Tailored from £4,700 per person excl. flights
18 days Delhi, Varanasi, Khajuraho, Panna National Park, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Mumbai
18 days Delhi, Varanasi, Khajuraho, Panna National Park, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Mumbai
On this extensive itinerary you’ll experience the highlights of North India, from the majestic Taj Mahal at sunrise, to the City of Lakes Udaipur, and the ‘Blue City’ of Jodhpur. You will also have the opportunity to spot tigers in Panna National Park, explore the twisting narrow alleys of the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur, and visit the ghats of the sacred Ganges River in Varanasi.
On arrival in Delhi you will be met at the airport by a representative and transferred to your hotel right in the heart of New Delhi.
This afternoon you’ll have free time to explore the sights of Connaught Place, including the bazaars and stalls, the vintage cinemas, Art Today, the Dhoomimal Art Centre, the Hanuman Temple, Jantar Mantar, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, and Gurudwara Bangla Sahib.
Today you will have the opportunity to see the contrasts of Old and New Delhi with an English speaking guide. In the morning you’ll visit one of the largest mosques in India, Jama Masjid, followed by a rickshaw cycle tour of Old Delhi where you can explore the winding alleys of the famous Chandni Chowk Bazaar area.
Later in the afternoon you’ll explore New Delhi, including Humayun's Tomb, Qutab Minar and Lutyens' Delhi, an area named after the British architect Edwin Lutyens who was responsible for much of the architectural design and building when India was part of the British Empire in the 1920s and 1930s.
After breakfast you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the airport in time to board your flight to Varanasi. On arrival in Varanasi you’ll be met by a representative and driven to your hotel.
This afternoon you’ll have time to discover this fascinating holy city. We recommend a visit to the Golden Temple which is the centre of faith for millions of Hindus, or you can enjoy a much less crowded experience with a visit to Monkey Temple.
This evening you will be taken to the ‘ghats’ on the banks of the sacred River Ganges. The ghats are centuries old embankments of stone which were originally built to give access to the holy river for pilgrims who want to enter the water to perform sacred rites and religious ceremonies. The 8km stretch of the river in Varanasi has 84 ghats and over 300 temples dedicated to various Hindu deities. Your guide will take you to Varanasi’s liveliest and most colourful ghat, Dashashwamedh, where Ganges Aarti, a ritual offering to the Ganges is performed every evening at dusk (around 7pm). During this elaborate ceremony people dance, chant and beat cymbals. Witnessing Ganges Aarti is likely to be one of the most memorable experiences of your holiday.
Just before dawn this morning you will be taken to the ghats once again for a sunrise boat ride on the river – a truly magical experience.
After your boat ride you will be taken on a walking tour of the old town, before returning to your hotel for breakfast. In the afternoon you will be driven a short distance outside of the town to visit Sarnath Museum where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon.
This morning you will have some time to relax at your hotel before your flight to Khajuraho. On arrival at Khajuraho you will be met by a guide and taken for a short tour of the city and the UNESCO protected temples which are known for their erotic carvings. Once the capital of great Chandela rulers, Khajuraho, today, is a quiet village of only few thousand people. In these temples, the sculptures have shown many aspects of Indian life 1000 years ago — gods and goddesses, warriors and musicians, real and mythological animals.
After exploring Khajuraho you will be driven a short distance to Panna.
Early this morning you will visit Panna National Park.
Lying along the river Ken, Panna National Park contains large areas of un-spoilt forest and a variety of wildlife spread over almost 543 sq. km. The tiger can be glimpsed here, though rarely, with other rare species such as the leopard, hyena, jackal, sloth bear, wolf and gharial. Herds of bluebells, chinkara and sambhar are a common sight.
After a leisurely morning you will be driven to Jhansi Rail Station to board your train to Agra (departing Jhansi at 1845, arriving Agra at 2110). En route to the train station you will visit the medieval town of Orchha on the banks of river Betwa.
On arrival in Agra you will be met by a representative and transferred to your hotel.
This morning you’ll be picked up from your hotel just before dawn for a sunrise tour of India’s most famous building, the iconic Taj Mahal. Best known as a monument to love and loss, the Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his second wife.
After breakfast, you’ll visit the spectacular Agra Fort, a fortress, palace and prison built of red sandstone built by Emperor Akbar in 1565 and partially converted into a palace during the time of Shah Jahan.
You’ll then be driven to the deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, 40km west of Agra. This city was the short-lived capital of the Mughal Empire between 1572 and 1585, during the reign of Emperor Akbar. Earlier, Akbar had visited the village of Sikri to consult the Sufi saint Shaikh Salim Chishti, who predicted the birth of an heir to the Mughal throne. When the prophecy came true, Akbar built his new capital here, including a stunning mosque, still in use today, and three palaces, one for each of his favourite wives – one a Hindu, one a Muslim and one a Christian. The city was an Indo-Islamic masterpiece, but it was built in an area that suffered from water shortages so it was abandoned shortly after Akbar’s death.
After exploring Fatehpur Sikri you’ll continue on to the colourful city of Jaipur. On arrival you’ll immediately understand the reasoning behind the name - every building within the walled centre is painted a terracotta ‘pink’ colour and there are few exceptions to this colour scheme.
Today you’ll have an opportunity to explore the vibrant city of Jaipur. We recommend a walking tour through the busy, bustling streets which are packed with cars, camels, rickshaws and bicycles. You can explore the city's crowded bazaars where locals sell beautiful handcrafted textiles, folk art, and semi-precious stones. Expect to see Rajput men wearing traditional colourful turbans and sporting magnificent moustaches!
You’ll also have a chance to visit the Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of the Winds', plus you can visit one of India’s finest palaces, Jaipur's Royal City Palace, or the fascinating Jantar Mantar Observatory to see the collection of astronomical instrument sculptures.
Today you’ll visit the ‘Jewel of Jaipur’ Amber Fort, which is located on the hills of the Aravalli, 11 km outside the city.
This magnificent fortress, built in the 16th century, comprises of hundreds of now empty dungeons, chambers, servants quarters, halls of private and public audience, and lovely enclosed gardens with charming water features. A maze of passages connects the different sections of the palaces, leading you through glittering halls of mirrors.
The rest of the day is free for you to explore parts of Jaipur that you might have missed yesterday.
This morning you will be driven to the spectacular city of Jodhpur (approximately 6 hours drive). On arrival you’ll check into your hotel and then you’ll have the rest of the afternoon/evening free to explore Jodphur. We recommend visiting the Ghanta Ghar aka Clock Tower and nearby Sadar Market.
This morning you’ll be taken on a guided tour of Jodhpur city where you’ll have an opportunity to visit Mehrangarh Fort and Jaswant Thada. Mehrangarh Fort, one of the largest forts in India, is unsurpassed in beauty and grandeur. Innumerable palaces in the fort, Moti Mahal, Phool Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Sileh Khana and Daulat Khana are interspersed with sprawling courtyards and intricately carved balconies. A collection of old weapons, arms, musical instruments, palanquins, royal costumes and furniture are preserved and displayed in the Sileh Khana. Close to the fort is the 19th century royal cenotaph, Jaswant Thada, a creation in white marble which displays some rare portraits of Jodhpur’s rulers.
This morning you will be collected from your hotel and driven to Udaipur, en route you can visit Ranakpur Jain Temples, one of the biggest and most important Jain temples in India.
Though the entire state of Rajasthan is teeming with spectacular hilltop fortresses, exotic fairytale palaces and legends of medieval chivalry and heroism, no city is quite as romantic as Udaipur. Often referred to as ‘The city of lakes’ due to the three huge lakes within its limits, Udaipur has a large number of impressive palaces and other monuments which we well worth visiting. Udaipur is surrounded by the ancient Aravali Mountains where wildlife still abounds.
This morning you’ll have a guided tour of the city and you’ll visit City Palace, Sahelion-ki-Bari and Jagdish Temple. The huge City Palace, towering over Lake Pichola, is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. It is a blend of stern Rajput military architecture on the outside and lavish Mughal-inspired decorative art on the inside. The beautiful gardens of Sahelion-ki-Bari were laid out in the mid-18th century for a retinue of forty-eight young ladies-in-waiting that were sent to Udaipur as part of a princess's dowry. The gardens have beautiful lawns, lotus pools, marble pavilions and marble elephant-shaped fountains. Situated close to the City Palace is Jagdish temple in Indo-Aryan style. It enshrines a black stone image of Lord Vishnu as Jagannath, the creator of the universe.
Today you’ll have a full day to further explore the lakes, museums, temples and palaces of Udaipur (with a car and driver at your disposal).
Today you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the airport in time to board your flight to Mumbai. Upon arrival in Mumbai you will be met by a driver and taken to your hotel in the heart of the city.
Today you’ll have a guided tour of Mumbai. You’ll start by visiting the elegant buildings of the Bombay High Court and Victoria Terminus. Afterwards you will be taken to explore the Prince of Wales Museum (closed on Mondays). A Mumbai landmark, the Prince of Wales Museum is one of the best museums in India with an excellent and well laid out collection of antiques. The highlights of the museum include Indo-Saracenic architecture of the museum building, artefacts from Indus Valley Civilization, and decorative artefacts such as Mughal jades, textiles, and ivories.
Your tour will continue to the famous Dhobi Ghat (washermen colony). Dhobi Ghat is a well known open air laundromat in Mumbai. The washers, locally known as Dhobis, work in the open to wash the clothes from Mumbai's hotels and hospitals. This is a truly fascinating experience
Sadly your India adventure is coming to an end. Today you will be driven back to Mumbai airport in time for your international flight home.