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Best of India II


Duration: 29 nights & 30 days

Best season: throughout the year
Destination: Delhi Bandhavgarh Varanasi Agra Jaipur Pushkar Jodhpur Jaisalmer Ranakpur Udaipur Ranthambhor NP Pangot Corbett NP Rishikesh Dehradun


Day 01: Arrival Delhi
Arrival in New Delhi before or after midnight. Overnight in a hotel.

Day 02: Delhi/Bandhavgarh NP
After breakfast, you will be taken for a guided tour of historic city of Delhi. The city where one can experience the influence of the many rulers who ruled this region, a city built and destroyed and rebuilt over seven times. The guided tour takes to the monuments that depict the different eras. The tour includes the magnificent Red Fort, the Jama Masjid, Asia's largest mosque, Humanyun Tomb, Qutab Minar, India Gate, President'' House. Connect overnight airconditioned sleeper train to Katni (railhead for Bandhavgarh) at 1625 hours.

Day 03: Bandhavgarh NP
Arrival at Katni at 0800 hours. You will be met and transferred (2½ hour drive) to a wildlife resort at Bandhavgarh NP. Stop en route to photograph local people, villages, markets, fields etc. Afternoon drive in the park for nature watch and tigertracking. Overnight in a wildlife lodge.

Day 04 & 05: Bandhavgarh NP
Morning and afternoon drives in the park for nature watch and tiger tracking. Overnight in a wildlife lodge.

Day 06: Bandhavgarh NPVaranasi
You will be transferred to Umaria (¾ hour drive) to connect airconditioned day train to Varanasi (Benaras) at 0440 hours. Arrive at Varanasi at 1610 hours. You will be met and transferred to Hotel India or similar. Afternoon sightseeing of Varanasi visiting the temples, mosques, Man Mandir Gate, Bharat Kala Bhavan (excellent collection of Mughal paintings and Banarasi textiles), Government Weaving Centre to watch the famous Banaras silkweaving. Ganga Aarti (prayer on the river if possible). Overnight in a hotel.

Day 07: Varanasi/Agra
Morning boatride on the Ganges river to see the bathing ghats on the holy river, ayurvedic tea at Street View Gai Ghat and excursion to the 17th century Ramnagar Fort (now a museum) and the pilgrim centre of Sarnath (holy to Buddhists and Jains with stupas where Buddha preached for the first time and a deer park where the 11th Jain Tirthankar was born). Rest of the day at leisure. Connect overnight airconditioned sleeper train to Agra at 1720 hours.

Day 08: Agra
Arrive at Tundla station at 0510 hours, you will be met and transferred to Agra (¾ hour drive) in the morning. After breakfast, guided tour of historic city of Agra, the city of world famous 'Taj Mahal' 7th Wonder of the world. The tour will encompass Agra City, Taj Mahal, Agra Fort & Itmaduddaulah. Overnight in a hotel.

Day 09: Agra/Jaipur
Departure to Jaipur (5 hr.). En route, visit Fatehpur Sikri, the erstwhile capital of the Mughal Empire built by Emperor Akbar in 1569 and abandoned after 15 years due to scarcity of water. Arrive Sanganer in the evening. Dinner at Chokhi Dhani, a theme restaurant, with traditional music and dance, puppetry, acrobatics, etc, camel rides and a recreated bazaar to watch artisans at work and buy local crafts. Stay in Alsisar Haveli or Shahpura House.

Day 10: Jaipur
Morning visit to Amber Fort with an elephant ride to the fort. After lunch, tour of Jaipur City covering Amber Palace, City Palace, Hawa Mahal Wind pavilion & Jantar Mantar (Observatory). Overnight in a hotel.

Day 11: Jaipur/Pushkar
After breakfast, drive to Ajmer to see the Dargahs (Ajmer is India's most important Islamic pilgrim centre) and the Nasiyan Jain temples. Drive to Pushkar (3 hr.). Enjoy the sunset at the nearby dunes. Overnight in a hotel.

Day 12: Pushkar/Jodhpur
Morning tour of Pushkar can be undertaken in speciallydesigned camel carriages covering the countryside, rose gardens, the holy Pushkar Lake, the unique Brahma Temple and a number of other temples. Post lunch, drive to Jodhpur (45 hr.) Arrive in the evening. Overnight in a hotel.

Day 13: Jodhpur/Jaisalmer
Morning sightseeing of Mehrangadh Fort (a massive fort with imposing and Jaswant Thada). Drive from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer (280 km / 6 hr.), en route lunch at Manwar Resort with a view of the dunes. Arrive in Jaisalmer in the evening. Overnight in a hotel.

Day 14 & 15: Jaisalmer
Morning tour of the fort, Jain temples, havelis, Gadisar Gate of Jaisalmer. Evening visit to the sand dunes of Sam / Khuri for camel rides. Overnight in a hotel. Note: one can opt for a night in a tented camp in the sand dunes which will also include cultural dances, bonfire and dinner.

Day 16: Jaisalmer/Ranakpur
Drive from Jaisalmer to Rohet (5½ hours) for lunch at a heritage hotel. Arrive Ranakpur (3 hours) in the evening. Overnight in a hotel.

Day 17: Ranakpur/Udaipur
Morning visit to the 15th century Chaumukha Temple, Parshwanath and Neminath Temples, and Sun Temple. Depart for Udaipur (2 hr.) at noon and enjoy a speciallyordered lunch at Swaad featuring traditional Rajasthani and western dishes. Evening boat cruise to the island palaces on the Pichola Lake. Overnight in a hotel.

Day 18: Udaipur
Full day guided tour of Udaipur. Visit Rajasthan's largest City Palace, Jagdish Temple, Bagore Haveli (crafts museum), SahelionkiBari, Lok Kala Mandal (puppet museum), Shilp Gram (A complex with sample houses of various communities of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa. A few artisans can be seen at work). Overnight in a hotel.

Day 19: Udaipur/Chittorgarh/Ranthambhore NP
Morning visit to Eklingji & Nagda temples. Drive to Chittorgarh Fort at noon. The fort of Chittorgarh was the traditional home of the Rajput rulers of Mewar. The hill on which the fort is built is 152 meters above the plain and the almost impregnable fortification walls encompass to tableland (five and a half kilometers long put in width less than a kilometer at the widest point). This long plateau is studded with buildings that cover the seven hundred years of occupation from the ninth century to 1567 when Udai Singh moved his capital to Udaipur. During this long period the Mewar and the fort of Chittor occupied an important political position in the history of the subcontinent. The hilltop plateau of Chittor offered a commanding, strategic position and there were several sources of water like the Gaumukh Kund, a reservoir at the center of the western side of the fort.

Connect overnight airconditioned sleeper train from Chittorgarh to Sawai Madhopur (railhead for Ranthambhor NP) at 2330 hours.

Day 20: Ranthambhore NP
Arrive at 0500 hours and transfer to a wildlife lodge. Morning and afternoon drives in the park for nature watch and tiger tracking. Here the chances of game drives can be in a mini open bus as well.

Ranthambhor used to be the hunting grounds of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Today, it is famous for its tigers and is one of the best places in the country to see these majestic predators in the wild. The tigers may be easily spotted even during the day.

The Park which covers an area of nearly 400 sq. km. and is set between the Aravali and Vindhya ranges. Its deciduous forests were once a part of the magnificent jungles of Central India. The terrain is rugged and there are rocky ridges, hills and open valleys with lakes and pools.

Ranthambhor’s royal past manifests itself in the picturesque ruins the dot the Park. There are lake palaces, chhatris, old fortifications and a majestic thousand year old fortifications and a majestic thousand year old fort on a height overlooking the Park. The forest rest house at the foot of the Ranthambhor fort is located in the lovely Jogi Mahal. It overlooks a tank the pretty Padam Talao, afloat with water lilies.
Overnight in a wildlife lodge.

Day 21: Ranthambhore NP
Morning and afternoon drives in the park for nature watch and tiger tracking. Connect overnight air-conditioned sleeper train from Sawai Madhopur to Delhi at 2130 hours.

Day 22: Delhi/Pangot (Nainital)
Arrive Delhi at 0600 hours and transfer to Nainital (7 hr.) through the Himalayan roads. Wash and change en route. Leisurely walks towards China peak to see the panoramic Himalayan views, boating in Naini lake, birding at Kilbury. Overnight at Jungle Lore Birding Lodge.

Day 23: Pangot
Layover day or bird watch or visit the village. One can opt for short treks or hikes in the oak & rhododendron forest or learn Indian cooking. Jungle Lore Birding Lodge.

Day 24: Pangot/Corbett National Park
Morning sightseeing in Nainital. Drive to Corbett National Park (3hr.) stopping en route for photography and birding. Overnight in a cottage at Tiger Camp.
Set up in 1936 as India's first national park and possibly the finest, the Corbett National Park was first delimited in consultation with that great hunter and conserver, Jim Corbett. The park spans across some 920.9 square km at an altitude of 600 to 1100 metres about the foothills of the western Himalayas in the districts of Nainital and Pauri Garhwal in the state of Uttaranchal. In its eventful 64year life, it has grown considerably in size and now includes the Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary as a part of its 1,319 sq km of reserved forest area.

Day 25: Corbett National Park
Morning elephant ride through the jungle for animal viewing. Afternoon jeep safari to another section of Corbett Tiger Reserve (optional) or nature walk with a guide along the river. Overnight in a cottage at Tiger Camp.

Day 26: Corbett National Park/Dehradun
Drive to Dehradun visiting Haridwar & Rishikesh en route. Option of visiting the banks of the Ganges. Visit Laxman Jhoola, ashrams, temples etc. In the evening witness the fascinating prayer on the HarkiPaudi (holy bathing banks on the Ganges) in Haridwar on the banks of river Ganga. Overnight in Shaheen Bagh.

Day 27: Dehradun
Day free to relax in the pristine surroundings of Shaheen Bagh to enjoy yoga & ayurvedic massage or visit a small hill town, Mussoorie. Nestled in the Doon Valley on the banks of the Tons River is Shaheen Bagh, the country home of an avid ornithologist and a graphic designer. This private estate in the hills is now open to select visitors who desire a getaway in the midst of nature. The house, with an adjoining cottage, is located on a 7acre estate verdant with fruit orchards, many species of exotic and rare plants and trees. The landscaped gardens, spread across five levels, are a visual delight with their watercourses, lily pools and picturesque pathways.
Overnight in Shaheen Bagh.

Day 28: Dehradun Rafting trip/Delhi
Drive to the put in point for rafting on river Ganga staring from Kaudiyala and terminating at Rishikesh. Drive back to Delhi (6 hours). Overnight in the hotel.

Day 29: Delhi
Day at leisure or visit the old traditional markets for photography. The car will be at your disposal. Overnight in the hotel.

Day 30: Delhi onward destination
Transfer to the airport to connect flight to the onward / return destination.

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