HANDSOME HAVELIS, MESMERISING DUNES
The magnificent forts of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur bear testimony to the fierce battles that once raged across this desert land, whilst the romantic palaces of Udaipur and Bikaner offer a glimpse of a softer side to the rich history of this part of India.
The tour commences from Delhi, and then to Mandawa town remarkable for its colorfully painted havelis (mansions) that make it very culture enthusiast’s delight. Travelling west to the desert towns of Bikaner and Jaisalmer, get an inside look into the Rajasthani way of life. An unforgettable highlight of this trip is the camel journey across the shimmering sands of the Thar Desert, visiting temple ruins and forgotten, remote villages along the way.
Our itinerary includes the three erstwhile royal capitals of Rajasthan – Jodhpur, Udaipur, and Jaipur – each with its own glittering palaces, temples and soaring forts. We also make time to see the magnificent tiger in his natural habitat along with a plethora of wildlife at Ranthambore National Park, before travelling to Agra, in Uttar Pradesh, to pay homage to the magnificent Taj Mahal, and visit the one-time Mughal capital of Fatehpur Sikri, before continuing on to Delhi
- Camel safari through the shimmering sand dunes near Jaisalmer
- Stunning Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
- Tiger-spotting at Ranthambore National Park
- Magnificent Taj Mahal in all its glory and grandeur
- Gigantic Chittorgarh Fort and intricately designed ‘bauri’ (step well) in Bundi.
Day 2Delhi - Mandawa
Delhi - Mandawa
In the afternoon we visit the walled city of Old Delhi; crowded, full of activity and still influenced by the great Mughals who once ruled from the ramparts of the majestic Red Fort Delhi. Here we visit Jama Masjid Delhi - the largest 17th century mosque in India; Chandni Chowk - the typical Indian market always abuzz with activities; and Rajghat - the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi (also called the 'Father of the Nation’). We also visit New Delhi where we drive past the Presidential Palace, Secretariat Buildings and down the impressive Rajpath to India Gate .
In the afternoon, we drive towards Mandawa in Shekhawati region, located South West of Delhi. This town is known for its amazingly painted ‘Havelis’, which are so vivid and architecturally rich that this region is dubbed as the ‘Open Art Gallery of Rajasthan’. The plethora of these fascinating painted havelis in rich artistic tradition date back to 18th century to early 20th century. Late in the evening, we arrive in Mandawa and check-in at the hotel.
Day 3Morning visit of Haveli and route to Bikaner
Mandawa - Bikaner
Today we embark on the city tour of Mandawa. The Shekhawati region is dotted with so many havelis that tracking them is something similar to a treasure hunt. Various forms of fine art adorn the walls and the ceilings of these structures, in contrast to the otherwise flat and barren land.
After appreciating them we drive to Bikaner, is a city in the princely state of Rajasthan, enclosed by the mystic Thar Desert, this city is renowned for its sacred temples and 16th-century old Junagarh Fort that has a huge complex which ornate buildings and halls .
Post check-in and rejuvenation process at the hotel, we leave for the Sight-seeing of Bikaner town where we visit the Junagarh Fort. This Fort is a formidable structure and houses a number of beautiful Palaces, Temples and Pavilions, which are richly decorated. This Fort has the distinction of having remained unconquered till date. Evening is free to explore the local Bazaar.
Day 4 - 5Immerge in the heart of Desert
In the morning, we visit the famous JainTemple which is the oldest existing structure in Bikaner.
Later, we drive to Jaisalmer, founded in the year 1156 by Bhatti Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal. Often described as Golden City or a golden mirage rising at the heart of the Thar Desert, the commanding Fort etched in yellow sandstone dominates the amber-hued city with its awesome splendor. The merchants of the 19th century built havelis (Mansions), which are exquisitely carved from golden-yellow sandstone and are still in a beautiful condition. The life within the fortified town conjures up images of medieval majesty, visible in its narrow lanes, the magnificent palace, havelis, temples, and of course, skilled artisans and the ubiquitous camels.
After checking into our hotel, it’s time to visit the Bada Bagh, It has a number of Royal cenotaphs or chhatris of Maharajas of Jaisalmer, decorated with a beautifully carved ceiling and elegant equestrian statues of rulers offering an incredible sunset vistas to tourists, it is the best place to admire the Sunset and to take photographs. Evening is free at leisure.
After the breakfast, we visit the old town of Jaisalmer and Jaisalmer Fort. Perched on an 80m high hill housing the entire township within its ramparts, the golden hued Fort stands like a sentinel in the bleak desert landscape. It is the only ‘Living Fort’ in India and within its ramparts has meandering narrow lanes dotted with some lovely havelis (Mansions), Palaces and beautifully sculptured Jain Temples of 12th and 15th century CE. In the heart of the town, we also visit the magnificent Patwon Ki Haveli, the most elaborate and magnificent of all the Jaisalmer Havelis that showcases Jaisalmer's legendary architectural wealth.
Later we drive down 40 kms from Jaisalmer to Sam to enjoy the camel-ride on Sam Sand Dunes watching the setting sun in the west.
Day 6Visit of Blue City
Jaisalmer - Jodhpur
Today, we drive towards Jodhpur, the second largest city in Rajasthan after Jaipur. The powerful Rajput chief Rao Jodha built this beautiful city, which is located near the Thar Desert. Built in the year 1459 this city is also known as 'The Blue City' having taken this name from the houses painted blue for the twin purposes of keeping the houses cool and to keep away the detested mosquitoes.
Post check in and some rest we visit the majectic Mehrangarh Fort, one of the most impressive & formidable structures in India. An architectural marvel that boasts of a splendid palace with intricately carved latticed windows the Fort spreads over an area of around 5 kms. An imposing structure that overlooks the city of Jodhpur, the Fort was built in 1459 CE and stands proudly on a 125m long hill as a reminder of the royal splendor and bravery of royal families of those times.
We also visit the Jaswant Thada, a cluster of royal cenotaphs in white marble built in the year 1899 CE in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. Inside the main cenotaph are the portraits of various Jodhpur rulers.
Day 7 - 8Drive to Udaipur en route visiting Jain temple of Ranakpur
Jodhpur - Ranakpur
In the morning, we leave the parched desert behind and continue our drive towards Udaipur as we climb up the Aravalli hills, separating the desert from the cultivated land of Rajasthan. En route, we visit the Ranakpur, a small town situated in the hills of Pali district. It is home to a very beautiful and one of the biggest and most important Jain temple-complexes of India. It is one of the five most important pilgrimage sites of Jainism. The main temple, which was built during the reign of Rana Kumbha, one of the gifted liberal Rajput monarchs of the 15th century, is the Adinath or Chaumukha temple (the four-faced temple) dedicated to the first Jain teacher, Tirthankar Adinath.
Ranakpur - Udaipur
Continuing our drive, we arrive in the beautiful Lakeside town of Udaipur. Known as 'The Pearl of Rajasthan', the 'City of Sunrise' and 'Venice of the East', Udaipur is a beautiful place regarded by both Indians as well as foreign tourists as the most romantic city in India. Upon arrival, we transfer to the hotel.
Today, we visit the City Palace Udaipur, a fascinating collection of buildings built by various Maharanas (Warrior Kings) after Udai Singh and completed in the year 1725. The magnificence of the Palace starts right from its entrance at the northern Tripolia Gate that brings us to the central courtyard, the best place to view filigreed balconies and ornate cupola-topped towers. We also visit the Jagdish Temple, the Indo-Aryan temple built in the year 1651 CE by Maharana Jagat Singh and is the largest and the most beautiful temple of Udaipur. In the afternoon, we visit the Saheliyon Ki Bari (Garden of Maids of Honour), an ornamental garden built by Maharana Sangram Singh for his daughter and the ladies of the Queen's court. He built the garden with several fountains and pools further decorated with chiseled pavilions and elephants. The fountains work on the unique hydraulic technique devised in the year 1700 CE and continue to function even now. In the evening, we enjoy a beautiful Sunset view on Lake Pichola, 4km long and 3 kms wide surrounded by hills, palaces, temples, bathing ghats and embankments.
Day 9Head for Bundi enroute visiting Chittorgarh Fort
Udaipur - Chittorgarh
Today we drive towards Bundi, en-route visiting the Chittorgarh. Formerly a Fort city and known as Chittorgarh or Chittor, it was the capital of former Rajput state of Mewar, remembered for bravery and valor of its rulers. The grand fort at the top of a hill is still intact. Apart from its historical importance the fort is also known for a number of temples, including the Kalika Mata Temple signifying the importance given to their religion by the rulers of those times.
Chittorgarh - Bundi
Continuing our drive, we arrive in Bundi, a small sleepy town located in the southern part of the state of the Rajasthan.
In the afternoon, we visit the Bundi Palace.
Bundi is known for its palaces, intricately designed ‘bauris’, the step wells and water tanks. The history of Bundi dates back to 1193 CE, when Sultan Mohammed Ghauri defeated Prithviraj Chauhan, compelling the Chauhan nobles to seek shelter in the neighboring state of Mewar. Bundi has its own architectural tales to tell.
Day 10 - 11Spotting of Tiger in National Park
After the breakfast, we leave for Ranthambore that is located at the junction of the Aravalli and Vindhya hill range and is one of the finest places to see large species of animals and birds. It holds the largest population of tigers among all the National Parks in India. The other wildlife comprises several species of monkeys, deer, crocodiles and even bird-life including purple herons, kingfishers, cormorants, parakeets, Jacanas, waders and partridges. Formerly a hunting ground of maharajas of Jaipur, Ranthambore is now one of India's tiger reserves under ‘Project Tiger’. Being a part of this project, it has restored its natural beauty and its dry deciduous forest cover. We arrive in Ranthambore and check-in to the hotel. In the evening, we either relax at the lodge or take a tour of the surrounding villages to see rural life.
Today, we have Two Game drives to the park to wander through the jungles to find the elusive tiger. We wake up early morning and leave for our First safari in the Ranthambore National Park. We track the tigers and other wildlife through the morning and return to the hotel for breakfast. After relaxing for the rest of the pre-lunch session, we leave for another foray into the Jungle after lunch to catch glimpses of some more animal and bird species. At the end of this adventurous day, we return to the hotel and relax.
Day 12 - 13Welcome to Pink city
Ranthambhore - Jaipur
In the morning we drive to Jaipur - popularly known as the Pink City that is the colorful capital of Rajasthan. With its rich cultural heritage and colorful past it is now one of the most important heritage cities in India. The city was established in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the then ruler of Amer. Also known as 'The City of Victory', Jaipur was the first planned city of its time with imposing forts, dazzling palaces, beautiful gardens and markets. Evening is free to explore the colorful bazaars of Jaipur.
After breakfast we drive to the ancient capital of Amer, 11 km from Jaipur. Famous for its massive Amber(amer) Fort, Amer was the ancient capital of Kachwaha dynasty for 6 centuries. We take an Elephant ride(optional), an experience to remember for a long time, to reach the Fort situated on the hill. Having appreciated its beauty and captured that in our cameras we visit City Palace Jaipur, a perfect blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. Next, we visit Jantar Mantar, a Solar Observatory built in the 18th century; an astronomical treasure house that measures time according to the movement of the Sun to an error of just 2 seconds with solar devices that give accurate astrological predictions as well till date. We also visit Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), a five-storied facade of pink sandstone. It was built in the year 1799 to allow royal ladies to watch processions and other the festivities on the road through its 953 ‘jharokas’or small windows without being seen by the public.
Day 14visit of Taj Mahal - a true epitome of love
Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri
Visit of Fatehpur Sikri, beatiful city near Agra founded in 1569 by the Emperor Akbar. The city host several historical building as the Buland Darwaza we will visit.
Fatehpur Sikri - Agra
We finally arrive in beautiful Agra city, on the banks of the river Yamuna. Agra is the home to the iconic Taj Mahal, a mausoleum built for the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan’s wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth in 1631.
We will also witness the architectural wonder of the golden age of the Mughals..
Day 15Early morning visit of Taj and drive back to Delhi
Upon arrival at our hotel, we will check in and relax. Later, we will go out to visit the Agra Fort, a historical fort in the city of Agra in India and it was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty till 1638, when Mughal capital was shifted from Agra to Red Fort in Delhi. In the late afternoon, we will have an opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal“ the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage, from centuries Taj Mahal became the symbol of love and beauty. Overnight stay at the hotel.
After the visit, we drive back to Delhi. Upon arrival, we have the option to visit the vibrant local bazaars of Delhi for last-minute shopping before we pack up for our flight to our next destination the next day.