Hyderabad · udaipur · mihir garh · jodhpur · delhi · agra 

MARCH 7 - 19, 2017 ITINERARY

13 DAYS

Overload your senses – Test your limits – Restructure your basic assumptions. This tour will touch your soul. Our 12-day India adventure of discovery takes you on a journey of more than just a destination, but perhaps even of yourself. Long after you leave you will be gently haunted by memories of a place, a person, even a sound, or the smells of tea, jasmine blossoms, and incense. This is not your average tour of India: this is Zoom India!

Day One ~ Arrive in Hyderabad

Arrive at Hyderabad International Airport.  After clearing customs and immigrations formalities you will be met by a Zoom representative outside the customs gate who will escort you to your hotel.

 Established in 1591 AD, Hyderabad has been the kingdom of the Nizams, avid patrons of culture and craft. Long been a global centre for diamond and pearl trade, today Hyderabad is an important information technology hub of India. The city is truly the perfect blend of historic charm and modern brilliance.

At the hotel, a traditional Indian welcome of aart- tikka- garland will be accorded.  Check-in at your hotel.  

Evening: Welcome Dinner and Cocktails at a surprise location

Accommodations: Taj Falaknuma Palace
Meals Included: Welcome Dinner

 

Day Two ~ Hyderabad

Breakfast at the hotel. 

This morning we visit the 13th century Golconda Fort - The fort reached its prime in the 16th century when the Qutub Shahi rulers were fighting the Mughal attempts to take over their kingdom. Words cannot do justice to the architectural beauty of the pavilions, gates, entrances and domes. One of the most prominent features of the fort is its advanced acoustical system. The fort is built in such a way that a hand clap sounded at the fort's main gates, the grand portico, can be heard at the top of the citadel, situated on a 300-foot high granite hill. This fascinating feature worked as a warning note to the royals in case of an attack, and was most useful during the Mughal attacks.

 Later we visit Qutub Shahi tombs represent the most authentic and majestic display of the Qutub Shahi dynasty architectural traditions today. The grandeur of the tombs is ensconced amidst the beautiful and picturesque landscape and gardens of Ibrahim Bagh, and the tombs themselves are dedicated to the seven Qutub Shahi kings who ruled Golconda for nearly 170 years. The style of the tombs are varied, displaying Hindu, Persian, and Pathan forms–Indo-Persian architectures that are influenced by Deccani structural ideas. The arcades on all the sides and the pointed arches add to their beauty and grace. There are several tombs, large and small, about 15 in number. One of them was left incomplete as well. Some tombs are dedicated to relatives of the rulers. A pair of tombs is that of royal physicians. The smaller tombs are made of a single story while the larger ones, like that of Mohammed Quli's Tomb feature two stories. Built in 1602, Muhammad Quli’s tomb is the grandest. His daughter Begum Hyat Buksh’s tomb is the most serene, with its adjoining tank. It faces a small mosque built by Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor.

In the afternoon we visit The Chowmahalla (four palaces) which was built between 1857 and 1869. Once regarded as the centre of Hyderabad, the magnificent Chowmahalla Palace complex was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty where the Nizams entertained their official guests and royal visitors. Built over 200 years ago, Chowmahalla is renowned for its unique style and elegance. A synthesis of many architectural styles and influences, the palace complex has been meticulously restored. The palace consists of two courtyards, southern courtyard and northern courtyard. They have elegant palaces, the grand Khilwat (the Durbar Hall), fountains and gardens. The southern courtyard is the oldest part of the palace, and has four palaces built in neo-classical style. The palace complex is closed on Fridays. 

Accommodations: Taj Falaknuma Palace
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
 

Day Three ~ Hyderabad
Breakfast at the hotel. 

This morning we visit The Salar Jung Museum which was established in 1951. The major portion of the collection of the museum was acquired by the former Prime Minister of the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Yusuf Ali Khan, popularly known as Salar Jung III, thus the name of the museum. The collections of the museum include artifacts ranging from the 2nd century B.C to early 20th century A.D, from cultures as diverse as Greek, Roman, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Christian and Islamic. Some of the most coveted possessions of the museum include furniture from the time of Louis 14th-17th and Napolean, the paintings of one of India’s finest artists Raja Ravi Varma and intricately ornate swords and daggers of Mughal emperors Aurangzeb, Jehangir, Noor Jehan and Shah Jahan. 

In the afternoon we visit Char Minar (four towers), a signature style Islamic architecture. Built in 1591 AD, the monument is as old as Hyderabad. There are four ornate minarets attached and supported by four grand arches. Each minaret is crowned by a bulbous dome with dainty petal-like designs at the base. Each tower has 149 winding steps to reach the upper floor. Once atop, the solitude and serenity of the beautiful interior is refreshing. 

On the west end of the Char Minar is the granite-made richly ornamented Mecca Masjid (Mecca mosque). Listed as a heritage building, it is one of the oldest and largest mosques in India. The central arch of the mosque is built of bricks made from the soil brought from Mecca, the holiest site of Islam.

From here we head to the colorful Laad Bazaar, situated on the northeast of Char Minar. It is a one kilometer long shopping strip known all over the country and abroad for bangles, semi-precious stones, pearls, saris, brocade, velvet and gold embroidered fabrics and perfumes. In fact, no visit to Hyderabad is complete without going back home with a string of the famous Hyderabadi pearls, especially the exquisite rice pearls. 

This evening you will return to the hotel and proceed on a Heritage Tour of the Palace you are staying in - The Falaknuma Palace.

Accommodations: Taj Falaknuma Palace
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day Four ~ Hyderabad to Udaipur
Breakfast at the hotel.

This morning transfer to Hyderabad airport in time for your flight to Udaipur.

Udaipur, the city combines real beauty with a picturesque association of a great and glorious past. It stands in a valley, amidst green hills on the banks of the wide, steel blue Lake Pichola. On little islands in the lake, from the water's edge, rising marble palaces of pure white that glistens like fairy castles. Crowning the ridge in which the city clusters, along the shore of the lake is the palace of the Maharana. Possibly no city in Rajasthan is quite as romantic as Udaipur and is replete with fantastic hill top fortresses, exotic fairy tale palaces and gripping legends of medieval chivalry and heroism. 

On arrival a Zoom Vacations representative will meet you at Udaipur airport and escort you to your hotel. Check-in at Hotel The Leela Palace.

 Udaipur, also known as the ‘City of Lakes’ is like the oasis of the Thar desert. The many lakes in the city have lent it the name of ‘Venice of the East’. And what better to admire the regal beauty of this historic city dotted with palaces than a boat cruise. Enjoy a romantic boat ride at Lake Pichola with the setting sun making the experience ever so magical. 

Accommodations: The Leela Palace
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day Five ~ Udaipur
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

This morning we visit City Palace, a conglomeration of buildings added by various Maharanas, the palace manages to retain a surprising uniformity of design. The entrance is through Hathii Pol (elephant gate) along the main street of the old city, past the Jagdish Temple. The paintings, mosaics, intricately carved ‘chhatris’ and of course the architecturally brilliant facade all contribute in making a visit to the City Palace a truly memorable experience. 

Later we continue to visit Crystal Gallery - Located at the City Palace, it has a rare collection of Osler's crystal ordered from England by Maharana Sajjan Singh in 1877.

 The afternoon is at leisure for independent activities.

Accommodations: The Leela Palace
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day Six ~ Udaipur to Mihir Garh
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

After breakfast drive to Mihir Garh covering a distance of 250kms.

Enroute we visit Ranakpur Jain Temple. Surrounded by the Aravalli hills and located on the banks of 'Magai' river this grand and gigantic four-facet structure was built between the late 14th to mid 15th centuries. The present structure of the temple came into being after 50 years of hard work by various artisans and sculptors. The temple is dedicated to 'Lord Adinath'. Light color marble has been used for the construction of this grand temple which rises majestically from the slope of a hill with its distinctive domes. The temple has over 1444 marble pillars, carved in exquisite detail and no two pillars in the temple are the same. It is also said that it is impossible to count the pillars. So with countless pillars and each different from one another, you are bound to be baffled by the beauty of this unique temple. 

Continue to Mihir Garh.  On arrival check-in at Mihir Garh.

Accommodations: Mihir Garh Suites
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day Seven ~ Mihir Garh
Breakfast at the hotel.

 Today we participate in the festival of colors – Holi with the Royal Family of Jodhpur and other hotel guests. A special lunch will be arranged at the same venue.

Accommodations: Mihir Garh Suites
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast and Lunch

 

Day Eight ~ Mihir Garh to Jodhpur
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

After breakfast we visit Bishnoi Village Safari - No trip is complete without a visit to the Bishnoi villages like Guda Bishnoiyan, Kakani and Khejarli. This safari will give us a glimpse of the lifestyle, culture and attitudes of the Bishnois. The Bishnoi sect was founded by Guru Jambheshwar in 1451 and they followed 29 principles, including their unconditional love for nature and wildlife. Khejarli is the village where 363 men and women sacrificed their lives to protect the trees. Before Guru Jambheshwar died, he stated that the black buck was his manifestation after death and should be conserved. It is because of this fact that in Bishnoi-dominated areas, deer and antelope (such as blue bulls, black bucks, chinkaras and chowsinghas) are seen grazing peacefully in their fields. 

Return to your hotel. Later we drive to Jodhpur covering a distance of 65kms in approx. 1 hour 30 minutes.

Jodhpur: The second largest city of Rajasthan, Jodhpur was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha, a Rajput chief belonging to the Rathore clan. Jodhpur is also known as the "Sun City" for the bright, sunny weather it enjoys all year and the "Blue City" because most of its houses in the old city are painted indigo. 

On arrival check-in at your hotel Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace.

Accommodations: Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 


Day Nine ~ Jodhpur
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

This morning we visit one of the largest forts of the country, the majestic Mehrangarh fort. The fort is famous for its expansive courtyards, intricate carvings and multi-storied palaces. Our next stop will be near the fort, on the banks of a lake, the Jaswant Thada. This is the memorial of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. Made of gleaming white marble on a platform of red sandstone this monument is worth a visit. 

From here we head to the heart of Jodhpur, the old city. The clock tower is a popular landmark in the old city. Also the narrow alleys of Sardar Market are worth exploring. It is a great place to walk around at leisure. You are sure to find some colorful clothing, silver trinkets and handicrafts.

The afternoon is at leisure for independent activities.

This evening we proceed on a Heritage Tour of the Palace you are staying in - The Umaid Bhawan Palace.  

Accommodations: Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day Ten ~ Jodhpur to Delhi
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

Day at leisure to enjoy to the palace facilities.

This afternoon transfer to Jodhpur airport in time for your flight to Delhi. 

Delhi, the city consists of two parts - Old & New Delhi. Old Delhi was the capital of Muslim India between 17th and 19th century and has many mosques, monuments and forts. New Delhi, the imperial city was created by the British as the capital of India. In 1911, Edwin Lutyens, the most renowned English architect of the day, was chosen to design New Delhi which flaunts a surprising number of impressive monuments related to its conquests by the Mughals, Turks, Persians and ultimately the British. Lutyens designed some of the most striking landmarks including a lovely broad avenue lined with stately residences and lavish neoclassical creations that lead up to the magnificent Presidential Palace and Parliament buildings.

On arrival a Zoom Vacations representative will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel.

Check-in at Hotel The Leela Palace.

Accommodations: The Leela Palace
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day Eleven ~ Delhi
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

Begin your day with an exploration starting in Old Delhi, visiting the Jama Masjid, the royal mosque built by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan in 1656. It is one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world and is constructed in red sandstone and white marble. The main prayer hall has a seating capacity of more than 20,000 worshippers. 

Enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk, the spine of Old Delhi. Jahanara Begum, the daughter of Shah Jahan designed this commercial place in 1648.  

Drive past to Red fort. Built in red sand stone by Shah Jahan in 1648, this magnificent monument is laid out along the river Yamuna as an irregular octagon.

Drive through the majestic boulevards of New Delhi. The Rashtrapati Bhawan (Presidential Palace) is where the Viceroy once lived and now is the official residence of the President of India. It is an imposing structure with 340 rooms, constructed high up on Raisina Hill. View India Gate, a war memorial arch built in honor of 90,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives in World War I

This afternoon visit Humayun’s Tomb, the first great example of Mughal architecture in India, it developed to become the hallmark of the Mughal Dynasty.  The squat building of white marble and red sandstone, with a dome and high arched entrances, surrounded by formal gardens, is generally regarded as a prototype of the famed Taj Mahal of Agra. Humayun’s wife is buried in the red-and-white sandstone, black-and yellow marble tomb. 

Next on the itinerary is Qutub Minar, a soaring tower of victory, 72.5 meter high with five distinct stories. The construction of this minaret commenced in 1193 and was completed in 1368. Built on the foundation of a Hindu temple, many elements of the construction reflect their Hindu and Jain origins. Within the complex, there are myriad monuments that combine both Islamic calligraphy and Hindu motifs.

Accommodations: The Leela Palace
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day Twelve ~ Agra to Delhi
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

Day excursion trip to Agra covering a distance of 210kms in approx. 3 hours 30 minutes.

Agra - Two great Mughal monarchs, Akbar and Shah Jahan, transformed the little village of Agra into a befitting second capital of the Mughal Empire - giving it the name Dar-ul-Khilafat {seat of the Emperor}. Today, a visitor to Agra is caught up in a world of contrasting edifices of red sandstone and white marble, narrow lanes and quaint buggies, and that irresistible charm that this favorite city of the Mughals still retains.  It is not surprising, that modern Agra still reflects its Mughal heritage most conspicuously.

Visit Agra Fort: An imposing structure with walls of red sandstone, almost two miles long and contains palaces, audience halls and mosques. The fort presents a good sampling of Islamic and Hindu architectural styles. It was built by the third Mughal Emperor, Akbar. Subsequent additions were made to the fort by his son Jahangir and grandson Shah Jehan. 

We will also visit Taj Mahal - With its incredible lacy white grandeur and loveliness the Taj Mahal is perhaps the most perfect architectural monument in the world. Emperor Shahjehan constructed this incomparable monument in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is the most extravagant monument ever built for love. The Taj Mahal is amazingly graceful from almost any angle and it is the close up detail, which is really astounding. 

Return to Delhi.

Accommodations: The Leela Palace
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, and Farewell Dinner

 

Day Thirteen ~ Depart for home or onward to our Maldives extension
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

Morning at leisure. Departure for those going onto the Maldives extension.

Afternoon: Transfer to the airport and Board your homebound flight or connect to your onward destination. Most international flights depart between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m.

Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast

 

Air: International and domestic airfare not included.  However, Zoom Vacations will arrange all necessary internal flights.

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Note: Passport pages titled "Endorsement Pages" are not visa pages.

Visas: Please note that travelers to India need to have a Indian Visa in advance of your trip in order to enter India. For more information, go to http://www.in.ckgs.us

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*Land only Introductory rate, based on double occupancy. Prices are subject to change. Need a roommate? Zoom Vacations® is happy to match you with someone, at no additional charge. Or, you may pay a single supplement and go as a single.

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