The Masjid is a magnificent example of Mughal architecture and is constructed of red sandstone and white marble. It is an active place of worship and its courtyard can hold 25,000 worshippers. Bare legs and shoulders are not permitted inside the mosque and we include rented sarongs and scarves from the vendors at the entrance.
One of your most enduring memories of India will be your next experience as you enjoy a walk through the ancient Chandni Chowk Bazaar, home to the world’s largest spice market. The cacophony of sounds which have echoed through the centuries, the cries of hawkers and the animated bargaining, along with the incredible colors and the diverse smells emanating from the street food stalls and spice markets combine to make for an experience that is unique to this ancient bazaar. An option to experience a cycle-rickshaw through the bazaar is available for those interested in it. Next you will drive around the 75-foot tall and 1.6-mile-long sandstone walls of the Red Fort, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can ask your Tour Director Guide to include a visit inside the Fort – it is not standard on our tour for two reasons – there are some similarities to the Agra Fort which you will visit, and quite a large part of this fortified city is currently occupied by the Indian Army and off limits to visitors. The Red Fort was the seat of the Mughal Empire for more than two hundred and fifty years. Both the Red Fort and the Jama Masjid were built by Shah Jahan, the emperor who created the Taj Mahal.
From Old Delhi you will head back to central Delhi and the Indian Accent restaurant at the Lodhi Hotel for a late lunch. This is one of three worldwide Indian Accent restaurants (the other two are among the top-rated Indian restaurants in London and New York) and its menu combines traditional Indian flavors with innovative global ingredients and cooking techniques to create an unmatched dining experience – we feel that the original branch at Delhi serves the best food when compared to the other two. Indian Accent has been awarded an impressive number of ‘Best Indian Restaurant in India’ awards from the most reputable publications over the last 8 years. The restaurants founder chef, Mr. Manish Mehrotra, is similarly the recipient of more top chef awards than anyone in India. You will select from a choice between vegetarian and non-vegetarian six course chef’s tasting menus. You will be driven back to your hotel in the middle of the afternoon.
We recommend you retire early as your departure will be slightly early on the following morning. You are on your own if you want to eat dinner tonight and we recommend a light meal at the excellent 360° multicuisine restaurant, or one of your hotel’s other fine dining restaurants. This evening, if not earlier, you will select your breakfast preferences for the following morning as you will be eating the meal on your short train journey to Agra.
(Overnight – The Oberoi New Delhi – Oberoi Suite)
Day 5: Delhi - Agra. (Breakfast and Dinner) You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel in the morning after your Tour Director has collected your breakfasts and you will be driven to the nearby Nizammudin Railway Station. An Indian railway station is an experience an itself, always abuzz with activity as India’s vast masses travel on the world’s largest rail network. Although the stations premises are not particularly sanitary, your train and your compartment are very clean and the best that India has to offer on its passenger trains, with comfortable and wide reclining seats and a clean and pleasant environment.
You will be on India’s fastest train, the Gattiman Express, which reaches speeds just under 100 miles an hour on parts of this journey. You will be assisted in boarding your compartment, the best available on the train, and your baggage will be ported to the racks above your seats. After an hour and 40 minutes during which you will enjoy your breakfast and watch the countryside zip by, you will be assisted with your disembarkation at Agra Cantt Railway Station, as porters unload your bags.
You are driven to your gorgeous luxury resort where you will drop your bags off and use the facilities to freshen up after your first views of the magnificent Taj Mahal from the spectacular lobby. There is a very small chance that your room might be available for a very early check-in, but you will most likely be assisted with your check-in after lunch. Please note that the Oberoi Amarvilas has a great spa, an amazing pool straight out of the Arabian Nights, and many other facilities. They offer multiple hotel experiences, which can be reserved by us in advance upon request. There are nightly cultural performances at the resort, just as there will be at your resorts in Jaipur, Narlai, and Udaipur.
You will be driven to the first red sandstone fort of North India, the Agra Fort, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an amazing example of a blend of Persian, Indian and European architecture and was built in 1565 by India’s greatest Mughal ruler, Emperor Akbar.