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Forts & Palaces

Impregnable forts and exquisite palaces with accents of rich architecture cannot escape the mind of a traveller, when speaking of India.  With history rooted in lores of conquests and dynasties, a tryst with these historic structures can be seldom avoided. These old bastions of strength had several reasons for their presence; projecting influence and might, showcasing set vibrant architectural skills and protecting the citizens. The length and breadth of the country is dotted with these remnants of splendor.

Not only does Rajasthan shine as owning an exhaustive repertoire of these architectural marvels, but other parts of the country like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka draw thousands in a year for a glimpse into their past with magnificent forts and palaces. Whether crumbling or meticulously restored, both stand testimony of a flourishing culture, raging battles and an acute sense of design and cultural revelations.

A mirror to thousands of years of history, India but Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal are also veritable destinations that one can trail through to see forts and palaces. Perched on mountaintops, some of these palaces can be surreally tranquil, giving one a moment of being suspended in awe of these great architectural patrons. Not only do the forts and palaces have unmatchable symmetry and ethereal luminescence, but also every inch of the structures is covered in exquisite detail.

Itineraries

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Royal Splendour

13 Nights & 14 Days

Overview

Let this trip be a commemoration to India’s acclaim of being one of the richest countries where forts and palaces are concerned. This journey skirts through North Indian heavyweights like Delhi, Rajasthan and Agra that can immerse you in an atmospheric trajectory of once powerful dynasties. Despite thousands of years of existence, in this trip you will encounter a fascinating blend of the ancient and the contemporary -where government buildings, medieval palaces and bazaars are juxtaposed with modern metropolises. Your first gateway into India’s history is the capital itself, New Delhi. From here, we wend our way through to Rajasthan, touching a part of Madhya Pradesh and stopping over last to the elegant Taj Mahal in Agra.

Top Places

Delhi | Jaipur | Jodhpur | Jodhpur & Kumbhalgarh | Udaipur | Chittorgarh & Bijaipur | Bijaipur & Kota | Bundi | Karauli | Gwalior | Agra | Delhi

Highlights

Red Fort | Amber Fort | Mehrangarh Fort | Lake Pichola | Gwalior Fort | Taj Mahal



Delhi / Day 1

Landmark monuments that tie up three eras of Indian history and give you a hue of religious diversity in the nation fill the day. The 17th century imposing fortress, Red Fort, followed by Jama Masjid, the mosque that can house 20,000 kneeling devotees in prayer and Raj Ghat, Gandhi’s memorial.
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Jaipur / Day 2 - 3

Maharaja Jai Singh II built Jaipur in the 18th century. It is a planned city built with ancient Hindu rules as the colonial capital of a richly colorful state. The whole city was painted pink to welcome the visit of Prince Albert in 1853. Day 3rd the finest example of Rajput architecture in the form […]
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Jodhpur / Day 4

Jodhpur is the second largest city of the state of Rajasthan. The Rajput chief Rao Jodha founded the city of Jodhpur in 1459. Earlier, it was the capital of the Marwar state of Rajasthan.
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Jodhpur & Kumbhalgarh / Day 5

A citadel perched 400 feet above the ground on a craggy hilltop, Mehrangarh Fort is the city’s most engaging structure. After seeing this and Jaswant Thada, it is time for Kumbhalgarh, a medieval fort, which stands as a vary sentinel to the past glory.
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Udaipur / Day 6 - 7

A city sprinkled with lakes, gardens, temples and palaces, Udaipur is an oasis in the Thar Desert. Mirror flat reflective lakes give it an aura of a romance, especially Lake Pichola. Day 7th the 17th century Jagadish Temple with its intricate carvings and Sahelion ki Bari an ornamental pleasure garden complete the day of sightseeing […]
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Chittorgarh & Bijaipur / Day 8

The eighth century Chittorgarh Fort is the oldest fort in Rajasthan. Located on a cliff, the fort tells the resistance and heroism of Rajput people against the invaders, the Mughals. Legends of love and revenge possess the fort. The ruins of these magnificent buildings still leave trace the history of Mewar until today.
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Bijaipur & Kota / Day 9

Kota was once on the major trade route from Delhi to Gujarat. Though now well known for its stone quarries, it still retains some parks and garden and wide tree lined streets and princely architecture.
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Bundi / Day 10

Taragarh fort, built in 1354, with its imposing stone structure is situated on a steep hill and has massive battlements and ramparts. Bundi palace lies adjacent to the Taragarh Fort is known for its traditional murals. The city’s stepwells (baolis) are stunning.   Raniji ki Baoli and Nawal Sagar (lake) add to Bundi’s splendor.
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Karauli / Day 11

Karauli is renowned for its magnificent temples dedicated to Lord Krishna. The city is surrounded by a wall of red sandstone strengthened by bastions at several places According to local beliefs, the rulers, successors of Lord Krishna.
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Gwalior / Day 12

The majestic hill fort of Gwalior standing on a sandstone precipice is only one of the many things in the city that are jaw droppingly beautiful. Add to this, Man Mandir Palace, Saas Bahu Temple (Mother in law and Daughter in law temple) and Jai Vilas Palace.
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Agra / Day 13

Taj Mahal – a poem in white marble, built by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in the memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal is India’s most fascinating masterpiece. With this, dive into Mughal history at Agra Fort.
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Delhi / Day 14

A last glimpse of Mughal architecture in Humayun’s Tomb and Qutab Minar closes the journey on a historic dimension.
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Deccan India

12 Nights & 13 Days

Overview

Gracing the Deccan with a glorious slice of history are stalwart cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Hampi and Mysore. With this, add the draw of the lesser known Gulbarga, Bidar and Badami for a wholesome trip themed around forts and palaces. The extravagance of Nizams of Hyderabad cast a surreal sheen as one starts the trip. The hypnotic beauty stays with the traveller as he makes his way through Bidar and then crossing over to the state of Karnataka, known for its array of rulers, who left an inedible imprint on the land. Of these impressions, the Vijaynagara Kingdom’s ruins at Hampi are unmatchable. The pale brown bouldery sprawl, when pitched against Mysore’s rich cultural fabric, the result is a deep influence on the travellers’ minds.

Top Places

Hyderabad | Bidar & Gulbarga | Bijapur | Badami | Hospet | Hampi | Hassan | Halebidu & Belur | Mysore | Bangalore

Highlights

Charminar | Bahamani Kingdom Fort | Gol Gumbaz | Badami Caves | Pattadakal | Hampi’s ruins | Halebidu & Belur Temples | Maharaja Palace

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Hyderabad / Day 1 - 2

Arrive in Hyderabad on Day 1. Check in and prepare for days of sinking your mind into the Deccan history of India. Charminar is as much the signature of Hyderabad as is Taj Mahal of Agra. It will be difficult to tear yourself away from the halls, to visit the Mecca Masjid, one of the […]
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Bidar & Gulbarga / Day 3

The Fort with tombs of the Bahamani and Barid Shahi Kings in Bidar start the day, as you drive to Gulbarga to see the Bahamani Kingdom Fort with its citadel Mosque and the great Tomb in the eastern quarter.
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Bijapur / Day 4 - 5

Drive to Bijapur on this day. Bijapur, or the city of victory has an array of monuments in store- Gol Gumbaz, Jama Masjid, Azar Mahal, Mehtar Mahal, Ibrahim Rauza, Malik-I-Maidan, Bara Kaman and Gagan Mahal.
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Badami / Day 6 - 7

Drive to Badami. Nestled in a canyon, this was the Chalukyan capital from 543 – 757 A.D. The ancient city is dotted with Hindu and Jain temples along with Buddhist caves temples, four of which are cut out of the hillside in the second half of the 6th century. On day 7th visit the satellite […]
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Hospet / Day 8

Drive to Hospet and check –in at the hotel.
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Hampi / Day 9

Hampi, the glorious capital of Vijaynagara Empire spreads over an area of 26 kms. Once thriving with temples and living quarters, now the city lies in ruins – though not any less spectacular.
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Hassan / Day 10

Travel to Hassan, the base town to explore Halebidu and Belur Temples.
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Halebidu & Belur / Day 11

Hoysalesvara Temple at Halebidu is perched on a star-shaped base with every centimeter of the walls covered in endless intricate details of Hindu deities, sages and animals. Just a few kms away the Chennakesava Temple of Belur is equally exquisite.
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Mysore / Day 12

Visit the Maharaja Palace built in 1857 in Indo-Saracenic style and Chamundi Hill, where a temple commemorates Goddess Chamundeshwari celebrating her victory over the buffalo demon. Srirangapatnam and The Summer Palace of the Tipu Sultan are also part of the plan.
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Bangalore / Day 13

Travel to Bangalore for onward flight.
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South India Tour

13 Nights & 14 Days

Overview

The region where the great Dravidian dynasties rose and fell in India lies geographically in the Southern part of the country. More tropical in nature than the cold lower Himalayan base of North India or the Thar Desert of the Western part, the hues of South are completely different. Food, sights and the warm breeze of the sea combined, make for a balmy ambiance to enjoy the slow paced backwater canals of Kerala, or the eons old temples of Tamil Nadu and ludicrously stunning sunset points along the beaches. What are bound to stand out are the exquisitely carved temples of Tamil Nadu, verdant and soothing surroundings and a peek into the world of Ayurveda in Kerala and a rich repository of varied landscapes as you meander through the region.

Top Places

Cochin | Alleppey | Kovalam | Kanyakumari | Madurai | Chettinad | Trichy & Tanjavur | Tanjavur | Kumbakonam | Mahabalipuram | Chennai

Highlights

Chinese Fishing Nets | Kathakali Dance | Backwaters | Vivekananda Memorial | Meenakshi Temple | Kanadukathan | Brihadeshwara Temple | Shore Temple



Cochin / Day 1 - 2

Arrive at the capital city of Kerala and check in at the hotel in the erstwhile Portuguese, Dutch and Jewish colony of Fort Kochi. Dedicate the day to explore the town; each street and monument is a reflection of its rich historic lineage. St. Francis Church, the Mattancherry Palace, the Chinese fishing nets that scoop […]
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Alleppey / Day 3

Glide through the slim backwater canals of Alleppey in the houseboats. This gives you a chance to see local life at close quarters. Overnight stay in the comfortable and softly bobbing bedrooms on the boat.
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Kovalam / Day 4

Drive to Kovalam after landing from the boat at a jetty.
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Kanyakumari / Day 5

Enroute the southernmost tip of India, make a short stop for the Padmanabha Temple. At Kanyakumari, Vivekananda Memorial, Kumari Amman Temple and Gandhi Memorial cover all pegs of the city.
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Madurai / Day 6 - 7

Home to the 2500 years old Meenakshi Temple, Madurai is a heady mix of sights and sounds – photographers will love this. The temple is a hive of activity with the rest of the city emulating its charmingly chaotic vibe. A grand ceremonial tank of water called Mariamma surrounds a temple. Apart from this stunning […]
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Chettinad / Day 8

The ancient city is home to the Nattukottai Chettiars, a prosperous banking community, who ventured overseas to Ceylon, Burma and Indo-China in the 19th and 20th centuries. A visit to the Kanadukathan, built in 1912, showcases the architectural marvels, and the cultural ethos of the region.
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Trichy & Tanjavur / Day 9

Trichy or Tiruchirappalli is a city whose skyline is dominated by the Rock Fort Temple. The temple can be reached by a steep flight of steps cut into a tunnel through the rock. Later continue drive to Tanjavur.
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Tanjavur / Day 10

The iconic Brihadishwara Temple constructed by the Chola Rajendra I in the 10th Century and considered to be the culmination of the classic architecture in South India. This is sure to leave you enthralled.
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Kumbakonam / Day 11

A day’s stop at Kumbakonam validates a trip to the ancient Gangaikondacholapuram, Kumbakonam and Darasum temples.
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Mahabalipuram / Day 12 -13

Drive to the coastal town of Mahabalipuram, after making a short stop at the famous Natraj Temple of Chidambaram. The unassuming town is known for its spectacular Five Rathas (chariots) ceremonial chariots, rock-cut monoliths, the Shore Temple by the sea and excellent sculptures that surround it.
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Chennai / Day 14

Leave for Chennai to catch onward flight.
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Majestic Dzongs of Bhutan

07 Nights & 08 Days

Overview

The mountain splendor of Bhutan encapsulates within its boundaries, a sense of intense spirituality and wonder for the travellers. Its ancient Dzongs are steeped in the architectural references of the years gone by and offer an ambiance of tranquility the moment you step in. Relatively untouched by western influences, seeing the local life and culture of Bhutan is an enigmatic inclusion in your itinerary to the Indian subcontinent. Along with structures, this week–long itinerary gives one ample time to meander through the vibrant countryside or a chance to take in the stunning views of the mountains from dazzlingly high passes.

Top Places

Paro | Thimpu | Trongsa | Bumthang | Punakha | Paro

Highlights

Textile and Folk Heritage Museum | Trongsa Dzong | Jambey Lhakhang | Tamshing | Jakar Dzong | Punakha Dzong Ta Dzong | Taktsang Monastery

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Paro / Day 1

Dazzling views of the Himalayas cast a spell as you enter Paro valley, with the silvery Paro Chu (river) meandering down, Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (National Museum) in the distance. Drive to the capital, Thimphu, an exciting blend of tradition and modernity.
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Thimpu / Day 2

Spend the day in the capital in the company of important monuments and seeing local life at close quarters.
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Trongsa / Day 3

Today offers a glimpse of the Himalayan peaks from the Dochu La and then drive through a scenic countryside to Wangduephodrang. From here drive to Trongsa across Pele La, stopping only to see Chendbi Chorten.
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Bumthang / Day 4

Visit the Trongsa Dzong and then head Bumthang after crossing the Yutong La for a historical treat. Kurje Lhakhang, the 7th century Jambey Lhakhang, Tamshing, Jakar Dzong and a Swiss Farm House fill the rest of the day.
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Punakha / Day 5

After breakfast explore fascinating valley of Bumthang. Then proceed to Trongsa where lunch would be served in local restaurant, famous for its traditional cuisine.Before arriving Punakha visit Wangduephodrang Dzong and town en route.
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Paro / Day 6 - 8

This day is reserved for seeing the Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. In the afternoon, we swing by a traditional Bhutanese farm house and then the Ta Dzong (National Museum) and the Rinpung Dzong, also known as “fortress of the heap of jewels” Perched on the side of […]
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Nepal & Tibet

12 Nights & 13 Days

Overview

A trip that merges the serene vibe of Hinduism and different sects of Buddhism in Nepal and Tibet. The untreated Tibet is the cynosure of all things beautiful. Ringed by towering mountain ranges, like the Kunlun Range in the north and Himalayas to the south, the landscape of Tibet is also dominated by the deserts of the Changtang and the Tsaidam Basin and silvery rivers that flow from China. These offer great diversity in landscape, vegetation, and wildlife in the valleys. Tibet’s unimaginable scapes and difficulty in access has intrigued travellers for centuries. A flourishing culture and unique lifestyle, makes it an emblem of off-beat destinations of the subcontinent.

Top Places

Kathmandu | Gonggar & Lhasa | Lhasa | Gyangtse | Gyangtse & Shigatse | Shigatse, Sakya & Shegar | Shegar, Everest Base Camp, Rombuk & Old Tingri | Old Tingri, Zhang Mu & Kathmandu | Kathmandu

Highlights

Pashupatinath | Boudhanath Stupa | Patan Bhaktapur | Swayambhunath Maha Chaitya | Sera Monastery | Potala Palace | alkhor Chode Monastery | Tashilhunpo



Kathmandu / Day 1 - 3

Arrive in Kathmandu and check-in at the hotel. Pashupatinath, a UNESCO world cultural heritage site is imperative to cover on this day. Add to this, the Boudhanath Stupa and Patan, known for Hindu temples and Buddhist shrines, traditional art and crafts, old palace and of course Newari cultural. Swoyambhunath Maha Chaitya, the most fascinating architectural […]
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Gonggar & Lhasa / Day 4

Arrive in Lhasa after a short flight, and be ready for the surreal beauty of Lhasa.
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Lhasa / Day 5 - 6

The day is reserved for Sera Monastery, Norbulingka (summer retreat of Dalai Lama), Barkhor Square and Jokhang temple. The Tibetan culture is rooted in this nerve centre of Lhasa. The majestic Potala Palace becomes the highlght of the day, as does the beautifully landscaped Drepung Monastery.
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Gyangtse / Day 7

Drive through the gorgeous landscape from Lhasa to Gyangtse to enjoy the view of snow capped peaks. The roads are bare except for yak shepherds with their heards dotting the mountains.
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Gyangtse & Shigatse / Day 8

Visit the Palkhor Chode Monastery including the Kumbum stupa and the local ancient Gyangtse fort. This is followed by the rich agricultural Nying Chu Valley of central Tibet, which takes you to Shigatse.
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Shigatse, Sakya & Shegar / Day 9

It is worth seeing the Tashilhunpo, the seat of the Panchen Lama, second only in importance to the Dalai Lama. Also visit Sakya, the seat of political power in central Tibet from the 10th to mid 14th century.
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Shegar, Everest Base Camp, Rombuk & Old Tingri / Day 10

Turn off the Friendship Highway for a stunning drive through Qomolangma National Park to reach the tiny Rhongphu Gompa at 5000m. From here you trek 7 km to the Everest Base Camp.
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Old Tingri, Zhang Mu & Kathmandu / Day 11

Get lost in the panoramic views of the Himalayan range as you cross the Lalung La before descending to Zhang Mu on the China – Nepal border. Drive to Kathmandu via Bhote Koshi valley and Dhulikhel.
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Kathmandu / Day 12 -13

A day to exploe Kathmandu on your own. Leave for onward flight.
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