Day 1 : Delhi
Namaste! Welcome to Delhi. Today is an arrival day with no planned activities, except a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you'll meet your tour leader and fellow travel pals. If you arrive earlier in the day, why not hit the streets and try and get into the Delhi flow. If you're feeling historical there’s the 14th-century Humayun's Tomb or 11th-century Qutub Minar. There’s also the former residence of royal families and British soldiers – the mighty Red Fort. After this important meeting, why not continue the introductions over an optional group dinner. Accommodation Hotel (1 night) Optional Activities Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR500 Delhi - Qutub Minar - INR500 Delhi - Red Fort - INR500 Delhi - Home-Cooked Experience Urban Adventure - INR4000 Delhi - City Food Crawl Urban Adventure - INR3500 Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information: If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive in time for today's welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand.
Day 2 : Delhi - Overnight Train
This morning head out on a walking tour around the commercial heart of Delhi, visiting Chandni Chowk (Sheeshganj Gurudwara) and Connaught Place along the way. Explore Old Delhi on a bicycle rickshaw to dig that little bit deeper. You'll then have some free time to do as much sightseeing as you can, before boarding an overnight train bound forJaisalmer. The journey should take around 19 hours and you'll arrive in Jaisalmer early in the morning. Accommodation Overnight sleeper train (1 night) Included Activities Delhi - Old Delhi walking tour Delhi - Jama Masjid Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information: Our overnight trains along the way are clean and air-conditioned, and are a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blankets provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same/mixed gender situation. It's advised to bring your own food on this train.
Day 3 : Thar Desert
Arrive in Jaisalmer, which looks like some kind of giant sandcastle. Head to the guesthouse, drop off your gear, then take a walk around the town to get a feel of this amazing desert oasis. Chuck your essentials in an overnight bag then hop in a jeep to ride out to a camel camp. That’s right, you’re about the ride out into the desert in iconic style – scarf wrapped around your face, traverse the sweeping sand dunes of the Thar Desert (approximately 3 hours). Jump down and say thanks to your transport, then help set up camp while the guides get the fire started for a campfire feast. You’ll be truly sleeping out in the open here, with mattresses, pillows, sheets and blankets provided. There’s no need for a tent – then you’d miss the amazing starry sky. Accommodation Camping (basic facilities) (1 night) Included Activities Jaisalmer - Camel safari & overnight desert camp Meals Included: Dinner
Special Information: During winter months (Dec/Jan) temperatures in the desert can drop below zero. Your leader will monitor the weather forecast to decide whether this activity will be able to go ahead. If weather conditions stop us from camping, we’ll take a day trip to the Thar Desert instead of the overnight stay. Some travellers have also preferred to bring sleeping bags for camping in winter months. We recommend that travellers to India during this time of year bring adequate warm clothing, including thermals, as even in the cities the temperatures can be low and hotels often are not centrally heated.
Day 4 : Thar Desert - Jaisalmer
The crack of dawn is your wake up call this morning. But it's worth it. You'll soon see that not much can match a desert sunrise. After a simple breakfast, it’s back on your undulating vehicle as you ride (up to 90 minutes) back to your drop off point. There, you’ll climb back into the jeep and return to the city. Looking like a scene from ‘The Thousand and One Nights’ as it rises from flat desert surrounds, Jaisalmer is a centre for nomadic tribes people who come to trade in the narrow twisting alleys full of markets and ornately carved houses. Enjoy free time upon arrival and maybe visit the Jaisalmer Folklore Museum. Located on the banks of Garsisar Lake in the Mehar Bagh Garden, its wide variety of exhibits offer a great experience for visitors. Accommodation Guesthouse (1 night) Included Activities Jaisalmer - City tour Optional Activities Jaisalmer - Folklore Museum - INR10 Meals Included Breakfast
Special Information: Please be aware that due to overcrowding of local transport in the Jaisalmer region, there may be some adjustments to the order of activities and type of transport used from days 3 - 6. Your leader will advise you of any changes at the Welcome Meeting on Day 1.
Day 5 : Jaisalmer
Enjoy a free day to explore Jaisalmer further. Discover the city’s narrow twisted alleys, which are full of markets and ornately carved houses. Track down some dazzling Rajastani fabrics to spice up your wardrobe, marvel at the spectacular facades of the Patwa ki Haveli and Salim Singh-ki-Haveli, or maybe just get walking in the maze of paths and soak up the atmosphere. After a big day exploring, find a good spot on one of the fort's 99 bastions and watch the sunset into the desert. Accommodation Guesthouse (1 night) Meals Included: There are no meals included on this day.
Day 6 : Jodhpur
Travel by train across the desert to one of Rajasthan's largest cities, Jodhpur (approximately 7 hours). Today's a long travel day, so make sure you’ve got your music player primed and your book ready. Jodhpur is known for its antique shops and the best lassi in India. And yes, it is where those famous trousers come from. Accommodation Hotel (1 night) Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Day 7 : Jodhpur
Get ready to bargain at Sadar Bazaar, one of the oldest markets in India. Built around a clock tower, it’s packed with spice and vegetable markets, juice sellers and sari materials. Whatever you’re into you’ll probably be able to grab it here – there are numerous vendors with carts selling everything from Bollywood soundtracks to armfuls of sparkling bangles. Don’t miss the street snacks! From the chaos of the market, head to the colossal Mehrangarh Fort, which sits up on a hill looking over the town. Explore and take in the great views from its ramparts, which dominate the city's skyline. This is probably the best preserved of all Rajasthan’s hundreds of forts and gives you a great idea what life would’ve been like as a royalty. Then trip out to the nearby Bishnoi villages. The Bishnoi are a peaceful nature-loving community and no trip to this region is complete without experiencing the fascinating traditions of the tribes people of rural Rajasthan. Accommodation Hotel (1 night) Included Activities Jodhpur - City walk Optional Activities Jodhpur - Bishnoi villages day trip - INR750 Jodhpur - Meherangarh Fort - INR600 Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Day 8 : Udaipur
Chat away with the locals on a bus to Udaipur (approximately 8 hours) – that’s more than enough time to pick up some tips for your next stop. There’s no doubt that Udaipur lives up to its rep as India’s most romantic city. Rolling hills, white marble palaces and lakes come together beautifully, and it’s a place where artists, dancers and musicians perfect their craft. The shopping is also superb, with miniature paintings being the speciality. When you hop off the bus, take a walk around town to help gather your bearings. Explore Udaipur's twisting alleys filled with silver, shoes, bags, leather goods and those miniature paintings. Accommodation Heritage Hotel (1 night) Included Activities Udaipur - City walk Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Day 9 : Udaipur
There's loads to see and do in your free time here. Enjoy a half hour boat ride on the famous Lake Pichola and see marvels like Lake Palace and Jag Mandir Island (note this is seasonal, depending on the water level in the lake). You could check out the City Palace, one of the largest royal palaces in India, and check out the unbelievable treasures within – from vivid murals to antiques and royal utensils. Feeling peckish? Join the famous Spice Box cooking school and spend a half-day learning the secrets of Indian cuisine. With lessons on preparation and cooking, you'll whipping up a full Indian meal in no time. Accommodation Heritage Hotel (1 night) Optional Activities Udaipur - Lake Pichola boat ride - INR350 Udaipur - City Palace - INR300 Udaipur - Cooking class - INR600 Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Day 10 : Pushkar
It’s back on the rails today as you hop on a day train to the city of Ajmer (approximately 7 hours), sharing the journey with locals as the chai wallahs make their way down the carriages. Then it’s a transfer to a private vehicle from Ajmer to your hotel in Pushkar (approximately 45 minutes). One of India’s holiest places (and in such a spiritual country, that’s saying something), Pushkar is a market centre for many of the local village people and a great place to sit back and relax. Head out to explore Pushkar's main bazaar and many side streets – some great bargains snatched up here in the home of some of the cheapest clothes and jewellery in northern India. Walk around the lake, with its bustling ghats and temples, to watch the devout as they worship at the holy waters. Accommodation Heritage Hotel (1 night) Included Activities Pushkar - Walking tour Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information: In 2018 the Pushkar camel fair will be held in mid November. Please check important information for trips that will be in Pushkar at this time The Pushkar Camel Fair is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant festivals in India, and can be a true highlight, but please note the fair is based on the lunar calendar, so the fair dates can vary and it can be hard to confirm the exact festival dates. We will do all we can to ensure that travellers booked on departures that coincide with the fair will get an opportunity to see the best of the festival, but due to the uncertain and flexible nature of this festival we cannot take responsibility if the dates of the fair are changed resulting in your visit not coinciding with the fair. Pushkar hotels typically raise their rates considerably during the fair so departures across this period will be subject to a surcharge. Unfortunately, although we make bookings months in advance, Pushkar accommodation tend to overbook at this time so we ask for a flex
Day 11 : Pushkar
Early risers can make the sunrise hike up the hill to the Savitri Temple for magical views over the town. There could also be a wonderful steaming glass of chai waiting for you if the chai man is there – certainly well worth the trek. You can also stop the colourful Brahma Temple, one over only a handful in the whole of India. It’s said that the god has so few places of worship thanks to a curse laid down by Brahma’s consort, Saraswati. Accommodation Hotel (1 night) Optional Activities Pushkar - Brahma Temple - Free Pushkar - Savitri Temple - Free Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Day 12 : Jaipur
Travel by public vehicle to the 'Pink City' of Jaipur (approximately 4 hours). The streets of this earthy red town are busy with camels, motorbikes, rickshaws, and you’ll walk past traditionally dressed Rajput while monkeys climb wires overhead. Haggling to your heart's content in Jaipr's bazaars and backstreets filled with textiles, semi-precious gems and blue pottery. Drop by one of India’s finest palaces – the Royal City Palace – an amazing complex with various colourful courtyard gates, fascinating museums, and impressively moustachioed guards. Tonight, you’ll experience the cinema like never before with an extravagant Bollywood blockbuster at the stylish Raj Mandir Cinema – there’s usually romance, drama and music all rolled into one. Accommodation Heritage Hotel (1 night) Included Activities Jaipur - Walking tour Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Day 13 : Jaipur
For anyone that wants to see the Pink City a bit differently this morning there’s the option to drift high over Jaipur in a hot air balloon, a highlight for many visitors. For more information please see the important notes section of your trip notes. Here’s just a sprinkling of things to do in your free time today: drop by Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), the impressive five-storey facade with pink, honeycombed windows making it the most photographed building in the country after Taj Mahal. Then maybe head out to the old capital of Amber and an exploration of the hilltop fort complex known as the Amber Fort. The Sheesh Mahal inside the fort is a must-see. As the walls are completely covered in little mirrors, the hall illuminates with the light of a single match. Hit the streets for raj kachori chaat – a big fluffy chaat served with chutney, yoghurt, chilli and potato. Then cool off with a lassi from Lassiwala on MI road, Jaipur's oldest and most famous lassi shop. Accommodation Heritage Hotel (1 night) Included Activities Jaipur - Amber Fort Optional Activities Jaipur - City Palace - INR500 Jaipur - Bollywood Movie at Raj Mandir Cinema - INR400 Jaipur - Balloon Safari - USD260 Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Day 14 : Agra
Head east by public bus to Agra (approximately 6 hours). Agra might not be the prettiest city in the world, but the minute you check out its top-notch sites that won’t matter one bit. After arriving into the city you’ll head to the most iconic sight in India. It doesn’t matter who you are, the Taj Mahal will explode all your expectations with the morning light shimmering off its white marble surface. Maybe jump on a motorised rickshaw to pick out the rest of the city’s monuments – Akbar's Mausoleum is a beautiful sandstone and marble tomb built for the greatest of the Mughal emperors. Accommodation Hotel (1 night) Included Activities Agra - Taj Mahal Optional Activities Agra - Agra Fort - INR600 Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Day 15 : Agra - Delhi
Maybe return to the Taj Mahal at sunrise, then explore the awesome Red Fort on the banks of the Yamuna River – stroll the palatial gardens of this red sandstone stronghold with cheeky monkeys in tow. Then it’s back on rails with a return train to Delhi (approximately 3 hours). Use the rest of the day however you like. Practice your bargaining skills in Chandni Chowk in the maze of shops and kiosks that sell everything imaginable, buy local crafts straight from the hands of the artisan in Janpath market, or gobble down street chaats – snacks like deep fried fritters and flatbread. Then maybe find time for a quiet drink in this teeming metropolis tonight. Accommodation Hotel (1 night) Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Day 16 : Delhi
End things on a sweet note, with a taste of our favourite treats – sandesh, rosogolla and chanar payesh. There are no activities on the last full day, so take a look around and maybe even stay on a couple of nights to keep up the exploration. Swap Facebook deets with your new travel mates and then it’s over and out after breakfast. Don't forget to check out an Urban Adventure or two if you've got some extra time in Delhi. Optional Activities Delhi - Gandhi's Delhi Urban Adventure - INR2700 Delhi - Culture Vulture Urban Adventure - INR2500 Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.