An ideal trip to experience the icons of India. From the capital of Delhi, with its bustling markets, magnificent monuments and colonial past we head to Agra to view the well preserved Agra Fort and the stunning Taj Mahal. Truly one of the wonders of the world, see why it was described by Rabindranath Tagore as a 'teardrop on the face of eternity'. Then continue on to to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, discover why this is known as the Pink City and explore the incredible Amber Fort. The last stop is the bustling and modern city of Mumbai.
These are our least demanding trips and involve little or no extended activity. They are suitable for people with a basic level of fitness and good health. The itinerary involves long travel days on various types of transport.
You will fly from Detroit international Airport via Europe to Delhi, India.
Upon arrival at Delhi airport you will be met by our representative who will transfer you to your hotel. Due to your travel times, the group will have the morning to rest and recover. in the early afternoon we will have a group briefing and then participate in a yoga session. This will help everyone work out stiff muscles and relax after the previous day of travelling.
In the evening, we'll head out from our hotel for a visit to an Indian family where the lady of the house will provide a traditional cooking demonstration and an Indian dinner will served.
This morning we begin early for the day’s sightseeing. We start in New Delhi with a visit to Lakshmi Narayana Temple, India Gate (a memorial arch honouring soldiers who were killed in WW1) and Rashtrapati Bhawan (the president’s house). Next is Qutub Minar, built in 1193 as a symbol of Muslim victory, it is now part of a UNESCO world heritage site. The walls are inscribed with intricately carved quotations from the Koran and at 240 feet, it is the highest brick minaret in the world. This afternoon after our lunch, we continue to Old Delhi, visiting the Jama Masjid (the largest mosque in India), the magnificent Red Fort , we take a thrilling rickshaw ride weaving our way through the narrow lanes of the bustling bazaar.
This morning we visit Humayun's Tomb which is believed to have been designed in 1565 AD by the widow of Mughal emperor Himayun. Its design and layout is based on the description of Islamic paradise gardens and is known to have inspired the Taj Mahal and many later Mughal tombs. We also have the opportunity to visit the distinctive Lotus Temple. The journey by road to Agra is 200km (approx 4 hours) and we'll leave Delhi taking our lunch on the way.
Upon arrival to Agra we settle in to our accommodations and have dinner in local style.
This will be an early morning to arrive to the Taj Mahal for sunrise. Built by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz Mahal the beauty of the Taj Mahal is unmatched. On the death of his beloved wife, in wild extravagance, Shah Jahan built her this memorial. 20,000 men laboured for over 17 years to build this wealth of white marble and precious stone. We have time to walk the corridors and gardens before continuing on to the Agra Fort.
With its grand courtyards, royal pavilions and palaces, it is a fitting testimony to the Great Moghuls – Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan – during the era when Agra was the capital of the Moghul Empire. The most impressive part of the Fort is the Dewan-e-Am, where the Emperor sat on his throne to dispense to his subjects, and the Dewan-e-Khas where he received foreign dignitaries. We'll have a brief visit to the marble inlay workshop - where one can see the work that went into the inlay art at the Taj Mahal and the Itimad-ud-Daulah, known as the ‘Baby Taj’. It was built before the Taj Mahal by Nur Jahan, queen of Jehangir, for her parents. It was the first Mughal building to be faced with white marble and where ‘pietra dura’, (precious stones inlaid into marble) were used. You will then return to your hotel where you will have free time to relax and take a break from the heat of the day.
This afternoon, we'll head back out to the bazaar to witness the beauty of Henna application and learn more about it's significance. If you are feeling hungry, Agra is a great place to try barbecue meats (kebabs) mixed with Indian spices. Petha, pieces of white pumpkin dipped in sugar syrup, and Gajak, a crumbly sweet made with sesame and jaggery, are delicious local sweets and sold everywhere.
After breakfast we begin the drive to Jaipur (238 km – 5/6 hours approximately) en route visiting Fatehpur Sikri. The ghost city Fatehpur Sikri was built in red sandstone by Emperor Akbar the Great in 1569 and deserted 14 years later because its water supply failed. Its glorious courtyards and palaces conjure up dreams of the mysterious past. There’s the imperial Jami Masjid, the tomb of Shaik Salim Chisti who predicted the birth of Akbar’s son Jehangir, the Panch Mahal, a strange building which resembles a Buddhist temple, a cloistered courtyard which was the Hall of Public Audience and the Pachchisi paved with black and white where the Emperor played chess using slave girls as figurines. We arrive in Jaipur by dinner time.
We have dinner at the hotel and overnight in Jaipur, also known as the Pink City.
Early this morning, after breakfast, we head out for a day of sightseeing in Jaipur. We begin at the Amber Fort, the honey coloured fortress-palace in the Aravalli Hills just north of the town centre. The sombre exterior belies the richness of the royal apartments, which open to striking views of the gorge. The Hall of Victory presents a galaxy of decorative art - panels of alabaster with fine inlay work of the tenderness hues and the intriguing Chamber of Mirrors.
We return to town to view the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) an elaborate building encrusted with delicate honeycomb screens and carved balconies from which the royal ladies, confined to their quarters, could view the world outside. Jai Singh’s Observatory built in the 17th century by the founder of Jaipur who, besides being a prince was also soldier, astronomer and builder. We conclude at the City Palace, now a museum that contains fine Rajput and Moghul paintings, rare manuscripts and an armory, old carpets, and even amazingly embroidered clothes of the Maharajas and the Maharanis.
After dinner, a visit to the Jal Mahal lit up at night is great way to say good bye to the pink city.
We will transfer to the airport for your morning flight from Jaipur to Mumbai. The group will be met at the airport and will be transferred to the accommodation. Once settled, the group will enjoy an orientation tour of this large and metropolitan city.
Today begins early as we begin our walking tour of Dharavi. It is one of the world's largest and most productive slums and you will learn about the industries like recycling, pottery and tanning that the residents run. We will commence the tour with a visit (by vehicle) to Dhobi Ghat (the world’s largest outdoor laundry) and explore the maze of lanes where these industries coexist.
In the afternoon, we'll discover India's multi million dollar film industry - Bollywood.
Beginning with a visit to a real film location we'll learn about the origin and evolution of Bollywood. We'll be treated to a special dance presentation, watch various shoots of films, TV serials or ad-Films and have the chance to visit the Beverly Hills of Mumbai where many of the Bollywood stars live.
In the evening we'll arrive at the theatre to watch a Bollywood movie, in the “Mumbai way”. It is real experience to sit and watch a movie with a local audience. These theatres still have the old charm the comfort of a by-gone era. Local Snacks like samosa, cold drinks or chai will be served during the Interval.
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Your coordinators have arranged these experiences for you today.
Depart just after midnight on your international flight to the USA.
India was great. Great guides and really good hotels. If we had more time I'd spend an extra day in Jaipur. Still, when you've not got much time this trip is an excellent option.
A Anderson, UK
Per Person, Twin Share