Your Rajasthan adventure begins upon arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), where you’ll be transferred to your handpicked New Delhi hotel for check-in. Get to know this thriving city at your leisure.
Delhi is the country’s capital dating back to the 1600s, and it’s here you’ll find the backbone of all things Indian. Discover abodes of rajas past, as well as Hindu temples and mosques, like the regal Jama Masjid. Feel the heat of savoury cumin and curries wafting through the streets and witness a bright rainbow of yellow muskmelons, green-skinned guava and bright pink dragonfruit that paint the array of fruit market stalls.
If you’ve energy for it, wander out alone and enjoy your first sample of Indian cuisine – the street vendors here are world-renowned. Otherwise, spend your night back at the hotel, resting up for the day ahead.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before setting off on a day of exploration. Follow your local guide as you weave through the busy streets of Old Delhi to the 17th century Chandni Chowk markets. Immerse yourself in the droves of brightly dyed clothing, tempting sweets and aromatic spices within its colourful collection of bustling shops.
Make your way to New Delhi and descend stone stairs into the eerie quiet and peace of the Agrasen ki Baoli stepwell – a centuries-old historic utility structure pre-dating the advent of water pumps and plumbing. Continue to Raj Ghat and contemplate this elegant memorial to Mahatma Gandhi near the Yamuna River. Step into the magnificent Red Fort – completed in the 17th century under the rule of Shah Jahan this inovative structure is a marvel of the Mughal empire. Walk past its austere sandstone walls, amongst the imposing columns of its public audience hall or through the 'Palace of Colours' of the emporer's wives and mistresses, with its brightly painted walls and mosaic of mirrors.
Spend the afternoon exploring New Delhi’s must-see spots, from the India Gate war memorial arch to the spectacular grounds of the Presidential Palace and Parliament House. Gaze in awe at the 13th-century sandstone tower of Qutab Minar – a looming monument of intricate Afghan design, built by Muslim conquerors and standing over 70 metres tall.
Return to your hotel for a free evening of rest.
After an early breakfast, it’s time to depart for Agra. Once you’ve checked in at your hotel, make your way to the Taj Mahal – one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Its unmistakeable ivory-white dome and freestanding minarets have become recognisable the world over. Cast your eyes up to the vey peaks and contemplate this architectural marvel, then look down to witness their perfect mirror in the still waters of the famous reflecting pool.
Continue to Agra Fort, a castle town built of striking red sandstone which contains the many fairy-tale palaces of former emperors. Return to your hotel for an evening at your leisure.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, then set off for Jaipur in your private coach. Check-in at your hotel, then greet the stunningly hospitable ‘Pink City’. Stroll through its bazaars and an spend the evening appreciating a mesmerising sound and light show at the Jal Mahal water palace.
With an early breakfast under your belt, strike out to discover the sprawling Amber Fort Complex. Strategically placed atop a forested hill, its unique fortifications weave down the slopes in complex patterns of pale yellow and pink sandstone. Take in the grandeur of one of India’s most magnificent palaces, then admire nearby Nahargarh and Jaigarh Forts – constructed to offer a tactical retreat and defense for Jaipur.
- Lunch at local restaurant.
Wake to a hearty breakfast and take your private transfer to the ‘Red City’ of Bikaner, famed for its eye-catching architecture, traditional haveli manor houses and annual celebration dedicated to the ‘ship of the desert’ – the Camel Festival. Once you’ve checked in for the night at your historic palace stay, embark on an afternoon camel safari across the rolling dunes of the Thar Desert.
Return to your breathtaking accommodation – originally built for Maharaja Ganga Singh – and spend your evening revelling in the royal surrounds.
Further discover Bikaner and learn the history of its founder, the young Rao Bika – a prince who set out to create his own kingdom in the heart of a desert. Stand in the shadow of Junagarh Fort and visit its exquisite royal palaces, then browse the countless antiquities of the Fort Museum. On display you’ll find no less than a collection of jade-handle daggers, Persian and Sanskrit manuscripts and the royal family jewels.
Later, make your way to Karni Mata Temple, where devotees offer sweets and cheeses to tens-of-thousands of holy rats. Learn the fascinating history behind this unique tradition, then continue on your way to the temple town of Pushkar.
Check in at your hotel and relax this evening in placid surrounds.
After breakfast, visit Pushkar Lake. This lake – surrounded by over 500 temples – is sacred to Hindu practicioners and reputed to have healing powers. Visit the cobalt-blue Brahma Temple to learn about the singular city of worship that surrounds it, dedicated to the god of creation.
Enter Pushkar Fair Ground and witness the site of the annual Pushkar Fair – a week-long spectacle during which thousands of camels, horses and cattle are traded and unique competitions are held, including the ‘longest moustache’ contest.
Afterwards, depart for the tranquil city of Udaipur and take a stroll around historic Fateh Sagar reservoir before retiring to your hotel.
Set sail on a morning ride across enchanting Lake Pichola, drifting lazily past the picturesque surrounds of this ‘Venice of the East’. Back ashore, head to the City Palace for a tour of its flamboyant complex. Constructed in the 16th century, this gargantuan fortress exhibits varied architectural styles and houses a showstopping collection of sculpture, photography and painting from the Mewar School within its museum.
Spend your afternoon at leisure and visit the bustling local markets – at Bapu Bazaar you’ll find gadgets and souvenirs while Bada Bazaar is famous for its rainbow shades of textiles and traditional clothing.
Enjoy a filling breakfast and travel to the small village of Khejarla. Check-in at your accommodation for the evening – 400-year-old Khejarla Fort, where rugged granite and sandstone walls belie the palatial touch of latticework friezes and gilt bedding within.
Accept the welcome respite from India’s busy city life as you take to the lanes of this rural Rajasthani village. Engage with locals during an evening walking tour to the local market, and embrace this little-known gem of the region.
Start the day with an invigorating jeep safari at the nearby Bishnoi Village. Learn about this community’s dedication to protecting it’s unique wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for the impressive helix horns of the blackbuck and the graceful gait of chinkara gazelles. Take a tour of the village and get to know the traditions of its shepherds, weavers and potters, then pay a visit to the stepwell.
Continue to Jodhpur for a relaxing evening at your hotel.
This morning, visit to the jaw-dropping Umaid Bhawan Palace, one of the largest private residences in the world. This palace comprises over 300 rooms, lush gardens and a palm court built from the very same marble as the Taj Mahal.
Continue to the beautiful Jaswant Thada – an empty white marble tomb built to honour Maharaja Jaswant Singh II in 1899 – and view its collection of royal portraits.
Savour lunch at your hotel, then spend your afternoon exploring the ‘Blue City’ of Jodhpur, wandering past Brahmin homes painted a striking azure and visiting local markets for a taste of the region, or perhaps climbing to the astounding Mehrangarh Fort, high on the hill overlooking the city.
Later, transfer to the rail station and board your overnight train to New Delhi. During this quintessential Indian travel experience, you can watch the scenery slowly shift from comfort within your air-conditioned sleeper carriage as you journey into night.
Arrive at New Delhi Railway Station in the early morning and transfer to your hotel, where you can opt to enjoy breakfast upon checking in.
Today is yours to spend as you wish, exploring buzzing street life and sampling culinary delights such as crispy fried ‘chaat papdi’ and the spicy potato- and chickpea-filled ‘golgappa’ dough. Consider visiting the collections at the National Museum of India, with its vast array of prehistoric artefacts, or meander through the idyllic forests and lawns of Lodhi Garden.
- Breakfast at hotel.
After one final breakfast, it’s time to say goodbye to your unforgettable Rajasthan adventure. Enjoy a leisurely noon checkout, and transfer to Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) for your journey home.