(Delhi, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Agra)
Follow in the wake of the great poet, saint, and devotee of Krishna, Mirabai, with this soulful journey through India. A multi-dimensional world of sweet contrasts, spiritual encounters, and vibrant culture, behold India’s exotic highlights led by author and Indophile, Mariellen Ward. Departs October 28th 2014.
Mariellen has spent over 17 months traveling solo across the breadth of the subcontinent and is the perfect leader for your women-only journey as you make your way through Delhi, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur, and Agra. Begin your expedition on the tree-lined avenues of Delhi, visiting the Gate of India, Red Fort, Humayun’s tomb, the Laxminarayan Temple, and more. Behold Fateh Prakash Palace, home to sparkling crystals and jewel studded carpets beyond compare. Explore Eklingji’s ancient temples carved from sandstone and marble, then visit the home of a traditional artist and dive head first into the colorful world of India’s textiles. Discover why Jodhpur is called the “Blue City,” marvel at the intricate carvings of Mehrangarh Fort, and spend an afternoon learning to drape beautifully embroidered saris. Treat your taste buds to a delicious Rajasthani dinner as you enjoy a whirlwind of bright colors and traditional dancing. Experience the majesty of the Amber Fort from the back of an elephant, and finally, be amazed by the stunning architectural beauty of the Taj Mahal and watch the colors of sunrise splash against the vast white-marble walls.
With nights spent at luxurious 4.5 and 5* hotels, once-in-a-lifetime cultural encounters, world-class guides, mouth-watering cuisine, internal flights, 24/7 support and much more, there is no finer way to experience the magic of India.
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.
Welcome Dinner at Lodhi Garden Restaurant in Delhi
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.
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.
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.
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.
This tour will be by Jeeps to the Bishnoi community where you will visit traditional villages. You will have an opportunity to interact with the villagers - men in their traditional attire, and women clad with ancestral jewelry. Enroute watch and photograph wildlife black buck, chinkaras, and peacocks freely moving in abundance protected by the 'Bishnois' - the protectors of wildlife and trees.
Learning to drape saris - Bandhani Art of Jodhpur.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to Jaipur.
Rajasthani dinner (Thali) with folk dance in Jaipur.
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).
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.
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.
This evening you will learn the art of henna in Agra.
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. (205 Kms/5 hrs)
One of New Delhi’s true five-star hotels, the Shangri-La's Eros Hotel, New Delhi offers travellers from around the world a relaxing, sedate place to rest, recharge, and conduct their affairs in total privacy. Guests find sanctuary in the 320 guest rooms and suites, each appointed with tasteful furnishings in a contemporary style inspired by India’s rich history and culture.
Surrounded by 43 acres of lush greenery, The Oberoi Trident Udaipur is located on the banks of the picturesque Pichola Lake and is only a short drive from the city center. The hotel provides a perfect base to explore the fabled city of Udaipur, acclaimed worldwide for its beautiful lakes, medieval palaces and colorful bazaars. All rooms are furnished in shades of indigo blue and gold. The architecture reflects the ancient heritage of Udaipur city. The restaurant and bar at the Trident, Udaipur have been designed keeping in mind the international traveler as well as the dramatic elegance, typical of Udaipur. The heated swimming pool offers a perfect ambience for guests to relax and unwind. The bonus is a view of the picturesque Aravali range.
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.
Experience the finest Jaipur has to offer at the ITC Rajputana Palace Hotel. Just 15 kilometers from the airport and half a kilometer from the city center, this regal-influenced design and gardens echo the city’s history. Long corridors, secluded courtyards and simplified latticework offer Rajasthani architecture in a modern uncluttered and contemporary idiom. Retreat to one of the guest rooms and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee. Bring a group together for dinner at one of the restaurants that offer tastes from around the globe. Take a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool or challenge a fellow traveler to a game of tennis.
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 Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi has become preferred choice for business travelers with its proximity with Gurgaon - the biggest business district of Delhi. It is located only 10 minutes away from the domestic and international airports. Favored by business travelers for attributes of comfort, technology, design, service and offering 24 hours complimentary wi-fi internet with each reservation. The hotel offers large comfortable rooms of more than 400 sq. ft. in size and with high-speed internet access, 24-hour business centre, multilingual staff and a host of 24-hour facilities. Enjoy delectable Indian, Italian and Chinese cuisine at the various restaurants. You can also relax at the cafe with snacks and beverages as well as sip on various cocktails at the cosy bar. During leisure, you can work out in the state-of-the-art gymnasium, have a refreshing dip in the swimming pool or pamper yourself at the sauna.
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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