INDIA FORTS AND PALACES TOUR
Upscale cultural tour of India

India is a history of many different eras with each era being very different and unique to the others. One of the most interesting eras in terms of architecture, art and culture was the time of the Rajas and the Maharajas. This is the era preceding and continuing through and even after the Great Moguls builders of the Taj Mahal and many majestic palaces, gardens and forts. These palaces, gardens and forts are revered, even today, as a heritage of one of the golden eras of India. India’s Forts and Palaces is embodied in our India Forts & Palaces tour that capture the culture of that time by actually staying in the palaces and going through the journey the Maharaja way. A deluxe tour with all its comforts, conveniences, pampering and even using the same palaces as places of abode as did the maharajas. This is a treat to yourself to feel like a maharaja in a manner that you will believe you are one – and why not?

UNESCO World Heritage Sites covered in this tour
1. Agra Fort 7. Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi
2. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) 8. Red Fort Complex, Delhi
3. Elephanta Caves 9. Taj Mahal, Agra
4. Fatehpur Sikri 10. The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
5. Hill Forts of Rajasthan 11. Western Ghats
6. Humayun's Tomb, Delhi    

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Tour Information
Tour Duration : 16 days
Min. Tour Size : 02 persons
Max. Tour Size : 10 persons
Includes international air
Tour Price (from) : US$
Day 01: Arrive Delhi (Flight)
Day 02: Delhi
(B, D)
Day 03: Delhi/Agra (Drive)
(B)
Day 04: Agra
(B)
Day 05: Agra/Fatehpur Sikri/Jaipur (Drive)
(B)
Day 06: Jaipur
(B, D)
Day 07: Jaipur/Khimsar (Drive)
(B, D)
Day 08: Khimsar/Jaisalmer (Drive)
(B)
Day 09: Jaisalmer
(B)
Day 10: Jaisalmer/Jodhpur (Drive)
(B)
Day 11: Jodhpur
(B)
Day 12: Jodhpur/Udaipur (Drive)
(B)
Day 13: Udaipur
(B)
Day 14: Udaipur/Mumbai (Flight)
(B)
Day 15: Mumbai
(B, D)
Day 16: Depart Mumbai
(B)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Day 01: Arrive Delhi (Flight)

Arrival. Namaste! We are warmly welcomed the traditional Indian way with hands clapped together at the airport and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax.
Overnight: Hotel in Delhi (2 Nights)

Day 02: Delhi

The capital of India is a true reflection of the old and new of India. We explore Old Delhi, starting with the Red Fort Complex*. Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546, with which it forms the Red Fort Complex. The Red Fort is considered to represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which, under Shah Jahan, was brought to a new level of refinement. Each pavilion reveals architectural elements typical of Mughal building, reflecting a fusion of Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions. After visiting the Red Fort, we embark on a captivating journey on board a rickshaw, travelling through the narrow lanes of the renowned Chandni Chowk Bazaar, dating to the 17th Century. To this day it remains one of the busiest markets in Delhi. Our rickshaw ride ends at the Masjid-i Jahan-Numa commonly known as Jama Masjid. Built in the 17th century it is one of India's largest mosques. We then proceed to Raj Ghat, a black marble platform that marks the spot of Mahatma Gandhi's cremation. In the evening we enjoy a sumptuous welcome dinner at a renowned local restaurant. (B, D)

Note: Birla House is closed on Mondays.

Day 03: Delhi/Agra (Drive)

We start our morning with a tour of New Delhi, with a visit to Birla House, the former residence of Mahatma Gandhi, before his assassination in 1948. We then visit the famous India Gate, a war memorial located astride the Rajpath, on the eastern edge of the ‘ceremonial axis’ of New Delhi. We then drive by the Houses of Parliament and Connaught Place to Humayun's Tomb*. This tomb, built in 1570, is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal. We continue to the Qutub Minar and its Monuments*. Built in the early 13th century the red sandstone tower of Qutub Minar at 73 metres (240 ft.), is the tallest brick minaret in the world. The surrounding archaeological area contains funerary buildings, notably the magnificent Alai-Darwaza Gate, a masterpiece of Indo-Muslim art and two mosques. After our tour of New Delhi, we drive to Agra, where we check in our hotel on arrival.
Overnight: Hotel in Agra (2 Nights) (B)

Note: Red Fort is closed on Mondays and Chandni Chowk is closed on Sundays.

Day 04: Agra

This morning before sunrise we visit one of the most famous monuments in the world, the Taj Mahal*. An immense mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his most beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Situated on the right bank of the Yamuna river in a vast Mogul garden, this funerary monument combines elements and styles of Persian, Central Asian and Islamic architecture. For its construction, masons, stone-cutters, inlayers, carvers, painters, calligraphers, dome builders and other artisans were requisitioned from the whole of the empire and also from the Central Asia and Iran. After our visit to the Taj Mahal we return to hotel for breakfast. Later we visit Agra Fort*, also known as the Red Fort of Agra. This powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses, within its 2.5-km-long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers, dating to the 16th century. It comprises many fairy-tale palaces, such as the Jahangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, built by Shah Jahan; audience halls, such as the Diwan-i-Khas; and two very beautiful mosques. In the evening we get to enjoy the Mohabbat The Taj Show at the Kalakriti Cultural and Convention Center. The live show, featuring over artists, depicts the romantic love story of Shah Jahan and his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, followed by a light and sound extravaganza over a replica of the Taj. We return to our hotel after the show. (B)

Note: Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays. On nights with a Full Moon, the Taj Mahal's pure white marble shimmers silver in the moonlight and is open to visitors. We can arrange for an optional tour to enjoy this very special occasion.

Day 05: Agra/Fatehpur Sikri/Jaipur (Drive)

After breakfast we drive to Fatehpur Sikri*. Built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar. Known as the ‘City of Victory’, it was made capital by the Mughal emperor Akbar (1556-1605 AD) and constructed between 1571 and 1573 AD. Fatehpur Sikri was the first planned city of the Mughals marked by magnificent administrative, residential and religious buildings comprised of palaces, public buildings, mosques, living areas for the court, the army, the servants of the king and an entire city. Upon moving the capital to Lahore in 1585 AD, Fatehpur Sikri remained as an area for temporary visits by the Mughal emperors. The complex of monuments and temples, all in a uniform architectural style, includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid and the artistically designed mausoleum of the revered Sufi saint, Salim Chisty. After our visit we take a drive through the countryside to Jaipur, the capital and largest city of Rajasthan. Upon arrival we check into our hotel.
Overnight: Hotel in Jaipur (2 Nights) (B)

Day 06: Jaipur

This morning we are treated like the royalty of yesteryear with an elephant ride up to Amber Fort, which is located high on a hill in the Aravalli Range. Amber Fort is known for its artistic Hindu style elements. With its large ramparts and series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks Maota Lake. Constructed of red sandstone and marble, the attractive, opulent palace is laid out on four levels, each with a courtyard. The construction of the fort began in 1592. It shows the evolution from the purely defensive fort settlements of the early medieval period to the palace fortress type of architecture typified in the 16th century. This palace fortress was never attacked or invaded. The fort comprises of number of gardens, courtyards and palatial spaces derived from Mughal architecture and is a distinguished example of 17th century Rajput architecture. After our visit, we return to Jaipur to visit the majestic City Palace, which houses a rare collection of Indian art and the beautiful Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds, where the ladies of the royal harem used to watch the city from behind the intricately carved facade. We also visit the Jantar Mantar*, an astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century that includes a set of some 20 main fixed instruments designed for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye. 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. Afterwards we have time to wander through the bazaars for shopping or simply soak up the atmosphere and cultural experience. Jaipur is noted for its craftsmen, skilled in brass inlay, lacquer work and stone setting. In the evening we enjoy our dinner followed by Rajasthani Cultural dance show. (B, D)

Day 07: Jaipur/Khimsar (Drive)

Today we drive to Khimsar, located on the eastern edge of the Thar Desert. Khimsar Fort is located in the middle of a small village. In the far distance are sand dunes that shelter fields where blackbuck can be spotted grazing. The construction of the fort began in 1523 by Rao Karamsji - the 8th son of the founder of Jodhpur Rao Jodha. Upon arrival we check into our hotel. In the afternoon we enjoy a jeep safari to explore aspects of rural life in the desert. In the evening we enjoy dinner, followed by a cultural dance show typical to the area.
Overnight: Hotel in Khimsar(1 Night) (B, D)

Day 08: Khimsar/Jaisalmer (Drive)

After breakfast we drive to Jaisalmer, nicknamed ‘The Golden City’. Jaisalmer stands on a ridge of yellowish sandstone, crowned by a fort, which contains the palace and several ornate Jain temples. Many of the houses and temples are finely sculptured. It lies in the heart of the Thar Desert. On arrival we check in at our hotel. The remainder of the day is free for relaxation.
Overnight: Hotel in Jasalmer (2 Nights) (B)

Day 09: Jaisalmer

Today we visit Jaisalmer Fort*, one of the largest forts in the world. It was built in 1156 AD by the Bhati Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal, from where it derives name. The fort stands on Trikuta Hill amidst the golden stretches of the Thar Desert. Its massive yellow sandstone walls are a tawny lion color during the day, fading to honey-gold as the sun sets, thereby camouflaging the fort in the desert. Life within the citadel conjures up images of medieval times, as we wander through narrow lanes along many havelis (mansions) and see skilled artisans at work and of course camels and holy cows. Jaisalmer has been enriched by its Jain community, which adorned the city with beautiful temples, notably the temples dedicated to Shantinath and Parshvanath, which we visit. We then head to the Folk Museum and explore Patwon-ki-Haveli, the home of a wealthy merchant belonging to the powerful Oswal Jain community and banker who had over three hundred trading centers from Afghanistan to China. This ornate five-story complex took fifty years to complete and is the largest, and most elaborate of Jaisalmer’s mansions. We also visit Gadisar Tank, a scenic rainwater lake featuring numerous beautiful shrines and a rich variety of bird species along its shores. In the late afternoon we drive to Sam village in the Thar Desert. Here we ride on camels on the nearby sand dunes to enjoy a spectacular desert sunset. (B)

Day 10: Jaisalmer/Jodhpur (Drive)

After breakfast we take a countryside drive to Jodhpur, known as the ‘Blue City’ for the blue colour on the houses in the old city area, which stand out against the Thar Desert. Upon arrival we check in to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free.
Overnight: Hotel in Jodhpur (2 nights) (B)

Day 11:Jodhpur

After breakfast we visit Mehrangarh Fort. Built around 1460 by Rao Jodha, the fort is situated 125 m (410 feet) above the city and is enclosed by imposing thick walls. Inside it features several palaces known for their intricate carvings and expansive courtyards. We enter through the Jaipol, the Gate of Victory and explore the series of courtyards and palaces decorated with intricate terracotta lattice work. The museum in the fort features a splendid collection of the fabulous trappings of Indian royalty, including some amazing howdahs, carriages decorated with expensive gems, which were positioned on the back of elephants to carry wealthy people or for use in hunting or warfare; miniature paintings and the inevitable Rajput armory and ephemera from ivory inlaid lady’s dumbbells to camel bone carpet weights. Afterwards we visit Jaswant Thada, a white marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II with an array of whimsical domes. In the afternoon we visit the clock tower, a popular landmark in the old city near the Sardar Market, from which narrow alleys lead to bazaars selling vegetables, spices, Indian sweets, textiles, silver and handicrafts. It is a great place to ramble around at leisure. (B)

Day 12: Jodhpur/Udaipur (Drive)

After breakfast we drive to the famous Ranakpur temples, built in AD 1439.  The Ranakpur Jain Temple was built during the reign of the liberal and gifted monarch Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. Light colored marble has been used for the construction of this grand temple which occupies an area of approximately 60 x 62 meters. The temple, with its distinctive domes, shikhara, turrets and cupolas rises majestically from the slope of a hill. Over 1444 marble pillars, carved in exquisite detail, support the temple. The pillars are all differently carved and no two pillars are the same. It is also said that it is impossible to count the pillars. The assembly hall features two big bells, whose sound echoes through the entire complex. From here we drive to Udaipur, the historic capital of the kingdom of Mewar. No other city in Rajasthan is quite as romantic. Misty ochre-shadowed hills and pale, intricate buildings encircle beautiful Lake Pichhola. On arrival we check in our hotel. The remainder of the day is free.
Overnight: Hotel in Udaipur (2 nights) (B)

Day 13: Udaipur

We start our exploration of Udaipur by visiting the City Palace. The palace has several architectural and artistic highlights such as the Mor Chowk, known for its stunning peacock mosaics and the Bhim Vilas Palace with its series of lovely wall paintings. From the City Palace we can see the Lake Place, shimmering like a jewel in Lake Pichola. Later we visit the Jagdish Temple, Fateh Sagar Lake and Saheliyon Ki Bari, the Garden of Maids. We end our tour of Udaipur with a boat ride at Lake Pichola and visit Jag Mandir, a palace built on an island in 1551. The royal family used the palace as a summer resort and pleasure palace for holding parties. (B)

Day 14: Udaipur/Mumbai (Flight)

Today we are transferred to the airport for our flight to Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. Upon arrival in Mumbai we are transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free.
Overnight: Hotel in Mumbai (2 nights) (B)

Day 15: Mumbai

We start our day with a visit to the Gateway of India, Mumbai's most famous monument. Here we embark on our excursion by motor launch to Elephanta Island, located on an island in the Sea of Oman. We explore the Elephanta Caves*, which contain a collection of rock art linked to the cult of Shiva. Here, Indian art has found one of its most perfect expressions, particularly the huge high reliefs in the main cave. We return to Mumbai and visit the Prince of Wales Museum and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus*, formerly known as Victoria Terminus Station. The station is an outstanding example of Victorian Gothic Revival Architecture in India, blended with themes deriving from Indian traditional architecture. The building, designed by the British Architect F. W. Stevens, became the symbol of Bombay as the ‘Gothic City’ and the major international mercantile port of India. Its remarkable stone dome, turrets, pointed arches and eccentric ground plan are close to traditional Indian palace architecture. Our next stop is at Mani Bhawan, a house converted into a museum, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during the Freedom Struggle. We then explore the Hanging Gardens, the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence, the bustling Crawford Market and drive past Haji Ali, the tomb of a wealthy Muslim merchant. We end our tour at the Dhobi Ghat, the world's largest outdoor laundry. The washers, locally known as Dhobis, work in the open to wash the clothes from Mumbai's hotels and hospitals. The word Dhobi Ghat is used all over India to refer to any place where many washers are present. In the evening we enjoy farewell dinner at renowned local restaurant. (B, D)

Note: Elephanta Caves are closed on Mondays.

Day 16: Depart Mumbai

Today we are transferred to the international terminal for our flight home. We bid farewell to India after what will have been a memorable journey through history, culture, art and architecture. (B)

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Departure Dates
English Speaking Departures (Please contact us for information on French, German, Italian and Spanish speaking departures).

2017

Jan 12; Feb 03; Mar 09; Apr 07; May 11; Jun 02; Jul 06; Aug 04; Sep 01; Oct 06; Nov 10; Dec 01

Tour Price

We accept payment in US $ (US Dollars), CA $ (Canadian Dollars) or equivalent EURO (for clients outside North America). Bestway Tours & Safaris offers conversion rate protection. Once full payment has been received, and no modification has been made to the tour itinerary, we will honour that rate. For complete payment procedures, please click here

VALIDITY (Jan 01 to Dec 31, 2017 except between Dec 23 to Jan 03)
Hotel Category Per Person on Twin Sharing Single Room Supplement
Option 1 US$ 4150 US$ 1825
Option 2 US$ 7500 US$ 4395
Domestic air US$ 150 -


Hotels below or similar for Option 1 & Option 2

City Option 1 Option 2
Delhi
(2 Nights)
The Claridges (Heritage)
Deluxe Room
The Taj Mahal Hotel (5 Star Deluxe)
Deluxe Room
Agra
(2 Nights)
ITC Mughal (5 Star Deluxe)
Mughal Room
ITC Mughal (5 Star Deluxe)
Royal Mughal Suite
Jaipur
(2 Nights)
Jai Mahal Palace (5 Star)
Deluxe Room
Rambagh Palace (5 Star Deluxe)
Palace Room
Khimsar
(1 Night)
ITC WelcomHotel Khimsar Fort (Heritage)
Standard Room
ITC WelcomHotel Khimsar Fort (Heritage)
Standard Room
Jaisalmer
(2 Nights)
Suryagarh (Boutique Hotel)
Pavilion Room
Suryagarh (Boutique Hotel)
Pavilion Room
Jodhpur
(2 Nights)
Ajit Bhawan (Heritage)
Executive Room
Umaid Bhawan Palace (5 Star Deluxe)
Palace Room
Udaipur
(2 Nights)
Shiv Niwas Palace (Heritage)
Palace Room
Taj Lake Palace (5 Star Deluxe)
Luxury Room
Mumbai
(2 Nights)
The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower (5 Star Deluxe)
Superior City View Room - Tower Wing
The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower (5 Star Deluxe)
Luxury Grand Sea View Room - Palace Wing

Notes

All prices are subject to any revision of tax and tariff structure.
Please note the tour can also be done at other dates however, viewing of Taj in the moonlight depends on the dates of full moon.



Inclusions


Tour Price Includes
  • Accommodation as mentioned or similar, including hotel taxes
  • 19 Meals as mentioned (Daily buffet breakfast)(B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All sightseeing and transfers by private transportation
  • Services of local English speaking guides cum drivers
  • Entrances fees to museums and sites included in the itinerary
  • Elephant Ride at Amber Fort (Subject to availability)
  • Private boat ride at Lake Pichhola in Udaipur
  • Rickshaw Ride in Delhi
  • Mohabbat - The Taj Show at Kalakriti, Agra
  • Camel ride at Sam Sand Dunes – Jaisalmer
  • Jeep ride at Khimsar
Not Included
  • Any airfares
  • Insurance/visas
  • Tips/gratuities

Estimated International Airfare (International airfare is NOT included in this tour)

CANADA(West Coast)
US$ 1600

USA(West Coast)
US$ 1400

CANADA(East Coast)
US$ 1200

USA(East Coast)
US$ 1000

Participants

This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 10 participants

Customised Itinerary

If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.

Contact Info
You may e-mail us at bestway@bestway.com or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.