Palaces and Lakes
Experience the spectacular contrasts that India is known for. Explore New and Old Delhi and experience colonial-era parliament buildings and labourers haul sacks of spices. See the massive forts and royal palaces of Rajasthan, the quaint villages and the cultural diversity of Delhi. Explore the fabled markets of Chandni Chowk by rickshaw, marvel at the view from the Amer Fort on the back of an Indian elephant in Jaipur and taste the authentic cuisine in Cochin.
Cost of 12 night Royal Rajasthan Package
- From R23 995 per person sharing (3-star)
- From R26 995 per person sharing (4-star)
- From R29 995 per person sharing (5-star)
- Throughout 2018
- Return flights from Johannesburg to Rajasthan
- Domestic flights as per itinerary
- All transfers (as per itinerary)
- 12 nights accommodation
- Daily buffet breakfast at all the hotels
- Sightseeing and tours (as per itinerary)
- Elephant ride (subject to availability)
- Camel ride and Sam Sand Dunes in Jaisalmer
- English speaking guide
- Road taxes, parking fees, fuel and porterage
- Entry fees at all monuments
- Items of a personal nature
- Visas to India
- Anything not mentioned
- Guide service in Ranakpur
12-night Royal Rajasthan itinerary
Day 1: Deli – Arrival
Arrive in Delhi and be met by a representative, drive to the hotel and do check in formalities. Perhaps there is no other capital city in the world so steeped in history and legend as the Indian capital Delhi. It was the magnet, which drew the Mongols, Turks, Persians, Afghans, Mughals and the British, all of whom contributed to its glorious but turbulent past. The fascination with Delhi was such that even though it was abandoned many times, its rulers returned to it again and again rebuilding it at least seven times. Today, the twin cities of Old and New Delhi still intrigue Indians and tourists alike as the cultural and political capital of the largest democracy in the world. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Delhi
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and later proceed for half day combined city tour of Delhi. The tour will begin with a visit to Raj Ghat, a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi; drive past the Red Fort continuing to the Jama Masjid, one of Asia’s largest mosques. The magnificent Red Fort, overlooking the river Jamuna was built during the years 1638 – 48 when the Mughal Empire was at its peak. The tour continues to Jama Masjid, one of Asia’s largest mosques and which is viewed from the outside. People stream in and out of the mosque continuously and the presence of a nearby bazaar means that the area is rarely quiet.
The tour to Imperial Delhi will include a visit to the Qutub Minar, which is the tallest stone tower in India. The Qutub Minar was started in 1199 AD by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak and completed by the sultan’s successor and son-in-law, Iltutmish. The building is 72.5 m high and has 379 steps from the bottom to the top. The Minar is tapering with the diameter of the base is 14.3 m while at the top floor it is2.7 m. The Qutub Minar is still the highest stone tower. The tour also includes a drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President’s residence. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 3: Delhi – Agra
After breakfast, leave for Agra by surface around 0800 hrs and check in. Agra is one of the most famous tourist spots of the country. The city, situated on the west bank of river the Yamuna, is known world over as home to a wonder of the world, Taj Mahal. Afternoon visit Taj Mahal & Agra Fort – The Taj Mahal is everything that has been said about it and more. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and was transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, in mid 17th century, the Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. Though the Taj appears to be amazingly perfect from almost any angle, it is the close-up marble inlay work, which is really astounding. You will have ample time to view and be mesmerized by this outstanding piece of architecture. (Note: Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays for public visit.)
Also visit Agra Fort, an outstanding example of Mughal architecture. Agra Fort – the seat and the stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. This was the seat of Mughal rule and administration and the present structure owes its origins to Akbar who erected the walls and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of Yamuna River. Shah Jehan added the impressive quarters and the mosque while Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. Visit its Hall of Public Audience and its Royal Pavilions. Rest of the day at leisure to explore the city. The vehicle will be at your disposal within city limit. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 4: Agra – Jaipur
After breakfast, leave for Jaipur by surface at 0800 hrs. Visit Fatehpur Sikri enroute Jaipur. Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted red sandstone city, built by the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace in the late 16th century. It was abandoned soon after it was built when the local wells went dry and it remains today in much the same condition that it was over 300 years ago. It is complete with palaces and mosques and used to be a town larger than London when it was originally constructed. Now it is an extraordinary place to wander around with its buildings in near perfect condition. After your visit, continue your drive to Jaipur and check-in at hotel. Rest day at your leisure to explore the Pink City. The vehicle will be at your disposal within city limit.
Jaipur’s past is never too far from hand. The city of victory, Jaipur presides over the fascinating desert state and its people: surrounded by rugged hills, each crowned by a formidable fort; and beautiful palaces, mansions and gardens dotted throughout its precincts. The palaces and forts of yesteryear that were witness to royal processions and splendour are now living monuments, accepted quite naturally into the lifestyles of the people of the “pink city”. Except for the busy traffic of bicycles, cars and buses, little seems to have changed. There is a timeless quality to Jaipur’s bazaars and its people. With its historical past, Jaipur revives legends of the ancient Rajputs. The dresses of the women and the turbans of the men add colour to this fascinating city. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 5: Jaipur
Breakfast at the hotel. Morning proceed to visit the ancient capital of Amber to see the fabulous Amber Fort. Maharaja Mansingh, Mughal Emperor Akbar’s most successful General, started the construction of Amber Fort in the 17th century. An elephant/jeep will spare you the trouble of reaching up to the fortress. Once on top, stroll through the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls. Many of the rooms have delightful wall paintings, with precious stones and mirrors inlaid in the walls. Most fascinating, perhaps, is the Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) where a single lamplight is reflected in the many mirrors, lighting up the room. En-route to Amber you will stop and see the `Palace of Winds’, otherwise known as Hawa Mahal. It is really an elaborate facade behind which the ladies of the court used to watch the daily goings on in the street below. It is extremely intricate in its pink sandstone carving. The cool wind blows through its facade of windows and latticed screens through which the queens of the court once viewed the streets of the city.
Continue for sightseeing tour of Jaipur city visit the city of Jaipur. Among the highlights to be seen while touring Jaipur include the City Palace, which is an overwhelming complex of exquisite palaces, gardens and courtyards, decorative art and carved doorways. The palace museum houses collections of rare manuscripts, armoury, costumes, carpets and miniature paintings. Walk to the adjacent Jantar Mantar or Astronomical Observatory made by the Maharaja of Jaipur, built in 1726 and is one of the five such astronomical wonders built by Sawai Jai Singh and makes accurate predictions even to this day. You will also have the opportunity to wander about the local markets. The vehicle will be at your disposal within city limit. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 6: Jaipur – Bikaner
Early breakfast at the hotel. Morning drive to Bikaner (6 hours drive) in your private chauffeur driven car. In the afternoon proceed for half day city tour visiting Junagarh Fort. Junagarh Fort: was built in 1593 A.D by Raja Rai Singh, a General in the army of Emperor Akbar. This fort is a formidable structure encircled by a moat and has some beautiful palaces within. These palaces, made in red sandstone and marble, make a picturesque ensemble of courtyards, balconies, kiosks and windows dotted all over the structure.
The city of Bikaner is bolstered by imposing walls and has a 16th century fort housing old palaces, temples and a mosque founded by Raja Rai Singh. The fort is distinguished by its long range of 37 pavilions, a line of balconies and aerial windows of various designs. An enormous doorway leads to the Joramal Temple. Rest day at your leisure to explore the City. The vehicle will be at your disposal within city limit. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 7: Bikaner – Jaisalmer
Breakfast at the hotel. Later drive to the desert town of Jaisalmer (335 Kms / 6 hours).Upon arrival check-in at the hotel. Jaisalmer is an important destination of the western state of India, Rajasthan. A desert city, it was founded by the Bhatti Rajput chieftain Rawal Jaisal in the year 1156. Jaisalmer could be regarded as the western sentinel of entire India and a place worth visiting to get an idea of the native Rajasthan. Located at the heart of the great Thar Desert, it offers the visitor an enchanting world of fable, colour, and history. The desert festival held here by the end of the winter season, during the months of January and February, attracts a large number of domestic and foreign tourists. Rest of the day at leisure. The vehicle will be at your disposal within city limit. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 8: Jaisalmer
Breakfast at the hotel. Later proceed for a city tour of Jaisalmer. You will walk up to the Fort, which dominates the town. Built in 1156, it is one of the oldest forts in Rajasthan. About a quarter of the old city’s population resides within the fort walls, which have 99 bastions around the circumference. Within the fort are a fine group of Jain temples built between the 12th and 15th centuries, many containing ancient manuscripts. Walk through Jaisalmer’s narrow streets dotted with ornately decorated Hindu and Jain temples. Walk around this desert city, its fort emerging from the flat dry sands, bounding in ancient palaces, temples and delicately sculpted havelis – all witness to the emergence of this Rajput state into a market centre for traders.
Late afternoon drive to Khuri/Sam Sand Dunes for a camelback ride into the desert to watch the sun set on this golden desert city, emitting a lustrous glow off the desert sand. Camel Safari is one of the unique ways to explore small villages in Rajasthan. Atop this ship of the desert embark on an exciting soft adventure. This safari is across India’s Thar Desert, one of the harshest environments in the world. Board camels to discover the rich desert culture and meet the colourful tribal people. The capital of this exotic region is the golden city of Jaisalmer. Here we’ll explore palaces, local markets, and venture down the narrow alleys to visit with the inhabitants of the intricately carved sandstone buildings. Return to the hotel after your tour. The vehicle will be at your disposal within city limit.
Overnight at the hotel.
Day 9: Jaisalmer – Jodhpur
Early breakfast at the hotel. Morning leave for Jodhpur by surface (around 0800 Hrs. & 5½ hrs. drive). Arrive Jodhpur & check in at the hotel. The old city of Jodhpur is surrounded by a wall 10km long, which was built about a century after the city was founded. From the fort you can clearly see where the old city ends and the new begins. The old city is fascinating jungle of winding streets of great interest to wander around. Eight gates lead out from the walled city. It’s one of the more interesting cities in India and those baggy-tight horse riding trousers, jodhpurs, took their name from this locale. Rest of the day at leisure. The vehicle will be at your disposal within city limit. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 10: Jodhpur – Ranakpur – Udaipur
Early breakfast at the hotel. Morning visit the Mehrangarh Fort (citadel of the Sun) that evokes the very spirit of the Rathores, the ruling local Rajput clan. Visit its various palaces with their delicate friezes and respective museums, displaying treasures of the royal family. The Mehrangarh Fort is sprawled across a 125-meter high hill and is the most impressive and formidable fort in the fort-studded Rajasthan. On the wall adjacent to the Lahapol or “Iron Gate” are 15 handprints, the sati marks of the widows of Maharaja Man Singh who threw themselves upon his funeral pyre in 1843. Inside the fort, which is still run by the Maharaja of Jodhpur, there is a whole series of courtyards and palaces.
North of Meherangarh Fort, and connected to it by road, Jaswant Thanda is a pillared marble memorial to the popular ruler Jaswant Singh II (1878-95), who purged Jodhpur of dacoits, initiated irrigation systems and boosted the economy. The cenotaphs of members of the royal family who have died since Jaswant are close by his memorial; those who preceded him are remembered by chhatris at Mandor. This south-facing spot is also the best place from which to photograph the fort, looming above the sheer rocky Meherangarh plateau. Later you will be driven from Jodhpur to Udaipur (260 KMS/ 7 HRS), en-route visiting Ranakpur Jain Temples, an exceptionally beautiful excursion through the rugged, wooded hills of Rajasthan to the Jain Temples of Ranakpur in the Aravali Valley, to see one of the best complexes of Jain religion which is particularly noted for the grandiose scale of its architecture and the highly decorated ceilings, walls and 1444 different pillars. The priests of the temples did all the temple designing and their generations are still continuing the work. [Without guide]
After Ranakpur visit continue your journey to Udaipur and upon arrival, check-in at your hotel. Rajasthan is romantic with tales of valour and chivalry, and a history that brings to life forts and palaces and court intrigues. But Udaipur is different – an interlude for the diehard romantics. A splash of colour in colourful Rajasthan that’s brighter, tinged with the tones of local legends and lores. Here are lakes that come as a surprise in sandy Rajasthan, and forested hills where wildlife still abounds. And in the lakes or by their edges are palaces straight out of fairy tales, each more beautiful than the other. There are rugged fortresses too — Chittaurgarh and Kumbalgarh, where the history of Udaipur is told as if it were but a page from yesterday. For in Udaipur the past lives and breathes with the present. Rest of the day you are free for independent activities. The vehicle will be at your disposal within city limit. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 11: Udaipur – Chittorgarh – Udaipur
Early breakfast at the hotel. Morning proceed for full day excursion tour of Chittorgarh. Arrive Chittorgarh and proceed for city tour. One of the oldest cities in Rajasthan, Chittor lies 113 km from Udaipur. It is dominated by the sprawling hilltop fort of Chittorgarh, which epitomizes the romantic, doomed ideal of Rajput chivalry. Till 1568, the town was enclosed within the fort’s 5 km long walls. The modern town lies at the foot of the hill.
Visit the celebrated fort of Chittor, said to have been originally built by Bhim, one of the Pandavas. Though deserted now, impressive reminders of its grandeur still stand. See Rana Kumbha’s palace and Fateh Prakash palace. Visit the 37 m high Jaya Stambh (Tower of Victory) built by Rana Kumbha to commemorate his victory over Khiljis of Malwa in 1440. Also see the 22 m high Keerti Stambh or Tower of Fame, dedicated to Adinath and decorated with figures of various Jain tirthankars. Late afternoon return to the hotel in Udaipur.
Rest of the day you are free for independent activities. The vehicle will be at your disposal within city limit. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 12: Udaipur – Delhi
Breakfast at the hotel. Check out at the hotel. After buffet breakfast, proceed for a sightseeing tour of Udaipur City, also known as the City of Sunrise. First on your sightseeing tour you will proceed for a tour of the City Palace, which overlooks the Lake Pichola. The City Palace was built in 1725 of granite and marble with filigreed balconies, ornate windows and craftsmanship in glass. The royal palace walls stretch over a mile on the eastern side of the lake. Within the palace is a maze of courtyards, apartments and decorated halls. The rooms are covered with frescoes, displays of royal processions, stone and glass mosaics and ornamental doors and painted windows. The marble throne in the coronation rooms was last used during the time Maharana Sangram Singh II (1710-30) and nearby is the Sun Window installed by Maharaja Bhim Singh (1778-1828). This is the divine symbol of the house of Mewar, which traces its lineage to the Surya Vansha, descendants of the Sun. Each palace within is an outstanding creation of art. Visit the museums and the hall of public audiences, the private chambers of the royal ladies at the palace and Sahelion-ki-Badi.
Later enjoy a common boat ride on lake pichola. In time transfer to Udaipur airport to board the flight for Delhi. Meeting & assistance upon arrival at Delhi airport and transfer to the hotel.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 13: Delhi – Departs
A representative will meet, assist and later transfer to Delhi International airport to board the flight for onward destination.
Terms and Conditions
- Prices are based on a rate of exchange of USD1 to R14
- Prices are subject to change and availability at time of booking
- Airfares are subject to change and availability at time of booking
- Accommodation based on double/twin bedded rooms with attached bath
- Government taxes are subject to change