From the towering Himalayas, through the deserts of Rajasthan to the jungles and beaches of the south, the Indian sub-continent has long held an almost overwhelming attraction and mystery for travellers from East and West. Home to Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Muslims, Hindus and other faiths, India is both the world’s largest modern democracy and the cradle some of humanity’s most profound ancient philosophies, and their heritage of art, architecture, dress and food. Experience the legacy of Indian civilisation, and be struck by the beauty and craftsmanship of the monuments and architecture – with the Taj Mahal as an unforgettable highlight.
Depart for India. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Please note: Depending on the city of departure, some flights may depart the night before (i.e. on Day 0). Flights will be via connecting cities and may involve more than one transit.
Travel to Pushkar by road (approximately 7 hours). Check in to the hotel on arrival and relax before an afternoon visit to the holy waters of Pushkar Lake. This lake, situated in the centre of the city, is surrounded by numerous bathing ghats (stone steps) and more than 500 Hindu temples. Observe locals descend to the lake for ritual bathing before a visit to Brahma Temple, a temple dedicated to the Hindu lord of creationa. A number of aarti ceremonies, involving chanting, draw crowds to this temple throughout the day.
Travel to Udaipur, the soulful lake city of Rajasthan (approximately 5 hours drive). Check in to the hotel on arrival and relax before an afternoon visit to Udaipur City Palace, the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. This palace is a unique blend of Medieval, European and Chinese architectural styles and overlooks the magnificent Lake Pichola. Stop by Saheliyon Ki Bari (‘Courtyard of the Maidens’) embellished by lush green lawns, marble art and fountains. Visit Jagdish Temple, an elegantly carved Indo-Aryan temple dedicated to Vishnu, with two massive stone elephants flanking the entrance. This evening, take a relaxing boat ride on Lake Pichola.
Journey to Jodhpur, the ‘blue city’. Many of the buildings in the old quarters of this city are dyed in a vibrant blue colour. Enroute to Jodhpur stop by Ranakpur and admire temples dedicated to the Jain faith, embellished with intricate white marble, which serves as a testament to one of India’s lesser-known religious traditions. On arrival in Jodhpur check in to the hotel and spend the rest of the evening at your own leisure.
After breakfast, explore the hauntingly beautiful Mehrangarh Fort, towering over Jodhpur. Perched on a rocky cliff, this fort is enclosed by thick protective walls, and its interior is made up of a series of palaces with sprawling courtyards. Spanning more than 5km across the city, this fort is one of India’s largest. Opposite the fort is the whimsical Jaswant Thada, a cenotaph-styled building with spectacular domes and intricate white marble latticework. Proceed to Jaipur, the state capital of Rajasthan, this afternoon (approximately 6 hours). Many of the city’s buildings are flushed with a vibrant pink hue. Enjoy the evening at leisure.
Ascend to the Amber Fort this morning by jeep. This massive fort sits on a hill overlooking the beautiful Maota Lake. Although the fort is in ruins, the royal palaces, gardens and temples housed inside still retain much of their grandeur. Later, visit the City Palace, a stunning palace complex divided into a series of regal courtyards, gardens and buildings. Then, head to the fascinating Jantar Mantar Observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh in early 18th century and behold an impressive collection of enormous astronomical instruments that once was used to measure time, chart constellations and observe the planets and stars. Quick stop at Hawa Mahal (‘Palace of Winds’), an enchanting five-storey pink sandstone palace built in the 18th century by the king of Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. Visit stunning jewellery shops and hand-block print factories to see the traditional technique of textile printing.
Drive to the eventual Mughal capital, Agra. En route, visit Fatehpur Sikri, which was the capital of the Mughal Empire city during the 16th century. Today, this city’s buildings are still intact and showcase an excellent example of both Hindu and Muslim architectural styles. On arrival in Agra, check in to the hotel and relax. Later today explore Agra Fort, a massive red sandstone stronghold built on the banks of Yamuna River in 1565. The fort served as a military base and a royal residence during the Mughal reign over India.
Start with an early morning visit to the Taj Mahal, to watch the sun rise over this opulent monument to love. Return to the hotel for breakfast before departing for Tijara Fort (approximately 5.5 hours). The fort was once a historical ruin but has now been restored and converted into a hotel complex. Stay at the fort hotel for the night.
Return to Delhi after breakfast. On arrival, visit the ancient Qutub Minar. This complex is a fine example of Indo-Islamic architecture with its alternating angular and circular fluting and verses from the Quran inscribed on the sandstone exterior. Stop briefly at the Baha’i Lotus Temple, a modern architectural wonder that features 27 white marble petals styled in the shape of a lotus. Drive past India Gate and the perimeters of Parliament House and the President’s House.
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight or journey home via connecting cities.