Jaisalmer Desert Festival – 15 days Tour of Delhi Agra Jaipur and Rajasthan
Join us on a Rajput Extravaganza – the ultimate trip through the Land of the Rajput Kings with the unique opportunity to experience the exciting spectacle of the Jaisalmer Desert Festival. As the drums of Rajasthan beat out aloud brightly adorned elephants with their mahouts and tassel laden camels and riders, colourful floats, singers, dancers and marching bands will waltz on by in the city’s annual street parade.
Dates: 7 Feb 2020 – 9 Feb 2020
Day 1: Delhi
Welcome to India and the start of your holiday! Arrive Delhi, included transfer to hotel. Overnight – Delhi
Day 2: Sightseeing in Old & New Delhi
This morning, our Welcome Meeting takes place. We’ll then enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Delhi, taking in the impressive Red Fort, Jama Masjid – India’s oldest and largest mosque, Raj Ghat – the site of Gandhi’s cremation and more. Tonight, we enjoy a group Namaste Dinner at a restaurant specializing in classic Indian cuisine. Overnight – Delhi
Day 3: The Taj Mahal
Departing Delhi, we journey to Agra, once India’s Mughal capital. Here we explore the legendary Taj Mahal. Built entirely of white marble, the Taj Mahal has no peers. Continuing, we visit Agra fort, which boasts some of India’s finest Mughal buildings behind it’s fortified walls. We also visit a marble craftshop. Overnight – Agra
Day 4: Jaipur
Agra – Jaipur. En route to Jaipur we visit the stunning former Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri – Emperor Akbar’s vision in red sandstone. We enjoy lunch at Udai Vilas Palace in Bharatpur, before taking a walk in the traditional rural village of Peharsar. Later, in Jaipur, we visit a cotton trading/tailor shop where you can get clothing tailored for delivery to your hotel before we leave Jaipur! Overnight – Jaipur
Day 5: Jaipur
This morning, we travel beyond Jaipur to the 16th century Amber Fort. An exotic elephant ride transports us to the lofty fort, where we’ll enjoy a tour of this Rajput extravaganza. Why not bolt on an early morning amazing hot air balloon ride? Later in the afternoon we tour the City Palace, which boasts an interesting museum of regal attire and Jantar Mantar, an ancient astronomical observatory. Overnight – Jaipur
Day 6: Surajgarh – rural India
Jaipur – Surajgarh/ Shekhawati region. Today, we drive to the semi-desert Shekhawati region. The small towns in this region became important trading posts, a lasting legacy of which are the beautiful painted havelis (mansions) constructed by wealthy merchants in the 18th and 19th centuries. Enjoy an afternoon village walk. Overnight – Surajgarh
Day 7: Bikaner
Surajgarh – Bikaner. Travelling west, our next stop is the 14th century desert town of Bikaner. Once an important staging post on the great caravan routes, much of the atmospheric old town which we will explore is still encircled by massive fortified walls. Within these walls are havelis, artisan shops and people going about their daily lives. We also visit the spectacular Junagarh Fort & museum, built between 1587 and 1593 during the rule of Rai Singh. Overnight – Bikaner (B)
Day 8: Jaisalmer
Bikaner – Jaisalmer. Driving through the Rajasthani Thar desert we arrive at the medieval caravan outpost of Jaisalmer, one of the jewels in India’s crown. Exquisite wood and yellow sandstone buildings dot the town and within Jaisalmer Fort are homes, hotels and shops hidden in ancient lane ways. Late afternoon and evening at lesiure. Overnight – Jaisalmer
Day 9: Jaisalmer Desert Festival
Today we have a wonderful opportunity to experience the exciting spectacle of the golden city’s grand parade. As the drums of Rajasthan beat out aloud brightly adorned elephants with their mahouts and tassel laden camels and riders, colourful floats, singers, dancers and marching bands will waltz on by in the city’s annual street parade. Bright and early this morning we take a guided tour of the Jaisalmer Fort. Afterward we’ll wait in readiness at the First Gate of mammoth stone fort. Here, with the honey colored fortress as a backdrop there will be plenty of photo opportunities as the procession marches by. Then, together we can walk alongside the festival and street parade as it weaves its way through the city streets of the Rajputs to gates of the town stadium.
We too will enter the stadium (scheduled to arrive at 12 noon) and watch the festival events for an hour or so before continue with our city sightseeing tour (time permitting). Later in the afternoon after time to freshen up and have some lunch we enjoy a camel ride across the vast, rolling sand dunes of the desert. Overnight – Jaisalmer
Day 10: Jodhpur & the Mighty Thar Desert
Jaisalmer – Jodhpur. An interesting drive through increasingly varied scenery takes us to Jodhpur, a town at the edge of the mighty Thar Desert. Dominated by Meherangarh Fort which sits majestically atop a hill, Jodhpur is known as the Blue City. This is because of the coloured houses in the old town, painted indigo. We’ll enjoy some touring in this colourful Rajasthani city, taking in the mighty fort and bazaars of the old city which are gathered around the city’s tall clock tower. Overnight – Jodhpur
Day 11: Ranakpur
Jodhpur – Ranakpur. Leaving Jodhpur, we drive to Ranakpur, a small town tucked away in a remote valley and famed for its beautiful 14th century Jain temples. We’ll enjoy some exploration here and time to relax at our hotel. Overnight – Ranakpur (B)
Days 12 – 13: Udaipur – picturesque Lake Pichola
Ranakpur – Udaipur. Continuing south, we arrive at Udaipur. An oasis of cool, with its massive lake and Venetian-like appearance, Udaipur is one of the most romantic towns in Rajasthan. A favorite amongst travelers, Udaipur is crammed full of palaces and temples. During our stay we’ll enjoy a cruise on Lake Pichola, plus touring of the imposing City Palace, not to mention free time to explore and perhaps shop for colourful Rajasthani souvenirs and Indian spices. Overnight – Udaipur
Day 14: Fly back to Delhi
Udaipur – Delhi. Departure transfer to the airport to board a morning flight to Delhi / Mumbai, see note below. The afternoon is free for you to relax at the hotel or to head out and further explore Delhi. Overnight – Delhi
Day 15: Delhi
Saying goodbye to our new found friends, our tour ends, hotel check-out and included onward transfer to airport.
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