ASIA PACKAGES: India Beyond The Taj  
 

DAY 01 - ARRIVE DELHI

You will be met and assisted on arrival in Delhi and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.

DAY 02 - IN DELHI

 

 

 

 

 

After breakfast in the morning proceed for the full day city tour of Old & New Delhi. In Old city visit Red Fort built by Emperor Shah Jahan; Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India; Raj Ghat- the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi and enjoy a walking tour in Chandni Chowk- the silver street of Delhi bustling with activity.  In the afternoon visit Qutab Minar, the tallest stone tower in India; Humayun’s Tomb built in the Indo Persian style and a predecessor to The Taj Mahal in Agra; India Gate – A War Memorial Arch. Also drive past the President’s house, Parliament house, Government secretariat buildings and Connaught place – the heart of New Delhi and a busy shopping center. Overnight is at the hotel.

DAY 03 - TO VARANASI











After breakfast transfer to the airport to board your flight for Varanasi

Varanasi picturesquely situated on the crescent shaped left bank of the holy Ganga, Varanasi, one of the ancient seats of le1arning in India, is said to be a compound of the names of two streams, the Varuna and the Assi, which still flow in the north and south of the city respectively. Varanasi is probably one of the most ancient living cities in India. From time immemorial it has been a great religious center for Hindus and one of their most sacred places of pilgrimage, being visited by millions of people every year.

Meet and assist upon arrival and transfer to the hotel. 

In the afternoon proceed for a guided excursion to Sarnath – where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon. A major Buddhist centre, Sarnath lies 10 kilometres north east of Varanasi. It was here that Buddha preached his message of the ’middle way’ to nirvana after achieving enlightenment at Bodhgaya. In around 234 BC, Emperor Ashoka, a great follower of Buddhism, erected a stupa here. Between the 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD, several Buddhist structures were built here in Sarnath. Most of the Sarnath’s monuments are set in large gardens making it quite pleasant for a visitor to spend some time here.

Visit to the River Ganges in Varanasi to witness the evening Aarti and pooja. Return to the hotel after the visit for overnight stay

DAY 04 - TO KHAJURAHO

Early in the morning, enjoy a boat ride on the River Ganges. The most important facet of this holy city is the river and the ghats lining its southern bank in the city. From dawn to dusk, the ghats are thronged by thousands of devotees, who perform their holy rituals in the hope of attaining salvation, the “Nirvana” Later also visit temples like Kashi Vishwanath temple - dedicated to Lord Shiva; Bharat Mata Mandir - dedicated to Mother India; Durga temple – dedicated to Goddess Durga; Alamgir mosque – originally a temple dedicated to Vishnu but now an odd mixture of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles

Later transfer to the airport to board your flight for Khajuraho. Meet and assist upon arrival and transfer to the hotel

A damsel painting the sole of her foot with crimson lac.A View of the Vishwanath Temple

 

 

 



In the afternoon proceed for a half day visit to Eastern & Western group of temples. The magnificent temples built by the Chandela kings. They are divided into three – eastern, western and southern groups. The largest temple is Kandariay dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temples known for their erotic sculpture are world famous. Rest of the day is at leisure and free for independent activities. Overnight is at the hotel.

DAY 05  - TO ORCHHA and JHANSI (DRIVE) & TRAIN TO AGRA

Drive 190 kms to Jhansi to connect your train to Agra in the evening.  25kms before Jhansi you will stop at ORCHHA. 

Orchha's grandeur has been captured in stone, frozen in time, a rich legacy to the ages. In this medieval city, the hand of time has rested lightly and the palaces and temples built by its Bundela rulers in the 16th and 17th centuries retain much of their pristine perfection.  Orchha was founded in the 16th century by the Bundela Rajput chieftain, Rudra Pratap, who chose this stretch of land along the Betwa river as an ideal site for his capital. Of the succeeding rulers, the most notable was Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo who built the exquisite Jehangir Mahal, a tiered palace crowned by graceful chhatris. From here the view of soaring temple spires and cenotaphs is spectacular.  Complementing the noble proportions of their exteriors are interiors which represent the finest flowering of the Bundela school of painting. In the Laxminarayan Temple and Raj Mahal, vibrant murals encompassing a variety of religious and secular themes, bring the walls and ceilings to rich life. 

 

 

 

 

 

After the sightseeing continue your drive to the station and connect Shatabdi Express train to Agra, arriving at 2000 hrs.  Transfer to your hotel for overnight stay.

DAY 06 - TO FATEHPUR SIKRI & TO JAIPUR

After breakfast in morning half day city tour of Agra city. Visit the red sandstone Agra Fort, which stands like a crescent on the banks of the Jamuna River enclosed by forbidding 20-meter high walls, with a 12- meter moat between them. Three successive Mughal emperors - Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jehan - helped create this massive structure which contains Hindu and Muslim architecture. Then proceed for the famous white marble mausoleum, which was built in

the middle of the 17th century by the Moghul emperor Shah Jehan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Visit the TAJ MAHAL surely the greatest monument to love and one of the wonders of the modern world. Completed in 1652, skilled craftsmen from Persia, Turkey, France and Italy and some 20,000 labourers worked for 17 years to build this edifice, constructed by emperor Shah Jehan as a mausoleum for his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. Marble was brought from Makrana, near Jodhpur and precious stones of onyx, amethyst, malachite, lapis lazuli, turquoise, jade, crystal and mother of pearl were carried to Agra from Persia, Russia, Afghanistan, Tibet, China and the Indian Ocean.  

In the afternoon, drive to Jaipur visiting the ancient abandoned Moghul capita, FATEHPUR SIKRIl.  This 16th century capital of Moghul emperor Akbar is a complex of forts, palaces and mosques built in sandstone. The city had to be deserted because of lack of water. The white marble Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisti, Akbar's spiritual adviser, is now observed as a Muslim pilgrimage spot here. 

Continue your drive to Jaipur and check in at the hotel upon arrival.

The capital of the state of Rajasthan is popularly known as the 'pink city' as the buildings in its old, walled city is all constructed in pink-colored sandstone. Jaipur owes its name, its foundation and its careful planning to the great warrior-astronomer Maharaja Jai Singh II (1699-1744). He laid out the city with its surrounding walls and six rectangular blocks by principles of town planning set out in an ancient Hindu treatise on architecture. In 1728 he constructed the remarkable observatory, which is still one of Jaipur's central attractions. It is worthwhile spending any leisure time wandering through the bazaars.

Overnight is at the hotel

DAY 07 - IN JAIPUR











This morning you will drive 11kms in the outskirts of the city to visit Amber Fort, the ancient capital of the State until 1728. Visit the Temple of Kali, the Hall of Victory or Jai Mahal and Jagmandir. You can have the unique experience of traveling on elephant back to and from the top of the hill on which the fort is situated.

In the afternoon visit the Observatory, the Palace of Winds and the City Palace and Museum. The museum has an interesting textile section, which contains dresses and costumes of the former Maharajas and Maharanis of Jaipur. Jaipur is well known for its beautiful carpets, enamelled ornaments, precious and semi-precious stones, brass ornaments and many other arts and crafts.  Spend time in crowded lanes & by lanes of pink city, haggling and souvenir-hunting in the evening. Return to the hotel for overnight stay. 

DAY 08 - JAIPUR – MANDAWA (175 kms)

Today morning drive to MANDAWA.  Today, the world comes to this storybook town to see its colourful frescoes on every subject under the sun, that is, ranging from the religious to the erotic; from copies of popular English prints to witty social satire, rendered in the inimitable style of the local artist. And perhaps the best place to discover the legacy of Shekhawati is from the comfort of Castle Mandawa, a fortress, now converted into a luxurious heritage hotel. 

Like many historic homes, Castle Mandawa is a curious mixture of the old and the new. Medieval turreted towers, palanquin-roofed balconies, blend with modern comforts in old-world rooms. Family portraits, antique cannons and arms add to the charm of this family-run resort where tradition still runs strong. Even time is measured by a different clock... a huge brass gong struck by the resident timekeepers at the fort every hour!   Explore Castle Mandawa at your own pace. Spend a leisurely hour over a drink in the colonial verandah that accommodates the bar, or relax in the cosy comfort of the Diwankhana, the formal drawing room decorated with family portraits and an array of antique armour.
Overnight is at the Castle

DAY 09 - MANDAWA / BIKANER (190 km)

After breakfast drive to BIKANER, - was once a major trading post between Africa, West Asia and the Far East. The arts prospered receiving the patronage of a wealthy merchant community. The city is renowned for the best riding camels in the world.  Arrive and check in at the Gajner Palace

Junagarh Fort, Bikaner      Lallgarh Palace, Bikaner

This afternoon during your tour you will visit Camel Breeding Farms; Junagarh Fort, a formidable structure encircled by a moat and having some beautiful palaces within.  Situated at a height of above seven hundred feet above sea level, it towers over the city and can be seen from a distance. The fort and its palaces are profusely decorated with magnificent stone carvings. 

30 kms south of Bikaner is the village of Deshnoke, where the famous Mata Karni Temple is situated. The 600-year-old temple is dedicated to Karni Mata, an incarnation of Goddess Durga. The temple plays host to thousands of rats that form the major attraction here. The rats are considered sacred and worshipped accordingly. You have to be very careful while entering the inner sanctum, because it is believed that if you accidentally step on a rat, a gold replica has to be made to compensate for the lost life.

Overnight is at the hotel

DAY 10 - BIKANER / JAISALMER (333 KMS)

After breakfast, we drive to Jaisalmer.  Unlike any other city, this desert fortress is one of Rajasthan’s most exotic and unusual towns. Jaisalmer, an important ancient trading centre because of its strategic location on the camel trade routes, is often described as the 'golden city'. The havelis, built by merchants of the 19th century, are exquisitely carved from golden-yellow sandstone and are still in a beautiful condition. The fort built by Rawal Jaisal in the 12th century, stands on the 80 metre high Trikuta hill, with beautifully carved Jain temples.  Overnight is at the hotel.

DAY 11 - JAISALMER

Today morning explore this fascinating city. Visit the famous Havelis (mansions) known for their frescoes.  Jaisalmer’s strategic position on the camel terrain route bought it great wealth. The merchants grew prosperous and commissioned great havelis, or mansions, to flaunt their ever-growing status in society. Made of local golden-yellow sand stone and wood, some of the havelis are still in excellent condition. The most elaborate and magnificent of all the Jaisalmer havelis is the Patwaon Ki Haveli. The Haveli was built between 1800 and 1860 by five Jain

 

brothers. Salim Singh Ki Haveli and Nathmal Ki Haveli are the other two havelis that are opened to visitors.  Built in 1156 by the Bhatti ruler, Jaisala, THE FORT is surrounded by 3 walls and features 99 bastions. Within the fort complex lie the beautifully carved Jain Temples built between the 12th and 15th centuries. The temples are all connected by a series of corridors and walkways.

In the evening we will visit SAM SAND DUNES and enjoy a camel ride.  

DAY 12 - JAISALMER / JODHPUR / ROHET, 290 KMS 

We will take a long drive today to JODHPUR, an oasis in the arid Thar Desert.  Jodhpur is the second largest city in the state of Rajasthan. Representing this colorful city with shades of blue, Jodhpur has a history that is rich and a present that beckons strongly to the discerning tourist.
On arrival visit the MEHRANGARH FORT.  Considered one of India's best forts, this invincible stronghold of the Marwars sits on a steep hill lording over a wonderful view of its surroundings. It is also a beautiful fort and undoubtedly, the jewel of Jodhpur. Intricate latticed windows, elaborately carved panels and elegantly curved porches speak of beauty and taste.

Later continue your drive to come to ROHET, a sleepy Rajasthani rural village on the outskirts of Jodhpur. 

 

 Return to the hotel for overnight stay. 

DAY 13 - IN ROHET

This morning we will switch over to a jeep for a SAFARI into the Bishnoi tribes.  This will take you to traditional villages seeing local Handicrafts viz. shoe makers, pottery hand weaving and also men in their traditional attire, women clad with ancestral silver Jewellery, en-route watch and photograph wildlife - Chinkaras, Peacock etc. freely moving in abundance protected by “ Bishnois” Protectors of wildlife and tree. 

Finish the safari in the early noon and return to the hotel. In the evening enjoy a horse safari to the village. Overnight is at the hotel

DAY 14 - ROHET / RANAKPUR / UDAIPUR (185 kms)

After breakfast depart for Udaipur en-route stop at RANAKPUR temples to see one of the most important Jain temples in India. This marble complex is noted for the 29 halls supported by 1,444 pillars, each adorned with hundreds of carved figures, no two alike. 

Continue your drive south, arriving Udaipur, described as the “City of Sunrise” in the afternoon.  Udaipur is a beautiful city, regarded by many as one of the most romantic in India. Its white marble palaces, placid blue lakes, and green hills make it an oasis of color in a stark and arid region. 

   

DAY 15 - IN UDAIPUR

During a guided tour you will visit the CITY PALACE built in 1725, the grand City Palace is actually a conglomerate of eleven palaces overlooking the sprawling Lake Pichola. One of the largest, most beautiful palaces in the state of Rajasthan, it is now a museum, royal residence and a luxury hotel. This intricately designed monument is an architectural wonder in granite and marble; 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; FATEH SAGAR originally built in 1678 by Maharana Jai Singh, Fateh Sagar was rebuilt by Maharana Fateh Singh after the rains destroyed the dam. The garden island in the middle of the lake is Nehru Park, which also has a cafe.

Enjoy a leisurely boat ride on Lake Pichola in the evening.   With its main attractions being the two palaces on the islands in the lake, Jagniwas and Jagmandir Lake Pichola is about 4 km in length and 3 km wide. Jagniwas 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 the boat ride starts from the Bansi Ghat.

DAY 16 - TO MUMBAI

After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport to board flight for Mumbai. Meet and assist upon arrival and transfer to the hotel

In the afternoon, proceed with a city tour of Mumbai. Visit the Gateway of India, Mumbai's principle landmark.  This arch of yellow basalt was erected on the waterfront in 1924 to commemorate King George V's visit in 1911.  Drive past the Afghan Church, the Secretariat of the Maharashtra Government and along the famous Marine Drive.  Visit the amazing Hanging Gardens.  Drive past Haji Ali Mosque, a shrine in honor of a Muslim Saint on an island 500 m. out at sea linked by a causeway. Lastly visit the Prince of Wales Museum.

 

 

 

 

DAY 17 - DEPART MUMBAI

In time transfer to the International airport to board your flight for onward destination

End of the tour

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