Experience delicious cuisine, vibrant cityscapes and one-of-a-kind cultural gems, including the Taj Mahal, highlight of all India holiday tour packages, on this luxurious small group cultural tour through Moghul India. Visit the famous Golden Triangle cities of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, renowned for their rich cultural sites. Then carry on to enjoy some of India’s most historic fortresses at Gwalior and Khajuraho, a restaurant tour of culinary capital Lucknow, a sunset cruise on the River Ganges in Varanasi, one of the oldest living cities in the world, and much more.
|UNESCO World Heritage Sites covered in this tour|
|1.||Agra Fort||2.||Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi|
|3.||Fatehpur Sikri||4.||Red Fort Complex, Delhi|
|5.||Hill Forts of Rajasthan||6.||Taj Mahal, Agra|
|7.||Humayun's Tomb, Delhi||8.||The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur|
|9.||Khajuraho Group of Monuments|
|Price (From)||:||US$ 2550|
|Includes international air|
Day 01: Arrive Delhi
Namaste! Upon arrival at the airport, we are warmly welcomed the traditional Indian way with hands clasped together and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax.
Overnight: Jaypee Vasant Continental, Delhi (3 nights)
Day 02: Delhi
India’s capital is a tantalizing mixture of old and new. We start our exploration with a visit to New Delhi’s 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 Qutub Minar and its Monuments*. Built over the course of 300 years, the red sandstone tower of Qutub 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. In the evening, we enjoy welcome dinner at a well-known Indian restaurant. (B, D)
Day 03: Delhi
We see another side of the city today by taking a step back in time to Old Delhi’s 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. (B)
Day 04: Delhi/Jaipur (Drive)
After breakfast, we drive to Jaipur, the rose-pink capital of Rajasthan. Upon arrival, we check in to the hotel. Rest of the day is free.
Overnight: Hilton Hotel, Jaipur (2 nights) (B)
Day 05: Jaipur
Today we visit one of the most well known and preserved royal forts in India, 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 of the bazaars. Jaipur is noted for its craftsmen, skilled in brass inlay, lacquer work and stone setting. (B)
Day 06: Jaipur/Fatehpur Sikri/Agra (Drive)
After breakfast, we drive to Jaipur, visiting Fatehpur Sikri* en route. Built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, this stunning complex was once capital of the Moghul empire. After just 10 years, its temples, mosques and monuments were abandoned due to lack of water. The remains include one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid, and the artistically designed mausoleum of the revered Sufi saint, Salim Chisty. From here we continue to Agra. On arrival, we check in our hotel. The remainder of the day is free.
Overnight: Jaypee Palace, Agra (2 nights) (B)
Day 07: Agra
Our tour starts 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 beloved wife, the Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and a universally admired masterpiece of world heritage. Situated on the banks of the Yamuna in a vast Moghul garden, this funerary monument combines elements of Persian, Central Asian and Islamic architecture. After our visit to Taj Mahal, we return to our hotel for breakfast.
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. Later we have free time for shopping for replicas of the Taj, handicrafts and various other curios that the descendants of the builders of the Taj are famous for crafting. (B)
Please Note: Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays. 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 08: Agra/Gwalior (Drive)
Today we drive to the former princely state of Gwalior to visit the sprawling Gwalior Fort complex. The majestic fort is full of museums, palaces, temples and other unique buildings. Gwalior Fort also occupies a unique place in the history of human civilization as the site of the first ever recorded use of zero. The zero in question is found on a tablet recording the establishment of a small 9th century Hindu temple, and is the oldest zero for which a definite date can be assigned.
Overnight: Usha Kiran Palace, Gwalior (1 night) (B)
Day 09: Gwalior/Orchha (Train)/Khajuraho (Drive)
Today we board our Shatabdi Express train to Jhansi, which is fully air-conditioned and includes complimentary meals. We then continue to visit 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. After our tour, we proceed to Khajuraho and check in to our hotel.
Overnight: Radisson, Khajuraho (1 night) (B)
Day 10: Khajuraho/Varanasi (Flight)
In the morning, we explore the Khajuraho Group of Monuments*, a collection of temples that are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Considered as some as 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. In the afternoon, we take a short flight to the holy city of Varanasi, one of the oldest living cities in the world. On arrival, we are transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Taj Ganges, Varanasi (2 nights) (B)
Day 11: Varanasi
In the early morning, we take a serene sunrise cruise on the River Ganges, soaking in the unique scenes along the river bank. 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 performing 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 12: Varanasi/Lucknow (Drive)
After breakfast, we drive to Lucknow, perhaps the most romantic of capital towns in India. The city’s luxiourious old architecture and traditional way of life seem like a page straight of the history of Moghul rulers of old. On arrival in Lucknow, we check in at our hotel. Remainder of the day is free to relax or enjoy Lucknow’s many attractions. In addition to being known as the culinary capital of India, Lucknow is also famous for its gold and silver brocades, silverware, clay figurines and pottery.
Overnight: The Taj Mahal Hotel, Lucknow (2 nights) (B)
Day 13: Lucknow
We start our experience of Lucknow with a visit to British Residency, a famous historical landmark now in ruins. The Residency served as a refuge for approximately 3,000 British inhabitants during the revolt of 1857. We then visit the Bara Imambara, built in 1784, and the Hussainabad Clock Tower, built in 1887. This is the tallest clock tower in India and one of the country’s finest examples of British architecture. We then marvel at the Jama Masjid, started in 1840 by Mohammad Ali Shah and completed by his wife Begum Malika Jahan after his death. After the tour, we return to our hotel. In the evening, we enjoy a culinary walk of Lucknow where we hop in and out of the traditional roadside eateries and try the best dishes on the menu. This is a guided tour with our own set of cutlery and basic dining gadgets that allow us to experience the best of the best in the restaurant without having to worry about how to eat without a fork or wipe our hands clean after we are done. After the tour, we return to our hotel. (B, D)
Day 14: Lucknow/Delhi (Train)
Morning is free to relax or indulge in some local shopping. In the afternoon, we are transferred to the railway station for our train to Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi, we are transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Vivanta by Taj Dwarka, Delhi (1 night) (B)
Day 15: Depart Delhi
Today we are transferred to the international terminal for our flight home. We bid farewell to India after what will have been a memorable journey into history, culture, art and architecture, having made new friends and lots of memories. Or, a great opportunity here for optional Indian holiday tour packages to other parts of this vast country. (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 15 participants
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