Below is a sample itinerary from Viking Tours. The company's first scheduled land product itineraries launch in January 2008 with programs to ten destinations.
Viking Tours: 800-633-6834, www.vikingtours.com
Wonders of Majestic India: 13 Days
Priced From $4,725
Departure Dates: Jan. 12, 2008 ? Dec. 7, 2008
Special Offer: Book now and save $700 per couple when you book and pay in full by Oct. 31.
DAY 1: Delhi
At the airport, a fragrant floral welcome gives a hint of the spectacular vacation that lies ahead. You may choose to unwind in your hotel, for today your immersive tour of this exciting, diverse country begins. This afternoon, tour the Gandhi Museum, a testament to the powerful ideas of the man called "The Father of India." In Delhi, stay at the Taj Mahal Hotel, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, for two nights.
DAY 2: Delhi
Today get to know Delhi in all its frenetic majesty. First visit historic Old Delhi, with a tour that begins at Raj Ghat, a simple yet moving memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. Bicycle rickshaws will carry you through the city just as people have traveled here for ages. Also stop at the Sanskriti Foundation for an introduction to the heart of India's artistic and cultural heritage, and the organization's efforts to preserve it. Tonight, head to the home of General Uban for a wonderful Indian meal and the hospitality of your host and his family, who will introduce you to life in India.
DAY 3: Delhi & Agra
This morning, board the first-class Shatabdi Express train for Agra for a comfortable and safe view of India's landscapes and people. Today is all about love, and the romantic crown jewel of India's divers e attractions—the inspiring, otherworldly Taj Mahal.Prior to arrival, tongas (horse carriages) will be waiting to whisk you away to the gates of this testament to the power of love, which the 17th century Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned as a monument to his beloved wife. Later visit the Agra Fort, an outstanding example of Mughal architecture and the stronghold of the Mughal Empire for generations. After a relaxing afternoon, you will be welcomed as a guest at the home of a retired army colonel for high tea. Meet his family and learn more about Indian culture and life.
DAY 4: Agra, Bharatpur & Ranthambore
Today, take a scenic journey to Bharatpur, and the Hotel Laxmi Vilas Palace for a delectable brunch. En route, stop at mysterious Fatehpur Sikri—the deserted red sandstone city. This curious UNESCO World Heritage Site landmark was abandoned soon after it was built. Today, you can wander amidst its palaces, halls and mosques—which remain in much the same condition as they were over 300 years ago. Later, travel via first-class train to Ranthambore in the state of Rajasthan, where you will stay for two nights at the Taj Sawai Madhopur Lodge amid 12 acres of lush gardens.
DAY 5: Ranthambore
Experience India's wild side. Be escorted by jeep for a morning and afternoon of game viewing at Ranthambore National Park—once the private hunting grounds of the Maharajas. You will also be treated to a fascinating tour of Ranthambore Fort, built in the 10th century and commanding a sweeping view across the Tiger Reserve. But conservation efforts now make it one of the world's most exciting wildlife viewing destinations—home to the famous Bengal tiger, as well as panthers, marsh crocodiles, hyenas, jungle cats, sloth bears and other exotic creatures. Today's itinerary includes a visit to the Dastkar Ranthambore Project—an organization founded by six women dedicated to promoting traditional Indian crafts in modern society.
DAY 6: Ranthambore & Jaipur
This morning, a first-class train sweeps you across the countryside toward Jaipur—India's "Pink City." Your first afternoon here, enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city and its rose-colored buildings. The city of victory, Jaipur presides over the fascinating desert state and its people—surrounded by beautiful palaces, once witness to royal processions and splendor are now living monuments. There is a timeless quality to Jaipur's bazaars and its people. Afterward, make a memorable visit to the S.O.S. Village. Here, Viking guests will have the opportunity to meet and interact with the children and mothers of the village, and see how this organization is helping India's disadvantaged children. Later, check into your stunning hotel in Jaipur, the Jai Mahal Palace, where you will spend two nights.
DAY 7: Jaipur
Near Jaipur is the fabled ancient capital of Amber, and its fabulous Amber Fort. Be whisked away on an elephant for a ride to the top of the fortress complex, and once there, stroll through the sprawling courtyards and halls. Visit Hawa Mahal, also known as the "Palace of Winds"—an elaborate façade behind which the ladies of the court used to watch the daily goings on in the street below. Lunch is served at Chandra Mahal Verandah, an exclusive venue in the private area of the City Palace. Afterward, explore the palace and adjacent sights, with ample time to roam and shop at the vibrant local markets.
DAY 8: Jaipur & Jodhpur
Today you will set out for magnificent Jodhpur, stopping en route to enjoy lunch at the spectacular Nimaj Palace. From the fort at its center, get an introduction to the winding streets of the old city.
DAY 9: Jodhpur
Your morning tour takes you to the soaring Mehrangarh Fort—the "Citadel of the Sun." Tour the fort's incredible palaces, with museums displaying treasures of the royal family. Experience the sights, smells and sounds of the old city of Jodhpur on a walking tour. In the afternoon, you will drive via Jeeps for a visit to a Bishnoi village?where you will meet craftspeople creating local handicrafts and see the free-roaming wildlife that are sacred to the Bishnoi.
DAY 10: Jodhpur & Udaipur
Set out into the magnificent wooded hills on a journey to the Ranakpur Jain Temple s—a stunning complex of ornate monuments. Following lunch at Hotel Fateh Bagh, continue on to romantic Udaipur—a land of dazzling lakes, forested hills and ornate palaces. Marvel at your hotel tonight, the Lake Palace Hotel, where you will stay for the next 2 nights.
DAY 11: Udaipur
Today, get to know the city of Udaipur on an in-depth tour. The highlight is the vast and exquisite City Palace—a majestic fortified white monument. Admire the Crystal Gallery and the 16th century Jagdish Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu.After a scenic journey along Fateh Sagar Lake, you will arrive at incredible Sahelion-ki-Bari, the Garden of the Maids-of-Honor with its pools, fountains and sculpted elephants. After an enlightening afternoon visit to a school of miniature painting, rejuvenate with a lovely private boat cruise on Lake Pichola to visit Jag Mandir Palace. This evening, prepare for a spectacular farewell dinner at the Lake Palace Hotel.
DAY 12: Udaipur & Delhi
Your journey takes you back to Delhi, where it all began for another glorious day spent at your leisure to reflect on all of the spectacular sights you have experienced.
DAY 13: Delhi
Today you will be escorted to the airport for your flight home.