Airport welcome and check in at the hotel in the center of Delhi. Night in hotel.
Breakfast at hotel.
You will divide your time between the contrasting Old and New Delhi quarters. In Old Delhi, you will visit fantastic landmarks including the historic Red Fort, the Chandni Chowk bazaar and the resplendent Jama Masjid, the biggest mosque in India. In New Delhi, take a driving tour around the city taking in sights such as the impressive colonial-era Presidential Palace and visit Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar.
Breakfast at hotel
Transfer to Sultanpur National Bird Sanctuary. Sultanpur covers 1.5 sq km and was declared a bird sanctuary in 1971 and was upgraded to the status of national park in 1991 by the Haryana Government. This is an ideal birding spot; large numbers of migratory species arrive each year. The habitat is a mix of wetland, woodland and grassland. In the wetland area several trees have been planted on the mounds, which provide good nesting and perching opportunities for birds.
Later in the evening transfer to Delhi Railway Station. Onboard overnight train to Bikaner. Air-conditioned sleeper carriages to Bikaner, which is one of the more comfortable ways to travel across India. It is also a good way of witnessing typical scenes of Indian life when the train stops – vendors ply their wares amid the crowded platforms, each competing with their rivals to make the most noise!
On arrival at railway station, met upon arrival and transfer to city hotel for breakfast and freshen-up.
Will leave to visit Bikaner, visiting Lalgarh Palace Museum, or take an excursion to the Karni Mata Temple. See Junagarh Fort, an unassailable fortress built in 1593 AD.
After sightseeing you will leave for Gajner Palace where you will have stay for two nights.
Today there will be two safaris to Sanctuary in opten-topped jeep and the day is sure to provide an interesting introduction to the fauna of the Rajasthan desert.
A morning and afternoon safaris in the Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary. This small sanctuary includes a lake that teems with wintering waterbirds and wildfowl, while the surrounding forest and scrub-desert affords protection for Chinkara, Nilgai, Wild Boar and Blackbuck. Large numbers of Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse visit the Sanctuary to take advantage of the valuable water source in this arid region.
Today, we start well before sunrise and drive out towards Khichan. A couple of hours of drive later, we arrive at Khichan to the trumpeting of thousands of Demoiselle Cranes arriving for breakfast. The spectacle is truly mind-blowing, and your camera won’t stop clicking!
Afterwards drive to Jaisalmer, upon arrival we will go to the Magistrate’s office to obtain permits for visiting the Desert National Park.
Today we will leave for early morning excursion with packed lunch to Desert National Park of Jaisalmer
Diverse wildlife that exists amidst the Thar Desert can be observed in the Desert National Park. It is spread over a total area of approximately 3162 square kilometers and is one of the largest national parks in the country.
Approximately 20% of the total area of the park is covered by the sand dunes. The landscape of the park is dominated by rocky terrain and fixed sand dunes that make it a convenient residing option for the chinkara. Blackbucks are commonly found in the Desert National Park. Other resident animals include Bengal Fox, wolf, desert fox and jungle cat.
The park houses a forest post, Sudashri. It is the most suited place for taking snapshots. Diverse fauna of the Desert National Park can be easily seen from here. About five bustards can be seen collectively near the Sudarshi water hole.
Bird life that resides at the Desert National Park is also spectacular. Bird lovers will enjoy watching the activities of birds like bee-eaters, partridges, sandgrouse, larks, demoiselle crane, honey buzzards, falcons and houbara. The tall and heavy Great Indian Bustard is the major highlight of the park as it is rarely seen in any other location in India. The bird is an epitome of grace.
Start exploring the Golden City at sunrise, on the banks of Gadisar Lake a pioneering man-made water conservation tank built in the 15th century. A picturesque setting surrounded by shrines and temples, which represent the intricate Jaisalmer architecture. Thereafter, drive to Patwon-ki-Haveli, Jaisalmer’s most sought-after site. A cluster of 5 mansions. It was built by a businessman called, Guman Chand Patwa, a gold and silver brocade trader and father to 5 sons. He built 1 haveli for each son. Inside the haveli are exquisitely carved pillars, extensive corridors and latticed balconies. Walk along the narrow winding lanes of the unhurried city and browse the markets.
After your photo stop here you will be driven to Sonar Qila the Jaisalmer fort. Rising from the sandy plains of the Thar Desert like a mirage from a bygone era, Jaisalmer Fort is a breath-taking sight. Carved from golden honey sandstone, hence the city's designation as the Golden City, this is one of the very few (perhaps the only) ‘living forts’ in the world with several thousand inhabitants inside. Ninety-nine colossal bastions encircle the still-inhabited narrow streets. Inside are shops swaddled in bright embroideries, a royal palace and ancient buildings of crumbling beauty.
Within the fort walls is a maze-like, interconnecting treasure trove of seven beautiful yellow sandstone Jain temples, dating from the 12th to the 16th centuries and dedicated to various Jain Tirthankars (Hermits). Built in the Dilwara style, famous all over the world for its architecture, the temples are adorned with thousands of carved deities and dancing figures depicting mythological scenes. The Astapadhi Temples that are situated in the same complex are a must-visit too.
Early morning start to Jodhpur.
Today you will explore the stunning Mehrangarh Fort with your guide, one of the largest forts in India. Built around 1460, with cliff sides chiseled flat to make them unscalable and monumental walls built on top, the vast complex envelops several of Rajasthan’s most beautiful palaces, a series of cool courtyards and an extensive garden.
After visiting you will have a Blue city heritage walk among the exquisitely carved havelis and lesser-known bazaars of the Blue City. This area of the city was primarily inhabited by Brahmins, the highest castes of Hinduism who chose to add a bit of Indigo while colouring their houses. Walking through the residential areas you head towards the bustling bazaars of the walled city, exploring its heritage of arts and craft from sword makers to perfume makers.
Situated Udaipur and Jodhpur, Bera is an adventurer’s retreat snuggled in Aravalli ranges that offers a tranquil and beautiful backdrop to stay in this one of the country’s most popular leopard getaway destinations. Leopards are elusive, shy and well camouflaged & know human habits well enough to remain like a ghost in the darkness.
In the late afternoon you will head into the Jawai Conservation Zone for a jeep safari. The primary purpose will be to track and spot leopard, but a typical drive might also come across blackbull, sloth bears, jackals, as well as a wide variety of birdlife.
This morning you will head out again for a second safari, aiming to spot the elusive leopard. After the drive you will return to the lodge for breakfast.
Drive south to Udaipur, stopping en route at village of Ranakpur to see its renowned marble Jain temple, said to be the most spectacular and intricate of the Jain temples.
The City Palace, sat on the banks of Lake Pichola, is one of the architectural wonders of Rajasthan, its detailed art and workmanship a tribute to the skills of local craftspeople. A collection of towers, domes and arches, the Palace illustrates several architectural styles including Moghal and Rajput.
Guided walk-through Udaipur's old city, enjoy wandering the old city with your guide, winding your way through lanes that teem with cows, elephants and people. You'll pass shops, folk art hung on the walls of houses and pretty latticed haveli windows.
Jal Sanjhvi water painting, Jal Sanjhvi is the art of drawing on water, a popular ritual performed at temples dedicated to Krishna where coloured powders are used to draw iconic images onto water. A full canvas takes about five hours to create, and you'll arrive in time to see the picture completed.
Early morning breakfast at hotel
Transfer to Jaipur railway station airport and onboard train to Jaipur, on arrival in the 'Pink City' you will be transferred to your hotel to check in and relax.
Start today with a visit to Jaipur’s intriguing milk market, where dairy farmers from across the region congregate to trade on a wholesale basis. Observe the intriguing ways by which the buyers judge the purity of milk, and take a front row seat as negotiations unfold. Afterwards continue to Amber Fort – a stunning fort which holds a hilltop position above the city. ‘Amer’ was the former capital of Jaipur state; construction of this key fort began in 16th century, with embellishments continually added by successive rulers. A comprehensive look around the Fort should include the Palace of Mirrors, inlaid with millions of tiny glistening mirrors, the hall of Public Audience, and the beautiful manicured gardens.
In the afternoon you will continue uncovering Jaipur’s highlights with visits to visit the City Palace, Jantar Mantar (a medieval observatory) and a drive past Hawa Mahal (palace of winds). The City Palace is situated in the heart of the city. The whole complex is wonderfully laid out with large courtyards, balconies, cupolas, arched entrances and gardens, which are a combination of Rajput and Mughal architecture. The museum here displays the rich heritage of the Jaipur family in miniature paintings, textiles, garments, books & manuscripts, carpets, palanquins and weapons dating back to the 15th century. Moving on to Jantar Mantar, this medieval observatory has a curious collection of sculptures which were used to calculate astronomical and astrological events. Each of these structures were built following relentless study of books, manuscripts and discussions with scholars from all over the world. Finally, you will take a quick look at Hawa Mahal. Constructing in 1799, the Palace of Winds is a landmark of Jaipur city, although it is little more than a façade. The five-storey structure, built to enable the women of the harem to observe of the comings and goings of the outside world, without being seen themselves. After the sightseeing return to your hotel to relax.
Breakfast at hotel and you will set off for Ranthambore National Park. The drive will take around five hours. On arrival check into your camp and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Early this morning and again in the afternoon you will join shared jeep safaris inside the National Park in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the elusive tiger and other wildlife that inhabits the park. Besides tiger, Ranthambore has large number of sambhar, chital and nilgai. Wild boar and an occasional gazelle can also be seen, along with the Indian hare, mongoose and monitor lizards. Among other local fauna that you may see are the leopard, hyena, jackal, jungle cats, sloth bear and marsh crocodile. The lakes and pools at the park are where the deer congregate and where it is easiest to see the animals. Riding in shared open jeeps with a local naturalist each safari lasts three hours and in between you will be returned to your accommodation to relax and enjoy the facilities.
We will depart the city of Jaipur to reach Bharatpur for an overnight stay. The afternoon is spent birding at this premier Asian birdwatching spot
This morning transfer to Agra by surface.
Upon arrival visit to Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is effectively a walled city within a city, built of red sandstone and the long-time seat of the Mughal emperors. More importantly, it's somewhere the children can run off some energy as well.
Check-in at hotel and time to relax.
By sunset you we will take you to Mehtabh Bagh, across the Yamuna River to a special viewing spot where you can gaze across at the Taj Mahal reflected in the water as the sun sets and the white marble turns slowly red.
Early morning tea or coffee at hotel
Visit the Taj Mahal, possibly the most famous building on the planet. It's another early start, though, because you can then appreciate this magical place at what photographers call 'the golden hour' - either sunrise or sunset - and before the hordes of tourists arrive.
Return to hotel for breakfast and leave for Delhi, couple of hours in capital of India before onboard return flight.