Highlights

Discover India in true style. This luxury handcrafted tour veers you to explore Rajasthan's best kept secrets through exclusive experiences and expert local knowledge. From backstreet food tours in Delhi, to a private champagne sipping in the royal quarters of the City Palace of Jaipur. Dine in century old stepwells and discover village life in some of the countries most time frozen regions giving you a true insight into the real India and the rituals and life of its people. Embrace the fascinating highlights of classical Rajasthan whilst staying in handpicked properties showcasing India's colour, character and classe.

Day 1 – Arrival Delhi

Namaste! Welcome to India! On arrival, once you have cleared immigration and collected your luggage., our representative will be waiting for your in the arrivals hall holding a Crooked Compass branded signboard with your name on it. You will be accorded a traditional welcome with marigold garlands before you are lead to your vehicle and transferred to your hotel.

The remainder of the day is yours at leisure.

Overnight at Dharampura Haveli in a Dewan-e-Khas Room or similar

Day 2 – Delhi

Following breakfast this morning, you will depart on a privately guided tour of New Delhi which will include exploring several iconic government buildings including the President’s House, Parliament and India Gate. As you drive past each sign, you will reach one of the monuments from Delhi’s Past – Humayun’s Tomb. The design of this tomb inspired Emperor Shahjehan to build the Taj Mahal in Agra.

Continuing on, you will drive to Old Delhi where your lunch will be served in an authentic restaurant, Chor Bizzare, where the food tastes like you are eating a home cooked meal in someones house.

After your stomach is full, you will visit the Red Fort. Mughal ruler Shahjehan, shifted the capital of his empire in 1639 from Agra to Delhi in order to heighten the esteem of his regime and fulfil his motivated building plans – a new city named Shahjahanabad, now known as Delhi, or more specifically, Old Delhi. The foundation of a fort, known as the Red Fort, located on the northern side of town was constructed, taking around 9 years to complete (1639 – 1648). The Red Fort was utilised as a residential property for the Mughal ruler and was also the capital of Mughal rulers until the regime of Bahadur Shah Zafar. The Red Fort became UNESCO heritage listed in 2007.

This evening, you will explore Old Delhi by rickshaw. A truly unique experience allowing you to witness the city’s sights and delights in a totally new way. Immerse yourself in the city’s charismatic, chaotic yet intoxicating charm. Your expert driver will put their skills to good use as they navigate what appears to be non-navigable streets. This is an offbeat, ‘only in India’ experience in the ancient city of Shahjahanabad.

This experience will begin after your visit to Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. After your visit, you will board your rickshaw and enter the colourful and narrow laneways of Old Delhi. Discover the gems of the main street of Chandni Chowk before veering into the bustling streets clamouring with daily life and trade, offering a glimpse of what life was like when the city first started as a trading hub. You will visit the firecracker market, see exquisite silver jewellery, antique items, perfumes and piping hot, scrumptious jalebis – an Indian deep fried desert.

Continuing to Kinari Bazaar also known as the wedding market, this is the place to purchase your wedding paraphernalia. At night, the gold and silver decorated borders, laces and colourful embellishments in this lane twinkle, glitter and shine. Visit Asia’s largest spice market where spices were once so valuable that they caused invasions and fierce battles. As you explore, so will your taste buds. Taste some of Delhi’s delicious street food from jalebis to samosas.

Return to your hotel. (B)

Overnight at Dharampura Haveli in a Dewan-e-Khas Room or similar

Day 3 – Delhi to Agra

Departing after breakfast this morning, you will travel along the Express Highway to the city of Agra. Agra is the city of love and longing – meticulously planned, built and nurtured by three successive Mughal emperors – Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan, during the most glorious era of the Mughal empire. The buildings spread across Agra are stellar examples of Mughal architecture and engineering skills. Conversations about Agra usually begin with mentions of the Taj Mahal.

Upon arrival, you will check into your hotel before later visiting the impressive Agra Fort, an outstanding example of Mughal architecture & the seat & stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. Shah Jahan, the Taj’s creator, spent the last years of his life imprisoned at the fort by his son Aurangzeb. It was built in the late 1560’s by their predecessor, Akbar, with later embellishments by Jehangir, his son, & Shah Jahan, his grandson.

Continue to the Taj Mahal and spend time here until the sun sets witnessing the beautiful wonder of the world changing its colour as the sun dips. This is one of the most beautiful times to view this iconic monument – one of the Seven Wonders of the World, celebrated for its architectural magnificence and aesthetic beauty. Emperor Shah Jahan built this exquisite white marble mausoleum for his favourite queen Mumtaz Mahal. The monument was commissioned in 1631 and took 20,000 artisans, 22 years to complete. (B)

Overnight at ITC Mughal in a Royal Mughal Suite or similar

Day 4 – Agra to Jaipur

After breakfast, you have a five and half hour drive towards Jaipur. En-route you will also stop at Fatehpur Sikri. Fatehpur Sikria city planned by Mughal emperor Akbar as his new capital. A 16th century English traveller Ralph Fitch described it as ‘considerably larger than London and more populous’.

However, Fatehpur Sikri remained the Mughal capital for only ten years – the bigger structures like the mosque and the palaces still stand tall, witnesses to the rising and waning interests of its Mughal rulers.  Fatehpur Sikri is loved by those who like awesome architecture.

Continuing your drive, you will stop in Peharsar for lunch in a heritage mansion – Chandra Mahal Haveli. Built in 1840 tis 170 year rich heritage is witnessed many generations of multi cultural and a multi ethnic past. The Haveli is a representation of Persian architecture, which is very different from the palaces and forts of Rajasthan.

Following lunch, you edge closer to the capital of the princely state of Rajasthan, Jaipur, the pink city. Upon arrival, check into your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (B,L)

Overnight at Samode Haveli in a Deluxe Suite or similar

Day 5 – Jaipur

Following breakfast, you will depart for a privately guided tour of the old city of Jaipur. Step into the Jantar Mantar, by the City Palace, a bizarre garden of astrological structures. Be amazed at how astronomers calculated eclipses and planetary positions accurately without a sophisticated computer!

Your next stop will be the impressive City Palace, now a public museum, which lies in the heart of old Jaipur city. Marvel at the magnificence of Rajasthani architecture and artistry that blends seamlessly with distinct Mughal influences. The palace, which was once the private royal museum of art and artefacts from the world over is now open to the public. At the City Palace, you will be escorted to the residential areas of the royal family (their presence cannot be guaranteed), followed by a glass of sparkling wine in one of the living rooms.  These beautifully decorated rooms are where Princess Diana had dined.  This part of the palace is for VIP access only.

You will also drive past the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds).

In the afternoon, you will visit the magnificent Amber Fort which you will reach by 4WD jeep. (We do not encourage elephant back riding at the fort).

This evening, it is time to slip into local life as you experience watching a Bollywood film at Raj Mandir Theatre. This is one of the most spectacular cinemas in the country which can accommodate over 1000 viewers! The beauty of this experience, is to observe the interactive audience – the way they sing, cry and dance in the aisle is unlike anything you have seen before.

The Raj Mandir Cinema opened on 1st June 1976 with the film “Charas”. It was designed by architect W.M. Namjoshi in a spectacular Modern Art style. The exterior of the building consists of various asymmetrical shapes, zig-zags, curves and even stars set into the facade, all lit at night by concealed lighting. The theatre’s name is located on top of the building in large red neon letters and it also boasts the legend ‘The Showplace of the Nation – Experience the Excellence’. In the large foyer, there are chandeliers set into domes in the ceiling. A large ramp (rather than stairs) take patrons up into the balcony area. Seating in the auditorium is provided in stalls and balcony areas. The decoration in the auditorium is awesome, with indirect lighting that changes colours, hidden behind and underneath a frond fern leaf-like plaster trough which has openings all over the ceiling and walls. The cinema is equipped to screen 70mm films.

The Raj Mandir Cinema is the best-known cinema building in India. It certainly lives up to its reputation as one of the most remarkable cinemas in India.

Return to your hotel. (B)

Overnight at Samode Haveli in a Deluxe Suite or similar

Day 6 – Jaipur to Chhatra Sagar

Following breakfast, it is time go rural. Venture into the lesser known side of Rajasthan to the stunning setting of Chhatra Sagar’s hand stitched tents – perched east facing on a 100 year old dam overlooking a lake filled with waterfowl. It is an idyllic setting to take a breather from the Rajasthan city crush.

This luxury camp is an updated version of the 1920’s hunting parties hosted by the Miaj family who have owned the surrounding working farmland for more than a century. Still very welcoming hosts, the Nimaj’s are wonderfully hands on and can organise bird watching trips, take you on fascinating tours around the local village and walks through the outlying pastures. The food here is organic and delicious and this evenings hilltop sundowners, allow you to revel in a view that’s blessedly big-sky and free. (B,D)

Overnight Chhara Sagar in a Luxury Tent or similar

Day 7 – Chhatra Sagar to Mihir Garh via Jodhpur

This morning, arise to the sight of sunrise and the sound of birdsong as the scent from bowls brimming with rose petals fills the air. Enjoying a morning bird watching tour or village tour before departing to Mihir Garh.

Enroute, you will stop in Jodhpur, the Blue City, and visit the magnificent Mehranhargh Fort and Jaswant Thada cenotaphs. You will also visit the museum at Umaid Bhawan Palace (which is now a Taj hotel). (B,L,D)

Overnight Mihir Garh in a Shandaar Suite or similar

Day 8 – Mihir Garh

This morning it is time to set off on a village safari. This excursion will allow you to feel the very pulse of rural Rajasthan. The little mud houses, the turban clad men, the shy, beautiful women dressed in their traditional saris. To make this experience even more intimate, you will visit the homes of the village folk and share a slice of their life.

Western Rajasthan is home to the Premier Ecologists of the world, the Bishnoi’s. This tribe have protected nature for more than 500 years and are responsible for the very survival of species like the Black Buck Antelope (India’s most beautiful antelope and a rare and protected species today). They share a beautiful relationship with this special animal, where the antelope stays close to the Bishnoi habitation, never leaving it and displays complete trust to the Bishnoi people. You will also meet the Raikas (shepherds) with their glorious costumes and the Piliwals and Meghwals – the Brahmin farmers and weavers.

This afternoon is yours at leisure. (B,L,D)

Overnight Mihir Garh in a Shandaar Suite or similar

Day 9 – Mihir Garh to Narlai

Following breakfast, you will drive two and half hours to the rustic village of Narlai. Check into your hotel, a former Royal hunting lodge.

This afternoon, enjoy a countryside safari. The rugged countryside of the Godward region is explored by jeep. You will visit a nearby village where you can see the different local craftsman working their trade, famous temples with beautiful architecture and a visit to a traditional working farm. Another interesting stop is the Stud Farm that houses the famous pure bred horses which are typical to this region. This is an experience that not many people will get to have in their lifetime.

This evening, enjoy tea by the lake. Take in the serene beauty of the surrounding nature as you sip on your tea and witness the flight of different migratory birds which nest in the area.

Return to your hotel. (B,L,D)

Overnight Rawla Narlai in a Grand Heritage Room or similar

Day 10 – Narlai

This morning you will enjoy a train safari on the metre gauge train which still runs through the beautiful countryside. If it has rained recently, waterfalls can be seen. This is the best way to enjoy the rugged and beautiful countryside.

This afternoon can be at leisure or you may wish to get active and explore Elephant Hill. There is a statue of a white elephant on the summit, and although the hike is challenging (uphill), the view is incredibly rewarding of the countryside and village life below. The climb is guided and is approx. 700 steps – to go at sunset is a wonderful time of day.

This evening, enjoy dinner in an ancient stepwell lit by 110 lanterns. This is truly an experience that will linger in your mind for many years to come. Taste the flavour of true Rajasthani royal hospitality at the 16th century old Baori (stepwell). Your journey to stepwell begins in the courtyard with a welcome drink enjoyed in the company of a resident royal who will regale you with stories and history of the locals before you are transferred by bullock cart. The ride may be a little rough, but it is all part of the experience. You will be guided into the dusk as the village starts to sleep with the starlit sky appearing above you. You will pass the yogi who mediates by a blazing fire before you reach your lantern lit destination.

Your culinary journey is about to begin with elaborate fare offered over the next few hours whilst you are entertained by a local yogi singing devotional folk songs. Following dinner, return to the hotel for a cup of herbal tea. (B,L,D)

Overnight Rawla Narlai in a grand Heritage Room or similar

Day 11 – Narlai to Udaipur

Today, following breakfast take a walking tour of Narlai Vilalge – lead by one of the locals. Witness the traditional and untouched way people still live in this area. Narlai is a very close-knit community and each individual comes across happy, contented and proud. Agriculture, cattle and its supporting income make the locals content with a simple life. During your walk, you will have the opportunity to go inside some of the houses, talk with the local people, ask questions – fuel your curiosity! Enjoy a cup of tea or smoke a bidi with them if you wish.

Later in the morning, drive for about three and half hours to the Venice of the East – Udaipur.

En-route, stop to admire the marvellous marble carved temples of Ranakpur.  Lunch will be arranged at Fateh Bagh – a palace over two centuries old showcasing impressive architecture, antique furniture and period interior decor which makes it a timeless beauty.

Upon arrival in Udaipur, check-in to your hotel. (B)

Overnight at Fateh Garh in a Renaissance Room or similar

Day 12 - Udaipur

This morning, enjoy a city tour of Udaipur visiting the City Palace, Sahelion ki Bari (a beautiful garden) and the bustling local markets.

Today, you will witness the rare art of Jal Sanjhi – painting on water! We are trying our part to revive and preserve this traditional form of art.  This will be an exclusive experience for you at a priest’s home in the old city.

Later, continue to Devra Udaipur for a cooking session followed by lunch. Devra is a house built on an estate of five acres, set amidst lush green fields, perched atop a small hillock. Devra is the perfect retreat for travellers looking to immerse themselves into an experience of heritage and nature.

In the evening, relax and enjoy a sunset cruise on Lake Pichola by a private boat. (B)

Overnight at Fateh Garh in a Renaissance Room or similar

Day 13 - Departure

This morning is yours at leisure. Why not wander down to the ghats and watch the locals perform their morning cleansing rituals? You will then be transferred to the airport for your flight to Delhi. You will be met upon arrival in Delhi and assisted to connect with your onwards international connection. (B)

What's Included

  • Return airport transfers
  • 12 night’s accommodation with breakfast at hotels except Chhatra Sagar, Mihir Garh & Rawla Narlai where all meals are included
  • Meals as per the itinerary
  • Private transportation by air-conditioned vehicle
  • Single entrance fees for sights as per the itinerary
  • All activities, sightseeing and excursions as per the itinerary
  • Services of a qualified licensed English speaking local guide in each city
  • Bottled drinking water inside the vehicle during sightseeing and long drives
  • Assistance of Crooked Compass representatives for all arrival and departure transfers
  • Road taxes, parking fees, fuel charges, interstate taxes
  • All currently applicable taxes

Exclusions

  • International & domestic flights
  • Visas
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • All services, meals other than those indicated above
  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc

**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.

* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.

* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.

A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.

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Start Date End Date Duration Availability Price
03rd Mar 2020 15th Mar 2020 13 Days Available $9,621 Book Now
06th Oct 2020 18th Oct 2020 13 Days Available $9,621 Book Now