Day 1 - UK to Delhi
Depart London on your scheduled overnight flight to Delhi.
Day 2 - Delhi
On arrival in Delhi, you will be met by your local guide and transferred to the hotel. After lunch and some time to settle in, a short tour of the beautifully planned city of New Delhi will follow. Offering a taste of its imperial glory, you'll drive past the India Gate, President's House, Parliament Building and visit the Birla Temple, made purely out of 2,000 tons of Rajasthani white marble.
Day 3 - Delhi
A full day tour of Delhi commences after breakfast, beginning with the historic Old Delhi in the morning. Lying side by side, Old Delhi dates back to the Mughal period, whilst New Delhi was built just over a hundred years ago. Travelling through the narrow and crowded streets on a rickshaw will transport you back in time, passing vibrant food markets of Old Delhi where breadmakers bake deliciously scented naan from the tandoor ovens and chai wallahs brew their sweet tea. A visit to the regal Red Fort gives you a sense of the lavish life once led by the former rulers before stopping for lunch at a local restaurant. Your tour will continue on to New Delhi to see the Mahatma Gandhi memorial and the 12th century Qutab Minar. Built on the foundations of Jain and Hindu temples, the complex was built in 1193 after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom and displays fine examples of Indo-Islamic architecture as well as the tallest stone tower in India.
Day 4 - Delhi to Agra
Waking early, it's time to board the Taj Express* to Agra. This train journey swiftly leaves behind the hustle and bustle of Delhi and arrives into Agra with time for lunch before your afternoon excursions. Despite being a small city, Agra was once the capital of the mighty Mughal dynasty whose strength manifested itself in the huge forts and buildings built to maintain its power. During the afternoon, you will visit the vast red sandstone Agra Fort. The colossal walled city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built by the Mughals in 1573 and boasts gigantic pavilions, grand palaces and spectacular courtyards.
Day 5 - Agra to Jaipur
This magical day starts with an early morning tour of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal. Words do not do this remarkable palace justice; it really must be seen to appreciate its stupendous beauty. Taking 17 years and 20,000 men to build, the heartbroken Mughal Emperor Shahjahan dedicated this stunning white marble monument of love to his deceased wife to enshrine her mortal remains. After breakfast back at the hotel, visit Fatehpur Sikri. Built in 1569, it is the ancient capital of Akbar and known as the 'abandoned city' as the area suffered from water shortages making it an unsuitable residence. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant with some time to spare in the afternoon before proceeding to the railway station to catch your train to Jaipur which includes dinner onboard, arriving in Jaipur later that evening.
Day 6 - Jaipur
Begin your first day in Jaipur with a visit to the spectacular Amber Fort, the ancient capital of the royal family until 1728, located just 11km from Jaipur. Spanning over four huge courtyards, you will travel to the centre of the fort by Jeep, passing snake charmers, harems of the Maharajah and the Palace of Mirrors along the way which all make for a truly unforgettable morning. An afternoon city tour of Jaipur takes in the major sights including the home of the royal family of Jaipur - The City Palace and the Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory. Lastly, marvel at the hundreds of tiny windows on the facade of the Hawa Mahal, known to many as the Palace of Winds, where it is said that the women of the royal family could once watch the streets below without being seen. Return to the hotel for lunch Stop for lunch at a local restaurant and some time to walk through the colourful bazaars before enjoying dinner at a local restaurant returning to the hotel for dinner.
Day 7 - Jaipur to Pushkar and Jodhpur
Depart your hotel after breakfast and travel onwards by train to Amer, then transfer to Pushkar, an important Hindu pilgrimage site. The town has hundreds of temples, the most famous being Brahma Temple, said to be one of the few temples in the world dedicated to this deity. The town winds around a vast lake where Hindus come and use one of the 52 ghats to enter and bathe in the holy water during religious ceremonies and festivals. Continue by coach to Jodhpur in time for dinner at your hotel.
Day 8 - Jodhpur
Situated on the edge of the Thar desert, Jodhpur is the birthplace of the last Maharaja of India. You'll begin your day-long tour with a visit to the Mehrangarh Fort, a beautiful fort founded in the 15th century by the Rathore Rajputs that appears to rise from bluff-coloured sandstone within the hill itself making it hard to tell where the land ends and the building begins. Strolling through stately palace apartments you'll get a real feel for life as a royal in an Indian court. Later visit Jaswant Thada, the traditional cremation ground of the rulers of Jodhpur with grandiose white marble memorials amongst ornamental gardens.
Day 9 - Jodhpur to Deogarh
Leaving Jodhpur, en-route to Deogarh you will visit the world famous Ranakpur temple complex. Acclaimed for their intricate and superb architectural style, the temples are the largest of the Jain cult and form one of the five major pilgrimage sites. Wholly constructed in marble with more than 1,400 exquisitely carved supportive pillars, they contain numerous beautifully and delicately carved sculptures and are definitely a highlight of any trip to this area. There'll be a break for lunch in a local restaurant before continuing the journey to Deogarh, arriving in time for dinner at the hotel.
Day 10 - Deogarh to Udaipur
Begin your day with a trip on Deogarh's metre-gauge train for a journey around the picturesque local area, passing waterfalls and thick jungle, soaking up the ambience of a bygone era. After lunch in a you'll continue on to Udaipur.
Day 11 - Udaipur
Affectionately known as 'The Venice of the East', magical Udaipur is a city of romance with beautiful lakes and fantastical palaces all bordered by lush, forested hills. This morning you will visit the huge City Palace, lining the eastern shore of Lake Pichola, with its balconies gazing out towards the stunning Lake Palace seemingly floating on the waters of the shimmering lake. Next make a stop at the celebrated Jagdish temple, the largest in the city and whose 79-foot sculpted spire dominates the skyline. Here you can appreciate the three-storied temple that is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the Universe.
Day 12 - Udaipur to Ahmedabad
Leaving Rajasthan behind the tour travels onwards to Ahmedabad where you'll explore the city on a varied sightseeing tour, visiting Sabarmati Ashram, the former home and retreat of Mahatma Gandhi as well as the Science City, Swaminarayan Temple and Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, famous for its intricately carved ten stone latticework windows.
Day 13 - Ahmedabad to Mumbai
This morning board the double-decker express train to Mumbai which arrives in the afternoon. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to explore the surrounding area before dinner with your group.
Day 14 - Mumbai
An early morning start to commence your full day tour of Mumbai awaits you. Your first stop is the iconic stone arch landmark known as the Gateway of India to board a motorboat to Elephanta Island, explore the ancient caves dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Back in Mumbai, you will delight in admiring such sites as the grand Jain Temple before meandering through the picturesque Hanging Gardens which offer beautiful views of the city and sea before arriving at the beach at Chowpatty. Continue to the museum of Mani Bhavan where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during his visits to Mumbai between 1917-1943 and finally explore the beautiful Kamala Nehru Park. Enjoy a final dinner together with your group on your last evening in India.
Day 15 - Mumbai to UK
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK or transfer to your chosen extension.
Touring with Mercury Holidays
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