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Highlights: Welcome to Delhi and see some glorious architectural remains left behind by Mughal builders apart from other heritage monuments. See the Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb and the Bahai Temple on a tour of Delhi with The Crowning Glory Tour of India; travel to Udaipur as a part of The Crowning Glory Tour of India and see monuments such as the Jagdish Temple, Saheliyon Ki Bari, City Palace Complex, Jag Mandir Palace, Lake Palace and other such monumental grandeur – all with The Crowning Glory Tour of India and Destinations India; see the Jain Temples of Ranakpur and tour the spectacular Rohetgarh Fort on a tour of Rajasthan with The Crowning Glory Tour of India; visit the Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada and Sadar Bazaar in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India with Destinations India tour packages; Jaipur enchants you with its royal fortresses and monumental grandeur.
Tour the Amber Fort, Jaigarh Fort and Nahargarh Fort in Jaipur Rajasthan India; see the Buland Darwaza, Jama Masjid and the Dargah of Salim Chisti apart from several other palatial structures located within the Fatehpur Sikri enclosure; tour the exotic temples of Khajuraho and enjoy splendorous India with The crowning Glory of India tour and Destinations India. Designed to introduce you to spectacular India – The Crowning Glory Tour of India offers you an opportunity to rediscover magical India – an orchestration of cultural grandeur.
Late night arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car. Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents 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! Overnight: The Connaught – Four Star Down Town Hotel (Standard Room)
Following a leisurely breakfast, 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.
Afternoon, we cross over to 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 visit 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: The Connaught – Four Star Down Town Hotel (Standard Room)
Early this morning you are transferred to the airport for your flight to Udaipur.
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.
Meeting and assistance upon arrival and check into your hotel Jagat Niwas, a modern heritage hotel replete with character and charm, besides all comforts discerning tourists would seek.
Following a rest and relaxation, we proceed on a tour of 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: Jagat Niwas Palace – (Deluxe Lake View room)
Following breakfast we ride to Rohet, enroute we visit Ranakpur The Ranakpur Jain Temple was built during the reign of the liberal and gifted 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 eligibly 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 engrossing sight. In the assembly hall, there are two big bells weighing 108 kg whose sound echoes in the entire complex. The main temple is of Chaumukh or four-faces temple dedicated to Adinath. From here we continue our ride to Rohet.
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.
This 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 dusts 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.
Late afternoon 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.
Overnight: Rohetgarh – Heritage Property (Standard Room)
Following a leisurely breakfast, drive to Jodhpur.
Upon arrival check into your hotel Ratan Vilas, exudes an aura distinctly its own – enhanced by its rich and varied collection of paintings, treasure troves and hunting trophies of yesteryear. Everything is well preserved by the royal family, which still uses a part of the building as its home. The magnificent sandstone building, built for Sir Ratan Singhji, the Maharajadhiraj of Jodhpur, tastefully blends the lavish interiors and modern comforts. Present day facilities are harmonized so as not to disturb the antiquity of the royal abode.
Following rest and relaxation, 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 Thada – the Royal Crematorium. This evening, 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.
Evening, 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: Ratanvilas – Heritage Property (Standard Room)
Morning we drive to the Pink city of Jaipur.
When prince, soldier and astronomer Sawai Jai Singh II built the pink harmonious city of Jaipur in 1727, he did it in accordance with a treatise on town planning and architecture, the Shilpa Shastra, that is timely even today.
With its walls and seven gates, pink and orange buildings, camel-drawn carts, and colorful Rajasthanis, the state capital sits on a flat, dry seabed surrounded by barren hills and ruined fortresses. A young Bengali, Vidhadhar Bhattacharaya was its chief architect.
Upon arrival, check in to Hotel Alsisar Haveli – This is the flagship hotel in a bouquet of heritage hotels. The Haveli lies tucked away in the heart of Pink City, Jaipur. It brings back to life the grandeur of the old days and is a memorable regal Rajasthan experience for the guests. Refurbished in 1982, the Haveli incorporates the finesse of traditional Rajput architecture and a site to behold. The large elevated platform that dominates the central area of the ground floor and once used for get-togethers by the gents of the house is now open to guests who can witness puppet shows and folk dances while enjoying their snacks or drinks. The spacious lobby which opens into the chowk (inner courtyard), was a century ago used by the ladies of the house and is now open to guests. You will treasure this experience of staying in an authentic Rajput home.
This evening, we explore the unending shopping options of Jaipur along with our Guide. An essential starting point for Rajasthan craftwork is block making and block printing and we will be exploring the process from start to finish in some of the popular stores here. The opportunity also exists here to tailor make outfits to your design and size.
We also explore one of the chief attractions of Jaipur – its jewelry, which offers a variety that ranges from chunky tribal jewelry to enameled gold to modern diamond jewelry. Kundan (art of stone setting) and enamel jewelry has been a specialty of Rajasthan, particularly that of Jaipur. The stones are embossed into decorative shapes & patterns and embellished with delicate enamel ornamentation in the champeve (raised field) technique. Jaipur is well known for its gold and silver enameling. Colorful bangles made of lac and set with semiprecious stones make an inexpensive buy. The craftsmen take great pains to embed the hundreds of stones into the lac. The skilled gem-cutters of Jaipur carve enchanting little animals and birds from rock, crystal, jade, smoky topaz and amethyst. Intaglio beads & buttons and crystal scent bottles are also available.
Overnight: Alsisar Haveli – Heritage Hotel – (Standard Room)
This morning we visit Amber Fort, the former capital of the royal Jaipurs. 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.
We will ride up to this hilltop palace on a caparisoned, painted elephant, passing through the ancient main gate where Maharajas of Jaipur have entered for four hundred years. Our guide will elaborate on the history of this architectural masterpiece with its mirror-studded alcoves, dazzling mosaics and water-cooled swings that delight today’s visitors as they did their former royal residents.
We shall visit the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds, a five-storied structure of pink sandstone with semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed windows overlooking the main street of the old city. It was built in 1799 so that veiled royal women could peer down unseen by the world through its 593 stone screens. Afternoon, proceed on 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: Alsisar Haveli – Heritage Hotel – (Standard Room)
Following a leisurely breakfast drive to Agra, Enroute we visit Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri is a city that a emperor forgot. After just fourteen years of life, the palaces of Akbar great city of victory fell silent. Its echoing corridors still seen to wait for the king to return. The hill top city lies 37 kms from Agra. This deserted city has two distinct complexes. The first comprises the royal enclosure of the palace, the harem and official buildings and the second is the dargarh of a saint, with a mosque and lofty gateways. To wander among the red sandstone courtyard of Fatehpur Sikri is to travel back in the time when Mughal emperor Akbar rode through the gateway after a triumpant campaign, o be welcomed by his delighted subjects and the royal courts. Its reflects the many faceted character of the man who inspired it. The ruthless empire builder who enjoyed all the trapping of power and as liberal enlightened man who took a passionate instant in every aspect of life, be it religion, literature or the painting of miniatures.
Upon arrival check into hotel Howard Park Plaza.
Rets of the day is at leisure, you also have an opportunity to visit a marble showroom where we would be able to witness the inlay work done on marble just as at the Taj Mahal
Overnight: Howard Park Plaza – First Class Hotel (Standard Room)
We are about to witness one of the greatest sights of one’s lifetime – the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Before departure for the monument we shall be served tea/coffee and cookies so that our eyes open real wide to behold this breathtaking sight. A dawn visit to the fabled Taj Mahal to witness the magical effects caused by the reflections of the changing colours of the rising Sun on this brilliant white marble building.
Afternoon, 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.
Though the check out time is 12 noon, every effort would be made to retain rooms till as late as possible without additional charges. Later in the evening you are transferred to the train station for an overnight train ride to Varanasi.
Overnight: Poorva Express – First AC Sleeper Accommodation
Meeting & assistance upon arrival and transfer to the hotel Clarks
Though Check – in time is 12 Noon, every effort would be made to ensure an as early as possible check-in.
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: The Clarks – Heritage Hotel (Standard Room)
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 the airport for your flight to Khajuraho
Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to Hotel Jass Khajuraho Following wash and change we proceed on a tour of Eastern group of Temples .If pictures speak a thousand words, then the temples of Khajuraho form a magnum opus… an expression of Indian sculptors of yore. These temples of Khajuraho were built by the Chandela kings following the tradition of Tantric art. Although famed for their erotic sculptures, the philosophy behind the temples is much more vast and encompassing. They are in fact a celebration of life! Sound & Light Show.
Evening, we visit temple complex to enjoy Sound & Light Show, where the history of the temples is narrated through the medium of Sound & Light. This fascinating Son-et-Lumiere spectacle evokes the life and times of the great Chandela Kings and traces the story of the unique temples from the 10th century to the present day. Amitabh Bachhan, the Indian Super Star, narrates the story of Khajuraho in his mesmerizing voice Overnight: Jass Khajuraho (Standard Room)
Morning, we meet our guide, and, proceed on a tour of the world famous western group of temples depicting erotic sculptures of love making images of Gods and Goddesses and celestial Nymphs. The sexual fantasies displayed in the sculptures are mind boggling. It speaks very highly of the artistic creativity and imagination of the sculptors
Following the tour transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to your Hotel The Connaught Home Visit & A Farewell Dinner: This evening, we would 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: The Connaught – Four Star Down Town Hotel (Standard Room)
Transfer to the international airport for your onward flight.