Best Exotic Marigold Tour

specialIn the movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, seven English seniors experience changes in their lives which result in their coincidental departure to be the first guests at the wonderful new Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a hotel “for the elderly and beautiful” located in Jaipur. On this tour you visit the cities and buildings used in the movie. Beginning in Delhi, you take “The Walk” learning about the lives of the street children who share their stories. Travel onward to Agra to explore the beautiful Taj Mahal. Explore the bustling, vibrant streets of Jaipur. Step inside of the “Marigold Hotel” walls of Ravla Khempur. This Best Exotic Marigold Tour takes you beyond cinema and gives you an experience to call “your own”.

Day 1 – Delhi
Arrive in Delhi where you will be met by our representative holding a sign with your name on it outside of ground transportation. You will be privately driven to your hotel.

In the afternoon you tour Old Delhi which includes visiting the Jama Masjid Mosque, the Red Fort and Rajghat.

Begin your exploration of this vibrant and historic city of over fifteen million people. This fascinating city has many faces, from the ancient alleyways and monuments of Old Delhi to regal New Delhi. Visit the great mosque of Delhi, Jama Masjid, which dates back to the mid seventeenth century and is the largest mosque in India.

The Red Fort was originally referred to as “Qila-i-Mubarak” or the blessed fort, because it was the residence of the royal family. The layout of the Red Fort was organized to retain and integrate this site with the Salimgarh Fort. The fortress palace was an important focal point of the medieval city of Shahjahanabad. The planning and aesthetics of the Red Fort represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which prevailed during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan.

The Rajghat memorial has the epitaph Hē Ram, (literally ‘O’ Ram’, but also translated to ‘O God’), believed to be the last words uttered by Gandhi. The memorial was designed by Vanu G. Bhuta. It was originally designed to reflect the simplicity of Mahatma Gandhi’s life. The design that won the government of India invitational competition had the black marble slab surrounded by red earth as none of Gandhiji’s ashram residences had any “English lawn”. The memorial has gone through a number of design changes since then, a few at the behest of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India.
Overnight Delhi, 4 star hotel

Day 2 – Delhi
You are met at your hotel and driven to the starting point of the Salaam City Walk, which starts at 10AM.

The Salaam City Walk is a guided tour around the New Delhi Railway Station and Paharganj area in which former street children share their personal stories of survival with the participants and show them the contact points and shelter homes Salaam Baalak Trust provides. For the past three years it has been run by the Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT) – a non-profit organization, taking care of street and former street children living in Delhi. Through this program the young guides get an opportunity to improve their communication and marketing skills independently.

The Walk aims to sensitize people to the lives of street children and helps to provide a deeper insight about street life from the people who have experienced it themselves.

In the afternoon embark on a half day tour of New Delhi to visit Qutab Minar and Humayun’s Tomb.

The Qutub Minar is located in Mehrauli in South Delhi. It was built by Qutub-ud-din Aibak of the Slave Dynasty, who took possession of Delhi in 1206. It is a fluted red sandstone tower, which tapers up to a height of 72.5 meters and is covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Qur’an. Qutub-ud-din Aibak began constructing this victory tower as a sign of Muslim domination of Delhi and as a minaret for the muezzin to call the faithful to prayer.

Explore the 16th century tomb of the Mughal emperor Humayun, with its graceful architecture and recently restored ornamental gardens. This World Heritage-listed site provides an introduction to the Mughal architectural style which reached its peak in the magnificence of the Taj Mahal. Continue to Rajpath – home to India’s government buildings and the President’s residence, all featuring the graceful Lutyen’s architecture which characterizes New Delhi, and India Gate, a memorial to Indian soldiers who gave their lives during World War One .

Later in the afternoon you may wish to explore central Connaught Place with its shopping and restaurants.
Overnight Delhi, 4 star hotel

Day 3 – Delhi/Agra
Morning is free to relax or explore as you wish.

Mid-afternoon, you drive to Agra. Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Overnight Agra, 4 star hotel

Day 4 – Agra( closed on Friday)
Embark on a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal. After breakfast explore more of this amazing monument.

The Taj Mahal was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.” The Taj Mahal is the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Turkish and Indian architectural styles.
Overnight Agra, 4 star hotel

Day 5 – Agra/Jaipur
After breakfast drive to Jaipur stopping to visit Fatehpur Sikri en route (old deserted town of the Mughal Dynasty), a complex of ancient buildings and palaces which was declared a UNESCO world Heritage Site in 1986.

Stop at Abhaneri to see the stepwell (Chand Baowri) as seen as the swimming pool in the film. The “stepwell” or watering hole is an entirely functional structure. When the monsoon rains come, the well fills up to its top level so you do not see any of the stepwell structure that you see in the film. This water hole is called a stepwell because, as the water drops over the course of the dry season, you can always get down to the water level. In the old days it was a big public well, which locals used to get their water. Now it is used frequently for swimming as you see in the film, even though it’s not supposed to be used as such.

Continue onward and visit Castle Kanota, which was shown as the Viceroy Club. Located in Kanota Fort, this “castle” still has traces of colonial architecture, with a corrugated iron canopy built around the original fort that dates from the British occupation. The columns that hold it up are old railway lines. It is very grand and massive, and is the perfect location that is a kind of colonial expat environment. It is where two characters in the film go in search of love and end up finding one another instead.

Upon arrival in Jaipur check into your hotel. The rest of your day is free.
Overnight Jaipur, 4 star hotel

Day 6 – Jaipur
Today explore the “pink city”. Walk Jaipur’s busy streets as seen in the “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”. Visit the flower and vegetable markets where Sonny bought the marigold wreaths.

Explore the Amber Fort on elephants followed by a trip to Kishangar and the “stepwell” watering hole in the Marigold movie.

The Amer or “Amber” Fort is situated on a forested hill, above the Maota Lake near Amer village, about 6.8 miles outside Jaipur, the Capital of Rajasthan. A narrow jeepable road leads up to the entrance gate, known as the Suraj Pol or the Sun Gate of the fort but elephant rides are popular through the narrow passage through the Sun Gate.

Many of the ancient structures of the medieval period of the Meenas have been either destroyed or replaced. However, the 16th century impressive edifice of the Amer Fort and the palace complex within it built by the Rajput Maharajas are very well preserved.

Visit Panna Mina Kund, another stepwell nearby, which was also shown in the movie.

Kishangar is visited in the cremation part of the film, when the characters are in an old, royal ruined garden and a lake to pay their last tribute to their fellow traveler. This part was filmed in Kishangar, between Jaipur and Udaipur, although it was originally to have been Udaipur.
Overnight Jaipur, 4 star hotel

Day 7 – Jaipur
After breakfast see the Hawa Mahal or “Palace of the Winds”, and the City Palace.

The Palace of the Winds was built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, and designed by Lal Chand Ustad in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god, in 1799. Its unique five-story exterior is akin to the honeycomb of the beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas that are decorated with intricate latticework. The intention of the lattice was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen, since they had to observe strict face cover or “purdah”. Built of red and pink sandstone, the palace is situated on the main thoroughfare in the heart of Jaipur’s business center and forms part of the City Palace. It is particularly striking when viewed early in the morning, when it is alit with the golden light of sunrise. Return to Jaipur. The rest of your day is at leisure.
Overnight Jaipur, 4 star hotel

Day 8 – Jaipur/Udaipur
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Udaipur. You are met upon arrival by our representative and driven to your hotel. The rest of your day is at leisure.
Overnight Udaipur, 4 star hotel

Day 9 – Udaipur
Today visit the “Marigold Hotel” and Lake Pichola.

Ravla Khempur was originally a tribal chieftain’s palace but now it operates as an equestrian hotel in the village of Khempur, about an hour and a half outside of Udaipur. The hotels ’character is that of a It needed to have a feeling of being a refuge or a place where the seven characters wouldn’t immediately leave and try to seek alternative accommodation. It’s an interesting structure in the film because it has multiple levels and rooms that defy any kind of modern western concept of what a room would be according to the film’s director.

Lake Pichola is an artificial fresh water lake which was created in 1362 AD and named after the nearby Picholi village. It is one of the several lakes developed over the last few centuries in and around Udaipur. The lakes around Udaipur were primarily created by building dams to meet the drinking water and irrigation needs of the city. Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir are two islands located in the Lake, and have been developed with several palaces to provide views of the lake.
Overnight Udaipur, 4 star hotel

Day 10 – Udaipur
Today explore the City Palace.

Udaipur’s City Palace was built in a flamboyant style and is considered the largest of its type in Rajasthan. It’s design is a fusion of the Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles, and was built on a hill top that gives a panoramic view of the city and its surrounding, including several historic monuments such as the Lake Palace in Lake Pichola, the Jag Mandir on another island in the lake, the Jagdish Temple close to the palace, the Monsoon Palace on top of an overlooking hillock nearby and the Neemach Mata temple. These structures were used in the filming of the James Bond movie Octopussy, which features the Lake Palace and the Monsoon Palace. Udaipur is called the “Venice of the East”. Udaipur was rated the top city in the World’s Best Awards by Travel + Leisure in 2009.

The rest of your day is free to explore as you wish.
Overnight Udaipur, 4 star hotel

Day 11 – Udaipur/Mumbai
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Mumbai. You are met upon arrival by our representative and driven to your hotel. The rest of your day is at leisure.
Overnight Mumbait, 4 star hotel

Day 12 – Mumbai
In the morning you take a half day city tour. Visit India Gate, Marine Drive, Colaba and Victoria Terminus. The rest of your day is free to shop or explore as you wish.
Overnight Mumbai 4 star hotel

Day 13 – Depart Mumbai
Transfer to the airport for your flight onward.

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