Festival of Elephants (12 days)

North India during ‘festival’ takes on special meaning. Bursts of color, song, drums, trumpets, dance, elephants in regal garb, banners, fireworks, processions mark the season. Festivals of India portray a rich cultural heritage of the country and this tour is an example of these festivities at its finest. The Elephant Festival, held annually in Jaipur, is a spectacular event. Groomed to perfection, glittering in gold, row upon row of elephants in procession with camels, horses and followed by lively folk dancers celebrating the majesty of the elephant, long associated with the royalty of India. Festival of Elephants takes you back to the day when the Maharaja was King!

Day 1 – Delhi
Arrive in Delhi where you will be met and driven to your hotel.  Tour the historic sights of Old Delhi, including the Red Fort, once the most opulent fort of the Mughal Empire, and the Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque.

Day 2 – Delhi/Varanasi
You are driven to the airport for your flight to Varanasi where you will be met and driven to your hotel. Travel this holy city on the Ganges by rickshaw and tour this medieval city.  Visit Sarnath where the Buddha first taught.

Day 3 – Varanasi/Khajuraho
This morning, take a boat ride at sunset on the Ganges, along the ‘ghats’ (stone steps which lead down to the river), to see the gathered faithful, ritually cleansing themselves of their sins. In the afternoon you are driven to the airport for your flight to Khajuraho where you will be met and driven to your hotel.

Day 4 – Khajuraho
After breakfast visit the Eastern and Western group of the Chandela Dynasty Temples, famous for their sculptures and erotic carvings.

Day 5 – Khajuraho/ Orchha/ Agra
Today drive to Orchha to visit its medieval palaces and temples. Early evening, board the Shatabdi Express Train to Agra.  You will be met at the train station and driven to your hotel.

Day 6 – Agra
Sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal. After breakfast, visit the vast complex of the Agra Fort with its palaces and hall of public & private audience.

Day 7 – Agra/Fatehpur Sikri/Jaipur
Drive into Rajasthan and to its capital, Jaipur. En route visit Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted red sandstone capital city of the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar.

Day 8 – Jaipur/Elephant Festival
Today enjoy the Elephant Festival with all its color & majesty.

Day 9 – Jaipur
This morning drive outside of the city to Amber, where you will ride on stately elephants to the ancient capital and magnificent fort of Amber, perched on a hill over Maota Lake. En route you will see the Palace of Winds or ‘Hawa Mahal’. This afternoon visit the vast City Palace and the Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory. This afternoon is free to enjoy browsing the local gem market and bazaar or at your palace hotel.

Day 10 – Jaipur/Ranakpur/Udaipur
Drive to Udaipur visiting en route the Jain Temples at Ranakpur, the most impressive in all of India. You will be taken to your hotel in Udaipur.

Day 11 – Udaipur
 Journey deeper into Rajasthan to the princely state of Mewar,known for its lakes, palaces, and gardens. Visit to the vast City Palace and the Crystal Gallery, filled with furnishings hand carved from crystal. Walk through the old narrow streets of the spice and silver markets.

Day 12 – Depart Udaipur/Delhi
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

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