Classic Rajasthan - India Tour Itinerary
Classic Rajasthan - 17days/16 nights
A legendary land defined by the patchwork of kingdoms and principalities, that were, till independence ruled by maharajas, rajas, ranas and rawals. Bards that roam the countryside, picking out complex tunes on single-stringed instruments, still sing of heroic battles, chivalry and sacrifices.
Silent, rocky outcrops transform themselves into proud stone forts that stand sentinel over the land. It is not difficult to imagine of rank upon rank of loyal warriors streaming down the hillside ready for battle. The breath of the breeze brings you faint echoes of clashing armour, neighing of horses and above it all, and the spine-chilling trumpet of a charging elephant.
Today, many of the forts and palaces have opened their doors to visitors as luxury hotels and resorts. Often run by members of the erstwhile ruling families, these have given a new lease of life not only to the building but also the culture. Staying here is to almost travel back in time – to an era that was gracious, graceful and romantic.
Starting from Delhi, the capital of modern India, this itinerary takes you across the state, bringing alive the vibrant colors of the desert state. Visit Manvar or Osiyan on the sand dunes and the great kingdoms of Rajputana – Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Udaipur, Jaipur where even so many years after democracy handed power to the people, the old ways live on. In most places, erstwhile rulers are still addressed as ‘father', ‘protector', ‘provider of food', and command both respect and loyalty. And, though the pomp and ceremony may not compare with what it was in the old days, just a glimpse of the shadow of a royal lifestyle can be a fascinating and memorable experience.
price on application
Cost Includes: Accommodation for 15 nights with breakfast daily (full board in Manvar), transfers, excursions and sightseeing with English speaking guide in an air-conditioned chauffeur driven car, monument entrance fee, porterage, mineral water in car, camel ride at Jaisalmer, boat ride on Lake Pichola in Udaipur, elephant ride at Amber and welcome dinner with Indian music in Delhi.
Hotels Superior: Oberoi Maidens (superior) Delhi, Mandawa Castle (standard) Mandawa, Lallgarh Palace (deluxe) Bikaner, Gorband Palace (deluxe) Jaisalmer, Manvar Camp (tent), Manvar, Ajit Bhavan (deluxe) Jodhpur, Udai Kothi (standard), Udaipur, Deogarh Mahal (standard), Deogarh, Narain Niwas(standard) Jaipur, Mansingh Palace (standard) Agra. Deluxe (upgrade to): Intercontinental (deluxe) Delhi, Fort Rajawada (deluxe) Jaisalmer, Taj Hari Mahal (superior) Jodhpur, Lake Palace (deluxe) Udaipur, Deogarh Mahal (deluxe suite) Deogarh, Rajputana Sheraton (COE) Jaipur, Taj View (superior Taj facing room) Agra Luxury (upgrade to): Imperial (Imperial) Delhi, Mandawa Castle (suite) Mandawa, Laxmi Niwas (suite) Bikaner, Udaivilas (premium) Udaipur, Amarvilas (deluxe room with Taj facing terrace) Agra
Delhi(3) - Mandawa(1) - Bikaner(1) - Jaisalmer(2) - Manvar(1) - Jodhpur(1) - Udaipur(2) - Deogarh(1) - Samode/Jaipur(2) - Agra(1) - Delhi(1)
Day 01 Arrival
Reception and welcome at Delhi airport followed by a private transfer to your accommodation.
Day 02 Delhi
The afternoon sightseeing introduces you to the different facets of the capital – contemporary Indian, Raj era relic, conservative Hindu, Mughal, Sikh and much more
Day 03 Delhi
Visit the 16th century Mughal capital of Shahjahanabad (Old Delhi) centred around the impressive Red Fort and bustling chaotic Chandini Chowk.
Day 04 Delhi – Mandawa
Explore the famous painted havelis of the region.
Day 05 Mandawa – Bikaner
Five hours by road from Mandawa is the desert capital of Bikaner. The Junagarh Fort and the camel-breeding farm are on the not-to-be-missed list here.
Day 06 Bikaner - Jaisalmer
A scenic drive with a changing desert landscape takes you to the fairytale city of Jaisalmer
Day 07 Jaisalmer
Devoted to exploring the town, its spectacular havelis and temples and fort.
Day 08 Jaisalmer - Manvar[Osiyan]
Experience a desert camp at Manvar or at Osiyan with a camel safari, fiery sunset and nights cold enough to gather around a bonfire aith music and dance.
Day 09 Manvar – Jodhpur
Travel to Jodhpur. Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada, Mandore Gardens, Old Fort Museum and Balsamand Lake are just some of the sights you will visit post lunch.
Day 10 Jodhpur – Udaipur
Stop at the little town of Ranakpur that has some outstanding intricately carved marble temples. Arrive Udaipur in the evening as the sun set on this lake city and oasis in the desert..
Day 11 Udaipur
The day is devoted to exploring this lake city, famous for its palaces, lakes, museums, temples, and gardens.
Day 12 Udaipur – Deogarh
The magnificent Deogarh Palace now functions as a heritage hotel. Visit the village for an intimate experience of rural life.
Day 13 Deogarh – Samode/Jaipur
Located just 45k outside Jaipur, this lovely little village is the perfect place from where to explore the pink city.
Day 14 Samode/Jaipur
A morning excursion to the ramparts of Amber Fort gives you the afternoon to visit City Palace sites and tour the bustling lanes of Jaipur's bazaars.
Day 15 Samode – Agra
On the drive to Agra a halt at the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri or Keoladeo Ghana National Park can be worked into the schedule.
Day 16 Agra - Delhi
Visit the magnificent Taj Mahal and other exquisite monuments that are part of Agra's heritage. Drive back to Delhi in the afternoon.
Day 17 Departure
Transfer to the airport in time for your flight out.
THE BENELUX BONANZA
The journey I was about to undertake would not only in geographical terms span vast distances over land and sea......it was an odyssey which would cover a period of over four hundred years and one in which I would try to establish a "connection" with my ancestors.
I had attempted to obtain tickets for the Palace on Wheels (POW) from a specialist rail tour company in the United States, only to be informed that the ticket allocation has been exhausted on the date we wanted to travel. I incidentally mentioned this to Andre as part of a broaderPeter Bermingham