Trip Duration: 07 Nights / 08 Days
Trip Style: Leisure Journeys (Culture)
Adventure Level: EasyThis is the 'easiest' of our trekking adventures. A moderate level of fitness is required and a flexible, open-minded approach is essential. There treks are shorter in duration and at lower or up to 3000 m altitude. You may be hiking up to 5- 6 hours a day.
Area: Rajasthan , Uttar Pradesh
Best Season: October – April
From a cultural point of view, perhaps no other country on earth has as much to offer as India. During the imperial days of the British Raj, first-time visitors were staggered by the beauty of buildings such as the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Palace of the Winds in Jaipur. Today’s traveler – young or old – can expect to experience a similar sense of wonder on visiting these monuments, which still retain their classic elegance. This great family holiday to India not only includes visits to the great Mughul sights, but our also include time spent in the remote area of Shekhawati with its highly decorated houses with fresco paintings, go on a tiger safari in Ranthambore National Park and experience the hustle, bustle, noise and colour of day to day Indian life by using local transport such as rickshaws and trains. A perfect introduction to incredible India!
Highlights & Itinerary
- Live like a Maharaja at a restored fortified palace.
- Go on a jungle safari in search of the Tiger and other animals.
- Marvel at the famous Taj Mahal , Palace of winds and other lovely forts and palaces.
- Ride on a camel cart and experience day to day life in a north Indian village.
- The beautiful fresco painting of Shekhawati region depicting local tales.
DAY 01: DELHI / AGRA
DAY 02: AGRA / RANTHAMBORE
DAY 03: RANTHAMBORE
DAY 04: RANTHAMBORE / JAIPUR
DAY 05: JAIPUR
DAY 06: JAIPUR / NAWALGARH (SHEKHAWATI)
DAY 07: NAWALGARH / SURAJGARH
DAY 08: SURAJGARH / DELHI
DAY 01: DELHI / AGRA, TRAIN (4 HOURS)
This morning, you’ll make a very early start for your train journey to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal! Alternating with Delhi as the capital of the Mughul Empire, the city’s past is inextricably linked with the most famous of India’s rulers. Today it is best known as the home of the Taj Mahal but also boasts a fort, a Friday Mosque and the royal tombs on the opposite bank of the river.
Once you have arrived in Agra you will have some free time until mid afternoon, when you head further along the banks of the river Yamuna to visit Agra Fort. It was from here that the Mughul Empire was ruled and you spend some time exploring the nooks and crannies within. From the top of the fort you can glimpse the Taj Mahal across the river and even from this distance it is an impressive sight.
Return to hotel for overnight stay
Meal Plan: B/fast only
DAY 02: AGRA / RANTHAMBORE NP., TRAIN (2 HOURS)
This morning we aim to visit the Taj Mahal, the world’s most perfect and poetic building, at sunrise. Over 300 years have elapsed since its construction, yet it stands today unscarred by age; its beauty and symmetry seemingly beyond man, time and space. Created by Shah Jahan as a funerary monument to his favourite wife, Mumtaz, it took 22 years to build (1630-52). The Great Moghul lies beside his beloved under the white marble dome. Inlaid with precious gems, the building cost a fortune and later Shah Jahan moved his capital to Delhi before being overthrown by his son, Aurangzeb.
After breakfast you take the road leading to Fatehpur Sikri, some 38km (about two hours) away. Along the way are the remains of the Kos Minars – wayside markers which survive only as crumbled towers, pointing the way to this city built of rich red sandstone. Akbar (the Great) built Fatehpur Sikri, (the ‘City of Victory’), outside Agra as a tribute to a sage who foretold the birth of three sons. He duly moved his court to this new capital, only to abandon it after 15 short years because the water supply deteriorated. Today its rose-coloured walls provide the visitor with an unforgettable impression of the majesty of a 16th century royal court.
Later you drive further to Bharatpur train station to catch our train to Ranthambore (approximately 2 hours).
Overnight stay in Jungle resorts
Meal Plan: B/fast + Dinner
DAY 03: RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK
Ranthambore is one of the best examples of the country’s tiger conservation projects. The best chance of sightings is between September and May. During this period water is scarce and the animals must stay close to the lakes and river. It is little wonder that this was once one of the best hunting areas of the Maharajas. We include a game drive this morning into the Reserve, in search of the wildlife which, as well as tiger, includes sloth bear, langur, jackal and fox as well as crested hawk eagle, crested serpent eagle, jacana, parakeet and white-breasted kingfisher. The park itself is very picturesque with lakes, rivers and forests surrounded by steep cliffs and rocky outcrops. In the afternoon there is another opportunity to do a game drive to get a chance to see more wildlife and views. The vehicles used for game drives are open top canters, with up to 20 seats and ideal for spotting wildlife. Due to regulations aimed at keeping traffic to a minimum in the parks we cannot guarantee exclusive use of the canters.
Meal Plan: B/fast + Lunch + Dinner
DAY 04: RANTHAMBORE / JAIPUR, TRAIN (2 HOURS )
After a leisurely start, during which you may be able to visit the local school, you travel for a little over two hours by train north-west to the famous ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Travelling on an Indian train is an experience in itself; it’s like being in a town on wheels with a complete cross-section of life aboard. Jaipur, like Delhi, has both an old and a new part and you concentrate on the old. The streets are busy with camels and bullock-carts and above it all monkeys make their home in the old city walls
There is an optional puppet show at the hotel this evening or you may wish to see a Bollywood movie at the local cinema..
Overnight stay in a Heritage Hotel
Meal Plan: B/fast only
DAY 05: JAIPUR
During your stay you visit the City Palace, once the home of the Maharaja, before seeing the 18th century Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory built by the city’s founder Jai Singh. You’ll also see the famous Palace of the Winds; here royal maidens once watched the streets below through the fabulous jali (lattice screens) which hid them from prying male eyes. Today snake charmers and fortune-tellers ply their trade below the same hideaway. The afternoon is left free for you to explore at leisure.
Meal Plan: B/fast Only
DAY 06: JAIPUR / NAWALGARH (SHEKHAWATI), DRIVE 180 Km
Today, we drive the short distance to the foot of Amber Palace/fortress. If the elephants are available we will ride elephants upto the gateway of the Palace. This impressive hilltop fortress possesses what must be the world’s finest Chamber of Mirrors and affords glorious views of the surrounding plains.
From the spoils of war they gradually built a fabulous complex of royal rooms. Today these rooms remain lavishly decorated with murals, jali-work and scalloped niches that once held candles to reflect the soft light from tiny mirrors, embedded in eggshell plaster.
You can thoroughly explore the site and village opposite before travelling into the ‘Land of Princes’ – Rajasthan. As you take a four-hour drive to Nawalgarh , you will catch glimpses of life in the most colourful of India’s regions. Most notable are the elegant women, who carry terracotta pots of water from the village well, dressed in saris in a myriad of colours, their bangles tinkling as they walk. There may be an opportunity to walk around the village and meet or even have a game of cricket with the locals!
Meal Plan: B/fast + Dinner Only
DAY 07: NAWALGARH / SURAJAGARH, DRIVE 80 KM
The Shekhawati region was home to many rich merchants and their wealth is evident from their finely built havelis (mansions). Surrounded by large walls, with many internal courtyards, the havelis provided security, privacy and shade. They were painted with floral designs of Mughul influence, scenes from Hindu mythology and – since the arrival of Europeans – modern inventions such as trains, bicycles and cars. These paintings document the changes that took place in India during the nineteenth century.
Nawalgarh, founded in 1737, is a typical Shekhawati town. Drive through the village and around the haveli’s so you can see these fantastic paintings for yourself. Perhaps one of the best examples is the Poddar haveli, with paintings of trains, cars, processions, and a game of chequers. It has now been converted into a school and must surely be the most decorated and ornate one in India!
After lunch you leave Shekhawati and begin your journey eastwards back to Delhi. To make this journey non-stop would make for a very tiring and arduous day, therefore after just a couple of hours driving you’ll make an overnight stop at another Shekhawati town – Surajgarh. Your hotel is a former fortified palace, and makes for both an unusual and memorable night’s stay.
In the evening, take a camel cart ride to the fields to have a beautiful sunset view or explore the small village where they make beautiful crafted lac bangles.
Overnight stay in a Heritage hotel
Meal Plan: B/fast + Lunch + Dinner
DAY 08: SURAJGARH / DELHI, DRIVE 180 KM
After breakfast this morning, you leave the Shekhawati region and continue your onward journey to Delhi, where you’ll arrive by mid-afternoon.
Meal Plan: B/fast Only
This non-strenuous trip is suitable for anyone in reasonable health. Rajasthan is still developing , so be prepared to leave city expectations behind; not everywhere has air conditioning and rail journeys can be delayed; a little patience and a sense of humour are essential. Fog can occasionally cause delays and affect sightseeing in winter months.
DELAY & UNEXPECTED HINDRENCE
Although it is our intention to operate the itinerary as printed in the brochure and detailed below, it may be necessary to make some changes as a result of alterations to flight schedules, climatic conditions, limitations of infrastructure or other operational factors. As a consequence, the order or location of overnight stops may vary from those outlined.
The decision to partake in any activity not listed as an optional activity is entirely at your own discretion and risk. If you do have any complaint about or problem with, any such optional activity your claim should be directed to the activity provider and not to Freedom 2 Be.
We use a variety of accommodation in this trip to North India. Wherever possible we try to ensure that this is in keeping with the itinerary and the region that you are visiting. We have graded the hotels on this trip as AA – Hotels, lodges or guesthouses, usually with en suite facilities. These are generally simple hotels with adequate amenities. Whilst comfort levels are perfectly acceptable, there are generally no added facilities.
Most trips prices are based on sharing a twin room. Therefore, if you’re a solo traveller you’ll be paired with someone from the group, unless you decide to pay a single room supplement. Details of this supplement can be found in the pricing.
Please remember, India is a conservative country, and local sensibilities should be respected – halter neck or sleeveless tops or brief shorts are not acceptable for ladies – though you will see some tourists wearing them. Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful to take on this trip. It is not an exhaustive packing list. If you need further advice, please call us or consult your nearest specialist outdoor clothing and equipment store.
- Lightweight, cotton clothing is most suitable
- Lightweight windproof/waterproof outer shell – for cold early mornings
- Warm mid-layer (fleece or wool), hat, gloves and a scarf are essential – game drives in the morning are cold!
- Comfortable shoes
- Trainers/sandals for relaxing
- Swim wear
- Sunglasses, high-factor sunscreen and lipsalve
- Personal first aid kit
- Insect repellent
A laundry service may be available, but we recommend you take biodegradable detergent so you can wash clothes as you choose
Children above the age of 8 with strong sense of adventure are accepted on this trip. These trips encourage children to understand the interconnectedness between humans and nature.
Children under 12 sharing their parents’ room receive a discounted price. There are no babysitting facilities along the route, but extra bedding and special dishes can be arranged with advance notice.
Best for: 08 Years and above
Family friendly accommodation: Extra Beds Available