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India's vibrant capital extends a lively welcome, launching an unforgettable journey through northern India's most exquisite sights. On arrival in Delhi, you'll be transferred to your hotel where you'll meet your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception with drinks and local appetisers this evening.
Savour the scents of spice as you embark on an exhilarating rickshaw ride, navigating the busy streets of Old Delhi. See the Red Fort, a sandstone fortress which once housed the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for centuries, before riding through the colourful Chandni Chowk market. Watch it come to life as the day's trading begins amidst the sounds of enthusiastic salesmen and endless traffic. We'll visit Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India and admire its ornate façades before enjoying the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
We 'Dive Into Culture' this morning, embarking on a guided walking tour to discover the work done by the Salaam Baalak Trust. Your visit will 'Make A Difference' to this non-profit organisation which aims to provide a caring environment for street children. Later, we'll walk through the bazaar of Paharganj, rubbing shoulders with the locals who flock to the market to shop every day. Lunch is at a local restaurant, before we head to the district of New Delhi, designed and built by the British in the 1920s. Here we'll visit the UNESCO-listed Humayun's Tomb and Qutub Minar before driving past Parliament House and India Gate, commemorating the Indian soldiers who died during WWI.
Delve into the imperial history of the Mughal Empire as you explore the iconic, yet unexpected highlights of Agra. Visit the UNESCO-listed Agra Fort and stroll through the chambers of a royal residence that lay at the centre of the dynasty until the 17th century. As you drive through the city's crowded streets, connect with its vibrant spirit and raw energy.
Gaze at the sun-kissed white marble of the Taj Mahal, arriving just before sunrise to see its elegant walls glow with rose and golden hues. Learn how this well-preserved landmark stands today as a monument of love, then return to your hotel for breakfast. Later today, travel to Ranthambore and upon arrival check into your hotel for dinner and your overnight stay.
You'll have a full day to connect with your beautiful natural surrounds as you explore all that Ranthambore has to offer. Start the day with an early morning visit to Ranthambore National Park, which was once the hunting ground of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Keep your camera at the ready to hopefully snap a few photographs of the resident tigers. Afterwards return to your hotel for breakfast followed by some time to relax. After lunch venture out into the park for another visit and watch for glimpses of the various species of bird and wildlife which find sanctuary here and the ruins of a bygone era which are scattered through the park. Dinner is served this evening at your hotel.
This morning travel to Jaipur, the Pink City and gateway to the colourful state of Rajasthan. After lunch, visit the ornate City Palace and later 'Dive Into Culture' with a lesson in the art of turban tying and a favourite pastime in Jaipur, kite flying - giving you insights into the ancient customs and pastimes of the city.
One of today's highlights is a visit to the UNESCO-listed Amber Fort, but first stop to admire the ornate red and pink façades of the Palace of Winds, whose latticed windows once revealed the outside world to the sheltered ladies of the royal household. Continue to the UNESCO-listed Jantar Mantar Observatory, featuring the world's largest sundial before meeting a 'Local Specialist' to learn about the tradition of hand block printing. See how the Jaipur's exquisitely patterned cottons have been made for centuries, then witness the delicate art of crafting Jaipur's elegant blue and green pottery. You'll have an opportunity to 'Connect With Locals' this evening, joining a local family for an exclusive 'Be My Guest' dinner in their home to savour some of the local delicacies.
We journey to Narlai and check into Rawla Narlai, a beautifully maintained heritage resort, which was once one of the Jagir villages of Jodhpur's royal family. Experience royal Rajasthan within its lavishly decorated walls.
Join a Jeep safari into the nearby countryside and keep a keen eye open for deer and leopard in their natural habitat. Later, take a walk around Narlai village and gain insights into the traditional way of life of the villagers before they depart for the days' grazing. During term-time, you'll also visit the village school. Later, meet one of the heads of a noble family who'll share interesting stories about the hotel and the local residents. This evening, your dinner is served in extraordinary surrounds. Descend into the 16th century baori (step-well) for a memorable meal featuring delicious Rajasthani flavours.
Leave Narlai behind and travel to another of Rajasthan's colourful cities - Jodhpur. Your introduction to the Blue City begins with a visit to Mehrangarh Fort, whose glowing red sandstone façades stand imposingly several hundred feet above the city skyline atop a sheer cliff. From one exquisite monument to the next, you'll visit Jaswant Thada, walking up its red steps to the shimmering white marble façades that house a memorial built to honour the memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II by his son in 1899. The mausoleum is still used by the Marwar Royal Family as its cremation grounds. After a busy day of sightseeing, get a taste of local culture during a visit to a market by tuk-tuk and plunge into its crowded alleys with shopfronts selling vegetables, spices, sweets, silver and handicrafts.
Leave the busy city streets behind and embark on a 4x4 drive through the Rajasthan countryside. Experience a different side of India as you visit a rural village and gain insights into the day-to-day experiences of the locals who live here. You'll have the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure or consider joining an Optional Experience for dinner.
We leave Jodhpur behind, flying back to Delhi this morning. Our memorable encounter with northern India at its end, we'll toast to shared memories over a delicious dinner to say farewell to those not travelling onto Nepal.
Take your transfer to New Delhi International Airport for your flight to the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal's capital city, Kathmandu. On arrival, transfer to your hotel and later join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for dinner in a local restaurant.
Kathmandu's golden roofs glow brightly on your City Tour to the heart of its old town and UNESCO-listed Durbar Square. Admire the traditional pagoda-style architecture reflected in the temples and palaces that surround the square. Then continue to nearby Patan where you'll visit the Krishna Temple and Golden Temple. Witness the delicate art of thangka painting religious scenes on cotton and silk. Later 'Make A Difference' during a visit to the Tibetan Refugee Centre, which provides support to the families of Tibetan refugees who fled the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959.
Looming over Patan lies the UNESCO-listed shrine of Swayambhunath, which you will have an opportunity to visit today. Admire the galleries of prayer mills and gleaming white stupa, whose gilded spire provides the colourful eyes of Budda a lofty vantage point from which to survey the surrounding valley. Visit a local market in the Thamel area and stroll through its narrow alleyways in search of the perfect mementos of your trip. Return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure or consider joining an Optional Experience.
Take a transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
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