FRIDAY 02 NOVEMBER 2012
Depart South Africa
Check-in at Cape Town International Airport or Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport for your Emirates flight to Dubai. There are two flights from South Africa, one from Cape Town and the other from Johannesburg. The group joins up in Dubai and arrive together in Delhi.
SATURDAY 03 NOVEMBER Delhi
On arrival at Dubai International Airport you transfer to the onward flight to Delhi, India. On arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi you will be met by a representative of our Indian agent who will assist you and transfer you to the 5 star Radisson Blu Hotel, or similar, where you are booked on a dinner, bed & breakfast basis. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Dinner and overnight in Delhi.
SUNDAY 04 NOVEMBER Delhi
After breakfast there will be a full day guided city tour of Delhi.
Your start your day by visiting the Qutab Minar Complex, visiting a myriad of monuments that combine both Islamic calligraphy and Hindu motifs , commemorating the onset of Islamic rule in India. Proceed to “Lutyen’s” New Delhi , drive past the Rashtrapati Bhawan, (President’s Palace), Secretariat Buildings, Parliament House and the India Gate, a war memorial arch built in honour of soldiers who died in the Afghan Wars and World War I.
You will also visit Old Delhi or Shahjanabad -the city built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who shifted the Mughal capital here from Agra in the 17th century. Drive along the river Yamuna past the magnificent Red Fort, which you will visit, and on to one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world, the Jama Masjid. Enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk, the spine of Old Delhi, past jewellers, spice merchants, food vendors, shopping arcades, workshops as well as residences. Truly a living museum! On your way back to your hotel pay homage to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi at the memorial at Raj Ghat.
This will be followed by a visit to Humayun’s Tomb, the first great example of Mughal architecture in India and regarded as a prototype of the famed Taj Mahal of Agra. Overnight in Delhi .
MONDAY 05 NOVEMBER Delhi to Mandawa
This morning you will drive to Mandawa, often referred to as Rajasthan’s open art gallery. On arrival you will check-in at the hotel. Mandawa is a sleepy little typical Rajasthani town which is deep rooted with culture. Later enjoy a walking tour of Mandawa, which includes the medieval fort that gradually rises on the horizon like a mirage. A painted arched gateway adorned with Lord Krishna and his cows leads to the bazaar. A breathtaking view of the town can be seen from the terrace of Castle Mandawa. The Mandawa family has a collection of traditional ceremonial costumes. Overnight in Mandawa.
TUESDAY 06 NOVEMBER Mandawa to Bikaner
Morning leave for Bikaner, which was once a major trading post between Africa, West Asia and the Far East. The arts prospered receiving the patronage of a wealthy merchant community. In Bikaner you will visit Junagarh Fort, a formidable structure encircled by a moat and having some beautiful palaces within. Situated at a height of above seven hundred feet above sea level, it towers over the city. The fort and its palaces are profusely decorated with magnificent stone carvings. 30 kilometres south of Bikaner is the village of Deshnoke, where the famous Mata Karni Temple is situated. The 600-year-old temple is dedicated to Karni Mata, an incarnation of Goddess Durga. The temple plays host to thousands of rats that form the major attraction here. The rats are considered sacred and worshipped accordingly. You have to be very careful while entering the inner sanctum, because it is believed that if you accidentally step on a rat, a gold replica has to be made to compensate for the lost life. Overnight in Bikaner.
WEDNESDAY 07 NOVEMBER Bikaner to Jaisalmer
After an early breakfast you drive to Jaisalmer. On the way you will visit Gajner Palace – a summer resort of Bikaner Maharajas and is often been described as an incomparable jewel in the Thar Desert. Built by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner, the palace stands on the embankment of a lake. The property was converted into a heritage hotel in 1976. Continue your drive to Jaisalmer.
Jaisalmer, the "Golden City", is located on the westernmost frontier of India in the state of Rajasthan. Close to the border with Pakistan, the city is known for its proximity to the Thar Desert. The town stands on a ridge of yellow sandstone, crowned by a fort, which contains the palace and several ornate Jain temples. The city is dominated by the Jaisalmer Fort. Unlike most forts in India, the Jaisalmer Fort is a living fort. There are shops, hotels, age old havelis (homes) inside the fort.
Jaisalmer is also famous for its embroidery, Rajasthani mirror work, rugs, blankets, antiques, stonework and camel safaris into the barren sand-duned desert. Overnight in Jaisalmer.
THURSDAY 08 NOVEMBER Jaisalmer
After breakfast you will have a half day sightseeing in Jaisalmer. The city, built in burnished sandstone is an intricately moulded wonderland. Your tour takes you through this city of gilded magic. See the Citadel, the fort built by Rawal Jaisal where a fourth of the population lives. Also visit Jain temples of the 12th to 15th centuries Patwon ki Haveli, a five-story mansion with carved pillars and murals; Salim Singh and Nathmalji ki Haveli.
In the afternoon you proceed for an unforgettable desert safari in the Sam Sand Dunes and enjoy views of the desert landscape. Overnight in Jaisalmer.
FRIDAY 09 NOVEMBER Jaisalmer to Jodhpur
After breakfast, depart by road to Jodhpur. On arrival you check-in at hotel. Overnight at hotel
Jodhpur was founded in 1459 AD by the Suryavanshi Rao Jodha . Once the capital of the former princely state of Marwar. It is a popular tourist destination, featuring many palaces, forts and temples, set in the stark landscape of the Thar Desert. The city is known as the Sun City due to the bright, sunny weather it enjoys all year. It is also referred to as the Blue City due to the blue-painted houses around the Mehrangarh Fort. You will enjoy a city tour visiting the 5-km long Mehrangarh Fort situated on a 125 metres high hill. This is one of the most impressive and formidable structures in Rajasthan. Within the fort are some magnificent palaces with meticulously carved panels, latticed windows or "Jarokhas" with evocative names. The chambers of Moti Mahal, Phool Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, the Sileh Khana and the Daulat Khana are noteworthy for the splendour and glamour of a bygone era. Jodhpur lies near the geographic centre of Rajasthan state, which makes it a convenient base for travel in a region much frequented by tourists. The old city of Jodhpur is surrounded by a thick stone wall. Overnight in Jodhpur.
SATURDAY 10 NOVEMBER Jodhpur to Ranakpur and Udaipur
After an early breakfast drive to Udaipur en route you visit the magnificent Jain temple of Ranakpur. The temple is situated in the lovely valley of the Aravali, built in the 15th century. Its surroundings are peaceful and picturesque. The main temple in the complex is the Chaumukha (four-faced) temple, built in 1439. Its 29 halls are supported by 1444 pillars, no two of which are alike. Visit the Surya temple and other Jain temples a little distance away.
Later continue the drive to Udaipur. On arrival check–in at hotel. Overnight in Udaipur.
SUNDAY 11 NOVEMBER Udaipur
After breakfast proceed for a guided tour visiting the City Palace built in 1725. The grand City Palace is actually a conglomerate of eleven palaces overlooking the sprawling Lake Pichola. One of the largest, most beautiful palaces in the state of Rajasthan, it is now a museum, royal residence and a luxury hotel.
You also visit the intricately designed Jagdish Temple built in 1651 by Maharaja Jagat Singh, this temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is located in the centre of the old city. The temple has a black marble image of Lord Vishnu, which is unusual for the northern part of the country, where statues of Gods are normally in marble. You will visit Fateh Sagar, originally built in 1678 by Maharana Jai Singh, Fateh Sagar was rebuilt by Maharana Fateh Singh after the rains destroyed the dam. Evening is at leisure to explore the local colorful market. Overnight in Udaipur.
MONDAY 12 NOVEMBER Udaipur to Pushkar
After breakfast drive to Pushkar. On arrival check in at hotel. Afternoon city sightseeing. Pushkar boasts many temples – a few are ancient pilgrimage site but many were destroyed by Aurangzeb and subsequently rebuilt. The most famous is said to be the only temple in India dedicated to Brahma. It's marked by a red spire and over the entrance gateway is the Hans, or goose symbol, of Brahma, who is said to have personally chosen Pushkar as its site. Overnight in Pushkar.
TUESDAY 13 NOVEMBER Pushkar to Jaipur
After breakfast drive to Jaipur . On arrival check in at hotel .
In the afternoon the city tour begins with a visit the Maharaja’s City Palace - the former royal residence built in a blend of the Rajasthani and Mughal styles which houses a museum with a superb collection of Rajasthani costumes and armoury of the Mughals and Rajputs, including swords of different shapes and sizes with ornate handles. It has an art gallery with an excellent collection of miniature paintings, carpets, royal paraphernalia and rare astronomical works in Arabic, Persian, Latin and Sanskrit. Also visit the Jantar Mantar - an astrological and astronomical observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh in 18th century, which is remarkable for its accuracy even at the present time. Return to your hotel and overnight in Jaipur.
WEDNESDAY 14 NOVEMBER Jaipur to Agra
After an early breakfast check out from the hotel and drive to Agra. En route you visit visiting Amber fort overlooking the Pink city where you will make the ascent to the fort riding an elephant or by Jeep. You visit the Hall of Victory or Jai Mahal and Jagmandir. The Amber Fort, the capital of the erstwhile State of Jaipur until 1728 is perched on a hill. It has halls for public and private audiences, a Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors), various marble palaces which are marvelous examples of ancient Rajput architecture. The Temple of Amba (Mother Goddess), the patron deity of the Royal family is at the entrance to the palace. Continue your drive to Agra and on arrival check in at hotel. Overnight in Agra.
THURSDAY 15 NOVEMBER Agra to Delhi
This morning you will visit the Taj Mahal as the sun rises. The Taj Mahal, the inimitable poem in white marble. It was built over a period of 22 years by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1630, for his beloved Queen Mumtaz Mahal. This architectural marvel is a perfectly proportioned masterpiece fashioned from white marble that stands testimony to the skill of 20,000 craftsmen brought together from Persia, Turkey, France and Italy.
Return to hotel for breakfast.
Later you will drive to Delhi after visiting the Agra Fort built by three Mughal Emperors starting from Akbar the Great in 1565 CE, which is a masterpiece of design and construction. From the Agra fort you can get a wonderful view of the Taj from the little octagonal tower. It was here that Aurangzeb the third son of Shah Jahan kept his father under house arrest, and from where the Emperor spent the last years of his life gazing at the tomb of his beloved. Within the fort are a number of exquisite buildings including the Moti Masjid, Jahangir's Palace, Khaas Mahal and the Sheesh Mahal, Diwane-i-Am, Diwane-i-Khas and Musamman Burj.
You continue your drive to Delhi. On arrival check in at hotel for your last night in Delhi.
FRIDAY 16 NOVEMBER Delhi to Dubai and South Africa
There is an early morning transfer to Indira Gandhi International Airport for our flight to Dubai which connects with your onward flight to Johannesburg and Cape Town respectively.
Arrive at Johannesburgs OR Tambo International Airport and Cape Town International Airport respectively.