Taj Mahal & Rajasthan Tour With Goa – 20 Days

Places Covered: Delhi / Agra / Ranthambore / Jaipur / Deogarh / Udaipur / Goa / Delhi


COMPASS REPRESENTATIVE will receive you on arrival at the airport and transfer to the hotel. (The arrival at hotel is expected at 6AM and rooms would not be available that early hence we will have breakfast and wait for the same)

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

Visit the RED FORT in Delhi for a guided tour.

One of the most important buildings of Old Delhi is the RED FORT. The magnificent Red Fort was 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. Of its fourteen gates, the important ones are the Mori, Lahori, Ajmeri, Turkman, Kashmiri and Delhi gates, some of which have already been demolished. His famous citadel, the Lal-Qila, or the Red Fort, lying at the town's northern end on the right bank or the Yamuna and south of Salimgarh, was begun in 1639 and completed after nine years. The Red Fort is different from the Agra fort and is better planned, because at its back lies the experience gained by Shahjahan at Agra, and because it was the work of one hand. It is an irregular octagon, with two long sides on the east and west, and with two main gates, one on the west and the other on the south, called Lahori and Delhi gates respectively. While the walls, gates and a few other structures in the fort are constructed of red sandstone, marble has been largely used in the palaces.

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”.

Continue your tour to Jama Masjid waking with your guide, 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.

After lunch proceed for a sightseeing tour of New Delhi, which reflects the legacy of the British left behind. The division between New and Old Delhi is the division between the capitals of the British and the Mughals respectively. The division in the walled city and New Delhi also marks the division in the life-styles. The walled city is all tradition where one will be able to glean a past life-style in all its facets, colors and spells. New Delhi in contrast, is a city trying to live up to the best of 21st century standards.

Imperial Delhi will include the Qutub Minar, the tallest stone tower in India. Qutab-Minar in red and buff sandstone 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.

Next stop would be the majestic Humayun’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.

The tour also includes a drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President’s residence. Stop for photography and enjoy sunset at the majestic RAISINA HILL and then return to hotel.

Welcome lunch will be hosted at a colonial fusion restaurant.

Overnight will be at Delhi.

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and leave for Agra.

Stop at AKSHARDHAM temple on the way.

Akshardham means the eternal, divine abode of the supreme God, the abode of eternal values and virtues of Akshar as defined in the Vedas and Upanishads where divine bhakti, purity and peace forever pervade. 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. This is one of the best modern day temples to experience the ultimate temple culture. (There is no photography allowed in here).
Continue drive to BABY TAJ just before reaching the city.

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.

Continue drive to city and reach in time for a late lunch.

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.

Overnight will be at Agra.

Proceed for the sightseeing of TAJ MAHAL at sunrise

TAJ MAHAL: Little needs to be said about this architectural wonder, which 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.

Return to hotel for freshening up and breakfast.

Start tour of the ancient city.

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.

Proceed for a HERITAGE WALK to the other side of River YAMUNA with your guide.

The other side of the TAJ MAHAL across the river Yamuna where Mughal History has been written in edicts of stone, the river Yamuna lined with the residences of mobility was the artery, the very lifeline, which fostered the development of Mughal Agra. These heritage relics have been weaved together for a historic experience of Mughal Agra. You would walk through the various monuments in midst of rural setting intertwined with the communities along with stunning view of the TAJ MAHAL.

Enjoy the extended hospitality of the local villagers sipping a cup of Masala Chai on the Tea Terrace with standard, comfortable, clean, affordable, and safe facilities. The whole village walk through India’s Mughal History and amiable people is an unforgettable experience.

Overnight will be at Agra.

After leisurely breakfast at the hotel, drive to Bharatpur visiting Fatehpur Sikri en-route.

Fatehpur Sikri is 37 km west of Agra. 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 Chishti, the founder of the Chishti order of SUFIS. Akbar, who was without a male heir, heard about Saint Salim Chishti and visited him in the year 1568 and the saint, blessed him with three sons. 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.

Post Fatehpur Sikri visit, drive to Bharatpur. Reach and enjoy the lunch at Old Hunting Lodge.

Proceed for a short birding trip with your guide and then take train to Ranthambore. (Your driver will continue with the heavy luggage)

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, barely 14 kilometers from Sawai Madhopur. Get in tune with nature for a luxury holiday in the heart of the jungle. Most of the resorts are close to the National Park Gate.

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.

Arrive and transfer you to resort. Check – in and relax. Dinner will be served at lodge. Overnight will be at Ranthambore.

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 lodge by 1000 in the morning and have breakfast.

Freshen up and either spend time at the pool or visit the town. You could also go for a nice visit to the temple on top of the fort.

In the afternoon have lunch and then leave again for you afternoon safari. The safari will be till evening 1700 – 1800 hr and then return to the lodge.

Dinner will be at the lodge and retire early for the night.

Overnight will be at Ranthambore.

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 lodge by 1000 in the morning and have breakfast.

Freshen up and either spend time at the pool or visit the town. You could also go for a nice visit to the temple on top of the fort.

In the afternoon have lunch and then leave again for you afternoon safari. The safari will be till evening 1700 – 1800 hr and then return to the lodge.

Dinner will be at the lodge and retire early for the night.

Overnight will be at Ranthambore.

Breakfast will be the lodge.

Later drive to beautiful Pink City - Jaipur.
Reach Jaipur and check into 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.

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.

Enjoy the accent to the grand fort on an elephant like the royals used to during their times.

AMER FORT – Standing tall on the outskirts of Jaipur is the lofty Amer fort. Nestled amongst the Aravallis, this fort has a cobbled way at its entrance. Overlooking the Maota Lake, the Amer fort also provides a beautiful overview of Jaipur. Inside the fort, there are various palaces, chambers and temples. The most striking feature however is the Sheesh Mahal, or palace of mirrors. It is built with a thousand mirrors and some more. Some parts of it have colored glass pieces as well. It is believed, that since the queen and other royal women were forbidden from sleeping under the sky, the king ordered the architect to construct a room, where the queen would get the feeling of sleeping under the sky.

Your vehicle would be waiting on the other side hence return by car and proceed to the pink city.

Visit the royal palace of JAIPUR.

CITY PALACE – A sprawling complex containing The Chandra Mahal and the Mubarak Mahal, the city palace was constructed as per Vaastushastra, an ancient Hindu ideology. A major part of the Chandra Mahal has now been converted into a museum. It has a large collection of art and artifacts, along with common items of use of the erstwhile Maharaja.

JANTAR MANTAR (ROYAL OBSERVATORY) – It is home to the largest sundial in the world and is now regarded as a UNESCO world heritage sight. Also, this is 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.

Local lunch will be at a hundred year old city restaurant. The food would be served on large silver / brass plates and its more like a taster’s menu

Walk out and visit the PALACE OF WINDS for a photography session.

HAWA MAHAL (PALACE OF WINDS) – 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.

In the later afternoon / early evening enjoy exploring 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.

Head back to your hotel and 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.

Proceed to a heritage villa in Jaipur for an evening with the noble family.

Rajasthan, the land of Maharajas & famous for its castles, forts and palaces is truly the colorful Jewel of India. And what can be a better chance than to spend an evening enjoying the same luxury as of the kings of the ancient times. Sneak into the past and know more about the historical events that took place in the life of the king from the family itself in their private drawing room followed by a dinner in their private dining room.

Dinner will offer an authentic mouth-watering Thali served in the family silver long with wine/beer/soft drinks to complete the meal and sweets, of course.

Overnight will be at Jaipur.

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Drives to Udaipur and on you’re way stop at an old fort for lunch.

Deogarh lies on the borders of Mewar, Marwar and Merwara, about 80 miles north-east of Udaipur. Its chieftain known as 'The Rawat', was one of sixteen umraos (feudal barons) privileged to wait upon the Maharana of Udaipur, the capital of Mewar. Such feudal estates, called thikanas were granted by the ruling Maharana to a nobleman either due to blood relationship or for an act of bravery. Deogarh is also renowned as a school of miniature painting. Some Deogarh miniatures adorn the personal collection of the present Rawat Sahib. Frescoes of this art form can also be seen on the fort walls. The Mahal also has some exciting rooms to browse through - Sheesh Mahal – the colourful hall of mirrors, is just one of them.

Deogarh Mahal is an imposing structure built in the 17th century. It stands atop a hill and offers a commanding view of the Aravalli mountain range and the numerous lakes, strewn across the countryside. With its old battlements, domes, turrets, jharokhas and huge gateways, it is a picturesque sight from the town below. At a height of about 2100 feet above sea level, it is cooler than surrounding Rajasthan. The family interacted with the villagers and invited a host of feasts and festivities to be performed within the Mahal precincts. Some of these traditions are still practiced. And the gates, that always remained closed, to ward off enemies, are now open to the guests.

Enjoy lunch and continue drive to Udaipur.

Reach and check in at the palace hotel.

The city of Dawn, Udaipur is a lovely land around the azure lake, hemmed in by the lush hills of the ARAVALLIS. A vision in white drenched in romance and beauty, Udaipur is a fascinating blend of sights, sound and experiences and inspiration for the imagination of poets, painters and writers.

Its kaleidoscope of fairy-tale palaces, lakes, temples, gardens and narrow lanes strewn with stalls, carry the flavor of a heroic past, epitomizing valor and chivalry. Their reflection in the placid waters of the LAKE PICHOLA is an enticing sight.

Udaipur is the jewel of MEWAR – a kingdom ruled by the Sisodia dynasty for 1200 Years.

Enjoy dinner at the TERRACE RESTAURANT of your palace overlooking the beautiful city of Udaipur surrounded by the magnificent ARAVALLI mountain range.

The HOLI festivities start today with burning of the DEMON and the function will be part of your itinerary.

Overnight will be at Udaipur.

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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