Rajasthan: Recreated Glory
Trip Code: AITRRG
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This trip offers a range of experiences which provide an insight into Rajasthan’s past – from cultural excursions to village walks and wildlife safaris – whilst enjoying the best of modern Rajasthan in hotels which have recreated the opulence of a glorious past.
Few who visit India can resist falling under the spell of Rajasthan – a ‘land of princes’ – renowned for its magnificent forts and palaces. This trip features stays in ‘new’ hotels – superbly located boutique properties that offer spacious and elegant accommodation, lush walled gardens, courtyards, pavilions and terraces, infinity pools, spa centres and gourmet dining. Artfully constructed, they have utilised local workers and materials to evoke the bygone era of Rajput and Moghul glory.
Day 1 Delhi
You will be met on arrival and transferred to your accommodation – the Leela Palace. Located in the exclusive Diplomatic Enclave at Chanakyapuri, this imposing hotel – architecturally inspired by Lutyens – is an oasis of opulence in a chaotic city. You may like to banish jet lag with a revitalizing Ayuravedic treatment at the Spa. Afterwards try one of the restaurants, which offer both traditional and cosmopolitan cuisines. A stay at the Leela Palace is an indulgent experience.
Day 2 Delhi
Be transported back four hundred years as you glide through the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk, known as the Moonlit Square of India. Witness architectural marvels, multi coloured facades, beautifully decorated shops, and ethnically dressed men and women, as you are bombarded by the cries of hawkers and the fragrances emanating from the potpourri of eateries that line these historical alleys.
Day 3 Jodhpur
Arrive in Jodhpur. Your accommodation here, Raas, is the city’s first boutique hotel; it comprises both original and new buildings, a central water body, multi-pillared open pavilion and garden. These are all seamlessly combined by sensitively grounding the contemporary in tradition with the use of Jodhpur’s red sandstone and the region’s age-old stone carving. However, the best feature of this hotel is the fact that almost every room enjoys a view of the spectacular Mehrangarh Fort.
Day 4 Jodhpur
End your day at with dinner on the hotel terrace with its magnificent views of the Fort, which is gloriously illuminated at night.
Day 5 Jaisalmer
Depart for Jaisalmer, an oasis in the centre of the Thar Desert, famous for its spectacular medieval ‘golden fort’. Your accommodation here, The Serai, located outside the fort city, is a luxurious desert camp and spa, set on a secluded 40-hectare private estate of desert scrub. Its tents are spacious, comfortable and beautifully appointed; they draw their inspiration from the designs of the royal caravan sites of Rajputana, recreating the opulent lifestyle of Rajput rulers.
Day 6 Jaisalmer
Spend the morning exploring the Golden Fort with its narrow lane ways crammed with beautiful havelis – unsurpassed for the delicacy of their relief carvings, filigreed windows, and lacelike screens and jarokhas – shops, restaurants and tea stalls. Afterwards return to The Serai; you may like to spend some time by its elevated infinity pool – built along the lines of a traditional step well or baoli – and enjoy the views of the stark desert surrounds.
Day 7 Mihir Garh
About a day’s drive from Jaisalmer, the fort of Mihir Garh, rises from the desert. A boutique hotel with crenelated ramparts and regal proportions, it was constructed by local workmen, inspired by the rural village architecture of Western Rajasthan (tall mud walls, slightly rounded corners and numerous alcoves). The contemporary private terraces, courtyards and plunge pools blend seamlessly with this traditional structure and offer a special experience of desert serenity and splendour.
Day 8 Mihir Garh
Begin your day with a camel, camel cart or horse ride to a secluded spot in the wilderness where a lavish al fresco breakfast awaits you. Mihir Garh offers a number of activities that enable you to experience the beauty, peace, and culture of the local Marwari in their natural surroundings, such as village safaris, horse riding and cooking classes, whilst a picnic under a tent by a lake will give you a taste of a bygone era.
Day 9 Udaipur
Another day’s drive brings you to Udaipur and the Leela Palace, spectacularly located on Lake Pichola with views of the Aravalli Mountains. Although ‘brand new’ this elegant hotel evokes the grandeur and opulence of the land of the Mewar. Beautifully designed to reflect the surrounding style and influences, the intricate craftsmanship, and attention to detail in the art and embellishment, make a stay here an ultimate palace experience and regal indulgence.
Day 10 Udaipur
Spend today sightseeing. Begin at the City Palace, its exterior a blend of stern Rajput military architecture, whilst its interiors contain lavish Mughal inspired decorative art. Following this, visit the 350-year-old Jagdish Temple and wander the mazelike streets of old Udaipur. This evening you may like to attend a dramatic ‘Sound and Light’ show at the City Palace or a cultural performance at Bagore ki Haveli, a restored royal haveli, beautifully lit up at night. [Image: Michael Hoefner].
Day 11 Udaipur
Day at leisure. You may like to enjoy some of the activities on offer here such as a rejuvenating spa treatment, a yoga session, a cooking class or a private astrology lesson from the palace astrologer. Alternatively you may prefer to simply laze by the pool and take afternoon high tea, which is served in the inner courtyard. End your indulgent day with a sumptuous dinner served under the stars on the rooftop Sheesh Mahal.
Day 12 Jaipur
A private charter flight brings you to Jaipur. Customized to your needs, the aircraft offers convenience, comfort and luxury; this promises to be an unforgettable experience. On arrival transfer to your accommodation, Amanbagh – a modern day ‘Mughal Palace’ located in the sandy plains and craggy hills of the desert. An oasis of lush greenery, this former hunting lodge’s suites and pavilions feature domed cupolas and courtyards, evoking the palatial elegance of the Moghul era.
Day 13 Jaipur
Take a walking tour of the old walled city of Jaipur today. Experience the life of local communities by visiting colourful temples and havelis, interact with temple priests, resident artisans, shop owners, and local citizens; chat over a cup of tea in their homes and discover some of the architectural gems of this fascinating city. An engaging and rewarding experience, this walk provides an enriching insight into traditional ways of Rajasthani life.
Day 14 Jaipur
Relax or engage in one of the range of activities on offer at Amarbagh – from historical and cultural excursions, exploring local villages, farming hamlets, forts and temples – to nature walks, wildlife safaris, bird watching or a boat ride on the lake. Venture out on foot or bicycle, by camel or horseback, or in a car or open jeep. Alternatively, you may simply laze by the pool or enjoy a spa treatment.
Day 15 Agra
Although home to many historical sites, it is the Taj Mahal that draws people to Agra. Your accommodation here, Amarvilas, provides a unique experience of this breathtaking monument, with private views of it from your room. With its rich interiors, terraced lawns, fountains, pools and pavilions, the hotel was built in a style inspired by Moorish and Mughal architecture – taking you back to an era of emperors and princes.
Day 16 Agra
Begin today with a dawn visit to the Taj Mahal – the sight of the sun rising over the white dome of ‘the jewel of India’ is unforgettable. Later, visit the impressive Agra Fort, which is an architectural wonder itself. Shah Jahan, who built the Taj as a tribute to his beloved wife, spent his last years as a prisoner of his son at this fort. From here he could gaze on the Taj Mahal in the distance.
Day 17 Delhi
Depart Agra today for the 3 to 4 hour drive to Delhi and departure.
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