15 days from £3375 per person
Places Visited: Delhi, Agra, Ramathra Fort, Bundi, Udaipur, Ranakpur, Rohet Garh, Jodhpur, Jaipur
One of our signature routes around India’s vibrant Desert State, this varied two-week trip combines visits to the must-see cities of the Golden Triangle and southern Rajasthan with stays at a selection of beautifully situated rural and small-town retreats. Set amid bucolic landscapes, our lesser visited stopovers are destinations in themselves, offering not just the chance to experience life in splendid old country houses and palaces, but also insights into traditional life in the bucolic Indian countryside. Horse riding, wildlife safaris and hot-air balloon rides provide additional perspectives on the gorgeous desert scenery, along with visits to craft workshops and farmsteads.
Overnight flight to Delhi from London Heathrow.
On arrival at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, you’ll be met by your TransIndus guide and driver, and transferred to your hotel, where you’ll be staying for two nights. Spend the remainder of the day recovering from your journey with a leisurely swim in the hotel pool, and perhaps a stroll around the local neighbourhood.
Walking tour of Old Delhi in the morning, and exploration of the southern part of the city in the afternoon.
A great way to explore Old Delhi’s warrenous backstreets is on a guided walking tour. You’ll visit one of the few surviving Mughal-era havelis (or courtyard mansions) and explore different portions of the bazaar specializing in silver jewellery, spices, textiles and fresh produce. The neighbourhood’s pride and joy, however, is the gigantic Jama Masjid, or ‘Friday Mosque’. After admiring the extraordinary view from the minarets, enjoy lunch at one of the famous kebab restaurants below, before driving past Lutyen’s imperial capital to Humayun’s Tomb and Qutb Minar victory tower on Delhi’s southern outskirts, where you’ll gain a vivid sense of the city’s great antiquity.
Take the train to Agra in the morning to visit the Taj Mahal and other iconic Mughal monuments.
An early start is required to catch the Gatimaan Express, which takes a little over an hour to reach Agra from Delhi. On arrival, you’ll be driven to the city’s great Mughal Fort, where Shah Jahan, creator of the Taj Mahal, was imprisoned at the end of his life by his son, Aurangzeb. On the opposite bank of the Yamuna River, the exquisitely decorated Itimad-ud Daulah tomb provides the next stop. The mausoleum’s inlay work foreshadowed that of the Taj, which you’ll visit towards the end of the afternoon, when the changing light transforms the marble surfaces from a pale ochre to orange and crimson.
Morning departure for Ramathra, pausing at Fatehpur Sikri en route to visit Akbar’s deserted capital.
Your first port of call today will be Fatehpur Sikri, former capital of the Mughal emperor, Akbar. The complex was built at lavish expense at end of the 16th century but only occupied for sixteen years. Today, its finely carved, dark-red sandstone buildings remain in fine condition and vividly evoke the opulence of the Mughal era.
Overlooking a glorious sweep of mustard fields, wooded hills and acacia scrub, Ramathra Fort – today’s final destination – is among our very favourite spots in India, and a perfect antidote to the packed cities of the previous few days.
Explore the village and beautiful countryside around Ramathra, either by car, on foot or on horseback.
After a leisurely breakfast, spend the morning exploring the idyllic countryside around the fort with your guide. Kalisil Lake offers a dreamy backdrop for walks, birding safaris and trips out on to the water in the hotel’s own rowing boat. In the afternoon, visit a local village, hilltop fort and temples, before soaking up the gorgeous sunset views from the comfort of your own balcony.
Drive to Bundi, in southern Rajasthan. In the afternoon, visit the town’s palace (famous for its murals) and fine stepwell.
The seventh day of your tour takes you further south to the town of Bundi, one of our favourite destinations in the country thanks to its unspoilt, un-hurried feel and fabulous Rajput architecture. Built during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the town’s palace retains a particularly fine set of murals depicting episodes from the life of Krishna, rendered in evocative turquoise, jade-green, scarlet, ochre and white. You’ll have ample time to explore the complex in the late afternoon, when the lake below it swirls with reflections of domed cuppolas and sun-bleached plaster. Around sunset time, head into town to explore the old-fashioned bazaar district.
Drive west from Bundi to the lake city of Udaipur, pausing at Chittaurgarh en route to visit one of India’s grandest forts.
Spend a couple of hours in the morning visiting local step wells, havelis and temples before embarking on your journey to Udaipur, where you’ll be spending two nights. It’s worth considering a stop at Chittaurgarh on route. The town is the home of one of India’s most dramatic hilltop forts, the scene of several bloody sieges that ended in the mass suicide of its entire population.
You’ll arrive in Udaipur at a time of day when the lakeside palaces look at their most exotic. Enjoy the sublime views over a sundowner on a haveli rooftop looking across the water to the Aravalli Hills in the distance.
Explore Udaipur’s City Palace complex and old town in the company of your TransIndus guide.
Begin your day's sightseeing at Udaipur’s City Palace, seat of the Sisodia Dynasty and a feast of opulent Rajput architecture. After visiting its museums, apartments and courtyard gardens, wander down to the Jagdish Temple nearby before heading into the old city to explore the markets. Late afternoon is the time to be at the water’s edge, soaking up the sunset colours and unique atmosphere of this romantic city.
Drive over the Aravalli Mountain range to Rohet Garh near Jodhpur via the Jain temples at Ranakpur.
Today’s journey west across the Aravallis from Udaipur ranks among the most scenic in India. The landscape culminates during a twisting descent through a forested valley to Ranakpur, where a beautiful white-marble Jain temple nestles at the foot of the range. Dating from fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the shrine’s interior domes and 1,444 pillars are all sumptuously carved with deities, mythical creatures and dancing maidens.
Today’s final destination will be Rohet Garh, near Jodhpur. Another of our old favourite heritage properties in Rajasthan, it rests beside a glinting lake, and has a wonderful pool and gardens to relax in.
Join a safari to a nearby Bishnoi village.
Rohet Garh’s ‘Village Safari’ is a fantastic way to gain a glimpse of life in the various local communities who inhabit the estate, from Rabari herders to Brahmin farmers, weavers and the Bishnoi, whose special relationship with the blackbuck has ensured the survival of this rare and beautiful antelope.
Horse lovers should also not miss out on the chance of a ride on one of Rohet Garh’s magnificent Marwari thoroughbreds. The owner of the property is a passionate horseman and polo player, and the surrounding estate perfect country for riding. Routes lasting anything from one hour to six days are offered (additional costs apply).
Drive to Jodhpur to visit Mehrangarh Fort, before continuing on to Khimsar for an overnight stay.
Crowning a giant sandstone cliff, Mehrangarh Fort is the most awe-inspiring of all Rajasthan’s citadels, and one with a view to match its colourful history. Below its lofty ramparts, which enclose a particularly interesting museum of royal artefacts and apartments, sprawls a giant patchwork of flat rooftops, painted in shades of blue.
The tour continues with a drive to Khimsar, a 15th century fortress-palace set in 11 acres of lawns and orchards. Guests have the option of sleeping in the main wing or out in the nearby dunes, in specially constructed thatch-roofed chalets. Flights in hot-air balloons, village visits and black buck safaris are optional extras.
Drive northeast to Jaipur for a two-night stay in the Rajasthani capital.
After checking in to your hotel and freshening up, consider a trip by rickshaw into the city centre to experience the bazaar at full tilt. Each of the state’s major cities have a distinctively different atmosphere and Jaipur, with its trademark salmon-coloured buildings, is no exception!
Explore Jaipur’s City Palace complex today, along with the surrounding bazaars.
Perched on the rim of a dramatic escarpment, Amber Fort retains some of the finest interiors surviving from the 16th and 17th centuries in India, notably a glittering ‘Hall of Mirrors’, or ‘Sheesh Mahal’, lined with intricate mirror mosaics where the Maharaja and his consorts would enjoy music and poetry recitals. Anyone interested in traditional Rajasthani textiles will also greatly enjoy a visit to the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing, located in a beautifully restored haveli down in Amber village.
Jaipur itself is a swirl of life and colour, and its numerous monuments and markets provide the focus for the rest of the day. You’ll begin at the famous City Palace complex, which includes the much photographed ‘Hawa Mahal’, or ‘Palace of Winds’, a five-storey façade of elaborately screened windows from where the women of the royal household used to watch processions in the streets below.
Early morning flight to Delhi for your onward journey back to the UK.
15 days from £3375 per person
✓ International flights from London
✓ 13 nights accommodation
✓ All road travel and transfers by private chauffeur-driven vehicles
✓ English-speaking guides
✓ Breakfast daily
✓ Entrance fees to sites and monuments listed in tour itinerary
Delhi, India’s capital, is where most new arrivals alight – a megacity whose fast pace and jarring contrasts are guaranteed to induce a degree of wide-eyed amazement, no matter ho...
Jama Masjid (Delhi)
Between twenty and thirty thousand worshippers mass in the courtyard of Old Delhi’s Jama Masjid each week for Friday prayers – a scene little changed since the mosque was inaugura...
The city of Agra makes up one-third of India's 'golden triangle', along with Delhi and Jaipur, three of northern India's most popular destinations for tourists. Agra’s heart-stop...
‘A teardrop on the face of Eternity’ is how the Bengali mystic poet, Rabindranath Tagore, famously described the Taj Mahal. Built in the mid-16th century by the Mughal emperor Sha...
Bundi is truly one of Rajasthan’s “hidden gems”, sufficiently far off the region’s most popular tourist trails to receive only a trickle of visitors, yet full of traditional atmos...
Chittaurgarh (or ‘Chittor’), in the far southeast of Rajasthan, is famous for its majestic fort – the scene of a succession of medieval sieges and battles between the Rajputs and ...
‘The most romantic spot on the continent of India’ was Colonel James Tod’s assessment of Udaipur in the 1820s, and even today, despite the hordes who come here each winter, his as...
Just down the mountain from Kumbhalgarh lies the famous Jain temple complex of Ranakpur. Built in the 15th century, the shrines here are renowned above all for their richly carved...
Capital of the former Kingdom of Marwar, Jodhpur owes its prominence to the trade route that once passed its gates, connecting the ports of Gujarat with the cities of the northern...
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