Arrive in Delhi today, where accommodation is held from 12 noon.
Full day tour of Old and New Delhi, exploring the medieval and pre-modern faces of India’s historic capital: epitomised by the Jami Masjid and Chandni Chowk, Humayun’s Tomb and the legacy of Lutyens and Baker.
In the morning, fly to Varanasi. Early in the evening, visit the ghats along the Ganges to view the evening prayer ceremonies and stroll through the traditional markets.
The City of Shiva is Hinduism’s holiest and among the world’s most ancient. The dawn boat trip to view the morning prayer provides an unforgettable spectacle of devotion. At Banaras Hindu University, a deeply venerated centre of learning, visit the Bharat Kala Bhawan (closed Sundays/university holidays), which exhibits a precious collection of ancient sculptures and medieval paintings. Adjacent to Varanasi is quite another world – Sarnath – where the Buddha preached his first sermon in 528 BC after attaining Enlightenment.
In the late morning, fly to Agra (flight operates only on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday)
A sunrise or daytime visit to the Taj Mahal. A tribute from an emperor to his departed wife, the result and the experience are ethereal. Across the river is the little known Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah. Built early 17th century in immaculate and exquisite proportions, its outstanding features are latticed marble screens, and pietra dura inlay, the first instance of the use of this technique at any Indian monument. Nearby is Mehtab Bagh, a recently excavated Mughal garden, perfect for viewing around sunset.
Note: Taj Mahal is closed Fridays.
In the morning, journey west to Fatehpur Sikri (37 km/1 hour), site of another important Mughal capital. An elegant red sandstone edifice of gigantic proportions, Fatehpur Sikri was a complete city built in the mid-16th century by the great emperor Akbar to celebrate the birth of a son, and deserted barely two decades later due to apparent water shortages. After lunch at The Bagh, Bharatpur, continue to Jaipur (203 kms/ 4 hrs).
In the morning, drive out north to Amber, the old capital that preceded Jaipur. Built from the 10th century onwards by a succession of dynasties, Amber came into full flower in the medieval era. Leaving Amber, visit the well-restored Anokhi Haveli, home to the Museum of Hand Printing, a remarkable display of a private collection of hand crafted textiles. [Anokhi Haveli is closed on Mondays]. The afternoon is at leisure, with a vehicle at your disposal. End the day with a walk through the pulsating old city markets, particularly Johari Bazaar.
Drive south west to the town of Pushkar (139 km/2.5 hours), one of the country’s most sacred spots. It is the site of the only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma, The God of Creation and a lake that is a magnet for innumerable devotees who bathe in its sacred waters. After a visit to these sites continue driving west to Jodhpur (200 km/3.5 hours), to arrive there late afternoon.
A morning tour of this magnificent desert gateway takes in the masterfully restored Mehrangarh Fort – “built by giants”, wrote Kipling – and the serpentine lanes and bazaars of the old quarter.
Depart Jodhpur in the morning, driving south to Ranakpur (205 km/3.5 hours), site of the storied 15th century Adinatha Jain temple, utterly remarkable in that its 1,444 intricately carved pillars are all different from one another. After lunch, continue to Udaipur (96 km/2.5 hours).
A full day tour of Udaipur’s lakeside palaces and old city bazaars (closed Sundays/holidays), and a motorboat cruise in the late afternoon.
depart today for your onward destination
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The activities, sights and experiences are original and offer you the spirit of the land
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