Itinerary in brief:
- 1 night Delhi
- 2 nights Mandawa
- 2 nights Jaipur
- 1 night Ranthambore National Park
- 1 night Karauli
- 1 night Agra
- 1 night Delhi
Day 1: Arrive in Delhi
You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Today is a free day so you can explore or relax depending on how you feel after your flight.
Day 2: Drive to Mandawa
After breakfast your driver will begin the journey to the Rajasthani town of Mandawa. Mandawa is a small desert town famous for the painted havelis (mansion buildings).
You will be staying for 2 nights in a unique, desert style resort just outside of the town. Full of charm and character, this is an authentic experience complete with roaming peacocks.
Day 3: Mandawa Desert Resort
This morning you will take a guided walking tour of Mandawa to visit the painted havelis, which were built in the 19th century by Marwari merchants who took over as patrons of the arts.
In the afternoon you can enjoy a camel ride to surrounding villages. Definitely one activity that’s a must in the Rajasthani desert.
Day 4: Mandawa to Jaipur
Your journey today continues to the ‘Pink City’ – Jaipur! With stunning forts, majestic palaces rich with royal history and bazaars packed full of colour, this is a busy Indian city just bursting at the seams!
In the afternoon you will get the chance to visit some of the city’s palaces, including the City Palace, and the famous ‘Palace of the Winds’ (Hawa Mahal).
You will be staying for 2 nights in a heritage style home in a residential area of the city, just a 10 minute drive from the centre.
Day 5: Free day in Jaipur
In the morning you will visit the fabulous Amber Fort, a magnificent complex of palaces, halls, pavilions, gardens and temples built over a period of 125 years by successive rulers.
The afternoon is at leisure to explore Jaipur’s colourful bazaars.
Day 6: Jaipur to Ranthambore National Park
Today you will leave Japiur and head south to Ranthambore National Park, where you take an afternoon game drive and try to spot tigers and other wild animals, including some magnificent birds, deer, leopard, jungle cat and the endangered Caracal, antelope and hyenas. The park covers over 1300 sq kms of jungle scrub, with a 10th century Fort at it’s centre that is surrounded by ancient temples and mosques, croc-filled lakes and remnants of old hunting pavilions.
You will spend the night in a deluxe tented camp close to the entrance of the park.
Day 7: Ranthambore to Karauli
This morning you get the opportunity to visit the Ranthambore Fort, before heading off to Kaurali which is an interesting old Rajashtani town home to the deity of Lord Krishna; it’s got some important Krishan temples and attracts many pilgrims. In the afternoon explore the palace and bazaar on a walking tour, before staying overnight in the residence of the Maharaja of Karauli; now a beautiful heritage hotel.
Day 8: To Agra via Bharatpur
This morning you leave to travel to Agra, stopping at Bharatpur en-route, famous for the nearby Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary.
You will also make a stop at the abandoned ancient Moghul capital of Fatehpur Sikri, a complex of forts, palaces and mosques built from sandstone. It’s a wonderful site to wander; Emperor Akbar built the complex for his favourite wives after a sufi saint predicted the birth of his son and he needed a home for the Mughal empire – one a Christian, one a Muslim, one a Hindu. Sadly it was abandoned after Akbar’s death due to water shortages.
Day 9: Free day at the Taj Mahal
Today you get to visit one of the most famous buildings in the world – and it’s won’t disappoint! Whilst Agra itself can leave a little be desired, the sight of the Taj Mahal will take your breath away. Best viewed at dawn and/or dusk, this spectacular white mausoleum is now a UNESCO heritage site and took just over 20 years and thousands of craftsmen to construct. Check out views of the Taj from the nearby Red Fort, before boarding the evening train back to Delhi.
Day 10: Depart Delhi
Transfer back to the airport for your onward flight – or if you’ve got the time, why not carry on your Indian adventure by heading north to the famous Sikh ‘Golden Temple’ in Amritsar, east to the spiritual Varanasi on the banks of the mighty River Ganges, or south to the capital of Mumbai and beyond, to the backwaters of the chilled out Kerala.