Princess Diary’23 – Rajasthan Tour
India – Rajasthan 27 October – 6 November’ 2023
India called me before I was born. I think. And since then, after numerous trips, each one very different, days filled with mystique of unimaginable beauty, monumental feats of architecture and design – a colorful past and present intertwined with epic history, religion and cultures, it continues to call me loudly. Yes, India sure writes indelible, incredible stories for life, into your heart.
Many women travelers choose India for the adventure, the vibrancy, the glamour of the past, but many, many choose India for the alluring shopping, so remember to pack light – or take an empty suitcase.
The cities I’ve chosen for this particular Princess Tour, will leave you feeling like Rajasthani Princesses, for sure. Each property we check into is Five Star, but actually, all could be classified as six, but is that just my Indian jewel colored glasses now speaking?
In a nutshell…
Delhi has been a favorite destination for photographers in search of the exotic, the chaotic, and the contradictions, and the frenetic beep, beep of the auto rickshaws, all bent on claiming that ‘fastest driver in Delhi’ prize!
City of love, the most precious jewel of India is the “Taj Mahal”. It is also listed in the Seven Wonders of the World
A romantic dusty pink hue — which has defined the city since 1876, after it was painted pink to welcome Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert — gives Jaipur its status as the “Pink City,” as it is commonly known!
Jodhpur, the blue city, was the largest state of Rajputana during the British colonial rule, and why blue houses? It is believed that the blue colour helps in keeping the interiors of the house cool during hot summers, Jodhpur is in the desert, but it also was to deter termites.
Rawla Narlai, a meticulously restored 17th-century royal retreat, is one of Rajasthan’s best-loved heritage hotels. Set in a particularly scenic part of the Aravalli Hills, it is a great base for walking, riding and leopard safaris.
Our Boutique Hotel is brimming with vintage accessories, and very traditional architectural flourishes. It’s a veritable oasis of luxury and comfort, in a quiet stretch of the beautiful Aravalli Hills. Great shopping in Udaipur as well to be had.
Highlights – a selected few….
- Delhi – two nights of Royal splendor
- A wander down Chandi Chowk alley ways – feel alive.
- Visit to India’s largest mosque, Jama Masjid
- Humayun’s Tomb
- Shop at Khan Market – delightful
- Spa treatment included to recover jet lag
- Drive to Agra 3 hours – one night
- Visit the Taj Mahal – totally moving, unbelievable.
- Drive to Jaipur 4hrs – two nights
- Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) Jaipur
- Visit to Amer Fort or ‘Amber Fort’ as the British called it
- Visit Maharaja’s City Palace Jaipur
- Drive to Jodhpur – 5.30hr – Blue city in the desert
- Visit the massive Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur
- Shop in all the right places/bazaars, and warehouses
- Drive Jodhpur to Rawla Narlai 2 hours.
- Check into a 17th century fortress Rawla Narlai one night
- Dinner at a Stepwell – at a unique hunting lodge
- Transfer to Udaipur 2.30hr
- Check into an interior designer gem in Udaipur two nights
- Cruise on the 4km long Lake Pichola
- Jean’s expertise Indian shopping assistance 24/7
- Full breakfast daily, welcome and farewell dinner and step well dinner
If you’d prefer to arrive a day before (to get over jet-lag) please advise – extra costs involved.
27 OCT: ARRIVE DELHI
(Check in at 1400 hrs.)
Meeting and Assistance on arrival at Delhi Airport and transfer to Hotel
As the capital of India, Delhi is the third largest city with a population of approximately 18 million. Its strategic location along the north-south, east-west route has given it a focal position in Indian history and many great empires have been ruled from here. The monuments and ruins of these are scattered throughout the city, often cheek by jowl with modern structures and high-rise towers.
Overnight at the hotel
The Imperial / Imperial Room
An iconic and the most distinguished address situated in the heart of the capital, The Imperial is reminiscent of a golden era in India’s history. A luxury hotel, the Imperial has an awe-inspiring heritage interwoven in colonial elegance and dwells in its modern delivery of old-style class and magnificence. The royal palms that lead up to the porch are an integral part of and witness to the very creation of Delhi. Stroll through its art laden corridors and you’ll feel history come alive. The iconic heritage wrapped in the colonial elegance takes you back in time, making a fabulous impression. On arrival, another world opens up filled with Victorian charm and luxury while you revel in the days of the Raj or seek pleasure on your plate at the award-winning restaurants. Intricate details, space and greenery over eight acres of manicured gardens fashion this royal destination. A 5 star hotel with an award-winning Imperial spa that is known for its holistic treatments and magnificence, it promises to take you back in time. Come and stay with us and your stay will stay with you forever.
28 OCT: DELHI
After breakfast proceed on the city tour of Delhi visiting the Old Delhi where you will view the Red Fort from outside before walking through Chandni Chowk, savoring the ambience of the oriental, crowded bazaar. Afterwards, continue to India’s largest mosque, Jama Masjid.
Afterwards have a brief photo stop at India Gate, a memorial to the Indian servicemen who died in World War I.
A quick stop at Sabyasachi Couture is a must. https://www.sabyasachi.com/
Continue to Humayun’s Tomb (the second Mughal Emperor) built in the mid-16th-century. This tomb is the first great example of a Mughal garden tomb and was the inspiration for several monuments such as the incomparable Taj Mahal.
Later this afternoon proceed on the visit to the Markets of Khan Markets. – Overnight at the hotel
The Imperial / Imperial Room
29 OCT: DELHI TO AGRA
After breakfast drive to Agra, on arrival check in at hotel.
Agra, home to the world famous Taj Mahal. Agra rose to fame in the mediaeval period as the capital of the Mughal Empire and was beautified with gardens, waterfalls, bathhouses and canals. In modern times, the city of Agra houses a thriving carpet industry.
Afternoon visit the Agra Fort situated on the west bank of the Yamuna River and built by Emperor Akbar between 1565 and 1573. Its imposing red sandstone ramparts form a crescent along the riverfront and encompass an enormous complex of courtly buildings, ranging in style from the early eclecticism of Akbar to the sublime elegance of Shah Jahan.
The barracks to the north are British additions from the 19th Century. A deep moat, once filled with water from the Yamuna River, surrounds the fort
We’ll also get our outfits for visiting the Taj in order – maybe henna our hands or feet?
Overnight at the hotel – ITC Mughal/ Mughal Chambers
Sprawled over 93077 sq. m of Mughal-style gardens, with the characteristic use of water channels, fruit trees, flowers and shaded walkways, the resort is a fitting tribute to the great Mughal builders of the past. In close proximity to the Taj Mahal, this luxury resort offers 233 opulent rooms and suites, a resplendent spa, signature cuisine offerings and a range of elaborate banqueting facilities.
30 OCT: AGRA TO JAIPUR
Early morning visit the Taj Mahal in all its glory as the sun is rising. No polluting vehicles are allowed within a 500m radius of the Taj Mahal complex, so at a designated point you will need to board a small electric cart to drive to the entrance gate. Here you will clear security and then be admitted to the complex.
The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631. Spend 2 hours here. For admission to the main mausoleum area you are required to wear shoe covers (they may be provided on site, but please remember to bring an additional pair of socks just in case).
Return to your hotel for breakfast and a chance to freshen up.
After breakfast, drive to Jaipur 4 hrs.
Jaipur – a city founded in 1727 as Mughal power within India was declining. At this time the then Maharaja Jai Singh moved his capital from Amer Fort down onto the plain below. The city is now the capital of Rajasthan State and commonly called the ‘Pink City’ because of the pink paint on the buildings in the old city area. This was apparently done to imitate the magnificent, red sandstone buildings of the Mughals and in an attempt to impress the Prince of Wales when he visited Jaipur in 1876.
Stop off at the Instagrammable Bar Palladio en route to our hotel – there’s some great boutique shops in area as well.
Overnight at the hotel
The Leela – Grand Villa
The Leela Palace Jaipur is a true example of Indian luxury located near the Amber fort on Delhi-Jaipur highway which offers 200 lavish rooms, 22 Villa suites.
31 OCT: JAIPUR
Start today with a brief photo stop at Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), tourists are unable to enter the building so you will be able to view it from the busy street opposite. We’ll also stop for photo opportunity at the flower sellers.
Continue to Amer Fort or ‘Amber Fort’ as the British called it. Erected in 1799 by the Sawai Pratap Singh, Hawa Mahal was built so that the veiled ladies of his harem could observe, unnoticed, the lively street scenes below.
After you arrive at the base of Amer Fort, you will take a jeep ride that will take you all the way up to the entrance.
Inside the fort you will visit the Jag Mandir or the Hall of Victory, which houses the famed Sheesh Mahal.
Visit the Maharaja’s City Palace this afternoon to explore the former Royal residence; part of the building has been converted into a museum, while the Royal family of Jaipur still uses the remaining sections of the palace.
Before returning to the hotel, stop for some shopping inside the walled city, where villagers from around Jaipur come to sell and trade their produce. We’ll also have a shopping stop at the famous Gem Palace, and an amazing block printing store. We will also visit the famous Johri bazaar for shopping pleasures.
The remainder of the evening is free at your leisure – shop, shop, shop, in all the right places!
Overnight at the hotel
01 NOV: JAIPUR TO JODHPUR
Today we drive to Jodhpur, 5.30hrs, the second largest city in Rajasthan, located at the entrance to the Thar Desert in a region called Marwar.
The old city, founded in 1459, is surrounded by a 10km-long wall and situated on a 125m-high hill. The massive Mehrangarh Fort overlooks the city and the red sandstone palaces within the fort form one of the most impressive complexes in Rajasthan.
Overnight at the hotel – Taj Hari Mahal – Deluxe Garden view
A resort with top of the line luxurious amenities, Taj Hari Mahal pulls out all stops for an enchanting vacation in Jodhpur, India’s exotic ‘Blue City’, the second largest in Rajasthan. Spread over six acres of landscaped lawns and manicured gardens, Taj Hari Mahal, our 5 star hotel in Jodhpur, celebrates the grandeur of Rajput and Mughal architecture, from its arch-shaped swimming pool, beguiling frescoes, latticed windows and flower-strewn water fountains to miniature artwork and jewel-toned furnishings inside the plush suites
02 NOV: JODHPUR
After breakfast commence on your sightseeing tour of the city. Your first stop is the 5km long Mehrangarh Fort situated on a 125m-high hill overlooking the city. This is one of the most impressive and formidable structures in Rajasthan. Within the fort are some magnificent palaces with meticulously carved panels, latticed windows or ‘Jarokhas’ with evocative names. The chambers of Moti Mahal, Phool Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, the Sileh Khana and the Daulat Khana are noteworthy for the splendour and glamour of an era gone.
Explore the Local Markets and a wholesaler that is true example of the perfect salesman, in India.
No shopping expedition to Jodhpur is complete without a trip to the institution that is Maharani. Beware of a million copycats of the textile king. The eight-storey labyrinth holds just a fraction of their true stock, which fills warehouses outside the city. The owner will take you through the history of the shop and show you some of their sample pieces, then you can request anything and everything you want to see. The family specialize in textile export, so everything is of the highest quality. Haute-couture houses (Hermes, Kenzo, Miu Miu, Etro, Valentino, Mulberry, Liberty, Conran, Brora, the list goes on) get them to make some of their finest fabrics and he is allowed to sell a select amount of their surplus.
Ps… Richard Geer, Sting, Mick Jagger and others shop here.
We’ll also shop at a fabulous spice shop for our Masala chai spices. Overnight at the hotel – Taj Hari Mahal.
03 NOV: JODHPUR TO NARLAI
After breakfast drive to Narlai, on arrival check in at hotel
Narlai – this 17th century fortress which became an enchanting hunting lodge was gifted by Maharaja Umaid Singh ji of Jodhpur to his younger brother Maharaj Ajit Singhji. Two decades later, Maharaj Swaroop Singh, his son, together with his wife Rani Shadevi under took the project to restore this exotic gem.
Overnight at the hotel – Rawla Narlai – Grand Heritage Rooms https://www.ajitbhawan.com/ajit-narlai/
This unique gem is tucked away amidst the Aravali’s beckoning guests from far and wide. The 17th century ‘Country Manor’, has been painstakingly restored to its original magnificence and caters to an exclusive clientele in its resurrected avatar of an uber-chic boutique getaway.
Evening Enjoy the Dinner at the STEPWELL – also hoping to do our cookery class here, (cooking classes cancelled due to Covid, but here’s hoping it’s reintroduced by time we visit).
04 NOV: NARLAI TO UDAIPUR
After breakfast drive to Udaipur, on arrival check in at hotel.
The origins of Udaipur are based on a legend which tells of a holy sage that Maharaja Udai Singh encountered while hunting in the foothills of the Aravalli Range in Mewar. The sage told the King to build a palace in that exact spot and it would be well protected and so with this advice, Maharaja Udai Singh built his residence there. At the time, Chittorgarh was the capital of Mewar state, however in 1568 Chittorgarh was attacked by the Mughal emperor Akbar, and so Maharaja Udai Singh moved the capital to Udaipur
Overnight at the hotel – Bujera Fort
Udaipur’s only boutique hotel and a gem of a place, is situated on the edge of the small village of Bujera, with distant views of the lake and city. Truly gorgeous, small, friendly and welcoming. The inspired creation of outstanding interior designer Richard Hanlon and Trish McFarlane, it has immense style and sophistication throughout. The Fort has all the feel and atmosphere of a glorious English country house with wonderful fabrics interspersed with Indian antiques, fabrics and “style”. You will only find the best mattresses, pillows and bed linen here, comfort being paramount. In summer there is full central air conditioning and in winter there is heating, working fireplaces and hot water bottles for those chilly winter nights.
05 NOV: UDAIPUR
We begin our second day in Udaipur with a drive around Fateh Sagar Lake, which has a garden café on its island. Located nearby are the Folk Museum and Mewar Art Gallery. Although the Folk Museum is small and has been neglected a bit over the years, the unique variety of ethnic groups and cultures of the hills around Udaipur make this visit well worthwhile. We also visit the Sahelion Ki Bari Garden (Garden for the Maids of Honour). This delightful 18th-century retreat in the north of the city was built for the Queen of Udaipur, whose dowry included 48 maids.
We visit the massive City Palace, which overlooks Lake Pichola. The City Palace, built in 1725, comprises of 11 palaces including the Dilkhush Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Moti Mahal and the Palace of Lord Krishna, all of which are ornately decorated. We then walk down the street leading from the gates of the palace to our bus where we have the opportunity to shop in the local stalls along the way.
Also enjoy a cruise on the 4km long Lake Pichola, fringed with hills, palaces, havelis, ghats and temples. Whilst on the cruise we will see the Lake Palace, formally known as Jag Niwas, it was built between 1734 and 1751. It was once a royal summer retreat and is now one of the world’s greatest hotels. It is also a popular location for film shoots, including James Bond’s Octopussy. Time for some last shopping, always time for shopping in India.
Interested in vintage textiles and banjara bags? Ashoka and brothers shop called Krishna on Lai Ghat not far from City Palace Road.
Overnight at the hotel – farewell dinner included tonight.
06 NOV: UDAIPUR TO DELHI BY FLIGHT & DEPART DELHI
In time transfer to Udaipur Airport to board flight for Delhi, on arrival at Delhi Airport you connect your flight for onward destination
15kgs of check in and 7kgs cabin baggage allowance.
(Excess baggage costs for your account).
(Our services ends with the drop at Udaipur Airport)
Rates are valid for the above mentioned programme
USD$4959 per person twin sharing
USD$1838 per person single supplement
(Quoted – group of ten/twelve)
10 Nights’ accommodation on room plus breakfast basis as per the programme
– Assistance at Airport representatives
– Entrances to the Monuments (Single visit only)
– Services of English Speaking Guide as per the programme,
– Witness the Rickshaw ride in Old Delhi
– Battery Bus ride in Agra while visiting to Taj Mahal
– Early Morning visit to the Taj Mahal at Sunrise
– Enroute visit Fatehpur Sikri
– Jeep Ride to the entrance of the Amber Fort in Jaipur
– Witness a short Rickshaw Ride in Jaipur
– Enjoy the Boat Cruise on Lake Pichola in Udaipur
– Stepwell Dinner in Narlai on Fixed Menu Basis
– Jeep Ride to Bishnoi Villages in Jodhpur
– 01 Welcome Dinner at Hotel in Delhi at 1911 in Imperial on Fixed Manu basis
– 01 Farewell Dinner at Hotel in Udaipur at Bujera Fort on Fixed Menu basis
– All current applicable taxes
– Domestic economy flight Udaipur to Delhi (baggage limitations as mentioned above)
– Spa treatment in Delhi on arrival to assist with jet lag
– 02 surprise dinners added in along our route included
Rates do not include:
– Any Services other than mentioned above.
– No Meals not mentioned
– Any Visa charges, airport taxes, airfare.
– Any items of personal nature like laundry, telephone calls, tips and drinks.
– Any International airfare or personal travel insurance, compulsory.
What to do next?
Complete a booking form – pay your 10% deposit USD$459 to secure your spot.
Final amount payable six weeks before tour (15 September’ 2023).
email@example.com for further information or assistance.