PRIVATE JET+REMOTE JOURNEYS SICILY ADVENTURE
Suggested Restaurants“Tischi Toschi” (Typical Sicilian Cuicine)“Rosso Di Vino” (Sea food specialities)“Osteria Nero d'Avola” (Organic) Day 3 Siracusa and Ortigia walking tour Visit the remarkable Greek remains, including the Temple of Apollo, which later became a Byzantine church and then an Arab mosque; the impressive Greek theater; and the fabled Fountain of Arethusa. After the visit of the Archeological Park stop for an amazing lunch at historic “Salumeria” located in Ortigia, tasting typical Sicilian products (cold cuts, cheeses and “caponata”). Stroll through the city’s picturesque winding streets and elegant piazzas, and admire the treasures on the island of Ortigia—Syracuse’s historical center—including its great cathedral, built on the Athena Temple, medieval and Baroque buildings. At the end of the visit, transfer to Noto and accommodation at your hotel. Tonight we suggest to dine at the hotel restaurant.
Country House Villadorata 4*, Noto Nested on the gently rolling hills of Noto, in the midst of the enchanting south-oriental Sicilian countryside, between the baroque city and the sea, Country House Villadorata, our charming summer residence sits on an organic farm extending over 16 hectares planted with hundred-year-old olive trees, almond trees, citrus and vineyards cultivated according to biodynamic methods. Originally a winepress dating the 18th century, its renovation was carefully studied to merge in the nature while offering the traveller a resolutely contemporary experience with a "vintage" touch for the choice of furniture, the result being luxury, elegant, timeless and mostly peaceful. Day 4 Bike Tour: Palazzolo and Noto Your cycling guide meets you in Palazzolo Acreide (a 30-minute drive) for a 2-3 hour relaxed biking tour, with stops along the way to admire and take photographs of the stunning views. Begin in Palazzolo Acreide, on a slightly downhill slope, to Testa dell’Acqua, and then, further downhill, cycle to Noto Antica, the ancient town of Noto, which was completely destroyed in the devastating 1693 earthquake. Continue to the Monastery of Madonna della Scala, enjoying the spectacular landscapes of the Hyblaean Mountains. After passing the Salitello Bridge you continue to modern- day Noto—named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and called the “Stone Garden” for its many gorgeous architectural masterpieces of the 18th- century Sicilian Baroque style.
Suggested restaurant Manna (Farm to Table)
Day 5 Agrigento vintage 500 tour and Valley of the Temples Meet the 500 tour leader and be ready to drive a completely and meticulously restored Fiat 500 from the 70s, along the little streets of the historic center of Agrigento, a city described by Pindaro as the most beautiful among mortals, is possible today with the 500 Sicily Tour. Our professional driver will assist you in driving the historic car or he will drive for you so you can enjoy the view of panoramas, historic buildings and monuments all over the historic city center of Agrigento. During the tour you will be able to stop in order to take pictures, buy souvenirs and taste Sicilian delicacies. After lunch, in the afternoon, visit the wonderful Valley of Temples. As one of the premier Italian destinations, it is easy to forget that Sicily was once a thriving Greek colony. Once in Agrigento join your expert local guide to explore one of the best-preserved relics of the island's 'Magna Graecia'... As English author and historian Douglas Sladen once said, "If you want to understand ancient Greece, come to Sicily." Indeed, history tells us that there were once more Greeks living in the colonies of southern Italy and Sicily known as Magna Graecia than there were Greeks actually living in Greece. Meet our expert local guide at The Valley of the Temples to tour one of Magna Graecia's best preserved temple complexes, and enjoy an in-depth exploration of the complex. You'll hear the amazing story these eight temples tell: from the almost entirely intact Temple of Concordia to the Temple of Hera that suffered in a medieval earthquake and from the Temple of Juno on its hilltop perch to the unfortunate Temple of Zeus, dismantled by greedy builders over the centuries for its stones.
At the end of the tour continue the journey and accommodation at your hotel. Oil Tasting, dinner and overnight stay. Mandranova Oil Estate 4*, Palma di Montechiaro Mandranova Estate oil resort is set in a garden of palm trees and African plants. This accommodation offers a stay of absolute comfort and tranquillity in the rustic simplicity of the old farmhouse and renovated rooms in a train station and an old millstone. The "Gebbia, formerly used for agricultural irrigation, has been transformed into a small but lovely pool. The owners are renowned for the warmth of their welcome and the restaurant, which is for the exclusive use of guests. Suggested restaurantMandranova Oil Estate (Farm to Table)
Day 6 Segesta and Erice Leave to Segesta where you will meet your guide around 11.30 a.m., for a guided tour of the temple and the theatre. Then head to Erice, a wonderfully preserved mediaeval hill town at the extreme north-west corner of Sicily, on the top of Monte San Giuliano. The town overlooks the city of Trapani and the lower western coast towards the Egadi Islands, where sea salt is made, offering a most breathtaking view. On a clear day, you can see the African coast. You will see the Norman Castle and the Duomo as you walk through the cobble-stoned streets of the town, taking in the fresh air and a variety of aromas emanating from the numerous pastry shops for which Erice is known. In fact, you will stop to visit Maria Grammatico's famous pastry shop to see the variety of sweets she lovingly creates.
Suggested RestaurantsOsteria dei Vespri (Seafood)Gagini (Mediterranean)Bye Bye Blues (Mediterranean, Seafood, Farm to Table, Michelin 1*) Grand Hotel Villa Igiea 5*, Palermo The Grand Hotel Villa Igiea offers you a luxury hotel experience in a sumptuous Villa right on the Palermo coast. The hotel offers also comfortable accommodations, most of which come with a view of the bay of Palermo. The beautiful flowering garden boasts a swimming pool with stunning sea views, a spacious sun terrace and a tennis court. The hotel features two restaurants and bars that offer excellent dishes.
Day 7 Palermo and Monreale with street food and cooking class with Gabriella Garajo at STUDIO 10.00 a.m. Gabriella will wait for you at the “CAPO MARKET” to show you how to find and buy fresh foods to cook with alla Siciliana. Then, she will accompany you to the “STUDIO FORWARD” in Palermo’s Liberty downtown to start the lesson. At the end, you’ll eat all of the dishes that you made together.
The menu, of course, changes according to seasonality and ingredient availability and will always include an antipasto, a primo (first course) or a secondo (second course), a dessert and fine Sicilian wine. The lesson lasts about 4 hours. 2.00 p.m., a local guide will take you on a tour of Palermo. Founded by the Phoenicians in the VIIth and VIIIth centuries B.C., the city was conquered by Arabs in 831, and a period of immense prosperity commenced. You will be enchanted by the city’s wide boulevards, traditional Sicilian Old Quarter and baroque palaces. You will then visit the city's main sights, including the Norman section, Quattro Canti (the Four Corners of the City), Palermo's extravagant baroque square, and the twelfth-century Duomo (Cathedral). Finally, enjoy a tour of Monreale visiting the Norman Duomo and the Cloister. Grand Hotel Villa Igiea 5*, Palermo The Grand Hotel Villa Igiea offers you a luxury hotel experience in a sumptuous Villa right on the Palermo coast. The hotel offers also comfortable accommodations, most of which come with a view of the bay of Palermo. The beautiful flowering garden boasts a swimming pool with stunning sea views, a spacious sun terrace and a tennis court. The hotel features two restaurants and bars that offer excellent dishes. Day 8 Arrivederci Sicilia!
INDIA, A DESIGNER'S PRIVATE JET JOURNEY
Morning visit The Rashtrapati Bhawan (President’s Palace) to witness the change of guard ceremony (Change of guard ceremony is only organised on Saturdays and subject to permission) Liveried soldiers marching smartly to military music bands doing the daily traditional change of guard’s ceremony become a major tourist attraction in Delhi. The 30-minute military ritual - a traditional ceremony in which infantry Army Guards and the President's Bodyguard - smartly attired in spectacular red, riding horses - change guard with clock-work precision, being opened to public on Saturday morning and can be watched between North and South Block. Around 150 soldiers along with 36 horses take part in the ritual. They march ceremoniously from Rashtrapati Bhavan to the North and South Block Square and go back to the palace's forecourt for handing over the charge to the new guards. Later transfer to Old Delhi for sightseeing including a brief cycle rickshaw ride and visit to Red Fort. Old Delhi – visit the Jama Masjid, built in 1650; one of the largest mosques in India. Drive past the Red Fort, also built by Shah Jahan and finally, visit Raj Ghat where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated following his assassination in 1948.
Meet with Alpana Gujral Alpana Gujral is one of the most prominent jewellery designers in India. Her creations are a true blend of regal aesthetics with modern day functionality. Her signature style has been polished to perfection by years of working with the best craftsmen. Perfection is what inspires her and she aspires to create wearable art. Her designs can transcend from formal evening attire to casual cool seamlessly. The bridal collection of Alpana Gujral is a distinct treasure that you can transfer to the coming generations with pride and élan. Visit Casa Paradox and meet with Raseel Gujral Ansal The name “CASA PARADOX” defines fine living. The brand embodies global refinement and an indigenous design sense, reflective of a contemporary & timeless design. Casa Paradox is the place where all high-end interior design ideas can find their expression. The designer furniture store showcases unique pieces that highlight the intrinsic quality of both the traditional and a new India and hosts a truly stunning array of topical pieces in an exciting range of colours and styles which are customizable based on client requirements. The brand was India's first to exhibit at the eminent Maison et Objet Paris show, in 2013, and was thoroughly appreciated by aficionados from world over.
Day 2 Delhi Morning sightseeing tour of New Delhi including a visit to Crafts Museum. New Delhi – was planned and built by the British in the 1920’s and is characterised by Sir Edwin Lutyens’ monumental architecture. Driving through the city, with its wide tree lined avenues discover India Gate and the Diplomatic Enclave, the Central Secretariat and the President's House. Visit Humayun's Tomb, aptly called the predecessor of the Taj Mahal because of its ornate Mughal style of architecture, later perfected in the Taj Mahal. Finally, see the 12th century Qutab Minar, considered one of the most perfect towers in the world, measuring 72m high. Continue to Connaught Place, New Delhi's main shopping area and central hub. Crafts Museum – Located in the heart of New Delhi, but amid ancient ruins of a former city. See some of the finest exhibits of tribal and traditional crafts. Leisurely explore the museum on the second floor to see the extensive display of Fabrics, showcasing 5000 years of Indian Textiles.
After lunch, visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib where you can volunteer to make Chapatis (Indian flat bread) in one of the biggest kitchens in the city, which serves more than 10,000 meals everyday. Gurudwara Bangla Sahib – Built in the memory of the 08th Sikh Guru Sri Harkishen Sahib, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is one of the important historical Gurudwara in Delhi. The large main hall is un-elaborate except for the open central shrine, where a sculpted bronze cupola hangs over a smaller golden dome under which silk sheets are spread out and covered with flowers. This shrine is the scene of constant devotional music, whose ethereal tones are relayed throughout the entire complex. Get a chance to volunteer at a Gurudwara’s free kitchen and to be part of “Vand Chakko” the Sikh uplifting concept that translates to ‘share and consume together.’ Day 3 Delhi - Agra via Private Jet Check into your Palace View suite at The Oberoi Amarvillas. Agra – located on the western bank of the Yamuna River, the city of Agra, founded in 1504 by Sultan Sikander Lodi, was besieged in 1526 by Babur the first Mughal Emperor. During the mid 16th and 17th centuries Agra, by now the Mughal capital, witnessed a remarkable spate of expansion and architectural development as each successive emperor tried to outdo the last. As a result, Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan have all left behind an impressive legacy of Mughal masterpieces. Later visit Agra Fort and Taj Mahal. Agra Fort – massive and majestic, the red sandstone fort in Agra, built by Emperor Akbar, is perhaps the best-preserved fort in India. Construction of this crescent shaped fort 2.5km in circumference commenced in 1565. Contained within the huge double outer walls up to 20m high and broken by a series of huge gates, the fort is almost a city within a city. Initially the fort was a military structure but under the rule of Shah Jahan, Akbar’s grandson, many additions were added. The fort houses the Dewan-i-Khas and Dewan-i-Aam (Halls of Private and Public Audience) as well as the Musammam Burj and Khas Mahal, where Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb. Today these palatial buildings are silent witness to the rise and fall of the Imperial Mughal Empire and are exemplars of Islamic architecture and decoration. Taj Mahal – built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died giving birth to their fourteenth child in 1631, the Taj Mahal is described by the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore as ‘a tear drop on the face of eternity’. Heartbroken by her death, legend has it that Shah Jahan’s hair turned grey overnight and that he turned his back on running the empire, concentrating instead on the Construction of this monument to love. Construction took 22 years and the Taj was completed in 1653 at a speculated cost of 3 million rupees, equivalent to around 70 million US Dollars today. Day 4 Private Jet Agra-Jaipur Check into your suite at the infamous Oberoi Rajvilas. Jaipur – Popularly known as the Pink City, Jaipur (City of Victory) is the state capital and largest city of Rajasthan. It was founded by Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727 and was planned according to Indian ‘Vastu Shastra’ principles. The city was divided into 9 blocks representing the ancient Hindu map of the universe; 2 blocks housed the state buildings and palaces, the other 7 allotted to various public buildings. A fortification wall was built around the city with 7 gates for entry. Originally, the buildings were painted in a variety of colours but in 1853 when Prince Albert visited, the old city was painted pink, a traditional colour of welcome. It has remained pink ever since. Experience the traditional 'Aarti', the Hindu ritual of offering prayers at dusk at the 280-year old temple of Lord Shiva. The temple is situated on a small island within the resort, surrounded by lush gardens and water features. Day 5 Jaipur Morning excursion to Amber Fort with an Elephant ride up the hill and descend by jeep (Option of Jeep ride available both ways in case you do not wish to do the Elephant ride) followed by visit to Anokhi Museum and Panna Meena Step well. Amber – Originally the ancient capital of the Kachawahas clan from 1037 the ancient town of Amber, 12km from Jaipur, is dotted with ancient temples, Havelis, and step wells. High above the town and surrounded with defensive fortification walls sits the impressive Amber Palace. Built by Raja Man Singh in the early 17th century it houses mighty gates, temples, huge ornate halls, palaces, pavilions and gardens. Amber Palace is a perfect blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture and once at the top the Palace affords excellent views of the surrounding countryside and town below. The 10-minute walk though a series of five defensive gates will bring you to the Suraj Pol (Sun Gate), the main entry to the Palace. Anokhi Museum – Anokhi is a highly successful textile company which, from its beginnings almost 40 years ago, helped resurrect languishing Rajasthani block printing textile Industry. In this beautifully restored Haveli which won a UNESCO prize for restoration, you can admire textile traditions that the company has helped preserve. Anokhi museum and Café are closed on Mondays and major national and local holidays and for exhibition changeover and maintenance of the galleries. Panna Meena Step Well – The eight storeys Step well was built in sixteenth century as a sort of community gathering area. A place where people could come for water, a swim, a chat with a neighbor or relax. The criss-cross of stairs, the octagonal gazebos, and the recessed doorways--this baoli is fun to walk around and photograph. According to the residents of the place, it is impossible for a person to use the same stairs to get down and go upstairs. It is a big mystery of the place and all the tourists visiting here try to do this. Shopping in Jaipur is all about judging the artistic worth of an item. Excellent works of an art, which were once made for the Kings and Queens, today are available to the common man. These artistic items are made by the traditional craftsmen of Jaipur, who have been in this profession for generations. Meet Siddharth Kasliwal at his atelier. A majestic 'haveli' on the busy Mirza Ismail road in Jaipur is home to The Gem Palace. A place where travellers from across the world stop to glimpse into history. As one enters the shop, one gets the feeling of being transported in time to the ages of the Maharajahs at the zenith of their wealth and power. For the Gem Palace is not just a place, it is an experience. Rooms lined with old motifs and objects of art only highlight the era to which the rich jewellery showcased belongs. A time when ceremony, pomp and show were the way of life. The pieces of jewellery, worn by the rulers and their families were then a way of expressing their power. It is this very jewellery that you will find at Gem Palace. Rare and exquisite jewellery from 17th century Moghul empires to designs from the 1920s and 30s. Jewels designed by the former generations of the Kasliwal family and by their stable of jewellery designers, goldsmiths, gemstone and diamond cutters, polishers, setters exclusively for the royalties. Day 6Jaipur Morning check out from the hotel and explore the ‘Pink City’, the bustling metropolis that isRajasthan’s capital, seeing the Observatory and the City Palace. Sipping Champagne while perched on the solid silver throne of a Maharajah…The City Palace, still home to the last ruling royal family of Jaipur, is also the setting for the fascinating Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum. Its airy 18th century courtyards, intricate regal costumes of embroidered gold and silver, the displays of ornate palanquins, delicate Pashmina shawls and Benaras silk saris, and splendid display of 15th-century Rajput weaponry are just amazing. Then through a door marked “private”, into the inner sanctum winding silently through a series of corridors and courtyards, past fountains and chambers, travelling through the dazzling 18th century blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture. Your destination – one of the most exclusive imaginable in all of India – the private sitting room of the Maharajah of Jaipur, the last reigning monarch of the richest of India’s dazzling princely states. Over Champagne you can peruse the bric-a-brac of countless generations of maharajahs and maharanis. Best known to us, were the last to reign before ruling rights were abolished in 1949: Man Singh and his third wife Gayatri Devi – he, the glamourous polo-playing jet-setter; she, whom Cecil Beaton called one of the 10 most beautiful women in the world. Among the many polo cups, the marble and crystal objects, a succession of portraits cover the royal gamut from King George and Queen Mary to Diana and Charles. An unfathomably long engraved Lalique dining table is framed by coloured mosaic windows, and beneath a very many silk sofas arranged throughout the length of the ballroom-size space, an ornate parquet floor is overlaid with priceless Indian rugs. And there, installed rather casually at the far end, a solid silver throne weighing many hundreds of pounds. One imagines it very occasionally moved around the place, the royal equivalent of a barco-lounger in search of a suitable setting.
Later visit the Crockery Museum followed by lunch at Swapna Mahal restaurant at Raj Palace Hotel. Swapna Mahal means the Palace of Dreams. The double height ceiling has breathtaking majestic crystal chandeliers and panels of silk curtains will take you to the dream world. Built with several beautiful arches, silver Jharokas and colored glasses, the Swapna Mahal is the multi cuisine restaurant at The Raj Palace. After lunch, check-in at Taj Rambagh Palace Hotel (Palace Room) Originally built in 1835, Rambagh Palace has stepped gracefully through many royal transitions from the home of the queen’s favourite handmaiden, to royal guesthouse and hunting lodge, and later as the residence of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II and his queen, Maharani Gayatri Devi. Today, this jewel in the Taj’s crown offers 78 stunningly restored grand luxury rooms and suites which were the chambers of the former Maharaja. Later meet with the expert craftsmen at Sanganer followed by a visit to potters (approximately 45 minutes drive each way) Sanganer – is renowned for its crafts and hand-printed textiles. The town of Sanganer is well known as the largest center of the handmade paper industry. It manufactures the supreme quality of handmade papers and hand printed textiles by using units of block and screen printers. Traditional small floral prints form the specialty of Sanganer block printers. One can explore the Kagazi Mohalla of Sanganer, which is prominent for expert artisans. These artisans are known as 'Kagazis' and observing these artisans making lovely patterns on fabrics with block-prints, will please the visitor. Sanganer prints are one of its own kinds, because patterns in bright colors are always printed on white backgrounds. This handmade paper industry began with the idea of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1728. In the present day, there are around 10 handmade paper industries in Sanganer. Day 7Jaipur-Udaipur via Private Jet Nagda is one of the ancient palaces of Mewar, dating back to the 16th century AD. Visit the Sas-Bahu group of temples. Literally meaning, “Mother-in-law, daughter-in-law” temples, these are amongst the most exquisitely carved temples in India. Eklingji is a complex of 108 temples, built in 734 AD, it was chiseled out of sandstone and marble, and enclosed by high walls. The temple is dedicated to the family deity of the rulers of Mewar. (Temple Timings 0430 – 0730 hours, 1030 – 1330 hours and 1730 – 2030 hours) Later return to Udaipur and check-in at Taj Lake Palace Hotel (Luxury Lake View Room) Udaipur was founded by Maharana Udai Singh, in 1567. Still very much a traditional Rajput town, it is one of the most picturesque and romantic towns in India. It has an impressive selection of worldclass hotels, and the city glows in the early evening as dusk falls over Lake Pichola. This is lovely time to see Jagmandir Island Palace looking beautiful on the lake. The second island on the lake is Jag Niwas Island, now more commonly known as the famous Lake Palace hotel, which featured in the James Bond movie Octopussy. Heritage Walk at the hotelA walk through a bygone era - allow us to guide you through the palace, bringing you an insider’s perspective on this enduring symbol of elegance and romance. A glass of sparkling wine adds a royal touch to the experience. Join us in the Lobby to be a part of this special walk. Cultural Show at the hotel The cultural show at Jhankar courtyard is followed by shadow dance. Treat your senses to this hourlong spectacle organized in the "Jhankar Courtyard". You can add a royal touch to the entire experience by choosing from our internationally regarded wine collection, sampling acclaimed vintages from around the world.
Day 8 Udaipur Morning sightseeing tour of Udaipur including a special viewing of City Palace (0930 – 1030 hours only and subject to permissions) followed by visit to Crystal Gallery and Bhartiya Lok Kala Museum. Udaipur was founded by Maharana Udai Singh, in 1567. Still very much a traditional Rajput town, it is one of the most picturesque and romantic towns in India. It has an impressive selection of worldclass hotels and the city glows in the early evening as dusk falls over Lake Pichola. This is an ideal time to enjoy a boat ride to Jagmandir Island Palace. The City Palace over-looks Lake Pichola and houses an impressive museum that includes an outstanding collection of miniature paintings. Every evening in the beautiful Manek Chowk of the City Palace is a sound and light show, which brings the history of the palace alive. Housed in the Fateh, Prakash Palace is the Crystal Gallery, the largest private collection of crystal in the world. Many of the items were custom made for the royal House of Mewar. See dazzling objects d’art, perfume bottles, dinner services, decanters and furniture. The Jagdish Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, was completed in 1651 and is covered with intricate carvings. At all times of the day melodic chanting and singing can be heard, however it is at the evening prayers that the temple really comes alive. Bhartiya Lok Kala Museum is famous for having a rare collection of articles in the museum. This rare compilation varies from typical rural-dresses, ornaments, puppets, masks, dolls, folk musical instruments, folk deities and paintings. Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal is started to encourage rich local arts and crafts of Mewar region of Rajasthan. The local handicrafts and things of art of Mewar region is world famous. Bhartiya Lok Kala Museum is one of step which extends their efforts to display the best art and craft of Mewar. Lunch at Royal Repast restaurant in Udaipur city After lunch visit Mewar School of Art and meet with the master artist A painting is equal to thousand words, which means a beautiful painting is equal to millions of words. Paintings are one of the oldest art forms – throughout history artists have played an important role in documenting social movements, spiritual beliefs and general life and culture. Enjoy a brief workshop at the Mewar School of Art. The workshop begins with a brief talk about history of miniature painting followed by a painting class. Ganesh Handicraft Emporium, This family-run trove of vintage and new textiles that is frequented by the likes of Tory Burch and Sarah Burton. I sourced some silk embroidered belts that are about 40 years old and two vests made from vintage embroideries and silver hardware.
Later enjoy an exclusive boat cruise on Lake Pichola. The Lake Pichola is best explored on a boat ride as it covers all the attractions around the lake. One can also wander along the bathing and washing ghats by the lakeside. The most resplendent sights on the boat ride are the island palaces. The 17th century Jagmandir Island Palace is one of the oldest and most grandiose palace that is legendary as place of refuge to Prince Khurram (later Emperor Shahjahan). Day 9Udaipur-Ahmedabad via Private Jet On arrival, check-in at House of MG Hotel (Deluxe Suite) Gujarat’s principle city, Ahmedabad is a major industrial centre, often called the “Manchester of the East”. Originally founded in 1411 by Ahmed Shah, Ahmedabad attained its grandeur in the 17th Century. After the arrival of the British, it became important because of its industries. It is famous as the home of Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram, from where the famous Dandi March commenced. Rest of the day at leisure with car and driver at disposal (No guide)
Day 10Ahmedabad Day free for independent activities accompanied by friendOvernight at hotel Day 11 Ahmedabad Day free for independent activities accompanied by friendOvernight at hotel Day 12 Ahmedabad-Jodhpur via Private Jet On arrival, transfer to The Raas Hotel (Heritage Suite – Old Wing) Raas Hotel is in a residential area and offers excellent views of the Mehrangarh fort. The hotel is approached via a narrow street (not lit in the evenings) and is very close to a mosque. Prayers usually start early in mornings . Day 13Jodhpur Morning sightseeing tour of Jodhpur city, Jaswant Thada and spice market. Lying on what was once the Delhi/Gujarat trading route, and known as the Blue City, the former capital of Marwar is the second city of Rajasthan. In 1459 Rao Jodha, forced from Mandore, selected a rocky range of sandstone hills on which to build his new city. He surrounded his new capital with a wall 10km long and 2.7m thick. Ranging from 04m to 09m in height with 07 gates, the wall is dwarfed by the huge and impregnable Mehrangarh Fort, which was built some 120m above the city. Rao Jodha originally started the fort, but Maharaja Jaswant Singh built most the palaces. Upon his death in 1678 Aurangzeb occupied the fort until his own death, whereupon the fort returned to Ajit Singh the son of Maharaja Jaswant Singh. The fort remained the royal residence right up until the completion of the Umaid Bhawan Palace in 1943. Today the fort, with its incredibly beautiful palaces, houses impressive collections of miniature paintings, weapons and armoury, palanquins, howdahs and jewellery. Close to Mehrangarh Fort the marble pillared Jaswant Thada cenotaph commemorates Jaswant Singh II and houses the portraits of the successive rulers of Marwar. Late afternoon visit the Clock Tower Bazaar; listed in Conde Nasts ‘100 Great Markets of the World’ is a veritable super-market. A shopper’s paradise, it offers everything from fruit and spices to textiles and bangles; rare books to American WW II jerry cans to junk jewellery! With specialized markets from the Kapron ka Bazaar (cloth) to the Sarafa Bazaar (jewellery); from the Juni Dhan Mandi (grain) to the Mirchi Bazaar (spices) to an entire Supari ki Gali (Betel Nut Street). Day 14 Jodhpur-Bikaner via Private JetBikaner Morning transfer by road to Bikaner (approximately 05 hours’ drive)On arrival, check-in at Narendra Bhawan Hotel (Prince Suite) Narendra Bhawan – a grand residence, Narendra Bhawan Bikaner is composed of Narendra Singhji’s memories from his travels to destinations near and far. Unconventionally curated, the Bhawan organically grew into a snapshot of the life of its original resident who upon spreading his wings was subconsciously casting a new modern identity for himself much like that of his mother country. A pulsating Bombay influenced by the burgeoning Art Deco movement; a regimental order and pageantry served up by his illustrious family’s interactions with the Royal Military Academies, as also, influences drawn from the glamour posts of Broadway. Dark inviting caverns, rich velveteen fabrics, chiffons and pearls; utterly stylish all added to the cornucopia that led to the fashioning of this, his private palace-residence. Bikaner – an independent kingdom and affluent trading town, on the cross-desert trading routes Bikaner was founded in 1488 by Rao Bhikaji, son of Rao Jodha the founder of Jodhpur. Perched on a rocky outcrop and dominating the town, the superbly preserved Junagarh Fort that was built in 1588 is a worth seeing. The Lal Niwas, richly decorated in red and gold is the oldest of the 37 palaces within the fort, and houses a library of Sanskrit and Persian books. The armoury also displays the Maharajas’ palanquins. Be sure to visit the Har Mandir Royal Chapel where royal weddings and births were once celebrated. The Lalgarh Palace, built of red sandstone and designed by Sir Swinton Jacob has an impressive collection of hunting trophies and photographs and gives a fascinating glimpse into the lives of 20th century Maharajas. A wonderfully preserved Bikaner State Railway Carriage can be seen in the garden. Day 15Bikaner Full day guide, car and drivel to attend Bikaner Camel Festival. Camel festival is organized every year in the month of January or late December to emphasize the value of ship of the desert – “Camel”. This festival starts off with a magnificent procession of bedecked camels against the red sandstone backdrop of the Junagarh Fort (1588-1593) in the town. It is a colorful spectacle of beautifully decorated camels that fascinates the onlookers with their charm and grace. The festivity advances to the open sand-spreads of the Polo Grounds, followed by camel races, camel milking, fur cutting design, the best breed competition, camel acrobatics, camel bands and so on. A sight of unusual camel activities like camel races, camel dances, and the bumpy, neck shaking camel rides highly fascinates the viewers. The camels display amazing footwork, dancing gracefully to the slightest direction of their riders. Their displays and competitions accompany the color, music and rhythm unique to a fair in Rajasthan. The jubilant skirt swirling dancers, the awe-inspiring fire dance and the dazzling fireworks light up the fortified Desert City. The festivities reach to the peak with a different tenor as the renowned artists display a medley of folk dances and songs. Day 16 Bikaner-Goa via Private Jet Morning sightseeing of Bikaner city including Junagarh Fort, Ratan Bihari Temple and Old City. Bikaner city is bolstered by imposing walls and has a 16th century fort housing old palaces, temples and a mosque. Founded by Raja Rai Singh the fort is distinguished by 37 profusely decorated palaces. An enormous arched doorway leads to the Joramal temple. The Royal Chapel is called Har Mandir where royal weddings and births were once celebrated. In the former state Bikaner, temple of Shri Krishna or Shri Vishnu were rare and there was dearth of them felt by all. The queen of Maharaja Ratan Singh Ji was of shekhawt family. This Raj Kanwar Shekhawat Ji insipired her husband to construct a Krishna temple as, she was a devotee of Lord Krishna. An inspired Maharaja Ratan Singh got the temple of Ratan Bihari Ji constructed. Junagarh Fort – is an unassailable fortress, which has never been conquered. Built in 1593 A.D. by Raja Rai Singh is a formidable structure encircled by a moat. The main entrance to the fort is Karan Pol (gate), that is east facing. Next to it is the Suraj Pol meaning the sun gate. The fort situates in it some very magnificent palaces like Anup Mahal, Ganga Niwas and Rang Mahal or palace of pleasure. The Har Mandir is the majestic chapel for the royal family for worshipping their gods and goddesses. These palaces, constructed in red sandstone and marble, make a picturesque ensemble of courtyards, balconies, kiosks and windows dotted all over the structure. The premises also houses a museum which is an array of a rich collection.
Transfer to your Leela Villa at Ahilya by the Sea Unwind and relax on Morjim, Ashvem and Mandrem beaches in North Goa, followed by a city tour of Basilica of Bom Jesus, the Funde Çao Oriente museum, the historic Portuguese area of Fontainhas, famous for winding streets and colonial architecture, ending in the seaside toward the Reis Magos Fort. Day 18Goa Private shopping excursion in Old Goa visiting the city's best ateliers. Day 19Goa-Delhi-Home
MALDIVES REMOTE RESPITE
An exciting or relaxing day can begin at sunrise with a snorkel experience in the Coral Gardens or walking the 2 kilometer long Blu sandbank lagoon. Excursions include sunset lemon-shark or manta ray safaris, or scuba amongst the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The resort offers "manta on call" service to spot these gentle giants swimming or bounding out of the lagoon.
The resort’s on site Marine Discovery Centre is a great place to participate in the resort’s education, research and conservation efforts. Heading out to sea your fishing excursion ends with your very own catch prepared at the Fuego Grill.
Rounding out this exciting, remote and relaxing itinerary with some kite-surfing or a chakra blessing in the Spa will make this a memorable visit to The Maldives.