Day 1: Friday, November 12th
(Check in at 2pm) Meeting and assistance provided upon arrival at Delhi Airport with transfer to Hotel.
As the capital of India, Delhi is the third largest city with a population of approximately 18 million. Its strategic location along the north-south, east-west route has given it a focal position in Indian history and many great empires have been ruled from here. The monuments and ruins of these are scattered throughout the city, often cheek by jowl with modern structures and high-rise towers.
Overnight at the hotel Andaz, we choose this hotel for its location, its very close to the airport, for those middle of the night transfer arrivals and departures, it’s also got a fabulous swimming pool plus a sauna and spa and it has an amazing Tandoor oven that makes the best Naan bread! Here you’ll have time to get over that flight.
Day 2: Saturday, November 13th
After breakfast, we’ll proceed on a city tour of Delhi visiting Old Delhi where you will view the Red Fort from outside before walking through Chandni Chowk, and savoring the ambience of the crowded bazaar. Afterwards, continue to India’s largest mosque, Jama Masjid.
Afterward we’ll have a brief photo stop at the India Gate, a memorial to the Indian servicemen who died in World War I. Continue on to Humayun’s Tomb (the second Mughal Emperor) built in the mid-16th-century. This tomb is the first great example of a Mughal garden tomb and was the inspiration for several monuments such as the incomparable Taj Mahal.
Later this afternoon we’ll visit the Khan Markets.
After a rest back at the hotel, tonight we’ll enjoy a lavish welcome dinner.
Overnight at the hotel ANDAZ DELHI
Day 3: Sunday, November 14th
In time, transfer to Delhi Airport to board our flight for Jaisalmer.
Meeting and assistance provided upon arrival at Jaisalmer Airport and transfer to our Hotel. (Check in at 1400 hrs)
Founded by Prince Jaisala in 1156, it is dubbed the ‘Golden City’ because of the honey-colored sandstone walls, emphasized by the setting sun. It was once a flourishing trade centre, strategically located on the busy caravan trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
Jaisalmer’s wealthy traders and rulers vied with each other to beautify their austere desert surroundings with splendid palaces and havelis. Made of the local golden-yellow sandstone, they are the most spectacular example of the Rajasthani stonemason’s art.
The hotel SURYAGARH is not just a hotel, Suryagarh represents a unique way of life, carefully preserving the traditions of the past yet framing them in a modern idiom. It’s our ‘eureka’ hotel in India! Like a sandcastle rising from the Thar Desert.
Day 4: Monday, November 15th
Today we visit Jaisalmer Fort which rises like a fabulous mirage out of the sands of the Thar Desert. The awesome contours of its 99 bastions are softened by the golden hue of the stone. Built in 1156 by Maharawal Jaisal and added to by his successors, this citadel stands on the peak of the 80m-high Trikuta Hill. In mediaeval times,
Jaisalmer’s entire population lived within the fort and to this day, thousands of people reside here, making it India’s only living fort. Royal palaces, a cluster of Jain temples, mansions and shops are all contained within its walls.
We will visit the beautifully carved Jain temples and Badal Vilas Palace. We will also visit some impressive merchant mansions (havelis) including the Patwon Ki Haveli, a five-story mansion with carved pillars and murals.
Late afternoon we visit the Sam Sand Dunes followed by a Camel ride!
Overnight at our hotel – SURYAGARH
Day 5: Tuesday, November 16th
After breakfast, drive to Bikaner, on arrival check in at hotel.
Bikaner is a major desert town in northern Rajasthan. Like many others in Rajasthan, the old city is surrounded by a high crenelated wall and was once an important staging post on the overland caravan routes to Central Asia and China (the Silk Road). The city is interesting for its superb large fort, Junagarh Fort, but it is also known for the fine camels which bred here.
Along with Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, Bikaner was one of the three great Desert Kingdoms of Rajasthan. It was founded in 1488 by Rao Bika, the disgruntled younger son of Rao Jodha, the ruler of Jodhpur, who left home in search of new territory to conquer
Our hotel NARENDRA BHAWAN conjures up a pulsating Bombay influenced by the burgeoning Art Deco movement drawn from the glamour of Broadway. You’ll find dark inviting caverns, rich velveteen fabrics, chiffons and pearls; its utterly stylish and it was formerly a private palace-residence. We’re in for a royal treat!
Day 6: Wednesday, November, 17th
After breakfast, proceed on the City tour of Bikaner
Today we visit the Junagarh fort that dates back to 1588 A.D. built by Raja Rai Singh, the fort is a formidable structure encircled by a moat and has some beautiful palaces within. These palaces, built in red sandstone and marble, make a picturesque ensemble of courtyards, balconies, kiosks and windows.
Then we’ll discover astonishing Karni Mata Mandir or the Rat temple in Deshnoke, 30 km from Bikaner. The temple has thousands of rats that live, and are revered in, the temple. Eating food that has been nibbled on by the rats is considered to be highly auspicious.
For any not wanting to visit this Temple, there’s an alternative therapy, a shopping trip in delightful Bikaner.
Overnight at the hotel – NARENDRA BHAWAN
Day 7: Thursday, November 18th
After breakfast, drive to Jaipur, on arrival check in at hotel
A city founded in 1727 as Mughal power within India was declining. At this time the then Maharaja Jai Singh moved his capital from Amer Fort down onto the plain below. The city is now the capital of Rajasthan State and commonly called the ‘Pink City’ because of the pink paint on the buildings in the old city area. This was apparently done to imitate the magnificent, red sandstone buildings of the Mughals and in an attempt to impress the Prince of Wales when he visited Jaipur in 1876.
Tonights stay at the TAJ RAMBAGH PALACE is befitting for the Royal Princesses that we all are! Originally built in 1835, Rambagh Palace, has stepped gracefully through many royal transitions—from the home of the queen’s favorite handmaiden, to royal guesthouse and hunting lodge, and later as the residence of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II and his queen, Maharani Gayatri Devi. Today, this jewel in the Taj’s crown offers 78 stunningly restored grand luxury rooms and suites in Jaipur which were the chambers of the former Maharaja. The palace retains its elaborate splendor, extravagantly decorated with hand-carved marble ‘jalis’ or latticework, sandstone balustrades, cupolas and ‘chattris’ or cenotaphs, and elaborate Mughal Gardens.
Day 8: Friday, November 19th
Start today with a brief photo stop at Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), tourists are unable to enter the building so you will be able to view it from the busy street opposite.
Continue to Amer Fort or ‘Amber Fort’ as the British called it. Erected in 1799 by the Sawai Pratap Singh, Hawa Mahal was built so that the veiled ladies of his harem could observe, unnoticed, the lively street scenes below. After you arrive at the base of Amer Fort, you will take an elephant ride that will take you all the way up to the entrance. Inside the fort you will visit the Jag Mandir or the Hall of Victory, which houses the famed Sheesh Mahal.
A visit the Maharaja’s City Palace will complement our afternoon as we explore the former Royal residence, part of the building has been converted into a museum. The Royal family of Jaipur still uses the remaining sections of the palace. Outside the gate to the Maharaja’s City Palace is Jantar Mantar, the largest stone and marble crafted observatory in the world. The observatory has 17 large instruments, many of them still in working condition.
Before returning to the hotel, we’ll stop for some shopping inside the walled city, where villagers from around Jaipur come to sell and trade their produce. The remainder of the evening is free at your leisure.
Overnight at the hotel – TAJ RAMBAGH PALACE
Day 9: Saturday, November 20th
Full day at leisure (Vehicle available within City limits only) we have added in an extra day here, because this is where the shopping all happens. Oh my, remember to bring that empty suitcase, but shipping is also possible.
Overnight at the hotel TAJ RAMBAGH PALACE
Day 10: Sunday, November 21st
Today we’ll transfer to the Jaipur Airport to board flight for Udaipur, on arrival check in at hotel.
The origins of Udaipur are based on a legend which tells of a holy sage that Maharaja Udai Singh encountered while hunting in the foothills of the Aravalli Range in Mewar. The sage told the King to build a palace in that exact spot and it would be well protected and so with this advice, Maharaja Udai Singh built his residence there. At the time, Chittorgarh was the capital of Mewar state, however in 1568 Chittorgarh was attacked by the Mughal emperor Akbar, and so Maharaja Udai Singh moved the capital to Udaipur.
Overnight at the hotel THE BUJERA FORT In one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Bujera Fort is a spectacular newly built fortress in the Aravalli hills, on the west side of Lake Pichola, with views of the City Palace, Lake Palace and the Monsoon Palace and Fateh Garh Castle. It is Udaipur’s only boutique hotel and a gem of a place. Truly gorgeous, small, friendly and welcoming. The Fort has all the feel and atmosphere of a glorious English country house with wonderful fabrics interspersed with Indian antiques, fabrics and high style. You mind find your self saying, let’s stay here forever, please!
Day 11: Monday, November 22nd
We begin our second day in Udaipur with a drive around Fateh Sagar Lake, which has a garden café on its island. Located nearby are the Folk Museum and Mewar Art Gallery. Although the Folk Museum is small, the unique variety of ethnic groups and cultures of the hills around Udaipur make this visit well worthwhile. We also visit the Sahelion Ki Bari Garden (Garden for the Maids of Honor). This delightful 18th-century retreat in the north of the city was built for the Queen of Udaipur, whose dowry included 48 maids.
This afternoon we’ll visit the massive City Palace, which overlooks Lake Pichola. The City Palace, built in 1725, is comprised of 11 palaces including the Dilkhush Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Moti Mahal and the Palace of Lord Krishna, all of which are ornately decorated. After we’ll head down the street leading from the gates of the palace to our transport enjoying the opportunity to shop in the local stalls along the way.
In late afternoon we’ll enjoy a cruise on the 4km long Lake Pichola, fringed with hills, palaces, havelis, ghats and temples. Whilst on the cruise we will see the Lake Palace, formally known as Jag Niwas, it was built between 1734 and 1751. It was once a royal summer retreat and is now one of the world’s greatest hotels. It is also a popular location for film shoots, including James Bond’s Octopussy. I know some amazing last minute shopping spots, to be done here! Farewell dinner tonight. Alas, all dreams do have to end! Overnight at the hotel.
Overnight hotel THE BUJERA FORT
Day 12: Tuesday, November 23rd
In time transfer to Udaipur Airport to board flight for Delhi, on arrival at Delhi Airport you connect your flight for onward destination. Our services ends with the drop at Udaipur Airport.