Itinerary Details: 12 days/11 nights
Day 1: Delhi Arrival
Namaste. Welcome to India! You will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel.
Delhi is a bustling metropolis that incorporates the ancient with the modern. Amidst the skyscrapers, the monuments stand as a silent reminder to India's legacy. Driving from the airport, you will be impressed with Delhi's spacious, tree-lined streets and garden parks. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Delhi
After breakfast, enjoy a rickshaw ride in Chandni Chowk. Witness the architectural marvels, the multicolored facades, beautifully decorated shops, ethnically dressed locals and the fragrances emanating from the potpourri of eateries that line the historical alleys.
Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666) built the walled city of Delhi on the banks of holy River Yamuna. It had a magnificent palace known as Red Fort, impressive mansions, enchanting bazaars, elegant shrines, royal gardens and fountains at every corner to romance ones' senses. The Emperor’s beloved daughter Jahanara designed a major street called Chandni Chowk in front of Red Fort, with a canal running down the center and pools at major intersections reflecting the moonlight. During the British regime, the street underwent major changes and since then this area has witnessed some of the most important events in Indian history. Today these splendid ruins and tales of valor are a testimony of the evolution of the times. Chandni Chowk truly reflects the national unity, secularism and diversity of India. The tour covers 20 main sites including palaces, mansions, elegant shrines and colorful bazaars.
Continue to Mehrauli and the Qutub Minar complex. Originally an ancient Islamic monument, the Qutub Minar is the tallest tower in India. Built of red sandstone and marble, the minar is not without controversy. Some believe it was built as a tower of victory to signify Muslim rule in the country, while skeptics claim it was erected to call the devoted to prayer. The complex also houses the first mosque to be built in India and an iron pillar that mysteriously has a high resistance to corrosion, even after being exposed to the natural elements for centuries. Also, drive by the India Gate, Parliament, and the President’s residence.
Day 3: Delhi - Agra
In the morning. board your express train to Agra. Upon arrival, meet your guide and continue to the Taj Mahal. Built in the 17th century by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj took over 22 years and 20,000 men to build. The monument is truly a wonder of the world. Continue to the Agra Fort. Its walls and palaces are a silent witness to the rise and fall of the Imperial Mughal Empire and feature a variety of ingenious Islamic inspired devices (some decorative, some more practical) within the fabric of the buildings. It is a citadel with marble palaces, ornate alcoves, and terrace pavilions. Transfer to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
Day 4: Agra - Ranthambore
After breakfast, drive to Ranthambore (5 hours). Ranthambore National Park is one of the most filmed wildlife reserves in the world. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1955 and became a part of Project Tiger in 1973. As the park is relatively small, guests often view leopards, tigers, and jungle cats. Overnight in Ranthambore.
Day 5: Ranthambore
Today, enjoy exclusive morning and afternoon game drives by jeep to explore the varied wildlife. Bring your camera for some spectacular encounters in this preserved land. Overnight in Ranthambore.
Day 6: Ranthambore - Jaipur
In the morning, drive to Jaipur (4.5 hours). 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.
Optional 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.
Day 7: Jaipur
After breakfast, visit the Amber Fort. You may ascend by elephant or jeep. In the fort, you will see magnificent palaces and halls covered with mirrored mosaics. Later view the Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal) and Jantar Mantar, the solar observatory built in the early 18th century. It includes a set of some 20 main fixed instruments. They are monumental examples in masonry of known instruments but which in many cases have specific characteristics of their own. Designed for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye, they embody several architectural and instrumental innovations. This is the most significant, most comprehensive, and the best preserved of India's historic observatories. It is an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period.
Evening at leisure and overnight.
Day 8: Jaipur - Bandhavgarh
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Jabalpur via Delhi. Upon arrival, drive to Bandhavgarh (4.5 hours). Bandhavgarh National Park is one of the few havens in Asia for the Bengal Tiger, considered the pride of the jungle. During the afternoon discover the extensive variety of animals: bear, sloth, tiger, leopard, and sambar. Overnight in Bandhavgarh.
Day 9: Bandhavgarh
A full day spent either by jeep or elephant to view the wildlife. Overnight in Bandhavgarh.
Day 10: Bandhavgarh - Kanha
In the morning, drive to Kanha Narional Park (4 hours)). The lush sal and bamboo forests, grassy meadows, and ravines of Kanha provided inspiration to Rudyard Kipling when writing The Jungle Book. Kanha National Park is one of Asia's premier wildlife reserves. In 1973, it was included among the first tiger reserves under Project Tiger. Evening at leisure and overnight.
Day 11: Kanha
Today enjoy an exclusive morning and afternoon jeep safari. Observe black buck, deer, chital, gaur, and leopard. Overnight in Kanha.
Day 12: Departure
Today, transfer to the airport in Jabalpur for your flight to Delhi or Mumbai. Upon arrival, connect to your onward flight. Bon Voyage!