13 Days

India

With more world heritage sites than any other country in the world, you are sure to be amazed by India.  Visit the massive Taj Mahal, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and see why it took many skilled craftsmen along with 20,000 laborers 17 years to build.  Embark on several safari drives through Ranthambhore National Park, which is inhabited by exotic species including tigers, leopards, cheetahs, wild bulls and more.  In Jaipur enjoy a unique mode of transportation – on the back of an embellished elephant.  To better understand their rural lifestyle, tour a working farm where potatoes, spices and mustard are grown.  A truly unforgettable experience!  Engulf yourself in the culture and the architectural style that abounds in this thriving nation.

Dates Available
  • January 28 - February 10, 2016 SOLD OUT

Itinerary

Day 1:  Thursday, January 28                       Depart USA
Depart Houston International airport in Texas for your flight to Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi, India.

Day 2:  Friday, January 29                             Cross International Date Line / Arrive in Delhi
We lose one day crossing the International Date Line, which will be regained on our return flight. Arrive in the evening, clear customs, and check-in to the hotel. (In-flight meal service)

Day 3:  Saturday, January 30       Delhi                                    
Today begins with a sightseeing tour of Old Delhi.  Established in the early 1600’s, Old Delhi was the original capital and economic center of India.  Tradition and Heritage are important in Old Delhi, where many structures remain intact, preserving its historic ambiance.  Originally surrounded by a wall enclosing about 1,500 acres, Old Delhi remains the symbolic heart of metropolitan Delhi.  Drive by the Red Fort ─ Shah Jehan’s elegant citadel, which was constructed of red sandstone, built as an octagon measuring 3,000 ft by 1,600 ft and surrounded by a 30 ft deep moat which, at its inception, was fed by the waters of the Yamuna River.  Nearby, you will explore the Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque), India’s largest mosque, also built by Shah Jahan.  Take an interesting rickshaw ride through the famous bazaars of Chandni Chowk, which is adjacent to both the Fort and the Mosque.  Following your rickshaw ride, if time permits, visit Raj Ghat, the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.

After lunch proceed to New Delhi, which is the modern metropolitan region of Delhi.  In 1911, King George V decided the capital should be moved from Calcutta, so they began construction near the center of Delhi, calling the region New Delhi.  This new capital of the Republic of India consists of an urban area which is distinct from but contiguous with the walled Mughal city of Delhi (Old Delhi).  Visit the Qutab Minar, a Tower of Victory which was built in the 12th century by Qutbuddin Aibak.  Within its spacious courtyard stands the Iron Pillar, which dates back to the 4th century AD and bears a Sanskrit inscription in the Gupta style.  The pillar has puzzled scientists, as its iron has not rusted in all these centuries.  The tomb of Humayun ─ the magnificent structure in red sandstone and white marble is one of the finest examples of a garden tomb and was a precursor to the Taj Mahal.  Its proportionate spaces, double dome and refined elegance are characteristic of Mughal architecture.  Also visit India Gate, the memorial of the First World War and the residence of the President of India, which is flanked by the houses of Parliament and the Government Secretariat buildings. (B, L, D)

Day 4:  Sunday, January 31                           Delhi / Agra
Make your way out of Delhi to Sikandara, the construction of a tomb started by Akbar during his lifetime and subsequently completed by his son Jehangir.  Set in the center of a garden, this Mausoleum built between 1600 and 1610 AD is a fusion of architectural styles which is characteristic of the period.  Continue on our journey to Agra.  A pleasant town, with a comparatively easy pace, Agra is known for its superb inlay work on marble and soapstone by artisans who are hereditary crafts persons.  The city is famous for its carpets, gold thread embroidery, leather shoes, and of course, the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  The architectural splendor of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces in Agra is a vivid reminder of the opulence of the legendary Mughal Empire, with Agra being the capital for nearly a hundred years, beginning in 1564. (B, L, D)

Day 5:  Monday, February 1                         Agra
Early this morning enjoy a sunrise viewing and a visit to the crown jewel of India, the Taj Mahal.  Built in the middle of the 17th century by the Mughal emperor Shah Jehan for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, it is surely one of the greatest monuments to love and one of the seven wonders of the modern world.  Completed in 1652, skilled craftsmen from Persia, Turkey, France and Italy, along with 20,000 laborers worked for 17 years to build this edifice.  Marble was brought from Makrana, near Jodhpur, and precious stones of onyx, amethyst, malachite, lapis lazuli, turquoise, jade, crystal and mother of pearl were carried to Agra from Persia, Russia, Afghanistan, Tibet, China and the Indian Ocean.

After breakfast visit the Agra Fort, which stands like a crescent on the banks of the Jamuna River and is enclosed by forbidding 60ft high walls with a 36ft moat between them.  Three successive Mughal emperors ─ Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jehan ─ helped create this massive structure.  Later visit Itimad-Ud-Daulah.  Itmad-Ud-Daulaha’s tomb was built by Empress Noor Jahan from 1622-25 AD in memory of her father, Ghias-ud-din Beg.  This ornate tomb is considered a precursor of the Taj Mahal.  After lunch your day is free to further explore this quaint town or negotiate great deals on Indian textiles.  They have lots of handicrafts to choose from!  (B, L, D)

Day 6:  Tuesday, February 2                         Agra / Bharatpur / Ranthambore
Depart Agra for the Bharatpur Railway Station to catch a train for Ranthambore.  En route visit Fatehpur Sikri (City of Victory.)  Built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri is a World Heritage Site and a complex of monuments and temples constructed from sandstone, all in a uniform architectural style.  The city was deserted due to lack of water.  The white marble Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisti, Akbar’s spiritual adviser, is still observed here.

After lunch it’s, “All Aboard!” as we take off on our train ride to Ranthambore National Park.  With an area of 250 sq. miles encompassing rocky hill crests which descend to open valleys between the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges, dotted with water pools and fruit trees, this is a lovely journey.  This park gets its name from the thousand year old fortress, which looms above the forest.  Well known for the diurnal (daytime) activity of tigers, Ranthambore is a very special and unusual area where a natural present meets a historic past. (B, L, D)

Day 7:  Wednesday, February 3                 Ranthambore National Park
Today is going to be wild!  After breakfast enjoy a guided safari throughout Ranthambore National Park, which is host to a plethora of exotic species  including gazelle, sambar, chinkara, nilgai, languor, wild bull, leopard and tiger.  Dotted across the landscape are crumbling ruins of its past glory, be it chatris, cupolas, palaces, or old guard posts, all of which reinforce the magical and ethereal quality of this great wilderness. Later in the day, we visit a mustard farm to see their rural home and inspect their crops. With the gracious hospitality of the owners, this experience was a big hit on our last tour.  The family welcomed everyone into their home and gave us a tour around the farm and showed us some cattle.  What great hosts!  Finish the day with an afternoon jungle safari to see those animals who may have been sleeping in this morning.  (B, L, D)

Day 8:  Thursday, February 4                       Ranthambore / Jaipur
Our final chance to spot those wild animals, this morning offers a safari to give us the best opportunity to see all that the jungle has to offer.  After lunch, we drive to Jaipur and check-in to our hotel.  Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan.  Here you will see why Jaipur is referred to as the Pink City, the color associated with hospitality in Rajput culture.  With its fairy tale palaces, broad avenues and rugged fortresses perched on barren hills, the scenery of Jaipur is truly picturesque.  This planned city, the first of its time, is encircled by a formidable wall.  After lunch the remainder of the day is yours to explore or relax.  Dinner and overnight in Jaipur. (B, L, D)  

Day 9:  Friday, February 5                             Jaipur
After breakfast proceed to Amber Fort, where you will enjoy an elephant ride to reach the top of the palace.  This journey on embellished elephants is bound to enrich your memories with the Royal lifestyle of the Maharajas and leave you with a truly unforgettable experience.  Inside the Fort visit the Hall of Victory or Jag Mandir – the famed Sheesh Mahal – a room with all four walls and ceiling completely embedded with glittering mirror pieces, which were specially imported from Belgium during that period.

Your journey continues after lunch with a city tour of Jaipur, including a visit to Maharaja’s City Palace, the former Royal residence.  A section of the residence has been converted into a museum, while the Royal family of Jaipur still uses a small portion for themselves.  One of the major attractions in the museum is the Armory Museum, housing an impressive array of weaponry: pistols, blunderbusses, flintlocks, swords, rifles and daggers.  Later visit the Jantar Mantar, which is the largest stone and marble crafted observatory in the world, having 17 large instruments, many of them still in working condition.  Also stop for photos at Hawa Mahal – the Palace of Winds.  This evening we are treated to a delightful dinner featuring a cultural dance performance.  (B, L, D)

Day 10:  Saturday, February 6                     Jaipur / Sanganer / Jaipur
A short drive after breakfast takes us to Sanganer, a town renowned for its crafts, textile printing and handmade paper industry.  Sanganer prints are one-of-a-kind, depicting patterns in bright colors and displayed on white backgrounds.  In order to enter Sanganer, we must drive past two massive Tripolias (Triple Gateways) on the Tonk Road.  The town boasts many palace ruins and Jain Temples, all carved with great refinement.  Following lunch the afternoon is yours to rest or shop.  There is a lot to see and do in this little area, so it is perfect for some personal exploring. (B, L, D)

Day 11:  Sunday, February 7                        Jaipur / Udaipur
Continue on our travels to Udaipur, stopping en route for lunch.  Upon arrival, enjoy leisure time getting to know this charming area.  Udaipur is a lovely land around the azure water lakes, hemmed in by the lush hills of the Aravalis Mountains.  A vision in white and drenched in romance and beauty, Udaipur is a fascinating blend of sights, sounds and experiences – an inspiration for the imagination of the poets, painters and writers.  Its kaleidoscope of fairy tale palaces, lakes, temples, gardens and narrow lanes strewn with stalls, carry the flavor of heroic past, epitomizing valor and chivalry.  Their reflection in the placid waters of the Lake Pichhola is an enticing sight.  (B, L, D)

Day 12:  Monday, February 8                      Udaipur
Our morning will lead us around Udaipur, where we become better acquainted with this unique city.  Visit the City Palace, a majestic architectural marvel which is perched on a hill and towers over Lake Pichola.  The Palace is a majestic conglomeration of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, rooms and hanging gardens.  Each palace within is an outstanding creation of art.  Visit the Bharatiya Lok Kala Museum which has an interesting collection of Indian folk art including costumes, ornaments, puppets, masks, dolls, musical instruments and deities.  Later visit Sahelion-Ki-Bari, the “Ladies’ Garden,” with its rich foliage and intricately designed fountains.

This afternoon enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Pichola on which the majestic Lake Palace Hotel is situated.  See the Ghats along the lake and the interesting buildings on the banks.  The view of the city palace from the lake is spectacular.  Dock at the Jagmandir Island where Shah Jehan was once given sanctuary by the Maharana of Udaipur.  (B, L, D)

Day 13:  Tuesday, February 9                      Udaipur
We board a short flight returning to Delhi, where we have a chance to visit the Gurudwara Shri Bangla Sahib.  This is one of the most important historical and sacred pilgrimage destinations of the Sikh community in India and the most sacred among the destinations in Delhi.  It was actually a Haveli or Bangla where Guru Hari Krishan, the eighth Sikh Guru of the Sikhs, stayed during his tour to Delhi in 1664.  The Guru was entertained as a royal guest by Mirza Raja Jai Singh in this bangla.  Later this bangla became the memoir of the Guru and was later converted to gurudwara.  It is estimated that more than 10,000 visitors visit this Gurudwara every day.  Later we enjoy a farewell dinner at Kingdom of Dreams and transfer to the International airport to board our flight home, arriving the following day.  (B, L, D)

Day 14:  Wednesday, February 10            USA
Arrive in the USA early morning to catch your domestic flights home.  (In-flight meal service)

 

Rupiper Tours reserves the right to make minor adjustments to the itinerary if necessary.

What's Included

International Round-Trip Airfare from Houston, TX • International Airline Taxes • Train Fare
Hotel Accommodations • All Meals as Indicated: B (Breakfast) L (Lunch) D (Dinner)
Luxury Motor Coach • English Speaking Tour Director & Guides
Admission for Tours Listed • Special Events as Detailed in Itinerary

Special Events and Sights

Taj Mahal • Red Fort • Jama Masjid • Rickshaw Ride • Mahatma Gandhi Memorial
Three Incredible Wildlife Safari Game Drives • Ranthambhore National Park • Qutab Minar
Tomb of Humayun • India Gate • Amber Fort • Elephant Ride • Jag Mandir
 Maharaja’s City Palace • Armory Museum • Jantar Mantar • Palace of Winds
Fatehpur Sikri • Dayal Bagh • Agra Fort • Itimad-Ud-Daulah Tomb • Classical Dance Show
Mustard Farm Potato Farm

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