(Delhi, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Agra)
Paint your elephant in pinks and greens and reds, and hide in ancient passageways of one of Rajasthan’s most majestic Haveli’s as vibrant hues of every color rain down on crowds in a celebration of hope and joy.
Take part in 2 of the most extraordinary spectacles on earth, Holi, an ancient celebration of the triumph of good over evil and Jaipur's Elephant Festival on this brilliant new luxury adventure through India. A perfect fusion of this spellbinding land's classic highlights, cultural riches, larger-than-life events, and exotic indulgences, delve into the fairy tales of Delhi, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur and Agra led by expert private guide with plenty of decadent behind-the-scenes-access thrown in. Celebrate Holi on the grounds of a royal palace; behold dazzling displays of culture through dance, music, cuisine and fireworks. Spend time with a traditional mahout, paint and dress your elephant in traditional Rajasthan fashion and behold elephant beauty pageants, polo and a parade. Cruise in the boat of a former Maharaja, sleep in the same rooms as kings and queens, dine with descendants of royalty, meet renowned artisans, enjoy spa treatments, enjoy an VIP candlelit jungle dinner and awake to a view of the Taj Mahal! From snake charmers, epic forts, floating palaces and Bishnoi villages to temple blessings, bazaars and sunset cruises, each moment is a feast for the senses!
Stay at some the historical palaces of bygone maharajahs and one that is currently a living breathing royal residence. Your expert staff of VIP local guides, private chauffeurs and helpful assistants are ever-present to help you get the most out of this remarkable journey. Join Holi on March 17 and 18 2014, or on Mar 6 & 7 2015.
Relax and enjoy an airport transfer in a private vehicle, with driver, and English-speaking assistant.
Spend the day on a privately guided full day tour of Old & New Delhi which boasts spectacular monuments and holy sites.
The city of New Delhi was designed in the typically British colonial style, with tree-lined avenues and colonial bungalows. Whilst on this tour you will see the Laxminarayan Temple, a modern Hindu temple, and Gate of India which is a 42 m high War Memorial Arch. On route you will drive past the Parliament House, the Secretariat buildings and the Vice Regal Palace, which is now the official residence of the President of India. Visit the Red Fort which was the palace for Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's new capital, Shahjahanabad, when he moved his capital from Agra to bring prestige to his reign. Its wall is 1.5 miles long, and varies in height from 60-110 ft. At 72.5 meters, the Qutab Minar is the tallest brick minaret in the world. Surrounding the building are many fine examples of Indian artwork dating back to 1193. Humayun's tomb is a complex of buildings of Mughal architecture dating to the Slave Dynasty (1268-1287 AD). The complex is a World Heritage Site and the first example of this type of Mughal architecture in India. This style of mausoleum is similar to the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Stop for lunch at one of the wonderful restaurants in the Oberoi Hotel for lunch and sample some great local or International fare.This afternoon you'll have the chance to walk the bustling lanes of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi and meet traditional Indian merchants who operate out of the largest wholesale market in Asia. In the narrow by-lanes of the old city, you will get a ringside view of a business culture that has remained largely unchanged for the last 200 years. The merchants you will get to interact with include: The family of Gulab Singh Johrimal, perhaps the only family in Chandni Chowk dealing in ‘attar’ (pure flower essence). Established in 1816, the family shop is now managed by the seventh generation. You'll also have the chance to meet with the owners of Baby Saffron who over the last 150 years have established their company as one of the largest distributors of saffron (the most expensive spice in the world) in India.At day's end you'll be brought back to your centrally located hotel, tired from all of the stimulation no doubt, but with a much better sense of the city and its workings.
Enjoy your flight from Delhi to Udaipur. The flight duration is approximately one hour forty five minutes
Meet your driver for an airport transfer with English-speaking assistant.
Today visit the majestic white City Palace built in granite and marble. The palace complex is surrounded by crenellated fort walls, and overlooks Pichola Lake. The Garden of the Maids of Honor is well laid out with extensive lawns and shady walks. Constructed for forty eight young ladies-in-waiting sent to the royal house as part of the dowry, the garden has many fountains in its four delightful pools, chiseled kiosks and marble elephants. The Crystal Gallery in the Fateh Prakash Palace features a breath taking collection of crystals including tables, sofa sets, a dining table, dressers, fountains, beds, and an exquisite jewel studded carpet.
Spend half of the day today on a private guided tour exploring the highlights of Udaipur - from the white City Palace built in granite and marble (the largest palace complex in Rajasthan and surrounded by crenellated fort walls) to Eklingji, located about twelve miles north of Udaipur, which features a complex of 108 ancient temples, carved from sandstone and marble. The main temple was built in AD 734 to propagate the blessings of Lord Shiva. At Nagda there are some 10th century temples. The Jain temple of Adbudji is essentially ruined, but its architecture is interesting. About 500m away, the Sas Bahu temple has fine intricate carvings. There are also some small temples submerged in the nearby lake.
Complete your initiation into Udaipur by getting an insight into the artistic side of life here. For centuries artisans of Udaipur have created woven, printed dyed and embroidered textiles. These artists have practiced for generations preserving the identity of each art form. Visit the home of one of these traditional artisans, where you will get to witness, understand, and appreciate the subtle nuances of these art forms unique to Udaipur. It is rare opportunity to experience the vibrant and diverse world of textiles up close, at your own pace. Your Guide will be at you hand to answer your questions and help interact with the artist.
Enjoy a cooking demonstration this evening followed by dinner with a Rajput family whose great grand fathers were nobles of the royal family. The Experience offers a vast number of culinary delights comprising of authentic recipes which have been passed down over two centuries from the kitchens of the house which have been revived over the last ten years or so. The family now promotes these recipes at food festivals as well as hosting culinary connoisseurs of good food at their ancestral home in Udaipur. Enjoy a five course dinner with the family and learn about this unique cuisine and culture while you visit their ancestral house in Udaipur and experience the culinary heritage and warmth of their hospitality and personalized interaction (includes water & soft drinks, alcoholic beverages on consumption).
What better way to relax after travelling than taking a wonderful spa treatment onboard a custom fitted spa boat over the mystical waters of Lake Pichola! Recalling the stately ambiance of regal cruises aboard ceremonial barges and exquisite island-palaces of the Royal Family of Udaipur, the spa has perfected millennia-old therapies and rejuvenating treatments - one of which you will have the pleasure of today! This elegant floating pleasure-palace anchored in Lake Pichola invites you to relax under the skilled therapists hands and for you to soothe mind and body with a signature royal spa experience. Cocooned in spectacular comfort of the boat, you'll experience a traditional welcome after which you'll be ushered into a luxurious spa suite to soak in the array of ancient wellness therapies and beauty treatments. Choose from one of the four relaxing 2 hour treatments and relax in the outdoor soak bath or simply laze on deck with a glass of wine after your treatment.
This morning you will be driven to Jodhpur covering distance of 270kms. Enroute you'll visit Ranakpur Jain temple. Ranakpur boasts some of the most exquisite Jain temples in the country famous for their intricate friezes and sculptures. It is one of the holiest Jain sites of India. Nestled on the banks of the river Maghai and sequestered by mountains, Ranakpur's beauty is accentuated by its seclusion. The main Chaumukha (four faced) temple was built in 1439 and is dedicated to the first Enlightened One, Adinatha Rishabdeva. An inscription in it traces its origin to the reign of Rana Kumbha. Erected on a raised platform, it is surrounded by 66 subsidiary shrines. It has 1444 beautifully carved pillars, of which no two are alike.
Continue your drive to Jodhpur. Jodhpur, also called the ‘Blue City’ was once the capital of the former princely state of Marwar. It was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha and is now the second largest city of Rajasthan. Flanked on its western side by the Mehrangarh Fort and on the eastern side by the stately sandstone Palace of Umaid Bhawan, the monuments temples and gardens of Jodhpur depict a multi-faceted grandeur. It is still a marvelously medieval city. While the graceful palaces, forts and temples bring alive the historic grandeur, exquisite handicrafts, folk dances, music and the brightly attired people lend a romantic aura to the city.
Let your guide take you on a tour of the most magnificent building in Jodhpur, Mehrangarh Fort, constructed in 1459. The fort is situated on a lofty height of 400 feet above the city and is enclosed by imposing thick walls. Inside its territorial boundaries, there are several palaces, which are known for their intricate carvings and sprawling courtyards. Jaswant Thada lies to the left of the Mehrangarh fort complex. It is a royal cenotaph made up of white marble. It was built to commemorate Maharaja Jaswant Singh. Umaid Bhawan Palace is built of marble and pink sandstone. An excursion to Bishnoi Village, provides you with an impresion of village life in Rajasthan.
Travel by jeep to the Bishnoi community where you visit traditional villages to see the local handicrafts such as shoe making, durries, pottery and hand weaving. Take advantage of the opportunity to interact with the villagers - men in their traditional attire, and women in clad with ancestral jewelry. Enroute observe and photograph wildlife. You may be able to spot black buck, chinkaras, and peacocks as they freely move through the countryside.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to Jaipur.
The Jungle Experience is a specially organized dinner in the forest that surrounds the camp. Bonfires and flame torches create a romantic atmosphere. This experiences offers the same luxurious setup as dining at the camp.
Take a private tour of the City Palace of Jaipur, an imposing blend of traditional Rajasthan and Mughal architecture, originally built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of the Kachhwaha clan of Rajputs. The vast palace complex occupies one seventh of the walled city. The Jantar Mantar is a collection of massive astronomical instruments, built of local stone and marble. Each instrument carries an astronomical scale marked on the marble inner lining, and bronze tablets were also employed. Adjoining the Palace is the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds). Built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, the Hawa Mahal overlooks one of the main streets and also provides some excellent views of the city.
Spend an enjoyable hour this evening taking in some of the sights of Jaipur in a vintage car such as a Classic Dodge or similar. There are a number of vehicles in Jaipur that are from the 1950's to the 1970's that have been restored to tip-top condition. (PLease ntoe that this is availability dependent).
Participate in a time honored tradition, an iconic part of India’s cultural identity, as you “play Holi” today amongst the elephants. Spend a half day at Elephant Village, a complex close to Amber Fort where about 14 Elephants reside. You will join up with other revelers, as you share an up close and personal encounter with these noble giants in a natural setting. Here you are assigned your very own Mahout, and can spend time painting and decorating your elephant in the traditional fashion. The Elephant Festival period is a highlight of any trip to Rajasthan, complete with beauty contests, parades, and fireworks. This is a festival like no other, and you will never forget your time spent with the elephants of Jaipur!
Shahpura Haveli is located about 1 hour by car from Jaipur. Head there today to participate in some colourful fun, as you celebrate Holi on the grounds of a true Indian Palace! Built more than 300 years ago, this Haveli will make you feel like you’ve stepped back into the time of the Maharajas. Frolic the manicured grounds, weaving in and out of bougainvillea covered courtyards, as you play holi with an array of herbal colours. Holi is an ancient tradition that celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and is an integral part of India’s cultural heritage. Enjoy lunch, and a dance performance, on this unforgettable day out in Rajasthan.
Relax on your transfer from Jaipur to Agra in a private vehicle with driver. On the way, you will visit the ancient ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri. This area was built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, and was known as the "City of Victory", and the capital of the Mughal Empire for 10 years. The complex of monuments and temples boasts uniform architectural style, which includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid.
Today your guide will pick you up from your hotel for a private tour of Taj Mahal, the most beautiful monument built by the Mughals, the Muslim rulers of India. Taj Mahal is built entirely of white marble. Its stunning architectural beauty is beyond adequate description, particularly at dawn and sunset. It was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his dear wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal. Also visit Agra Fort, built of red sandstone and marble. This great monument of red sandstone dominating a bend in the river Yamuna, two kilometers northwest of Taj Mahal was constructed by the Mughals during 1565-1571.
Consider getting a blessing by a Hindu priest with an elaborate ritual. This involves a short litany of holy prayers in front of a deity, exchanging garlands and receiving blessings. Please let your Sales Advisor know if you'd like to add this to your itinerary.
Enjoy a traditional ride on a Tonga (horse drawn carriage).
Heritage Trail of Agra takes you behind the scenes of the life throbbing in the shadows of the Taj Mahal, something that most visitors miss. A local youth from Agra, who is trained as a tour facilitator, will be guiding you along the trail. Learn about historical facts, listen to anecdotes and let your guide show you scenic spots from where you can take some amazing shots of the Taj from across the Yamuna River. The Heritage Trail leads you to some of the lesser known river front monuments such as the Ram Bagh, a paradise garden. It is one of the oldest Mughal Gardens built by the first Mughal Babar. You also visit the Gyarah Sidi (11 steps), an observatory that is said to have helped the early Mughals study star constellations and the Humayun Mosque. It is a rare remnant of pre-Taj architecture. Meet locals living in Agthe area, who will let you get a glimpse of their lives. Many of the beautiful gardens such as ones in front of the Chini ka Rouza are maintained by local residents. Another highlight of the trail is the village of Kachhpura where children perform street plays for visitors at the central courtyard. If you wish you can get a henna tattoo, an ancient Indian body art. The Indian girls here can draw some exotic designs. Henna tattoos temporary body designs using natural herbs only.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to Delhi. (205 Kms/5 hrs)
The Leela Palace New Delhi boasts 260 rooms in the exclusive Diplomatic Enclave. Recently opened, The Leela Palace New Delhi is considered to be among the finest in India. The hotel is in close proximity to some of Delhi’s many tourist attractions: the Presidential Palace, the Prime Minister’s office and the Central Business District are a few of the sights in the vicinity. The Leela Palace New Delhi's rooms are the largest in the capital spanning more than 550 sq ft. while the Presidential Suite itself spans 4425 sq. ft. Each room is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and amenities.
The Taj Lake Palace, located in the middle of Lake Pichola is a dream of white marble and mosaic glistening in the moonlight, very reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. Conceived in romance, the palace was built in 1746 by Maharana Jagat Singh II, 62nd successor to the royal dynasty of Mewar – believed to be descendants of the Sun God. Set against the backdrop of the majestic Aravalli Mountains on one side of the lake, and lofty palaces on the other, the Taj Lake Palace spreads across a four-acre island – an almost surreal vision in marble. From casual, all-day dining to formal, fine dining, guests can look forward to a wide array of delectable culinary delights and refreshing beverages. Guests can treat themselves to a wide range of relaxing and rejuvenating activities.
This landmark Art Deco-style palace is five km (3 miles) from Jodhpur International Airport and 10 km (6.5 miles) from Mehrangarh Fort. Umaid Bhawan Palace offers an indoor pool, full-service spa, and steam room, and serves a complimentary Continental breakfast daily. In addition to available wireless Internet access, guestrooms feature balconies, CD and DVD players, and in-room safes.
Rambagh Palace has been home to generations of royals. Built in 1835 Rambagh was converted into a palace in 1925 and became the residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur. The ‘Jewel of Jaipur’ as it is fondly called, remained the home of the Jaipur royal family until 1957, when it was first converted into a luxury hotel by Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. But it wasn’t until 1972 that Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces took over the reins. It is now the ‘jewel in the crown’ among the authentic palaces of the Taj in India. In the finest tradition of Rajput hospitality, the Rambagh Palace offers its guests a taste of royal living – a luxury and extravagance that was once the sole preserve of kings.The Rambagh Palace Hotel features on Conde Nast Traveller USA's Gold List 2012, as well as the 2012 T+L US Top 500 World's Best Hotels List, the Asia Category, with a score of 92.34, was the first runner up in the second edition of the T+L India's Best Awards 2013 in the category of Best Heritage Hotel, India and judged the #1 Luxury Hotel in India by Lonely Planet in 2012.
The Oberoi Amarvilas is located 600 meters from the Taj Mahal and all rooms, suites, lobby, bar and lounge offer breathtaking views of the monument. Indulge with your own private view of the greatest monument of love. Wake up to the glorious sight of the Taj Mahal, bathed by the first rays of dawn. Richly detailed interiors are perfectly complemented by a choice of international and Indian cuisine. The hotel offers a range of activities to relax and recharge, including a fitness center, outdoor swimming pool and luxury retail arcade. Rejuvenate at the full service Oberoi Spa, or get in touch with your inner self with a yoga session.
India & Area
Jim & Gayle Stinson ,
April 21, 2014
"Our individualized, private trip to India was just fabulous. Thanks to all for a trip of a lifetime!"
India & Area
Sharleen Dickson ,
April 21, 2014
"The driver and guides were excellent!"
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