BEST OF RAJASTHAN (9 Days)
DAY 01 – JAIPUR
Upon arrival at Jaipur and get transferred to your hotel.
The capital of Rajasthan Jaipur – popularly known as the “Pink City” as the Pink sandstone was used to construct the buildings in the old walled city. Jaipur owes it’s name, it”s foundation and it’s planning to the Great-Warrior-Astronomer Maharaja Jai Singh II (1699–1744 AD). Jaipur (City of Victory) was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727. It is the only city in the world symbolising the nine divisions of the Universe through nine rectangular sectors sub-dividing it. The architect who formalised the city’s plans on the Shilpa Shastra, the epic Hindu treatise on architecture, mixed it with the sublimity of the Mughal and Jain influences of those times. The city was painted pink in 1853 in honour of the visit by Prince Albert. Except for the busy traffic of bicycles, cars, and buses, little seems to have changed.
Overnight at Hotel
DAY 02 – IN JAIPUR
After breakfast at hotel proceed for full day city tour of Jaipur – visiting Amer Fort located at a distance of 11 kilometres from Jaipur and was the old fort of the Kachhwaha clan of Amber. It used to be the capital, till it was moved to Jaipur. The fort is built with white marble and red sandstone and looks even more attractive because of the Maota Lake in the foreground. The fort in itself is a beautiful sight to behold but as one looks on the fort with its clear reflection on the lake in the front; one cannot help but wonder if it is a dream or a beautiful illusion. An elephant [Subject to availability/alternatively by jeep] will spare you the trouble of climbing up to the fortress. Once on top, stroll through the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls with a well informed and well spoken guide who would regale you with tales of yore.
Later 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, armours, 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. Jaipur is a shopper’s paradise. Most of the bazaars are in an old city with a wide range of things to buy, from jewellery (precious and semi-precious stones and handcrafted silver) to textiles to handicrafts and antiques. No doubt, for an avid shopper “Jaipur” is the choicest of the city to shop and collect memorabilia.
Overnight at Hotel
DAY 03 – JAIPUR – AJMER – PUSHKAR – JODHPUR (400 KMS)
After breakfast at hotel drive to Jodhpur enroute visit Ajmer & Pushkar.
Ajmer was founded in the 11th century by Chauhan ruler Ajaipal and is dominated by the Taragarh fort. It is a major centre for Muslim pilgrims during the month of Ramzan, being home to the Dargah of Sufi saint Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti. Seven pilgrimages to Ajmer are supposed to equal one to Mecca.
Ajmer has some superb examples of early Muslim architecture and a lively bazaar and is located conveniently close to Pushkar. Visit the Dargah (tomb) of Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti, the Ana Sagar Lake.
Later drive to Pushkar; at its heart is one of India’s most sacred lakes. There are 52 ghats around the lake, and numerous temples. The Brahma temple, especially, attracts pilgrims all year around. Apart from its religious significance, Pushkar is known for its Cattle and Camel fair held every year in the month of Kartik (October/November), which attracts visitors in thousands. You can also witness and participate in the evening prayer meetings in the temples. Being a religious town, alcohol and non-vegetarian food are taboo. Pushkar separated from Ajmer by Nag Pahar, the snake mountain. This traveller-friendly town clings to the side of the small Pushkar Lake with its many bathing ghats and temples. For Hindus, Pushkar is a very important pilgrimage centre and you’ll see plenty of Sadhus (individuals on a spiritual search). Pushkar boasts of temples, the most famous being the Brahma Temple, said to be one of the few temples in the world dedicated to this deity.
Later continue to drive to Jodhpur; Arrive to the Blue City – Jodhpur and transfer to your hotel.
An oasis in the arid Thar Desert, Jodhpur is the second largest city in the state of Rajasthan. Representing this colourful city with shades of blue, Jodhpur has a history that is rich and a present that beckons strongly to the discerning tourist. Forts and palaces, temples and havelis, culture and tradition, spices and fabrics, colour and texture, Jodhpur has them all and in plenty. Situated in Western Rajasthan, Jodhpur has long attracted both the domestic and international tourist. It not only offers tangibles, in terms of what you can see and buy but also fills one with a sense of history and the splendour of an era gone by. The hospitality of the locals, the demure women, and the colourful turbans -all set against the beloved desert (Marwar) is something to feel, not just see. Every pore of Jodhpur tells its own tales of heroic deeds that made legends out of kings and soldiers, romances that continue to warm the heart and a time when epics were lived out on the streets by everyday man.
Overnight at Hotel
DAY 04 – JODHPUR – JAISALMER (300 KMS)
After breakfast at hotel proceed for city tour of Jodhpur. Visit the Meherangarh Fort, situated on a low sandstone hill. The palace apartments like Sukh Mahal, Phool Mahal, and Sheesh Mahal etc are beautifully decorated and house Jewellery, costumes, armoury, palanquins, howdahs and other remnants of the past. See the Jaswant Thada, an imposing marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II built in 1899. Later the royal crematorium and three other cenotaphs were also built here. Also visit Sardar Bazaar and Clock Tower markets where you can see the vegetable, spice, Indian sweets, and textile and silver markets. These colourful markets with tiny shops dot the narrow lanes replete with woodcarvings, wrought iron, lacquer work, silver and ivory ornamentation and leather handicrafts.
After breakfast drive to Jaisalmer; Jaisalmer – a fairytale town in the Thar Desert founded about 800 years ago by Rawal Jaisal. Unlike any other city, this desert fortress is one of Rajasthan’s most exotic and unusual towns. Jaisalmer, an important ancient trading centre because of its strategic location on the camel trade routes, is often described as the ‘golden city’.
The havelis, built by merchants of the 19th century, are exquisitely carved from golden-yellow sandstone and are still in a beautiful condition. The fort built by Rawal Jaisal in the 12th century, stands on the 80-meter-high Trikuta hill, with beautifully carved Jain temples. The annual desert festival takes place in January and February each year and is a riot of colour and activity. Jaisalmer is also famous for its embroidery, Rajasthani mirror work, rugs, and blankets, antique, silver jewellery, and stonework and of course the camel safaris.
Overnight at Hotel
DAY 05 – IN JAISALMER
After breakfast at hotel leave for the city tour of Jaisalmer. Visit the famous Havelis (mansions) known for their frescoes. Jaisalmer’s strategic position on the camel terrain route bought it great wealth. The merchants grew prosperous and commissioned great havelis, or mansions, to flaunt their ever-growing status in society. Made of local golden-yellow sand stone and wood, some of the havelis are still in excellent condition. The most elaborate and magnificent of all the Jaisalmer havelis is the Patwaon Ki Haveli. Five Jain brothers built the Haveli between 1800 and 1860. Salim Singh Ki Haveli and Nathmal Ki Haveli are the other two havelis that are open to visitors.
Built in 1156 by the Bhatti ruler, Jaisal, The Fort here stands atop the 80 m high Trikuta hill. 3 walls and 99 bastions surround the fort. Over the centuries, the golden sand stone fortress witnessed many battles between the Bhatti Rajputs, the Mughals and the Rathores of Jodhpur. Within the fort, complex are the beautifully carved Jain Temples built between the 12th and 15th centuries. The Maharawals (rulers) of Jaisalmer were devout Hindus but were tolerant of Jainism, and encouraged art and religion. There are 7 temples in the complex – Chandraprabhu, Parasnath, Shitalnath, Sambhavnath, Shantinath, Kunthunath and Rikhabdev Temple.
The temples are all connected by a series of corridors and walkways. Close by is the Gyan Bhandar, a library founded in 1500 A.D. This houses priceless ancient manuscripts and other exhibits like astrological charts, besides the Jain equivalent of the Christian Shroud of Turin.
In the evening, proceed for the excursion to Sam Sand dunes. Located at a distance of 42 kilometers from Jaisalmer, Sam Sand Dunes is the closest point to witness the total sandy desert. You can also see the patterns and motifs created by the shifting sands and air. Moreover, Sam Sand Dunes also provide you with an unforgettable experience of camel rides and the sunset.
Overnight at Hotel
DAY 06 – JAISALMER – JODHPUR (300 KMS)
After breakfast at hotel drive to Jodhpur; Arrive Jodhpur and transfer to your hotel. Afternoon is free to walk around in the colourful and bustling bazaars for personal exploration or shopping.
Overnight at Hotel
DAY 07 – JODHPUR – RANAKPUR – UDAIPUR (300 KMS)
After breakfast at hotel drive to Mount Abu enroute visiting Ranakpur which is the largest Jain temple complex in India and dates to the 15th century. The main temple is dedicated to Adinath, the first Tirthankar. Intricate carvings detail mythological figures, patterns, and motifs on the walls, pillars and domes. There are 1444 ornately carved marble pillars in the complex and none of them are similar. The beautiful lace-like interiors of the domes are a superb example of western Indian temple style.
Surya Temple and other Jain Temples are sided attractions. (Temples open only at 1200 Hrs. Leather belts, footwear, bare legs and black clothing not allowed).
Later continue to drive to Udaipur; arrive Udaipur and transfer to your hotel.
Set on the shores of Lake Pichola and surrounded by hills, Udaipur grew in complete contrast to the harsh deserts of the rest of Rajasthan. As capital of the old Mewar State it was the only Rajput stronghold to uphold its Hindu allegiance in the face of Muslim invasion. This fairy – tale city, with its marble palaces and lakes surrounded by a ring of hills, was founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1559. The city is dominated by massive City Palace, which overlooks Lake Pichola with its romantic island palaces. Picturesque havelis, ghats and temples line the lake front, with the lively bazaars of the old walled city stretching behind them.
DAY 08 – IN UDAIPUR
After breakfast at hotel proceed for half day city tour of Udaipur – visiting the City Palace and Museum. The largest palace complex in India, it is a blend of Mughal and Rajput influences. Also, see the 17th century Jagdish temple, drive around the Fatehsagar Lake, and visit the Sahelion ki Bari (the Garden for the Maids of Honour), an ornamental pleasure garden with fountains and marble kiosks. Later visit the Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandir or the Folk Art Museum.
Later in the evening take a boat ride on the 4 km long and 3 km wide Lake Pichola, which is fringed with hills, palaces, havelis, ghats, embankments and temples and offers spectacular views of the city. Visit the Jag Mandir Island with its exquisite Gul Mahal Pavilion.
Overnight at Hotel
DAY 09 – DEPART UDAIPUR
Breakfast at hotel, later get transferred to Udaipur Airport / Railway Station to board your flight / train for onward journey to next destination.
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