The Taj Mahal and other marvels of Rajasthan

Rajasthan is not just about Indian princes , palaces and majestic gardens but also a tapestry of colors of multicolored saris worn by the women, or turbans worn by the Rajput warriors.  You begin this incredible experience of India with a visit to the Magnificent Taj Mahal – built by Moghul Emperor Shahjehan. This incredible experience continues with a walk through the Bharatpur Bird sanctuary, the Pink city of Jaipur, the white city of Pushkar, The Blue city of Jodhpur – the erstwhile capital of the Marwar state, and the Golden city of Jaisalmer  - a citadel in the middle of the Thar desert. In the heart of the Thar Desert, spend a couple of days hiking along the sand dunes, visiting the small villages. Later, you continue towards the lake city of Udaipur where a number of palaces located along as well as in the middle of the Lake Pichola vie with each other. An overnight train journey brings you back to the starting point – Delhi to conclude the trip on an unforgettable note.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Welcome in New Delhi - Drive to Agra

    Arrive at Delhi early in the morning where you will be met by the Huwans / Atalante representative and your tour manager at the IGI Airport. Departure for Agra and upon arrival check in at the hotel. Agra was established in 1475 by Badal Singh and came into limelight during the rule of Afghan King Sikandar Lodhi - who had made it the capital of his empire. Later in the afternoon visit the Agra Fort built by Emperor Akbar in 1565 AD. Construction continued until the rule of his grandson Jehangir almost over a hundred years later. The thick and forbidding walls of the fort unfold some of the most beautiful monuments inside which include the Moti MAsjid, the Diwan-e-Aam, The Diwan-e-Khas , the Jehangir Mahal besides others. It is from within the fort that the emperor Shahjehan used to gaze out towards the Taj Mahal where his beloved queen was buried.

    Accommodation: Hotel
    Drive: 4 hours

  • Day 2 Taj Mahal - Bharatpur Reserve - Jaipur

    Early morning visit to the monument of eternal love – The Taj Mahal. One of the seven wonders of the world and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983 and perhaps the most famous symbol of India, the Taj Mahal . In 1631, the Mughal emperor Shahjahan lost his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal and started building this tribute to his beloved queen. Work on the mausoleum began in 1633 and 22,000 workers labored for 17 and half years to build it. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Check out and depart for the pick city of Jaipur visiting the famous bird sanctuary at Bharatpur enroute. Thousands of birds come here every year from as far as Siberia to nest during the winters and its an incredible sight to watch the rich birdlife of the park, while meandering through narrow trails, walkways and tracks. The park is spread over 29 sq kms and is also home to different species of deer, antelopes and gazelles. Early evening arrival at Jaipur and check in at the hotel. Jaipur was founded by the Maharaja Jai Singh II in 1727, when he decided to move from his hillside fortress at Amber to the plains. It is also known as the "Pink City", derived from the pink painted sandstone from which the buildings in the old walled city are constructed.

    - Accommodation: Hotel
    - Walk: 2 hours
    - Drive: 5 hours

  • Day 3 Visite Jaipur - Pushkar

    After breakfast leave for a city tour of the pink city . Among the first monuments (seen from outside) is the Palace of Winds or Hawa Mahal which was built in 1799 AD. Famous for its beehive like structure, it is an interplay of red and pink sand stone, carefully and painstakingly outlined with white borders and motifs. Close by are the City Palace and the Observatory which were built by the founder of the city and a great astronomer – Jai Singh II in the year 1727. Continue on to the holy city of Pushkar which is located on the banks of a lake with the same name.

    Accommodation: Hotel
    Drive: 4 hours

  • Day 4 Visit Pushkar

    It is believed that Pushkar was founded by the creator of the universe Lord Brahma when a lotus fell from his hands and a lake sprang up at the spot where it touched the ground. It is a major centre of pilgrimage for the Hindu pilgrim as also home to one of the largest cattle fairs in the country. Every year Pushkar is home to India’s second largest Cattle fair which concludes with a holy dip in the lake on Kartik Full moon night. People from all walks of life from near and far gather here to trade their animals and other products and it’s a mesmerizing sight to see the goings on for any visitor. Walk for about 1 to 2 hours through the colorful bazaars and lanes of the town.

    Accommodation: Hotel
    Walk: 3 hours

  • Day 5 Jodhpur - visit the Citadel and the old city

    After breakfast check out and drive to Jodhpur – the city of the Sun… One can see the wave of houses painted blue – to honor Lord Krishna. After lunch, you visit the majestic Meherangarh fort which overlooks the city . One of the largest and most impregnable forts in the country, it is also among the best preserved and representative of Rajput valor and bravery. Afterwards, discover the old city area which has an interesting spice market as well as small workshops of the local craftsmen .

    - Accomodation: Heritage Hotel
    - Drive: 5 hours

  • Day 6 Jaisalmer Visit

    After breakfast, check out and drive to the desert city of Jaisalmer in the heart of Thar desert. Located on the erstwhile Silk route it has one of the most important centres of trade during its hay days. Today it is one of the most interesting cities with a large number of stunning stone carved havelis, with latticed stone windows, sombre Jain temples and an interesting and colorful bazaar.

    - Accommodation: Hotel
    - Drive: 5 hours

  • Day 7 Thar Desert

    After breakfast, drive to Phalsund, village located in the middle of the Thar desert. Rich in bio-diversity with a big collection of flora and fauna make this stark land an interesting amphitheater of species ranging from caracal (wild cat) to wild ass, the great Indian bustards, the black bucks, the nilgai or Bluebulls etc. You also meet the local villagers from the area and then set camp amidst the drifting sand dunes. Enjoy a spectacular sunset over the desert...

    Accommodation: Camp
    Drive: 3h30

  • Day 8 Desert in the heart of Rajasthani countryside - Dechu

    After breakfast, leave for a walk of around 2 – 3 hours exploring the village life of the area. During the course of our walks, you meet several villagers and locals with whom some interesting conversations will happen to the amusement of everyone. Later drive to Dechu – a charming village on the National Highway between Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. Check in at the hotel which is a refreshing and greener change from the harsh landscape of the previous evening.

    - Accommodation: Resort
    - Drive: 2 hours

  • Day 9 Dechu - Kherwa

    After breakfast drive to Khairwa, a charming little town en route to Udaipur. On the way, lunch break at the home of a local couple, Mrs & Mr Singh, to join them for a local meal. Afterwards, drive towards the foothills of the Aravali range where the elegant Khairwa family have converted their stately home into a charming hotel.

    Accommodation: Heritage Hotel
    Drive: 5 hours

  • Day 10 Kherwa - Jain Temple of Ranakpur - Udaipur

    After breakfast leave for the Temple town of Ranakpur. The route meanders through the green countryside slowly turning into a lush forest in the hills of the Aravali range. Along the route are numerous villages where, you stop to interact with the locals, who are not just friendly but are also very interested to meet the visitors from all over. Upon arrival at Ranakpur visit the exquisite Jain temples with beautifully carved marble pillars – 1444 in all of which no two are similar. Afterwards, you resume the drive towards the Lake city of Udaipur.

    Accommodation: Lakeside Hotel
    Drive: 5 hours

  • Day 11 Udaïpur Visit - night train to Delhi

    After breakfast leave for a full day of discovery of the city of lakes. Also known as the Venice of the East the city boasts of spectacular marble palaces including the most popular of them all – the lake Palaces which floats majestically in the middle of the Pichola. You visit the City Palace complex – the royal residence of the Udaipur royal family which has seen 22 generations of rulers who have built, renovated and inhabit it without losing its glory. In the afternoon a short time on your own to discover the shopping delights of the citys bazaars before proceeding to the railway station to board an overnight train to Delhi.

    Accommodation: Onboard the train

  • Day 12 End of stay

    End of our services. Depending upon your flight schedule, it's possible to organize some visitis in New Delhi: Old Delhi, Sikh Temple, India Gate....

    Transfer to the airport for departure

Period & budget

When to travel?

The best period for travelling is during the following months:

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Price

From 1705 US$ per person (based on 2 participants)

The budget is an indication of the price per person, subject to availability. Your local agent will send you a customized quote with the exact price. The price can vary according to availability, level of services, period of travel, number of participants, booking time frame and other items.

Included

- Private transport as per itinerary
- Accommodation in a variety of hotels (heritage, charming, camp...) on BB
- All breakfasts & dinners
- English-speaking Altaï Chauffeur/guide
- English-speaking local guides during visits as per itinerary
- Overnight train in sleepers' coach from Udaipur - New Delhi

Not included

- International flights
- Indian Visa fees
- Entrance fees to the monuments
- Insurance: Repatriation, medical, etc.
- Drinks
- Lunches
- Personal expenses
- Tips for local teams (at your discretion)
- All that is not mentioned in "Included"

Terms and conditions

Booking conditions

By registering for one of our travel, the customer bindingly accepts the General Terms and Conditions of Sale. Each customer must complete a registration form. The booking is definitively recorded when the customer has settled the payment of a deposit of 30 % of the total travel price (subject to availability at the time of registration). In case of short-term bookings – within 30 days prior to the travel departure – the full travel price is due immediately. Payments can be settled via bank transfer (SWIFT code/IBAN number) or online, directly from our website (soon available). You will receive an email with a booking confirmation as quickly as possible.

Invoice procedure

Once your booking is registered, we send you an email with the invoice. Full payment is required at least 30 days before your arrival. If the customer does not settle the payment of the travel price within the period agreed upon, Altai Nepal reserves the right to cancel the booking free of charge.

Cancellation policy

If for any reason, you decide to withdraw from a journey, the amount already paid will be refunded subject to the following exceptions:
  • Cancellation up to 30 days prior to the agreed beginning of the journey: No cancellation fees. Unless you have given a written agreement to pay for additional tailor-made services (hotel, internal flights, activities…). In that case, you shall be charged the corresponding amount
  • Cancellation between the 30th and 21st day prior to the agreed beginning of the journey: You will be charged 30 % of the travel price, in addition with every non-refundable expense for additional services booked on request (internal flights, site entrance tickets, activities…)
  • Cancellation less than 20 days to the agreed beginning of the journey: You will be charged 70 % of the travel price, in addition with every non-refundable expense for additional services booked on request (internal flights, site entrance tickets, activities…)

Any cancellation shall be notified in writing (email, letter or fax). Notice of cancellation will be effective upon receipt by us of your written communication. All the cancellation conditions will be specified on your booking confirmation. 

If it comes apparent at an earlier point in time that the minimum number of participants cannot be reached for a travel, Altaï Nepal is to exercise his right of withdrawal immediately. In such a situation, you will be informed of the cancellation of your travel no later than 21 days prior to the agreed beginning of the journey. Altaï Nepal can also cancel a travel in case of circumstances amounting to "force majeure": volcanic eruption, civil disturbances, strikes, weather and climate conditions, and travellers’ security… In such cases, you are immediately refunded any payments on the travel price; however, you shall not be entitled to any compensation.

Changes to travel contract

If a change to travel contract is made at the customer’s request, the customer shall pay any fee that might arise from this change. In any cases, every request for changes shall be notified in writing. In case of external events that could not be foreseen, Altaï Nepal might change some aspects of the travel contract. We will endeavor to advise you of any changes as quickly as possible.

Prices and price revision

All group travel prices on our website have been calculated for the indicated number of participants for each trip. The price list is confirmed after the booking. If the number of participants is lower than expected, an additional payment charge might be applied. For each travel and program, we mention the price per person – valid for the minimum number of participants – and we provide you with detailed explanations about the services included or not. Any change in the exchange rates or in the price of travel services in particular regarding the cost of the fuel, might entail price revision.

Contract transfer

In case of assignment of the contract by the customer to an assignee, modification and cancellation conditions apply.

Insurance

We recommend that you take out personal insurance for your travel with Altaï Nepal, as soon as your booking is confirmed. We kindly request you to send us the information related to your insurance contract (name of the company, name of the contract, insurance policy number, telephone number) and to bring it along with you during the journey.

Practical info

Staff

This trip is led by an English-speaking Driver-Guide, who is part of the Altai Nepal Team. 

Food

Indian cuisine is rich and noted for its varieties;  it is sure tasty but may also be a bit spicy. You will enjoy taste of various delicacies of India!

Accommodation

In Delhi and in the cities in general, you stay in in 3 * hotels. In Rajasthan, since standard hotels are often unreliable, we have been particularly careful to selecting hotels to ensure good accommodation and hygiene. The hotels were chosen for their comfort, but for their features that go with the sites visited. Almost all of them have a swimming pool. Below is the list of hotels we use for our trips in North India. It is just an indication and can be modified according to availability.

- Delhi - Atrio Hotel: http://www.atriohotels.com This boutique-hotel is comfortable and well-located vis-à-vis the Delhi International Airport. - Agra - Amar Hotel or similar: http://www.hotelamar.com This is a modern and well located hotel, most of the rooms have been recently renovated.
- Jaipur - Bissau Palace: http://www.bissaupalace.com/facilities.htm Former palace renovated into a hotel. It is a charming accommodation located near the city center in a quiet place, with large rooms.
- Pushkar:Master Paradise Hotel: http://www.masterparadise.comIt is a small, well located hotel with big rooms. You can enjoy excellent vegetarian dishes. Optional: possibility of massage. Pushkar Fort: http: //www.pushkarfort.comThis boutique hotel is located near the grounds where the annual Pushkar Fair is held. The hotel has several big gardens and a swimming pool. A pleasant stroll from the hotel leads to the lake and the historical center of Pushkar.
- Jodhpur - Jhalamand Garh: http://www.heritagehotelsindia.comJhalamand It is a boutique hotel in an 18th-century palace.
- Dhechu - Thar Oasis Resort: http://www.tharoasis.com This charming hotel is located in the heart of the Rajasthani countryside. Depending on the season, in the fields near the village, they grow cotton, rapeseed, cumin ... In the evening, the hotel often organizes folk dances performed by villagers.
- Jaisalmer - Golden Haveli: http://goldenhaveli.comLocated Located in a quiet location, it has large rooms, some with a beautiful view of the Jaisalmer Fortress.
- Khairwa - Dera Khairwa: http://www.derakhairwa.com/photo-galleryLocated In a small charming village in the heart of the Aravalli Mountains, this Heritage Hotel is run by a very welcoming noble family.
- Udaipur - Lake Pichola Hotel: http://www.lakepicholahotel.com/gallery.html- On the bank of the Lake Pichola, with views on the palaces!
Camp: In the desert, we camp in tent on the dunes of Thar.
- Train: In India, train journeys and the atmosphere of the train stations are part of the interesting experiences of the trip. When we use sleeper trains, we sleep in cabins with air conditioning of maximum 6 or 8 berths.

Transportation

Vehicle & train

Budget & exchange

Indian Currency is the Indian Rupee (INR). Please refer to this site to know the exchange rate of the day: http://www.xe.com. You can easily change € or $ in Delhi or Leh.  Credit cards are accepted in all cities in India.

Tips

Tipping is still very present in Asia, hence in India  as well. Linked to the customer's satisfaction, it is an integral part of the “tourism” culture : independent of the salary level, the tip is taken as a sign of appreciation. Its amount depends on your appreciation of the services rendered and your generosity. Your guide can help you on this subject by making a collective envelope to ensure a just share for the staff. Plan a budget of 50 to 60 US$ per participant for a two-week trip for the whole team (English-speaking Altaï Guide, drivers, porters ...). In no way are these compulsory; the tip is not a due and is never a salary.

Vital equipment

Clothes, from head to toe:

- Walking shoes.
- Sandals
- Few pairs socks
- Few T-shirts
- Few warm clothes: fleeces, jackets...
- Hat
- Good Sunglasses
- Light Sleeping Bag

Material

- A toiletry bag and bath towel
- Sunblock cream (face and lips)
- Headlamp, with batteries and spare bulbs
- Pocket knife, multi-purpose preferably




Helpful equipment

- Notebook or travel diary

Luggage

- Suitcase
- Backpack

Passport

The information mentioned is only indicative. They may be subject to change without notice by the concerned authorities. It is therefore prudent to check with embassies and consulates in your country the month before you leave. Passport must be valid for 6 months after the return date.
Children must have an individual passport. They can no longer be registered on their parents' passports. ID card is not accepted

Visa

A valid passport and visa are required for travel to India. The Indian government now offers two options for travelers: a traditional visa and an e-Visa which is issued electronically. A traditional Indian visa is stamped inside the traveler’s passport. The visa application process requires the original passport and original signed application form along with all required supporting documents to be sent to Travisa to process with the Indian Consulate, so the official visa can be issued and stamped inside the traveler’s passport. It is recommended for all travelers to apply for the traditional Indian visa to be stamped inside the passport to avoid possible delays or difficulties upon arrival in India. Select ‘Tourist Visa’ to view requirements. Otherwise, click 'Start Your Order' to apply online for your India e-Visa.

1 Passport Requirements: Scanned copy of passport information page to submit online. The original passport must be signed and valid for 6 months beyond stay in India, and must contain blank visa pages for entry stamps. The original passport must be carried with the traveler and presented for visa on arrival in India.
2 Photo Requirements: Scanned copy or digital passport style photograph to submit online.
3 Proof of Travel Arrangements: Confirmed round-trip or onward airline ticket to be presented on arrival in India.

E- Visa
Services of e-Visa involves completely online application for which no facilitation is required by any intermediary / agents etc.

Visit the official site - indianvisaonline.gov.in - and fill in the application form carefully. You must put NA next to any question you cannot answer. Note that you need to upload a scan of your passport information page and a square photograph, not the usual portrait format. It must be in a particular pixel size too.

e-Visa fee once submitted is non-refundable as the fee is for processing of the application and is not dependent on either Grant or Rejection of Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA).


Mandatory vaccines

Although no vaccine is required, be sure that vaccines commonly used in western countries (tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid) are still valid. Hepatitis A and B vaccines also recommended.

Health information & recommendations

It is recommended to bring your personal medication (in sufficient number): aspirin, elastoplast, iodized alcohol, intestinal antiseptic, small scissors, tricosteril, face and lip sunscreen ... Also think about visiting your dentist, if you have some untreated caries, they have the annoying habit of waking up with altitude.
- Recommendations: Even if no vaccine is required for India, you will ensure that vaccines currently practiced in Western countries (tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid) are still valid. Hepatitis A and B vaccine also recommended. The risk of malaria is small, because we usually move more than 1500/1800 m, above the altitude of life of mosquitoes. The other areas crossed are hardly infested.
- Hygiene: water is not drinkable in India. On the tourist grounds, it is always possible to buy bottled water. However, in order to limit pollution and preserve natural areas, we strongly recommend that you drink purified water. For that, think to bring a water bottle of minimum 1.5 liters and purifying tablets of water (micropur, agua tabs ...). Some hygiene rules: wash your hands frequently, and before each meal (there are pharmacy antimicrobial solutions to use without rinsing, useful in case of excursions); ensure the maintenance of perfect body hygiene and careful care (disinfect) of skin wounds; do not consume tap water, not drinkable, drink only boiled water for 30 minutes then filtered, or preferably bottled water capsulated (avoid drinking natural drinks like pressed fruit juice); do not consume ice cream or "lassi" (milk-based beverage) bought on the street; meat and fish / shellfish should be cooked well before consumption.

Weather

From the eternal snows of high peaks to the tropical lowlands, India has a wide variety of climates.
- In autumn (October to mid-December): the days are very beautiful but can be fresh in altitude and in the desert.
- In winter (m-december to mid-february): The nights are generally cold, the climate is dry. The days are often sunny.
- In summer: it's the monsoon season. May, June, July and August are the hottest months! But since the visits can be planned in the morning, or late afternoon, and it's drive during daytime, Rajajasthan can be pleasant during these months too!

Electricity

In recent years, due to a lack of hydropower facilities, electricity and water outages are becoming more frequent in India, mainly in winter and spring. The hotels have generator but the electricity is limited. It is the same for the consumption of water.

Sustainable tourism

In a concern of respect for the environment, Altai engages for a minimum impact on the environment. Altai has always worked for a more responsible tourism and is part of a journey organization that respects equitable and sustainable principles. Harmonization of practices ensures a fair distribution of economic benefits and improved working conditions of local teams and their awareness of the protection of the environment Adopt, you too, simple actions during your travels and act in favor responsible tourism.

- Avoid leaving garbage behind: drop them in garbage cans or bring them back with you
- Use drinking water sparingly (prefer showers to baths and report leaks) and avoid wasting it (prefer biodegradable soaps for washing etc.)
- Avoid degrading cultural sites: do not touch the statues, do not move stones and objects etc.
- Prefer exchanges to donations (gifts too important given the standard of living of the country can destabilize the local economic balance)
- Take a walk, especially in some fragile ecosystems, observe the wildlife from a distance, do not leave the trails, limit trampling and do not bring back "memories": give up picking rare flowers, collecting fossils, etc.
- In some hotels, you will have individual air conditioning. It is strongly recommended to avoid excessive energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions to cut it systematically when you are not present in the room.
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Buddhi

My local agent
Buddhi

  • Native to Eastern Nepal
  • Trekking guide for more than 20 years
  • Specialist of Annapurnas, Everest, Ladakh and Rajasthan
  • English & French-speaker
  • Good notions of German and Chinese
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Region
India: Rajasthan, Ladakh and Sikkim & Darjeeling
Activity
Hiking & discovering the culture
Duration
12 days
Code
NEPIRAJFIT
Price
From €1,535
Level
1/5
Comfort
4/5

Strengths

- The Majestic Taj Mahal
- The vibrant, pink city of Jaipur
- The spiritual calm of Pushkar
- The colors of the Thar Desert

Required level

This type of trip is of an easy standard and is accessible to all. It is perfect for people who like to hike easy and who are also interested in discovering historic sites, as well as the culture of the country. Walking is the best way to discover varied landscapes, the routes are easy, however it is requested to have good shoes and good hiking equipment.
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