Memories of the Maharaja
There are many myths surrounding the Taj Mahal. One suggests that its creator, Shah Jahan, wanted to build an identical black marble structure on the opposite bank of the river Yamuna. This would be his own tomb, connected to the original structure by a bridge. But a war with his sons interrupted these plans and his dream was never realised.
Why we love it:
- Colourful and chaotic, mysterious and exotic - welcome to Rajasthan. Explore the fairytale cities of the desert, travel to beautiful palaces filled with treasures and wander through forts with fascinating histories.
- Marvel at the grandeur of the Taj Mahal in Agra, travel across the Jaisalmer desert on camelback and witness the romantic 'Blue City' of Jodhpur.
- Be immersed in this intriguing state of India - stay in traditional towns, meet the locals in markets and bazaars, and taste delicious regional dishes.
- You will have the opportunity to stay in some very special hotels for a true Rajasthani travel adventure.
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1: Delhi
- Upon arrival you will be collected at the airport by one of our transfer representatives. Your Indian adventure will begin with an important meeting at 6pm. You will find details of the meeting venue at the hotel reception.
- Keep in mind that you will need your next of kin and insurance details with you at this meeting.
- If you arrive early, you will have the opportunity to explore India’s capital - a bustling, exciting and often chaotic hub, filled with fascinating historical sites, galleries, museums and incredible bazaars.
- There are a number of sites worth seeing in your free time. The 1570 Mughal masterpiece of Humayun’s Tomb is a World Heritage-listed site. It was the first garden tomb in India.
- The tall brick minaret of Qutub Minar was crafted in the 1100s; it is a fascinating site to explore. You may also like to visit the mighty Red Fort of Delhi. This part-palace, part-fort has hosted a variety of guests ranging from British soldiers to royal families.
- Your group leader will take you on an organised sightseeing trip through Old Delhi via the city’s modern metro, you will then have the chance to test India’s iconic cycle rickshaw with an adventure through the chaotic streets, including Chandni Chowk.
- You may also see the oldest mosque in Delhi, Jama Masjid, an impressive structure, before visiting the Sikh Temple, Sheeshganj Gurudwara.
Day 2: Agra
Meals included: 1 breakfast
- Today you will experience one of India's faster air-conditioned trains on your way to the Mughal city of Agra (approximately a 3 hours trip).
- Agra is the home of one of the world's most recognisable monuments, the Taj Mahal.
- You will have the opportunity to do a cycle rickshaw tour of the city, a wonderful way to uncover the best of Agra. Please note that in the case of a particularly hot or foggy day, the cycle rickshaw tour will be replaced with battery-powered rickshaws.
- Next you will visit the spectacular Taj Mahal - a masterpiece of shimmering white marble set amid beautiful formal gardens. This amazing 17th century marble mausoleum was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his second wife, who died giving birth.
- Started in 1631, the project was completed in 1648 and employed a workforce of over 20,000 people. Construction materials were brought from all over India with the marble from Rajasthan transported by over 1000 elephants. The Taj has been described as a 'teardrop on the face of eternity' (by writer Rabindranath Tagore).
- You will also visit the nearby Agra Fort - a huge complex built originally as a military structure of red sandstone by Akbar in 1565, and partially converted into a palace during the time of Shah Jahan.
Day 3-4: Jaipur
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Accommodation: Bhanwar Vilas Palace or similar, Karauli
- Today you will rise early and leave for Jaipur. Your first stop will be the deserted Mughal kingdom of Fatehpur Sikri (approximately 1.5 hrs). This magnificent ghost town was capital of the Mughal Empire between 1571 and 1585. Built during the reign of Emperor Akbhar it was abandoned shortly after his death due to a lack of available water. The stunning mosque, Jama Masjid is a feature of the settlement. It captures both Persian and Hindu design, and has an impressive 54-metre-high main entrance called Buland Darwaza, or the Gate of Victory. It commemorates Akbar’s great victory in Gyjarat.
- You will stop for a traditional thali lunch en route to Jaipur.
- Jaipur is the colourful capital of the state of Rajasthan, and a vibrant and exciting town.
- Here, traditionally dressed Rajput men wearing colourful turbans and sporting magnificent moustaches will make their way through crowded streets packed with cars, camel carts, rickshaws, trucks, and bicycles. You will also find bustling brightly coloured bazaars filled with handcrafted textiles, folk art, and semi-precious stones, the local specialty. Jaipur is a favourite among travellers.
- You will then travel 11 kilometres out to the stunning medieval Amber Fort. This fort was built in 1592 by Maharajah Man Singh and is a superb example of Rajput architecture. Several hours are needed to explore this huge fortification.
- Next you will have the opportunity to explore the various rooms and apartments of Jaipur's Royal City Palace - one of India's finest.
- Continue to indulge in the wonders of Indian culture by watching a Bollywood blockbuster - action, romance, drama and music (sometimes all rolled into one), at the spectacular Raj Mandir Cinema.
- You will also see one of five astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur.
Day 5-6: Mandawa
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
- Today you will drive from Jaipur to Shekhawati (approximately 5 hours). Shekhawati is a remote town in the centre of the Shekhawati region. Ancient caravans used to stop in Mandawa en route to the Middle East and China. It was a trading outpost and in 1755 Thakur Nawal Singh, the Rajput ruler of Nawalgarh and Mandawa, built a fort to protect it.
- You will wonder through this fascinating town, which is often referred to as an outdoor museum, and uncover Mandawa's ornate havelis (private residences). Some of these are crumbling and others are wonderfully restored and preserved.
- Today also brings the opportunity to visit one of our Responsible Travel Projects. Asha ka Jharna is a special school for mentally challenged and hearing impaired children. This non-profit organisation provides special education, guidance and counselling to about 150 special children.
Day 7: Bikaner
Meals included: 1 breakfast
- From here you will by travel deeper into the Thar Desert to the fortified town of Bikaner (approximately 5 hours driving). Bikaneer was an important staging post on some of the great caravan routes, and thus houses a multitude of bazaars along with an impressive fort and palace.
- You will travel to the 600-year-old Karni Mata temple next. The temple is notable for the proliferation of rats that live there, thought to be the reincarnation of followers of the Hindu goddess Durga. Locals consider a holy rat running over your bare feet to be particularly auspicious, so if you're not a vermin lover, it might be an idea to stay outside.
- After you have met the holy rats, you will continue on to Junagarh Fort, originally built by Raja Rai Singhji, the sixth ruler of Bikaner (1571 to 1612 AD).
- As night falls you will travel to a nearby farm and partake in a special evening of traditional Rajasthani food, music and dance.
Day 8-10: Jaisalmer/Camel Safari
Meals included: 3 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
- Today you will wind along a remote desert road to the yellow sandstone citadel of Jaisalmer (approximately 7 hrs).
- It rises from the arid, flat desert like a vision from The Thousand and One Nights. Explore the twisted lively alleyways of Jaisalmer, filled with markets and ornately carved houses.
- Located on the banks of Garsisar Lake in the Mehar Bagh Garden, is the Jaisalmer Folklore Museum. It is home to a variety of exhibits.
- Finish the day with one of the highlights of the trip, a camel safari (approximately 2.5 hours) out to the pristine sand dunes of the Thar Desert. You will spend a night camping out under the stars in tents.
Day 11: Jodhpur
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
- Today you will awake to a ride across the desert to discover Rajasthan's second-largest city, the busy and chaotic Jodhpur (approximately 6 hours).
- Jodhpur abounds in antique shops, and is alleged to have the best lassi in India. It is also where the famous Jodhpur trouser originated.
- While you are in Jodhpur you will have the opportunity to explore the colossal Mehrangarh Fort. A highlight of the fort is the expansive views from its ramparts,
- Next you will visit India's last great palace, the Umaid Bhawan Palace. The palace was built in the years between 1929 and 1944. It was named for Maharaja Umaid Singhji, and his successors still reside there.
Day 12-13: Udaipur
Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch
- From Jodhpur you will travel through the beautiful hamlet of Ranakpur (approximately 3 hours). Ranakpur is the home of a host of elaborately carved white marble Jain temples.
- The temples are incredibly complex, they lure Jain pilgrims from across India, making Ranakpur one of the most important pilgrim destinations for Jains in India.
- From here will you will continue on your journey to Udaipur (approximately 5 hours).
- Udaipur is known as India's most romantic city. The rolling hills, white marble palaces, and sprawling lakes of the region combine to great effect. Like the other romantic cities of the world, Udaipur is a hub for artists, dancers and musicians. Miniature paintings are a great shopping attraction of the region, as well as silver, leather and shoes.
- You will have the opportunity to meander through the undulating laneways of Udaipur to get a feel for the city and to discover the shops, you will also visit the City Palace, one of the largest royal palaces in India. It is home to a host of treasures and antiquities, from vivid murals to antiques and royal utensils.
- To ensure you are completely immersed in the romance of the city, you will then take a half hour boat ride on the famous Lake Pichola. From here you might see marvels like Lake Palace and Jag Mandir Island (this will depend upon the water level in the lake at the time of your visit).
- You will also have the chance to be involved with a local musical concert combining seven traditional Rajasthani folk dances before indulging in a famous Spice Box cooking class. You will spend half the day learning and preparing the secrets of Indian cuisine.
Day 14-15: Delhi
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
- Today you will take a flight to Delhi (approximately 1.5 hrs), where you will be collected and delivered to a comfortable hotel for your final night of the tour. The final day of the trip will be free, so you can choose to continue to explore Delhi or arrange your onward travel at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
- Peregrine tour leader
- Specialist local guides
- Arrival transfer
- Sightseeing and entrance fees
Most meals are included on your trip (except for North America trips - please refer to your day-to-day itinerary). However, sometimes we think you'll benefit from getting out and discovering the local cuisine. So when a meal is not included, it's a great opportunity to try something new. For group trips, ask your leader for tips on where to get the best meal, or you might decide to dine out as a group and experience the fun together.
- International flights, airport departure taxes, airport departure transfer, visas, insurance, other meals including most lunches and dinners, any optional tours and activities during free time, excess baggage charges, tips, items of a personal nature and camera fees (some places that we visit charge additional fees if you are entering with a camera or camcorder - your guide will advise on these and they can be paid for locally).
- Airport departure taxes
- Airport departure transfer
- Other meals including most lunches and dinners
- Any optional tours and activities during free time
- Excess baggage charges
- Items of a personal nature
- Camera fees (some places that we visit charge additional fees if you are entering with a camera or camcorder - your guide will advise on these and they can be paid for locally)
- Daily budget
We have chosen some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. For group trips, speak to your leader if you are interested in any of the following:
- Delhi - Red Fort Entrance
- Delhi - Sound and Light Show
US$40 per car/entrance US$5
- Jodhpur - Bishnoi safari - a visit to a traditional village.
US$50 per jeep
- Udaipur - Boat ride on Lake
US$16 per person - duration 1 hour
What to know
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region.
Visas and Permits
It is your responsibility to ensure you have all required visas for your trip. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.
Please note that visa requirements can and do change. It is essential that you confirm requirements with the nearest relevant embassy or check with your travel agent before you travel. At the time of writing, a visa is required by most travellers visiting India including Australians, New Zealanders, Americans, British and Canadians. You must obtain an Indian visa prior to leaving home as it cannot be obtained on arrival.
Please note that visa requirements can and do change. It is essential that you confirm requirements with the nearest relevant embassy or check with your travel agent before you travel. At the time of writing, a visa is required by most travellers visiting India including Australians, New Zealanders, Americans, British and Canadians. You must obtain an Indian visa prior to leaving home as it cannot be obtained on arrival. An Indian tourist visa is available for six months from the date of issue and you should apply for a multiple entry one, as the cost is the same as for single/double entry. Your travel agent can assist you in the applying for your visa if required.
Recent change to visa rules: as of January 2010, the Indian Government is in the process of implementing a new visa rule which means tourists can’t visit India twice within the space of 2 months. However, it does state that people who have documentation proving that they are using India as a base to explore neighbouring countries can enter India up to three times within 2 months.
You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.
Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Customs and Culture
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.
Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in.
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.
India Lonely Planet-Sarina Singh A Passage to India-EM Forster A Suitable Boy-Vikram Seth Chasing the Monsoon-Alexander Frater
About this Information
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
28 August 2013
General Contact Details
Phone: +1 416-355-5174
Web: Visit Peregrine