Rajasthan:-Mesmerizing Rajasthan Forts and Palaces tell the bygone era of former royal seat of the Rajputs. The Rajputs like the Mughals were creative builders and have patronized some of the most illustrious and impressive forts and palaces in Rajasthan. Almost every city of the spectacular desert land Rajasthan is lined with fabulous forts and palaces built by various rulers and architects. These forts and palaces were generally built outside the walled city over the high hills to protect the city. The glory is well conserved in the people of Rajasthan and in the majestic forts and palaces. Enduring the unmerciful desert winds and oppressing heat of the scorching sun, they have stood unshakable against many-a-sieges and have provided protection to the rulers in their time of conflict. Now, they have been opened to the tourists who come here to see a wonderful presentation of their rich heritage and splendid artistic architecture. Many of these forts and palaces retain their old allure and ritual. Some of the royal residences have been now turned into heritage hotels, where the visitors can still experience the magic of India’s imperial past.



 Late night arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to hotel  overnight.


 After breakfast we explore the cultural sights of Delhi , visiting the presidents house, Parliament, India Gate, Qutub Minar and the Red Fort. The highlight of this days tour would be a ride in cycle rickshaws through the bustling main street of old Delhi. Return to hotel for overnight.


 After breakfast we drive to Mandawa . Once we enter the Shekhawati district of Rajasthan we would bike the last 70kms to our destination through interesting countryside and fields. On our way we negotiate camel carts witch carry gypsy families or hey used for camel fodder. On arrival check in hotel, Late afternoon we explore the town on our bikes. A typical medieval Indian town, once an important trade centre. still lives as it used to a couple of centuries back. Evening back to hotel for overnight.


 After breakfast we bike to the small town of Nawalgarh. An important feature of biking in Rajasthan is that one sees more and unexpected things on way to a destination rather than in a destination – women carrying hey stacks over their heads, shepherds flocking their sheeps and buffalows, ploughing of field by ox drawn plaughs, women fetching water from wells etc. Return to Mandawa for overnight.


 We bike for 30 Kms to Fatehpur, a small town which used to be an important stop in the medieval Indian spice route to Central Asia. Fatehpur continues to remain a small self-contained town, with its local school and temple. The lives of people here are simple and most of their needs are fulfilled from the colourful and busy local bazaars. We spend a couple of hours biking through the market and residential portions of the town. We drive onto Bikaner. On arrival check in hotel .After visit fort &  Camel Breeding Farm, which is probably unique to Asia. Evening back to  hotel for overnight.


 After breakfast we ride out to the impressive medieval Indian Fort of Bikaner. The places within the fort make a picturesque ensemble of courtyards, balconies, kiosks, towers and windows. A major feature of this fort and its places are the superb quality of stone carving – rivaling the best anywhere in the world. We return to our hotel to pick up our bikes on way to deshnoke. The journey would be through interesting countryside – villages, colourful bus station etc. At desknoke is a Temple who has huge silver gates and marble carvings. The main interest here is rats, which are here in hundreds and are regarded as holy and are fed by the priests. Opposite the temple is a very interesting obscure little village. People live here in small thatched houses (huts) which are plastered with cow dung. There are no roads here, only dust trails where donkey or camel carts occasionally move up and down. Noisy children scamper about while groups of women eighter broom the community courtyard, fill water in clay pichers from the community tap, light coal and wood ovens outside their gates or just huddle together and gossip. We explore this village on foot carrying our bikes with us. We bike back to our hotel.


 After breakfast we bike / drive our way to Jaisalmer. The drive is through desert country with scantly vegetation and life stock in view. Water is scarce here, we would see long trains of woman fetching water by nearby wells in bright brass pitchers. We arrive at our palace hotel late in the afternoon and it would be a good idea to have a quite evening today.


 After breakfast we pick up our bikes to explore this, one of India’s exotic and unusual towns, right out of the fairy tales of Arabian nights – often described as ‘a living museum’ and ‘the Golden City’ (because everything here is of yellow sandstone). We visit some of the beautiful Havelis (mansions) of wealthy medieval Indian merchants. Made of yellow sandstone these huge mansions have beautiful arched roofs with superb carved brackets and apartments painted with beautiful murals. In the afternoon we visit the residential portions of the Jaisalmer Fort, where one third of the population of the old city still lives. The design of the houses remains as they were couple of centuries back and are the lifestyle of people occupying them. This is because most of the families still continue for generations of work for the ruler (only titular now). Hence there is a sense of continuity. The houses are arranged in narrow lanes and have small windows from where the shy child or girl peeps. This is the city believed to be the home of the most handsome men and beautiful women.


 After breakfast, we bike to Sam, a dessert outpost. On our way we visit a few typical dessert villages, which have a sprinkling of huts. The rough terrain here does not support cultivation. Hence the entire village work as casual labourers in road works or other public utility projects. Inspite of their poverty, these beautiful people are very friendly and hospitable – inviting you to come and have a look at their stone huts, sit on their string cots and share a cup of tea with them. We arrive at Sam at mid – afternoon and proceed on a camel safari, which is perhaps the best way to explore the undulating dunes and craters of the dessert. The experience of the setting sun in the distant horizon, with camel trains and dunes in the foreground is quite unchanting. Today we would camp in the dessert, amidst bonfires and folk dances.


 After breakfast we bike back to Jaisalmer. We would have a couple of rooms for wash and change. The afternoon is free. In the evening we board an overnight train to Jodhpur (D-2210, A-0730-next day). Accommodation would be first class cabins and bed rolls/blankets would be provided.


 Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to hotel . After breakfast we pick up our bikes to visit the massive Jodhpur Fort, set on top of a hill. The biking would quite steep from the foot of the hill to the Fort – 3 Kms. It is most impressive and formidable fort, in a Fort studded Rajasthan. Inside the Fort, there are a whole series of courtyard and place apartments. The later have a fantastic collection and elephant howdahs, miniature paintings, folk music instruments, the inevitable Rajput armoury, palanquins, furnitures and costumes. The palace apartments are beautifully decorated and have delicately carved red sandstone and lattice work windows. In the afternoon we bike 9 Kms to Mandore, famous due to its extensive gardens with huge rock terraces. The dinner at our palace Hotel is something special. Served in an open courtyard by ethnically dressed waiters, accompained by folk music and dance and the maharaja mixing with the guests in his flowing robes.


 An early morning drive / bike to Jaipurs. On our way we would buy oranges / bananas from hawkers. The journey would be through interesting small towns and villages. Ploughing by hand, ox drawing water from wells, colorfully dressed woman working on road works or construction work – mixing cement / tar by shovels, carrying them on their head in metal saucers. climbing on flimsy scaffoldings etc are only some of the fascinating sights. We arrive into Jaipur late afternoon. We check into hotel Jaipur Palace. The evening is free. We could visit the popular and busy link road shopping market.


 Morning  bike up to the Amber Fort (11 Kms). Set on the dry wrinkled Aravalli hills, the Amber Fort is a superb example of Rajput architecture. A slow elephant taxi takes to the top of the Fort. The several interesting buildings include the hall of public audience with a double row of columns and latticed galleries above. The hall of victory has inlaid panels and glittering mirror ceilings. The hall of pleasure, with an ivory inlaid sandalwood door, has a water channel running right through the room.


 Early morning start. An interesting stop would be at the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary – one of the best water bird sanctuaries in the world. We would bike around the reserve for a couple of hours and observe the egrets, plovers, parakeets, kingfishers, teals, ducks, stroks etc. from here we continue biking 20 Kms to Fatehpur Sikri. This abandoned capital of the Mughals is a perfectly preserved city at the height of the empire’s splendor. The city divided into religious and secular sections has interesting well-sculpted buildings. We drive on to Agra and check into Holiday Inn. A typical magic show would be organized for us this evening. [/timeline_item

DAY 15: AGRA-DELHI.210 Kms.

 At sunrise we pick up our bikes to proceed to the Taj Mahal. The rays of the rising sun on this extravagant monument create a dazzling effect. Besides symmetry in every aspect of its construction, the inlay work of semi-precious stones into marble in pietra dura style is absolutely remarkable. We return to our hotel for breakfast and then drive / bike for our last night in delhi. Check into hotel in Delhi.


 Morning after breakfast, Explore old Delhi, Sighting of Spice market, Chandni Chock. Evening transfer to the airport to board the flight for Home Country/City.

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