Day 1: New Zealand – – Delhi
Depart New Zealand today on your flight to Delhi (please note, some flight may depart 1 day before). You will arrive at New Delhi International Airport. Following customs, immigration formalities and baggage collection you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Day 2: Delhi (B)
Today we head out on a full day to explore Delhi. Begin your day with a guided tour of the Old City of ‘Shahjahanabad’. Your introduction to the city will start with a visit to Raj Ghat – the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi, drive past the Red Fort—the magical monument in red sandstone built at the pinnacle of the Mughal Empire. From here proceed by bicycle rickshaws through the bustling streets of Old Delhi to Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in Asia built by Shahjahan.
Later today we visit Humayun’s tomb, the first great example of a new distinctive style which developed to become the hallmark of the Mughal Dynasty. We also drive past the imposing India Gate (War Memorial Arch), the Parliament buildings and the Rashtrapati Bhawan (the President’s residence) before enjoying one of Delhi’s most incredible Sikh Temples.
Day 3: Delhi – Mandawa (B)
After breakfast, we drive to Mandawa (approx. 8 hrs drive). In the heart of the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan is the beautiful small town of Mandawa, known throughout the state for its forts and havelis. The structures of this place are a reminder of the cultural and social hotspot this place used to be in the bygone era. This afternoon we explore the magnificent Frescoes Havelis. The beautiful havelis, painted predominantly in vibrant colours, have beautiful wall paintings that adorn their walls in this semi-desert region.
Day 4: Mandawa – Bikaner (B)
After breakfast, you will be driven to Bikaner (approx. 5hrs drive). On arrival we head to Junagarh Fort. Built in 1588 by Raja Rai Singh it is unusual in the sense that it was one of the few major forts of Rajasthan that was not built on a hilltop. Instead, it was built on the desert plains; its rugged sandstone bastions and graceful pavilions and balconies are silhouetted against the sky. Following Junagarh Fort, we go for a walk around the local bazaars of Bikaner and learn about the local trades and culture before returning to our hotel.
Day 5: Bikaner – Jodhpur (B)
In the morning, you will be driven to the blue city of Jodhpur (approx. 8hrs drive). Jodhpur, also called the ‘Blue City’ located on the edge of the Thar Desert was once the capital of the former princely state of Marwar state founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha and is now the second largest city of Rajasthan. Flanked on its western side by the Mehrangarh Fort, and on the eastern side by the stately sandstone Palace of Umaid Bhawan; the monuments temples and gardens of Jodhpur depict a multi-faceted grandeur. On arrival, check in to the hotel and enjoy free time.
Day 6: Jodphur – Pushkar (B)
After breakfast we visit the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort, one of Rajasthan’s finest forts. Still run by the Maharaja of Jodhpur, this 5 km long majestic fort on a 125 metre high hill is one of the most impressive and formidable structures. There are seven gates that lead into the fort. Inside the fort is a series of courtyards and palaces. After, drive to the holy city of Pushkar. The town curls around a holy lake, said to have appeared when Brahma dropped a lotus flower. It also has one of the world’s few Brahma temples. With 52 bathing ghats and 400 milky-blue temples, the town often hums with prayers.
Day 7: Pushkar – Jaipur (B)
This morning, we explore two of Pushkar’s key sights. The Brahma Temple and we visit the central lake. The Braham Temple is the oldest temple dedicated to god Brahma. Legend has it that Brahma, when compared to the other gods was a lot more lenient and would bless his devotees whole-heartedly. We then continue to Pushkar Lake. The lake is one of the most prominent spots of Hindu pilgrimage as well as the site of the world famous Pushkar Fair. After, we make the drive to the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur.
Day 8: Jaipur (B)
An exciting day awaits you as begin your sightseeing tour with a photo visit at the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) – a five-storied wonder with a spectacular pyramidal facade and overhanging windows with latticed screens, domes and spires. Continue your tour as we drive to the ancient capital of Amer to see the fabulous Amber Fort situated on a ridge just outside Jaipur city, surrounded by fortified battlements. Maharaja Mansingh, Mughal Emperor Akbar’s most successful General, started the construction of Amber Fort in the 17th century. Before the City Palace was constructed in Jaipur, Amber was the seat of power. This afternoon, enjoy a tour of the Pink City, an “abode of rajahs” on a guided heritage walk. After, return to the hotel and enjoy some free time.
Day 9: Jaipur – Abhaneri – Agra (B)
After breakfast, we head to the Mughal city of Agra (approx. 7hrs drive) en-route visiting the famous Abhaneri Step Well. Abhaneri was originally named Abha Nagri, which means “city of brightness,” but due to mispronunciation, the name was changed. The city is now in ruins, but it attracts tourists from across the globe. Abhaneri is prominent for ‘Baoris’, step wells which were invented by the natives to harvest rain water. We then continue on to Agra. On arrival in to Agra, we check in to the hotel. This afternoon explore the Agra (Red) Fort, an outstanding example of Mughal architecture and the seat and stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations.
Day 10: Agra – Delhi (B)
This morning we head out for the big one! The Taj Mahal, for a spectacle not to be missed— a sunrise visit to the legendary Taj Mahal, built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century as a mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, a masterpiece in marble and one of the world’s most famous landmarks. As the sun rises, a chaste and secretive image of the Taj starts to emerge, casting a very soft light illuminating the contours of this enchanting monument in marble. Referred to as one of the wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal in Agra is the epitome of tourism in India and is celebrated for its architectural magnificence and aesthetic beauty. There is plenty of time to explore the grounds of the Taj Mahal gardens before returning to the hotel for breakfast.
Later you will be driven back to Delhi (approx. 5hrs drive). Upon arrival, proceed for check -in at your hotel.
Day 11: Delhi – – New Zealand (B)
After breakfast, the rest of the morning is at leisure. You will be met at your hotel by our representative and assisted with your transfer to the international airport for your onward flight home.
Day 12: New Zealand
Arrive home in New Zealand today.