Itinerary Details: 7 days/6 nights
Day 1: Delhi Arrival
Namaste. Welcome to India! Arrive at Delhi International airport. 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 an exclusive tour of Chandni Chowk by rickshaw. 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.
In the afternoon, visit the Sikh Temple (Gurudwara Bangla Sahib). In addition to the ideals of equality, the tradition of langar expresses the ethics of sharing, inclusiveness, and oneness. It is probably the largest attended community kitchen in the world. The food is freshly prepared and comprises of parshaada (roti), cooked vegetables, daal, kheer, and karaha prashad. The service is performed by the volunteers called Sewadars. This practice of selfless service goes beyond the bound of religion and serves to nourish the soul, creating a sense of unity and oneness. The experience of the Gurudwara Walk will empower you to be one of the sewadars at the Gurudwara. In the role of a sewadar, experience the ultimate joy of giving. Evening at leisure and overnight.
ST's Hotel Recommendation
Established in 1903 to host attending dignitaries, Maidens was one of the first hotels in Delhi. Peacocks roam the spacious lawns and chocolate croissants are a personal breakfast favorite.
Day 3: Delhi
After breakfast, explore the neighborhoods of New Delhi. . Drive past the India Gate, President's Palace, and visit Mehrauli. 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.
Later, visit Humayun’s tomb, built by the widow of the second Mughal Emperor, Humayun, and an outstanding monument in the Indo-Persian style. Also, The afternoon is free for leisure activities—we recommend visiting the many bazaars for fantastic shopping! Overnight in Delhi.
Day 4: Delhi - Agra
In the morning, board your executive express train to Agra. Upon arrival, meet your guide and visit the Agra Fort, a magnificent citadel with marble palaces, ornate alcoves and terrace pavilions. In the early evening, enjoy a Kachpura Heritage Walk. A narrow bridle path through agriculture fields near Mehtab Bagh takes you into the ancient village of Kachpura and Humayun’s Mosque. The walk starts with explaining the paintings (sanji art) on the walls drawn by community girls under a youth program. The traditional lifestyle of villagers is showcased - some elders smoking hookah, others making shoes. Humayun’s Mosque is another monument situated inside the village. Your walk ends in Mehtab Bagh from where you will have the opportunity to view the Taj Mahal at sunset. Overnight in Agra.
Day 5: Agra - Jaipur
In the morning, enjoy a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal. (Note: Due to weather and heavy fog, a sunset viewing is recommended in December/January.) Built in the 17th century by the Mughal Emperor Shah jehan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj took over 22 years and 22,000 men to build. The monument is truly a wonder of the world. Return to your hotel for breakfast. Continue to the Agra Fort, a magnificent citadel with marble palaces, ornate alcoves, and terrace pavilions.
Later, drive to Jaipur (5 hours). Upon arrival in Jaipur, check into 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. Overnight in Jaipur.
Day 6: Jaipur
Start your morning with a visit to the Amber Fort. The final ascent to this ancient city is made by elephant back—a truly memorable experience! Alternately, you may ascend by jeep. In the fort, you will see magnificent palaces and halls covered with mirrored mosaics.
In the afternoon, explore Jaipur city. Visit City Palace, a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture that is still occupied by the Royal family. Also visit the Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal) and Jantar Mantar, the solar observatory.
Optional evening Rajasthani cooking demonstration with a local family who are friends of Sodha Travel.
Day 7: Departure
After breakfast, drive to Delhi (5.5 hours). Upon arrival, transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Bon Voyage!