Board a late afternoon flight to New Delhi, arrival at night, transfer to a guesthouse in Paharganj area, which is a backpackers’ haven with a host of budget hotels, restaurants, and shops. Retire early to bed in preparation to catch an early morning train the next day.
Take a morning train to Agra, arrive around noon, transfer to hotel. Afternoon, visit the Agra Fort, where Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his own son after falling from power. During house arrest, Shah Jahan was given a room with a view of his shrine of love – Taj Mahal – upon request. During sunset, stroll along the Yamuna river bank, and from Moon Garden (Methab Bahg) could view Taj Mahal bathing in golden rays from a distance.
Rise early to visit Taj Mahal before the crowds build up. The mausoleum was built by Shah Jahan for his beloved third wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is known as the “perfect building”, and one of the Eight Wonders of the World. It is constructed with white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones. After lunch, board a train to Jaipur, upon arrival around dinner time, transfer to hotel and then go for food hunting.
In the morning, visit the grand City Palace Complex, as well as the city’s iconic structure, Hawa Mahal, its honeycombed windows used to enable royal ladies to watch the life and processions of the city. Afternoon, take a stroll through the Bapu Bazaar, a great place for shopping and food hunting. Before sunset, head to the ancient citadel Amber Fort.
Board a morning train to Ajmer, arrival before noon, change to local bus heading for Pushkar, a tiny town by the sacred Pushkar Lake, which according to legend was formed when Lord Brahma, the god of creation, dropped a lotus on earth. On all sides of the lake, there are many bathing ghats and temples. This is a pilgrimage center for Hindus, and there are plenty of Sadhus around.
Admire sunrise on top a hill with panoramic view of Pushkar. After breakfast, free and easy. You may explore ancient temples and interesting alleyways, or hunt for souvenirs in the bazaar, such as traditional Rajasthani puppets, statues of Hindu deities, traditional musical instruments, local costumes, and more.
After breakfast, take a bus to Ajmer to catch an onward train to Jodhpur, known as the Blue City, as most houses here are painted blue. Arrival in late afternoon, transfer to a guesthouse located in the blue quarter where houses are painted in various shades of blue, the paint is said to have mosquito-repellent properties.
Take a morning walk to the massive 15th century Mehrangarh Fort, set on a hilltop looming over the city. The fort houses palaces, temples, and a well-organized museum. The fort has sights and activities to keep one occupied for hours and it offers panoramic view of the Blue City below. Later, stroll downhill to Jaswant Thada, a marble cenotaph surrounded by multilevel garden, carved gazebos, and a pond.
In the day, walkabouts in the Old City, sights of interest include a 19th century clock tower, Sardar Bazaar, and ancient steps-well refurbished into a square surrounded by cozy cafes. Next to the market’s entrance, there’s a not-to-be missed omelette shop, which is said to sell over 1,000 eggs per day. Late at night, board an overnight sleeper train to Jaisalmer.
Early morning arrival, transfer to hotel, refresh and take breakfast. Later, start a 2-day-1-night camel safari trip in the nearby Thar Desert. Meet the hardy desert folks, admire the view of sand dunes stretching into the horizon, and at night, gather around bonfire to relax, chat, or stargazing. Sleep in tents on the open desert.
Around noon, return from the desert safari to Jaisalmer old city, check-in to a guesthouse. The Old City is dotted with Havelis (stone mansions) built by rich merchants in the past centuries, using wealth gained from Silk Road caravan trade to decorate their homes ornately. Afternoon visit to the Jaisalmer Fort, a living walled city filled with palaces, markets, temples, cafes, bars, and a vibrant community.
In the day, continue to explore Jaisalmer, roam its bustling streets and markets, stroll in the winding narrow alleyways to have a glimpse of locals’ way of life, sample street food, or pick a café to sit back and relax. Late afternoon, board an overnight sleeper train back to the capital city New Delhi.
Arrive in the capital before noon, check-in to a guesthouse in Paharganj area and refresh. After lunch, visit the Red Fort, built by the fifth Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as his palace in the 17th century. Another interesting sight is the Jama Masjid, the biggest mosque in India. Nearby the mosque is the biggest open-air market in Old Delhi.
Late morning, transfer to New Delhi International Airport, take an afternoon flight back to Kuala Lumpur, arrival at night. End of tour.
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Once a semiconductor engineer but quit to pursue his dreamed life of uninterrupted travel. He likes up-close contact with the locals during travel, as he appreciates true cultural exchange experiences. He has previously stayed and worked in France and Central Asia, hence knowing basic French and Russian. He loves the mountains and passionate about trekking, he has covered the major trails in Nepal, scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro, and spent half a year roaming in the mountains of Ladakh, carrying his own tent and supplies, entering some of the remotest areas alone, including Stok Kangri above 6000m.
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