23 DAY UNSEEN RAJASTHAN


A Compass India Holiday representative will receive you on arrival at the international airport and help you transfer to your hotel.

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.

Sightseeing in Old Delhi

Raj Ghat is 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.

To truly experience the buzz of the old markets and narrow, winding medieval alleys of old Delhi, we recommend a rickshaw ride through the city. Your guide will be happy to arrange one for you.

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.

A short distance away lie the bustling markets of Chandni Chowk, “Moonlit Square,” the celebrated 17th century market complex, where sweetshops from the 1790s still do roaring business .

Overnight will be at Delhi.

You will be provided a spacious, comfortable Compass approved vehicle.

Early morning you will be transferred to the railway station to board train for Jaipur. Reach Jaipur and drive to Pachewar. Reach Pachewar and check into the hotel.

Barely a stone’s throw from Jaipur, Pachewar takes you back in time, for an opportunity to live the authentic Rajput life, in a stunning luxury property in a 300 year old fort. Your days in Pachewar are spent observing local colour and ordinary life in the Rajasthani heartland. Take in striking royal cenotaphs on the banks of picturesque Pumpa Sagar Lake, visit ancient temples, observe local artisans at work and walk with the nomads on ancient trails. Overnight will be at Pachewar.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Explore rural village life.

Overnight will be at Pachewar.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Proceed to Bundi. Reach and check into the hotel.

Surrounded by the Aravalli range on three sides and bounded by high walls, the white hilltop fortress of Bundi is among Rajasthan’s most impressive. Bundi is also known for its cenotaphs and cavernous stepwells . Bundi is the other Blue City in Rajasthan, with most of its dwellings painted in a shade of indigo.

Overnight will be at Bundi.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Proceed to Chittorgarh.

Chittorgarh (also spelt Chittaurgarh) was the nerve center of Rajasthani social and political life till it fell to the Mughals in the 16th century. It is said that the citadel fell hard, the women and children in the keep immolating themselves in ritual pyres as the men rode out to certain death in the hands of the gigantic Mughal army.

Chittorgarh epitomizes the indomitable spirit of the warrior Rajputs and is known for Rana Pratap, the defiant tragic hero who just would not relent in the face of Mughal might, repeatedly coming up against an army large enough to swallow his meager forces several times over in desperate bids to win back the kingdom of his ancestors.

You will live in the imposing Bijaipur Castle that commands a breathtaking view of the neighboring lake and villages. Visit the stunning Chhatris or cenotaphs, take jeep rides through traditional villages, or attend yoga and cookery classes at the hotel.

The stunning 7th century Chittorgarh Fort on its hilltop perch, the 15th century nine-storied Vijay Stambh or victory tower, the palaces of Rana Kumbha and Queen Padmini are among the must-visit sights of Chittorgarh.

Overnight will be at Bijaipur.

Start for Udaipur after breakfast.

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 will be at Udaipur.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

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 More 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.

Proceed for Evening Motor launch cruise on Lake Pichola

Overnight will be at Udaipur.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Proceed to Jojawar. Reach and check into the hotel.

Your home in Jojawar will be a stunning 18th century fort turned heritage hotel, commanding a panoramic view of the surrounding jungles, villages and the rolling hills of the Aravalli range.

Overnight will be at Rawla Jojawar.

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

The surrounding woods offer great birdwatching opportunities, as well as occasional glimpses of leopards and bears. The nearby villages are proud owners of camel herds raised by the celebrated Rabari nomads, known for their dazzlingly colourful turbans and attire.

Take a train safari on the local narrow gauge track as it meanders along the Aravalli trail through tunnels and over lakes.

You could also opt for a Horse Safari that your hotel will be happy to organize for you. Ride out on the region’s famous Marwari Horses along the dry riverbed, observing villagers go about their tasks in the hamlets lining the river. Ride through far flung tribal villages and stop for birdwatching and wildlife-spotting at the many watering holes that dot the forests. Lunch break will be at a quiet, secluded tribal temple in the woods.

Overnight will be at Rawla Jojawar.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Built on a hill at a height of a thousand meters above sea level, the awesome 14th century Kumbhalgarh Fort is surrounded by a 36 kilometer long wall that’s almost four meters thick. The fort is home to over three hundred medieval temples, and its high ramparts offer a stunning uninterrupted panoramic view of the Aravalli hills, forests and the distant dunes of the Thar desert.

The fort is also the birthplace of the legendary warrior prince and tragic hero Rana Pratap, and is practically a pilgrimage for Rajputs from all over the state.

Reach Ranakpur and check into the hotel.

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.

Overnight will be at Ranakpur.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Proceed to Siana. Reach and check into the hotel.

The village of Siana marks the spot where the the registan or desert makes its first incursion into the Rajasthan. Consequently, the terrain here is unique with flat agricultural land, hilly terrain that marks the end of the Aravallis and desert dunes. This is great riding country and a horseback safari can be easily arranged.

Neighbouring villages offer an intimate glimpse into life in rural Rajasthan. Sunsets over the curious Aravalli rock formations nearby are spectacular and recommended.

Overnight will be at Siana.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

In the heart of the Thar desert, Jaisalmer stands amidst a shifting landscape of giant sand dunes, its yellow sandstone buildings blending seamlessly with the desert sands. Founded in the 12th century by Maharawal Jaisal Singh, Jaisalmer is the perhaps the most iconic of Rajasthan’s cities.

Overnight will be at Jaisalmer.

The magnificent Jaisalmer Fort is one of the oldest in the world and still in use, housing more than a quarter of the city’s population. Brooding, proud and tall, Jaisalmer Fort stands atop a hill, its dazzling yellow sandstone walls providing a natural camouflage against the yellow sands all around. Three layers of high yellow walls surround the fort, never breached in 800 years. Inside, narrow serpentine alleyways lead into and around magnificent old havelis, museums, markets and cafés. The sharp cry of peacocks occasionally break the majestic silence of the surrounds.

The 19th century Nathmal ki Haveli may be identified by the two life sized yellow sandstone elephants that stand guard at its gates and the murals that adorn its walls. According to legend, the building was built by two brothers one of whom concentrated on the left side of the structure and another on the right, leaving the final product a bit asymmetric.

The three hundred year old Salim Singh ki Haveli is an interesting experiment in building design. Narrow at the base, the structure grows wider with every level. Completely stable, the haveli is occupied to this day.

The magnificent six story high Patwonji ki Haveli is known for the highly intricate carvings on its walls and houses the local office of the Archeological Survey of India.

The Tazia Tower was a gift to the rulers of Jaisalmer from the Muslim stone carvers who worked on the city. Shaped like a tazia, a wooden tower carried by Shia Muslims during Muharram, it is, in terms of building style, different from everything else in Jaisalmer.

The 15th century Godi Sagar Lake once held the town’s entire water supply. Surrounded by temples, the lake is home to migratory birds in winter. Don’t miss Tilon ki Pol, the beautiful yellow sandstone gateway that leads one to the lake.

The Jaisalmer Fort also houses some intricately carved Jain Temples dating back to between the 12th and 15th centuries. An ancient library, Gyan Bhandar, in the temple complex houses very old and rare manuscripts from that era.

Overnight will be at Jaisalmer.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Osiyan is an 8th century town that grew and prospered around an oasis in the heart of the Thar Desert, gaining importance as a trading post between the 8th and 11th centuries. Stunning, richly engraved Jain Temples made of sandstone dating back to that era bear testimony to Osiyan’s medieval prosperity.

Osiyan is also a gateway to the mighty shifting sand dunes of the Thar Desert. A camel ride to the dunes to watch the stunning, colourful desert sunset is a highly recommended activity while visiting these parts.

Enjoy your stay at the Thar Oasis Resort with its distinctive traditional mud buildings fitten with every modern amenity.

Overnight will be at Osiyan.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

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.

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.

Designed by the British Royal Institute of Architects, the 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 will be at Jodhpur.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Chandelao is a typical traditional Rajasthani hamlet. Ethnically diverse, its inhabitants belong to the conservationist Bishnoy and animal-herding nomadic Raika and Rabari tribes. A walk through the villages offer rich glimpses of their daily lives, traditions, indigenous occupations and handicraft.

Nearby are the lakes of Chandelao, wonderful for birdwatching. Also of interest is a medieval stepwell.

You will stay at the majestic 300 year old Chandelao Garh or Fort where luxurious 21st century amenities meet the brooding majesty of a rugged fort built three centuries in the past.

Overnight will be at Chandelao.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Proceed to Pushkar. Reach and check into the hotel.

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.

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.

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

Overnight will be at Pushkar.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Visit the the only Brahma temple in the world.

Proceed to Jaipur. Reach and check into the hotel.

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.

Overnight will be at Jaipur.

Proceed for a morning excursion to Amber Fort after breakfast. Elephant ride ascent to the fort.

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 believe 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.

Continue 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.

This afternoon is free for you to relax shop or explore independently. Shopping is superb in Jaipur, particularly for gold and silver jewellery, pottery, tie-dye materials, silk, saris, wooden handicrafts and carpets.

Overnight will be at Jaipur.

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Proceed to Agra visiting Fatehpur Sikri and Abhaneri enroute.

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 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.

Sightseeing in Abhaneri village.

The largest and the most spectacular among Abhneri’s step-wells is Chand Baori, a yawning concrete spiral, with narrow steps along its ancient walls leading down into the vertiginous depths below. Beneath are three tunnels which lead to the surface some 20 kilometers away from the step well and are believed to have been used as escape routes in case of enemy attack.

According to legend, the original Harshat Mata Temple dating back to the 8th century is said to have been made entire of blue saphhire. The temple was razed down to the ground by the Mughals, yet the ruins give the visitor a fair idea of the structures original grandeur. Don’t miss the stone carvings depicting deities from the Hindu pantheon. depicting various Hindu Gods and Goddesses.

Guests may consider stopping at the heritage resort nearby for lunch. If you are visiting during April or May, do drop in on the annual fair near the temple.

Arrive at 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.

Overnight will be at Agra.

Breakfast will beserved at the hotel.

Proceed for day sightseeing of Agra.

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.

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 Musamman 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 Jahangir, 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.

Overnight will be at Agra.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Proceed to Delhi. Reach and check into the hotel.

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.

Sightseeing in 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.

The lotus-shaped Bahai temple south of Delhi is also of interest. An ideal place for meditation, this Bahai House of worship is open to people of all faiths.

Overnight will be at Delhi.

Breakfast will be at hotel.

As per the flight timings a Compass representative will transfer you to the airport for your flight home.




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