Itinerary Details: 11 days/10 nights
Day 1: Jaipur Arrival
Namaste. Welcome to India! Upon arrival, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel.Jaipur, the vibrant capital of Rajasthan, owes its name, foundation and planning to the great astronomer and warrior Maharaja Jai Singh II. The city is fondly called the “Pink City” due to the pink colored buildings and avenues.
Enjoy an evening heritage walk: From its creation in 1727, the royal families and nobles of Jaipur patronized the craftsmen and artisans of the city. These traditions continue to this day and modern Jaipur is considered by many as the craft capital of India. Traditional methods are still used to produce many valuable and highly prized items. Using skills passed down through generations, artisans and master craftsmen can be seen in the areas of Ghat Darwaza and Vishveshwar ji. On this fascinating evening walk, mingle and talk with the locals while sampling some of the regions culinary delights; try pakoras, aloo tiki, samosas, and sweets from some of the city’s most popular street food vendors. Observe local artisans in their workshops; jewelers and silversmiths, gold and silver foil makers.
Your heritage home stay, Khas Bagh, is a farm retreat tucked away in the Aravalli hills. A stone's throw from the 12th century Amer Fort, Khas Bagh was built on the lines of a medieval style haveli with open courtyards, verandahs with arches, and intricately carved stone pillars and jaalis, all locall handcrafted. Eighteen luxuriously appointed rooms with antique furniture, a pool and a polo lounge with black and white family photographs all add to providing an authentic bespoke Rajput stately homestay experience. Overnight.
Day 2: Jaipur
After breakfast, visit the Amber Fort. The final descent to this ancient city is made by elephant back—a truly memorable experience! In the fort, you will see magnificent palaces and halls covered with mirrored mosaics. After lunch, explore Jaipur city. Visit City Palace, a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture that is still occupied by the Royal family. Also view the Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal) and Jantar Mantar, the solar observatory.
Your evening is reserved for a special cooking lesson/dinner with a local family in their heritage home. Overnight.
Day 3: Jaipur - Rajsamand
After breakfast, drive to Rajsamand (4.5 hours) and transfer to your hotel. Located in rural Rajasthan, Devshree is an elegant and classic homestay with the your hosts Bhavna and Shatrunjai. The 8-bedroom house was constructed in a traditional haveli style with deep verandahs and intricate courtyards of Rajput architecture and influence. The interiors are airy and spacious, and the décor has a contemporary twist. The central courtyard is lovely to soak in the warm sun or sit by the cauldron of fire on the cold winter evenings. As the sun sets, you hear the villagers returning to their homes with their cows and goats, a golden time of day referred to locally as gaudhuli.
Join Shatrunjai for a rural rumble in a specially customized four-wheel drive. The drive continues along the Ragho Sagar Lake where you will be told about the birdlife before you stop at the family cenotaphs. The next stop is the Cave Temple with its steep flight of stairs. But before you head to the temple, biscuits are bought and fed to the fishes in the Step-well. At the temple, you will Shatrunjai will discuss Hinduism, Spirituality, Meditation (which he himself practices), and the significance of the knots of the sacred thread of the Hindus. From the temple, you will be driven on the dirt road further inside the hinterland crossing many dhanis (small farm houses) and farmlands. The drive ends by a lake where tea and cookies are served amidst a gorgeous sunset. Overnight.
Day 4: Rajsamand
After breakfast, enjoy a rural train ride – a magical experience to traverse down the Aravalli hills in a small meter gauge train. The journey begins after breakfast when your guide will escort you to the charming Kamblighat station. It’s a local train and you are seated on wooden slabs alongside with the locals who may be a wedding party, pilgrims, daily travelers, children, and sometimes even their cattle!
The train traverses through the Aravalli scrub jungle and through tunnels and over bridges, stopping en route at Goram Ghat Station in the forest where monkeys arrive in hordes. The journey continues and you disembark at Phulad station. Return to Devshree for an afternoon at leisure. Sit by the pool, enjoy a cocktail on the verandah, enjoy a book from the library, or enjoy lively conversations with your hosts. Overnight.
Day 5: Rajsamand - Pali
In the morning, drive to Pali (2 hours). In the late nineteenth century, Thakur Chhatra Singh of Nimaj, a powerful noble of the desert kingdom of Marwar (Jodhpur), decided to dam a seasonal stream flowing through his estate. His vision was to create a water reservoir which would harvest the monsoon rains. It was an ambitious project and a great drain on his resources but Thakur Chhatra Singh remained true to his vision. The dam was completed in 1890 and changed the dry scrub into prime agricultural land. Farmers struggling for sustenance on parched lands were invited by Thakur Chhatra Singh to settle around the reservoir. The property is now a luxury heritage experience in rural Rajasthan.
By the early twentieth century, Chhatra Sagar had developed into a lush green oasis. With its wide open spaces and enchanting views, it became the entertainment venue of choice. To capture the outdoor “big sky” feel, permanent construction was deliberately kept to a minimum. A luxury tented camp was created for each party. For many dignitaries visiting Nimaj, “Camp Chhatra Sagar” was the highlight. Legendary sporting parties with high tea and exotic dinners became a regular feature.
Afternoon at leisure and overnight.
Day 6: Pali
Start your day with a walk to the local village. Guided by members of the family, the walk showcases the settlements balance on harmony, conservation, and full utilization of natural resources. Remainder of your day at leisure or enjoy the additional camp activities. Overnight.
Day 7: Pali - Mount Abu
In the morning, drive to Mount Abu. The drive today takes you across the Aravalli Hills, the oldest mountain range in the world. Away from the cities and popular tourist routes, you will see many vignettes of Rajasthani rural life. Your destination is the only hill station in Rajasthan- Mount Abu. Set on a high rocky plateau in the Aravalli Range and surrounded by forest, it offers a relatively cool climate and views over the arid plains below.
Connaught House is a charming English country cottage set in shady gardens within walking distance of the town of Mount Abu and the famous Nakki Lake. This property of the Maharaja was formerly the official summer residence of the Chief Minister of the princely state of Marwar.
In the afternoon, visit centuries-old Dilwara Temples, ornately carved from white marble and of great spiritual importance. The temples are famous for their use of marble and intricate marble carvings. The five marble temples of Dilwara are a sacred pilgrimage place of the Jains. Some consider them to be one of the most beautiful Jain pilgrimage sites in the world. The temples have an opulent entrance, the simplicity in architecture reflecting Jain values like honesty and frugality. The temples are in the midst of a range of forested hills. Evening at leisure and overnight.
Day 8: Mount Abu
In the morning visit Brahma Kumaris, a renowned spiritual ashram. The aim of this institute is to establish universal peace through spiritual knowledge and training of yoga and meditation. The leaders are all women who run and manage the organization. Tour the ashram and attend a meditation class with one of the leaders, who will share more about the faith.
In the afternoon, enjoy a walk around Nakki Lake. Overnight.
Day 9: Mount Abu - Udaipur
In the morning, drive to Udaipur (4 hours). With a wealth of enchanting lakes, Udaipur is a true oasis in Rajasthan. Dotted with marble palaces, hibiscus gardens, and fountain pavilions, Udaipur appeals to the imagination of poets, painters, and writers. The city's inherent romance, beauty, and remarkable past redolent with episodes of heroism and splendor continue to enthrall travelers. Udaipur, the City of Dawn, looms up like a vision in white.
In the evening visit the Bagore Ki Haveli. Every evening, the haveli stages performances of traditional dance and music of Rajasthan. The haveli looks marvelous with glowing lights in the night. Bagore Ki Haveli is a perfect place to explore the ancient architecture and lifestyle of the royal family. The upper courtyard makes an atmospheric setting for the fabulous nightly Dharohar performances of Rajasthani dance.
Your proposed accommodations are at Fateh Prakash Palace, once awarded as the Best Grand Heritage Hotel. The Fateh Prakash Palace is majestically located along the shores of Pichola Lake in Udaipur. The palace gets its name after one of the greatest rulers of the Mewar dynasty, Maharana Fateh Singh. The palace was renovated and converted into a heritage hotel, known for its par excellence and royal architecture. The palace features distinctive turrets and majestic domes. The palace also showcases a treasure-trove of priceless paintings, exquisite chandeliers, and collection of unique crystal and crockery. Overnight.
Day 10: Udaipur
After breakfast, proceed for the city tour of Udaipur. First, visit the City Palace and Museum. The largest palace complex in India, it is a blend of Mughal and Rajput influences. Also see the 17th century Jagdish Temple and visit the Sahelion ki Bari, an ornamental pleasure garden with fountains and marble kiosks.
Afternoon to explore the markets and meet with patrons of the tie and dye print famous to Udaipur. At sunset, enjoy a private boat ride on Lake Pichola. Overnight.
Day 11: Departure
Today, transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Bon Voyage!