Colours of India
Duration: 9 days
Highlights: Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur
Explore the fascinating history of the northern parts of India; savour Holikha Dahan Festival (in March) in Udaipur.
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Day 1 - Arrive Delhi
Upon arrival at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport, you will be met by our representative and escorted to your hotel by private vehicle, where you will be assisted with check-in.
Day 2 - Delhi
Enjoy a full day guided tour of Delhi.
The city consists of two parts - Old and New Delhi. Old Delhi was the capital of Mughal India and has a prodigious collection of mosques, monuments and forts.
Begin your Day in Old Delhi. Visit Jama Masjid, the Royal Mosque, which was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1656. Enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes followed by a short walk in Chandni Chowk, the colourful shopping bazaar known. Drive past Red Fort (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Continue to Raj Ghat, a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi.
In the afternoon, visit New Delhi - the imperial city created by the British as the capital of India. In 1911, Edwin Lutyens, the most renowned English architect of the Day, was chosen to design New Delhi. Drive through the majestic boulevards, proceed towards Rashtrapati Bhawan, where the Viceroy once lived and is now the official residence of the President of India. See India Gate, a war memorial arch built in honour of 90,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives in World War I. Visit Humayun’s Tomb (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the first great example of Mughal architecture in India. The Day’s tour ends at Qutab Minar (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) - a soaring tower of victory which is 72.5 metres high and has five distinct storeys.
Day 3 - Delhi - Agra
This morning drive to Agra.
Arrive at Agra in the afternoon and check-in at your hotel.
Two great Mughal monarchs, Akbar and Shah Jahan, transformed the little village of Agra into a befitting second capital of the Mughal Empire - giving it the name Dar-ul-Khilafat which means seat of the Emperor. Today, a visitor in Agra is caught up in a world of contrasting edifices whilst experiencing the irresistible charm that this favourite city of the Mughals still retains.
Late afternoon, visit Agra Fort (a UNESCO World Heritage site). The fort was built by the third Mughal Emperor, Akbar. Subsequent additions were made to the fort by his son, Jahangir, and grandson, Shah Jahan.
Day 4 - Agra – Fatehpur Sikri – Jaipur
Early morning enjoy a sunrise visit to the mesmerising Taj Mahal (one of the Wonders of the World).
The 17th century masterpiece is often called a poem in stone. If so, the mausoleum is a love poem - created by Shah Jahan for his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Please note: Taj Mahal remains closed on Fridays.
Return to hotel for breakfast.
This morning drive to Jaipur. En route, stop at Fatehpur Sikri (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) - a deserted red sandstone city built by Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace in the late 16th century.
Arrive at Jaipur in late afternoon and check-in at your hotel.
Day 5 - Jaipur
This morning, enjoy an excursion to the magnificent Amber Fort. The fortified palace was the capital of the state of Jaipur until 1728. The fort is a blend of Mughal and Rajput style of architecture. Tour the chambers and hallways of the palace, which are famous for their unparalleled design and decoration, including the spectacular “Hall of Mirrors”.
Later enjoy an orientation tour of Jaipur. Visit City Palace and its museum which has a superb collection of Rajasthani costumes and armoury of the Mughals and Rajputs, including swords, antiques and artifacts. Proceed to Jantar Mantar, a stone-made astrological and astronomical observatory which was built by Maharaja Jai Singh in the 18th century. Enjoy a cycle-rickshaw ride in the colourful bazaars of the old city. Later, visit Hawa Mahal or the "Palace of the Winds". It is perhaps the most-photographed façade in Jaipur. Its ornately carved windows were designed so that the ladies of the palace could look out onto the streets unobserved. There is also time to shop for Jaipur blue pottery and block-printed cottons and linens.
Remainder of the day will be at leisure for independent activities.
Day 6 - Jaipur – Jodhpur
This morning, reach Jodhpur after a 6-hours’ drive. It was once the capital of the former princely state of Marwar. It was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha and is now the second largest city of Rajasthan. The graceful palaces, forts and temples bring alive the city’s historic grandeur, while the exquisite handicrafts, folk dances, music and the brightly attired locals lend a romantic aura to the city.
Arrive in Jodhpur and check-in at your hotel.
Late afternoon, enjoy a short orientation tour of Jodhpur city. Visit the magnificent Mehrangarh, one of Rajasthan's finest forts. This 5,000-metre-long fort is an impressive and formidable structure with seven gates, that lead into the fort, and a series of courtyards and palaces inside. Make a brief stop at Jaswant Thada, a white marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II located at a short distance from the fort.
Later, enjoy a walking tour through the medieval blue town where there will be opportunity to explore the narrow winding lanes, ending at the Old Clock Tower vegetable and spice market.
Day 7 - Jodhpur – Ranakpur – Udaipur
This morning drive to Udaipur. En route visit Ranakpur Temples, some of the most exquisite Jain temples in the country famous for their intricate friezes and sculptures, and is one of the holiest Jain sites in India.
Arrive in Udaipur late afternoon and check-in at your hotel.
[Only during the festival of Holi in March: This evening you will be taken to City Palace to experience and enjoy the Holika Dahan Ceremony.
Holi (Holika Dahan) Festival, Udaipur: The regal festival of Holika Dahan perpetuates centuries-old time-honored traditions. It represents India’s eternal fascination with celebration of life through the many seasons. Holi, one of the most popular of Indian festivals, is celebrated when winter gives way to spring. Holika Dahan is the festival’s first Day when the pious fire is lit on the full moon night of Phalguna (one of the 12 months of the Hindu calendar). According to Hindu mythology, it demonstrates the triumph of divine power over demonic strength.
At the Holika Dahan ceremony held at the City Palace complex, Udaipur, observe royal etiquette and ritual as you look upon the royal parade of finely liveried palace staff, elegantly bedecked horses, and the impeccably turned out band that leads the cavalcade through the Palace, from the Royal residence to Manek Chowk. After the religious ceremonies, as twilight descends, you can look forward to the lighting of a traditional sacred fire where an effigy of the fraudulent Holika is burnt. This is followed by local people performing the ''Gair'' specially for the occasion, a traditional folk dance, which you will discover yourself to be quite infectious!]
Day 8 - Udaipur
This morning you will be invited by the hotel to City Palace to experience the Holi celebrations. The celebration and festival lasts till noon. Remainder of the afternoon will be at leisure at the hotel.
In the evening enjoy a boat cruise on the placid waters of Lake Pichola. From the boat, view the city of Udaipur rise majestically above the lake in the middle of the Rajasthan desert. Also visit the Jag Mandir Palace, an unforgettable sight on an island in Lake Pichola, built by Maharana Karan Singhji in 1622 as a pleasure palace for royal parties and functions.
Day 9 - Udaipur – Delhi
This morning will be at leisure for independent activities.
In the afternoon you will be escorted to Udaipur airport for your flight to Delhi.
Arrive in Delhi and transfer to International Airport for your flight to onward destination.