NORTHWESTERN INDIA TOUR WITH TIGER SAFARI & PUSHKAR FAIR -
October 31 to November 16, 2008 - TOUR REVIEW & PARTICIPANTS' COMMENTS
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It was a great trip, loved all of it. The information on history of the sights visited in India was good. The driver and mechanic on the coach for the main trip were very good.
We enjoyed the trip in India very much. The Mount Everest Flight in Nepal at the end of the trip was awesome.
Leslie & Gloria W.
We departed at 5 pm from Clovis Chamber parking lot with Classic Charter coach to Los Angeles airport on October 31, 2008. The China Airlines CI007 flight departed from Los Angeles airport at 12.10 am. The next day we arrived in Taipei airport at 5.40 am. AT 8.15 am we departed from Taipei and arrived at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi at 1 pm. In the afternoon we saw the Qutub Minar and the surrounding archaeological monuments. After a short stop at Baha'i Lotus Temple we drove past the buildings of Indian government that were designed by the British architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker: President's mansion, Prime Minister's and Home Minister's offices, Parliament of India and India Gate. We ended the day with sightseeing of Jama Masjid and rickshaw ride in Chandni Chowk Bazaar of old Delhi. The overnight stay was in Residency Hotel in Greater Kailash.
On Monday, November 3, 2008, we drove to Agra, the ancient Mughal capital city. At the entrance to the city we stopped at Sikandara, the mausoleum of Mughal Emperor Akbar. In the evening we had an interesting Rajasthani dance and tribal music program in Riao Restaurant near Clarks Shiraz Hotel (5-star), where our group was staying. The next day started with unforgettable view of the amazing Taj Mahal in the glow of morning sunrise. After a visit to a local marble factory to view the traditional art of inlay of semi-precious stones in marble. The craftsmen are descendents of the artisans who decorated the Taj Mahal more than 300 years ago and still use the same hand operated implements and tools as their forefathers did. Later went to the Agra Fort and the white marble tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah. In Agra Fort we will see the palaces of Emperor Shahjahan where he was kept a prisoner by his own son for the last 8 years of his life. The second night in Agra was also at Clarks Shiraz.
On Wednesday after breakfast we drove to Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted capital city of Mughal Emperor Akbar on the way to Sawai Madhopur. For lunch we stopped at Udai Vilas Palace in Bharatpur. On arrival in Ranthambhore we checked-in the Pug Mark Hotel, a boutique forest resort near Ranthambhore Tiger Sanctuary in Sawai Madhopur where there was a cultural music and dance program in the evening. On Thursday after breakfast we drove a short distance to the Ranthambhore Tiger Sanctuary for the Tiger Safari tour in Canter buses. We visited the Ranthambhore Fort located on top of a hill overlooking the tiger sanctuary. In the afternoon we drove to the Golden Tulip Hotel (5-star) in Jaipur for dinner and overnight. In the afternoon we went to a textile shop where our group members had Indian garments custom tailored. We also had a demonstration of the cutting and polishing of precious & semiprecious stones for jewelry.
On Friday, November 7, 2008 we drove in to the walled, pink city, Jaipur to view the Hawa Mahal (palace of winds that was a royal parade viewing gallery for Maharanis and other ladies of royal family) in the morning sunlight. Drove further a short distance to Amber Fort, where we ride on elephant back to the hilltop palaces. After lunch sightseeing of City Palace of the Kachhwaha Maharajas where we will visit the fascinating textiles gallery in Mubarak Mahal, the Sarvatobhadra (Hall of Private Audience) with the two famous Gangajallis (Silver Urns to carry Ganga River water), the colorful courtyard of Chandra Mahal with its Peacock Gate and the “Diwan-i-Am” Art Gallery with some of the most famous Mughal and Rajasthani miniature paintings.
Later visit the Yantra Shala, the largest Astronomical Observatory built by the founder of Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. All except one of its 17 instruments are still functional. Dinner and overnight was in Golden Tulip Hotel.
On Saturday, November 8, 2008, after breakfast we drove 146 kilometers or 91 miles in about 3 hours to the most colorful folk festival – the “Pushkar Camel Fair”. Observed, explored and photographed the colorful Fair. Enjoyed a camel ride, enjoyed the festivities and many interesting events or visited the many temples along the Pushkar Lake including the famous Brahma temple.
Lunch, dinner and overnight in deluxe tents in Pushkar fair grounds. The next day was also for camel ride and camel cart rides to the camel fair grounds. Over 300,000 people come to Pushkar each year where more than 30,000 camel, cattle and other animals are traded. Lunch, dinner and overnight in deluxe tents.
On Monday, November 10, 2008 after breakfast drive 290 kilometers or 180 miles in about 3 hours to the city of lakes, palaces and temples – Udaipur. After lunch at the world famous Taj Lake Palace Hotel (included in the price) visited the massive City Palace of the Maharanas of Udaipur and the beautiful Jagdish Temple just outside the gates of the City Palace.
Enjoyed a pleasant boat ride on Pichola Lake to visit the Jag Mandir Palace Island. Dinner and overnight was in Paras Mahal Hotel (4-star hotels).
Tuesday, November 11, 2008, after breakfast we drove 98 kilometers or 61 miles in about 3 hours to Ranakpur lunch at Fatehbagh Palace Hotel and to visit the Chaturmukh Jain Temple that has some of finest carvings in white marble and granite.
After an extensive visit we drove 189 kilometers or 117 miles in about 4 hours to Mount Abu, the city at the highest altitude in all of Rajasthan for dinner and overnight in Hillock Hotel.
The next day we visited the two magnificent Jain temples of the Dilwara group of temples that are open for visitors only in the afternoon. We relaxed at the hotel in the morning. After lunch we visited the Vimal Vasahi and the Luna Vasahi Jain temples that are the finest Jain temples in the whole world. After extended sightseeing of the temples we returned to the hotel for dinner and overnight in Hillock Hotel.
On Thursday, November 13, 2008, after breakfast we drove 227 kilometers or 141 miles in about 4 hours to Ahmedabad, the capital of the state of Gujarat. The region around Ahmedabad is one of the oldest human settlements in India. Apart from its famous medieval monuments, the city is world renowned for its textile industry. The Calico Textile Museum of Ahmedabad is considered one of the best in the world. In the afternoon we visited the Textile Museum. Dinner and overnight was in the ITC Fortune Hotel Landmark (4-star hotel).
We had a full day of sightseeing of Ahmedabad on Thursday, November 14, 2008, including the Great Jami Masjid built in 1424, Sidi Saiyad Masjid with its fine stone carving windows, Sidi Bashir Masjid with shaking minarets, Sarkhej historical complex, Huthising Temple (a Jain temple dedicated Bhagwan Dharmanath, the 15th Jain Tirtankra) and the15 smaller temples surrounding it, Rani ni Vav Step-Well of the Queen situated in Patan, Swami Narayan Hindu Temple, stone carvings in Dada Hari step-well and the Sabarmati Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi during the freedom struggle of India. Dinner and overnight was again in ITC Fortune Hotel Landmark.
The next day, Saturday, November 15, 2008, the morning was free to relax or visit on your own historical city of Ahmedabad. After lunch we drove to the domestic airport to board the Spice Jet flight to Palam airport in New Delhi. On arrival transfer to the Stanford Suites (5-star) for farewell dinner and overnight.
The morning of Sunday, November 16, 2008 was free to relax at the hotel. After early lunch we drove to the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi to board the return China Airlines flight to Los Angeles. On arrival we boarded the Classic Charter coach to Clovis Chamber parking lot.