It combines not only the palaces and imposing hilltop forts of the Mughals, but also exquisite ancient temples, the colonial heritage of British India, rich and varied wildlife, and the unspoiled peace and natural beauty of the countryside.
We begin our journey in Delhi exploring the contrast between bustling Old Delhi and Sir Edwin Lutyen’s New Delhi and see the spectacular gardens at the President’s Palace. We spend two nights in Alisar to see the beautiful haveli frescoes before spending a night within the ramparts of Nagaur’s magnificent Ahhichatracharh Fort, on the edge of the Thar Desert. Over many years, this exquisite fort has been painstakingly restored to its former glory. Continuing on, we reach the city of Jodhpur, with its jumble of blue and white buildings and formidable Meharangarh Fort.
Enjoying unspoilt rural Rajasthan along the way with a night in a remote desert camp, a brief pause at the former hunting lodge of Sardar Samand and a couple of days spent in Narlai, a beautiful property which was once the summer house of the Jodhpur Royal Family, we end the tour in the beautiful city of Udaipur on Lake Pichola. Emulating the travelling house parties of old, this is a very special tour.
There is an optional one night extension to Agra to see the impressive Agra Fort and the famous Taj Mahal.
London / Delhi
Evening departure from London Heathrow on a British Airways flight to Delhi.
On arrival transfer to the Taj Mahal Hotel, where one night is spent. One of the most distinguished addresses in the national capital, The Taj Mahal Hotel is located in the exclusive residential area of Lutyens’ Delhi, close to the seat of government.
Late lunch at the hotel. Drive through Sir Edwin Lutyens’ New Delhi, passing India Gate and the Parliament Building. Visit Rashtrapati Bhavan – the President’s residence – where there is a visit to the famous Mughal Gardens designed by Lutyens for Lady Harding.
Continue to Humayun’s Tomb, an early example of the ornate Moghul style. Dinner at the hotel.
Delhi / Alsisar
Morning departure to Alsisar and check-into the Alsisar Mahal Palace, an oasis sitting luminously among the battle-hardened desert surroundings. Dating back from the 18th century, its serene courtyards and gardens transport guests into the romance and grandeur of its regal era.
Lunch at the hotel. Afternoon at leisure to enjoy your surroundings. Dinner at the hotel.
Full day exploring Alsisar. Full of history, Alsisar showcases the glorious past of the Shekhawati region, even surviving a bombing during the British rule.
Today the palace stands tall, displaying wonderful fresco paintings in colours and intricate designs complementing the centuries-old architecture. Lunch and dinner at the hotel.
Alsisar / Nagaur
Drive off the beaten Rajasthani path into the Thar Desert, to Nagaur and transfer to the elegant 27-room Ranvas Nagaur hotel, a beautifully restored 18th-century heritage hotel situated within the walls of Nagaur’s magnificent fort and where one night is spent.
Lunch at the hotel.
Afternoon spent exploring the spectacularly restored Fort. There are few places in the world where one stays in one’s own, virtually private fort and can take an evening stroll all around the ramparts, gazing down on busy city life outside the walls. Dinner at the hotel.
Nagaur / Jodhpur
Drive to Jodhpur, known for its white and blue houses dominated by an impressive hilltop fortress. Transfer to the Balsamand Lake Palace, built of red sandstone originally as the summer palace of the Jodhpur royalty and surrounded by lush gardens, where two nights are spent.
Lunch at Umaid Bawan, the last of the great palaces of India and one of the largest residences in the world. Named after Maharaja Umaid Singh, grandfather of the present Maharaja of Jodhpur, this golden-yellow sandstone monument was conceived on the grandest possible scale, in the fashionable Art Deco style of that time.
After 15 years in construction, the palace was finally completed in 1943 and has served as the principal residence of the Jodhpur royal family since.
Optional visit to the vibrant and colourful Sadar Market and handicraft shops. Dinner at the hotel.
Morning city tour of Jodhpur including the formidable Mehrangarh Fort which spreads over five kilometres of perpendicular hill and houses a palace intricately adorned with long carved panels and latticed windows exquisitely wrought from red sandstone.
It also has a museum with a rich collection of items from palanquins to howdahs, royal cradles, miniature paintings and costumes. Also visit the magnificent white marble Jaswent Thada Cenotaph.
Lunch at the hotel. The rest of the afternoon will be spent at leisure, further enjoying Balsamand Lake Palace and its surroundings. Dinner at the hotel.
Jodhpur / Samsara
Depart for the Samsara Desert Camp, surrounded by the dunes of the Thar Desert.
Lunch at the camp on arrival. Afternoon at leisure to enjoy the camp. Dinner at the camp.
Samsara / Sardar Samand
Depart for the Sardar Samand Palace, a superb art deco former hunting lodge which was built by Maharja Umaid Singh in 1933 and retains many original features with an impressive exterior and elegantly decorated interiors and where one night is spent.
It is set in extensive grounds on the edge of the lake and offers comfortable accommodation furnished in period style. The rest of the afternoon will be at leisure to enjoy the hotel’s many facilities, which include an elegant swimming pool.
Alternatively there are options for fishing or rowing on the lake as well as tennis or walks through the forest to observe a variety of flora and fauna or to the nearby village. Poolside dinner at the hotel.
Sardar Samand / Narlai
Morning visit to the Jain Temples of Ranakpur in the Aravalli Valley. Visit the Chaumukha Temple, dedicated to Adinath and built in 1439. It has 29 halls supported by 1444 marble pillars, every one of which is different. They are quite spectacular and considered among the finest in India.
Lunch at Maharani Bagh. Transfer to Rawla Narlai, a lovely little hotel hidden away in a small village, deep in the heart of the Aravalli Hills, at the foot of a huge, granite rock and where two nights are spent. Surrounded by forested hills and rocky outcrops, it is reminiscent of a Rajasthan that few see today and is in one of the most beautiful parts of the state.
Rawla Narlai is a delightful 17th century property which was once a favourite hunting lodge of the Jodhpur Royal Family. It is still owned by members of the Jodhpur family who are young, keen and energetic and who play an active part in the running of the hotel. Special dinner in an elaborate 6th century stepwell lit up by over 100 traditional oil lamps.
Full day to explore Narlai and its surroundings. Lunch and dinner at the hotel.
Narlai / Udaipur
Drive to Udaipur, considered one of the most beautiful cities in India, where two nights are spent at Amet Haveli situated on the Western Banks of Lake Pichola. The hotel offers a unique panoramic of the old city, lake Pichola, Ghanghaur Ghat, Mohan Mandir, Lake Palace, Jagmandir and the beautiful Aravali ranges.
Lunch at the hotel. Afternoon tour of the grand City Palace Complex which towers over Lake Pichola, started in 1567 by Maharana Udai Singh with carefully integrated subsequent additions. Within are a series of courtyards, corridors and gardens, along with a fascinating collection of museums. Dinner at the hotel.
Morning visit to the superb 17th century Jagdish Temple noted for its imposing 25-metre pagoda covered with bas-relief of horsemen, dancers, musicians and elephants, along with black stone images of Vishnu as Jagannath. Also visit the small Saheliyon-Ki-Bari ornamental garden.
Lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon at leisure. Evening cruise on Lake Pichola, followed by dinner at the hotel.
Udaipur / Delhi
Morning at leisure to relax or explore the shops and markets.
Lunch at the hotel. Transfer to Udaipur airport for an early afternoon Air India flight to Delhi.
Transfer to the Trident Gurgaon Hotel, where one night is spent. Conveniently located for the airport, the Trident hotel offers a tranquil setting with 7 acres of stunning landscaped gardens, walkways, courtyards, refection pools and fountains. Dinner at the hotel.
Delhi / London
Early morning transfer to Delhi International Airport for a British Airways morning flight to London arriving in the early afternoon.