Celebrate the rich heritage of India on a journey through the cultural heart of the country. Explore exquisitely carved fortresses and temples, and gaze at the magnificent Taj Mahal. Delve into the colorful bustle of everyday life in Delhi and Jaipur, meet with local artisans, and venture out on safari through Ranthambore National Park in search of the elusive tiger.
Arrive in Delhi and transfer to your hotel, located in the heart of the downtown.
See the streets of Old Delhi by pedicab, riding through the bustling bazaars and narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk market. Browse colorful stalls brimming with spices, jewelry, and vibrant fabrics, and stop to bargain for the pieces that catch your eye. Continue to Humayun’s Tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and examine its impressive sandstone architecture alongside a private guide. After lunch, join cultural historian Navina Jafa on a private tour of Delhi’s highlights. For this excursion, choose a history-focused tour that traces the evolution of the city through its most significant monuments; or opt for a cultural focus, where you’ll learn about the traditional rituals and customs that helped shape the artistic development of India.
Fly to Jaipur, known as the “Pink City” thanks to its colorful old quarter, which was painted in shades of rose in preparation for a visit by the Prince of Wales in 1876. Settle into your hotel, and opt to take a tour of this former maharaja’s residence. Then set out on a private city tour, exploring the City Palace and its vast collection of royal artifacts, as well as the Sileh Khana, which houses antique royal weaponry. You’ll also see the intricately carved Hawa Mahal palace and visit the Jantar Mantar, an 18th-century royal observatory.
Travel to the Amber Fort, a centuries-old citadel perched on a hill overlooking Maota Lake. Alongside a private guide, take in the opulent frescoes and mosaics of this magnificent complex of palaces and temples, and then step outside to stroll through its tiered, manicured gardens. This afternoon, visit the nearby Sanganer village, a center for papermaking and textile block printing. You’ll have the opportunity to learn these arts from a master craftsman during a hands-on workshop.
Drive to Ranthambore National Park, and try your luck at catching a glimpse of an elusive tiger. Once a private hunting reserve for the maharajas of Jaipur, Ranthambore has recently seen a revival of its tiger population. Spend the next two days joining naturalist-led safaris, venturing out in search of majestic tigers, as well as jackals, mongooses, sloth bears, leopards, and a wide variety of bird species. In the evenings, relax in your luxury tent and enjoy regional fare around an open fire in the main dining room.
Transfer to Agra, stopping en route to lunch in Bharatpur and see the bird sanctuaries of Keoladeo Ghana National Park. Join a naturalist to explore the wetlands by rickshaw, spotting some of the more than 380 bird species that have been identified here. Among the reserve’s resident and migratory avian species are kingfishers, parakeets, and red-vented bulbuls. Later, arrive in Agra and settle into your hotel.
Rise early to watch the sun come up over the magnificent Taj Mahal. The most iconic site in all of India, this World Heritage-listed palace was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan as a tribute to his favorite wife after her death. Tour the palace interiors, adorned with intricate calligraphy panels and inlaid flowers made of precious stones. Then stroll along the reflecting pool and tree-lined walkways in the garden. You’ll also pay a visit to the marble inlay workshop for a demonstration on how the palace’s intricate stonework was carved. Later, travel outside the city for a visit to impressive Fatepuhr Sikri, once a Mughal capital and now a World Heritage site. Return to the Taj Mahal this evening to see it at sunset.
Travel back to Delhi and check in to your day room. This evening, transfer to the airport to catch your flight home.