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Golden Triangle: Delhi + Taj Mahal + Jaipur
International flights quoted separately
Explore the highlight of incredible India on this tour of the "Golden Triangle" - including Delhi, the pink city of Jaipur in historic Rajasthan & the incomparable Taj Mahal in Agra. Enjoy the cuisine of India and its rich architectural heritage, whilst letting your senses experience the colourful market places. English speaking city guides, all transfers & excursions included.
Jantar Mantar Observatory antar Mantar Observatory
Jantar Mantar Observatory antar Mantar Observatory
You will be met at
by your driver and transferred to your hotel in this ancient capital of kingdoms and empires that is now a sprawling metropolis.
Delhi's strategic location was one of the main reasons why successive dynasties chose it as their seat of power and today it is a conglomerate of seven cities. The division between the old walled city and New Delhi marks a division in lifestyles, with the old city retaining its past traditions whilst New Delhi strives to match the pace of the 21st century.
Today enjoy an orientation tour of modern
and the 17th century walled city of
, which came to prominence when Shah Jahan moved his capital from Agra.
In Old Delhi
enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through 300-year old
market, a maze of lanes crowded with noisy shops selling an extraordinary variety of items and foods, and past the
(or Friday Mosque) the largest in India. We drive past the splendid
, once the most opulent palace in the Mughal Empire, and continue to the
- the simple memorial site where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated.
In the afternoon our tour of New Delhi starts with a visit the
, an ancient victory tower built of red sandstone and marble in 1199 and still the tallest minaret in India. With its imposing cylindrical towers and surrounding ruins, it is today a World Heritage site. Our next stop is
, the beautiful mausoleum of the Mughul emperor Akbar, that inspired the Taj Mahal.
We drive along the Rajpath - the capital's broadest avenue - where you will see the imposing arch of the
presidential residence built for the Viceroy of India, and the government buildings on Raisina Hill.
This morning we drive 3.5-hours from
to the ancient city of
, set along the banks of the Yamuna River and originally the capital of the Mughal Empire.
Agra is world renowned as the home of the
- that great symbol of love built by emperor Shah Jahan in the 16th century as a memorial to his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. This magnificent white marble mausoleum took 22 years to build and, apart from its stunning design and perfect symmetry, it is noted for its elegant domes, intricately carved screens and some of the best marble inlay work ever done.
Sunrise and sunset are particularly good times to visit and see the dome subtly change its colour.
We visit this magnificent mausoleum, before checking into our hotel.
Note: Taj Mahal is closed every Friday. You cannot take anything in with you except your camera, water and medicine.
This morning we visit
, a massive structure with walls over 70-ft high and 1.5-miles long that encompasses an astounding collection of well preserved buildings, many of them completed during the reign of Shah Jahan. After he was deposed by his son, he was imprisoned in this fort where he remained until his death - spending the rest of his life looking out along the river to the final resting place of his beloved wife.
We also visit the much quieter
mausoleum across the river - fondly known as the "Baby Taj", as it was a forerunner of the Taj Mahal that was built to honour the grandfather of Mumtaz.
We then travel 1-hour to the magnificent red sandstone royal city of
, built by the emperor Mohammad Akbar as the capital of the Mughal Empire. The city was abandoned due to water shortage, when the capital was moved north to Delhi, and in more recent years the fort has provided a dramatic backdrop to several famous films.
We then drive 3-hours to
which is the capital of Rajasthan. Check into your hotel in this chaotic and colourful "Pink City" - home to over 3 million people.
Today enjoy a tour of the city of
Our first stop is to view the magnificent
(the "Palace of the Winds") designed in the form of the crown of the Hindu god Krishna. This five-storey frontage looks like a bee's honeycomb with 953 small windows, each decorated with intricate latticework so that the court ladies living in secluded purdah could watch royal processions, without being seen themselves. Built of red and pink sandstone, it is particularly striking early in the morning when lit by the sunrise.
We continue to the
This magnificent royal palace was built from pale yellow & pink sandstone and white marble and is divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard. You will enter by riding up the ramparts on the back of a decorated elephant to the main courtyard (Jaleb Chowk). This is where returning armies would display their war booty to the people and women could view them from the veiled windows of the palace. Once inside explore the amazing Palace of Mirrors and Hall of Public Audience.
We then visit the
Jantar Mantar Observatory
, the largest stone and marble crafted observatory in the world and a World Heritage site. It is the best preserved of five observatories built by Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur. It has 17 large instruments, many of them still in working condition.
Our day finishes with a visit to the nearby
, the former Royal Residence part of which is now a museum. One of the major attractions here is the armoury with its impressive array of pistols, blunderbusses, flintlocks, swords, rifles and daggers used by the Maharajas of Jaipur. The Textile and Costume museum on the first floor is another fine display, with items from all over India.
In the evening enjoy the unique experience of dining with a local family, where you will taste spicy Rajasthan food and gain insight into their Hindu lifestyle, with different generations living under the same roof.
Today you have the opportunity to enjoy an
, spending 2 to 3-hours up close and personal with Asian elephants cared for by a mahout family.
You can touch, wash and help feed them; have a painting class and learn about elephant decoration. Also learn about elephant medicines and treatments, before taking a walk with the elephants into the village.
Balance of day is free to explore
with your guide, enjoy some shopping or simply relax at your hotel.
Today transfer to
for your flight to the bustling city of
Here you will be met and transferred to your hotel conveniently situated near
for your flight home.
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