Among the oldest civilizations in the world, India offers one of the richest tapestry of cultures and heritage woven by history. This 14-day journey that takes you to the country’s top sights and connects you to its land and its people. See the iconic Taj Mahal in all its glory, go on safari for the royal Bengal tiger, feel the spirituality of Varanasi and the sacred Ganges, make bread for the needy as Sikhs do, shop the colorful bazaars of Jaipur, and getaway to a hidden lush oasis in the middle of the arid hills. On this adventure, expertly navigate the colorful and often chaotic scenes of India in replete style with private touring and stays at top luxury hotels.This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.
Upon arrival at Delhi airport, you will be met and transferred via private vehicle to your hotel. As most international flights arrive in the evening, check in to your hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Rest up and get ready for your adventure tomorrow. Those eager to dive in can opt for an evening walking food tour with an expert of the local food scene. Stroll down historic alleys and visit hidden gem family restaurants and food stalls to sample New Delhi favorites such as kebabs, butter chicken, rice pudding, and stuffed flat breads.
Begin your exploration in the heart of Old Delhi at Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest and busiest markets. The historic market began as a bazaar dating back to when Emperor Shah Jahan founded his new capital. Today it is still a popular market densely-packed with beautifully decorated shops selling curios, souvenirs, snacks, textiles and everything in between. Take a rickshaw down the narrow lanes, passing shops, shrines, and havelis. Next to the market is Jama Masjid, one of the largest and perhaps most magnificent mosque in India. Before noon, head to prominent Sikh temple where you will help prepare bread in the community kitchen for lunch. This concept of langar is practiced by Sikhs where vegetarian meals are prepared in the temple's community kitchen and served free of charge to all visitors regardless of race, religion, or gender. Sit and eat together with community members within the halls, if you wish. In the afternoon, take a driving tour of New Delhi, passing government buildings, the parliament house, India Gate, and the president's palace. Then, pay a visit to the stunning Lotus Temple, remarkable for its flowerlike shape. Finally, visit Humayan's Tomb which was the first garden-tomb in India. This UNESCO site was a leap in Mughal architecture and set a precedent for subsequent structures, such as the Taj Mahal.
Spend this morning at leisure before your afternoon flight to Udaipur. We suggest independently visiting one of Delhi's many contemporary art galleries, a stroll through Lodhi Gardens, or visiting one of the city's colorful bazaars. Upon arrival in Udaipur, check in to your lakeside hotel and unwind. In the late afternoon, enjoy a private boat cruise across Lake Pichola. Udaipur, known as the 'City of Lakes,' has seven lakes surrounding the city. Float across the serene Lake Pichola and take in the idyllic scene as the sun slowly sets over the Aravalli Mountains in the distance, fishermen cast their lines, women wash clothes on the banks, and children swim along the ghats. In the evening, if you want an introduction to the dance, costumes, and color of Rajasthani culture, head to a folk dance show held within a small couryard at an old private palace.
Today you’ll explore the City Palace, the ornate Hindu Jagdish Temple, hilltop Monsoon Palace, and Royal Vintage Car museum. Then, stroll Old Town which has a wealth of bazaars and markets offering a range of handicrafts, textiles, leather goods, vintage rugs, and more. As you make your way through a myriad of lanes, admire the colorful buildings and havelis, watch the children playing cricket in the streets, and enjoy a fresh samosa or two. Udaipur is an atmospheric city to be savored, especially lakeside.
Travel onward by quick flight to Jaipur, the Pink City. This royal city amid arid hills is awash in blush-pink buildings, lavish palaces, Hindu temples, colorful bazaars, and artisan workshops. Visit the City Palace Museum and the Jantar Mantar UNESCO-protected observatory next door, a marvel of construction dating back to the 16th century. Also see the beautiful Hawa Mahal, a tall and imposing pink palace famed for its honeycomb of windows. Spend the rest of the day browsing Jaipur's famed bazaars and boutiques. Touting dazzling gems, handmade jewelry, chic fashion houses, exquisite fabrics and rugs, Jaipur is a premier destination international designers flock to for inspiration.
Enjoy a leisurely morning however you wish. Explore the labyrinthine alleyways and browse more markets, sample freshmade sweets from streetcarts, and have a sumptuous yet simple thali meal. Head out of the bustling city and into the peaceful countryside to the UNESCO Heritage Site, Amber Fort. The hilltop fort was built in 1592 and is a fascinating blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture due to continuous modifications made by successive rulers. Then, visit a nearby elephant camp, a sanctuary for rehabilitated working elephants. Embark on a rural village walk to the nearby Meena tribe community where you will be invited for a cup of chai and to learn about their self-sustaining lifestyle. Back at the camp, spend time with the elephants, feeding them and strolling alongside them. As the evening settles in, have a candlelit open-air dinner on camp grounds before returning to Jaipur.
If you wish, arise early for a hot air balloon ride over the city and surrounding countryside. Depart Jaipur and drive onward to the outskirts of Alwar, two hours away. Check in to Amanbagh and unwind in your pavillion. Once used by the Maharaja of Alwar as the staging area for royal tiger huts, the lush estate of towering palms and manicured vegetation is an oasis amid the rugged Aravalli Hills. In the late afternoon as the day cools down, venture out to the rural countryside and explore the surrounding picturesque villages and ancient ruins.
Start the day with an early visit to the eerily beautiful ruins of Bhangarh town, surrounded by much legend and believed by locals to be haunted. If you wish, have a private sunrise meditation or yoga session in this ethereal setting. You’ll also visit the intricately adorned Neelkanth Hindu Temple and embark upon a Mansarover Lake cruise in a traditional shikara boat. Retreat to the walled oasis resort and lounge by your private pool or indulge in an Ayurvedic spa treatment. For a unique experience, participate in a fire meditation ceremony led by Amanbagh's in-house guru.
This morning you depart from the staging grounds and head on the hunt. Arrive at Ranthambore National Park by noon and check in to your luxury tented camp. After lunch, be ready to head out on a wildlife safari. Once a part of the royal hunting grounds, Ramthambore National Park's protected grounds are a sanctuary for buffalo, deer, wild boar, antelope and other small animals. It is also the home of the Royal Bengal tiger. If you are lucky, you might be able to spot one of these elusive crepuscular big cats.
Spend the day exploring the park on morning and afternoon safaris. The park is divided into 10 zones so there is much to see. More than 300 species of migratory and domestic birds flit around the park while a large number of Marsh crocodiles can be found resting on lake banks. Besides tigers, other large rare animals that can be found are sloth bears and leopards. When not on safari, feel like a Maharaja back at your tented camp which features wood floors, large bathrooms with claw-foot tubs, four-poster bed, and frescoed paintings. Pamper yourself with a spa treatment after a long day before dining privately by the lily pond under fire torches and moonlight.
Travel onward by road to Agra. Enroute, just before Agra, stop at Fatehpur Sikri. This ancient Mughal capital was built by Emperor Akbar who raised three palaces for each of this favorite wives. Though quickly abandoned after his death, the red sandstone buildings remain intact and the mosque is still in use today. Upon arriving in Agra, check in to your hotel and freshen up before heading out to see the Taj Mahal at sunset. This stunning landmark is made even more beautiful during sunset as the white marble is set aflame in orange and red hues. Retire to your room at Amarvilas, where your suite has a view of the Taj Mahal. Under the moonlight, you can see the monument gleaming in elegant white light.
In the morning, if you wish, take another look at the Taj Mahal. Sunrise is an equally beautiful time to view the mausoleum, and its quietest hour. Pay attention to the exquisite ornamentation with pearls and precious gemstones inlaid in the white marble. Explore Agra Fort before your flight to Varanasi, a holy sacred city on the banks of the Ganges river. Board a private boat this evening and witness the grand aarti ceremony from the river, a majestic spectacle of fire, incense smoke, and conchshell blowing.
Varanasi is a city burgeoning with spirituality and non-stop action, as you will see on today’s tour of the city. Walk along the river where the many ghats are awash with scenes of life and death. The renowned ever-smoky burning ghat is where bodies are brought for Hindu cremation and scattered into the river. In another ghat, pilgrims are taking a dip in the sacred waters. Visit a few prominent temples in the city before heading out to Sarnath, to the deer park where Buddha first taught the Dharma, one of the holiest Buddhist sites in the world. If you wish, see the evening’s aarti ceremony again, this time from the banks for a closer view.
Arise early on your final day for a peaceful sunrise cruise on the Ganges river. Observe as the east-facing city awakens in the morning light, symbolic of rebirth and new life. Smoking pyres are relit, women beat their laundry along the banks, pilgrims make their way into the river. This remarkable experience is a sublime cap to your classic India journey. After breakfast, enjoy your morning at leisure until your private transfer to the airport for your flight onward.
The Oberoi Gurgaon is set on a lush nine-acre property just outside of New Delhi near the airport, offering luxury and tranquillity on the outskirts of India's capital. The hotel's 202 rooms and suites are among the largest in the city, featuring contemporary decor with large windows that overlook the property's landscaped pools and gardens. All have LED televisions and both wired and wireless internet access. Dining options include Threesixtyone, serving pan-Asian cuisine across 5 interactive show kitchens, with indoor and outdoor seating, and Amaranta, offering fresh seafood. The hotel also boasts a piano bar, the country's first exclusive cigar lounge, and a patisserie and delicatessen. Other amenities include an outdoor pool, gym complex, and a 24-hour spa centre. The Oberoi Gurgaon is 15 minutes by car from Delhi International Airport (DEL).
Located near the heart of Chanakyapuri, the city’s diplomatic enclave, the Leela Palace New Delhi is a five-star luxury hotel in the Indian capital. Its 260 rooms and suites combine traditional Indian opulence with sleek contemporary decor and amenities in typical Leela luxury. Dining options include the striking glass-house Qube,offering an eclectic global menu and show kitchens, overlooking the Leela’s gardens; Jamavar for traditional Rajasthani and north Indian cuisine; and new outposts of the acclaimed restaurants Le Cirque (French and Italian) and Megu (Japanese). The Library, meanwhile, is a sophisticated retreat for cocktails, fine whiskeys, cigars, and a collection of first-edition books. The ESPA spa offers a range of Western, Oriental and Ayurvedic-influenced health and beauty treatments, as well as a café, a state-of-the-art fitness studio, relaxation lounge, finishing studio, roof terrace, and sauna, steam and drench rooms. The Leela is approximately a 30-minute drive from Indira Gandhi International airport (DEL).
A 45-minute drive from Maharana Pratap Airport lies the Leela Palace Udaipur, a five-star property on the banks of Lake Pichola. Sporting sweeping views of the City Palace and the majestic Aravalli Mountains, the Leela Palace Udaipur features seventy-two rooms and suites divided into six categories, all decorated in sepia tones with local textiles and artwork. The in-house restaurant, the Dining Room, offers a cornucopia of cuisines throughout the day; the Sheesh Mahal, a rooftop restaurant on the lakeside that offers fine dining under the stars, and serves cuisine from the royal kitchens of India; and the Library Bar, an intimate lounge that fuses English club decor with Indian aesthetic principles. Food can also be served by the mosaic-tiled pool overlooking Lake Pichola, or in guests’ rooms. Other amenities include a spa by ESPA, yoga lessons, badminton, boat rides, cooking classes with one of the property’s chefs and much more.
Nestled along the beautiful Lake Pichola, The Oberoi is designed after the majestic Indian palaces of yore that litter the Mewar region: grand pavilions and domes, decorated with frescos and adorned with artifacts stun the senses, while top quality service lends a touch of regality to your travels. Many of the 90 rooms, designed to evoke the history and culture of Rajasthan, have terraces that open on to semi-private swimming pools; suites include private swimming pools and outdoor dining pavilions. Dining options include: Chandni, an upscale Indian restaurant; Suryamahal, for European, Mediterranean and Thai dishes; and Udaimahal, a dining experience approximating the opulence of maharajas. The Udaivilas has a business center, an excellent Oberoi spa, two pools and a sports complex. The hotel is a 40-minute drive from Dabok Airport (UDR).
Set in 32 acres of landscaped grounds, the Oberoi Rajvilas faithfully recreates the majesty of the Rajasthani royals. Each of the property’s rooms, tents and villas features the following amenities: LCD TV, DVD player, satellite television,wired and wireless broadband Internet access and 24-hour butler service. All accommodations are set in private courtyards, giving one the impression of being inside a fort. The fully air-conditioned, luxury tents in particular are unique to this property. Each tent has a private patio and a garden which is enclosed by a mud wall. Inside, the tents are spacious and airy, featuring colonial design such as a free-standing, claw footed bathtub and separate shower. There is a spa with a full suite of massage and spa treatment offerings, in addition to a state-of-the-art fitness center, flood-lit tennis courts, and outdoor pool in a lovely garden setting. There are two restaurants that serve Indian and international cuisine, in addition to the library bar. Room service is available 24 hours a day.
Until recently, the spectacular Rambagh Palace was the home of Jaipur royalty. The almost 200-year-old hotel is considered one of the great palace hotels of India, and is world-renowned for its beautiful architecture, its vast gardens and its 79 magnificent rooms and historical suites. The Survana Mahal is the hotel's grand dining room and serves delicious Indian cuisine and international fare is available in the Rajput Room. The hotel's famous Polo Bar, the lounge of choice for local society, is decorated with the trophies and polo memorabilia of the late Maharaja of Jaipur. Rambagh Palace offers guests indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis, croquet and a fitness center. The business center has broadband Internet access, wi-fi access and secretarial services. Ayurvedic therapy and massages can be arranged in the Palace Salon or in the privacy of your room. Taj Rambagh is approximately 20 minutes from the airport (JAI).
The sumptuous Amanbagh hotel is located in the remote Alwar region of Rajasthan on one of the sites used long ago by the Maharajah of Alwar for his mobile tiger hunting camps. With 32 rooms and suites, Amanbagh, which translates as "peaceful garden" is designed as a contemporary interpretation of the great palaces built during India's golden age of architecture. The Restaurant serves a deluxe version of the region's home-style cooking as well as western specialties in a refined atmosphere including indoor and outdoor seating areas. Additionally, there is a courtyard for more casual dining near the pool area. The Bar and Lounge is an intimate place to relax and unwind during the afternoon and into the evening. An ongoing series of lectures on regional art and architecture, history, and philosophy is offered to guests in the hotel's library. Amanbagh has a comprehensive spa program specializing in Ayurvedic treatments as well as a devoted area for the practice and instruction of yoga.
With just 10 luxury tents dotted around a lake, Aman-i-Khás is one of the most exclusive properties in the world. Located near the famed Ranthambore National Park, Aman-i- Khás offers supreme comfort in this rugged area with its dining tent, spa tent with four treatment beds total, lounge tent, a step-well, a traditional shallow wading pool, and wireless Internet access. Each tent has a central living room area, which opens on to three other areas for sleeping, bathing and dressing. The “bedroom” has a king-size bed and two writing desks, while the bathing area includes a shower, soaking tub and separate toilet while the dressing area contains wardrobes and twin vanities. There is a lovely campfire that is lit every evening and surrounded by stone benches with pillows such that guests can socialize with one another and chat about any game sightings over drinks and live music.
Nestled within the jungle at the edge of Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, the Oberoi Vanyavilas offers 25 luxury tents which feature finely embroidered canopies, teak floors, luxurious bathrooms and private walled gardens. Each tent cover approxiately 790 square feet with a private outdoor deck for sunbathing. Both wired and wireless Internet connectivity are available as well as satellite television. Other amenities include recreational room, an on-site spa offering Ayurvedic treaments, and heated swimming pools which lap around the hotel property.
Located just 600 meters from the Taj Mahal, the Oberoi Amarvilas offers views of this romantic monument from each of its 109 guest rooms and suites, as well as the property’s lobby, bar and lounge. With a nod to Moorish and Mughal architecture, the resort features terraced lawns, fountains, reflection pools and pavilions with rich interiors. Room and suite amenities include a separate walk-in closet with electronic safe, lavish marble bathrooms with deluxe toiletries. The Amarvilas is also home to two restaurants, Bellevue and Esphahan, which serve fine international and Indian cuisine. Complementing the grandeur of the Mughal era is the spa that befits the self-indulgence of royalty, with holistic treatments based on Ayurveda and ancient Thai and western massage techniques, as well as beauty and body treatments. Other facilities include a swimming pool and a state-of-the-art gymnasium.
The Nadesar Palace lies nestled in the heart of vibrant Varanasi among mango orchards, marigold and jasmine fields. Built by the East India Company and acquired by Maharaja Prabhu Narain Singh in the 19th century, the property is named after goddess Nadesari, whose shrine is located in front of the palace. All accommodation at the boutique yet opulent Nadesar Palace, which includes just 10 luxuriously appointed Heritage Rooms, Heritage Suites and Royal Suites, is generously scaled with large windows overlooking the gardens and spacious bathrooms in cool white marble. There is a restaurant serving local cuisine and satvik fare, which is said to bring calmness, intelligence, strength, health, happiness and longevity. Fresh fruits and vegetables, cereals and grains form the main ingredients of satvik food. The grounds are just 13 miles from Varanasi’s airport (VNS).
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This 13-day quest through the central state of Madhya Pradesh, India, will take you to numerous off the beaten path archaeological and UNESCO world heritage sites to discover the vibrant cultural traditions of Indian’s expansive inland state.
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The exciting 12-day agenda includes numerous stops at historic, lesser-known gems away from the standard tourist-heavy beat with a final stop at Varanasi. Though travelers may opt for this itinerary at any time of year, we highly recommend timing this trip in late October to early November to coincide with Dev Deepawali – an annual celebration that occurs in Varanasi and translates to “Festival of Lights of the Gods” in Hindi.
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Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
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