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New! The Royal Palaces of India (2017)
Limited to 18 guests
Days: 15 | From: $12,495
Day 1: Arrive Hyderabad, India
Arrive in Hyderabad this evening. After clearing customs and immigration, you are met and transferred to your hotel, a magnificently restored 19th-century palace overlooking the city.
Day 2: Hyderabad | Grand Monuments & Mosques
Enter the old city through the historic Charminar, a decorative gateway known as the “Arc de Triomphe of the East.” Continue on to the vast Mecca Masjid (Grand Mosque), its broad, towering façade fronting a massive square and reflecting pool. Next, hone your bargaining skills among the Laad Bazaar’s stalls of bangles, pearls, cloths and Bidri metal crafts. In the afternoon, visit the national Salar Jung Museum, home to one of the largest private art collections in the world. Next, tour the magnificent, 200-year-old Chowmahalla Palace, renowned for its unique style and elegance. A blend of many architectural styles and influences, the Palace Complex has been meticulously restored. This evening, meet with fellow guests over welcome cocktails and dinner at the hotel.
Taj Falaknuma Palace | Meals: B L D
Day 3: Hyderabad | Forts & Tombs of Rulers Past
Begin the day at Golconda Fort. Built on a granite hill in the 12th century, this massive fortification boasts three protective walls and an imposing teak Fateh Darwaza (Victory Gate) guarding the entrance. Tour the fort, exploring the former royal palace’s halls, baths and temple. Continue on to the Qutb Shahi Tombs, a site spanning landscaped gardens, several mosques and 21 magnificent domed granite markers of past rulers. After the tour, return to your hotel for lunch, enjoying the remainder of the day at leisure.
Taj Falaknuma Palace | Meals: B L
Day 4: Hyderabad/Mumbai | Awe-Inspiring Architecture
This morning, fly to Mumbai and transfer to your inspiring hotel, an opulent oasis fronting the sea. This afternoon, visit the Prince of Wales Museum. Home to a world-class collection of over 60,000 art objects, the museum’s Indo-Saracenic architecture is a work of art in its own right. En route, pass Victorian Gothic buildings, stopping at the historic railway station of Victoria Terminus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inspired by London’s St. Pancreas Station, the booking hall’s ornate arcades, stained glass and glazed tiles harken back to the golden age of rail. Next, take a respite from the bustling city in the tranquil Hanging Gardens, enjoying a panoramic view of the harbor. Continue on to an open-air laundry at Dhobi Ghat for an authentic look at everyday life in Mumbai. Cap off your excursion at Mani Bhavan, a small museum dedicated to the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi. Enjoy the rest of the evening with dinner at your hotel.
The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai | Meals: B D
Day 5: Mumbai | Spirit of the People
Today, get an unfiltered look at the perseverance and joy that constitutes the heart of the Indian spirit. Begin in the slums of Dharavi, learning how tiny shops turn out pottery, embroidery and leather with clever ingenuity and little else. Explore the local diversity, strolling past the temples, mosques and churches that stand side by side. Next, discover the spectacle of Bollywood and its vast musical productions bursting with dancing troupes, handsome heroes, star-crossed lovers, tinsel, glitter and an unbridled joy of living. Sit back and marvel at the sheer scale of this afternoon’s performance, taking away a new understanding of the inspiringly joyous Indian spirit.
The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai | Meals: B
Day 6: Mumbai/Jodhpur | History Unfolds
Fly to Jodhpur and transfer to your hotel. Perched high above the desert capital, the hotel’s impeccably manicured grounds span 26 acres of lush gardens. Begin the day’s explorations at Meherangarh Fort. Perched atop a rocky cliff some 400 feet above the Jodhpur skyline, the vast fortification commands views that stretch on for miles. Pass through one of the citadel’s seven fortified gateways, touring its museum and palaces. Descending back toward town, stop at Jaswant Thada, a marble cenotaph remembering the former maharajas and maharanis of Jodhpur. This evening, join your fellow guests for dinner at the hotel.
Umaid Bhawan Palace | Meals: B D
Day 7: Jodhpur | From the “Blue City” to Tribal India
Set out for rural Bishnoi village to experience tribal India’s legendary history and customs. Witness a traditional opium ceremony and visit with a family of potters as they demonstrate their craft. After returning to the city, browse the Sadar Bazaar for a marvelous example of town planning that blends modern and Rajput traditions. There, shop for Jodhpur’s famous glass bangles, vivid tie-dyed fabric and rugged mojri slippers, made from camel leather.
Umaid Bhawan Palace | Meals: B L
Day 8: Jodhpur/Udaipur | Tranquil Waters & Historic Sites
Drive across the Aravalli Hills, the oldest mountain range in the world, to Udaipur. En route, take in passing countryside vignettes of age-old farms, outdoor schools and vibrantly clothed locals. Stop at the intricately carved white marble temples at Ranakpur, taking in the exquisite artistry of their innumerable pillars. Arrive in Udaipur in the evening and check in to your hotel, a romantic island hideaway set in the middle of Lake Pichola.
Taj Lake Palace | Meals: B L
Day 9: Udaipur | Romantic, Wistful & Serene
Explore Udaipur, a city fronting three shimmering lakes that reflect the green hills of the Aravali ranges. Start your day at the sprawling City Palace, extravagantly decorated in mosaic, mirror and tile work. Built over three centuries, the series of four interconnecting palaces showcase diverse architectural styles. Browse an exquisite collection of priceless Rajput miniature paintings, crystal objets d’art and fine furniture. Finally, visit the Bagore Ki Haveli, a museum exhibiting Udaipur’s traditional arts and crafts, costumes, musical instruments and marble work. Embark on a sunset cruise on Lake Pichola. Sail past the lake’s picturesque ghats and palaces, stopping at the 17th-century water palace of Jag Mandir.
Taj Lake Palace | Meals: B
Day 10: Udaipur | Fascinating Temple Complexes
After breakfast, take a short drive to the temples of Eklinji and Nagda, a marble complex spanning over 100 temples dedicated to Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Roam the temples’ hallowed grounds, savoring the tranquil atmosphere of prayer time. Continue on for lunch and a visit to a nearby village before heading back to the city and your hotel.
Taj Lake Palace | Meals: B L
Day 11: Udaipur/Jaipur | The “Pink City”
This morning, fly to Jaipur. Later in the afternoon, set out to explore the “Pink City,” named for its use of local pink plastered stone. Tour the City Palace, a complex including the ornate Mubarak Mahal palace. Next, visit the Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century. This evening, with the palace as a backdrop, savor an exclusive dining experience befitting royalty. Local artists perform classical Indian music and traditional folk dance. Fireworks provide a grand finale to dinner.
Rambagh Palace | Meals: B D
Day 12: Jaipur | Festival of Lights
Today we celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, an ancient and very important Hindu festival that spiritually signifies victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil and hope over despair. Explore Amber Fort, one of the finest examples of a fort palace, built similar in style to the surrounding, richly decorated Mughal courts. After lunch, visit the local market with your guide. Marvel as evening falls and the Diwali celebration comes to life, basking the city in the festive glow of millions of lights. Stroll Jaipur as fireworks paint the night sky and every windowsill, stoop and railing is bathed in joyful candlelight. Continue your celebration with a group dinner at the hotel this evening.
Rambagh Palace | Meals: B L D
Day 13: Jaipur/Delhi | Historic City
Fly to Delhi and transfer to your hotel. Explore this capital city steeped in 3,000 years of history. Visit a Sikh temple to understand the role that religious communities play in combating hunger in India. This evening, gather with fellow guests over farewell cocktails at the hotel followed by a dinner of Indian cuisine.
The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi | Meals: B D
Day 14: Delhi | The Capital of India
Begin with a visit to Old Delhi, the former imperial capital. From here, drive to the 300-year-old Chandni Chowk Market, exploring its narrow lanes by rickshaw. Browse the street-side markets overflowing with silver, jewelry, aromatic spices, leather, fruits, vegetables and more. Next, visit Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India. Continue on to Humayun’s Tomb, an architectural triumph bursting with splendid gardens. Pass the sprawling presidential residence of Rashtrapati Bhavan, stopping at the India Gate war memorial and Parliament House en route to your hotel.
The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi | Meals: B
Day 15: Depart, Delhi
Early this morning, transfer to the airport for your international flight home.
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