India: The North
Northern India conjures up memorable images: the Taj Mahal, the holy river Ganges, the unique wildlife, great food and a fascinating culture. This trip gives a comprehensive introduction to main highlights of this fascinating and varied region. The cities of Delhi and Jaipur offer hustle and excitement, whilst the Taj Mahal in Agra offers unique serenity.
The tour starts with a sightseeing trip through Jaipur before moving on to the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. After visiting Fatehpur Sikri, a deserted royal city, the tour continues to the famous white mable Taj Mahal. The journey continues to Varanasi, which is one of the most holy cities in India and stands at the centre of the Hindu Universe. You will take a boat out on the Ganges to witness the thousands of Hindu pilgrims who come the banks of the river to immerse themselves in the water before heading to Delhi.
Dates available throughout the year
Suggested itinerary by Air
Fly to Delhi
Fly from the UK to Delhi International Airport. On arrival you will be met by an English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to relax or go on a guided tour of Old Delhi.
Delhi – Jaipur
This morning you will enjoy a guided tour of New Delhi. New Delhi was designed and built by the British in the 1920’s – it’s a city of wide boulevards impressive Government buildings, green parks and gardens. Visit Qutub Minar, India Gate, President House and the Parliament House. Later you will travel to Jaipur. Known as the “Pink City”, Jaipur is the capital of the colourful state of Rajasthan.
Sightseeing in Jaipur
Today, the group will take a sightseeing tour of the city and its surroundings. Jaipur, built in the 18th century, is a city of broad avenues built of sandstone and painted pink at a later stage. Visit the Amber Fort, a marvellous example of Rajput architecture with its terraces and ramparts reflected in the Maota Lake below. In the afternoon, explore the city with a local guide. Centrally situated is the City Palace, formerly the residence of Maharaja, now a fine museum containing rare manuscripts, paintings, and royal garments. Close to the palace is one of the most intriguing sights in India, the Jantar Mantar observatory. Jaipur is also a centre of many handicrafts, such as woven rugs and precious stones.
Jaipur to Ranthambore
Today, travel to Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. Here you will enjoy 2 game drives, one this afternoon and one on the morning of day 6. Ranthambore is one of India’s tiger reserves under special protection from poaching. There are opportunities to see the elusive tiger and also other wildlife such as several species of deer, crocodile and bird life.
Ranthambore to Agra
Enjoy a game drive this morning before travelling to Agra. The journey will break at Fatehpur Sikri, a deserted royal city. The city has a mosque which was built to hold ten thousand worshippers, and numerous palaces. In Agra, you will visit the magnificent Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal
This morning, get up early to view the beautiful white marble Taj Mahal at sunrise. That magnificent monument of love – The Taj Mahal, was built by an emperor in memory of his beloved queen. Construction began in 1631, and is believed to have taken 22 years to complete, with over 20,000 craftsmen working round the clock. The Taj is serenly beautiful and never fails to amaze a first time visitor. Later you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Varanasi.
Enjoy a sunrise boat ride on the River Ganges followed by a city tour. Situated on the west bank of the Ganges, Varanasi extends back from the riverbank ghats to a winding maze of picturesque alleys overlooking tall houses. Visit the magnificent Krishna Balarama Temple. Built in 1975, it has one of the highest principles of Deity worship and cleanliness. Hare Krishna devotees from around the world can be seen here throughout the year. Explore the city, visiting Bharat Mata Temple, Alamgir Mosque, Durga Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple, Archaeological Museum and Ram Nagar Fort. End your day with a visit to Sarnath, the birthplace of Buddhism.
Varanasi to Delhi
After breakfast, you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi. On arrival you will be met by an English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, visit Akshardham Temple. The temple is a unique and beautiful monument built without steel, consisting of ornately carved pillars, domes, shikhars, spectacular Gajendra Pith (plinth of stone elephants) and 20,000 murtis and statues of India’s great sadhus, devotees, acharyas and divine personalities.
Return flight to the UK
Transfer to the airport in Delhi for your flight back to the UK.
The best time to visit North India is between autumn and winter (October – March) as by this time the heat has ebbed and the weather is pleasant and perfect for sightseeing. July through September is the monsoon season, with rising humidity and heavy rains in July and August.
You’ll need to get a visa before travelling to India. You can find further information about how to apply here.
Main picture: Jaipur City Palace. Right hand pictures (top to bottom): 1) Taj Mahal. 2) Varanasi.
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