Arrive Mumbai, India
Arrive in Mumbai, where an A&K representative meets and transfers you to your iconic hotel.
After a morning at leisure, explore the city’s classic sites, including the Gateway of India, an 85-foot-high arch with a design that reflects India’s Muslim and Hindu traditions. Visit the Prince of Wales Museum and Mani Bhawan, a museum dedicated to the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi. Next, see the Dhobi Ghat, the largest open-air laundry in the world and a wonderfully colorful spectacle to behold. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner alongside fellow guests.
Cruise Mumbai Harbour to Elephanta Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to see its renowned temples, carved directly out of the basalt rock. Later this afternoon, fly to Udaipur and check in to your romantic hotel. After settling in, take in the magnificent views of the City Palace and Jag Mandir Palace from your hotel, and stroll its tranquil interior courtyard gardens — an idyllic place to pass a relaxing evening.
Visit the City Palace, a marble complex of palaces and galleries overlooking the lake. Take a private tour of the Crystal Gallery in Fateh Prakesh Palace, and stroll through Sahelion Ki Bari (Garden of the Maids of Honor). Stop at a local painting school as well as the Mayur Arts store. Later, take a private cruise to Jag Mandir, a palace on an island in placidly beautiful Lake Pichola. Enjoy dinner at your hotel.
After breakfast, set out on an excursion to Eklingji and Nagda temples. Break for lunch a nearby Lebua Devi Garh Fort Palace. Return to Udaipur to spend the rest of your day at leisure, enjoying the superb amenities of your accommodations, a former residence of royalty.
Early this morning, drive to the otherwise quiet, secluded desert town of Pushkar, sharing the road with camels, trucks, cattle, water buffalo and rickshaws as you approach. Spend the next two days experiencing the bustling Pushkar Fair, a colorful whirl of activity drawing people from all around the globe. See painted and adorned camels and cattle being traded; peruse stalls selling camel tassels and ancient woven gypsy dowry bags; and witness Hindu devotees as they throng the ghats around Pushkar Lake in order to bathe, cleanse their sins, and attain a place in heaven.
Travel overland to Jaipur and check into your hotel, the former residence of the Maharajah of Jaipur. This afternoon, experience a tour of Jaipur, including a visit to the City Palace, a unique and arresting complex of several palaces, pavilions, gardens and temples. Located within the palace’s gates is the Mubarak Malal, or “Auspicious Palace,” which contains textiles, including royal formal costumes, sangarneri block prints, Kashmiri pashminas and silk saris. Then, visit Jantar Mantar, an open-air array of astronomical instruments. This evening, attend a cultural dance performance, followed by dinner. The next day, view the Palace of the Winds — built so the women of the royal household could observe street life without being seen. Proceed to explore the beautiful Mughal-style Amber Fort. This red sandstone and marble palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Drive to Agra, observing the colorful rural life of Rajasthan on your journey. Upon arrival, catch your first glimpse of the breathtaking Taj Mahal from your luxurious room. Visit the Taj Mahal in the late afternoon, as the setting sun bathes it in a soft orange glow. Return to this architectural masterpiece again the next morning, when the rising sun lends a warm pink tint to its marble face. Proceed to Agra Fort, a 16th-century Mughal monument and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort was once the prison of Mughal emperor Sha Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal after the death of his beloved wife. This afternoon, enjoy an afternoon at leisure, with the option to make an excursion to Fatehpur Sikri. Built in the 16th c1ntury and later abandoned, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is a fairy tale ghost city of delicately carved sandstone.
Panna National Park
Depart by express train to Jhansi. After lunch, continue to remote Panna National Park, a haven for India’s wildlife, and check in to your wilderness lodge.
Panna National Park
After a morning at leisure, transfer from your lodge to Panna National Park for a game drive in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, spotting crocodiles or perhaps the elusive Bengal tiger. Tonight, enjoy an Indian cooking demonstration, as a chef prepares local delicacies for dinner.
This morning, drive to Khajuraho to see its magnificent Hindu and Jain temples adorned with intricate stone carvings depicting all aspects of life. In the afternoon, fly to Varanasi, a city sacred to Hindus and Buddhists alike. At dusk, head to the banks of the sacred Ganges River to witness the Aarti ceremony. Chanted prayers and rhythmic drumming fill the air as you watch lantern-bearing priests bid the gods and goddesses a restful slumber.
Rise early for a private sunrise cruise on the Ganges River to observe activity along the ghats (stone steps leading down to the river), where locals and pilgrims cleanse themselves, literally and spiritually. Later, fly to Delhi and settle in to your hotel, where you later gather for a farewell cocktail and dinner.
Visit the great Jama Masjid, the most important mosque in India. Completed in 1656, its two minarets, made from red sandstone and white marble, each stand 131 feet tall. Then, set off on an exciting rickshaw ride through the carts and stalls of Chandni Chowk bazaar, one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. Like Jama Masjid, it dates to the era of Shah Jahan, and today is a vital part of everyday life here — frequented by locals and a must-see destination for visitors. After lunch, tour New Delhi, including Humayun’s Tomb, the last resting place of an esteemed 16th-century Mughal emperor and an architectural precursor of the Taj Mahal.
Transfer to the airport early this morning for your flight home, or begin your post-tour extension to Kathmandu.