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  Rajasthan and ranthambore ref 1299-14 Days/13 Nights
 


Day 1 – Flight  Your Country / Delhi

Late night arrival. Welcome to India, or as we say ‘atithi devo bhava’ (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!
Assistance upon arrival as our Representative welcome you and escort you to your car.  Checkin and Overnight at Hotel.

Day 2 - Delhi / Mandawa
Following a leisurely breakfast, we Proceed on a guided tour of New Delhi.

DELHI – India’s capital and a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines in its fold the ancient and the modern. Its strategic location was one of the prime reasons why successive dynasties choose it as their seat of power. It is not surprising then, that what constitutes Delhi today is a conglomerate of seven cities. It is a vibrant modern city with an ancient and eventful history. The city with its multi-faceted culture can aptly said to be a microcosm of the whole nation.

Proceed for tour to Old Delhi. Visiting, Jama Masjid – It is the country's largest mosque, where thousands of Muslims offer prayers.

 
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It lies opposite the Red Fort and is surrounded by a large number of shops, which deal in a variety of goods. The great mosque of Old Delhi is both the
largest in India and the final architectural extravagance of Shah Jahan with a courtyard. Thus it is an architectural triumph. Then we will pass over the commercial area of Chandni Chowk’s - The main street of Old Delhi is the colourful shopping bazaar. Chandni Chowk's speciality is the variety of its markets and their Indian-ness. Then have a photostop at Red Fort (From outside) – One of the most spectacular pieces of Mughal Architecture is the Lal Quila or the Red Fort. Built by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan between 1638 and 1648, the Red Fort has walls extending up to 2 kms. in length with the height varying from 18 mts. on the river side to 33 mts. on the city side. The old walled city from Mughal India, the chief attraction is the huge fort that contains within it palaces and impressive public buildings. The highlight of this tour would be a ride on cycle rickshaw. This is a remarkable way to explore and picture the hustle and bustle as well as the colour of the narrow winding streets bursting with people and pavement shops selling wares of all description - including a laughing set of dentures. Take a small tour of  Khari Baoli, it is among the markets of spices largest in Asia.
Leave to see Raj Ghat – On the banks of the Yamuna River, a simple square platform of black marble marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated following his assassination in 1948.
Later Continue to visit Rajpath – The Kingsway is another focus of New Delhi. It is immensely broad and is flanked on either side by Ornamental ponds. India Gate – India Gate is a majestic high arch, 42 meters high, built as a memorial to the Indian soldiers killed in the World War I. Beneath it burns an eternal flame. Rashtrapati Bhawan – The official residence of the President of India stands at the opposite end of the Rajpath from India Gate. Qutab Minar – This is a soaring tower of victory which was started in 1193, immediately after the defeat of the last Hindu kingdom in Delhi. It is nearly 73 mtr high and tapers from a 15-mtr diameter base to just 2.5 mtr at the top. Humayun's Tomb  - This tomb, built in 1570, is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal. On the way visit various government buildings and the Embassy area.

Drive to Mandawa, (260 kms. / approx 06 hrs.), Upon arrival, Transfer to Hotel.

MANDAWA – Often called the open air art gallery of Rajasthan, the region of medieval Shekhawati comprises the present day districts of Sikar & Jhunjhunu. The high quality frescoes which this region is famous for date between 1750 & 1930. A majority of the frescoes have been executed on the havelis or mansions.
Overnight at hotel

Day 3 – Mandawa / Bikaner
After the breakfast, visits some havelis of Shekhawati-which is a desert area. What makes the fame of this area are the Havelis of the commercial rich person Marwaris decorated with murals.
Later depart for Bikaner.
Bikaner- If ever beauty has bloomed in a desert, it has been at Bikaner. Founded in 1488 AD by Rao Bika Ji, it's located in north west part of Rajasthan state in INDIA. The imposing palaces, beautiful and richly sculptured temples of red and yellow sand stones display some of the finest creations of Rajput civilization. It's lust for "desert" or affection for "desert" that tickles every heart to visit Bikaner. Bikaner is a princely ex-state rested by a chief rajput Rao Bikaji. It was used formerly as passage of the caravans, which crossed the desert of Thar to go in the province of Sindh to Pakistan.
Arrival at Bikaner. Checkin at hotel.
Visit the Strong Fort Junagarh which was transformed into museum was built by Raja Rai Singhji, the sixth ruler of Bikaner, who ruled from 1571 to 1612 AD. You will see beautiful objects in the museum like the first elevator of the Rajasthan and the first telephone of Bikaner. You will see the photographs of Maharaja Ganga Singh with George Clemenceau. You will also see the private aircrafts of Maharaja Ganga Singh, which he received like gift on behalf of the English after the 1st world war. After this visit, we advise you to make the visit of the old town of Bikaner in rickshaw. It is the best means of seeing the lanes of the old city or you will appreciate the havelis made in 18th century out of red sandstone. You will be impressed by the harmony between the man and the animal when you see cows crowned in the street who are not afraid of anything.
Over night at hotel

Day 4 – Bikaner / Jaisalmer
Breakfast at hotel.  Leave for Jaisalmer. Arrival in Jaisalmer - the city strengthened in the desert of Thar. In way, stop at Pokharan for Lunch (payment to be made Directly). Checkin at hotel. Overnight at hotel.

Day 5 – Jaisalmer
After Breakfast. Visit Jaisalmer Fort. It is Rising like a sunbeam from the golden sands of the desert, Jaisalmer Fort is the second oldest fort of Rajasthan. A sight to behold, this living fort is one of the marvels of Rajasthani Architecture, especially of the stone carver's art. The golden - yellow sandstone of Jaisalmer Fort, over 800 years old, crowns the Trikuta Hill. The fort stands almost 30 metres over the city and houses an entire living area within huge ramparts. Wells within the fort still provide a regular source of water. Even today, you will find that nearly one fourth of the old city's population resides within the fort. The designs of the houses here remain as they used to a couple of centuries behind time, and so are the lifestyles of the people inhabiting them. This is so as most of the families continue to work for generations for the rule. Hence, their is a sense of continuity. The houses are arranged in narrow lanes and have small windows from where the shy child or the girl peeps through. This city is believed to be the home of the most handsome men and the most gorgeous women in Rajasthan. We would also walk through the narrow cobbled lanes of the golden sandstone city to witness the magnificent medieval Indian Havelis of medieval Indian merchants. These elegant buildings which are very well preserved tell an apt story of how medieval Indian society existed. . Walking through the narrow lanes is an experience worth savouring.  It is approached through Ganesh Pol, Suraj Pol, Bhoot Pol and Hawa Pol. Also, within it are many beautiful havelies and a group of Jain temples dating from the 12th to the 15th centuries. Jaisalmer fort is the second oldest fort in Rajasthan.
Visit famous haveli’s as  Patwaon - Ki – Haveli and Salim Singh ki Haveli
Patwaon - Ki - Haveli is another dimension to the Jaisalmer havelis. It is a five storey edifice which was constructed in 1800 AD and 1860 AD. This is the largest of its kind and is one of the grandest mansion in Jaisalmer It is a Salim.
Singh ki Haveli. The top most storeys of this haveli are destroyed yet the surviving structure has peerless grandeur. You indeed would be enticed with the intricate workmanship and designed Jharokhas
Afternoon, drive to Sam, a desert outpost. Enroute we visit a few typical desert villages, which have a sprinkling of huts. The rough terrain here does not support cultivation; hence the entire village works as casual labourers in road works or community projects. Inspite of their poverty and hard life the people are very friendly and seem to be aware that they are proud owners of very expressive and beautiful faces. We move on to Sam where we explore the desert on camel back.
Overnight at hotel.

Day 6 – Jaisalmer / Jodhpur
Morning after breakfast drive for Jodhpur. Arrive Jodhpur and check-in at hotel. Later city sightseeing of Jodhpur. Jodhpur stronghold of the fierce Rathore clan was founded in 1459 by Prince Jodha. The home of the Rathore rulers - the princely state of Rajasthan.  A high 10 kms long stone wall protects the well fortified city.  Within, stands an imposing fort on a low range of sandstone hills, about 125 mts. above the surrounding plains. 
Proceed for the sightseeing tour of Jodhpur - gateway to the desert beyond, home of the Rathors of Marwar, visit the Mehrangarh Fort, rising up a hilly scarp, built on the advice of a hermit, overlooking the city in the image of a long sentinel.  Inside the Fort are a number of palaces added by successive rulers. In this palace you would see different miniature paintings & cradle room. After this you would visit Jaswant Thada Memorial - The memorial of Maharaja Jaswant Singh out of white marble. You can go for a ride in rickshaw to see the lanes of Sadar Bazaar; you will see the famous tower of the clock where one sees the dentists sitting in the street on the pavements
Overnight at hotel

Day 7 – Jodhpur / Ranakpur / Udaipur
After the breakfast, departure by the road towards Ranakpur, located at 95 km of udaipur. Ranakpur is known for its Jains temples. You will visit the temple of Adinath and will be allured by the beauty and the complexity of its architecture. Please note that short clothing is interdict in the temple; it is necessary to have the knees and the shoulders covered. The objects out of leather are prohibited in the temple.
A beautiful place to lunch would be Maharani Bagh, which is has 5 minutes of the Temple of Ranakpur. After the visit of the temples,
Later departure towards Udaipur
UDAIPUR – The Venice of the East, Udaipur is an enchanting city. From lakes in the midst of sandy terrain to green-forested hills where wildlife still abounds, the surprises are endless. And, in the lakes, or by their edges, are palaces straight out of fairy tales, each more beautiful than the other. Its kaleidoscope of fairy-tale palaces, lakes, temples, gardens and narrow lanes strewn with stalls, carry the flavor of a heroic past, epitomizing valor and chivalry. Their reflection in the placid waters of the LAKE PICHOLA is an enticing sight.
Udaipur is the jewel of MEWAR -a kingdom ruled by the Sisodia dynasty for 1200 Years.
On arrival Checkin at hotel and Overnight will be at Udaipur.

Day 8 – Udaipur
Morning after breakfast Leave for city tour of Udaipur - The city is built in 1559 A.D. by Maharaja Udai Singh and has been described as the most romantic spot on the continent of India by Col. James Todd. Visit the City Palace. The majestic white City Palace located in the heart of Udaipur, was originally built by Maharana Udai Singh of the Sisodia Rajput clan and extended to its present form by subsequent Maharanas. Built in granite and marble and surrounded by crenellated fort walls, the largest palace complex in  Rajasthan stands on a crest overlooking the Pichola Lake. 
Later Visit , Sahelion Ki Bari ( Queen’s resort for their friends)
Evening we take a boat cruise on the serene and beautiful Lake Pichola. The island palace on the Lake called Jagmandir Palace is quite fascinating. The banks of the lake provide interesting glimpses of the daily bathing and the laundry that takes place here. Looking across the lake, with the city and its great palace rising up behind the island palace, is a scene of rare beauty.
Overnight at hotel.

Day 9 – Udaipur / Pushkar
After the breakfast, departure in direction of Pushkar. Possibility of visiting the Ajmer on the way. Continuation towards Pushkar, Holy City of pilgrimage dedicated to Brahma. Arrival at Pushkar. Checkin at hotel
Spare time to walk to the village and to visit the famous temple of Brahma. Pay attention to the priests who make pretence making prayers for you at commercial purposes! Overnight at hotel.

Day 10 – Pushkar / Jaipur
Breakfast will be at Hotel. Proceed to Jaipur. Checkin at hotel

JAIPUR – The city blushing pink is the picturesque capital of Rajasthan, more famous as the ‘Pink City’. Jaipur is color washed pink-the color associated with hospitality in Rajput culture. Founded in 1727 A.D. by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, Jaipur is the first planned city designed in accordance with ‘Shilpa Shastra’ – the epochal treatise of Hindu architecture. Jaipur thrills the soul with its massive forts, magnificent palaces, exquisite temples and lush gardens. The ancient heart of the Pink City still beats in its fairy-tale palaces, rugged fortresses perched on barren hills and broad avenues that dot the entire city. The only planned city of its time, Jaipur is encircled by a formidable wall.
Visit CITY PALACE - In the heart of the old city is former royal residence built in a blend of the Rajasthani and Mughal styles. The carved arches are supported by grey-white marble columns ornate with floral motifs in gold and coloured stones. Two carved elephants in marble guard the entrance. The palace houses a museum with a superb collection of Rajasthani costumes and armory of Mughals and Rajputs including swords of different shapes and sizes with chased handles, some of them inlaid with enamel and embellished with jewels and encased in magnificent scabbards.
      
JANTAR MANTAR - This is the largest and the best preserved of the five observatories built by Jai Singh II in different parts of the country. Its observatory instruments, whose setting and shapes are scientifically designed, represent the high points of medieval Indian astronomy.  This observatory consisting of outsized astronomical instruments is still in use.

Overnight at Hotel.

Day 11 – Jaipur / Amber / Ranthambore
After Breakfast at hotel. Proceed for excursion to Amber Fort in the outskirts of Jaipur.

AMBER FORT PALACE - Amber is the classic romantic Rajasthani fort palace.  Its construction was started by Man Singh I in 1592, and completed by his descendent Jai Singh I.  Its forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise where a beautiful fusion of Mughal and Hindu styles finds its ultimate expression.
We will ride up to this hilltop palace on a caparisoned, painted elephant, passing through the ancient main gate where Maharajas of Jaipur have entered four hundred years back. Our guide will elaborate on the history of this architectural masterpiece with its mirror-studded alcoves, dazzling mosaics and water-cooled swings that delight today’s visitors as they did their former royal residents.

Proceed for sightseeing of the city.
HAWA MAHAL (only a photo stop) - The ornamental facade of this "Palace of Winds" is a prominent landmark in Jaipur.  This five storey building along the main street of the old city is in pink splendor with semioctagonal and delicately honey combed sandstone windows. The palace has 953 niches and windows. Built in 1799 by Pratap Singh. The monument was originally conceived with the aim of enabling ladies of the royal household to watch the everyday life and royal processions of the city.
Drive to Ranthambore. Upon arrival Checkin at hotel and leave for your first safari in the afternoon.
Then continue towards in National park of Ranthambore. This park of a strange beauty and it is spread out over more than 1300 kms and is the old territory of hunting of the maharajas.
Overnight at hotel.

Day 12 – Ranthambore
After a breakfast, departure for safari in the jeep for reserve in morning. You will have surely the occasion to cross one of the 40 tigers present in the park. Excursion in Strong Ranthambore and the temple of Ganesh. At the end of afternoon, their will be one more safari in the jeep. Overnight at hotel.

Day 13 – Ranthambore / Fatehpur Sikri / Agra
Breakfast will be at Hotel. Proceed to Agra on the way visit Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri - An emperor builds a magnificent city as an act of gratitude to a penniless saint, makes it the capital of his empire and then for inexplicable reason abandons it.

Fatehpur Sikri is a city that an emperor forgot. After just fourteen years of life, the palaces of Akbar great city of victory fell silent. Its echoing corridors still seen to wait for the king to return. The hill top city lies 37 kms from Agra. This deserted city has two distinct complexes. The first comprises the royal enclosure of the palace, the harem and official buildings and the second is the dargarh of a saint, with a mosque and lofty gateways. To wander among the red sandstone courtyard of Fatehpur Sikri is to travel back in the time when Mughal emperor Akbar rode through the gateway after a triumpant campaign, to be welcomed by his delighted subjects and the royal courts. It reflects the many faceted character of the man who inspired it. The ruthless empire builder who enjoyed all the trapping of power and as liberal enlightened man who took a passionate instant in every aspect of life, be it religion, literature or the painting of miniatures.

Later Leave for Agra. Upon arrival check into hotel

Agra is a medieval city situated on the banks of the river Yamuna. It is generally accepted that Sultan Sikandar Lodi, the Ruler of Delhi Sultanate founded it in the year 1504. The golden age of the city began with the Mughals. Agra is famous as being Taj Mahal, perhaps the most photographed monument in the world. The architectural splendour of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is vivid reminder of the opulence of the legendary Mughal empire, of which Agra was the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries.

Overnight at Hotel.

Day 14 – Agra / Delhi / Your Country
Breakfast at hotel. Leave for Sightseeing tour of Agra
Visit TAJ MAHAL [Built by Shah Jahan for his queen Mumtaz Mahal], Taj Mahal is regarded as the most extravagant monument ever built for love, as the Emperor had the heart broken as Mumtaz Mahal with whom he was married for 17 years, died in giving birth to her 14th child in 1629. The construction of the Taj was begun in 1631 and was completed in 1653. Besides perfect symmetry in every aspect of its construction, the inlay work of semi precious stones into marble in pietra dura style is absolutely remarkable
Later Visit Red Fort - Built principally as a military establishment by Akbar in 1565, the red sandstone Agra fort was partially converted into a palace during Shah Jahan's time. Though the principal structure was built by Akbar, many more additions were made by his grandson. Amar Singh gate towards the south is the only entry point in the fort. The building and structures inside the fort gives an impression of a city within the city. Many of the building inside the fort is now closed for the public. The marble pearl mosque inside the fort is one of the most stunningly beautiful mosques in India

After the visit drive to Delhi. On arrival Transfer to the international airport for your onward flight back home with the sweet memories of India.

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