- Experience the beauty of the Taj Mahal
- Go tiger-spotting on safari in Ranthambore National Park
- Ride an elephant up to the Amer Fort
- Wander the "Blue City's" bazaars in Jodphur
- Sail along Udaipur's romantic Lake Pichola
|Day 1||Arrive in Delhi||Delhi|
|Day 2||Tour of New Delhi, National Rail Museum & Humayun's Tomb||Delhi|
|Day 3||Transfer to Agra, Sloth Bear Rescue Center & Taj Mahal||Agra|
|Day 4||Transfer to Bharatpur via Fatehpur Sikri||Bharatpur|
|Day 5||Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary, Transfer to Ranthambore||Ranthambore|
|Day 6||Tiger Safari in Ranthambore National Park, Ranthambhore Fort||Ranthambore|
|Day 7||Transfer to Jaipur, Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort, Village Trip & Bollywood Movie||Jaipur|
|Day 8||Tour Jaipur, Block Printing, Elephant Experience & Cooking Class||Jaipur|
|Day 9||Transfer to Pushkar, Explore Villages & Holy Sites||Pushkar|
|Day 10||Transfer to Jodhpur, Explore the "Blue City"||Jodhpur|
|Day 11||Mehrangarh Fort & Jaswant Thada, Explore the Bazaars||Jodhpur|
|Day 12||Transfer to Udaipur, Boat Ride on Lake Pichola||Udaipur|
|Day 13||Explore Udaipur||Udaipur|
|Day 14||Fly to Delhi & Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Delhi
Welcome to Delhi! Your driver will meet you and your family at New Delhi airport and then take you to your accommodation. You'll have a chance to ask questions along the way as your driver explains your itinerary and talks about the points of interest. Once you've settled in, your guide will take you to the Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in 1192, it is nevertheless still one of the world's tallest minarets at 238 feet (72.5m). The minaret is surrounded by gardens, making this a great place to let the kids stretch their legs.
Next, head to the Kingdom of Dreams. Here you'll find two theaters showing Bollywood musicals and mythological shows, accompanied by spectacular lighting and special effects. The whole family will get a chance to participate in a mock Bollywood wedding, a memorable way to celebrate the start of your trip! Don't miss Culture Gully, an on-site showcase of Indian craft, cuisine, and tradition from each region of the country. Relax with the kids, take in a show, and enjoy the excitement, flavors, and sounds. Afterward, transfer back to your hotel for dinner and prepare for tomorrow's adventures.
Day 2: Tour of New Delhi, National Rail Museum & Humayun's Tomb
After a relaxed breakfast, take the family out on a guided tour of New Delhi. Your first stop will captivate the younger ones and any train enthusiasts in the family―the National Rail Museum. With a simulated working railway yard and life-size exhibits, your family will learn about 166 years of rail history as you explore a collection of diesel, electric, and steam locomotives. There's even a mini steam-train ride, sure to be a favorite with the kids. Dine at the on-site cafeteria, or, even better, bring a few things and picnic on the grounds.
Next, take in the historical monuments of New Delhi in a whistle-stop tour of the last few hundred years. Your guide will take you to the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, past colonial-era buildings along the Rajpath, the Presidential Palace and India Gate (a memorial to Indian soldiers who fell in World War I), and finally, to Humayun's Tomb. Built in 1564 by emperor Humayun's widow, Haji Begum, you'll be impressed by this beautiful mausoleum and its gardens. Finally, it's on to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, a Sikh place of worship. See the famous Sarovar, the temple's pool, and the inspiring community kitchen where over 20,000 people eat for free every day.
Day 3: Transfer to Agra, Sloth Bear Rescue Center & Taj Mahal
Get the kids up and fed early today, as you're heading to Agra. The drive is four hours, but it'll be broken up with a stop-off that the kids will love―the Sloth Bear Rescue Center. The whole family will be enchanted as you watch over 200 sloth bears (rescued from "dancing") forage, play, climb, and dig in their natural habitat. When you hit the road again, you'll be driving back into the era of the Mughals―you'll see some amazing architecture in Agra, the most famous, of course, being the Taj Mahal. Once you get there, take a bit of time to settle into your accommodation and refresh yourselves.
When you're ready, take a tuk-tuk to the "Moonlight Garden" of Mehtab Bagh. The kids will love riding on the motorbike taxi, but the views from the garden are even more impressive. The perfect place to view the Taj Mahal without all the crowds, you'll find the outlook framed by a beautiful garden replete with fountains, ponds, and ornamental domes, with plenty of space for the kids to scamper around. Afterward, make your way to the Agra Bazaar and meet descendants of the families who worked on the Taj Mahal―many of whom still carry on the traditional work of making beautiful inlays of precious stones and white marble.
Day 4: Transfer to Bharatpur via Fatehpur Sikri
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Today you'll head onward to the city of Bharatpur, famous for its extensive bird sanctuary. On the way, you'll stop off at the ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri. This was once the capital of the Mughal Empire, and the reason for its abandonment is unclear (theories include a military campaign, a fragile water supply, or a simple loss of interest on the part of the emperor). A marvel of architecture, savor the sense of mystery and the comparative lack of crowds as the kids scamper around the well-preserved buildings. You'll take a lunch break here before continuing to Bharatpur.
Although you're here mainly for the wildlife outside the walls, it's worth spending the rest of the day exploring the city itself. Head to the historic Lohargarh Fort. There you'll find the Government Museum and artifacts of past Bharatpur royalty―an intriguing collection of sculptures, terracotta, coins, weapons, and local art. There's a collection of tiny miniature paintings on peepal tree leaves sure to enchant the younger ones. Head to your accommodation afterward and relax for the evening.
Day 5: Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary, Transfer to Ranthambore
Spend the morning in the UNESCO World Heritage bird sanctuary of Keloadeo. Traveling by cycle rickshaw, you and the kids will enjoy the peaceful surroundings as you keep your eyes peeled for up to 366 bird species, 379 floral species, fish, lizards, frogs, and turtles. As if this isn't abundant enough, as you travel through the varied landscape of grassland, woodland, and wetland, you'll also find larger mammals―hyenas, gazelle, boar, wildcats, and nilgai (antelope). Afterward, head to your next destination, Sawai Madhopur, stopping for lunch on the way. On arrival, settle into your accommodation and relax over dinner.
Day 6: Tiger Safari in Ranthambore National Park, Ranthambhore Fort
Today brings another fantastic chance to soak up India's natural beauty—beginning bright and early with a sunrise safari by Jeep. Ranthambore is the former hunting reserve of Jaipur's Maharajas, and there is still an abundance of wildlife species fit for a king. Two three-hour safaris will give your family the best chance of spotting the elusive Bengal tigers, and you and the kids can also find a host of other exciting animals―leopards, foxes, monkeys, bears, and hundreds of species of birds and lizards.
Between your safaris, you'll relax over a delicious lunch back at your hotel. If you and the kids still have some energy to burn, head for the imposing Ranthambore Fort, high on the hillside. There you'll enjoy panoramic views of the towns and countryside. Construction began in the 10th century and continued over various dynasties, so you'll find several architectural styles and temples. The kids will perhaps be most fascinated by the parrots, monkeys, and peacocks that now inhabit this majestic complex.
Day 7: Transfer to Jaipur, Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort, Village Trip & Bollywood Movie
It's time to head to the third city in India's Golden Triangle, Jaipur. The capital of Rajasthan, the "Pink City" has captivated countless visitors with its palaces, forts, and blend of architectural styles. Check in to your accommodation and then head to one of the most famous monuments, the "Palace of the Winds," Hawa Mahal. With an incredible honeycomb of 953 windows, this facade allowed the royal harem to watch street processions unseen. Next up is the Amer Fort. The kids will love exploring the ornate fort, a former royal residence―but the biggest drawcard for them is likely to be the elephant ride to the top!
In the late afternoon, you'll get a hands-on experience of a very different lifestyle, that of a farmer in a traditional village. Experience the warmth of local hospitality while you observe daily life in the village, with all its tasks, traditions, customs, and ceremonies. You'll have the privilege of meeting people in their own homes and, with a little help from the guide, ask them any questions you may have. On the way home, your family has the option of heading to Kerala Ayurveda Kendra to experience another aspect of Indian culture―a traditional Ayurvedic massage.
In the evening, relax in Jaipur's Art Deco-style Raj Mandir Cinema with a Bollywood movie. The cinema is a destination in itself, with a striking and opulent interior. The film will be in Hindi but is nevertheless an enjoyable spectacle of color, music, and dancing. Even if the kids won't last the full movie, it's worth heading there just for the experience―your driver can pick you up early from the cinema and take you back to your accommodation once the younger ones have run out of patience!
Day 8: Tour Jaipur, Block Printing, Elephant Experience & Cooking Class
Experience the vibrancy of Jaipur today with a multi-faceted cultural tour. Your family will begin by ticking off a few more of its most beautiful sights. Arrive at the City Palace early to enjoy it before the crowds and take your time admiring the ornate pink architecture and artwork. There's a delightful maze of courtyards, doorways, and corridors―perfect for you and the kids to explore. On-site, you'll also find displays, a museum, and an art gallery. Time it right, and you'll catch a traditional puppet show. Next, drive to Jantar Mantar, a 17th-century solar observatory and museum home to the world's largest sundial.
Next up, you and the kids will explore your creative sides with a block printing lesson from some of the city's artisan printers. Learn the tricks of one of India's oldest printing techniques while you craft your own souvenirs: handkerchiefs that won't be any trouble to squeeze into your suitcases! From here, you'll head to what is bound to be a trip highlight―a guided tour of an elephant sanctuary. You and the kids will not only meet the elephants, but you'll also feed, paint, walk, and bathe them. Learn the traditional methods of caring for them in a relaxed environment as you get to know these magnificent creatures.
Alternatively, explore Jaipur's famous food culture, which is ideal if your family has a culinary bent. Take a guided tour of the city's markets, browsing the stalls at your leisure. Take part in a fun henna demonstration for women and a turban-tying class for men. Afterward, head to a local family for a cooking class―you'll learn the basics of Rajasthani cooking before producing a meal of home-baked bread, vegetarian dishes, and a dessert. You and the kids will be able to enjoy your creations, of course―relax with your hosts while you eat, and learn about daily life in Jaipur.
Day 9: Transfer to Pushkar, Explore Villages & Holy Sites
Following breakfast, your family will transfer to Pushkar, a small lakeside town famous both as a Hindu pilgrimage site and as the location of the nation's largest camel and livestock fair. Home to India's only temple to Lord Brahma, the lake has 52 ghats (sacred bathing pools) and multiple other smaller temples perched on the surrounding hills. Once you've arrived and settled into your accommodation, your guide will take you out for a look around. The colorful Brahma Temple will be your first stop. Drawing thousands of pilgrims every year, this 14th-century construction is the centerpiece of devotion here.
From here, you can take a camel cart ride through the local villages, lots of fun for the kids! They'll be entranced by the number of camels here, particularly if it is around the time of the Pushkar Fair, but equally interesting are the sacred cattle wandering freely. Head to the Varah Ghat in the evening and witness a traditional prayer ceremony―a feast for the senses, the air is filled with the smell of incense and roses, and bells are rung from the surrounding temples as the sun sets over the lake. Afterward, take a walk through the bazaar, where you'll find locally crafted pottery, jewelry, puppets, and other souvenirs for sale.
Day 10: Transfer to Jodhpur, Explore the "Blue City"
This morning you and the kids will transfer to Rajastan's second-largest city, Jodphur. Known as the "Blue City" for its azure-stained housing, this centuries-old city is known as the region's cultural capital. With temples, forts, and palaces in abundance, there is plenty to explore.
When you arrive, there should still be some time to see the sights, so check in to your hotel and head out for a walk with your guide. The evening is the perfect time to take a sunset stroll around the landmark Clock Tower, at the foot of which you'll find the Sardar Market, a great place to immerse yourselves in the city's atmosphere as you breathe in the smell of the spices and take in the colors of the fabrics and jewelry on sale. Explore the winding streets, keeping an eye out for those famous blue buildings, before heading back to your accommodation.
Day 11: Mehrangarh Fort & Jaswant Thada, Explore the Bazaars
Today's tour starts with a visit to the Jaswant Thada, an imposing marble cenotaph set in cultivated gardens. Considered an architectural masterpiece, the thin sheets of marble appear to glow when struck by the sun. Inside you'll find portraits of Jodhpur's rulers and information about its history. Close by is one of India's most magnificent structures―the Meherangarh Fort. Rising high above the city, with battlements of up to 120 feet (36 m), this complex appears to merge with the cliffs beneath it. There are endless passages and gardens to explore (you can even picnic here) and a museum packed with artifacts.
Afterward, take the short walk down from the top of the city walls with your guide, along the edges of two adjacent and historic man-made lakes, and into the old city quarter, Navchokiya. You and the kids will love exploring the atmospheric bazaars, temples, havelis (mansions), and narrow streets. As the sun sets, your guide will take you to a Brahmin house to sample local snacks and drink masala chai (spiced tea) before you head to your hotel to relax for the evening.
Day 12: Transfer to Udaipur, Boat Ride on Lake Pichola
Today you'll leave Jodphur for India's most romantic city, the "Venice of the East"―Udaipur. You'll take a break along the way in the town of Ranakpur. Here you can stretch your legs and grab a bite to eat, but the main purpose is to visit the large Jain Temple, a marble structure said to be the most beautiful of all Jain temples. Although the exterior is impressive enough, the intricately carved interior of over 1,444 pillars is what truly sets it apart. The kids will love finding the carved animals―there are lots of elephants to spot.
Afterward, get back on the road to Udaipur. Get settled in your accommodation and then head out for the perfect end to a busy day―a peaceful boat trip on Lake Pichola. From the calm of the lake at sunset, your family will get an unspoiled view of the palaces on the lake's islands, as well as the mansions lining the shore. You'll cruise past temples, ghats, and restaurants as you take in the skyline in comfort―an ideal introduction to the city. Afterward, your guide will take you back to your accommodation to rest for the night.
Day 13: Explore Udaipur
After breakfast, head back to the lakeshore to explore the City Palace, a masterpiece of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture. Built by various Maharanas (warrior kings) and completed in the year 1725, you and the kids will be awed by the filigreed balconies and ornate cupola-topped towers. Next, you'll visit the Jagdish Temple, Udaipur's largest and most beautiful. Take your time viewing the intricate carvings and iconography in the highly-decorated interior before your guide takes you to a local eatery for a delicious lunch.
Once you're revitalized, you'll all head to the Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal Museum. Here you'll find a truly fascinating compilation of Rajasthani folk artifacts. The collection extends from clothing and decorative objects to puppets, masks, dolls, musical instruments, and paintings. Keep an eye out for the live folk dance performances and puppet shows for which the center is renowned―they're always popular with younger ones. Head out for some delicious local food afterward and back to your accommodation for the evening.