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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.

Route: Delhi – Udaipur – Narlai – Shahpura – Jaipur – Agra – Gwalior – Khajuraho – Varanasi – Delhi

Itinerary Highlights

Jaipur’s City Palace occupies the centre of Jaipur. Painted pink as a mark of welcome, the complex was completed in 1732 and houses the beautiful Peacock Gate and famous Hawa Mahal.

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.

Itinerary: North India - A Journey to the River Ganges

Depart the UK on the Jet Airways flight to Delhi. (N)
Delhi is the capital of India and a city of two distinctive halves. After settling in to your hotel, meet your guide and head to Old Delhi to explore the narrow lanes, homes, bazaars and mosques of this historic district. Visit Chandni Chowk market, Jama Masjid mosque, the Red Fort and Rajghat then 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)

Accommodation in Delhi: Maidens Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Imperial Hotel (or similar)

This morning you will be taken to Delhi Airport for the flight to Udaipur. Surrounded by rolling hills and lining the banks of Lake Pichola and Fateh Sagar Lake, Udaipur is an atmospheric city and rightly considered to be one of the most attractive in Rajasthan. (B)

Accommodation in Udaipur: Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Leela Palace Hotel

Alternative upgrade option: Taj Lake Palace Hotel

Today begin your guided sightseeing of Udaipur. Start the day at the imposing City Palace, a large complex comprising of several stately palaces, fortified structures, gardens and temples. The City Palace is still owned by the Maharaja of Udaipur and highlights include the Crystal Gallery and grand Durbar Hall, both in the Fateh Prakash Palace, the Manak Mahal, Chini ki Chitra Mahal and the Queen's Palace. In the afternoon walk through the ancient lanes of the Udaipur’s old town, spend time at the beautiful Jagdish Mandir temple and end the day cruising Lake Pichola at sunset. (B)

Accommodation in Udaipur: Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Leela Palace Hotel

Alternative upgrade option: Taj Lake Palace Hotel

Leave Udaipur in the morning and drive to the Jain temple complex at Ranakpur. The most famous of the temples here was built in 1439 and its interior is particularly beautiful. From here continue to the busy little village of Narlai where you will stay overnight at the delightful Rawla Narlai which was previously a popular hunting lodge used by the Jodhpur Royal family. (B)

Accommodation in Narlai: Rawla Narlai (or similar)

After breakfast drive through pretty rural Rajasthan to the small market town of Shahpura. The direct history of Shahpura extends over 400 years and the original house and land was granted to the incumbent family by Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan. Accommodation is elegant but understated with a mixture of Rajasthani and colonial furnishings. There is also an enticing swimming pool in the grounds. (B/L/D)

Accommodation in Shahpura: Shahpura Bagh (or similar)

Today you are at leisure to enjoy and explore Shahpura Bagh. For those wishing to be more active bikes can be borrowed and there are a number of walks both at the property and in the town. Visits can also be arranged to local temples and a neighbouring 17th century fort. (B/L/D)
Accommodation in Shahpura: Shahpura Bagh (or similar)

This morning drive from Shahpura to Rajasthan’s capital, the ‘pink city’ of Jaipur. Planned by Maharaja Jai Singh II in 18th century, Jaipur has also been an important and powerful city and today is a vibrant mix of bazaars, palaces, havelis and forts. (B)

Accommodation in Jaipur: Dera Mandawa (or similar)

Upgrade option: Samode Haveli

Alternative upgrade option: Rambagh Palace Hotel

After breakfast travel outside of the city Amber Fort. Towering over the surrounding countryside, Amber has been a Rajput capital for over 700 years. The fort houses a number of well-tended gardens, large audience halls, shrines, temples and the private chambers of the Maharaja. Following the visit return to Jaipur and visit the superb City Palace complex, including the beautiful Peacock Gate and Palace of the Winds, and the vast Jantar Mantar observatory. (B)

Accommodation in Jaipur: Dera Mandawa (or similar)

Upgrade option: Samode Haveli

Alternative upgrade option: Rambagh Palace Hotel

Leaving Jaipur, stop in the small village of Abhaneri to visit its astonishing 8th century Chand Baori – the deepest step-well in the world. From here continue to Fatehpur Sikri, once the capital of the Mughal Emperor Akbar and, lastly, Agra where you will stay for the next two nights. Located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Agra is home to three magnificent buildings – Agra Fort, the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula and the Taj Mahal. (B)

Accommodation in Agra: ITC Mughal Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Oberoi Amarvilas (or similar)

Agra was once one of the world's most majestic cities and today visit its key sites. Start the day at the imposing Agra Fort, established by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1565, then cross the Yamuna River to the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula. At dusk enjoy a memorable visit to the Taj Mahal. Arguably the greatest monument to love, the Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz and is a building world renowned for its beauty and craftsmanship. (B)

Accommodation in Agra: ITC Mughal Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Oberoi Amarvilas (or similar)

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 Jai Vilas Palace which is still the official residence of the current Maharaja. Later visit the fort then continue to the palace – the highlight the extraordinary Durbar Hall in which hang two of the world's largest chandeliers. Stay overnight in Gwalior at the Usha Kiran Palace Hotel, a 120 year old property built by the Maharaja for his guests. (B)

Accommodation in Gwalior: Usha Kiran Palace Hotel (or similar)

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. (B)

Accommodation in Khajuraho: Chandela Hotel (or similar)

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)

Accommodation in Khajuraho: Chandela Hotel (or similar)

Today transfer to Khajuraho Airport to catch the onward flight to Varanasi. 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 the riverside ghats to watch the beautiful evening aarti religious ceremonies taking place. (B)

Accommodation in Varanasi: Ramada Plaza JHV Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Suryauday Haveli

Alternative upgrade option: Taj Nadesar Palace

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)

Accommodation in Varanasi: Ramada Plaza JHV Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Suryauday Haveli

Alternative upgrade option: Taj Nadesar Palace

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 an airport hotel where you will stay overnight. (B)

Accommodation in Delhi: Radisson Blu Airport Hotel (or similar)

This morning return to Delhi Airport and fly with Jet Airways back to the UK. (B)
**KEY: N = No meals, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

What To Do Next?

We design unique, tailor-made holiday itineraries to suit you, by combining your ideas with our knowledge and experience. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, or if you require some advice, please call us or complete the enquiry form online for a quotation.

What's included

  • 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 above price is based on two people travelling together and sharing accommodation in low season. The price is only a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and date of travel. If you wish to travel with your family, friends or on your own we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements.

Experts in Tailor-Made Holidays

For over 30 years, Pettitts Travel have led the way in creating authentic, tailor-made holidays. Our knowledgeable team have first-hand knowledge of our destinations and no two itineraries we prepare are the same.

Please call us for more information or complete the online enquiry form to request a quotation.

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