In the Footsteps of the Maharajas

Summary

India was once the land of the Maharajas, and this extraordinary group itinerary will allow the modern day traveller to follow in their footsteps and to experience the country like never before. Staying in some remarkable hotels, many of them former palaces, spending time in regal Delhi & at the breathtaking Taj Mahal is followed by a journey through magical Rajasthan with Jaipur, Jodhpur & Udaipur.

The sightseeing is complemented by some unique experiences, such as private palace tours & an exclusive gala dinner, with the group also being joined in Delhi by the Telegraph’s Delhi correspondent Saptarshi Ray, who will share some fascinating insights into both historic and modern-day India, ensuring that this really is a trip-of-a-lifetime.

  Duration

   13 Days

  Tour Includes

  • Services of an English-speaking tour guide
  • All international & domestic flights
  • Five-star accommodation and breakfast throughout
  • Meals as detailed in the itinerary
  • Guided tours, excursions and activities as detailed
  • Tour of Imperial Hotel and afternoon tea with Saptarshi Ray
  • Q&A session and dinner event with Saptarshi Ray
  • Entrance fees
  • Private transfers and transportation
  • Airline departure taxes

  Single Supplement

   £1075.00

Price

From $5,262.49 per person based on 2 people sharing

Best time to go

This group tour departs in February when the weather in northern India is pleasant.

Departure Date

28 February 2019

Tour Highlights

  • Guided visits to the Presidential Palace, Taj Mahal, Amber Fort, Mehrangarh Fort & Udaipur City Palace
  • Exclusive gala evening at Samode Palace
  • Guided tour & dinner at Umaid Bhawan Palace
  • Private tours & afternoon tea at Rambagh Palace & Imperial Hotel
  • Unique cooking demonstration & dinner at Bedla Palace
  • Royal buggy ride in Agra
  • Exclusive rickshaw ride, jeep ascent & boat trip
  • Escorted sightseeing in Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur & Udaipur

Day 1 - Departure

Depart London on the direct overnight British Airways flight to Delhi.

Day 2 - Delhi

On arrival, the group will be met and transferred to stay for two nights. The rest of the day is free to enjoy this heritage hotel’s elegant facilities, before a welcome dinner is served this evening, allowing the group the opportunity to become better acquainted.

Accommodation: Maidens Hotel [Breakfast]

Day 3 - Delhi

Today the group will enjoy a full day’s sightseeing of Delhi. In fascinating Old Delhi visit the Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India, and walk through the winding lanes of colourful Chandni Chowk market, with the opportunity to take a rickshaw ride. Stop for photos at the famous Red Fort and visit Raj Ghat, where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated before the focus switches to New Delhi. Sights will include the iconic India Gate; Qutub Minar, the world’s tallest brick minaret; the spectacular Humayun’s Tomb, and the Presidential Palace, the one-time imperial residence of the British viceroys.

In the late afternoon, a real treat awaits - afternoon tea at the Imperial Hotel, where the group will be joined by the Telegraph’s Delhi correspondent Saptarshi Ray.

Built in 1931 by Blomfield, one of Sir Edwin Lutyen’s associates and inaugurated by Lord Willingdon in 1936, it is New Delhi’s most distinguished address and is reminiscent of the halcyon days of the Raj. After enjoying a tour of the property settle into the light and airy Atrium tea lounge, with its rattan chairs, marble floors and fountain, and relax over a traditional afternoon tea.

This evening Saptarshi Ray will host an informal Question & Answer event before dinner, giving a unique perspective on both historic and modern-day India and sharing some of his favourite experiences and stories from his time working with The Telegraph.

Accommodation: Maidens Hotel [Breakfast]

Day 4 - Agra

After breakfast, the group will travel south to Agra. Being the proud owner of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal, Agra is one of the most important tourist destinations in India and the beautiful city is home to some of the finest mausoleums, forts and palaces. The entire city speaks volumes about the wealth, craftsmanship and architecture of the Mughal Dynasty.

This afternoon the first stop will be at the massive Agra Fort, which houses the Dewan-e-Khas and Dewan-e-Aam (Halls of Private and Public Audience), before continuing to visit the Mehtab Bagh (the Moonlight Garden), a beautiful green space that serves as the perfect complement to the famous Taj Mahal. The site’s 3,200 square-foot park is perfectly aligned with its companion landmark on the opposite river bank and offers a striking reflection of the Taj Mahal in the shimmering waters of the Yamuna.

Accommodation: Trident Hotel [Breakfast]

Day 5 - Agra - Jaipur

Wake up early to enjoy a sunrise like no other – at the truly magnificent Taj Mahal.

Built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan to enshrine the mortal remains of his beloved Queen Mumtaz Mahal, it is an extraordinary building. The gardens which surround the Taj Mahal are an integral part of the attraction and are without a doubt one of the major highlights of any visit. The Taj Mahal occupies the north-end corner of the garden, and the symmetry with which the garden has been laid out can be clearly observed as one enjoys an unhindered view of the mausoleum from any spot.

Return to the hotel by Royal Buggy, once the preferred mode of travel for the rich and the regal. Experience the magic of India up close as you are transported through the lanes and alleys of Agra, reliving an era gone by. After breakfast continue onwards to visit Fatehpur Sikri - a deserted red sandstone city built by the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar in the late 16th century. Abandoned soon after it was built when the local wells ran dry, today it remains a ghost town complete with palaces and mosques. 

The journey continues onward to Jaipur to stay for three nights at the magnificent Taj Jai Mahal Palace. The capital of Rajasthan province, Jaipur is known for its arts and crafts, jewellery, hand-painted fabrics and stone sculptures, and it is one of North India’s finest examples of a planned city embodying the best of Rajput and Mughal architecture. The graceful architecture of the city that runs across in pink colour has earned Jaipur the title of the Pink City.

Accommodation: Taj Jai Mahal Palace [Breakfast]

Day 6 - Jaipur

After an early breakfast, the group will travel to visit the UNESCO World Heritage hilltop fortress at Amber, ascending the imposing fort jeep. Maharaja Mansingh, Mughal Emperor Akbar’s most successful General, started the construction of Amber Fort in the 17th century.

After this you will pause to view the elegant Hawa Mahal, or ‘Palace of Winds’; an elaborate building encrusted with delicate screens and carved balconies. The next highlight will be Jantar Mantar, an observatory built by Sawai Jai Singh ll in the 18th century. The City Palace will be the next stop; built within the fortified area of the original city around a series of garden courts, it boasts one of the finest monumental entrances in India and is now principally a museum.

The day is completed with a visit to the historic Rambagh Palace for a guided tour followed by afternoon tea. Once the home of the Maharaja of Jaipur, Rambagh Palace is now a luxury hotel and one of India’s grandest palaces. Known as `The Jewel of Jaipur,’ the impressive Mughul gardens are complemented by a stunning palace façade, with afternoon tea served on the airy verandah.

Accommodation: Taj Jai Mahal Palace [Breakfast]

Day 7 - Jaipur

This morning enjoy a guided walk to really get under the skin of the city; see the beautiful havelis, temples, public buildings and craft areas, a unique representation of the living heritage of the city. This walk provides an interactive innovative encounter with the trading communities of the old city and will reveal the city’s lifestyle, craft activities and historic buildings.

In the evening enjoy a spectacular and exclusive gala dinner at the stunning 500-year-old Samode Palace, which will be illuminated for the occasion. Featuring a unique blend of Rajput & Mughal architecture, Samode Palace boasts some of the finest frescoes and mirror work to be seen in the entire state. The evening begins with a traditional aarti welcome and a camel cart procession accompanied by a local band & torchbearers. A champagne cocktail will be followed by dinner served in the opulent Darbar Hall, which is accompanied by sitar music & folk dances, before the evening finishes with a firework display.

Accommodation: Taj Jai Mahal Palace [Breakfast]

Day 8 - Jodhpur

After breakfast travel to Jodhpur to stay for two nights at the wonderful Ajit Bhawan Palace. Known as the Blue City, due to the indigo tinge of the whitewashed houses around the Mehrangarh Fort. Jodhpur features many beautiful palaces, forts and temples set apart from the stark, scenic desert landscape. The rest of the day once you arrive is at leisure.

Accommodation: Ajit Bhawan Palace [Breakfast]

Day 9 - Jodhpur

After breakfast head out to visit the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort and the jumble of blue buildings and medieval twisting streets which lie at its base. The fort is a massive structure that is 500 yards long and features 120-feet high and 70-feet thick walls. Continue onwards to view Jaswant Thada an architectural marvel with intricate carvings built in 1899 by Maharaja Sardar Singh and famed as one of the most beautiful white marble cenotaphs.

In the afternoon walk into the back alleys of Ek Minar Masjid to meet a family who has been involved in the ancient fabric art of Bandhani for generations. There are 700-800 Muslim families in Jodhpur who practice the technique and they have been catering to merchants for centuries.

Finish today in style by enjoying dinner and a tour of the remarkable Umaid Bhawan Palace, the last of India’s great palaces. The world’s sixth-largest private residence, home to the former Jodhpur royal family, is set amidst 26 acres of lush gardens, with dancing peacocks and a subterranean Zodiac Pool. Tour the family museum and the collection of historical motor vehicles before enjoying drinks on the sweeping lawns & dinner in the palatial and historical restaurant.

Accommodation: Ajit Bhawan Palace [Breakfast]

Day 10 - Jodhpur - Udaipur

Leave Jodhpur and travel to the Ranakpur Jain Temple, the largest Jain temple complex in India and dating back to the 15th century. Intricate carvings detail mythological figures, patterns and motifs on the walls, pillars and domes, and there are 1,444 ornately-carved marble pillars in the complex, none of which are identical.

Continue onwards to Udaipur to stay for two nights at the extraordinary Fateh Prakash Palace.

Owing to the presence of five major lakes, Udaipur is endearingly referred to as the City of Lakes and its majestic palaces are fine examples of superlative architectural skills. The historic town with its meandering lanes offers a wide variety of historic and cultural experiences to the visitor with its exquisite havelis, temples, ghats and gardens.

This evening visit Bedla Palace, the residence of Kuwar Vijay Singh Bedla, for a cooking demonstration followed by dinner. Bedla Palace is famed for its tradition of hospitality and Karan cuisine, which is at least 200 years old, and the present scion of the Bedla clan takes his family's penchant for cooking very seriously and likes to help spread the culinary heritage of Mewar.

Accommodation: Fateh Prakash Palace [Breakfast]

Day 11 - Udaipur

This morning begin sightseeing at the adjacent City Palace and Museum, the largest palace complex in India and a blend of Mughal and Rajput influences. Also, view the 17th century Jagdish temple and visit the Sahelion Ki Bari, (the Garden for the Maids of Honour), an ornamental pleasure garden with fountains and marble kiosks.

In the afternoon visit the Royal Highness of Udaipur’s private collection of vintage cars, and also the Crystal Gallery with its breathtaking display of crystals, which include dining tables, beds and even an exquisite jewel studded carpet. The day finishes with an exclusive boat ride on the picturesque Lake Pichola, which is fringed with hills, palaces, havelis and temples, and offers spectacular views of the city.

Accommodation: Fateh Prakash Palace [Breakfast]

Day 12 - Udaipur - Delhi

After a morning at leisure travel to Udaipur airport to depart on a direct flight to Delhi. On arrival, the group will be met and transferred to the hotel.

Accommodation: Holiday Inn New Delhi International Airport

Day 13 - Departure

This morning the group will transfer to the airport to depart on the direct daytime British Airways flight, arriving London Heathrow late afternoon.


Would you like to know more? Enquire


Our Experts

Historically and culturally, this country is endlessly interesting – and reporting as a British Indian, I definitely get a very different perspective.

Saptarshi Ray

Saptarshi Ray

Saptarshi Ray is a British-Indian journalist and Telegraph writer based in Delhi. He reports on India’s politics and social issues as well as the lighter side of the country. In the past year, he has covered a wide range of topics, from the country's 70th anniversary since independence to the latest Bollywood stories.

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