India general information and map
Capital: New Delhi
Getting there: There are regular direct flights from London to Delhi and Bombay with several major airlines including Air India, British Airways and Virgin. Flying time from London to Delhi takes 8 hours and 45 minutes, and from London to Bombay takes 9 hours and 15 minutes.
Time: GMT plus 5 hours and 30 minutes.
Try not to miss: The culture and history of Rajasthan, whose extravagant forts, palaces and temples are famous throughout the world, and a legacy from the aristocratic Maharajas that once ruled this semi desert landscape. Unmissable sights in Rajasthan include the Taj Mahal, the Amber Fort and the 14th century Jain Temples at Ranakpur situated in a peaceful valley through the Aravali hills. If possible time your visit to coincide with either the Pushkar Fair in autumn or the equally absorbing Nagaur Fair in February, where thousands gather to witness colourful stockmen plying their trade, accompanied by cattle, camels and horses. Rajasthan is especially well served by the quality and variety of accommodation available to the visitor, ranging from the most extravagant palaces and forts to historic family houses.
The great forests of central India that are home to the last of the sub continent’s once flourishing populations of wild elephant, tiger and rhinoceros. Three of the best places in which to glimpse a sight of the iconic wild tiger are in Bandavgarh and Kanha National Parks or at Ranthambore tiger reserve, where we work with lodges offering high standards of comfort and service, and with guides who have a proven track record of providing their clients with regular tiger sightings. The Himalayan foothills in the north are also spectacularly beautiful, divided by deep forested valleys whose fast flowing rivers are home to mighty mahseer fish.
Kerala lies between the Deccan Plateau in the south west and the azure Indian Ocean. The pace of life throughout this rural region of palm trees, lagoons, lakes, rivers and canals is noticeably slower and more laid back than other parts of India, making it the perfect antidote to the dust and bustle of Rajasthan. Further north, the beaches of tropical Goa have retained the charm and ambience that made this region so attractive those seeking an alternative lifestyle in the sixties.
Visas: UK passport holders require visas for India, which must be obtained prior to travel.
Why India: For the colour and culture of Rajasthan, the chance to see a tiger in the wild in either Bandavgarh or Kanha National Parks, and the west coast’s sleepy Indian Ocean.
Wild and Exotic best of India
Day 1: Arrive Delhi and transfer to one of our recommended hotels for an overnight stay.
Day 2: Full day sightseeing of Delhi, which is today the political, economic and cultural capital of the World’s largest democracy and has also become one of the greatest tourist centres of the World. The old city, built by Shah Jehan in the 17th century, stands today as an epitome of the whole history of Indo- Islamic architecture. New Delhi, designed and constructed by the Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker is a mixture of east and west. The public buildings in red sandstone are in the Moghul style. It has a circular Parliament House and an imposing Central Secretariat in two blocks which stand at the approaches to Rashtrapati Bhawan, the residence of the President of India.
Today you will have the opportunity to explore Old Delhi, beginning with the Jama Mosque and a rickshaw ride in the bye lanes of fabled Chandani Chowk, the main area of the old city, the Red Fort ( UNESCO World Heritage Site ), built by the builder of the Taj Mahal – Shah Jehan, and famous for its delicately carved, inlaid and marbled Royal Chambers; Raj Ghat, where the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi was cremated; Gandhi Memorial Museum; Feroze Shah Kotla- ruins of the old fortress and also the Ashok Pillar. The sights of New Delhi include Humayun’s Tomb ( UNESCO World Heritage Site ) aptly called predecessor of the Taj Mahal. Drive past Safdarjung’s Tomb, the Qutab Minar( UNESCO World Heritage Site ), 72 meters high and one of the perfect towers of the Persian World. Nearby, amidst the ruins of the Quwut – ul – Islam Mosque stands the Iron pillar, which has survived the vagaries of the weather and not rusted over 1500 years. Overnight in your Delhi hotel.
Day 3: Fly to Jodhpur and transfer to one of our recommended hotels before a tour of Jodphur, the former capital of Marwar state, which was founded by Rao Jodha Singh. A flourishing trading centre in 16th century, the city has grown to become the second largest city of Rajasthan and is still one of the leading centres for wood, cattle, camels, salt and agriculture in Rajasthan. However, the city boasts of some very fine reminders of her glorious past including palaces, forts, temples and other elegant monuments of architectural and historical value. These include the 400 foot high Mehrangarh Fort which contains a complex of ethereal palaces notable for their exquisite lattice work and offer breathtaking views of the city. Work began on this massive citadel in 1479 by Rao Jodha, founder of Jodhpur. Certain halls in the palaces have been made into a museum with a display of the royal collection of arms, palanquins, howdahs, cradles, miniature paintings, and personal heirlooms. Overnight in Jodphur.
Day 4: After breakfast, drive to Ranakpur (about 3 ½ hours drive) to visit the famous 14/15th century Jain Temples, which are fashioned from white marble. Ranakpur is situated in the peaceful valley of the Aravali range of hills which are said to be older than the mighty Himalayas. The Ranakpur temple complex is the biggest in India having 29 halls and 1444 pillars each of which are intricately carved and are every bit as spectacular as the Taj Mahal. After visiting the temples, drive to Kumbhalgarh fort (approx 90mins) in the Aravali hills through beautiful. Kumbalgarh Fort was built in the 15th century by a Rajput ruler, Maharana Kumba of Mewar and has been an unassailable ever since – guarded by several iron gates and walls that are impossible to scale. The fort is famous for its parapets having a parameter of 36 kms around the fort and being wide enough to accommodate eight horses. Within the Fort are more than 350 temples spread over the entire area. The scenic surroundings are spellbinding. Overnight at Kumbhalgarh.
Day 5: After a leisurely breakfast, drive down to Udaipur (approx 2 ½ hours) and check in to one of our recommended hotels for lunch. Afterwards enjoy a tour of this fascinating city, which is set amidst the verdant Aravali hills of southern Rajasthan, In dramatic contrast to the battle-scarred, desert-bound, fortress towns of the state, Udaipur presents an enchanting picture of white marble palaces, placid blue lakes, and a girdle of green hills that keep the wilderness at bay. Udaipur, also known as the City of Lakes, was founded by Maharana Udai Singh after his former base, the Chittaurgarh Fort, was sacked in 1567 by Emperor Akbar’s army. Overnight in Udaipur.
Day 6: Day to further explore this beautiful and fascinating city with your private guide.
Day 7: After an early breakfast, drive to Chittorgarh (approx 2hrs drive ) and visit the Chittorgarh Fort, which dates from the 7th century. It remained the capital of the local Sisodia clan of Rajputs from the 8th to the 16th century, and was sacked three times by Muslim rulers in the medieval period. The Victory Tower or Vijay Stambh is one of fort’s most interesting features; it was built by Rana Kumbha to commemorate his victory over Mahmud Khilji, the ruler of Malwa in 1440. The Tower of Fame or Kirti Stambh is another important monument. This 22-m-high tower, with carvings of Jain deities, was built in 12th century and is dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain Tirthankara (spiritual leader). Afterwards you will be driven to Bundi (approx 2 ½ hrs drive ) for an afternoon tour of this medieval town followed by an overnight stay in one of our recommended hotels. The Taragarh Fort, or ‘Star Fort’ is the most impressive of the city’s structures and was built on a steep hill overlooking the city in AD 1354. Other sites of interest include the Bundi Palace, the intricately carved Rani Ki Baori step well and Nagar Sagar twin step wells.
Day 8: After breakfast, drive to Ranthambhore ( about 02 ½ hrs drive ) and transfer to one of our recommended hotels before an afternoon game viewing in the Ranthambore National Park. Nestling between the Aravali and the Vindhya ranges in southeast Rajasthan, the Ranthambhore National Park is a former hunting area of the Maharajas, and is now one of India’s conservation success stories and a famous tiger reserve. The park extends to some 400 square kms of rocky plains, flat hill tops, gentle slopes and precipitous cliffs covered by dry deciduous forests. The National Park is also home to a variety of other wildlife including the Sambhar, Cheetal or spotted deer, leopard, sloth bear, Chinkara gazelle, wild boar, Indian porcupine, jackal, hyena, marsh crocodile, the elusive caracal and over 300 species of birds. You will spend the next two days exploring the park and searching for tigers and other game. Overnight Ranthambore.
Day 9: Game viewing in Ranthambhore National Park.
Day 10: Game viewing in Ranthambhore National Park.
Day 11: After breakfast, drive to Jaipur ( about 03 hrs ) and check in to one of our recommended hotels before a sightseeing tour of Jaipur, the rose-pink capital of Rajasthan, which is surrounded on all sides by rugged hills crowned with forts. Enclosed by embattled walls, the city was built early in the eighteenth century. The Maharaja’s palace stands in the centre of the city amidst lovely gardens. Houses with latticed windows line the streets, their rose-pink colour lending enchantment to the scene and almost magical at sunset. Jaipur is aptly called the ” Pink City of India”. It takes its name from the famous Maharana Sawai Jai Singh, who founded the city in 1728. A keen astronomer, he built an observatory which still exists and is equipped with quaint masonry instruments of remarkable size. This observatory, called the Jantar Mantar, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Jaipur is also noted for its craftsmen skilled in the art of cutting precious stones and famed for its garnets and rubies.
Day 12: After breakfast you will be collected from your hotel and driven 12 kms to the Amber Fort. Jaipur. lies the city of Amber with an ancient imposing fort cum Palace overlooking the lake at the entrance to a rocky mountain grove. Built in the 17th century, the palace is a distinguished specimen of Rajput architecture. The Jai Mandir (hall of victory) is so delicately ornamented with fine inlay work that it glows. The fort of Jaigarh, crowning the summit of a peak is of amazing beauty and grandeur. An afternoon at your leisure for sightseeing and shopping. Overnight in Jaipur.
Day 13: You will be collected after breakfast and driven to Agra (approx 4 ½ hrs) to visit the Agra fort. You will also visit Fatehpursikri city en route, which was the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1573. However, after the city was abandoned by Akbar in 1585 to fight a campaign in the Punjab, the city seems to have declined just as rapidly so that by 1610 it was completely abandoned. The reason for the sudden decline of the city is usually given as the failure of the water supply, however the real reason may have been the emperor’s loss of interest in the place.
The Agra Fort is one of the most important and robustly built stronghold of the Mughals, embellished with number of richly decorated buildings encompassing the imposing Mughal style of art and architecture. It was constructed by the third Mughal emperor Akbar between 1565 and 1573. Spread over a site nearly 100 acres in size, the fort comprises several fairy-tale palaces, such as the Jehangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, (constructed by the builder of Taj Mahal and two very beautiful mosques. After visiting the Fort you will be driven to the short distance to Agra for an overnight stay.
Day 14 : This morning you will visit the Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world built between 1631 and 1648 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan in memory of his beloved consort Mumtaz Mahal. The white marble monument sums up many of the formal themes that have played through Islamic architecture and its refined elegance is a conspicuous contrast both to the Hindu architecture of pre-Islamic India and the Indo-Islamic styles from Persian and Turkish sources. After lunch you will be driven back to Delhi (approx 3 ½ hrs) and transferred to International airport in time for your flight home.
Please note this is a sample itinerary only and can be modified and refined according to your requirements. Guests wishing to extend their stay by visiting southern India should please contact us for further information a sample itinerary for this extension.
The price of this holiday will be based on double accommodation as described on the itinerary and will be inclusive of all activities and transfers described including the services of a private guide, who will be at your disposal throughout your stay in India. Unless specifically requested, guides do not normally dine with their clients. Unless otherwise stated the price will include breakfast at all destinations, leaving you to have lunches and dinners at the restaurants of your own choice. The price does not include items of a personal nature, gratuities, etc.
Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.
“We had a great trip to India, as a family we have been unable to find fault with anything, your teams over there were with out fail brilliant. A truly memorable experience.”
“Wonderful time. Fantastic country. Lovely people. Horses were great. Bonnie and his team were so organised and just couldn’t do enough for us. We really liked Dundlod and the camping and Pushkar fair and there’s no better way to see a country than the back of a horse. Definitely do one of these holidays again.”