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The Royal Vacation
Planning a long vacation? Well, nothing’s better than starting off with the Golden Triangle and then exploring some of the most vibrant and vast cities of India that have the most beautiful architecture and jaw-dropping sights to offer. This ultimate 3-week India itinerary will take you through the old bazaar of Delhi on a bicycle Rickshaw followed by a walking food tour in Amritsar to taste the lip-smacking snacks. Explore the land of kings, Royal Rajasthan on wheels by boarding the luxurious and comfortable Palace-on-wheels luxury train India covering the most colorful cities of Rajasthan. Ride up the hill for the City Museum on an elephant in Jaipur, watch the active tigers on a jungle safari in Ranthambore National Park, dive in the beauty of palaces at Lake Pichola in Udaipur, ride on a camel on the sand dunes in Jaisalmer, walk through the grand palaces in Jodhpur, watch the kaleidoscope of birds in Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur and end your Royal Rajasthan on wheels journey in Agra witnessing the symbol of love, the Taj Mahal.
You can not get enough of India as it is the best country to experience innumerable cultures, festivals, architectures, and mouth-watering delicacies all in one country. Moving on with this journey of India, Gwalior will be next on your itinerary. Explore the majestic forts in Gwalior followed by a visit to Orchha. Visit the famous temples in Khajuraho and dive in the beauty of sunrise and attend Aarti at the backdrop of the setting sun at the Ghats of River Ganges in Varanasi. Also, experience some amazing delicacies on Banaras food tour and ending your tour at Delhi Airport, take back home loads of unforgettable memories to cherish forever.
Arrival at Delhi Airport
Arrive at Delhi Airport where you will be picked up by a representative and transferred to the hotel. Delhi, the capital city of India with its rich heritage and splendor has so much to offer to its tourists from multifaceted attractions to colorful markets to mouth-watering cuisines. The two sections of the city namely the Old Delhi and the New Delhi make it an evocative city of modern and ancient contrasts. The old Delhi houses several majestic forts showcasing the rich ancient history along with its overcrowded gastronomical lanes whereas the world-class structures, malls, and technologies like metro form a part of the New modern Delhi.
Aside from its architectural monuments, ancient forts, Delhi is home to many important museums and cultural centers. If you are fond of art & crafts, visit the Museums showcasing Indian carving, painting, and other crafts or buy from a diverse range of handicrafts from the famous Delhi markets. Explore the gardens and fountains in the city to have a quiet peaceful time, or enjoy the city nightlife to join some noisy crowd, Delhi caters to the interests of all its visitors.
After a hearty breakfast, proceed for a day sightseeing tour of the city. Starting from Old Delhi, the tour will begin with a visit to Raj Ghat, a simple memorial of Mahatma Gandhi. Hire a bicycle rickshaw and continue to the Jama Masjid, one of Asia’s largest mosques and which is viewed from the outside. Drive past the Red Fort, a magnificent fort, overlooking the river Jamuna built during the years 1638-48 when the Mughal Empire was at its peak. Outside Jama Masjid, you can see people streaming in and out of the mosque continuously and the area around the Mosque is rarely quiet with the presence of a nearby bazaar.
Enjoy the rickshaw ride at Old Delhi which will be a unique and refreshing travel experience for you.
On your Rickshaw tour of Old Delhi, you will be fascinated by the many captivating sights and sounds this amazing city has to offer. Dive in the city’s colors, vivacity, and irresistible charm which gives the true taste of the city. Get familiar with the real roots of the city on the Rickshaw ride which takes you through the old lanes and stop on your way to taste some ancient Indian delicacies at Chandni Chowk.
After visiting Old Delhi, you will be driven to New Delhi to witness the legacy the British left behind. The division between the capitals of the British and the Mughals in the earlier times is now the division between New and Old Delhi respectively which also marks the division in the life-styles. Delve into a past life-style in all its facets, colors, and spells in the Old Delhi city whereas getting the best of 21st century standards offered by New Delhi. On your tour around Imperial Delhi, visit the Qutub Minar, India Gate, Parliament building, and Rastrapathi Bhawan, the President’s residence. If you have ample time, pay a visit to the Lotus temple, a lotus-shaped temple located in south Delhi made of marble, cement, dolomite, and sand. It is an ideal place for meditation and obtaining peace and tranquillity and is open to all faiths. Once you reach back to your hotel, get a relaxed peaceful sleep.
Journey from Delhi to Amritsar
Get ready for your morning train journey to Amritsar, one of the largest cities of Punjab and a chief pilgrimage center of the Sikh religion and is the heart and soul of the Sikhs. It is also an important religious attraction that also holds historical significance and a proud past. Located in the North-Western part of India, Amritsar is a spiritual abode to the glorious Golden Temple, the Harmandir Sahib that witnesses 1 Lakh visitors daily. Discover the beauty of the old city by walking around and witnessing the enchanting architecture and historic mansions with carved wooden facades. The Jallianwala Bagh is yet another landmark in Amritsar which is infamous for its barbaric yet significant moment in the freedom struggle of India. Apart from these landmarks, visit the cobbled up lanes of Amritsar for the satiating food and feel at home with the generous dollops of legendary Punjabi hospitality that will cast its spell upon you.
Spend your evening at the Wagah Border, the only border road crossing in Amritsar between India and Pakistan where a light and sound show is held every evening. A ceremony known as Beating Retreat is held by the Indian and Pakistani soldiers showing their strength. The border gates are opened as the sun sets and the flags of both the nations are lowered in retreat followed by a handshake between soldiers from either side. The flags are folded and the gates are closed to end the ceremony. One should not miss this enthusiastic show that will fill your heart with a positive sense of patriotism.
Tour of Amritsar
After your breakfast, leave for the city tour of Amritsar which would cover the following places:
Golden Temple- Visit the Golden Temple in the morning to seek spiritual solace at the holy shrine, or 'Gurudwara' and witness the beauty of the golden dome. Take a dip in the mystic pond with healing power, and later have the mouth-watering Langar known as the 'Guru Prasad'.
Jallianwala Bagh- At a little distance from the Golden Temple, it is the famous public ground where the heinous act of public massacre took place in 1919 during the freedom struggle of India. To commemorate the massacre, a memorial is established in the ground where the visitors pay homage.
Durgiana Temple- It is a Significant Hindu Temple which is the replica of the Golden temple, dedicated to Goddess Durga. The temple is also worshipped for Lord Hanuman, Mata Shitla, and Lakshmi Narayan.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum- The museum is dedicated to the Lion of Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and displays the gallant activities of the king. The artifacts he used while fighting the greatest battles are showcased in the museum that makes it one of the must-visit places in Amritsar.
With plenty of time in the evening, you can go on a food walking tour of Amritsar. Feast your tastebuds with the local dishes in the city of foodies. Stroll the lanes with the oldest food shops run by people for generations in the old Amritsar town. Taste a variety of local dishes such as Tangy Chaats, spicy samosas or walk a little more through the cobbled up lanes to get your hands on some lip-smacking Indian street food and end your day with a cup of masala tea or a colorful delicious dessert and rest for the day.
Jaipur - The pink city
The Palace-on-Wheels halts at its first stop, Jaipur, one of the most well-planned cities of the world of its time. An air-conditioned coach will take you to explore the city. Visit the Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds followed by a visit to Amber Fort where you can take an elephant ride to climb up the hill. After having lunch at a Five Star Hotel, visit the City Palace Museum and Observatory and head back to the luxury train India.
After breakfast, you will be driven to the Ranthambhore National Park, a wildlife sanctuary that is best known for photographing and observing the activities of the tigers roaming around the park. The luxury train India will leave for Chittorgarh once you return. On your way, enjoy the colorful countryside passing by in the daylight. You will be in Chittorgarh after lunchtime. Moving legends of honor and pride will echo in your mind as you proceed to Udaipur.
Start your day in Udaipur visiting the two most beautiful dream-like marble palaces- the Jag Niwas (Lake Palace) and the Jag Mandir, standing amidst the blue waters of Lake Pichola will lure you to capture a few mesmerizing views. Have a scrumptious lunch at a Five Star Hotel and visit the City Palace to hear several stories of the great Kings and learn about their lifestyles.
Lying in the heart of the Thar desert, Jaisalmer houses many painstakingly latticed Havelis or mansions with grand facades. The Nathmalji-ki-haveli, Patwon-ki-haveli, and Salim Singh-ki-haveli are few of the most famous Havelis showcasing the stone carver's skill. Have your lunch and get ready for an exciting camel ride on the sand dunes of Sam, before sipping a refreshing cup of tea. Enjoy the dinner accompanied by a cultural program at a Five Star hotel.
The Royal Rajasthan on Wheels tour will cover Jodhpur today. Known for its rock-solid Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur is the second-largest city of Rajasthan. The architectural excellence of the grand palaces within- Moti Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Phool Mahal, Sileh Khana, and Daulat Khana will leave you gawking. Near the fort complex lies Jaswant Thada, and a group of royal cenotaphs made of white marble. After your lunch at a Palace hotel, head back to the Palace-on-Wheels.
The next morning, the Palace on Wheels arrives in Bharatpur. After breakfast, visit the world-famous bird sanctuary, Keoladeo Ghana National Park. Witness thousands of fascinating Egrets, Siberian Cranes, migratory Waterfowl, and other species of birds chirping in and around the park. Once you are back, the train will leave for Agra. On reaching Agra, visit the Agra Fort, have lunch, and leave for the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world. Get carried away with the beauty of this pristine monument, a symbol of love. Check out from the luxury train India and stay overnight at Agra.
Agra to Gwalior
Get ready for a 3-hour drive to Gwalior in the morning. Upon arrival, check in to the hotel. Located in the state of Madhya Pradesh and famous for its dramatic and imposing hilltop fort, described reputedly as the pearl of Indian fortresses by the Mughal emperor Babur, makes Gwalior an interesting stop en route to some of the best-known destinations in this part of India. Ruled by many dynasties over the years, Gwalior showcases their influence even today in many regal structures that dominate the cityscape.
Gwalior houses many grand palaces and glorious temples which speaks volumes of its glorious past and gives the city a majestic charm. Gwalior's relation with music is still intact over the years. The history of music resides here with the legendary Indian musician Tansen and Baiju Bawara born here. A Tansen Music festival is celebrated every year as a tribute to Tansen, the most admired singer in Emperor Akbar's court. The city, along with its glorious history and a rich culture also has many breathtaking views to offer. The culture here is celebrated with the most vibrant fairs with cultural evenings and musical nights being part of it. To top it up, the local mouth-watering delicacies with a special twist of their own are a must-try to take home that Gwalior tastes with you.
Get freshen up to proceed for the city tour of Gwalior. Cover some of the popular places in Gwalior such as:
Gwalior Fort - The most talked about and hard to miss from any nook and corner of the city, this fort on the top of a rocky mountain dominates the entire city. Explore the Temples, water tanks, and palaces housed in this fort complex.
Jai Vilas Palace - This 19th-century palace established by the king of Gwalior has a lot to offer. Walkthrough the museum, Library, and the Darbar hall beautified with intricate carvings.
Tomb of Tansen - Greatest musician in the court of Akbar, Tansen was buried near to his guru and this burial site is the Tomb of Tansen, a beautiful piece of architecture.
Gwalior zoo- All the wildlife enthusiasts can enjoy a day at the Gwalior zoo to witness a collection of animals including a white tiger.
Go for the light and sound show at Gwalior fort in the evening which revives the ancient glory of the fort. Organized near the Mansingh palace, this show depicts the history associated with the fort and is conducted in Hindi and English. The great Bollywood actor, Mr. Amitabh Bachchan is the narrator of the show. Every corner of the fort glows with vibrant lights that are synchronized with the recorded or live narration and music lighting up the surrounding of the fort as well.
Gwalior to Jhansi
Board the morning train to Jhansi. On reaching Jhansi, drive to Khajuraho en-route visiting Orchha. Founded by the Bundela Rajput Chief, Rudra Pratap in the 16th century, the historic town of Orchha is nestled on the banks of river Betwa. Relive your childhood fantasy of traveling back in time with the most fascinating temples and palaces. The monuments of this ancient town continue to retain their original grandeur even to this day. It offers various tourist attractions such as:
Raja Mahal - This huge palace of the city was the official residence of the Kings of Orchha.
Jahangir Mahal - A brilliant example of architecture, this palace was built to honor the Mughal Emperor Jahangir.
Laxmi Narayan Temple - It serves as both a fort and a temple that shows the composition from mythological themes with the amazing mural paintings on its walls.
Chhatris - The Cenotaphs known as the famed Chhatris of Orchha were built in the honor of its erstwhile rulers.
Ram Raja Temple - the palace of the queen of Orchha turned into a temple when Lord Ram refused to be moved from there.
Jhansi to Khajuraho
After a 4-hour drive to Khajuraho, get some rest at the hotel to be up and ready for the light and sound show at the Western Temples in the evening.
The Light and sound show at the Western Temples is a must-have experience for every visitor to know the history, myths, and facts of Khajuraho. After sunset, the Western Group of Temples is lit with artificial lights which is an altogether different experience. The audio will play in the background explaining all about the art, sculptures, architecture, history, and the making of these Temples along with myths related to them to enhance the knowledge of the visitors. This show takes place on a daily basis and is available in English and Hindi.
Enjoy the sightseeing tour of the exotic temples of Khajuraho starting from the most popular western group of temples.
Kandariya Mahadev Temple- Visit the Kandariya Mahadev Temple which is carved with various themes of life with the outer walls having three horizontal panels showing deities of the Hindu pantheon, and groups of lovers, a pageant of sensuousness, vibrantly alive.
Chausath Yogini temple- Explore the magnificent Chausath Yogini temple dedicated to kali without the deity in the sanctum.
The Matangeshwar temple is the only shrine used for worshipping and is almost devoid of ornamentation.
The Varaha Temple- Standing opposite the Matangeshwar temple, is dedicated to the fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the form of a Boar.
The Lakshmana Temple is the best preserved and the most evolved Vishnu temple and is dedicated to the four-armed and three-headed man-lion-boar statue of Vaikuntha,
The Vishwanath temple with the most stunningly beautiful exterior was supposed to be embedded with jewels, but only a stone lingam is what remains now.
The Chitragupta temple is another interesting temple dedicated to the Sun God. The majestic exteriors show the lavish lifestyle of the Chandela kings in all its pomp and glory.
The Eastern Group of temples are famous for the Brahma and the Hanuman temples which are the well-preserved temples of this group. The Vamana temple showcases the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Khajuraho also has a few Jain temples with the Ghantai temple, the Parsvanath, and the Shantinath temple as the most prominent ones. Relax for the rest of the day and spend your evening at leisure.
Khajuraho to Varanasi
Have an early breakfast and check out to make it on time to the airport for a flight to Varanasi. Upon arrival, a representative will drop you at the hotel in Varanasi.
Situated on the banks of the holy River Ganges, Varanasi, derives its name from the two streams, the Varuna and the Assi, flowing in the north and south of the city respectively. One of the most ancient living cities in India, Varanasi is visited by millions of people every year for it is one of the most sacred places of pilgrimage. Varanasi offers a breathtaking experience with the rays of the dawn shining across the Ganges; the temples and shrines bathing in a golden hue, the hymns, and mantras touching every soul along with a refreshing dip in the holy waters. Renowned for its rich tapestry of music, arts, crafts, and education, Varanasi also abounds in the art of silk weaving for Banarasi silk sarees and silk brocades which are cherished across the world today.
Drive towards the city en-route visiting Sarnath- 5 miles out of Varanasi: The great Buddha chose the environs of the city to preach his first sermon at Sarnath, (only 10 km away) after attaining enlightenment which made it a premier center for Buddhism. Explore a rich collection of ancient Buddhist relics displayed at the Archaeological Museum (Open all days except Friday). Reach and check in to the hotel to relax for a few hours.
Witness the magical Aarti at the Ghats in the evening. The guide will describe the meanings of the chants along with the proceedings during the Aarti of the river. It is an uplifting spiritual ritual that takes place near the Ganges River. The Hindu priests face the river and hold the lamps which are circled around in a clockwise manner, accompanied by chants to offer prayers to Mother Ganga and seek her blessings. The lamps light up the beautiful Ganga and the fragrant smoke from incense sticks along with the mantras is the most spectacular moment for the visitors to witness. After the prayer ceremony, flowers, milk, and floating lamps are offered to the Ganges by the priests followed by the pilgrims and soon the Ganga river is decorated with lamps and aromatic flowers.
Start early with a drive to Daswamedh Ghat and witness the living traditions on the sacred river Ganges through a boat ride and see the cremation Ghats. You'll be transferred to the banks of the River Ganges to board a boat with a guide and proceed to the middle of the river to witness the remarkable sunrise. On your way back to the hotel, visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
Have breakfast and proceed for the guided day tour of Varanasi beginning with the Bharat Mata Temple, which features a big relief map of Mother India engraved in marble. Also visit the 18th century Durga Temple, commonly known as the Monkey Temple due to the huge population of the monkeys around it. Proceed to the Tulsi Manas Temple to see the entire Ramayana inscribed on its walls. Also visit the biggest residential university in Asia, BHU that houses an Art Gallery and the Mosque of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
Return to the city for a Street Food Tour that samples locally made historical and traditional food joints. Go for a Banaras walk through the culturally interesting lanes to taste traditional chaat, the lip-smacking sweet-savory hot snacks, Banaras samosa, a vast array of mithai, the traditional grain, lentil or milk-based sweets of India. Banaras offers tastes and textures of all shapes and sizes that change with every season. From kathai biscuits to rich saffron milk thandai, creamy winter malaiyo, or summer yogurt lassi, you can't get enough of the food in Banaras. The tour finishes off with vegetarian Banarasi Baati Chokha which is a chickpea infused roasted bread, soaked in ghee and served with potato chutney and the endpoint for non-vegetarians will be a visit to the weaver' alleys for Banaras biryani & kebab.
Overnight will be in Varanasi.
Flight from Varanasi to Delhi
You will have the morning for yourself and later bid adieu to Varanasi to leave for Delhi.
You’ll be transferred to the International airport to take a flight back home as per your flight schedule with unforgettable memories of colorful India.