Friday, December 22. (D)*. DEPART FOR DELHI
Depart this evening on the airline of your choice to Delhi, India. Dinner and light breakfast served on the plane.
Saturday, December 23. (B,L,D)*. DELHI
Continue flying to Delhi. Lunch and Dinner served on the plane. You arrive late night at New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport. We meet you outside the customs and transfer you to your hotel, where you stay three nights.
Sunday, December 24. (B,D). DELHI
This morning, we visit Humayun’s Tomb with its lovely gardens. The RAJ GHAT, site of the cremation of three of India’s most revered leaders, Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, Indira Gandhi (no relation to the saintly man) in 1984 and her son Rajiv in 1991, all three assassinated by fanatics. We will drive around the state Government buildings designed by Sir Lutyens, visiting Rajpath, the Kings Road leading up from the India Gate the war memorial arch, up to the imposing presidential palace – the Rashtrapati Bhawan built on Russia hill and flanked by the secretariat buildings. In the afternoon we will drive around Old Delhi, the capital of kingdoms and empires. This evening we will have our Christmas Eve Gala Welcome dinner at a gourmet restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
DELHI: Delhi is a sprawling metropolis of 12 million, with a stunning backdrop of both ancient and modern architecture. Geographically, as well as historically, it consists of seven successive cities, with the British built New Delhi making the eighth. Monuments in marble and sandstone are dotted around the Old City. Whereas the colonial-style buildings from 1911, and the modern architecture from after Independence in 1947, are found next to each other in New Delhi. Delhi’s new metro system, designed by American engineers Parsons Brinckerhoff, opened first phase in December 2002. In the meantime, one has to weave a path through bicycles, auto-rickshaws, mopeds, cars, vans, buses, trucks, cows, bullock carts and hand-pulled trolleys to flow with the traffic.
Monday, December 25. (B). DELHI
Today late morning around 10:30 am, we will begin our sightseeing of the Old City to see the Qutub Minar built in 1210, drive by India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhawan (President’s House), and other government official buildings built with wide boulevards, epitomizing the spirit of the British Raj. Briefing and cocktails at the hotel. Overnight at the ITC Maurya.
Tuesday, December 26. (B). DELHI – AGRA
Today we drive southeast witnessing the mass of people moving about or selling goods along the highways, dressed in the most colorful clothes imaginable. We arrive in Agra where we stay two nights. This afternoon we will visit the Agra Fort built by the great Moghul emperor Akbar and augmented by successive emperors until the last one Aurangzeb, who imprisoned his old father Shah Jahan here. From there you can catch a fabulous view of the TAJ MAHAL across River Yamuna, lit up by the setting sun. Overnight at hotel ITC Mughal.
AGRA: Agra, the capital of India under the Moghul rulers is the third apex of the “Golden Triangle”. Jaipur and Delhi are the other two. It fully merits its status, due to the magnificent Taj Mahal, which was best described by the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore as a “tear on the face of eternity”. It is above all, a mausoleum built by the Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan (literal translation - Ruler of the Universe) over the tomb of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal who died in 1631. Only he, of all his predecessors, had experience since the age of sixteen in designing monuments, and the recent discovery of an enigmatic diagram inscribed with numerous Islamic scriptures on the façade, leads scholars to believe that his tomb was intended as a reproduction of God’s throne in Heaven.
Wednesday, December 27. (B). AGRA
This morning we will visit the most alluring monument, The Taj Mahal built of white marble, with inlaid precious stones on its facades shinning like multi – colored garlands around one of mankind’s greatest creations. This afternoon we will visit the Itmad-ud-Daula described as “jewel box” or sometimes called the “Baby Taj”, built between 1622 and 1628. This mausoleum was commissioned by Shah Jahan’s mother Nur Jahan. Overnight at the hotel.
Thursday, December 28. (B, L). AGRA – FATEHPUR SIKRI – JAIPUR
This morning we drive west to stop first at the former capital of the great Moghul emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri now a ghost city. We visit the Royal Palace, Jodha Bai’s Palace and Birbal’s Mansion. Lunch enroute. We continue our journey west to arrive in Jaipur where we stay three nights.
Jaipur is one of most attractive and enchanting cities of India. It is the capital of the state of Rajasthan. It was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727. He designed Jantar Mantar, the largest stone built observatory in the world. In 1876 the city was spruced up for the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince of Wales. Entire city was painted in terracotta pink color wash, and since it is known as “Pink City”.
Friday, December 29. (B,L). JAIPUR
Today we drive northeast to visit Amber, the ancient Capital of Maharajas of Jaipur, where we begin the sightseeing of the Amber Fort. We visit the Palace Complex, with its lofty Hall of Public Audience, the dazzling Seesh Mahal – private chamber of former Kings and queens, and Sukh Mahal, where the marble rooms were cooled by water cascading through fine perforations in the center of the wall. An early and very efficient system of air -conditioning. We have organized special elephant safari in foot-hills of Amer fort in a private lodge followed by lunch. The Afternoon will be free for leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
Saturday, December 30. (B). JAIPUR
Today we drive northeast to visit Amber, the ancient Capital of Maharajas of Jaipur, where we begin the sightseeing of the Amber Fort. We visit the Palace Complex, with its lofty Hall of Public Audience, the dazzling Seesh Mahal – private chamber of former Kings and queens, and Sukh Mahal, where the marble rooms were cooled by water cascading through fine perforations in the center of the wall- an early and very efficient system of air -conditioning. We have organized special elephant safari in foot-hills of Amer fort in a private lodge followed by lunch. In Afternoon will be free for leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
Sunday, December 31. (B,D). JAIPUR - UDAIPUR
This morning we will board flight to go to Udaipur. In afternoon, we will arrive in Udaipur where we will stay two nights. Afternoon will be free to relax and enjoy the beautiful hotel. Tonight, we will have our New Year’s Eve dinner. Overnight at the hotel.
UDAIPUR: Udaipur, built around Lake Pichola is set majestically at the base of the rolling hills of the Aravali Range. Its skyline of whitewashed elaborately decorated mansions and tapering temples, covered with domes, and ornately carved balconies of the famous City Palace makes it the most romantic city in Rajasthan.
Monday, January 1. (B). UDAIPUR
Morning sightseeing begins with a visit to the City Palace founded in 1559, where the present Maharana still lives. We will see the massive courtyard Toran Pole, where elephants once lined up for inspection before battle, brilliant miniature paintings on marble and granite walls, and three large peacocks composed of 5000 pieces of glass, glittering in green, gold and blue. We will also visit the Sahelion Ki Badi. This evening we will go for boat ride. Overnight at the hotel
Tuesday, January 2. (B,L). UDAIPUR – RANAKPUR - JODHPUR
Today, we drive north to stop first in RANAKPUR to visit the marvelous Jain Temples, the largest complex of its kind in India. We will see the main temple built in 1439 according to a strict system of measurements that had the number 72 at its core. The entire temple sits on a pedestal measuring 72 by 72 yards and is held up by 1440 (a divisor of 72) individually carved pillars. Inside, there are 72 elaborately carved shrines and the main Jain deity, the four–faced Adinath which measures 72 inches tall. After lunch, we continue our drive to arrive in Jodhpur where, we stay two nights. Overnight at the hotel.
Jodhpur, known as the “Blue City” due to the color wash of its old houses, is spread across the eastern fringe of the Thar Desert. It is overlooked by the mighty Mehrangarh Fort, whose ramparts rise from a steep sandstone outcrop. Described by Rudyard Kipling, as the work of angels and giants, it is a photographer’s dream at sunset.
Wednesday, January 3. (B). JODHPUR
Morning sightseeing of the Mehrangarh Fort begins with an elevator ride up to the Palace level after going through first of seven gates which made the fort virtually impregnable, even to charging enemy on elephants. We will see the superb Mehrangarh Museum with solid silver “howdahs”- elephant seats, and palanquins on display. Nearby is the Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), a dancing hall for the entertainment of the maharajas and his guests. The views of the city from the ramparts are simply breath taking. This afternoon is free. This evening we will have our Gala farewell dinner. Overnight at the hotel.
Thursday, January 4. JODHPUR – DELHI – BACK HOME
Morning visit to Jaswant Thada, it is a cenotaph built by Maharaja Sardar Singh in 1899 in memory of his father. It serves as the burial ground for the rulers of Marwar. The mausoleum is built out of intricately carved sheets of marble. These sheets are extremely thin and polished so that they emit a warm glow when illuminated by the sun. This afternoon, we take a domestic airline flight to Delhi. We transfer you to the Delhi International Airport for the flight on airline of your choice back to U.S.A., arriving home the next day.