This wonderful introduction to India will surround you in the rich cultural and historical heritage of the country’s Golden Triangle. As you discover the north’s major cities – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur – taking in iconic attractions such as the magnificent Taj Mahal, Old Delhi’s Jama Masjid (Great Mosque) and Red Fort and Jaipur’s immense Amer Fort overlooking the shimmering Maota Lake.
DAY 1: NEW DELHI
Welcome to Delhi, India! a monumental city with a vibrant mix of old and new teeming bazaars, stately British boulevards, powerful Mughal palaces and forts, and intricate, ethereal towers, temples and tombs. Upon arrival at Delhi International airport, you will be met by our welcome ambassador and escorted to your hotel where you will be assisted with check-in formalities (Check-in time is between 1200-1400 hrs, early check-in is subject to availability). Overnight at hotel
DAY 2: NEW DELHI
Post breakfast proceed for the city tour of Old and New Delhi Raj Ghat: Visit the Raj Ghat on the banks of the river Yamuna is Mahatma Gandhi’s Memorial, where he was cremated following his assassination in January 1948. The memorial lies in the midst of landscaped gardens and made of a simple square platform of black marble inscribed with his last words “Hey Ram”. An eternal flame burns 24 hours. Drive past Red Fort (Remains closed on Monday), the 17th century imposing fortress built in red sandstone is surrounded by a huge 33m high boundary wall. Inside are exquisite palaces and beautiful gardens. Jama Masjid: Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) made of red sandstone and white marble. It is India’s largest mosque where more than 20.000 people can kneel in prayer at one time. The interior of the prayer hall is divided into aisles by arches. The walls and floors are of marble inlay panels. This tour will provide an opportunity to enjoy rickshaw ride & enthrall yourself in this amazing ride which will provide you an experience that in unlike you have had before! India Gate: Also known as the Delhi Memorial or the All India War Memorial, the India Gate was built in commemoration of the roughly 80 000 Indian soliders who died representing their country in World War One and on various other battlefields, and whose names are inscribed on the structure. Unveiled in 1931, its distinctive arch is reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and the Gateway of India in Bombay, and is one of the trademark sights of New Delhi. Rashtrapati Bhavan: Located in New Delhi, India, Rashtrapati Bhavan is home to the president of the world’s largest democracy and epitomises India’s strength, its democratic traditions and secular character. It was Sir Lutyens who conceptualised the H-shaped building, covering an area of about 5 acres on a 330-acre estate. Drive past through Parliament House and Government buildings. Lotus Temple: New Delhi’s iconic Lotus Temple is a Bahà’i place of worship that was completed in 1986. Its unmistakeable architectural design is modelled on an unfolding lotus flower: the building is divided into distinct sections – each one mimicking the elegant, curved shape of a single lotus petal stretching heavenwards – and surrounded by a series of petal-shaped pools. It has won numerous architectural awards and is one of Delhi’s top attractions. Optional Activity: Qutub Minar: Later visit the Qutub Minar the landmark of Delhi, a huge tower of victory started in 1199 and completed in 1368. The minar is 72.5m high with a diameter at the base 14.4m and 2.7m at the top. The tower has 379 steps to the top. Food trail walk of Old Delhi. The busiest of all places, Puraani Dilli, (Old Delhi) is somewhat serene in the mornings. The quietness of the place, however, speaks volumes. With lonely lanes and less people around, the walk across this area will take you back to the black and white era. The beauty of an early walk relies upon savouring the delectable dishes available only in the mornings. Much of them include Bedmi Pooris – a puffy, hefty, deep-fried puri-like bread made of wheat flour, spices, and dal, which is served with a spicy aloo sabzi, or potato curry; Pitthi and Matar kachori – a proper Delhi preparation, with peas/dal stuffing, spiced up with condiments, served hot with potato gravy; Paneer Pakoda, Nahari – a sumptuous non-vegetarian dish cooked overnight with hot curry spices. Sweets usually made of milk and milk solids are served hot in the mornings, some of which include Jalebi; Nagori Halwa and Moong dal halwa. You will have the opportunity to taste some of the above delicacies (Snack tasting). Overnight stay at hotel.
DAY 3: AGRA
After breakfast, check out from hotel and drive towards Agra. Agra is one of India’s prime tourist destinations for specifically this reason, though its attractions also extend to an array of other impressive historical sights. The Taj, however, is in a league of its own and is a must-see for any visitor to the city. Commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the 15th century as a memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, it is an architectural masterpiece of exquisite craftsmanship and perfect proportions. On arrival check in at hotel. Later we will discover the Agra Fort, another UNESCO heritage site built and added to between the 16th and 17th centuries by successive rulers of the Mughal Dynasty. The fort was built primarily as a military structure, but Shah Jahan upgraded it to a palace and later it became his gilded prison for 8 years after his son Aurangzeb seized power. The elegant building inside reflects an interesting synthesis of Hindu and Central Asian architectural styles. Optional Activity: Sheroes Hangout Café – A rehabilitation center for girls who are surviving the heinous chemical attacks. You can interact with these girls, share their stories and future planning. They run a café where you can have beverages and/or snacks. Their menus have no cost mentioned but it is written “pay as much as you wish”. Overnight at hotel.
DAY 4: JAIPUR
Early this morning visit the Taj Mahal by sunrise (Remains closed on Fridays). Often considered the pinnacle of Mughal art in India, the Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. When declaring it a world heritage site, UNESCO described it as “the jewel of Muslim art in India”. There are few words that can describe the magnificence of this monument. Marvel as light and colors transform this stunning monument in the beautiful dawn glow. After breakfast, check out from hotel and drive towards Jaipur. Optional Activity: Fatehpur Sikri -This magnificent fortified ancient city, 40 km west of Agra, was the short-lived capital of the Mughal empire between 1572 and 1585, during the reign of Emperor Akbar. Fatehpur Sikri with its grand monuments still narrates the tales of its glory days. Being at the centre of many powershifts, Fatehpur Sikri alongside its neighbouring regions have seen the influence of multiple cultures which is still evident in the structures that were erected during those times. it is collection of some stunning architectural marvel of Mughal architecture, monuments like Buland Darwaza, Panch Mahal, Diwan-i-Khas and Diwan-e-Aam. On arrival check in at hotel and rest of the day free for leisure. Jaipur – enthralling, historical Jaipur, Rajasthan’s capital, is the gateway to India’s most flamboyant state. The city’s colorful, chaotic streets ebb and flow with a heady brew of old and new. At the city’s heart, the City Palace continues to house the former royal family, the Jantar Mantar, the royal observatory, maintains a heavenly aspect; and the honeycomb Hawa Mahal gazes on the bazaar below. And just out of sight, in the arid hill country surrounding the city, is the fairy-tale grandeur of Amber Fort. Overnight stay at hotel.
DAY 5 : JAIPUR
After breakfast, enjoy the full day visit of Jaipur City. Visit to the City Palace Museum, which has a superb collection of Rajasthani costumes, and armoury of Mughals and Rajputs including swords of different shapes and sizes with chiselled handles. Many antiques and artefacts belonging to the ruling family are housed here. It also has an art gallery with an excellent collection of miniature paintings, carpets, royal paraphernalia and rare astronomical works in Arabic, Persian, Latin and Sanskrit. You can enjoy a photo stop at the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) – a five-storied wonder with a spectacular pyramidal facade and overhanging windows with latticed screens, domes and spires. Brila Temple: The Birla Temple, formerly referred to as Lakshmi Narayan Temple is a national landmark which was built in 1988 using pure white marble. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi, this modern temple features carvings of Hindu symbols as well as ancient quotes from the Geeta. Rest of time free to explore local bazaar for shopping. Optional Activity: Visit Amer Fort. Surrounded by fortified battlements, situated on a ridge just outside Jaipur city. Maharaja Mansingh, Mughal Emperor Akbar’s most successful General, started the construction of Amber Fort in the 17th century. Ruins and remains are spread over the Aravalli hills and sprawling crenulated walls lattice the surrounding area. At the foot of the hill you will be taken on the jeep up to the main gate. Tour the chambers and hallways of the palace, famous for the excellence of its design and decoration. Cooking experience followed by Dinner: Your journey to India can never be complete without a culinary experience with a Rajput nobel family. Learn about the secret home recipes and culture over an exclusive time booked with your host for dinner. You can also participate in the preparation of the meal and know about the ingredients and techniques that are age old, time tested and good for your health. Royal Dinning experience at 1135 AD restaurant Overnight stay at hotel.