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Welcome to India and the start of your holiday! Arrive Delhi, included transfer to hotel.
This morning, we’ll then enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi including the Red Fort (closed Mondays), Jama Masjid, Raj Ghat, Qutub Minar, Humayun's Tomb and Lutyen's buildings. Tonight, we enjoy a Namaste Dinner at an Indian restaurant.
This morning we drive to Jaipur, affectionately known as the Pink City as Maharaja Ram Singh had all of the Old City painted a welcoming pink in 1876 to herald a visit by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), it is also the bustling capital of the state of Rajasthan. The state of Rajasthan emerged after Partition from a mosaic of 22 feudal kingdoms, known in the British era as Rajputana, ‘Land of Kings’. We enjoy a tour of the City Palace and Jantar Mantar - an old yet cleverly designed space observatory adn Hawa Mahal.
We travel beyond Jaipur to the stunning 16th century Amber Fort - a sprawling Rajput concoction which hugs the hill on which it was built and overlooks the hot plains below. We enjoy a stately elephant ride (subject to elephant availability and government regulations) to the fort proper and tour the fort’s well-preserved interior and grounds. Back in Jaipur, enjoy the remains of the day your way. Jaipur is sensational for shopping. Keep your eyes peeled for colourful papîer mache puppets and traditional jootis - the Rajasthani shoe of choice.
Our first stop is Chand Baori, a famous 9th century step well in the village Abhaneri. Then we drive to the small rural village of Perharsar, walking the dusty village lanes we gain an insight into local life and traditions. If open, we can visit the village school where we operate our ‘Change for Children’ programme and stop in on a charming haveli (mansion house). After hotel check in at Bharatpur and time to freshen up we visit Keoladeo Ghana National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, Keoladeo’s 29 sq.km of swamps and lakes constitute one of the most important breeding and migratory areas in the world. We will enjoy a leisurely bicycle rickshaw ride through the park.
En route to Agra, we visit Fatehpur Sikri, former imperial capital of the great Mughal emperor Akbar. In Agra, we visit the impressive Agra Fort before touring the the legendary Taj Mahal (closed Fridays) and witnessing a spectactular golden sunset. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, who tragically died in childbirth in 1631, the Taj Mahal in Agra is described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love and remains one of India’s most enduring symbols. Constructed entirely of white marble and inlaid with semi-precious stones, the Taj Mahal has no peer.
Today, we travel by express train to Jhansi and drive onward to Orchha. Situated on the banks of the River Betwa, Orchha is set amongst a wonderful complex of well-preserved 16th century temples and palaces. Enjoy an afternoon sightseeing.
Travelling south-east, we arrive in Khajuraho - home of the resplendent Hindu temples which were built during the Chandela dynasty over a 100 year burst of creative genius from 950-1050 AD. Immortalised in stone, the carved temples display exceedingly artistic aspects of Indian life a millennium ago. Famed above all for their delicate sensuality and forthright eroticism, how and why they were built still remains a mystery. Though we won’t be able to dispel the mystery, we’ve plenty of time to see the temples including the various acts from the famous Kamasutra depicted on these monolithic temples for ourselves!
Free morning. his afternoon we bid farewell to Khajuraho and fly east to Varanasi. Perhaps the holiest city in India; Varanasi, also known as Benares or the city of Shiva, is also one of the oldest cities on earth. Sitting on the banks of the holy River Ganges, it has been a centre of learning and civilisation for more than 2000 years and is a place of Hindu pilgrimage.
This morning, we enjoy a sunrise boat ride on the holy Ganges where we’ll view the ancient religious tradition of ritual cleansing that takes place on the many riverbank ghats (riverside steps). Later, we embark on a tour of the city. At sunset we re-visiting the ghats for the evening pilgramage, remarkably different from the dawn ritual.
Today, take the opportunity to further explore this vibrant city at leisure. Early evening we return to Delhi by comfortable overnight train.
Breakfast upon arrival and hotel check in. Today is a chance to further explore the city at your leisure or a chance to pick up those last minute souvenirs.
Hotel check out and included onward departure transfer to airport. Happy Travels!
A flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture and a firm favourite on tourist itineraries as the third corner of India’s ‘Golden ...