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This 12-day tour of India’s Golden Triangle and Rajasthan is ideal for visitors who want to see unique cultures, arid desert landscapes, and a traditional way of life that has changed very little over the last few centuries.
No state in India has as many magnificent palaces, forts, and colorful festivals as Rajasthan. On this journey, you will witness the exquisite craftsmanship of the Taj Mahal, venture through the striking desert and mountain scenery of Rajasthan, traverse the immense grounds of several impressive forts, and finally unwind along the banks of peaceful Lake Pichola.
This tour is designed to give you a taste of the elegance of Rajasthan by visiting the powerful fortresses and charming palaces of the Maharajas.
Use this tour as inspiration to see what you like and then contact us so we can get started on adjusting the itinerary to suit your specific interests.
- Wander through the ancient streets of Delhi to uncover the city’s ancient history while exploring India’s largest mosque and the great wholesale bazaars of Chandni Chowk.
- Take in the jewel-encrusted Taj Mahal, the world’s most famous testament to love and then wonder through other striking Mughal heritage sites.
- Experience the Rajput hospitality of Rajasthan and feel the culture and history all around you during your feature stay in a heritage hotel that has been modernized from a royal palace or Haveli.
- Explore the pink city of Jaipur by visiting the palaces of the Amber Fort and then learn to cook classic Rajasthan dishes in the home of a Jaipuri local.
- See the ornamental lacquer work at the Junagarh Fort.
- Take a camel ride across the dunes of the Thar Desert.
- Admire the country’s only fort that used to contain an entire city, Jaisalmer Fort, with its golden sandstone and 99 bastions.
- Experience the aromatic smells of one of the oldest spice markets as you explore the blue buildings of Jodhpur. Stop along your way to try some spice blends.
- Unwind in the fairytale-like city of Udaipur with its graceful City Palace and relax alongside the banks of Lake Pichola.
- An English-speaking guide who will explain the history and importance of each site
- A chauffeured car with air conditioning for all transportation needs during city tours, day excursions, and trips to and from hotels
- 4-star hotels that are hand-picked to match your preferences
- All entrance fees for activities that are listed on the itinerary
- Hotel buffet breakfasts and lunch at our recommended restaurants
- One-on-one consultations with one of our travel experts
- A 24/7 helpline while you are traveling
- Government tax
Itinerary in detail
At Asia Highlights, all of our tours are flexible. If this tour fits you perfectly, you can go ahead and sign up! If you think a few things are missing, you can use this tour as inspiration and let us make changes to better fit your travel goals.
Day 1 Arrival in Delhi
Welcome to Delhi, a city that has been ruled by many great empires that have left behind many beautiful monuments and ruins. You will be met on arrival by our representative and taken to your hotel in a private car.
Spend the rest of the day in your hotel to unwind after traveling. We have prepared an elegant colonial-era hotel for you where you can have a relaxing stay and enjoy the beautifully restored heritage buildings, a pool, and a tapas restaurant.
Day 2 Explore Old Delhi and Drive to Agra
Start your day by exploring Old Delhi. Drive past the imposing red sandstone gateway of the Red Fort where India’s Prime Minister addresses the crowd during the Independence Day rally.
Visit the sandstone and marble Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque, where you will climb a turret to have an unrivaled view of all of Old Delhi. While at the mosque, you might see worshipers who have come to pay their respects in the courtyard. If you happen to visit on Friday, you will see a sea of worshipers at the mosque performing their Friday prayers.
In the hectic streets of Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest and busiest markets in Delhi, you can smell the enticing scents of all kinds of spices. Take a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk to see iconic parts of Indian culture from the vibrant saris to the marigold garlands.
The narrow streets of the market are lined with shops whose goods spill out onto the pavement. Each lane of the market specializes in one commodity. Khari Baoli is the lane of spices and is famous for being Asia's largest spice market.
After exploring Old Delhi, head to the more modern part of the city to pay your respects at Raj Ghat, the site of Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation and memorial. If you would like to, you can lay a garland of marigold flowers to honor Gandhi and his philosophy of non-violence.
In the afternoon, leave for Agra (a 4-5 hour drive).
Agra was once the capital of the Mughal Empire and is home to the incredible Taj Mahal. On arrival, transfer to your hotel to relax. We have selected a modern western-style retreat hotel where you can enjoy the spa or traditional Ayurvedic treatments.
Day 3 Witness the Taj Mahal and Other Impressive Mughal Structures
Full of centuries of Mughal history, Agra is a small city that has a wealth of luxurious gardens, mausoleums, palaces, and forts. The city is located along the banks of the Yamuna River and flourished under the patronage of the great Mughal emperors.
The Taj Mahal is a jewel-encrusted white marble mausoleum that was built by Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal. Visit this striking tomb in the morning to see the sunrise when the white marble walls reflect different colors in the changing light.
Check out the elaborate designs and calligraphy of the main tomb chamber and take some photos beside the Lotus Pool with the reflection of the Taj Mahal behind you.
Leave the Taj Mahal site and then walk through the impressive Amar Singh Gate as you are led into the Agra Fort. Inside the fort, explore Mughal-era palaces such as Jahangiri Mahal to the right of the fort and the Khas Mahal near the riverfront.
In the afternoon, visit the most innovative 17th-century Mughal building, Itimad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb. Here, you can admire the mosaic patterns and geometric designs that were created with inlaid colored stone.
End your day by enjoying a sunset view of the Taj Mahal from the Mehtab Bagh garden.
Day 4 Drive to Jaipur and Enjoy a Palace Stay
In the morning, drive to the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur (approximately 4-5 hours). When you arrive, take some time to enjoy your stay by relaxing in the courtyard of your decadent palace hotel.
In your palace hotel, you will be treated like honored guests and gain a deeper understanding of the opulent lifestyles of the old princes of Rajasthan and the royal heritage of India.
If you would like to explore, you are welcome to take a look around the hotel which has a beautiful interior decorated with intricate ancient murals, high ceilings, and antique furnishings. If you are interested in holistic health, you can book herbal treatments such as Ayurveda at the hotel spa.
Day 5 Venture Through the Pink City and Take a Cooking Class
The day begins with a visit to the elegant “Palace of Winds” or Hawa Mahal which was dedicated to Lord Krishna and resembles the crown that often sits atop the god’s head. Take in the building’s ornate pink façade from the outside.
Afterward, continue on to visit Panna Meena Kund, one of the best-restored stepwells in Jaipur. You will learn more about the ancient water storage tank and see the intricate levels of cascading stairs.
The next stop is the magnificent Amber Fort, where you can see the great influence of Mughal architecture in the latticed windows, floral-decorated ceilings, glass inlays, and ornately carved silver doors.
Next, it’s time to cover your hands in wheat flour and get started learning to make Indian bread. Now you will enjoy a cooking class in the home of a Jaipuri local where you will learn how to cook classic Rajasthani dishes.
After cooking, you will enjoy your meal with the host and listen to more interesting information about popular Indian sauces or chutneys such as mint, turmeric, and garlic.
A typical class usually includes how to make masala chai, appetizers, classic main dishes, Indian breads, chutney, and rice pudding. This cooking class experience can be customized to be vegetarian. Please inform us if you have any dietary requirements.
At the end of the day, go back to your hotel and enjoy the quality services offered.
Day 6 Jaipur to Bikaner and Visit the Old Walled Town
In the morning, drive to the Bikaner (approximately 5-6 hours). Along with Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, Bikaner was one of the three great Desert Kingdoms of Rajasthan and has much to offer visitors.
In the afternoon, you will visit the National Research Center on Camels where you can see the camel calves wandering about and gathering on dunes. You can also visit the camel museum to learn about how the camel fits into the desert ecosystem and try camel milk or ice cream. Activities like camel rides and desert safaris are also available for those who are interested.
Next, visit the Junagarh Fort which is perhaps the best-preserved and most ornately decorated of all the forts in Rajasthan. Here, you will see a local imitation of the Mughal pietra dura artwork in the interior of Anup Mahal.
Finally, take a tuk-tuk ride through the markets of Bikaner, where you can see the bustling streets full of people buying vegetables and flowers.
Day 7 Bikaner to Jaisalmer and Explore the Sand Dunes by Camel Safari
Leave for Jaisalmer (approximately 5-6 hours). Jaisalmer was once a flourishing trade center located on the caravan trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia. Upon arrival, enjoy your stay at a palace hotel with beautiful courtyards and grand Rajasthani architecture.
In the late afternoon, visit the abandoned and beautiful Kuldhera. This village was once prosperous and inhabited by Paliwal Brahmins.
Afterward, explore the fascinating desert landscape that surrounds the city on a camel safari. At sunset, you will take a camel ride to the nearby rippling sand dunes that stretch as far as the eye can see.
Day 8 Admire the Living Fort and Drive to Jodhpur
Spend the morning admiring the Jaisalmer Fort which rises like a mirage out of the sands of the Thar Desert. In medieval times, Jaisalmer’s entire population lived within the fort. Even now, thousands of people still reside there making it India’s only ‘living fort’.
You will have a lot to explore here from the ramparts which are equipped with huge cannons to the Gyan Bhandar, a library of illustrated Jain palm-leaf manuscripts. You can also spend time taking in some of the intricate sandstone carvings around the fort.
In the afternoon, you will be transferred (approximately 5 hours) to Jodhpur, the second-largest city in the state and also a member of ancient trade routes.
Day 9 Visit the Blue Houses and Mehrangarh Fort
In the morning, you will visit the majestic Mehrangarh Fort and explore the several brilliantly crafted and decorated palaces within the fort. The Phool Mahal is the most opulent chamber in the fort and is richly gilded and painted.
After exploring, you can spend some time at the Mehrangarh Fort Museum to see the rich and varied art collection of the royal family which includes fine miniature paintings, traditional costumes, and interesting weapons.
Continue on to the Jaswant Thada, an elegant marble memorial to the royal family of Marwar. You may see local people coming here to offer prayers and flowers because they believe the Maharaja has retained his healing touch even while entombed inside the shrine.
In the afternoon, take a rickshaw through the old town’s blue-painted houses and explore the fascinating bazaars with their little shops selling jewelry, hand-dyed fabric, and colorful heaps of sweets and spices. In the market, we will stop at Mohanlal Verhomal Spices (MV Spices), one of the oldest spice merchants in the city.
At MV Spices, you will have a chance to learn more about Indian spices and their rich flavors and natural healing properties. Here you can try some spice blends like tea spices and fruit spices. Our favorite spices are cardamom, ginger, black pepper, chili, and saffron.
Day 10 Attend a Carpet Workshop and Drive to Udaipur
Spend the morning participating in a carpet workshop where you can take part in the weaving of a handmade carpet.
After that, visit a textile and fabric warehouse that contains a wide variety of fabrics that were handmade using traditional techniques such as tie-dye, block-printing, and hand stitching.
En route to Udaipur, we will make a stop at the Ranakpur Jain Temple, which is one of the largest and most important temples of the Jain religion. Here, you will see a variety of sculptures as this temple is famous for its intricate carvings and unique architecture.
Continue drive to Udaipur, a city full of palaces and well known for its peaceful lakes surrounded by rolling hills.
Day 11 Witness the Grandeur of the City Palace and Enjoy a Boat Ride on Lake Pichola
Stretching along the eastern shore of Lake Pichola, Udaipur’s City Palace is a fascinating combination of Rajput military architecture and Mughal-style decorative techniques.
You will spend the whole morning here, exploring the largest palace in Rajasthan which is actually a complex of several palaces built by 22 different Maharajas between the 16th and 20th centuries.
In the afternoon, enjoy a boat tour on the romantic waters of Lake Pichola and visit the two palaces, Jag Niwas and Jagdish Mandir, that are located on islands in the center of the lake.
Jag Niwas, was once a royal summer retreat and is now one of the world’s best hotels. This is where parts of the James Bond film, Octopussy, were shot.
Jagdish Mandir is a 17th-century temple, which enshrines an enormous black stone image of Lord Vishnu.
Afterward, visit the nearby Bagore ki Haveli, a museum exhibiting Udaipur’s traditional arts, costumes, and musical instruments.
Day 12 Fly to Delhi and Departure
This morning, you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight back to Delhi. On arrival, you will be met by our representative who will help you check-in for your international flight back home.
Asia Highlights handpicked hotels
We have selected hotels with different styles and for different budgets. Let us know your preferences and we will help you find the right one.
We recommend staying in palace hotels, heritage hotels, or nice resorts in order to get the high quality service and to your experience.
Built in 1903, Maidens Hotel showcases 19th century colonial charm and architecture. It has an outdoor pool, fitness center and features a coffee shop which extends into a charming, open courtyard.
Built in 1952, The Claridges, New Delhi is an iconic hotel superbly located in at the heart of New Delhi’s eminent address – Lutyen’s Delhi, and is a perfect blend of old world elegance and contemporary luxury.
Double Tree by Hilton is within 2.8 mi from the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, offering an outdoor swimming pool, a spa and wellness center and a fitness center.
Jaypee Hotel features landscaped gardens with ponds and water features. It houses a shopping mall, an Ayurvedic spa with a Turkish bath and a large outdoor pool.
Chomu Palace, a reflection of the Royal Palaces of India, is a 300 year old elegant fortified palace hotel and one of the places to visit in Rajasthan. It revives the gracious lifestyles of the princes of Rajasthan.
Exclusive and discreet, Samode Palace has been host to royalty, celebrities, artists, and the discerning traveller. Run your fingers across the intricate story of an ancient mural on an uneven wall, or perhaps just sink into the lavish bed in your room.
As the grand residence that housed the last reigning Maharaja of Bikaner, Narendra Bhawan is a heritage property that possesses a one-of-a-kind legacy. The property has an infinity pool, Clinic – The Spa and sauna.
Housed in a majestic palace built in 1902, this heritage hotel features Indo-Saracen architecture with its filigree and lattice work. Regular traditional Rajasthani puppet and music performances are held in the garden.
Built in yellow sandstone architecture in Jaisalmer, 1.4 km from Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer Marriott Resort & Spa features a temperature controlled swimming pool, a 24 hours fitness centre and an outdoor lawn.
Architecturally pure and true to an ancient craft, the majestic Suryagarh features beautiful courtyards and grand Rajasthani architecture. The elegant rooms at the hotel come with traditional handcrafted furnishings and heritage art pieces.
Featuring architecture and interiors modeled on the palaces, Indana Palace offers a fitness centre, swimming pool, massage parlour and spa and wellness centre. It is 3 km from Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum.
Located in the scenic locales of Jodhpur, Welcomhotel features an outdoor swimming pool and a multi-cuisine restaurant. At Welcomhotel Jodhpur you will find a 24-hour front desk, a garden and a bar.
Built in 1911, this hilltop luxury heritage hotel is nestled amidst the Aravalli Hills and the views of Fateh Sagar Lake. Activities at the hotel include billiards, croquet and indoor games. The AUM Shop sells a variety of souvenirs, books and fashion accessories.
Surrounded by landscaped gardens, Trident Udaipur is located on the banks of the Pichola Lake. The property is a 10-minute drive from the Udaipur city centre. Dining options include Aravalli multi-cuisine restaurant and The Terrace, which serves international dishes.
In India, there is a wide range of choices for accommodation including everything from ancient palaces, decadent mansions, and Colonial-era hotels to mid-range boutique hotels and western-style business hotels.
India is also well-known for its specialized resorts that offer yoga and traditional herbal treatments. Many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries have luxurious resorts located on their periphery.
Staying in one of these hotels is a truly unique opportunity that adds to a traveler’s experience. We have carefully hand-picked our hotels to ensure that our travelers will have access to the very best.
Let us know your preferences for accommodation and our travel experts will help find the perfect hotels that suit your taste and budget.
There are many different types of transport available to travelers in India and each type is suitable for different journeys.
If you are traveling over a long distance such as from Delhi to Varanasi, going by plane is the best way.
If you want to know more about the locals and see the countryside from your window as your travel, then going by train is your best bet.
If you are traveling within the city, especially in the big cities like Delhi, or traveling between the cities in the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur), the best mode of transportation is by private car with a chauffeur. When traveling this way, you will be more comfortable and also save time so that you can spend more of it exploring.
When traveling with us, our experts will help you transfer between all of your destinations easily and efficiently.
Restaurants in India offer a range of food options from pizza to sophisticated multi-course meals.
Many hotels offer buffets with a variety of cuisines from Indian to Italian and Asian. Most hotels also have coffee shops that serve beverages and light snacks. Vegetarian food is widely available in India due to the country’s large vegetarian population.
People who are looking to taste authentic local cuisine can try the restaurants specializing in barbecued tandoori kebabs and Indian naan bread. We also recommend trying out one of the many great restaurants that serve modern Indian fusion food.
Let us know your food preferences and we’ll take care of the rest. Make sure to inform us of any allergies or dietary requirements in advance.
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