Vast, diverse, deeply spiritual and utterly unforgettable, India is unlike anywhere else on earth – a melting pot of ethnicities and religions, a treasure trove of history and culture, and a curious mixture of chaos and serenity. Stretching across more than three million square kilometres, it encompasses a staggering array of landscapes, vistas and environs, and offers unparalleled travel experiences – from the beautiful beaches of Goa, to the compelling craziness of Kolkata, the sacred Ganges river banks of Varanasi, the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas in Kashmir and the ancient, exquisitely crafted temples dotted across the entire country. Not to mention the vibrant, friendly people, and the incredible cuisine.
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
A small town in Rajasthan, Sapotara is close to Karauli, Bamanwas, Gangapur and Karanpur. This town is an ideal base from which to explore neighboring cities. Sapotara has a little entertainment area where one would find theaters, restaurants and cinemas.
Days 5 - 6
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 6 - 8
Situated in the Chittorgarh District in Rajasthan, the city of Bhainsrorgarh rests on the northern banks of the beautiful Chambal River. The city serves as a popular base from which to explore the surrounding region. One of the most famous tourist attractions in this region is the ancient Bhainsrorgarh Fort, which has been converted into a hotel. Known as one of the best heritage hotels in India, it is the residence of royalty and boasts a unique location as it is dramatically perched on a cliffside which overlooks the beautiful river. Visitors can look forward to taking in the city sights, exploring traditional villages dotting the lush farmlands, sampling local Rajasthani cuisine, and fishing in the river. Other popular activities include: spotting crocodiles, exploring the 9th-century Badoli Temples, jumping on an excursion to Bundi Fort, or picnicking on River Island.
Days 8 - 10
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 10 - 11
Tucked away in the Aravali mountain range in the north Indian state of Rajasthan, Bera is a tiny hamlet surrounded by some spectacularly scenic countryside. This surrounding wilderness area is characterised by a desert landscape of forest plains and rocky outcrops inhabited by an impressive array of wildlife species including Indian wolf, sloth bear, Indian leopard, striped hyena, golden jackal, and jungle cat. The hamlet itself features a small but charming heritage hotel, Castle Bera, which serves as an ideal base for exploring the area’s many tourist attractions. These include the Jawai hills and lake, one of the region’s most renowned wild leopard spotting locations; the Ranakpur Temple, a famous Jain structure; and Kumbalgarh Sanctuary, a vast wildlife refuge centred around the impressive historic fort of Kumbhalgarh.
Days 11 - 13
Known as the gateway to the Thar Desert, Jodhpur is the second largest city in the state of Rajasthan, India. It is a popular tourist destination featuring a variety of ornate palaces, age-old forts and sacred temples. Dubbed “The Blue City", most houses in the old city are painted a beautiful shade of indigo. While Jodhpur is largely a sprawling modern metropolis, enclosed within its old city walls is a labyrinth of winding, narrow medieval streets and bazaars. Jodhpur is home to one of the largest forts in India, the massive 15th-century Mehrangarh Fort, which towers over the city from its sandstone plinth. Other must-see attractions include: the Umaid Bhawan Palace, one of the world's largest private residences; and the Jaswant Thada, an intricately carved white marble mausoleum.
Days 13 - 14
Nimaj is a tranquil farming hideaway on the edge of the Aravalli Hills. Roughly half way between Jaipur and Jodhpur, it is a great destination for a rural break as part of a tour of Rajasthan. The lakes in the area a renowned for their birdlife with flocks of migratory birds: waders and wildfowl which visit during the winter months. One of the highlights of the village is the Nimaj Palace Heritage Hotel, an exquisite palace occupied by royalty since Medieval times. Other buildings of the same era include the Magarmandi Mata Temple. For a unique accommodation experience, visitors to the area can stay at the Chhatra Sagar Camp, a collection of five-star luxurious tents overlooking the lake and featuring private outside areas.
Days 14 - 18
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.