Experience India In Luxury (13n/14d)

The Taj Mahal is the most iconic location in India

The Taj Mahal is the most iconic location in India

Arrive Delhi. Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to Hotel Imperial or The Oberoi for overnight stay.

Morning tour of “Old Delhi”. Visit the Memorial of Mahatma Gandhi and the Jama Masjid, India’s largest Mosque. Afterwards, proceed to Chandni Chowk – the nerve centre of Old Delhi and its narrow lanes that has kept alive the traditional workmanship which makes Delhi famous. You can explore a few of these narrow lanes if you so desire. “Dariba Kalan” (Dariba means pearl without compare, and true to its name the street is full of gold and silver smiths), “Kinari Bazaar” (braid-shops street, which has the most colourful and glittery shops in Old Delhi). The tour will conclude with a visit to massive walls and ramparts of the magnificent Red Fort, the symbol of Mughal power and elegance. In the afternoon, visit the places of interest in “New Delhi”. Within minutes, you will be transported from the ancient past to a modern period surrounded by history. See the 12th century Qutab Minar, and its Iron Pillar that has withstood the ravages of time and not rusted in 1500 years, the graceful Mausoleum of the Mughal Emperor Humayun and the modern day Birla Temple. Your tour will also lead you past the impressive India Gate, the war memorial to the dead of the two world wars, the President’s House that was once the Viceroy’s Palace, the Parliament House and the Secretariat buildings. Overnight at the hotel.

Today you will travel to Agra by surface, a 205 kilometres and 4 hours drive from Delhi. On arrival, check-in to Hotel Amar Vilas, an Luxury Hotel of the Oberoi Group overlooking The Taj Mahal with all the rooms having a clear view of the Taj Mahal – the eternal monument of love. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 4 AGRA
Very early morning, visit the Taj Mahal. described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love, this poignant Mughal mausoleum, has become the de facto tourist emblem of India. Many have tried to sum up its beauty, but even the poets of the time were unable to do this magnificent building justice. The spectacular white marble mausoleum seems as immaculate today as when it was first constructed. The day’s other visits include The Agra Fort where you see its palaces and the Hall of Public Audience (Diwan-i-am) and the Hall of Private Audiences (Diwan-i-khas). From here, you get to see the Taj Mahal, in the distance – with River Yamuna in the foreground. Legend has that during the period of imprisonment of Emperor Shah Jehan here, he would see the Taj Mahal as a reflection in a mirror placed next to his bed. Later visit “Itmad-ud-Daulah”, also known as The Mini Taj. Overnight at the hotel.

Leave by surface for Ranthambore Tiger National Park, a 250 odd kilometres and six hours’ drive en route visiting “Fatehpur Sikri” – perched atop a rocky ridge, 37 kms west of Agra. Fatehpur Sikri came into being four centuries ago when Emperor Akbar, not yet 28 years old, created the first planned city in Indo-Islamic architecture. In 1568, Akbar was secure and powerful but had no son and heir. He was blessed by Sufi saint Salim Chisti living close in Sikri Village, who prophesised the birth of three sons to him. Soon after Prince Salim was born and later came to be known as Emperor Jehangir. In gratitude for the blessing, Akbar decided to create imperial residence in Sikri, which would function as a joint capital with Agra. The city unfortunately had to be later abandoned due to the lack of water. Its fortifications, massive gateway and palaces remain in a wonderful state of preservation and include the Jamma Masjid, Panch Mahal & The Salim Chisti’s Tomb set like a jewel in a courtyard of pink sandstone and enclosed by delicately carved marble screens. On arrival at Ranthambore, check into Vanyavilas Resort. It is The Oberoi Groups new luxury resort and the first luxury jungle resort in India. The resort consists of luxury air-conditioned tents located discreetly so as to ensure maximum privacy. Nestling in the Aravali hills, in the midst of the arid plains and denuded tracts of Rajasthan in north India lies Ranthambore. A haven for the adventure seeker and the wildlife watcher, it is 410 kilometres of desert ecology speckled with dhok, ronj, salai, ber and palm trees and boasts some of the best wildlife sightings Asia has to offer. This is where belts of dry deciduous forest with ancient Banyan and Peepul trees suddenly give way to lush green Oasis. Overnight at the hotel.

The day is spent visiting the National Park and lazing in your tented accommodation. Your park visits take you around the three major lakes – Rajbaugh, Milak and Pada Lakes that serve as watering holes for the herbivorous and carnivorous creatures that inhabit this National Park. The flagship creatures of Ranthambore are its Tigers and the park provides some of the best sightings of this majestic animal. Other attractions are the leopard, sambar, blue bull, chital, chinkara, hyena, jackal, fox, jungle cat, sloth bear, langur and wild boar. Over 300 species of birds are also to be seen – peafowl, parakeets, partridges, storks, egrets, flycatchers, owls etc and other migratory varieties in the winter months that include, black eagle, greylag goose, pintails etc. Overnight at the hotel.

Leave by surface for Jaipur, an odd 160 kilometres and 3 hours drive. On arrival, check in at Hotel Raj Vilas Spa and Resorts. In the afternoon, a sightseeing tour of Jaipur city. Visit the Observatory equipped with mortar instruments of remarkable size, which for sheer accuracy are difficult to beat even today. Also visit the Maharaja’s City Palace, the former royal residence and now a museum housing a vast amount of artefacts. Stop by at the beautiful Hawa Mahal (the Palace of Winds), a beautifully decorated facade of 953 windows in flushed pink. Remember, Jaipur is the most colourful and vibrant city of India and veritable shoppers’ paradise. Overnight at the hotel.

Early morning, visit the Amber Fort, which for six centuries was the ancient capital of the state of Rajasthan. Visit the Jagmandir & the Sheesh Mahal (pavilion of mirrors), which reflects a single candle flame in a thousand flickering lights. Also experience the unique thrill of travelling by Elephant back to the top of the hill on which the fort is situated. The rest of the day is free to enjoy the facilities at your resort. The Rajvilas has forged a new standard of luxury in India. Set on a private 32-acre estate of orchards, gardens and fountains on the outskirts of Jaipur, and modelled on the style of a traditional Rajput fort, this enchanting retreat comprises deluxe rooms centred around secluded courtyards, airconditioned tents with teak wood floors and lavish bathrooms, and villas with private swimming pools. One of the hotel’s main attractions is its Spa which offers a variety of Ayurvedic and Western health treatments – the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of the Pink City! Overnight at the hotel.

Spend the day relaxing and pampering yourself with the various holistic, Ayurvedic and western spa facilities at the resort. Overnight at the hotel.

Fly to Udaipur today. Udaipur or The City of the Rising Sun is often called the “Venice of the East” and is Rajasthan’s most picturesque city. It was the capital of the state of Mewar, the only one of the seven states to uphold its Hindu allegiance in the face of Muslim invasions and political compromises. Its present ruler is the seventy-sixth in the unbroken line of Mewar suzerains, which makes Mewar household the oldest of all ruling powers in Rajasthan and perhaps the oldest dynasty in the world. The ancient capital of Mewar was Nagda from where it was shifted to Chittorgarh and eventually in 1559 foundations of Udaipur was laid by Udai Singh II. Maharana Pratap further consolidated the state. Opened in December 2001 and designed to recreate a Rajasthani palace, the Udaivilas is set in 30 acres of gardens beautifully landscaped with decorative pavilions and fountains on the shores of Lake Pichola. Spacious and elegantly appointed guest rooms offer views of the lake and Udaipur’s City Palace, while deluxe suites also feature private swimming pools. Extensive facilities include two large swimming pools and a non-clinical Spa with several private therapy suites offering a range of holistic treatments. In the afternoon, proceed for a tour of the City Palace. Completely white and majestic, The City Palace stands on a hill surrounded by crenulated walls. Its main entrance is through the triple arched gate, The Tripola, built in 1725. There is Suraj Gokhada, the Balcony of the Sun where the Suryavanshi Maharana (the descendent of the sun) of Mewar presented themselves in time of trouble to the people to restore their confidence. The More Chowk or the Peacock Courtyard gets its name from the vivid mosaics in glass, which decorates its walls. Overnight at the hotel.

Today you enjoy a full day excursion to Ranakpur, a famous Jain temple dating back to the 15th century. Its 29 halls are supported by one thousand and forty four pillars, none of which are alike, are filled with intricate friezes and sculpture. You also visit two more Jain temples and the temple of the Sun God, famed for its erotic sculptures. After lunch at Maharani Bagh in Ranakpur, amid these magnificent surroundings, you return to your hotel. Late evening you take a motor launch cruise on the placid waters of Lake Pichola. From the boat you are able to view the city of Udaipur as it rises majestically above the lake in the middle of the Rajasthan Desert. Also visit the Jaq Mandir Palace- the other lovely island palace in the middle of the lake. Overnight at the hotel.

Fly to Bombay today and on arrival, transfer to Hotel Oberoi situated at the heart of Bombay city and located on Marine Drive. Afternoon tour of Bombay – which is the capital of the state of Maharashta and the economic powerhouse of India; the third largest state both in terms of size and population. Mumbai, as it is now known, is the financial capital of the nation – the industrial hub of everything from textiles to petrochemicals, and responsible for half the country’s foreign trade. To the visitors, Mumbai is also the glamour world of Bollywood cinema – the centre of India’s huge Hindi film industry, producing around 200 full-length feature films a year most overripe, technicolour escapist extravaganzas. Visit The Gateway of India, Prince of Wales Museum, Marine Drive, The Victoria Terminus, Bombay University & High Court etc. Also hunt for curios in the Crawford Market. Overnight at the hotel.

Morning Excursion to Elephanta Caves – in an exclusive Catamaran. These 7th century Cave temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva. In the Hindu pantheon, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva form the Trinity, Brahma, the creator, is seldom worshipped and most Hindus divide their allegiance between Shiva and Vishnu. Although Vishnu is termed the preserver and Shiva the destroyer, their attributes and qualities overlap. The followers of Shiva find in him creative, protective and destructive aspects, which merge into a continuing cycle of birth and death. Amongst the many exquisite panels carved out of solid rock – the Maheshwari panel in which Shiva is shown as creator, protector and destroyer is a sight that should be enjoyed at least once in a lifetime. The rest of the day is free to explore the nightlife of Bombay its various discotheques and bars. Overnight at the hotel.

Today is free until your departure transfer to your flight home.

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