The Art & Royalty of India tour takes you through the quintessential tour of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur commonly known as the Golden Triangle, along with "the Land of Kings", the state of Rajasthan, which contains countless treasures. Experience Rajasthan in its full glory, with its history of breathtaking forts, opulent palaces and ancient sacred temples. Explore rare artefacts, Indian folk art, intricate architecture and traditional handicrafts, along with the buzz of colourful bazaars.
On arrival at New Delhi International Airport, meet & greet with our representative. Please look for him in the waiting area or arrivals hall (AFTER you’ve passed through immigration, collected your luggage, passed through customs). Our representative will be holding a placard with Holxo Holiday’s logo and your name on it. He will escort you to your vehicle with driver and accompany you to your hotel for immediate check-in.
Welcome to New Delhi, the capital of India is a fascinating city with complexities and contradictions, beauty and dynamism, where the past co-exists with the present. Delhi is not only the present metropolis of India but also a Necropolis, where many cities have risen and fallen over the last five millenniums. Many dynasties ruled from here leaving behind a vast legacy of art, architecture and culture in both Old and New Delhi though New Delhi is a stark contrast compared to the alleyways of Old Delhi.
After breakfast, the thrill of discovery awaits as you explore New & Old Delhi with the guide: see the war memorial, India Gate, the impressive palatial sized buildings of Rajpath and President’s House, designed and built by the British in the 1920’s. Watch or participate in Kar Sewa at the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, the most prominent Sikh house of worship, in Delhi built in 1783. Kar sewa, a form of selfless service, is considered a privilege and high honour for ever Sikh. The Langar (Community kitchen) prepared by Gursikhs who work there and by hundreds of volunteers, is offered to everyone, regardless of race or religion.
Continue to Humayun’s Tomb, a magnificent structure in red sandstone and white marble is one of the finest examples of a garden tomb and is a precursor to the Taj Mahal. Don’t miss Isa Khan’s garden tomb nearby, within an enclosed octagonal garden, considered the earliest example of a sunken garden in India – a concept later developed at Akbar’s Tomb and at the Taj Mahal.
Drive past The Red Fort, a beautiful red sandstone monument built in 1648. Visit Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. A Jain Temple, a Hindu Temple, a Church, and a Sikh Gurudwara Sis Ganj are all within a short walk from each other are in the heart of the Old Delhi. Take a rickshaw ride through the narrow alleys of Chandni Chowk a colourful and bustling market of Old Delhi and climb to the rooftop of one of the ancient buildings in the heart of the spice markets. From here you get an amazing view of Old Delhi and a peek into the architecture and lifestyle of locals, many of whom have lived here for generations.
After breakfast at hotel, transfer to the airport for Udaipur.
On arrival at Udaipur airport, our representative will meet you at the airport to escort you to your hotel for immediate check-in. Welcome to Udaipur, the City of Lakes, also Venice of east. Surrounded by hills and mountains and set on the edge of three lakes that lead to a fertile plain, this is a truly enchanting city. Narrow streets lined with vividly colored stalls, gardens, temples and palaces mirrored in the placid blue waters of Lake Pichola add to the magic of Udaipur. Dotted with marble palaces, hibiscus – laden gardens and fountain pavilions, Udaipur appeals to the imagination of poets and painters, travelers and writers like no other city in the country. The city’s inherent romance and beauty and its remarkable past redolent with episodes of heroism and splendor, continue to enthrall the visitor even today.
Rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy this city.
After breakfast at hotel, explore the city at a leisurely pace starting with a walk through the local market to the Jagdish Temple which is an architectural marvel in the middle of the bustling city, continue on to the majestic City Palace, an architectural marvel perched on a hill with incredible views of Lake Pichola. A conglomeration of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, rooms and hanging gardens, each palace within its walls is an outstanding creation of art.
Bhartiya Lok Kala Museum houses an immense collection of Indian folk art, costumes, ornaments, puppets, masks, dolls and musical instruments.
On the outskirts of town are the Eklingli and Nagda temples. Nagada, an archaeological site in a valley of the Aravali Mountains with two temple ruins with many erotic carvings. Eklingji, a living Shiva temple is worshiped and maintained by the royal family of Udaipur.
In the later afternoon, take a boat ride on Lake Pichola to Jagmandir Island. It was here that Shah Jahan (who built Taj Mahal) was once given sanctuary by the Maharana of Udaipur. The view of the city palace, the ghats and the skyline around the lake is spectacular.
After breakfast drive to Jodhpur en-route visit the superbly preserved Jain Temples of Ranakpur built in the 15th century (about 2-hour drive outside of Udaipur) en route Khejarla. In the center is the main “Chaumukha Temple '' dedicated to Adinath. The most distinctive features are the 29 halls supported by 1444 pillars, of which no two are exactly alike. Every conceivable surface is carved, and every corner and angles are engraved with Jain images. This is a living temple and guides are forbidden. So the driver will help you buy tickets and arrange the audio-set for you to explore on your own. After/before your visit perhaps grab a quick lunch at one of the boutique hotels Aranyawas and Mount Batton Lodge, set in a wild, mountain valley, hidden away from the outside world.
Continue drive to Jodhpur (once the capital of Marwar): a very colourful town at the edge of the great Thar Desert. Built on the slopes of a low sandstone hill and above a perpendicular cliff stands the Meherangarh Fort, an imposing landmark built in 1459. On arrival proceed to your hotel. Evening visit of local markets of Jodhpur.
After breakfast visit of Mehrangarh Fort which houses gorgeous red sandstone palaces, barracks, temples and havelis with delicately latticed windows and pierced screens. The palaces – Moti Mahal, Phool Mahal, Sheesh Mahal and other apartments are exquisitely decorated with traditional paintings that still grace the ceilings and walls. Nearby is Jaswant Thada, a royal crematorium in marble, built in 1899 for Maharaja Jaswant Singh.
Visit Mandore Gardens, complete with rock terraces and home to playful grey langurs, contain a variety of dark-red cenotaphs of Jodhpur’s rulers. Cenotaphs include the soaring but unkempt Chhatri of Maharaja Dhiraj Ajit Singh (1793), which combines Buddhist and Jain elements in its architecture. The memorial also marks the spot where 64 queens and concubines committed sati on Ajit Singh’s death in 1724. A path winds behind the gardens to the extensive remains of Mandore’s fort on the hill above, from the 6th century AD or possibly earlier – long before the Rathor’s.
Afternoon drive to Khejarla, 85 km east of Jodhpur – a tiny village overlooked by most tourists. Stay at the Fort Khejarla Hotel, surrounded by a quaint village with views of the plains of Marwar. It was constructed in 1611 A.D for Thakur Gopal Das Ji, who was granted ‘Jagir’ (fiefdoms) of Khejarla for having bravely defended the frontiers of Marwar against the Mughals. Built atop granite boulders, the fort rises like a sunbeam from the desert. With its stunning red sandstone, its rugged exterior and an inner paradise with a striking blend of art and architecture, the Fort offers a picturesque setting. Its latticed friezes and intricate Jharokas transport you back in time to experience the majesty of a long-gone era of valor and chivalry. Completely renovated, and blending past elegance with everyday modern amenities, your stay is guaranteed to be an experience of a lifetime.
If interested in a VERY early morning drive to Pipar City known very lively for morning vegetable markets (sabzi mandi) is so worth it. Expect to leave around 6.45 am-7 am as it’s a 45 min drive and by 7.30 am is when the market is most alive. Since not many foreign visitors visit the markets, it would be an experience onto itself. If you’re not inclined towards such an early morning, then after breakfast, enjoy a short village safari (small desert animals, a lake and temple with priest who you can chat with) followed by the bustle of a local “main-street” of this desert village (Khjerala). You will see sesame and coconut oils being produced in very interesting and ingenious ways: wheat and other grains being ground by hand or in semi-mechanized ways, indigo color and block printing workshops. Then visit a Bishnoi family in their village: the Bishnoi tribe worship Lord Vishnu, are protectors of all flora & fauna and are vegetarians. You are welcomed into their home with a traditional opium ceremony, and the ubiquitous masala chai to experience the traditions and customs of tribal life. It is a place caught in a delightful time warp, where life still goes on like the days of the past.
Perhaps later this evening, climb the low hilltop to visit the 600-year-old Temple of Goddess Durga (Goddess of War) for its evening ceremonies and a remarkable view of the surrounding landscape especially at sunset.
After a leisurely breakfast drive to Jaipur. En-route visit of Pushkar, surrounded by hills on three sides, Pushkar, 11 kms from Ajmer, abounds in temples. One of these the most famous is the Brahma temple – the only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma in the country. Once a year, during the Kartik Purnima, the entire region comes alive with a pulsating Camel and Cattle Fair. There is a week-long celebration with an explosion of fun, frolic, games and laughter with threads of religious fervour. Bedecked and festooned cattle wait in the clouds of sand and the pious gather at the break of dawn to take a dip in the holy Pushkar Lake to absolve themselves of all their sins. (this Itinerary can also be customised to Include Pushkar Fair)
Visit of Brahma Temple in Pushkar: The Brahma Temple of Pushkar is only Hindu temple where Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe is worshipped. The Brahma temple, built with marble, is decorated with silver coins and there is a silver turtle on the floor of the temple. The temple enshrines a life-size idol of Lord Brahma. Without visiting Pushkar’s Brahma Temple your Rajasthan tour will be incomplete.
Pushkar Lake: The Pushkar Lake is considered as one of the most sacred spot in India. It is believed that the lake was created by the lotus petals, which fell from the hand of Lord Krishna. Every year during Kartik Purnima (Month of Oct\Nov when moon appears in full size) pilgrims come from across the world to take a holy dip in holy Lake. The tranquil and beautiful lake amidst the hills has fifty-two bathing Ghats, built around it. The Lake is semicircular in shape. The water around each Ghat is supposed to have special powers.
Continue to your next destination - Jaipur! Colour washed in pink associated with hospitality in Rajput culture, it is lovingly nicknamed The Pink City and is a city of fairy-tale palaces, rugged fortresses perched on barren hills and broad picturesque avenues. The first planned city of its time, a formidable wall encircles Jaipur. On arrival check into your hotel
The evening is at leisure to relax at your hotel pool or spa. Alternatively, perhaps browse the bazaars for colourful Jaipuri fabrics, artwork, handicrafts, jewellery and gemstones.
After breakfast, full day visit of Jaipur, Start with a stop at Hawa Mahal as a backdrop for a brief photo opportunity. A stunning monument of 5 stories with 365 windows, it is also known as the Palace of Winds. Its façade is encrusted with delicate screens and carved balconies from which the royal ladies, confined to their quarters, could sneak views of the outside world, continue and visit the massive Amber Fort, (Best done in the morning) one of the most splendid examples of Rajasthani architecture. You have the option to drive up the hill by a vehicle or Walk up. Inside the Fort you will see the Hall of Victory or Jag Mandir and the famed Sheesh Mahal, a room with walls and ceiling completely embedded with glittering mirrors specially imported from Belgium at the time.
In the Afternoon, visit the City Palace and the Palace Museum to see its fabulous display of miniature paintings and traditional Rajasthani royal costumes. Also Visit Jantar Mantar, Jai Singh's Astronomical observatory, where time has been accurately measured since the 17th century.
After breakfast drive to Agra. En route visit Chand Baori, in Abhaneri village, a must visit but often overlooked landmark in the country. Not only is it one of the oldest step-wells in Rajasthan, it is among the biggest in the world. This incredible square structure is 13 stories deep and lined along the walls on three sides are double flight of 3,500 narrow steps arranged in perfect symmetry which descend 20 meters deep to the bottom of the well. Built during the 8th and 9th century it was a dependable water source for centuries before modern water delivery systems were introduced. The well is no longer in use but is an architecturally impressive structure that is over 1000 years old. There’s also a temple adjoining the well which you can explore.
Continue to Fatehpur Sikri – a perfectly preserved red sandstone “ghost town" which was the estranged capital of Mughal Emperor Akbar, built in 1569 and deserted when its water supply failed. Here you can explore the Diwane-i-Am – a vast courtyard in which the emperor gave daily public audience; Diwane-i-Khas – a large quadrangle which contained all the major functions of the Palace, Pachisi court, the Emperor's private living quarter, Jodha Bhai’s Palace, Mariam’s Palace, Birbal’s Palace, Hawa Mahal and Panch Mahal.
After visiting, continue to Agra, home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Taj Mahal. The architectural splendour of mausoleums, forts and the palaces of Agra are a vivid reminder of the opulence of the legendary Mughal Empire. Agra was the capital of the Mughal empire for nearly a hundred years from 1564. It is known for its superb inlay work on marble and soapstone by artisans who are hereditary craft persons. The city is also famous for its carpets, gold thread embroidery and leather shoes.
Wake up early to visit the spectacular Taj Mahal, at sunrise. Bathed in the glowing light of dawn bask in the glory of this world-famous mausoleum with its perfect architecture, as its white marble reflects the rays of the rising sun. This is your opportunity to explore the Taj Mahal up close.
Return to your hotel for your breakfast. Then explore the Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated on the banks of river Yamuna. This is a massive red sandstone Fort provides a glimpse into the medieval lifestyles of 16th and 17th century Mughal emperors. Built by three Mughal Emperors starting from Akbar the Great in 1565 AD, it is a masterpiece of design and construction. Within the fort are several exquisite buildings including the Moti Masjid, Jahangir’s Palace, Khaas Mahal and the Sheesh Mahal, Diwane-i-Am, Diwane-i-Khas and Musamman Burj, where Emperor Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal Emperor died a prisoner.
Visit Itmad-ud-Daula's Tomb & Sikandra. Itmad-ud-Daula’s tomb often called the Baby Tāj, is regarded as a draft of the Tāj Mahal. Built by Nūr Jahān, for her father Mirzā Ghiyās Beg, on the left bank of the Yamuna river, the walls are of white marble encrusted with semi-precious stone decorations cornelian, jasper, lapis lazuli, onyx, and topaz.
After relaxed breakfast at hotel, drive to Delhi, upon arrival in Delhi you will be transferred to the airport in order to connect your flight to your home.