- Ground Operators
The jewel in the British Empire was not India, it was Rajasthan. Rajasthan is the fabled land of the Maharajas of India. The state abounds with magnificent forts and palaces. The Rajput’s highly evolved code of honor and chivalry probably rivaled that of the medieval European knights. As proud as the Rajputs still are, they are friendly and warm, and delight in welcoming visitors into their homes.
Begin your journey by exploring Delhi, before flying to the heart of Rajasthan to see the fort city of Jaisalmer and to experience rural Rajasthan at its best in the village area of Jamba. Here you will also experience true Rajasthani hospitality at the exclusive Dera Dune Retreat, perched atop a sand dune with breathtaking panoramic desert views. You then head to the capital of Royal Rajasthan, the “Pink City” of Jaipur. Of course, no trip to India is complete without visiting the “the monument of love,” the Taj Mahal.
Easy to Moderate Touring generally indicates walks or time on one’s feet of 3-5 hours each day during sightseeing excursions; possible adverse weather conditions (heat, humidity); and some driving on dirt or poorly maintained roads. Please note that road conditions in India leave a lot to be desired: The traffic can appear to be wild and unregulated, and horns are used more often than brakes. Bathroom facilities during excursions and long drives are frequently nonexistent or limited to the facilities at a local restaurant or shop. Overnights will be in deluxe accommodations/lodges. Elevations throughout the trip remain below 5,000 feet.
Day 1: Arrive Delhi
You will be met on arrival in Delhi and escorted to your hotel. Depending on your flight schedule, you may have time to explore sites in “New” Delhi.
Day 2: Exploring Delhi
After breakfast, explore the historic sites of Old and New Delhi. The day begins with a visit to the Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. Drive past the Red Fort on your way to the Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque. Tour the bazaars of Chandni Chowk, followed by a drive past the historical India Gate, the President’s estate, and the Parliament House. The day concludes with a visit to the capital’s most striking monument, the 230-foot-high Qutab Minar.
Day 3: Drive to Agra
After breakfast, make the four-hour drive to Agra. In the afternoon visit the Agra Fort, which stands like a crescent on the banks of the Jamuna River, enclosed by forbidding 65-foot-high walls. In the evening, behold the glorious sight of the sun casting its mellow rays on the Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world, and surely its greatest symbol of love and devotion. (The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.)
Day 4: Drive to Jaipur
Enjoy sunrise on the Taj Mahal before returning to your hotel for a late breakfast. From there it’s a five-hour drive to Jaipur, home of India’s legendary Hindu warriors, whose historic forts, palaces, and gardens lend a timeless quality to this storied region. Enroute, visit the World Heritage Site of Fatehpur Sikri, a “ghost city” of the Mughal Empire.
Day 5: Exploring Jaipur
You have a full day of sightseeing of Jaipur. In the morning, visit the Amber Fort, where you will have the opportunity to ride an elephant, then stop for a photo at the Palace of the Winds, or the Hawa Mahal. In the afternoon, make a visit to the City Palace, which now houses the royal residence and fine collections of textiles, costumes, armory, manuscripts, and paintings. A stop at the Jantar Mantar—a group of ancient, building-sized astronomical instruments—wraps up the day.
Day 6: Fly to Udaipur
This morning, transfer to the Jaipur airport to board your flight to Udaipur. Once there, visit the three-story Jagdish Temple (ca. 1651), the city’s largest with a 79-foot-high spire and elaborate ornamentation. Next, pay a visit to the cremation ground of the Maharanas (kings) who once ruled Udaipur, where impressive cenotaphs with ornate carvings stand in commemoration. Recently restored, the complex includes 319 cenotaphs, among which the most prominent are of the 21 Ranas and Maharanas who were cremated here.
Day 7: Exploring Udaipur
Your touring today begins with a visit to Udaipur’s highlight: The royal City Palace complex towering above Lake Pichola. In the late afternoon, enjoy a boat ride on the lake, followed by a cultural dance show at Bagor Ki Haveli, a palace and museum.
Day 8: Drive to Jodhpur
Today you travel five to six hours to the “Blue City” of Jodhpur, on the border of the That Desert; stop in Ranakpur for lunch and to see its spectacular marble Jain temple (ca. 1458). Check into your Jodhpur hotel in the late afternoon and relax.
Day 9: Drive to Jaisalmer
This morning, visit Mehrangarh Fort (ca. 1459), towering above the city with its 117-foot-high walls, seven gates, various palaces, and well-regarded museum. Later, you head into the Thar Desert to historic Jaisalmer, a waypoint on the old trade route between India and Persia. Sunset will find you at a spot with panoramic views of scenic Jaisalmer and its immense fort.
Day 10: Exploring Jaisalmer
Today you rise early to watch the sunrise from Gadsar Lake, before exploring the city founded by Maharawal Jaisal in the 12th century. A whole town exists within the vast walls of Jaisalmer Fort. You have the afternoon to take in the historic haveli architecture of Rajasthan and wander the town’s lively bazaars.
Day 11: Drive to Jamba
After breakfast you drive four hours to the unique Dera Dune Retreat at Jamba. The world’s first resort atop a sand dune, the Dera Dune Retreat is the perfect place to get away from the big cities and enjoy the solitude of desert life. In the afternoon, go on a camel safari and enjoy sunset from the property’s rampart bar. The evening will come alive with traditional Rajasthani musicians and dancers from nearby villages.
Day 12: Exploring Jamba
This morning, visit a Kheechan village, which offers a unique insight into the human-animal relationship. Nearly 12,000 demoiselle cranes congregate here to be fed by villagers. You later enjoy a jeep safari to see various ethnic tribes in their villages, witnessing up close the lives of agriculturists, pastoralists, weavers, and potters. The Bishnoi enjoy the distinction of being some of the world’s first conservationists, as adherents of a 15th-century Hindu sect that advocates protection of the environment and wildlife.
Day 13: Drive to Jodhpur / Fly to Delhi & Depart India
This morning, drive three hours to the Jodhpur airport to board your flight to Delhi. On arrival, transfer to your hotel for a few hours’ rest before making a late-night transfer back to the international airport to check in for your flight home.
Trip Dates: Private Departures – on demand year round
Trip Duration: 13 days / 12 nights
Staring City: Delhi (airport code – DEL)
Ending City: Delhi (airport code – DEL)
LAND COST: valid October 2016 – April 2017*
Luxury Hotel Option
(Delhi – The Oberoi; Agra – Oberoi Amarvilas; Jaipur – Oberoi Rajvilas; Udaipur – Oberoi Udaivilas; Jodhpur – Umaid Bhawan Palace; Jaisalmer – The Suryagarh; Jamba – Dera Dune Retreat)
2 – 3 participants: $4,923 per person
4 – 9 participants: $4,643 per person
10 + participants: $4,465 per person
Single Supplement: $3,193
Deluxe Hotel Option
(Delhi – Taj Mahal; Agra – ITC Mughal; Jaipur – Jai Mahal Palace; Udaipur – Lalit Laxmi Vilas; Jodhpur – Vivanta Hari Mahal by Taj; Jaisalmer – Gateway Rawalkot by Taj; Jamba – Dera Dune Retreat)
2 – 3 participants: $2,486 per person
4 – 9 participants: $2,232 per person
10 + participants: $2,104 per person
Single Supplement: $1,170
*NOT VALID for Christmas/New Year period (Dec 20 – Jan 15) and the month of February; supplement cost applies.
Internal India Airfare: $205 per person (subject to change by airline)
Jaipur – Udaipur; Jodhpur – Delhi
Included in Land Cost
• All accommodations, based on double occupancy
• All taxes and service charges
• All transportation using private, air-conditioned vehicles
• All arrival/departure airport/hotel transfers
• All entry fees at all temples, museums, and monuments on sightseeing excursions
• Boat ride on Lake Pichola
• Dance show at Bagor Ki Haveli
• Breakfast every day
• Lunch in Ranakpur
• Lunch and dinner while at the Dera Dune Resort
• Bottled water (two 1-liter bottles per person) every day
• Services of certified, English speaking local guides during all sightseeing excursions
• TourDirect’s Medical ($25,000), Accident and Evacuation Insurance ($500,000) and Assistance Plan
Not Included in Land Cost
• International airfare to/from India
• All internal India airfare – cost listed separately
• Movie, video, and still camera fees
• Gratuities to local staff (guides, drivers, bell boys, porters, etc.)
• Items of a personal nature, such as alcoholic beverages, laundry, phone calls, etc.
• Trip Cancellation insurance
At TourDirect, we will assist you in obtaining any necessary visas or other travel permits required for your journey, all done through our Visa Service Partner. Detailed visa instructions, application forms, and information about applicable visa fees will be included in your Pre-Departure Packet.
You must have a valid passport with an expiration date more than 6 months from the date of your return to the U.S. The passport must also have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you will be visiting in Asia.
India: Visas on arrival (with pre-authorization) are available for most nationals, but can only be applied for 30 days prior to arrival, and are valid for single entry only. Visas can also be procured prior to departure from your home country.
No immunizations are required for entry into India or to return to the U.S. However, proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from (or have recently visited) a country that has risk of yellow fever. Several immunizations are recommended by the U.S. Center for Disease Control.
A copy of the CDC’s recommended immunization list and additional health information will be included in our Pre-Departure Packet.
Please let us know if you wish to arrive early or extend your stay to visit any other sites in India or other South Asian countries—Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka—and we will be happy to make the additional arrangements.
I cannot imagine anyone better at being a Trip Leader than Shagzil. It was a real pleasure knowing him and seeing Kerala through his eyes. Don’t lose him!
– Tony H, CA
I cannot thank you enough for helping us plan our trip across India. Your knowledge of India, combined with your sensitivity to traveling with children made us so grateful to have you guiding us through this! Thank you Sanjay!
– Laura T, CT
- Carol S, CT
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Ground Operators are local companies that provide the actual travel services in a destination. Typically, they own vehicles, employ guides, and negotiate special rates with hotels, combining these and other elements to create a quality full-service experience.