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Delhi Agra Jaipur in Five Days

 

It's going to be a comfortable tour. Doing this tour by train is going to be tough, as you'll have to arrange a local transport in each city. So, the best option is to either ask a tour company to arrange everything for you or hire a car with driver and explore on your own. The latter is painful, but pocket-friendly option. In this case you can either pre-arrange a guide or hire one at the popular monuments.

 

Day 1: Delhi

 

Two days in Delhi gives you time to do a little bit of everything. So we'll have one day in the beginning and another day at the end of the trip.

 

Start you day with Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, which consists of a simple square black-marble platform that stands on the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. You can also visit the National Gandhi Museum in the vicinity, which houses a collection of rare photographs and trivia related to Gandhiji. Take an auto-rickshaw/drive to Jama Masjid.

 

Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in India, the southern minaret of which offers a splendid view of the Meena bazaar, Red Fort, Chandni Chowk even as far as the Rashtrapati Bhawan in Central Delhi.

 

After Jama Masjid, take a man-ridden cycle rickshaw to Red Fort. Right opposite the fort entrance, you'll find a brick red color temple i.e. Jain Temple, if you wish to visit it, try after Red Fort. Red Fort is going to take a good 1.5 to 2 hours.

 

Make a visit to Red color Jain Temple before you halt at Haldiram's, Chandni Chowk for breakfast. It is the most hygienic place to try the Indian delicacies. Make a visit to nearby Gowri Shankar Temple to pay homage to the Hindu deities. Walk straight and you will reach Gurudwara Sish Ganj (Sikh Temple), which as built at a location where Mughal Emperor Aurungzeb beheaded the ninth Sikh Guru, Shri Tegh Bahadur.

 

Now it's time to visit Paraathewali gali (Paratha street), where you'll find the best paathamakers of the town in full action. The street is filled with the fragrance of spices and pickle. If you plan to do tummy-worship, remember, hygiene is an alien word in this street. When you come out of the street, move a little forward and you'll notice Ghantewala, one of the oldest sweet shops which served the mughal kings. It’s the perfect place to have a glass of lassi. If you feel it's enough of old Delhi, catch metro/ auto/car and rush to India Gate. If you want to explore more, hire a cycle rickshaw and ask him to take you to a round of specialised bazaars (Chawri Bazaar, Kinari Bazaar, Khari Baoli etc.)

 

After reaching India Gate, give yourself about 15-20 minutes to walk around the monument and then hop into your car to head towards Rashtrapati Bhawan. Your driver would have dropped you off at India Gate and parked a little ahead on Raj Path - the grand pathway connecting India Gate to the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Take in the views of the tree-rimmed lawns on either side of the road, the Parliament House on your right and the Rashtrapati Bhawan flanked by the North and South blocks in the front. Read about the various architectural features of the buildings that you see here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashtrapati_Bhavan

 

Come down the slope of the Raisina hill and head towards the National Museum.

 

The National museum has a vast collection of artifacts from the Indus Valley civilization to 19th century textiles, musical instruments, jewellery and rare scripts:

http://www.nationalmuseumindia.gov.in/collection.html

 

The display design leaves much to be desired, but the exhibits themselves are superb It can easily take 3-4 hours . Take an audio guide (Rs300 inclusive of the entrance) for touring the galleries.

 

Make Lodi gardens your next stop. There are two entrances to this place. Ask your driver to drop you off at the entrance from Subramanium Bharati Marg and pick you up from the Lodi Road (opposite Mausam Bhawan) entrance. There are many well-preserved monuments here from the Lodi dynasty and the old indigenous trees in the garden are home to a rich bird life: http://www.bharatonline.com/delhi/gardens/lodi-garden.html

 

Ask someone the directions to the Lodi Road gate and exit to find your car/driver.

 

Drive down to the India Habitat Centre which is worth a visit to appreciate Joseph Stein's inclusive architectural philosophy alone. It also has three galleries (Visual Arts, Open Palm Court and Experimental Gallery - open till 8 pm) that hold regular paintings, sculptures, photography and new media shows. Browse through the shows or just find a cosy spot (grab yourself a coffee from 'Eatopia') - the amphitheatre steps or the enclosure next to the lotus pond, and just 'people watch'!

 

If you have some energy left, for window shopping drive down to Khan Market (shops are open till 9 pm). Designer labels, textile crafts, quaint bookshops, street trinkets, fresh fruits, Feng shui articles, handmade paper and brass idols - this and much more to be explored in this colorful market favored by expats and locals alike. Leave the shopping for later in the trip, but if you wish to pick up some smart cotton Indian salwar kameez for your travel, then Fab India and Anokhi are both recommended. There’s also a wide variety of specialty food joints and cafes (Big Chill, Café Turtle, Market café, Mrs Caur's Crepes, Chocolat, Barista Creme all open till 10.30 pm) - follow your nose to a cuisine of your preference.

 

Day 2 : Jaipur

 

Start your drive to Jaipur early in the morning to avoid Business our traffic. Alternatively, you can also catch a train to Jaipur. If you opt for car, ask the driver to take you for a round trip to Gurgaon, so that you have a glimpse of shining India. Gurgaon houses hundreds of glass and steel building where call centers operate. It's also home of some of the best malls in the region, among them the biggest is Ambiance mall.

 

On the way, stop over at Samod Palace for lunch and sightseeing. www.samode.com/palace/intro.html The palace, built by the noblemen of the court of the royal family, is located near the Samode village on the way to Jaipur. It is built of sandstone at the foot of the Aravalli range of hills with a fortress like setting. After a leisurely lunch, head to Jaipur.

 

After checking in to your hotel, explore the colorful bazaars. Make a walking visit to Johri Bazaar, Bapu Bazaar and Tipolia Bazaar in Old city. Bargain hard if you plan to buy anything. After a few hectic hours in bazars, it’s perfect time for a traditional dinner at Chokhi Dhani. www.chokhidhani.com/ Rush to your hotel for a well deserved sleep.

 

Day 3 : Jaipur

 

Start your day with Amber fort. high on a hill. Located high on the hill, this is an ancient citadel, which was the capital of the ruling Kachhawa clan of Amber from 1037 to 1727 AD. Amber Fort is known for its artistic style, blending both Hindu and Mughal elements. The fort with its large ramparts, series of gates and cobbled paths, overlooks the Maota Lake at its forefront.

 

On the way back to the city, visit Hawal Mahal. It's a unique five-storey exterior is also akin to the honeycomb of the beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas that are decorated with intricate lattice work.The original intention of the lattice was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen, since they had to observe strict ‘purdah.’

 

Now, head to City Palace. The palace complex, which is located northeast of the centre of the grid patterned Jaipur city, incorporates an impressive and vast array of courtyards, gardens and buildings. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Palace,_Jaipur

 

In the afternoon, start your journey to Agra. You can also reach Agra by train or bus. Check in to the hotel and relax in the evening.

 

If you have some energy left, make a visit to the Taj for moonlit view.

 

Day 4 : Agra

 

Get ready with your camera and rush to the magnificent Taj at dawn. Spend relaxing two hours inside and do not miss any photo shoot opportunity. The monument is open from sunrise to sunset except Fridays. Official web site: http://www.tajmahal.gov.in/home.html

 

Visit a local restaurant or hotel for breakfast. Alternatively, have some snack and plan a brunch after the visit of Agra fort. Now make a visit to Agra Fort, which too is a world heritage site. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agra_Fort

 

If you have missed breakfast, then this is time for a king-size brunch before heading to Fatehpur Sikri. The fort at Fatehpur Sikri was constructed by Mughal emperor Akbar beginning in 1570, in honour of Sufi saint Shaikh Salim Chisti, who lived in a cavern on the ridge at Sikri. It was the first planned city of the Mughals and also first one in Mughal architecture, an amalgamation of Indian architecture, Persian and Islamic architecture, and served as the Mughal Empire's capital from 1571 until 1585. Though the court took 15 years to build, it was abandoned after only 14 years because the water supply was unable to sustain the growing population.

 

Start your driver to Delhi by car. On the way, make a visit to Sikandara, which is a known tourist site for Akbar's tomb.

 

Day 5 : Agra

 

Start your day with the visit of Qutub Minar, the world's tallest brick minaret with a height of 72.5 meters (237.8 ft). The Qutub Minar comprises several superposed flanged and cylindrical shafts, separated by balconies carried on Mugarnas corbels. The minaret is made of fluted red sandstone covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Qur'an.

 

You must visit, the nearby Iron Pillar is one of the world's foremost metallurgical curiosities, standing in the famous Qutub complex.

 

According to the traditional belief, anyone who can encircle the entire column with their arms, with their back towards the pillar, can have their wish granted. Because of the corrosive qualities of sweat the government has built a fence around it for safety.

 

After Qutub Minar head to the breadthtaking lotus shaped Bahai Temple, which has won numerous architectural awards and been featured in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. Be ready for a piece of solitude, since you'll be asked to silently remember your God in the Inner chamber.

 

A 30 minute drive will take you to Swami Narayan Akshardham Temple. More than a religious spot, it's an architectural masterpiece. The temple, which attracts approximately 70 percent of all tourists who visit Delhi. The complex features a large central monument crafted entirely of stone, exhibitions on incidents from the life of Swaminarayan and the history of India, an IMAX feature, a musical fountain, and large landscaped gardens.

 

After the overdose of architectural delights, hop into the car and head straight to Humayun Tomb to relive the mughal days. It's one of the three UN Heritage Sites and presumed to be the first blueprint of the Taj Mahal.

 

The complex encompasses the main tomb of the Emperor Humayun, which houses the graves of his wife, Hamida Begum, and also Dara Shikoh, son of the later Emperor Shah Jahan. It represented a leap in Mughal architecture, and together with its accomplished Char Bagh garden, typical of Persian gardens, but never seen before in India, it set a precedent for subsequent Mughal architecture.

 

A trip to Delhi is incomplete without retail therapy. So, head to Baba Kharag Singh Marg to visit the state emporiums selling everything from handicrafts to clothing. Right opposite the emporiums is a Hanuman (Hindu Monkey God) Temple. Get henna tattoo done by one of the henna artists sitting in front of the temple.

 

Walk to Connaught place and have dinner at many of the restaurants and bars before driving to the hotel for a good night's sleep.