The history of India dates back almost five thousand years, and Rajasthan plays a crucial and unique role. This is a land of the legends of heroism and romance that still resound from its cities to village, from the forts, palaces, havelis, streets, that 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 all of which one will experience on this tour. This tour moves first to Mandawa and then Bikaner, small rural towns filled with local havelis that are waiting to be explored. We then go to Jaisalmer, situated right in the middle of the desert after which we travel to Osian, the camel camp where one visits the local potters and weavers on camelbacks. The next two stops are Jodhpur and Udaipur famous for its forts and palaces. The tour then covers wildlife areas Sitamata Sanctuary and Sawai Madhopur, famous for its tiger population. Along the way we also stop over at Chittorgarh, Kota, Bundi and Jaipur all rich in their heritage and culture. We end at Agra, city of the Taj Mahal, where one can feel the majestic aura of this beautiful monument
18 Nights / 19 Days- Delhi – Mandawa – Bikaner – Jaisalmer – Osian – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Dungarpur – Chittorgarh – Kota – Ranthambore – Jaipur – Agra – Delhi
Day 1 - Arrive Delhi - the capital city of Republic of India
Traditional welcome - Atithi Devo Bhava (Guest is god) by garlanding on arrival at Delhi international airport by Travel Pals executive. Transferred in your private air-conditioned deluxe car to your hotel. Day at leisure to relax. On December 12, 1911, George V, the then Emperor of India along with Queen Mary made the announcement to shift the Capital of the British Raj from Calcutta to Delhi at the Delhi Durbar and laying the foundation stone for Viceroy's residence in the Coronation Park. The capital city can be easily divided into two parts - Old & New Delhi. While Shahjahan built a new walled city which served as the capital of Mughal Empire from 1649 to 1857 AD and is now regarded as Old Delhi has many ancient & medieval monuments, archaeological sites & remains. The New Delhi was planned & built by leading 20th century British architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker and contracted to Sir Sobha Singh. The present President House, Indian Parliament & other Government Secretariat buildings were built by them.
Day 2 - Delhi - Explore the capital !
After breakfast, guided tour of historic city of Delhi. The city where one can experience the influence of the many rulers who ruled this region, a city built and destroyed and re-built over seven times. The guided tour takes you to the monuments that depict the different eras. The tour includes visit to the magnificent Red Fort, the Jama Masjid - Asia's largest mosque, Rajghat - the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi - the "Father of the Nation". Afternoon tour of New Delhi to include Humanyun's Tomb, Birla Mandir, Bahai's Temple, Qutub Minar, India Gate, President's House and drive through Connaught Place. Evening, see Son-et-Lumerie at Red Fort (optional). Overnight at hotel.
Day 3 - Delhi - Mandawa (250 km's / 5 hrs)
Breakfast at hotel. Later drive 250 Km's south west of Delhi to the town of Mandawa. Mandawa was founded in the mid 18th century and has well decorated Havelis (Mansions) and is also referred to as "the open art gallery" of Rajasthan. On arrival, check into a hotel converted out of an old Haveli. Evening free at leisure to visit the local havelis (Goenka Haveli, Murmuria Haveli, Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli) and fort in Mandawa. Overnight at hotel.
Day 4 - Mandawa - Bikaner (190 km's / 4 hrs)
Breakfast at Mandawa hotel. Driven 190 Km's west to Bikaner city. Founded in 1486 this fourth largest city of Rajasthan is famous for its spicy snack besides its palaces, handicrafts & leather articles. Wash and change at hotel. Proceed for half-day guided sightseeing of Junagarh Fort, Lalgarh Palace and Laxmi Nath Temple. Overnight at hotel.
Day 5 - Bikaner – Jaisalmer (325 km's / 6 hrs)
Morning after breakfast, driven 325 Km's south west of Bikaner to golden city of India - Jaisalmer. Bordering along the Pakistan border, this desert city founded in 1156 AD by Rao Jaisal (from whom the city takes its name) has an extraordinarily medieval feel and an incredible atmosphere. Late afternoon enjoy camel ride & sunset view from Sam Sand Dunes (40 Km's west of Jaisalmer). Optional dinner on sand dunes with folk dance. Overnight at hotel.
Day 6 - Jaisalmer
Breakfast at hotel. Full day guided city sightseeing visiting the Jaisalmer Fort, Jain Temple, Gadisar Lake, Folk Museum, Patwon ki Haveli, Salim Singh ki Haveli, Diwan Nathmal ki Haveli, Badal Vilas Palace and evening walk through narrow cobbled streets. (Overnight at hotel.
Day 7 - Jaisalmer – Osian (240 km's / 5 hrs)
Breakfast at hotel & later driven eastwards to Osian, the camel camp in the Thar desert. Enjoy a camel safari to nearby oasis village Khetasar (2 hrs ride). One also visits the local potter, weavers, Bishnoi huts along the Safari route. On reaching Khetasar the guests are brought back to camp in 4 wheel drive jeeps. The evening is spent at the camp with folk entertainment followed by a sit down dinner. Overnight at the camp.
Day 8 - Osian – Jodhpur (65 km's / 1.5 hrs)
Morning after breakfast at the camp, a short drive to the Sun city - Jodhpur, capital city of Marwar. Founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha is also known as Blue city due to Indigo tinge of the whitewashed houses around the city. A full day guided sightseeing tour includes visit to grand Mehrangarh Fort, luxurious Umaid Bhawan Palace and memorial of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II - Jaswant Thada. Evening free to explore the tiny shops in the narrow lanes of the city. Overnight at a hotel.
Day 9 - Jodhpur – Udaipur (260kms / 5 hrs)
After breakfast, driven southwards to Venice of East - Udaipur. En route stopover at Ranakpur to visit the famous Jain temples. Udaipur also known as the City of Dawn is surrounded by the ancient Aravali Mountains and set on the edge of three lakes, is a brilliant kaleidoscope of narrow lanes flanked by bright stalls, gardens, lakes, palaces and temples. Enjoy day on the banks of the Lake Pichola or at the numerous shops that dot the narrow windings streets of Udaipur. Overnight at hotel.
Day 10 - Udaipur
After breakfast, full day guided sightseeing including visit to City Palace - This impressive Palace standing tall on the east back of Lake Pichola was built at different times since 1559 AD when the city was founded. A part of the palace now hosts deluxe hotels. Later visit Jagdish Temple, Saheliyon-ki-Bari was the garden for the royal maids who accompanied princess to Udaipur as part of dowry. Boat cruise on Lake Pichola. Optional excursion to Eklingi & Nagda - famous for its temples. Overnight at hotel.
Day 11 - Udaipur – Dungarpur (110 km's / 2 hrs)
Breakfast. Drive to Dungarpur. En route stopover at the Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary is a beautiful stretch of virgin forest, having untouched areas of countryside around it. Visit the rock carvings of the Mesolithic era, old temples and overwhelming tribal population. On arrival at Dungarpur, check into hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Day 12 - Dungarpur
Breakfast. Take a guided tour of the Juna Mahal, the Garib Sagar Lake famous for its shrine of Shri Nathji lying along the lake and the Vijay Raj Rajeshwar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Evening free for leisure. Overnight at hotel.
Day 13 - Dungarpur – Chittorgarh (275 km's / 6 hrs)
Breakfast at hotel & proceed north to Chittorgarh - the well-established citadel and the capital of Mewar rulers. On arrival check into the hotel for wash and change. Later visit Chittorgarh Fort, which stands 180 meters high covering an area of 700 acres constructed by Mauryan in the 7th century AD with each stone narrating its own story. Overnight at hotel.
Day 14 - Chittorgarh – Kota (250 km's / 5 hrs)
This morning after breakfast, driven 250 Km's east to city of Kota. Situated on banks of river Chambal, Kota is famous for its distinctive style of painting. It has now transformed into a major industrial town of Northern India with prominent chemical & engineering companies based here. Check into hotel on arrival for wash and change & proceed on a guided tour to include City Fort Palace, Museum and Jag mandir Palace. Overnight at hotel.
Day 15 - Kota – Bundi – Sawai Madhopur (210 km's)
Breakfast at Kota and later driven to Sawai Madhopur via town of Bundi. Bundi was inhabited by various local tribes is situated in a beautifully narrow valley above which towers the Taragarh Fort. Visit Taragarh Fort, Raniji-ki-Baoli, (Queen's step well) and Nagar Sagar Kund. Later proceed for Sawai Madhopur. Evening at leisure. Overnight at resort.
Day 16 - Sawai Madhopur – Jaipur (180 km's / 3.5 hrs)
Early morning game viewing at Ranthambore National Park. It is a finest Tiger Reserve in the country. Once the private tiger reserve of the Maharaja of Jaipur, it covers an area of 410 Sq. Km's and runs from the easternmost spur of the Aravali to the Vindhaya range. Return to resort for breakfast at leisure. Later driven further north to the pink city of Rajasthan - Jaipur. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. Evening at leisure or free for shopping. Jaipur is famous for its Gems & Jewellery & block printing. Overnight at hotel.
Day 17 - Jaipur
Breakfast at hotel. It is a day to experience the Maharaja life, you will be transported to majestic Amber fort on an Elephant back - the way Maharaja's used to travel at that time. Amber Fort - the erstwhile capital of the Kachwahas Rajputs before they moved to their newly built capital in Jaipur. Later visit the City Palace museum, Jantar Mantar - the observatory having instruments from 1728 AD for measuring celestial planet & star positions. Drive past the Palace of Winds (Hawa Mahal). Evening at leisure for enjoying the real charm of this royal city to stroll in the local bazaars to see some handicrafts and artisans. Overnight at hotel.
Day 18 - Jaipur – Agra (232 km's / 4.5 hrs)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive 230 Km's east of Jaipur to the famous city of Taj Mahal - the seventh wonder of the world. En route stop at Fatehpur Sikri - a World Heritage Site of monuments and temples built in a uniform architectural style by Emperor Akbar in 1572 and was deserted due to scarcity of water. Check into hotel on arrival at Agra. Overnight at hotel.
Day 19 - Agra – Delhi (200 km's / 4 hrs)
Dawn visit to famous wonder of the world - Taj Mahal. Witness the changing colors of Taj Mahal during sunrise. Taj (as it is called commonly) - as a symbol of love has many stories to tell. The perfectly symmetrical monument standing tall since 1653 AD took 22 years & 20,000 laborers to complete. The unquestionable beauty of this piece of extravagance can only be treasured by visiting it. Return to the hotel for breakfast & check out. Later visit the Red fort, Itimad-Ud-Daulah - famous for its Pietra dura. Later drive to Delhi. On arrival at Delhi, check into airport hotel for wash and change. Depending on flight schedule transfer to international airport for connecting flight to onward destination.