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Rajasthan: a mysterious land of Maharajas peppered with palaces and sprinkled with colour and spices. Covering the classic Golden Triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, with the delights of Udaipur’s lake and Bikaner’s desert sands added in for good measure, this magical journey uncovers the wonder of this intoxicating region.
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Your Example Itinerary
Fly from the UK to Delhi
Discover Delhi’s cornucopia of colour and life with a professional photographer, who will walk you through the flower markets and bustling bazaars in search of a perfect photograph. Explore the sights and sounds of Old Delhi, filled with a plethora of monuments, such as the opulent Red Fort and the colossal Jama Masjid, the city’s main mosque and one of the world’s largest. Another point of interest is Chandni Chowk, with its narrow streets filled with market stalls, street hawkers and shops selling everything under the sun. Hop across to New Delhi by metro and walk down the Rajpath, a ceremonial avenue linking the iconic India Gate with the Presidential Palace.
Let the majesty of the Taj Mahal take your breath away in bustling Agra. You’ll never forget your first glimpse of this magnificent monument to love, every bit as spectacular as you imagine. This glorious structure was commissioned by Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, who died in childbirth in 1631. It took over 20 years to build, mainly from marble and semi-precious stones. Once you’ve soaked up the Taj’s splendour, move on to Agra Fort, less famous than its neighbour but still well worth a visit. Made of red sandstone, it’s a striking structure and offers lovely Taj Mahal views.
After departing Agra, stop by the imperial city of Fatehpur Sikri, completed in 1585 and abandoned soon after. Theories abound as to the cause of its abandonment, so make your own mind up as you explore the history of this former capital. Continue on to Jaipur, known as the Pink City, due to the rosy hue of its historic centre. Browse the eclectic markets along the thronging streets, tour the resplendent city palace, and spend some time admiring the views from Amber Fort, located on a rocky plateau a few miles from the city.
Admire the beauty of the lemon-hued Mandawa Castle, once the town’s fort, and now an upmarket hotel where you’ll stop for lunch. Continue on to Gajner where you’ll check in to the grand Gajner Palace Hotel, a former hunting lodge to the Maharajas. The hotel overlooks a serene lake surrounded by dappled woods. Take a look around the area and look out for deer and antelope, as well as a number of passing migratory birds.
It’s a tale of two forts today as you take a tour of both Jaisalmer and Junagarh forts, both impressive and imposing in their own way. Start with the medieval city of Bikaner, whose labyrinthine streets throng with camels pulling produce to market, or assisting with work on one of the city’s many wells. Here you’ll explore the beautiful Junagarh Fort and admire the richly decorated interiors. Following on from this, arrive in Jaisalmer and gaze in wonder at the sandstone construction that dominates the city skyline. Take an evening camel safari through the desert and watch the sun set over the dunes.
Travel through the parched landscape of the Thar Desert to the oasis of Manvar, a refreshingly green spot surrounded by lush vegetation. In the afternoon, explore the shifting sands on a jeep or camel safari. Head out in search of the Indian gazelle, or chinkara, watch the wandering cattle herds, visit a local village and witness the daily school run. Manvar is a great base for exploring the desert’s geology and wildlife, but also the perfect place to relax and unwind, far from the hustle and bustle of Rajasthan’s cities.
Arrive in the regal town of Rohet and enjoy a wander around the village, meet the friendly locals and experience their way of life. Observe the shepherds and farmers at work and chat to the Bishnois, who have a symbiotic relationship with the resident blackbuck antelope, protecting it from harm. From Rohet you’ll take a day trip to the Blue City of Jodhpur and marvel the dominating fortress of Mehrangarh. Tour the various palaces dotted around, and discover why Jodhpur is also known as the Blue City.
Check in to your stunning heritage hotel in Deogarh, a former palace and family residence. Admire the picturesque views of the Aravalli mountain range and the distant lakes from the balcony, or get out there and explore the countryside on a jeep safari. Take a walk through the local village and chat to the friendly inhabitants, calling in at the pretty little temple on the way. Or, if you prefer, just unwind at the hotel and perhaps indulge in a massage or an Ayurvedic treatment or two.
Slow down the pace in romantic Udaipur and watch the sun set over Lake Pichola. Visit the glittering City Palace, with its striking mosaics and gorgeous lake views, and take a look around the ornate Jagdish Temple. The following evening, take a relaxing boat trip on the lake, allowing for fabulous views of the aforementioned City Palace and also the landmark Lake Palace, located on an island in the middle of the water, and which James Bond fans might recognise from Octopussy.
Board your flight back to Delhi and enjoy your last night in incredible India.
Depart Delhi and return to the UK
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