When was the last time stories of a city enchanted your mind along with some offbeat adventure? Wander with us into the land of maharajas as we explore the stories hidden behind India’s exquisite palaces and mighty jungles.
Your journey will begin in the mega city of Delhi to savour the Mughal heritage and move on to Agra to lay eyes on the beauty that is Taj Mahal, famously referred to as ‘a teardrop on the cheek of time’ by the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
Ride on the sands of time as we take you through the diverse landscape of Rajasthan. Enter the stunning Ranthambore National Park, one of the best places to spot the majestic predator – The Tiger in its many moods i.e. lazing under the sun, in hot pursuit of a deer, or just sitting down to enjoy a much-deserved meal after a long chase. Step inside the colourful bazaars and forts of the pink city Jaipur and immerse yourself into the legends of the kings. Enjoy the myriad shades of blue within the walls of Jodhpur as you acquaint yourself with the village and its handicrafts. Soak in the untamed terrain of Jawai where Leopards roam wild and free.
We shall end the royal sauntering in the romantic city of India, Udaipur also rated as Top 15 Cities in the world by Travel and Leisure Magazine. Snuggle beside the tranquil Lake Pichola, enjoy the serene boat rides, lively arts and the quaint old world feel in the air.
Welcome to India’s quintessential land of history, heritage, wildlife and a cultural kaleidoscope. You will leave with fond memories etched in your minds for a lifetime.
Welcome to New Delhi - the capital city of India, home to approximately 17 million inhabitants! The city is divided into two parts including Old Delhi, located near the River Yamuna, and New Delhi, home to the national government, the imperial city created by the British Raj. This city is a fusion of the ancient and the modern and paints perfect picture rich with culture, architecture, human diversity, deep in history, monuments, museums, galleries and gardens.
Upon arrival into Delhi, our representative will meet and greet you at the airport and transfer to your hotel.
The remainder of the day is at leisure to allow you to settle into your new home away from home experience.
This morning, will take you to Old Delhi. We will start the day traveling by rickshaw past colorful bazaars, sacred temples, and colonial monuments through the winding streets of Old Delhi. Visit India’s largest mosque, the white marble Jama Masjid or “Friday Mosque.” Rising from between the crowded medieval streets of Old Delhi, the Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in India. Enjoy a photo opportunity of the iconic Red Fort (drive past), built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan before leaving Old Delhi.
Later explore New Delhi. The city was designed and built by the British in the 1920s and is made up of well-composed and spacious streets under the shade of beautiful trees and beautiful colonial government buildings. As you navigate the city, you will drive along the ceremonial avenue, Rajpath, past the imposing India Gate and Parliament House.
Visit the Gandhi Museum showcasing the life and principles of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation who led the nation against British colonial rule. (closed on Mondays)
Later you will be taken back to the hotel for you to enjoy the facilities - the evening being at your own leisure.
This morning, explore Humayun’s Tomb, which was 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 one of the best examples of Mughal architecture.
Next visit to the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. One of the most prominent Sikh temples, Bangla Sahib feeds more than 10,000 people every day, irrespective of cast, creed, color or religion. This is an integral part of ‘Seva’ or service, which is part of the Sikh faith. The temple also organizes various other socio-philanthropic activities and its picturesque setting is perfect to calm, relax and contemplate. Engage yourself in community service at the community kitchen or Langar of the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, the spiritual and cultural center of the Sikh religion. Optional volunteer opportunities:
- Serving food to the people
- Cutting vegetables
- Making roti (Indian bread)
Later drive to the famous Qutab Minar, a tall tower built by conquering Mughal leaders which is now a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built in 1199 by Qutbuddin as a tower for his victory against a Rajput King and is considered a great example of Indian-Islamic architecture.
After breakfast, you will be transferred by private vehicle to the city of Agra. This is a fascinating way to see the country as we wind our way down from the foothills back to the plains and onward to the city of love - Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. Upon arrival check-in at your hotel.
This afternoon visit Agra Fort, a great monument of red sandstone that dominates a bend in the Yamuna River and was constructed by the Mughals during 1565-1571. It was Emperor Akbar who laid the foundation of this majestic citadel in 1565. The Fort was ready by 1571 during the period of Shah Jehan, Akbar’s grandson. The Fort contains splendid mosques and palaces in red sandstone and white marble built by two generations of creative builders during the time of Akbar and later Jahangir and Shah Jahan.
In the evening enjoy the grand live performance “Mohabbat-e-Taj”, based on the love story of Taj Mahal. This theatrical show portrays the lavish lifestyle of the Mughal era and the story of the emperor Shah Jahan and his beloved Mumtaz Mahal.
Rise early for a special sunrise tour of the Taj Mahal, glowing white through the early morning fog. Our guide will take you to the perfect architectural symmetry, the wonderful proportion and the sheer scale to inspect the exquisite detail covering every inch of marble. Explore the Shah Jehan’s monument to love the Taj Mahal, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, 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. (closed on Fridays)
Late this morning, drive to Ranthambore, located near the town of Sawai Madhopur. Along the way, watch the landscape change from stark highways that connect bustling cities to the mixed forests of Ranthambore.
OPTIONAL - Enroute stop at Bharatpur for a cultural meeting with local school kids. Explore new levels of service learning at a local school. Immerse in service work with local students and build long lasting relationship through educational and cultural exchange. Optional volunteer opportunities: Interact with students and observe their educational experience in rural India Assist in a variety of roles from Teaching English to helping with computer education
Ranthambore National Park, nestled in the Aravalli Hills and once the private hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur. In 1955 it was declared a National Park under the ‘Save the Tiger’ initiative and is probably the best place to spot the Royal Bengal Tiger. The park derives its name from the 11th century fort of Ranthambore, which sits on a rocky outcrop in the forest. The fort was a vital citadel for the control of central India. Though overrun by vegetation, remnants of the summer palaces, temples and guard stones within the fort still remain. The National Park of Ranthambore is a haven for the wildlife watcher and boasts some of the best wildlife sightings India has to offer.
Upon arrival, check-in at your hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Enjoy morning and afternoon safaris by 4x4 jeep in search of Tigers, accompanied by naturalist who takes you on an exciting and adventures journey inside jungles of Ranthambhore. We have a chance to see the most beautiful animal on this planet ‘Tiger’. Apart from the famed royal Bengal tiger; Leopard, Spotted Deer, Blue Bull, Jackal, Wild Boar, Sambar Deer are the animals which can also be sighted. Bird lovers flock to Ranthambore to watch the many colorful species that inhabit the park. The bird species like Vultures, Eagles, Peacocks, Owls, Flycatchers add to the beauty of the jungle.
This morning, drive towards Jaipur, known as the ‘Pink City’ due to its many pink sandstone monuments. Jaipur’s vibrant culture is on dazzling display in all the streets and bazaars. It is 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. Upon arrival we will assist with the check-in process at your hotel.
This morning, visit the Amber Fort, a spectacular complex of palaces, temples and apartments that offers a stunning view of the city. Amber Fort is a marvellous example of Rajput architecture with its terraces and ramparts reflected in the Maota Lake below. Go up the fort by jeeps. The interiors of the fort have various royal halls decorated with intricate ivory, mirror and glass work complemented by exquisite wall paintings. As you move between the rooms of this magnificent structure, feel the history and visualize the pomp and grandeur of a kingdom never conquered.
You will also visit the City Palace, a former royal residence built in the centre of the old city in a blend of the Rajasthani and Mughal styles. Next highlight is Jantar Mantar, the largest of the five remarkable observatories built by Jaipur’s founder. Its complex instruments, with scientifically designed settings and shapes, represent the high points of medieval Indian astronomy.
Later in the day, get yourself engaged in turban tying for male and saree draping for females at your hotel.
This morning, get to know the exciting stories in Tales of Textiles in Jaipur. Discover traditional art in Jaipur! Visit the local block printers. You will meet with a printing expert who has been involved in block printing for over two decades! After your introduction, participate in a special block printing workshop to understand the entire process. This famous Rajasthani method of printing involves the artistic use of wooden blocks that are used to imprint on textiles with the help of naturally obtained vegetable dyes.
Late this afternoon drive to nearby village called Dera Amer, a preserved wilderness of natural beauty creating a sanctuary for animals to live in. The elephants and camels are adopted from Amer Fort and rescued from a life of hard labor. On arrival, enjoy a friendly interaction with elephants. You’ll tour the nearby forest area and be greeted by elephants. You will take the elephants for their evening walk along the treks conducted in the original Aravalli forests surrounding the camp. Follow a route passing traditional homes, agricultural fields, hills and ancient monuments. Panthers do inhabit the jungles and it is a very rare sighting, however, occasionally the hyena and wolf have been seen by guests along with antelopes and jackals. End your day with an intimate jungle dinner at Dera Amer under the stars and later in the evening we will drive back to hotel.
This morning’s visit of Jodhpur will lead you to the Mehrangarh Fort. Towering above the city it is the setting of Rudyard 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.
You will also visit the nearby Jaswant Thada, a royal cenotaph close by and an ideal spot from which to photograph the Fort.
Later join your guide for a trail through the traditional bazaar of Jodhpur. You will get a wonderful view of the city’s vibrant bazaars. The brightly colored traditional clothes of the people are eye-catching, representing the cultural consciousness of its inhabitants. The narrow streets of Jodhpur’s old town are situated at the bottom of the fort, and lined with ancient residences and market stalls. Jodhpur is renowned for its leatherwork, antiques and fabric merchants. Discover the bazaar’s history, culture, architectural nuances, and also see the street food enroute.
Optional - Bishnoi village safari
Spend your time amidst nature worshippers! Embark on a Bishnoi village safari to visit a village belonging to the Bishnoi people - a community of nature worshipers who are committed to protecting and nurturing trees and wildlife, especially their kindred animal, the blackbuck. Learn more about the daily life in the sleepy traditional village and discover beautiful local handicrafts such as indigenous shoes, pottery, artwork and handwoven fabrics. Gain insights into the customs of the Bishnoi people and see the traditional attire of the men as they go about their work, and the ancestral silver jewellery worn by the local women. Indulge in some wildlife-spotting and capture the striking landscapes and rich culture at various picturesque locations.
This morning, drive to Jawai, located in the wilderness of the ancient Aravalli Hills. Within these hills lies a semi-pastoral agrarian settlement with wild leopards and an untouched historic culture. Nature is a part of us and we are at one with nature, we are not separate identities. This is what makes Jawai special. For centuries humans and animals have shared these hills in harmony. Spirituality and culture have been associated with this harmony. People who live with wildlife, shape the future of conservation in the country.
Enroute to Jawai, we’ll stop to experience the spectacular Temple of Ranakpur, a cluster of Jain temples from the twelfth century carved from intricately sculpted white marble (Drive time: 3 hours). Get a close look at the main temple’s 1,444 support pillars, all of which are carved with a unique design.
We’ll arrive in Jawai by the early afternoon, where, at the heart of an unconfined wilderness rich with free-roaming leopards, lies Jawai Leopard Camp. Keeping true to its conservation goals, Jawai features eight luxurious tents nestled in a landscape of craggy granite cave formations, kopjes (small hills), scrub and winding sand riverbeds. The vibrant Rabari herdsmen who have shared this landscape with the local wildlife for centuries epitomize the organic, continuing link between local culture and wildlife. Leopards are Jawai’s predominant attraction, and a thriving population of the wild felines continues to traverse across the region. At Jawai, your driver/tracker and naturalist will expertly direct you to every corner of Jawai in search of the cats. During your stay, don’t miss the unique opportunity to walk the landscape with a Rabari herdsman.
Enjoy Leopard Safari in early morning and evening. Your camp is blessed with the diverse beauty of Aravali range which brings you a prodigious experience of leopard. Here you can see them in a great group also. Male, female and also along with their cubs, there are some more than 40 to 50 leopard. It gives a wonderful sense of wild life in their presence.
This morning drive 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 and space.
Upon arrival, we will assist with the check in process and you can enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.
OPTIONAL - This evening, get ready for a thrilling and adventurous ride in our Talab Country Tour in a jeep followed by jaw dropping views and exciting palaces and lakes. The word “talab” means a lake and as it is known that lakes are the treasures of the city. You will drive pass by series of lakes, the rural and interior parts of the Udaipur. Enjoy the beautify sunset at a magnificent location on the banks of a secluded lake where sitting arrangements are made with refreshments. During the winter season a lot of migratory birds can be seen here, some of them migrating here all the way from Siberia.
We start the day with a visit to the City Palace, the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. Though it is a conglomeration of buildings built by successive rulers, it manages to retain a surprising uniformity of design and impressive views of the lake. We’ll then proceed on to the Jagdish temple which enshrines a black stone image of Lord Vishnu and his vehicle - a mighty bird called Garuda in a brass image. The temple is a fine example of Indo-Aryan art.
This afternoon, enjoy exclusive boat ride in Lake Pichola, overlooking the magnificent Udaipur Palace. The leisurely ride gives you a panoramic view of this spectacular medieval city. The majestic structure of the Udaipur Palace comes alive as you watch it from the serene lake adjoining the palace. As you enjoy your boat ride, learn all about the enthralling history of the Maharanas of Mewar, including heroic tales of Udaipur’s brave kings and queens.
OPTIONAL - Sunset at Monsoon Palace
Head to the hills in the evening to visit the 19th century white marble Sajjan Garh Palace, popularly known as the Monsoon Palace. This was the former residence of Maharana (King of Kings) Sajjan Singh from the Mewar Dynasty. The history of this palatial building is rich and steeped in fascinating legend that you can unearth. Located in the Aravalli Hills and with views over Udaipur’s many lakes, palaces and rolling landscapes, it’s the perfect dusky spot to watch the sunset.
Today you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi. On arrival connect to your international flight back home.
We wish you safe travels back home and we look forward to welcoming you back and continue exploring Incredible India in the near future.