Treasures of North India

Day 1. Arrive at Delhi

Overnight – The Oberoi New Delhi

Once upon a time, a modern jetliner landed at Delhi Airport.

VIP Arrival Services. Most flights arrive either in the evening or at night, and we strongly recommend that our guests consider arriving at least a day earlier. Meet your assigned representative from VIP Arrival Services as you exit the jet bridge from your plane at Delhi Airport. You are privately escorted through the complete arrival process, including immigration, baggage claim, and customs.

The Oberoi Delhi. Next you will be greeted by your Connoisseur Guide and driven to your top-ranked luxury hotel – check-in is available by 3 pm. Your suite at the Delhi Oberoi includes 24-hour butler service and access to the Resident’s Lounge with its associated benefits, and you are next to the historic Delhi Golf Club – tee time and more can be reserved with your tour.

Once upon a time, a modern jetliner landed at Delhi Airport.

VIP Arrival Services. Most flights arrive either in the evening or at night, and we strongly recommend that our guests consider arriving at least a day earlier. Meet your assigned representative from VIP Arrival Services as you exit the jet bridge from your plane at Delhi Airport. You are privately escorted through the complete arrival process, including immigration, baggage claim, and customs.

The Oberoi Delhi. Next you will be greeted by your Connoisseur Guide and driven to your top-ranked luxury hotel – check-in is available by 3 pm. Your suite at the Delhi Oberoi includes 24-hour butler service and access to the Resident’s Lounge with its associated benefits, and you are next to the historic Delhi Golf Club – tee time and more can be reserved with your tour.

Once upon a time, a modern jetliner landed at Delhi Airport.

VIP Arrival Services. Most flights arrive either in the evening or at night, and we strongly recommend that our guests consider arriving at least a day earlier. Meet your assigned representative from VIP Arrival Services as you exit the jet bridge from your plane at Delhi Airport. You are privately escorted through the complete arrival process, including immigration, baggage claim, and customs.

The Oberoi Delhi. Next you will be greeted by your Connoisseur Guide and driven to your top-ranked luxury hotel – check-in is available by 3 pm. Your suite at the Delhi Oberoi includes 24-hour butler service and access to the Resident’s Lounge with its associated benefits, and you are next to the historic Delhi Golf Club – tee time and more can be reserved with your tour.

Day 2. Delhi

Overnight – The Oberoi New Delhi

National Museum. Recommended Morning Visit – India’s National Museum. This short museum visit will enhance the unique experiences that await you. There are a plethora of exhibits and artifacts and a comprehensive tour would take a few days. We recommend at least a short walk with your guide through the Pre-History Gallery’s Harrapan Collection, which displays amazing artefacts from the Indus Valley Civilization, one of mankind’s four ancient civilizations. Highlights among these invaluable artifacts are as old as 10,000 BCE ago and include sophisticated pottery, tools, coins, and jewelry, and a lot more. Please let us know if you prefer a more comprehensive tour, or want to skip this visit.

Lutyens New Delhi. Begin your exploration of Delhi with a short drive through some of Lutyens’ historic New Delhi. You can stop for views of the exterior of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the massive home of India’s President, and the India Gate, a War Memorial to the 84,000 British Indian Army soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War. These sights are progressively becoming harder to explore on foot and we recommend a drive by viewing for all but the most interested.

Humayun’s Tomb. Continue your exploration after another short drive to the magnificent tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun, one of Delhi’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites for excellent reasons. Completed in the year 1562, the massive tomb’s perfect symmetry is quite magical to behold, and its unique beauty is enhanced by the surrounding manicured gardens. Your guide will reveal fascinating aspects of the structure as you walk around the tomb. You may want to have lunch at this point and options can include your nearby hotel.

Qutab Minar. Next you will be driven to the Qutab Minar Complex. The large campus has a number of interesting ruins from different epochs in Indian History, all towered over by the Qutab Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built as a symbol of victory after a major war, the awe-inspiring 12th Century Qutab Minar is 240 feet high and is still the tallest brick-built minaret on our planet.

Iron Pillar. Within the Qutab complex, amidst the ruins of the once spectacular Quwat-ul-Islam Mosque, stands the legendary 2500-year-old Iron Pillar. The pillar stands 23 feet and 8 inches tall, weighs about 7000 pounds, and has inscriptions that are still legible to a great extent. This massive cast iron structure is said to have been moved from its distant cave shelter to Delhi around the 12th century.

Lodi Art District. Very near your hotel is the Lodi Art District and this will be your last experience today. The quality of the street art found here will both surprise and delight you. The subject matter includes a focus on women, and ranges from colorful visualizations by international artists to unique perspectives of everyday life in Delhi and India. Here is a Google Arts and Culture presentation on the Lodi Art District – https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/lodhi-art-district-st-art-india/NQKi787tb1GHJA?hl=en.

Day 3. Delhi

Overnight – The Oberoi New Delhi

Old Delhi. We recommend a start around 9 :45 AM to avoid traffic. You are driven to ancient Old Delhi, where your exploration will focus on three historic masterpieces. One of the world’s largest populations flourished among these three attractions during the Mughal Dynasty’s two and a half century reign from the Red Fort. The Red Fort and Jama Masjid were built by Shah Jahan, the emperor who created the Taj Mahal. The now nearby Yamuna River ran directly on one side of the large forted city inside the Red Fort, and the bazaar and the mosque lay on the other side, surrounded by a city full of people.

Chandni Chowk Bazaar. Start by enjoying an easy walk through ancient and crowded Chandni Chowk Bazaar. This walk is a cultural revelation and it can be as short or long as you want. This massive shopping and mixed-use area is home to the world’s largest spice market and a lot more. As you begin the walk you will experience the sounds, smells, and colors of Chandni Chowk which, even today, is one of Delhi’s major wholesale and retail markets, as well as a street food destination. It’s narrow roads and alleys are surrounded by historic buildings with architecture featuring intricately carved facades, domes, and arches.

Jama Masjid. Next up is an e-rickshaw ride in the same area that ends at the largest mosque in India, the Jama Masjid (1650 A.D.). The Masjid is a magnificent example of Mughal architecture and is constructed of red sandstone and white marble. It is an active place of worship and its courtyard can hold 25,000 worshippers. Bare legs and shoulders are not permitted inside the mosque and we include sarongs for those who need them.

Red Fort. After a break for lunch, you will visit the incredible Red Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site described by the World Heritage Convention as “representing the zenith of Mughal creativity”. The massive sandstone walls of the octagonal Red Fort range from 59 to 108 feet, and the 1.5 mile long span is made even more imposing by turrets and bastions at multiple strategic spots. You can experience how the emperors lived and ruled, how the noblemen ran the kingdom, how the women’s section operated with the support of eunuchs, how food, water, and waste were handled, and much more with your guide.

After exploring the Fort, you are driven back to your hotel so that you can arrive before Delhi’s rush hour begins.

Day 4. Delhi - Varanasi

Overnight –Taj Nadesar Palace

Join your guide for the drive to Delhi Airport and the flight to Varanasi (Banaras). Food and soft drinks are served in business class, and you can also decide to eat something soon after arrival at Varanasi. India’s holiest city is the oldest continuously inhabited city on our planet with a history that dates back five millennia.

Sarnath Buddhist Site. Your first stop at Varanasi will be Sarnath, a major Buddhism Site. The massive Dhamekha Stupa is located exactly where the Buddha preached his first sermons to his five disciples. A smaller Stupa at this spot is said to be one of the eight places where the Buddha’s ashes were placed, and 2300 years ago Emperor Ashoka, who spread Buddhism in the world, expanded the structure to many times its original size.
Currently the Stupa is 143 feet high and has a 92-foot diameter, and is said to have been more than twice this size 1500 years ago. Sarnath was where the first Buddhist Sangha was formed and the area is home to a number of other ancient Buddhist monuments that you will drive by and can stop at if you want.

Lion Capital. A highlight of the visit to Sarnath is the tiny Archaeological Museum as its collection is highlighted by the spectacular “Lion Capital of Ashoka”, the 4 headed stone lion that is India’s national emblem.

Nadesar Palace. From Sarnath you will head to your Palace Hotel, the only luxury lodging in Varanasi. Set in 27 acres of gardens and organic farmland in the really crowded city, calling the small Nadesar Palace ‘boutique’ is a vast understatement. Built by the East India Company in the 18th century, it was taken over by the local Royal Family in the late 19th Century and served as a guest house for British and other Royalty during visits to India.

Day 5. Varanasi

Overnight –Taj Nadesar Palace

Walking Tour. Venture out to truly ancient parts of Varanasi this morning for a fascinating introduction to ancient Hinduism and its deep connections to society. You will walk through the narrow lanes and alleys to discover a way of life that has not changed much over the past few millennia. Varanasi has been a center of learning, spirituality, and trade since ancient times. It is regarded as a sacred city by Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists, who believe that a pilgrimage here can help achieve moksha, or liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

Ghats of the Ganga. Return to your palace for a little while. Acceptable dining options are very limited in Varanasi and we recommend lunch at the palace before heading out in the afternoon. You are driven to an outlying Ghat on the holy river to begin your introduction to the fascinating rituals, ceremonies, and plethora of activities that are everyday life on the Holy River. It is a lot less crowded on these Ghats before the evening ceremony and sunset rituals, and this allows for a close-up look as pilgrims and locals go about their rituals and related activities.

Hindu Cremations. You can opt for a guided walk on Varanasi’s main cremation ghat, located close to the main Aarti ghats. Your guide will be happy to go into details about the cremation rituals and Hinduism beliefs, and you will be going by this Ghat with its eternal pyres during both your sunset and sunrise cruises on the river.

Sunset Cruise & Ancient Ceremony. Two of the can’t miss experiences in Varanasi are the sunset and sunrise cruises on the Ganga. Your walk ends with you boarding your private boat for a cruise along the river to experience all its evening activities, ending with a view of the sunset Ganga Aarti ceremony. The ceremony takes place on the crowded Dashashwamedh Ghat, the holiest place on the river, and you can add your own to the hundreds of clay lamps floating down the holy river.

We recommend that you prepare for your upcoming travel this evening as your long day tomorrow starts before sunrise and ends in the early evening.

Day 6.Varanasi – Khajuraho

Overnight –The Lalit Temple View Khajuraho

Sunrise Cruise. Join your guide and drive to the holy river where you will board your private boat. It is a surreal experience to arrive at the Ghats (The wide steps leading to the Ganga) just before dawn and witness the eons old scene – devout Hindu’s are waiting at the holier Ghats to greet the rising sun by immersing themselves in the Ganga, while others on the wide riverbank steps meditate or practice yoga.

Morning Rituals. Your boat offers an excellent view of all the activity – women immersing themselves into the Ganga discreetly while still wearing their sarees and ascetics waist deep in the water offering prayers as they pour holy water over themselves. It is a great opportunity to experience some of Hinduisms ancient and iconic rituals, such as the ritualistic prayers as a recently deceased Hindu’s ashes are immersed in the river, while nearby another Brahmin priest orchestrates the naming ceremony of a newborn.

Flight to Khajuraho. Return to your palace for breakfast. You are assisted with your check-out just before noon and driven to Varanasi airport to board your afternoon no-frills flight to Khajuraho.

Lalit Temple View. Upon arrival at Khajuraho, you are driven to your comfortable hotel and assisted with check-in to your Temple view room.

Temples Tour: Experience the awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Site of Khajuraho. These magnificent examples of Hindu religious art were constructed between 900 and 1400 years ago, and are sometimes referred to as the Kama Sutra Temples. Roughly twenty thousand extremely detailed stone sculptures adorn the facades of these temples, and about 10% of the sculptures portray very explicit erotic scenes. The sophisticated design and building techniques that were used in the creation of these temples and the detailed artistry of the sculptures cannot be described in words – you have to experience them personally to grasp their impact.

You have the option of attending the sound and light show at the western group of temples in the evening – it is hard to understand and not of high quality.

Day 7. Khajuraho – Agra

Overnight – The Oberoi Amarvilas

After a slightly early breakfast, you will enjoy a scenic road journey that goes by sweeping pastoral regions and small villages. Arrive at Orchha and there is a break for lunch.

Orcha Exploration. After lunch you will experience a brief exploration of some of Orchha’s archeological treasures, built by the local Hindu kings in the 15th and 16th Centuries.

Train to Agra. After this exploration you are driven about 20 minutes to the Jhansi Railway Station. An Indian railway station is an experience an itself, always abuzz with activity as India’s vast masses travel on the world’s largest rail network. Although the stations premises are not particularly sanitary, your train and your compartment are very clean and the best that India has to offer on its passenger trains. Your seats are in the best compartment of the train, with comfortable and wide reclining seats, and great views of the rural countryside and small towns that you will pass on the 2.5-hour journey.

Your guide assists you in getting seated in your assigned seats and gets your luggage ported to the appropriate location above your seats. Refreshments are served by Indian Railways during this journey – we recommend that you refrain from consuming these (except for the bottled water).

Oberoi Amarvilas. Upon arrival at Agra, you are driven to your gorgeous luxury resort where you will check-in to your Taj Mahal view room.

A note for photography enthusiasts: Although we include a sunrise and a sunset visit to the Taj Mahal, you may want to ask us to change the timing of one or both because the best photos are usually during the day. For five days a month, before, during, and after the full moon, a separate limited availability moonlight visit can also be added with prior notice.

Day 8. Agra

Overnight – The Oberoi Amarvilas

Sunrise Taj Mahal. Enjoy a sunrise visit to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the incomparable Taj Mahal. Morning is the best time to experience it during most of the year, except for some years during which morning fog in late December and most of January. Since it is more expensive for Indian tourists to enter at this early hour the massive monument and its surrounding Mughal gardens have a lot fewer visitors.

The Taj Mahal is obviously a UNESCO World Heritage Site and we will not attempt to describe it – better writers have tried and failed. Suffice it to say that the years, expertise, and riches spent on it have bestowed mankind with its most magnificent creation. As the rising sun’s rays illuminate the precious stones inlaid in the marble they will gleam for a few moments and change colors. Return to your resort in time for breakfast and to freshen-up.

Agra Fort. In the late morning you will experience the predecessor of the Red Fort, the Agra Fort. This UNESCO World Heritage Site Forted City was built in 1565 by India’s greatest Mughal ruler, Emperor Akbar, and much was then copied in Delhi’s larger Red Fort about 7 decades later by his grandson, the visionary builder Shah Jahan. There are unique views of the Taj Mahal from a section of the fort, including from the room where Akbar’s great-grandson Aurangzeb imprisoned his father Shah Jahan during the end of his life.

Kinari Bazaar. At some time in the early afternoon, we recommend a visit to Agra’s ancient Kinari Bazaar. A ‘Kinari’ is a decorative edge in a fabric or other material, and here you will find sections of stores that offer a dizzying variety of tassels, borders, laces, beads, fabric and other edgings, and a lot more.

Sunset Taj Mahal. Enjoy a late afternoon visit to the Taj Mahal. You can admire the magnificent Taj Mahal in detail, and your guide will suggest spots to watch the setting sun’s rays play on the facade of the world’s finest monument. Return to your gorgeous resort that is a very short walk or drive away.

Day 9. Agra - Ranthambore

Overnight – Oberoi Vanyavilas

You can enjoy a late lunch at your resort in Ranthambore today, or have your Agra resort pack a to-go snack for the drive. You are assisted with your check-out from your resort and then you are driven to the Chand Baori stepwell at Abhaneri, located just off the highway before you turn into the countryside towards Ranthambore.

Chand Baori Stepwell. The massive 10th century Chand Baori stepwell is one of the most impressive in all of India and is located next to a charming Rajasthani village. The depth of the stepwell is that of a modern 7 story building, and there are stairs (no longer accessible to visitors) leading down to the bottom from three of the four 100 foott wide sides, creating the symmetry and beauty of the ancient structure. It highlights this travel article – https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/india-beautiful-stepwells-spc/index.html.

Oberoi Vanyavilas. Upon arrival at Ranthambore National Park you are assisted with your check-in to your tent at the Oberoi Vanyavilas. This beautiful lush jungle camp is located at the edge of the National Park, and privacy is added to the luxury tents by handmade clay walls that surround your tent and its outdoor areas.

Bengal Tigers. Since 2006 we have tracked the percentage of tiger sightings for our guests in Ranthambore National Park. More than 85% of our guests have had tiger sightings during this period, with most of them getting multiple sightings. The number of tigers in India’s best parks has steadily increased over the last decade, and good sightings are now even more frequent.

Day 10. Ranthambore

Overnight – Oberoi Vanyavilas

Morning & Afternoon Safaris. Enjoy private jeep wildlife safaris into the park in the morning and afternoon. As in all of India’s National Wildlife Parks, safaris are operated by the Forest Department in shared jeep and large trucks. Your safaris will be just for you in a private jeep with the driver and forest department naturalist. Having the extra space allows for better views and photo opportunities. Your guide can accompany you on any safari with prior notice.

Ranthambore Park. Ranthambore was once the Jaipur rulers’ private hunting ground. Dry deciduous forest covers most of the park, and the vegetation is lush around the many small lakes and ponds. The open grasslands that are the tiger’s favorite terrain account for much of the land on the higher slopes. This varied flora supports a large number of animals including a variety of deer and antelope, crocodiles, the sloth bear, over 320 species of birds, leopards and one of India’s highest densities of the Bengal Tiger.

Ranthambore Fort. In between safaris, you have the option of a guided visit to the 10th Century Ranthambore Fort, which is located near the main park entry gate. This excursion does have a fairly steep climb with almost 300 stairs that are always surrounded by dozens of monkeys busy in their daily activities. The massive Fort is one of the finest examples of the ancient Hindu concept of Vana-Durg, or a fort protected by a jungle. There are superb views of the park to be had from its ramparts.

Day 11. Ranthambore – Jaipur

Overnight – Rambagh Palace

Morning Safari. Enjoy your last safari this morning and return to your jungle resort for breakfast. This late morning’s schedule is flexible. You can have lunch at Ranthambore after you check out at noon, or you can leave in the mid-morning and have a slightly late lunch at Jaipur – the drive normally takes from 3 to 3.5 hours. Whenever you are ready, you are driven to the UNESCO World Heritage City of Jaipur.

Rambagh Palace. Upon arrival at Jaipur, you are assisted with your check-in at the Maharaja’s former residence, the Rambagh Palace. Jaipur’s most magnificent lodging is located next to the Rambagh Golf Course and tee time and more can be reserved with your tour.

Train and Platform Restaurant. While you are at the palace, we recommend dinner at an incredibly charming and atmospheric venue. The unique Steam Bar & Restaurant on the Rambagh Palace grounds is comprised of a lovingly restored 19th century narrow-gauge steam train and a recreated colonial era railway station – you can eat in the train compartments or on the authentic colonial era platform next to the train.

Shopping in Jaipur: Jaipur is India’s shopping mecca for all sorts of exquisite hand-crafted items, including fabrics, carpets, pottery and jewelry, and those who are interested in shopping can have their Guide serve as a personal shopper during your time here.

Day 12. Jaipur

Overnight – Rambagh Palace

Pink City. Begin your exploration of the walled pink city of Jaipur. You will start with a stroll through the fascinating main bazaar in the heart of the pink city and watch the locals as they shop for pretty much everything a consumer can possibly want. This atmospheric and crowded bazaar has multiple rows of sellers, starting from the sidewalks and ending at the sometimes centuries old brick-and-mortar stores.

Bazaar Walk. There are rows of busy street vendors with their displays or carts, usually offering fresh produce or inexpensive everyday essentials. Behind them the brick-and-mortar stores sell their wares in sections of the bazaar that focus on similar products. Almost everything under the sun has a section in this massive web of a bazaar, which includes scores of byzantine alleys leading into inner courtyard shops that only the locals know about.

Hawa Mahal. A short walk or drive will bring you to the most photographed of Jaipur’s monuments, the enchanting Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Wind). This intriguing facade was built in 1799 so that the ladies of the court could use its unique windows and observe the bustling bazaar without being visible to people on the streets. The gorgeous design and architecture are supremely functional as they guide prevailing winds over water bodies and through ingenious lattice windows, resulting in naturally cooled chambers for the royals.

For an interesting meal within the Pink City bazaar area, we recommend the excellent cafe at the small historic lodge, The Johri. Locally sourced fresh organic vegetarian cuisine is served here, and the Indian chaat items are recommended. Other options, including fine dining at your palace hotel, are available.

Jantar Mantar. One of the wonders you will visit today is the Jantar Mantar (UNESCO World Heritage Site), an amazing stone observatory that was built by the founder of Jaipur in 1728. Beloved Sawai Raja Jai Singh was passionate about architecture, mathematics and astronomy, and had five stone Jantar Mantar astronomical observatories built in India, all of which allow calculations by the naked eye. The most impressive of these is at Jaipur, where a massive stone sun dial that is accurate to within 2 seconds.

City Palace. Located next to Jantar Mantar is your next experience, City Palace, the royal residence. Members of the family still occupy a part of the palace complex that is closed to the public. You will enter through grand painted entrances and unique courtyards and experience how Jaipur royalty lived and worked over the last 2 plus centuries, and the beautiful artwork and other trappings they surrounded themselves with. You can visit your choice of the palace’s small museums that include displays of local armor, miniature paintings, and a large and impressive collection of ancient royal garments and accoutrements.

Day 13. Jaipur

Overnight – Rambagh Palace

Albert Hall. You first experience this morning will be at the exterior of the Albert Hall Museum to admire the gorgeous Indo-Saracenic architecture. The building was completed in 1887 by Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob and the extremely ornate structure was built out of marble and stone by Rajasthan’s unmatched craftsmen. Its exterior walls are painted with depictions of ancient civilizations. Rudyard Kipling (himself the son of a museum curator) on a visit was so impressed that he wrote “it is now a rebuke to all other museums in India from Calcutta downwards”.

We recommend touring some of the museums exhibits as, being Rajasthan’s State Museum, it was designed to reflect Rajput design and color. You can explore the sections that interest you, picking from many fascinating collections of historic craftsmanship such as pottery, jewelry, weavings, sculptures, paintings, to a collection of coins spanning many eras of India’s long history.

Monkey Temple. From the Albert Hall you are driven into Jaipur’s Aravalli Hills and the ancient Hindu pilgrimage site of Galtaji. The 15th Century group of temples here are sometimes called the Monkey Temple because of a large troop of monkeys makes their home in this part of the hills. They jump into and swim around the main pond with reckless abandon and their social behavior and grooming rituals can be fascinating to watch.

The picturesque complex of temples has seven ponds that are fed by springs on the surrounding hilltops. You can explore inside the beautiful pink stone Galtaji Temple, and there are other ancient temples in the complex for those interested. The Rajasthani architecture makes them very different from most temples in North India. A bit of an uphill hike can bring you to the hilltop Sun Temple.

Amer Fort: You have many options for lunch today from which your guide will assist you in selecting. Your last and most awe-inspiring experience in Jaipur is the gargantuan Amber Fort and Palace complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 16th century complex sprawls over a number of hills and their valleys, with rolling defensive walls surrounding the hills around it and was home to the Jaipur Royal Family for about a century and a half.

Fort Architecture and Design. The massive citadel is visually stunning from the ground with just the façade of the visible walls, towers, gardens, and ramparts as they conform to the contours of the hills. Inside the citadel the views only improve, but now, changing the scale, it is time to admire the intricacy and creativity in the breathtakingly beautiful displays in chambers and hallways that you will experience. You will see how the king lived and ruled, how the noblemen ran the kingdom, how the proud Rajasthani Queens ran the women’s section, how food, water, and waste were handled, all while admiring the wonderful architecture and craftsmanship.

Day 14. Jaipur - Jaisalmer

Overnight – Suryagarh

Flight to Jaisalmer. You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel in the mid-morning and driven to the airport and assisted with boarding your early afternoon no-frills flight to Jaisalmer.

Suryagarh. You are greeted on arrival at the Jaisalmer airport and driven to your luxury boutique resort where you are assisted with your check-in. You are at leisure for the remainder of the day to relax and enjoy your resorts many amenities.

Day 15. Jaisalmer

Overnight – Suryagarh

Jaisalmer Fort. Proceed for guided city tour of Jaisalmer. The tour begins from “The Jaisalmer Fort”, built in 1156 by Rawal Jaisal. The fort crowns 80-meter-high Trikuta hill. Still inhabited, there are palaces and bazaars within the fort walls. The Fort has 99 bastions around the circumference. Other attractions include Ganga Sagar Tank and Museum, once the water supply of the city, housing many small temples and shrines. A wide variety of water birds flock here in winter.

Havelis of Jaisalmer. Enjoy a walking tour of the ancient spice route town of Jaisalmer. You will walk through residential communities and small bazaars as you visit the historic havelis of Jaisalmer. Wealthy spice route merchants built their exquisite homes with profusely carved stone facades. The most famous ones are the Patwon Ki Haveli, Salim Singh Ki Haveli and Nathmal Ki Haveli. There is a break for lunch at a time of your choosing.

Sam Excursion. Mid-Afternoon – Enjoy an excursion to Sam (a little over an hour from Jaisalmer) for a camel safari and to watch the shifting sand dunes. This is true desert, just like what you see in motion pictures. Your camelback safari ends with you experiencing the breath-taking view of a desert sunset. Admire the setting sun as it touches and then disappears behind the sand dunes. You are driven back to your hotel at the end of the day.

Day 16. Jaisalmer - Jodhpur

Overnight – Raas Jodhpur

Drive to Jodhpur. Check-out from your resort after breakfast and then you proceed on the drive to Jodhpur.

Raas Jodhpur. Arrive at Jodhpur in the afternoon and you are assisted with your check-in to your gorgeous boutique hotel. The incredible fort views from your luxury hotel have been described as the most spectacular of any hotel on our planet.

Sadar Bazaar Walk. Mid-afternoon: you will walk with your guide through the bustling Sadar Bazaar, often referred to as the Clock Tower Market, due to the monument that forms the center of the circle around which the bazaar is laid out. Return to your hotel after this exploration.

Day 17. Jodhpur

Overnight – Raas Jodhpur

Mehrangarh Fort. Proceed on a half day city tour of Jodhpur. The tour begins from the fifteenth century Mehrangarh Fort. This formidable hilltop fort is arguably the most awe-inspiring in Rajasthan, a land of impressive hilltop forts and palaces. Entry to the massive fort is through a series of seven great gates, with the main entrance being the huge Lohapol that literally means Iron Gate. Next to this gate there are 15 handprints in the wall, the Sati marks of Maharaja Man Singh’s widows. These handprints were etched into the wall by the queens just prior to them throwing themselves upon his funeral pyre in 1843, as the besieged fort was about to be conquered. Inside the fort is a collection of some of the finest palaces and galleries, including, Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), Sukh Mahal (Pleasure Palace), Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), Elephant Howdah Gallery, Palanquin Gallery, the Armory, the Turban Gallery, and the Folk Music Gallery. The Daulat Khana houses one of the world’s finest collections of Mughal Art.

Jaswant Thada. On your way down from the fort you will stop for a tour of Jaswant Thada, a marble cenotaph built in 1899 as a memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. There will be a break for lunch at a time of your choosing.

Optional Bishnoi Village Tour. Afternoon: You have the option to explore more of charming ancient Jodhpur around your boutique hotel with your Guide, or to enjoy a visit to a rural community on the outskirts of Jodhpur (we recommend the first option as the Bishnoi tribe visit has become fairly commercialized). The village you will visit is inhabited by the Bishnoi tribe. Among other activities, you will spend some time at the home of a potter and his extended family, and even try your hand at the potter’s wheel. You also have the option to witness a ceremony that is unique to this part of Rajasthan. A fairly well-off local tribe has a ritual in which the adults, upon returning from working their fields at the end of the day (most of them do not even go to work anymore!), are greeted by the youth with water pipes laden with opium. You are invited to observe as the adults indulge in this recreational activity.

Day 18. Jodhpur – Narlai

Overnight – Rawla Narlai

Optional Zip Line Experience. This morning, you have the option to enjoy a thrilling Zip Line experience over Mehrangarh Fort. Fly high over the outer battlements of Rajasthan’s most majestic fortress, glide serenely over two desert lakes, trek through the Rao Jodha eco-park and enjoy the best view of Mehrangarh and the Blue City. Return to your hotel to freshen up and have breakfast after the excursion.

Narlai Village. You are assisted with your check out in the mid-morning and then you will join your guide and chauffeur for the drive to historic Rawla Narlai, a 17th century Royal Hunting Lodge located right in the middle of a charming Rajasthani Village. Most of so-called rural tourism sites receive a constant stream of visitors and available experiences are at least partially staged. With almost 6000 colorfully attired residents, 16th Century Narlai is the genuine article, a large and fairly prosperous Rajasthani village inhabited by friendly villagers.

Rawla Narlai. The ancient royal lodge has been meticulously restored and calling it boutique would be a vast understatement. There are two wings – the original 17th Century hunting lodge and a more modern wing that was built a little over 20 years ago. We recommend experiencing the original historic wing – the rooms have been made as comfortable as possible. For modern conveniences and functionality, and significantly more natural light, the modern wing is better, and the common areas of the hotel are primarily in the historic structure.

Near the lodge and visible from various vantage points is a massive granite boulder called Elephant Hill. This ancient volcanic hill has many caves carved into its facade and a historic small Hindu Temple at its peak.

Village Experience. After checking in and a slightly late lunch, you will enjoy an extended walk through the large village to get an introduction to the lives of the simple but proud Rajasthani villagers. There will be young boys and girls herding goats, sheep, and cows around the area, and many other experiences that are only found in rural Rajasthan. There will also be multiple opportunities to view various indigenous activities. If you communicate with the villagers, their simplicity, warmth, and hospitality will captivate you.

Ancient Stepwell Dinner. After sunset you will be assisted in climbing aboard a traditional bullock cart (you can choose to be driven instead) and transported through the dark countryside to a charming 16th Century stepwell. Your magical dinner will be at the stepwell, accompanied by live local folk music and accented by hundreds of oil lamps adorning the steps of the stepwell. You will enjoy a multi-course dinner with the oil lamps and countless stars creating a magical setting – this dinner is among our guests’ most treasured memories in India.

You will have preselected one of two activities this morning, or you may have decided to sleep in. Travelers can select the activity of their preference and then rejoin each other at the lodge afterward.

Day 19. Narlai – Udaipur

Overnight – The Oberoi Udaivilas

Elephant Hill. During the first activity, you will accompany a lodge steward on their daily climb up the 756 ancient hand carved steps that lead to the peak of Elephant Hill, stopping when needed. The lodge steward carries your choice of tea or coffee for you to enjoy with the spectacular views at the top of the boulder – you can also visit the small Hindu Temple while you are up there.

Leopard Safari. During the second activity, you will board one of the lodge’s jeeps with their naturalist and head into the surrounding jungle in search of leopards, known to be elusive animals. Although it is not a National Park, leopard sightings have been fairly common around Narlai in the last few years. The ride is a little bumpy as you are traversing rough terrain.

In both cases you will return to the lodge to have a late breakfast, after which you can enjoy your fascinating surroundings for a little while. You will be assisted with your check out just before noon and then you will proceed to Udaipur with a great stop enroute.

Ranakpur Jain Temple. A very short scenic drive from Narlai will bring you to one of India’s lesser-known architectural marvels, the 15th Century Ranakpur Jain Temple, which is an active place of worship. The main temple’s 29 halls are supported by 1444 massive yet intricately carved marble pillars, in which no two are of the same design. There is an abundance of intricate sculptures and friezes and the enormous scale and exquisite detail have to be experienced to be believed.

Drive to Udaipur. After this you will continue on with your journey to Udaipur. This is one of the most picturesque drives in all of India and as you go through the Aravalli hills there will be photo opportunities of village life and livestock, including camels. The rolling landscape and the charm of the rural countryside may make you ask for frequent stops during this 2-to-2.5-hour journey.

Oberoi Udaivilas. Arrive at magical Udaipur in the early evening and you are driven to your spectacular lakefront resort and assisted with your check-in. The architecture, facilities and grounds at the Oberoi Udaivilas are unmatched even among all of the highly vaunted Oberoi Hotels.

Day 20. Udaipur

Overnight – The Oberoi Udaivilas

City Palace. Head out for the City Palace a little early this morning so as to share the magical complex with fewer visitors. The fabled City Palace Complex contains multiple old palaces and other structures, and the lavish opulence of the interiors and antique furnishings even exceeds what you experienced in the Jaipur palaces.

Lake Pichola. The entrance area of the City Palace offers spectacular views of Lake Pichola and its picturesque surroundings. You will explore ornately decorated chambers and hallways that are illuminated by the sun’s rays through bright stained-glass windows, take in the views from expansive inlaid marble balconies, and marvel at the breathtaking craftsmanship in the Mor Chowk (Peacock Square).

Crystal Gallery. The palace’s Crystal Gallery houses the world’s largest collection of priceless crystal and showcases an exquisite collection of rare crystal artifacts from the renowned British manufacturer, F. & C. Osler. The gallery’s vast collection includes many highlights such as a spectacular chandelier, a life-size lion, and an assortment of royal furniture that includes the world’s largest crystal bed, as well as chairs and tables. These larger dazzling displays are complimented by a fascinating array of crystal objets d’art, such as vases, perfume bottles, and dinnerware.

Bazaar Walk. Escape from your lavish trappings and experience the pedestrian charms of Udaipur, an ideal town for safe and easy walking explorations. Your guide will lead you on strolls (driving is an alternative) through quaint local markets and other captivating areas.

Three-wheeler Ride. Udaipur is ideal for experiencing a three-wheeler scooter ride in India and you will be passengers as your driver slowly navigates a preset route on the narrow streets and hidden alleys of charming Udaipur. With each bump and turn, you’ll be more captivated by the vibrant colors and rich cultural history that surrounds you. Lunch can be at a time and place of your choice, including at your resort.

Monsoon Palace. In the midafternoon you are driven to visit the Monsoon Palace, a small hilltop structure that offers amazing views of the picturesque city of Udaipur and its lakes and palaces. For hiking enthusiasts, part or all of the way up or down the hill can be an exhilarating walk. The road is part of a state protected sanctuary and you will come across colorful villagers leaving the jungle after gathering firewood.

Sunset Cruise. Enjoy a private sunset cruise on captivating Lake Pichola in one of your resort’s boats – this is a perfect last activity in magical Udaipur. Additional days at Udaipur are highly recommended both by us and previous guests and can be added upon request.

Day 21. Udaipur – Delhi

Overnight – The Oberoi Gurgaon

Your guide and chauffeur driven vehicle are available to you from 9 AM for additional Udaipur sightseeing.

Flight to Delhi. Your flight to Delhi is in the mid-afternoon and you can check out at any time before noon. In the early afternoon you are driven to the fairly distant Udaipur Airport and assisted in boarding your mid-afternoon business class flight to Delhi.

Oberoi Gurgaon. At Delhi your guide assists you in getting checked-in at your gorgeous hotel and then bids you farewell. If you do not require lodging in Delhi as your international flight is on this evening, there will be a nominal cost reduction.

Day 22. Delhi – International Flight

VIP Departure Services. Check-out at the appropriate time (your room is available until noon) and a private Oberoi vehicle will transfer you to the airport. At the airport you will be introduced to your Airport VIP Services Representative who will escort you through check-in, customs and immigration.

Lodging Details

Destinations Lodgings
Delhi
The Oberoi New Delhi – Oberoi Suite
Varanasi
Taj Nadesar Palace – Historical Suite
Khajuraho
The Lalit Temple View – Luxury Suite
Agra
Oberoi Amarvilas – Premier Balcony Room with Taj View
Ranthambore
Oberoi Vanyavilas – Luxury Tent
Jaipur
Rambagh Palace – Historical Suite
Jaisalmer
Suryagarh – Signature Suite
Jodhpur
Raas – Heritage Suite
Narlai
Rawla Narlai – Grand Heritage Room
Udaipur
The Oberoi Udaivilas – Premier Room with Semi Private Pool

Inclusions

  • Daily breakfast at all the hotels except for Arrival Day
  • Accompanying Connoisseur Guide to assist you during your on-tour flights & drives
  • 3 Private Jeep Safaris at Ranthambore National Park
  • All safari related costs at Ranthambore, including park entry, naturalists, vehicle fees etc.
  • Sunrise and sunset boat cruises on the holy river in Varanasi
  • Sunrise and Sunset visits to the Taj Mahal
  • E-Rickshaw Ride in Old Delhi
  • Three Wheeler scooter ride through the streets of Udaipur
  • Special Stepwell Dinner Experience at your Royal Hunting Lodge at Narlai
  • Camelback (or Camel cart) safari at Sam
  • Lunches/Dinners include regular hotel bottled water
  • A Supplement to include Lunches and Dinners is available but not recommended
  • Hotel check-in is at 3pm and checkout is at noon for almost all the hotels
  • All transfers and sightseeing by personal luxury vehicle
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi in all vehicles, except for remote regions
  • All currently applicable taxes.

Exclusions

  • International Travel
  • Expenses of a personal nature like tips, laundry, telephone calls, etc.
  • All alcoholic and non-alcoholic premium beverages during included meals
  • Meals other than those specified above
  • Travel insurance, visa etc.
  • Camera fees

Pricing

Availability of our Journeys is Limited
Please call us at 512 387 1111
Or send us Your Preferred Dates below

Land Cost

2 Guests

$31,700.00* Per Person

1 Suite/Room/Villa

4 Guests

$29,800.00* Per Person

2 Suites/Rooms/Villas

8 Guests

$27,900.00* Per Person

4 Suites/Rooms/Villas

Internal Flight Costs

Business/Coach Class

$1276.00* Per Person

These are Smart Fares. Cancellation and Change Fees Apply.

Business Class Flights included in Internal Flight Costs: Delhi – Varanasi – Khajuraho / Udaipur – Delhi

Coach: Jaipur – Jaisalmer

Prices subject to change until booked.

Days 1 - 22

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22

Pace & Activity

All journeys are mild activity & pace levels.