Our 15-day small group journey through India’s Northern Heritage offers authentic cultural experiences, delicious Indian cuisine and insight into some of the country’s top architectural and archaeological gems. Retrace the life of Gandhi in Delhi, awe over the famed Golden Temple, Sikhism’s holiest spot, in Amritsar, and be swept up in a serene experience of the River Ganges in Varanasi. Then, finish our exploration of India’s Golden Triangle with stops in regal Jaipur and Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal. We end our tour with the ancient religious caves of Aurangabad and the bustling cityscapes of Mumbai. This tour of India’s Northern Heritage can also be perfectly combined with our 17-day tour of India’s Southern Heritage.
|UNESCO World Heritage Sites covered in this tour
|Humayun's Tomb, Delhi
|Khajuraho Group of Monuments
|Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus)
|Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi
|Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai
|Red Fort Complex, Delhi
|Taj Mahal, Agra
|The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
|Hill Forts of Rajasthan
|International air not included
Day 01: Arrive Delhi
Namaste! We are warmly welcomed at the airport in the traditional Indian way with hands clapped together and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax.
Overnight: Hyatt Regency (5 Star), Delhi (2 nights)
Day 02: Delhi
We sample the splendours of New Delhi today, starting with a visit to Birla House, the former residence of Mahatma Gandhi before he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse in 1948. Next we visit the famous India Gate followed by the Houses of Parliament, Connaught Place and Humayun's Tomb*, built in 1570 as the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. We continue to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Qutb Minar and its Monuments*. Built over the course of 300 years, the red sandstone tower of Qutb Minar is 72.5 meters and five stories high. The surrounding archaeological area also includes the magnificent Alai-Darwaza Gate, a masterpiece of Indo-Muslim art. Our afternoon concentrates on Old Delhi, starting with the Red Fort Complex*, named for its massive walls of red sandstone. The Red Fort and its sister construction, the 16th-century Salimgarh fort, are considered the zenith of Moghul creativity. After our visit, we embark on a captivating journey by rickshaw, passing through the narrow lanes of the famous Chandni Chowk Bazaar. Constructed by Moghul emperor Shah Jehan in the 17th century, this bazaar remains one of Old Delhi's oldest and busiest markets. We end our rickshaw ride at Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque. After visiting the mosque, we proceed to Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi. In the evening, we enjoy a welcome dinner at a well-known Indian restaurant. (B, D)
Day 03: Delhi/Amritsar (Flight)
Today we are transferred to the airport for our flight to Amritsar, and then to our hotel upon arrival. As the spiritual centre for the Sikh religion, Amritsar is best known for its Golden Temple, Sri Harimandir Sahib, one of the most breathtaking temples in all of India. This monument is Sikhism’s holiest shrine, and we will have the opportunity to experience it on our tour today. The temple was intended to be a place where men and women from all walks of life and all religions can come and worship God equally. Housed inside is the Guru Granth Sahib, the holiest text of Sikhism. We will also stop at Akal Takhat, the Sikh Parliament.
Next we visit Jallianwala Bagh, the historic site where hundreds of innocent Indian men, women and children were massacred by British General Michael Dyer on April 13, 1919. A memorial and Garden have been created here as a national monument. Later we visit the border between India and Pakistan to watch the spectacular Retreat Ceremony put on by India’s Border Security Force and Pakistan’s Sutlej Rangers at sunset.
Overnight: Hyatt Amritsar (5 Star), Amritsar (1 night) (B)
Day 04: Delhi/Amritsar (Flight)
Today we are transferred to the airport for our flight to Delhi. In Delhi, we connect with our flight to the holy city of Varanasi, one of the oldest living cities in the world. On arrival, we are transferred to our hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax.
Overnight: The Gateway Hotel Ganges (5 Star), Varanasi (2 nights) (B)
Day 05: Varanasi
A serene experience today as we take a sunrise cruise on the River Ganges. One of the cardinal principles of Hinduism is the belief in the holiness of the Ganges. Every morning, scores of pilgrims and priests bathe in the river’s holy waters and perform various other rituals. This unique experience will make us feel as if we’re looking through a window to another world. Later we explore Sarnath, one of the four key sites of the Buddhist religion. Visited by thousands of followers every year, Sarnath is the site of Lord Buddha's first sermon after attaining enlightenment. Its monuments date from third century B.C.
In the afternoon, we start our exploration of old Varanasi, visiting the Bharat Mata Temple, which houses a huge marble relief map of India. We then explore the Durga Temple, the Tulsi Manas Mandir beside the Banaras Hindu University and the Mosque of Moghul Emperor Aurangazeb. The city is also famous for its silk sarees and we have the opportunity to visit the houses where these beautiful outfits are woven. In the evening, we return to the banks of the Ganges to witness the moving devotional ceremony of Aarti after sunset, performed by devout Hindus. (B)
Day 06: Varanasi/Khajuraho (Flight)
Today we are transferred to the airport in Varanasi to fly to Khajuraho, where we are transferred to our hotel. In the afternoon, we explore the Khajuraho Group of Monuments*, a collection of temples that are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Considered as some of the finest temple art in the world, the temples were built between 950 and 1050 A.D. Today only 20 temples are left, but the remaining structures are known worldwide for their intricate and erotic sculptures.
Overnight: Mint Bundela Resort (4 Star), Khajuraho (1 night) (B)
Day 07: Khajuraho/Jhansi(Drive) /Agra (Train)
In the morning, we drive to Orchha, an amazing medieval fortress-city located on the shores of the Betwa River. The fort features regal palaces and imposing temples, and the fortress itself is surrounded by rolling green pastoral lands. We then continue to the railway station in Jhansi to take our express train to Agra. Shatabdi Express trains are fully air-conditioned and provide complimentary meals. On arrival in Agra, we are welcomed and transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Trident Hotel (5 Star), Agra (2 nights) (B)
Day 08: Agra
We start our day with a visit to one of the most well-known wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal*. An immense mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Moghul emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, the Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and a universally admired masterpiece of world heritage. Situated on the right bank of the Yamuna in a vast Moghul garden, this funerary monument combines elements and styles of Persian, Central Asian and Islamic architecture. Next we visit Agra Fort*. This powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses the spectacular imperial city of the Moghul rulers. Explore fairy-tale palaces, audience halls and two very beautiful mosques. (B)
Please Note: Taj Mahal is closed on Friday. On nights with a Full Moon the Taj Mahal's pure white marble shimmers silver in the moonlight and is open to visitors. We can arrange for an optional tour to enjoy this very special occasion.
Day 09: Agra/Fatehpur Sikri/Jaipur (Drive)
We continue our journey with a short drive to Fatehpur Sikri*, the beautiful capital built in 1640 by the Moghul King, Akbar the Great. The city was later abandoned due to lack of water. A superb example of Moghul architecture, it stands perfectly preserved in the desert. We also visit the artistically designed mausoleum of Salim Chisty, a revered Sufi saint. From here we drive to Jaipur, the rose pink capital of Rajasthan due to its pink sandstone buildings. In the evening, we are treated to cultural show with dinner.
Overnight: Trident Hotel (5 Star), Jaipur (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 10: Jaipur
This morning, we are treated like the royalty of yesteryear with a visit to Amber Fort, located in a picturesque valley among the Kalikho Hills. Known as the gem of Jaipur, this imposing fort dating from the late 16th century was never attacked or invaded. Built from a combination of yellow and pink sandstone and white marble, the fort includes distinguished halls, intricate carvings and ornate gardens. Next we return to Jaipur to visit the majestic City Palace, which houses a rare collection of Indian art. We also stop at the stunning Hawa Mahal, or Palace of Winds, where the ladies of the royal harem used to watch the city from behind the intricately carved façade, and the Jantar Mantar*, a historic astronomical observation site boasting instruments used to star-gaze with the naked eye. The evening is free to enjoy the one-of-a-kind shopping at the bazaars. Jaipur is noted for its craftsmen, skilled in brass inlay, lacquer work and stone setting. (B)
Day 11: Jaipur/Delhi/Aurangabad (Flight)
Today we are transferred to the airport for our flight to Delhi. In Delhi, we take our connecting flight to Aurangabad, where we are transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Vivanta By Taj Aurangabad (5 Star), Aurangabad (2 nights) (B)
Day 12: Aurangabad
Today we enjoy a full day exploring the Ajanta Caves*, one of the oldest UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. The first Buddhist cave monuments at Ajanta date from the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. During the Gupta period between the 5th and 6th centuries A.D., many more richly decorated caves were added to the original group. The series of paintings at Ajanta are unparalleled in the history of Indian art, both for the wide range of subjects illustrated and the assured mastery of the medium. Ajanta’s paintings and sculptures are also considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art. (B)
Day 13: Aurangabad/Mumbai (Flight)
An exciting day ahead with a visit to one of Western India’s cultural highlights, the Ellora Caves*. These 34 monasteries and temples, extending over more than 2 kilometers, were carved out of the wall of a massive basalt cliff.The uninterrupted sequence of monuments dates from A.D. 600 to 1000 and brings the civilization of ancient India to life. Later we also visit the Daulatabad fort and Bibi-Ka-Maqbra, the beautiful mausoleum of Rabia-ul-Daurani, wife of the Moghul Emperor Aurangazeb. In the late afternoon, we are transferred to airport for our flight to Mumbai. On arrival in Mumbai, we are transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Vivanta by Taj President (5 Star), Mumbai (2 nights) (B)
Day 14: Mumbai
We start our day with a visit to the Gateway of India, Mumbai's most famous monument. Here we embark on our excursion to the Elephanta Caves*, located on an island in the Sea of Oman. The caves contain a collection of rock art linked to the cult of Shiva. Here, Indian art has found one of its most perfect expressions, particularly the huge high reliefs in the main cave. We return to Mumbai by motor launch and explore the Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai*, visiting the Prince of Wales Museum and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus*, formerly known as Victoria Terminus Station, an outstanding example of Victorian Gothic Revival Architecture in India, blended with themes deriving from Indian traditional architecture. The building, designed by the British architect F. W. Stevens, became the symbol of Bombay as the ‘Gothic City’ and the major international mercantile port of India. Its remarkable stone dome, turrets, pointed arches and eccentric ground plan are close to traditional Indian palace architecture. Our Next Stop is at Mani Bhawan, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed here during the Freedom Struggle. The house is now converted into a Museum. From here we leave for the Jain Temple and Hanging Gardens, the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence, the bustling Crawford Market and drive past Haji Ali, the tomb of a wealthy Muslim merchant. We end our tour at the Dhobi Ghat, the world's largest outdoor laundry. The word Dhobi Ghat is used all over India to refer to any place where many washers are present. (B)
Day 15: Depart Mumbai
Our experience of the cultural highlights of North India comes to an end. If you would like to continue your exploration of India’s culture and heritage, this tour perfectly combines with our India’s Southern Heritage tour. Please contact Bestway Tours & Safaris for further information. (B)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Departure Dates & Prices
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This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 08 participants
If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.
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