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Rhythms of India

Day 1: Arrive in Delhi

After clearing all immigration formalities, you will be met by a representative and Transfer to Hotel. Delhi, the capital and the third largest city of India is a fusion of the ancient and the modern. Standing along the West end of the Gangetic Plain, the capital city paints a picture rich with culture, architecture and human diversity, deep in history, monuments, museums, galleries and gardens.

This is followed by an over night stay at The Palms

Day 2: Delhi

Today we explore India's vibrant capital city. New Delhi was designed and built by the British in the 1920s. The imperial city displays well-composed and spacious streets under the shade of beautiful trees and imposing government buildings.

This morning we travel by rickshaw through the winding streets of Old Delhi, the capital of Muslim India from the 12th through the 19th centuries. We explore the labyrinthine streets passing formidable mosques, monuments and forts and discovering lively and colourful bazaars. We will see the sumptuous Red Fort palaces, the white marble Jama Masjid with its marble domes and splendid minarets and Raj Ghat, where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated.

This is followed by an over night stay at The Palms

Breakfast will be available.

Day 3: Delhi

Today we will tour New Delhi. We will visit Humayun's Tomb, built by the wife of Mughal Emperor Humayun, Haji Begum in the mid 16th century. This red sandstone structure is considered to be the predecessor of Taj Mahal and is one of the best examples of Mughal architecture and then to the Qutab Minar, the highest and one of the finest stone towers in India built in 1199 by Qutbuddin as a victory tower for his victory against a Rajput King.

This is followed by an over night stay at The Palms

Breakfast will be available.

Day 4: Fly Delhi - Varanasi

Today we will fly to Varanasi. The land of Varanasi (Kashi) has been the ultimate pilgrimage spot for Hindus for ages. Formerly known as Benares, Varanasi is the oldest living city in the world. These few lines by Mark Twain say it all: "Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together." Hindus believe that one who is graced to die on the land of Varanasi will attain salvation and freedom from the cycle of birth and re-birth. The evening witness a Deepmala Ceremony on the banks of the Ganges.

This is followed by an over night stay at Radisson Hotel, Varanasi

Breakfast will be available.

Day 5: Varanasi

Early in the morning, we will board a launch for a cruise on the Ganges to the two-kilometre stretch of bathing ghats, or step, that lead into the river. The ghats of the Ganges are perhaps the holiest spots of Varanasi and are full of pilgrims who flock to the place to take a dip in the holy river. They believe this absolves them from all sins and cleanses them physically, mentally and spiritually. It is at the Ganga ghats where we see life and death together.

Later, we visit the buried city of Sarnath. About 10 kilometres from the holy city of Varanasi, this is the place where Buddha delivered his first sermon. The celebrated mantra, Buddham Sharanam Gachhami, owes its origin to Sarnath. On the day before his death, Buddha included Sarnath along with Lumbini, Bodh Gaya and Kushinagar as the four places he thought to be sacred to his followers. It makes Sarnath one of the most venerated Buddhist places.

This is followed by an over night stay at Radisson Hotel, Varanasi

Breakfast will be available.

Day 6: Fly Varanasi - Khajuraho

IToday you will fly to Khajuraho. In the temple architecture of India, the Khajuraho complex remains unique. One thousand years ago, under the generous and artistic patronage of the Chandela Rajput kings of Central India, 85 temples, magnificent in form and richly carved, were built on one site, near the village of Khajuraho. Of the original 85, only 22 have survived the ravages of time. We visit the sculptures of the temples of Khajuraho, which are ensconced in wall niches. Provocative maidens, dancers, musicians and embracing couples adorn these buildings of worship, which are masterpieces of Indian art.

This is followed by an over night stay at Radisson Hotel, Khajuraho

Breakfast will be available.

Day 7: Khajuraho - Jhansi - Agra

On arriving Agra you will head to the hotel. Agra is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal. The architectural splendour of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of the opulence of the legendary Mughal Empire, of which Agra was the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries. While its significance as a political center ended with the transfer of the capital to Delhi in 1634 by Shah Jehan, its architectural wealth has secured its place on the international map. A pleasant town with a comparatively slow pace, Agra is known for its superb inlay work on marble and soapstone by craftsmen who are descendants of those who worked under the Mughals.

This is followed by an over night stay at Hotel Trident, Agra

Breakfast & Lunch will be available.

Day 8: Agra

The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor as the final resting place for his favorite Queen, Mumtaz. This perfectly symmetrical monument took 22 years (1630-1652 A.D) of hard labor and 20,000 workers, masons and jewellers to build. It was designed by the Persian architect, Ustad Isa. The verses of Holy Quran are inscribed on it and at the top of the gate's 22 small domes, signifying the number of years the monument took to built. The elegant dome of the Taj has a diameter of 60 feet, and directly under the dome is the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal. Fantastic inlay work, using semi-precious stones, decorates the exterior and interior.

We continue to Agra Fort. The great Mughal Emperor Akbar commissioned the construction of the Agra Fort in 1565 A.D., although additions were made until the time of his grandson, Shah Jehan. The forbidding exteriors of this fort hide an inner paradise. The fort is crescent shaped, flattened on the east with a long, nearly straight wall facing the river. It has a total perimeter of 2.4 kilometres, and is ringed by double castellated ramparts of red sandstone punctuated at regular intervals by bastions. A 9-metre wide and 10-metre deep moat surrounds the outer wall.

This is followed by an over night stay at Hotel Trident, Agra

Breakfast will be available.

Day 9: Agra to Ranthambore

You will drive to Ranthambore, nestled in the Aravali hills, in the midst of the arid plains of Rajasthan. The National Park of Ranthambore is a haven for the wildlife watcher and boasts some of the best wildlife sightings India has to offer.

This is followed by an over night stay at Dev Vilas, Ranthambore

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner will be available.

Day 10: Ranthambore

In the early morning we have a jungle safari by open vehicle, returning to the hotel for breakfast. This afternoon we enjoy a second jungle safari. In addition to tiger, we hope to see leopard, sambar deer, blue bull, hyena, sloth bear, wild boar and some of the numerous species of birds that nest here.

This is followed by an over night stay at Dev Vilas, Ranthambore

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner will be available.

Day 11: Ranthambore to Jaipur

In the morning we drive to the "pink city" of Jaipur, one of the great cities of the Rajput, with historic forts, palaces, and gardens. Jaipur is named after its founder, the warrior and astronomer sovereign Sawai Jai Singh II who planned his new capital to reflect the increasing wealth of the kingdom. Overnight: Hotel Narain Niwas Palace

Breakfast will be available.

Day 12: Jaipur

We begin our day early, stopping at the Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds, a major Rajput landmark built in 1799. This five-storey building along the main street of the old city is in pink splendor with semi octagonal and delicately honeycombed sandstone windows. The monument was originally conceived with the aim of enabling ladies of the royal household to watch the everyday life and royal processions of the city.

Next we tour the famous Amber Fort the pinnacle of Mughal architecture. It is a beautiful complex of palaces, halls, pavilions, gardens and temples and still in a magnificent state. The palace complex emerges dramatically from the placid waters of the Maotha Lake and is approachable only via a steep path.

In the afternoon we visit Jantar Mantar, the largest of Jai Singh's five remarkable observatories. Our exploration continues at the City Palace, a former royal residence built in the centre of the old city in a blend of the Rajasthani and Mughal styles. The carved arches are supported by grey-white marble columns ornate with floral motifs in gold and colored stones. The palace houses a museum with a superb collection of Rajasthani costumes and armory of Mughals and Rajputs.

This is followed by an over night stay at Hotel Narain Niwas Palace

Breakfast will be available.

Day 13: Jaipur to Nimaj

Today you will travel to Nimaj for a taste of Indian village life. We'll take a walk in the village to see the Hindu Temples, Mosques and Jain Temples that happily co-exist. We'll see farmers tilling the soil with bullocks and camels, brick kilns, stone quarries and the everyday life of the village.

This is followed by an over night stay at Nimaj Palace Hotel, Nimaj

Breakfast & Lunch will be available.

Day 14: Nimaj to Jodhpur

Today you will drive to Jodhpur. The city is built on a low hill situated in the heart of the Thar Desert and surrounded by nearly 35,000 square miles of sand. Many of the buildings within the medieval old town are painted the same light blue shade, giving the city its fame as "the blue city."

This is followed by an over night stay at Balsamand Garden Retreat

Breakfast & Lunch will be available.

Day 15: Jodhpur to Pali

Here in the historic centre, life continues as it has seemingly forever. Towering above the city is the Meherangarh Fort, the setting of Kipling's The Jungle Book. The impenetrable walls of the fort rise like cliffs from the rocky outcrop. You'll visit the well preserved interior and enjoy a magnificent vista over the city from the Fort. Tonight you stay and the beautiful Palace out side the city

This is followed by an over night stay at Sardar Samand Palace

Breakfast will be available.

Day 16: Pali to Narlai

Much of India continues to be tranquil, rural and tied to the land. Today you will travel into the Aravalli hills where the sights and sounds of the 17th century village of Narlai await. You'll stay at the Rawla Narlai. Once a favourite hunting lodge of the Jodhpur royal family, this 17th century fortress is now a peaceful hotel centred around a beautiful garden alive with bougainvillea, with bedrooms furnished in Rajasthani style.

This is followed by an over night stay at Rawla, Narlai

Breakfast & Lunch will be available.

Day 17: Narlai

The proximity to a giant rock gives Rawla Narlai that extra something special. After the morning at leisure visit the villages in the area and perhaps drop in at a local school to learn a little Hindi from our youthful teachers.

This is followed by an over night stay at Rawla Narlai

Breakfast will be available.

Day 18: Narlai - Ranakpur - Udaipur

In the morning you continue by road to Ranakpur to visit the magnificent Jain temple. This marble complex is noted for the 29 halls supported by 1,444 pillars, each adorned with hundred of carved figures, with no two alike. You'll drive on to Udaipur, the "city of Sunrise," India's most romantic city, built around four lakes. The blue waters reflect the shimmering white palaces and temples and the whole city exudes a feeling of peace.

This is followed by an over night stay at Hotel Fateh Garh, Udaipur

Breakfast & Lunch will be available.

Day 19: Narlai - Ranakpur - Udaipur

Your visit begins at the City Palace, which sits on a rocky outcropping, its canopies and turrets gleaming - the centerpiece of twelve palaces in Rajasthan's largest royal complex. You will visit the wondrous museum and palaces, shining with marble and granite, then continue to Jagdish Temple and the Pratap Memorial. n the late afternoon you'll cruise on Lake Pichola (weather and conditions permitting) to view the City Palace from the water.

This is followed by an over night stay at Hotel Fateh Garh, Udaipur

Breakfast will be available.

Day 20: Udaipur

Day at leisure

Overnight stay at Hotel Fateh Garh, Udaipur

Breakfast will be available.

Day 21: Fly from Udaipur to Delhi

Morning is at leisure. Afternoon you will fly to Delhi. On arrival connect to your International flight

Overnight stay at Hotel Fateh Garh, Udaipur

Breakfast will be available.

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