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Classical Rajasthan - Guide Price £1389pp

The princely state of Rajasthan is India at its colourful best with its magnificent and ornate palaces and majestic forts. Following a tour of the sites of imperial Delhi, travel through the heart of the historic state of Rajasthan, discovering its culture and traditions and exploring the romance of a bygone era and the astounding Taj Mahal in Agra.        

Ref: IN3

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ItineraryCommencing, October 2018

UK to Delhi

Day 1

Namaste! Welcome to India. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you have any free time before the meeting, perhaps visit the World Heritage-listed Mughal masterpiece of Humayun's Tomb or the tall brick tower of Qutub Minar.

Delhi

Day 2
In the morning, navigate the city’s metro system to discover Old Delhi on a walking tour. Hitch a ride in a traditional cycle rickshaw through a typical Indian traffic jam in the streets around Chandni Chowk marketplace. Visit Delhi’s oldest mosque of Jama Masjid, which is also India’s largest. Escape from the frenetic pace of the city streets by ducking into a Sikh temple to observe a more spiritual side of this bustling metropolis.
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Agra

Day 3
Travel to Agra by one of India's express air-conditioned trains (approx 3 hours/230km). Steeped in Mughal heritage, Agra has a wealth of gardens, temples and open rooftops. Visit the Taj Mahal and learn why Emperor Shah Jahan built it as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz. Buzz around Agra in a motorised rickshaw and explore inside the spectacular sandstone walls of the Red Fort, built to encompass the imperial city of the Mughal rulers in the 16th century. If you have time, move on to Akbar's Mausoleum to honour the great emperor.
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Madhogarh

Day 4
Take a local bus to Bassi, a small town in the middle of rural Rajasthan (approx 4 hours/210km). Travel by private transport to your accommodation for the night (approx 45 min/20km) in Madhogarh. On a walk through the village, see craftspeople at work and meet the locals. In the evening, stay in the beautiful heritage property of Fort Madhogarh, which has belonged to one of Rahasthan’s royal families for centuries. Dinner is included here tonight.
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Jaipur

Day 5
Travel on by private vehicle to Jaipur (approx 90min/50km). On arrival, take a walk around the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Get among the crowds of the city’s bazaars to shop for artisan goods and semi-precious stones. Set on a hilltop overlooking Maota Lake, visit the Amber Fort, an excellent example of Rajput architecture. The Sheesh Mahal inside the fort is a must-see. As the walls are completely covered in little mirrors, the hall illuminates with the light of a single match.
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Jaipur

Day 6

This morning, take an optional hot air balloon ride. Floating across the skyline of Jaipur in a hot air balloon can be a highlight of the trip. Travel by rickshaw to Hawa Mahal, also known as the 'Palace of the Winds’. Alternatively, head to Jaipur's Royal City Palace or the observatory of Jantar Mantar to see a collection of astronomical instruments. After a long day of exploration, perhaps head to the Raj Mandir Cinema to experience the glamour of a Bollywood film.

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Ranthambhore National Park

Day 7
Continuing by private vehicle, head to Ranthambhore (approximately 5 hours/200km). Ranthambhore National Park was once a famous hunting ground for the Maharajas of Jaipur, and was one of the original Project Tiger reserves. Explore the ruins of the park’s 10th-century fort, and in the evening take a 4WD safari in search of tigers and other wildlife.
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Bundi

Day 8
Travel to Bundi by private vehicle (approx 4 hours/150km). Navigate Bundi's narrow streets on a walking tour. Wander through the downtown market and engage with the locals. Visit intricately carved baoris (step wells) and explore the 16th-century Bundi Palace (be sure to check out its famous murals). Another heritage stay awaits us tonight.
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Paangarh

Day 9

Cross the Chittorgarh countryside to Paangarh Lake, spending the night sleeping in a permanent tent camp. On arrival, unwind with a cup of chai while watching the sunset over the lake and serene Vindhya Range. Enjoy a view out to the 15th-century Pangarh Fort, perched atop a hill to the north side of the lake.

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Bijaipur

Day 10

Return to Bundi and take a slow train journey with local villagers (approximately three hours) to Bassi (same name as a previous destination, different place!) followed by a drive in an open-top jeep out into the countryside to visit pastoral villages. As the area is teeming with wildlife, your guide should be able to point out some native animals. While in the villages, perhaps get a temporary souvenir in the form of a henna tattoo. Enjoy a group meal of local Bassi cuisine in the evening, and relax in our heritage stay for the night.

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Udaipur

Day 11
Our next journey by private vehicle takes us to Udaipur (approximately 4 hours/180km). Take a walk to soak up the city’s hills, lakes and white marble palaces, or delve into its twisting alleys and bazaars filled with silver, leather goods and miniature paintings. A popular centre for artists, dancers and musicians, there’s plenty to entertain you here.
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Udaipur

Day 12
Visit Udaipur's City Palace, one of the largest royal palaces in India. Enjoy an optional boat ride on the famous Lake Pichola (seasonal) and marvel at the island palaces off Jag Nivas and Jag Mandir. In the evening, perhaps enjoy a traditional concert that combines seven traditional Rajasthani folk dances.
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Pushkar

Day 13
Take a six-hour air-conditioned train to Ajmer and then a private vehicle to your hotel in Pushkar. Enjoy a walking tour to visit the bustling ghats and temples around Pushkar Lake, and watch as the devout worship by the holy water. A highlight of the visit to Pushkar is a camel ride out into the surrounding desert area.
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Pushkar - Delhi

Day 14
Early risers can hike up to the Savitri Temple for amazing sunrise views over the town this morning. There might even be a steaming glass of chai waiting for you at the top if the chai man is there. You’ll have free time to enjoy the rest of the morning in Pushkar. The Shatabdi Express train departs Ajmer around 2 pm for the trip back to Delhi, arriving at around 10:40 pm.
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Delhi

Day 15
There are no activities planned for the final day and you’re able to depart the accommodation at any time.