Royal Palaces of India
A 16 Day Adventure
India’s grand and gorgeous architectural masterworks have enchanted the West for scores of centuries. Lord Curzon, India’s most astute Viceroy, praised its temples, tombs, and palaces as “the greatest galaxy of monuments in the world.”
On this two-week journey to India’s northern heartland, we immerse ourselves in that stellar ﬁrmament, visiting the grandest of the subcontinent’s monuments— with an enthralling emphasis on its old and its new palaces, in which, enveloped in luxurious hospitality, we’re happy to say we stay. At Delhi’s Leela Palace; the fabulous Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra, where every window looks out at the nearby Taj Mahal; at the exquisite Rambagh Palace, home of Jaipur’s last reigning maharajah; at Udaipur’s lyric Oberoi Udaivilas; and the Taj Group’s majestic Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur.
- Lodgings fit for—and often built for—royalty: the noble Rambagh Palace in Jaipur; Agra’s showcase Amarvilas; the serene and fantastical Udaivilas in Udaipur; and perhaps the grandest palace hotel on the planet: the Umaid Bhawan in Jodhpur.
- Intimate encounters with the “gem of man’s creation,” the Taj Mahal.
- Services of a Micato Tour Director from touchdown to takeoff—and 24-hours-a-day backup from our Concierge Service.
- The Pink City of Jaipur, an ongoing festival of swirling colour and splendid palaces; gently enchanting Udaipur; the grandeur of Delhi; and the forts and lovely countryside of Jodhpur.
- Rare access to palatial apartments and rooms, and insider’s access to bright Indian personalities and specialists of all kinds.
DAY 1 En route to endlessly astounding India
DAYS 2–4Delhi’s imperial splendours
After a leisurely morning, we’ll have an orientation lunch with our Micato Tour Director. Now we’ll delve into swirlingly colourful Old Delhi, rickshawing over to Jama Masjid, one of India’s largest and most impressive mosques (it’s one of the last monuments built by Shah Jahan, whose world crowning glory, the Taj Mahal, we’ll soon see). We’ll visit Humayan’s Tomb (said to have inspired the eagerly inspirable Jahan), pay our respects at the Gandhi Museum, explore the British Raj’s imposing New Delhi ediﬁces, and mingle with happy pilgrims at giant Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, a bustling Sikh temple.
The ﬁrst of our Indian palaces, the Leela, is set in the capital’s Diplomatic Enclave, and beckons with quietude, unabashed luxury, and India’s unceasingly gracious hospitality.
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DAYS 5 & 6 The soul-stirring Taj Mahal
A modern toll road takes us to Agra for a couple of days in the sweetly hypnotic aura of the Taj Mahal. Our base is the Amarvilas, a scintillating Oberoi jewel. Every window in Amarvilas looks out at the Taj, less than two thousand feet away, giving us ever changing views of humanity’s greatest artifact from our beautifully decorated, balconied rooms and from the hotel’s expansive verandahs.
We’ll make early morning and evening visits to the Taj, wandering in its gardens and under its white cloud archways. We’ll amble in fascinating Agra Fort (where Shah Jahan was imprisoned for the last years of his life, peering dolefully out at his masterpiece). We’ll visit a marble inlay studio (after seeing the exquisite Taj inlays, we’ll want to know how this marble magic works), returning to the Amarvilas for a swim in its lovely pool, dinner at its top-ﬂight restaurant, making sure to catch a few minutes or hours to contemplate the Taj.
DAYS 7–9 Vibrant Jaipur, the beloved Pink City
A countryside drive takes us to the fabled Pink City of Jaipur. For more than half a millennium Jaipur’s Rajput maharajahs were renowned for their regal disdain for rupee-pinching. They spent, played, and built extravagantly; witness our palace, the Rambagh, home of the last of Jaipur’s rulers, Sawai Man Singh II. The Rambagh Palace, now a Taj Group property, regularly lands high on lists of the World’s Best Hotels, for its frank splendour, its traditionally noble but state-of-the-art comfy rooms, its cool marble corridors, its fountain-misted gardens, its ﬁne dining, and, in the Taj Group custom, its ﬂawlessly alert and cheery service.
There is much to see and enjoy in the Pink City, and with our Micato Tour Director at our side, we’ll do our best to take it all in, visiting the vast and fabulously ornate City Palace; hot air ballooning in the early morning as Jaipur awakens; rambling in the Doctor Seussian (but strikingly accurate), 280 year-old Jantar Mantar Observatory; and admiring the whimsical Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds.
We’ll wander in the mirrored mini-palaces of massive Amber Fort, lunch at the serene Samode Palace a little way out of town, and spend a late afternoon helping bathe and riding jauntily atop lovingly-cared-for elephants at a private estate, followed by dinner.
DAYS 10 & 11 Serene and graceful Udiapur
A morning flight takes us to lakeside Udaipur, beloved of Indians and internationals for its beauty and serenity, its intriguing temples, and its chromatic history—which we’ll experience in the flamboyant City Palace, hilltop home of Udaipur’s Mewar maharanas, who, like their Mughal suzerains, gracefully avoided all things frugal.
Udaipur has a Venetian feel, with homes and palaces built by the shores of Lake Pichola, and we’ll take a motor launch across the lake to our lodgings, the sublime Oberoi Udaivilas, recently ranked the planet’s second best hotel by Condé Nast Traveler, and the number one Indian resort hotel by Travel + Leisure. We luxuriate in Udaivilas’ sparkling pools, domed public rooms, in its artwork, fragrant gardens and spa, reveling in a modern palace in which India’s maharajahs, maharanas, nizams, and assorted nawabs would feel right at regal home.
DAYS 12 – 14 Umaid Bhawan, the world’s grandest palace hotel
We drive northwest towards Jodhpur, stopping for a quiet lunch at the Maharani Bagh Orchards and a visit to the Jain temple complex at Ranakpur before motoring up to the doors of the Umaid Bhawan Palace, fittingly the last and the largest of India’s great palaces.
Umaid Bhawan sits among 26 garden acres atop Chittar Hill, overlooking the city of Jodhpur. The vast palace—once the world’s largest private residence— now serves as a museum, as the home of the old ruling family, and as a uniquely stately hotel, expertly operated, as always, by the Taj Group. Our palace rooms are decorated with Art Deco themes and feature all the luxuries, amenities, and grace notes we’ve come to expect from a Taj hotel. The Umaid Bhawan is, as they say, a destination in itself, but so is Jodhpur; we’ll wander in the Old City, visit monolithic Mehrangarh Fort and the glowing marble cenotaph of Jaswant Thada, and we’ll take a jeep safari through Bishnoi villages (the Bishnoi are a religious group rooted in deep respect for nature), followed by a picnic lunch and a return to the inimitable Umaid Bhawan.
DAY 15 Return to Delhi and onward
After ﬂying back to Delhi, we’ll have day rooms,— and night rooms, if necessary for late ﬂights—at the splendid Oberoi Gurgaon, near Delhi’s airport.
DAY 16 Arrive Home
“India’s ability to exert power through the sheer charm of its civilization should not be underestimated.”
Near the center of the country's centralmost city, the Leela looks like a modern palace, and elegantly lives up to its looks with masterful service and luxe amentities large and small.
Highly ranked on Travel + Leisure’s list of Top Resorts in Asia, the Amarvilas enjoys a unique position, 2,000 feet from the Taj Mahal—and each Amarvilas room looks out at the Taj in uninterrupted homage. Amarvilas is joyfully, imaginatively landscaped, verdant with native trees, and lit by ﬂaming torches.
Promises of being pampered like a maharajah are travel industry clichés, but in the case of Jaipur’s Rambagh Palace reality is even more regal. We are treated with the exquisite courtesy and solicitude Indian royalty expected, but we enjoy royal treatment in the very home of one of those luxury-appreciating potentates.
Another Oberoi masterpiece, the Udaivilas was recently ranked #1 on the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards list of Top 100 Hotels. Condé Nast Traveler says “If there were a seven-star hotel, this would be it.” Set beside the city’s Lake Pichola, the Udaivilas is an architectural tour de force.
Umaid Bhawan Palace
The fabulously palatial Umaid Bhawan is still the home of Jodhpur's erstwhile royals. It's like staying in a real palace as the guest of the royal family surrounded by their books, paintings and furniture.
Dates & RatesLand Arrangements, per person
Departs Friday, returns Saturday
Land arrangments, per person
|Balance of Year||December 15-31|
Jaipur/ Udaipur* /Delhi*
* Denotes business class when available
To and from Home | All dates guaranteed departures; some departures days vary
Jan. 12 – Jan. 27
Jan. 19 – Feb. 03
Jan. 26 – Feb. 10
Feb. 02 – Feb. 17
Feb. 09 – Feb. 24
Feb. 16 – Mar. 03
Mar. 02 – Mar. 17
Mar. 09 – Mar. 24
Mar. 16 – Mar. 31
Mar. 23 – Apr. 07
Sep. 28 – Oct. 13
Oct. 05 – Oct. 20
Oct. 19 – Nov. 03
Oct. 26 – Nov. 10
Nov. 02 – Nov. 17
Nov. 09 – Nov. 24
Nov. 16 – Dec. 01
Nov. 23 – Dec. 08
Dec. 07 – Dec. 22
Dec. 14 – Dec. 29
Dec. 21 – Jan. 05
Dec. 28 – Jan. 12
To and from Home | New rates may apply; some departures days vary
Jan. 11 – Jan. 26
Jan. 18 – Feb. 02
Jan. 25 – Feb. 09
Feb. 01 – Feb. 16
Feb. 08 – Feb. 23
Feb. 15 – Mar. 02
Feb. 22 – Mar. 09
Mar. 08 – Mar. 23
Mar. 15 – Mar. 30
Mar. 22 – Apr. 06
Mar. 29 – Apr. 13
Apr. 05 – Apr. 20
Apr. 12 – Apr. 27
Sep. 20 – Oct. 05
Oct. 04 – Oct. 19
Oct. 11 – Oct. 26
Oct. 18 – Nov. 02
Oct. 25 – Nov. 09
Nov. 01 – Nov. 16
Nov. 08 – Nov. 23
Nov. 15 – Nov. 30
Nov. 29 – Dec. 14
Dec. 06 – Dec. 21
Dec. 13 – Dec. 28
Dec. 20 – Jan. 04
Dec. 27 – Jan. 11
Make it Private
Royal Palaces of India can be transformed into a fully private trip for a family or a group of friends. You’ll have your own Tour Director and your pick of departure dates. Contact our experts or your travel advisor to find out how to make this tour a private journey.
Options & Extensions
While you’re in the area, you might be interested in these fine extensions. Our travel specialists can work them into your itinerary.
The Kingdom of Bhutan
8 Days from Delhi or Mumbai
“When it comes to lovely countries,” Micato’s old friend Seamus O’Banion once wrote, “Bhutan is a country more unlike any other country than any other country.” To wit: It has wisely and successfully avoided the mass tourism that would erode its unique, vibrantly intact culture. It is endlessly lovely: its Himalayan foothill air is clear, its environment untrammeled, its countrysides and little towns idyllic. And as the world’s only Buddhist monarchy, its program of Gross National Happiness is a moral beacon. In short, Bhutan gets it right.
Ananda in the Himalayas
8 Days from Delhi or Mumbai
North of Delhi, in the pine-scented Himalayan foothills, auspiciously overlooking the sacred river Ganges, not far from Nanda Devi, the jewel in India’s Himalayan crown, lies Ananda in the Himalayas, a luxuriously visionary spa-retreat dedicated to what its Oberoi-trained founder Ashok Khanna, calls “one thing, and one thing only—holistic wellness for the mind, body and soul.”
The Kerala Backwaters
8 Days from Delhi or Mumbai
Houseboating on the serene Backwaters of the Malabar Coast regularly pops up on Top 10 Things You Should Do lists. A source of much Indian pride, the Backwaters are a world-unique watery ecosystem of palm-fringed rice paddies, small villages, and lovely lagoons, a meeting of the fresh waters of 38 rivers as they meander westward to the sea.
The Holy City of Varanasi
8 Days from Delhi or Mumbai
If a country can have a soul, India’s is here, in this astonishing city on the banks of the sacred river Ganges. Varanasi is a nexus of Hinduism, simultaneously a religion and an everyday way of life. Indelible is the experience of a slow, misty morning boat ride along the Ganges ghats, thronged by women in pink saris, businessmen in grey suits, skittering children, old beggars, and Brahmin grandees doing intent puja in the holiest waters in all creation