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Shanti Shanti Tour

local travel agency in India

There is no better way to unlock the mystery and romance of Rajasthan than to get into the countryside and stay in former Maharajah's palaces. Largely bypassing the major cities, this itinerary takes you to the furthest reaches of Rajasthan, it heads into areas that are off the beaten track, but offer a more in depth experience of the destination for those with an eager interest in the Indian way of life.

Itinerary:

 

Day 1: Delhi - Shekhawati : Alsisar or Mukundgarh

 Let's start your Rajasthan tour with The Shekhawati (or Garden of Shekha). This area is primarily associated with the rich and colorful frescoes that decorate the Haveli's, or mansions, of the local Marwari merchants. The frescoes adorn both the exterior and interior of the Haveli's and cover a diverse subject matter ranging from sacred to secular and folk to historical scenes. The villages of Alsisar, Mandawa, Dunlod, Nawalgarh and Fatehpur have some of the finest art work and collectively form an "open air art-gallery" that claims to have one of the largest concentrations of frescoes in the world. You will stay at Alsisar Mahal furnished and decorated in a style which recalls the grandeur of a bygone era; this is a heritage property which provides guests with a true Rajasthani experience

Day 2: Shekhawati - Khimsar

Drive to Nagaur, the town is of interest due to the impressive remains of the Ahhichatragarh Fort, which have been partially converted into a hotel, the Sufi shrine of Tarkeen Dargah, the Jain Temples in glass and Saiji ka Tanka, the reported resting place of Shri Saiji Maharaj, one of India's most famous saints. Nagaur is also host to the second largest camel fair in Rajasthan, which is usually held in February. The Nagaur Sufi music festival, which is held over three days around February, is also extremely popular.Then proceed to the small village of Khimsar.

Day 3: Khimsar - Bikaner

Today you drive further to the desert town of Bikaner. Situated in the northern Thar Desert, Bikaner owes many of its finest buildings to one remarkable man, the late Maharaja Ganga Singh, who single handedly transformed his backward feudal domain into Rajasthan greenery by building the Ganga Canal, turning the surrounding deserts into lush, green fields. A visit to the unusual Junagarh Fort, unlike all the major forts of Rajasthan, which are on hilltops, this one was built on the desert plains itself. The Jain temple is unusual for its frescoes and the descendants of the original artists are still practicing their highly skilled craft in the town to this day.

Day 4: Bikaner – Khejarla

Drive to Khejarla this morning. On arrival, check-in to a 400 year old heritage fort in a tiny village, converted as hotel. Roam around this place to enjoy the panoramic views from the hotel which is positioned on top of a rocky outcrop. Go on a jeep safari to the villages around; en-route, watch the desert wildlife in abundance - Deers, Black bucks, Blue bulls and migratory birds. Also visit the old markets of Pipar town to see some craftsmen at work. Late evening take a walk through the village to a 600 year old temple devoted to the Goddess of War.

Day 5: Khejarla - Jodhpur

Continue by road to the blue city of Jodhpur on the edge of the great Thar Desert. This afternoon visit the imposing Mehrangarh Fortress which perches in stately grandeur above the city. Close to the fort complex see Jaswant Thada, a white marble cenotaph built to commemorate a 19th century Maharajah. Beneath this imposing presence wind the narrow, crooked streets of Jodhpur's charming old town, which weave past crumbling havelis (Maharaja's mansions), lively markets, elaborate temples and modernist Brahmin-blue houses that shimmer in the sunshine. Today the city spreads far beyond the reach of the Clock Tower and the ancient town's thick stone walls, but it's within this crowded space that Jodhpur's magic lies.

Day 6: Jodhpur - Ranakpur

The temples of the Ranakpur are celebrated worldwide for their architecture and decorations dating back to the 15th century. The life around the temples is a unique quiet, beneath the rising chedis that line the elevated temple. The stairs bring you into the multi-tiered roofing and into the 24 separate halls, each fashioning delicately carved pillars, while 80 domes rise overhead. It is hard to keep track of your amazement when it seems every day brings you to the far reaches of marvel. You will come to Udaipur, finding the cool air of the mountainside streaming through the trees, a comfortable and luxurious place to settle into the night.

Day 7: Ranakpur -Udaipur

Romance is in the air in Udaipur, a place set against the backdrop of lush landscape, while the remarkable palace continues to rise over the cityscape with treasured cupolas and climbing windows that overlook the lake. Eleven different palaces comprise the City Palace, built throughout the rule of different families, bringing complex ideals of artistry together.

Day 8: Udaipur

The Bada Mahal is a stunning garden palace filled with exotic plants that bring a scent of freshness to the precious afternoon, where a colonnade of Moorish arches brings images of maharajas beneath the decorated balconies brimming with textiles. As the sun begins to set over the city you will find yourself drifting along Lake Pichola, with the gentle sounds of the serene water mirroring the sunset.

Day 9: Udaipur - Chitttorgarh – Shahpura

 Drive to Chittorgarh, the city is mainly famous for the Chittorgarh Fort which is one of the largest fort in India and covers the area of 700 acres with a height of 180 meters. Chittorgarh was built by the Mauryans in the 7th century AD and has been declared as a World Heritage Site. Apart from the Chittorgarh Fort the other areas of attraction are the Kalika Mata Temple, Rani Padmini's Palace, Rana Kumbha's Palace, Kirti Stambh and Vijay Stambh. Then proceed to the rural town of Shahpura, is an 1880's country residence that was built as a summer home for the rulers of Shahpura. The surrounding area abounds with more than three hundred lakes, and is a migratory paradise, which ensures a heady mix of desert and oasis

Day 10: Shahpura - Pushkar - Roopangarh

Today we drive to the holy city of Pushkar, a sacred town for the Hindus well-known for its annual camel fair. In the centre of town is holy Pushkar Lake surrounded by a number of temples including the famous Bramha temple - said to be the only temple in the world dedicated to this deity. A dip in the waters of Pushkar Lake and worship at Bramha temple ensure salvation. Late afternoon walk through Pushkar's lanes to see the local life and visit the Brahma temple. The evening culminates with an aarti ceremony on the ghats of the Pushkar Lake. Then drive to Roopangarh, Check in at the delightful Fort and feel like a maharaja as the hotel attendants treat you like royalty. Freshen up and enjoy a safari to the Tilonia Village and Kishangarh. Both these villages are known for their exquisite crafts.

Day 11: Roopangarh - Jaipur

Drive to the 'Pink City' of Jaipur. The tour will cover all the major highlights of this ancient city. The famous Hawa Mahal, known as the Palace of the Winds, is one of our first stops before we continue to the Astronomical Observatory constructed in 1726 and on to the City Palace, still home to the present Maharajah of Jaipur, where we'll view collections of costumes, carpets, paintings and the impressive armory.

Day 12: Jaipur

You will visit the immense Amber Fort, located in the hills just a short drive out of Jaipur. Sampling all the most fascinating sights, our guided tour includes the sections reserved for the Maharajah's wives and concubines as well as the remarkable hall of mirrors, with tiny delicate convex mirrors embedded like a mosaic in the walls and ceilings. In the afternoon, enjoy the colorful bazaars.

Day 13: Jaipur - Alwar

Drive to Alwar. Alwar is referred as the gateway to the historic and colorful state of Rajasthan. Alwar has had a chequered history and has been a witness to many rules and rulers. It offers the traveler various sites of historical importance. The main tourist attraction of Alwar is City Palace or Vinay Vilas Mahal. In the afternoon we visit the Vinay Vilas Mahal or City Palace. This palace has a fine museum with more than 7000 manuscripts, miniature paintings in both Mughal and Rajasthani style, armor, textiles and musical instruments. In the evening we will visit the Siliserh Lake. Overnight stay at the Dadhikar's Fort.

Day 14: Alwar - Agra

This morning you continue towards the ancient abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri, built in 1571, as Emperor Akbar's imperial capital. Although it was mysteriously abandoned just 15 years later it remains in a remarkable state of preservation, with numerous palaces, wide courtyards and beautiful carvings. Then you will leave for Agra, home to India's most famous site - the majestic Taj Mahal. Visit the Red Fort, Built by the famed Mughal emperor Akbar in 1565 AD, it is predominantly of red sandstone. Ensconced within is the picture perfect Pearl Mosque, which is a major tourist attraction. It lies on the bend of the river Yamuna, almost in the heart of the town. Akbar built it as his citadel over the years 1563-73 in the finest architectural style. It has imposing gates and walls of red sandstone and a moat. Later on, you will visit the Baby Taj or the Itmad-Ud-Daulah - The interiors of which are considered better than the Taj. It is one of the most beautiful Mughal tombs and was built by Nur Jahan, the Empress of Jahangir for her father in 1628.

Day 15: Agra - Delhi [4 h] The Taj Mahal is closed on Friday

The moment you have been waiting for: the visit of the monument of love at the sunrise. Little needs to be said about this architectural wonder, which is always the soul raison-de-etre for every tourist's visit to Agra. Built by Shah Jahan, the Taj is a white marble memorial to his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. This monument took 22 years to be completed and was designed, and planned by Persian architect Ustad Isa. Apart from its stunning design balance and perfect symmetry, the Taj is also noted particularly for its elegant domes, intricately carved screens and some of the best inlay work ever seen. Then drive to Delhi where you connect with your departure flight.

 

Accommodation:Two categories of hotels are proposed: Palace & Forts or Heritage Hotels

Price: starts from 2200 euro for 2 persons

 

Price includes:
- Welcome and assistance in airport.
- Transfers/Surface transports in the private car (Toyota Innova or Tata Indigo with AC) .
- Accommodation based on double occupancy & breakfast.
- Hotel taxes and services.
- Insurances

Price doesn't include:
- Other meals and drinks.
- Entrance fees for temples, monuments and museums mentioned in the program.
- Usual tips for guides and drivers.
- Personal expenses