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North India Delight Tour Package begins with an arrival in Delhi, meeting and traditional Welcome with garlands. Our representative would guide you to your luxury car, and, during the ride to your hotel, would introduce India and your tour to you. Welcome to India, or as we say ‘atithi devo bhava’ (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you !
Upon arrival at the hotel, our representatives organize your check in, – ‘Namaste’ and welcome to India!
Overnight will be in Delhi.
Following rest & relax, we proceed on a guided tour of New Delhi, Visiting such sights as Bahai Temple, Humayun’s Tomb (1586) , the Qutab Minar 72 meters high and one of the most perfect towers in the Persian world. The Iron Pillar which has survived the vagaries of weather for over 1500 years. Continue with a drive through Embassy area, the Government buildings (1921-1930) and Connaught Place, the heart and main shopping district of the capital.
We cross the city and into the walled gates of the Old Delhi. The capital of Muslim India between the 17th and 19th centuries, Old Delhi seems somewhat anachronistic as compared to New Delhi. It draws one through congested roads and lanes, interesting mosques, monuments and forts relating to its chequered history. Our tour includes visits to the Jamma Mosque (1650) and drive through the fabled area of Chandni Chowk (aptly translates to Moonlight Square) where the throngs of shoppers and vendors meet in the oldest area of Delhi, on to the Red Fort (1639-1648 built by Shah Jehan the builder of the Taj Mahal in Agra) to view the inlaid and carved Royal Chambers, on to Raj Ghat and nearby ghats where the founder of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi and thereafter Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were cremated.
The highlight of this tour would be a ride on cycle rickshaws. Now these are 3-wheel cycles with a sofa seat at the back. The Rickshawalla (Rickshaw driver) sits on a small cushion in the front and two passengers on the sofa seat behind. This is a remarkable way to explore and picture the hustle and bustle as well as the colour of the narrow winding streets bursting with people and pavement shops selling wares of all description – including a laughing set of dentures. The ride would be accompanied by peals of laughter both from the passengers as well as the onlookers.
Overnight will be in Delhi.
Following leisurely breakfast, we visit Dilli Haat, a project conceived with the basic idea of providing encouragement and exposure to needy artisans and craftsmen all over the country who often spend their lives within the confines of their own village and town. The success of the project lied in freeing the craftsman and the artisan from the stranglehold of the middlemen and bringing them into direct contact with buyers both within the country and outside. Dilli Haat offers the visitor not only the arts and handicrafts of the country at one place, but also the cuisine and performing arts from different parts of the country.
While developing the concept, it was kept in mind that when a ‘Haat’ comes to the city, it has to adjust to urban contemporary needs while retaining the cultural ambience familiar to rural crafts people.
Later in the evening, transfer to the train station to board RAJDHANI EXPRESS for an overnight journey to Ahmedabad. Accommodation in air-conditioned cabins accompanied by blankets, sheets and pillows.
Overnight: – 2 Tier Airconditioned Sleeper Accomodation.
Ahemedabad / Dungarpur (125 Kms)
Meeting & assistance upon arrival and drive to Dungarpur.
Upon arrival check into the Udai Bilas Palace. The history of Udai Bilas Palace, Dungarpur, Rajasthan dates from the mid-19th century, when Maharawal Udai Singhji-II, a great patron of art and architecture built a wing of bluish grey local stone ” Pareva” overlooking the lake and the ” Ek Thambia Mahal,” featuring intricate sculptured pillars and panels, ornate balconies, balustrades, bracketed windows, arches and frieze of marble carvings, a veritable marvel of Rajput architecture. The Udai Bilas Palace was enlarged in 1940 by Maharawal Laxman Singhji, who built three new wings around the ” Ek Thambia Mahal” (Literally one- pillared Palace) and thus created the famous ” courtyard of the palace.
The result is an architectural expression exquisitely detailed. Still the royal residence, the Palace offers accommodation in the houseguest tradition with seventeen spacious and lavishly appointed bedrooms. No two rooms are alike; each room enchants with its own personality, spaciousness and modern comforts and offers a unique experience. The Furnishings are mostly from the 20th century art-deco style, marble bathrooms with English fixtures and running hot and cold water. Meals are served either in the banquet hall, which displays crystal chandeliers, or in the more intimate family dining room. Continental or Chinese dishes are also served.
Overnight will be in Ahmedabad.
The district is the stronghold of Bheels, a tribe whose history of occupancy in the Aravalli Range is said to date back to 4000 B.C. They are one of the oldest and most primitive tribes of the world. This morning we will visit some of these unspoiled Bheel hamlets in and around the town. We will witness and photograph age-old tribal lifestyles and customs handed down over the centuries. You would have an opportunity to meet villagers who have never seen white people!! Say hello to people, allow them to get used to you and then, you may go ahead with your pictures. You would soon end up as the pied piper followed by scores of noisy and happy children!!!
We return to our hotel by mid morning to enjoy the destination at leisure. Udai Bilas Palace is a round-the-year paradise for bird watchers. The cooler months from mid October to February are the best to see winter migratory birds when birds can be observed in attractive plumage. One can see from the Palace itself at remarkably close range egrets, night and pond herons, white necked and painted storks, coots and winter or resident ducks among others, depending on the season of your visit. Birds are also plentiful in the surrounding wood lands where one can hope to see the Grey Hornbill, Gray Partridge, Green Pigeon, Peafowl, Peacocks, Paradise fly-catcher and the Golden backed woodpecker, to name a few representative species. You may proceed on a leisurely walk around the lake or heir boat for a special boat trip on the lake as well as a gentle trek through the forests so that the nature lover in you is able to enjoy the beauty of the place and are able to get a close look at the bird life.
Late afternoon we visit the ancient fortified ruins of the Old Fort. Besides fine panoramic view of the ancient town of Dungarpur the fort has well preserved examples of natural colour paintings and incredible art and architecture.
Overnight will be in Dungarpur.
Following breakfast, we drive to Udaipur. Royal capital of a divine dynasty. Languid Lake City, strewn with marble palaces, hibiscus – massed gardens, fountain pavilions, and cobbled medieval gardens.
Welcome to Udaipur, the famed “City of sunrise “. Founded in 1567 by Maharana Udai Singh, from the lineage of the legendary Sisodias of Mewar – the decedents of the sun God. A city where the sun truly never set, where tradition and a strict code of heroism were happily united with a love of fine living. A city that has come to be an oasis of romance in the warrior state of Rajasthan.
Upon arrival check into your hotel Shikarbadi, Originally a hunting lodge frequented by the royalty of Mewar, this Royal Retreat, is set amidst the serene, wooded Aravalis. For wildlife and adventure buffs, there is a licensed Deer Park and also a provision for horseback excursions into the sanctuary and the Aravali hills where one can spot deer, antelope, wild boar, monkey and the nilgai.
Afternoon, we proceed on a tour f this “Lake City”. Udaipur is a cool oasis in the dry heart of Rajasthan. It is probably the most romantic city in a state where every city has some romantic or exotic tale to tell. The huge city palace towering over the Lake Pichola is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. Though it is a conglomeration of buildings built by successive rulers, it manages to retain a surprising uniformity of design and affords very fine view of the lake and the city from the upper terraces. The Jagadish temple next to the city palace enshrines a black stone image of Lord Vishnu and his vehicle- a mighty bird called garuda – in a brass image. The temple is a very fine example of Indo-Aryan Art.
Evening we take a boat cruise on the serene and beautiful Lake Pichola. The island palace on the Lake called Jagmandir Palace is quite fascinating. The Palace provided inspirations and ideas to the builder of the Taj Mahal. The banks of the lake provide interesting glimpses of the daily bathing and the laundry that takes place here. Looking across the lake, with the city and its great palace rising up behind the island palace, is a scene of rare beauty.
Overnight will be in Udaipur.
After breakfast, we ride out to Rohet. Upon arrival check into the Rohetgarh fort.
At Rohet, one is transported in to a world of the past, a world of honour and of chivalry, of glory and of pride; a world of vibrant colours and spectacular magnificence. Past centuries come to life at the historic boundary walls of Rohet- the 16th century fortified deserted home of a Rajput clan. Within the precincts of these time weathered walls is our hotel, the impressive Rohetgarh Fort- a bastion of proud Rajput traditions bathed in the ambience of unmistakable Rajasthani culture where one can, even today experience the famed warm and courteous Rajput hospitality. Frescoes on the tall gateway, brightly painted in the traditional style, using traditional motifs and colour schemes herald your entry to this charmed world the bygone era. The gateway leads to a compound where a profusion of flowers frame the archways in welcome.
The portico is a warm and informal place decorated with the artifacts and trophies of many years. Exquisitely carved furniture, delicate hand block prints, original paintings and photographs decorate your rooms, which though redolent with the romance of a bygone era, provide all the modern amenities. Antique hunting riffles, shields & spearheads, daggers and original paintings form the backdrop of the dinning room. The swimming pool here is in beautiful settings and is an oasis in a dessert. The food at Rohetgarh is special; each recipe is both traditional and typical, handed down the generations and jealously guarded to retain its pristine flavours. You savour only the very best of Rajasthani cuisine’s, food favoured by the Royalty. The 16th century descendants of the Rathore ruling family still live here and host the guests. The members of the Royal family interact with the guests and interesting stories and anecdotes are narrated.
Late afternoon, we would explore Rohet, which is a fascinating small feudal town, which seems to be straight out of the Arabian Nights. There is no proper road here – only one main dust trail. On either side are typical thatched houses and shops of all kinds – colourful bangles, silver jewellery, potters, fruit vendors on carts, dress shops, tailors etc.
As evening descends upon our hotel, the darkness of the night is lit up by the flickering flames of fire around which the rhythmic movements of the folk dancers assumes shape in brilliant colours; truly an electrifying experience
Overnight will be in Rohet.
This morning we enjoy jeep safaris to visit the heart of Rajasthan villages where traditions centuries old still permeate life styles. One can witness the ‘opium ceremony’ – a ritual by which guests are welcomed. Gaily attired men and women carry on their chores and one can catch a glimpse of their norms and customs. The smoothened mud floors of the village huts remind one of the simple and traditional living here
Following Safari, we drive to Jodhpur. Upon arrival, check into the legendary Ajit Bhawan Hotel, Set in the serene desert of Rajasthan, this hotel stands as an oasis of hospitality and warm Rajput charm. Built exclusively for Maharaja Sir Ajit Singh, it is vibrantly alive with the personalized hospitality provided by the late Maharaja’s family who still live there. The doors of this truly traditional yet subtlety contemporary estate is open to you and offers you Old World elegance, with the modern comforts of a classic heritage hotel and the essence of being a guest of the Maharaj’s family.
After lunch, proceed on a guided tour of Jodhpur. Our tour includes the massive fort. In olden days this must have been impregnable since its rocky base is scraped straight down making it nearly impossible to ascend. Once inside, royal palaces abound with fascinating history and priceless jewels, on to the armoury and Jaswant Tara – the Royal Crematorium.
Later, we would ride horse carriages to the Clock Tower Bazaar. This is one of India’s largest and most colourful wholesale markets especially with respect to clothes, fabrics, spices, vegetables etc.
Overnight will be in Jodhpur.
Following breakfast, we ride to Jaipur. In a land steeped with heritage, picturesque with exquisite architecture, in a state vibrant with heroic memories and romance, lies the dream city of Jaipur. The people are dynamic, martial and, need we say it, colourful. Here every walk through the by lanes is a walk through history. Indeed, Jaipur could be compared to a vast open-air museum. Pink turbans jostle with saffron ‘odhinis’ (ladies scarves). Camel’s buggies and elephants are as commonly found as motorcars and buses.
Upon arrival, check in to Hotel. Evening is designed for escorted walks with our guide in Jaipur’s shady animated streets – or for independent discovery. The city is best explored on foot and only the inquisitive visitor willing to go into the rastaas (streets) and galis (lanes) will feel the spirit of the city. Jaipur’s colorful bazaars tantalize the eye with enameled blue pottery, exquisite gem-studded jewelry, engraved brass work, traditional block-printed fabrics and brightly patterned dhurrie rugs together with traditional crafts and miniature painting.
Overnight will be in Jaipur.
This morning we visit Amber Fort, the former capital of the royal Jaipur. Few fail to be moved by the dramatic Rajput grandeur of this hilltop fortress-palace 11 km north of Jaipur. Set on the dry wrinkled Aravali Hills, and surrounded by fortified battlements, the palace straddles two sepia-hued tundra hills overlooking Maota Lake, and its sprawling crenellated walls lattice the surrounding hills.
Afternoon, a tour Of City Palace & Observatory. The City Palace in the heart of the old city is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The centre of the palace is a seven-storied building called Chandra Palace, with fine vies over the gardens and the city. The palace lies in the heart of the city and occupies the whole central grid. The fortified wall has seven gates and was built for protection from invading armies and animals that lived in jungles which surrounded the wall that time. Next, we visit the Solar Observatory – an astronomical treasure house, with solar device that give accurate predictions till date.
Overnight will be in Jaipur.
Following breakfast, we drive to Fatehpur Sikri for a guided tour. This abandoned capital of the Mughals is a perfectly preserved city at the height of the empire’s splendour. The city divided into religious and secular parts has interesting well-sculpted buildings.
From here we continue riding to Agra. Upon arrival check into hotel Holiday Inn, lies in the heart of this fascinating city, allowing you to explore and witness the ambience of this historically beautiful city as well as the romance of the Taj Mahal and the elegance of emperor Akbar’s Fatehpur Sikri.
Overnight will be in Agra.
Agra is the city of the Taj Mahal, perhaps the most photographed monument in the world. However, there is a degree of enigma about the Taj. Once you hear about a building so much and once you see so many pictures of a building your expectations are real high; and this is the enigma about the Taj Mahal. No matter how many pictures you have seen or no matter how high your expectations are, the Taj never lets you down – the unparalleled glory and beauty of the building surpasses beyond all human imaginations. At sun rise we visit the Taj Mahal to witness this spectacular monument built for love. Besides perfect symmetry in every aspect of its construction, the inlay work of semi precious stones into marble in pietra dura style is absolutely remarkable.
Following leisurely breakfast, we ride to the massive Agra Fort. The elegant buildings inside reflect an interesting synthesis of Hindu and Central Asian architectural styles. Built by Emperor Akbar, the maze of the courtyards, mosques & private chambers of the fort echo the story of the Mughal Empire. The Moti Masjid & other magnificent buildings reflect the skill of the ancient Indian architects.
Later in the evening we are transferred to the train station for an overnight train ride to Varanasi.
Overnight : Airconditioned sleeper accommodation (accompanied by blankets, sheets and pillows).
Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to Hotel Pallavi International, which has witnessed a transformation from being a home for salvation of the rulers of Hathwa Raj of Bihar in the 19th century, to a classified Hotel where one can enjoy all the trappings of the former royalties. The Hotel p romises to its visitors the twin advantage of a princely grandeur topped with the princely laidback lifestyle. The Palace retains all the paraphernalia of a royal abode like the Durbar hall, sepoy lines, mahavathkhana and so forth.
Varanasi is quite possibly the world’s oldest living city. Religious artifacts link it to the sixth century BC Said to be founded by Shiva, Varanasi’s Vedic affiliation goes back to the beginning of time. It is also a city of many names. The present name, Varanasi (derived from the names of two nearby rivers) is mentioned in the Mahabharata. The ancient name is Kashi, the City of Light. To the devout it is also called Kashika, the shining one, referring to the light of Shiva. Many others prefer the anglicized Benares. Revered by Hindus, Buddhists and Jain alike, Varanasi is considered the holiest city in all of India. It is presided over by Shiva in his manifestation as Vishwanatha, Lord of the Universe. Buddha delivered a sermon in nearby Sarnath and Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, lived in Varanasi. As a result, more Indians will make a pilgrimage to Varanasi in their lifetime than any other place.
On your agenda this afternoon are several temples and the Hindu University at Benares. First stop would be the Bharat Mata (temple of Mother India). Inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi, it features a huge marble map of India on the ground floor. Next up, the Durga Temple. Known for its bright red color and the playful, if sometimes aggressive, monkeys that run amok there, the Durga Temple is one of the most imposing architectural monuments in Varanasi.
The university, which occupies a large piece of land at the southern end of town, is also home to the New Vishwanatha Temple. The New Temple is modern in design and open to Hindus and non-Hindus alike. Surrounded by palm trees, it is a splendid white marble structure that shines in the afternoon sun against a pale blue sky. Inside, the temple is spacious and airy. The interior walls are covered with Vedic art above inscriptions from the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads. In the center of the first floor is the Shiva linga.
This evening we take a short trip to the Buddhist city of Sarnath .It is here that the Buddha preached his first sermons after attaining enlightenment. The highlight of this tour would be a participation in the evening prayer service (aarti) of the main Buddhist temple here – the synchronized chanting of hymns to the accompaniment of traditional temple music is a sole stirring experience.
Overnight will be in Varanasi.
At dawn we visit the sacred Ganges for a boat ride. Every morning at dawn hundreds of worshippers can be seen bathing in the sacred waters. The great river banks are lined with an endless chain of stone steps-the ghats-that stretch from one end of the city to the other. The Ghats form an impressive part of the religious landscape of the city. Proceeding downstream at a leisurely pace, you would be pointed out the significant temples and buildings as well as the changing architectural style. Life and death go hand in hand in Varanasi. While young people seek prosperity and protection from harmful influences, the older generation comes to Varanasi to cleanse their souls in the forgiving waters in preparation for their ultimate dissolution.
Believing that anyone who dies in the river of life in Varanasi gains freedom from the cycle of birth and death, the City of Light has become a haven for the sick and aged waiting out their final days. The smoke that billows from the crematoriums on the edge of the river gives testimony to their final release from life’s earthly confines. We would docked our boat at Manikarnika (Cremation) Ghat. On any given day, anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred corpses are cremated here; the ghat is assiduous with activity as the cremated bodies threw up smoke and fire.
Following the boat ride we set off on foot to explore the inner city. Through a twisted maze of narrow alleys, home to numerous shrines and pilgrim shops, we walk back a few centuries. Life here has stood still for years. The homes, the shops and even the cattle have not changed over the centuries. It is a brilliant nostalgic experience of timelessness!
Afternoon, transfer to air port to connect the Delhi flight. Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to Hotel.
A Home Visit & A Farewell Dinner: This evening we visit an Indian family for an Indian home experience. The evening is designed to give you a ‘feel’ and insight into Indian family life as well as experience typical Indian hospitality and home made Indian food
Overnight will be in Delhi.
Transfer to the international airport for your onward flight back home.