Taste of India
10 Days from £1375
Ten days from £1375pp
This itinerary is an ideal introduction to the ‘golden triangle’ of India: Delhi, Jaipur and Agra with their Moghul highlights including the incomparable Taj Mahal. You will also go off the beaten track and stay in the castle of a Maharaja as well as a number of havelis, typical Rajasthan mansions. The tour also includes a visit to the abandoned royal city of Fatehpur Sikri and a wildlife safari in Ranthambore National Park, where if you are lucky you might even see a tiger.
India’s capital Delhi is both modern and ancient at the same time. A bustling metropolis which successfully blends contemporary architecture with impressive monuments that are reminders of Delhi’s important historical and religious legacy. An international gateway to Rajasthan and beyond the first impressions for any visitor travelling in from the airport are of a specious, garden city with a hustle and bustle of life happening before your eyes.
Day 1 – Delhi
On arrival at New Delhi’s international airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Day 2 – Delhi
After breakfast embark on a fully guided tour of Delhi. First Old Delhi and a visit Jama Masjid the largest mosque in India whose courtyard can accommodate up to 25,000 worshippers. Take a cycle rickshaw ride around the narrow and busy back streets of the Chandni Chowk market. Noisy, chaotic and uniquely Indian, it is famous for it’s jewellers, colourful sari shops and sweet confectioners. You then continue with your tour to Imperial Delhi including the Rashtrapati Bhavan and several other colonial government buildings designed by Edwin Lutyen’s followed by a photo stop at the imposing India Gate.
A highlight of the tour is a visit the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara – one of the most important Sikh temples in Delhi. The temple’s ‘Langar’ – a community kitchen serving free food to over 10,000 people every day, irrespective of caste, sex or religion. If you wish to you can lunch here and we are sure the experience of savouring delicious food at a holy place, with Kirtan (devotional music) in the background, is certainly a memory that you will cherish forever.
After lunch proceed for a sightseeing tour of New Delhi. You will visit the Mughal emperor Humayun’s tomb and the Qutub Minar, the tallest brick minaret in the world.
Founded in the 18th Century the city (as it once was) of Mandawa found its fortune as a trading post for camel caravans passing through on their way to or from China and the Middle East. Now famous for it’s impressive havellis, the grand houses with painted walls, built by wealthy merchants. The merchants have now moved away leaving the havellis to stand still over time in this desert region and now the town is more open art gallery and museum than a bustling trading post.
Day 3 – Delhi > Mandawa
After breakfast you will be driven to the Rajasthan town of Mandawa. After you checking in to a castle that has been converted into a heritage hotel you will take a traditional camel cart for a guided tour of the surrounding rural farms and villages.
Day 4 – Mandawa > Jaipur
After breakfast you will be guided on a walking tour through the open air art gallery of Mandawa where you can enjoy the beautifully detailed wall paintings of Mandawa’s finest havellis including the magnificent Mandawa Haveli.
You are then driven to Jaipur and in the evening will experience traditional Rajasthani folk dancing and puppet show over dinner at a local venue.
Jaipur which means the city of victory, presides as capital over the fascinating desert state of Rajasthan and its people. Surrounded by rugged hills Jaipur has an outstanding collection of formidable forts, beautiful palaces, mansions and gardens dotted throughout the city and it’s surrounds. The palaces and forts of yesteryear that were witness to royal processions and splendour are now living monuments, accepted quite naturally into the lifestyles of the people of the pink city. Except for the busy traffic of bicycles, cars rickshaws and buses, little seems to have changed.
Day 5 – Jaipur
After breakfast, you will be driven by jeep to the ancient capital of Amber to see the fabulous 17th century Amber Fort. A jeep will take you up the steep hill to the formidable fort and once at the top you will be guided by foot through the sprawling complex of courtyards, halls, ramparts and the incredible Sheesh Mahal – mirrored bedroom.
From here you make your way to the Jaipur City palace and its complex of exquisite palaces, gardens, decorative art and carved doorways. The palace museum houses collections of rare armoury, clothing, carpets and miniature paintings owned by some of India’s wealthiest Maharaja’s. It’s a short walk to the adjacent Jantar Mantar or Astronomical Observatory comprising ancient devices designed to measure time, predict eclipses and determine celestial altitudes.
On the way back to the hotel you will stop at Hawa Mahal also known as `Palace of the Winds’. It is extremely intricate with its carved facade of windows which would hide the palace queens watching life on the streets below as the cool wind blew through.
Jaipur is also famous for shopping and is truly a shopper’s delight. In the evening you will have free time to stroll down the busy bazaar and try your bargaining skills, amongst the multitude of locally produced artisan arts and crafts.
Once the private hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur, Ranthambore National Park is now a prime example of Project Tiger’s conservation efforts in Rajasthan. There is a higher chance of seeing the elusive big cat in the wild here over any other park or sanctuary in India but sightings are never guaranteed. However surrounded by the Aravali and Vindhyas mountain ranges the scenery is stunning and other wildlife found in the park can include sloth bears, boa constrictors and monkeys. Only a Mogli is needed to complete the cast of Jungle Book!
Day 6 – Jaipur to Ranthambore NP
After breakfast your guide will drive your to Ranthambore National Park. Once checked in to your hotel you will take a short guided tour of the 10th century Ranthambore Fort, which commands a panoramic view of the Tiger Reserve.
Day 7 – Ranthambore NP
An early start this morning as you venture by open top safari vehicle into the national park in search of wildlife the secretive tiger. You will be escorted by an expert naturalist and experienced tracker who will be updated about the latest tiger sightings and impart lots of fascinating information about Ranthambore’s fauna and flora.
After the safari you will return to the resort where you can spend time relaxing using the hotel’s facilties or head into the near by town to join the locals going about their daily routine.
Situated on the banks of the holy Yamuna river Agra is said to have been founded in 1475 during the reign of Raja Badal Singh. An ancient capital of India, the Mughal emperors transformed the city into one of the great centres of art, culture, learning and commerce. Agra is home to three UNESCO world heritage sites: Fathepur Sikri, Agra Fort and of course the iconic Taj Mahal.
Day 8 – Ranthambore NP > Agra
After breakfast drive to Agra, en route you will visit the deserted red sandstone city of Fatehpur Sikri. Built in the 16th century by the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace, it was abandoned soon after it was built when the local wells ran dry and it remains today in much the same condition that it was over 400 years ago.
Continue your drive to Agra and check in to your hotel. In the evening join a cooking class and learn how to prepare excellent Indian cuisine.
Day 9 – Agra > Delhi
An optional sunrise guided tour to the Taj Mahal. This symbol of devotion of Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved queen Mumtaz it is in fact a mausoleum that took 22 years to complete where only the two lovers are now interned. The Taj Mahal’s pure white marble structure is replete with decorative inlays of carvings and calligraphy made from semi precious stones that acquires different shades at different times of the day.
We suggest a visit to the Taj Mahal at sunrise as we believe your tour greatly enhanced with less crowds and seeing the changing shades of the white marble inlaid with semi precious stones as the sun appears is a real highlight of this once in a lifetime experience. Read more about a sunrise visit here Sunrise at the Taj Mahal If you would prefer to visit at a later time that is also an option.
After your visit return to the hotel to freshen up and check out. You will then visit Agra’s third UNESCO heritage site, Agra fort. The fort is formidable in appearance with its vast turreted walls which stand seventy feet in high and surround the fort for a mile and a half in circumference it is also surrounded by a moat. With the kind of beauty, precision detail and architectural nuances it can be more accurately described as a walled palatial city.
After your guided visit of Agra Fort you will be driven back to Delihi for your final night of the tour.
Day 10 – Delhi > Tour Ends
After breakfast you will be transferred to Delhi international airport in time to catch your onward flight.
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