Day 1: New Zealand – – Delhi, India
Today depart New Zealand for India! On arrival at Delhi airport meet and greet with our representative and transfer to your hotel.
Please note – some flights may depart one day earlier.
Day 2: Old Delhi City Tour (B)
After breakfast, we start a full day sightseeing tour of Old Delhi City and experience the Delhi Metro train system. Start By visiting Jama Masjid – the largest mosque in India, which took an incredible 13 years to build, and which remains a marvellous treasure of the Old City. A steep climb to the top of its southern tower will reward you with a stunning view across the rooftops of Delhi. We will then take a Rickshaw ride to explore the old part of town, seeing ChandniChowk (Moonlight Square), one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi, followed by the fragrant Spice Market. We will then visit the Red Fort – Delhi’ s most famous monument and a powerful reminder of the Mughal emperors who ruled India. Return to the hotel by the Delhi metro train.
Day 3: Delhi – Agra, Taj Mahal (B)
After breakfast, proceed to Agra. Travel time approx. 5 hours. Upon arrival check-in to the hotel, before visiting Agra Fort. The 16th century monument is yet another proof of the architectural brilliance of Mughals and is known as the Red Fort of Agra. Be inspired by the powerful fortress and marvel at the symbol of Mughal’s grandeur. It was in Agra Fort that Shah Jahan was held prisoner by Aurangazeb, his son. Shah Jahan, the emperor, spent his last days here viewing the monument of love he had built for his wife.
It’s then onto the magical Taj Mahal to enjoy the sunset. You simply can’t think of India without thinking of the Taj Mahal. You may not have heard of the city of Agra if it were not for this incredible monument of love. Watch as the glistening sun sets over the amazing white marble beauty. The monument was constructed by Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal and again stands as proof for the brilliance of Mughal architecture. Named as one of the wonders of the world and declared as a World Heritage Site, it truly is a breath-taking sight. (*Taj Mahal Closed on every Friday).
Day 4: Agra – Jaipur (B)
After breakfast, proceed to Jaipur. Travel time approx. 5 hours. On the way we will visit either the the fortified ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri – built using red sandstone it’s a perfect blend of Indian, Islamic and Persian architecture, or Abhaneri which is a village in the Dausa district of Rajasthan and popular for the Chand Baori step well and Harshat Mata Temple.
Day 5: Jaipur City Tour (B)
Today is an early start for a full day sightseeing tour of Jaipur. Visit Amer Fort to experience a Jeep Ride or Elephant ride from the old town to the Courtyard of Amer Fort. In the earlier days, the King’s army would have used the same route. Amer Fort is the old capital of the Kachhwahas and stands atop a range of craggy hills. The fort is remarkable as much for the majestic grandeur of its surroundings as for its sturdy battlements and beautiful palaces. It is a fine blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture. The solemn dignity of it red sandstone and white marble pavilions, when reflected in the lake at the foot hill, is a sight to behold.
On the way to Amer, we stop at JalMahal, a small palace that is set in the middle of Man Sagar Lake.
See the City Palace, situated in the heart of the old City and a place that occupies about one seventh of the old city area. Vist Jantar Mantar, built in 18th century, it is home to a collection of architectural astronomical instruments. We will also visit Albert Hall Museum – situated in the Ram Niwas Garden. This graceful building was founded in 1876 by Prince Albert (also known as Albert Hall).
Continue on to the beautiful red and pink sandstone palace of HawaMahal – an amazing sight and the most recognisable monument of Jaipur. The 5 storied stunning semi-octagonal monument having 152 windows with over hanging latticed balconies is a fine piece of Rajput architecture. Originally designed for the royal ladies to watch and enjoy the processions and other activities, on the street below. Now it houses a well laid out museum.
Tonight take the opportunity to visit a block-printing workshop, the ancient art of Jaipur.
Day 6: Jaipur – Jodhpur (B)
Early morning after breakfast, proceed to Jodhpur. Travel time approx. 7 hours. Jodhpur is famously called the Sun City, as the sun is visible here first every morning. Jodhpur was founded in the year 1459 by RaoJodha and was respectfully named after him. The second largest city in the state of Rajasthan is divided into old city and new city and is famous for its magnificent forts and palaces. Tonight we visit the local markets.
Day 7: Jodhpur (B)
After breakfast, we start a full day sightseeing tour of Jodhpur. Visit Mehrangarh Fort, one of the largest Indian forts standing magnificently at 400 feet above the city and a fort that was constructed by RaoJodha in 1459 AD.
Ummaid Bhawan Palace – construction started in the year 1929 and was completed in 1943. The palace is situated on the highest point in the city. The massive 347 room palace is one of the largest private residences in the world. The palace boasts a combination of Indian and European style of architecture. A part of the palace still serves as a residence to the former royal family, while other two parts of the palace are converted into Taj Palace Hotel and museum.
Jaswant Thada was built in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh, the Second in the year 1899. The tranquility of the marble construction is enchanting. The carvings are intricate. Inside Jaswant Thada, you will find the portraits of the Rathore rulers. The grounds of Jaswant Thada consist of a stunning multilevel garden, intricately carved gazebos and a pond.
Mandore, belonging to the 6th century, was Marwar’s capital before Jodhpur was established. Mandore Gardens attracts tourists in great numbers and is home to a government museum, a ‘Hall of Heroes’ and a temple to 33 crore Gods. Various artefacts and statues found in the area are housed at the museum. The architectural splendour of the bygone era is clearly evident here.
Day 8: Jodhpur – Pushkar (B)
After breakfast, proceed to Pushkar. Travel time approx. 4 ½ hours. On arrival check in at hotel then tonight we visit Pushkar Market. The Bazaar offers a variety of items including Rajasthani costumes and puppets, embroidered fabrics, souvenirs, bangles and beads, decorative pieces and accessories, curios, embroidered shoes, brass utensils, glass lamps, bags, belts and many more handicraft items. The majority of the traditional items are brought to the Pushkar Bazaar from Barmer District and other tribal areas of Rajasthan.
Day 9: Pushkar – sightseeing and local cooking experience (B,D)
After breakfast, enjoy a camel ride around the Rajasthan desert before we make our way to Pushkar Lake – considered by Hindus all across India to be one of the most sacred lakes of India. The lake is surrounded by 52 palaces, 400 temples and 52 bathing ‘ghats’, which are a series of steps leading to the lake. Every year in November, pilgrims take a holy dip in this lake. It is believed that the water of the lake is capable of cleansing sins and curing skin diseases.
Brahma Temple is the lone Hindu temple in India where Lord Brahma, the Creator of the World is worshipped. This major attraction of Pushkar is situated on the banks of the Pushkar Lake and is considered to have a special position in the Hindu Pantheons. Built in the 14th century, the temple comprises a raised platform, red spire, stone slabs, marble floors and an image of ‘hans’ or swan, Lord Brahma’s vehicle. It is customary for pilgrims to stand on the steps and put coins to mark the deaths and births of their loved ones.
Savitri Temple – built in 1687 and situated on the peak of the Ratnagiri Hill it houses the statue of Goddess Savitri and offers good views of the surroundings, including the sand dunes of nearby villages and Pushkar Lake. Legend has it that the presence of Savitri was required in a ‘yagna’ that was done by Lord Brahma but she kept Him waiting. Lord Brahma irritated with her behaviour, married a milkmaid named Gayatri. Savitri became furious at this and cursed Him that he will only be worshipped once a year and only in Pushkar.
Tonight we enjoy a cooking class to learn how to cook local cuisine. Guided by a professional Indian chef we prepare, cook then eat the delicious dishes for dinner.
Day 10: Pushkar – Delhi (B)
After breakfast, we make our way to Delhi, around 7 hours’ drive. On arrival, check into the hotel and relax.
Day 11: New Delhi City Tour (B,D)
After breakfast, we start a full day sightseeing tour of New Delhi.
QutabMinar, the tallest brick minaret in the world, is an incredible example of early Indo–Islamic architecture. It was built in 1206, but the reason remains a mystery. Some believe that it was made to signify victory and the beginning of Muslim rule in India, while others say it was used to call the faithful to prayer.
Humayun’s Tomb – if you think it looks a bit like the TajMahal in Agra, that’s because it was the inspiration for the TajMahal’s creation. The tomb was built in 1570, and houses the body of the second Mughal emperor, Humayun. It was the first of this type of Mughal architecture to be built in India.
Bahai Temple – is commonly referred to as the Lotus Temple, as it’s shaped like a lotus flower. It’s particularly pretty at night, when it’s attractively lit up. Made out of white marble, the temple belongs to the Bahai Faith, which proclaims the unity of all people and religions. Everybody is welcome to worship there.
India Gate – the towering archway of India Gate at the centre of New Delhi is a war memorial, built in memory of the Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army in World War I. At night it glows warmly under floodlights, and the gardens that line its boulevard are a popular place to enjoy a warm summer’s evening.
Laxmi Narayan Temple – built in 1938 by the Industrialist G.D. Birla, it is one of the major temples in Delhi and is located near Connought Place. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Laxmi and her consort Narayana. The temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi on the stipulation that people of all castes shall be allowed to enter the temple.
Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner with your fellow travellers and receive a group photo as a memento of your trip to India.
Day 12: Delhi – – New Zealand (B)
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.
Day 13: New Zealand
Arrive home today.