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Fly overnight to Delhi and transfer to your hotel. The following day you’ll explore Old and New Delhi with a private guide and driver. Start the tour at the Qutab Minar, a 234-foot-high fluted minaret that was built in the thirteenth century, before continuing to the Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Chandani Chowk Markets in Old Delhi. The tour also includes a drive along Rajpath, past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President’s residence.
Stay: Two nights in a Premier Room at The Oberoi, New Delhi – bed & breakfast
After an early breakfast, travel on the Gatiman Express to Agra. This afternoon visit the imposing Agra Fort. Wander through the white apartments of the Emperor Shah Jehan and glimpse the Taj Mahal in the distance. Afterwards continue your visit to the Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, otherwise known as the ‘Baby Taj’.
Continue your tour of Agra with a sunset visit to the spectacular Taj Mahal, considered to be the greatest monument to love and devotion. After sightseeing continue to The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, which is regarded as one of the very best hotels in India. It is located in the heart of Agra, just 600 meters from the Taj Mahal and thus every room has a wonderful view of the stunning monument. *Please note that the Taj Mahal is closed on a Friday.
Stay: One night in a premier room at The Oberoi Amarvilas – bed & breakfast
After breakfast, transfer from Agra to Bharatpur (approximately one hour). En route there will be a stop at the deserted Moghul city of Fatephur Sikri. The city was built in the late 16th century and in its heyday, was the most important artistic centre in South Asia. One long bazaar connected the city to Agra and its wealth is reflected in the impressive buildings that remain today.
After lunch, board the Jan Shatabdi Express Train to Sawai Madhopur and your luxury tented jungle resort on the edge of Ranthambore National Park. Ranthambore encompasses nearly 400 square kilometres of dry, deciduous forest in south west Rajasthan and is best known for its tigers. Here, more than in any other park or sanctuary in India, tigers can be encountered in broad daylight.
During the day, there is much to do and Ranthambore is known as the photographer’s dream. You’ll enjoy game drives alongside knowledgeable guides who’ll help you discover tigers, sambar deer, striped hyenas, leopards, wild boar, civets, Indian foxes and over 200 different species of bird. Afternoon game drives in particular are ideal time for photographing game as birds come in to roost and the wildlife prepares to settle down in the soft evening light.
Stay: Two nights in a luxury tent at The Oberoi Vanyavilas Wildlife Resort – bed & breakfast
This morning take another game drive in the park before returning to The Oberoi Vanyavilas for breakfast. After breakfast drive to Jaipur, one of India’s most vibrant and exotic destinations. One of India’s finest hotels, The Oberoi Rajvilas, welcomes you. Just half an hour outside the city, this magnificent building mirrors the princely style of Rajasthan and the gracious lifestyle of India’s legendary Rajput princes.
Jaipur, or the City of Victory, was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II and is a well- planned city built from rose-coloured terra cotta. Its bazaars teem with people, camels, horses and a multitude of vehicles. First this morning, drive past the magnificent Hawa Mahal, otherwise known as the Palace of the Winds. This is really just an elaborate facade behind which the ladies of the court used to sit and observe life going on in the streets below.
You then continue to Amber, the ancient capital of the region, and a delight to explore. Visit the Jagmandir (or the Hall of Victory) glittering with mirrors, Jai Mahal and Temple of Kali. In the afternoon you’ll visit Maharaja’s City Palace, the observatory (Jantar Mantar), Albert Hall Museum and Ram Niwas Garden, all the while navigating the pink residential and business areas of Jaipur.
Stay: Two nights in a premier room at The Oberoi Rajvilas – bed & breakfast
Morning at leisure. Afternoon domestic flight from Jaipur to Udaipur. You will be met on arrival and transferred to The Oberoi Udaivilas on the banks of Lake Pichola and undoubtedly one of the finest hotels in India. Udaipur, the ‘City of Dreams’, is often referred to as the most romantic city in India. In contrast to some of its desert neighbours it presents an enchanting image of white marble palaces, placid blue lakes and green hills that keep the wilderness at bay. It is an oasis of colour in a stark and arid region.
This morning visit the superb Jagdish Temple which is noted for its elephant motif carving. Afterwards visit the grand City Palace which stands on a hill on the banks of Lake Pichola, surrounded by crenulated walls. Built in 1567, it is composed of four major palaces and several minor palaces that form a single façade. Your afternoon is at leisure before you enjoy a late afternoon boat ride on the lake.
Stay: Two nights in a premier room at The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur – bed & breakfast
You’ll have the morning free in Udaipur. In the late afternoon, you’ll board a domestic flight to Mumbai and connect with an overnight British Airways flight home. Arrive in London the following morning.
Rob was always quick, efficient, charming and helpful- CH, Burma