TAJ & RAJ ROUTES (9 Days)
Day 1 DELHI:
Arrive at Delhi. You will be met on arrival at Delhi Airport / Railway Station and escorted to the hotel. Delhi, the capital city of India lying along the River Yamuna, Seven cities have existed here since the 10th century, ruled over by a succession of Rajputs, Turks, Afghans, Mughals and the British. Delhi is two cities in one; the Old Delhi of the Mughals, created by Shah Jahan after moving his Capital from Agra in 1638 AD is still a medieval district of narrow lanes, forts, mosques and bazaars. The second, New Delhi, built by the British in 1911-1931 and characterized by Sir Edwin Lutyens' architecture, is a spacious and well-designed metropolis of broad avenues, grand imperial buildings and landscaped gardens. New Delhi is a green city with its tree lined avenues, parks and natural forest and one of the City's hidden delights is the picturesque Lodi Gardens set around Mughal tombs and it is home to a number of museums including the national Museum, the Museum of Modern art, the Museum of Natural History and the creative Arts and Crafts Museum where artisans can be seen at work.
Overnight at hotel
Day 2 : DELHI
Enjoy your breakfast this morning at the hotel, and proceed through South Delhi to visit Qutub Minar, which is a World Heritage site and one of the most historically monument in Delhi. This 234' high tower which was built in 1193, at the time of the foundation of the Islamic rule in India. Drive past the Bhai Temple, a serene marble structure of near perfect proportions. Later, visit one of the most inspirational monuments of Delhi's past the Humayun's Tomb .This Tomb was built in 1565 by a Persian architect. Surrounded by well maintained gardens it is a wonderfully serene site. Drive onto Rajpath, a two mile long avenue originally the focal point of British India and now used for parades; lined with ornamental canals the views in both directions are imposing. Drive past India Gate, built to commemorate the Indian and British soldiers who died in World War I, Parliament House and Rashtrapati Bhawan. Standing at the crest of Raisina Hill, Lutyen's 20th Century architectural masterpiece was built for the viceroy during British rule and is now the President's residence. Visit the Birla Mandir as it is popularly known which enshrines Lord Vishnu, situated at the heart of the city. Afterwards in Old Delhi previously known as Shahjahanabad, take a cycle rickshaw through the chaotic, noisy and bustling markets of Chandni Chowk, where trading continues in the maze of shops as it has done over the Centuries.
Afternoon is free to walk around in the colorful and bustling bazaars for personal exploration or shopping.
Overnight at hotel
Day 3 DELHI –AGRA (220 KMS):
Enjoy your breakfast this morning at the hotel, check out and proceed and drive to Agra. Agra was the capital of the Mughals during the 16th and 17th centuries. The emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan governed their vast empires from here and as prolific builders; artisans from Persia, Central Asia and other parts of India were attracted by their patronage. The resulting luxurious palaces, tombs, forts and gardens dot the picturesque riverine region along the Yamuna River; three of which, the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Itmad ud Daula (baby Taj).
Check in at hotel and later proceed for your sightseeing tour which starts from Agra fort, situated on the west bank of the Yamuna River, this imposing red sandstone Fort was started in 1565 by Akbar. The fort surrounded by a moat forms a crescent along the riverfront and encompasses a huge complex of courtly buildings reflecting the varied styles of the Emperors. Wander through the lavishly decorated halls, courtyards and galleries discovering hidden pavilions and alcoves while getting a glimpse of the Taj Mahal at a distance. Later visit the Taj Mahal, the world's greatest monument to love and devotion. Built by the emperor Shah Jahan for his favorite wife Mumtaz, its perfect proportions and exquisite craftsmanship took 20,000 workers almost 22 years to complete in 1653. (Closed on Fridays)
Overnight at hotel
Day 4 AGRA –JAIPUR (250 KMS):
Enjoy your breakfast this morning at the hotel, check out and proceed and drive to Jaipur en-route visit to Fatehpur Sikri. Fatehpur Sikri: This deserted red sandstone city built by Emperor Akbar in 1571 AD in honor of the famous Sufi saint, Salim Chishti. The Mughal capital for only 14 years until abandoned due to lack of water, the buildings, blending Hindu and Islamic styles of architecture.
Later continue to drive to Jaipur; arrive Jaipur and transfer to hotel. Jaipur widely known as 'Pink City’. This city is color washed pink to welcome Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria of England who visited India in 1883 A.D. The city was founded in 1727 A.D by one of the greatest ruler Jai Singh II. Jaipur is surrounded by hills on three sides, crowned by formidable forts and majestic palaces, mansions and gardens. Jaipur is the only city in the world, which is sub-divided in to nine rectangular sectors symbolizing nine divisions of universe. Jaipur is the first planned city designed in accordance with 'Shilpa Shastra'- epochal treatise of Hindu architecture. Rest of day is at leisure, free for independent activitie
Overnight at hotel
Day 5 JAIPUR:
Morning: enjoy your breakfast at the hotel; later proceed for the excursion to Amber Fort, here you will enjoy the Elephant Ride to reach atop of the palace. (Subject to Availability and optional)This journey on embellished elephants is bound to enrich your memories with the Royal lifestyle of the Maharajas and leave you with a truly unforgettable experience. (Subject to availability Inside the Fort visit the Hall of Victory or Jag Mandir - is the famed Sheesh Mahal- a room with all the four walls and ceiling completely embedded with glittering mirror pieces, which were specially imported from Belgium during that period.<br />Continue your journey: with the city tour of Jaipur- visiting Maharaja's City Palace, the former Royal residence, part of it converted into a museum. A small portion is still used by the Royal family of Jaipur. One of the major attractions in the museum is the portion known as Armoury Museum, housing an impressive array of weaponry-pistols, blunderbusses, flintlocks, swords, rifles and daggers. Later visit the Jantar Mantar, which is the largest stone and marble crafted observatory in the world, having 17 large instruments, many of them still in working condition. During the tour you will also have a brief photography stop at Hawa Mahal - the Palace of Winds.
Overnight at hotel
Day 6 JAIPUR – JODHPUR (350 KMS):
Enjoy your breakfast this morning at the hotel, check out and proceed and drive to Jodhpur and check in at hotel. Please note that Rao Jodha founded the Rathore Dynasty in Jodhpur in 1459 AD and the kingdom of Marwar flourished due to its strategic location on the trade route between Delhi and the Middle East. As a legacy of its glorious past, Jodhpur boasts many stunning palaces, forts and temples. The 15th century city of Jodhpur, stands at the edge of Thar Desert and is the largest city in Rajasthan after Jaipur. Jodhpur is a resplendent city, with a blend of modern and traditional buildings. The city is totally dominated by a massive fort sprawled across 125- meter high hill known as Meherangarh Fort, founded by Rao Jodha in 15th century. A flourishing trade center in the 16th century, Jodhpur is still one of the leading centers of wool, cattle, Camels, salt and agricultural Crops . It boasts of some of very fine reminders of its glorious past palaces, temples and other elegant monuments of architectural and historical significance. Also Jodhpur is popularly known as the 'Blue City' because of the beautiful houses painted with indigo color mostly belonging to the Brahmin caste. You can get a magnificent view of this Blue city from the ramparts of the Meherangarh Fort. Visit the Meherangarh Fort, which was impregnable for the rocky base. It totally dominates the city and within its walls are the royal palaces, priceless jewels and a striking collection of arms .Also visit Jaswant Thada, the white marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II built in 1899.
Also visit Sardar Bazaar and Clock Tower markets where you can see the vegetable, spice, Indian sweets, and textile and silver markets. These colorful markets with tiny shops dot the narrow lanes replete with woodcarvings, wrought iron, lacquer work, silver and ivory ornamentation and leather handicrafts
Overnight at hotel
Day 7 JODHPUR-RANAKPUR-UDAIPUR (300 KMS):
Enjoy your breakfast this morning at the hotel, check out and proceed and drive to Udaipur stopping en route at the Jain Temples in Ranakpur. The Ranakpur Jain temples are hidden in the dense forests of the Aravalli hills in a peaceful setting and are one of the five holy Jain pilgrimages and they were built during the reign of the liberal and gifted monarch Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. An enormous basement covers 48,000 sq. feet area. There are four subsidiary shrines, twenty four pillared halls and eligibly domes supported by over four hundred columns. The total number of columns is 1,444 all of which are intricately carved and no two being alike. The artistically carved nymphs playing the flute in various dance postures at a height of 45 feet are an engrossing sight. In the assembly hall, there are two big bells weighing 108 Kg and their sound echoes in the entire complex. (Temple opens only at 1200 Hrs. Leather belts, footwear, bare legs and black clothing not allowed)
Udaipur, the 'City of Sunrise'. On the banks of the shimmering lake Pichola, is one of the most romantic cities of Rajasthan. Nestled among the lush hills of the Aravali, it has inevitably been dubbed the 'Venice of the East'. It is a kaleidoscope of fairy-tale palaces, lakes, temples, gardens and narrow lanes strewn with stalls, carries the flavor of the heroic past, epitomizing valor and chivalry. Udaipur Founded in 1568 A.D by Maharana Udai Singh, the city is a harmonious Indian blend of whitewashed buildings, marble palaces, lakeside gardens, temples and Havelis.In the evening you will enjoy a leisurely boat ride on Lake Pichola with its main attractions the beautiful stretch of water surrounding the two marvelous structures the Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir, is the life line of Udaipur city. Lake Pichola is about 4 kms in length and 3 kms wide. Jagniwas was earlier the summer retreat of the prince of Mewar and now a five-star hotel Lake Palace. All the palaces in the city are constructed to have a magnificent reflection in this lake. This lake was created in the 15th century and widened later and a dam across was also created in that period. It was Maharana Udai Singh II who strengthened the Dam and widened the lake, as he was building his capital on the shore of the beautiful Lake. The lake was surrounded by many exquisite palaces, temples, hilly terrains, bathing ghats and many gardens. The city palace extends along the eastern shore of the lake and you can go for a boat ride from Bansi Ghat. (Subject to water level in the lake)
Overnight at hotel
Day 8 UDAIPUR:
Enjoy your breakfast this morning at the hotel, and proceed for Visit Jagdish Temple. Built in 1651 A.D. by Maharana Jagat Singh, this Indo-Aryan temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, a manifestation of Vishnu. The largest and the most beautiful temple of Udaipur, it is always seething with constant activity and noted for its beautiful sculpted images and towering shikhara.Later visit City Palace – Udaipur's fascinating City Palace is the largest royal complex in Rajasthan. Standing on a rocky promontory the palace has balconies, towers and cupolas and presents a wonderful view of the lake and the city. The complex has eleven constituent mahals (palaces), constructed by successive maharanas during the three hundred years that followed the foundation of Udaipur in 1559. Added to this, Crystal Gallery and Durbar Hall within the complex is spectacular. Explore them for their mosaics, miniatures, mirror work and motifs. Also visit Sahelion Ki Bari that is a small ornamental garden built in the honor of Royal Ladies for recreational purpose. Next is the visit to Bhartiya Lok Kala Museum. Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandir is home to an attractive collection of folk dresses, puppets, ornaments, dolls, masks, folk musical instruments, folk deities and paintings. The museum is the best place for those interested in puppetry. Short amusing puppet shows are staged throughout the day. In addition, the museum runs short courses in puppet making and theatre Followed by visit to Eklingji & Nagda Temples - built in white marble with a double storied porch on the bank of Lake Bageela - 22 kms from Udaipur.