Bespoke North India

Places Covered: DELHI – SHIMLA - AGRA – BHARATPUR – RANTHAMBORE – JAIPUR – DELHI


Company representatives will receive you on arrival at the international airport in Delhi.

Transfer to your hotel.

DELHI, the capital of kingdoms and empires is now a sprawling metropolis with a fascinating blend of the past and the present. It is a perfect introduction to the composite culture of an ancient land. A window to the kaleidoscope – that is India.

Freshen up and your guide will meet you at hotel for the New Delhi (Imperial Delhi) tour.

The tour will begin with a visit to GANDHI SMRITI (next to your hotel) – an erstwhile Lutyens bungalow that has been converted into a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi (father of the nation), where he used to stay during his visits to Delhi. Gandhi was assassinated here on his way to offer customary evening prayers. Large collection of photographs with a few personal belongings and a series of small terracotta dolls illustrating his life are the attractions at this museum.

Proceed to the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President’s residence. Stop for photography while your guide explains the buildings and designs.

Visit AGRASEN BAOLI (Step Well in Delhi) Agrasen ki Baoli, designated a protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958, is a 60-meter long and 15-meter wide historical step well on Hailey Road near Connaught Place.

Next stop would be the majestic Humanyun’s Tomb. Humayun died in 1556, and his widow Hamida Banu Begum, also known as Haji Begum, commenced the construction of his tomb in 1569, fourteen years after his death. It is the first distinct example of proper Mughal style, which was inspired by Persian architecture. It is well known that Humayun picked up the principles of Persian architecture during his exile, and he himself is likely to have planned the tomb, although there is no record to that effect.

Stop for lunch at KHAN MARKET and walk around.

Next stop will be Qutub Minar, the tallest stone tower in India. Qutub-Minar in red and buff stand stone is the highest tower in India. It has a diameter of 14.32 m at the base and about 2.75 m on the top with a height of 72.5 m. Qutbu'd-Din Aibak laid the foundation of Minar in AD 1199 for the use of the mu'azzin (crier) to give calls for prayer and raised the first floor, to which were added three more floors by his successor and son-in-law, Shamsu'd-Din Iltutmish (AD 1211-36). All the levels are surrounded by a projected balcony encircling the Minar and supported by stone brackets, which are decorated with honeycomb design, more conspicuously in the first floor.

Return to hotel and overnight will be at Delhi.

After breakfast at the hotel start a guided tour of Old Delhi.

The tour will begin with a visit to Raj Ghat, a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. He is also famously known as the “father of the nation”.

Drive past the magnificent RED FORT built during the years 1638 – 48 when the Moghul Empire was at its peak. In 1638 Shahjahan transferred his capital from Agra to Delhi and laid the foundations of Shahjahanabad, the seventh city of Delhi. It is enclosed by a rubble stonewall, with bastions, gates and wickets at intervals.

Enter the old city and start your heritage walk starting from JAMA MASJID (the main mosque) of Delhi. It is one of Asia’s largest mosques with outstanding architecture.

Enjoy the walk through the narrow by lanes of Chandani Chowk visiting the important milestones in the history of Delhi, the spice market, the traditional wholesale bazaars, food markets and colorful metal markets.

Continue your tour to Jama Masjid by bicycle rickshaws, one of Asia’s largest mosques. People stream in and out of the mosque continuously and the presence of a nearby bazaar means that the area is rarely quiet.

Proceed to a SIKH TEMPLE for experiencing the community kitchen and service. GURUDWARA SHISH GANJ is a beautiful religious shrine and one of the nine historical Gurdwaras in Delhi. It was first constructed in 1783 by Baghel Singh to commemorate the martyrdom site of the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur.

Guide will take you around the temple complex and explain how the rituals are performed. At the end, you all will visit the kitchen and dining hall called the LANGAR (community kitchen). The kitchen is a voluntary service by the followers and serves over 5,000 meals daily. The massive drill of feeding so many people everyday is an awe-inspiring process. It is a blessing to the volunteers who prepare and serve the food. It is also an example of the Sikh principle of sharing and equality; everyone sits together for the meals as equals. You can take part in the service too.

After lunch proceed for a sightseeing tour of AKSHARDHAM TEMPLE.

Akshardham means the eternal and divine abode of the supreme God. It is the abode of eternal values and virtues of “Akshar” as defined in the Vedas and Upanishads where divine bhakti, purity and peace forever pervades. Swami Narayan Akshardham in New Delhi epitomizes 10,000 years of Indian culture in all its breathtaking grandeur, beauty, wisdom and bliss. This amazing structure comprises of 20,000 statues, floral motifs and exquisite carved pillars made of stones and is one of the finest examples of modern architecture. It was built by devotees from all around the world with their own money and labour.

Enjoy your WELCOME DINNER at the colonial fusion restaurant hosted by COMPASS.

Overnight will be at Delhi.

The team will transfer you and get you seated in train for a ride to Kalka. (It has airline seating and breakfast will be served on train)

Enjoy the train ride through tunnels hugging the mountains passing through beautiful quaint stations and tunnels.

Reach Shimla and transfer to the resort. Check-in and relax.

Shimla – the capital of Himachal Pradesh and former summer capital of British India, Shimla is the state’s most important centre. Bulging at its seams with unprecedented expansion, Shimla retains a colonial aura, with its grand old buildings.

Situated in the lower ranges of the Himalayan Mountains, it is surrounded by pine deodar, oak and rhododendron forests. Towards the north lie the snow-covered high-ranges, while the valleys breathe whispering streams and swaying fields. Within the town are host of splendid colonial edifices, quaint cottages and charming walks.

Shimla offers a variety of shopping, sports and entertainment activities. It remains the terminus of the narrow-gauge Kalka-Shimla Railway, completed in 1903. It’s also known for the handicraft shops that line The Mall, a pedestrian avenue, as well as the Lakkar Bazaar, a market specializing in wooden toys and crafts.

After wash and change, proceed for a stroll in the mall or pick souvenirs and curios at Lakkar Bazaar.

Enjoy the evening at The Ridge / Scandal Point – the hub of the town with its ice-cream vendors, pony rides and spectacular Himalayan views.

SHIMLA RIDGE: Located in the heart of Shimla is the famous tourist attraction known as The Ridge. The Ridge is the hub of all cultural activities of Shimla. It is situated along the Mall Road, which is the famous shopping center of Shimla. Most major places of Shimla like Lakkar Bazaar, Mall, Scandal Point, Jakhoo hill, etc. are connected through the Ridge.

The main water supply of Shimla comes from the huge water reservoir that is located in the Ridge. The Ridge is famous for the various government functions and fairs that are held here. It is usually the venue for all such celebrations and events. The most famous festival that is held at the Ridge is the Summer Festival. This famous festival is held during the months of April or May and the whole of Shimla comes alive with colors and a riot of activities.

The most famous landmark of the Ridge is the Christ Church. This beautiful building is constructed in Neo-Gothic style of architecture. It is a famous tourist attraction of Shimla and not to be missed.

Overnight will be in Shimla.

After breakfast, proceed for the city sightseeing of Shimla.

THE MALL: The Mall is the main shopping centre of Shimla with restaurants, the Gaiety Theatre, which is a reproduction of an old British theatre, is a center of cultural activities. A passenger lift of HPTDC can be taken from the Cart Road and the Mall. Lakkar Bazaar adjacent to the Ridge is popular for its wood crafts and souvenirs.

SUMMER HILL: A picturesque superb on Shimla-Kalka Railway line; offers shady walks in quiet surroundings. The Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to Shimla lived in the elegant Georgian House of Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur. HP University (Himachal Pradesh University) is situated here.

CHADWICK FALLS: Surrounded by thick forests, walk to the beautiful falls beyond Summer Hill or enjoy bicycle ride with a picnic basket.

INDIAN INSTITUTE OF ADVANCED STUDIES (VICEREGAL LODGE): About 4 km from the city lies the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, This magnificent English renaissance structure was the former Viceregal Lodge. It was completed by the year 1888 and is still well maintained. Its lawns and woodland are added attractions.

JAKHOO TEMPLE (SANKAT MOCHAN): The Temple is located (2.5 Km) 2455 m: Shimla's highest peak offers a panoramic view of the town; this is an ancient "Lord Hanuman" temple.

TARA DEVI: This holy place is accessible by rail, bus and car. From the station/road, one can visit the temple either by walk or by a motor vehicle.

enjoy the evening at leisure.Return to the hotel and

Overnight will be in Shimla.

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Proceed for an excursion of KUFRI, India's one of the holiday paradise Kufri in Shimla is beautifully tucked on an altitude of 2,622 meter. The place is a tourist hotspot for its awesome scenic and sports activities.
STATE MUSEUM & LIBRARY: The Shimla State Museum and Library is a famous tourist attraction that is located at a distance of around 2.5 kilometers from the center of Shimla. The museum is famous for its collection of ancient sculptures, paintings, coins and photographs. The museum has samples of the famous Pahari miniature art form, which ceased to exist when the Western art form took over. The museum should be visited by anyone who is coming to Shimla.

Return to Shimla and enjoy the evening at leisure. Overnight will be at Shimla.

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Drive to Chandigarh for flight to Delhi. Reach and drive to Agra.

AGRA: Two great Mughal monarchs, Akbar and Shah Jahan, transformed the little village of Agra into a befitting second capital of the Mughal Empire - giving it the name Dar-ul-Khilafat {seat of the Emperor}. Today a visitor to Agra is caught up in a world of contrasting edifices, of red sandstone and white marble, narrow galleys and quaint buggies, and that irresistible charm that this favorite city of the Mughals still retains. It is not surprising, that modern Agra still reflects its Mughal heritage most conspicuously. A walk down the narrow bustling streets of the city will introduce the visitor to the wafting aroma of Mughlai cuisine.

Just before reaching Agra, stop at the BABY TAJ for sightseeing. (Your local expert will meet you here).

BABY TAJ or the ITMAD-UD-ULLAH - The interiors of which are considered better than the Taj. Nur Jahan, the Empress of Jehangir for her father in 1628, built one of the most beautiful Mughal tombs, Itmad-Ud-Daulah’s Tomb. The tomb is a resting place of the powerful personality in Mughal Court, Itmad-Ud-Daulah, whose life is very interesting. Formerly a very poor Persian merchant then named Mirza Ghiyas or Ghiyas Beg he became a minister and a trusted treasure in Akbar's court. After Akbar's death in 1605, his son Jahangir rose into power. Jahangir made Ghiyas Beg his chief minister and honored him with the title of Itmad-Ud-Daulah, the Pillar of State. Later, Jahangir met a beautiful daughter of Ghiyas Beg named Mehr-Un-Nissa and married her. Mehr-Un-Nissa soon played a significant role in the Jahangir's court and was called Nur Mahal, the light pf the Place. Owing to her influence, her father and brother were granted with privileges in the court. When Ghiyas beg (Itmad-Un-Daulah) dies in 1622, Nur Mahal decided to build a mausoleum for him. Queen Mumtaz Mahal or the lady of the Taj was also from this prevailing family. The mausoleum is entirely made of white marble and graced with intricate decoration of inlay work, and marble-screen work belonging to the Islamic style. With its tranquil, small garden on the bank of Yamuna River, the tomb stands impressively elegant from a distance.

Later check in at hotel.

In the evening, enjoy a cultural performance – a stunning performance art based rendition of the history of the TAJ. 

Overnight will be at Agra.

Proceed for a sunrise tour of TAJ MAHAL.

TAJ MAHAL: Little needs to be said about this architectural wonder that is always the soul raison-de-etre for every tourist's visit to Agra. Built by Shah Jahan, the Taj is a white marble memorial to his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. This monument took 22 years to be completed and was designed, and planned by Persian architect Ustad Isa. Apart from its stunning design balance and perfect symmetry, the Taj is also noted particularly for its elegant domes, intricately carved screens and some of the best inlay work ever seen.

Proceed for sightseeing of AGRA FORT.

AGRA FORT: The red sandstone structure is surrounded by chahar-bagh, a foursquare formal garden. Built by the famed Mughal emperor Akbar in 1565 AD, the fort is predominantly of red sandstone. Ensconced within is the picture perfect Pearl Mosque, which is a major tourist attraction. It lies on the bend of the river Yamuna, almost in the heart of the town. Akbar built it as his citadel over the years 1563-73 in the finest architectural style. It has imposing gates and walls of red sandstone and a moat.

Return to hotel for freshening up and breakfast.

Leave for Fatehpur Sikri, which would be around one hour drive.

Jajal-ud-din-Muhammad Akbar, Humanyun's son, accessed the throne at the tender age of 14. While hunting around Sikri his curiosity was aroused by the songs of some minstrels about the celebrated Khwaja -Mu'inu'd-din Chisti, the founder of the Chisti order of SUFIS. Akbar, who was without a male heir, heard about Saint Salim Chisti and visited him in the year 1568. The saint blessed him with 3 sons and in gratitude Akbar ordered the great mosque of Fatehpur Sikri built under his supervision. As a mark of respect to the saint, Akbar shifted his capital to Fatehpur Sikri and built various secular buildings like the Diwan -I-Am, Diwan-I-Khas, Jodhabai palace, Birbal's house, Marian's house and the Panchmahal.

Continue drive and reach Bharatpur.

It was great Maharaja Suraj Mal who founded the erstwhile princely state of the Jat rulers. He even conquered Delhi once. The Keoladeo Ghana National Park is one of the finest water-bird sanctuaries in the world. The Maharaja of Bharatpur artificially created the lake and wetland in the 19th century. The marshes of Keoladeo (area 24 sq. km, established in 1956 as a bird sanctuary and 1981 as a National Park), were the private hunting reserves of the Maharajas, and were developed in the late 19th century by creating small dams to collect rainwater and by feeding it with an irrigation canal. Colorful kingfishers, graceful pelicans, rare Siberian cranes and Trans – continental fliers – the migratory water – fowls are amongst the 375 species of birds found in the Keoladeo National Park. The most spectacular nesting is that of the egrets, storks, herons and cormorants, which make over 10,000 nests every year.

Enjoy lunch at the erstwhile royal palace and take a rickshaw ride with guide in the park watching birds from around the world.

Take train (airline like seating) to RANTHAMBORE.

Reach and check in at the lodge.

Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, at the junction of the Aravalis and the Vindhyas, is a unique example of natural and historical richness, standing out conspicuously in the vast, arid and denuded tract of eastern Rajasthan, famous for the tigers. It spreads over a highly undulating topography varying from gentle to steep slopes; from flat-topped hills of the Vindhyas to the conical hillocks and sharp ridges of the Aravalis, from wide and flat valleys to narrow rocky gorges. An important geological feature the ‘Great Boundary Fault’ where the Vindhya plateaus meet the Aravali Hill range meanders through the Reserve. The rivers Chambal in the south and Banas in the north bind the National Park.

Tiger, at the apex of the food chain, lord over the kingdom in a subtle way. Solitary by nature, it operates in stealth. Therefore tiger sightings, frequent as they are, are always a matter of chance. However, even evidences of tiger's activities are very exciting.

Overnight will be at the lodge.

Wake up early morning and leave for your safari into the National Park. Track the tigers and other wildlife through the morning. Return to the resort / lodge by 1000 in the morning and have breakfast.

Freshen up and enjoy a visit to the old fort in the forest or relax at the hotel by the pool.

In the afternoon have lunch and then leave again for you afternoon safari. The safari will be till evening and then return to the resort / lodge. (usually the evening safaris end by 5 or 6 PM in the evening)

Retire early and overnight will be at the lodge.

Wake up early morning and leave for your safari into the National Park. Track the tigers and other wildlife through the morning. Return to the resort / lodge by 1000 in the morning and have breakfast.

Freshen up and drive to Jaipur.

Reach and check in at the hotel.

Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan a romantic realm of resplendent palaces, mighty fortresses and regal Maharajahs that lies in the western deserts and is an utterly unique part of India. Proudly belonging to the KSHATRIYA warrior caste and fiercely independent, the Rajput princes made fearsome foes. However, many of them realized that to maintain their wealth and authority locally, it was expedient to proclaim allegiance to the central power. Thus, many enjoyed a privileged position under the Mughal emperors and also the British Raj that followed.

The bustling Rajasthan capital of Jaipur takes its name from its venerated founder Jai Singh II, who was given the title Sawai Maharaja by the Mughal. Literally translated this would mean ’one and a quarter’, suggesting that the Mughal thought this emperor to be more valuable than just ‘one’. Jaipur is known as the ’Pink City’ on account of the distinctive colour of its buildings. This did not, however, form part of the original plan, but dates back to 1856, when the city was given a wash of pink in honor of a State Visit from Prince Albert.

This evening, visit the Birla Temple to learn more about the fascinating religious life of Jaipur. The marble structure, built as recently as 1985, houses ornate statues including one of Lakshmi (goddess of Wealth and Beauty) and Narayan dressed in gaudy robes, representing a Hindu vision of heavenly luxury. Carvings in the temple and on pillars supporting the covered walkways include images of the Hindu pantheon, as well as Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Francis of Assisi. Your visit will coincide with the AARTI Ceremony, which involves oil lamps being lit and waved, in order to awake and invoke the deity. Enjoy the experience and spend night at Jaipur.

Overnight will be at Jaipur.

Breakfast will be at Hotel.

Proceed for a morning excursion to Amber Fort after breakfast. Elephant ride ascent to the fort.

AMBER FORT PALACE: Amber is the classic romantic Rajasthani fort palace. Its construction was started by Man Singh I in 1592, and completed by his descendent Jai Singh I. Its forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise where a beautiful fusion of Mughal and Hindu styles finds its ultimate expression. At the foot of the hill you will mount your caparisoned elephant for the slow but steady climb up to the main gate, making your entrance in the time honoured fashion. The Fort, completed in the early 18th century, took over 100 years to build and now, although deserted, offers a fascinating insight into the lifestyle of the Moghul ruling families.

Enjoy lunch at a 100-year-old local restaurant and this will be a taster’s platter. Your guide will explain the cuisine to you.

CITY PALACE: A delightful blend of Mughal and traditional Rajasthani architecture, the City Palace sprawls over one-seventh of the area in the walled city. It houses the Chandra Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum.

HAWA MAHAL: Contrary to the name, this is not a palace, but a beautifully designed screen. The Rajput royal women practiced purdah (not revealing their faces). This giant wall consisting of 953 windows enabled them to peek into the bustling street life. The structure of this finely latticed wall resembles the crown of Lord Krishna, a legendary Hindu God. The other purpose of Hawa Mahal is to create a cooling effect. It is believed that once the fierce hot winds of summer filter through the latticed screen, it becomes cooler, thereby cooling the inner parts of the ladies quarters.

JANTAR MANTAR: This is the largest and the best preserved of the five observatories built by Jai Singh II in different parts of the country. This observatory consisting of outsized astronomical instruments is still in use.

In the later afternoon enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through the bustling bazaars.

Jaipur is renowned for textile block printing, blue pottery, carpet weaving, semi-precious stones and local crafts which still thrive from the day of Maharaja Jai Singh's patronage when he designed special areas in the city for the 'bandhanas', the 'cheepas' and the 'meenakari' workers.

Overnight will be at Jaipur.

Breakfast will be at hotel.

Enjoy an open jeep safari through the narrow streets of old Jaipur. It will pass through different markets and buildings that are hundreds of years old. This is where the common people lived when the royals used to be in the forts above.

The Jaigarh Fort is a majestic stronghold built by Sawan Jai Singh II. This almost-intact fort is surrounded by huge battlements and is connected to the Amer Fort (also called 'Amber' Fort), with subterranean passages. Originally built to protect the Amer Fort and the palace within the complex, the Jaigarh Fort is architecturally similar to the Amer Fort, and offers a panoramic view of the city of Jaipur. The fort houses the world's largest cannon on wheels, a majestic palace complex and the assembly hall of the warriors known as 'Shubhat Niwas' along with a museum and an armory. Apart from the intricate architecture of the fort, the fort was also renowned for a huge treasure that was buried under the fort. It is now said that the government of Rajasthan seized the treasure when it was discovered in the 1970s. The Jaigarh Fort was built to secure Jaipur City and the Amer Fort from warlords and rivals.

Visit an Elephant Park in Jaipur to get first hand experience and make a real difference to the lives of our elephants. The innovative and creatively designed park is dedicated to conserving elephants. You can learn about their basic habits of food, life and traditional decoration while enjoying with the biggest but the gentlest animal in the world. By learning to take care of them, feeding, watering and bathing you will have a chance to create your own bond with them. Their individuality will teach you about how important it is to contribute to their survival.

Spend some time at the Albert Hall Museum also known, as the Central Museum of Jaipur and is the oldest museum in Jaipur. Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II was responsible for the construction of this museum in the year 1868, when King Edward the Prince of Wales visited India. Maharaja Ram Singh wanted that this building should be a town hall, but his successor wants that this should be museum, which should be known for the art of Jaipur. The museum amazingly houses 19,000 historic objects and has various collections like metal ware, ivory work, lacquer work, jewelry, textiles, pottery carved wooden objects, arms and weapons, clay models, sculptures, educational, scientific and zoological objects, tribal costumes, ceramics, oil and miniature paintings, inlay work, musical instruments, clocks and marble statues. The museum was designed in the year 1876 by Colonel Sir Swinton just to greet King Edward VII as Prince of Wales on his visit to India.

End tour of North India with sweet memoires and take flight back home via Delhi.




END OF TOUR

Breakfast will be at hotel.

Enjoy HOLI festivities at the royal palace with first family members and experience the festival first hand.

Would be free only by late afternoon / early evening.

Proceed for Evening Motor launch cruise on the placid waters of Lake Pichola. From the boat you will be able to view the city of Udaipur as it rises majestically above the lake in the middle of the Rajasthan desert. Also visit the Jag Mandir Palace - the other island palace in the middle of the lake and spend some time.

Overnight will be at Udaipur.

Breakfast will be at hotel.

Take afternoon flight to Mumbai and connect to Goa.

Reach Goa and transfer to resort.

Goa, variously known as "Rome of the East", "Tourist Paradise" and "Pearl of the Orient", the state of Goa is located on the western coast of India in the coastal belt known as Konkan. The magnificent scenic beauty and the architectural splendors of its temples, churches and old houses have made Goa a firm favorite with travelers around the world.

Relax at resort in the evening.

Overnight will be in Goa.

Enjoy breakfasts at resort. One of the days, you could choose to take a tour of the state.

Situated on the Mandovi River, it still shows a strong Portuguese heritage in its plazas, cathedrals and architecture. Sightseeing would include the Portuguese Catholic Church of Old Goa and the Basilica of Bom Jesus (most of the mummified body of St. Francis Xavier is exhibited there). The tour also includes visits to Mapusa town, Mayem Lake, Vagator, Anjuna, Calangute beaches, the Fort Aguada and a spice farm where you would have lunch with the family.

Overnight will be at Goa.

Breakfast will be at the resort.

Morning ill be enjoying the beach / spa.

Check out late and take flight to Delhi.

COMPASS would receive you at Delhi and transfer to hotel for evening. Enjoy dinner and catch a quick wink.

Overnight will be at Delhi.

Leave early from hotel and proceed to airport. COMPASS will meet you in the hotel for departure.

Fly out with sweet memories of India.


TOUR ENDS




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