See the sights of the famed Golden Triangle before joining the colourful festivities of the Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan for two days of camel races, beauty pageants, folk dancing, and fun competitions set against the vibrant backdrop of market stalls and rhythmic tunes.
A spectacle on an epic scale, the Camel fair is held every year in November during Kartik Purnima. It is born out of age-old traditions,adorn the land with innumerable hues. Colours that are alive and unrestricted, and unify each soul who visits this magic land. These celebrations are characterized by rhythm, jest and passion. The spirit of romance, valour are all too apparent in some of the festivals. In addition to the religious fair, fair is also organised where villagers in myriad population come with their livestock like camels, bullocks, donkeys and many more. The movement of the crowd is like a tide of color with currents of crimson, turquoise and yellow creating a colorful ambiance.Camel, bullocks and horse races are great crowd pullers on spectacular sand dunes.
Situated amidst the beautiful Aravali Range, Ajmer is literally wrapped in the hills. Regardless of the weather condition, the famous pilgrimage center is flocked by visitors throughout the year. Home to the Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti's tomb, it is an important place of worship for Muslims as well as Hindus. Ajmer is not only limited to being a sacred place, it has majestic lakes, historical monuments and grand Mughal mansions and no wonder, the city can be easily termed as the regal state. Even though Ajmeris not a shopping destination, you can easily find interesting items like beautiful silver jewellery, wonderful artifacts and other stuff. Some other attractions are Nasiyan Jain Temple, Ana Sagar and Adhai-din-ka-Jhonpra.
Pushkar (Puskar) is the site of one of the handful of Brahma temples in the world. It is even said that this is the only temple for Brahma as he was under a curse that forbids him from being worshiped anywhere else. Folklore also has it that the holy lake here is as old as the planet itself. Most tourists make it a point to hire the services of the holy men here for offering worship at the lake. Pushkar (Puskar) has numerous other spellbinding temples and is also very famous for the 5-day Camel Festival held during November, attracting traders and tourists alike.
Saturday 01 November 2014. Welcome to India and the start of your holiday!
Today embark on a full day sightseeing tour of the city, kicking off in the hustle and bustle of Old Delhi. Here we will see the famous Red Fort, the towering minarets and marble domes of Jama Masjif – one of the oldest and most impressive mosques in the city, and government buildings. Later we head into New Delhi, with its wide boulevards, plentiful parks and majestic parliament buildings and palaces. View the lofty Qutab Minar tower, and the 16th century Humayun’s Tomb. In the evening enjoy a Welcome Dinner, a specialty cuisine.
Delhi – Ajmer – Pushkar. Today we take an early morning train to the town of Ajmer. Arriving at lunch time we take a tour of the town. Ajmer town just 11 kilometers apart from Pushkar represent the multi-religious character of India in the most sublime manner. Ajmer is an important railway junction town and offers the mausoleum of Muslim Sufi Saint Chisti. Ajmer, till 1947, acted as the place of British resident. Not being part of any principality, Ajmer grew up as a great center of education. Among the colleges, the Mayo College stands apart. Ajmer is a blend of Sufi culture and Hindu religion.
Later this afternoon we drive on to Pushkar for the evening.
Pushkar Camel Fair. Today is our first day at the Pushkar Camel Fair. Once a year this sleepy lakeside town erupts into a frenzy of activity, as hundreds of thousands of cattle traders, pilgrims, breeders, herdsmen, farmers and travellers descend upon the town for the annual Pushkar Camel Fair. After lunch we head over to the fair grounds for a glimpse of this authentic cultural affair. Here you can witness the serious business of livestock trading as well as watch (or take part) in some fun activities, such as a game of tug of war, a cricket match, a competition for the longest moustache, and a camel beauty-pageant. There are also plenty of market stalls with local wares on sale, including bracelets, clothing, and fabrics.
As well as the colourful activities of the fairground this annual event also carries some religious significance. According to legend, while searching for a place to perform a fire sacrifice the Hindu god Brahma made Pushkar Lake appear out of thin air and as such on the day of a full moon during the fair thousands of pilgrims flock to the Ghats of the lake to bathe in its sacred waters. On day 5 enjoy free time at the fair in the morning before an afternoon drive to Jaipur.
We start the day with a stately elephant ride up to the lofty Amber Fort. Once inside the sheer rock walls we will explore palaces, gardens, temples and opulent private apartments that were once home to Mughal rulers. In the afternoon we enjoy a city tour of Jaipur. Here we will see the remains of the Hawa Mahal palace, visit the ancient Jantar Mantar observatory, and explore the vast City Palace, with its many courtyards, gardens and majestic buildings. There will also be the chance to browse several museums and art galleries.
Jaipur – Agra. This morning we set out for Agra, home to the magnificent Taj Mahal. En route we visit the deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri was built by Emperor Akbar in 1569. Upon arrival into Agra check-in to our hotel, enjoy free time and in the early evening we head over to the imposing Agra Fort, set on the banks of the Yamuna River. This 16th century sandstone fortress was once home to Mughal rulers, and within its fortified walls you can still find evidence of the empire’s grandeur with a number of enchanting mosques and stunning palaces.
Agra – Delhi. This morning we visit the magnificent Taj Mahal at sunrise. This iconic white marble mausoleum was constructed to commemorate the late wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, taking over 22 years to build. In 1983 the structure was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is possibly one of the most universally recognised masterpieces in the world.
Later on we begin our drive to Delhi arriving in the evening.
Sunday 9 November 2014. Today we say goodbye to India as our tour comes to an end.