Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival - Luxury Tour of India (Tour Duration- 21 Days)

City
Suggested Hotels
Nights
DELHI The Park 02
MANDAWA Mandawa Castle 01
BIKANER Laxmi Niwas Palace 01
JAISALMER Fort Rajwada 03
JODHPUR Taj Hari Mahal Palace 02
UDAIPUR The Lalit 02
JAIPUR Trident 03
RANTHAMBHORE Taj SM Lodge 02
AGRA Taj Gateway 02
DELHI The Park 01

Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Magnificent Rajasthan is abundant in historic palaces, temples, fortresses, sanctuaries, great scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage. We show you everything in Rajasthan there is to see and you’ll know just why the state attracts so many tourists from across the world. Our exotic tour also gives you ample opportunity to drink in the ineffable beauty of the majestic marvel of white marble, the Taj Mahal and the enthralling bazaars of cosmopolitan Delhi.

But the highlight of you tour will be the Desert Festival in Jaisalmer. Once a year during winters, the sands around Jaisalmer come alive with the brilliant colours, music and laughter of the Desert Festival. Dressed in brilliantly hued costumes, the people of the desert dance and sing haunting ballads of valour, romance and tragedy. The fair has snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats and folk performers. Camels, of course, play a stellar role in this festival, where the rich and colourful folk culture of Rajasthan is on show. The festival closes with an enchanting sound and light show amidst the sand dunes on a moonlit night.

Day 01 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Arrival at Delhi

You will be met on arrival at the International airport. Transfer to your hotel. Relax.

DELHI, the capital of kingdoms and empires is now a sprawling metropolis with a fascinating blend of the past and the present. Delhi is a perfect introduction to the composite culture of an ancient land and a window to the kaleidoscope - that is India.

Overnight will be at Delhi.

Day 02 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Delhi Visit India:

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Start with the sightseeing of Old Delhi. The tour will begin with a visit to Raj Ghat , a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi; drive past Red Fort which has been restored largely in the last few years. The magnificent Red Fort, overlooking the river Jamuna was built during the years 1638 - 48 when the Moghul Empire was at its peak.

Take the bicycle rickshaw continuing to the Jama Masjid, one of Asia’s largest mosques. People stream in and out of the mosque continuously and the presence of a nearby bazaar means that the area is rarely quiet.

Visit the GANDHI SAMADHI where the great leader is remembered by his country.

Drive to New Delhi, which reflects the legacy the British left behind. The division between New and Old Delhi is the division between the capitals of the British and the Mughals respectively. The division in the walled city and New Delhi also marks the division in the life-styles. The walled city is all tradition where one will be able to glean a past life-style in all its facets, colours and spells. New Delhi in contrast, is a city trying to live up to the best of 21st century standards.

Imperial Delhi will include the Qutub Minar , the tallest stone tower in India and the Humanyun’s Tomb which is one of the great monuments of Delhi. There is a saying that this monument was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal hence it is a must to see this place and enjoy the architecture. Visit the LOTUS TEMPLE of the BAHAI sect which represents the modern architecture of India.

The tour also includes a drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the President’s residence.

Relax in the evening.

Overnight will be in Delhi.

Day 03 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Travel from Delhi to Mandawa

By Road 270 km/6 hr

Proceed for Mandawa after breakfast. Reach and check in at hotel.

The medieval Fort of Mandawa gradually rises on the horizon like a mirage. A breathtaking view of the town can be seen from the terrace of Castle Mandawa. Precious collection of arms with jade handles, traditional ceremonial costumes can be seen at the Museum at the Castle. The havelies worth a visit are Chowkhani, Saraf, Goenka and Ladia in this town. It was built in 1775 by Thakur Nawal Singh, descendant of Rao Shekhaji, who also founded the city of Nawalgarh. The Castle, now a 51 room hotel has no two rooms alike. It also houses an interesting collection of paintings, jade, costumes and antiques. The courtyard and the terrace come to live during evenings with candle-lit dinners and fire-dances during the season. It is a two hundred and forty year old fortress, which has been converted by the family into a fine example of traditional hospitality.

Take a walking tour of the painted 'havelis' of some of the leading business families of the country. Though they no longer live here, the local caretakers are happy to show the visitors around. Chowkhani Haveli, Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli, Lakshmi Narayan Ladia Haveli, Mohahanlal Saraf Haveli and Bhagchandika Haveli are of special interest. Spend the major part of the day looking into frescoes.

Overnight will be at Mandawa.

Day 04 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Mandawa to Bikaner Trip:

By Road 185 km/4 hr

Breakfast will be at hotel.

Proceed to Bikaner. Reach and check in at hotel.

BIKANER TRIP – The royal fortified city with a timeless appeal. Lying in the north of the Desert State, the city is dotted with many sand dunes. Bikaner retains the medieval splendor that pervades the city’s lifestyle.

More popularly called the camel country, the city is renowned for the best riding camels in the world. The ship of the desert is an inseparable part of life here. Be it pulling heavy carts, transporting grains or working on wells, camels are the prime helpers. The wells of Bikaner - an important source of water are other attractions of the city. These are built on high plinths with slender minaret towers on each of the Four Corners and can be noticed even from a distance.

Proceed for sightseeing tour of Bikaner.

Rao Bika Ji, a descendant of Jodha Ji – the founder of Jodhpur, founded this desert town in the North of the state in 1488. Visit the Junagarh Fort , constructed between 1588 and 1593 by Raja Jai Singh, a general in the Moghul Emperor Akbar's army. The city is known for its step wells so visit one ancient well and then the famous KARNI MATA temple.

Relax in the evening.

Overnight will be at Bikaner.

Day 05 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Travel from Bikaner to Jaisalmer:

By Road 335 Kms / 06 – 07 hr

After breakfast proceed for Jaisalmer. Reach and check into the hotel.

Rising from the heart of the Thar Desert like a golden mirage is the city of Jaisalmer. A commanding fort etched in yellow sandstone stands, with its awesome splendor, dominating the amber-hued city.

The city has an interesting legend associated with it, according to which, Lord Krishna – the head of the Yadav Clan, foretold Arjuna that a remote descendent of the Yadav Clan would build his kingdom atop the Trikuta Hill. His prophecy was fulfilled in 1156 AD when Rawal Jaisal, a descendent of the Yadav Clan and a Bhatti Rajput, abandoned his fort at Lodurva and founded a new capital – Jaisalmer, perched on the Trikuta Hill. His Yadav descent can be traced back to the Mahabharata and the Rajputs were famed for courage and gallantry.

Jaisalmer is studded with magnificent tourist haunts that encapsulates the vivacious culture of this lovely locale. It is laced with beautiful forts, sacred shrines, stately havelis reminiscent of the yester years, well stacked museums and a rippling lake.

Reach and check in at hotel.

Also visit the ROYAL CENOTAPHS and relax in the evening.

Stay overnight at Jaisalmer.

Day 06 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Jaisalmer Tour Rajasthan:

Post breakfast enjoy the Desert Festival.

THE DESERT FESTIVAL : Once a year during winters, the sands around Jaisalmer comes alive with the brilliant colors, music and laughter of the Desert Festival . Dressed in brilliantly hued costumes, the people of the desert dance and sing haunting ballads of valor, romance and tragedy. The fair has snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats and folk performers. Camels, of course, play a stellar role in this festival, where the rich and colorful folk culture of Rajasthan is on show. The festival closes with an enchanting sound and light show amidst the sand dunes on a moonlit night.

A few days before the spring full moon according to the Hindu calendar, musicians, dancers and performers from all over Rajasthan start moving in colorful camel caravans towards the golden town of Jaisalmer, which dons a festive look. The otherwise barren landscape is splashed with vibrant colors marking the opening of the Desert Festival. The 12th century fort of Jaisalmer, built in yellow sandstone, provides a fairytale background. Over the years, the desert dwellers in their solitude have woven a fascinating tapestry with threads of music and rhythm and the Desert Festival is a celebration of their heritage. It is a chance of a lifetime to see the folk art forms against the landscape that has nurtured them for hundreds of years. With the arrival of the artists, a delightful series of programs begins in and around Jaisalmer. There is music everywhere and at every given hour. Through the winding lanes of the fortified town to the sand dunes and even the rivers of abandoned villages, the music casts a potent spell. Beginning at sunrise, it reaches its zenith under the umbrella of the star-studded sky.

Guest can meet desert craftsmen face to face for their exquisitely embroidered skirts, hand-woven shawls, rugs, carvings on wood and stone, camel decorations, embroidered leather bags, ethnic silver jewelry and terracotta are brought in from all over the desert. These skillfully achieved crafts are objects d'art for the handicraft buff. Evenings are meant for the main shows of music and dance. Vibrating desert drums can be heard for miles around. Nearly all the variations of performing arts of these desert people are displayed. Continuing till late into the night, the number of spectators swells up each night and the grand finale, on the full moon night, takes place by silvery sand dunes.

The main attractions of the festival are:

1. Turban Tying Competition
2. Mr. Desert Competition
3. Rajasthani folk songs and dance
4. Gair and Fire dancers
5. Camel Polo

Camels are not just beasts of burden but an integral part of the desert life and the camel events confirm this fact. Special efforts go into dressing the animal for entering the spectacular competition of the best-dressed camel. Camel owners vie with each other for winning the camel races and a feeling of pride is discernible both in the eyes of the owner and his mount that wins. To add some more fun and color, the camel show has two unique events - the camel polo and the camel dance. Although the basic design of the festival remains the same, each year there are a few new events. Some of the most spectacular and memorable shows of past festivals have been the dream-like pageant, "Blood, Blade and Romance" on the sand dunes recreating the legendary past; the camel tattoo of the Border Security Force, which has a highly trained camel corps to guard the western border; and the pulsating folk ensemble of a hundred musicians. Today, this traditional extravaganza is a coveted event for all tourists coming to India this time of the year.

Overnight will be at Jaisalmer.

Day 07 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Jaisalmer Tour

After a relaxed breakfast proceed for full day sightseeing tour of The Golden City Jaisalmer. It is in the heart of the Great Indian Desert. Its temple, fort and palaces are all built of yellow stone. The city is a mass of intricately carved buildings, facades and elaborate balconies.

Visit the JAISALMER FORT – The oldest living Fort in the world. (This is the highlight of the tour)

The fort stands almost 30 metres over the city and houses an entire living area within huge ramparts. Walking through the narrow lanes is an experience worth savoring. It is approached through Ganesh Pol, Suraj Pol, Bhoot Pol and Hawa Pol. Also, within it are many beautiful havelies and a group of Jain temples dating from the 12th to the 15th centuries. The golden - yellow sandstone of Jaisalmer Fort, over 800 years old, crowns the Trikuta Hill. Within its walls, defended by 99 turrets, lies the old city, nearly a quarter of modern Jaisalmer. Seen from outside, the sight must be almost identical to what was seen by merchants on their overland camel caravans to central Asia. Once this desert outpost was an important gate for the trade route, and Jaisalmer grew wealthy on the proceeds. But the advent of commercial shipping relegated the town to relative obscurity. Known as SONAR QUILA, rising from the sand, the mega structure merges with the golden hues of the desert ambience and the setting suns in its most colorful shades gives it a fairy tale look. Its simply a magic, the bastions envelops a whole townships that consist of palace complex various security sources and the havelis of rich merchants carved with an incredibly light touch, several temples and the residential complexes of the armies and traders placed strategically on the trade route, from where the ancient caravans passed.

Enjoy the sightseeing of the following places out of which the JAIN TEMPLES are inside the fort.

NATHMAL KI HAVELI: Two architect brothers built it in the 19th century. Interestingly, while one concentrated on the right, the other concentrated on the left and the result is a symphony epitomizing the side by side symmetry during construction. Paintings in miniature style monopolies the walls in the interior. Mighty tuskers carved out of yellow sandstone stand guard to the Haveli.

SALIM SINGH KI HAVELI: This Haveli was built about 300 years ago and a part of it is still occupied. Salim Singh was the prime minister when Jaisalmer was the capital of the princely state and his mansion has a beautifully arched roof with superb carved brackets in the form of Peacocks. The mansion is just below the hill and it is said that once it had two additional wooden storeys in an attempt to make it as high as the maharaja's palace, but the maharaja had the upper storey torn down.

PATWON JI KI HAVELI: This is one of the largest and most elaborate Haveli in Jaisalmer and stands in a narrow lane. It is five storeys high and is extensively carved. It is divided into six apartments, two owned by archaeological Survey of India, two by families who operate craft-shops and two private homes. There are remnants of paintings on some of the inside walls as well as some mirror work.

TAZIA TOWER: The delicate pagoda like Tazia Tower rises from Badal Mahal (Cloud Palace). Rising in its five-tiered splendor, with each storey graced by a delicately carved balcony, the tower is of historical significance. Muslim craftsmen built it in the shape of a Tazia and gifted it to their royal patron.

GODI SAGAR LAKE: This tank, south of the city walls, once held the town water supply, and befitting its importance in providing precious water to the inhabitants of this arid city, it is surrounded by small temples and shrines. The beautiful yellow sandstone gateway arching across the road down to the tank is the Tilon-ki-Pol, and is said to have been built by a famous prostitute, Tilon. When she offered to pay to have this gateway constructed, the Maharaja refused permission under it to go down to the tank and he felt that this would be beneath his dignity. While he was away, she built the gate, adding a Krishna temple on top so that king could not tear it down.

JAIN TEMPLES: These fine Jain temples were built in the 12th to 15th century, within the Jaisalmer Fort. They are beautifully carved and dedicated to Rikhabdevji and Sambhavnathji. The Gyan Bhandar, a library containing some extremely old manuscripts, is within the temple complex.

In the late afternoon, proceed to the SAND DUNES for visiting the typical Rajasthani Desert Village. View the sunset from the dunes, as the sky is set on fire. Return to the village for dinner amidst Rajasthani musicians playing haunting tunes.

Overnight will be at Jaisalmer.

Day 08 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Jaisalmer to Jodhpur Tour:

By Road 305 Kms / 5.5 hr

After breakfast proceed to Jodhpur. Reach and check in to the hotel.

Set at the edge of the Thar Desert, the imperial city of Jodhpur echoes with tales of antiquity in the emptiness of the desert. Once the capital of the Marwar state, it was founded in 1459 AD by Rao Jodha-chief of the RATHORE clan of Rajputs who claimed to be descendants of Rama - the epic hero of the RAMAYANA. It is also referred as the Blue City, due to the indigo tinge of the whitewashed houses around the Mehrangarh Fort (the old city). The blue houses were originally for Brahmins but non-Brahmins soon joined in, as the colour was said to deflect the heat and keep mosquitoes away. Jodhpur lies near the geographic center of Rajasthan state, which makes it a convenient base for travel in a region much frequented by tourists. The old city of Jodhpur is surrounded by a thick stone wall. The wall has six huge gates called Nagauri gate, Merati gate, Sojati gate, Jalori gate, Siwanchi gate and Chand pol.

Relax in the evening.

Overnight will be at Jodhpur.

Day 09 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Jodhpur Trip

Enjoy breakfast in the hotel.

Proceed for the sightseeing tour of the city.

Umaid Bhawan Palace : The romantic looking Umaid Bhawan Palace was actually built with the purpose of giving employment to the people of Jodhpur during a long drawn famine. The royal family of Jodhpur still lives in a part of the palace. Another part of the palace houses a well-maintained museum, displaying an amazing array of items belonging to the Maharaja and the royal family - weapons, antiques and fascinating clocks, crockery and trophies

Mehrangarh Fort : Situated on a steep hill, Mehrangarh fort is one of the largest forts in India. The beauty and the grandeur of numerous palaces in the fort narrate a saga of hard sandstones yielding to the chisels of skilled Jodhpuri sculptures. Mehrangarh Fort, spreading over 5 km on a perpendicular hill and looking down 125 meters, presents a majestic view on city horizon. It was built on advice of a saint in 1459 to establish an impregnable head-quarter. This Fort is one of the best in India with its exquisitely latticed windows, carved panels, elaborately adorned windows and walls of Moti Mahal, Phool Mahal, and Sheesh Mahal. A collection of musical instruments, palanquins, royal costumes, furniture and the cannons on the fort's ramparts are well preserved.

Jaswant Thada : Close to the fort complex, lays Jaswant Thada. This 19th century royal cenotaph built in white marble in commemoration of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II and three other cenotaphs stand nearby. The cenotaph of Maharaja Jaswant Singh holds the rare portraits of the rulers and Maharajas of Jodhpur. A visit inside the cenotaphs, with some villagers of the region, would bring forward the reverence they still hold for their brave kings.

Relax in the evening.

Overnight stay will be in Jodhpur.

Day 10 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Jodhpur and Udaipur Visit:

By Road 260 Kms / 06 hr

After breakfast proceed to Mount Abu visiting Ranakpur temples en-route.

En-route, visit the Ranakpur Temples, dating back to the 15th century. 200 pillars, none of which are alike, support its 29 halls. The Temple abounds with intricate friezes and sculptures. Includes visits to two more Jain temples and the Temple of the Sun God with its erotic sculptures.

The city of Dawn, Udaipur is a lovely land around the azure lake, hemmed in by the lush hills of the Aravallis. A vision in white drenched in romance and beauty, Udaipur is a fascinating blend of sights, sound and experiences and inspiration for the imagination of poets, painters and writers.

Its kaleidoscope of fairy-tale palaces, lakes, temples, gardens and narrow lanes strewn with stalls, carry the flavor of a heroic past, epitomizing valor and chivalry. Their reflection in the placid waters of the Lake Pichola is an enticing sight.

Udaipur is the jewel of Mewar -a kingdom ruled by the Sisodia dynasty for 1200 Years.

Relax in the evening.

Overnight will be at Udaipur.

Day 11 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Sightseeing Tour of Udaipur:

Breakfast will be at hotel.

Proceed for sightseeing tour of Udaipur, stopping first at City Palace.

City Palace : Standing on the east bank of lake Pichola, is a massive series of palaces built at different times from 1559 A.D. The balconies of the palace provide panoramic views of "Jag Niwas" (the world wide famous Lake palace hotel), Jag Mandir on one side and on the other the city of Udaipur. Its main entrance is through the triple-arched gate - the Tripolia, built in 1725. The way now leads to a series of courtyards, overlapping parations, terraces, corridors and gardens - a harmonic profusion hard to describe. There is a Suraj Gokhda, where the maharanas of Mewar presented themselves in the times of trouble to the people to restore confidence. The Mor-chowk (Peacock courtyard), gets its name from the vivid mosaics in glass decorating its walls. The chini chitrashala is noteworthy while a series of wall paintings of KRISHNA are on display in Bhim Vilas. There are numerous other palaces such as Dilkhush mahal, Sheesh mahal, Moti mahal and Krishna vilas - in memory of a princess of striking beauty who poisoned herself to avert a bloody battle for her hand by rival princess. Now the palace contains many antique articles, paintings, decorative furniture and utensils and attracts thousands of visitors every day.

Here you will marvel at rooms with mirrored walls and ivory doors, colored glass windows and inlaid marble balconies and the Peacock Courtyard.

Saheliyon ki Bari : Maharana Sangram singh builds this in the mid 18th century. The 'garden of the maidens' brings to mind the lifestyle of the ladies of the court. The delightful gardens appear discreet and in impeccable taste. There are four pools with dainty kiosks, and all around are flowerbeds, lawns, pools and fountains protected by a series of walls and shady trees. The Foundation of the Sahelion ki bari functions solely by water pressure and no pumps are used. The garden has a lotus pool, a sitting room decorated with paintings and glass mosaics. The whole ambiences is flavored by the nostalgia of those beautiful bells enjoying themselves in a lavish aura.

Bagore ki Haveli : This is a very congenial old building built right on the waterfront of Lake Pichola at Gangori Ghat. Amir Chand Badwa, the Prime Minister of Mewar built it in the eighteenth century. The palace has over hundred rooms and some very interesting display of costumes and modern art. The glass and mirror in the interiors of the Haveli delicate work and well preserved too. It also preserves a fine example of Mewar Painting on the walls of Queen's Chamber. The two peacocks made from small pieces of colored glasses are fine examples of glasswork. After the death Badwa the building became the property of Mewar State. It came to be occupied by Maharana Shakti Singh of Bagore who built the palace of the three arches also in 1878 and it acquired its name of Bagore-ki-haveli, the house of Bagore. After independence the structure lay in neglect until 1986 when it housed the West Zone Cultural centre.

Jagdish Temple : The temple is situated in the middle of the city. The temple of Jagannath Rai, now called Jagdish-ji, is a major monument and should be seen carefully. Raised on a tall terrace and completed in 1651, it is a tribute alike to the tenacity of its builders and the resilence of the art tradition it represents. It attaches a double storeyed Mandapa (hall) to a double - storied, saandhara (that having a covered ambulatory) sanctum. The mandapa has another storey tucked within its pyramidal samavarna (bell - roof) while the hollow clustered spire over the sanctum contains two more, non - functional stories. Lanes taking off from many of the sheharpanah (city wall) converge on the Jagdish Temple and walking leisurely through them brings you face with the many layers of the cultural palimpsest that Udaipur is. It was built by Maharana Jagat Singh Ist in 1651 A.D.

Proceed for Evening Motor launch cruise on the placid waters of Lake Pichola. From the boat you will be able to view the city of Udaipur as it rises majestically above the lake in the middle of the Rajasthan desert. Also visit the Jag Mandir Palace - the other island palace in the middle of the lake. Spend some time at the Jag Mandir Palace.

Overnight will be at Udaipur.

Day 12 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Udaipur, Chittaurgarh and Pushkar Tour:

By Road 280 Kms / 06 hr

Enjoy breakfast in the hotel.

Proceed to Pushkar, en-route visiting Chittaurgarh. The hilltop fortress of Chittaurgarh epitomizes the whole romantic ideal of Rajput chivalry. The fort was sacked 3 times from 1303 to 1568 by a stronger enemy and on each occasion, the end was "Jauhars". The men donned the saffron robes of martyrdom and rode out from the fort to certain death and the women and children immolated themselves on a huge funeral pyre.

The sightseeing of the city will include the following:

The Fort: The indomitable pride of Chittaur, the fort is a massive structure with many gateways built by the later Maurya rulers in 7th century A.D. Perched on a height of 180 m. high hill, it sprawls over 700 acres. The tablets and chattris within are impressive reminders of the Rajput heroism. The main gates are Padal Pol, Bhairaon Pol Hanuman Pol and Ram Pol. The fort has many magnificent monuments-all fine examples of the Rajput architecture. The ancient ruins of the fort are worth spending few moments in solitude.

Rana Kumbha’s Palace: The ruined edifice of great historical and architectural interest, being the most massive monument in the fort of Chittaur. The palace is believed to have underground cellars where Rani Padmini and other women committed Jauhar.

After the visit, continue drive to Pushkar.

Amongst the grandeur of Rajasthan, discover a unique gem - Pushkar. Lord Brahma - The creator of the world in a search for his abode on earth, performed the supremely spiritual VEDIC YAGNA at Pushkar. It is thus the site of the only Brahma Temple in the world. The place is a mellow, serene and bewitching little town which attracts those in search of some respite from the tumult of India. Pushkar is right on the edge of the desert and is only 11 km from Ajmer but separated from it by Nag Pahar – the snake mountain.

The town clings to the side of the small Pushkar Lake with its many bathing Ghats and temples. For Hindus, Pushkar is a very important pilgrimage centre and you'll see plenty of Sadhus (individuals on a spiritual search).

Overnight will be at Pushkar.

Day 13 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Tour from Pushkar to Jaipur:

By Road 145kms/03hrs

After breakfast proceed for the sightseeing of Pushkar.

Visit the BRAHMA TEMPLE, the mausoleum, Anasagar and Akbar’s Palace.

After sightseeing proceed to Jaipur. Reach and check into the hotel.

Jaipur Trip: Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan a romantic realm of resplendent palaces, mighty fortresses and regal Maharajahs that lies in the western deserts and is an utterly unique part of India. Proudly belonging to the KSHATRIYA warrior caste and fiercely independent, the Rajput princes made fearsome foes. However, many of them realized that to maintain their wealth and authority locally, it was expedient to proclaim allegiance to the central power. Thus, many enjoyed a privileged position under the Mughal emperors and also the British Raj that followed.

The bustling Rajasthan capital of Jaipur takes its name from its venerated founder Jai Singh II, who was given the title Sawai Maharaja by the Mughal. Literally translated this would mean ’one and a quarter’, suggesting that the Mughal thought this emperor to be more valuable than just ‘one’. Jaipur is known as the ’Pink City’ on account of the distinctive colour of its buildings. This did not, however, form part of the original plan, but dates back to 1856, when the city was given a wash of pink in honor of a State Visit from Prince Albert.

This evening, visit the Birla Temple to learn more about the fascinating religious life of Jaipur. The marble structure, built as recently as 1985, houses ornate statues including one of Lakshmi (goddess of Wealth and Beauty) and Narayan dressed in gaudy robes, representing a Hindu vision of heavenly luxury. Carvings in the temple and on pillars supporting the covered walkways include images of the Hindu pantheon, as well as Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Francis of Assisi. Your visit will coincide with the AARTI Ceremony, which involves oil lamps being lit and waved, in order to awake and invoke the deity.

Overnight will be in Jaipur.

Day 14 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Jaipur Sightseeing Tour:

Proceed for a morning excursion to Amber Fort after breakfast. Elephant ride ascent to the fort.

AMBER FORT PALACE – Amber is the classic romantic Rajasthani fort palace. Its construction was started by Man Singh I in 1592, and completed by his descendent Jai Singh I. Its forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise where a beautiful fusion of Mughal and Hindu styles finds its ultimate expression. At the foot of the hill you will mount your caparisoned elephant for the slow but steady climb up to the main gate, making your entrance in the time honored fashion. The Fort, completed in the early 18th century, took over 100 years to build and now, although deserted, offers a fascinating insight into the lifestyle of the Moghul ruling families.

Continue sightseeing.

CITY PALACE - A delightful blend of Mughal and traditional Rajasthani architecture, the City Palace sprawls over one-seventh of the area in the walled city. It houses the Chandra Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum.

JANTAR MANTAR - This is the largest and the best preserved of the five observatories built by Jai Singh II in different parts of the country. This observatory consisting of outsized astronomical instruments is still in use.

HAWA MAHAL - The ornamental facade of this "Palace of Winds" is a prominent landmark in Jaipur. It is a five-storey structure of sandstone plastered pink encrusted with fine trelliswork and elaborate balconies. The palace has 953 niches and windows. Built in 1799 by Pratap Singh, the Mahal was a royal grandstand for the palace women.

This afternoon is free for you to relax shop or explore independently. Shopping is superb in Jaipur, particularly for gold and silver jewellery, pottery, tie-dye materials, silk, saris, wooden handicrafts and carpets.

Overnight will be at Delhi.

Day 15 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Jaipur Trip Rajasthan:

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Proceed for sightseeing of a royal village Samode.

SAMODE: Samode according to the Rajputana Gazetteer of 1879 was a large and flourishing town. The Zamidars (landlords) of Samode - the principal thakurs of the state of Amber were the Nathawat clan from Chomu, a branch of the house of Amber, tracing their relation to the Jaipur Maharaja the fabled Prithviraj Singhji the 17th prince of the house of Kacchwaha Rajputs. Gopal Singhji one of his 12 sons was awarded Samode, a noble feudatory of the Amber & Jaipur principality. It was among the wealthiest territories in the Amber kingdom. The Zamidari eventually passed within the clan to the hands of Behari Das, a Rajput warrior in Mughal Service. After 6 generations in the hands of his descendants Samode was relinquished to the Raj.

The 400-year-old SAMODE PALACE has a wealth of frescoes, many of them depicting religious subjects. The highlight is a vast DURBAR HALL.

Take a walk of the Rajasthani village or take a camel cart ride. Have lunch at SAMODE PALACE.

Return back to Jaipur.

Overnight stay will be in Jaipur.

Day 16 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Jaipur to Ranthambhore

By Road 170 Kms / 03 hr 30 min

Post breakfast proceeds to Ranthambhore.

Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, at the junction of the Aravalis and the Vindhyas, is a unique example of natural and historical richness, standing out conspicuously in the vast, arid and denuded tract of eastern Rajasthan, barely 14 kilometers from Sawai Madhopur. Get in tune with nature for a luxury holiday in the heart of the jungle. Most of the resorts are close to the National Park Gate, Tiger Den being the closest.

It spreads over a highly undulating topography varying from gentle to steep slopes; from flat topped hills of the Vindhyas to the conical hillocks and sharp ridges of the Aravalis, from wide and flat valleys to narrow rocky gorges. An important geological feature the ‘Great Boundary Fault’ where the Vindhya plateaus meet the Aravali Hill range meanders through the Reserve. The National Park is bound by the rivers Chambal in the south and Banas in the north.

Tiger, at the apex of the food chain, lord over the kingdom in a subtle way. Solitary by nature, it operates in stealth. Therefore tiger sightings, frequent as they are, are always a matter of chance. However, even evidences of tiger's activities are very exciting.

Reach and in the evening retire early. Overnight will be at the resort.

Day 17 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Ranthambhore Trip

Wake up early morning and leave for your safari into the National Park. Track the tigers and other wildlife through the morning. Return to the resort / lodge by 1000 in the morning and have breakfast.

Freshen up and either spend time at the pool or visit the town. You could also go for a nice visit to the temple on top of the fort.

In the afternoon have lunch and then leave again for you afternoon safari. The safari will be till evening 1700 – 1800 hr and then return to the resort / lodge.

Dinner will be at the resort and retire early for the night. Overnight will be at Ranthambhore.

Day 18 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Travel from Ranthambhore to Agra

By Road 270 Kms/ 05 hrs

Drive to Agra visiting Fatehpur Sikri en-route after breakfast.

Fatehpur Sikri Sightseeing: Fatehpur Sikri is 37 km west of Agra. Jajal-ud-din-Muhammad Akbar, Humanyun's son, accessed the throne at the tender age of 14. While hunting around Sikri his curiosity was aroused by the songs of some minstrels about the celebrated Khwaja -Mu'inu'd-din Chisti, the founder of the Chisti order of SUFIS. Akbar, who was without a male heir heard about Saint Salim Chisti and visited him in the year 1568. The saint blessed him with 3 sons and in gratitude Akbar ordered the great mosque of Fatehpur Sikri built under his supervision. As a mark of respect to the saint, Akbar shifted his capital to Fatehpur Sikri and built various secular buildings like the Diwan -I-Am, Diwan-I-Khas, Jodhabai palace, Birbal's house, Marian's house and the Panchmahal.

Reach Agra and check into the hotel.

AGRA Tour: Two great Mughal monarchs, Akbar and Shah Jahan, transformed the little village of Agra into a befitting second capital of the Mughal Empire - giving it the name Dar-ul-Khilafat {seat of the Emperor}. Today a visitor to Agra is caught up in a world of contrasting edifices, of red sandstone and white marble, narrow galleys and quaint buggies, and that irresistible charm that this favorite city of the Mughals still retains. It is not surprising, that modern Agra still reflects its Mughal heritage most conspicuously.

Overnight will be at Agra.

Day 19 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Trip to Agra

After breakfast proceed for sightseeing.

Enjoy battery van ride to the Taj Mahal.

TAJ MAHAL: Little needs to be said about this architectural wonder which is always the soul raison-de-etre for every tourist's visit to Agra. Built by Shah Jahan, the Taj is a white marble memorial to his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. This monument took 22 years to be completed and was designed, and planned by Persian architect Ustad Isa. Apart from its stunning design balance and perfect symmetry, the Taj is also noted particularly for its elegant domes, intricately carved screens and some of the best inlay work ever seen.

AGRA FORT - Built by the famed Mughal emperor Akbar in 1565 AD, the fort is predominantly of red sandstone. Ensconced within is the picture perfect Pearl Mosque, which is a major tourist attraction.

After Agra Fort we will visit BABY TAJ – The interiors of which are considered better than the Taj.

Overnight stay will be on board.

Day 20 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Agra to Delhi Trip by Road

By Road 200 Kms / 4.5 hrs

Post breakfast proceeds for Delhi.

Reach and check – in at hotel.

Later in the day proceeds for visit of Akashardham Temple.

In the evening enjoy the FAREWELL DINNER hosted by COMPASS.

Overnight will be in Delhi.

Day 21 of Exotic Rajasthan with Desert Festival

Delhi – Home

Enjoy breakfast in the hotel.

Proceed to the international airport as per the flight timings back home with sweet memories of India.

TOUR ENDS

THE TOUR INCLUDES :

  • ACCOMMODATION AT MENTIONED HOTELS,
  • SIGHTSEEING TOURS AS MENTIONED IN THE ITINERARY,
  • PRIVATE AC COACH WITH ENGLISH SPEAKING DRIVER,
  • ENGLISH SPEAKING ESCORT FOR ALL MENTIONED TOURS,
  • ASSISTANCE AT THE AIRPORTS ON ARRIVAL / DEPARTURE,
  • ASSISTANCE AT STATION ON DEPARTURE AND ARRIVAL,
  • BUFFET BREAKFAST, LUNCH and DINNER,
  • MONUMENT ENTRANCES,
  • DESERT FESTIVAL CELEBRATIONS AT JAISALMER,
  • RICKSHAW RIDE AT OLD DELHI,
  • CAMEL DESERT SAFARI WITH DINNER,
  • VILLAGE VISIT IN JODHPUR,
  • BOAT RIDE IN UDAIPUR,
  • CAMEL CART RIDE IN SAMODE,
  • SHARED SAFARIS IN RANTHAMBHORE,
  • NATIONAL PARK ENTRANCES,
  • ELEPHANT RIDE AT AMER FORT – JAIPUR,
  • HORSE CART RIDE TO TAJ MAHAL IN AGRA,
  • THEATRE SHOW IN AGRA,
  • FAREWELL DINNER,
  • ALL EXCURSIONS AS MENTIONED,
  • ALL APPLICABLE TAXES AND SERVICE CHARGES AND
  • ALL ROAD TAXES, GOVERNMENT TAXES AND DRIVER ALLOWANCES.
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