Jewels of India - Grand Tour of Northern India    *alt*

15 days, from £2895
CTS Horizons
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Wherever possible we provide our guests with an insight into rural India, as at Narlai to feel the perpetual rhythm of village life. In the hills of southern Rajasthan we visit the great fortress of Kumbhalgarh and the temple at Ranakpur. In Udaipur we arrange a cruise on the romantic Lake Pichola including the island palace of Jag Mandir, and afternoon tea in the Fateh Prakash Palace. All these are distinguished arrangements which we pioneered and are now adopted by other tours.

* Admire the highlights of Jaipur and Jodhpur
* Explore rural India
* Stay in a Maharaja's old hunting lodge
* Admire the impressive forts of Kumbalgarh, Meherangarh, Amber and Agra


 Day 1 London - Delhi - Armistar 1 night

Depart from London Heathrow with Jet Airways at around 2050 for the non-stop flight to Delhi with connection onwards to Amritsar.

 Day 2 Amritsar 2 nights

Arrive early afternoon and transfer to the Country Inn and Suites Hotel. Evening welcome dinner, followed by a visit to the Golden Temple to witness the Palaki Ceremony. (D)

 Day 3 Amritsar

Visit the impressive Golden Temple, famous for its full golden dome. It was built using approximately 400kg of gold leaf and is one of the most sacred pilgrim sites for Sikhs. Continue to the historic Jallianwala Bagh and the beautiful Ram Bagh Garden. In the afternoon head for the border with Pakistan to witness the Wagah Border Ceremony, where the pomp and pageantry of the Beating Retreat and the change of the guard makes for a most unique spectacle. (B)

 Day 4 Delhi - Agra 2 nights

Fly to Delhi and drive to Agra. Stay at the Taj Gateway Hotel (B)

 Day 5 Agra

Sunrise visit to the magnificent Taj Mahal, India's most famous monument. Tour the marbled apartments and palaces of the Red Fort from which the Mughals ruled their vast empire. Continue to the Itmad-ud-Daulah, known as the 'Baby' Taj. (B)

 Day 6 Agra - Ranthambore 2 nights

Leaving Agra, we visit the ghostly Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, the imperial capital before its great palaces were mysteriously abandoned four centuries ago. Continue to Bharatpur railway station to board the train to Sawai Madhopur. Transfer to Ranthambore and stay 2 nights at the comfortable Kothi Resort. (BD)

 Day 7 Ranthambore

Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives today, at times when the animals begin to stir and search out water. (BLD)

 Day 8 Ranthambore - Jaipur 2 nights

Morning game drive. In the afternoon we continue to the 'Pink City' of Jaipur. An 18th century creation with broad straight avenues, the city was painted pink for the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1876. Stay at the 4* Trident Hotel. (BL)

 Day 9 Jaipur

Our tour begins with a view of the elegant facade of Palace of the Winds, and continues at Amber's great fort where we may be able to ascend the steep ramparts by elephant, otherwise by jeep. Visit the City Palace with its numerous museums and the remarkable 18th century Observatory, an astronomical marvel that allowed the Maharaja to calculate his horoscope accurately. (B)

 Day 10 Jaipur - Jodhpur 1 night

Known as the 'Blue City', after the colour of its houses, Jodhpur lies in the shadow of the spectacular Meherangarh Fort, home to Maharajas of Jodhpur since the 15th century. Drive to Jodhpur, visiting the fascinating town of Pushkar, one of the holiest places in India. Stay tonight in the Vivanta by Taj Hari Mahal Hotel. (BD)

 Day 11 Narlai 1 night

Tour the Fort's labyrinthine palaces and impressive ramparts. Afterwards we visit Jaswant Thada, the marble cenotaph of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, before strolling through the busy bazaars of the town. Later we visit the 15th century Jain temple of Ranakpur. A building of the most astonishing complexity, its walls and columns are covered by carvings so dense and delicate that it is more like lacework than stone-carving. We continue to Rawla Narlai, our hotel tonight, a charming converted hunting lodge of the former Maharaja of Jodhpur. (BD)

 Day 12 Narlai - Udaipur 3 nights

Today drive to Udaipur, taking in small villages en-route where you can visit temples and markets, meet the locals and glimpse the timeless rural life of India. Tour the magnificent Kumbhalgarh Fort, a fortress so impregnable that even Akbar the Great never breached its walls. Continue to Udaipur where we stay at the 4*Trident Hotel. There is the option to upgrade your hotel to the Lake Palace. (B)

 Day 13 Udaipur

The morning is devoted to a tour of the City Palace, the vast rambling fortress which was home to the rulers of Udaipur. In the afternoon, water levels permitting, we embark on a boat ride on Lake Pichola and a visit to the island palace of Jag Mandir. Take afternoon tea in the Crystal Gallery of the Fatehprakash Palace, serenaded by musicians. (B)

 Day 14 Udaipur

 Day at leisure. (BD)

 Day 15 Udaipur -Delhi - London

Fly from Udaipur via Delhi for Heathrow with Jet Airways, arriving at around 1740. (B)