NORTH INDIA PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR TOUR

New Delhi, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Jaipur, Pushkar, Udaipur, Ranakpur, Jodhpur, Osian, Jaisalmer, Gajner, Bikaner, Mandawa, Nawalgarh

NEWS: JAIPUR, DESIGNED & CONSTRUCTED IN 1727 BY VIDHYADHAR BHATTACHARYA, THE CHIEF ARCHITECTURAL AND CITY PLANNING ADVISOR OF MAHARAJA SAWAI JAI SINGH, HAS BEEN DECLARED ON SATURDAY, JULY 6, 2019, UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE

Enliven the art, architecture, history and culture of northern India starting from its capital, New Delhi, the site of 8 capitals of mighty empires before its present status as the political capital of India. The second-last ruler of Lodi Dynasty, Sultan Sikandar Lodi, moved his capital for the first time to Agra. The first Mughal Emperor Babur chose Agra as his capital after defeating Sultan Ibrahim Lodi, the last ruler of that dynasty. Agra gained international fame when Mughal Emperor Akbar ruled from the Agra Fort and later Fatehpur Sikri for a short period of 14 years. His successors, Emperor Jahangir and Emperor Shahjahan also ruled from Agra before Emperor Shahjahan moved the capital back to Delhi and constructed the “Shahjahanabad” including the mighty Red Fort and India’s largest mosque, the Jama Masjid. The Suryavanshi (solar) dynasties of Amber & Jaipur, Chittorgarh & Udaipur and Marwar with its capital in Jodhpur were mightiest Rajput clans that retained their power for more than five centuries. The Rathore rulers of Bikaner also were a powerful force in the northern Rajasthan. Art, Culture and Literature flourished under these kingdoms. Experience the finest in culture and architecture of this fascinating region that evolved in modern India as Rajasthan. At the westernmost edge of Rajasthan lies the former desert kingdom of Jaisalmer.

Day 1, Friday, November 20, 2020, FRESNO: Board the flight bound for New Delhi – for flights from other US airports please contact us.

Day 2, Saturday, November 21, 2020, NEW DELHI: Arrive in Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. Traditional Indian reception with fresh marigold flower garlands and transfer to Surya Hotel (5-star hotel in close vicinity of Humayun’s Tomb and India Gate)

Day 3, Sunday, November 22, 2020, NEW DELHI: After breakfast sightseeing of Qutub Minar: its construction was initiated by Qutubudin-Aibak in 1198 CE upon becoming the first Sultan of Delhi.

Qubub Uddin Aibak was born in Turkestan of ethnic Mamluk descent. This was a region where youth went out to neighboring countries and joined their armies as mercenaries. Often they were enslaved when the army they were fighting with lost. Qutubuddin was sold to the Qazi (Islamic judge) of Nishapur in Persia. There he became favorite of his master because of his skills of horseriding and archery among other warrior abilities. Qazi’s sons were jealous and they sold him after the Qazi’s death. Finally he ended up as slave of Sultan Muhammad of Ghur province of Afghanistan. He led Sultan of Ghur’s army in the 1st and 2nd battle of Tarain and was appointed Governor of Lalkot, the capital of the last Hindu Chauhan dynasty kingdom. When Muhammad of Ghur was assassinated, Qutubuddin bin Aibak declared himself sovereign monarch and started the construction of Qutub Jami Mosque (a.k.a. Quwwat ul Islam Mosque) and Qutub Minar. The construction of minaret did not complete in his lifetime and many later Islamic rulers of various successive dynasties left their mark on this monument, which is now 5 stories high and 73 meters or 240 feet tall. The mosque was constructed using architectural elements of 27 Hindu and Jain temples that were demolished to build it. Much of the decorative pillars and facades of walls in the mosque were used without alteration in the new mosque, only the Arabic verses from the Quran were added new, sculpted by Hindu artisans who did not know the Arabic language and curved the endings of letters as they did with Sanskrit language carvings. Qutub Minar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Proceed further for sightseeing of India Gate (the war memorial), Parliament House and Presidents House (from outside) and for lunch at Gulati’s Restaurant in Khan Market nearby. The British decided in 1911 to move their capital from Calcutta (now Kolkata) to Delhi. Edwin Landseer Lutyens and his friend Herbert Baker were chosen for designing various buildings in the new capital. In 1914 the First World War started and continued until 1918. During this period the new capital’s construction was halted. Finally after its construction completed, the British capital was moved to New Delhi in 1931. India Gate was originally a monument to honor the fallen Indian soldiers in World War I, but now honors Indian soldiers all subsequent wars.

Later sightseeing of the Second Mughal Emperor Humayun's Tomb - its architecture may have influenced the construction of the Taj Mahal in Agra. Emperor Humayun died just six months after winning the throne of Delhi in 1556 CE. His widow, Hamida Bano Begum (a.k.a. Haji Begum) supervised its construction under Mughal Emperor Akbar’s rule. Having recently returned from Persia and its architect, Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, being a Persian, the monuments has elements of Persian and Hindu architecture blended in it. Many later Mughal rulers are also buried in this mausoleum. Humayun’s Tomb is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the afternoon stop by the Red Fort for photography from outside - the massive sandstone fort built by Shah Jahan on the banks of river Yamuna. The fifth Mughal Emperor Shahjahan moved his capital from Agra to Delhi in 1636 and started the construction of the walled “Shahjahanabad” city with 14 gates. The most important gates, Mori, Lahori, Ajmeri, Turkman, Kashmiri and Delhi Gates still exist along with remnants of the wall. Within the city there were many monuments constructed but the most ambitious project was the Red Fort – according to a horoscope done to determine the auspicious time for starting its construction, the work on building the Red Fort started on May 12, 1639.

In the Emperor’s Balcony in Diwan-i-Am or the Hall of Public Audience, there are a set of marble panels that were made in Pietra Dure art by the Florentine jeweler, Austin de Bordeaux. The most famous of these is the one depicting Orpheus playing the flute. There are many other palaces in the fort that were decorated with inlay of semi-precious stones in marble. Red Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Jama Masjid - is the largest mosque in India and stands across the road from the Red Fort, built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan 1650-56 CE. It was originally called "Masjid-i-Jahannuma" or world reflecting mosque. Its construction was supervised by Vazir Saadula Khan and its chief architect was Ustad Khalil. About 25,000 people can pray here at a time. Overnight stay in the Surya Hotel in New Delhi.

Day 4, Monday, November 23, 2020, NEW DELHI - AGRA: After breakfast transfer to Agra on the Yamuna Expressway and on arriving stop at the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah. This is the mausoleum built under supervision of Empress Nurjahan for her parents, Mirza Ghiaz Beg and Begum Asmat in 1628 CE almost 7 years after her father's death. Mirza Ghiaz Beg received the title of Itmad-ud-Daulah or ‘Lord of Treasure of the Empire’ from Emperor Jahangir. Upon arrival check in to the hotel. Lunch in Pinch of Spice Restaurant on Fatehabad Road.

In the afternoon sightseeing of Agra Fort. Emperor Akbar moved his capital to Agra from Delhi in 1558 but the construction of the Agra Fort started in 1565. It was built on the ruins of an earlier fort named Badalgarh. The first Mughal Emperor Babur had occupied this fort after his victory in the battle of Panipat in 1526 CE. His son, second Mughal Emperor Humayun was crowned in the old fort of Badalgarh in 1530. With about 4000 laborers and craftsmen toiling for 8 years the fort's construction was completed in 1573. The entire fort was built with narrow flat brick masonry work and laminated with red sandstone from the stone quarry at Sikri village west of Agra. According the Emperor Akbar's official biography written by his trusted friend, Abul Fazl, there were about 5000 buildings in the fort. Some of these buildings were demolished to make way for white marble palaces of Emperor Shahjahan, facing the Yamuna River, on the eastern side of the fort. Most of the buildings in western side were converted in to soldier’s barracks by the British East India Company. The western part of the fort is still occupied by Indian military. Emperor Akbar's style was greatly influenced by the architecture of the states of Gujarat and Bengal. It is also very unique because it reflects Emperor Akbar's tolerant religious philosophy. The best of example of his architecture is visible in the palace popularly called Jahangiri Mahal. In 1666 the great Maratha warrior, Shivaji met with Emperor Aurangzeb but the Mughal Emperor broke his promise and arrested him. He managed to escape in a spectacular manner by hiding in fruit baskets for distribution to poor. The Jat and Maratha ruler occupied Agra Fort in later years. Finally in 1803 the British East India Company captured it and demolished most of its monuments, only about 30 monuments have survived in the south-eastern side of the fort. In 1983 the Agra Fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Monument.

On the way to hotel wonder at the largest collection of Zerdozi Embroidery Art in India. This embossed embroidery art is attributed to the Mughal Empress Nurjahan. It uses silver, gold and colored silk thread embroidery on silk and velvet background and is one of the unique arts originating in Mughal period.

Overnight stay in hotel in Crystal Sarovar Premier Hotel (close to Taj Mahal) in Agra.

Day 5, Tuesday, November 24, 2020, AGRA: Wonder at the world famous Taj Mahal in the glow of morning sunlight. Ample time in the vast complex for photographing and viewing the intricate Pietra Dure (inlay of semi-precious stones in marble art work, used in the exterior and interior of the monument.

Prince Khurram (later Emperor Shahjahan) and his father Prince Salim met their favorite future queens in a mock market called Meena Bazaar to celebrate the Persian new year festival of Nowroz in Agra Fort. Prince Salim wanted to marry Mehr un Nissa Begum, the daughter of Mirza Ghiaz Beg but Emperor Akbar did not want Shiya influence in the royal family so he asked Mirza Ghiaz Beg to marry his daughter to an Afghan commander and had him posted in Bihar. Prince Khurram was third eldest and not initially in direct line of succession. He was betrothed to Arjumand Bano Begum on April 5, 1607 but Prince Salim delayed his marriage. After death of Emperor Akbar, Prince Salim ascended the throne with the title of Emperor Jahangir and it was only in May 1610 that Mehr un Nissa, the widow of the Afghan commander finally agreed to marry him. He honored her with the title of Nurjahan (light of the world) after his marriage. One year later on May 10, 1612, Prince Khurram was finally allowed to marry his beloved Arjumand Bano Begum, who was the niece of Mehr un Nissa (her brother’s daughter and granddaughter of Mirza Ghiaz Beg). She received the title of Begum Mumtaj Mahal after her marriage with the Mughal prince. Begum Mumtaj Mahal was 19 years when they married. She was his constant companion and most trusted advisor. During their 19 years of marriage she gave birth to 14 children of which only 3 daughters and 4 sons survived. The youngest son, Aurangzeb fought a war of succession against his elder brothers. One after the other he won against all of them, had all the brothers killed and then put his father, Emperor Shahjahan, under arrest in his own palaces in Agra Fort. Queen Mumtaj Mahal died on June 17, 1631 while delivering her 14th child, a daughter, Gauhar Ara Begum, who survived and lived in Shahjahanabad to a ripe age of 75 years.

The site of the Taj Mahal mausoleum was a palace of the Maharaja of Amber, Mirza Raja Jai Singh. The Emperor asked him to give the palace back to him and gave him other properties in lieu. The queen was temporarily buried in Burhanpur where she died in an army encampment. The body was transferred to Agra and again temporarily buried in the northwest section of the garden of Taj Mahal where a red sandstone enclosure still marks the site of her temporary burial. The Taj Mahal mausoleum was completed in 1648 according to an inscription on its main gate.

The tomb was built exclusively for Queen Mumtaj Mahal, so her grave stone is in the center of the grave chamber. Emperor Shahjahan died on January 16, 1666 in Mussamam Burj Palace in Agra Fort. He was buried by the queen’s side and his grave stone is the only architectural feature in this mausoleum that is not symmetrical. Taj Mahal, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After breakfast enjoy a demonstration of the art of Pietra Dure (inlay of semi-precious stones on marble surface at Agra's oldest emporium where the not for sale section has some artifacts with inlay work much finer than the most intricate art work in the Taj Mahal itself and perhaps the world's best.

Subsequently visit Sikandara, the tomb of Emperor Akbar. Emperor Akbar started the construction of his mausoleum in his own lifetime in 1604. The emperor's friend, Abul Fazl, describes it in Akbarnama, the official and historical chronicle of Emperor Akbar's rule variously as Behistan and Behistabad or the abode in paradise. The construction continued for a very long time even after Emperor Akbar's demise. Emperor Jahangir was displeased with the slow construction and personally intervened to expedite it. Between 1612 and 1614, with the addition of its main gate that is more impressive than the simple mausoleum, the construction finally completed. The motifs and decoration on the main gate suggest a Persian influence and Empress Nur Jahan may have had a hand in its architecture.

After lunch at Pinch of Spice Restaurant in Sanjay Market in north Agra, drive to the Dayalbagh Temple which is actually a memorial of the first Guru (Teacher) of the Dayalbagh religious organization. Sir Shiv Dayal Sahab established this group in 1861. Its basic tenets are unity of God and its philosophy blends elements of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Islam. The construction of Dayalbagh Temple started in 1905 and was finally completed in 2018. It is now open to public. It has some of the finest sculptural elements in white and colored marble as well as very special Pietra Dure art work. After sightseeing return to hotel. Rest of afternoon is free to relax. Overnight stay in hotel in Taj View Gateway Hotel.

Day 6, Wednesday, November 25, 2020, AGRA FATEHPUR SIKRI - JAIPUR: After breakfast drive one hour to Fatehpur Sikri for sightseeing of Mughal Emperor Akbar’s deserted capital and the tomb of Sufi saint Sheikh Salim Chistie in the courtyard of the grand mosque. Later drive to Jaipur.

Emperor Akbar did not have a male heir to his throne for a long time. He came to the Sikri village to seek the blessings of the Sufi saint, Sheikh Salim Chistie, who prophesied that Emperor Akbar would have three sons. The emperor moved with his Hindu queen, Jodha Bai, to Sikri village to live with the saint and started building an alternative capital at the site which was earlier a query for red sandstone. The entire capital was built with red sandstone from the ridge on which it is located. The first born son was named Salim after the Sufi saint. The second was named Murad or the longed one. The third son was named Daniel, probably influenced by the Jesuit priests from Goa who were invited by the Emperor to teach him about Christianity. Emperor Akbar developed the philosophy of “Sulah Qul” – living in harmony with all religions. Later he developed his own religion, Din-i-Ilahi or faith of God. His dear friend and official biographer, Abul Fazl, was among the first to convert to the new religion which he described in “Akbar Nama”.

Visit the grand Friday “Jama Masjid” and the mausoleum of Sheikh Salim Chistie, which was renovated using the white marble by later Mughal Emperors. After Emperor Akbar moved away from this capital, living there only 14 years, the capital was deserted for more than 400 years until Lord Curzon, British Viceroy of India ordered the Archaeological Survey of India to restore this fascinating capital and this renovation work is still going on. The palaces were all covered with wild forest and wild animals lived in the palaces. The “Dargah” or mausoleum of the saint was never deserted and people from Agra and nearby villages have been coming there to seek the saint’s blessings for centuries.

After sightseeing of Fatehpur Sikri stop in Bharatpur for lunch. On arrival in Jaipur check in to the hotel. In the late afternoon demonstrations of wooden block printing on cotton textiles, woolen carpet weaving as well as cutting & polishing of precious & semi-precious stones. Overnight stay in hotel Radisson City Centre in Jaipur.

Day 7, Thursday, November 26, 2020, AMBER FORT – CITY PALACE – ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORY: SPECIAL ATTRACTION: JAIPUR, DESIGNED & CONSTRUCTED IN 1727 BY VIDHYADHAR BHATTACHARYA, THE CHIEF ARCHITECTURAL AND CITY PLANNING ADVISOR OF MAHARAJA SAWAI JAI SINGH HAS BEEN DECLARED ON SATURDAY, JULY 6, 2019. The entire city is a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE.

After breakfast full day sightseeing of Amber and Jaipur starting with a drive through the walled pink city to Hawa Mahal, which is mere facade with about 3 feet deep balconies behind latticed screens where royal family women used to sit to watch the royal processions on the street.

Drive further north through pink city to Amber Fort where you will enjoy a royal elephant ride to the hilltop palaces of Sawai Jai Singh, Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Maharaja Man Singh (one of nine jewels of Emperor Akbar’s cabinet of nobles). On the way back stop at the Jal Mahal Island Palace.

After lunch at Surabhi Restaurant visit the City Palace including the Royal portraits gallery in the Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience), the Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience), the Mor Chowk (peacock) courtyard of Chandra Mahal, the palace where the present head of the Jaipur royal still resides.

When he is in the building the family’s royal flag flies on its roof. Later wonder at the 16 working astronomical instruments of the Jantar Mantar observatory of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. The Brihat Samrat Yantra (large sundial) here has an accuracy of 2 seconds. Dinner and overnight in Radisson City Center Jaipur Hotel.

Day 8, Friday, November 27, 2020, JAIPUR - PUSHKAR: After brealfast drive to Pushkar Camel Fair.

On arrival check-in into Luxury Tents on fair grounds. After lunch sightseeing by oxen carts of Pushkar Camel Fair.

Dinner and overnight in Luxury Tents in Pushkar.

Day 9, Saturday, November 28, 2020, PUSHKAR: After breakfast full day to explore the Pushkar Fair, the village street, Brahma Temple and Pushkar Lake. Lunch in Luxury Tents. Dinner and overnight in Luxury Tents.

Day 10, Sunday, November 29, 2020, PUSHKAR - UDAIPUR (135 Kilometers or 84 miles/ 2.5 hrs) : After breakfast drive to Udaipur, a city of lakes and palaces surrounded by Aravali mountains. On arrival relish a delicious lunch at Ambrai Restaurant on Pichola Lake shore.

Later enjoy a boat ride on Lake Pichola with visit to the Jag Mandir Island Palace, where Mughal Prince Khurram (later Emperor Shahjahan) had sought refuge while revolting against his father, Emperor Jahangir.

Overnight in hotel Fateh Niwas (47 rooms)

Day 11, Monday, November 30, 2020, UDAIPUR – RANAKPUR (94 Kilometers or 58 Miles):

After breakfast start the sightseeing of the City Palace of the Maharanas of Mewar. This is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. The Maharanas of Mewar had their original capital in the present day pilgrimage town of Nagda, 30 kilometers or 19 miles north of Udaipur. It was established by the 1st. Maharana, Guhil, in 568 CE. In the 8th. century CE the capital was moved to Chittor, where the successive Maharanas built the largest Fort and city in contemporary India. Already before the sacking of Chittorgarh by Mughal Emperor Akbar, in February 1568 after a long siege that began in October 1567, the plans for a new capital were under way. The construction of the Mewar Dynasty’s City Palace in Udaipur started in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh and continued by his successors over a period of about 300 years. Today the visitors see the Mardana (male section) and Zanana (female section) of the museum part of the palace. Apart from this two other sections of the palace are converted in to hotels: “The Shiv Niwas Palace” and “The Fateh Prakash Palace”. The descendents of the Maharanas of Mewar still reside in one section of the palace, sightseeing of Jagdish Temple that was constructed by Maharana Jagat Singhji in 1651.

Later walk in front of the City Palace through the Tripolia (3-arched royal entrance) to Jagdish Temple for sightseeing. Lunch in 1552 AD Restaurant on shore of Pichola Lake. In the afternoon drive to Ranakpur for sightseeing of the Chowmukha Jain Temple that was built between 1437 and 1458. This Jain temple is one of the finest in India in its design and sculptures. Overnight in Mana Resort Hotel.

Day 12, Tuesday, December 1, 2020, RANAKPUR - JODHPUR (170 Kilometers or 106 Miles further to Jodhpur) After breakfast drive to Jodhpur for lunch and sightseeing of the Mehrengarh Fort & Jaswant Thada in the afternoon.

Dinner and overnight in Indana Palace Hotel.

Day 13, Wednesday, December 2, 2020, JODHPUR – OSIAN – JAISALMER

After breakfast drive 1.5 hours to Osian village that is famous for its ancient Hindu and Jain temples.

The Sacchiya Mata Temple is perched on top a hill and a flight of about 100 steps leads to the temple. It is dedicated to the consort of Indra, the god of clouds and rain. There is an idol of Varaha Avataar of Vishnu as well as a combined idols of Vishnu with his consort Laxmi in the north of the temple. From the beautiful arches on the terrace of the temple there is a panoramic view of the sand dunes and the village. The Surya Temple has intricate sculptures in the Khajuraho style. Apart from the idol of Surya, the sun god, the temple also has idols of Durga and Ganesh. The Kali Temple dates from 8th century. The Mahavira Jain Temple also dates from Saka period around 8th century and is dedicated to the 24th and last Thirankar of Jain religion, Vardhaman Mahavira. The temple is adorned with beautiful paintings depicting the life of Tirthankar Mahavira and Jain religious culture. After lunch in Osian drive about 2 hours to Jaisalmer. Jaisalmer city, dominated by its ancient fort that is often called the Golden Fort because of the color of the stone from which it is built, is built on a ridge surrounded by Thar desert. There is an interesting palace of the former rulers of Jaisalmer kingdom as well as several ornate Jain temples. In the afternoon drive to the Sam Village for a camel ride on the sand dunes at sunset.

Dinner and overnight in Jaisalkot Palace Hotel.

Day 14, Thursday, December 3, 2020, JAISALMER: After breakfast sightseeing of the Jaisalmer fort and the famous Havelis: Nathmal ki Haveli (late 19th. century), Patwon ki Haveli (1800-1860) and Salim Singh ki Haveli (originally built in 17th. century and renovated in early 19th. century). Jaisalmer Fort was originally built in 1156 CE by the founder of the city, Rawal Jaisal. In 1276 CE Raja Jeksi added bastions to the fort. The fort was under siege and taken over for eight years by Sultan Alauddin Khilji. It has 99 bastions in its multiple fortified walls. The fort is a living city with thousands of people living in it. After lunch visit the Chattries or cenotaphs built to honor the site of cremation of former rulers and the Gaddi Sagar Lake. Dinner and overnight in Jaisalkot Hotel.

Day 15, Friday, December 4, 2020, JAISALMER – GAJNER - BIKANER: After breakfast drive to Gajner Palace for lunch on the way to Bikaner. Drive further to Bikaner, on arrival check-in hotel. Later sightseeing of Junagarh Fort (constructed between 1587 and 1593), Bhandasar Jain Temple dedicated to Sumatinath Tirthankar that is famous for its paintings, and the historic Havelis of Bikaner - The recommended route to view these havelis starts with Gogagate, Daddhon Ka Chowk, Rangari Chowk, Assanion Ka Chowk, Mehta Chowk, Binnanion Ka Chowk Daga Chowk, BK School and ends at Jassuar Gate. Dinner and overnight in Narendra Bhawan Palace Hotel.

Day 16, Saturday, December 5, 2020, BIKANER - MANDAWA (200 Kilometer or 124 Miles):

After breakfast drive to Mandawa in Shekhavati region that is famous for its Havelis that have large painted murals on their exteriors and interiors. On arrival in Mandawa check-in at Vivana Culture Hotel, originally two havelis dating from 18th century that have been meticulously restored in to an amazing heritage hotel with staff and services to match. The hotel boasts of fascinating paintings and untouched frescoes adorning both the exterior and interior of the buildings. Later sightseeing of the 100 years old, Aakharam ki Haveli, located near the Sonthalia Darwaza in the middle of the Mandawa town.

Dinner and overnight in Vivana Culture Hotel.

Day 17, Sunday, December 6, 2020, MANDAWA – NAWALGARH - MANDAWA: After breakfast start the sightseeing of Mandawa Havelis. Following Havelis (aristocratic mansions) in Mandawa are interesting for their murals and frescos: Hanuman Prasad Goenka Haveli, Goenka Double Haveli, Murmuria Haveli, Jhunjhunwala Haveli, Mohanlal Saraf Havei, Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli, Bansidhar Newatia Haveli, Laxminarayan Ladia Haveli and Chowkhani Double Haveli. Just across the road from Goenka Double Haveli is the Thakurji Temple that also has beautiful mural paintings depicting scenes from British East India Company Period and 1857 during the First War of Indian Independence. Later sightseeing of the Mandawa Castle. Drive for lunch at Roop Niwas Kothi and sightseeing of Anandilal Poddar and Murarka Havelis. Dinner and overnight in Vivana Culture Hotel.

Day 18, Monday, December 7, 2020, MANDAWA – NEW DELHI (248 Kilometers or 154 Miles) - FRESNO:

After breakfast drive at 8 AM to Narnaul Village for lunch at Chandni Midway Restaurant and transfer to Indira Gandhi International Airport for boarding the return flight to Fresno, CA, USA. Please contact us for flights returning to other US airports.

CITY

HOTEL

# OF NIGHTS

NEW DELHI

The Surya Hotel

2

AGRA

Crystal Sarovar Premier Hotel

2

JAIPUR

Radisson City Center Hotel

2

PUSHKAR

Luxury Tents with attached bathrooms

2

UDAIPUR

Fateh Niwas Heritage Hotel

1

RANAKPUR

Mana Resort

1

JODHPUR

Indana Palace Hotel

1

JAISALMER

Jaisalkot Fort Hotel

2

BIKANER

Narendra Bhawan Palace Hotel

1

MANDAWA

Vivana Culture Center Hotel

2

PRICE PER PERSON IN DOUBLE/TWIN ROOM OCCUPANCY

USD 4,310

 

SINGLE ROOM OCCUPANCY SUPPLEMENT

USD 1,248

 

THE PRICES INCLUDE:

  • Roundtrip international airfare from Fresno to New Delhi (please call us for airfare from other airports)
  • 16 overnights - accommodations in the mentioned or similar hotels inclusive of taxes on double or twin room occupancy basis
  • Daily buffet breakfast and dinner at your hotels.
  • Lunches in city restaurants
  • City sightseeing and intercity travel by air-conditioned coach with 2 bottles of water daily.
  • Entrances to monuments and museums
  • English speaking local guides at each city as per program
  • Assistance at each city by our company representative.
  • Local guides in each city
  • Escort in India.
  • Rickshaw ride at Jama Mosque in Delhi.
  • Boat ride at Lake Pichola Udaipur
  • Elephant ride at Amber Fort in Jaipur.
  • Camel cart ride in Pushkar Camel Fair on first day in the fair
  • Camel ride on sand dunes
  • All taxes, parking fees, interstate taxes, state taxes, driver’s allowance etc.

NOT INCLUDED IN ABOVE PRICES:

  • Cost of Travel Insurance, please contact us for booking an international travel insurance
  • US citizens require their passports to be valid for six months after return date from India i.e. July 14, 2020. Visa for travel to India can be applied online at: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/Registration
  • All drinks in hotels & restaurants etc.
  • Still and Video Camera Fees at monuments
  • Tips to drivers, guides and porters as well as any item not included in the above (included) list
  • All expenses of personal nature like telephone calls / laundry / room service charges in hotels etc.

PAYMENT: A non-refundable advance payment of USD 1600 is due and payable with registration. Last date of registration is May 20, 2020. The balance payment is due and payable on or before September 7, 2020.

OPTIONAL EXCURSION TOURS (Please call for details and price):
FROM NEW DELHI:

NEPAL CULTURE EXTENSION TOUR with MOUNT EVEREST FLIGHT

4 Nights beginning from New Delhi by flight to Kathmandu, sightseeing of Kathmandu Valley including Bhaktapur and Patan, an overnight excursion to Nagarkot Himalayan Mountain Resort and ending with an awesom Mount Everest Flight. Read More

An extra overnight in Delhi to visit one or more of the three important museums of Delhi:

(1) National Museum of artifacts from Indian and foreign antiquity and archaeological excavations, ancient coins, miniature paintings, manuscripts, Buddhist artifacts including the holy relics of Buddha from Kapilvastu where he spent his childhood and youth and/or
(2) National Gallery of Modern Art in the former palace of the Maharaja of Jaipur near India Gate and / or
(3) Craft Museum where you can witness fine traditional crafts in folk painting, textiles, terracotta figurines and pottery, wood carvings etc. and / or
(4) visit the Akshardham Swami Narayan Temple - capital's largest Hindu temple (about 3 hours required for temple sightseeing).
(5) Rishikesh: Is famous for its Yoga Ashrams where we can arrange admission to a Yoga Course. The city is also a haven for white water river rafting, bungy jumping and giant swing bungy jumping.

FROM AGRA:

(1) Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary with Bear Rescue Center that has 256 black Himalayan bears and the Elephant Sanctuary (both these are inside the bird sanctuary) and / or
(2) visit the Archaeological Museum at Mathura that has India's largest collections of Kushan, Gandhar and Gupta period sculptures and /or
(3) Krishna Janmabhumi - the birthplace of Bhagwan Krishna, the incarnation of Vishnu and / or the ISCKON. Hare Krishna Temple in Vrindavan.
(4) Gwalior - with one overnight in the luxurious Taj Usha Kiran Palace or Neemrana Deo Bagh Heritage Hotel or in one of its many good 3-star hotels, one can have a full day of sightseeing of Gwalior Fort and Scindia Maharaja's Jai Vilas Palace.
(5) Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur where about 150 Indian species of birds reside throughout the year and another 150 species of migratory birds arrive from Tibet, China, Mongolia, Siberia and even Scandinavia. This requires one overnight in Bharatpur. The best hotel in Bharatpur is the Laxmi Vilas Palace Hotel.

FROM JAIPUR:

(1) Chand Baori: About an hour before arriving in Jaipur is the town of Dausa that is quite close to Chand Baori - the world's deepest stepwell and the Hindu temple of goddess Harshat Mata, there is a large collection of sculptures found in the vicinity here.

(2) Sisodia Rani Garden Palace: Just before entering Jaipur in the valley of Aravali Mountains is the Garden Palace of Sisodia Rani (Queen of Sawai Jai Singh belonging to the royal house of Mewar in Udaipur)
(3) Galta Natural Spring and Hindu Pilgrimage Center: further in the same valley is the Hindu pilgrimage center of Galta with a natural water spring and many beautiful Temples.
(4) Samode Palace: A luxurious palace famous for its glass mosaic audience hall is located in a quiet valley and is surrounded by a small village. A walk in the village is interesting to observe rural life in this region. In winter months children are playing Cricket and it may be possible to join in their game.
(5) Nawalgarh: About an hour and a half drive from Samode (94 kilometers) on the way to Mandawa enjoy the sightseeing of the murals and frescos of Anandilal Poddar Haveli and Murarka Haveli. If one wishes to stay overnight there are three heritage hotels: Roop Vilas Palace Hotel or Roop Niwas Kothi or Vivaana Heritage Hotel.
(6) Mandawa: There is a lot to view in the Mandawa Castle itself that is also the best place to stay in Shekhavati region. Following Haveli (aristocratic mansions) are interesting for their murals and frescos: Hanuman Prasad Goenka Haveli, Goenka Double Haveli, Murmuria Haveli, Jhunjhunwala Haveli, Mohanlal Saraf Havei, Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli, Bansidhar Newatia Haveli, Laxminarayan Ladia Haveli and Chowkhani Double Haveli. Just across the road from Goenka Double Haveli is the Thakurji Temple that also has beautiful mural paintings depicting scenes from British East India Company Period and 1857 during the First War of Indian Independence.

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