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Cultural Tour Rajasthan

Tour Duration: 14 Nights / 15 Days
Destinations Covered: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur - Pushkar - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jaisalmer - Bikaner - Mandawa - Delhi - Delhi

Day 01 - Arrive Delhi.
Met at the airport and transfer to HOTEL for overnight stay.

Day 02- At Delhi.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel commence combined sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi. Overnight stay at the Hotel.

Tour of Delhi : Red Fort - The red sand stone walls of Lal Quila, the Red Fort extend for 2 km and vary in height from 18m on the river side to 33m on the city side. Shah Jahan started construction of the massive fort in 1638 and it was completed in 1648. The Red Fort dates from the peak of Mughal power. The Mughal reign from Delhi was a short one. Aurangzeb was the first and the last emperor to rule from here. Jama Masjid- the Great Mosque of Old Delhi was both the largest and the final architectural extravagance of Shah Jahan. Begun in 1644, the mosque was not completed until 1658. It has three gateways, four angle towers and two minarets standing 40m (133ft) high constructed of alternating vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble. The courtyard of the mosque can hold 25,000 people. Take a rickshaw ride to Chandni Chowk - the main street of Old Delhi - the colourful shopping bazaar just opposite the Red Fort and visit Raj Ghat - the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi after his assassination in 1948.

Sightseeing tour of New Delhi visiting Qutab Minar – 234 feet high tower. The Qutab Minar itself is a soaring tower of victory that was started in 1193, immediately after the defeat of the last Hindu kingdom in Delhi. It is nearly 73m(243ft) high and tapers from a 15m(50ft) diameter base to just 2.5m(9ft) at the top. The tower has five distinct storeys, each marked by a projecting balcony. The first three storeys are made of red sandstone, the fourth and the fifth of marble & sandstone. Also visit the Tomb of Mughal Emperor Humayun. Built in the mid-16th century by Haji Begum, the Persian-born senior wife of Humayun, the second Mughal emperor, this is a wonderful early example of Mughal architecture. The elements in its design – a squat building, high arched entrances that let in light, topped by a bulbous dome and surrounded by formal gardens – were to be refined over the years to the magnificence of the Taj Mahal in Agra. Drive past India Gate (War Memorial), President’s House, which was once the Viceroy’s Palace, Parliament House and Secretariat buildings.

Day 03 – Delhi / Agra – Taj Mahal will remain closed on Fridays
Morning after relaxed breakfast at the hotel proceed to Agra to reach in around 4 hours time. Arrive and check in at the hotel.

Afternoon the world famous Taj Mahal built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, whose death in childbirth in 1631 left the Emperor so heartbroken that his hair is said to have turned gray overnight. Construction of the Taj, begun in the same year, was not completed until 1653. In total 20,000 people from India and Central Asia worked on the building. The Taj Mahal is like a silent rhapsody that you will carry in your heartLater proceed to visit Agra Fort, constructed by Emperor Akbar in 1695 on the banks of the Yamuna River. Initially the fort was a military structure, but during Shah Jahan’s reign it had partially become a palace.

Day 04 – Agra / Jaipur – Drive – 5 hours
Morning after breakfast at the hotel proceed to Jaipur to reach in around 5 hours time enroute visiting Fatehpur Sikri 40 kms (25 miles) before Agra - a cultural and imperial capital conceived and built by Emperor Akbar in 1569 and later abandoned due to scarcity of water. See the graceful buildings within the city including Jama Masjid, Tomb of Salim Chisti and Panch Mahal.

Day 05 - At Jaipur.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel visit Hawa Mahal - which was constructed in 1799, the Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds, is one of Jaipur’s major landmarks, although it is actually little more than a façade. This five storey building, which overlooks the main street of the bustling old city, is a stunning example of Rajput artistry with its pink, delicately honeycombed sandstone windows. Later proceed to Amber Fort - the ancient capital of the state until 1728. The fort is a superb example of Rajput architecture, stunningly situated on a hillside and overlooking a lake, which reflects its terraces and ramparts. Visit the Jagmandir of the Hall of Victory glittering with mirrors, Jai Mahal and the Temple of Kali. You ride up to the ramp of this 11th Century Bastion atop a gaily decorated elephant.

Afternoon City sightseeing tour includes Maharaja’s City Palace - which occupies a large area divided into a series of courtyards, gardens and buildings. The outer wall was built by Jai Singh, but other additions are much more recent, some dating from the start of this century. Today, the palace is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The palace now houses a museum containing rare manuscripts, fine specimens of Rajput and Mughal paintings and weapons. Also visit Jantar Mantar- an observatory, next to the entrance of the City Palace, begun by Jai Singh in 1728. Jai Singh’s passion for astronomy was even more notable than his prowess as warrior and before commencing construction, he sent scholars abroad to study foreign observatories. Jantar Mantar appears to be just a curious collection of sculptures but in fact each construction has a specific purpose, such as measuring the positions of stars, altitudes and azimuths and calculating eclipses.

Day 06 – Jaipur / Pushkar – Drive 3 hours
Solang ValleyMorning after breakfast at the hotel travel to Pushkar and check in at HOTEL Tented camp on arrival. Afternoon visit to the Cattle fair ground to witness live trading of cattles. Lunch, Dinner and overnight at the camp.

Pushkar : Located just 11 kms from Ajmer, the holy lake of Pushkar is believed to have been created by Lord Brahma himself. It is as important as Benaras or Puri. Devout Hindus believe that it is essential to visit Pushkar at least once in their lifetime. No pilgrimage is considered complete without a dip in the holy Pushkar lake. Pushkar has as many as 400 temples and 52 ghats and the only temple in the country that is dedicated to Brahama is to be found here. While Pushkar is a heaven for the religiously inclined, it is also the venue of one of the country's most colorful cattle fairs - the Pushkar Fair and you are traveling during Pushkar fair time.

Afternoon City tour of Pushkar - Pushkar boasts temples, though few are as ancient as you might expect at such an important pilgrimage site, since many were deserted by Aurangzeb and subsequently rebuilt. The most famous is the Brahma Temple, said to be one of the few temples in the world dedicated to this deity. It's marked by red spire, and over the entrance gateway is the hans, or goose symbol, of Brahma, who is said to have personally chosen Pushkar as its site.

Day 07 – Pushkar to Udaipur
Morning after breakfast at the camp proceed to Udaipur in around 5 hours time and check in at the hotel on arrival. Afternoon free to relax or explore this city of lakes. Overnight at the hotel.

City tour of Udaipur ‑ the romantic Lake City in Southern Rajasthan, famous for the stunning white marble Palace built on an island in the Lake Pichola. It was the former Palace of the Maharana and now converted to one of the most glamorous hotels in India.

Day 08 – At Udaipur
Morning tour of Udaipur city. The t our will cover the magnificent City Palace, the Jagdish temple, the pleasure gardens and a drive around the other nearby lakes. Afternoon explore this city of lakes on your own.  Overnight at the hotel.

Day 09 – Udaipur to Jodhpur – 5 hours
Morning after breakfast at the hotel proceed to Jodhpur. On the way stop to visit Ranakpur Jain Complex
Ranakpur - The Ranakpur Jain Temple was built during the reign of the liberal and gifted Rajput monarch Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. The basement is of 48,000 sq. feet area that covers the whole complex. There are four subsidiary shrines, twenty-four pillared halls and domes supported by over four hundred columns. The total number of columns is 1,444 all of which are intricately carved with no two being alike. The artistically carved nymphs playing the flute in various dance postures at a height of 45 feet are an interesting sight. In the assembly hall, there are two big bells weighing 108 kg whose sound echoes in the entire complex. The main temple is a Chaumukh or a four-faced temple dedicated to Adinath.
The three other Jain temples in the same complex, including a temple of the Sun God, are all well worth a visit. One kilometer away from the temple complex is the temple of Amba Mata.

Check in at the hotel on arrival. Afternoon tour of Jodhpur which will include a visit to the Mehrangarh Fort set on the top of the hill, Jaswanth Thada and a visit to the local market. Overnight at the hotel.

Jodhpur : While the graceful palaces , forts and temples strewn throughout the city bring alive the historic grandeur, exquisite handicrafts , folk dances music and the brightly attired people lend a romantic aura to the city. The jumble of wide winding streets are flanked with pavement stalls. The lifestyle in jodhpur is unusually fascinating with folks wearing lovely multihued costumes, artistically designed. Women folk wear wide gathered skirts and a hip length jacket, with three quarter length sleeves , covering the front and back. The colorful turbans worn by the men folk add more color to the city . It was from here that the popularity worn baggy - tight, horse riding trousers - 'Jodhpurs', took their name.

Day 10 – Jodhpur / Jaisalmer – Drive 5 hours
Morning after breakfast at the hotel drive to Jaisalmer and check in at HOTEL. Rest of the time free to relax from long journey. Evening visit the Royal Cenotaphs famous for sunset view over entire Jaisalmer Town Overnight at the hotel.

Day 11 – At Jaisalmer
Post breakfast visit to the Jaisal Fort with visit to various Mansions at leisure.
Jaisalmer : The life within the citadel conjures up images of medieval majesty visible in its narrow lanes stewn with magnificent palace, havelis, temples and of course skilled artisans and ubiquitous camels. Folk dances, exciting competitions an contests, especially the turban-tying contest. Mr. Desert contest and camel races enliven the festivities.

Afternoon proceed to Sam Sand Dunes (1 hour) and check in at the swiss cottages camp on arrival.
Evening at board your waiting camels for Sunset view in the dunes. Sand Dunes : No trip to Jaisalmer is complete without a trip to the most picturesque dunes of Sam. The ripples on the wind -caressed dunes, that create an enchanting mirage, are surely a delight for a trigger -happy photographer.

Your evening will be entertained by folk music, camp fire. Buffet dinner and overnight at the Camp.

Day 12 – Jaisalmer / Bikaner - Drive - 7 hours
Morning after breakfast at the camp proceed to reach Bikaner. Arrive and check in at the hotel.
Afternoon commence sight seeing tour of Bikaner covering Junagarh Fort – constructed between 1588 and 1593 by Raja Rai Singh, Bandh Sagar Temple – The 16th century Jain temple, Camel Breeding Farm – a unique experience where you can ride on a camel & have perhaps the first taste of camel’s milk. Later in the evening take an excursion tour to Deshnok Temple situated in semi desert village at a distance of 30 kms, this place is famous for Karnimata Temple where you will see thousands of rats roaming freely in the temple complex and are held sacred. Overnight at hotel at Bikaner.

Day 13 – Bikaner to Mandawa
Morning after breakfast at the hotel proceed to Mandawa in around 4 hours time and check in at the hotel on arrival. Mandawa is in Shekhavati region which is also know as “ open air art gallery of Rajasthan. The region known for it’s splendid painted "Havelis" or merchant’s mansions decorated with superb mural frescos. Check in at hotel on arrival.
In the afternoon visit of the Shekhawati to see different Havelis with fascinating murals each better than the other, built by the wealthy Rajasthani merchants ("Marwaris") in the 19th Century.

Solang ValleyDay 14 – Mandawa to Delhi – drive 6 hours
Morning after breakfast at the hotel proceed to Delhi and check in at the hotel. Afternoon free for independent activities or last minute shopping. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 15 – Depart Delhi
Transfer to the airport in time to board flight for your onward destination.

Bon voyages.

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DISCOVERY FULL CIRCLE TOURS
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