Taj Mahal Cultural Tour
Places Covered : Delhi-Mandawa-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Mt. Abu-Rankpur-Udaipur-Pushkar-Jaipur-Agra-Delhi
Duration : 16 Nights/ 17 Days
DAY 01 : ARRIVE DELHI
On arrival meet and assist at the airport and transfer to prebooked hotel.
Delhi : India’s capital & a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis which successfully combines in its fold the ancient & the modern. Its strategic location was one of the prime reasons why successive dynasties chose it as their seat of power. New Delhi also reflects the legacy the British left behind . The division between New & Old Delhi is the distinction between the capitals of the British & the Moghuls respectively. So, wherever the visitor goes, he will invariably confront the citys’ past.
DAY 02 : DELHI
After breakfast, visit Old Delhi. Visit Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. Built by Shah Jahan, the construction was started in 1844 and was not completed until 1658 ; Red Fort, which was also built by Shah Jehan. This massive fort was built from 1638 to 1648 ; Chandni Chowk and Rajghat – the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi.
Afternoon, city tour of New Delhi. Visit Humayun’s Tomb : built in mid 16th century this is an early example of Mughal architecture ; Qutab Minar drive past India Gate, President House and other govt. buildings. The tour ends with a visit to Laxmi Narayan Temple (Birla Mandir).
DAY 03 : DELHI – MANDAWA (250 KMS, 06-07 HRS DRIVE)
After breakfast, leave for Mandawa. Arrive Mandawa and check in at prebooked hotel.
Afternoon, visit Mandawa (Shekawati region). This region came into prominence in the 14th century when a number of Muslim clans moved into the area and the towns of this region developed into important trading posts on the caravan routes emanating from the ports of Gujarat. This region is famous for painted havelis (houses) most of which date back from the 18th century. The major towns of interest are Mandawa, Fatehpur, Nawalgarh. Visit the havelis in Mandawa and other villages of shekhawati region.
DAY 04 : MANDAWA – BIKANER (190 KMS, 04-05 HRS DRIVE)
After breakfast, leave for Bikaner. Arrive Bikaner and check-in at prebooked hotel.
Afternoon, city tour of Bikaner – a desert town founded in 1488 by Rao Bikaji, a descendant of the founder of Jodhpur, Jodhaji. Visit the Junagarh Fort which was contructed between 1588 and 1593 by a general in the army of the Mughal Emperor, Akbar. The fort has a 986m long wall with 37 bastions and two entrances; Camel Breeding Farm, managed by goverment this camel breeding station is probably unique in Asia and has thousands of camels.
DAY 05 : BIKANER – JAISALMER (333 KMS, 05-06 HRS DRIVE)
After breakfast, excursion to Karni Mata Temple, Deshnoke.
Afternoon, leave for Jaisalmer. Arrive Jaisalmer and check-in at prebooked hotel.
DAY 06 : JAISALMER
After breakfast, city tour of Jaisalmer. Visit the the citadel – the Fort built by Rawal Jaisal where a fourth of the population lives. The fort also houses Jain temples of the 12th to 15th centuries, Patwon Ki Haveli – a five storey mansion with carved pillars & murals of Salim Singh. Also visit Gadsisar, which had once supplied water to the city ; the temples & archways around it have been built by a courtesan.
Afternoon, excursion to Sam – 45 km away, is known for its sand dunes & is the venue for the Desert festival. Get the actual feel of the desert by enjoying a camel ride on the sand dunes and witness a magnificent sunset on the sand dunes. Return to Jaisalmer for overnight stay.
DAY 07 : JAISALMER – JODHPUR (290 KMS, 05-06 HRS DRIVE)
After breakfast, leave for Jodhpur. On arrival in Jodhpur, check-in at prebooked hotel.
In the afternoon, city tour of Jodhpur : Visit the Mehrangarh Fort which literally means “Majestic Fort”, located at the very centre of the city. There are ,in all , three gates , each built to commemorate a particular victory, as well as to reinforce the fort. It has a collection of musical instruments, palanquins, furniture & cannons on the forts’ ramparts are well preserved. Jaswant Thada : Close to the fort complex lies this white marble cenotaph, built in 1899, in commemoration of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. Rare portraits of Jodhpur’s rulers are, also, to be seen at Jaswant Thada.
DAY 08 : JODHPUR – MOUNT ABU (264 KMS, 06-07 HRS DRIVE)
After breakfast, leave for Mount Abu. On arrival check-in at prebooked hotel.
Afternoon, city tour of Mount Abu which is the only hill station in the state of Rajasthan. Visit the Dilwara Jain temple, which are the main attraction in Mt. Abu and are amongst the finest examples of Jain architecture in India. The complex included 02 temples, the older of which is the Vimal Visahi built in 1031 and is dedicated to the first tirthankar, Adinath. The later Tejpal temple was built in 1230 AD and is dedicated to Neminath – the 22nd tirthankar.
DAY 09 : MOUNT ABU – RANAKPUR – UDAIPUR (275 KMS, 06-07 HRS DRIVE)
After breakfast, leave for Udaipur. Enroute visiting the Jain temples at Ranakpur : The cluster of temples, made of intricately sculpted white marble, come across as a marvellousfeat of architecture. It would take anyone by surprise to learn that they were built in 1460, so well preserved & sparkling is the marble. The main temple is supported on 1,444 pillars – none of which is similarly carved. After the visit, continue drive to Udaipur.Arrive Udaipur and check-in at prebooked hotel.
DAY 10 : UDAIPUR
After breakfast, visit the romantic city of Udaipur. Visit the City Palace which is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan; Jagdish temple, a fine Indo Aryan temple built in 1651; Sahelion ki Bari or Garden of the Maids of Honour, which is a small garden with its fountains, kiosks, marble elephants & lotus pool.In the evening, boat ride on Lake Pichola.
DAY 11 : UDAIPUR – CHITTORGARH – PUSHKAR (310 KMS, 07-08 HRS DRIVE)
After breakfast, leave for Pushkar, enroute visiting Chittorgarh. The hilltop fortress of Chittorgarh epitomises 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 “Jauhar”. 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. Continue drive to Pushkar.
Pushkar – The holy lake of Pushkar is believed to have been created by Lord Brahma himself. It is as important as Banaras 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 Brahma 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.Arrive Pushkar and check in at prebooked hotel.
DAY 12 : PUSHKAR
Explore Pushkar fair on your own.
DAY 13 : PUSHKAR – JAIPUR (135 KMS, 03-04 HRS DRIVE)
After breakfast, free to explore Pushkar on your own.
Afternoon, leave for Jaipur – The Pink City : Jaipur needed a fresh coat of paint to welcome its distinguished guest the Prince of Wales in 1905-6. The contractor inability to supply any other color in the required quantity compelled the choice of pink shade for its walls. A contractor’s compulsion famed Jaipur to Pinkcity. Since then the PINK color is associated with hospitality in Rajput culture.Arrive Jaipur and check-in at prebooked hotel.
DAY 14 : JAIPUR
After breakfast, excursion to Amber Fort. Elephant ride from the foothills of the Aravallis to the fort entrance. Amber Fort : At a distance of 11 kms from Jaipur, Amber was the ancient capital of Jaipur state. Construction of the fort began in 1592 by Raja Man Singh, the Rajput commander of Akbar’s army and is a superb example of Rajput architecture.
Afternoon, city tour of Jaipur. Visit the City Palace which has museum having an extensive collection of art, carpets, enamel ware and weapons; Jantar Mantar – the observatory built my Maharaja Jai Singh in 1728 and the façade of Hawa Mahal.
DAY 15 : JAIPUR – FATEHPUR SIKRI – AGRA (240 KMS, 06-07 HRS DRIVE)
After breakfast, leave for Agra. Enroute visit the abandoned Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri : built by Emperor Akbar in 1569, was the old capital of the Moghuls, which was abandoned after 15 years due to scarcity of water. See the graceful buildings including the Jama Masjid, Tomb of Salim Chisti, Panch Mahal & other Palaces which are still preserved in its original glory.
Continue drive to Agra. Arrive Agra in the evening and checkin at prebooked hotel.
DAY 16 : AGRA – DELHI (203 KMS, 04-05 HRS DRIVE)
After breafast, city tour of Agra. Visit Red fort, which was built by Emperor Akbar in 1565, and additions were made up until the time of his grandson, Shah Jahan. It contains the hall of public and private audiences amongst many other beautiful structues; the highlight of the day – The Taj Mahal, which was constructed by Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Contruction of the Taj began in 1631 and was not completed until 1653.
Afternoon, leave for Delhi. Arrive Delhi and check in at prebooked hotel.
DAY 17 : DEPART DELHI.