Rajasthan With Pushkar Festival & Cruise

Introduction

India is a country with a sumptuous mix of traditions, spiritual beliefs, festivals, architecture and landscapes. Far Horizon takes you on a special journey where you will explore the treasures of India, a phenomenal cultural mix along with the intricate architectural wonders and a deep sense of spirituality. From the historical city of Delhi to the royalty of Rajasthan along with the sacred and soulful Varanasi, not to miss the monumental city of Agra, the majesty of Taj, this special journey comes to a close at the cosmopolitan city of Kolkata from where MV Mahabaahu will take you cruising onto the waters of the mighty Brahmaputra river, a unique experience filled with an extensive wildlife coverage of the Kaziranga National Park along with exploring the living cultures of various towns, villages and islands of Assam.

Destinations Covered

Detailed Itinerary

  1. Day 1 Thursday: Arrive Delhi

    Delhi

    You will be arriving at the Delhi International Airport. After clearing Customs and Immigration, step into the receiving area, where our representative will meet you and escort you to the hotel.

    Arrive at your hotel and check-in. Rest of the day is at leisure on own.

    Lunch and Dinner on own.

    Overnight at hotel

  2. Day 2 Friday: Delhi

    Delhi

    This morning after breakfast, drive past the Red Fort followed by a Rickshaw Ride in Chandni Chowk and a visit to the Jama Masjid. The main street of 'Old' Delhi is a magnificent bazaar and as fine a monument to congestion, colour and chaos as you'll find in India today. In Shah Jahan's day, it was endowed with fine mansions, had a tree-lined canal flowing down its centre and was renowned throughout Asia; today it's jam-packed with artisans, traders and auto & cycle rickshaws and comprises a fantastic cocktail of human movement, shopping and street food.

    We will then visit the most prominent Sikh Gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship, in Delhi. It was originally a bungalow belonging to Raja Jai Singh, a 17th century Indian ruler. It is open to people of all faiths, castes or creeds. The premises house a sacred pond in which devotees bathe. They believe that this would wash off their misdeeds and thus allow them to attain peace of mind. The 'Langars' or the community kitchen proves to be the ideal example of prodigious hospitality of the Sikhs. Anyone and everyone can have scrumptious meal irrespective of caste, color or class.

    Drive past the President’s House, Parliament House and takes a photo stop at the India Gate, the war ach memorial. Return back to the hotel after sightseeing.

    Conclude the day with a visit to the Qutub Minar. Delhi's most striking monument, which looms majestically across the wide plains of Delhi, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was constructed in 1192 by Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak. Built in red sandstone and marble, it has a height of 72.5 meters (237.8 ft) and contains 379 stairs. A Soaring conical tower, it is an exquisite example of Indo-Islamic Afghan architecture and is the tallest minaret in India.

    Lunch and Dinner on own. Overnight at hotel (B)

  3. Day 3 Saturday: Delhi - Udaipur

    Udaipur

    After relaxed breakfast, check out from the Hotel and drive towards Delhi Airport to board your flight to Udaipur.

    You will be met on arrival & transferred to your Hotel in Udaipur. On arrival check in to the hotel, afternoon will be at leisure.

    This evening enjoy a boat ride on Lake Pichola, watching the sunset on the magical Lake and scenic beauty of Udaipur.

    Lunch and Dinner on own.

    Overnight at hotel (B)

  4. Day 4 Sunday: Udaipur

    Udaipur

    Today visit the Jagdish Temple, the largest and most venerated temple in Udaipur. Built in 1651 A.D. by Maharaja Jagat Singh, the temple is decorated with friezes and enshrines a black stone image of Vishnu. Walk about the Garden of Maidens (Sahelion Ki Bari), which consists of an ornamental lotus pool with delicately carved cenotaphs of black and white marble and soapstone. You can explore the Maharajah’s City Palace, an imposing edifice of granite and marble, standing atop a ridge overlooking the blue waters of Lake Pichola and the exquisite Lake Palace.

    Return to the Hotel. Rest of the day will be at leisure.

    Lunch and Dinner on own.

    Overnight at hotel (B)

  5. Day 5 Monday: Udaipur - Sardargarh

    Sardargarh

    After breakfast drive for approximate 02 hours towards North for Sardargarh. Arrive at Sardargarh and check-in to the Fort.

    Sardargarh, a traditional fort built from 1738 to 1743 by Sardar Singh, one of the most powerful Dhodhias (Prince Warrior) during this time period.

    This afternoon take a jeep to visit the local village with the owner to learn about life in the rural areas.

    End the day at a sunset point on Lake Manohar Sagar with beautiful views of the Fort followed by the activities organised by the Hotel.

    Lunch and Dinner on own.

    Overnight at hotel (B)

  6. Day 6 Tuesday: Sardargarh - Jodhpur

    Jodhpur

    After relaxed breakfast, check-out from hotel and drive for approx. 04 hours to reach Jodhpur.

    On arrival, check in to the hotel. Afternoon will be at leisure.

    In the evening, visit the bustling Clock Tower bazaar to get a further flavour of this historic city.

    Lunch and Dinner on own.

    Overnight at hotel (B)

  7. Day 7 Wednesday: Jodhpur

    Jodhpur

    Today you will explore the city’s beautiful palace Mehrangarh Fort has been in existence since 1459 and is one of the most astounding constructions and architectural marvels. The towering building has extremely high walls and gates, and the closer it is explored, the smaller you begin to feel! Inside the fort is a network of courtyards and palaces, (including a museum that houses a splendid collection of items from the Maharajas), salvaged to display their long history of warding off attackers.

    The Jaswant Thada is an absolutely calming and soothing building to lay your eyes upon. Constructed entirely of a milky-white marble, the whimsical essence of this memorial can be felt by all. The sheets of marble used to create this astounding marvel were all hand carved into fabulous walls and domes. A warm glow surrounds the polished rock, emitting a sunny and pleasant atmosphere.

    Return to the hotel. Evening will be free at leisure.

    Lunch and Dinner on own.

    Overnight at hotel (B)

  8. Day 8 Thursday: Jodhpur - Pushkar

    Pushkar

    After relaxed breakfast, check out and drive towards Pushkar.

    On arrival check in to the hotel, afternoon will be at leisure.

    Later in the evening proceed to experience the Pushkar Camel Fair, where local tribes and many other Indian community come from near and far to trade, parade, and race camels, horses, and cows. It’s a lively, colourful scene that is part bazaar and trade fair, part religious pilgrimage – Pushkar, like Varanasi, is one of Hinduism’s holiest sites. Timed to coincide with the full moon, the fair draws pilgrims to the many temples surrounding the lake, including the world’s only temple where Lord Brahma, Creator of the Universe, is worshipped.

    Return to Hotel.

    Lunch and Dinner at the hotel.

    Overnight at hotel (B, L, D)

  9. Day 9 Friday: Pushkar

    Pushkar

    After breakfast, proceed to explore the fair. Despite being the busiest time of year for local villagers, the Pushkar festival, one of the worlds largest such fairs, symbolizes a period of joy and respite from everyday life. It is during this time, Hindus believe, that each of the gods visits Pushkar in order to bless the devout. We see signs of this belief today as we embark on a morning tour of Pushkar village. Men and women dress in their finest and most colorful clothing to worship, celebrate, and attend the fair; and thousands of devotees experience a religious resurgence by swimming in the sacred waters of Pushkar Lake. Booths line roadsides as local families and merchants sell items of all sorts, from intricate embroidery, ethnic jewellery, and saddles to puppets, pottery, and items of leather and brass.

    In the evening enjoy a camel cart ride at the Pushkar fair.

    Return to the Hotel.

    Lunch and Dinner at the hotel.

    Overnight at hotel (B, L, D)

  10. Day 10 Saturday: Pushkar - Jaipur

    Jaipur

    After breakfast drive for approximate 03 hours towards Jaipur. On arrival check in to the hotel and relax. Afternoon will be at leisure.

    Evening is free to explore the local markets on your own.

    Lunch & Dinner on own.

    Overnight at hotel (B)

  11. Day 11 Sunday: Jaipur

    Jaipur

    After breakfast, embark on an excursion trip which will lead you to Amber Fort, the capital of Rajasthan for 6 centuries before Jaipur was built. Rising majestically on the slopes of a hill, this 11th century Fort and Palace complex is a blend of Hindu and Muslim styles. It is one of the principal tourist attractions in the Jaipur area, located high on a hill. En route make a photo stop at the palace of winds, the Hawa Mahal. Also visit the City Palace which now houses the Royal residence and museums with a fine collection of textiles and costumes, armoury, manuscripts, paintings followed by a stopover at Jantar Mantar has been built by the founder of Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. The huge stone instruments were devised to study the movements of the sun, moon and planets and are incredibly accurate.

    Lunch and Dinner on own.

    Overnight at hotel (B)

  12. Day 12 Monday: Jaipur - Varanasi

    Varanasi

    Check out early morning from the Hotel with packed breakfast to board your flight to Varanasi.

    You will be met on arrival & transferred to your Hotel in Varanasi. On arrival check in to the hotel (Early check-in subject to availability).

    After breakfast visit Sarnath, this is one of four holy Buddhist sites and an exceedingly tranquil place. It is the place where the enlightened Buddha gave his first sermon. Visit the Dhamek Stupa- built in 500 CE to commemorate the Buddha's activities in this location.

    Then we proceed to Silk weaving centre. Silk weaving is a manufacturing industry in Varanasi. Varanasi is known throughout India for its production of very fine silk and Banarasi saris.

    Weaving is typically done within the household, and most weavers in Varanasi are Momin Ansari Muslims. Many of Varanasi's Muslims belong to a weaver community that known by the name of Ansari, which means "helper" in Arabic. For generations they have passed on their craft from father to son, hand-weaving silk on room-sized foot-powered looms. They are fashioned into Sarees worn only for special occasions; many Indian girls dream of wearing Varanasi silk Saree for their wedding day.

    Later, in the evening, take a boat ride in the holy River Ganges where you will witness the beautiful and captivating 'Aarti' ceremony’ at twilight. ‘Aarti’ is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, in which wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter) or camphor are offered to one or more deities. An absolute must see in Varanasi, the evening Aarti is conducted every day at sunset by priests, worshiping the river goddess with incense, camphor, flowers and earthen lamps.

    Lunch and Dinner on own.

    Overnight at hotel (B)

  13. Day 13 Tuesday: Varanasi

    Varanasi

    Rise early this morning and take a boat ride on the Ganga past the Ghats. Here, pilgrims gather on the steps that lead down to the river to bathe in the waters of the sacred river, as the city begins to come alive, in the magical misty light of dawn. Walk through the streets and visit some of Varanasi’s many temples.

    Return to Hotel & relax.

    Lunch and Dinner on own.

    Overnight at hotel (B)

  14. Day 14 Wednesday: Varanasi - Agra

    Agra

    After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and take a drive towards airport to board your flight to Agra.

    You will be met at the Agra airport & will be transferred to the hotel. On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

    Later, proceed to visit the “Mehtab Bagh” situated north of the Taj Mahal complex on the opposite side of the Yamuna River, in the flood plains. The garden complex, square in shape, is perfectly aligned with the Taj Mahal on the opposite bank. The most important attraction of Mehtab Bagh is the Taj Mahal itself. This is a unique spot as you can get a picturesque view of The Taj from here.

    Lunch and Dinner on own.

    Overnight at hotel (B)

  15. Day 15 Thursday: Agra

    Agra

    Early this morning, you savour a travel highlight as we embark on a tour of the Taj Mahal, the magnificent tomb of white marble built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, who had implored her husband to build a monument symbolizing their undying love for each other. Some 20,000 labourers and artisans from around the world spent 22 years constructing what became Mumtaz’s mausoleum, which was begun in 1632. Along with its exquisite symmetry, the Taj features striking examples of pietra dura; a decorative art in which craftsmen embed precisely cut semi-precious stones in marble to form dazzling patterns.

    Return to hotel & have breakfast.

    Later, in the afternoon visit the imposing Red Fort of Agra (also known as Agra Fort), comprising fairy tale palaces, two beautiful mosques, audience halls, pavilions, courtyards, and gardens all surrounded by a massive wall, a moat, and yet another wall. A creative, architectural, and strategic masterpiece, the Fort is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In a cruel twist, Emperor Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal and whose grandfather built the original Fort and who also assumed the throne himself, was imprisoned here at the end of his life by his own son – in a room looking out on the Taj Mahal across the river.

    Return to the hotel. Evening will be at leisure.

    Lunch and Dinner on own.

    Overnight at hotel (B)

  16. Day 16 Friday: Agra - Delhi - Kolkata

    Kolkata

    After breakfast, check out and drive towards Delhi Airport to board your flight to Kolkata.

    On Arrival, step into the receiving area where our representative will meet you and escort you to your hotel.

    Arrive at your hotel and check-in. Rest of the day is at leisure.

    Lunch and Dinner on own.

    Overnight at hotel (B)

  17. Day 17 Saturday: Kolkata

    Kolkata

    After breakfast, visit the Howrah Bridge, this amazing feat of engineering is similar in size to Australia’s Sydney Harbour bridge. It is considered the busiest bridge in the world and everything from pedestrians to bullock carts to push carts to automobiles to bicycles cross every day and the eastern India’s largest flower market with hundreds of stalls and vendors sitting on the ground. Approximately 2000 flower growers from the surrounding areas come daily to sell their flowers and during the wedding season and festivals, that number probably doubles.

    Post lunch, visit the Victoria Memorial. This marble-white monument is one of the most fascinating landmarks of Kolkata. Here, we will come face to face with miniature paintings and images of Queen Mary, King George V and Queen Victoria. Of special importance are the Queen's dresses, the famous Rosewood piano, the Whispering Gallery in the dome and numerous artillery weapons used in the Battle of Plassey.

    Thereafter we will visit College Street Coffee House. It is located opposite the Presidency College in College Street, the most famous of Indian Coffee House branches in Kolkata. It has been for a long time a regular hang out and a renowned meeting place for intellectuals and students of the Presidency College, University of Calcutta, and other institutions in College Street. It has played an important part in Calcutta’s cultural history and known as the hub of intellectual debates.

    Return to hotel. Lunch and Dinner on own.

    Overnight at hotel (B)

  18. Day 18 Sunday: Kolkata – Jorhat

    Jorhat

    Jorhat & transfer to Neamati Ghat / Board MV Mahabaahu

    In time check-out from your hotel and transfer to the airport to board your flight to Jorhat.

    Arrival Jorhat and transfer to Neamati Ghat where an Assamese welcome aboard the MV Mahabaahu awaits us. After the essential safety briefing we check into our cabins.

    On the Donyi Polo Deck, we raise a traditional toast to the mighty Brahmaputra River that carves the valley of Assam. If lucky, we catch a fleeting glimpse of the Gangetic dolphins and notice the sky flocked with bar headed geese, egrets and cormorants returning to their abodes on deserted islands as the sun lowers itself in the western horizon.

    We enjoy a talk on 'Sibsagar, the seat of Ahom Civilisation' that ruled the north eastern region of India for six centuries. A short talk on 'Tea in Assam' continues over High Tea.

    A relaxed evening in the Soma Lounge followed by a sit down Welcome Dinner completes the day.

    Overnight on board MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

  19. Day 19 Monday: Sibsagar

    Sivasagar

    After an early breakfast, we start our day-excursion to Sibsagar, the ancient city and capital of the Tai-speaking Ahoms who came in the 13th Century AD to the area from the north-east and were essentially of Tibeto-Burman origin.

    Sibsagar town literally means 'the ocean of Lord Shiva’ as it is built around a huge man made water tank ordered by the Ahom Queen. The Shiva Dol, constructed in the year 1734 is believed to be the highest Shiva temple in India.

    We visit the Talatal or Kareng Ghar, the palace of the Ahom Kings and the Rang Ghar, an amphitheatre, a place of entertainment or important meetings for the Royals and their guests.

    Thereafter, we drive to a Tea Estate for a relaxed afternoon and a traditional Assamese lunch with the Tea-estate family who have been involved in the tea business for over a century.

    We return to MV Mahabaahu by sunset and enjoy a relaxed evening before proceeding for dinner.

    Overnight on board MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

  20. Day 20 Tuesday: Majuli

    Majuli

    We start the day with Yoga or go for a walk along the swamps to catch a sight of owls, orioles, changeable eagles, adjutant storks, sea gulls, kingfishers, swallows and many more.

    As we have our breakfast, we sail towards Majuli, a cosmos of Assamese culture where various philosophies co-exist and thrive.

    After breakfast, enjoy a talk on 'Majuli, the seat of Vaishnav culture’ and proceed in the excursion boats to the mainland where a drive takes you to a scenic corner of a ‘Satra’ (monastery) for an interesting cultural performance by Satriya singers and dancers. Next, you will proceed to Kamlabari Satra to witness the Vaishnavite priests dancing to the rhythm of cymbals, drums and chanting in the temple premise.

    Enjoy a hot lunch on MV Mahabaahu while sailing towards the closest Mishing Village. The Mishings live on the banks of the river, in 'Chang Ghars'- houses with raised platforms. All Mishing women are expert weavers. You can buy ethnic colourful cotton weaves and indulge in a dhoti tying and Mekhela Chaadar wearing demonstration.

    After the Mishing Village visit, MV Mahabaahu heads towards Dhansiri Mukh where the waters of Brahmaputra and Dhansiri meet, while you enjoy a talk on ‘Assam, its geographical location & importance’. You may later enjoy the evening under the stars on a deserted island and proceed for dinner.

    (Bonfire may be avoided if a suitable sandbank cannot be found or if we experience inclement weather conditions).

    Overnight on board MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

  21. Day 21 Wednesday: Boat Safari

    Kaziranga National Park

    After Yoga/early morning walk on a deserted island, MV Mahabaahu sails towards the Eastern Range of Kaziranga. We enjoy breakfast and a talk on ‘The River Brahmaputra and the life that exists alongside’.

    We later proceed for the boat safari. The shores are high but one can see roof turtles on protruding drift wood, water lizards, otters, elephants, wild buffaloes, rhinos, darters, herons, pied kingfishers, white throated kingfishers, serpent eagles a nd many more. The sightings are always determined by the weather conditions.

    We return for lunch. This evening we enjoy the Chef’s Cooking Demonstration followed by a talk on ‘Tea, Silk and Jute in Assam.’

    An evening on a deserted island with bonfire is always exclusive.

    We enjoy dinner on MV Mahabaahu.

    (Bonfire may be avoided if a suitable sandbank cannot be found or if we experience inclement weather conditions)

    Overnight on board MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

  22. Day 22 Thursday: Bishwanath Ghat

    Kaziranga National Park

    After Yoga/walk on the deserted island and breakfast on MV Mahabaahu, we enjoy an interesting talk on ‘Kaziranga and the wild life in India’. Then we step into our excursion boats to go to the shores of Bishwanath Ghat.

    We walk through the village and are struck by the simplicity of life while the weaver women surround us with their silk and cotton weaves. We enjoy some happy interaction with them.

    We sail on for the next couple of hours and enjoy a relaxed lunch and reach Silghat. Then we take a short drive to the Kaliabore tea estate, which is a vast undulating expanse of land with tea bushes. We proceed to the tea factory to see the processing of the Assam Tea and getting an insight into all that goes into preparing a cup-of-tea.

    (The tea factory is not operational from mid-December to mid-February as it is time for pruning the tea bushes)

    We return to the place where the ship is anchored. Close by a co-operative Jute Mill is an interesting place to understand how the Jute fibre takes the form of very eco-friendly gunny bags.

    At sunset, we enjoy a cultural evening on the ship followed by an early dinner.

    Overnight on board MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D

  23. Day 23 Friday: Kaziranga National Park

    Kaziranga National Park

    Early morning wakeup call and after a hot cup of tea/coffee, we drive out towards the Kaziranga National Park.

    The most prized inhabitant of Kaziranga is the Greater One-Horned Indian Rhinoceros, but the Park is home to as many as 180 different mammals including wild elephants, tiger, deer, Asiatic wild buffalo and a rich variety of birds. We reach the Kohora Mihimukh range of the National Park and are ready to start our morning adventure; once-in-a-lifetime elephant-backed safari where we search for the elusive rhinoceros, tigers, swamp deer and hog deer and more and a large number of very interesting birds. The park never ceases to surprise its visitors.

    After breakfast at a resort in Kaziranga, we drive on to Bagori, the Western Range of Kaziranga and get into the open jeeps for some more wild life adventure and an extensive coverage of this magnificent park.

    We return to MV Mahabaahu for a leisurely lunch and a relaxed afternoon. In the evening, we proceed for a traditional Assamese Theme dinner.

    Overnight on board MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

  24. Day 24 Saturday: Peacock Island

    Guwahati

    We catch up on Yoga on an island or on the deck for an hour and move on to breakfast while MV Mahabaahu lifts anchor and heads on towards an island that is occupied predominantly by a ‘Bangla’ speaking Muslim community who are involved in the extensive farming.

    After lunch, we enjoy a talk on ‘Kamakhya and the Occult and Peacock Island’. After a visit to this village, we return to the ship for lunch and sail towards the Peacock Island - famous for the highly endangered Golden Langur. It would be a good idea to have one’s binoculars and cameras at hand.

    We later sail towards Pandu Port. Later in the evening, we get ready for the Farewell Dinner ‘Alvida Bhoj’ and enjoy a relaxed evening.

    Overnight on board MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

  25. Day 25 Sunday: Guwahati

    Guwahati

    We have a relaxed breakfast. Luggage down, as per the flight schedule. With packed lunch, we drive to the Kamakhya Temple (flight time permitting). This Temple is devoted to the eternal feminine the Kama Khya, goddess of desire.

    After bidding farewell to the land of Kamakhya you will be transferred to the Guwahati airport to board your onward flight to Kolkata from where you will connect with your international flight.

    (B, Packed Lunch)

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