Splendours Of North India
Day 1: Arrive in Mumbai
Upon your arrival in Mumbai, the fast paced commercial and celluloid capital of India, you will be greeted by our representative at the International Airport. After a warm welcome, you will be escorted to your hotel for a 2 nights stay.
Day 2: Day in Mumbai (B)
Morning! Enjoy an excursion tour to the rock cut (located 10 km / .62 miles from the Gateway of India, Mumbai). A short shared ferry ride takes you across the harbor to the island of Elephanta for a visit to the Great Cave Temple, which dates back to 550 A.D. Elephanta’s most striking figure represents the three aspects of Shiva – the creator, preserver and destroyer.
This afternoon, take a city tour of Mumbai visiting the Gateway of India, built in 1911 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India; Prince of Wales Museum, built in early XX Century in Indo-Saracenic style architecture, housing a priceless collection of art, sculptures, china and other antiques; Mani Bhavan, Mahatma Gandhi’s home during his stay in Mumbai, which shows glimpses of Gandhi’s life and houses a library of books written by or about Gandhi.
While driving in Mumbai, you get an opportunity to observe and take photo stops at some famous landmark sites such as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST – previously called ‘Victoria Terminus’), Mumbai’s most famous railway station, a brilliant specimen of Victorian Gothic style architecture in India; Dhobi Ghat, the open air launderette, Nariman Point and Marine Drive Queen’s Necklace view.
Option for Sunset Sailing at Gateway of India: Enjoy a sailing experience in the Arabian Sea casting off from the Gateway of India. Sit back and watch the sun being swallowed by the ocean while one of the most distinctive skylines blinks to life. (at extra charge)
Option for Dabbawalla Tour in Mumbai: Discover the vast industry of Tiffin delivery service in Mumbai on this comprehensive Dabbawalla tour. The word ‘Dabbawalla’ refers to a person who carries and delivers freshly made food from home in lunch boxes to office workers. This is your opportunity to watch 4,500 Dabbawallas in action, collecting and delivering 175,000 lunches to Tiffins offices in Mumbai everyday! The entire system depends on organization, teamwork and careful timing. Hear a brief introduction with the Dabbawallas and learn about the precision techniques adopted for coding and mass distribution of Tiffins everyday. (at extra charge)
Day 3: Mumbai – Udaipur (B)
This morning, will be transferred to the airport to board your flight to Udaipur, your entry port to colorful Rajasthan. A romantic and serene city, Udaipur nestles in the scenic valley of Aravalli Range, surrounded by three lakes – Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar, and Udai Sagar. Upon arrival at Udaipur, check in at your hotel for 2 nights stay.
Option for excursion to Eklingji Temple: This afternoon, you have the option to visit the most famous temples of Rajasthan. Located in the town of Eklingji (Kailashpuri), the place got its popular name from the temple. Eklingji Temple is positioned at a distance of 22 kms North of Udaipur. (at extra charge)
Option for boat cruise at Lake Pichola, Udaipur: Enjoy an evening boat cruise at the serene Lake Pichola. (at extra charge and subject to water level)
Option for Culinary tour in Udaipur: This afternoon enjoy a culinary experience with a noble family of the state. The experience includes a visit to the vegetable and spice market to familiarize with local vegetables and spices. This is followed by a 2 hour cooking demonstration showing preparation of traditional Rajasthan a North Indian cuisine. The evening is concluded with an interesting dinner with the host family. (at extra charge)
Day 4: Day in Udaipur (B)
After breakfast, visit the XVI Century City Palace, one of the largest palace complexes in Rajasthan comprising residence of the current Maharaja, heritage hotels, museums and galleries, courtyards and reception halls where royal events take place even today; Jagdish Temple, the XVII Century Indo Aryan Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Laxmi Narayan), the preserver of the Universe; Saheliyon-Ki-Bari, garden of the maids of honor, with beautiful green lawns, flower beds, water pools, marble elephants and bird fountains.
Enjoy an afternoon at your leisure!
Day 5: DRIVE Udaipur – Jaipur (B)
After breakfast, embark on a leisurely drive to Jaipur – land of the Rajputs. Jaipur is an exuberance of color, dance and traditional arts and crafts. Known, as the ‘Pink City’, Jaipur is home to ancient forts and palaces and is one of India’s most well planned cities.
This evening explore the many facets of Jaipuri crafts such as semi precious jewels, pottery, colorful embroidered fabrics with mirror work, woven carpets… etc. – watch artisans at work and enjoy souvenir shopping in this colorful city of Jaipur.
Option for guided heritage walk through old city of Jaipur: This afternoon, you have the option to take a guided heritage walk through the temples and Havelis of the old city of Jaipur. This exciting two hours walking tour is a unique way to explore the living traditions, hidden riches and vibrant culture of Jaipur. Experience the warm Indian hospitality at a beautifully restored Haveli (erstwhile mansion)where you get an opportunity to interact with the resident family over high tea. The walk offers an opportunity to meet and interact with artisans, shop owners, temple priests and local people of Jaipur, making the tour engaging and insightful. (at extra charge)
Option to play Golf at Rambagh Golf course: Enjoy an opportunity to play golf at Rambagh Golf Course, one of the oldest and most prestigious of Golf Clubs in India. Affiliated to the Indian Golf Union, this Golf Club is an 18 Hole challenging championship course with Par 70 Yardage-6303 (SSS 70). The Course is picturesquely located with views of the Rambagh Palace, Motta Doongri Fort, Nahargarh Fort and the Birla Planetarium. (at extra charge)
Day 6: Day in Jaipur (B)
Rise early this morning to visit Jaipur’s famous Amber Fort. En route, take a guided walk through the flower market of Jaipur seeing the beautiful yellow and orange marigolds and other seasonal flowers being traded. In close vicinity is also the wholesale vegetable market where farmers bring fresh produce to begin the days trading. Walking through the markets brings you to a junction where you will find the interesting and unusual milk traders of Jaipur, who bring their cattle’s fresh milk to be tested for quality, priced and traded on the spot. Be amazed at the primitive technique of testing quality of milk by dipping hands into large metal milk containers and evaluating the creaminess of milk supplied!
After a brief walk through the local trading markets, drive onward to visit Amber fort, built in the XVI Century. The fort is a mesmerizing blend of Hindu and Mughal Architecture. The Amber Fort was used by the Rajputs for the dual purpose of defense and private residence. The fort encompasses charming gardens and magnificent palaces made from marble and precious stones, richly decorated with intricate stonemason works and paintings, which represented royal splendor and luxury of the Rajput Era. To ascend up the fort, you may choose to walk, drive or take an elephant ride.
This afternoon take a photo stop at the Hawa Mahal, Palace of the Winds, with its unique layer-cake honeycomb windows designed to enable erstwhile women of the royal court to observe passing life without being seen; Jantar Mantar, the largest astronomical observatory built in stone, and the City Palace complex with its impressive gardens and museums.
Option for Hot Air Balloon Flight: Enjoy a sunrise or sunset hot air balloon flight, floating over forts, palaces and villages, over the pink city of Jaipur, offering splendid views of the city and its surrounds. The balloons usually land in village areas, attracting hordes of villagers. Guests find this experience and connection with the local community fascinating and unique. Drive through rural villages back to base. (at extra charge and subject to operation)
Option for Elephant Safari with Breakfast or High Tea: Early morning or evening, embark on a short drive to a wilderness camp at the outskirts of Jaipur, for a fascinating elephant safari, followed by breakfast or high tea served at the garden camp (at extra charge).
Day 7: DRIVE Jaipur – Agra (B)
After breakfast, embark on a leisurely drive to Agra, city of the world famous Taj Mahal. Step inside this eternal symbol of love and appreciate the intricate designs and symmetries that rhyme as a poem written in marble. Taj Mahal is an extravagant display of love, built by Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. You may choose to stay back to see the glistening white marble beauty at sunset.
This afternoon visit the splendid Agra Fort, built in red sandstone, encapsulating magnificent palaces, halls of public and private audience and beautiful gardens.
Option to watch a classic Theatre Performance: This evening, you have the option to watch a live theatre performance, introducing you to the story of the Taj Mahal. Watch the spectacular performance – “Mohabbat the Taj – The saga of love”, staging the largest replica of the Taj Mahal, and presenting the legend of love that created this magnificent mausoleum (at extra charge and subject to operation of show)
Day 8: TRAIN Agra – Jhansi – Orchha – Khajuraho (B)
Early this morning, to catch your train to Jhansi. Upon arrival in Jhansi, embark on a short drive to Orchha, a medieval riverside town known for its palaces and temples. Apart from the famous landmarks like Jahangir Mahal and Laxmi Narayan Temple, the town is peppered with fascinating little shrines and memorials. Enjoy an afternoon tour of Orchha.
Continue your drive to Khajuraho – a UNESCO world heritage site in central India, famous for its erotic sculptured temples. Upon arrival, check in at your hotel for your overnight in Khajuraho.
Option to watch the famous Khajuraho Dance Show: Enjoy the evening watching a live Indian classical dance show at an auditorium at Khajuraho (at extra charge and subject to operation of show)
Option to watch the famous Khajuraho Sound and Light Show: Enjoy the evening watching a spectacular sound and light show at the historic temples of Khajuraho. (at extra charge and subject to operation of show)
Day 9: FLY Khajuraho – Varanasi (B)
This morning visit the enchanting temples of Khajuraho with sculptures that draw their inspiration from the ancient art of Kama Sutra. Khajuraho Temples were built by the Chandela Kings between 950 AD and 1050 AD.
This afternoon, transfer to the airport to catch your flight to Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India (also known as Kashi and Benaras). Upon arrival in Varanasi, check in to your hotel and enjoy an evening at your leisure!
Day 10: Day in Varanasi (B)
The ‘bathing ghats’ where thousands of pilgrims pay homage to the Sun God by immersing themselves in the holy water of River Ganges, and the ‘burning ghats’ where cremations are conducted. The ghats of River Ganges in Varanasi are believed to be most sacred, engulfing the entire circle of life and death.
Follow the boat cruise with a guided walk through the old city, seeing morning life in the historic and ancient Bylanes of Varanasi. You get an opportunity to closely observe some morning rituals at the various small street temples along the way. The most sacred and important temple here is Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Return back to hotel for breakfast and freshen up.
This afternoon, visit Bharat Mata Temple, the only temple in India that is not dedicated to a God or Goddess. This unique temple is dedicated to Mother India, and features a unique relief map of India, carved out of marble, the largest of its kind in the world.
Then visit Sarnath, the place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon. Sarnath was a renowned school of learning from VI Century B.C. to XII Century AD. The lion capital of Ashoka pillar at Sarnath is the national emblem of India. Visit the ruins, Stupa, Buddhist Temple, and the Sarnath Museum.
This evening, experience a rickshaw ride to the ghats to enjoy the grand ‘Aarti’ ceremony at Dasaswamedh Ghat, conducted everyday at sunset by white-robed priests. Spiritually enlightening and fantastically photogenic, this evening Aarti ceremony is a spectacular show with young priests in traditional Indian clothes swaying in seemingly choreographed movements, worshiping the river goddess with incense, flowers and earthen lamps.
Day 11: FLY Varanasi – Delhi (B)
Upon arrival at Delhi, discover the modern city of New Delhi, visiting the Qutab Minar, a fine example of Indo-Islamic architecture and the world’s tallest brick minaret and Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, the largest Sikh Temple of Delhi, with a gold dome, still in active worship. Drive past President’s House, Parliament House and other Government Secretariat Buildings, the most imposing features of Lutyens Delhi and take a photo stop at the iconic war memorial arch, the India Gate.
Option for Heritage Walk in Old Delhi: This morning you have the option to take a Heritage Walk in Old Delhi, an exciting experience for those interested in history, heritage, culture and local life in India. The guided walk takes you down the narrow alleys of Chandni Chowk, the moonlit street, to Jama Mazjid, the largest mosque of India ; the jewelry market, Dariba Kalan, selling precious stones, gems, gold and silver jewelry ; and Kinari Bazaar a wholesale market with large reserves of colorful Indian attire and other accessories. During the walk you also see ruins of beautiful Haveli’s (houses of noblemen of the bygone era), sculptured gates, fascinating artwork, and resident artisans and workers engaged in their daily chores. Be prepared for a culture shock as you will be walking through some of the oldest parts of Delhi today! (at extra charge)
Option for Home Hosted Dinner: This evening you have the option to learn more about local lifestyle and culture of India with dinner at an Indian home. Spend time talking to your hosts and learn about their way of life. You may also opt for a unique opportunity to step inside an Indian kitchen and learn the age old art of Indian culinary delights. Your hosts will be happy to share their secret recipes and give you some handy tips about Indian cooking. (at extra charge)
Day 12: Day in Delhi (B)
Enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of Old Delhi, which includes a visit to Jama Masjid, the largest Mosque in India; a rickshaw ride through narrow alleys and lanes in Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest and largest trading markets of the country; and drive past Red Fort, the place that marked the announcement of India’s freedom from the British Raj.
Later on, transfer to the airport to catch your flight back home.