If you are arriving on Day 1 you will be meet and transferred to the group hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure. A group briefing will usually be held on the morning of Day 2. Overnight: Hotel Royal Plaza
This morning we have a briefing before heading out for the day’s sightseeing. We start in New Delhi with a visit to Qutub Minar and the India Gate, followed by lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon we continue to Old Delhi, visiting the Jama Masjid before transferring to the train station for our overnight train to Jaisalmer (departing at approximately 17.30hrs). Before boarding, we have the opportunity to purchased a packed dinner from a nearby restaurant which we can enjoy on the train. Travelling on the railways is one of the great experiences of India – our sleeping berths are comfortable and we reserve 2nd class air conditioned sleeper carriages for our groups (bedding is provided).
Upon arrival in Jaisalmer (at approx 11.00hrs) we are meet by our bus and driver and transferred to the group hotel. After a rest and a chance to freshen up, you are free to wander the bustling bazaar located within the fort. Built in the 12th century, the forts massive entrance gates and narrow, paved stone lanes lead to the outer walls with superb views over the city. This evening visit an ancient Brahmin cemetery on a rise on the north-western edge of town, a popular sunset point from which to view the fort. Overnight: Hotel Rang Mahal
Today we explore the ancient walled city of Jaisalmer. We visit Jaisalmer Fort and the Jain temples, which contain many intricate carvings. We also explore the 'Havelis', the mansions of the wealthy merchants who made their fortunes at a time when Jaisalmer was on the old trade route between the Arabian Sea and the markets of Central India. This afternoon enjoy a sunset camel safari (one hour and thirty minutes). Overnight: Hotel Rang Mahal
With an early start we can reach Jodhpur by lunchtime to allow a free afternoon to visit Meherangarh Fort. Situated on a 125-m-high hill, the fort is the most impressive in Rajasthan. It includes a complex of palaces and museums that reflect the rich cultural history of the region. From the upper ramparts of the fort, we will have 360 degree views of the entire city. We also visit Jaswant Thada, a milky-white marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, sitting above a small lake 1km northeast of Mehrangarh. It’s a welcome, peaceful spot after the hubbub of the city, and the views across to the fort and over the city are superb. Built in 1899, the cenotaph has some beautiful jalis (carved-marble lattice screens) and is hung with portraits of Rathore rulers going back to the 13th century. Overnight: Devi Bhawan
The famed 'Pink City' of Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan. The city was founded by Maharaja Jai Singh in the early 18th century, when he moved from Amber to this new site on the plains. We reach Jaipur in the afternoon. Giving us the rest of the day to explore the city. Overnight: Mandawa Haveli
We continue our program of sightseeing in Jaipur, visiting the Hawa Mahal, the City Palace and the Jantar Mantar; the remarkable observatory that reflects Jai Singh's passion for astronomy. There is also the Old City with its bazaars and the Hawa Mahal (the Palace of the Winds), originally built as part of the City Palace complex to allow the ladies of the royal household to watch everyday life in the city without being observed. Overnight: Mandawa Haveli
Departing from the outskirts of Jaipur we commence the bike section of our trip. Instruction and bike adjustment will take place this morning. We follow the old road that was once a merchant route between the princely state of Alwar and Jaipur. We continue along the Ramgargh road passing small farm settlements and providing endless entertainment to the villagers who are intrigued at the notion of westerners cycling through India. After 17km of cycling we stop at Ramgarh Dam, once the main water source for Jaipur, before continuing to an ancient brick factory, long since abandoned where we stop for a box lunch. After lunch we continue cycling past small towns until late afternoon where stop near Jaisinghpura and travel by vehicle to Sariska Tiger Resort where we will spend two nights. Overnight: Sariska Tiger Resort
Cycling distance: 65km
We continue riding through timeless India, with lush flowering mustard plantations flanked by overhanging willow trees, and ancient ruins standing as witness to the glorious past of this region. Cycle 10 km to beautiful Siliserh Lake and enjoy lunch at a historical property built by Maharaja Vinay Singh in 1845. We continue our ride to Sariska National Park where our cycling ends for today. Sariska National Park was once home to a significant population of tigers, until a few seasons ago, when poaching reduced numbers. However there are many other animals in the park, and the atmosphere and natural surrounds make the visit very much worthwhile. Return to our hotel the Sariska Tiger Resort.
Cycling distance: 41km
Note: Sariska National Park is closed 1 July to 30 September and alternative sightseeing is a visit to Alwar Fort and our overnight accommodation will be in Sariska Tiger Camp Resort.
We ride through a number of small villages to Rajgarh where we stop for a packed lunch. After lunch we continue cycling another 15km before boarding the bus for the journey to Bharatpur via Mahua. Overnight: Kadam Kunj Resort.
Cycling distance: 38km
Today we begin cycling early to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. Our bikes provide a wonderful mode of transport to move around and explore the park, where swamplands provide habitats for hundreds of bird species. We will then travel with our vehicle to Fatehpur Sikri, to explore Akbar's deserted capital, before continuing on to Agra. Overnight: Man Singh Palace
Cycling distance: 28km
In the early morning we have a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan's mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. We continue to Agra Fort, a fitting testimony to the Great Moghuls – Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan – during the era when Agra was the capital of the Moghul empire. From the Red Fort we'll have more views of the Taj Mahal before driving back to Delhi that afternoon where our trip concludes.