Ignite all your senses on this journey through the colourful, crowded bazaars, exquisite architecture and culinary splendour of India. Meet its vibrant people, see the beauty of the Taj Mahal and celebrate the mesmerising Diwali festival with a local family in their home
Delight your every sense during this encounter with the soaring monuments and scenic landscapes of northern India and Nepal's capital, an ancient mountain kingdom whose palaces, temples and golden roofs reveal traditions that have remained unchanged for centuries.
*** Pay by 18 Dec 2019 for the following price ***
07-20 Nov 2020
Twin share - $6468 per person (was $7150 per person)
Solo - $8781 per person (was $9720 per person)
Day 1 - Arrive Delhi (Welcome Reception)
India's vibrant capital extends a lively welcome, launching an unforgettable journey through northern India's most exquisite sights. On arrival in Delhi, you'll be transferred to your hotel where you'll meet your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception with drinks and local appetisers this evening.
Day 2 - Delhi Sightseeing (B)
Savour the scents of spice as you embark on an exhilarating rickshaw ride, navigating the busy streets of Old Delhi. See the Red Fort, a sandstone fortress which once housed the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for centuries, before riding through the colourful Chandni Chowk market. Watch it come to life as the day's trading begins amidst the sounds of enthusiastic salesmen and endless traffic. We'll visit Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India and admire its ornate façades before enjoying the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
Day 3 - Delhi Sightseeing (B,L)
We 'Dive Into Culture' this morning, embarking on a guided walking tour to discover the work done by the Salaam Baalak Trust. Your visit will 'Make A Difference' to this non-profit organisation which aims to provide a caring environment for street children. Later, we'll walk through the bazaar of Paharganj, rubbing shoulders with the locals who flock to the market to shop every day. Lunch is at a local restaurant, before we head to the district of New Delhi, designed and built by the British in the 1920s. Here we'll visit the UNESCO-listed Humayun's Tomb and Qutub Minar before driving past Parliament House and India Gate, commemorating the Indian soldiers who died during WWI.
Day 4 - Delhi - Agra (B, D)
Delve into the imperial history of the Mughal Empire as you explore the iconic, yet unexpected highlights of Agra. Visit the UNESCO-listed Agra Fort and stroll through the chambers of a royal residence that lay at the centre of the dynasty until the 17th century. As you drive through the city's crowded streets, connect with its vibrant spirit and raw energy.
Day 5 - Agra - Ranthambore (B, L, D)
Gaze at the sun-kissed white marble of the Taj Mahal, arriving just before sunrise to see its elegant walls glow with rose and golden hues. Learn how this well-preserved landmark stands today as a monument of love, then return to your hotel for breakfast. Later today, travel to Ranthambore and upon arrival, check into your hotel for dinner and your overnight stay.
Day 6 - Ranthambore National Park (B, L, D)
You'll have a full day to connect with your beautiful natural surrounds as you explore all that Ranthambore has to offer. Start the day with an early morning visit to Ranthambore National Park, which was once the hunting ground of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Keep your camera at the ready to hopefully snap a few photographs of the resident tigers. Afterwards return to your hotel for breakfast followed by some time to relax. After lunch venture out into the park for another visit and watch for glimpses of the various species of bird and wildlife which find sanctuary here and the ruins of a bygone era which are scattered through the park. Dinner is served this evening at your hotel.
Day 7 - Ranthambore- Jaipur (B, L)
This morning travel to Jaipur, the Pink City and gateway to the colourful state of Rajasthan. After lunch visit the ornate City Palace and later learn about the tradition of hand block printing with a 'Local Specialist' and see how Jaipur's exquisitely patterned cottons have been made for centuries. Afterwards, it's time to prepare for the Diwali celebrations. Choose your traditional Indian dress to be worn the following evening - the more colourful, the better!
Day 8 - Jaipur Sightseeing & Celebrate Diwali (B, Be My Guest)
Depart for the UNESCO-listed Amber Fort and en-route make a stop to admire the red and pink ornate façades of the Palace of Winds, whose latticed windows once revealed the outside world to the sheltered ladies of the royal household. Later visit the UNESCO-listed Jantar Mantar Obeservatory, featuring the world's largest sundial and afterwards 'Dive Into Culture' and learn the art of turban tying and a favourite pastime in Jaipur, kite flying - giving you insights into the ancient customs and pastimes of the city. Later visit a local market and see the puja items which are used for the traditional worship of the deities as well as the lamps, flowers, fruits and sweets that the local people use in their celebrations. You'll have a front-row seat to the 'Festival of Lights', watching how devout locals light lamps, candles and beautifully decorated lanterns. 'Connect With Locals' as you join a local family in their home for the Diwali festivities and a 'Be My Guest' dinner. Learn about and take part in the puja sacred ritual and offering to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. The skyline of Jaipur lights up in a dazzling spectacle of fireworks as you return to your hotel.
Day 9 - Jaipur - Narlai (B, L, D)
We journey to Narlai and check into Rawla Narlai, a beautifully maintained heritage resort, which was once one of the Jagir villages of Jodhpur's royal family. Experience royal Rajasthan within its lavishly decorated walls.
Day 10 - Narlai (B, D)
Join a Jeep safari into the nearby countryside and keep a keen eye open for deer and leopard in their natural habitat. Later, take a walk around Narlai village and gain insights into the traditional way of life of the villagers before they depart for the days' grazing. During term-time, you'll also visit the village school. Later, meet one of the heads of a noble family who'll share interesting stories about the hotel and the local residents. This evening, your dinner is served in extraordinary surrounds. Descend into the 16th century baori (step-well) for a memorable meal featuring delicious Rajasthani flavours.
Day 11 - Narlai - Jodhpur (B)
Leave Narlai behind and travel to another of Rajasthan's colourful cities - Jodhpur. Your introduction to the Blue City begins with a visit to Mehrangarh Fort, whose glowing red sandstone façades stand imposingly several hundred feet above the city skyline atop a sheer cliff. From one exquisite monument to the next, you'll visit Jaswant Thada, walking up its red steps to the shimmering white marble façades that house a memorial built to honour the memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II by his son in 1899. The mausoleum is still used by the Marwar Royal Family as its cremation grounds. After a busy day of sightseeing, get a taste of local culture during a visit to a market by tuk-tuk and plunge into its crowded alleys with shopfronts selling vegetables, spices, sweets, silver and handicrafts.
Day 12 - Jodhpur (B, L)
Leave the busy city streets behind and embark on a 4x4 drive through the Rajasthan countryside. Experience a different side of India as you visit a rural village and gain insights into the day-to-day experiences of the locals who live here. You'll have the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure or consider joining an Optional Experience for dinner.
Day 13 - Jodhpur - Delhi (B, Farewell Dinner)
We leave Jodhpur behind, flying back to Delhi this morning. Our memorable encounter with northern India at its end, we'll toast to shared memories over a delicious dinner to say farewell to those not travelling onto Nepal.
Day 14 - Delhi - Kathmandu
Take your transfer to New Delhi International Airport for your flight to the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal's capital city, Kathmandu. On arrival, transfer to your hotel and later join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 15 - Kathmandu & Patan Sightseeing (B, Regional Dinner)
Kathmandu's golden roofs glow brightly on your City Tour to the heart of its old town and UNESCO-listed Durbar Square. Admire the traditional pagoda-style architecture reflected in the temples and palaces that surround the square. Then continue to nearby Patan where you'll visit the Krishna Temple and Golden Temple. Witness the delicate art of thangka painting religious scenes on cotton and silk. Later 'Make A Difference' during a visit to the Tibetan Refugee Centre, which provides support to the families of Tibetan refugees who fled the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959.
Day 16 - Kathmandu Sightseeing (B)
Looming over Patan lies the UNESCO-listed shrine of Swayambhunath, which you will have an opportunity to visit today. Admire the galleries of prayer mills and gleaming white stupa, whose gilded spire provides the colourful eyes of Buddah a lofty vantage point from which to survey the surrounding valley. Visit a local market in the Thamel area and stroll through its narrow alleyways in search of the perfect mementos of your trip. Return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure or consider joining an Optional Experience.
Day 17 - Depart Kathmandu (B)
Take a transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
Travel at 60 and supplier booking conditions apply