Without a doubt India is one of the most exotic and fascinating countries in the world, and the northwest province of Rajasthan is one of India’s best-loved regions. Steeped in tales of chivalry and romance, famous for its striking desert landscape and colorful festivals, Rajasthan brings alive its ancient and glorious history. From its legendary cities of Jodhpur and Jaipur, built by the mighty Rajput warriors, to its indigenous tribal and artisan communities, Rajasthan is a unique combination of royal and tribal India. The variety of its landscape is immense…the region is awash with awe-inspiring forts, sparkling palaces, soothing lakes and gardens, and exquisite temples and shrines. Once called Rajputana “abode of kings” until as recently as 1956 this vast land was separated into 22 states, each ruled by its own warrior-prince, called Rajput. When they were not fighting amongst themselves for power, wealth, and women, the Rajputs built the hundreds of forts, palaces, gardens and temples that make this region so enchanting.
Come with us and travel this exotic region, you’ll meet the warm, wonderful people, experience the incredible cuisine, gaze on landscapes that jump right out of the pages of National Geographic, wander through impressive forts and magnificent palaces, and see a part of the world that you never knew existed.
Tour Dates & Pricing
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Day 1 Welcome to Delhi
On arrival you will be provided assistance at the airport followed by transfer to your 4* hotel.
In the evening, you'll have a tour briefing by our local guide. Tonight is all about relaxing and recharging after your international flight. Your guide will take you on a short stroll of the neighborhood to enjoy a welcome dinner at a fantastic local restaurant. If this is your first exposure to real Indian regional cuisine, you're in for a treat!
Day 2 Delhi to Jodhpur...The Blue City
After breakfast, you'll have a transfer and assitance to the airport to connect to the flight to Jodhpur. In Jodhpur, you will be met at the airport on arrival followed by a transfer to the hotel Ajit Bhawan. The Ajit Bhawan Palace is the residence of the family of the Late General Maharaj Ajit Singh, younger brother of the late ruler, Maharaja Umaid Singh of Jodhpur. Built at the turn of the last century, this stately palace served as a residence that attracted Princes and Statesmen, Artists and Hunters, an electric mix of the interesting & the mundane - all drawn its true essence of Rajput hospitality. Decades later, his son, Late Maharaj Swaroop Singh along with his wife, Rani Usha opened the doors of this stately royal residence to the travelers coming to the Blue City. They pioneered the “Heritage Hotel” concept in India. They had found a perfect way to share their legacy with all who wished to experience and have a taste of this royal luxury.Set in the serene desert of Rajasthan in India, Ajit Bhawan stands as an oasis of hospitality and warm Rajput charm.
After freshening up, a local guide will meet us and off we'll go to explore Jodhpur, once the capital of the state of Marwar. Jodhpur is built tumbling down a low sandstone hill, right on the edge of the great Thar Desert. We'll see all of the most important and interesting places in Jodhpur today, including the Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada, and the unbelievable Ummaid Bhawan Palace.
One of the higlights of Jodhpur is the fascinating exploration of the bazaar. Starting with a rickshaw ride through the impossibly narrow lanes of the market, you'll soon be immersed in the riot of color, people, and clamor that is an Indian bazaar at full tilt! Rajasthan's craftspeople have been famous for centuries for their jewel settings, stonework, blue pottery, enamel, lacquer, filigree work, and block-printed silk. Thousands of stands, spice markets, textile shops and street vendors selling everything you could possibly imagine...you'll realize that not much has changed here in the last few centuries. Think Indiana Jones...
Day 3 Bishnoi Village and the Great Thar Desert of Osian
After breakfast, our private local guide will pick us up for the drive to Luni. On arrival at the Fort, you'll get into Jeeps to go for a Village Safari through Luni, a traditional village of the Bishnoi people. You'll be amazed at their local handicrafts...shoe makers, pottery, and hand weaving. Bishnois are an integral part of this region, a very hard working and hospitable tribal community. It's fascinating to see village folk in their rustic and traditional attire and women clad in their ancestral silver jewelry. While in this area, you'll have a good chance to encounter and photograph wildlife such as black buck, chinkaras, peacocks etc., all endangered species protected by Bishnois.
After the Village Safari, enjoy your Lunch at Fort Chanwa, a former Rajasthani palace.
After Lunch, youll continue on to Osian, even deeper into the Great Thar Desert.. From there, you shall start your camel ride through the dunes…the only way to truly appreciate a breathtaking desert sunset is by camel! As a million stars burst into view over the clear desert landscape, you'll return to base camp and settle in to a wonderful traditional meal, fit for a maharajah...
Day 4 The Rajasthani Countryside
After breakfast, your private transfer will depart the hotel for the overland drive to Jaipur. Today is all about relaxing and taking in the endlessly changing views as we make our way cross-country. The sheer scope of the landscape will help you realize just how massive India really is. Most of the countryside has remain unchanged for hundreds of years...local women in colorful saris dot the fields as the work the crops, sacred cows wander unhindered in the towns and on the roads, and intricate Hindu temples abound. This is the real India, what you came to see! You'll enjoy lunch at a restaurant midway along your route to Jaipur.
On arrival in Jaipur, the Pink City, check into the Shahpura House, previously the home of the rulers of the Shekhawat clan of Rajputs. The palace has been converted into a hotel and its doors have been flung open to visitors from all over the world. Rare among hotels it has remained a family home, where the members of the former ruling family welcome you personally as their honored guest. The house is a stunning display of traditional Rajput architecture of domes, frescoes, Mughal and Indian influences. Like many historic residences, it is a curious mixture of the old and the new.
Tonight our local guide will take us into the old town to explore a bit before enjoying another excellent regional dinner.
Day 5 Jaipur, the Pink City
Today you'll explore one of the most historic and fascinating cities on the planet! Jaipur is a delightful mix of modern India and ancient empires...don't be surprised to see camels pulling carts on the main streets!Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and takes its name from Maharaja Jai Singh, who in the early 1700s became the king of amber at the age of 13. Architecture and astronomy were just a few of his many passions. He designed the bulk of his new capital with exquisite buildings of rose colored terra cotta, thus giving it the name of "the pink city". With pink and orange the dominant colors, the effect at dusk is pure magic!
The most imposing and impressive place in Jaipur is the palace of the ruling family, the Amber Fort. You'll have a guided tour of it today with its hundreds of rooms, towers, walls, courtyards, and even elephants! You'll also wander through the City Palace of Jaipur, the Jantar Mantar, and finally you'll find yourself gawking in amazement at the stunning facade of the Hawa Mahal, Palace of Wind.
Another little know fact is that over 80% of the world's jewels come to Jaipur for cutting, polishing and inlay work, making Jaipur the world's leader in jewelry fabrication. India itself mines more emeralds, rubies, and lapis lazuli than anywhere else, and the jewelry made with these stones is exquisite! So of course while you're here you'll visit a local jewelry maker to learn how precious and semi precious stones are converted into stunning traditional Rajasthani jewelry of Kundan, Polki and Meenakari.
And if that wasn't enough, you'll find that the world-famous textile shops of Jaipur have some of the most artistic and labor intensive pieces you've ever seen. The rich Indian fabrics lend themselves wonderfully to the intricate embroideries and patterns. High-end fashion houses from all over the western world come to India to purchase upscale textiles...you can pick them up for a fraction of what you'd pay in Paris or New York.
For our meal tonight, we'll join a local Indian family in their home to get an idea of the Indian culture and family life. We'll visit the house of Rajkumar (Prince of Raoti) Niranjan Singh Rathore, great-grandson of Maharaj Akhey Singhji-a Royal of Jodhpur. Rajkumar with his wife Kartika Singh welcome all guests to their family.Their love for and knowledge of Jaipur enable them to show their guests the charm of Jaipur, all too invisible to the casual visitor because of the hustle and bustle of modernizing India. Visiting with Rajkumar and his family is the ideal way to discover an example of modern India, with a hidden charm which only a native of the city can explain. They will also give a demonstration of typical Indian dishes that many families would enjoy. And of course you'll get a wonderful meal while in their home!
Day 6 Fatehpur Sikri...the Ghost City, Taj Mahal
After breakfast this morning you'll check out from the hotel and begin the next leg of your Indian journey. Yet another facet of the rich Moghul history will unfold for you today as you explore the ruins of the Ghost City of Fatehpur Sikri. The Moghul emperor Akbar began construction of Sikri in 1571, as a new capital city. Massive walls over seven miles long enclosed three sides, and a lake protected the fourth. It continued to expand and when the British envoys came to visit in 1583 they were astonished to find a city that exceeded London in both population and grandeur - with more rubies, diamonds, and silks than they could count! Akbar ruled here for only 14 years before moving his capital, and since then the city has languished and eventually was abandoned. Impressive buildings and mounuments still survive, though, as well as the thousands of "ghosts" of the royal court who are said to wander the empty streets.
Not long after departing Fatehpur Sikri you'll arrive at Agra, home to one of the world's most famous sites...the Taj Mahal. Here we'll check into our hotel, the Orient Taj, and relax from our days journey.
This evening you'll experience what may be the highlight of your Indian experience...a visit to the Taj Mahal! By now you'll have learned much about the Moghul empire in India, so you'll understand the significance of this most-impressive monument. Built by one of the last Moghul emperors, Shah Jehan, for his revered wife, Mumtaz Mahal, so that the world would never forget their love. Begun in 1632, it took 20,000 laborers 17 years to complete this vast tomb of white marble on the banks of the Yamuna river. As if the sheer size isn't impressive enough, nearly all of the massive building is covered with intricate inlays of precious jewels...a one inch flower on the queen's tomb has over 60 separate stones! As you wander the grounds and your guide explains all of the wondrous features, don't be surprised if you find yourself overwhelmed by the magnificence of this monument!
Tonight there is a wonderful farewell dinner planned at one of our favorite restaurants...complete with some local cultural performances! Enjoy the Indian cuisine while you relax and recall all of your wonderful experiences from the week...
Day 7 Delhi and the Red Fort
This morning after breakfast you say goodbye to Agra and begin the last leg of your overland journey in India. You'll soon arrive in one of the largest and most ancient cities in the world...Delhi. Of course when in Delhi there is at least one place that you shouldn't miss...so you'll have a chance to explore Lal Qila, the Red Fort of Delhi. Named for its red sandstone walls, the fort is the greatest of India's palace-cities. Built in the 17th century by the Moghul emperor Shah Jehan, Lal Qila recalls the era of Moghul magnificence and power like nothing else on earth. You can easily imagine the imperial elephants swaying by with their mahouts, a royal army of eunuchs, and court ladies carried on palanquins. In fact the word "fort" is misleading, as this is really a fortified palace, with royal apartments, mosques, halls, and a even a dungeon. Over 3,000 people lived within its walls!
After your visit to the stunning Red Fort, your journey will end today at your luxurious 4* hotel, with the evening free for last minute shopping and a final farewell meal.
Day 8 Farewell to Delhi
Early morning you will be provided an assisted departure transfer to the International airport to connect to your flight home.
- Two nights accom in Delhi
- Two nights accom in Jodhpur
- Two nights accom in Jaipur
- One night accom in Agra
- Delhi/Jodhpur Domestic Indian Flight
- Daily Breakfast
- Complete transportation by deluxe AC Volvo coach with washroom
- All transfers, arrival, departure, tours, group meals, etc
- Local guides in Jodhpur, Jaipur, Agra, and Fatehpur Sikri
- Rickshaw ride in Jodhpur
- Jeep safari to Bishnoi village
- Lunch at Fort Chanwa
- Camel safari in Osian
- Dinner in Osian
- Lunch enroute Jodhpur/Jaipur
- Dinner in Jaipur
- Cooking demonstration at Indian house, with drinks and dinner
- Dinner in Agra
- Farewell dinner in Delhi
- Fully escorted by an AD&T Group Leader
- A lifetime of unforgettable memories
What´s not Included
- International Airfare to/from Delhi
- Any expenses of a personal nature...drinks, laundry, telephone calls
- Indian Visa fees
- Any tips to drivers, guides, or hotel staff
- Any meals apart from the ones mentioned above
- Any expenses caused by reasons beyond our control - flight delays, cancellations and rescheduling, any situations relating to road blocks, accidents, medical evacuation and natural calamaties