Jan 30th: Delhi.
You are picked up from your hotel (or other choice of location at New Delhi) in the morning and then you proceed on a guided visit of New Delhi (an exclusive from Easy Tours of India). This excursion begins the awe-inspiring Qutab Minar (1193 A.D.).
This 239 foot tall medieval tower is a symbol of victory and a beautiful example of Persian architecture from that period. There is a winding stairway inside the tower that goes up all the way to the balcony at the very top of the tower – unfortunately they are no longer accessible for visitors. The Qutab Minar and its Monuments are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Within the Qutab complex
, amidst the ruins of the Quwat-ul-Islam Mosque, stands one of the legendary Ashoka Pillars. This large iron pillar has withstood the ravages of Delhi’s weather (and recent pollution) and has not rusted in over 1500 years. After the Qutab complex you will be driven to visit the magnificent tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. Delhi has such an abundance
of amazing monuments that this Tomb Complex (1562 A.D.) does not quite get the acclaim that it deserves. It is Delhi’s third UNESCO World Heritage Site and its amazing architecture and the elaborate gardens (all currently undergoing restoration) will captivate you.
From the tomb
you will proceed on a drive to Lutyens’ New Delhi. Time permitting, this drive will include photo opportunities at some of the following attractions - the exterior of the massive and awe-inspiring Rashtrapati Bhawan (known as Viceroy’s House during the British era), Delhi’s landmark structure India Gate, a golden domed Sikh Temple (Bangla Sahib Gurudwara), & the Birla Temple. The last part of this excursion is a drive through Connaught Place, which is New Delhi’s downtown. After this exploration, you are driven to the Safdarjung Station where, at 4 PM, you are welcomed aboard the Palace on Wheels. Easy Tours’ services end
until you return from your exploration on the Palace on Wheels.
The Palace on Wheels departs for Jaipur at 6:30 PM and dinner is served onboard at 8 pm.
Jan 31st: Jaipur.
Arrive at Jaipur. You will enjoy breakfast on the Palace on Wheels. 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 at the Hawa Mahal Palace and moving on to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Jantar Mantar Astrological Observatory. 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. 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. Enjoy lunch at Amber Fort, also called Amer Fort. Amber Fort is 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 on a colorfully caparisoned elephant. 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. Continue your exploration of Jaipur at 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. After City Palace, you will have the opportunity to shop for Jaipur’s famous cut and polished stones and hand-block printed textiles. Return to the Palace on Wheels by bus and enjoy dinner onboard.
Feb 1st: Sawai Madhopur - Chittorgarh.
Arrive at 5:30 am in Sawai Madhopur. 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 one safari as per the itinerary of the Palace on Wheels. Return to the Palace on Wheels for breakfast and lunch. Enjoy the afternoon on the Palace on Wheels as it travels through the lush green countryside before arriving to Chittorgarh. Arrive at Chittorgarh at 4 pm. Chittorgarh Fort, the awe inspiring hill fort built on a massive rock, lies 72 miles northeast of Udaipur. It was said that this fort was the key to all of Rajputana, and any conqueror would have to gain control of it first. It is considered by many to be the finest medieval Hindu fort in existence. But more than that, it is cloaked in legends of valor and chivalry and occupies a preeminent position in the Rajput psyche. Chittorgarh was built in the 8th century by Bappa Rawal, the first of the great Sisodia rulers. Between then and 1567 it fell victim to three sieges. The ascent to the Chittorgarh fort is by a steep winding road, defended by seven fortified gateways. Past the Chittorgarh Fort wall is the oldest palace of Chittorgarh, Rana Kumbha’s palace, with its beautiful series of canopied balconies and a stepped outer wall. The real architectural masterpiece at Chittorgarh, however, is Rana Kumbha’s great Vijaystamha Tower (Tower of Victory), built in a Jain revivalist style. It has been restored subsequently, but if you look at the upper stories you can see the splendidly carved original panels, depicting a variety of Hindu gods and goddesses. Enjoy a sound and light program at the fort followed by dinner aboard the Palace on Wheels.
Feb 2nd: Udaipur.
Enjoy breakfast aboard the Palace on Wheels. Arrive at Udaipur at 8 am. 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. Depart from the Palace on Wheels by coach and begin your sightseeing at the 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. After the gardens, you will have the opportunity to shop for Udaipur’s famous miniature paintings and handicrafts. Then sightsee at the City Palace and Crystal Gallery. 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. 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. Enjoy lunch at a palace hotel. In the afternoon, 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. return to the Palace on Wheels for dinner.
Feb 3rd: Jaisalmer.
Enjoy breakfast aboard the Palace on Wheels. Arrive at 9:15 am. Jaisalmer, the “Golden City” of Rajasthan, has a charm of its own. The westernmost citadel of the desert, Jaisalmer has an ancient history linked with its development as a trading center. It is one of two passages that connected
India with Persia, Egypt, and Africa. Begin your sightseeing with a visit to Gadisar Lake. This tank south of the city walls once held the town’s water supply. Befitting its importance in providing precious water to the inhabitants of this arid city, it is surrounded by small temples and shrines. The beautiful yellow sandstone gateway arching across the road down to the tank is Tilon-ki-Pol, built by a famous courtesan, Telia. When she offered to pay to have this gateway constructed, the Maharaja refused to walk under it as he felt that this would be beneath his dignity. While he was away, she built the gate, shrewdly adding a Krishna temple on top so that the king could not tear it down. Continue your sightseeing at Jaisalmer Fort. Jaisalmer Fort is one of the largest forts in the world. It was built in 1156 AD by the Bhati Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal, from where it derives its name. The fort stands proudly on the summit of the 80 meter high Trikuta Hill and has been the scene of many battles during Jaisalmer’s turbulent past. Its massive yellow sandstone walls are a tawny lion color during the day, turning to a magical honey-gold as the sun sets and camouflaging the fort making it appear a part of the picturesque yellow desert. Thus, it is sometimes called the Golden Fort. The fort has 99 bastions around its circumference. Still inhabited, it contains palaces and bazaars, and approximately one quarter of the city’s inhabitants still live within its walls. Continue your sightseeing with the Havelis. One of the remarkable things about Jaisalmer is the havelis, or mansions, built by its wealthy merchants and nobles in the 19th century. They are famed for their exquisitely carved sandstone facades—a feat of stone carving not matched anywhere else in India. Enjoy lunch on the Palace on Wheels. At 3:30 pm, depart for an excursion to the Sam Sand Dunes, about 45 kilometers from the city of Jaisalmer. There you will experience a camel ride on the dunes. At 7 pm return to the Palace on Wheels to freshen up. At 7:45 pm enjoy dinner at a five star hotel while watching a cultural performance.
Feb 4th: Jodhpur.
Arrive in Jodhpur. Enjoy breakfast aboard the Palace on Wheels. Start your sightseeing at Mehrangarh Fort. There are many forts all over Rajasthan,
but few compare with Mehrangarh Fort. Perched on a rocky cliff 400 feet above the plain, it has a commanding view of the surrounding landscape. Mehrangarh Fort seems to grow out of the living rock itself, and indeed in some parts the rock face was hewn to form its ramparts. This palace complex, constructed around a series of interconnecting courtyards and adorned with breathtakingly carved sandstone filigree work, was first built in 1459 and added to, over the centuries, by successive generations of maharajas. The Pearl Palace is a throne room built in the late 16th century. Judging from its magnificence and size, it was originally conceived as a Hall of Public Audience. Its ceiling is gorgeously embellished with mirror-work and gilt. Its walls are lustrously polished, and decorated with a triple band of ornate niches in which lamps once flickered, reflecting off the polished walls. At the far end is an octagonal silver throne, a rare and priceless heirloom dating back to the 17th century. A museum houses a very interesting collection of over a hundred different types of turbans from the different parts of Rajasthan, including a strange hunting turban with a visor and a back flap, as well as traditional musical instruments and potteries. On the way down from the fort on the left is Jaswant Thada, the graceful marble cenotaph of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. His son, Maharaja Sardar Singh, built this monument known as the “Taj Mahal of Marwar” in his memory. The main memorial has been built like a temple with intricately carved marble stone. Hidden in the rocky hills, Jaswant Thada has a secluded and mystic aura. Continue your sightseeing with a visit to Umaid Bhawan Palace and museum. The enormous Umaid Bhawan Palace has the distinction of having been one of the largest private residences in the world. It has 347 rooms and used over 2.5 million cubic feet of sandstone and marble. It is a splendid example of Indo-colonial and art deco architecture of the 1930s. The excellent museum within houses model airplanes, weapons, antique clocks, priceless crockery and hunting trophies. Enjoy shopping and then experience lunch at a five star hotel. Return to the Palace on Wheels which departs for Bharatpur at 3:30. Enjoy dinner aboard the Palace on Wheels.
Feb 5th: Bharatpur - Agra.
Arrive in Bharatpur at 5 am. Depart for Keoladeo National Park at 6 am. The name Keoladeo is derived from the name of an ancient Hindu temple devoted to Lord Shiva in the sanctuary’s central zone, where the Hindi term “Ghana” implies dense, thick areas of forest cover. Covering an area of just 12 square miles, Bharatpur Bird sanctuary is an interlocking ecosystem of woodlands, swamps, wet prairies and dry savannah. The park was painstakingly created in the 19th
century out of the arid surrounding scrubland by diverting the waters of a nearby canal and creating a series of dykes and dams. The new ecosystem that emerged became an ideal habitat for birds of all kinds. The birds here are often enormous in size. The tallest bird in North America, the blue heron, at approximately 4.5 feet tall, would be completely dwarfed by birds here such as the greater adjutant stork and the black-necked stork, which are up to six feet tall with a wingspan of up to eight feet. Keoladeo is also Asia’s largest breeding ground of the painted stork. It has become a symbol of Keoladeo as it visits the park during each monsoon season and nests in colonies of thousands on the tree tops. Return to the Palace on Wheels after the safari and enjoy breakfast onboard as the Palace on Wheels departs for Agra. At 10:30 am, arrive in Agra. At 11 am, depart for sightseeing in Agra. Begin at the Agra Fort. The first red sandstone fort of North India 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. At 1:30 pm enjoy lunch at a city hotel. Continue your sightseeing with a visit to the world's most well known monument, the Taj Mahal. 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. At 5:30 pm, you have the opportunity to shop. At 8 pm, enjoy dinner aboard the Palace on Wheels.
Feb 6th: Delhi.
Enjoy breakfast aboard the train. Upon your arrival at Delhi railway station you will disembark and bid farewell to the staff of the Palace on Wheels.
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 Palace on Wheels Land Tours can be facilitated from this point on, if you so desire.
Our services end at Delhi airport.