Taj Mahal & Sand Dunes of Rajasthan

Rajasthan is one of the most delightful destinations in India. It is also the land of courage and sacrifice. Popularly known as ‘Golden Land’. It is blessed with amazing sand dunes, golden Thar Desert; virgin wild life, grand Arawali ranges. Vibrant fairs and festivals, majestic forts, enchanting palaces, crystalline lakes and many more attractions. The exquisite state is the home to several historical cities such as Jodhpur, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Alsisar, etc. Rajasthan is one of the most visited tourist destination in the country. This Tour includes its most important cities like Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Jodhpur, giving you an unforgettable once in a lifetime experience.

At a GlanceRajasthan
Day 1   Welcome to Delhi. Transfer to your hotel
Day 2   Travel to Agra.
Day 3   Morning tour of the Taj Mahal & Agra Fort
Day 4   Onwards to Jaipur with a stop in Fatehpur Sikri
Day 5   Amber Fort and Jaipur city tour
Day 6   Leave for Jodhpur by road
Day 7   Morning Jodhpur city tour
Day 8   Travel to Jaisalmer
Day 9   City tour and Sam Sand Dunes experience
Day 10 Continue your journey to Bikaner
Day 11 Depart for Mandawa and city tour
Day 12 Transfer from Mandawa to Delhi airport

Tour highlights

Discover the very best of Rajasthan in 11 nights on this exciting private tour! Explore the hues and contrasts that define India as you travel from Delhi, the historical center and modern capital of India, to Agra, where the glimmering white Taj Mahal towers over bustling streets and wooded forests. In Jaipur, ride to an ancient fort on the back of an elephant before discovering a pink city centre. Continue to Jodhpur to see the massive Meherangarh (Majestic) Fort. Arrive in Jodhpur, the Brahmin’s Blue City.  Stroll through its gardens protected by an impressive fort. Finally, witness a glorious sunset over the sand dunes of Jaisalmer’s desert.

India is a land full of paradoxes. Rajasthan is one of those regal places offering the same. This desert state is arid but still stands as the most vibrant and fruitful destination to spend a delightful vacation. A majestically cultural land, adorned with enticing architectural marvels which greatly contribute to its tourist attraction. On one hand you will witness the royal valor with magnetizing edifices while on the other hand,  you’ll come across the attractive rural life.

Rajasthan is home to inestimable vestiges of royal structures built by the Maharajas to showcase their valor. These marvels stand as the pride to India and the royal Rajputs who once ruled the place. The great Thar Desert stands as a prominent attraction of India incorporating attractive natural and artificial wonderments. During the tour experience the pristine desert beauty and the authentic culture of this respective region. Savor the charms of its glistening lakes, mesmerizing sand dunes and striking wildlife.

Additional information

Hotel Rating3 Star, 4 Star, 5 Star
1

Day 1

Arrive Delhi
* You will be met and assisted; through the airport upon your arrival and then transferred to your hotel.
* Overnight at your hotel in Delhi.
2

Day 2

Delhi – Agra (By road – 4 hours)
* In the morning we depart for Agra by road.
* On arrival in Agra; check-in to your hotel.
* The rest of the day is free at your leisure to enjoy the sights of Agra.
* Overnight at your hotel in Agra.
3

Day 3

Agra
* Morning sightseeing tour of the Taj Mahal & Fort.
* Visit the world famous Taj Mahal built by Shah Jahan in 1560 in memory of his queen Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains. This architectural marvel is a perfectly proportioned masterpiece fashioned from white marble that stands testimony to the skill of 20;000 craftsmen brought together from Persia; Turkey; France and Italy and who took 17 years to complete this ‘Love Poem in Marble’. (Friday closed).
* Later visit the Agra fort containing the halls of private & public audiences & other palaces. Shah Jahan spent years of confinement here at the hands of his son Aurangzeb; looking wistfully at the Taj Mahal from the Fort.
* The afternoon is free to explore Agra at your leisure.
* Overnight at your hotel in Agra.
4

Day 4

Agra – Jaipur (By road – 7 hours)
* Depart Agra for Jaipur by car.
* En route visit Fatehpur Sikri; built by Emperor Akbar in 1569 and abandoned after 15 years due to scarcity of water.
* The Fatehpur Sikri complex houses tomb of Salim Chisti; Panch Mahal and other palaces; which surprisingly have withstood the ravages of time and are still in good condition.
* On arrival in Jaipur; check-in at your hotel.
* The rest of the day is free at your leisure.
* Overnight at your hotel in Jaipur.
5

Day 5

Jaipur
* Morning excursion to Amber Fort. Standing tall over a small hillock overlooking the Pink city; Amber is a classic; romantic Rajasthani Fort-Palace. Miniatures painted on the walls depict hunting and war scenes; apart from festivals. Precious stones and mirrors are embedded into the plaster.
* A major attraction at Amber is the Elephant Ride; all the way up to the Fort entrance.
* Afternoon half day sightseeing tour. The tour begins with a visit to the Maharaja’s City Palace;- the former Royal residence;- part of it converted into a museum. One of the major attractions in the museum is the portion known as Armoury Museum; housing an impressive array of weaponry -pistols; blunderbusses; flintlocks; swords; rifles and daggers.
* Also see the miniature items and old carpets at the Textile Museum.
* Later visit the Jantar Mantar; which is the largest stone-and-marble-crafted Observatory in the world. Situated near the gate of the city palace; the Observatory has 17 large instruments; many of them still in working condition.
* After the tour return to your hotel.
* Overnight at your hotel in Jaipur.
6

Day 6

Jaipur – Jodhpur (By road 7 hours)
* We depart in the morning for Jodhpur by road.
* On arrival in Jodhpur; check-in to your hotel.
* The rest of the day is free at your leisure to explore Jodhpur.
* Overnight at your hotel in Jodhpur.
7

Day 7

Jodhpur
* The city of Jodhpur; with its gentle atmosphere belies a stormy yet glorious past. Its walls; seven gates and numerous bastions and towers were built in the 16th century by Rao Maldeo. 393 feet above the flat surrounding plains soars a bold bluff on which was built the massive Meherangarh (Majestic) Fort.
* In the old city’s maze of old lanes lie several palaces; havelis and some temples.
* The famous puppetmakers of Jodhpur are found here.
* Visit the Sardar Bazar with its Clock Tower of 1912.
* Visit the fort and palaces; some of which contain a fine collection of Rajput miniature paintings; a museum; Maan Vilas which houses Rathore armory and on the ramparts stand cannons; the spoils of Gaj Singh.
* On the road down from the Fort see Jaswant Thada; the blinding white marble cenotaph (chhatri) of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II.
* The afternoon is free at your leisure to continue to explore Jodhpur.
* Overnight at your hotel in Jodhpur.
8

Day 8

Jodhpur – Jaisalmer (By road – 6 hours)
* In the morning depart for Jaisalmer by road.
* On arrival in Jaisalmer; check-in at Hotel.
* The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore Jaisalmer.
* Overnight at your hotel in Jaisalmer.
9

Day 9

Jaisalmer
* Set in a sea of golden tinged sand; Sonar Kella; a golden fort rises out of a rock of topaz.
* The entire living area of Jaisalmer lies within the gigantic citadel walls.
* Visit the silent 12th century Fort built by Prince Jaisal and the Palace which stands at the highest point (100 metres) above the marketplace.
* Also visit the Jain Temples (12th-15th century) which lie within the fort complex. Some of them have quaint but impressive figures of Jain saints of white marble and of red and black stone. Others have beautiful images of Hindu deities which indicate the remarkable religious tolerance of that age.
* The famous art of the stone carvers of Jaisalmer is evident in the elaborate facades of the yellow sandstone desert havelis (mansions) which glow softly in honey tones .
* Visit Salim Singh ki Haveli; (Salim Singh was the tyrannical Prime Minister of Jaisalmer in the 18th century); Patwon ki Haveli (House of the Brocade Merchants) the largest and most elaborate of the famous havelis of Jaisalmer.
* Patwas are merchants trading in rich brocades; gold and silver embroidery; sequins and ribbons. This family expanded their business to include opium; banking and revenue collecting.
* Visit Nathmal ki Haveli the last of the great havelis.
* Also visit Gadi-sar an artificial lake that was an important source of water in the past. A natural decline was enlarged to catch every drop of rain and; in a season of drought; Gadi-sar was the mainstay of Jaisalmer. (Duration of sightseeing 3 1/2 hours)
* Sam Sand Dunes (2 hours) 42 kms
* Experience the pace and space of desert life.
* Ride to the smooth; silky sands of Sam sand dunes where the Raikas (camel drovers) travel with their animals over vast distances and know every waterhole and pasture in their region. They are the best guides.
* The Raika is a handsome; romantic figure; and in local legends and folk-songs; he is referred to as the messenger of love or the carrier of good or bad tidings.
* After the tour return to your hotel in Jaisalmer.
* Overnight at your hotel in Jaisalmer.
10

Day 10

Jaisalmer – Bikaner (By road – 5 hours)
* In the morning we depart for Bikaner by road.
* On arrival in Bikaner; check-in to your Hotel.
* A half day sightseeing tour of Bikaner – The mesmerizing music of the desert is echoed in Bikaner; a medieval flavoured city set along the old caravan route which linked Central Asia & North India with the Gujarat seaports.
* Charming havelis (mansions) stand in the old part of this walled city and a leisurely lifestyle still prevails in this sublimely picturesque place surrounded by harsh desert.
* Visit the Fort; one of the finest of Rajput monuments. Thirty-seven palaces; pavilions and temples built by different kings are all connected by paved courtyards; narrow staircases and terraces in this Rathor stronghold.
* The oldest existing structures in Bikaner are the 14th-century Jain temples built by two merchant brothers; Sandeshwar and Bhandeshwar.
* The Bandeshwar Temple has carved wooden columns with dancing figures; surrounding a dark sanctuary with checkered gold design and a mandap with astonishingly well-preserved frescoes.
* The Sandeshwar Temple’s chief features are enamel and gold leaf wall paintings and a vaulted and arched ornamental ceiling. The two marble altars are lined with rows of white marble statues of Jain saints.
* After the tour return to your hotel in Bikaner
* Overnight at your hotel in Bikaner.
11

Day 11

Bikaner – Mandawa (By road 5 hours)
* In the morning we depart for Mandawa by road.
* On arrival in Mandawa; check-in at Hotel.
* Mandawa emerges like a mirage. A medieval fort (dated around 1750) gradually rises on the horizon.
* The Mandawa bazaar has many painted houses; parts of which have now been turned into shops and tie-and-dye fabrics flutter in the wind.
* Visit the havelis with their frescoes – of which the Chokanis; the Goenkas and the sarafs are extravagantly painted.
* The word haveli; which is of Persian origin; means `surrounded’ or an `enclosed place.; the English equivalent “”mansion” is a close enough translation; suggesting the spacious residence that haveli implies; but it fails to capture the essence of a way of life that was more than just a form of architecture. Secluded from the outside world; a haveli set its own pace of life. Since the middle of the 19th century; the inhabitants of north eastern Rajasthan have patronised the art of fresco painting compensating; in a way; for the lack of colour in the landscape of their homeland.
* The frescoes on the earliest havelis date back to the early 1800s (though some on the forts; chhatris and temples are dated around 1750).
* The majority were painted between 1860 and 1900. Starting from purely religious themes; the frescoes move on to ornamental designs and after 1900 became widely available to imitations of European lithographs and etchings.
* After the tour we return to the hotel in Madawa.
* Overnight at your hotel in Mandawa.
12

Day 12

Mandawa – Delhi (By road 6 hours) – Leave Delhi
* After breakfast we depart Mandawa for Delhi.
* On arrival in Delhi you will be transferred to the airport to board your flight for your onward destination.
* Services end at Delhi International Airport.
* Thank you for choosing Azure Travel for your Indian experience. We value your patronage & look forward to serving you again in the near future.

* Meet and assist on arrival and departure by our representative from / to airport, along with 1 piece of baggage per person
* Sightseeing tours and intercity transfers as per itinerary in AC medium car for 2 passengers ( AC Innova for 3-4 passengers)
* Accommodation (3*- 4*- 5*) including breakfast daily
* Local English Speaking Guide
* Jaipur offers sightseeing tour with an elephant ride / jeep ride
* Check in and check out time 12h00 (midday).
* 1 Night in Delhi
* 2 Nights in Agra
* 2 Nights in Jaipur
* 2 Nights in Jodhpur
* 2 Nights in Jaisalmer
* 1 Night in Bikaner
* 1 Night in Alsisar

* International/Domestic flights – Departure & Fuel taxes
* Personal expenses, meals and drinks unless otherwise specified
* Travel insurance
* India visa fee
* Tips
* Peak season or Public holidays surcharge (if any)
* Services not stated in the itinerary

* The above rate is LAND ONLY, and EXCLUDES ALL INTERNATIONAL and DOMESTIC FLIGHTS
* Seasonal Supplements MAY apply
* Rates valid at time of quoting, and all subject to any exchange rate fluctuations, airlines and supplier rate changes and fuel levies.

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Rates valid for travel between 01 August to 30 September 2017.
Seasonal supplements may be applicable.

India elevated view of the Red Fort
India view of part of the Sonar Kella in Rajasthan
India Sam Sand dunes in Rajasthan
India view of the Mehrangarh Fort on top of the hill
India interior view in the Mehrangarh Fort
India view into the chandbaori Mehrangarh Fort
India exterior view of the Mandawa
India view of the Laxmi Niwas Palace in Bikaner
India view of the Jaisalmer Fort
India Jodhpur - Sardar bazaar and clock tower
India view of fort and palace in Jodhpur
India elevated view of Jantar Mantar in Jaipur
India view of the Amber Fort
India aerial view of Fatehpur Sikri
India aerial view of the Taj Mahal
India elevated view of the Red Fort
India view of the Delhi - Akshardham Temple