14 nights from £2,295 per person
You'll love this tour if you like:
- Rich, different cultures
- Magnificent architecture - the palaces and forts of Rajasthan are breath-taking
- Colourful, exotic temples
- Wonders of the world - the Taj Mahal is top of the list
- Adventure - experience a desert camp under canvas
Rajasthan, meaning 'the land of kings' encompasses much of the Great Indian Desert, making for a surreal, dramatic and starkly beautiful region to explore. A tapestry of ancient former kingdoms, the region is dotted with magnificent old palaces, extravagant temples and majestic hilltops forts, symbols of a rich and fascinating history just waiting to be discovered. It is a place of contrast, the people injecting colour into a landscape of bare brown hills, with their bright exotic dress, bold temples and painted houses. Taking in India's golden triangle of Delhi, Agra and the Taj Mahal and Jaipur, this tour also offers you a taste of the history, colour and culture of Rajasthan, from the bustling regional cities such as Jaipur and Udaipur to the remote dwellings of desert tribes.
Tour highlights will be a camel safari and stay at a traditional desert camp and the city of Agra, home to the Taj Mahal - a truly breathtaking sight and wonder of the world. Accommodation is in a range of superior four-star, five-star and heritage hotels on a bed and breakfast basis, with two nights at the Osian desert camp with all meals included. This tour promises to be a truly once in a lifetime experience.
Day by day itinerary
Day 1: Depart Heathrow for overnight flight toDelhi.
Day 2: On arrival transfer to the hotel for overnight stay on bed and breakfast basis. Rest of the day free at leisure.
Day 3: Morning tour of Old Delhi, the seventeenth-century fortified city founded by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, the symbolic heart of the sprawling metropolis that is Delhi today. A bustling, fascinating area, sights include: the imposing, sandstone Red Fort, Delhi’s largest monument, the wonderful red-and-white marble-domed Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque, and the Raj Ghat, riverfront where locals bathe and worship, and where Mahatma Ghandi was cremated in 1948. In the afternoon you will tour New Delhi to see India Gate and India’s Government buildings, which truly capture the spirit of the British Raj, as you head to Qutb Minar, the ruins of a 12th century city, dominated by the Victory Tower; and Humayun’s Tomb, a red brick Mughal mausoleum, said to be a forerunner of the Taj Mahal.
Day 4: Early morning departure for Mandawa by coach (approx 10 hours). On arrival proceed to the hotel and check in. Early evening tour of the city which is home to many ‘havelis’ – old mansions with lavishly decorated walls.
Day 5: Leave by road for Bikaner (approx 5 hours). Afternoon sightseeing of Bikaner, whose greatest asset is the walled and moated Junagarh Fort, where its magnificent interior has been continually embellised since its completion in 1593.
Day 6: Proceed by road to Osian (approx 6 hours) in time for lunch (included) to start your desert camp adventure! A brief afternoon camel safari to visit local villages. In the evening, gathered round the camp fire, there will be folk entertainment followed by an open-air barbecue dinner.
Day 7: Morning camel safari to the oasis village of Khetasar (approx 2.5 hours), seeing a variety of birds and desert wildlife en route. The afternoon is free in the camp to relax or visit local temples. Lunch and dinner at the camp.
Day 8: Leave Osian by road for Jodhpur (approx 1.5 hours) to visit the Meherangarh Fort- .soaring 393 feet above the flat surrounding plain, Jaswant Thada, the blinding white marble cenotaph of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II and Clock Towers which stands in the city centre. Afternoon, continue to Udaipur with brief en route visit to Ranakpur Temples (approx 6.5 hours). On arrival Udaipur check in to hotel for 2-night stay.
Day 9: Morning city tour of Udaipur, with afternoon boat trip on Lake Pichola. This is India at its most magical and romantic, a city full of intricate palaces and havelis, spreading out from Lake Pichola with a backdrop of tall, green hills. Busy bathing ghats line the lake shore, providing the perfect place to witness the daily lives of the local people. The magnificent buildings that cluster on the lake’s eastern shore, such as the City Palace buildings, are best seen on a boat trip, which is also the ideal way to see the two island palaces.
Day 10: Travel to Bijaynagar (approx 5 hours), check in at the hotel and spend the rest of the day at your leisure.
Day 11: Early morning transfer to Jaipur (approx 8 hours), with a visit en route to Pushkar. Pushkar is one of India’s oldest cities and one of the five sacred Hindu dhams (pilgrimage sites). On the shores of Pushkar Lake, it is full of temples, including the famous and rare Brahma Temple. On arrival check in to hotel for 2 night stay.
Day 12: This morning you will visit the dramatic Amber Fort, a Rajput stronghold just outside Jaipur. Afternoon city tour of Jaipur itself, taking in highlights such as the City Palace and Observatory, with a photostop at the Hawa Mahal. At the heart of Jaipur stands the original walled city, known as the Pink City, where the wide streets and plazas are full of colourful bazaars – it is here you will visit the magnificent City Palace, Jantar Mantar observatory, which houses fascinating 18th century astronomical devices and a photo stop at the wonderful Hawa Mahal, ‘Palace of the Winds’.
Day 13: Leave Jaipur for Agra (approx 6 hours), with a visit on the way to World Heritage Site, Fatehpur Sikri. This abandoned city was the capital of the great Mughalemperor, Akbar, which sits, perfectly preserved by the dry desert winds, on a rocky ridge and is a fine fusion of Muslim and Hindu traditional architecture. On arrival Agra check in to your hotel for overnight stay.
Day 14: Morning city tour of Agra, home to one of the wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal, a truly breathtaking monument to love, exuding a magical atmosphere as it shifts from white to yellow to cream with the changes of the daylight. The red sandstone of Agra Fort dominates a bend in the Yamuna River, a majestic citadel, the seat of the Mughal Empire, built between 1565 and 1573 in the shape of a half-moon. You will also visit Itmad-Ud-Daulah’s tomb, sometimes referred to as the ‘baby Taj’. Late afternoon, depart Agra for Delhi, (approx 4 hours) staying overnight in the suburb of Gurgaon.
Day 15: Transfer to Delhi International Airport for your flight back to London Heathrow.
NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager’s discretion. Some of the distances involved on this tour are considerable and will involve several early starts and long days, so please bear this in mind when considering this tour.
- Return scheduled flights from Heathrow to Delhi including all payable taxes
- 11 nights' accommodation on bed and breakfast basis at Heritage, 4 or 5 star hotels, based on shared occupancy of a twin room
- 2 nights' full board accommodation at the Osian desert camp
- Camal safari as detailed in the itinerary
- Transfer and full touring itinerary as detailed
- English speaking tour manager/guide throughout your stay in India
- Single room supplement
- Holiday insurance
- Meals other than those stated
- Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc
- Porterage and gratuities