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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. Next, ride through the colourful Chandni Chowk market and watch it come to life as the day's trading begins amidst the sounds of enthusiastic salesmen and endless traffic. Visit Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India. Admire its ornate façades before boarding a waiting vehicle to drive to Raj Ghat, a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. Pay tribute to this beloved figurehead, who led the campaign for India's independence from Britain. You'll come face-to-face with the site where he was cremated following his assassination in 1948. Today the simple square platform of black marble is surrounded by a tranquil park, befitting of its status as a place of contemplation. Your next stop is Agrasen Ki Baoli, one of the most noteworthy stepwells in Delhi. Hidden amidst the cacophony of Delhi's streets and business towers, this ancient water reservoir rises from the depths of the earth to stand atop 103 stone steps. Spend a few moments of serenity amidst its centuries-old ornate arches before returning to your hotel for an afternoon of leisure or consider one of our Optional Experiences.
Dive Into Culture this morning and join a guided walking tour run by one of the rehabilitated street children who were taken in by the Salaam Baalak Trust in Delhi. Your visit is a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience and supports this non-profit organisation and the street children for whom it cares. Later, walk through Paharganj Bazaar, rubbing shoulders with the locals who flock to the market to shop every day. Escape the noise and head to New Delhi, designed and built by the British in the 1920s. Your first stop here is a visit to the UNESCO-listed Humayun's Tomb, the earliest example of Mughal architecture in India. Recently renovated with the gardens restored to their former glory, you’ll see first-hand why it served as the inspiration for the design of the famous Taj Mahal. Enjoy local flavours for lunch at a local restaurant near India Gate, then head to the Qutub Minar complex, also a UNESCO listed site. This fluted ‘Victory Tower’ is decorated with elaborate inscriptions, geometric carvings and elegant balconies. Returning to your hotel later, you’ll drive past Lutyens' Delhi to view the elegant colonial façades leading British architect Edwin Lutyens left behind on the cityscape. You'll have the rest of the afternoon free, or perhaps join one of our Optional Experiences.
It's time to leave Delhi behind, bound for the Uttar Pradesh city of Agra. While there are many reasons to love Agra, its own 'monument to love', the Taj Mahal is perhaps the most captivating. You'll have an opportunity to see its sun-kissed white marble façades just before sunset, watching as its elegant walls glow with rose and golden hues. Admire this well-preserved landmark from all sides. Step away from your fellow travellers for a minute and contemplate the magnificence of this man-made wonder before re-joining your group. This evening, you could choose to end a memorable day at an optional sound and light show prior to dinner.
There's more to Agra than the Taj Mahal as you'll come to discover the morning during your visit to the UNESCO-listed Agra Fort. Stroll through the chambers of a royal residence that was built in the 16th century and served as the principal residence of four generations of the influential Mughal emperors until the capital was moved to Delhi. Continue on to the long-deserted 'Ghost Town' of Fatehpur Sikri, which was built at great expense by Emperor Akbar in 1569 only to be abandoned soon afterwards because of a lack of water. The city remains beautifully preserved, albeit with an air of melancholy - a rusty-red sandstone masterpiece without a population. Later, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Bharatpur. Then experience first-hand a quintessential experience of getting around in India when you board a train bound for Ranthambore where you'll stay for the next two nights.
Start the day with an early morning visit to Ranthambore National Park, which was once the hunting ground of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Before the heat of the day sets in and the wilderness awakens, keep a keen eye out for the resident animal and birdlife that find sanctuary here. You'll also want to have your camera ready in case the park's tigers make a brief appearance. Return to your hotel for a late breakfast, followed by some time to relax or consider joining an Optional Experience. After lunch, there's more time to explore the park for glimpses of the various species of bird and wildlife. Dinner is served this evening at your hotel.
Continue your journey to Jaipur, the Pink City. After some free time for lunch, join a workshop on hand-block printing, one of the most famous traditional art forms of Rajasthan. A skilled 'Local Specialist' will show you the tricks of the trade as you observe how the prints are handmade using small wooden blocks and hone your own block-printing skills. Later, you'll see the talents of local craftspeople on display during a visit to a local market. Admire the colourful textiles and perhaps buy a memento or two to take home. Jaipur is particularly renowned for its embroidery and blue pottery. This evening, join a local family for an exclusive 'Be My Guest' dinner in their home. 'Connect With Locals' and savour some of the local delicacies.
One of today's highlights is a visit to the UNESCO-listed Amber Fort. But first, stop to admire the 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 with a visit to the ornate City Palace, an impressive complex of buildings from different eras and gardens in the heart of the Old City. You'll have some free time for lunch before visiting the UNESCO-listed Jantar Mantar Observatory, featuring the world's largest sundial. Later, you could choose to join our optional Aarti ceremony, offering a blessing to one of the Hindu deities and hopefully receiving one in return.
A brush with Rajasthan royalty awaits as you leave Jaipur behind and head to Deogarh. This small city is perhaps best known for being home to the royal family of the Deogarh thikana. You'll overnight in one of Trafalgar's 'Stays With Stories' properties - Deogarh Mahal, once a magnificent fort at the centre of an expansive territory. Tread in the footsteps of the Rawats (Rajas) of Deogarh and watch the world discreetly from behind the fort's jali windows. This evening, a 'Local Specialist' will share the captivating stories across the centuries as you relive the old tales of family feuds and innumerable legends.
Join the locals in their favourite commute when you board a metre-gauge train from Kambali Ghat to Phulad this morning. The rail connection was originally launched by the British to unite the regions of Mewar and Marwar who didn't enjoy the friendliest of relationships at that time. Today it is the lifeline of the local people. 'Dive Into Culture' watching the rural landscapes flash past as you experience first-hand a typical experience of India. This afternoon, you could choose to take an optional village walk with a 'Local Specialist'. Or simply enjoy some free time and relax at your historic hotel, soaking up its regal atmosphere. Join your fellow travellers for an enchanting cultural dance show, followed by dinner.
Royalty behind, romance ahead. Your next stop is Udaipur, the City of Lakes. The historic capital of the kingdom of Mewar, Udaipur is dazzling with its many palaces, temples and Havelis (mansions). After lunch at a local restaurant, take a sunset cruise on Lake Pichola and admire the golden hues glinting off lakeside façades. Located at the heart of Udaipur, Lake Pichola and the beautiful Aravali Hills provide a mesmerising backdrop for yet another glorious day in Rajasthan. There's no better way to end the day than on the water.
Discover the history of the Mewar dynasty this morning when you visit Udaipur's exquisite City Palace. Admire the panoramic views of the city and Lake Pichola from the palace's ornate façades. No expense was spared in its construction. Its balconies, towers and cupolas are adorned with marble, murals, silver-work and coloured glass befitting of the building's stature as the home of the Maharanas for many centuries. Next take a leisurely walk past the 17th-century Jagdish Temple and then find sanctuary in the Garden of the Maids, said to have been designed by Rana Sangram Singh himself to provide a tranquil space for his queen and her 48 maids. Admire the lotus pools, marble pavilions and elephant-shaped fountains dotted around before a 'Dive Into Culture' encounter with the city's lively markets and bazaars. Jostle for your spot in the liveliness of the locals' day to day.
Say a fond farewell to Rajasthan and board your morning flight to Mumbai, India's largest city. There's nothing subtle or serene about this cosmopolitan metropolis. Expect larger than life, loud and high-spirited as you spend the next day discovering all it has to offer. But first, embark on a cruise across Mumbai Harbour to see the centuries-old rock-cut temples on Elephanta Island. This UNESCO-listed labyrinth of caves features ancient temple carvings, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Return to your hotel later for dinner and some free time before your last day of sightseeing tomorrow.
Embrace the magnetism of Mumbai, starting with a visit to the iconic Gateway of India, a majestic archway on the water's edge that welcomed the first-ever visit to India of a British Monarch in 1911. Afterwards, visit Dhobi Ghat where you'll 'Dive Into Culture' exploring the world's largest outdoor laundry. Here thousands of kilograms of clothes are brought from all over the city each day for washing. See the UNESCO-listed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a historic railway station built to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Then, continue to Churchgate Station and see the Dabbawallas (Tiffin Carriers) who have been ferrying hot lunch boxes by bike across the city to office workers for over a century. Later, visit Mani Bhavan, a museum and historical building which was once Mahatma Gandhi's residence during his stay in Mumbai. You'll have some free time this afternoon to relax or considering joining an optional Bollywood Tour to uncover the captivating world of film-making in India. On your final evening in Mumbai, share a toast to new friends over a Farewell Dinner.
Cherish the many memories you've made crisscrossing India, from the Golden Triangle to Rajasthan and bustling Mumbai. All that's left is to say goodbye to your fellow travellers and take your airport transfer for your onward journey.
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Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.
Join your Travel Director for a visit to the Lotus Temple, an architectural marvel famous for its unique lotus structure which has won several awards for its style of building. It is composed of 27 free-standing marble-clad 'petals' arranged in clusters of three to form nine sides, with nine doors opening onto a central hall with a height of slightly over 112 feet and a capacity for 2,500 people. It is a modern style non-religion-oriented temple open to all and is surrounded by nine ponds and gardens covering 26 acres in total. Afterward, spend some time browsing at Dilli Haat INA, an open-air food plaza cum craft bazaar that was established to encourage arts and crafts in India. It has food stalls representing each state in India and offers a complete variety of tasty Indian snacks from across the country. Products on offer also include many ethnic creations such as rosewood and sandalwood carvings, colorful fabrics and drapery, gems, beads, brassware, metal crafts, and silk and wool fabrics.
Adult Price: $23
Visit the Sunder Nursery with a Local Specialist and discover the fascinating Biodiversity Zone as well as the stunning gardens inside the nursery such as the Paradise Garden, Water Garden and Sunken Garden. Dating back to the 16th century, this spectacular heritage park complex is a treasure trove of attractions. It covers an area of 90 acres and boasts several UNESCO World Heritage monuments, 300 plant and tree species, marble fountains, raised sandstone pathways and around 80 resident bird species. After discovering the nursery’s main attractions on a walking tour with the Local Specialist, enjoy some free time to explore further at your leisure.
Adult Price: $23
Spend a memorable evening getting to know the epic love story of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal in a thrilling Bollywood style show. The 90-minute song and dance performance paints a vivid tale of how Shah Jahan built the iconic Taj Mahal after his beloved wife Mumtaz died in childbirth. The show features the largest replica of the Taj Mahal, made in pure white Makrana marble, just like the real mausoleum. Performed by over 80 talented artists dressed in dazzling costumes, this is sure to be a night to remember!
Adult Price: $53
Interact with local women working on indigenous craft forms at the Dhonk Textile Studio and take the opportunity to contribute to the ‘Save the Tiger’ cause. The Dhonk initiative started several years ago to encourage local families away from poaching tigers and other terrible activities such as illegal cutting of trees, grazing, ecologically harmful ways of farming etc. This initiative provided them with an ethical livelihood. It’s a holistic craft project and a huge variety of products are manufactured. Meet the Manager who will give a brief talk about the project and with the Travel Director on-hand to assist with translating, chat with the local women and learn more about the work they do.
Adult Price: $15
Experience India’s rich spirituality at the Birla Mandir, one of the most famous temples in Jaipur, dedicated to the Hindu Gods, Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. The temple is made of pure white marble and you’ll find beautiful sculptures of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses and mythological scenes. You’ll get to witness the enchanting Aarti (religious ceremony), with an up-close view of the priest who has a tray with a small bell and offerings of food, water, flowers and incense. A traditional ‘Aarti lamp’ is passed around the deity accompanied by singing and the ceremony ends with everyone sharing the food that has been offered to the Gods.
Adult Price: $19
Join a Local Specialist for a leisurely walk around Deogarh village. Visit the local market and marvel at the quaint sweet shop, barber shop and other shops which are essential for the needs of daily life. With the help of the Local Specialist, take the opportunity to talk to the locals and the shopkeepers to gain an understanding of their lifestyle. There will also be an opportunity to visit one of the village houses and enjoy a cup of local tea chai, prepared for you by the family that lives there.
Adult Price: $20
Visit a local artist and discover Jal Sanjhi, the rare art of painting on water. Boiling water is placed in a flat container and sprinkled with various secret ingredients to create a floating base. The artist then uses 200-year-old stencils and a palette of special colors to start the magic over the floating canvas. As more and more colors and stencils are used the process becomes increasingly difficult and calls for exceptional talent. When the piece is finished the artist dips his hand into the water causing the artwork to ripple. Each painting lasts for one day at the most before the powders eventually sink. Following the demonstration, take the opportunity to try this for yourself and be sure to take photographs of your finished masterpiece!
Adult Price: $63
Ever since the first film was screened at the Watson Hotel in Mumbai in 1896, India’s motion picture industry (now known as Bollywood) has captivated millions of audiences. India now produces close to one thousand feature films every year -including films in Hindi and several regional languages besides documentaries, TV serials and commercials. Our Bollywood tour is led by a Local Specialist and includes a selection of various activities relating to the Indian television and film-making industry. Visit a famous studio in Mumbai and see the various sets used when filming the movies such as a police station, courtroom, jail etc. The Local Specialist will explain how everything works behind the scenes, including how special effects are done and it may be possible to view some actual live filming (subject to availability on the day of the visit). There will also be the opportunity to watch a brief documentary on 100 years of Bollywood history, learn about voice recording and see a performance by real Bollywood dancers. Photography is allowed everywhere during the tour except where live filming is taking place.
Adult Price: $124
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