India: The Intinerary
The first thing you have to realize is that India is massive. I remember my travel agent looking at my initially proposed itinerary stating “I hope you have a few months, because even with that, you will be on the road every day”. He likened it to an Indian visitor to the United States landing in New York, then traveling to Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Aspen, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, and Seattle, ending with a quick jaunt to peer over at the Grand Canyon before heading home. As such, our initial foray to India included some of the most traveled sites highlighting, of course, the best shopping locations.
Day 1 Arrive Mumbai
On arrival at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, you clear Indian Immigration and after collecting your checked-in baggage, proceed through Customs and out into the meeting area outside the arrival terminal. In the meeting area you are met by your travel representative who will transfer you to the hotel where your room is booked for two nights.
(The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Palace Wing Luxury Grande Sea View Room)
Day 2 Mumbai
Day 3 Mumbai to Delhi (Jet Airways)
On arrival at Delhi airport a travel staff member will be there to meet and assist you. He will have a car ready to transfer you to the hotel where your room is booked for one night.
In the afternoon you tour the Humayun’s Tomb built in the 16th century by the wife of Humayun, the second Mughal Emperor – a squat building, lighted by high arched entrances, topped by an enormous dome and surrounded by formal gardens, this is architecturally one of the forerunners of the Taj Mahal.
You also visit the Qutab Minar, built in the 12th century and one of the tallest towers of that time, characterized by a combination of Hindu and Muslim designs.
Later towards the evening, drive past the government buildings designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker during the early 20th century – the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the erstwhile Viceroy’s Palace and now the official residence of the President of India; the circular Parliament House; down Rajpath, the broad avenue which is the main artery of Lutyen’s Delhi, past the Secretariat buildings, topped with chhatris (domes); on to the imposing India Gate, the 42 meter high stone arch of triumph that bears the names of 85,000 Indian soldiers who died in the campaigns of World War I, the North-West Frontier operations and the 1919 Afghan fiasco.
(The Taj Mahal Hotel Club Room)
Day 4 Delhi to Agra
Early this morning you check out and drive Delhi-Agra (210 km)
Entering Agra, visit the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah, considered to be yet another one of the forerunners of the Taj Mahal
On arrival in Agra in the early afternoon you check in at the hotel and straight away proceed on a tour of Agra Fort, a huge complex constructed out of red sandstone, and view its exquisite marble palaces; testimony to the power and artistic sense of successive Mughal emperors, Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 5 Agra to Jaipur
Waking up early in the morning, you visit the Taj Mahal, the superlative expression of Emperor Shah Jehan’s undying love for his queen in order to see the monument in the soft light of sunrise.
Return to the hotel for breakfast and checkout, you drive Agra-Jaipur (232 km) later in the day, stopping by en route to visit the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri. Here you can discern interesting facets of everyday life at the Mughal court in the 16th century. Built by Emperor Akbar as the capital of his empire, the city had to be abandoned due to lack of potable water – some of its structure her still remain in a remarkable state of preservation.
You may wish to take a brief stop for lunch at either the Laxmi Vilas Palace, Bharatpur, or at one of the numerous other similar facilities along the highway.
Continue on to Jaipur, you arrive in the early evening where you room is reserved for three nights.
Day 6 Jaipur
Early in the morning, drive through the Old City, stopping briefly to photograph the Hawa Mahal or ‘palace of winds’, before preoceeding to tour the Amber Fort that dominates the rocky hills surrounding Jaipur and guards one of the many defiles that lead to the city. Once the capital of the Rajput rulers of this area, the fortress is riddled with narrow passages and alleyways; there are magnificent halls with mirror work embedded in the ceiling and colorful painting on the walls.
Elephant back rides to the top of the fort ramparts is still a popular way to travel, but this has recently become a subject of much debate, and a very early start to the day’s activities is recommended in case you wish to use this option.
Day 7 Jaipur
In the morning you visit the City Palace and wander through the vast courtyards around which are clusters of museums housing rare collections of textiles, carpets, paintings and antique weapons of war. Continue on to Jantar Mantar, a medieval observatory with curiously shaped and oversized instruments that even today, are astonishingly accurate in their astronomical measurements.
Day 8 Jaipur to Jodhpur
Early in the morning you check out at the hotel and drive Jaipur-Jodhpur (295km)
Arriving in Jodhpur in the early evening you stay is booked for two nights.
(Umaid Bhawan Palace)
Day 9 Jodhpur
In the morning you tour the 15th century town set on the fringe of the Thar Desert and dominated by the gigantic Mehrangarh Fort. Entering the fort through a series of impressive gateways, visit its museums which exhibit an outstanding collection of the Jodhpur royal family’s memorabilia – jewelry, miniature paintings, portraits, armaments, elephant saddles, royal cradles and festive tents – time permitting, return to the hotel after visiting Jaswant Thada, the royal cenotaph.
(Umaid Bhawan Palace)
Day 10 Jodhpur to Udaipur (Alliance Air)
Your travel representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel where your room is confirmed for three nights.
Day 11 Udaipur
In the morning visit the Udaipur City Palace, actually a series of interconnected palaces massed into an impressive whole, with ground level and rooftop courtyards and gardens, a stunning peacock mosaic on one of the upper floors and grand views overlooking the lake – time permitting also visit the Sahelion-ki-Bari, the private royal gardens.
Day 12 Udaipur
In the morning you set out on a full day excursion to Ranakpur (90 km) to visit some of the most important Jain temples in India. The extremely beautiful Ranakpur complex lies in a remote and peaceful valley of the Aravali Range. The main temple in the 15th century complex is the Chaumukha, or four-faced temple, dedicated to Adinath, the first tirthankara. This beautifully crafted marble temple has 29 halls supported by 1444 intricately carved pillars, no two alike.
Day 13 Depart Udaipur to Mumbai (Jet Airways)
Early this morning our local representative will be at the hotel to assist you with checkout, after which he will transfer you to Udaipur airport for the flight to Mumbai
(Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Palace Wing Luxury Grande Sea View Rooms)
Day 14 Mumbai
Day 15 Home
at 3:38 PM