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Heritage Rajasthan With Varanasi Ganges Tours



Duration : 16 Days / 15 Nights
Destination Covered : Delhi - Udaipur - Ranakpur - Rohet - Jaisalmer - Sam - Jaisalmer - Jodhpur - Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra - Varanasi - Delhi - Departure



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Day 01 Arrival / Delhi
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 at The Qutab- a 5* Hotel (Superior Room)

Day 02 Delhi
This morning, 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 at The Qutab- a 5* Hotel (Superior Room)

Day 03 Delhi - Udaipur (9W 709 - 0545/ 0745 Hrs)
Early morning transfer to the airport to board 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 check into the hotel Jagat Niwas, a modern heritage hotel replete with character and charm, besides all comforts discerning tourists would seek.
After rest & 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 enjoy 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 at Jagat Niwas Palace (Deluxe Lake View Room).

Day 04 Udaipur - Ranakpur - Rohet (240 Kms)
Following breakfast we drive to Rohet en route we will 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.
Following the tour of Ranakpur we continue our drive to Rohet.
Upon arrival, check into Rohetgarh Fort.
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.
We would also 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 dust 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.
As evening descends, the darkness of the night is lit up by the flickering flames of fire around which the rhythmic movements of the folk dancers assumes shape in brilliant colours; truly an electrifying experience.
Overnight at Rohetgarh - Heritage Property (Deluxe Room).

Day 05 Rohet - Jaisalmer (325 Kms)
After breakfast we will drive to Jaisalmer. The drive is through desert country with scantly vegetation and life stock in view.
Upon arrival, check in to Hotel Himatagarh Palace.
Rest of the day is at leisure. We suggest you walk along the old city to explore traditional and typical Jaisalmer. The havelis (mansions) in a beautiful state of preservation are a fascinating sight.
Overnight at Himmatgarh Palace (Deluxe Room).

Day 06 Jaisalmer - Sam - Jaisalmer (60 Kms - One Way)
This morning, we visit the residential portions of the fort where one third of the population of the old city lives. The design of houses remains, as they were a couple of century's back and so is the lifestyle of people occupying them. This is because most of the families continue to work for generations for the rural (though only titular now) hence there is a sense of continuity. The houses are arranged in narrow lanes and have small windows from where the shy child or the girl peeps. This is the city believed to be the home of the most handsome men and women in Rajasthan.
Later, drive to Sam, a dessert outpost. Enroute we visit a few typical dessert villages, which have a sprinkling of huts. The rough terrain here does not support cultivation; hence the entire village works as casual labourers in road works or community projects. Inspite of their poverty and hard life the people are very friendly and seem to be aware that they are proud owners of very expressive and beautiful faces. We move on to Sam where we explore the dessert on camel back.
In the evening we will return to our hotel in Jaisalmer.
Overnight at Himmatgarh Palace (Deluxe Room).

Day 07 Jaisalmer - Jodhpur (285 Kms)
After breakfast we 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.
Later afternoon, 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. It is a fantastic experience to walk through the place observing and photographing this incredible spectacle of vibrant lifestyles and incredible colours.
Overnight at Ratan Vilas - Heritage Property (Standard Room).

Day 08 Jodhpur
After a leisurely breakfast we 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 Tara - the Royal Crematorium.
Rest of the day is at leisure for independent activities. Jodhpur is a veritable shopper's paradise with entire streets and localities in the walled city devoted to single commodities. The city is famous for bandhani and lahariya, block printed textiles, silver jewellery, antique furniture, wood and metal handicrafts. Carpets and durries can be found on the Umaid Bhawan Palace road. Jodhpur is home to many talented and skilled craftsmen like textile dyers, metal engravers and die-makers and probably the last of the tailors of the classic Jodhpur breeches.
Overnight at Ratan Vilas - Heritage Property (Standard Room).

Day 09 Jodhpur - Jaipur (325 Kms)
This morning we will drive to Jaipur.
Upon arrival check into your 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.
Rest of the day is at leisure to explore the unending shopping options of Jaipur. 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 at Alsisar Haveli - a Heritage Hotel (Standard Room).

Day 10 Jaipur
After breakfast, we proceed on a guided tour of the Amber Fort. Set on the dry wrinkled Aravali Hills, the Fort is a superb example of Rajput (Medieval Hindu) style of architecture. A slow elephant taxi takes us to the top of the Fort, which houses several graceful buildings.
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.
Later, we proceed for a guided tour of the City Palace & Observatory. The City Palace in the heart of the old city is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The center of the palace is a seven-storied building called Chandra Palace, with fine views over the gardens and the city. Next stop the City Palace is the Solar Observatory - an astronomical treasure house, with solar device that gives accurate predictions till date.
Overnight at Alsisar Haveli - a Heritage Hotel (Standard Room).

Day 11 Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra (245 Kms)
After breakfast we drive to Agra stopping at deserted capital city of Fatehpur Sikri. This abandoned capital of the Mughals is a perfectly preserved city at the height of the empire's splendour. The city divided into religious and secular parts has interesting well-sculpted buildings. From here we will continue our drive to Agra.
Upon arrival check into hotel Howard Park Plaza.
Rest of the day is at leisure for your independent activities. Of course, the car and driver would be at your disposal to visit the local markets.
Overnight at Howard Park Plaza - First Class Hotel (Standard Room).

Day 12 Agra - Varanasi (Poorva Express - 2000 / 0500* Hrs)
Agra is the city of the Taj Mahal, perhaps the most photographed monument in the world. However, there is a degree of enigma about the Taj. Once you hear about a building so much and once you see so many pictures of a building your expectations are real high; and this is the enigma about the Taj Mahal. No matter how many pictures you have seen or no matter how high your expectations are the Taj never lets you down - the unparalleled glory and beauty of the building surpasses beyond all human imaginations. At sunrise we visit one of the greatest sights of one's lifetime - Taj Mahal. 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. Later we return back to our hotel for breakfast.
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.
Rest of the day is free for independent activities.
Later transfer to the train station to board a train to Varanasi.
Overnight: First Class Sleeper Air Conditioned Accommodation

Day 13 Arrival / Varanasi
Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to your Rashmi Guest house.
(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 B.C. 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.
After wash & change we will visit 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.
Evening, we visit the ghats of Varanasi to witness the performance of Ganges Aarti. We enjoy a special evening cruise on the Ganges. See the Hindu devotees performing the "Puja" with lighted lamps. The view is very mesmerizing and the ambience is spectacular in the backdrop of the beating of cymbals and bells as well as the incessant chantings. Later return to the hotel.
Overnight at Rashmi Guest House (Deluxe River Facing Room)

Day 14 Varanasi
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 dock 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!
Later you will visit the bustling Gadolia bazaar where we only have to walk. You would never have seen so many cycle rickshaws and heard the cacophony of so many cycle rickshaw bells! It is an amazing spectacle of colour and lifestyles as you need to watch out for the pavement shops - especially the pavement dentist with a laughing set of dentures!!
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 at Rashmi Guest House (Deluxe River Facing Room)

Day 15 Varanasi / Delhi (Spice Jet - 1310 / 1420 Hrs)
Morning is at leisure to absorb & observe the religious spirit of Varanasi.
Later transfer to the airport to board your flight to Delhi.
Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to hotel The Qutab.
Home Visit & A Farewell Dinner with an Indian Family : - This evening we would visit an Indian Family to observe and learn some of the Indian's housewife's secret. We would have the meals with the family in the evening. You could also participate in the actual cooking of the meal.
Overnight at The Qutab- a 5* Hotel (Superior Room)

Day 16 Delhi - Departure
Transfer to the international airport in time to board your onward flight back home

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