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Rajasthan at Glance




Duration
11 Nights / 12 Days

Places Covered: Delhi, Agra - Taj Mahal, Tordi Garh, Jaipur, Nimaj Bagh, Jodhpur, Udaipur
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jodhpur fortIndia is as dynamic as it is enduring. This widely ranging tour showcases the very best that India has to offer and its fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. Possibly no other country has its religions so intertwined with every aspect of daily life. India's modern cities, such as Delhi, are in stark contrast to rural life and the extremes between rich and poor is astounding. We discover remnants dating from the times when the Mughals and then the British Empire ruled this vast land, as well as uncover influences from the Portuguese. From her bustling cities to her peaceful backwaters, amazing wildlife sanctuaries and beautiful monuments, we are sure to come away from India with a myriad of amazing memories.

Moderate -
A moderate level of fitness is required. These trips generally involve some physical activities and occasional long travelling days. Accommodation and travel conditions may be more basic.


Itinerary

Day 1 - Delhi

Route MapToday is an arrival day and no activities are planned, so you may arrive at any time. If you are arriving early, please check the noticeboard in the foyer of the hotel for suggestions of things to see and do in Delhi. A pre-departure meeting takes place this evening at the hotel. Please also check the noticeboard for details of this meeting and for any other messages from your tour leader. Please also bring your passport and travel insurance documents to the meeting, where your tour leader will also collect your local payment. Afterwards we have the opportunity to go out for an optional group dinner.

Day 2 - Agra
We catch the early morning express train to Agra, home to India's most famous icon - the majestic Taj Mahal. Here we include a visit to this amazing 17th century marble mausoleum, which Emperor Shah Jahan built as a monument to the memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died whilst giving birth. Our trip leader will also give us the option of visiting Agra Fort.

Day 3 - Tordi Garh
One of the features of a Gecko's trip through Rajasthan is visits to small, out of the way villages. Tordi Garh is a small town that we have identified is a true 'off the beaten track' experience. After a 4 hour bus trip from Agra, we are met by jeeps and drive a couple of hours through beautiful countryside to Tordi. Very few travelers have even heard of Tordi and even fewer visit it, because it's hard to get to on your own. We explore the village, meeting potters, visiting an old village temple, walking though markets and meeting families on the way. Ruined temples and a fortress lie further afield and we enjoy a visit to these sites. Our host is the owner of the palace at Tordi. He is a direct descendant of the feudal lord who built the palace in the 16th century. The accommodation has unforgettable ambience and charm and really makes the visit to Tordi a special highlight.

Day 4-5 - Jaipur
This morning we travel by jeep to Jaipur - the vibrant and colourful capital of Rajasthan. Here, traditionally dressed Rajput men wearing colourful turbans and sporting magnificent moustaches make their way through crowded streets packed with cars, camel carts, rickshaws, trucks and bicycles. On our second day in Jaipur we travel 11 kilometres out to the stunning medieval Amber Fort. This fort was built in 1592 by Maharaja Man Singh and is a superb example of Rajput architecture. Several hours are needed to explore this huge fortification and we include the services of a local guide for our tour. Our tour leader also takes us to an area known as the Old Bazaar where the Hawa Mahal, better known as The Palace of the Winds, is situated. This five-storey façade with its pink, honeycombed sandstone windows is one of Jaipur's best-known landmarks. We also have ample free time in Jaipur and there are many interesting things to see and do; our tour leader will be happy to assist us with getting to some of these places.

Day 6 - Nimaj Bagh
Early this morning we take a five-hour local bus ride to the village of Nimaj, arriving there in the afternoon. We stay at the Nimaj Bagh, an orchard run by the erstwhile nobles of Nimaj. Our leader will take us around in the surrounding villages where we meet the local Gujjars (cattle breeders) and other communities. The village of Nimaj is where we will get closest to the locals and have ample opportunities to interact with them and learn about their way of life.

Day 7 - Jodhpur
This morning we take the three-hour jeep ride to Jodhpur and arrive there around noon. This city lies at the edge of the Thar Desert and is dominated by the imposing Meherangarh Fort, which sits atop a sheer rocky ridge in the middle of town. We visit the fort, which is run by the current Maharaja of Jodhpur, as well as the bustling Sardar Market. It's a great place to explore with several alleyways leading off to various bazaars selling fruits, vegetables, spices, textiles and handicrafts.

Day 8-10 - Udaipur - overnight train
This morning we have the option of visiting some of the different caste villages around Jodhpur including people such as the Bishnois, protectors of trees and animals, and the Meghwas, who are weavers and potters. Around 3pm we take a six-hour hour local bus journey to Udaipur and arrive there at night time. Sometimes known as the 'Venice of the East', this beautiful city, built around the shores of Lake Pichola, is full of fascinating temples, ornate palaces and impressive 'havelis'. The charming setting of the Lake Palace on Jagwinas Island is unforgettable. During our stay we visit the Jagdish Temple, an Indo-Aryan temple containing a black stone image of Vishnu as Jagannath, Lord of the Universe. We also visit the City Palace, surmounted by balconies, towers and cupolas, where there are excellent views of the city and lakeside from the upper terraces. There are many other options available for sightseeing and our tour leader will be happy to assist in arranging these. From Udaipur we board an overnight sleeper train bound for Delhi.

Day 11 - Delhi
On arrival in Delhi we are transferred from the railway station to our hotel, where we spend our last night. Our tour leader takes us into the old city's market area known as Chandni Chowk as well as Connaught Place - the commercial heart of New Delhi. The rest of the day is free for relaxing or doing some further sightseeing on our own. Red Fort and the impressive Jama Masjid (Great Mosque) are two of the city's most notable landmarks, whilst Raj Ghat is a monument that marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. In the final evening we have the opportunity to head out for a final group dinner (optional) before saying our goodbyes.

Day 12 - Delhi
Our trip ends today around breakfast time. If you wish to stay on in Delhi, please pre-book your post-tour accommodation before you commence your travels. Delhi has many interesting museums and monuments. If you are interested in historical and cultural matters, it is recommended that you to extend your stay and visit some of these places. Humayun's Tomb and Safdarjang's Tomb are other great examples of Mughal architecture and design. Hauz Khas Village is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown - a chic artistic enclave set right next to the remnants of a historical site.

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