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Anita and Bernie’s Travel Diary

Monday, 24 Sep 2007

Location: Delhi, India

MapHere is our India itinerary for you all to follow!

Thursday Nov 8th: Depart UK.
Overnight flight to Delhi.

Friday 9th Nov. Arrive Delhi.
The capital of modern India, Delhi is a magnetic blend of old and new boasting a fascinating array of sights, from elegant shops and lively bazaars to impressive forts and mosques that were once the power-base for India's Mughal emperors. Sightseeing tour of Old Delhi: majestic three-domed Jama Masjid Mosque and splendid 17th century Mughal Red Fort, Raj Ghat and Shanti Vana, the cremation sites of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru respectively.

Saturday 10th Nov Delhi.
A tour of New Delhi's major sights, including the towering Qutub Minar, ancient tomb of the Emperor Humayun, the grandiose India Gate War Memorial and President's House and Parliament.

Sunday 11th Nov Delhi - Mandawa.
This morning, leave for Mandawa, a busy market town famed for its intricately painted havelis - the ornate mansions of India's merchants and temples. Views over Mandawa from its fortress-topped hill, before an afternoon admiring its havelis and monuments close-up. Later, visit Fateh Pur, a nearby 15th century town that was once the capital of India's Muslim Nawabs, to see its extravagant Devra and Singhania havelis. Overnight stay at hotel in Mandawa.

Monday 12th Nov Mandawa - Bikaner.
Travel to Bikaner in northwestern Rajasthan, for an overnight stay. Surrounded by desert, this royal walled city was a major trading centre on the ancient caravan routes between Central Asia and India. At the heart of the temple-filled city is the massive Junagarh fortress, a formidable complex housing courtyards and palaces, 37 pavilions and exquisitely decorated balconies, chapels and mirrored palaces.

Tuesday 13th Nov Bikaner - Jaisalmer.
Jaisalmer is strategically located on camel trade routes and often dubbed the 'Golden City'. Filled with intricately latticed, beautifully preserved 19th century havelis, it's best known for its impressive fort, standing 80 metres above the city and surrounded by stunning Jain temples.

Wednesday 14th Nov Jaisalmer.
A tour of Jaisalmer's fort, built in the 12th century and where a fourth of the city's population now lives. An excursion to Sam Sand Dunes. A short camel ride over these towering dunes as the sun dips behind the horizon, casting the desert in a radiant glow.

Thursday 15th Nov Jaisalmer - Jodhpur.
Leave Jaisalmer for Jodhpur, once one of India's princely states. Set in the sand dunes of the Thar Desert, Jodhpur's mesmerising old city is ringed by a 10-kilometre, eight-gated wall outside of which the new city stands. Brimming with enchanting palaces, temples, havelis and a beautiful fort, this imperious 15th city exudes imperial grandeur and warm hospitality.

Friday 16th Nov Jodhpur.
Jodhpur's Mehrangarh Fort, founded by prince Rao Jodha in 1459. Jaswant Singh II memorial at Jodphur's royal cremation ground - beautifully constructed from thin marble sheets to let sunlight filter in. In the afternoon, jeep safari to visit the local Bishnoi tribes of the empty desert around Jodhpur. These communities of vegetarians observe an ascetic lifestyle, protecting endangered plant and tree species and prohibiting poachers from killing animals.

Saturday 17th Nov Jodhpur - Mount Abu.
Travel to Mount Abu, visiting the spectacular Jain temples at Ranakpur en-route before arriving at this green Rajasthan hill retreat. Approached via a winding road through bizarrely shaped rocks, Mount Abu is Rajasthan's only hill station and boasts a superb array of elaborate Dilwara Jain temples, which make it an important pilgrimage site.

Sunday 18th Nov Mount Abu.
Mount Abu on a tour of its 11th century Dilwara temples - five breathtaking marble edifices covered in minutely detailed carvings, which are a wonder to behold - a drive along the banks of the serene Nakki Lake and its overhanging Toad Rock before returning to Mount Abu.

Monday 19th Nov Mount Abu - Udaipur.
Udaipur, known as the 'City of Lakes' and the most romantic in Rajasthan. Founded in 1568 and once the capital of India's old Mewar state, this enchanting city is built around three lakes and is made up from a maze of narrow lanes, exquisite palaces, pavilions and gardens, a tour of its City Palace and Museum, comprising a series of enchanting palaces overlooking Lake Pichola, the Jagdish Mandir, a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and the ornamental gardens of Sahelion ki Bari.

Tuesday 20th Nov Udaipur - Pushkar.
Drive to Pushkar for an overnight stay. Once a mighty Mughal residence, this holy city is famed for its colourful camel and cattle fair and home to 400 temples and ghats. 14th century Brahma temple - the only one in India - a vision of white rising from the banks of the sacred Pushkar Lake, and unbelievably beautiful in the early morning or evening light.

Wednesday 21st Nov Pushkar - Jaipur.
Set off for Jaipur, Rajasthan's quintessential royal city. Tour of this wonderful city with its glorious Mughal and Rajpat architecture and animated streets.

Thursday 22nd Nov Jaipur - Agra including the Taj Mahal.
Visit Jaipur's legendary Amber Fort, which can be approached by foot or on the back of an elephant. Called 'The Sleeping Beauty of Rajasthan', this honey-coloured fortress-palace in the Aravalli Hills has a sombre exterior that hides a richly ornate interior of royal apartments, including a stupendous Chamber of Mirrors and alabaster Hall of Victory. Travel to Agra, stopping en-route at Fatehpur Sikri, an atmospheric abandoned city. Tour the elegant courtyards, sandstone palaces and victory gate of this ghostly place, built by Emperor Akbar the Great in 1569 and deserted by its people soon after when its water supply failed. Visit to the Taj Mahal. One of the seven wonders of the world, this remarkable edifice was commissioned by Shahjahan as a memorial to his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Taking 22 years to build and completed in 1653, its breathtaking marble-inlaid interiors are a shrine to the emperor's passion and contain both his and his beloved's mausoleum.

Friday 23rd Nov Agra - Delhi.
Visit Agra Fort, a colossal redstone monument stretching for 2.5 kilometres. Admire its forbidding battlements and spectacular Mughal palace with its chambers, room of mirrors and the poignant pavilion where Shahjahan, who commissioned the Taj Mahal, spent his last days, perhaps gazing at the view of the Taj from its windows.

Saturday 24th Nov - 1st December Delhi -Goa
After breakfast, transfer to Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport for the flight to Goa.

Saturday 1st December Goa to Mumbai to Heathrow
Arrive Heathrow at 17.55