With our engaging native Trip Leader and a congenial group of never more than 16 guests, we’ll show you more of North India’s inspiring landmarks, take you in search of the elusive Bengal tiger, and introduce you to friendly residents eager to share their culture and traditions.
Day 1 – Welcome to Delhi, India
On arrival at the airport, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to Le Meridien. A+R guests will enjoy upgraded Club Rooms here at our contemporary 5-star hotel, ideally located close to historic India Gate and bustling Connaught Place.
Day 2 – Discover Delhi… Old + New
After breakfast, youll join our engaging native-born guide for a full-day tour of Indias vibrant and endlessly fascinating capital. Focusing this morning on the sights and sounds of Old Delhi, youll begin with Jama Masjid, Indias largest mosque. Then hop aboard a traditional pedicab - a delightful way to immerse in the colors and rhythms of the city. Step off at the bustling and fragrant Spice Market and explore among the many vendors as our guide offers insight into Indias enduring cultural and culinary traditions.
Continue your exploration with the historic landmarks of New Delhi, starting with the India Gate – built in memory of Indian soldiers killed during the World War I. Then drive along the elegant Rajpath past Rashtrapati Bhawan, built in the early 20th century as the Viceroys residence and now the official home of the President of India. At Qutab Minar #WHS#, youll discover the tallest brick minaret in the world – a graceful, fluted, tapering tower completed in the 14th century with beautiful terra cotta embellishments and balconies. Tonight, youll enjoy an à la carte dinner with wine at our 5-star hotel. Meals B+D
Day 3 – Agra + The Taj Mahal
After breakfast, youll embark on a scenic southward journey to Agra, the venerated 16th-century capital of the Lodhi Dynasty. On arrival, check in to the inviting Trident Hotel, and then visit the Agra Fort #WHS#. Behind the impressive 1.5-mile long fortress walls that surround the complex, youll discover lovely grounds, historic mosques, grand audience halls and fairytale palaces. Dating back to the 16th century and reflecting elements of both Hindu and Islamic architectural styles, this fort is more aptly described as a magnificent, walled palatial city. End your sightseeing across the Yamuna River at Mehtab Bagh; most visitors don’t know to come here, but in the softer light of late afternoon and evening, this Mughal garden offers magical views of the Taj Mahal. Meals B+D
Day 4 – Taj Mahal at Sunrise + Onward to Ranthambore
Arise early this morning for a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal #WHS#. You of course did already see this renowned "Monument to Love" yesterday evening, but the strikingly iridescent and translucent façade of the Taj Mahal offers a different but equally enchanting experience in the sharper light of early morning. After breakfast back at the hotel, you’ll check out and depart Agra to visit Fatehpur Sikri #WHS#. Built by Emperor Akbar in the 16th century but abandoned soon after his death, this veritable fairy tale city is still in pristine condition, making it easy to imagine the opulence of court life long ago. After lunch, continue to Sawai Madhopur and check in to the enchanting Vivanta by Taj Sawai Madhopur Lodge, set in an 80-year-old hunting lodge. Enjoy an a la carte dinner this evening. Meals B+L+D
Day 5 – On Safari in Ranthambore National Park
Most travelers visit this world-famous reserve in a traditional Indian canter, an open-air bus that seats 20 people. But our exclusive safari drives find you in special open-air jeeps that seat only 4 to 6 guests. Theres an experienced naturalist guide in each jeep and these vehicles are faster and much more maneuverable than the canter – offering our guests the best chances of spotting the elusive, Royal Bengal Tiger! They can even take you off-road for more up-close wildlife encounters. Today, youll venture deep into the wild beauty of the reserve on early morning and late afternoon safari excursions - when the animals are most active. In addition to its most famous resident, the Bengal Tiger, Ranthambores residents include sloths, bears and hyenas! In between our game-viewing expeditions, you can relax at the Lodge and take advantage of its evocative ambience and romantic setting. Meals B+L+D
Day 6 – Travel to Jaipur
After a leisurely breakfast, the morning is yours to enjoy the historic ambience and lush landscaped grounds of our lodge. After lunch, youll embark an overland journey through the timeless landscapes of the Rajasthani countryside. On arrival in Jaipur, Indias fabled Pink City, check in to the 5-star ITC Rajputana where the rest of your afternoon and evening are free to enjoy as you wish. Meals B+L
Day 7 – Discover Jaipur, India’s Pink City
Founded in the 11th century and beautifully constructed from yellow and pink sandstone and gleaming white marble, the spectacular Amber Fort #WHS# just outside of town stands in testament to the once-powerful and never-conquered Rajput Kingdom. Entering through the towering Sun Gate, your guided tour reveals lavish courtyards, beautifully decorated halls and the dazzling Chamber of Mirrors. Back in the city, youll see Hawa Mahal, the oft-photographed Palace of Winds. Built at the end of the 18th century and comprised of delicately latticed windows, its ingenious design allowed women of royal families to remain concealed while they observed the hustle and bustle of the street below. At the City Palace Museum, our knowledgeable guide will enhance your tour of its extensive and carefully curated collection including miniature paintings, ancient weapons and traditional Rajasthani royal costumes. Youll also visit Jantar Mantar #WHS#, an observatory built in 1726. Youre sure to be astounded by these architectural stone instruments – skillfully designed and constructed to measure time, predict eclipses and track the movements of the stars and planets; the largest instrument stands 90 feet tall and all are amazing accurate.
Jaipur is known for the extraordinary skill of its artisans and after sightseeing youll have time to explore the citys colorful bazaars. Brilliantly tie-dyed fabrics, miniature paintings, finely carved statues, metalwork and pottery are some of the many things you see. Tonights specially arranged dinner in the inviting home of a Jaipur family promises congenial conversation as well as rich insight into daily life and Indias fascinating culture. Meals B+D
Day 8 – Return to Delhi
After breakfast, we’ll take you back to Delhi where A+R guests will have Day Use Rooms at the deluxe Pullman AeroCity Hotel. Located close to the airport, it offers a relaxing and convenient place where you can refresh before your onward flight. Meals B