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Moghuls & Mystics

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Moghuls & Mystics

1-Join tour Delhi
Our journey begins in the Indian capital today, where later this afternoon there will be a briefing outlining the plans and itinerary for the coming days ahead. This afternoon we include a city tour of the sights of New Delhi. The Indian capital has long been a phoenix rising again and again out of its own ruins. New Delhi was the creation of the British Raj of the 30’s and includes the Lok Sabha (Parliament), India Gate, the Rajpath, Qutb Minar and, Humayun’s Tomb.
Overnight: Simple Hotel
Single Room option available

2-AM city tour; PM train to Agra
This morning we explore Old Delhi by metro and cycle rickshaw. The former capital of the 17th century Moghul emperor Shan Jahan, the Old City is a magnificent blend of architectural splendour and vibrant chaos, the very image of an Indian city and all centred on the bustling Chandni Chowk Bazaar. The tour will take in the spectacular Jami Masjid Mosque, the largest in India and Shah Jahan’s magnificent swansong. Taking 6 years to complete, the mosque is a majestic structure, featuring three gateways and two towering minarets that stand some 40m high. Built from sandstone and marble its vast courtyard can hold upwards of 25,000 worshippers and from the top of the southern minaret you can get a clear view of the architectural grandeur of colonial Delhi. After the tour there will be an option to remain in Old Delhi and make your way back to the hotel later, meeting with the rest of the group in time to transfer to the New Delhi station later this afternoon for the train on to Agra.
Overnight: Simple Hotel
Single Room option available

3-Taj Mahal visit
This morning your tour leader will organise a rickshaw ride for a visit to one of the most universally recognised buildings on earth. The Taj Mahal was built by the emperor Shah Jahan to honour the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, and was once described by Rudyard Kipling as ‘…the embodiment of all things pure’. Built of marble and decorated with the most exquisite inlay work, it required the labours of 20,000 men and is estimated to have cost something in the region of 3 million rupees (at today’s prices around $70 million). We’ll watch the sunrise over this iconic masterpiece, before returning to the hotel for breakfast, after which the rest of the day is free to enjoy as you wish. Once the capital of the mighty Moghul Empire, the city is littered with some of the country’s most opulent and spectacular buildings and one particularly fine example is its imposing fort, whose grandeur and importance has seen it inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Built by Emperor Akbar and then embellished by his grandson, Shah Jahan, this was once a great city, with palaces, mosques and halls all lying behind the protective embrace of 20m high walls. Another place you can visit is the exquisite Itimad-ud-Daulah on the east bank of the river, a 17th century tomb built for the Emperor Jehangir’s chief minister, also known as the Baby Taj. There is also a possibility of returning to the Taj Mahal, to watch the sunset later this afternoon.
Overnight: Simple Hotel
Single Room option available

4-Explore Fatehpur Sikri; Drive to Jaipur
The capital of the state of Rajasthan, Jaipur was India’s first planned city and is considered by many to be one of the finest planned cities anywhere, the usual Indian urban chaos being replaced by wide streets and formal gardens. This morning we will visit to the once mighty Rajput capital of Amber and its magnificent fortress. Lying at the mouth of a rocky mountain gorge, overlooking Maotha Lake, the fort is a stunning creation of white marble and red sandstone that contains a dazzling mix of Hindu and Muslim ornamentation, including the breathtaking mirrored halls of the Sheesh Mahal. It was from these towering walls that the Kachchawahas ruled over their kingdom for some 7 centuries, until its importance was eclipsed by nearby Jaipur. We will also take in the unique Hawa Mahal, the famous Palace of the Winds, whose extraordinary façade of red and pink sandstone towers some 5 storeys above the city streets. Built at the end of the 18th century its 935 windows were designed to allow the women of the harem to gaze out on the city scene below without themselves being seen, the openings also creating a refreshing breeze (hawa), which kept the palace cool even in the hot summer months. After the visit we will join a local family to experience a traditional Rajasthani lunch.
Overnight: Simple Hotel
Single Room option available

5-Amber Fort visit; lunch with a local family
A morning train journey takes us on to the city of Ajmer, a famous Muslim pilgrimage centre that is home to the tomb of a 13th century Sufi saint. Lying some 130km from Jaipur it lies sandwiched between the waters of the Ana Sagar Lake and the Aravali Hills and our train should get us into the city around lunchtime. From here we then transfer by jeep to the nearby Hindu pilgrimage town of Pushkar. After check in you have the option to go on a camel safari for sunset views of the town.
Overnight: Simple Hotel
Single Room option available

6-Train to Pushkar; optional camel ride
Overnight: Simple Hotel
Single Room option available

7-Free morning to explore Pushkar; afternoon train to Delhi
For those that wish, there is also a chance to take a hike up into the nearby hills to visit the Savitri temple for sunrise (optional). Dedicated to Brahma’s first wife, the temple lies at the end of a long series of steps that run behind the Brahma Temple and from its lofty vantage point the views out across the lake and the surrounding dunes offer a breathtaking setting from which to watch the arriving dawn. You also have the option to chill in one of the many lake side cafes and shop in the colourful market before we transfer to the railway station in Ajmer for the train back to Delhi. Travelling on the Shatabdi Express our journey back to the capital should take us around 7 hours, with dinner being provided on the train.
Overnight: Simple Hotel
Single Room option available

8-Tour ends Delhi
Our tour ends this morning after breakfast.

Tour includes:

7 Breakfast
1 Lunch
Bus, Train, 4WD, Rickshaw
7 nights Simple Hotel
Tour Staff:
Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader, Local Guide(s)
Group Size:
Generally 10 – 16

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explore holidaysExplore have been running small group adventure holidays throughout the world since 1981 and have a vast array of experience, knowledge and well established close personal contacts in all the countries in which they operate, which makes them stand out as one of the most trusted adventure tour operators in the UK.

They are passionate about what they do, and above all, simply love nothing more than to travel. The founder directors ran overland trips through Asia, Africa and the Americas in the 1960s and 70s prior to setting up the company, and were determined that the spirit of adventure that was such an important part of those early pioneering days, should continue to play key role as part of the driving ethos of Explore.

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It is little wonder that over 60% of all Explore customers who travel each year have travelled with them previously, Explore are clearly committed to the “travel experience” and their itineraries are always offer that slight “Explore Twist” which makes them even more appealing.

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