Cultural Adventure: Varanasi & Rajasthan
Udaipur, formerly the capital of the Mewar Kingdom, is a beautiful city, set amidst the Aravalli Hills of Rajasthan, India. Set around a series of artificial lakes, it is known for its royal residences. City Palace, overlooks Lake Pichola. In the middle of the lake, on an artificial island, is the white-marble Lake Palace (now a hotel). Another island contains the domed Jagmandir Palace. In the centre of Udaipur’s sprawling old city, is towering Jagdish Temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu.
Beginning in Mumbai, take a private tour of the rock-cut Elephanta Caves, which dates back to 550 A.D. Then fly east to Varanasi (Benares), one of the oldest cities in the world and, the spiritual centre of the Hindu world. Nearby, is Sarnath, where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon. Tour Khajuraho Temples and Taj Mahal. Then visit the cities of Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur, the cultural heart of Rajasthan. Tour ends in Delhi.
Cultural Adventure: Varanasi & Rajasthan It’s an ideal tour for first-time travellers to India who want a broad range of fascinating experiences in some of the country’s most intriguing places.
Delhi, Varanasi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur
(14 Days – Travel Any Day)
Day 1 – Arrive
Mumbai Meet and greet on your arrival in Mumbai (Bombay). After a warm welcome, our representative will escort you to your hotel for 2 nights stay. The rest of your day will be scheduled depending on your arrival time.
Trident Nariman Point (Nil)
Day 2 – Tour
Mumbai This morning enjoy an excursion tour to the rock cut Elephanta Caves. A short ferry ride takes you across the harbour to the island of Elephanta for a visit to the Great Cave Temple, which dates back to 550 A.D. Elephanta’s most striking figure represents the three aspects of Shiva – the creator, preserver and destroyer.
Later in the afternoon, enjoy a city tour of Mumbai visiting the Prince of Wales Museum, Gateway of India, Gandhi museum and the bustling Dhobi Ghats, where you will see hundreds of men and their families engaged in the family business of washing clothes.
Trident Nariman Point (B)
Day 3 – Transfer & Tour
Varanasi Take the morning flight to Varanasi (Benares), one of the oldest cities in the world and, as the spiritual centre of the Hindu world, a major Indian pilgrimage site. Take a private tour of the old Varanasi town and its ancient shrines and temples and later an excursion to Sarnath, where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon and was school of learning from the 6th century B.C to 12th century A.D. Don’t miss the grand ‘Aarti’ ceremony, conducted at sunset by the priests who sway in seemingly choreographed movements, worshiping the river goddess with incense, flowers and earthen lamps.
Ramada Hotel (B)
Day 4 – Transfer & Tour
Khajuraho The early morning boat excursion on the holy river Ganges is something you will either love or hate. But if you want to understand Hindu culture then this trip might help. What you will see is hundreds of Hindus congregating on the stone steps along the banks of the holy Ganges River to perform ritual ablutions – bathing and worshipping in the Ganges, the most extraordinary experience of your visit to India.
Fly to Khajuraho (Mon, Wed & Fri only), a UNESCO world heritage site and one of India’s most renowned temple complexes. You will stay in an exclusive ‘Small Luxury Hotel’. Later in the day, you have options to see Khajuraho dance or a Sound and Light Show.
Radisson Hotel (B)
Day 5 – Transfer & Tour
Agra With your private guide, tour the 10th century stone temples of Khajuraho. Built over a span of 200 years, they represent a paean to life, to love, to joy; perfect in execution and sublime in expression. Life, in every form and mood, has been captured in stone, including the acts of love inspired from the ancient art of Kama Sutra. A Unesco heritage site and considered to be one of the "seven wonders" of India. Later experience a train ride from Jhansi to Agra.
Jaypee Palace Hotel (B)
Day 6 – Tour
Agra You will be received by our representative at the Agra railway stations and escorted to your hotel. After breakfast take a spellbinding tour of Agra. With your private guide, you will explore the Agra Fort, built in red sandstone with its magnificent palaces, halls and beautiful gardens. This is where Emperor Shahjahan was kept under house arrest by his third son Aurangzeb during the last years of his life. His only comfort was to be able to view the Taj Mahal, the memorial he built for his wife.
Not far is the Taj Mahal, a poem in white marble and a fine example of the fusion of many architectural styles. Built in 1652 by Emperor Shahjahan, it took almost 22 years and 20,000 skilled artisans who inlaid the white marble edifice with precious and semi precious stones. Even today, it is said to be a poem in white marble and a fine example of the fusion of many architectural styles.
Jaypee Palace Hotel (B)
Day 7 – Transfer & Tour
Jaipur After breakfast drive to Jaipur. En route visit deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri. India’s “Pompeii” once a glittering imperial capital of Akbar the Great, it was later mysteriously abandoned. Continue to Jaipur, Rajasthan’s great “Pink City,” one of the most well planned cities of India. Spend the day shopping. Jaipur is famous for its precious and semi-precious stoned jewels, enamelled ornaments, beautiful carpets and other artefacts and crafts.
Jai Mahal Palace Hotel (B)
Day 8 – Tour
Jaipur With your private guide see the rich architectural legacy of Jaipur’s merchants and maharajas (Hindu princes) – forts, palaces, temples and havelis (courtyard mansions). Visit the City Palace and Jantar Mantar, the largest astronomical observatory built in stone. Also drive past Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), a remarkable five storied building along the main street with delicate honey-combed sandstone windows.
Ride an elephant to Amber Fort. Marvel at the luminous saris of indigenous tribal women and the bright turbans of Rajasthani men. Explore medieval backstreets and browse bazaars selling textiles, leatherwork, woodblock prints, perfume, jewellery and Jaipur’s traditional blue pottery.
Optional: Early morning hot air balloon flight over the pink city of Jaipur, giving you the opportunity to float above forts and palaces and village settlements beneath.
Jai Mahal Palace Hotel (B)
Day 09 – Transfer & Tour
Jodhpur After breakfast, drive to Jodhpur, a city ringed by high stone walls with seven gates and several bastions. This second largest city of Rajasthan was founded by Rao Jodha in 1459 A.D. Upon arrival, check in at your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Ajit Bhawan (B)
Day 10 – Transfer & Tour
Udaipur After breakfast visit the rock-solid Mehrangarh Fort, and the grand palaces within the fort, which are impressive examples of architectural excellence. Near the fort complex stand a group of royal cenotaphs made of white marble. While in Jodhpur, shop for the exquisite handcrafts such as embroidered shoes, metal curios, and silverware, paintings and hand printed fabrics.
Later embark on a drive we drive to the romantic city of Udaipur, the capital of Mewar. A romantic and serene city, Udaipur nestles in the scenic valley of Aravali hills, surrounded by three lakes. Enroute visit the famous Jain Temples at Ranakpur. Built in the 15th century, the Ranakpur temples are one of the largest Jain temples in India and known for their architecture and exquisite sculptures.
Trident Hotel (B)
Day 11 – Tour
Udaipur Udaipur, India's most romantic city, among the grand arches and courtyard gardens of the beautiful Oberoi Udaivilas. Cruise Lake Pichola and walk through picturesque backstreets, shop for local folk art, tour the City Palace, Jagdish Temple, the Saheliyon Ki Bari Garden, and browse the local bazaars.
Trident Hotel (B)
Day 12 – Transfer & Tour
Delhi This afternoon you will be transferred to the airport to board your flight to Delhi or Mumbai.
Le Meridien (B)
Day 13 – Tour
Delhi The capital city of India is a bustling metropolis that successfully combines the ancient with the modern; Old Delhi, once the seat of the Moghul Emperors and New Delhi, established by the British in the early 20th century.
Your private tour begins with a visit to Old Delhi that still reminisces the past and retains its ancient architecture. Places of note in Old Delhi include the 17th century Red Fort that served as the capital of the Moghuls, and its Chandni Chowk market, which is still the busiest in Old Delhi. Also visit Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in Delhi and the final resting place of Mughal Emperor Humayun.
In the afternoon discover New Delhi, which has the imprint of the British architect Edwin Lutyens. Most notable are his India Gate (World War I memorial), the Parliament and the President’s House. The present-day New Delhi, however, has an urban landscape with modern shopping arcades, high-rise buildings with rooftop bars and some of the best Indian and international cuisine restaurants. Wherever you go, you will experience a mix of architectures, cultures and religions.
Le Meridien (B)
Day 14 – Depart
Delhi This afternoon, you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight back home.
Make this your holiday
Getting There All major international airlines fly to India’s main airports: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Airports tend to be on the outskirts of cities. Pre-paid taxi services and auto-rickshaws are stationed outside the terminus to get you into the city.
When to go The best time to travel to India is between September and March. Summer starts in April and by June, it becomes very hot. By July there is the south-west monsoon, which brings heavy rains to the west coast. September is a generally a clear month though later, between October and December there may be a reverse pattern called the north-east monsoon that appears in the Bay of Bengal, bringing rains to the east coast. The best time for trekking in the Indian Himalaya is between April and November but it varies from region to region and the altitude you are planning to reach.