Delhi is a city with seemingly endless energy that comes from the streets of the old and new areas of the city. The streets are awash with color from the sandstone ruins, the marble temples, flowing saris, and brightly painted rickshaws. Your private transfer meets you at the airport and has you settled comfortably in your hotel in no time. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to relax along the rooftop that overlooks the old city or to step outside and enjoy your first experience within the capital of India. The aroma of grilled kebabs lingers in the air as street vendors fan charcoal grills, bringing a luscious touch of smoke to the succulent aroma.
The tomb of Nizamuddin Dargah brings in devout Sufis from across the world and adds a unique hymn to the new Nizamuddin West neighborhood where, on Thursdays, the harmonious songs of devoted followers fill the streets at sunset. The Crafts Museum brings a calm and graceful display of the coveted designs and handicrafts of the city and is where artisans display traditional weaving, pottery, and embroidery. The scent of French press coffee sifts through the courtyard while the rooms demonstrate the variety of artistry that the local craftspeople have created. From traditional clay animals to fabulously embroidered blankets you will delight in the wares that give you a sense of the people’s creativity, bring you inspiration, and offer a taste of the collected history that has brought Delhi forward with richness.
The vibrancy of the city begins before sunup. The aromas are uplifting and the spice of masala chai, filled with nutmeg and clove, invigorates you as the bustle of rickshaws brings people to work along the streets. Your tour begins after breakfast when your guide meets you at your hotel ready to take you out to the tremendous sites of the city, from the ramparts of the old, to some stylish buildings of the new. The Lotus Temple belongs to the Bahá’í religion and brings with it an unparalleled imaginative structure that encapsulates a budding lotus.
Twenty-seven flower petals were constructed of marble and tower above the courtyard over 120 feet tall. When you enter the structure, you will see that the dome shape is textured at its apex with a latticed window meant to symbolize the Greatest Name. Footsteps echo within the immaculate shape that lacks any dais or podium, and the pillared walls create an ambiance of classical design. Humayan’s Tomb was constructed in the 16th century and blends Persian and Mughal elements within the combination of sandstone and marble construction.
The colors shimmer when they catch the sunlight. The red becomes richer and the white glints like a mirror. You are allured by the opulent marble beneath the sandstone arches while parakeets sing around the open garden trees. The cupolas and shapely dome bring another measure of elegance to the past. As you continue your discovery of Delhi and the culture within its streets you will continue to find sensational ruins in parks and friendly people sipping tea and speaking energetically about current events.
Your day once again begins with breakfast; the scent of traditional spices rise from the creamy masala chai that often accompanies the meal. After your delightful tastes are satisfied your private transfer meets you at your hotel ready to whisk you away to the city of Agra, home to the world-renowned Taj Mahal. As you venture away from Delhi you will come to Itimad-ud-Daulah, a site that quantifies history and artistry as the first mausoleum in the entire country to be constructed out of pure marble and which overlooks the Yamuna River.
Although the complex was constructed using the traditional red sandstone, this architecture brought a new era of building to the Mughal Empire in the 17th century. The delicate features are shown in the intricately carved lattice screens. The entire structure sits atop a red portico. The walls are decorated with geometric shapes that bring color to the cool pearl sides. In the afternoon you will come to the treasured Taj Mahal, constructed in the 17th century for the third wife of Shah Jahan, and which continues to be one of the most iconic images of India today.
The angular marble dome captures the sunlight at various times of day while also standing atop the immaculate pearl hued minarets. The interior walls reach 82 feet high with a false dome decorated with a sun pattern. Floral patterns are inlaid with gems and delicate lattice designs bring a depth of intricacy within the powerful statement. You notice the numerous flowerbeds while strolling once again through the garden, numbering 16 in all, and all the while, the soothing sound of trickling water adds to the early night’s ambiance. In the evening you will return to your hotel ready for the luxuries of sleep.
When morning washes over the city you can imagine the colors that shimmer along the marble towers of the Taj Mahal. After breakfast your guide will once again meet you at your hotel ready to take you out into the country to experience the eclectic culture of the cities both modern and historic. The old capital of Fatehpur Sikri was built and deserted in the 16th century. The sandstone buildings were once the architectural symbol of the Mughal Empire. Marble was only used to construct small segments of buildings. The sandstone capital continues to shine bright red against the background of light blue sky.
The mixture of Persian and Mughal elements continues to bring a particular image to the complex which is almost two miles in length, over half a mile wide, and surrounds almost four miles of land. The main entrance known as Buland Darwaza stands an impressive 165 feet tall, serving as a gateway and a victory arch. When you come to the Panch Mahal you will find its layers impressive. The chhatri dome tops the structure while 176 delicate columns support the grounds.
Wandering the ancient city brings awe, from the embroidery to the magnitude, making the past come to life within red stone and climbing walls. When you arrive in Jaipur you will find the streets settling down from the usual daily fun. The pink of the city that you have heard so much about will soon come back to luster along the walkways and plazas, but for now you can settle into your hotel and spend the night at your leisure.
You find the morning energy of Jaipur mesmerizing. Outside of the ancient walls the modern city is brimming with daily life. After breakfast you will venture in and around the old city to experience the times that brought Jaipur’s particularly famous hues and unique traditions to the world. The Amer Fort was once a jewel atop the mountainside of Jaipur and overlooked the city as a protectorate, and as its capital, until the 18th century.
Four practically separate layers on the hillside create the site with Maota Lake in the forefront. You find the winding pathways that lead up to the entrance gate. In the first courtyard you find an inspiring stairway that takes you to the Ganesh Gate, which is also the entrance to the private palaces of the Maharajas. The latticed arched windows that run along the upper levels, where the women once observed the courtyard, now give a delicate touch to the intricate designs of the main façade.
Gilded and vibrant frescoes cover the entire gate with impressive floral designs and patterns. The doorway is adorned with an image of Ganesh. Meander through the various gates and hallways that illustrate the distinguished history of the royal family through the art, magnitude, and symmetry of the entire space. Within the old walls of the city you will come to Jantar Mantar, the observatory of the royal court constructed in the 18th century.
Fourteen geometric devices are strewn throughout the courtyard meant to measure time, predict eclipses, track the stars, and more. The Sarmat Yantra is the largest instrument standing around 90 feet tall and acting as a sundial. Every step you take is another step into the ingenuity of the people who tried to master space and time. In the evening you will have the exclusive experience of joining a local family for a home-cooked meal, indulging in the local culture like never before.
When the pink color of the City Palace begins to capture the light you will enjoy your breakfast accompanied by the aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg from the masala chai. After your meal your private transfer will have you traveling through the famed Rajasthan desert where you will find yourself in the charming city of Mandawa, home to sensational haveli, historic and illustrious mansions. Tour through the close-knit streets that have collected the mansions of the city and come to the graceful array of antique homes which continue to display their magnificence through the remaining frescoes located on the outer and inner walls.
The Murmuria Haveli dates back to the early 1930s when European art began to strongly influence the local artisans. Within the sandy courtyard you can view the wall where a long frieze shows a train with an active crowd at the crossing. Above the south side arches you can find gondolas drifting down the Venetian canals. The art tells the history of the town, the homes, and the evolution of region’s art. In the early evening you will return to the familiar streets of Delhi for the night.
The morning comes to the streets of Delhi with the familiar rush of the city. The colors start to flow once more, from the saris to the rickshaws, the food to the sky. Indulge in your final breakfast in India and the sweet and spiced flavor of chai along the eclectic sounds of the old walls. Your private transfer will collect you from your hotel and take you to the airport. Soon you will soar away from the gilded tapestries and glinting precious stones but India will never be far from your memory.
There is no limit to the majesty of India on this 8-day tour that will take you through the colorful streets of Jaipur and the imperial architecture that has captivated the world for centuries. From the Taj Mahal to the frescoes decorating historic Haveli, from the Amer Fort to the Lotus Temple, and whether in Delhi or Agra, Jaipur or Mandawa, you will journey through the famous cities that have collected their history like treasures and have shaped their culture while proudly displaying their present.
Your vacation to India begins as you step onto the plane ready to witness the iconic sites and images of the country that have enraptured you. When you land in Delhi you come to the capital city which brings a collection of religions and historic colors together, from the Delhi Fort to the Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in the country. When you tour through the streets you find the people friendly, the aromas mystifying, and the past illuminated, from the Qutub Minar to Humayun’s Tomb. The following day you will make your way to Agra, visiting Itmad-ud-Daulah en route. The mausoleum is the first all-marble building constructed during the Mughal Empire and said to be the precursor for the Taj Mahal.
Once in Agra you will explore the city on a guided tour, visiting the Agra Fort and the world-renowned Taj Mahal. On your way to Jaipur you will visit the fabled city of Fatehpur Sikri that was the short lived but magnificently designed and was the capital of the Mughal Empire in the 16th century. In Jaipur you will travel through the Pink City to witness the splendor of the sandstone City Palace. You will also find the beauty of the Amer Fort in its graceful yet powerful expanse. As you make your way back to Delhi you will pause in Mandawa to visit the elegant frescoes that decorate a collection of haveli, antique mansions. The following day you will board your flight to make the journey home.
$1045 per person (excluding international flights)
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