Golden Triangle: Explorer
Trip Code: AITGTE
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This off-beat tour focuses on interesting towns and picturesque rural locales within the wonderful and well-travelled ‘golden triangle’. An ideal alternative for people with limited time who want to avoid the busyness of the region’s large cities.
With accommodation in the countryside but in proximity to major places of interest, you have the option to explore small villages and rural areas or visit cities for sightseeing – or we can simply add extra days to the itinerary and you can do both.
Beginning at the magnificent Neemrana Fort Palace, this tour goes on to explore the ‘un-touristy’ princely state of Alwar; Abhaneri, a remote village famous for its remarkable step-well; Kanota Dam, a lovely rural area a short drive from Jaipur; and Mathura, one of India’s seven sacred cities, revered as the birthplace of Lord Krishna. It also includes safaris in Sariska National Park and Keoladeo Ghana National Park.
Day 1 Neemrana
On arrival at Delhi you will be met and begin the 3 hour drive to your accommodation at Neemrana Fort Palace. This promises to be a wonderful introduction to India! A glorious 10-storey property, carved into a hillside and sprawling over more than 10 hectares, it commands magnificent views of the surrounding countryside. Constructed in 1464, it is one of the oldest heritage hotels in India.
Day 2 Neemrana
Full day free at leisure to relax and enjoy your splendid accommodation. You may like to indulge in a treatment at the Ayurvedic health centre, or laze by the pool.
A guided tour of the enormous and intriguing fort, with its many layers of history, architecture and decoration is a fascinating experience.
Day 3 Alwar
Depart this morning for Alwar, a refreshingly un-touristy former princely state with an historic fort, palaces and beautiful gardens.
This afternoon visit the rugged Bala Qila, once a strategic stronghold on the Rajput borders; standing 300 metres above the city, it contains the remains of palaces, temples and tanks built by the first rulers of Alwar. A climb to the top affords spectacular views of the surrounding area.
Day 4 Sariska
After breakfast, drive to Sariska, the gateway for the Sariska National Park, a tiger reserve under Project Tiger. A dry deciduous forest set in a valley surrounded by the barren Aravalli hills, it contains a broad range of wildlife.
Your accommodation here, the imposing Sariska Palace, was built at the end of the 19th century as a hunting lodge for Alwar’s rulers.
Take a jeep safari inside the Park this afternoon.
Day 5 Kanota Dam
Take an early morning jeep safari inside the Park. Return to your hotel for breakfast and afterwards set out for the 3-hour drive to Kanota Dam.
Your accommodation here, K Country Villa, a beautiful oasis at the deserted foothills of the Aravalli ranges, is situated just a short distance from Jaipur.
Afternoon free to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
Day 6 Kanota Dam
You have the option of a day trip to Jaipur today (a 1½ hour drive each way). Rajasthan’s ‘pink city’, it is known for its palaces and bazaars full of jewellery, textiles and folk-based arts and handicrafts.
Alternatively, you can enjoy some of the activities offered by the hotel which include hiking, boating, elephant and jeep safaris, horseback or camel cart rides, and walks to the nearby village to explore local life and culture.
Day 7 Abhaneri
Depart Kanota Dam this morning for the 2-hour drive to Abhaneri. A remote village surrounded by rolling wheat fields, it is famous for its remarkable step-well – one of the most awe-inspiring in Rajasthan. Step wells are unique to India; they were used as cool places of rest, as pools for ritual cleansing before a temple visit and as a water supply for dry weather. [Image: jamehand].
Day 8 Abhaneri
Visit Chand Baori step-well and Harshat Mata Temple this morning. Constructed in the 10th century, Chand Baori is one of the deepest and largest step wells in India. Next door to it is the Harshat Mata Temple, also built in the 10th century, which is dedicated to the goddess of joy and happiness.
Following these visits, take a camel ride through the village and enjoy a picnic lunch before returning to your hotel.
Day 9 Bharatpur
Depart this morning for Bharatpur, famous for its bird sanctuary known as Keoladeo Ghana National Park. Spread over 29 sq kms of wetlands, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is regarded as one of the world’s finest bird sanctuaries. Keoladeo’s dry area of mixed deciduous and scrub vegetation is home to many animals, including the famed nilgai (blue bull) whose broad backs provide comfortable resting places for birds!
Enjoy a dusk rickshaw ride into the Park.
Day 10 Mathura
Travel to Mathura today, making a stop en route at either Deeg or Agra. Deeg is home to a remarkable Water Palace – one of India’s most beautiful – made up of delicately proportioned sandstone and marble pavilions surrounded by gardens and pools. Agra, of course, is home to a monument unrivalled for beauty – the Taj Mahal.
Continue on to Mathura, one of India’s seven sacred cities, revered as the birthplace of Lord Krishna.
Day 11 Mathura
A dawn boat ride on the Yamuna River enables you to view the sunrise and experience the city coming to life as thousands of pilgrims offer prayers at the ghats.
Afterwards visit Vishram Ghat, where Krishna rested after the battle with Kansa; Shri Krishna Janma Bhumi Temple, the birthplace of Krishna; and the Government Museum which houses a superb collection of ancient sculptures.
Later drive to Vrindavan, an important pilgrim centre for Hindus. [Image: Carol Mitchell].
Day 12 Delhi
Depart Mathura today for the 3 to 4 hour drive to Delhi and transfer to the airport for your flight home or to another Indian destination.
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