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Rajasthan - Off The Beaten Track - 15 Nights / 16 Days

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Duration :15 Nights / 16 Days
Places :Delhi->Sariska->Jaipur->Junia->Kota->Udaipur
Travel Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive DELHI

After you have cleared immigration and customs formalities, you are met outside the International Arrivals Hall and transferred to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 2: In DELHI

After breakfast take a tour of Old Delhi. Visit the Red Fort, built in 1648 during the reign of Shah Jehan in red sandstone, which gave the fort its name. Jama Masjid is India's largest mosque, built of red sandstone and white marble in the middle of the 17th century. Chandni Chowk (Silver Street), once the imperial avenue down which Shah Jehan rode at the head of lavish cavalcades, is today bustling with shops, stalls and silversmiths' ateliers. Also visit Raj Ghat where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated.

Afternoon sightseeing of New Delhi includes a visit to India Gate, built in memory of Indian soldiers killed during the First World War. Rashtrapati Bhawan, built in the early 20th century as the Imperial residence of the Viceroy is today the official residence of the President of India and Parliament House, an unique circular building with huge colonnades, houses the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament. Connaught Circus is the commercial hub of New Delhi. Humayun's Tomb is the first Mughal garden tomb. One of Delhi’s most striking monuments is the 70-meter high Qutb Minar, which looms majestically across the wide plains of Delhi. Overnight at the hotel.


After breakfast depart on the 5-hour drive to Sariska. En route visit Deeg, a small town with its massive fortifications, stunningly beautiful palace and busy market. Built by Maharaja Suraj Mal in the mid 18th century, Deeg was formally the second capital of Bharatpur State and the site of a famous battle in which the Maharaja’s forces successfully withstood a combined Mughal and Maratha army of some 80,000 men.

Some 8 years later, the Maharaja even had the temerity to attack the Red Fort in Delhi! The booty he carried off included an entire marble building, which can still be seen.
Suraj Mal’s palace, Gopal Bhavan, has to be one of India’s most beautiful and delicately proportioned buildings. It is also in an excellent state of repair and most of the rooms still contain their original furnishings. Built in a combination of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles, the palace fronts onto a tank - Gopal Sagar - and is flanked by two exquisite pavilions which were designed to resemble pleasure barges.

Continue on to Alwar. Crowned by a hilltop fort, Alwar was founded in 1776, being one of the last Rajput states. The Alwar Museum, housed in the City Palace, has a fine collection of miniature paintings, manuscripts, arms and the famous solid-silver dining table that aroused the curiosity of royal visitors. Adjacent to the museum is a remarkable reservoir with delicate temples, kiosks and symmetrical stairs considered masterpieces of Indo-Islamic architecture. Overnight at Sariska Palace.


Early morning and late afternoon jeep safaris in the park. Originally the shooting area of the Alwar ruling family, Sariska is one of the few remaining pockets of forest in the Aravalli range of hills.

It became a sanctuary in 1958. Among the undulating hills and wide valleys of Sariska is a rare combination of natural history and archeology, with 9th- and 10th-century ruins of Shiva temples and the Kanokwari Fort. Most of Sariska is hilly with a wide valley from the gate to Thana Gazi. The dry open deciduous and thorn forests support increasing populations of ungulates including sambar, nilgai (blue bull), chinkara, chawsingha (four horned antelope) and cheetal (spotted deer).
The predators include leopard, hyena, jungle cat and jackal, apart from the tiger. Also found are porcupine, wild boar and large populations of rhesus macaque and langur monkeys. The range of habitat also supports a rich variety of birds. Overnight at Sariska Palace.


After breakfast depart on the 3-hour drive to Jaipur. En route, visit Amber, the capital for 6 centuries before Jaipur was built, which lies 11 km north of Jaipur. Rising majestically on the slopes of a hill, this 11th century fort and palace complex is a blend of Hindu and Muslim styles - the earlier constructions in the inner apartments designed by the Hindu founder are austere, while later constructions abound in the rich flourishes characteristic of Muslim influence. The Diwani-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience) affords a view of the strategic location of Amber.

The Jai Mandir (Hall of Victory) is the finest example of the artistic exuberance of the day - panels of alabaster, fine inlay work, a shimmering Hall of Mirrors, renowned for its fine mirrorwork. The Sukh Nivas (Hall of Pleasure) has 17th century air conditioning. Elephants carry you up the ramparts of the fort. On arrival in Jaipur check in at the hotel.

Later in the afternoon explore Jaipur, one of the best-planned cities in India, built of rose-pink sandstone by the great astronomer-king Jai Singh II in 1727. The City Palace stands in the centre of the city. Part of it is still the Maharaja's residence, while most of the complex has been developed into a museum containing rare manuscripts, fine specimens of Rajput and Mughal paintings, royal apparel and an armoury. Jantar Mantar observatory was built by the founder of Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh.
The huge stone instruments were devised to study the movements of the sun, moon and planets and are incredibly accurate. Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) is the landmark of Jaipur. It stands on one of the main streets, a curious building, elaborate and fanciful, built of pink sandstone with a delicate honeycomb design. Rising five storeys high, it is composed of semi-octagonal overhanging windows, each with its perforated screen, which allowed the ladies of the court to look onto the main street without being seen. Overnight at the hotel.


After breakfast depart on the 4-hour drive to the small Rajput stronghold of Junia. On arrival check in at the Amar Bagh, the 100-year old lakeside resort of the Thakurs of Junia. Overnight at Amar Bagh.

Day 7: At JUNIA

After breakfast spend the day at Junia. The lake provides ample opportunity for bird watching. The Sokalia Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary is just an hour’s drive away. The 1000-year old Junia fort is also worth visiting as are the nearby tribal villages. Overnight at Amar Bagh.

Day 8: Drive JUNIA-KOTA

After breakfast depart on the 5-hour drive to Kota. En route stop at Bundi, which takes its name from the bindo nal - the narrow passage between the rugged hills. It lies at the centre of the south eastern region of Rajasthan, known as Hadaoti, the land of the Hadas. The town of Bundi is settled in the cleft and has a special medieval flavour, quite untouched by time. The Taragarh (Star fort) crowning the top of the 500-foot hill was completed in 1354.

There are huge water reservoirs inside the fort hewn out of solid rock, strong battlements and bastions, the biggest one called Bhim Burj on which the famous cannon Garbh Ganjam is mounted. The fort commands a marvelous view of the plains of Hadaoti towards the east, with the lovely waters of Jait Sagar below on one side, the quaintly medieval town of Bundi on the other, and the encircling forests and hills all around. Below the fort, hugging the hill, is the huge Bundi Palace, one of the purest examples of Rajput architecture. The main entrance is the Hazari Pol, where a guard of a thousand troops used to be quartered and the Naubat Khana where ceremonial music was played. The inner courtyard is entered through the Hathia Pol, a tall portal surmounted by stone elephants so typical of this area. The living apartments were built in 1660 and have beautiful wall paintings of the famous Bundi school. Some of the best examples these paintings can be seen in an open quadrangle with cloistered galleries running round it.

Kota is situated on the banks of the Chambal river. This 13th century city is today Rajasthan’s industrial centre. The City Palace and Fort is one of the largest such complexes in Rajasthan. The Rao Madho Singh Museum displays a superb collection of weapons, clothing and some of the best-persevered murals in the state. The enchanting little palace of Jagmandir, built in 1740 by one of the maharanis of Kota, is situated on a small island in the middle of Kishore Sagar, an artificial tank constructed in 1346. Overnight at Brijraj Bhawan.


After breakfast depart on the 5-hour drive to Udaipur. En route visit the 12th century temples at Menal.

Also visit Chittorgarh the ancient capital of Mewar State, which represents the origin or Rajput courage. Its ruins today speak eloquently of the deeds of the past. The foundations of the fort are ascribed traditionally to the 7th century and it remained the capital till 1567. The Tower of Victory, was set up in the middle of the 15th century by Rana Khumba to commemorate his triumph over the Moslem kings of Gujarat and Malwa. Chittorgarh was sacked three times - in the beginning of the 14th century, in 1534 and finally by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar. Each time, the people, led by the ladies of the royal household, chose to immolest themselves, rather than surrender. On arrival in Udaipur check in at a hotel for overnight stay.

Day 10: In UDAIPUR

After breakfast take a tour of Udaipur. The City Palace stands on the crest of a ridge overlooking Lake Pichola. The largest palace in Rajasthan, it was built at various periods but still preserves the harmony of design, enhanced by massive octagonal towers surmounted by cupolas. Now a museum, it is a labyrinth of courtyards richly decorated with inlaid mirror-work, galleries covered with frescos, temples and roof gardens, which afford a wide panorama below.
Sahelion-ki-Bari (Garden of the Handmaidens) is a good example of the Hindu art of landscape gardening on a princely scale. Ornamental pools with finely sculptured cenotaphs of soft black stone are surrounded by a profusion of fountains. The Jagdish Temple in the old town was built in the mid-17th century and has a remarkable bronze statue of Garuda, the mythical bird, facing his revered master Lord Vishnu. The shops and craftsmen's ateliers in the narrow streets of the bazaar justify endless walks.
In the evening take a boat ride on Pichola Lake. The steel blue waters of, the lake, artificially created in the 14th century, reflect the white phantom Jag Nivas Palace, now the Lake Palace hotel which was built in 1746 as the summer residence of the rulers, and Jag Mandir said to be built by Maharana Karan Singh for his friend Prince Khurram, who was later to become emperor Shah Jehan. Huge seamless stone slabs of translucent thinness where used. The rooms were embellished with inlaid stones - onyx, jade, carnelian, jasper and agate. Overnight hotel.


After breakfast begin the jeep safari with a 109km (4-hour) drive to Sirohi, once an important centre of Rajput power, founded by the Deora Rajputs in 1424. The region of Godwad, nestling amongst the undulating Aravali hills on one side and the semi-arid plains on the others, lies on the south-western borders of Rajasthan and is still largely unspoiled.

En route stop at Eklingji, a temple dedicated to the patron deity of the Udaipur Royal house, situated 24 km from Udaipur. As with all sacred buildings in the region, it is built entirely of white marble. The roof is decorated by hundreds of circular knobs and the whole is crowned by a lofty tower. To this day, the Maharana of Udaipur, who is the Diwan of the temple, makes it a point to visit it every Monday.

Also visit Nagda, believed to be established by Nagaditya, the fourth Mewar King. There are several temples here dating from the 4th century AD, ancient rock edicts, stone inscriptions and simple prehistoric shrines at which the Bhils still worship during the Mahashivratri festival in February. The Sas-Bahu (mother in law/daughter in law) temple dates back to the 11th century and is famed for its beautiful carvings. Adbhutji is an old Jain temple named after a somewhat odd statue of a Jain saint seated within. "Adbhut" means, quite literally - peculiar. Overnight at Sirohi Fort or camping.


After breakfast continue on the 44-km drive to Mander. You have time to visit the surrounding Oria tribal villages and enjoy Oria folk dances in the evening. Overnight at Mander Castle or camping.


After breakfast drive 65 km to Nandei. En route visit the Vameshwarji temple, situated on top of a hillock, which offers a wonderful panoramic view of the surroundings. A small wildlife sanctuary near Nandei holds panther, sloth bear, chinkara and chousingha. Overnight camping.

Day 13: Drive NANDEI-AJARI

After breakfast depart on the 70-km drive through the Aravali hills, which gets you to Ajari, situated on the banks of a stream. Visit the Garcia tribal villages. Overnight at the small Ajari Castle or camping.


After breakfast continue on the 65-km drive to Basantgarh Fort, which dates back to the 8th century. En route, visit Markundeshwartan temple, also dating back to the same period. Overnight at Basantgarh Fort or camping.


The journey ends with a 5-hour drive back to Udaipur. Overnight at the hotel.


Transfer to the airport for the flight to Delhi. You are met on arrival in Delhi and transferred to the international airport for your onward flight home.


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