Monday, October 23. (D)* UNITED STATES – DELHI
Depart this evening abroad any airline of your choice to Delhi, India. Dinner and light breakfast served on the plane.
Tuesday, October 24. (B, L, D)* DELHI
Continue flying on your airline to Delhi. Lunch and Dinner on the plane. You arrive late night at the Delhi International Airport. We meet you outside the customs and transfer you to the hotel, where we stay three nights at the deluxe centrally located ITC Maurya hotel.
Wednesday, October 25. (B, D). DELHI
This afternoon 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 followed by Welcome Gala Dinner at the hotel.
Delhi is a sprawling metropolis of 12 million, with a stunning backdrop of ancient and modern architecture. Geographically as well as historically, it consists of seven successive cities, with the British- built New Delhi making an eighth. Monuments in marble and sandstone are dotted around the Old City, whereas the colonial-style buildings from 1911 and the modern architecture after Independence on August 15, 1947, are found next to each other in New Delhi, which has been the seat of the central government since 1931. Delhi’s brand new metro system, designed by American engineers Parsons Brinckerhoff, opened first phase in December 2002 and is expected to be completed in 2020. 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, looking at Hindus and Moslems dressed in orthodox clothes, women wearing colorful saris or businessmen dressed in suits and ties going about their daily ordeals.
Thursday, October 26. (B). 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.
Friday, October 27. (B, D). 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 at the deluxe ITC Mughal hotel. This afternoon we will visit 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. Special dinner arrangement for the evening at the hotel.
Agra, the capital of India under Moghul rulers is the third apex of the “Golden Triangle”. Jaipur and Delhi are others. 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 (meaning Ruler of the Universe) over the tomb of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal who died in 1631 and later his tomb. 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.
Saturday, October 28. (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.
Sunday, October 29. (B, L). AGRA – JAIPUR
This morning, we drive west to stop first at the former capital of the great Mughal emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri, now a ghost city. We visit the Royal Palace, Jodha Bai’s Palace and Birbal’s Mansion. Lunch enroute. Late afternoon we will arrive in the beautiful pink city to stay at the super – deluxe Raj Palace hotel, formally a residence of the Maharaja’s family members.
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”.
Monday, October 30. (B). JAIPUR
Morning sightseeing of this flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture begins with driving by Jaipur’s landmark , Hawa Mahal or “Palace of Winds” built in 1799 to enable women of the court to watch street processions, while remaining unseen behind finely screened windows. We visit part of the City Palace Museums, Mubarak Mahal and the Hall of the Private Audience. We also visit the unique Jantar Mantar observatory to see a total of 18 instruments erected by Maharaja Jai Singh, many of them his own inventions, built between 1728 and 1734. This afternoon is free for shopping, spa or swim. Overnight at the hotel.
Tuesday, October 31 . (B, D). JAIPUR
Today we drive northeast to stop first in Amber, the ancient Capital of Maharajas of Jaipur, where we begin the sightseeing of the Amber Fort, swaying up to the top of the hill on the back of an elephant. 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 perforation in the center of the wall- an early and very efficient system of air -conditioning. Afternoon will be free for leisure.
Wednesday, November 1. (B, D). JAIPUR - PUSHKAR
Today we drive southwest to stop first in Ajmer to see Daulat Bagh and Anna Sagar. This afternoon arrival in Pushkar, where we stay two nights at the luxury tents. Dinner in the restaurant on the property.
Pushkar, came into existence, as per the Hindu legend, when Lord Bhrama, the Creator dropped his lotus flower to earth from his hand to kill a demon. At the three spots where the petals landed, water magically appeared in the midst of the desert to form three blue lakes and it was on the banks of the largest of these that Lord Bhrama convened a gathering of some 900,000 celestial beings – the entire Hindu pantheon. Today, there are more than 500 temples built during the past two millenniums, around the lake during the past three millenniums.
Thursday, November 2. (B, L, D). PUSHKAR
Morning sightseeing of this very ancient city begins with the visit of some of the 52 Ghats which are waterside platforms and temples, each built by Rajasthani Maharajas, who employed their own priests to perform rituals during their stays. Witness the largest camel market in the world during the Pushkar Fair, where women dressed in mirrored multi –colored skirts and vivid shawls layout embroidered cloth, jewelry, and ornaments besides the herds of camels, cattle, sheep and goats sold by thousands of traders who gather in the sand dunes west of town, for one week in the month of November. Overnight in Pushkar.
Friday, November 3. (B, L). PUSHKAR – UDAIPUR
This morning we drive south to stop first at 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 1444 individually carved pillars. Inside, there are 72 elaborately carved shrines and the main Jain deity, the four – faced Adinath which measures 72 inches tall. Lunch enroute. Late afternoon you will arrive in the lake city, where we stay two nights. 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.
Saturday, November 4. (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. Afternoon at leisure.
Sunday, November 5. (B). UDAIPUR – DELHI - U.S.A.
Morning at leisure. 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.