Palaces & Wildlife

Palaces & Wildlife

13 Days / 12 Nights

Price from$4,395

Take a luxury journey through some of India's most vibrant cities, staying in exquisite palaces and being treated to both cultural and wildlife experiences. In Delhi, old meets new, offering you a glimpse into both ancient and modern day India. Explore the intricate alleyways, grand monuments, and lively bazaars of Old Delhi, then discover a melting pot of cultures in the heart of New Delhi. On the way to Agra, home to the famed Taj Mahal and legacy city of the Mughal-Empire, spend quality time at an elephant conservation and rescue centre. Go in search of the prowling Bengal tiger on a thrilling jeep safari with a Naturalist guide in Ranthambore, then head to the 475 year old Samode Palace where you will be treated to a bonfire, tribal dances and live musicians. To wrap up your fascinating journey, discover the many sights of Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur.

JOURNEY HIGHLIGHTS • New and Old Delhi • Elephant conservation & rescue centre • Sunset tour of the Taj Mahal in Agra • Tiger safari at Ranthambore Tiger Sanctuary • Samode Palace • Ethnic Rajasthani cooking and cultural experiences with a Jodhpuri Family in Jodhpur • Village safari & tribal tour in the infamous Bishnoi Village • The lake city of Udaipur

Day 1: Arrive > Delhi Upon your arrival at Delhi IGI International Airport, a representative will meet you and transfer you to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the day is at leisure.

The city of Delhi is a blend of two different yet perfectly balanced parts - Old and New Delhi. With its intricate streets, elegant mosques, forts, monuments, and bazaars that sell a variety of goods, Old Delhi speaks volumes about its Mughal past, while New Delhi is a bustling cosmopolitan with a multi-ethnic population.

Optional Volunteering Tour: If interested, you may choose to visit a girls orphanage to interact with and educate children.

Day 2: Delhi After breakfast, your city tour of India's renowned capital begins. Start in Old Delhi with a Heritage Walk inside Jama Masjid, India's largest Mosque, followed by a rickshaw ride tour exploring the maze-like streets of the iconic Ancient Bazaar Chandni Chowk. Time permitting, you will also ride through Khari Baoli, Asia's largest spice trading markets. Your rickshaw ride will end outside the imperial residence of the 1600's Mughal Dynasty - the Red Fort of Delhi. Move on to New Delhi city and experience the colonial-era in Lutyens' Delhi, including a visit to the Mahatma Gandhi Museum at Birla House. Next, explore the gold covered Sikh Shrine at Bangla Sahib Gurudwara and volunteer inside its holy community kitchen that feeds over 10,000 devotees, pilgrims and homeless everyday. You will also visit Raj Path, a ceremonial boulevard showcasing the Colonial Government Buildings, President and Parliament House, and The India Gate. Your last stop for the day is the market at Connaught Place which surrounds the central park of Delhi in the city centre. Later, enjoy free time before being collected by your guide.

Day 3: Delhi > Agra After breakfast checkout and journey to Agra, home to the iconic Taj Mahal. Enroute you will visit Wildlife SOS, an elephant conservation and rescue centre. Upon arrival in Agra you will be met for check-in to your hotel. An afternoon tour begins with a short heritage walk inside Agra's Red Fort, built in the 16th century and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For sunset, visit the sacred Yamuna Riverside for a picturesque viewing of the Taj Mahal before returning to your hotel.

Day 4: Agra > Abhaneri > Ranthambore In the early morning, embark on a beautiful sunrise tour of the Taj Mahal before heading back to your hotel for breakfast and checkout. Depart for Ranthambore. Enroute, visit the spectacular Chand Baori Step-Wells that lie hidden deep in the village of Abhaneri. Upon arrival in Ranthambore you will be met for check-in to your hotel.

Ranthambore is situated between the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges, dotted with water pools and fruit trees. This park gets its name from the thousand-year-old fortress, which looms above the forest. Well known for the diurnal activity of tigers, Ranthambore is also home to sambar, cheetal, chinkara, nilgai and languor.

Day 5: Ranthambore Tiger Sanctuary Enjoy two safari rides at sunrise and in the afternoon in your open jeep with a Naturalist. Tiger safaris traditionally take place at dawn and dusk when the big cats are hunting and on the move. Between rides, enjoy breakfast and a few hours of leisure walking in the grounds.

Day 6: Ranthambore > Samode Depart Ranthambore for the rustic village town of Samode, located 50km from Jaipur city. Upon arrival check-in and explore your accommodation, the historic 475 year-old Samode Palace that serves as the residence to the royal family of Samode. The palace is situated atop of the Aravalli Mountain Ranges and offers stunning views of the sunset and sunrise. Exclusive and discreet, the hotel has been host to royalty, celebrities, artists, and the discerning traveller. Later in the evening enjoy a sunset village tour and bonfire, complimented with tribal dances and live musicians.

Day 7: Samode > Jaipur After breakfast, enjoy visits to the Samode Village Bazaar. Later, journey to Jaipur, known as the pink city and capital of the princely state of Rajasthan. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel for a welcome ceremony. The rest of the day is free to relax or do your own activities.

The picturesque capital of Rajasthan is awash in pink - the colour associated with hospitality in Rajput culture. Built in 1727 A.D. by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh JI, Jaipur displays a remarkable harmony and architectural splendour, most notably the renowned Palace of the Winds. The ancient heart of the Pink City still beats in its fairytale palaces, rugged fortresses perched on barren hills and broad avenues that dot the entire city. There is a timeless appeal to Jaipur's colourful markets where one can shop for Rajasthani handlooms and trinkets. Beautifully laid out gardens and parks, attractive monuments and marvelous heritage hotels are worthy of your admiration. And that's not to mention the ambling camels and cheerful people in multi-hued costumes that are sure to make your trip a memorable one.

Day 8: Jaipur In the afternoon, enjoy a classic jeep ride to climb the hill to the Amber Fortress - a must see of Jaipur! The fortress offers magnificent hilltop views with an intricate Mirror Palace and fine blends of Hindu-Rajasthani architecture. Next, take a photo-stop outside the Water Palace of Jal Mahal before arriving in the heart of the Old City to visit the Astronomical Observatory of Jantar Mantar. Here, your guide will teach you how its bizarre giant instruments work to measure celestial objects. Following this, visit the residence of the Royal Family at the Jaipur City Palace and Museum. In the Jaipur Bazaar, take a Tuk Tuk ride and a walking tour, stopping for a photo-op at Jaipur's most distinctive landmark, The Palace of Winds.

Day 9: Jaipur > Jodhpur After breakfast, transfer to the Jaipur Train Station to catch a train to Jodhpur. Upon arrival at Jodhpur Train Station, a representative will meet you for check-in at your hotel. In the evening, visit a Jodhpuri family and experience a traditional welcome with garlands and an Aarti Tikka ceremony followed by a tour of the residance, then ethnic Rajasthani cooking, dinner and cultural interactions.

Day 10: Jodhpur Your city tour of India's mystical blue town begins! Visit the legendary 15th century Mehrangarh Fortress that stands 410 feet above the skyline of Jodhpur and the Royal Cenotaphs. Next, take a Heritage Walk through Old Town to explore Jodhpur's lifestyle and their charming blue washed houses. Feel free to peep inside and interact with the warm and welcoming Jodhpuri residents, then meet with a priest family at the Hare Krishna Temple. Discover the ancient step-wells of Tunwarji Ka Jhalra and the downtown clock tower with its surrounding street markets in the Sadar Bazaar. Later in the afternoon, hop on local jeeps for a tribal tour in the infamous Bishnoi Village to interact with the Bishnoi tribes, known for their fine artwork and pottery making skills. Experience their traditions, decorated huts and a unique 'Opium Ceremony' performed specially by Bishnoi men. In the village at dusk, enjoy a jeep safari to spot rare flora-fauna around Guda Lake, including Indian blackbucks and blue bulls. After your safari, return to your hotel.

Day 11: Jodhpur > Khempur > Udaipur After breakfast, drive to Udaipur. Enroute, visit the charming village of Khempur where you will enjoy High Tea with the Royal Family at Rawla Khempur (aka The Real Best Exotic Marigold Hotel). Later, arrive in Udaipur for check-in.

Day 12: Udaipur This morning you will be taken for a city tour of Udaipur. Begin with a Heritage Walk through the chaotic streets of Old Town, exploring timeless markets, ancient temples and fantastic palaces, including the likes of the Udaipur City Palace and Crystal Gallery. Witness an afternoon prayer ceremony inside the Jagdish Temple, belonging to the great Indo-Aryan era. Next, visit Saheliyon-Ki-Bari and the popular clock tower surrounded by the street markets of Bada Bazaar - a treasure-trove of traditional goodies and lively arts & crafts. Your tour ends with a sunset boat cruise on the shimmering Lake Pichola to view the sparkle of Udaipur by night, including the world famous 'Lake Palace' of India. After the tour you will be transferred back to your hotel.

Day 13: Udaipur > Delhi Your morning is free to relax or do your own activities. Later transfer to Udaipur Airport to catch a morning flight to Delhi. Upon arrival at Delhi airport, make your way to the international flight counters for your return flight.

• Meet & greet at airports & hotels • 12 nights deluxe or heritage accommodation • Daily breakfast • English guides for tours & wildlife naturalist for tiger safari • Two permits for open jeep tiger safari in Ranthambhore Tiger Sanctuary • AC vehicles with chauffeur driver & helper • Transfers, tours, and excursion by AC vehicles as per Itinerary • Group vehicles with audio microphone systems onboard • All entrance fees, tickets and permits at monuments as per itinerary • Current government of India goods & service tax (GST)

Pricing (per person) $NZD

Type TWIN

2020

April - June

Deluxe Heritage (4 Star)

Luxury Heritage (5 Star)

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$4,395

$6,130