15 days

Memories of the Maharaja

Memories of the Maharaja

Desert camel safari

Udaipur and Lake Pichola

Mandawa's open-air art gallery

Train travel - a quintessentially Indian experience

The Great Thar Desert trading town of Jodhpur

Jaipur’s Amber Fort

Delhi

Ancient trading town of Jaisalmer

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Taj Mahal

Trip rating
  • Colourful and chaotic, mysterious and exotic - welcome to Rajasthan. Explore the fairytale cities of the desert, travel to beautiful palaces filled with treasures of the maharajah 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. Add a touch of comfort and some very special hotels for a true Rajasthani travel adventure.

    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.

    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 1pm. 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.
    Hotel Jivitesh or similar

    Day 2 - Agra

    • 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.
    Raj Mahal Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 3-4 - Jaipur

    • 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.
    Devraj Niwas or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 5-6 - Mandawa

    • 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.
    • While in Mandawa we have the opportunity to pay a visit to one of our Responsible Travel Projects - Asha Ka Jharna. This wonderful organisation provides services to children and adults with disabilities and the most vulnerable in society. We visit one of their three schools where special and vocational education, guidance and counselling are provided to around 160 children, helping them to become self-dependent rather than their disability causing a burden on their families. Asha Ka Jharna is supported by The Intrepid Foundation and any donation you make through our website will be matched dollar for dollar.
    • http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/asha-ka-jharna/
    Desert Resort Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 7 - Bikaner

    • 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.
    Karni Bhawan Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 8-10 - Jaisalmer/Camel Safari

    • 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 one hour) out to the pristine sand dunes of the Thar Desert. You will spend a night camping out under the stars in tents.
    Mandir Palace Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 11 - Jodhpur

    • 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.
    Mandore Guest House or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 12-13 - Udaipur

    • 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.
    Lake Pichola Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 14-15 - Delhi

    • 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.
    Hotel Jivitesh or similar
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • Peregrine tour leader
    • Specialist local guides
    • Arrival transfer
    • Authentic accommodation includes: 6 nights Heritage properties, 1 night camping (with facilities), 7 nights comfortable hotel
    • Meals 14 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
    • Transport
    • Sightseeing and entrance fees including: Delhi - walking tour, Agra - Taj Mahal, Jaipur - Amber Fort, Jaipur - Bollywood movie at Raj Mandir Cinema, Jodhpur - Meherangarh Fort, Udaipur - Lake boat ride
    • Jaisalmer - Camel safari & overnight desert camp,
    • Internal flight from Udaipur to Delhi

    Not Included

    • 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
    • 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)

    Safety Information

    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

    Festivals: Holi and Diwali
    Travelling in India and Nepal during the Holi festival, a lunar festival generally held in March each year, can at times be dangerous - a lot of locals participate in consumption of intoxicating substances. The day has been associated with physical violence and danger. Your leader/guide will be advising you and your group on what places to avoid on this day and it may even be necessary for us to alter your itinerary for the day to avoid putting you or our group leader/guide in high risk situation.

    Travelling during the Hindu festival Diwali (a lunar festival generally held from mid October to mid November every year) can also be dangerous. During this time there are many displays of fireworks in the streets. It can be very noisy for several days and there is also a lot of pollution caused by the fireworks. As there are no restrictions on buying fireworks in India there are often injuries caused by people exploding them inappropriately. During this festival your leader/guide may be required to alter your itinerary to avoid any dangerous areas to avoid putting the group at risk.

    Petty theft and personal safety
    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    Traffic and driving on the other side of the road
    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Memories of the Maharaja

    JENNIE - Australia, 16 Feb, 2014
    5
    Overall Rating

    Wonderful experience seeing India in all its glory.

    Memories of the Maharaja

    Alisha - Australia, 1 Jan, 2014
    5
    Overall Rating

    everything on the trip was of a very high standard, from our amazing guide-Kartika- to the accomodation, restaurants, local guides in each city and the well planned route our trip took. I have no negative comments about the trip.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PIMM
Group size 4 - 16
Start City: Delhi
End City: Delhi
Style: Small Group

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