16 Days/ 15 Nights
Day 01 - Arrive Delhi
Tonight, arrive New Delhi, the capital city of India. Upon your arrival, you will be met by our representative at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. After a warm welcome, transfer to your hotel for 2 nights stay.
Day 02 - Day in Delhi
Today, enjoy the day discovering Delhi, pacing through the city which is as historic as modern, like 2 sides of the same coin!
Enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of Old Delhi, which includes a visit to Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India; a rickshaw ride through narrow alleys and lanes in Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest and largest trading markets of the country; and drive past Red Fort, the place that marked the announcement of India’s freedom from the British Raj.
Later in the afternoon, discover the modern city of New Delhi, visiting the Qutab Minar, a fine example of Indo-Islamic architecture and the world’s tallest brick minaret and Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, the largest Sikh temple of Delhi, with a gold dome, still in active worship. Drive past President's House, Parliament House and other Government Secretariat Buildings, the most imposing features of Lutyen’s Delhi and take a photo stop at the iconic war memorial arch, the India Gate.
Culture Connection: Option for Heritage Walk in Old Delhi: This morning you have the option to take a Heritage Walk in Old Delhi, an exciting experience for those interested in history, heritage, culture and local life in India. The guided walk takes you down the narrow alleys of Chandni Chowk, the moonlit street, to Jama Mazjid, the largest mosque of India ; the jewelry market, Dariba Kalan, selling precious stones, gems, gold and silver jewelry ; and Kinari Bazaar a wholesale market with large reserves of colourful Indian attire and other accessories. During the walk you also see ruins of beautiful haveli’s (houses of noblemen of the bygone era), sculptured gates, fascinating artwork, and resident artisans and workers engaged in their daily chores. Be prepared for a culture shock as you will be walking through some of the oldest parts of Delhi today! (at extra charge)
Option for Home Hosted Dinner: This evening you have the option to learn more about local lifestyle and culture of India with dinner at an Indian home. Spend time talking to your hosts and learn about their way of life. You may also opt for a unique opportunity to step inside an Indian kitchen and learn the age old art of Indian culinary delights. Your hosts will be happy to share their secret recipes and give you some handy tips about Indian cooking (at extra charge).
Day 03 - FLY Delhi to Varanasi
After breakfast, embark on a leisurely drive to Agra, city of the world famous Taj Mahal
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch your flight to Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India (also known as Kashi and Benaras). Upon arrival in Varanasi, check in to your hotel and freshen up.
This evening, experience a rickshaw ride to the ghats to enjoy the grand ‘Aarti’ ceremony at Dasaswamedh Ghat, conducted everyday at sunset by white-robed priests. Spiritually enlightening and fantastically photogenic, this evening aarti ceremony is a spectacular show with young priests in traditional Indian clothes swaying in seemingly choreographed movements, worshiping the river goddess with incense, flowers and earthen lamps.
Day 04 - Day in Varanasi
Rise early to enjoy a sunrise boat cruise on the Holy River Ganges. See the ‘bathing ghats’ where thousands of pilgrims pay homage to the Sun God by immersing themselves in the holy water of River Ganges, and the ‘burning ghats’ where cremations are conducted. The ghats of River Ganges in Varanasi are believed to be most sacred, engulfing the entire circle of life and death.
Follow the boat cruise with a guided walk through the old city, seeing morning life in the historic and ancient bylanes of Varanasi. You get an opportunity to closely observe some morning rituals at the various small street temples along the way. The most sacred and important temple here is Kashi Vishvanath temple. Return back to hotel for breakfast and freshen up.
This afternoon, visit Bharat Mata Temple, the only temple in India that is not dedicated to a God or Goddess. This unique temple is dedicated to Mother India, and features aunqiue relief map of India, carved out of marble, the largest of its kind in the world.
Then visit Sarnath, the place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon. Sarnath was a renowned school of learning from 6th century BC to 12th century AD. The lion capital of Ashoka pillar at Sarnath is the national emblem of India. Visit the ruins, stupa, Buddhist temple and the Sarnath Museum.
Day 05 - FLY Varanasi - Khajuraho
After a leisurely breakfast, drive to the airport to catch your flight to Khajuraho – a UNESCO world heritage site in central India, famous for its erotic sculptured temples. Upon arrival in Khajuraho, check in at your hotel and freshen up.
This afternoon visit the enchanting temples of Khajuraho with sculptures that draw their inspiration from the ancient art of Kama sutra. Khajuraho Temples were built by the Chandela kings between 950 AD and 1050 AD.
Option to watch the famous Khajuraho Dance Show: Enjoy the evening watching a live Indian classical dance show at an auditorium at Khajuraho (at extra charge and subject to operation of show)
Option to watch the famous Khajuraho Sound and Light Show: Enjoy the evening watching a spectacular sound and light show at the historic temples of Khajuraho (at extra charge and subject to operation of show)
Day 06 - DRIVE Khajuraho – Orchha - Jhansi [195 Kms / 4.5 Hrs]
TRAIN Jhansi to Agra
After breakfast embark on your drive to Orchha, a medieval riverside town known for its palaces and temples. Apart from the famous landmarks like Jahangir Mahal and Laxmi Narayan Temple, the town is peppered with fascinating little shrines and memorials. Enjoy an afternoon tour of Orchha.
Later, drive to Jhansi Railway Station to board your train to Agra, city of the world famous Taj Mahal.
Depart Jhansi - 1844 hrs
Arrive Agra - 2110 hrs
Shatabadi Express (AC Chair Car)
Upon arrival in Agra, transfer to your hotel for 2 nights stay.
Day 07 - Day in Agra
This morning witness the surreal views of the Taj Mahal. Step inside this eternal symbol of love and appreciate the intricate designs and symmetries that rhyme as a poem written in marble. Taj Mahal is an extravagant display of love, built by Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. You may choose to wake up early to witness the glistening white marble beauty at sunrise.
Later visit the splendid Agra Fort, built in red sandstone, encapsulating magnificent palaces, halls of public and private audience and beautiful gardens.
Option to watch a classic Theatre Performance: This evening, you have the option to watch a live theatre performance, introducing you to the story of the Taj Mahal. Watch the spectacular performance - “Mohabbat the Taj – The saga of love”, staging the largest replica of the Taj Mahal, and presenting the legend of love that created this magnificent mausoleum (at extra charge and subject to operation of show)
Day 08 - DRIVE Agra – Jaipur [240 Kms / 5 Hrs]
After breakfast, embark on a leisurely drive to Jaipur - land of the Rajputs. Jaipur is an exuberance of colour, dance and traditional arts and crafts. Known, as the 'Pink City', Jaipur is home to ancient forts and palaces and is one of India's most well planned cities.
En route to Jaipur, visit Fatehpur Sikri, the capital city of the Mughal Empire in the 16th century. Upon arrival check in at your hotel for 02 nights stay.
This evening explore the many facets of Jaipuri crafts such as semi precious jewels, pottery, colourful embroidered fabrics with mirror work, woven carpets etc – watch artisans at work and enjoy souvenir shopping in this colourful city of Jaipur.
Culture Connection: Option for guided heritage walk through old city of Jaipur: This evening, you have the option to take a guided heritage walk through the temples and havelis of the old city of Jaipur. This exciting two hours walking tour is a unique way to explore the living traditions, hidden riches and vibrant culture of Jaipur. Experience the warm Indian hospitality at a beautifully restored haveli (erstwhile mansion )where you get an opportunity to interact with the resident family over high tea. The walk offers an opportunity to meet and interact with artisans, shop owners, temple priests and local people of Jaipur, making the tour engaging and insightful (at extra charge).
Option to play Golf at Rambagh Golf course: Enjoy an opportunity to play golf at Rambagh Golf course, one of the oldest and most prestigious of Golf Clubs in India. Affiliated to the Indian Golf Union, this Golf Club is an 18 Hole challenging championship course with Par 70 Yardage-6303 (SSS 70). The Course is picturesquely located with views of the Rambagh Palace, Motta Doongri Fort, Nahargarh Fort and the Birla Planetarium. (at extra charge)
Day 09 - Day in Jaipur
Rise early this morning to visit Jaipur’s famous Amber Fort. Enroute, take a guided walk through the flower market of Jaipur seeing the beautiful yellow and orange marigolds and other seasonal flowers being traded. In close vicinity is also the wholesale vegetable market where farmers bring fresh produce to begin the days trading. Walking through the markets brings you to a junction where you will find the interesting and unusual milk traders of Jaipur, who bring their cattle’s fresh milk to be tested for quality, priced and traded on the spot. Be amazed at the primitive technique of testing quality of milk by dipping hands into large metal milk containers and evaluating the creaminess of milk supplied !
After a brief walk through the local trading markets, drive onwards to visit Amber fort, built in the 16th century. The fort is a mesmerizing blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture. The Amber Fort was used by the Rajputs for the dual purpose of defense and private residence. The fort encompasses charming gardens and magnificent palaces made from marble and precious stones, richly decorated with intricate stonemason works and paintings, which represented royal splendor and luxury of the Rajput era. To ascend up the fort, you may choose to walk, drive or take an elephant ride.
This afternoon take a photo stop at the Hawa Mahal, Palace of the Winds, with its unique layer-cake honeycomb windows designed to enable erstwhile women of the royal court to observe passing life without being seen; Jantar Mantar, the largest astronomical observatory built in stone, and the City Palace complex with its impressive gardens and museums.
Option for Hot Air Balloon Flight: Enjoy a sunrise or sunset hot air balloon flight, floating over forts, palaces and villages, over the pink city of Jaipur, offering splendid views of the city and its surrounds. The balloons usually land in village areas, attracting hoards of villagers. Guests find this experience and connection with the local community fascinating and unique. Drive through rural villages back to base. (at extra charge and subject to operation).
Option for Elephant Safari with Breakfast or High Tea: Early morning or evening, embark on a short drive to a wilderness camp at the outskirts of Jaipur, for a fascinating elephant safari, followed by breakfast or high tea served at the garden camp (at extra charge).
Day 10 - DRIVE Jaipur to Jodhpur [330 Kms / 7 Hrs]
This morning, drive to Jodhpur, a city ringed by high stone walls with seven gates and several bastions. This second largest city of Rajasthan was founded by Rao Jodha in 1459 A.D. Owing to its unique pale blue architecture, Jodhpur is often referred as the ‘blue hued city’ of Rajasthan.
Upon arrival, check in at your hotel and freshen up.
Culture Connection: Option to take a guided walk through the old town of Jodhpur: This evening you may opt for a guided walk meandering through the colourful old town of Jodhpur. Walk through the busy market area housing spices & grocery, meet craftsmen engaged in making tie & dye textiles, jewelry, leather items and lacquer bangles, sample some local delicacies, and mingle with colorfully dressed residents with their welcoming smiles and warm hospitality (at extra charge).
Day 11 - Day in Jodhpur
Today, visit the rock-solid Mehrangarh Fort, and the grand palaces within the fort - Moti Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Phool Mahal, Sileh Khana and Daulat Khana, which are impressive examples of architectural excellence. Near the fort complex stands the Jaswant Thada, and a group of royal cenotaphs made of white marble. While in Jodhpur shop for the exquisite handcrafted articles such as embroidered shoes, metal curios, silverware, paintings and tie and dye fabrics.
Culture Connection: Option for 4x4 Offroad Jeep Safari to local Villages: Later this afternoon, you have the option to experience an offroad 4x4 jeep safari to the nearby villages, to get a feel for the local lifestyle of Rajasthani villagers. Observe the local lifestyle and interact with villagers, shepherds, farmers and weavers of the region, alongside enjoying an offroad 4x4 experience through the dunes of Rajasthan. (at extra charge).
Day 12 - DRIVE Jodhpur to Udaipur [280 Kms / 6 Hrs]
This morning, drive to Udaipur, a serene city set in the scenic valley of Aravalli hills, surrounded by three lakes – Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar and Udai Sagar.
En route visit the famous Jain Temples at Ranakpur. Built in the 15th century, Ranakpur temples are one of the largest Jain temples in India. The temples are known for their architecture, grand structures and exquisite sculptures. Continue drive to Udaipur and upon arrival, check in at your hotel for 2 nights stay.
Culture Connection: Option for Horse Safari or Nature Trek with Lunch at Mountbatten Lodge: Enroute to Udaipur, you have the option to stop at a small village for a short horse safari or nature trek through the countryside down to Mountbatten Lodge at Ranakpur. The safari / trek would take close to 45/60 minutes and you will have an opportunity to stop at the tribal Village Kambha to visit the local school and a potters house. Conclude the safari with lunch at Mountbatten Lodge (at extra charge)
Day 13 - Day in Udaipur
After breakfast, visit the 16th century City Palace, one of the largest palace complexes in Rajasthan comprising residence of the current Maharaja, heritage hotels, museums and galleries, courtyards and reception halls where royal events take place even today; Jagdish Temple, the 17th century Indo Aryan temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Laxmi Narayan), the preserver of the Universe; Saheliyon-Ki-Bari, garden of the maids of honour, with beautiful green lawns, flower beds, water pools, marble elephants and bird fountains.
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure.
Culture Connection: Option for excursion to Eklingji Temple: This afternoon, you have the option to visit the most famous temples of Rajasthan. Located in the town of Eklingji (Kailashpuri), the place got its popular name from the temple. Eklingji Temple is positioned at a distance of 22 kms north of Udaipur. (at extra charge)
Option for boat cruise at Lake Pichola, Udaipur: Enjoy an evening boat cruise at the serene Lake Pichola (at extra charge and subject to water level)
Option for Culinary tour in Udaipur: This afternoon enjoy a culinary experience with a noble family of the state. The experience includes a visit to the vegetable and spice market to familiarize with local vegetables and spices. This is followed by a 2 hour cooking demonstration showing preparation of traditional Rajasthani / north Indian cuisine. The evening is concluded with an interesting dinner with the host family.
Day 14 - FLY Udaipur - Mumbai
Enjoy the morning at leisure at your hotel in Udaipur.
Culture Connection: Option to take a guided walk through the old town of Udaipur: This morning you may opt for a guided walk in the old town of Udaipur. This walk provides you an opportunity to experience the ‘real Udaipur’ – its people, its living traditions, its interesting localities and vibrant bazaars. Walk through the hidden alleys and meet local artisans engaged in jewelry making, pottery and bamboo craft. You can also visit the famous ghats on the banks of Lake Pichola, observe the traditional way of making clay potteries or join a family at their private residence for a cup of tea and snacks in their centuries old mansion decorated with fascinating fresco paintings and mirror work (at extra charge)
This afternoon, transfer to the airport to catch your flight to Mumbai. Upon arrival in Mumbai, checkin at your hotel for 02 nights stay. Enjoy the evening at leisure.
Day 15 - Day in Mumbai
This morning take an excursion tour to the rock cut Elephanta Caves (located 10 Km from the Gateway of India, Mumbai). A short shared ferry ride takes you across the harbour to the island of Elephanta for a visit to the Great Cave Temple, which dates back to 550 A.D. Elephanta’s most striking figure represents the three aspects of Shiva – the creator, preserver and destroyer
This afternoon, take a city tour of Mumbai visiting the Gateway of India, built in 1911 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India; Prince of Wales Museum, built in early 20th century in Indo-Saracenic style architecture, housing a priceless collection of art, sculptures, china and other antiques; Mani Bhavan, Mahatma Gandhi’s home during his stay in Mumbai, which shows glimpses of Gandhi’s life and houses a library of books written by or about Gandhi.
While driving in Mumbai you get an opportunity to observe and take photo stops at some famous landmark sites such as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST – previously called ‘Victoria Terminus’), Mumbai’s most famous railway station, a brilliant specimen of Victorian Gothic style architecture in India; Dhobi Ghat, the open air launderette, Nariman Point and Marine Drive Queens Necklace view.
Culture Connection: Option for Sunset Sailing at Gateway of India: Enjoy a sailing experience in the Arabian Sea casting off from the Gateway of India. Sit back and watch the sun being swallowed by the ocean while one of the most distinctive skylines blinks to life. (at extra charge).
Option for Dabbawalla Tour in Mumbai: Discover the vast industry of tiffin delivery service in Mumbai on this comprehensive Dabbawalla tour. The word ‘Dabbawalla’ refers to a person who carries and delivers freshly made food from home in lunch boxes to office workers. This is your opportunity to watch 4,500 Dabbawallas in action, collecting and delivering 175,000 lunch tiffins to offices in Mumbai everyday! The entire system depends on organization, teamwork and careful timing. Hear a brief introduction with the Dabbawallas and learn about the precision techniques adopted for coding and mass distribution of tiffins everyday (at extra charge)
Day 16 - Mumbai - Departure
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch your flight back home.