Art and Architecture India Itinerary
This exciting Art and Architecture India Tour is an introduction to the history of India through its rich art and architecture. Visit cities and villages, see UNESCO Heritage Sites, palaces, forts, Buddhist caves, and step wells. Observe Indo – Persian, Mughal, Hindu, Victorian Gothic Revival, Colonial and Art – Deco architecture.<!–– start itin loop ––>
Namaste and welcome to India!
Arrive Delhi, and after immigration, baggage, and customs, exit the arrival halls. A Geringer Global Travel representative will greet you with a placard bearing your name.
You will be assisted and transferred to the hotel.
After breakfast, explore Old and New Delhi. While Old Delhi speaks volumes about India’s history, culture, and traditions, New Delhi exhibits the picture of modern India.
Join a local expert for the Old Delhi tour on specially customized cycle rickshaws. This tour is an extensive tour that covers 20 main sites that include palaces, mansions, elegant shrines, and colorful bazaars.
After the tour, drive past India Gate, the War Memorial Arch, the Parliament House, the Secretariat Buildings, and the Vice Regal Palace, now the official residence of the President of India.
Visit the famous Agarsen ki Baoli Stepwell, which was once a water reservoir. It is an exquisite example of splendid architecture and ancient engineering skills.
After lunch, visit two of the important UNESCO World Heritage Sites of New Delhi. The first stop is Qutub Minar, the second tallest minaret in India. It is made of red stone and marble and is covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Qur’an. Afterwards, visit the 16th century Humayun’s Tomb, the first garden tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It is an outstanding monument in the Indo-Persian style and a precursor of the Taj Mahal.
After breakfast, transfer to the station to board the train for Agra. A packed breakfast will be provided for the train journey.
On arrival at Agra station, visit the massive Agra Fort, the formal imperial residence of the Mughal Dynasty. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known as the Red Fort of Agra.
Post tour, check into the hotel.
After lunch, take the Kachhpura Heritage Trail, a community-based program, that brings you some amazing scenes of life and times behind the Taj Mahal. This visit offers you an opportunity to view the Taj Mahal from a different vantage point from across the Yamuna River. The proceeds from this walk go directly into funding various welfare work such as upgrading schools, building toilets, and creating sustainable livelihoods.
Visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise. The Taj Mahal was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 15th century as a memorial to his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is an architectural masterpiece of exquisite craftsmanship and perfect proportions.
Return to the hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast, drive to Jaipur (approx. 4 hours). En route, visit Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted red sandstone city, built by Emperor Akbar as his capital. Ponder the mysterious desertion of this capital city that was dramatically abandoned a few years after it was built. It was a veritable fairy tale city and its ‘ruins’ are still in pristine condition.
Stop for lunch at The Bagh, in Bharatpur.
After lunch, continue driving to Jaipur with a stop at Abhaneri Village to see Chand Baori Stepwell, one of the oldest surviving stepwells in Rajasthan.
Continue to Jaipur and on arrival, check into the hotel
After breakfast, visit Amer Fort with its amazing architecture that combines Mughal and Hindu styles. Explore its high ramparts, many gates, cobbled paths, and splendid views.
After lunch, explore the main highlights of the city. Jaipur’s distinctive appeal lies in its historical buildings, bustling bazaars, and its multi-colored turbaned locals. Visit the City Palace, a beautiful complex of gardens, courtyards, and decorative art. Walk to the adjacent Jantar Mantar Observatory. The observatory was designed by the Maharaja of Jaipur in the 18th century and is one of five such astronomical wonders built by Sawai Jai Singh. It makes accurate predictions even to this day. Finally, have a photo stop at Hawa Mahal, the Palace of the Winds, which was used by women to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen.
After breakfast, drive to Jodhpur referred to as the Blue City (approx. 6 hours).
Late afternoon, explore Sadar Market, a lively, bustling, colorful market, that runs from Sojati Gate to the Clock Tower, which was built in the late 19th century. In the distance, you can see Mehrangarh Fort which dominates the skyline for miles around. The colorful market with tiny shops dotting the narrow lanes is situated in the heart of the city and is popular for a wide range of handicrafts.
After breakfast, explore Mehrangarh Fort, which evokes the spirit of the Rathores, the ruling local Rajput clan. Visit its various palaces, with their delicate friezes and respective museums, displaying the treasures of the royal family.
Afterwards, drive to Narlai (approx 2.5 hours).
On arrival, check into the heritage hotel. The impressive 17th-century Rawla Narlai Heritage Hotel was once the vacation home of the Maharaja of Jodhpur.
In the afternoon, proceed for a village safari by jeep. The rugged countryside of the Godwad region is best explored by jeep. This ride includes a visit to the nearby village where you can see the different craftsmen working their trade, famous temples whose beautiful architecture should be seen, and a visit to a traditional working farm.
Delight in a stunning dinner at the 16th century stepwell, lit up by hundreds of lamps, for a unique dining experience.
After breakfast, your guide will take you to the train station. He will purchase the tickets and help you board the train. It is a local train, and you are seated on wooden seats along with the locals who can be a wedding party, pilgrims, daily travelers, children, and sometimes even their cattle.
Disembark the train and visit a local school, interact with the students, and return to the hotel for lunch.
After lunch, take an excursion to Ranakpur Jain Temple (approx. 1 hour each way). Ranakpur is the largest Jain temple complex in India and dates back to the 15th century. The temple is noted for the grandiose scale of its architecture, the highly decorated ceilings and walls, and 1444 different pillars.
Return to the hotel.
After breakfast, transfer to Jodhpur airport (approx. 2.5 hours) to board the flight for Ahmedabad.
Upon arrival, transfer to your heritage hotel.
Ahmedabad, the former capital of Gujarat state, is known as a place where Mahatma Gandhi lived. The Sabarmati Ashram Museum, also known as Gandhi Ashram, on the banks of the River Sabarmati, was his temporary residence for about twelve years. Ahmedabad is the commercial hub of Gujarat.
After dinner, visit restored havelis (mansions) and walk by Jain temples, traditional bazaars, and the old stock exchange.
After breakfast, explore the major stepwells in the city along with a visit to Gandhi Ashram.
Visit Dada Hari Stepwell which is over 500 years old and is made of sandstone in the style of Solanki architecture. It is five stories deep and features an octagonal plan on the top.
Tour Adalaj Stepwell, a stunning example of Indo-Islam fusion architecture work.
Visit Ambapur Stepwell, five stories deep with intricate carvings. Although not as majestic and celebrated as the Adalaj, the Ambapur Stepwell is equally beautiful and has a charm of its own.
After lunch, visit Gandhi Ashram on a quiet peaceful stretch of the Sabarmati River. Mahatma Gandhi set up a simple retreat in 1915. This was his Satyagrah Ashram and for many years it was the nerve center of India’s freedom movement.
After breakfast, visit Rani-ki-Vav, known as the Queen’s Stepwell, in Patan. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stepwell is divided into seven levels of stairs with more than 500 hundred sculptured panels.
After lunch, visit the Sun Temple, a Hindu temple, dedicated to the Sun God, Surya, at Modhera. It has a rectangular stepwell that was used to store water and to perform ceremonies for worshipping the Sun God.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a flight to Aurangabad. Known for its many cultural and historical monuments, Aurangabad is a popular tourist city set on the Kaum River in a hilly upland region of India’s Maharashtra state.
On arrival at Aurangabad, you will be met and transferred to the hotel.
After lunch, take a half-day sightseeing tour of the city. Visit Aurangabad Caves, twelve rock-cut Buddhist shrines located on a hill, Bibi Ka Maqbara, the mausoleum built by Aurangzeb in memory of his wife and bears a resemblance to the Taj Mahal, and Pan Chakki (water wheel) designed to generate energy by water.
After breakfast, enjoy a full day excursion to the Ajanta Caves. The caves, famous for their temple architecture and many delicately drawn murals, are located in a 76 m high, horseshoe-shaped escarpment overlooking the Waghora (Tiger) River. The Ajanta Caves are listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
After the excursion, return to your hotel.
After breakfast, take a half-day excursion to the Ellora Caves. They are one of the largest rock cut Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain temple caves in the world. Ellora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After lunch, transfer to the airport for the flight to Mumbai.
Arrive in Mumbai and transfer to the hotel.
After breakfast, spend the day exploring the city.
Take a historic walk through the colonial precinct of Mumbai to see the architecture covering major landmarks such as the Gateway of India, Taj Mumbai Hotel, Royal Yacht Club, and the National Gallery of Art. In the Kala Godha area, see the Watson Hotel, the earliest surviving example of cast-iron architecture in India. After driving past the High Court and University, reach Marine Drive, the Mecca of Art Deco structures in Mumbai. Mumbai has the second number of art deco buildings after Miami. Finally, stop at the magnificent Victoria Terminus Building.
After lunch, visit the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that is a working railway station.
Mumbai by Dawn is a unique offering, where you see the bustling city of Mumbai wake up. Peek into the underbelly of the city and gain insights into what makes this magnificent city tick. From seeing hundreds of newspaper vendors sort out newspapers of 7 different languages, experiencing one of its kind fish auction of 20 tons of fish, to seeing an ‘only green’ herb market sprawled across a popular bridge, from watching the milkmen drive past with canisters, the melee of color at the flower markets to experiencing the clamor and chaos of the arrival of over 100 tons of vegetables, fruits and meat, Mumbai by Dawn truly defines the mercurial character of Mumbai like none other.
Return to the hotel for breakfast.
Take a walk this afternoon to discover Mumbai’s hidden secret, the vintage Portuguese houses with ornate architecture, that adorn this area of the lesser-known East Indian community. End this tour with tea at an old East Indian home and hear about the challenges faced by the community with the persistent real estate lobby wanting to tear down these homes. Part of this tour’s proceeds will go to the Matharpacady Association that is fighting to keep the heritage of this village alive, one bungalow at a time.
Late night assisted transfer to the International airport to board the flight back home.