Best of North India
Route : Delhi Varanasi Khajuraho Agra Jaipur Jodhpur Udaipur Mumbai
Day 1Tonight, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Khajuraho – Orcha ( 150 kms / 3.5 hrs )
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.
Upon arrival in Agra, transfer to your hotel for 2 nights stay.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Enjoy the morning at leisure at your hotel in Udaipur.
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.
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.
Day 16After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch your flight back home.