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Rajasthan Art and Craft ToursRajasthan is among the richest states in the country as far as the field of arts and crafts is concerned. May be it was a result of the war-like lifestyle of the people of Rajasthan which sharpened the creative senses, artistic skills and inspired them to create the most opulent and richest of treasures. Stone, clay, leather, wood, ivory, lac, glass, brass, silver, gold and textiles were given the most brilliant forms.
Duration : 12 Nights / 13 Days
Destinations : Delhi - Udaipur - Ranakpur - Jodhpur - Pachewa - Jaipur - Agra - Delhi
Day 01: Arrival in Delhi
Late Night arrival. Namaste! & Greetings ! as our representatives welcome you aboard your Deluxe coach.
Upon arrival at the hotel, a traditional Indian Welcome awaits you. The warmth of Indian hospitality and the custom of welcoming guests is as old as time itself. As you step into the hotel, ladies in traditional local costumes greet you with garlands of flowers and perform the "aarti" ceremony. After having your forehead anointed with the traditional red "tikka", relax with a non-alcoholic welcome drink. Overnight at Delhi.
Day 02 : In Delhi
This morning we proceed for a guided tour of New Delhi .Our tour of New Delhi includes visits to such sights as Humayun's Tomb (1586) and Safarjung's Tomb (1753) the Qutab Minar 72 meters high and one of the most perfect towers in the Persian world. The Iron Pillar which has survived the vagaries of weather for over 1500 years. Continue with a drive through Embassy area, the Government buildings (1921-1930) and Connaught Place, the heart and main shopping district of the capital.
Afternoon we cross the city and into the walled gates of the Old city with visits to the Jamma Mosque (1650) and drive through the fabled area of Chandni Chowk (aptly translates to Moonlight Square) where the throngs of shoppers and vendors meet in the oldest area of Delhi. Visit the Red Fort (1639-1648 built by Shah Jehan the builder of the Taj Mahal in Agra) to view the inlaid and carved Royal Chambers, on to Raj Ghat and nearby ghats where the founder of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi and thereafter Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were cremated.
Special Mughal Theme Dinner :Go back to the historically fabled world of the great Moghuls. "Chobedars" (gate keepers) usher guests to the "daawat-khana" (dining-room). Hostesses clad in silken, flowing "shararas" (skirts) and "chunnis" (veils) welcome the guests with flowers and "attar" (perfume) in the traditional style. Flamboyant folk dances herald a sumptuous spread of Moghlai delicacies, served in a manner befitting royalty..Overnight at Delhi.
Day 03 : Dellhi/Udaipur
Following breakfast we visit Dilli Haat, a project conceived with the basic idea of providing encouragement and exposure to needy artisans and craftsmen all over the country who often spend their lives within the confines of their own village and town. The success of the project lied in freeing the craftsman and the artisan from the stranglehold of the middlemen and bringing them into direct contact with buyers both within the country and outside. Dilli Haat offers the visitor not only the arts and handicrafts of the country at one place, but also the cuisine and performing arts from different parts of the country. While developing the concept, it was kept in mind that when a 'Haat' comes to the city, it has to adjust to urban contemporary needs while retaining the cultural ambience familiar to rural crafts people.
Late afternoon transfer to the airport for your flight to Udaipur.
Meeting and assistance upon arrival as we welcome you to the Taj Lake Palace, a vision of floating marble that leads you on a journey through time. From the opulence of the lobby to the delicate architecture and lavish trappings of every suite, the Taj Lake Palace is a secluded haven for a fortunate few. Marble statues, intricate woodwork and manicured gardens have been restored to their former pride and grace. Taj Lake Palace sets an elaborate stage for you to experience the past in the grandest possible way.
Day 04 : Udaipur
Following breakfast, we proceed on a tour of this "Lake City". Udaipur is a cool oasis in the dry heart of Rajasthan. It is probably the most romantic city in a state where every city has some romantic or exotic tale to tell. The huge city palace towering over the Lake Pichola is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. Though it is a conglomeration of buildings built by successive rulers, it manages to retain a surprising uniformity of design and affords very fine view of the lake and the city from the upper terraces. The Jagadish temple next to the city palace enshrines a black stone image of Lord Vishnu and his vehicle- a mighty bird called garuda - in a brass image. The temple is a very fine example of Indo-Aryan Art.
This afternoon we explore the bustling bylanes of Udaipur which have artisans practicing their traditional crafts handed down to them by their elders. Khari printers do decorative floral patterns in gold and silver on plain or printed fabric. Block printers print various designs and patterns in different colours with the help of wooden blocks. You'll also find artisans carving furniture, making puppets and traditional wooden toys. Alongwith engraving and embossing on brass, silver, jewellery, copper and even pottery, Meenakari is a speciality of this region. Udaipur also specializes in stone carving, especially in marble and sandstone, with artisans working hard at chiseling their finest filigree work. Colour as usual plays an important role in the life of Udaipur as in Rajasthan. It is wonderfully evident in ghagharas (long flowing skirts), cholis (blouses), and odhnis (long scarves) of the women as well as the turbans of the men.
The Gangaur Boat Cruise Dinner : The Gangaur boat is the antique royal barge of the house of Mewar. The barge is decorated in a regal way and lit up to resemble a fireball from a distance. The guests are taken around the mystical Lake Palace. Their would be folk music, dance and fireworks. Music and dance are intermingled in the lives of the Mewaris who perform in various areas as wandering minstrels, bands of musicians and dancers or as dance drama troupes. They recite religious messages, local legends, and tales of romance or social stories. This is a tremendous experience. A bar would also be set up and people can buy their drinks here.
Day 05 :Udaipur- Ranakpur - Jodhpur
Following breakfast and then drive to Jodhpur . Our first stop would be at Ranakpur where we tour the exquisitely carved Jain temples made in white marble. The profusion and the detailed sculpture is a mind blowing experience
Upon arrival, check into the Taj Hari Mahal Palace.
Late afternoon , we visit the Clock Tower Bazaar. This is one of India's largest and most colourful whole sale market especially with respect to clothes, fabrics, spices, vegetables etc. It is a fantastic experience to walk through the place observing and photographing this incredible spectacle of vibrant lifestyles and incredible colours.
Day 06 : Jodhpur
Following breakfast, we tour the huge Meherangarh fort that looms ominously above the town. The ramparts of the fort look down over the city which is predominantly painted blue, identifying them as houses of Brahmins. The blue powder that is mixed with lime to paint the houses is expensive to buy, so as you look down from the fort it is easy to see the "richer side of the town"!
This afternoon we explore the crafts of Jodhpur, which is renowned for its woodworking and most of the Thacket furniture sold in the West originates from the region so in the morning you will visit a furniture workshop.
Day 07 : Jodhpur - Pachewa
After breakfast we will drive to Pachewa. On the way you will stop in a village where you will visit a block printing and vegetable dyeing unit. Here you can see indigo dye wells and block printing.
A truly Rajasthani welcome at the Pachewa Heritage Hotel, a 300 year old fort with massive ramparts, imposing gates and antique frescos, ends the day perfectly.
An easy and restful afternoon. Take a wander in the village and discover the knotting of carpets.
Day 08 : Pachewa - Jaipur
Following breakfast, a short ride brings us to Jaipur. Transfer to the legendary palace hotel
A Maharaja Welcome : As was in the past, when the victorious Maharajas returned from war, a stunning tableau of decorated camels and elephants unfolds before you on the lawns of the palace-hotel. Ladies in Rajasthani costumes perform the traditional garlanding, "aarti" and "tikka" ceremonies while the music of the "shehnai" welcomes you. Afterwards relax with a gin-based welcome drink.
This afternoon we will visit a workshop where the most exquisite embroidery is carried out. It is a workshop where wedding saris are embellished with tiny beads and intricate gold and silver threads. When you first see the gold thread work that comes from this workshop you will think it is machine work as its so precise.
Day 09 : Jaipur
An essential starting point for Rajasthan craftwork is block making and block printing and the morning will be dedicated to exploring the process from start to finish in the villages around Jaipur..
The sound of the muffled thud of the block on the fabric is so gorgeous, and the sharpness of the eye of the printers never ceases to amaze - the block always goes down in the right place. Along the street are tiny shuttered shops with men sitting in wood chips, with smiling faces, chip chip chopping at blocks, making the most intricate designs with the utmost precision.
Later you visit a hand made paper factory where you will see mass production of recycled cotton pulp paper. Here it is made with flower petals or leaves and is then cut and made into books, cards, and all kinds of stationary. Finally, on your way back to the hotel, you can visit a small pottery workshop. Jaipur is famous for its blue pottery and at this workshop you can see the intricate, labour intensive painting of the pottery.
A Gala Evening : This evening we ride out to an Agriculture farm. There is a Rajasthani Village ambiance with thatched roofs and mud plastered walls in typical Indian village attire. This Rajasthani Village is in an area of about 3000 sq. yards with lush green lawns and is surrounded by trees all around. The lighting is elaborated but subtle. There is display of local arts and crafts from the famous Sanganer Village displaying - Block printing, Bangles, Miniature paintings, Blue Pottery, Potter and Wheel, Durry Weaver etc. the artisans display throughout the evening. The Farm recreates a typical. has original Rajasthani Village atmosphere. Adjoining the village, the farm has tube-well for irrigation and normal crops like wheat, barley, millet along with the seasonal vegetables are grown.
A Royal Welcome is accorded to you upon arrival with decorated Camels, Aarti, Tikka, and Garlanding. Also enjoy a short camel ride in the farm surroundings.
Rajasthani Folk Dancers and musicians performance for 45 minutes soon after arrival of the group. Following the entertainment dinner is served. It is Buffet-Cum-Sit down meal arrangement. The elaborate menu offers Bar-be-ques and a selection of Indian, Continental, Chinese, Tandoori dishes. After the dinner, there will be a spectacular firework display with the Group's Name prominently displayed through the fireworks.
Day 10 : Jaipur
Today, you will visit the Amber Fort, which is one of the most superb examples of Rajput architecture, dating back to the 16th century. It is built on a hillside with outlook posts and walls all around and is truly majestic. Inside, some of the rooms are encrusted with mirrors and painted with designs of flowers and water vessels. A great place to sit and sketch, or just sit and imagine that you are a Maharajah, or a Maharani!
This afternoon, we explore one of the chief attractions of Jaipur - its jewellery, which offers a variety that ranges from chunky tribal jewellery to enamelled gold to modern diamond jewellery. In Rajasthan, men and women can be seen sporting necklaces, armlets, anklets, earrings and rings. Silver is more commonly worn by the rural women and is certainly more affordable for a shopper. For dedicated collectors, goldwork of the highest quality is also available. Kundan (art of stone setting) and enamel jewellery has been a speciality of Rajasthan, particularly that of Jaipur.
The stones are embossed into decorative shapes & patterns and embellished with delicate enamel ornamentation in the champeve ( raised field ) technique. Jaipur is well known for its gold and silver enameiling. Colorful bangles made of lac and set with semiprecious stones make an inexpensive buy. The craftsmen take great pains to embed the hundreds of stones into the lac. The skilled gem-cutters of Jaipur carve enchanting little animals and birds from rock, crystal, jade, smoky topaz and amethyst. Intaglio beads & buttons and crystal scent bottles are also available.
Day 11 : Bharatpur- Fatehpur- Agra
Following breakfast we drive to Agra . Our first stop will be at Laxmi Vilas Palace, the former home of the Maharaja of Bharatpur for lunch. Set amidst 40 acres of picturesquely landscaped environs, the palace was built in 1899 as residence for the Royal ladies. A lively fusion of traditional Rajasthani architecture and the prevalent Mughal style, this place with its regal ambience, sunny courtyards, and enchanting cupolas will mesmerize you.
From here we drive to the ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri (ghost capital) for a tour of the magnificent and world heritage buildings still in a state of perfect reservation.
Meeting and assistance upon arrival as you are individually checked in at your rooms at the luxurious Amarvilas hotel, which is one of the best boutique hotels in the world. The hotel of whimsical charm has several attractions. However, being in the city of the Taj Mahal, the most relevant charm of the hotels is the unhindered view of the Taj Mahal from your bed room. It is the most beautiful and an amazingly uplifting sight. Only 600 meters from the Taj Mahal stands this luxury resort. Discerning travelers can now appreciate the fabulous Taj Mahal while enjoying world-class luxury. The elaborate Mughal gardens, terraced lawns, fountains, reflection pools and pavilions complement the classical architecture of the hotel.
Day 12 : Agra - Delhi
Early this morning we tour the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Agra is the city of the Taj Mahal, perhaps the most photographed monument in the world. However, their is a degree of enigma about the Taj. Once you hear about a building so much and once you see so many pictures of a building your expectations are real high; and this is the enigma about the Taj Mahal. No matter how many pictures you have seen or no matter how high your expectations are, the Taj never lets you down - the unparalleled glory and beauty of the building surpasses beyond all human imaginations. At sun rise we visit the Taj Mahal to witness this spectacular monument built for love. Besides perfect symmetry in every aspect of its construction, the inlay work of semi precious stones into marble in pietra dura style is absolutely remarkable.
We would also have an opportunity to visit a marble showroom where we would be able to witness the inlay work done on marble just as at the Taj Mahal
We return to our hotel for breakfast, following which we ride to the massive Agra Fort. The elegant buildings inside reflect an interesting synthesis of Hindu and Central Asian architectural styles. Built by Emperor Akbar, the maze of the courtyards, mosques & private chambers of the fort echo the story of the Mughal Empire. The Moti Masjid & other magnificent buildings reflect the skill of the ancient Indian architects.
Late afternoon, ride to Delhi airport through one of India's finest free ways. We would have opportunities to stop on the way at well appointed comfort stops for refreshments as well as washroom facilities. Upon arrival, check into Hotel.
Day 13 : Departure
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
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We do hope the flavor of India will remain on your taste buds for all times to come and hopefully would kindle an indelible fondness for the country and her people; Thank you for being our guest, and as we say in India 'Please Come back Soon"
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