14 Day Pushkar Fair, Raj & Taj - Compass India Holidays
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The extraordinary Pushkar Animal Fair by the dunes of the Thar Desert. Palaces on lakes. Giant desert fortresses. A visit to the Taj. A luxurious fixed departure carnival ride fit for royalty. Departs 6th November, 2013.

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14 Day Pushkar Fair, Raj and Taj Return to list of tours

Day 01 Arrive at Delhi on Nov 6, 2013

 

A Compass India Holiday representative will receive you at the airport and help with your hotel transfer.

Delhi, India’s capital has seen great empires rise and fall around it for millennia, with each new batch of rulers building over the works of their predecessors. As a result, the city abounds in monuments and ruins of stunning diversity. The seat of the world’s largest democracy, it also boasts of magnificent symbols of government that pay architectural tribute to the ideals of self-rule and democracy. These co-exist side by side with wide multi-lane motorways, shopping malls, fast cars and ultramodern steel-glass office complexes that characterise any large 21st century metropolis.

Overnight at Delhi.

Day 02 Sightseeing in Delhi

After breakfast at the hotel, leave for a guided tour of Old Delhi.

Your luxury group tour in India begins at Raj Ghat, the famous memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. The shrine bears testimony to the simplicity of the man who changed the world with the power of ideas.  A simple black stone structure with an eternal flame burning at one end.

The majestic Red Fort was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1639, and remained seat of the empire for the next two centuries. Today, the Prime Minister of the India delivers his Independence Day speech to the nation from the ramparts of this red sandstone structure.

A rollicking rickshaw ride takes us to Jama Masjid is one of Asia’s largest mosques. We shall view this magnificent structure from outside, its lofty and highly ornate domes and minarets reminiscent of a scene from the Arabian Nights.

Later, you will be driven to New Delhi.

New Delhi was built by the British in the 1930s as their imperial capital. Majestic government and administrative buildings line the wide, tree-lined avenues of what is also known as Lutyen’s Delhi after Sir Edwin Lutyens who was commissioned to design the city in 1911.

Start at India Gate, the red sandstone arch erected in memory of Indian and British soldiers who laid down their lives in World War I. Close by are the majestic Parliament House, the seat of the world’s largest democracy and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the Indian President’s official residence. Inside are the famed Mughal Gardens with its ornate fountains and manicured lawns. Mughal Gardens are open to the public during spring.

Further south lies the Qutub Minar. Built by Qutubuddin Aibak, a slave general in 1193, it is India’s tallest stone tower and marks the site of the country’s first Muslim kingdom. The iron tower in a square opposite is unique in that it never rusts, although it has been exposed to the elements for centuries.

If time permits, we shall also visit the lotus-shaped Bahai temple to the south of Delhi. An ideal place for meditation, this Bahai House of worship is open to people of all faiths.

Overnight at Delhi.

Day 03 Delhi to Udaipur by Air

 

Breakfast will be served at the hotel. The morning is free. In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Udaipur.

Founded by Maharana Uday Singh, beautiful Udaipur on the banks of Lake Pichola is a fairyland with beautiful palaces in the middle of lakes, islands, opulent havelis and temples. Surrounded by the ancient Aravalli hills, Udaipur shimmers in dazzling white and is also called the City of Dawn.

Overnight at Udaipur.

 

Day 04 Explore Udaipur

 

After breakfast, leave for a day’s sightseeing.

The massive City Palace overlooking the Lake Pichola is a glittering example of Rajput architecture. A part of the city palace is now a museum. Behind the fortified walls of the palace, dark, steep and narrow staircases connect a maze of royal chambers and courtyards. Dazzling intricate miniatures, antiques and paintings are on display everywhere. Of note are gorgeous mosaics of peacocks in Mor Mahal and a courtyard full of shady trees on the terrace of Amar Vilas.

Maharana Sangram Singh built Saheliyon Ki Bari or “Garden of the Maidens” in the mid 18th century on the shores of Fateh Sagar Lake. The lush green lawns of the garden are replete with fountains whose spouts are placed inside the trunks of large stone elephants. The water flow is controlled solely by water pressure. No pumps are used. Of particular note is an interesting medieval experiment in sound design. In a secluded corner of the garden, carefully selected large leafed plants damp the sound of flowing water on stones to create the auditory effect of being in a large tropical forest in the pouring rain. 

Built in 1751, Bagore Ki Haveli on Gangaur Ghat of Lake Pichola has over a hundred rooms displaying interesting artifacts and paintings. Of note is the fascinating puppet museum. The officials in charge are happy to organize a short impromptu puppet show for interested visitors.

The magnificent 17th century Jagdish Temple is located in the center of the city and is a fine  example of Indo-Aryan architecture. The main deity at the center is a giant black stone image of Lord Vishnu. The outer walls of the temple and the tower feature highly detailed carvings depicting Vishnu and scenes from the life of Krishna. 

Later, embark on an evening cruise on Lake Pichola.  Enjoy a stunning view of Udaipur city and the Aravalli hills from over the water. Visit the extraordinary Jag Mandir Palace situated in the middle of the Lake. Movie buffs may be interested to know that Jag Mandir was once the subject of an intriguing film by renowned German auteur Werner Herzog.

Overnight at Udaipur.

Day 05 Udaipur to Jodhpur by road, en route visit the Ranakpur temples

 

After breakfast, you will be driven to Ranakpur in a spacious, comfortable, Compass-approved vehicle.

The 15th century Ranakpur Temples are situated in the middle of dense woods and are an important pilgrimage for the Jain community. The temples’ exterior is majestic yet somber, while the interiors are richly embellished with highly intricate carvings covering every inch of the solid marble walls. This reflects the Jain belief in the importance of a rich inner life within a simple exterior.  The huge domed marble central ceiling of the temple is so adorned with dazzling filigree work that it looks almost translucent. The hushed silence inside the temple and the subtle smell of incense will put even the most gregarious traveller in a contemplative mood.

Later, proceed to Jodhpur.

Rao Jodha, chief of the Rathore clan, founded the city of Jodhpur in 1459. Situated on the edge of Thar Desert, Jodhpur embodies the romance and feudal splendor of Rajasthan. Jodhpur is also called the ‘Blue City’ from the blue houses that surround its most famous landmark, the majestic Mehrangarh Fort that sits on the top of a hill 125 meters above the city. The city itself is surrounded by high walls 10 kilometers long.

In the evening, visit the lavish Umaid Bhawan Palace. Designed by the British Royal Institute of Architects, Umaid Bhawan is one of world’s largest private residences with over 300 rooms, lavish theaters, banquet halls and a ballroom. A part of the palace has been converted to a museum with an impressive collection of royal memorabilia and weaponry.

Overnight at Jodhpur.

Day 06 Explore Jodhpur

 

After breakfast, proceed for a day’s sightseeing in Jodhpur.

Hewn out of solid rock atop the red sandstone cliff overlooking Jodhpur 400 feet above the city, the awesome 15th Century Mehrangarh Fort spreads out over 5 kilometers and in the words of Rudyard Kipling, is the “work of angels and giants”. The fort’s defenses are impressive, with seven highly fortified gates to reach the fort, and massive, ornate cannons perched on the bastion walls. The view of the Blue City from the ramparts of the fort is breathtaking. In spite of the forbidding exteriors, the fort’s exquisitely latticed windows, carved panels, and ceiling with radiant glass tiles reveal another more artistic side to its warrior inhabitants. Batman fans might remember Mehrangarh Fort from an iconic scene in Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.

Jaswant Thada, the white marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II is known for its highly intricate lattice-work. The marble used in the structure is translucent and in the day time, the interior walls glow from the sunshine outside. Jaswant Singh II was known for his innovative irrigation projects and to this day, locals throng to Jaswant Thada to pay their respects to the benevolent king whose touch once healed their arid land.

Later, proceed for a jeep safari into the rugged desert terrain outlying the city limits, visiting local communities along the way. You will be accompanied by a team of experts who will give you an unforgettable and glimpse into the uniquely vibrant inner life of this arid, faded land.

A picnic lunch will be served at a scenic spot.

Traverse the rough country over dirt tracks, camel trails, sometimes cutting through dry river beds, often forging your own trail. Keep a lookout for local fauna such as the black buck, the giant but benign nilgai (blue bull), wild boar and migratory birds.

.Your safari will end at a Bishnoi village. The Bishnoi tribe have been steadfast conservationists centuries before conservation became fashionable. Much like the Native American people, the Bishnois have a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all species and believe that the continued survival of mankind is only possible if mankind takes steps nurture and preserve every species of plant and animal that populates our planet. So much so, that it is common to spot, completely unafraid herds of blackbuck grazing right inside the Bishnoi villages.

Participate in an ancient ritual of friendship with a senior member of the community who will later take you on a guided tour of the village.

Day 07 Jodhpur to Pushkar by road

 

After breakfast, proceed to Pushkar in your spacious, Compass-approved vehicle.

Pushkar, a short drive from Ajmer, is one of the holy cities of Hindu mythology. Built around a large natural lake ringed by hills and surrounded by desert, Pushkar finds mention in the Hindu epics and certain records suggest that the city may have been in existence since the 4th century BC.

In the evening, visit the camel fair grounds, or take long walks along the narrow twisting alleyways of this ancient desert town.

Spend the night in the luxurious confines of a large, spacious tent in your desert camp.

Day 08 and 09 Sightseeing in Pushkar, visit the camel fair

 

By the banks of the Pushkar Lake is India’s only temple to Brahma, the creator of the universe. The solemn, hypnotic evening aarti ritual at the lake is not be missed.

In late fall, animal-rearers from all over the country descend upon Pushkar for the famed week-long animal fair. Hundreds and thousands of beautifully turned out camels, cattle and thoroughbred horses are on display, the dust thrown up by hooves concealing the city’s features in a perpetual cloud of haze. Animal shows, competitions, races abound and the sleepy town buzzes with acrobats, tourists, animal trainers, curio sellers, photographers, filmmakers, gypsies and of course the animals in their surreal finery, who are all in it together in what surely ranks among the most unusual jamborees in the world.

At the fairground and various venues around it, there is entertainment galore, from low-brow parlour and circus tricks to highly sophisticated cultural performances.  There will be the scintillating Shilpa Gram Arts and Crafts Fair, a cultural performance by Rajasthani troupe Kuchamani and the fabulous Desert Symphony Concert on one hand, and the fiercely contested camel milking, cross-breed cattle, rural sports, wrestling and matka race (which local women run balancing earthen pitchers on their heads) competitions on the other.

Visitors are welcome to pit their skills against locals at a game of kabaddi or matka phod (where teams have to make human pyramids to reach and break an earthen pitcher suspended high above the ground). You may also participate in the highly popular and competitive Beard and Moustache Competition but be forewarned that you will up against adversaries who are formidably endowed with facial hair and a crushing defeat is inevitable.

Less adventurous visitors may take a memorable camel or camel cart ride to the sand dunes bordering the fairground, or visit Sunset Point for a terrific display of colours in the desert sky.

The Pushkar Animal Fair is one of the most exotic highlights of your luxury holiday in the Indian subcontinent.

Overnight will be at the camp.

Day 10 Pushkar to Jaipur by road

 

After breakfast at the camp, drive to Jaipur in a spacious, comfortable Compass approved vehicle.

Jaipur, also known as the ‘Pink City’ from the facelift it received in 1853 to celebrate a visit by Prince Albert, is dotted with havelis (traditional mansions), bazaars, opulent palaces and rugged majestic  forts that showcase the glorious past of its rulers, the Rajputs.

The Rajput princes were fierce warriors some of whom declared loyalty to the invading Mughals and proved to be formidable allies of the empire.  Among them was King Jai Singh II, whom the Mughals gave the title Sawai Maharaja, or “King and a quarter”. Jaipur gets its name from this valiant king.

In the evening, visit the Birla Temple. A stunning white marble structure, the three towers of the Birla Temple stand for three different approaches to religion. Carvings on the ornate pillars celebrate Hindu gods and goddesses along with Christ, Virgin Mary and St. Francis of Assissi. Don’t miss the hypnotic evening Aarti, the ritual lighting of oil lamps.

Overnight will be at Jaipur.

Day 11 Sightseeing in Jaipur

 

Proceed for a morning excursion and elephant ride to Amber Fort after breakfast.

Situated on the top of a hill, the magnificent Amber Fort Palace offers a panoramic view of the old city. Established in 1592, its rugged exteriors belie the delicate architecture inside, a rare fusion of traditional Rajasthani and Islamic styles. Reach the fort the old fashioned way, atop a ceremonial elephant along a cobbled path up that opens into several havelis, step wells, courtyards and temples. Visit Sheesh Mahal or chamber of mirrors, Jas Mandir with its ornate ceilings and latticework and the stunning Shila Devi temple with its intricately carved silver door.

Proceed for further sightseeing.

The sprawling City Palace has been home to the rulers of Jaipur since the 18th century. The architecture of the palace is a blend of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal styles. The City palace Museum is located here and houses various items from Jaipur’s princely and warrior past.

The scientific-minded King Jai Singh II, an astronomy enthusiast, commissioned five observatories named Jantar Mantar around West Central India in the early 1700s.  The one in Jaipur is the largest and the best preserved. The massive architectural instruments are constructed out of local stone and marble some of which are still in use. We shall walk through and explore this surreal maze of giant geometric objects.

The exquisite outer facade of Hawa Mahal, the "Palace of Winds," resembles a manmade honeycomb and is one of Jaipur’s most iconic and oft photographed sights. Designed to facilitate maximum air circulation and cross ventilation, the five-storied Hawa Mahal is made of lime and mortar, and decorated with impossible intricate trelliswork. From the privacy of its ornate jharokhas (traditional Rajasthani windows), the ladies of the court could gaze out at life in the streets below.

Later, proceed for an evening with Rajasthani Royalty at the marvelously appointed 19th century Castle Kanota. Founded by Thakur Zorawar Singh, the castle is fortified by British made cannons and sprawls over 8 acres of land encompassing a fabulous Durbar Hall, beautiful gardens and a fruit orchard. Horse and camel ride facilities are available for the entertainment of the castle’s honored guests. The castle has a fabulous museum with a rich display of antique weaponry, gorgeous saddles for the royal horses, camels and elephants and lavishly appointed regal carriages.

One of the castle’s main attractions is the fabulous library or Pothi Khana with tens of thousands of manuscripts, miniatures and a fabulous armory. The library is a legacy of Thakur Amar Singh, military man extraordinaire for both British and independent Indian Armies who traveled the world in the course of his campaigns collecting books, manuscripts and recipes. An inveterate man if letters, the Thakur wrote an uninterrupted journal from 1898 to 1942, and is renowned for having penned the world’s longest diary.

His descendent’s have inherited the Thakur’s love for history, culture, letters and great food as will be borne out by the marvelous dinner table conversation that you may look forward to, and the delicious spread on the table - a product of the family recipe book, secret treasures handed down for generations from the days of the Maharajas.

Bon appétit!

Day 12 Jaipur to Agra by road, visit Fatehpur Sikri en route

After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Fatehpur Sikri.

Fatehpur Sikri, or the “City of Victory”, built by Emperor Akbar in 1569 in honour of sufi saint Salim Chishti was the capital of the Mughals for 14 years. The white marble Tomb of the Salim Chisti with its intricately carved marble screens occupies pride of place in the central courtyard of the structure.

Attractions include the colossal Buland Darwaza, a victory gate built to mark the conquest of Gujarat by Emperor Akbar, the Diwan-i-Aam where the emperor held his legendary hearings with the general public and the Diwan-i-Khas where he held private consultation with his nine ministers, or as he called them, his navaratna or nine gems.

Fatehpur Sikri also houses the palace of Jodhabai, Akbar’s Hindu wife, and the house of the legendary Birbal - Akbar’s Hindu minister and one of the navaratnas - the tales of whose extraordinary wit and wisdom are the stuff of popular culture in India, inspiring countless comic books and children’s animation TV shows.

Continue to Agra.

The Mughal capital of Agra on the banks of the Yamuna River is a bustling town teeming with narrow, winding alleyways that hark back to an era gone by. Dotted by magnificent monuments including UNESCO World Heritage SIte Taj Mahal, the city is a dazzling contrast of red sandstone and white marble structures.

Later in the evening, attend Mohabbat-e-Taj, a performance that tells the story of the Taj Mahal through the medium of modern dance.

Overnight at Agra.

Day 13 Sunrise over the Taj Mahal, sightseeing in Agra, drive to Delhi

Proceed for an early morning visit to the Taj Mahal.

Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his queen Mumtaz Mahal and designed by Persian architect Ustad, the magnificent Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world. A massive white marble structure so delicate that it appears to float in the air, the Taj is otherworldly in its beauty and is best viewed in moonlight or at dawn and dusk. The close-up view reveals breathtakingly intricate inlay work carved into the marble, and bears eloquent testimony to the triump of Mughal art, culture and architecture at its peak. No holiday in India is complete without the Taj.

Return to the hotel for breakfast. Later, proceed for sightseeing.

A beautifully maintained tree-lined monument at Sikandra marks the grave of the illustrious Akbar the Great. A great believer in harmony and equality of all religions,  this visionary Mughal Emperor created Din-i Ilahi, a unique religion that combines the fundamentals of Islam, Hindusim, Buddhism and Christianity. His memorial imbibes architectural motifs of all the faiths that inspired him.

Standing across the river from the Taj, the majestic red sandstone structure of Agra Fort was erected in 1565 by Mughal Emperor Akbar the great. Little did he know that the same fort would later serve as prison for his grandson Emperor Shah Jahan in the end of his days. From his prison perch of Muamman Burj, an exquisite octagonal marble tower atop the fort, Shah Jahan would spend his last days looking out longingly at the Taj.

Itmad-ud-Daulah is perhaps the Mughal Empire’s best kept secret. Empress Nur Jehan, wife of Jehangir, son of Akbar, commissioned the structure as a memorial to her father. Mistakenly called Baby Taj, Itmad-ud-Daulah in fact is decades older than the Taj, and may have served as its design blueprint.

Proceed to Delhi.

Day 14 Tour ends, November 19, 2013

Breakfast will be served at the hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to explore the city or do some last minute shopping. Later, the Compass team will escort you to the international airport for your flight home.

Includes Compass experience and special highlights

Compass experience includes:

  • Accommodation at mentioned Hotels,
  • Buffet breakfasts,
  • Sightseeing tours as mentioned in the itinerary,
  • Air conditioned deluxe vehicle for all transfers & sightseeing as per the itinerary,
  • Local english speaking company authorized guides for all mentioned tours,
  • English speaking compass expert for the entire tour,
  • Assistance at the airports on arrival / departure,
  • All meals at Pushkar,
  • Pushkar fair activities,
  • Monument entrance charges,
  • Internal airfare in economy class for the sector delhi – Udaipur,
  • All applicable taxes and service charges,
  • All road taxes, government taxes and driver allowances.

Special highlights included:

  • Guaranteed Hotels,
  • Rickshaw ride at Old Delhi,
  • Old city walking tour in Delhi,
  • Boat ride at Lake Pichola in Udaipur,
  • Ranakpur temple visit with priest,
  • Village & riverbed 4x4 safari in Jodhpur,
  • Camel cart ride in Pushkar,
  • Bishnoi village visit in Jodhpur,
  • Elephant ride at amer fort in Jaipur,
  • Private royal museum visit with family dinner at Jaipur,
  • Tonga ride to Taj Mahal in Agra and
  • Kalakriti – Theatre show in Agra.
Hotels and Tours Prices :

HOTELS:

City Deluxe & heritage hotels Room category Nights
DELHI CROWNE PLAZA DELUXE 02
UDAIPUR FATEH GARH RENAISSANCE 02
JODHPUR AJIT BHAWAN PALACE EXECUTIVE 02
PUSHKAR LUXURY CAMP SWISS TENTS 03
JAIPUR ITC RAJPUTANA RAJPUTANA CHAMBERS 02
AGRA RADISSON SUPERIOR 01
DELHI RADISSON DELUXE 01

TOUR PRICE: IN USD ($)

OCCUPANCY DETAILS TOUR PRICE
PER PERSON ON SINGLE OCCUPANCY 3956 $
PER PERSON ON DOUBLE OCCUPANCY 2596 $
PER PERSON ON TRIPLE OCCUPANCY 1986 $

NOTE:

Please note that lunches and dinners are not included (if not mentioned in the inclusions) along with movie camera, etc. fees at monuments, tips and personal expenses. All hotels / flights mentioned are guaranteed at the time of quotation. Indian Visa along with international return airfare is not part of the expedition price.

WHY COMPASS®?

Compass India Holidays prides itself in its ability to custom design unforgettable luxury holidays in the Indian subcontinent.

To learn more about how Compass goes about making your holidays special, please click here.

ACCREDITATIONS