Day 1: Mumbai.
You are picked up from your hotel (or other choice of location at Mumbai) in the morning and will proceed for a guided city tour of Mumbai (an exclusive from Easy Tours of India). The tour begins at the Prince of Wales Museum, built to commemorate King George V’s first visit to India in 1905.
Designed in the Indo-Saracenic style, the museum has sections of art, paintings, archeological exhibits and natural history. After the museum tour you will visit the famous ‘Dhobi Ghat’ & observe the age old tradition of the Dhobi’s doing Mumbai’s laundry! Continue the tour with a drive up to Malabar Hill, where the hanging gardens give a panoramic view of the city and the "Queen’s Necklace" (Marine Drive). The tour then takes a drive through the Flora Fountain and Fort area, where you can view the impressive Gothic and Victorian buildings that were constructed during the British ‘Raj’. Visit the Victoria Terminus (now known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus). It is India’s finest example of a Gothic architecture and one of the world’s busiest railway stations. Drive around Horniman Circle and visit the Town Hall, right beside the docks of Mumbai. Visit the city’s signature landmark, “The Gateway of India”, situated overlooking Mumbai’s harbor. This structure was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai. After your tour you are driven to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Rail Terminus. At 3 PM you are welcomed aboard the Deccan Odyssey. The Deccan Odyssey departs at 4 PM and dinner is served at 8 PM.
Day 2: Aurangabad.
Arrive in Daulatabad and proceed for a sightseeing tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Ellora Caves. The Ellora Caves were sculpted by Buddhist monks starting in the 7th century BC. The next two centuries saw a resurgence of Hinduism, reflected by the creation of the next 17 caves with Hindu themes, sculpture and art. These caves include Cave 16, the awe-inspiring “Kailash Temple”. This cave temple, like all the others,
was created out of one rock. However, the significance of that fact changes when you put it in the perspective of this enormous structure. The remaining four caves were created during Jainism’s heyday in this region and are built to a slightly smaller scale. The Ellora caves did see destruction under the Moghul Emperors; many shrines and other art were either destroyed or damaged. Fortunately, most of the monuments survived. Drive to Jalgaon Railway Station and board the Deccan Odyssey. Enjoy lunch and dinner on the Deccan Odyssey.
Note: On the Delhi to Mumbai itinerary, the Deccan Odyssey will travel through Ahmedabad on its way to Aurangabad. You will spend a day there sightseeing.
The 17th century Muslim historian Muhammad Qasim Firishta said that Ahmedabad was on the whole the most handsome city in Hindustan. You will first visit Teen Darwaza, a triple gateway 37 feet high built by Sultan Ahmed. From here the Sultans watched the processions from the palace to the Jama Masjid. Your next stop will be the Jama Masjid. Built by Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1423, the mosque is situated in the center of the old city. It is one of the finest mosques in India with 260 pillars supporting 15 domes at different elevations. You will also visit the shaking minarets and a Jain Temple.
On the Delhi to Mumbai itinerary, in Aurangabad you will only see the Ajanta caves, rather than both the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. Instead you will take a sightseeing tour around Aurangabad,
visiting Bibi Ka Maqbara and Panchakki. Bibi Ka Maqbara is modeled on the Taj Mahal. Aurangabad's Mughal tomb garden was built by Prince Azam Khan in memory of his mother, Begum Rabia Daurani. The word “Panchakki” literally means water mill. It is another major attraction of Aurangabad. The mill gets its share of water that travels through an underground channel from a source which is 6 km away in the mountains. The water is released on to the wheel creating an enthralling waterfall. There is also a garden and fountains with fish-filled tanks.
Day 3: Aurangabad.
Enjoy Breakfast on board. Proceed on a tour of the Ajanta Caves, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with the Ellora Caves, the Ajanta Caves are amazing achievements more ancient than most of the other destination in India. Carved into the hard basalt of remote hillsides in Maharashtra, these caves have remained miraculously undamaged over two millenniums. You begin by being awed at their sheer size. Buddhist monks and other craftsmen began excavating, sculpting and painting at Ajanta in the 2nd century BC. The incredible variety of paintings and sculpture were created in hard rock by using elaborate and ingenious lighting, tools and materials. These 28 caves are a testament to the devotion of the Buddhists as well as the talents of their skilled craftsmen. Ajanta’s incredible paintings are even more amazing considering that the color and texture you’re admiring was created by artists about 2000 years ago. Ajanta was known only to the hill tribes till the early 19th century, when a group of British army soldiers were led to it by one of these locals. Enjoy lunch and dinner on the Deccan Odyssey.
Day 4: Udaipur.
Arrive in Udaipur and enjoy a late breakfast on the Deccan Odyssey. Udaipur was founded in the middle of the 16th century by Maharana Udai Singh II of the Sisodia dynasty that ruled the area (called Mewar) for twelve centuries. Known as the “City of Lakes” and also as “The Venice of the East,”
Udaipur lies amidst picturesque surroundings with beautiful lakes and the Aravali mountain range surrounding it. It is home to more grand palaces and other architecture than any other city in Rajasthan. Drive through Udaipur on a sightseeing tour. Enter the City Palace through the Tripolia Gate, one of the two entrance gates. The City Palace in Udaipur is a blend of stern Rajput military architecture on the outside and lavish Mughal-inspired decorative art on the inside. Set on a hill overlooking Lake Pichola, the City Palace is a sprawling edifice made up of at least four separate, interconnecting palaces, built over a period of nearly three centuries. The entire palace is oriented to face the east. The earliest parts of the City Palace are reminiscent of the architectural style of Chittorgarh, but subsequent additions show an interesting evolution of style, although this is sometimes disguised by later remodeling. See its Surya Gokhra (Sun Window), from where the maharajas would appear to the people during times of misfortune. Just south of the City Palace is Fateh Prakash. Fateh Prakash Palace is home to a breathtaking collection of crystals. The crystal items include tables, sofa sets, dining tables, dressers, fountains and even beds besides a whole array of washing bowls, decanters and perfume bottles. There is also an exquisite jewel studded carpet. Then visit Sahelion-ki-Bari gardens. These beautiful gardens (Gardens of the Maids of Honor) were laid out in the mid-18th century for a retinue of 48 young ladies-in-waiting who were sent to Udaipur as part of a princess’s dowry. The gardens have beautiful lawns, lotus pools, marble pavilions and marble elephant-shaped fountains. Visit Jagdish Temple. In the evening take a boat ride on Lake Pichola and visit Jag Mandir Palace. This older water palace, built in 1620 by Karan Singh, played an important role in Udaipur’s history. The Mughal prince, Khurram, exiled by his father, Emperor Jahangir, chose to seek refuge here. Jag Mandir owes its name to Jagat Singh, who was announced as the new Emperor Shah Jahan upon his father’s death in 1627. He transformed the palace quite considerably. His close relationship with the Mewar led to an important new era of peace, prosperity and architectural renaissance in Udaipur. The island has some striking carvings including a row of elephants that look like they are guarding the island. The exquisitely carved chatri in grey and blue stone is also interesting. Enjoy dinner at a city hotel.
Day 5: Sawai Madhopur.
Enjoy breakfast on the Deccan Odyssey. You will arrive in Sawai Madhopur, the home of Ranthambore National Park. Sawai Madhopur is the
base for exploring Ranthambore National Park. Ranthambore was named after the once imposing 10th century fort whose ruins preside over the park from a nearby hilltop. In the 18th and 19th centuries the jungles here were the royal hunting grounds of the Maharaja of Jaipur. In the mid-nineteenth century, the British officer in charge of the area started a program of conservation for the fast dwindling wildlife. It became a wildlife sanctuary in 1955 and a National Park (as part of Project Tiger) in 1973. The park is surrounded by the Vindhya and Aravali mountain ranges and is one of the greener parts of the mostly desert state of Rajasthan. It is bordered by rivers on its north and south and there are many streams inside the park. Dry deciduous forests cover much of the park, and the rest of the terrain can vary from flat grasslands to massive boulders to steep ravines. There are six manmade lakes in the park that serve as watering holes for the wildlife. Over 30 different animals are found here, including tigers and leopards. There are three different types of antelopes, over 250 kinds of birds, and a decent number of snub nosed marsh crocodiles. You can also find sloth bears, wild boars, monitor lizards, jackals and jungle cats, just to name a few. Tiger sightings are very common for the average visitor who takes 3 or 4 safaris into the park, but chances are only fair when you enjoy only two safaris as per the itinerary of the Deccan Odyssey. Enjoy a high tea served at the Taj Lodge after your second safari. Lunch and dinner will be served on the Deccan Odyssey.
Day 6: Jaipur.
Arrive at Jaipur. You will enjoy breakfast on the Deccan Odyssey. Constructed in the early 18th century, Rajasthan’s capital has wide streets and is very well laid out. Maharaja Jai Singh II and his architect built Jaipur using ancient Hindu principles of civic planning and design,
and created a city full of magical color and beauty. A visit to Jaipur should be a must for every visitor to India; the multi-hued garments and jewelry of the locals, the profusion of camels in everyday traffic, and the play of the sun’s rays on the brightly colored walls of the inner city all combine to create an atmosphere unique to this city. You will begin a tour of Jaipur starting with a visit to Amber Fort, also called Amer Fort. En route to Amber Fort you will stop and see the Hawa Mahal Palace. Hawa Mahal, meaning Palace of the Breeze, was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, and designed by Lal Chand Usta in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god. Its unique five story exterior is also akin to the honeycomb of a beehive, with its 953 small windows called Jharokhas that are decorated with intricate latticework. The original intention of the lattice was to allow royal ladies to observe strict purdah (face cover). Built of red and pink sandstone, the palace is situated on the main thoroughfare in the heart of Jaipur’s business center. It forms part of the City Palace and extends to the Zenana or women’s chambers, the chambers of the harem. It is particularly striking when viewed early in the morning, lit with the golden light of sunrise. Its cultural and architectural heritage is a true reflection of a fusion of Hindu Rajput architecture and the Islamic Mughal architecture. The Rajput style is seen in the form of domed canopies, fluted pillars, lotus and floral patterns, and the Islamic style is evident in its stone inlay filigree work and arches. Hawa Mahal was Maharaja Jai Singh’s favorite resort because of the elegance and built-in interior of the Mahal. You will proceed onto Amber Fort, known for its artistic style, blending both Hindu and Mughal elements.
The fort is made up of large ramparts and a series of gates and cobbled paths. It overlooks Maota Lake. The numerous chambers and hallways of the palace are famous for their exquisite designs and handcrafted embellishments. Just like the emperors of a few centuries ago, visitors can enjoy the ascent up to the ramparts of the fort by Elephant back (or by jeep). The massive fort complex was originally built by Raja Mansingh in 1952 and is one of India’s finest examples of Rajput architecture. The hall of victory, Jai Mandir, has a stunning ceiling adorned with mirror work and inlaid paneling. Enjoy Lunch at a 5 star hotel. After Lunch you will visit the City Palace. The City Palace was the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur, the head of the Kachwaha Rajput clan. The palace complex incorporates an impressive and vast array of courtyards, gardens and buildings. The palace was built between 1729 and 1732, initially by Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber. He planned and built the outer walls and later additions were made by successive rulers, right up to the 20th century. Continue your exploration of Jaipur with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Jantar Mantar. The Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments built by Maharaja Jai Singh II at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734. The observatory consists of 14 major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars’ location as the earth orbits around the sun, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial attitudes. An excursion through Jai Singh’s Jantar is a unique experience of walking through solid geometry and encountering a collective astronomical system designed to probe the heavens. The giant sundial, known as the samrat yantra (supreme instrument) is the world’s largest sundial, standing 27 meters tall. After City Palace, you will have the opportunity to shop for Jaipur’s famous cut and polished stones and hand-block printed textiles. Enjoy dinner on the Deccan Odyssey.
Please Note: When the tour is from Mumbai to Delhi, Breakfast and Dinner are served onboard the train and Lunch is at a 5 star hotel in Jaipur.
When the tour is from Delhi to Mumbai, breakfast is served onboard the train, Lunch is at a 5 star hotel and Dinner is at a Heritage hotel in Jaipur.
Day 7: Jaipur - Fatephur Sikri - Agra.
On your drive to Agra you will stop at Fatephur Sikri, the abandoned capital of the Mughal Empire. Built by Emperor Akbar to be a co-capital of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri is an amazing display of architectural splendor. It was the first planned city of the Mughals and also the first one designed in Mughal architecture, an amalgamation of Indian, Persian and Islamic architecture. It served as the Mughal Empire’s capital from 1571 until 1585. Though the court took 15 years to build, it was abandoned after only 14 years because the water supply was unable to sustain the growing population. Today, the complex of buildings, including the extant royal palaces, courts and the Jama Masjid is a popular tourist attraction, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.
Excavations by the Archaeological Survey of India conducted in 1999-2000 have led to the discovery of a large number of Jain sculptures with inscriptions including a unique Jain Shruti Sarasvati sculpture showing an ancient history of the city predating the Mughals by half a millennium. The buildings of Fatehpur Sikri show a synthesis of various regional schools of architectural craftsmanship such as Gujarat and Bengal. This was because indigenous craftsmen from various regions were used for the construction of the buildings. Influences from Hindu and Jain architecture are seen hand in hand with Islamic elements. The building material used in all the buildings at Fatehpur Sikri is the locally quarried red sandstone. Some of the most important buildings in this complex include Bulund Darwaza, Jama Masjid, Tomb of Salim Chishti, Diwan-i-Am, Diwan-i-Khas, Ibadat Khana and Mariam-uz-Zamani’s Palace. Drive to Agra and enjoy lunch at a city hotel. After lunch you will visit the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. The Taj Mahal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the World’s best known monument. The Taj Mahal was built in memory of Emperor Shah Jahan’s wife. This marble mausoleum is the greatest gesture of love known to mankind and is breathtakingly beautiful. The land for the building of the Taj Mahal came from the Maharaja of Jaipur. The marble used in its construction was from the mines of Makrana, also in Rajasthan. The precious stones used in its inlay and the craftsmen employed for the twenty two years its construction took, came from all over the world. The Agra Fort is the first red sandstone fort of North India. It was built in 1565 by India’s greatest Mughal ruler, Emperor Akbar. Its royal audience halls, immense stone courtyards, marble mosque and private royal chambers give us a glimpse of the grandeur of the Mughal Empire. The site is very important in terms of architectural history. Abul Fazal recorded that 500 buildings in the beautiful designs of Bengal and Gujarat were built in the fort. Some of them were demolished by Shah Jahan to make way for his white marble palaces. Most of the others were destroyed by the British between 1803 and 1862. Enjoy dinner aboard the Deccan Odyssey.
Day 8: Delhi.
Enjoy breakfast aboard the train. Upon your arrival at Delhi railway station you will disembark and bid farewell to the staff of the Deccan Odyssey.
Easy Tours of India
services restart here - upon your arrival at Delhi you are greeted at the train station by an Easy Tours Facilitator & your chauffeur. This is a good time to do some last minute shopping and/or sightseeing if you are so inclined.
Your vehicle and chauffeur
stay with you until your (usually late evening) assisted check in at the airport. If your flight departs early in the morning you may want us to arrange a room for you so you can rest. Post Deccan Odyssey Tours can be facilitated from this point on, if you so desire.
Our services end at Delhi airport.