Glorious North India

Overview

Amazing legends of heroism and romance still resound from its equally amazing architecture that still stands to narrate its tale of a bygone era. The magic of Rajasthan is unequalled in the world for its heritage, culture, safaris, sand dunes and lush green forests with its wildlife. Rajasthan is often expressed as huge open-air museum with relic so well preserved for the travellers and the curious of the day.

The history of India dates back almost five thousand years, and Rajasthan plays a crucial and unique role, especially with regard to the development of Indian culture. Its impressive story reaches through a heroic past. Its extravagant splashes of bright hues against the desert landscape and the purity of its dry and sandy reaches, the miniature elegance of its small villages and impeccably maintained forts brings alive the story of the yore. The appearance of its grand forts perched on rocky hills still tell the story of the bravery of its men and the stoic sacrifice of its women, and the chivalrous old world manners of all. Rajasthan is a vibrant state where tradition and history blend with contemporary life styles. People are proud of their heritage and yet open to change western values.

Rajasthan has a large indigenous populace Minas (Minawati) in Alwar, Jaipur, Bharatpur, and Dholpur areas. The Meo and the Banjara are travelling tradesmen and artisans. The GadiaLohar is the Lohar meaning ironsmith who travels on Gadia meaning bullock carts; they generally make and repair agricultural and household implements. The Bhils are one of the oldest peoples in India, inhabit the districts of Bhilwara, Chittaurgarh, Dungarpur, Banswara, Udaipur, and Sirohi and are famous for their skill in archery. The Grasia and nomadic Kathodi live in the Mewar region. Sahariyas are found in the Kota district and the Rabaris of the Marwar region are cattle breed.

Day wise Itinerary:

DAY 01: ARRIVE DELHI BY: INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT
You will arrive at New Delhi's InternationalAirport. Following customs, immigration formalities and baggage collection, our representative will meet you as you EXIT the ARRIVALS TERMINAL building after which you would be transferred to your hotel.

A capital way to begin your discovery of India
"I asked my soul what is Delhi?


It replied, the world is the body, Delhi is its soul.is how a 19th century poet described this city that has ever been so many things to so many different people. To the weary travelers on the ancient silk route it was the first plain after having crossed the HimalayanMountains with the promise of shelter, food and business opportunities. To the Afghan, Turk, Greek, Arab and Roman kings it was a vast and inexhaustible source of treasures of all kinds, to the Chinese travelers it was the land of knowledge and wisdom. Its ageless face saw the advent of Islam. It saw empires being built and destroyed or even merely dismantled to make way for the new and Delhi lived on.

Upon arrival at the hotel, proceed for check-in.
After a leisurely breakfast this day you are free to visit the AkshardhamTemple, LotusTemple & NationalMuseum. We shall provide car and driver for your visit.

Come back to your hotel after the tour.
Overnight at the hotel

DAY 02: DELHI - UDAIPUR BY: FLIGHT
Breakfast is at the hotel.In time our representative will meet you at the hotel and transfer to airport to board flight for Udaipur.
Arrive Udaipur, meet upon arrival and transfer to hotel.
Udaipur ~ The Venice of the East

Udaipur often called the "Venice of the East" and the most romantic city in the state of Rajasthan. Udaipur nestles like a gem in a valley surrounded by green hills, reflected smooth and white in the clear blue waters of LakePichola. The city is a kaleidoscope of narrow lanes flanked by bright stalls, gardens, lakes, palaces and temples.

On arrival proceed for check in hotel.Rest of the day is free at leisure.
Overnight at the hotel

DAY 03: UDAIPUR
Breakfast is at the hotel.Later,you will be taken for the half day sightseeing tour of Udaipur city. Begin with visit to the CityPalace.
CityPalace* Built in 1725, the grand CityPalace is actually a conglomerate of eleven palaces overlooking the sprawling LakePichola.

Jagdish Temple* Built in 1651 by Maharaja Jagat Singh, this temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is located in the centre of the old city. The temple has a black marble image of Lord Vishnu, which is unusual for the northern part of the country, where statues of Gods are normally in marble.

Sahelion-ki-bari* the spectacular garden displaying the unique lifestyle of the Royal ladies who once lived in the Palaces
Evening enjoy common boat - cruise on LakePichola.

Lake Pichola with its main attractions being the two palaces on the islands in the lake, Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir Lake Pichola is about 3 miles in length and 2 miles wide. Jag Niwas was earlier the summer retreat of the prince of Mewar and now a five-star hotel. The city palace extends along the eastern shore of the lake and one can go for a boat ride from BansiGhat.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 04: UDAIPUR
Breakfast is at the hotel.
Later, you will proceed for excursion (approx. 113 Kms/2.5 hrs) to Chittorgarh.

Located beside a high hill near the GambheriRiver, the magnificent fort of Chittorgarh echo the saga of valor, gallantry, sacrifice and royalty of the city. One of the most fiercely contested seats of power in India, BappaRawal, the legendary founder of the Sisodia dynasty, received Chittor in the middle of the eighth century, as part of the last Solanki princess's dowry. Earlier, known as Chitrakut, after a local Rajput chieftain named Chitrang, the city is spread over an area of 700 acres, with its forts, towers, temples and palaces. RanaKumbha (1433-68), RanaSanga (reigned 1509-27) and MaharanaPratap (reigned 1572-97) were the proud sons of this land.

Return to hotel after visit.
Overnight at the hotel

DAY 05: UDAIPUR
Breakfast is at the hotel.Later proceed for excursion to Nagda and Eklingji temples.

Set in a deep ravine near Eklingi Lake, 22 km from Udaipur. The white marble and sandstone Eklingi temple complex dates from 734 AD and is dedicated to Shiva, family deity of the Mewar. The walled complex includes an elaborately pillared hall under a large pyramidal roof, and a four faced Shiva image of black marble. Photography is not allowed.Later visit Nagda to see the ruined 11th century Jain temple of Adbhutji and the SaasBahu group of temples. These have intricate architecture and carvings on pillars, ceiling and mandapa walls.

Return to hotel after visit.
Overnight at the hotel

DAY 06: UDAIPUR - JODHPUR BY: SURFACE
Breakfast is at the hotel. Later proceed for drive(approx. 280Kms/7 hrs drive) to Jodhpurenroute visiting RanakpurJainTemples andKumbhalgarh Fort and RanakpurJainTemples.

Kumbhalgarh Fort: This most-remarkable of forts stretches across 36 kms of the AravaliMountains and is 1100 m high from the sea level. It was never conquered, for reasons which become apparent the instant you set eyes on it. The fort is just 80 kms away from Udaipur. The massive perimeter wall is an astounding 36 kms. Surrounded by thirteen mountain peaks, guarded by seven great gates and seven ramparts, strengthened by rounded bastions and immense watchtowers, this mountain fortress has witnessed many battles.

Thereafter continue onto Ranakpur Jain Temples.

Ranakpur Jain Temples - set on the shores of LakePichola and surrounded by hills, Udaipur grew in complete contrast to the harsh deserts of the rest of Rajasthan. As capital of the old MewarState it was the only Rajput stronghold to uphold its Hindu allegiance in the face of Muslim invasion. From the late 16th century, peace brought about an era of renaissance in the arts and encouraged the building of beautiful palaces around the lake, culminating in the CityPalace, one of the largest palace complexes in the world. The lake itself is a romantic setting surrounding the gleaming white LakePalace and the Jag Mandir, a refuge of the rebel Mughal prince, Shah Jahan, soon to be the creator of the incomparable TajMahal.

After visit continue your drive to Jodhpur.

The old city of Jodhpur is surrounded by a wall 10km long, which was built about a century after the city was founded. From the fort you can clearly see where the old city ends and the new begins. The old city is fascinating jungle of winding streets of great interest to wander around. Eight gates lead out from the walled city. It's one of the more interesting cities in India and those baggy-tight horse riding trousers, jodhpurs, took their name from this locale. The Mehrangarh Fort is sprawled across a 125-meter high hill and is the most impressive and formidable fort in the fort-studded Rajasthan. On the wall adjacent to the Lahapol or "Iron Gate" are 15 handprints, the sati marks of the widows of Maharaja Man Singh who threw themselves upon his funeral pyre in 1843. Inside the fort, which is still run by the Maharaja of Jodhpur, there is a whole series of courtyards and palaces.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 07: JODHPUR - MANWAR BY: SURFACE
After breakfast visit the Mehrangarh Fort (citadel of the Sun) that evokes the very spirit of the Rathores, the ruling local Rajput clan. Visit its various palaces with their delicate friezes and respective museums, displaying treasures of the royal family. North of Mehrangarh Fort, and connected to it by road, JaswantThada is a pillared marble memorial to the popular ruler Jaswant Singh II (1878-95), who purged Jodhpur of dacoits, initiated irrigation systems and boosted the economy. The cenotaphs of members of the royal family who have died since Jaswant are close by his memorial; those who preceded him are remembered by chhatris at Mandor. This south-facing spot is also the best place from which to photograph the fort, looming above the sheer rocky Mehrangarh plateau.

Later drive to Manwar Camp (100 Kms/2 hrs). The location for the resort was ideal - in the heart of the sand dune region of Rajasthan between the ancient cities of Jodhpur,Jaisalmer& Bikaner.

Enjoy camel safari there.
Lunch and dinner at the camp.
Overnight at the camp

DAY 08: MANWAR- JAISALMER BY: SURFACE
Breakfast is at the hotel. Later you will be driven from Manwarto Jaisalmer (200Kms / 4Hrs).

Jaisalmer, the golden beauty etched in yellow sandstone, standing tall against miles of gleaming sand. Founded in 1156 AD by MaharawalJaisal, Jaisalmer's location kept it almost untouched by outside influences and even during the days of the Raj, Jaisalmer was the last to sign the Instrument of Agreement with the British. Deep in the heart of the Thar Desert is Jaisalmer, one of the last princely bastions in the region. Founded on what was the crossroad of lucrative trade routes, this remote settlement came to be celebrated for the valour of its rulers, and for the aesthetic sense represented by their palaces and havelis.

Upon arrival in Jaisalmer, proceed for check-in at your hotel.
Overnight at the hotel

DAY 09: JAISALMER
Breakfast is at the hotel.Later proceed for a city tour of Jaisalmer.

You will walk up to The Fort, which dominates the town. Built in 1156, it is one of the oldest forts in Rajasthan. About a quarter of the old city's population resides within the fort walls, which have 99 bastions around the circumference. Within the fort are a fine group of Jain temples built between the 12th and 15th centuries, many containing ancient manuscripts. Walk through Jaisalmer's narrow streets dotted with ornately decorated Hindu and Jain temples.

Walk around this desert city, its fort emerging from the flat dry sands, bounding in ancient palaces, temples and delicately sculpted havelis - all witness to the emergence of this Rajput state into a market centre for traders.

Later afternoon, you will be driven to SamSand Dunes for a camelback ride into the desert to watch the sun set on this golden desert city, emitting a lustrous glow off the desert sand. Camel Safari is one of the unique ways to explore small villages in Rajasthan. Atop this ship of the desert embark on an exciting soft adventure. This safari is across India's Thar Desert, one of the harshest environments in the world. Board camels to discover the rich desert culture and meet the colourful tribal people.

Return to the hotel after your tour.
Overnight at the hotel

DAY 10: JAISALMER - BIKANER BY: SURFACE
Breakfast is at the hotel.Later proceed for drive (333 Kms / 6 Hours) to Bikaner enroute visiting Karni Mata Temple

Bikaner is popularly referred to as the 'Camel City of Rajasthan'. Bikaner lies on the ancient caravan routes that linked Western/Central Asia and North India with the seaports of Gujarat. Bikaner thus flourished as a major trade center during the medieval period. The kingdom of Bikaner was established by a Rathore Prince, RaoBikaji, son of the founder of Jodhpur.

On arrival proceed for check in hotel.
Overnight at the hotel

DAY 11: BIKANER
Breakfast is at the hotel.

Later you will proceed for a sightseeing tour of Bikaner visiting Junagarh Fort, one of the most interesting forts in Rajasthan, with its sumptuously decorated interiors. Built in 1588 by Raja Rai Singh it is unusual in the sense that it was one of the few major forts of Rajasthan that was not built on a hilltop. Continue onto National Camel Breeding Farm and see the incredible sight of a herd of camels returning back after grazing, with the spectacular desert sunset in the background. Set amid rolling sand dunes, this farm is set up to produce superior strains of camels both for domestic haulage as well as, even today, for military use.

Rest of the day will be at leisure
Overnight at the hotel

DAY 12: BIKANER - MANDAWA BY: SURFACE
Breakfast is at the hotel.
Later, you will be driven from Delhi to Mandawa (187Kms / 4Hrs), a remote feudal principality in the centre of Shekawati region.

The Rajput ruler of Mandawa built a fort in 1755 to protect this trading outpost that fell in the ancient caravan routes from China and Middle East. The township that grew around the fort attracted a large community of traders, who settled here. When the caravan traffic ceased in the late 18th century, the traders created business empires in other parts of the country, but returned to Mandawa build palatial mansions in their hometown.

Upon arrival, proceed to check-in at your hotel.

This afternoon you will explore this storybook town of Mandawa known for its colourful frescoes on a wide variety of subjects ranging from religious to the erotic; from copies of popular English prints to witty social satire rendered in the inimitable style of local artist. Every home here is adorned with gaily-painted murals that illuminate the arid landscape.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 13: MANDAWA - JAIPUR BY: SURFACE
Breakfast is at the hotel.
Later proceed for drive (approx 172 Kms / 4 hrs) to Jaipur.
On arrival check in at the hotel

Jaipur (City of Victory) was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727. It is the only city in the world symbolizing the nine divisions of the Universe through nine rectangular sectors sub-dividing it. The architect who formalized the city's plans on the ShilpaShastra, the epic Hindu treatise on architecture, mixed it with the sublimity of the Mughal and Jain influences of those times. The city was painted pink in 1853 in honour of the visit by Prince Albert. Except for the busy traffic of bicycles, cars and buses, little seems to have changed.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 14: JAIPUR
Breakfast is at the hotel.Laterproceed for sightseeing tour of Jaipur.

Visit the ancient Rajput capital of Amber, 11 km from the city. This fort-palace was begun by Raja Man Singh and used by the Rajputs as their stronghold until Sawai Jai Singh II moved to the newly created Jaipur. See the Diwan I Am or hall of public audience, Kali temple, Jai Mandir or hall of victory with its inlaid panels and mirror ceiling, and SukhNiwas. The fort provides breathtaking views of the lake below. Enjoy elephant ride (Subject to availability of elephants) at Amer Fort.

Afternoon visit the Maharaja's CityPalace and the JantarMantar Observatory. Jaipur's walled CityPalace (1732 AD) occupies one-seventh of the city's area. See the Mubarak Mahal, museums of textiles and armoury etc, and the Diwan I Khas and Diwan I Am. JantarMantar, literally meaning "instruments for measuring the harmony of the heavens" is the oldest in India. Each instrument has a specific purpose and gives an accurate reading.Photo stop atHawaMahal (Palace of the Winds). Also, drive past the rose pink residential and business areas of Jaipur.

Come back to your hotel after the tour.
Overnight at the hotel

DAY 15: JAIPUR - RANTHAMBORE BY: SURFACE
Breakfast is at the hotel.
Later proceed for drive to Ranthambore (100 Kms/3 Hrs).

RanthamboreNational Park is one of the prime examples of Project Tiger's conservation efforts in Rajasthan. The forests around the Ranthambore Fort were once, the private hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur. The Park sprawls over an estimated area of 400 sqKms. Steep crags embrace a network of lakes and rivers, and atop one of these hills, is the impressive Ranthambore Fort, built in the 10th century. The entire forest is peppered with the battlements and spillovers of the Ranthambore Fort - tigers are said to frequent these ruins, too. As a result of stringent efforts in conservation, tigers, the prime assets of the Park, have become more and more active during the day. More than in any other park or sanctuary in India, tigers are easily spotted here in daylight.

Upon arrival proceed for check in hotel.
Lunch, dinner and overnight at the hotel

DAY 16: RANTHAMBORE
Two game viewing drives (Morning & afternoon)
Breakfast, lunch & dinner are at the hotel.
Overnight at the hotel



DAY 17: RANTHAMBORE - AGRA BY: SURFACE
Buffet breakfast at the hotel you will be drive to Agra (290Kms/6hrs)enroute visiting FatehpurSikri - the deserted red sandstone city, built by the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace in the late 16th century and abandoned after 15 years due to scarcity of water. It is complete with palaces and mosques and used to be a town larger than London when it was originally constructed. We see the graceful buildings including the PanchMahal, Diwan-i-Khas, Diwan-i-Aam, and Jama Masjid - a beautiful building containing elements of Persian and Hindu Design. The main entrance is through a 54-metre high BulandDarwaza, the Gate of Victory, constructed to commemorate Akbar's victory in Gujarat.

After visit continue drive to Agra.

Agra in terms of ambiance is still associated with its Mughal period. The Mughals besides being great rulers were also great builders and they preserved their best architectural wonders for Agra& its neighbourhood.

Upon arrival in Agra check-in to your hotel.
Overnight at the hotel

DAY 18: AGRA
Early morning, you will be proceed for a sunrise tour of the TajMahal (closed on Fridays). Midway Tonga's "horse carriages" would be waiting for you and will drop you at the gates of the TajMahal.

The TajMahal is everything that has been said about it and more. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and was transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife MumtazMahal, in mid 17th century, the TajMahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. Though the Taj appears to be amazingly perfect from almost any angle, it is the close-up marble inlay work, which is really astounding. You will have ample time to view and be mesmerized by this outstanding piece of architecture.

Return to your hotel after the sunrise tour for buffet breakfast.

After breakfast proceed to visit the Agra Fort, an outstanding example of Mughal architecture. Agra Fort - the seat and the stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. This was the seat of Mughal rule and administration and the present structure owes its origins to Akbar who erected the walls and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of YamunaRiver. Shah Jehan added the impressive quarters and the mosque while Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. Visit its Hall of Public Audience and its Royal Pavilions.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 19: AGRA - JHANSI - KHAJURAHO BY: TRAIN/SURFACE
After an early buffet breakfast at the hotel, our representative will transfer you to the Railway Station in time for your train to Jhansi.
Our representative will meet you at the Jhansi Station, after which you will be driven from Jhansi railway station to Khajuraho (200 KMS / 5 Hours)enroute visiting Orchha.

After the sightseeing tour at Orchha proceed for drive to Orchha.

In 1838 Captain T.S. Burt, who was working with the Asiatic Society in Calcutta, followed up local rumours and discovered the great temple complex rising above the jungle in Khajuraho. The ruins of the original Chandela capital stretch over 21 square kilometres, but very little apart from the temples remain. The temples here were built between 950 and 1050 A.D. by the Chandela dynasty, which claims descent from the Moon God and a mortal, Hemavati, with whom the god fell in love.

Upon arrival in Khajuraho proceed for check-in to the hotel.
Overnight at the hotel

DAY 20: KHAJURAHO
Breakfast is at the hotel.

Laterproceed for tourEastern and WesternGroupTemple complex dating to 10th century, a UNESCO world heritage site. The tour concentrates on the famous erotic temples, which represent some of the finest examples of temple architecture in Northern India. The remote location of Khajuraho meant that the temples were unharmed by Muslim invaders and as a result, the intricately fine carvings are in very good condition and are said to represent life in heaven.

Evening enjoy the classical dance show at KandariyaBhawan.
Overnight at the hotel

DAY 21: KHAJURAHO - VARANASI BY: FLIGHT
Buffet breakfast is at the hotel.
Later in the afternoon, our representative will transfer you to Airport in time for your flight to Varanasi.
Arrive Varanasi, upon arrival our representative will meet you at Varanasi airport & transfer you to your hotel.

The antiquity of Varanasi is veiled in immortal times and has been the center of religion, learning and civilization since ages. It has an endearing universal mystique, which has to be experienced to be understood. The city gets its inherent charm from the location as it's situated on west side of the Holy Ganges. The principal attraction being the bathing ghats that are always bustling with life at any given time of the day.
There is no Indian attraction like Varanasi. There are no architectural splendours, no exquisitely carved palaces or impregnable forts, and yet the city has an inherent charm. Situated on the west bank from the riverbank ghats to a winding maze of picturesque alleys overlooking tall houses alongside, dotted with temples. It is a fascinating area to wander around.

Upon arrival proceed for check in hotel.
Overnight at the hotel

DAY 22: VARANASI
Early morning boat-ride in the holy River Ganges and see the various Ghats (the banks of the river) with people ritually cleansing their sins' in hope of attaining eternal salvation or ""Nirvana"". This will be the backdrop to your early morning boat ride when the river is bathed in a magical light and pilgrims come to perform pooja to the rising sun.

Return to the hotel for breakfast. After breakfast enjoy city tour of Varanasi, including a visit to VishwanathTemple, the BenarasHinduUniversity and the BharatMataTemple.ViswanathTempleDedicated to Lord Shiva; this temple is the most sacred shrine in Varanasi. The original temple was destroyed by the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb, which was later, restored by Rani Ahilyabai of Indore in the 18th century.

Later you will be taken for an excursion to Sarnath, a major Buddhist center in the world. After achieving enlightenment at Bodhgaya, Buddha, the 'Awakened One', delivered his first sermon here. It was the sixth century then, when he also set in motion the wheel of law, the Dharmachakra. This dwelling place of the rishis, it was also known as 'Rishipatana' (the place of the Rishis or sages).

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 23: VARANASI - DELHI BY: FLIGHT
Breakfast is at the hotel.
In time, our representative will transfer you to airport to board flight for Delhi:
Upon arrival you will be met by our representative who will transfer you to the hotel.
Rest of the day is free.
Overnight at the hotel

DAY 24: DELHI
Breakfast is at the hotel.Later proceed for combined city tour of Old & New Delhi.

You will first visit Old Delhi. The tour will begin with a visit to Raj Ghat, a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi; Drive past the mighty Red Fort continuing to the Jama Masjid, one of Asia's largest mosques. The magnificent Red Fort, overlooking the river Yamuna was built during the years 1638 - 48 when the Mughal Empire was at its peak.

Enjoy short rickshaw ride..!!!

After visiting Old Delhi, you will then be driven to New Delhi, which reflects the legacy the British left behind. The division between New and Old Delhi is the division between the capitals of the British and the Mughal respectively. The division in the walled city and New Delhi also marks the division in the life-styles.

The tour also includes a drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the RashtrapatiBhawan, the President's residence. The tour to Imperial Delhi will include a visit to the QutubMinar, which is the tallest stone tower in India. The QutubMinar was started in 1199 AD by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak and completed by the sultan's successor and son-in-law, Iltutmish. The building is 72.5 m high and has 379 steps from the bottom to the top. Then visit Humayun's tomb, built by the widow of the second Mughal Emperor, Humayun, it is an outstanding monument in the Indo-Persian style, a precursor of the TajMahal.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 25: DEPART DELHI BY: INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT
In time our representative will meet you at the hotel and transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination.

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