Land Arrangements per person, double occupancy
17 Day, Private, customized tour with private driver and guide
Does Not Include International Airfare, Round Trip to New Delhi, India
Fly aboard your chosen air carrier to the wonder that is India.
Arrive at New Delhi, the cosmopolitan capital city of India, architecturally rich in its colonial past and vibrant as the hub of the political and commercial center of this democratically run nation of over one billion inhabitants.
Begin your exploration with a view of the Parliament, India Gate and President’s House. Continue on to “Old Delhi” for a stroll through the Red Fort and for a visit to the Jama Masjid Mosque, where a call to prayer pervades the nearby cart lanes of the Chandi Chowk Bazaar. Your cyclo ride through the old parts of the city will provide a unique and exciting passage along the narrow lanes, where kiosks line the street and residents gather to bargain and trade for their daily necessities. Return to your accommodation where you will have the remainder of the day and evening at leisure. (B)
Fly across the plains to Varanasi also known as Kashi, the City of Light, and India’s holiest city dating back some 3,000 years. Your private boat ride on the River Ganges and a walk through the narrow lanes of the old city will be highlights long to remember. Varanasi is unique in many aspects, drawing hundreds of thousands of devout Hindus during the innumerable religious festivals held within the city. There is no city within India that offers such a fascination as that found near the Ghats, the passages and nearby temples of Varanasi. It is a place that all Indians wish to visit at least once in their lifetime to pay their homage and respect to Mother Ganga, the Ganges and to bath in its waters early at early morn as the rising sun gives birth to a new day. (B)
Fly to Khajuraho, with its sandstone temples of impressive size and stature, so very well preserved these many centuries in this remote desert environs. The Chandela Dynasty from the 9th until the 13th century produced some of the finest temple carvings within all of India. It is here where on must slow the pace to a step and a story as you local guide walks you through the many sandstone temples and shrines of this small city. Sculptures, so beautifully carved and explicit in detail, in forms both human and diving, depicting all aspects of life, can easily be found at each temple site. (B)
A morning drive whisks you across rural countryside, where methods of farming have unchanged for generations. Arrive at the city of Orchha, dramatically positioned on a rock island enclosed by a loop of the Betwa River. Founded in 1531, it was the capital of the Bundela kings until 1738. Visit the medieval fort and palaces built at the height of Bundela power. The many-layered palace of Orchha has 132 chambers enclosing the central courtyard and is extravagantly embellished with lapis lazuli tiles, graceful chhatris and some ornate jali screens. After lunch, board your air-conditioned express train to the city of Agra, site of the Taj Mahal, built as a monument of love by Emperor Shah Jahan. Nearby and as impressive stands the Red Fort of Agra, both of which will become major highlights of your visit to the wonder that is India. There will be ample time to enjoy the splendor of each site. (B)
Agra was the seat of the Imperial Mughal court during the 16th and 17th centuries before the capital was shifted to Delhi. The city, strategically situated on the banks of the river Yamuna, flourished under the patronage of the great Mughal emperors. This morning, visit the Taj Mahal, begun in 1632 by Shah Jahan as a symbol of love for his favorite wife, Queen Mumtaz Mahal. Your local guide realizes the importance of this treasure and will stroll along the footpaths of the gardens, providing ample time for you to photograph and reflect upon the serenity inspired by this remarkable setting. Continue on to Agra’s Red Fort where Shah Jahan spent his last days overlooking his monument of love, the Taj Mahal. Here you gain another dramatic view of the Taj. (B)
Begin your day with a visit to the abandoned city of Fatephur Sikri, an astoundingly well-preserved site. Built by Akbar as a capital city, this magnificent complex is made of sandstone and remains remarkably intact within its desert surroundings. After sightseeing, continue your drive to Bharatpur and enjoy lunch at the Laxmi Vilas Palace. Thereafter, journey by First Class rail to the Ranthambhore National Park for lodging at Sawai Madjopur, a former royal hunting grounds and your gateway to the park in search of the Bengal Tiger. Excitement mounts as you set off on safari, where you will begin your hunt and capture, by photograph or in memory, of the elusive, awe-inspiring Bengal Tiger. The park provides the traveler with an excellent opportunity while on safari for sighting a Bengal Tiger – a thrill beyond comparison. (B, L, D)
In the early morning and late afternoon, enjoy an exciting wildlife safari within the park. Ranthambhore lies in the shadow of the Arravli mountain range and covers an area of 150 square miles. Excitement mounts as you commence your excursion into the park to begin your hunt and capture, by photograph or in powerful memory of the elusive and awe-inspiring Bengal Tiger. The park offers a bountiful array of natural vegetation and abundant varieties of wildlife that inhabit this region, a protected sanctuary. The chance for sighting the Bengal Tiger is very real, which is a thrill one can only imagine until it is upon you. Return to your abode for some rest for thereafter you are the invited guests to enjoy a traditional Indian dinner around the warm glow of the campfire. (B, L, D)
For those who enjoy a last morning’s safari to capture the robust activity in the wild, it is seldom that they go unrewarded. After a leisurely breakfast, drive across the scenic countryside to Jaipur, the flamboyant capital of the state of Rajasthan, famous for its multi-faceted culture, its forts, palaces and lakes. The city basks in the glory of a rich and eventful past. The markets in Jaipur are renowned for their variety and colorful display of merchandise, ever filled with both residents and tourists looking for that one special memento or necessity that only can be found with a diligence in their search. The remainder of the day and evening are at leisure. (B)
Drive 7 miles north of the city to visit Amber Fort, the ancient capital of the Rajputs from 1037 until 1728. Fortified by natural hills, high ramparts and a succession of gates, it is here that you will ascend the climb to the entry arch by elephant where you will alight and begin your walking tour of Amber’s magnificent palaces. The building of the fort-palace in 1600 and shows a distinct Mughal influence. Return to the city for a relaxing lunch before visiting some of Jaipur’s most noted monuments – the Palace of Winds and Jantar Mantar Observatory – both within the City Palace complex, in the heart of the Pink City. The exhibits and interior design of the City Palace have lost none of the pomp and splendor of their glory days. Each door and gateway is adorned with a heavy decoration, each chandelier intact and each hall guarded by turbaned retainers, decked in full royal livery impressing the continuity of a living royal presence. (B)
A morning drive across the desert highway brings you to Jodhpur and the brilliance of its rich history within the feudal splendor of Rajasthan. Visit the Meherangarh Fort, situated at nearly 400 feet above the city and the most authentic surviving taste of ceaseless rounds of war, honor and extravagance that characterized Rajutana. Continue the pleasure of your stay with a visit to the Beshnois villages, where you will meet with tribesmen dedicated to the preservation of their natural habitat and social mores. Travel to Rohet Garth, an oasis in the desert where you will be the welcomed guests of the descendants of the first rulers who sat on the Rohet throne. Return by late afternoon to enjoy the remainder of the evening at rest and relaxation. (B, L)
This morning, visit Meherangarh Fort, the most authentic surviving taste of ceaseless rounds of war, honor and extravagance that characterized Rajputana. Raising out of a sheer rock, at some 400 feet in elevation, Meherangarh of perhaps, the most majestic of Rajasthan Forts. Its forbidding ramparts are in sharp contrast to the flamboyantly decorated palaces within its courtyards. The royal apartments within the fort now form part of its outstanding museum. Its rich and varied collection includes a golden throne, fine miniature paintings, traditional costumes and a collection of rather fascinating weapons. Thereafter, journey on safari into the countryside to visit the home of the descendants of the Rohet throne. Enjoy a delicious lunch and thereafter, drive to the outskirts to visit a Bishnoi community of tribesmen, dedicated to the preservation of their natural habitat and social customs. They have protected nature for more than 500 years and are solely responsible for the very survival of species like the rare Black Buck antelope. Return to Jodhpur for an evening of rest and relaxation. (B, L)
A drive to Udaipur includes a visit to the 15th century Jain Temple at Ranakpur, with its 29 halls supported by 1444 pillars, no two of which are alike. After enjoying a relaxing lunch, continue on to Udaipur, traveling by generations-old villages, where the methods of farming remain as dated as the village. Water is taken from the communal well or watering hole, with all of the farming completed by animal and plow. Udaipur is often referred to as the most “Romantic City of India”. Set around the shimmering Pichola Lake and dominated by dramatic palaces, Udaipur’s alleyways and narrow streets lend it an almost medieval charm. The day complete, return to your accommodation to enjoy an evening of rest and relaxation. (B)
Set around the beauty of Pichola Lake and dominated by dramatic palaces, Udaipur’s alleys and narrow streets lend it an almost medieval charm. This morning you will visit Udaipur’s fascinating City Palace. Molded in soft yellow stone, its windowless base crowned with ornate turrets and canopies, it is perched high above the Pichola Lake. The dramatic view from the outer courtyard presents scenes of the clothes washers beating their laundry on the steps of the ghats below, a stunning view of the Lake Palace Hotel, summer palaces and the rolling hillsides. Continue on to Sahelion-Ki-Bari Park known as the Garden of the Maids of Honor on the shores of the Lake Fateh Sagar. The park was constructed for forty-eight young ladies-in-waiting who were sent to the royal house as part of a lavish dowry. Return to enjoy a relaxing lunch prior to joining your late afternoon flight to Mumbai, a long, narrow promontory covering 166 square miles, which juts into the Arabian Sea. The downtown area, formerly a colonial fortress is now the heart of the city with an abundance of hotels and restaurants. (B)
This morning’s tour of Mumbai leads you to the the Kala Ghoda district, teeming with museums, art galleries and the very finest array of heritage buildings within Mumbai. A visit to the Prince of Wales museum is a true highlight of your visit where galleries abound with photograph, art and treasures depicting the colonial period within India. Complete your city tour with a sighing of the Towers of Silence and with a stop by Mani Bhawan, the house used as a base for the Mahatma Ghandi between 1917 – 1934. Enjoy a relaxing lunch and a restful evening prior to joining your onward flight winging you homeward. (B)
Your exciting journey to India now complete, memories in mind and mementos in hand, you will have the pleasure of rekindling the many spectacular sights and experiences of this wondrous journey over the course of a lifetime. Here we need to put in a regional advisory exactly as we did for the tours under Destinations:
Travelers to India enjoy world-class accommodations; many former palaces have been renovated into modern hotels. Gorgeous handcrafted carvings, paintings, and textiles make your stay a treat for the senses. Strike out from your luxurious surroundings to explore one of the most fascinating cultures on Earth.
India is a richly diverse country, comprised of 22 states and the region of Kashmir. It supports a population of nearly one billion. Despite more than fifty years as a democratic nation, Indian states still retain their unique cultural and religious heritage.
Hinduism is the main religion, followed by eighty percent of Indians. It is considered the world's oldest organized religion - a complex belief system of three main gods who manifest in thousands of incarnations. India's religious tolerance has allowed a variety of other religions to flourish, including Christianity, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Islam, and Sikhism.
The echoes of British colonialism still can be felt in the structure of the Indian civil-service bureaucracy, as well as the architecture of Colonial-era buildings.
Primarily an agrarian society, with most of the population living in abject poverty, India is a country of striking contrasts. A few wealthy families maintain a stranglehold on trade, profiting by forcing India's inhabitants to purchase their comparatively expensive and shoddy goods. It is only in the past few decades, as cosmopolitan and technology-embracing cities like New Delhi and Bangalore have blossomed, that a middle-class has begun to emerge.
Even as India is poised to embrace the future, it still preserves the ornamented treasures and artwork of its past. Overpowering in detail and meticulous craftsmanship, these man-made wonders astound and delight. The Taj Mahal, created by the toil of twenty thousand laborers over a span of two decades, is alone worth the trip.
Come to India to relax, and enjoy a slower pace at all levels of society. Drink in a rich cultural heritage that has evolved over nearly ten thousand years of history: from Indus Valley and the Vedics, through British Colonialism and Mahatma Gandhi's fight for independence, and into the Information Age.
As many an Indian will advise: please come to listen, not to preach; come to witness, not to judge; and most importantly, allow India to change you, rather than try to change India.