Once you’re greeted and escorted to the car awaiting you, we proceed to your hotel in the heart of the city. The 14-kilometer drive will take about an hour and this is when Delhi starts introducing itself to you. Put your anxieties to rest if you find people breaking traffic rules, they never exist. All you need to survive on Indian roads are loud horns, good brakes, and a bit of luck. Don’t worry, you’ll be in the safe hands of an experienced Indian driver.
If you find the city a bit crowded, here are some facts for you. Delhi is the largest city in the India and the second most populous after Mumbai. Comparing it to the world, it is the 8th most populous metropolis. Delhi has a rich history that spans several centuries and has witnessed great empires rise and fall with each one adding to its architectural and cultural richness. You’ll come across historical structures that sport similarities to the ones found in Rome, Athens, and Istanbul. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you wish to prepare for the discovery of India.
Your trip to India has officially started. We begin with Old Delhi and its historical structure, the Lal Quila, popularly known as Red Fort. The magnificent fort came into existence in 1639 during the rule of Shah Jahan. It gives you a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of the Moguls with its beautiful Persian gardens, breath-taking palaces made of marble, and huge courtyards. Following that, it’s time for Jama Masjid that stands tall with its three huge domes. The mosque is the largest in India and can host over 25,000 people in its courtyards.
You get to experience Old Delhi up-close in a cycle rickshaw. This ride will give you a sneak peek into what India is really like. Amid the chaos of narrow lanes emerge the lively colors on either side of the streets. The sweet smell of spices hit your nostrils every now and then. We wander around the Chandi Bazaar during our ride. We begin from the Lal Quila at the Lahore Gate.
We then visit the most famous minaret in India, Qutub Minar Complex, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 72-meter high minaret was constructed to signify the Moghul dominance in the capital. Have some fun as you interact with the local vendors. Have fun with the future-predicting pet parrots on the footpaths, before heading out for lunch.
It’s now time for New Delhi. We visit the magnificent Delhi Durbar, the place where the British had announced that the capital would be shifted from Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) to Delhi in the year 1911. The announcement had bee made by Emperor George V. The city was then planned meticulously by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, giving it some architectural marvels that still play home to many governing bodies in the capital. New Delhi was inaugurated in 1931. We drive past these structures like the President’s House or the Rashtrapati Bhavan. We also visit India Gate, which was built to honor the 70,000 Indian soldiers who were killed during World War I.
Day two of your India tours ends with a visit to Humayun Tomb, which is another UNESCO World Heritage site. It has the distinction of being the first Moghul structure built using the concept of gardens surrounding it. You’ll fall in the love with the Persian architecture that brings magnificence with the combination of marble and red sandstone.
If we have enough time, we will also visit Birla Temple which celebrates the Hindu deity of prosperity and wealth, Laxmi, the consort of Vishnu, the Lord of Wisdom. This temple is relatively new when compared to the historical structures in the city. It was built with the principle of religious harmony and is open to people of all castes and religions. The beauty of Laxmi Narayan Birla Temple will touch you deeply. The deities depicted here to take us back to the Vedic times. Overnight stay in Delhi.
Today it’s going to be more private sightseeing as you’re escorted by our guide via a taxi. We drive to Bahai Temple, which is popularly known as the Lotus Temple. The structure resembles a blooming lotus with each petal spanning a whopping 27 feet and made entirely of marble. You’ll be amazed to know that the shrine attracts about the same number of people that Eiffel Tower does, yet it maintains tranquility and quiet around it. This abode of spirituality welcomes people of all walks of life with open arms. Learn about this beautiful temple through your guide.
We then head to the National Museum to get a better idea of what India truly is. The Museum gives you India’s lowdown of the past covering 5000 years! It promises to be among the biggest museums you’ve ever seen with relics that take us back to the Harappa and Indus civilizations and the genesis of India. You’ll find stone heads of 3rd century BC, relics pertaining to Buddha of 4th and 5th century BC, and also the Asian treasures that relate to the Silk Route. Spend time marveling at the miniature paintings of the Rajput and the Moghul. You’ll love the hand-painted playing cards and gold coins of 1st century AD. It’s relics galore here with textiles, musical instruments, statues, and armory.
There’s more sightseeing in-store after the National Museum and we take you to Chhatarpur Hindu Temple, which is the second-largest in India and spans over 60 acres. The temple has exquisitely maintained lawns and gardens. You’ll find a unique mix of North and South Indian architecture in the complex made mostly of the marble. Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Laxmi are some of the deities that are housed in this magnificent temple.
Your exploration today is not done yet. We visit Dilli Haat, which displays a variety of crafts and cuisines of India. Built to promote handicrafts and the culture of India, it brings before you handmade items and beautiful fabrics. We have our lunch here. You could try the North-Eastern Indian food with the delicious chicken momos. If you’re looking for souvenirs to take back home, Dilli Haat is the right place to buy some. You’ll find communication easy here. You can choose to simply admire or buy ornaments, textiles from Gujarat and Rajasthan, footwear made of camel hide, exotic-wood carvings, gems, and an array of handicrafts.
Overnight stay in Delhi.
We head to Agra via the Taj Express which takes about 2-1/2 hours. Agra was among the favorite cities of the Moghul emperors. The result has been some of the best UNESCO World Heritage sites in India.
After lunch, we visit the Agra Fort, which stands as an ode to Moghul architecture. It was the center of Moghul administration and spans over 254.67 acres, made entirely of bricks. Agra Fort was built in the year 1080 and traces its origins to the regime of Akbar the Great. It was Akbar who had commenced the work and built the huge gates and red sandstone walls on the eastern banks of River Yamuna. Emperor Shah Jahan, during his rule, had contributed by adding a mosque flush with white marble with inlay of precious stones. Later, Aurangazeb had contributed with the addition of outer ramparts. The royal pavilions and chambers will amaze you. You’ll also visit the magnificent Hall of Private Audience and Hall of Public Audience.
Late in the afternoon, we visit the monument of love – Taj Mahal – that you’ve eagerly been awaiting. The structure stands as a memory of Shah Jahan’s love for his queen Mumtaz. It was built in the 17th century. This beautiful structure is believed to have taken the labor of 20,000 people for 22 years. The guide will tell you how the marble was quarried miles away and ferried on hundreds of elephants to Agra. The structure is an amalgamation of India, Persian and Turkish styles. Note the attention to detail in every inch of the Taj Mahal’s construction.
You will have time at your disposal in the evening after your Taj Mahal India tour. You can choose to spend it relaxing or embark on a cultural exchange program by visiting an Indian family and dining with them, relishing some home cooked food. We spend the night in Agra.
We cover Fatephur Sikri and Keoladeo Ghana National Park en route to the Ranthambore National Park.
After breakfast, we head for Fatehpur Sikri, famous as the abandoned city of the Moghul empire. Fathepur Sikri was founded in 1569 by Emperor Akbar but was abandoned 16 years later, due to water woes. Enjoy the architectural beauty of the 5-storey harem known as the Panch Mahal. The center of the courtyard here is adorned by Pachisi, which is a board game of chess with aesthetic dancing ladies as pieces. The Hall of Private Audience or Diwan-i-Khas, a central pillar the shape of a lotus that supports the roof. The beauty of this pole itself is quite breathtaking.
After this, it’s time to savor the beauty of nature at Keoladeo Ghana National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage natural site. This used to be the grounds for duck hunting but today is a haven for ornithologists from around the country and the world. More than 300 species of birds make this natural paradise their home during different seasons round the year. About 7000 acres here are underwater. The marshlands form an ideal location for birds to breed. Painted storks, Siberian cranes, cormorants, black-winged kite, pelicans, geese, purple heron, lapwings, herons, and egrets are just some of the bird species you find here. You also will encounter several beautiful animals like Indian fox, spotted deer, Indian antelopes, water snakes, and Indian turtles. Come armed with your cameras to capture some amazing avian life as we set out on a cycle rickshaw bird-watching tour in Keoladeo Ghana National Park.
We eventually reach the famed Ranthambore National Park. The 400 square-kilometer area of hilly forests with beautiful lakes and valleys was once the hunting ground of the kings who were particularly fond of bringing down majestic tigers that were found in abundance here. Over the years though, the shift has been towards tiger conservation, especially after the Tiger Project launched in 1973. The dwindling tiger population today is seeing a new lease of life, thanks to the Project. According to a survey conducted in 2014, the tiger population has gone from 1706 to 2226 a 30% jump in numbers, and a true victory for the conservationists.
The time between September and May is considered ideal to spot wild animals as their population tends to concentrate around the few remaining water bodies as most dry up and await the next monsoon. We spend two nights in an exotic resort that borders the Reserve.
We’re going to be early birds today and it’s going to be worth every minute of sleep that you lose. On Jeep Safari, we set out on Tiger Tour India searching for the elusive creature of the wild. A Tiger spotting is just one facet of Ranthambore India Tour- more than 300 beautiful species of avian life awaits us here. This includes the wild serpent eagle, hawk eagles, parakeet, white-breasted kingfisher, and the beautiful wild peacocks. If you thought that’s all, there is more. Wild creatures like Asian antelopes, Sambar deers (Rusa unicolor), jackal, the magnificent spotted deer, and Indian fox can be easily spotted. With a bit of luck, you would also spot sloth bears, crocodiles that dwell in the marshes, the superfast leopards, and wild boar. The playful, mischievous, and intelligent langur monkeys welcome you at the entrance. You’ll notice Mother Nature at her best with numerous lakes, rivers, rocky terrains, mountains, and scarily steep cliffs. We return to our resort for breakfast after this unique experience amidst nature.
Post lunch, we set out on another safari and also visit the Ranthambore Fort, which is among the six forts atop hills in Rajasthan. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
We explore the deep jungles in a six-seater jeep; however, exclusive use of the jeep is not possible due to the regulations aimed at keeping traffic in the wild to a minimum. Having said that, it is still better than coursing through the jungle with a crowd of 20 hurled in an elevated truck.
Overnight stay in Ranthambhore National Park.
This morning we present you with two options:- you can either set out on a safari again or opt to explore the life in surrounding villages aboard a camel drawn carriage. You’ll love this up-close peek into the rural life that surrounds Ranthambore.
After breakfast, we set out on our tour to Bundi, which is an indiscrete town with its own charm. Bundi is always quiet and calm away from the hustle and roaring engines of the city. You can enjoy with peace the temples, Brahmin homes, narrow mud-path lanes, as well as a beautiful palace. Between January and March, mysteriously yet naturally pink poppies fill the area.
You will spend two nights in Bundi Vilas, which is a Haveli or mansion which is close to Bundi Palace. The 300-year-old mansion has been renovated to host tourists and has been operational since 2008. A huge and beautiful 40-foot archway leads you to this majestic structure. The Haveli has 7 rooms for guests that have retained their yesteryear flavour and are traditionally decorated to make you feel like nobility. Of course, you’ll have all the comforts like air-conditioning and en suite baths. Relishing your food is all the more enjoyable on the rooftop of the Haveli that brings you a panoramic view of the surroundings including the beautiful view of the Bundi Palace at dusk. Enjoy a romantic dinner with floodlights reflecting on the palace in the backdrop while the Arvali Hills and Jait Sagar Lake add to the beauty. Overnight stay in Bundi.
On our tour of Bundi today, we set out to explore the City Palace. You’ll find this beautiful structure a bit smaller than other places in Rajasthan but not short of beauty. It has a lively vibe to it. Learn about life of its yesteryear royal occupants through our guide. Relish the beauty of the marvelous wall paintings to get a glimpse of the lavish life that once filled the palace. You’ll also enjoy a huge courtyard filled with macaques that have occupied it for over three centuries.
Rajasthan has never been short of beautiful forts and our next stop is Taragarh Fort. This ancient fort is now in ruins but still does a great job of keeping you awestruck. You’ll find a reference to Taragarh Fort in Rudyard Kipling’s “Kim”. There is a mystical feel to this fort which was once a summer retreat and a stronghold against enemy attack. There are still some parts of the Taragarh Fort that are intact such as the halls of the audience. Get on top of any of the remaining bastions or outposts for a serene view that stretches all the way to the infinite horizon.
We then visit the Kshar Bagh that hosts the cenotaphs of the Kings of Bundi. You’ll also find sati memorials here. These sati memorials commemorate those queens and concubines that joined the funeral pyres of their beloved Kings.
There is more to Bundi than the forts and palaces. The narrow streets are rich with a traditional lifestyle. You get a chance to mingle with the locals and watch the villagers as they walk by with their camels and spend their workday in the mustard fields. Step-wells or baori that bring life in this arid land are a great attraction. Spend time appreciating the beautiful art of pottery here as the potter goes about his job unbeknownst of your presence. The local confectioner or Halwai prepares North Indian delicacies like the curvy jalebis, kachoris, and samosas.
We then make time for a visit to Sunset Palace which lies by a beautiful lake that is adorned by innumerable water lilies. It is believed that Rudyard Kipling, the famous writer, penned down most of his book, “Kim,” here. We head back for a great night in Bundi Vilas again.
Today, we head to Jaipur, the beautiful capital of Rajasthan known as the Pink City for its structures that were once painted terracotta pink by Maharajah Sawai Ram Singh. He did that as a mark of his hospitality to welcome Prince Albert in 1853.
We rest a while after we reach the hotel and start our exploration after lunch. We begin with the City Palace, which is still inhabited by the royal family. A part of this beautiful palace has been turned into a museum that brings out the best of what Rajasthani heritage has to offer. Just a small walking distance away is the amazing Jantar Mantar which plays home to several 18th century astronomical tools. This observatory is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Don’t mistake these for any ordinary tools, most are several meters and made of marble. Watch with awe, the sundial that brings you accurate time in the form of a moving shadow.
Further, we visit the Palace of Winds or Hawa Mahal. This is a 5-storey structure that dates back to 1760. The Palace was built exclusively for the royal women so that they could peer towards the streets below through the latticed windows while keeping themselves away from the public eye.
The Hawa Mahal and the streets of the Pink City bring you great photo opportunities; make the most of them. Post lunch, we scour the bazaars of Jaipur. We take you on a guided tour of the local market that sells colorful saris, wood and marble carvings, and intricately made traditional jewelry.
In early evening, we visit Choki Dhani Village, which means Fine Hamlet. This is actually a village resort for your delight and certainly unique with its thatched huts, murals, and paintings that bring a rustic feel to the atmosphere. This virtual village spans over 10 acres and is flush with platforms where folk artists display their talents. Evenings come alive with a village fair. The fairs that take place every day, in a way, celebrate the rich cultural heritage, dance, and music of the state. Feel free to join in and shake a leg with the welcoming artists. Tonga ride, elephant ride, bullock cart ride, and camel ride are just some of the attractions. There are also games for kids, puppet shows, magic shows, and a huge line of fun events. Relish the traditional vegetarian delicacies of Rajasthan in the cool winds of the evening and make the most of the vibrant atmosphere at the village before calling it a day and heading back to the hotel. Just before you reach the hotel, we bring complimentary mehendi or henna tattoo for the women and pugree or traditional Rajasthani turban for the men.
Overnight stay in Jaipur.
The Rajasthan India Tour continues as we depart from Jaipur and head back to Delhi. We begin with Amber Fort which is one among the Hill Forts of Rajasthan. This is another UNESCO World Heritage site. You have the option of driving atop the hill or opting to ascend it like an emperor on a royally decorated pachyderm. We then move towards the Amber Hamlet which takes us back to 11th century AD. Visit the Shri Jagatshironmani Temple built by Raja Man Singh at the request of his beloved queen Shringar Devi Kanakaway. Though dedicated to Lord Krishna, it is a rarity as it pairs Mira Bai instead of “Radha” who usually accompanies the deity in temples. Mira Bai was a princess who renounced her wealth to be with Krishna whom she loved and worshipped. When translated the name of the temple means Lord Vishnu’s, Head Jewel. We continue the exploration of Amber Fort and visit the Chamber of Mirrors, perhaps the best of its kind to ever exist. Enjoy the pristine interiors and the glorious view of the surroundings from the hilltop fort.
We then visit the Monkey Temple of Galta. This mystical temple is a revered pilgrimage. You’ll find several devotees in bright robes here. People bathe in water from the gorged springs on which the temple is located. The water is considered holy by the devotees. You’ll find them lost in their own world signing praises of the lord on the steps or ghats that take you to the pools. You’ll find innumerable monkeys here. Indians believe that monkeys are a representation of Lord Hanuman; hence the temple is dedicated to them and they leave without fear in the vicinity of the temple.
This also marks the end of sightseeing on your trip to India. We drive back for about five hours and reach the capital of India, Delhi, again. You will be dropped off at the Indira Gandhi International Airport where you take an onward flight to your home. Of course, if you wish to continue exploring Delhi and India, we can always drop you back to your hotel. This tour covers the best that North and West India has to offer and promises to bring you memories that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.
My sister and I recently came back from our 2 week holiday in India. Thanks to Vacation India (Classic Holidays India) we had a fantastic time. From our first communication until we were dropped off at the airport everything was perfect. We flew from Atlanta to Delhi via Amsterdam and visited Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Pushkar, Jodhpur (our favorite) and Jaisalmer. Our driver, Jai, was with us through out the whole trip. He was fantastic. We had very knowledgeable local guides in every place we visited. Mr. Vikas, the manager at Vacation India was available over the phone 24/7 during our trip…More Feedback
– Maria and Laura, Atlanta (USA)
In 2014 I was working in Delhi and an Indian colleague fixed me up with a day at the Taj Mahal, organised by Vacation India. It all went smoothly from being met at the train station, taken round the Taj Mahal, the Mini Taj and the Red Fort, entertained to tea with Vikas followed by a stroll round the back streets of Agra.
I like to wander round different parts of India on my own each year but advice from Vacation India on where to go and how to get there is always sought and is invaluable. I include a photo of me with some local boys in a temple in wonderful Hampi in Karnataka…More Feedback
– Nicholas Goslett, UK
10-days individual travel to / from New Delhi, 9 nights in hotels of your choiceTravel Destinations: Old and New Delhi – Agra – Fatehpur Sikri – Keoladeeo National Park – Ranthambhore Tiger National Park – Bundi – Jaipur – New Delhi
|Season||Hotel Category||Per person in double room|
|01/10/2015 – 15/04/2016||Deluxe||Price on Request|
|16/04/2016 – 30/09/2016||Deluxe||Price on Request|
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