Day 01 : Arrival at Delhi:
Company representatives will receive you on arrival at the international airport in Delhi. Transfer to your hotel. Relax.
DELHI, the capital of kingdoms and empires is now a sprawling metropolis with a fascinating blend of the past and the present. It is a perfect introduction to the composite culture of an ancient land. A window to the kaleidoscope - that is India.
Overnight will be at Delhi.
Day 02 : Delhi:
Enjoy a guided tour of Old Delhi after breakfast.
The tour will begin with a visit to Raj Ghat, a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. He is also famously known as the "father of the nation".
One of the most important buildings of Old Delhi is the RED FORT. The magnificent Red Fort was built during the years 1638 - 48 when the Moghul Empire was at its peak. In 1638 Shahjahan transferred his capital from Agra to Delhi and laid the foundations of Shahjahanabad, the seventh city of Delhi. It is enclosed by a rubble stonewall, with bastions, gates and wickets at intervals. Of its fourteen gates, the important ones are the Mori, Lahori, Ajmeri, Turkman, Kashmiri and Delhi gates, some of which have already been demolished. His famous citadel, the Lal-Qila, or the Red Fort, lying at the town's northern end on the right bank or the Yamuna and south of Salimgarh, was begun in 1639 and completed after nine years. The Red Fort is different from the Agra fort and is better planned, because at its back lies the experience gained by Shahjahan at Agra, and because it was the work of one hand. It is an irregular octagon, with two long sides on the east and west, and with two main gates, one on the west and the other on the south, called Lahori and Delhi gates respectively. While the walls, gates and a few other structures in the fort are constructed of red sandstone, marble has been largely used in the palaces.
Continue your tour to Jama Masjid by bicycle rickshaws, one of Asia's largest mosques. People stream in and out of the mosque continuously and the presence of a nearby bazaar means that the area is rarely quiet.
Enjoy the rickshaw ride at Old Delhi peddling through the narrow by lanes of Chandani Chowk.
After lunch proceed for a sightseeing tour of New Delhi, which reflects the legacy of the British left behind. The division between New and Old Delhi is the division between the capitals of the British and the Mughals respectively. The division in the walled city and New Delhi also marks the division in the life-styles. The walled city is all tradition where one will be able to glean a past life-style in all its facets, colors and spells. New Delhi in contrast, is a city trying to live up to the best of 21st century standards.
Imperial Delhi will include the Qutub Minar, the tallest stone tower in India. Qutb-Minar in red and buff standstone is the highest tower in India. It has a diameter of 14.32 m at the base and about 2.75 m on the top with a height of 72.5 m. Qutbu'd-Din Aibak laid the foundation of Minar in AD 1199 for the use of the mu'azzin (crier) to give calls for prayer and raised the first floor, to which were added three more floors by his successor and son-in-law, Shamsu'd-Din Iltutmish (AD 1211-36). All the storeys are surrounded by a projected balcony encircling the minar and supported by stone brackets, which are decorated with honeycomb design, more conspicuously in the first floor.
Next stop would be the majestic Humayun's Tomb. Humayun died in 1556, and his widow Hamida Banu Begum, also known as Haji Begum, commenced the construction of his tomb in 1569, fourteen years after his death. It is the first distinct example of proper Mughal style, which was inspired by Persian architecture. It is well known that Humayun picked up the principles of Persian architecture during his exile, and he himself is likely to have planned the tomb, although there is no record to that effect.
The tour also includes a drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the President's residence.
If time permits then visit the Lotus temple located in south of Delhi. It is lotus shaped and has rightly been given the name. It is made of marble, cement, dolomite and sand. It is open to all faiths and is an ideal place for meditation and obtaining peace and tranquillity. Its founder, Bahaullah (1817-1892), is regarded by Bahai as the most recent in the line of Messengers of God that stretches back beyond recorded time and that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad.
We could even have time to see the Indira Gandhi Museum or else Lotus Temple can be replaced with the museum visit. The history of the Gandhi family is well documented in this old building which was the last residence of Mrs Gandhi.
Overnight will be at Delhi.
Day 03 : Delhi to Agra by Road
Drive to Agra - City of the Taj Mahal, a great monument to love and one of the world's most beautiful buildings. On arrival, check in to your selected hotel and pass the afternoon enjoying the facilities or exploring on your own.
Day 04 : Agra
The day starts early with a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal, one of the Wonders of the World, created by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Later visit the Agra Fort, offering gorgeous views from its lofty walls, and the Itmad-ud-Daulah - the exquisite tomb of a Persian adventurer who became chief minister at the Emperor Jehangir's court. His grand-daughter Mumtaz married Shah Jehan and her tomb is, of course, the Taj Mahal. Overnight in Agra.
Day 05 : Drive Agra to Bharatpur | Train Bharatpur to Ranthambore
Depart Agra early this morning for Bharatpur Railway Station, en-route visit Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted capital of Emperor Akbar, an almost perfectly preserved 400 year-old Mughal capital. From Bharatpur Railway Station board the 11am express train for Ranthambore, arriving at 01 PM.
You will be met and transferred to your selected jungle lodge where you will stay 2 nights and later you will be collected for an evening game drive in Ranthambore National Park.
Day 06 : Ranthambore
Morning and evening game drives in Ranthambore National Park - the diversity of habitats, the ancient ramparts and the variety of flora and fauna are breathtakingly beautiful and your guide will share his intimate knowledge of the Park.
Day 07 : Drive Ranthambore to Jaipur by Road
After another early morning game drive in Ranthambore National Park and then continue on to Jaipur, painted pink to welcome Prince Albert in 1853, and pink still. On arrival, check in at your chosen Jaipur hotel.
Day 08 : Jaipur
A full day of sightseeing in Jaipur includes the Amber Fort, 11 kms from the city. The Fort is a superb example of Rajput architecture and you can either ride to its lofty heights by jeep or on a gaily-bedecked elephant. Returning to Jaipur, visit the museums, palaces and halls of the City Palace (still a royal residence) and the Palace of the Winds. At the Jantar Mantar Observatory, learn how it was constructed to measure 'the harmony of the heavens', a concept dear to Hindus as they believe their fated souls move to its rhythms.
AMBER FORT PALACE - Amber is the classic romantic Rajasthani fort palace. Its construction was started by Man Singh I in 1592, and completed by his descendent Jai Singh I. Its forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise where a beautiful fusion of Mughal and Hindu styles finds its ultimate expression. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Jaipur visiting... CITY PALACE - A delightful blend of Mughal and traditional Rajasthani architecture, the City Palace sprawls over one-seventh of the area in the walled city. It houses the Chandra Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum.
JANTAR MANTAR - This is the largest and the best preserved of the five observatories built by Jai Singh II in different parts of the country. This observatory consisting of outsized astronomical instruments is still in use.
HAWA MAHAL - The ornamental facade of this "Palace of Winds" is a prominent landmark in Jaipur. It is a five-storey structure of sandstone plastered pink encrusted with fine trelliswork and elaborate balconies. The palace has 953 niches and windows. Built in 1799 by Pratap Singh, the Mahal was a royal grandstand for the palace women. Free in the evening. Overnight will be at Jaipur.
Day 09 : Drive Jaipur to Delhi by Road
Leave Jaipur for the return drive to Delhi, pausing for tea at the Neemrana Palace, a most elegant and historical heritage hotel. Continue on to Delhi's international airport for your flight home.