Days 1 - 3
India’s largest city, Delhi, has been one of the country’s commercial and economic hubs for centuries and, as a result, is incredibly rich in culture and history. Made up of the ancient walled city of Old Delhi and the more modern sector, New Delhi, the city encompasses a staggering array of beautiful architecture, notable monuments and age-old temples, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Red Fort, Qutab Minar and Humayun's Tomb. Other key attractions include the 17th century Chandni Chowk marketplace – still one of the city’s most popular retail centres today, particularly for jewellery and traditional Indian saris; the iconic Bahà’i Lotus Temple – an award-winning architectural gem; and the Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque.
Days 3 - 4
Home of the world-famous Taj Mahal, Agra is one of India’s prime tourist destinations for specifically this reason, though its attractions also extend to an array of other impressive historical sights. These include the red-hued Agra Fort, the sacred Jama Masjid mosque and Itmad-ud-Daulah’s tomb, with its white marble facade embellished with intricate inlaid designs and semi-precious gems. The Taj, however, is in a league of its own and needless to say is a must-see for any visitor to the city. Commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the 15th century as a memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, it is an architectural masterpiece of exquisite craftsmanship and perfect proportions.
Days 4 - 5
Fringed by the rugged Aravali Hills, Jaipur is the capital and largest city in India’s northern state of Rajasthan. This city is famed for being India’s first planned city featuring a multitude of pink terracotta buildings within the walled historic centre, earning it the nickname,’The Pink City’. Jaipur falls within the Golden Triangle, a popular tourist circuit, which includes Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, and serves as a gateway to the neighbouring desert cities of Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. This colourful city is a combination of tradition and modernity and offers visitors vibrant bazaars, lavish palaces and ancient temples. The salmon-hued old city is home to the opulent City Palace, encompassing an impressive assortment of palatial structures, sprawling gardens, courtyards and buildings. Don’t miss the fairy-tale splendour of the Amber Fort, set against the backdrop of the arid landscape.
Days 6 - 9
Sawai Madhopur, the lively capital city of the greater Sawai Madhopur District, rests within southeast Rajasthan, on the northern extension of the sprawling Vindhyan Plateau. Famously known for its flourishing fauna and flora; and mouth-watering cuisine, travellers can meander through the enchanting public gardens and sample the delicious local dishes. Both a history and nature enthusiasts dream, Sawai Madhopur, opens a world of enjoyable excursions with some of the most notable attractions being the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ranthambore Fort; the religiously significant Chamatkar Temple; and the remarkable Ranthambhore National Park, famously known for its abundance of free-roaming wildlife including the majestic Bengal tiger and Indian leopard.
Days 9 - 11
Resting on the sun-drenched plains of Rajasthan, in northwestern India, the city of Shahpura serves as a midway stopover between Jaipur and Udaipur. This city is a little oasis amidst the dry hills of Rajasthan and is a place of pilgrimage for the Ram Snehi, a spiritual and religious group with traditions originating in the early 19th century. Shahpura is primarily untouched by modernity and seems eternally preserved in time. Surrounded by over 250 small lakes, the area is a bird watching paradise and an idyllic setting for visitors to enjoy boating on Shahpura’s picturesque lake. Other attractions include: the Ramdwara Temple, an ancient place of worship; the annual Phooldol Mela, a five-day religious festival; and the ancient, crumbling Dhikhola Fort, a great location for visitors to enjoy evening sundowners with views of the expansive landscape.
Days 11 - 13
Dubbed the ‘Venice of the East’, the city of Udaipur is built around three interconnected lakes – Lake Pichhola, Fateh Sagar Lake and the smaller Swaroop Sagar Lake – and encircled by the hills of the Aravalli mountain range. It is home to an array of ancient temples and fairy-tale palaces (several of the latter have been converted into luxury heritage hotels) and is known as one of Rajasthan’s most beautiful and romantic cities. Must-see attractions include the City Palace, the Lake Palace (set on a small island in the middle of Lake Pichola) and the Udaipur Solar Observatory – Asia’s premier solar-gazing site.
Days 13 - 14
A handful of skyscrapers reach for the sky in the CBD of Gurgaon, a northwestern metropolis in the province of Huryana, near Delhi. Historically known as Guru Gram, the dormant town gathered economic momentum when Indian automobile manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, set up a manufacturing plant here in the 1970s. Just a few decades later, half the Fortune 500 companies had opened offices in Gurgaon. Despite the congested urban areas, birding enthusiasts can find respite at Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, a famous bird-watching spot only 15 km from the city.