Destinations Covered: DELHI – MANDAWA – GAJNER – MIRWANA – MANVAR – ROHET – NIMAJ – PUSHKAR – JAIPUR
Tour Duration: 14 Nights / 15 Days
Day 1 : Delhi
Meet on arrival at Delhi International Airport and transfer to hotel.
Delhi, the vibrant capital city of India lying along the River Yamuna, is a teaming metropolis of 14 million people and nowhere in the Country is the contrast between old and new more obvious. Seven cities have existed here since the 10th century, ruled over by a succession of Rajputs, Turks, Afghans, Mughals and the British. Delhi is two cities in one; the Old Delhi of the Mughals, created by Shah Jehan after moving his Capital from Agra in 1638 AD is still a medieval district of narrow lanes, forts, mosques and bazaars. The second, New Delhi, built by the British between 1911-1931 and characterized by Sir Edwin Lutyens’ architecture, is a spacious and well-designed metropolis of broad avenues, grand imperial buildings and landscaped gardens.
Overnight at hotel in Delhi.
This morning in New Delhi drive along Rajpath, a two mile long avenue originally the focal point of British India and now used for parades; lined with ornamental canals the views in both directions are imposing. Drive past India Gate, built to commemorate the Indian and British soldiers who died in World War 1, Parliament House and Rashtrapati Bhavan. Standing at the crest of Raisina Hill, Lutyen’s 20th Century architectural masterpiece was built for the viceroy during British rule and is now the President’s residence.
Afterwards in Old Delhi previously known as Shahjahanabad, take a cycle rickshaw through the chaotic, noisy and bustling markets of Chandni Chowk, where trading continues in the maze of shops as it has done over the Centuries. Stop at the magnificent Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India and the final architectural extravagance of Shah Jehan.
This afternoon drive through South Delhi to Qutub Minar, a World Heritage monument and one of the most instantly recognisable and historically important monuments in Delhi. This 234 foot high fluted minaret was built in 1193, at the time of the foundation of the Islamic rule in Indian known as the Delhi Sultanate. The adjacent Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque is an early example of the fusion of Hindu panels and Islamic domes and arches reflecting the mingling of the two cultures.
In the late afternoon visit one of the most inspirational monuments of Delhi’s past, Humayun’s Tomb. The earliest great example of a Mughal garden tomb and the forerunner to the ornate Mughal style of architecture later perfected in the Taj Mahal, Humayun’s Tomb was built in 1565 by a Persian architect. Surrounded by well maintained gardens it is a wonderfully atmospheric place to visit.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 2 : Delhi – Mandawa
This morning drive 250 kms / 6 hours to Mandawa.
Lying on an old caravan trade route, Shekhawati is renowned for its painted houses or “Havelis” of its wealthy merchant class, the Marwari’s. The region resembles an open air art gallery with paintings dating from the mid 19th century. The paintings are to be found in several villages notably Mandawa, Nawalgarh and Dundlod. The Goenka Haveli in Dundlod and the Poddar Haveli in Nawalgarh are excellent museums and should be visited. Many of the remaining havelis are in a sad state of neglect and inhabited by caretakers families. In the afternoon visit the paintings of Havelis of nearby villages of Mandawa, Nawalgarh & Dundlod.
Overnight at Hotel, in Mandawa
Day 3 : Mandawa – Gajner
Today morning drive 225 kms / 4 ½ hours to Gajner.
Gajner Palace, a intricately carved red sandstone palace built in the early 20th century, lies on the shores of a lake, surrounded by forest, just 30 minutes from Bikaner. Formerly the hunting lodge of the Maharaja, it has been beautifully renovated and is now a peaceful retreat outside of the city.
The forest is now a 6000 acre private wildlife sanctuary which is home to endangered antelopes like the chinkara, black buck, nilgai and during winter months, the lake becomes home to more than a hundred species of migratory birds, including the Imperial Sand Grouse. Gajner Palace has a total of just 44 rooms and suites and offers billiards, cycling, boat trips on the lake and horse-riding
Overnight stay at Hotel
Day 4 : Gajner – Bikaner – Gajner
Today morning drive 35 kms / 45 minutes to Bikaner for sightseeing tour.
Bikaner is an oasis town among scrub and sand dune desert. This afternoon visit Junagarh Fort, one of the finest in Rajasthan mixing military architecture with ornately decorated interiors. Started in 1588, subsequent palaces were added over the next three centuries.
Afterwards proceed for Camel Breeding Farm, founded by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research on July 1984. The Camel Breeding Farm is one of the largest camel farms of Asia and is located at Jorbeer, Bikaner. The Camel Breeding Farm breeds the finest of camels in Bikaner. The Bikaner Camel Breeding Farm also conducts researches and experiments on the camels. The results obtained from the experiments are used to promote camel breeding.
Overnight stay at Hotel
Day 5 : Gajner – Mirvana
This morning drive 225 kms / 5 hours to Mirvana.
Overnight stay in Mirvana
Day 6 : Mirvana – Jaisalmer – Mirvana
Drive 55 kms / 1 and ½ hours to the Thar Desert to Jaisalmer for the sightseeing tour.
Today explore Jaisalmer. Jaisalmer, today a remote outpost, is one of India’s most exotic desert towns. Its massive fort rising like a mirage out of the desert was built in 1156 on a flourishing trade route to Central Asia. Dominating the town, the forts narrow cobbled streets give it an extraordinarily medieval atmosphere and today is India’s only living fort with thousands of people residing inside. Within its walls are shops, houses and wonderfully carved Jain temples. From the ramparts the views over the Thar Desert are magnificent. During the 19th century Jaisalmer’s wealthy traders competed with each other to build exquisite houses or havelis characterized by their yellow sandstone facades. The jalis (latticed stone screens) and Jharokas (projecting balconies) are so intricately carved that they almost look like lace. Several generations of extended family live in the havelis which usually contain secluded woman’s quarters. Gadisagar Lake built in 1367 was once the city’s only water supply and lined with ghats and temples, it is a photogenic place to visit.
Overnight stay at Mirvana Nature Resort
Day 7 : Mirvana – Manvar
This morning drive 155 kms / 3 hours east to Manvar. Manvar Resort is an oasis in the desert – designed as a desert village settlement. Converting barren land into an oasis was not an easy task. The local architecture was studied at great length before formulating a design for Manvar. Throughout the resort the atmosphere is relaxed and enchanting.
Accommodation at Manvar Resort
Day 8 : Manvar – Rohet
This morning drive 150 kms / 3 hours to small village of Rohet 45 minutes south of Jodhpur.
Rohetgarh, the fortified desert home of the local ruling family was beautifully restored and converted some 16 years ago into a small hotel on the banks of a lake. The family still partially reside here and manage the 34 room hotel extremely well. The comfortable rooms are bright and airy with colourful, local furnishings and overlook the pool, garden or lake. As in all heritage hotels, there are some architectural quirks, such as unprotected balconies, narrow steps and entrances varying from those suitable for an elephant to tiny doors.
There is a courtyard swimming pool and the hotel is renowned for its excellent meals. The family keep 12 Marwari horses and with prior booking can arrange for horse riding from 2 hours to a full day with lunch or 6 day safaris to discover the surrounding Bishnoi tribal lands.
Accommodation at Rohetgarh
Day 9 : Rohet – Jodhpur – Rohet
Today drive an hour to Jodhpur for sightseeing tour.
Dominated by the spectacular Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur city is a mass of sky blue coloured cubed houses set against a desert setting. Traditionally blue signified the home of a Brahmin but nowadays anyone can paint their home blue; additionally the colour allegedly is said to repel insects. Rao Jodha founded the Rathore Dynasty in Jodhpur in 1459 AD and the kingdom of Marwar flourished due to its strategic location on the trade route between Delhi and the Middle East. Sandalwood, dates, copper, cattle, camels and salt passed through the City over the centuries. As a legacy of its glorious past, Jodhpur boasts some stunning palaces, forts and temples.
Meherangarh Fort is one of the most majestic forts in Rajasthan riding sheer out of a 125 m. high rock and spreading over five kilometres. Inside, the palace hewn from red sandstone with finely latticed windows, brilliantly coloured glass panes and flamboyantly decorated interiors gives a vivid recreation of princely life in Rajasthan. The Royal apartments additionally house an outstanding museum including a rich collection of palanquins, howdahs, miniature paintings, folk music instruments, costumes and impressive armoury. On the way back from the fort stop to visit Jaswant Thada; the cremation ground and white marble memorials of Jaswant Singh II and the successive Mawari rulers.
This afternoon drive through the arid countryside south of Jodhpur visiting the craft villages and mud and thatch huts of the Bishnoi. The Bishnois are passionate environmentalists and live by the code of a 19th century sage who laid down his 29 (Bis noi) principles. Their faith leads them to protect every living being which accounts for why the shy blackbuck still survives in this region. The men wear mainly white whilst the women wear bright colours. Stop at villages to watch dhurries (rugs) being woven out of cotton or camel hair in traditional geometric designs and using vegetable dyes, pots being made or to simply enjoy the hospitality of these friendly people.
Accommodation at Rohetgarh
Day 10 : Rohet – Nimaj
Today drive 2 hours to the small village of Nimaj. The Thakurs of Nimaj have refurbished their Palace with its impressive red sandstone facade into a 22 room heritage hotel.
Accommodation at Nimaj Palace
Day 11 : Nimaj – Pushkar
This morning drive 120 kms / 2 ½ hours to Pushkar.
Believed to mark the spot where a lotus thrown by Brahma landed, Pushkar Lake is one of India’s most sacred lakes. The lake lies in a narrow dry valley overshadowed by impressive rocky hills giving spectacular desert views at sunset. Pushkar is not only popular with local pilgrims who bathe along the lakes ghats but also with large number of foreign backpackers hence its somewhat shabby atmosphere nowadays.
Accommodation at Hotel, in Pushkar.
Day 12 : Pushkar – Ajmer – Jaipur
After breakfast undertake a tour of Pushkar, visiting the lake and the Brahma Temple situated on the banks of Pushkar Lake.Later drive to Ajmer and visit Dargaha Sarif and then proceed to Jaipur. Upon arrival check in at the Jaipur Hotel. Rest of the day at leisure at Jaipur Hotel.
Overnight stay in Jaipur.
Day 13 : Jaipur
After early breakfast visit Amber Fort with an Elephant ride till the main entrance of the fort. Afternoon proceed to visit the city of Jaipur. Among the highlights to be seen while touring Jaipur include the City Palace. Walk to the adjacent Jantar Mantar or Astronomical Observatory made by the Maharaja of Jaipur, built in 1726 and is one of the five such astronomical wonders built by Sawai Jai Singh and makes accurate predictions even to this day. Overnight stay in Jaipur hotel.
Day 14 : Jaipur – Delhi – Onward Destination
Breakfast at the Hotel. Morning free to explore the Jaipur colorful market. Later drive by surface to Delhi. Upon arrival you will be straight transfer to International airport to board onward destination flight.