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Best of Rajasthan
birdwatchingtours

Best of Rajasthan

Duration: 14 Days
Places to Visit: New Delhi – Udaipur – Jodhpur – Jaipur – Ranthambhore – Bharatpur – Agra – New Delhi

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrive in New Delhi
Upon arrival at the airport you will be met by a Nature Safari India representative and transferred to your hotel.  Rest of day at leisure or optional sightseeing can be arranged. Overnight in New Delhi.

Day 2. In New Delhi
A visit to the old city of Delhi to see the majestic Red Fort, home of the Mughal Emperors and now where the Indian Flag is raised on each Independence Day at its “Lahore Gate”. The all-red sandstone walls, built in the year 1638, still stand tall as a remarkable memory of the magnificent power of the Mughals.

Take the famous cycle rickshaw ride through the busy streets of Chandni Chowk. See the astounding external view of the biggest mosque of the country, Jama Masjid, built in 1656, as you enter the colourful bazaar of Chandni Chowk to explore the numerous lanes and shops.

Day 3. New Delhi – Udaipur
After breakfast transfer to the airport to board a flight to Udaipur. Overnight in Udaipur.

Udaipur, the city of the lakes is also known as the Venice of the East. The Lake Palace on Jag Niwas Island in the middle of Pichola Lake is the finest example of its architectural and cultural explosion. Udaipur was the historic capital of the Mewar Kingdom. Apart from its Rajput Era of fort and palaces, it is also known for its rich culture, history and picturesque locations. Udaipur is also the centre for performing arts, craft and its famed miniature paintings. The Shilp Gram festival is a centre of attraction during the tourist season.

Day 4. In Udaipur
After breakfast visit the City Palace of Udaipur and experience its architectural rooms and apartments. Later visit the magnificent Sahelion-ki-Bari Gardens, built by Maharana Sangram in the 18th century and commonly known as the Garden of Maidens. Overnight in Udaipur.

Day 5. Udaipur – Jodhpur
After breakfast drive to Jodhpur (260km/5hrs). Overnight in Jodhpur.

Jodhpur, the 2nd largest city of Rajasthan after Jaipur is a bustling desert city and has a landscape dominated by the massive Meherangarh Fort built on a sheer rocky ridge. This old city is fenced by a 10 km long wall with eight gates leading out of it. The new city is outside the walled land. The city is named after Rao Jodha, a chief of the Rathore clan, who founded the city in1459.

Day 6. In Jodhpur
This morning you will enjoy an excursion to visit the Bishnoi villages, known for their interesting philosophy, rich culture and unique living.

In 1485, Guru Jambeshwar (Jambhai) observed that famine was the consequence of deforestation in the region. He listed 29 rules of living to avoid disasters. These 29 rules formed the basis of Bishnoi culture and philosophy as Bishnoi also means 29 in Hindi.

The afternoon tour of Jodhpur includes Meherangarh Fort, the City Museum and Umaid Bhawan Palace. The Umaid Bhawan Palace was completed in 1943 and is the largest residence in the world. Named after Maharaja Umaid Singh, grandfather of the current Maharaja of Jodhpur, part of it is now run as a lavish hotel.

Day 7. Jodhpur – Jaipur
After breakfast drive to Jaipur (330km/6hrs). Overnight in Jaipur.

Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and also known as the pink city. A city of Rajputanas well known for its royalty and hospitality. Pink is the colour of hospitality in the culture and hence old Jaipur, including the City Palace and the entire market area, is coloured pink. It is the first planned city of its era and keeper of the largest cannon in the world, Jaiwan.

Day 8. In Jaipur
After breakfast visit the Amber Fort, six miles outside the city. The fort has served the rulers of the land and was the capital of the city until 1728. An elephant awaits you to offer a royal ride to experience the steep incline up the hill to the fort. Whether it is the Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors), huge ramparts or the royal gates, the intense ambience of the fort is felt as the premises have a 4- level layout built with red sandstone and marble. On the way have a view of Hawa Mahal, the Palace of the Winds. The reason for its existence is so that the women of the royal family could have a view of the streets from inside and no-one from the street could see them.

Return to the city to visit the City Palace. A blend of Rajasthan and Mughal styles, it is a former royal residence, now turned into a museum with an artistic collection of armoury and Rajasthani costumes of the Rajputs. It has an art gallery with an excellent collection of miniature paintings, carpets, royal paraphernalia and rare astronomical works in Arabic, Persian, Latin and Sanskrit. Also visit the Jantar Mantar, an astrological and astronomical observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh in the 18th century, which is remarkable for its accuracy even in the present time.

Overnight stay in Jaipur.

Day 9. Jaipur – Ranthambhore
After breakfast drive to Ranthambhore. Check in to your hotel and have lunch. Afternoon safari to Ranthambhore National Park with an English-speaking naturalist. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Ranthambhore – a road to the wild and a door to heaven. The land of the Bengal tiger, Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan is spread over 392 sq km, bordered by rocks and ridges. The Park is famous for the Wildlife Sanctuary by the same name where one can experience the rendezvous of wildlife, history and nature. At the centre of the Park is the 10th-century Ranthambhore Fort and scattered nearby are ancient temples and mosques. The lakes are filled with crocodiles and huge, aged turtles. The ruins and remains of the past give Ranthambhore a unique soothing appeal. One of the finest examples of tiger conservation, the goose bumped views of tigers hunting is highly intense. Besides the royal inhabitants, there are more than 300 species of birds in the Park. It is an exceptional place where history and mother-nature entwine to present a stunning sight. A visit here and you won’t look at the land, sky and water the same way you did before. It all starts with the sight of fresh pug marks. The very thought that a tiger passed on the same road a few minutes ago is enough to skip a heartbeat and catch a breath.

Day 10. In Ranthambhore
An early morning safari and an afternoon safari. All meals and overnight at hotel.

Besides the numerous animals and birds, enjoy the views of the lakes and the Jogi Mahal, a forest department rest house where travellers used to rest after a long day’s exploration in the Park. The adjoining Padam Talab (lake) is another attraction that leaves visitors amazed by its serene beauty. Next to the Jogi Mahal is an ancient banyan tree, the second largest banyan tree in India.

Our specially designed itinerary lets you visit the famous Ranthambhore Fort, a declared world heritage site. Just steal a few hours from your day to visit the ‘hidden’ fort as it is not visible from a distance. The Fort is a massive enclave and built at a height of 700 feet from the ground. Mughal Emperor Shah Alam gifted it to Sawai Madho Singh Ist of Jaipur in 1754 AD. It was maintained as the royal hunting preserve and has 3 man-made lakes in it.

Day 11. Ranthambhore – Bharatpur
Early morning safari. After breakfast drive to Bharatpur (210 km/5 hrs) and check in to the hotel.

Evening visit to the bird sanctuary. Overnight in Bharatpur.

Keoladeo Ghana National Park, commonly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, is home to more than 400 species of water birds. The Park is one of the finest and is an ideal habitat for the birds. The lightly wooden and swampy terrain is spread over 40 sq km. It is known that the bird sanctuary was once a private shooting and hunting preserve for the royal family of the Maharaja of Bharatpur. Today we see it as a protected breeding ground for various bird species. Keoladeo Ghana National Park is also the winter home for the Siberian Crane, famous for its long migratory flights. One can spot colonies of cormorants, spoonbills, storks, egrets, herons, pelicans, and ibis. The ideal time to visit the bird sanctuary is from October until March.

Day 12. Bharatpur – Agra
Morning visit to the Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary for a quite different experience by cycle rickshaw (the rickshaw drivers are all very capable naturalists). Later drive to Agra stopping en-route at Fatehpur Sikri.

Fatehpur Sikri – this exquisite city was built by King Akbar in 1569 in red sandstone. The political influence resulted in the abandonment of the palaces, forts and mosques just 14 years after their completion. The Friday Mosque and the exquisite tomb of Sheik Salim Chisti are in the religious grounds set aside in a separate enclosure adjacent to the secular buildings.

The Diwan-i-Aam is a vast courtyard in which the emperor addressed the daily public audience and hearings. The Diwan-i-Khas is a large quadrangle where all the major ceremonies of the Palace took place. Pachisi court, the Emperor’s private living quarters, Jodha Bai’s Palace, Mariam’s Palace, Birbal’s Palace, Hawa Mahal and Panch Mahal are some of the important buildings of this residential complex.

Continue drive to Agra after visiting Fatehpur Sikri (49 km). Overnight in Agra.

Agra, home to the Taj Mahal, is a pleasant town well known for its inlay work on marble and soapstone by skilled artisans and many generations of craftsmen. The city is also famous for its gold thread, silver wholesale market, carpets and leather shoes.

Day 13. Agra – New Delhi
After breakfast proceed on a city tour of Agra.

Visit Agra Fort, a masterpiece of construction and design built by three generation of Mughal Emperors, commenced by Akbar in 1565 AD. The fort contains the exquisite structures of Moti Masjid, Jahangir’s Palace, Khas Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas and Musamman Burj, where Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal Emperor, died as a prisoner.

Later visit the Taj Mahal – the inimitable poem, hand crafted in white marble, was built over a period of 22 years, by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1630, for his Queen Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains.
History speaks about the Taj’s 20,000 workers who had their hands cut off so that such a masterpiece could not be created again. It truly justifies its crown as one of the seven wonders of the world. [The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays].

Afternoon drive to New Delhi (220km/5hrs). Overnight in New Delhi.

Day 14. Fly back home
Transfer to international airport at appropriate time to board a flight back home.

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