(Mumbai, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Agra, Varanasi, Delhi)
The shadows dance across the intricate sandstone and marble carvings as you extend a hand to touch the cold stone walls of temples that date back to AD 734.
Here at Eklingji, you’ll stroll the vast maze of 108 ancient temples that were built to propagate the blessings of Lord Shiva as your private tour guide reveals the rich tapestry of historic stories that breathe life into this most spiritual of destinations. You’ll also explore modern Mumbai, Rajasthan’s majestic white City Palace; encounter the Red Fort and haunting Humayun’s tomb in Old Delhi; spend time in the picturesque mountain village of Delwara; marvel at the elaborate sculptures of the Jain temples in Jodhpur; ride an elephant along the steep path to Amber Fort and the City Palace of Jaipur; feel the weight of Varanasi's spirituality, and visit the impressive Taj Mahal and the haunting ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri in Agra.
Stay at some of India's finest premium hotels that span modern architectural marvels to impeccably restored heritage hotels. And an army of expert local guides, private drivers and helpful assistants are ever-present to help you get the most out of this remarkable journey.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
You will be welcomed at the Mumbai Airport by an English speaking representative and transferred to your accommodation by private vehicle and driver.
This full day tour of Mumabi is the best way to experience the city at your own pace. The tour covers all the must-see places on any traveler’s itinerary including visits to the Gateway of India, St. Thomas Cathedral, Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay University and the Oval Maidan, Town Hall, Victoria Terminus, Crawford Market, Marine Drive and Chowpatty Beach, Mani Bhavan the home of Gandhi, Malabar Hill and the Hanging Gardens and finally Dhobi Ghat.
Enjoy your flight from Mumbai to Udaipur today. The flight duration is approximately two hours.
Meet your driver for an airport transfer with English-speaking assistant.
Today travel to Eklingji, located about twelve miles north of Udaipur, featuring a complex of 108 ancient temples, carved from sandstone and marble. The main temple was built in 734 AD to propagate the blessings of Lord Shiva. Afterwards continue on to Nagda, known for its 10th century temples. The Jain temple of Adbudji is essentially ruined, but it still displays interesting architecture. Visit the Sas Bahu temple that has fine intricate carvings. There are also some small temples submerged in the nearby lake.
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.
Located 28 km northeast of Udaipur, Devi Garh is a convenient and scenic 45 minute drive from the city. The fort, surrounded by lush green fields and mountains on three sides, overlooks the village of Delwara. Like the secret gateway to Narnia, and just as magical, this gloriously shabby 18th century fort-palace – still imposingly grand with its dusty rampart of domes, turrets and balconies – reveals an inverse interior that is gleaming, sleekly minimalist and quite breath-taking.
Enjoy an evening boat ride at Lake Pichola.
This morning meet your driver for a private transfer to Jodhpur covering distance of 270 kilometers. Enroute 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 in 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.
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 drive takes approximately 5 hours.
From its creation in 1727, the royal families and nobles of Jaipur patronized the craftsmen and artisans of the city. These traditions continue to this day and as a result modern day Jaipur is considered by many as the craft capital of India. Traditional methods are still used to produce many valuable and highly prized items. Using skills passed down through generations, artisans and master craftsmen can be seen in the areas of Ghat Darwaza and Vishveshwar ji. On this fascinating evening walk mingle and talk with the locals whilst sampling some of the region's culinary delights; try pakoras, aloo tiki, samosa and ladoo from some of the city’s most popular street food vendors. Observe local artisans in their workshops; jewelers and silversmiths, gold painters and tie dying experts. The iconic Hawa Mahal also called the Palace of the Winds is the meeting point at which this two and a half hour walk begins.
Spend the day today in the company of a knowledgeable English speaking guide as you tour the Amber Fort and City Palace of Jaipur, the iconic Observatory and the Hawa Mahal. The magnificent Amber Fort was established in 1592, and remained the citadel of the Kachhawaha rulers right until they moved their capital to Jaipur in 1727. Maharaja Man Singh I created this imposing monument on the remains of an ancient 11th century fort. Since the first half of the 18th century, the City Palace has been the abode to the rulers of Jaipur. The sprawling expanse of the breathtaking palace is a superb harmony of Rajput and Mughal architecture. Part of the palace has been converted into a museum, open to the public, while a section - Chandra Mahal - still remains the home of today’s maharaja. The Observatory of Jaipur is inscribed on the World Heritage List as "an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period". Within it, 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. Built in 1799, the whimsical Hawa Mahal - Palace of Winds - which adjoins the Palace has become quite the city icon, with its ornate facade in pale pink, tiered baroque like build, projecting ‘jharokha’ windows and balconies with perforated screens. These were designed so that the mysterious veiled ladies of the harem could look down upon the colourful and bustling bazaars below, remaining hidden themselves. Overlooking busy streets, it offers great views of the city. We feel the Amber Fort is best reached by car, but an optional elephant ride is available should you prefer (cost not included).
The elephant safari followed with dinner is conducted in the original Aravali forests surrounding the camp. The trip leads you through villages, agricultural fields, hills and ancient monuments. Observe the thriving birdlife in the thick forests, antelopes and jackals. Although panthers do inhabit the jungles, it is very rare to see them. Occasionally, a hyena or wolf can be seen.
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.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to Delhi. The drive takes approximately 4 hours.
Enjoy your flight from Delhi to Varanasi. The flight duration is approximately 90 minutes.
From your hotel, a private vehicle, with driver, and English speaking guide, will transfer you to the airport for your flight.
Take a private guided tour of Sarnath. Located 5 miles from Varanasi, the site is the deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma after his enlightenment. Sarnath is one of four holy Buddhist sites sanctioned by Buddha himself for pilgrimage. Amongst the ruins is the Dharmekh Stupa, an impressive 128-foot high, and 93-diameter large structure. It was constructed by the Emperor Ashoka in 249 BCE. There are also several other Buddhist erections that were added between the 3rd and the 11th century BC.
The Aarti Ceremony is a Hindu ritual where light or fire is offered to the deities. Each Lamp wick is soaked in ghee or purified butter and lit, whilst songs of praise are sung in front of the deities. "Aa", means "towards", and "Rati" can be translated to "the highest love for God" in Sanskrit. Almost all the Hindu worship rituals involve the ceremony of Aarti. Perhaps the first mentioning of the Ceremony of Aarti in India can be found in the Rig Veda, which is considered to be the earliest scripture of Hinduism. This evening Aarti Ceremony is an absolutely wonderful sight from the Ganges River. This tour includes a boat ride to experience the magical ceremony from the water.
Glide along the famous and holy Ganges waterway in a private boat accompanied by an expert guide. The Ganga Ghats at Varanasi attract tourists and pilgrims of all ages for the opportunity to take a dip in the holy Ganges, which is believed to absolve one's sins. Pilgrims and tourists alike can be seen swimming and bathing immediately next to the funeral pyres of the riverside temples. This is a somewhat surreal experience and only for those with a strong constitution.
Winding through the streets and popping out onto the riverside will give you an insider’s look at the symbiotic life of the riverside people of Varanasi. Eventually, as you tour through the city you will end up on Bengali Tola, the street of the Bengalis, where you will be visiting the hidden Mother Goddess Kali shrines, and the vistas of life along the riverside. The tour continues to the historic ritual bathing site called Dashaswamedh, or the ten-horse sacrifice Ghat, the perfect way to conclude this walking city tour.
"One can survive everything nowadays, except death." In India dying is accepted as a part of life, and when one dies, there are a multitude of rituals and ceremonies that need to be performed. This experience takes you to the Manikarnika Ghat to take a look at the various death rituals passage that the Hindus perform. Hindus, who carry out a myriad of rituals in their lifetime, believe that humans are reborn according to their karma and hence, perform many death rituals to ensure that the soul rests in peace. You may wonder why Hindus burn or cremate the body instead of burying it. The answer lies in the belief. Here, your tour guide will introduce you to the history and mythology associated with this Ghat. You will get to understand the rites and see the inner workings of this unique place. This experience is expected to last approximately 4 hours including travel time.
Enjoy your flight from Varanasi to Delhi today. The flight duration is approximately 90 minutes.
Relax and enjoy an airport transfer in a private vehicle, with driver, and English-speaking assistant.
Shopping in Delhi can be utterly extravagant, or amazingly inexpensive. India’s capital city is among the most exciting places to buy textiles (fabric as well as ready to wear clothes), jewellery, shoes, bags, leather, carpets, handicrafts, traditional and contemporary Indian art and curios. Several leading designers have boutiques and showrooms in Delhi. The city has many different shopping areas. Each market has a distinctive ambiance, and adds its own flavor to the experience of shopping. Old Delhi’s by-lanes offer some amazing opportunities for shopping, including fabrics, jewellery, and spices. Janpath is a great place for bargain hunting, with kiosks selling cotton clothes, curios, silver jewellery and brassware. CCIE is a good ‘one-stop shop’ to explore for handicrafts from different parts of India. On Baba Kharak Singh Marg, there are several state handicraft emporiums, which provide an opportunity to see the wide range of woodcarving, painting, sculpture and other arts of India. Other shopping options include the upscale shops at Hauz Khas Village, the outdoor market at Dilli Haat, and cheap Indian and Western wear at Lajpat Nagar/Sarojini Nagar. There are also several upscale shopping malls and designer boutiques that have come up in different parts of the city. The tour also takes into account the fact that different markets are closed on different days of the week.
Spend the day on a privately guided full day tour of Old and 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. This tour takes you to the Laxminarayan Temple, a modern Hindu temple, and the famous Gate of India, which is a 42-meter high War Memorial Arch. On route you drive past the Parliament House, the secretariat buildings and the Vice Regal Palace that 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 to 110 feet. 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. Afterwards view the Humayun's tomb, which 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.
The history of Mumbai and The Taj Mahal Palace are dramatically intertwined. The hotel is Mumbai’s first harbour landmark (built 21 years before the Gateway of India) and the site of the first licensed bar in the city. For more than a century, the Taj has played an intrinsic part in the life of the city, hosting Maharajas, dignitaries and eminent personalities from across the globe. Today it is a Leading Hotel of the World and favourite destination for discerning business travellers. A treasure-trove of invaluable memorabilia, there is a story to tell behind every pillar, a landmark deal in every boardroom, and a storied celebration under every awning. Come be a part of the legend.
Fateh Garh belongs to the Heritage Renaissance School of building Heritage Renaissance - it is truly an innovative creative expression in the dynamic world of travel and tourism. Everything at Fateh Garh has been conceptualized, designed, and executed to revitalize the environmental - cultural - spiritual heritage of the past. Synchronize the orientation with a nature-loving 'green' awareness, and sophisticated interior and spaces. The Kelwa family, your hosts residing within the resort, are deeply committed to an empowered and sustainable world; alongside offering charming and warm hospitality.
Spread over six acres of lush, landscaped gardens, Taj Hari Mahal Hotel Jodhpur is placed close to the city markets. With its Marwar style architecture and Moghul-inspired domes, enameled murals, slender columns and grand interiors, Taj Hari Mahal truly exudes an exquisite ambience of a prosperous palace. Guests can experience the grandeur and luxurious comfort of a bygone era, as they immerse themselves in any of the 93 guest rooms including suites. You can dine at any of the two restaurants that serve a wide variety of Chinese, Rajasthani and continental cuisine in a warm and pleasant atmosphere. The extensive recreational facilities at the hotel include a swimming pool, fitness centre and tennis court.
The Jai Mahal Palace is set amidst 18 acres of beautifully landscaped Moghul gardens, and dates back to 1745 A.D. A masterpiece in the Indo Saracenic style of architecture, it blends spotlight-grabbing opulence with tantalizing comforts that transport guests to a world of Rajasthan magnificence. It is located downtown, close to the main shopping center and historical monuments.
Sprawled over 35 acres of luxurious gardens, and in close proximity to the Taj Mahal, ITC Mughal is a fitting tribute to the great Mughal builders of the past. The only Indian hotel to have won the prestigious Aga Khan Award for its excellent representation of Mughal architecture, the property boasts the 'Khwab Mahal' wing - Palace of Dreams. The opulent rooms and suites that resemble Miniature Palaces recreate a paradise for the contemporary Mogul- full of splendor and perfection which was the hallmark of the Mughal Dynasty.
The Taj Gateway hotel is set amidst 40 acres of lush green gardens, just 21 kms (45 mins drive) from the airport. The hotel is the veritable haven of peace and tranquility in this crowded, ancient temple city. The hotel is 6 kms away from the city centre or the commercial hub of Varanasi, also commonly known as The Chowk. The hotel is constructed in the holy Swastik shape (The Swastika is an ancient symbol which re-presents good fortune and blessing). Taj Gateway offers recently renovated & refurbished world-class contemporary rooms & suites with choice of views ranging from the lush green gardens or the swimming pool. The hotel has 130 rooms divided in four categories - Standard Rooms, Executive Rooms, Executive Suites and Deluxe Suites.
The Claridges, New Delhi is a seamless blend of old-world charm and modern day amenities. The flagship property of The Claridges Hotels and Resorts, located in Lutyen’s Delhi offers its guests close proximity to the business districts and entertainment hubs of the city. The Claridges is situated near the New Delhi Train Station, domestic airport and the international airport. Gracious Indian hospitality enwrapped in traditional values graces discerning travelers from around the world at The Claridges, New Delhi. Dine in elegance at any of the onsite restaurants, serving a variety of delicious dishes. The bar provides the ideal setting for you to relax with a refreshing cocktail. Leisure facilities include a health club, swimming pool, tennis court and shopping arcade.
India & Area
Jim Allard ,
December 09, 2014
"Sunita Singh did an outstanding job
Overall an excellent trip, well carried out.
The drivers in Delhi and overland from Agra to Udaipur made a great impression. Both were accomplished and accommodating. Access to transport in Delhi and Mumbai on our leisure days was noted and appreciated.
Guides in Delhi, Agra and Udaipur were standouts. The transfer reps all did an excellent job particularly since, on a number of occasions, they were there in the middle of the night.
All accommodations except for Mumbai were excellent. Memories of the culture of India ranks first but a close second in our minds will be the palace hotels.
The Leela Palace offers a peaceful and intimate refuge from the bustle of Delhi. Our reaction to the Nadesar was that it was the best hotel ever. Little did we realize each subsequent hotel in Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur would top that, except for the last in Mumbai.
We were there at an important moment in India's development and the various viewpoints in different cities reflects the promise and challenges facing the country.
Some thought the shock of Varanasi could be better absorbed later in the itinerary, however, the geography preempts that alternative.
Always room for improvement so we would offer the following
Biggest disappointment was the Taj Tower in Mumbai. Small rooms that could be anywhere on the planet. Better choice would be the old wing which matches up better with the overall experience.
Not all of the guides were understandable. They all seemed intelligent and knowledgable but were lacking in delivery of a dialogue. Some speak in a droning monologue that is difficult to follow and includes blinding detail that is soon forgotten.
Two glitches that were remedied: The pickup of the van in Agra had an impossible seating arrangement but that was corrected overnight to our complete satisfaction. The Lake Palace Rooms in Udaipur were initially a problem. One room was lovely but the other two were substandard, although the hotel said they were in the same class. Basically, the better room had the bathroom and closet along the full wall while the substandard alternative used only half the wall resulting in a minute closet, no shower, a single sink and no window. They initially stated that there was nothing better but within an hour the duty manager had found two adjacent rooms on another floor that had the double sinks, separate claw bath and shower overlooking the lake as well as better closet space. They graciously moved us while we were at dinner on the rooftop.
Finally there is always the gouging at shops where the guides get a commission. At a couple of stops this seemed egregious but we are all seasoned travellers and work around that annoyance.
Some of the others may wish to add to these comments but those are my thoughts.
Good memories, thanks"
India & Area
December 08, 2014
"Seamless first class organization and management of our tour.
Sunita Singh did an outstanding job setting up all our accommodations, guides and internal transport."
India & Area
November 28, 2014
"My Husband and I recently traveled to India the had the most amazing experience..
India is a remarkable country. it is the oldest civilization in the world and we were constantly marveling at the continuity of the culture over the millenniums.
We highly recommend that you book your India trip with the Kensington Tours INDIA Specialist, Senior Sales Consultant Sunita Singh who has lived in India & travelled extensively within the country and neighboring countries.
The entire trip was well planned and ran without a hitch. The guides were excellent, well educated, very knowledgable and extremely solicitous of us. A special recommendation to our driver Rakesh (spelling?) who negotiated the roads and sometimes heavy and interesting traffic with skill and good humor.
This was a private tour comprising of my husband and I. We were most impressed with the way the trip was organized and with the quality and care shown by every Kensington representative along the way.
We visited all the important destinations which exceeded our expectations. A wonderful aspect of traveling in this manner was that our guides were able to take us off the beaten path and we experienced local India in this way.
Our travels took us to Delhi, Varanasi, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Udaipur, the temples in Ranakpur and Agra. Varanasi was the highlight of the vacation. It is such a spiritual and special place and well worth the detour. The hotels were all 5 star plus and luxurious. We especially loved The Lake Palace in Udaipur and the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur. The Oberoi in Agra was also amazing.
It was a treat and a privilege to travel through Rajasthan in this way. India is such a special country to visit."
India & Area
Mike Simon ,
May 06, 2014
"Kensington planned a wonderful fascinating itinerary for us. All of the guides were so accommodating and flexible, wanting to be sure we were being cared for. India can be a difficult place in which to travel without the proper drivers and guides. Kensington's staff was all top notch."
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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