Jan 13th: Delhi
. You are picked up from your hotel (or other choice of location at New Delhi) 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 Royal Rajasthan on Wheels. Dinner will be served on board at 8 PM. Easy Tours’ services end
until you return from your exploration on the Royal Rajasthan on wheels.
After check in, you will be escorted to your cabin, where you will settle in.
Jan 14th: Jodhpur.
After breakfast on board, proceed for a city tour of Jodhpur. . The tour begins from the fifteenth century Mehrangarh Fort. This
formidable hilltop fort is arguably the most awe inspiring in Rajasthan, a land of impressive hilltop forts and palaces. Entry to the massive fort is through a series of seven great gates, with the main entrance being the huge Lohapol, which literally means Iron Gate. Next to this gate there are 15 hand prints in the wall, the Sati Marks of Maharaja Man Singh’s widows. These hand prints were etched into the wall by the queens just prior to them throwing themselves upon his funeral pyre in 1843, as the besieged fort was about to be conquered. Inside the fort is a collection of some of the finest palaces and galleries, including, Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), Sukh Mahal (Pleasure Palace), Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), Elephant Howdah Gallery, Palanquin Gallery, the Armory, the Turban Gallery, and the Folk Music Gallery. The Daulat Khana houses one of the world’s finest collections of Mughal Art. Lunch today will be at a Jodhpur hotel.
On your way back to the train, you will stop for a tour of Jaswant Thada, a marble cenotaph built in 1899 as a memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II.
Dinner will be served on board.
Jan 15th: Udaipur - Chittorgarh.
Enjoy breakfast aboard the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels. Arrive at Udaipur at 7 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 Royal Rajasthan 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. Enjoy lunch at a palace hotel. 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. Return to the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels for a two hour journey to Chittorgarh.
This used to be the capital of Mewar State before Udaipur was founded. Chittorgarh epitomizes Rajput spirit, valor, pride and romance. It reverberates with heroism and sacrifice, the tales of which are still sung by the Bards of Rajasthan.
Start your tour with the formidable Fortress of Chittorgarh, which has witnessed more battles against Mughal invaders (who repeatedly ravaged the fort) than any other fort in Rajasthan because the rulers of Mewar refused to accept the dominance of the Mughal conquerors of North India. Hence many Jauhars (self immolation by the ladies of the court) have transpired here. Although the Fort is in ruins, each of the monuments has a fascinating story that your guide can recount. Visit the Kumbha & Padmini Palaces as well as the other monuments and temples (Sat-Bees Temple, Devra / Mira Bai Temple, the Towers of Victory & Fame, & the Mataji Temple).
Jan 16th: Sawai Madhopur – Jaipur.
Arrive in Sawai Madhopur at 5:30 am. Breakfast on board or at a nearby hotel. 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 Royal Rajasthan on Wheels. Return to the train as you travel to Jaipur.
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 jewellery 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 Amber Fort, also called Amer Fort. 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 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 Amber Fort and then proceed to visit City Palace. Enroute 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 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.
Return to the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels by bus and enjoy dinner onboard.
Jan 17th: Khajuraho.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast onboard the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels. The tour of Khajuraho this morning concentrates
on the famous erotic temples, which represent some of the finest examples of temple architecture in Northern India. These magnificent examples of Hindu religious art were constructed about a thousand years ago. Thousands of extremely detailed rock sculptures adorn the facades of these temples and the subject matter includes some very explicit erotic scenes. The sophisticated design and building techniques that were used in the creation of these temples and the detailed artistry of the sculptures cannot be described in words – you have to experience them personally to grasp their impact. They were built during the mighty Chandela dynasty; the majority was constructed in a sudden burst of creative and religious energy, between the mid-10th and 11th centuries. After ruling for about 500 years the Chandela dynasty fell to the might of Islam and consequently the religious center of Khajuraho was abandoned. The temples remain as a reminder of a society that believed in the full enjoyment of life, with all the senses being a path to nirvana. Of the eighty-five original temples only 22 remain, but many are in very good condition. You visit the Kandariya Mahadeva, the Chatrabhuj, Parswanath and Ghantai Temples, each remarkable for its beautiful design and architecture. You have the option of attending the sound and light show at the temples in the evening – it is hard to understand and not impressive by western standards.
Later this evening return to the train and continue your journey. Enjoy dinner aboard the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels.
Jan 18th: Varanasi.
Start your day with an early morning boat cruise on the Ganga. The best time to visit the Ghats is dawn as that is when the pilgrims take their morning dip. It is also the ideal opportunity to experience some of Hinduisms ancient and iconic rituals. The most famous Ghat is the Dasadwamedh Ghat and that is where we begin this
tour. You can simultaneously witness the ceremony of a recently deceased Hindu’s ashes being immersed in the river while, nearby, another Brahmin priest orchestrates the naming ceremony of a newborn. Your boat offers an excellent view of all the activity on the Ghats – women bathing discreetly while still wearing their sarees, priests offering prayers as they immerse themselves in the holy water, men that are oblivious to their surroundings as they practice yoga or meditate on the banks of the Ganga. Experience a city tour of Varanasi that includes visits to some of the ancient temples that lie along the banks of the holy river. You will walk through the narrow lanes and through the crowded bazaars to discover a way of life that has not changed much over the past few millenniums.
Later, you will proceed for an excursion to Sarnath. Explore the monuments of this holy city, including the ancient Dhamekha Stupa that is located near the spot where the Buddha preached his first few sermons. This Stupa was constructed by Emperor Ashoka in 249 BCE. Sarnath was also where the first Sangha was formed and is home to a number of other Buddhist monuments that you will visit, including the Chaukhandi Stupa and the Mulagandhakuti Vihara temple. After your excursion you will return to the train.
In the evening, you will return to Ghat to watch ancient prayer at sunset. You can also float your own oil lamps. Enjoy a great view of the hundreds of lamps as they are sent floating on the holy river.
Return to the train and continue your journey. Enjoy dinner aboard the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels.
Jan 19th: Agra.
Enjoy Breakfast onboard. Drive to Agra where after lunch, you will visit the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort.
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. Return to your train and enjoy dinner aboard the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels.
Jan 20th: Delhi.
Enjoy breakfast aboard the train. Upon your arrival at Delhi railway station you will disembark and bid farewell to the staff of the Royal Rajasthan 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 Royal Rajasthan on Wheels Land Tours can be facilitated from this point on, if you so desire.
Our services end at Delhi airport.