With a history grounded in the regal traditions of the Rajput kings, the princely state of Rajasthan is the jewel in India’s crown – a place of glittering palaces, shimmering lakes, battle-scarred ramparts and storybook forts that rise from the dunes of the Thar Desert. Cities, all riotous pinks and dazzling blues, are a showcase for India’s liveliest bazaars, where turbaned traders deal in everything from camels and cattle to handicrafts and spices. And, in the countryside surrounds, centuries-old customs live on in remote tribal villages. You’ll experience it all as you travel from the capital, Delhi, via Agra’s white marble icon to the royal cities of Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur, staying throughout in luxurious Taj hotels, three of which – Rambagh Palace, Umaid Bhawan Palace and Taj Lake Palace – are themselves the former homes of Rajasthan royalty.
Day 1: Depart the UK
Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Delhi.
Days 2-3: Delhi
Arriving into India’s capital, you’ll transfer to the city’s Taj Mahal Hotel whose opulent spa, marbled halls and luxury suites pave the way for two days of guided exploration. Contrast Old Delhi’s 17th century Red Fort and Jama Masjid mosque with the leafy boulevards and palatial government buildings of its New Delhi cousin. Then, hop on a rickshaw to hurtle through the narrow laneways of the city’s chaotic Chandni Chowk bazaars.
Day 4: Agra
Heading east from the capital to Agra, you’ll look out to the famous white-marble domes of the Taj Mahal from your city-centre hotel before a guided tour brings you to Agra Fort, the main residence of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638, when the capital moved to Delhi. Then, head to the Taj itself to see the changing colours of sunset cast their glow over India’s architectural icon. Built over a period of 18 years and using the skills of some 20,000 craftsmen to complete, it’s the ultimate legacy of the Mughal Empire and its then-Emperor, Shah Jahan.
Days 5-6: Jaipur
Today’s journey takes you south, via the 17th century grandeur of Fatehpur Sikri, to Jaipur. From its Palace of the Winds to its Jantar Manar observatory, City Palace complex and fairy-tale Amber Fort, Rajasthan’s ‘Pink City’ capital – complete with buzzing rickshaws and ambling camels – is a colourful, chaotic introduction to India’s most intriguing state. A full-day tour takes in its highlights, while the five-star indulgence of your heritage palace hotel – the former residence of the Maharajah of Jaipur – will account for any down time.
Days 7-8: Jodhpur
Continue to your next hotel, Umaid Bhawan Palace, perched high above Jodhpur’s stunning desert setting. The city’s vivid jumble of cobalt-blue buildings is best seen from its 15th century cliff top fort – Mehrangarh. Explore its victory gates and royal quarters on a guided tour before you venture into the tangled web of medieval lanes that sprawl out from its base to its ancient city walls. Then, swap city bustle for rural heritage as you head into the countryside to visit a Bishnoi tribal village. Here, you’ll be welcomed into the villagers’ homes to learn about their unique customs and close association with the natural world.
Days 9-10: Udaipur
Your final stop in Rajasthan is Udaipur, perched idyllically on Lake Pichola’s serene shoreline. With its tumble of palaces, temples and narrow haveli-lined streets, it’s surely one of India’s most atmospheric settings. Take it all in on an expert-led tour that will bring you first to Rajasthan’s largest palace complex before leading you, via the 17th century Jagdish Temple and Saheliyon-ki-bari’s garden verdure, to the tightly clustered market stalls that fan out from behind the City Palace. Each evening, retire to the marbled, 18th century opulence of the Taj Lake Palace hotel where butler serviced suites look out to unrivalled views of the lake and city beyond.
Day 11: Delhi
Return to Delhi for a final night at the Taj Mahal hotel.
Day 12: Arrive in the UK
Depart for the airport after breakfast and board your flight home, arriving in London the same day.
Prices from: £3,895 per person (low season) & £6,385 per person (high season)
Valid for travel: year round
Package includes: International and domestic flights, accommodation as indicated, private transfers and touring
Terms & Conditions:
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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