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Rajasthan Cultural Tour
Duration: 15 Nights / 16 Days
Destinations Covered: Delhi - Mandawa - Bikaner - Jaisalmer - Khimsar - Jodhpur - Mount Abu - Ranakpur - udaipur - Deogarh - Pushkar - Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra - Delhi

Day 01: Arrival at Delhi
On arrival at Delhi airport or railway station, our representative will meet you to pick you up and transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day is at your leisure. Stay overnight at the hotel in Delhi.

Day 02: City Tour of Delhi
This morning after breakfast first you will visit old Delhi. The Raj Ghat, Red fort & Jama Masjid are important places to visit, you may also visit Chandni Chowk, spice market etc. Later on proceed to visit the New Delhi. The Qutub Minar, tallest stone tower in India, imposing India Gate and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Lotus Temple and, newly built Akshardham temple are of much significance. By evening return to your hotel for overnight stay.

Day 03: Delhi – Mandawa or Shekhawati
After morning breakfast chheck out from hotel and drive to Mandawa in the heart of the semi-arid Shekhawati region. Shekhawati owes its name to Rao Shekha who ruled this area in the 14th century. The Fort of Mandawa was built in the year 1755 by Thakur Nawal Singh, the founder of the town. These were the times when Mandawa was settled & fortified by the rich & dominant Silk Route merchants of the region, who constructed many Havelis (Mansions), Chhatris (Cenotaphs), Temples & Baolis (Step-wells) with ornate frescoes adorning their walls & now aptly given the epithet - Open-Air Gallery. With the migration of these merchant families, their old settlements remained in total obscurity with no one to look after them. Mandawa still retains the charm & aura of a bygone era & coming here is like stepping into a different world. On arrival to Mandawa, we visit Gulab Rai Haveli built in the year 1870 that has some of the best murals in Shekhawati on both the exterior & interior walls with elephants & camels on its façade. Goenka Double Haveli, built in the year 1890, with monumental frescoes of elephants & horses decorating its façade. Bansidhar Newatia Haveli built in the year 1921 combines traditional frescoes of horses & elephants with those depicting a young boy using a phone plus opulent touring cars & the Wright Brothers' plane. If time permits we may visit more Havelis of the region & observe the colourful village life in Rajasthan. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 04: Mandawa – Bikaner
Enjoy yummy breakfast in Mandawa hotel, check-out from hotel and then leave for another attraction of Rajasthan. This desert town in the north of the state was founded in 1488 by Roa Bikaji, a descendant of the founder of Jodhpur, Jodhaji in the year 1486. Now city is dominated by Junagarh fort. On arrival check-in hotel, take rest and then leave for excursion. Visit the Junagarh Fort constructed between 1588 and 1593 by Raja Jai Singh, a general in the Moghul Emperor Akbar's army. Unlike other forts of state which are built on hilltops, Junagarh fort is built in desert plain. Later in the evening you would visit world's largest camel breeding farm. Have a sip of tea made of camel milk and enjoy camel ride here. Return hotel and overnight stay in hotel.

Day 05: Bikaner – Jaisalmer
After morning breakfast in hotel drive towards Jaisalmer. On reaching Jaisalmer check in the hotel of and get freshen up. The 'Golden City' of India was founded by Maharawal Jaisal Singh. It stands on ridge of Yellow sand stone fort. Once you arrive in city check-in hotel and enjoy lunch thereafter go for excursion. Gadisisar Lake and cenotaphs of royal family at Bada Bagh will be the stoppage for the day. Return in the evening, check-out the market. Night stay in Jaisamler Hotel.

Day 06: Jaisalmer sightseeing
After morning breakfast, sightseeing of Jaisalmer. You will be taken to the Jaisalmer Fort, Museum, Jain Temple, Patwohki, Kothari Haveli. After lunch visit Kulcihera, Sam Sand Dunes, Camel Ride and experience the DholaMaru magic. This spot is located 42 Kms away from city and is only accessible via Jeep, 4 wheel drive SUV and camel safari. On reaching take joyride on camel. Explore the limitless horizon of Thar Desert and witness the ever changing vistas sand dunes. In the evening enjoy Rajasthani folk music and dance performance over dinner. Return hotel for overnight stay.

Day 07: Jaisalmer - Khimsar
After buffet breakfast in the hotel you will be driven from Jaisalmer to Khimsar (330 KMS/ 07 HRS). Upon arrival proceed to check in at your hotel. Khimsar is a delightful small town in the Thar Desert with its castle once being a 15th century Rajput stronghold. You may visit the in-house museum to get a better insight into the Royal Family or watch the rare varieties of birds chirp around you all day long or Just sunbath or laze around on the sprawling gardens, though the greens are excellent for Frisbee too. Upon arrival at Khimsar, proceed to check in at your hotel Overnight at the hotel

Day 08: Khimsar - Jodhpur
In the morning after breakfast drive towards Udaipur. En-route visit Ranakpur, a small town famous for being housing Jain temples. After paying homage to Jain temple continue your journey to Jodhpur. On Udaipur arrival check-in hotel. The 'City of Lake' Udaipur is also locally known as Kashmir of Rajasthan. In the evening time drive pleasure in boat ride against the spectacular setting of Aravalli ranges on Lake Pichola. Have sumptuous dinner in the city and enjoy overnight stay in Udaipur.

Day 09: Jodhpur - Mount Abu
After buffet breakfast in the hotel, you will be driven from Jodhpur to Mount Abu (260 KMS/ 6 HRS). Upon arrival proceed to check in at your hotel. The history of Mount Abu is as diverse as the city itself. It was once a part of the Chauhan kingdom of Rajasthan and served as a summer resort for the Rajput kings of the region. After that, it was leased by the British government from the then Maharaja of Sirohi for use as the headquarter of the resident to Rajputana (Another name of Rajasthan). During the British rule in India, it was the favorite summer destination of the British, who came here to escape the dusty, dry heat of the plains particularly Rajasthan.

In the late afternoon visit Dilwara Jain Temples, which are exquisitely carved in marble. To avoid destruction by the invader, the temples were cleverly hidden behind innocuous looking entrances. Besides the pure white marble used for construction, the temples are famous for the intricacy of the carvings which are more like lace than stone and can rarely be seen elsewhere. You will also visit the Nakki Lake, which is very popular among tourists. Overnight at the hotel

Day 10: Mount Abu – Ranakpur - Udaipur
After buffet breakfast in the hotel, you will be driven from Mount Abu to Udaipur (180 KMS/ 04 HRS) visiting Ranakpur enroute. Ranakpur Jain Temples, an exceptionally beautiful excursion through the rugged, wooded hills of Rajasthan to the Jain Temples of Ranakpur in the Aravalli Valley, to see one of the best complexes of Jain religion which is particularly noted for the grandiose scale of its architecture and the highly decorated ceilings, walls and 1444 different pillars. The priests of the temples did all the temple designing and their generations are still continuing the work. After your visit continue your drive to Udaipur. Upon arrival proceed to check in at your hotel.

Set on the shores of Lake Pichola and surrounded by hills, Udaipur grew in complete contrast to the harsh deserts of the rest of Rajasthan. As capital of the old Mewar State it was the only Rajput stronghold to uphold its Hindu allegiance in the face of Muslim invasion. From the late 16th century, peace brought about an era of renaissance in the arts and encouraged the building of beautiful palaces around the lake, culminating in the City Palace, one of the largest palace complexes in the world. The lake itself is a romantic setting surrounding the gleaming white Lake Palace and the Jag Mandir, a refuge of the rebel Mughal prince, Shah Jahan, soon to be the creator of the incomparable Taj Mahal.

Day 11: Udaipur
Morning after breakfast, you would be taken for the sightseeing tour of Udaipur City, also known as the City of Sunrise. First on your sightseeing tour you will proceed for a tour of the City Palace, which overlooks the Lake Pichola. The City Palace was built in 1725 of granite and marble with filigreed balconies, ornate windows and craftsmanship in glass. The royal palace walls stretch over a mile on the eastern side of the lake. Within the palace is a maze of courtyards, apartments and decorated halls. The rooms are covered with frescoes, displays of royal processions, stone and glass mosaics and ornamental doors and painted windows. The marble throne in the coronation rooms was last used during the time Maharana Sangram Singh II (1710-30) and nearby is the Sun Window installed by Maharaja Bhim Singh (1778-1828). This is the divine symbol of the house of Mewar, which traces its lineage to the Surya Vansha, descendants of the Sun. Each palace within is an outstanding creation of art. Visit the museums and the hall of public audiences, the private chambers of the royal ladies at the palace and Sahelion-ki-Badi.

In the evening, experience the hustle bustle of the old market at Udaipur. Walk past the spice shops, jewellery shops, utensil shops, jaggery shops, silver market, local meat and food shop. Also enjoy boat ride/ Tonga ride (Boat ride is subject to enough water in Lake Pichola) in and around Lake Pichola. Overnight at the hotel

Day 12: Udaipur - Deogarh
After buffet breakfast in the hotel you will be driven from Udaipur to Deogarh (135 KMS/2 - 3 HRS). Upon arrival proceed to check in at your hotel. Once a royal retreat of the Deogarh nobility, Gokal Vilas, was built almost 200 years ago and nestles among one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, the Aravallis. These hills themselves boast a number of old, majestic forts gracing various horizons and the lake in front of the "palace" is home to a myriad of birds with fine views across to Gokal Garh Fort. Deogarh is situated in the rugged hills of Aravallis, which makes gentle treks and bird watching an ideal way to see the surrounding area, including the Raghosagar Lake, with the palace on its banks, which attracts numerous migratory birds. It also has a bazaar, which is particularly good for textiles.

In the afternoon you will be driven to the Fort Seengh Sagar to watch the magnificent miniature painting. Some Deogarh miniatures adorn the personal collection of the present Rawat. Frescoes of this art form can also be seen on the fort walls. Several rooms are decorated with murals done by local painters after whom the Deogarh School of painting has acquired fame the world over. You will also walk around the village. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 13: Deogarh - Pushkar - Jaipur
After buffet breakfast in the hotel you will be driven from Deogarh to Jaipur (250 KMS/ 05 HRS). Enroute visit Pushkar which is at a distance of 130 kms from Deogarh. The village of Pushkar lies on the edge of the desert. At its heart is one of India's most sacred lakes. There are 52 ghats around the lake, and numerous temples. The Brahma temple, especially, attracts pilgrims all year round. Apart from its religious significance, Pushkar is known for its Cattle and Camel fair held every year in the month of Kartik (October/November), which attracts visitors in their thousands. You can also witness and participate in the evening prayer meetings in the temples. Being a religious town, alcohol and non-vegetarian food are taboo.

Explore the city mainly visiting the Pushkar Lake Ghats and the Brahma Temple, which is one of its kinds left in India today. Continue your drive to Jaipur & check-in to your hotel. Jaipur's past is never too far from hand. The city of victory, Jaipur presides over the fascinating desert state and its people: surrounded by rugged hills, each crowned by a formidable fort; and beautiful palaces, mansions and gardens dotted throughout its precincts. 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". There is a timeless quality to Jaipur's bazaars and its people. With its historical past, Jaipur revives legends of the ancient Rajputs. The dresses of the women and the turbans of the men add colour to this fascinating city. Overnight at the hotel

Day 14: Jaipur
After buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will be driven just outside Jaipur to the ancient capital of Amber to see the fabulous Amber Fort. Maharaja Mansingh, Mughal Emperor Akbar's most successful General, started the construction of Amber Fort in the 17th century. Before the City Palace was constructed in Jaipur, Amber was the seat of power.

An elephant /Jeep will spare you the trouble of reaching up to the fortress (Elephant ride is subject to availability) Once on top, stroll through the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls. Many of the rooms have delightful wall paintings, with precious stones and mirrors inlaid in the walls. Most fascinating, perhaps, is the Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) where a single lamplight is reflected in the many mirrors, lighting up the room. Come back to your hotel after your excursion.

In the afternoon you will visit the city of Jaipur. Among the highlights to be seen while touring Jaipur include the City Palace, which is an overwhelming complex of exquisite palaces, gardens and courtyards, decorative art and carved doorways. The palace museum houses collections of rare manuscripts, armoury, costumes, carpets and miniature paintings. Walk to the adjacent Jantar Mantar or Astronomical Observatory made by the Maharaja of Jaipur, built in 1726 and is one of the five such astronomical wonders built by Sawai Jai Singh and makes accurate predictions even to this day. Than you will stop and see the `Palace of Winds', otherwise known as Hawa Mahal. It is really an elaborate facade behind which the ladies of the court used to watch the daily goings on in the street below. It is extremely intricate in its pink sandstone carving. The cool wind blows through its facade of windows and latticed screens through which the queens of the court once viewed the streets of the city. You will also have the opportunity to wander about the local markets. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 15: Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra
After buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will be driven from Jaipur to Agra (240 KMS / 6 hours) en-route visiting Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted red sandstone city, built by the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace in the late 16th century. It was abandoned soon after it was built when the local wells went dry and it remains today in much the same condition that it was over 300 years ago. It is complete with palaces and mosques and used to be a town larger than London when it was originally constructed.

After your visit continue your drive to Agra. Upon arrival at Agra proceed to check in at your hotel. Agra in terms of ambiance is still associated with its Mughal period. The Mughals besides being great rulers were also great builders and they preserved their best architectural wonders for Agra & its neighbourhood. It has many wonderful monuments and the Taj Mahal, the greatest of them all, is a masterpiece of Mughal architecture at its best. The massive but elegant Agra Fort, the delicate artistry of Itimad-ud-daulah's tomb, the magnificent Taj and Akbar's deserted capital, Fatehpur Sikri, are each unique and outstanding. Their architectural genius can also be seen in the forts, palaces and aesthetically laid out gardens - each one a silent witness to a grand style of a golden era. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 16: Agra - Delhi
Today early in the morning you will proceed for a sunrise tour of the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is everything that has been said about it and more. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and was transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, in mid 17th century, the Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. Though the Taj appears to be amazingly perfect from almost any angle, it is the close-up marble inlay work, which is really astounding. You will have ample time to view and be mesmerized by this outstanding piece of architecture.

Come back to your hotel for buffet breakfast following which you will proceed to visit Agra Fort. Agra Fort is an outstanding example of Mughal architecture. Agra Fort - the seat and the stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. This was the seat of Mughal rule and administration and the present structure owes its origins to Akbar who erected the walls and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of Yamuna River. Shah Jehan added the impressive quarters and the mosque while Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. Visit its Hall of Public Audience and its Royal Pavilions.

In the afternoon in time you will be driven from Agra to Delhi (204 KMS / 04½ HRS). Upon arrival a our representative will meet you and transfer you to International airport to board your flight for back home.