air fare on scheduled British Airways flight in economy class. Costs from regional UK airports, World Traveller Plus and Club class supplements are available on request.
> Internal flights in economy class.
> Train reservations in first air conditioned class.
> Meal Plan: Daily breakfast at all hotels. Dinners as mentioned in the itinerary dinner. Lunch in Haveli Dharampura Delhi, on board train between Jaipur-Jodhpur, at Kings abode Ranakpur and at the Tribute restaurant in Udaipur.
> Airconditioned accommodation with private facilities as mentioned in the itinerary
> All transport services by an airconditioned 35-seater private coach with toilet facilities.
> Services of an accompanied tour manager from arrival until departure.
> Services of local English speaking guides for sightseeing.
> Entry fee for all monuments and places of interest as per itinerary
> Complimentary mineral water while driving and on sightseeing.
YOUR TRIP ITINERARY
Depart from London Heathrow onboard British Airways flight to Delhi at 19:30. The flight is direct and takes 8h 20m.
Arriving in Delhi at 08:20, you will quickly clear customs and immigration and be met in the arrivals hall by our local guide. You will transfer to your five-star hotel in an air-conditioned vehicle and then have time to rest and relax. In the early evening, you will join fellow guests for dinner and a fascinating talk by a local historian about the heritage of Delhi.
Hotel: Shangri La Eros, Delhi – Dinner at the hotel included
After breakfast at the hotel, you will take a morning tour of Old Delhi as the city is coming to life. Walking through Chandni Chowk, the main bazaar area, your senses will be overwhelmed by the smell of incense and spice, the noise of chatter and clatter of rickshaws, not to mention the call to prayer. You will visit the impressive Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque), both built during the Mughal period (1526-1857), and will enjoy a delicious lunch at Haveli Dharampura, a beautifully restored historic house in Chandani Chowk.
Afternoon at leisure.
Hotel: Shangri La Eros, Delhi- Breakfast and lunch included
Today the focus of sightseeing is New Delhi, the city designed by Lutyens in the early 20th century as the new capital of British India. India Gate and Parliament House are just two of the impressive architectural structures you’ll see. There will also be time to take a reflective walk around Raj Ghat, the park where Gandhi was cremated, and you’ll find memorials to Jawaharlal Nehru and the subsequent Prime Ministers and Presidents of India who have died.
You will have free time in the afternoon, then re-join fellow tour participants for an evening cookery demonstration at Saffron Palate. After learning how to cook it, you get to eat it too! This is a fantastic way to appreciate authentic Indian culture through your taste buds, and it’s one of our favourite places to eat in Delhi.
Hotel: Shangri La Eros, Delhi- Breakfast and dinner included
Early morning you will take the train from Delhi to Agra. It’s a comfortable, air-conditioned service, and from the carriage windows you’ll see numerous scenes of everyday life, both in the city and in rural areas. You will reach Agra by midday, check into the hotel, and have time to freshen up before your afternoon city tour.
The tour will begin at the Red Fort, an imposing structure right on the edge of the River Yamuna. This walled city was the royal residence of the Mughal Emperors, and Shah Jahan was imprisoned here when he was deposed by his son. You will continue to the Tomb of I'timad-ud-Daulah, a marble mausoleum known as the Baby Taj, and then finally visit Mehtab Bagh at sunset. This was the last of 11 formal gardens built by the Mughals along the Yamuna, and it is directly opposite the Taj Mahal and an excellent vantage point for photography of the Taj Mahal from across the river.
Hotel: ITC Mughal, Agra- Breakfast included
Sunrise visit of Taj Mahal. This iconic monument looks completely different in the early morning light, and you’ll certainly want to return. It’s also much quieter at this time of the day. You will have breakfast back at the hotel after your excursion.
Rest of the day is at leisure.
Hotel ITC Mughal -Agra- Breakfast included
Having seen two-thirds of the Golden Triangle — Delhi and Agra — it is time for you to discover the third, Jaipur. The so-called Pink City is the most famous city in Rajasthan, defined by its many temples and palaces.
On your way to Jaipur, you will make two stops. The first will be at Korai Village, where you will experience rural India; and the second will be at Fatehpur Sikri. Fatehpur Sikri, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built as the new capital of the Mughal Empire by Akbar the Great, but it had to be abandoned due to its unreliable water supply. The buildings are exquisitely preserved.
Hotel: Narain Nivas Palace, Jaipur- Breakfast and lunch included
Today is an action-packed day of sightseeing. You will start with a visit to Doodh Mandi (Milk Market) to soak up the commercial buzz, then continue to the Amer Fort, the vast castle which dominates the hills outside the city. Constructed from sandstone and marble, its facade is reflected in the waters of Maota Lake.
In the afternoon you will tour the Old City, the part which earned Jaipur its Pink City moniker. The buildings here were painted an orangey pink to welcome Edward VII when he visited in 1876. Highlights of the programme include the City Palace, the Palace of the Winds, and the Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory.
Hotel: Narain Nivas Palace, Jaipur- Breakfast included
India is a country best explored by train: indeed, the railways are one of the greatest accomplishments of the colonial period. Riding from Jaipur to Jodhpur you’ll appreciate the scale and beauty of Rajasthan, admiring the ever-changing landscape from the window.
Hotel: Ajit Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur- Breakfast and lunch included
There’s a huge amount to see in Jodhpur, so you will start your sightseeing today immediately after breakfast. The Mehrangarh Fortress is an absolute must see as it completely dominates the city skyline (you might recognise it from The Dark Knight Rises); the Jaswant Thada mausoleum and the Ghanta Ghar (clock tower) are also particularly photogenic. You will have the afternoon free to rest or explore, and in the evening will visit Arnajharna, a centre for folklore and ethnomusicology, just outside the city. A simple home cooked meal awaits you at Arnajharna.
Hotel: Ajit Bawan Palace, Jodhpur- Breakfast and dinner included
Leaving Jodhpur behind, this morning you will drive through the Thar Desert to Narlai. A colossal statue of an elephant overlooks the town, which is renowned for its many Hindu and Jain temples. These temples are finely decorated with murals. You will explore these with a guide, and at dusk also visit the stepwell, which is one of the largest in the region. A candlelit dinner on the steps awaits you, an experience which is unforgettable.
Hotel: Rawla Narlai, Narlai- Breakfast and dinner included
Rawla Narlai is a stunning historic building, richly decorated with murals. Before leaving today, it is well worth taking the time to explore the site and learn a little about its history. You might also climb up into the forested hills if you wish to stretch your legs and enjoy the views.
After lunch, you will drive from Narlai towards Udaipur. On the way you will stop at Ranakpur, renowned for its 15th century Jain temple complex. The temple buildings are of intricately carved marble, and it is still an active place of pilgrimage and prayer.
You will reach Udaipur in the late afternoon and sail out across Lake Pichola to your hotel. If you have watched James Bond’s Octopussy, it will certainly look familiar: the palace was the home of she-villain Octopussy!
Hotel: The Leela , Udaipur- Breakfast and lunch included
Today you’ll have an exciting guided tour of Udaipur’s most fabulous sites, which include the lakeside City Palace, the temples and market. Take a walk along the ghats and admire the havelis, the elegant merchants houses, and perhaps sit and have a coffee on the terrace as you watch the world go by. Once darkness falls, the facade of the City Palace will become the backdrop for a thrilling sound and light show which brings to life Udaipur’s rich history.
Hotel: The Leela, Udaipur – Breakfast and lunch included
It’s entirely up to you to decide how to spend today: there will be no fixed itinerary. There’s plenty more to see and do in Udaipur, including some beautiful gardens; you can relax at the at your hotel, enjoying the luxurious facilities; or you might choose to take a day trip to Chittorgrah Fort for a remarkable historical visit to this wonderful fort.
Hotel: The Leela, Udaipur – Breakfast included
After breakfast you will transfer from the hotel to the airport and fly to Mumbai. You’ll check in at the incredible Taj Mahal Palace – and then have an afternoon sightseeing tour of Mumbai. It’s a prime opportunity to learn about Mumbai’s colonial history and to see iconic sites such as the Gateway of India, Mumbai Court, and the Asiatic Society of Bombay.
Hotel: Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai- Breakfast included
It is rare for a railway station to be UNESCO listed, but the the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) is no ordinary station. You will learn about its history and architectural features this morning on a heritage tour, no doubt marvelling at its scale and elaborate carvings. The afternoon will be spent at leisure.
Hotel: Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai- Breakfast included
Today you will be completely free to do as you please in Mumbai. You might spend a few hours shopping or in the museums. The farewell dinner will be a veritable feast, and a last chance to spend time with the friends you’ve made on the tour.
Hotel: Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai- Breakfast and dinner included
Your tour is sadly now at an end (though you can opt to extend it with a beach stay in Goa or Kerala). You will board British Airways flight at 13:10 and fly direct to London, reaching Heathrow at 18:25 local time. Breakfast Included
Bespoke extension tours to Goa, South India and Kerala
If you wish to extend your holiday with a few days beach stay in Goa, following the temple trail of South India or simply enjoy the lush waterways of Kerala please contact us and we will suggest an itinerary for your holiday extension.
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