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Hawa Mahal palace (Palace of the Winds)

Overview

An unforgettable adventure

In a country as vast as India, no single visit can capture the diversity of its myriad cultures, ethnicities and religions. Despite this challenge, our trip offers travelers a chance to see a kaleidoscope of its cultural, historical, religious and natural riches. Travel by rail aboard the Palace on Wheels, featuring luxurious cabins that reflect a bygone era of rail travel paired with the latest modern conveniences. Learn about the complex cultures and practices that are very much a part of modern India.

Join Ed Steidle on this deep dive into Hindu culture, Muslim monuments and colonial architecture—the long and vibrant history that defines India today. Don’t miss this opportunity to embark on an exceptional journey filled with adventure.

Dates

March 4–17, 2023

Duration

14 days

Price

From $11,695

Trip size

34 participants

Minimum age

18 years
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Faculty leader

A different kind of classroom

With renowned Stanford faculty and scholars leading the way, every Travel/Study trip is a one-of-a-kind educational experience.

Ed Steidle

Continuing Studies

Dr. Steidle's background is in comparative literature and medieval literature, and he teaches on the arts and literatures of Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Itinerary

A rail journey through millennia of cultures and customs

Start with an exploration of Delhi and Jaipur then embark on a five-night journey through Rajasthan aboard the luxurious Palace on Wheels from Jaipur to Bharatpur concluding with a visit to Agra’s otherworldly Taj Mahal. 

  • Delhi, India

    Arrive in Delhi and transfer to Taj Mahal Hotel.

    Accommodations:

    Taj Mahal Hotel

  • Delhi

    Head out on a city tour of New Delhi, exploring this British colonial city of wide boulevards and formal parks. Stop at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, once the awe-inspiring residence of the British viceroys and now the Presidential Palace; the Parliament Building; and the India Gate, built as a memorial to  the Indian soldiers killed in World  War I. Visit the palatial Humayun’s Tomb and Gandhi Smriti, the sacred site where Mahatma Gandhi died in 1948 and is today a national memorial and museum commemorating his legacy. Tonight, enjoy a welcome reception and dinner at our hotel.

    Accommodations:

    Taj Mahal Hotel

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Old Delhi

    Embark on a tour of Old Delhi, the seat of power for Mughal India in the 12th century. After driving past the Red Fort, stop at Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque, and the bustling business center  of Chandni Chowk with its colorful  bazaars and narrow lanes. After lunch, visit Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi. Spend the evening at leisure, perhaps exploring the nearby Khan Market or relaxing at the hotel.

    Accommodations:

    Taj Mahal Hotel

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Delhi / Jaipur

    After an early breakfast, take a short flight to Rajasthan’s capital, Jaipur, also known as the Pink City. Tour Jaipur’s vast City Palace complex, which houses several palaces, a museum of rare manuscripts and paintings and an armory. Also spend time at Jantar Mantar, a 19th-century, open-air astronomical observatory with a 90-foot-high sundial built by Jai Singh in the 18th century and today a World Heritage site.

    Accommodations:

    Jai Mahal Palace

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Jaipur

    Today we celebrate the most jubilant festival in the Hindu calendar, Holi. This vibrant festival celebrates the end of winter and the arrival of spring, and involves playfully throwing pigment powder at one another, resulting in head to-toe color. Our specially arranged guides will help us get into the spirit of the custom.

    Accommodations:

    Jai Mahal Palace

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Jaipur / Embark

    After breakfast visit Amber Fort, a fortified palace of massive ramparts and elaborate living quarters, including the dazzling Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors). Stop to take a photo at the striking Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds, and, in the afternoon walk through the old city of Jaipur to take in its lively markets, perhaps stopping to shop for the fine jewelry and hand-printed textiles for which Jaipur is renowned. This evening board the Palace on Wheels, our luxurious train and home for the next several days.

    Accommodations:

    Palace on Wheels

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Ranthambore / Chittaurgarh

    Begin the day on an adventurous note with an exciting early morning safari. Originally the private hunting ground of the Maharajas, Ranthambore was declared a national park in 1973. Look for sambar, chital, nilgai, chinkara, wild boar, sloth bear, hyena and jackal. If we are fortunate, we may even spot the elusive tiger or the shy leopard. Head back to the train and depart for Chittaurgarh, home to the largest fort complex in India.

    Accommodations:

    Palace on Wheels

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Udaipur

    Arise this morning in lovely Udaipur, the “City of Sunrise” also known as the “Venice of the East.” Visit the remarkable City Palace, Rajasthan’s largest palace complex that includes the Mor Chowk with its lavish peacock mosaics and the Moti Mahal (Palace of Pearls) View the impressive folk art collection at Lok Kala Mandal; and walk beside fountains and marble elephants at Saheliyon-ki-Bari (or Garden of the Maidens), a verdant oasis in otherwise dry Rajasthan. Enjoy an afternoon boat ride on scenic Lake Pichola.

    Accommodations:

    Palace on Wheels

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Jaisalmer

    Arrive in Jaisalmer this morning. Known as the Golden City because of the way the sun reflects off the city’s buildings made of golden sandstone, Jaisalmer is dominated by its 12th-century fort, still inhabited, in fact, by one-quarter of the city’s population. Visit Jaisalmer Fort, one of the largest fortifications in the world, as well as the setting for director Satyajit Ray’s classic film, The Golden Fortress. Explore the fort’s seven-story royal palace; Laxminath Temple; and ornately carved havelis, mansions built by wealthy Rajasthani merchants, many of which are occupied by the descendants of their original owners. Following lunch at a tented camp, explore the picturesque Sam Sand Dunes of theThar Desert by camelback or camel-cart.

    Accommodations:

    Palace on Wheels

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Jodhpur

    Known as the Blue City, Jodhpur is famous for its indigo-colored homes and majestic Mehrangarh Fort. Explore the fort’s palaces and temples, admire its priceless collection of jewels and enjoy incredible views of the blue-hued town below. Return to our train after lunch and head to Bharatpur.

    Accommodations:

    Palace on Wheels

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Bharatpur / Disembark

    Arrive in Bharatpur early this morning. After breakfast onboard, bid farewell to the Palace on Wheels and Visit Keoladeo Ghana National Park. Originally a private hunting preserve, the park is now one of the world’s best birding stations and a wintering spot for more than 300 species of birds. Afterwards, enjoy a cooking demonstration of traditional northern Indian cuisine before driving to the fabled deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, a World Heritage site. Built by Emperor Akbar as his capital in the late 16th century, the complex displays a perfect blend of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles. Proceed to Agra and check in to our hotel.

    Accommodations:

    ITC Mughal

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Agra

    Rise early for our pre-dawn visit to the Taj Mahal, one of India’s most enduring symbols. Built by Emperor Shah Jehan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, this pure-white marble mausoleum is arguably the finest example of Mughal architecture, which combines elements of Islamic, Persian, Ottoman and Indian architectural styles.  After breakfast visit the Agra Fort, a Mughal-era military complex and an incredible maze of courtyards, mosques and private chambers. Return to the Taj Mahal this evening as the sun sets over one of the world’s greatest architectural triumphs. Return to our hotel for a farewell reception and dinner this evening. 

    Accommodations:

    ITC Mughal

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • to

    Agra / Delhi / Home

    After breakfast drive to Delhi and settle in to our airport hotel. Depart on late-night or early-morning flights back to the U.S., arriving on the 17th.

    Accommodations:

    Radisson Blu Plaza

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Trip details

Start preparing for the trip of a lifetime

From top to bottom, we’ve taken care of all the details, so you can enjoy a no-stress, worry-free travel experience.

The palace Jal Mahal at night. Jal Mahal (Water Palace)

Pricing

Secure your spot today

The price of your trip covers a comprehensive educational program in addition to meals, accommodations, tours and excursions. Continue reading for a full list of what’s included.

Detail of decorated gateway. Amber fort. Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

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