North India - A Journey to the River Ganges
18 days from £3970 per person
No journey to northern India is complete without a visit to Varanasi – India's holiest city. An itinerary offering a cross–section of Indian society, the first half of this journey starts in Delhi, visits elegant Udaipur and Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur. Watch sunrise over the Taj Mahal before venturing into rural Madhya Pradesh, past the abandoned palaces of Orchha to the temples of Khajuraho with their sublime examples of erotic sculpture. Finish your journey in Varanasi, joining the pilgrims who gather to perform their timeless religious rituals along the banks of the sacred River Ganges.
Experience the majesty of the Taj Mahal. An essential destination for the romantically inclined. This ancient monument clad in translucent marble never fails to impress at any time of day.
Hidden and protected for years within the surrounding forest, the temple complex at Khajuraho contains uninhibited expressions of Hindu and Jain artistic carvings.
The spiritual capital of India, the ghats in Varanasi are constantly in use by pilgrims performing ritual ablutions in the sacred river Ganges. Temples, markets and people fill the city.
Day 1 Depart the UK
Today depart the UK on the Jet Airways flight to Delhi. (N)
Day 2 Arrive Delhi
Arrive into Delhi and stay overnight at the Oberoi Maidens Hotel or upgrade to the Imperial Hotel. Delhi is India's capital and a city of two halves. Later visit Old Delhi with your guide to explore the area's dense network of bustling alleyways, homes, bazaars and mosques visiting famous Chandni Chowk market, the beautiful Jama Masjid, the Red Fort and Rajghat. In the afternoon continue to New Delhi which was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and is today home to Rashtrapati Bhawan, the official residence of the Indian President, Rajpath and the imposing India Gate. (N)
Day 3 Delhi to Udaipur – by air
This morning transfer to Delhi Airport for your onward flight to Udaipur. On your arrival you will be met and transferred to the Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel for a two night stay. Alternatively upgrade to the Leela Palace Hotel or the Taj Lake Palace Hotel. With its white marble palaces, languid deep blue lakes, well-tended gardens and a back-drop of endless green hills, Udaipur is one of Rajasthan's most attractive cities. (B)
Day 4 Udaipur
After breakfast visit the City Palace, an impressive complex of several palaces which overlook Lake Pichola and are still owned by the Maharaja of Udaipur. Places of interest here include the Mor Chowk court, Manak Mahal, Chini ki Chitra Mahal and the Queen's Palace. Also visit the Fateh Prakash Palace and its unique Crystal Gallery and grand Durbar Hall. From the City Palace return on foot to the old town and the intricately carved Jagdish Mandir temple ending the day with a sunset cruise on Lake Pichola. (B)
Day 5 Udaipur to Narlai – 130kms
Today leave Udaipur and drive to the Jain temple complex at Ranakpur. The most famous of the temples here was built in 1439 and is particularly beautiful. Later continue to the bustling rural village of Narlai to stay overnight at the delightful Rawla Narlai which was once a favourite hunting lodge of the Jodhpur Royal family. (B)
Day 6 Narlai to Shahpura – 190kms
This morning leave Narlai and continue to the small market town of Shahpura where you will stay for two nights at the charming Shahpura Bagh. The history of Shahpura dates back over 400 years and the original house was granted to the present family by Shah Jehan. Accommodation is elegant with a mixture of Rajasthani and colonial furnishings and there is also a beautiful swimming pool in the grounds. (B/L/D)
Day 7 Shahpura
At leisure to enjoy and explore Shahpura Bagh at your own pace. Activities here include bicycle rides, walks by the lake, visits to the local temples and nearby town or the chance to explore a neighbouring 17th century fort. (B/L/D)
Day 8 Shahpura to Jaipur – 200kms
Today leave Shahpura and continue to the colourful ‘pink city’ of Jaipur where you will stay for two nights at Dera Mandawa. Alternatively upgrade to the Samode Haveli or the Rambagh Palace Hotel. Planned by Maharaja Jai Singh II in 1727, Jaipur is a vibrant city of bazaars, beautiful palaces, fine havelis and spectacular forts. (B)
Day 9 Jaipur
This morning drive outside of Jaipur to the dramatically located Amber Fort set on a ridge above the rugged sounding hills. A Rajput capital for over 700 years, there is plenty to explore here from courtyard gardens and small temples to the private chambers of the Maharaja. In the afternoon return to Jaipur to visit the superb City Palace complex which is home to the beautiful Peacock Gate and famous Hawa Mahal, or ‘Palace of the Winds’ and the Jantar Mantar—the largest stone observatory in the world. (B)
Day 10 Jaipur to Agra – 230kms
via Abhaneri and Fatehpur Sikri
Leaving Jaipur, visit Abhaneri which is famed for its 8th century Chand Baori – the deepest step-well in the world. Afterwards visit Fatehpur Sikri, once the capital of the Mughal Emperor Akbar and constructed of beautiful red sandstone. From here continue to Agra and stay overnight at the ITC Mughal Hotel or upgrade to the Oberoi Amarvilas. Agra in Uttar Pradesh is home to three magnificent buildings – Agra Fort, the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula and the Taj Mahal. (B)
Day 11 Agra
Agra was once one of the world's majestic cities and this today visit the imposing Agra Fort, established by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1565, and the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula. No stay in Agra is complete without a visit to the Taj Mahal, arguably the greatest monument to love, built by Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz. The Taj Mahal is a building world renowned for its beauty and the craftsmanship is outstanding. (B)
Day 12 Agra to Gwalior – 120kms
After breakfast leave Agra and drive south to the fortified city of Gwalior in northern Madhya Pradesh. Gwalior is best known for its spectacular fort and the Jai Vilas Palace which is still the official residence of the current Maharaja. Later visit the fort then continue to the palace and the extraordinary Durbar Hall in which hang two of the world's largest chandeliers. Stay overnight at the Usha Kiran Palace Hotel, a 120 year old palace built by the Maharaja for his guests. (B)
Day 13 Gwalior to Khajuraho - 275kms
Today leave Gwalior and begin your journey to Khajuraho, breaking the journey to visit the ancient village of Orchha. This picturesque spot bordering a shallow river is famous for its numerous palaces, temples and cenotaphs that date from the 16th and 17th centuries. After lunch leave Orchha and continue on to Khajuraho arriving late in the afternoon. Stay for two nights in Khajuraho at the Chandela Hotel. (B)
Day 14 Khajuraho
The temples of Khajuraho are among the most famous in India and fully justify their billing. Over the course of the 11th and 12th centuries the Chandela dynasty created the most sublime examples of erotic sculpture in India, if not the world. An exceptionally well maintained UNESCO World Heritage Site, spend a full day in the company of a guide exploring the different temples and marvelling at their astonishing beauty. (B)
Day 15 Khajuraho to Varanasi - by air
Today transfer to Khajuraho Airport to catch the onward flight to Varanasi where you will stay two nights at the Ramada Plaza JHV Hotel. Alternatively upgrade to the Suryauday Haveli or the Taj Nadesar Palace. Situated on the banks of the sacred River Ganges, Varanasi has been a centre of learning and pilgrimage for over 2,000 years and is one of the oldest surviving cities in the world. An assault on the senses, few places compare to Varanasi making any visit here an undoubted highlight of the country. Later this evening make your way to ghats and watch the beautiful evening aarti religious ceremonies take place. (B)
Day 16 Varanasi
Early this morning take ride on a small rowing boat on the River Ganges to silently view the sunrise and witness the pilgrims who gather to perform their daily religious rituals on the riverbank in the lifting mist. This truly is a magical experience. As the sun rises, take a guided walk through the heart of the old city lanes and in the afternoon visit the evocative ruined city of Sarnath where Buddha first preached his message of enlightenment 2,500 years ago. (B)
Day 17 Varanasi to Delhi - by air
Today transfer to Varanasi Airport in good time to catch the afternoon flight to Delhi. On your arrival you will be met and transferred to the Radisson Blu Airport Hotel which is ideally located close to the international airport and where you will stay overnight. (B)
Day 18 Delhi to the UK
Today transfer back to Delhi Airport to catch the Jet Airways flight non-stop to the UK. (B)
KEY: N = No meals B = Breakfast L = Lunch D = Dinner
- International flights from the UK
- Domestic flights
- Private car with English speaking driver
- Sightseeing with local English speaking guides
- Hotel accommodation and taxes
What's not included
- Cost of visas
- Travel Insurance
- Expenses of a personal nature
Guide to Price
The price above is a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and season. If you wish to travel alone we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements and will provide a proposal on request
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