Greeted on arrival in Delhi and transferred to the Suryaa Hotel or similar for two nights. The remainder of the day is at leisure. There will be a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 2 Delhi
Explore Delhi on a full day sightseeing tour. Start with a tour of Old Delhi in the morning: enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride in the bustling lanes of Chandni Chowk followed by a visit to Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India, and the Raj Ghat, a memorial built for Mahatma Gandhi, a prominent figure in India’s struggle for freedom. Drive through Lutyen’s New Delhi in the afternoon. Visit the tomb of Humayun and the lofty Qutb Minar, an early Mughal structure made of red sandstone and white marble.
A drive to Agra this morning for an overnight stay at the ITC Mughal hotel or similar. Having checked in, the group will visit Agra Fort, on the banks of the Yamuna River, followed by the ornate Itamud-ud-Daula tomb and, finally, an unforgettable sunset stroll around the Taj Mahal.
Most of today is taken up with the drive to the Rajasthani capital, Jaipur, via the deserted red sandstone city of Fatehpur Sikri, former capital of Mughal emperor Akbar, and the 9th century Chand Boari stepwell. Stay at the Shahpura House the palatial house of the Shekhawat clan, or similar, for two nights.
A full day’s sightseeing in Jaipur today takes up the sixth leg of your tour, beginning with a trip out to Amber Fort, followed by the Hawa Mahal and 18th century Jantar Mantar Observatory.
Leave the Pink City straight after breakfast for the five-hour drive to Khimsar Fort, a beautiful 16th century palace on the fringes of the Thar Desert, where you’ll spend a night. The afternoon will be at leisure to relax by the hotel pool or visit the village.
A long drive west to the desert city of Jaisalmer takes up the first half of the day. After lunch, you’ll be at leisure to enjoy the hotel’s facilities or venture up to the old walled citadel for sunset, when troupes of Mangaiyar Gypsy musicians perform in local rooftop cafés – a perfect accompaniment to the expansive views. Stay at the Desert Tulip Hotel or similar for two nights.
Explore the narrow alleyways, walled havelis and medieval Jain temples of Jaisalmer Fort on a guided walking tour after breakfast. Spend the remainder of the day souvenir shopping, or enjoying the warm desert sunshine back at your hotel.
After breakfast drive for 5 hours across the desert to Dechu, where you’ll spend the night in a beautiful, luxurious Samsara Tented Camp – a great place to enjoy the starry skies and remote feel of the Thar Desert.
Turning eastwards, the morning’s drive brings us to ‘The Blue City’ of Jodhpur, where we’ll pause to visit the implacable Mehrangarh Fort before continuing on to the village of Narlai, where we’ll spend two nights in an exquisite ancestral walled mansion - the Rawla Narlai.
You’ll be free today to explore the temple and towering boulder hills, at your own pace. Optional extras that might tempt you include a jeep safari, or an atmospheric candle-lit dinner on the edge of an ancient stepwell.
After breakfast we’ll set off for the scenic drive over the Plains of Marwar to Ranakpur, where we’ll pause to visit a complex of sumptuously carved white marble temples before continuing on to Udaipur where you will spend two nights at the Lalit -Laxmi Vilas Palace or similar.
Tours of the city’s royal palaces, the old city and the Jagdish Temple take up most of today. In the afternoon, you’ll be at leisure to relax back at your hotel or shop for souvenirs in the lakeside boutiques.
Transfer to the airport.
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