Hidden Gems of Rajasthan
Delhi – Agra – Ramathra – Jaipur – Shahpura – Udaipur – Bera – Chanoudgarh – Jodhpur – Mumbai 16 Nights/17 Days
India Gate, Delhi
Welcome to India !
Arrive at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.You are met by Equinox representative with traditional and sacred marigold flower garland. Delhi stands as the capital of Modern India. Here you can see the mingling of the Old and New India, the ancient and the modern. Delhi has seen the rise and fall of many emperors, which has left behind a plethora of monuments that commemorate the grandeur and glory of bygone ages. Use this day to relax and recuperate from the travel to India or if you have the energy you can Contact Equinox for our list of experiences to start your tasting menu of handcrafted local experiences.
Bangla Sahib Gurdwara, Delhi
Wake up like a Delhi-ite : If you wish to assimilate into the daily life of the people we recommend a walk in the picturesque Lodhi Gardens. Located in the heart of Delhi this is Delhi’s version of Central Park. One can see small groups of people doing Yoga or laughter therapy. Youngsters playing a game of cricket on weekends. Or simply soak in the sound of the chirping birds and the hustle of the aged trees. Head back to the hotel for breakfast. Today’s tour comprises of 2 powers that had a profound effect in moulding much of India’s history, culture and architecture. We start with the Mughals who ruled a large part of the subcontinent for more than 350 years. Delhi being the imperial capital lived up to its image of the most illustrious town of medieval India. Today Delhi’s walled city is known as Old Delhi. The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan shifted the Mughal capital from Agra to Delhi. Possessing remarkable talent in architecture he brought about Delhi’s glorious renaissance. Trade flourished and continues to do so… We have an exciting way for you to discover these maze like lanes. Take an exhilarating cycle rickshaw ride that passes through the colourful Kinari bazaar. This experience ends at the majestic Jama Masjid, 18th Century mosque known for its restrain in architecture. Footsteps of Lutyens. The greatest British architect Drive past the Imperial part of the city designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens for the British in the 1920s. Continue along the main avenue, the impressive Rajpath to the World War I memorial arch, the India Gate and past the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President’s residence and the Parliament Buildings. Visit the Delhi Sultanate Qutab Minar, visit the tallest minaret in India. And Humayuns Tomb, a masterpiece of Mughal architecture. Community kitchen of holy proportions At Bangla Sahib Gurdwara, a historic Sikh shrine in central Delhi, everybody is welcome to a meal, and nearly everybody comes. The ‘langar,’ or free kitchen, operated by a Sikh shrine in Delhi dishes out an astonishing 10,000 meals a day. Anyone can volunteer at a Gurdwara, and although the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara is the largest, you’ll find smaller versions in most Delhi neighborhoods. Everyone is welcome to come to Bangla Sahib Gurdwara and be part of Vaṇḍ Chakkō, the Sikh uplifting concept that translates to ‘share and consume together’.
Taj Mahal, Agra
Breakfast at the hotel and then depart by road to Agra. Approximately 210 kms / 04 hoursdrive . Your other option would be to take the new Gatiman Express train which gets you to Agra in just 90 minutes. Forts were an integral part of Indian history. Each place was ruled from the fort in the area and this is where the imperial court was set up. The fort in Agra was built by the emperor Akbar. This is a fine example of the Hindu elements finding their way into Islamic style of architecture. The fort is rather well known for the melancholic tale of emperor Shah Jahan who was imprisoned here by his son in an apartment that overlooked the Taj Mahal. Though Agra is synonymous with the Taj; another Mughal monument made entirely in marble has arguably more refined workmanship.Itimad-Ud-Daula fondly known as Baby Taj is the tomb of a Mughal noble. It looks like an intricately carved jewel box with its extensive use of the teachnique of Pietra Dura. At sunset the long awaited visit to the Taj Mahal. Bathed in soft light of the evening sun this monument to eternal love is truly a sight to behold. An immense mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, the Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage. If you like you could also take an extension in your sightseeing and indulge in any of Equinox’s special experiential activities. Contact Equinox for our Agra secrets.
This morning you will depart to the small untouched village of Ramathra. Approximately 225 Kms – 06 Hours Drive including Fatehpur Sikri. En-route visit Fatehpur Sikri a citadel built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar that was later abandoned for the lack of water. Abandoned cities have always had an allure in peoples mind. The perfectly preserved buildings with a little bit of imagination paint the picture of the of the opulent court culture of a bygone era. After the visit continue drive to Ramathra. Today we take you into the quiet country side off the beaten track for a truly unique stay in a 17th Century hill fort. You will now be leaving the highways to go on to the smaller country road. One sees an un adulterated version of India that seems to have leapt out of picture books. You pass by little village markets crowded with handsomely turbaned men and women in colorful local outfits. Further into the countryside you pass by the field of wheat. Shepherds with their livestock and a tune on their lips. Children waving out to you from their homes as you pass by. Peacocks sitting on ledges of homes. We propose a stay in Ramathra. This small hamlet that lies between two wildlife reserves. There are no monuments to see in Ramathra neither are there any museums. The fort, the lake and countryside are the three big attractions of Ramathra Fort. Your stay will be in one of the beautifully designed rooms inside the fort and you will be hosted by Raviraj and Geetanjali, the aristocratic family that owns the fort. At sunset take a village boat ride on the lake or a stroll through Ramathra village. The farmers returning from working in their field or tending the cattle and the wives filling up the pails of water from the local well. Don’t be surprised if someone invites you home for a cup of tea and introduce you to the extended family, the life-stock included. A perfect place to relax, enjoy the serenity of rural India and interact with locals.
After an early breakfast set out to explore the Ramathra village on foot. You will be accompanied by someone from the village who works at Ramathra Fort. This visit is aimed at getting an intimate picture of the life of the people in this tiny hamlet. Visit the local school where the students are only too glad to meet people from other cultures and background. This is an exceptional experience if you are travelling with children. It is wonderful to see how children can so easily traverse the bounds of language to interact with one another. Use the afternoon to soak in the jaccuzi offering panoramic view of the countryside. One of our personal favourites here is a local style massage while lazing on the day-beds on the bastions. In the evening step out to offer prayers at the localtemple and meet the village priest. Ramathra is in a remote location and cannot therefore sustain a restaurant like a hotel in a big city. The menu consists of ingredients that are locally grown and available seasonally. Trust us on the food here it is absolutely delicious. At Equinox we like to further tailormake and authenticate our travelers experiences in Ramathra. Contact Equinox for more information on how to further handcraft your stay in Ramathra Fort.
Pink City, Jaipur
After a sumptuous breakfast drive to Jaipur. Approximately 175 Kms – 05 Hours Drive. Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan, Indias princely state with its magnificent palaces. It evokes the royal family that once ruled the region and that, in 1727, founded what is now called the Old City, or “Pink City” for its trademark building color. Jaipur is one of our favourite towns and we would love to share some of our personal favorite activities with you depending on the time of year and of-course everything personalized to your interests. This evening is at leisure. Contact Equinox take your pick from one of Equinox’s signature experiences.
Amber Fort, Jaipur
After a fulfilling breakfast set off to explore this royal city. Your day starts with sightseeing of Amber Fort by jeeps. There is an option for elephant back, however in our endeavor to avoid animal cruelty we prefer not to offer this experience. This hilltop fortress was the Royal Family’s residence and is one of the most enchanting forts of India. A complex of palaces, temples, mirror inlaid public halls and beautifully manicured gardens, the fortress is an exquisite example of Rajput architecture. Within the fort are enchanting palaces that display the wealth of the erstwhile kingdom of Amber. City Palace. This beautiful palace was built during the reign of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. This Palace stands apart, with its outstanding art and architecture. Jantar Mantar Observatory A trip is never complete without the visit of something eccentric and that is exactly what is offered by the 18th century observatory. An overzealous Maharaja of Jaipur constructed these astronomical instruments to make notes of the positions of stars and the constellation. We at Equinox encourage you to travel like a global local. Not just to stand and witness something but participate in the in the experience that is India. Take part in the aarti ceremony at the GovindDevji temple where many devotees and followers gather in the courtyard to pay their respects. This temple has had the Royal patronage for centuries. But today you will be visiting the presiding deity just like many other Jaipur locals. Don’t forget to buy a small plate of offerings consisting flowers, incense and a coconut to appease the deity. Indulge in any one of Equinox’s signature experiences to further explore Jaipur off the beaten path.
Breakfast at the hotel depart in the direction of Shahpura. Approximately 200 Kms – 04 Hours Drive. Nestled in 45 acres of gardens, fields and woods, this is the beautifully renovated 19th Century summer residence of the Rulers of Shahpura own private lakes. Though Shahpura is not a luxury address it certainly provides the client a unique experience. To experience life at a slower place in the countryside. This is not just any hotel it is a home of an erstwhile ruling family that still resides here. Walking trails skirt the lakes, hammocks and charpoys are located at scenic spots to relax, read, meditate or watch spectacular sunsets. Along with this is a heated outdoor pool which is surrounded by colourful bougainvillas and chirping birds. Shafeeq, a Shahpura local will take you on a walking tour of the town where he introduces you to the hidden pathways and local trades and traits. It gives you an interesting view of small town India which is moving on with time and yet holding on to its traditions. The market is buzzing with activity in the morning. You could get a pir of custom made Rajathani pair of shoes at a nominal cost. Peek into the many silversimth’s ateliers that line the market. Make a stop at the local incense or sari shops. After this you make your way to the farm to enjoy an alfresco Lunch made using ingredients from the farm. Afternoons are great to soak up some sun. Contact Equinox for more ideas on how to explore this little town of Shahpura.
Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
This morning you will drive to Udaipur (Approximately 190 Kms – 03 & ½ Hours Drive). Udaipur, also known as Venice of the east and one of the most romantic cities in the world!The picturesque city of lakes and innumerable palaces dotting the banks of Lake Picholla, Indias most beautiful heritage lake. With one of the most beautiful Old Towns of Rajasthan, Udaipur has a lot to offer. Contact Equinox for one of our signature experiences to explore a hidden art form of Udaipur.
City Palace, Udaipur
Royal Lakes and Palaces of Rajasthan Visit the Magnificent City Palace, an enormous edifice that stands on a hill on the banks of Lake Pichola, surrounded by crenulated walls. Built in 1567, it is composed of 4 major palaces and several minor palaces that form a single stunning façade. Walk through the bustling colorful by-lanes of Rajasthani Bazaar with rich folk art and craft. Jostle with the camels and the rickshaws and visit the gentle holy temples in every crook and corner. Also visit the lovely Sahelion-ki-Bari. Maharana Sangram Singh built this garden for his daughter and the ladies of the Queen's court. It is said he wished to recreate the monsoon for his daughter, who had been ill for a long period. Sunset Hues on the Royal Palaces At sundown, take a cruise around Lake Pichola on an exclusive boat. Sit back and watch the lights of the City Palace cast its reflection on the still waters of the lake.
Jain temples, Ranakpur
Today we drive through the aravalis to a greener part of Rajasthan to spot the leopards of Bera. En-route we stop at Ranakpur to visit the famous Jain temples. The drive is approximately 130 Kms – 04 Hours. Nestled in the quiet, picturesque Aravali Hills, Ranakpur is famous Jain pilgrimage centre. The temples here, date back to the 15th century. The 29, exquisitely wrought halls are supported by 1,444 pillars - of which no two are alike. Continue to drive to Bera. The region is known as leopard and shepherd country and has attracted interest of many international filmmakers. The scenery is dramatic dotted with ancient rocks and hillocks with a dry vegetation. It is here that the leopards have made their homes amidst scattered human settlements. The raw scenic beauty of Bera allows for many opportunities to create experiences. Contact Equinox for more information on our signature experiences.
Shared Jeep Safari, Bera
Take a jeep safari at the crack of dawn to explore the village and spot the leopards in their natural habitat. This land also belongs to the Rabaris, a tribe of ancient nomadic shepherds and herders who once roamed the deserts of western India. Their sparse farmlands encircle the hillocks and extend to the water bodies further down to the plains. The bizarre incongruence of this setting is reminiscent of Noah’s Arc where predator and prey lived side by side, in harmony. In the face of rampaging human population, where land is always at a premium especially to the mining, timber and other interest groups- these herdsmen need to protect this heritage, and the leopard is their unlikely mascot. At dusk depart for another to explore a different region of Bera, maybe even taking a trip to the lake where you could spot beautiful migratory birds including the pink flamingo!
Take your last safari before driving further into the inner roads of Rajasthan and make your way to Chanoudgarh. A palace of yore and a ten-suite boutique heritage hotel today; ChanoudGarh is the perfect destination for the world traveller. Nestled in Pali district of south-west Rajasthan, this three-hundred-year-old heritage property has been painstakingly restored to include modern-day comforts into its old-world charm. Each suite in the palace is a tribute to the Rajput architectural heritage; spread over a thousand square feet, tastefully decorated to reflect colonial influences and personal interests. The aristocratic family resides in the fort and personally welcome you into their palatial home. Your meals are created from age old family recipes, and the food will be unlike any other you have tasted so far on your adventures. Jeep Ride into the country side Choose to take the jeep drive into the countryside. As you drive through the small village settlements you will find the herders returning homeand women folk filling there pots of wate. A quick drive ahead through the fields understanding the agricultural pattern and you will come to an all new vista…a flat, cracked ground (in dry months) or a ocean of water filled with migratory birds (in rain filled months) of the salt pan stretching for miles and surrounded from all sides by the ancient aravali hill. An eerie silence broken by the hollowing winds as you see the sun drop behind the hill turning the evening sky crimson…sitting on the picnic chairs and the smell of coffee and baked cookies will bring you back to reality… Return to the family home for drinks and starters followed by a dinner at the Badal Mahal (in summer the roof top terrace under the canopy of stars and the gentle touch of the cool western winds- subject to weather condition).
Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
You could choose to spend a leisurely morning and later drive to Jodhpur, approximately 135 Kms – 03 Hours Drive. Jodhpur – was formerly the seat of a princely state & the capital of the kingdom was known as Marwar. The city is also known as the "Sun City" for the bright, sunny weather it enjoys all the year round. It is also referred to as the "Blue City" due to the vivid blue-painted houses around the Mehrangarh Fort. The old city circles the fort and is bounded by a wall with several gates. However, the city has expanded greatly outside the wall over the past several decades. Head for a visit of the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur. Mehrangarh Fort stands a hundred feet in splendor on a perpendicular cliff, four hundred feet above the sky line of Jodhpur. Burnished red sand stone, imposing, invincible and yet with a strange haunting beauty that beckons . Much has been written about the Citadel of the Sun, for truly, it is one of the most impressive in all Rajasthan. So colossal are its proportions that Rudyard Kipling called it “the work of giants”. Today, it is acknowledged as one of the bestpreserved forts in India. After this you would visit Jaswant Thada Memorial Cenotaphs of the Royal Family. Jodhpur is also known as the Blue City due to the light blue shade that is common for the majority of the houses found in the Brahampuri area of the Walled City. Tucked away from the popular Clock Tower Bazaar, the Blue City is an unexplored treasure trove of exquisitely carved havelis and unknown Bazaars. Visit numerous shops showcasing traditional clothes like Saris, Safas and Poshaks to the Jewelers and bangle makers. Contact Equinox for our signature experiences to explore this royal town.
Gateway of India, Mumbai
This morning you will take a flight to connect to Mumbai - the city of real life slumdog millionaires, gothic Victorian architecture, Bollywood dreams, horse drawn carriages and India’s most cosmopolitan city.
Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai
Contact Equinox for our secret ingredients for exploring Mumbai before the city wakes up! Explore Mumbai; your tour will include the Gateway of India, one of Mumbai’s most famous landmarks. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary for the Delhi Durbar in 1911. Next you will visit the Prince of Wales Museum, which was built between 1904 and was used as a hospital during World War I. The museum houses a priceless collection of art that is considered to be one of the best in all India. We drive past University of Bombay, High Court of Bombay, and Crawford Market. You will also visit the Hanging Gardens, which are located on the crest of Malabar Hill. The garden is a welcome oasis of green in a city built almost entirely of concrete and cement. Visit the renowned Gandhi Memorial Museum (Mani Bhawan) and Jain Temple. Return to the hotel via Marine drive, popularly known as the Queen’s Necklace which offers a breath-taking view of the beautiful Arabian Sea. There are many off beat ways to explore Mumbai from exclusive jazz nights to crowded local trains. Contact Equinox for handcrafted experiences on exploring Mumbai.
In time take your transfer to connect to your international flight home.