Desert and Ancient Sites
Route : Delhi - Mandawa - Bikaner - Jaisalmer - Jodhpur - Ranakpur - Udaipur - Chittorgarh - Bundi - Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra - Delhi
The blend of colours, beauty, art, palaces, dance, music, festivals and the rugged atmosphere of a romantic desert, present a 1000 year old history of this land of Rajas. Rajasthan offers traditional India to visitors, with a Maharaja’s welcome everywhere from the hospitable & charming people.
Touring the desert & ancient sites takes you back into the bygone era of glory & chivalry, wars & victories of the proud Rajputs. The superb castles & temples are a treasure house of miniature paintings, the style derived from the Mughals, but with clear differences in palaces & hunting scenes, which are complemented by the religious theme of the Lord Krishna legends.
This 15 day tour, starting from Delhi, covers all the interesting places of Rajasthan – Mandawa, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bundi, Jaipur and also includes a visit to the famous & fabulous Taj Mahal in Agra, in a circular trip.
The Thar desert offers oases of magic & romance, with historic cities, incredible fortresses awash with legends & rare gems of impressionistic beauty, such as Udaipur, which combine water with earth & sky to create a pastiche of paradise & the exotic desert city of Jaisalmer, which resembles a fantasy from the “Thousand & one nights”. Jaipur & Jodhpur are cities with marvellous museums & historic monuments, some of which have been granted World Heritage Status.
Rajasthan is a place not to be missed by any conscientious traveller, who once entering it experiences the colourful & rich culture with its battle-scarred forts, its places of amazing luxury & whimsical charm. Join us & experience the Desert Fantasy.
• Indepth exposure into the history of Delhi by visiting Jama Masjid, the bylanes of Chandni Chowk, India Gate, forerunner to the Taj, Humayun’s Tomb etc.
• Forts, old havelis and the fresco paintings in the small town of Mandawa in the Shekhawati region
• Architecturally rich Junagadh fort in the middle of Thar desertin Bikaner
• Hill fort of Jaisal with its yellow sandstone used in every architecture
• The majestic Mehrangarh Fort and treasure enthralling views of the Blue City
• The historical City Palace, Sahelion-ki-Bari, Jadish Temple and the boat ride in Lake Pichola in the city of Venice Udaipur
• Palaces, forts, baolis (step well) in the rustic town of Bundi
• Observe the life of the kings at City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Amber Fort in Pink City Jaipur
• Lifelong memories at Taj Mahal, world-famous marble mausoleum.
See Full Itinerary
Arrival TimeMidnight or Late night
Dress CodeCasual, comfortable and light
Tour Itinerary : - Desert and Ancient Sites
Day 01: Arrive Delhi
Arrive at New Delhi International airport. After completing the immigration and customs, proceed towards the arrival hall. Meeting and assistance upon arrival with a traditional welcome of garlanding and transfer to the hotel (the room being held from 1400 hrs).
Overnight in Delhi
Day 02: Delhi Sightseeing
This morning, after leisurely breakfast, we set off to explore Old and New Delhi, what India’s Capital Delhi has to offer.
The visit of Old Delhi includes a drive past of the Red Fort (closed on Monday), built in 1648 during the reign of Shah Jehan in red sandstone, which gave the fort its name. One of the largest India mosques, Jama Masjid was built in the mid of 17th century using red sandstone along with striking white marble. Chandni Chowk (Silver Market) once served as an imperial avenue down which Shah Jehan rode at the head of lavish cavalcades. Today, Chandni Chowk is stuffed with stalls, shops and ateliers of silversmiths.
Later, we explore New Delhi to include the visit to India Gate, built in memory of Indian soldiers killed during the First World War. Rashtrapati Bhawan was built in the early 20th century as the imperial residence of the Viceroy. Today it serves as the official residence of President of India and Parliament House which is a unique building with huge colonnades. Humayun’s Tomb is the first Mughal garden tomb which was commissioned to be built by his senior window and Akbar’s mother, Hamida Begum. The gigantic Qutub Minar is among Delhi’s most iconic monuments which stands at a height of 70m. The monuments can be visible from many parts of the nearby locations.
Overnight in Delhi
Day 03 Delhi – Mandawa (265 km/about 06 hrs)
This morning, after leisurely breakfast drive to Mandawa – the town lies in the heart of Shekhavati. As you approach it, Mandawa emerges from the sand like a mirage. The entire region of Shekhawati is known for its exquisite frescoes and popularly called the ‘open art gallery.
Late afternoon is dedicated to visiting Havelis, Fort Palaces and Fresco Arts and most of them are explored on foot. When you walk thru the towns, you come across the painted arched gateway adorned with Lord Krishna and his cows. Tie and dye fabrics fluttering in the breeze, skilled hands craft vibrant coloured bangles made of lac and cobblers making leather shoes which are embroidered with gold thread. Stroll across the streets to cherish the mansions and Havelis of Safars, Chokhanis, Ladias and Goenkas with their majestic gateways and decorated frescoes.
Overnight in Mandawa
Day 04 Mandawa – Bikaner (200 km/about 04 hrs)
This morning, after early breakfast, we drive to the desert city, Bikaner - founded at the close of the 15th century, stands on high ground, surrounded by fine embattled walls named after its founder Rao Bikaji in 1488. The abundant sunshine and rippling sands are some unique features of Bikaner. Standing on an elevation, the city is surrounded by a wall of 7km and can be accessed by 5 gates. En route, we will visit the famous rat temple, Karni Mata Temple where numerous rats roam here without any fear in complete freedom, drinking milk inside the premises of the temple.
This afternoon, we proceed to explore the city of Bikaner - visit Junagarh Fort, Lalgarh Palace and Bhanda Sar Jain Temple. The wealth of its architectural heritage lies in its forts & palaces. The city is bolstered by imposing walls and has a 16th century fort housing old palaces, temples and mosque. The fort was founded by Raja Rai Singh. The fort has some striking features such as 37 pavilions, aerial windows with incredible designs and range of balconies. Around 5miles (8km) away, the cenotaphs of the rulers (chhatri) are located. Several other temples and palaces are located outside the city, with imposing edifices with carved red sandstone. Jain Temples and monasteries can be found outside the city and in its periphery.
Overnight in Bikaner
Day 05 Bikaner - Jaisalmer (330km/about 07 hrs)
This morning after breakfast, we will drive to the Golden City, Jaisalmer. This ancient city stands on a low range of hills with crenulated golden sandstone, incredibly carved buildings with narrow streets, town walls, etc. which colour this city in the hues of the medieval era. The city has been referred to as an open air museum and if one has to step into its narrow cobbled lanes, the person has to take a walk through its bygone era.
The rest of the day is at leisure as we have had a long drive.
Overnight in Jaisalmer
Day 06 Jaisalmer
This morning after leisurely breakfast, we set to explore Jaisalmer. We first visit the Fort, often referred to as the golden fort because of the colour of the sandstone. Jaisalmer’s Fort seems to emerge from the desert sands. The fort is still home to many of the town’s people who live in tiny but beautifully decorated houses or Havelis. The fort has Jain Temples which have been decked with the dancing mythological figurines in dancing forms and the deities.
The library attached to these places of worship contains some of the most ancient manuscripts in India, some dating back to the 12th century, written on palm-leaf in black ink with hand-painted wooden covers.
The renowned mansions or Havelis of Patwas, Nathmalji and Salim Singh are located down in the city. Every house there boasts of superb lattice artwork adorned with intricate and innumerable designs.
Evening camel ride at Sam Sand dunes (About 45 kms/1 hrs drive) in the Thar Desert, ride a camel on the dunes and gear yourself up for an unforgettable experience of watching the sunset over the desert. Return to Jaisalmer.
Overnight in Jaisalmer
Day 07 Jaisalmer - Jodhpur (300 km/about 06 hrs)
This morning, after an early breakfast, we depart for Jodhpur, known as the Blue City of Rajasthan, which resonates with the folklore of ancient times, surrounded by the desert. Situated close to the Thar Desert, the city was once one of the most powerful princely states. Enclosed by several bastions, eight gates and high wall, around 10km in length, Jodhpur city showcases an impressive lifestyle where people put on artistically created costumes of several colours.
Evening, walk through the Old Clock Tower Market. Jodhpur is famous all over the world for handicrafts in wood, iron and camel bone. Walk through the Sadar Bazaar or main market, better known for its huge clock tower, stuffed with shopkeepers, vendors, bicycles, vehicles, cattle herders, etc. This chaotic yet vibrant atmosphere gives a hands-down experience of local culture.
Overnight in Jodhpur
Day 08 Jodhpur
This morning after leisurely breakfast visit Mehrangarh Fort – a formidable and impressive monument standing at a height of 125m above the city. The fort has been structured in a way that it looks indomitable from outside. Its four gates accessed by a wide road, inside you will find marvellous palaces which are decorated with latticed windows and carved panels. Its museum contains sections which house armoury, palanquins, howdahs and headgear from all the communities of Rajasthan. Also visit Jaswant Thanda - the 19th-century white marble royal memorial built in commemoration of Maharaja Jaswant Singh. We also have the option of visiting the museum of Umaid Bhawan Palace(subject to permission) on Chittar hill, building started in 1929 and was completed in 1943.
Late afternoon jeep safari to nearby Bishnoi village (35 km one way from Jodhpur City) to observe rural village lifestyle.
Overnight in Jodhpur
Experience: ZIP LINING
Day 09 Jodhpur - Ranakpur - Udaipur (290 km/about 06 hrs)
This morning after relaxed breakfast drive to Venice of the East, Jewel of Mewar, Udaipur with en-route visit of the famous Ranakpur Temple(temples are open between 1200 hrs till 1600 hrs), famous for its marvellous complex of finely ornamented Jain temples. We will visit a temple in the afternoon, Adinatha which the most iconic monument of the complex. The temple is known for its 1,444 pillars engraved with splendid carvings. An astonishing fact is that no two of the pillars have the same carvings.
After the visit, continue drive to Udaipur, tucked away in the heart of the forested Aravalli Hills. The regally romantic city is a symphony of white marble palaces, placid blue lakes and green hills and has always stood out from Rajasthan’s other desert cities with its network of manmade lakes.
Overnight in Udaipur
Day 10 Udaipur
This morning after leisurely breakfast we set off to visit the romantic Lake City of Udaipur. We start with the highlight in City Palace which stands on the crest of a ridge overlooking Lake Pichola. The palace is Rajasthan’s largest which was constructed in parts at different periods however the synchronization in the design and construction is wonderful and is glorified by impressive towers in octagonal shapes which have been surmounted by many cupolas. This visit is followed with the visit of Sahelion-ki-Bari (Garden of the Handmaidens) which is a remarkable example of Hindu landscape and gardening art on a princely scale. A profusion of fountains surrounds opulent pools which are decorated with cenotaphs and soft black coloured stones. The 17th century Jagdish Temple is famous for its Garuda statue built of bronze. In Hindu mythology, Garuda is a mythical bird related to Lord Vishnu. While you take a walk through a narrow street in the bazaar, you will find lots of shops, stalls and ateliers.
Late afternoon, maybe during sunset, experience the beauty of royal Rajasthan on a boat ride along Lake Pichola overlooking the magnificent Lake.
Overnight in Udaipur
Day 11 Udaipur – Chittorgarh - Bundi (270 km/about 06 hrs)
This morning after relaxed breakfast drive to Bundi –which takes its name from the bindo nal - the narrow passage between the rugged hills. It lies at the centre of the southeastern region of Rajasthan, known as 'Hadaoti', the land of the Hadas.
Enroute our drive to Bundi we stop by at the tower of victory, Chittorgarh the ancient capital of Mewar State, which represents the origin or Rajput courage. The ruins today narrate the story of deeds of the past. Traditionally, the fort’s foundations are ascribed to be from 7th century and till 1567, it served as the capital. Set up in the middle of the 15th century by Rana Khumba to commemorate his triumph over the Moslem kings of Gujarat and Malwa. Chittorgarh was sacked three times and each time, the people, led by the ladies of the royal household, chose to immolate themselves, rather than surrender.
We continue the drive to Bundi – the town is based on the cleft and is drenched in the flavours of the medieval era which is still untouched by time. Taragarh (Tara means Star and Garh means Fort) is crowned on a hillock at around 500ft, the construction of which is said to have been finished in 1354. The fort has several large water reservoirs, cut out of sold rocks. The fort is guarded by battlements and strong bastions.
The biggest bastion is named Bhim Burj and cannon Garbh Gunjan is mounted on this bastion. Towards the east, the fort offers mesmerizing views of plain terrains of Hadoti region with chimneys and towers of Kota which are visible vaguely in the haze. Located below on one side, Jait Sagar Lake is known for its lovely waters. The town of Bundi, painted in quaint medieval colour, is surrounded by hills and forests. One of the finest examples of Rajput architecture, Bundi Palace is located below the fort, hugging the hill. The living apartments here were constructed during 1660 and have been decorated with impressive wall paintings and artwork of Bundi School. Few of the most exquisite wall paintings belonging to Bundi School can be found at an open quadrangle which has cloistered galleries running around it. Many of these paintings exhibit several scenes from court life, gods and goddesses, mythological forms, processions, Ras Leela, etc.
The dominant colour is blue-green. The Chattar Mahal (1660) is the newer palace of green serpentine rock is pure Rajput in style.
Overnight in Bundi
Day 12 Bundi - Jaipur (220 km/about 05 hrs)
This morning we drive to the ‘Pink City’, Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan. The Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II founded the City of Victory in 1727. Built from rose-coloured terra cotta, it is a well-planned. The afternoon is at leisure.
Late in the afternoon, visit Hawa Mahal before participating in the evening prayer ceremony in the Govindji temple. The peaceful transcending end to the day is by visiting the Govind Devji Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna, located in the City Palace. It is one of the most followed in Jaipur and the royal family is a great devotee of this temple. A daily aarti takes place at different interval of times (aarti is a Hindu religious worshipping ritual, a part of puja, perfumed with ghee immersed wicks or camphor). The aarti of evening time is the most spectacular one.
Overnight in Jaipur
Day 13 Jaipur
This morning, after leisurely breakfast, drive to the nearby 16th-century hilltop fortress of Amber, ascending the tortuous paved pathway to the fort on a four-wheel. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This medieval Rajput capital, with its palaces and richly decorated apartments, was begun by Raja Man Singh and used by the Rajputs as their stronghold until Sawai Jai Singh II moved to the newly created Jaipur.
During the afternoon the visit is dedicated to the city with the highlights - the Jantar Mantar and the City Palace and the Hawa Mahal.
Jantar Mantar is the astronomical observatory built in the early 18th century by the astronomer king Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, consisting mainly of 18 stone instruments that help to interpret the position of celestial bodies and calculate local time. It is no longer a working science centre but is maintained as a monument by the archaeological department and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Mubarak Mahal (The Palace of Reception) is located in City Palace where Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum is located. The museum has a large collection of royal costumes, Banaras silk sarees, embroidery, pashmina shawls, etc.
On the periphery of the Palace stands the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds, an elaborate pink sandstone façade behind which the ladies of the court used to watch the daily goings on in the street below.
Overnight in Jaipur
Experience – Cycling In Pink City or Heritage Walk
Day 14 Jaipur – Fatehpur Sikri- Agra (240km/about 06 hrs)
This morning, after breakfast, drive to Agra with a stop along the way at the deserted sandstone 16 century city, Fatehpur Sikri, the most important artistic centre in South Asia in its heyday.
On the arrival in Agra, we check into the hotel.
This afternoon we visit the tomb Itmad-ud-Daulah, which is believed that the glorious Taj Mahal was probably inspired by this Mughal Mausoleum. It was the very first Mughal structure to be totally built from marble and make extensive use of pietras. This beautiful tomb definitely calls for a visit.
In the evening visit Mehtab Bagh during sunset for a mesmerizing view of the Taj Mahal on the other side.
Overnight in Agra
Day 15 Agra - Delhi (205 km/about 05 hrs)
This morning, we start early (during the sunrise, visit the world famous Taj Mahal, set within the paradise gardens. The whole of Taj complex measures 580 by 300 m and the garden 300 by 300 m. The guiding principle is one of symmetry. The tomb is balanced with the help of 4 minarets which are made on every corner of the base. These minarets are 41.6m in height each.
We return to the hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast, visit Agra Fort which is located on the west end of Yamuna River. The city is dominated by this magnificent fort built by Emperor Akbar. The outer walls of the fort are just 20m in height and are built with red sandstone. These walls tower above the outer moat. The fort is built in a crescent shape and has a long straight wall which faces the river.
After the visit, drive to Delhi international airport to board the onward international flight back home taking back colourful and fond memories of the trip, Desert and Ancient Sites.
Note – Taj Mahal is closed on every Friday!!
Reviews Scores and Score Breakdown
Price, Inclusions and Exclusions
Prices per person
01 paying person in a Single Room
02 paying persons in a Double Room
Validity - January till April 2021.
• Accommodations in one room for 15 days/14 nights
• Meal plan
✓ Buffet Breakfast at all cities
• Transport services using Good Conditioned Small Car as follows
✓ Beginning with pickup in Delhi airport from on Day 01 till drop at Delhi airport on Day 16.
• Meet and greet services in Delhi, Mandawa, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bundi, Jaipur, Agra only
• One time entrance fee to monuments/temples/parks as per the program.
• Cycle Rickshaw ride in the market of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi (02 persons in a Rickshaw)
• Camel ride in Sand Dunes of Jaisalmer
• Audio guide during visit of Jain Temple at Ranakpur on Day 10
• Shared boat ride on Lake Pichola in Udaipur on Day 11
• Jeep ride to ascend Amber Fort
• Services of English speaking local guides (different guides in each city) as per the itinerary:
> Day 02 Full day in Delhi
> Day 03 Half day in Mandawa
> Day 04 Half day in Bikaner
> Day 06 Full day in Jaisalmer
> Day 07 Half day in Jodhpur
> Day 08 Full day in Jodhpur
> Day 10 Full day in Udaipur
> Day 11 Half day local guide for Chittorgarh
> Day 11 Half day in Bundi
> Day 12 Half day in Jaipur
> Day 13 Full day in Jaipur
> Day 14 Half day visit of Fatehpur Sikri and Agra
> Day 15 Half day in Agra
• All currently applicable taxes
• International airfare for travel (from your home country to the destination and return)
• Visa charges or fees
• Airport taxes
• Camera fees during the visit to the monuments, temples or National Parks
• Elephant ride during visit of Amber Fort in Jaipur
• Tips to driver/guide/naturalist
• Additional meals
• Drinks or mineral water at the hotels or restaurants
• Ayurvedic massages or treatments, laundry etc or any other items of personal nature
• Travel, health and cancellation insurance
• Any other expense/changes due to unforeseen circumstances while in India
• Any other thing not mentioned in program or “Price Inclusions”
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