<p>An alluring 14 day trip to Rajasthan, a land of mysticism and alchemy, dignity and valiance, with the added joy of staying in the magnificent traditional havelis and manors that are now restored into heritage hotels. With stops at Mandawa, in the Shekhawati region famed as the open air art gallery of Rajasthan, the trip changes pace to Bikaner, famous for its handiworks and leather goods. The next stop on your Royal Rajasthan Tour Package is Jaisalmer, famous for endless stretches of sand dunes and the magnificent fort. The trip then takes you to the vivacious bazaars of Jodhpur selling multihued fabrics and jewelries that are ages old. The Royal Rajasthan tour gives you the opportunity of staying at some of the best known Heritage hotels in India like The Neemrana Fort Palace, The Mandawa Castle, The Khimsar Fort, Rohetgarh and The Deogarh Mahal. The trail finally ends at the Venice of the east, Udaipur. </p>
After breakfast drive to the Qutub Minar. This area was the capital of Chauhan Rajput rulers until the second battle of Taraori in 1192 when Prithvi Raj Chauhan was defeated by the Afghan ruler, Muhammad Ghur. The Afghan conqueror returned back to Ghur in Afghanistan after appointing the commander of his army, Qutubuddin Aibak as his governor in Delhi. Soon after Muhammad Ghur was assassinated in Ghur and Qutubuddin Aibak proclaimed himself a sovereign monarch. He was originally a slave of Muhammad Ghur, who rose among the ranks of his army to become his favorite commander. Qutubuddin Aibak destroyed 20 Hindu and Jain temples to use their material to start the construction of Qutub Jami Mosque â€“ oldest Islamic mosque in India. Many Islamic rulers of the Sultanate and later periods added to and repaired this minaret. An iron pillar in the courtyard that never rusts was originally the flag post of a Hindu Vishnu Temple built by Chandragupta II (375 to 417 CE). The Kufic Islamic calligraphy is unique in this mosque because it was sculpted in red sandstone by Hindu artisans under direction of Islamic scholars. The artisans did not know Arabic language and made the endings of letters curved, as they used to do in Brahmi and Devnagri script of Sanskrit language. Later drive past the government buildings of Indiaâ€™s capital, planned & designed by the British architect, Edwin Lutyens and his friend Sir Herbert Baker: Office of Prime Minister, Office of Home Minister, Presidentâ€™s official residence, Parliament House and India Gate.
After lunch at Gulatiâ€™s restaurant, sightseeing of Humanyunâ€™s Tomb that may have served as inspiration for the architecture of the world famous Taj Mahal in Agra. End the Delhi sightseeing with the grand Jama Masjid that was built by the fifth Mughal Emperor Shahjahan. Later enjoy a thrilling Rickshaw ride in the historic Chandni Chowk Bazaar.After dinner at Moti Mahal in Daryaganj, enjoy a sound and light show in English language in the Red Fort from 8.30 to 9.30 pm. Overnight in Hotel.
After breakfast drive on Yamuna Expressway in about 2.5 hours to Agra and visit the beautiful white marble tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah, designed by the Mughal queen Nur Jahan as a mausoleum for her parents, Mirza Ghiaz Beg and Begum Asmat. This was the first large mausoleum of Mughal period made in white marble and used the art of inlay of semi-precious stones in marble. Unlike the later built Taj Mahal, this building used only the various shades of Jasper stone and black marble for inlay where as in the Taj Mahal, Emperor Shahjahan used a large variety of semi-precious stones. After lunch in Curry Centre Restaurant of Marina Hotel in Agra, visit the Mausoleum of 3rd. Mughal Emperor Akbar and the Dayalbagh Temple that has been under construction for almost 100 years. Later enjoy a demonstration of the art of inlay of semi-precious stones in marble by descendents of artisans who built the Taj Mahal. Overnight in Hotel.
Early morning be amazed by the unforgettable view of the world famous Taj Mahal in the morning glow of sunrise. It is a mausoleum to commemorate Emperor Shahjahans love for his favorite queen, the Shia Persian, Arjumand Bano Begum. She received the title of Mumtaj Mahal. She died delivering her 14th. child outside a battlefield at Burhanpur in central India in 1630. The construction started in 1631 and was completed in 1648 according an inscription on the main gate of the building. The white marble mausoleum was decorated with Pietra Dure motifs â€“ inlay of semi-precious stones like Jasper, Malachite, Lapiz Lazuli, Jade and various shades of Agate etc. After breakfast visit a marble factory to see the traditional craftsmen working on inlay of semi-precious stones in marble.
After lunch at a local restaurant, sightseeing the Red Fort built by the third Mughal Emperor Akbar, who was just a teenager when he was placed on the throne of a precarious kingdom. With his liberal and humane policies, he gained the trust of the majority Hindus and founded the richest empire in the contemporary world covering a vast territory from present day Afghanistan to Assam to the Deccan in the south, and from Gujarat on Arabian Sea to Assam and Bengal (present day state of Bengal in India & Bangladesh) on the Bay of Bengal. His grandson renovated many palaces on the eastern side of the fort, building the luxurious, white marble edifices, where he was confined as a prisoner of his own son, Aurangzeb, during the last eight years of his life. During the reign of Mughal Emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shahjahan, many historians, travelers and emissaries from Europe visited India and were amazed by the culture and affluence of the vast empire. Overnight in Hotel.
After breakfast drive to the capital of Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri, that was inhabited only for 14 years and then deserted for more than 400 years. Sightseeing of the red sandstone palaces and the white marble mausoleum of a Sufi saint, Sheikh Salim Chistie, who prophesied that Emperor Akbar would have three sons.Later drive to Umed Lake Palace in Dausa for lunch. After lunch visit the Chand Baori in Abhineri village, the worlds deepest Step-well and drive further to Jaipur. On arrival check-in the historical Taj Jai Mahal Palace. Late afternoon enjoy the demonstration of cutting and polishing of colored precious stones, wood block textile printing, woolen carpet weaving etc. Overnight in Hotel.
After breakfast drive to the walled of Pink City and to visit the Hawa Mahal palace that
Was built as a parade viewing gallery for the ladies of the royal family. Drive further to the Amber Fort. At the foot of the hill ascend on beautifully decorated elephants for a ride to the hilltop palaces of Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Maharaja Man Singh, who was a close confidant of Emperor Akbar and the commander of Mughal armies for many expeditions. Enjoy a demonstration of Rajasthani Turban wrapping in the Turban Museum of Surabhi Restaurant. After lunch at Surabhi Restaurant visit the City Palace of Jaipur famous for its fine collection of Mughal & Rajasthani miniature paintings. Visit the astronomical observatory built by Sawai Raja Jai Singh in 1734. All except one of its 17 astronomical instruments are still functional. Overnight in Hotel.
After breakfast drive to Deogarh Mahal, built in 1670 by a powerful clan related to the Sisodia Maharanas of Chittorgarh and Udaipur. The palace is tastefully renovated with period furniture and interior decorations. Each room has a different decor. Relax and explore the palace. After lunch enjoy a walk in the alleys of the village surrounding the palace. Dinner and overnight in Deogarh Mahal.
After breakfast drive to Udaipur. Check-in Hotel overlooking Pichola Lake, City Palace & Jag Mandir Lake Palace.After lunch at Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel, relax on a boat ride and sightseeing of Jag Mandir Lake Palace on an island in Pichola Lake. Begun in 1743 and inaugurated in 1746, the new palace was named Jag Niwas after his highness Maharana Jagat Singh II, 62nd successor to the royal dynasty of Mewar. Maharana Bhagat Singhji of Mewar Dynasty converted this palace in to a hotel in 1963. In 1971 the Taj Group of Hotels took over its management and since then it has been one of the worldâ€™s most luxurious, heritage hotels. Overnight in Hotel.
After breakfast sightseeing of Maharanasa City Palace and demonstration of the art of miniature painting in the original medieval style in the Maharanas Art School in the City Palace. The Maharanas of Mewar had their original capital in the present day pilgrimage town of Nagda, 30 kilometers or 19 miles north of Udaipur. It was established by the 1st. Maharana, Guhil, in 568 CE. In the 8th. century CE the capital was moved to Chittor, where the successive Maharanas built the largest Fort and city in contemporary India over remains of a Mauryan, older fort. Already before the sacking of Chittorgarh by Mughal Emperor Akbar, in February 1568 after a long siege that began in October 1567, the plans for a new capital were under way. The construction of the Mewar Dynastys City Palace in Udaipur started in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh and continued by his successors over a period of about 300 years. Today the visitorâ€™s see the Mardana (male section) and Zanana (female section) of the museum part of the palace. Apart from this two other sections of the palace are converted in to hotels: The Shiv Niwas Palace and The Fateh Prakash Palaceâ€. The descendents of the Maharanas of Mewar still reside in one section of the palace.After lunch in a city restaurant, sightseeing of Jagdish Temple that was constructed by Maharana Jagat Singhji in 1651. Overnight in Hotel.
After breakfast drive to Ranakpur for lunch in a local restaurant and sightseeing of the Chowmukha Jain Temple that was built between 1437 and 1458. This Jain temple is one of the finest in India in its design and sculptures. Drive further to Jodhpur. Check-in the Ajit Bhawan Palace Hotel. Sightseeing of the Mehrengarh Fort in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
After breakfast explore the Umaid Bhawan Palace before the drive to Pushkar and check-in to Pushkar Bagh Resort Hotel. Sightseeing of Brahma Temple & temples on lake side. Pushkar is a popular pilgrimage center for Hindus living in nearby region. Overnight in Hotel.
After breakfast drive about 6 hours to Nawalgarh for sightseeing of the fort and Havelis (Anandilal Poddar, Bansidhar, Murarka and Chowkhani Havelis) in Nawalgarh and the Roop Vilas Palace Hotel. Lunch, dinner and overnight in Hotel.
In the morning visit the Havelis (that could not be covered in Day 14). After early lunch drive to New Delhi for farewell dinner in Gurgaon “ the new information technology city south of Indira Gandhi international airport. Later transfer to airport to board for International Destination.