Last Modified: 09 May 2016
Taj Mahal Extension
Trip code: HHAJ-O
Validity: 01 Jan 2013 to 31 Dec 2016
Journey to India’s famous Taj Mahal, a majestic monument to love. Built by a Mughal emperor as tribute to his late wife, this incredible structure continually astounds visitors with its inspiring architecture and remains one of the world's finest examples of Islamic art. Beginning in Delhi, journey to Agra to see this iconic sight, enjoying plenty of sightseeing along the way. Watch the sun rise over the Taj before taking a trip to the magnificent sandstone Red Fort. Experience the expansive deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri and the tomb of Akbar the Great in Sikandra. Returning to Delhi, sample spicy curries, bargain at the markets and interact with locals to get a feel for the unforgettable culture, colour and character of India.
Table of Contents
Is this trip right for you?
- This trip is not a group tour.
Why we love it
- Enjoy a wander around the ancient sites of Old Delhi, teeming with humanity.
- Gaze upon the wonders of the Taj Mahal. Is it the most beautiful structure known to man?
- Visit the might of Agra Fort
- Explore the magnificent deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri
Day 1 Delhi/Agra
Namaste! Welcome to India.
Travel to Old Delhi by private vehicle
Your tour begins at 9am on Day 1.
Your English speaking guide will escort you on a tour of Old Delhi that pulses with the energy and colour of thronged bazaars and is laced by a maze of narrow lanes full of the sights, sounds and smells of India.
Visit the Jama Masjid mosque, which boasts wonderful marble domes and tapering minarets. You can also ride a rickshaw around the back streets to experience the hustle and bustle of everyday Indian life.
After a busy morning, you can stop for an optional lunch in Old Delhi before departing city around 2 pm for the drive to Agra by a private air conditioned car (approx 5 hrs).
Upon arrival, check in to your hotel with the assistance of our local representative who will provide you with a briefing of the next day's itinerary. The rest of the evening is free for you to explore the local bazaars or enjoy an evening meal.
If you wish to visit the Taj Mahal for sunset, your driver will transport you to and from the monument. You need to pay your own entrance fee. Please allow INR750 per additional visit.
Please note: the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Taj Mahal/Agra
If you opt to view the Taj Mahal at sunrise you will be met at your hotel at approx 6 am by your guide who will brief and accompany you on today's activities. Alternatively if you opt for a later 2 pm visit to the Taj your guide will meet you at a time decided the previous evening (this is usually around 8.30 am in order to visit the Red Fort first).
Visit the Taj Mahal - a masterpiece of shimmering white marble set amid beautiful formal gardens. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz, this 'teardrop on the face of eternity' (as it was described by writer Rabindranath Tagore) lives up to all expectations.
Visit Agra Fort on the banks of the Yamuna River. Built in 1565 by Emperor Akbar, the fort was originally designed to be a military structure. It was converted to a palace in Emperor Shah Jahan's time and eventually became his prison after he lost power in 1658.
During the day you will also have free time to unwind and relax, explore the back lanes of Agra, visit the Taj again, or watch local artisans and villagers making handicrafts, marble inlay work, or carpets.
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 3 Delhi
After breakfast you will be met by your guide who will assist in checking you out of your hotel. Travel by private A/C vehicle towards Delhi - we stop en route at the deserted Mughal kingdom of Fatehpur Sikri (approx 4 hrs).
The magnificent deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri was built by Emperor Akbar in 1569, but was abandoned after 15 years due to the scarcity of water. A highlight of the settlement is Jama Masjid, a striking mosque featuring elements of both Persian and Hindu design. The main entrance of the mosque is the impressive 54 metre-high Buland Darwaza, the Gate of Victory, constructed to commemorate Akbar's military victory in Gujarat.
After this visit your guide will bid you farewell as you begin your journey back to Delhi.
Your driver will drop you off at the Connaught Place finishing point. You can expect to arrive back in Delhi by approx 3 pm. If you are departing today, please do not book your flight before 8 pm to allow enough time to get to the airport and check in.
Intrepid Travel can assist and book additional post trip accommodation or post trip transfers. Please let us know your preference at least 14 days prior to your departure so we can make the necessary arrangements for you.
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
1.This trip finishes in Delhi at 3pm. Please do not book any international flights before 8pm.
2. This is a join-in trip, so if other travellers have booked on the same date you will share included activities.
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
Indian cuisine caters very well towards vegetarians and vegans with almost all restaurants having a veg section on the menu. If in doubt please check with your tour leader.
The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR).
The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), which are readily available in most towns.
Look for Bank of India or ICICI ATM's. Our experience has shown they are the most reliable ATM's to use for withdrawals. Your tour leader should be able to direct you to these banks.
Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, so please bring clean bills, and small denominations are most useful.
The use of credit cards can be restricted, mainly to major hotels, shops and establishments.
If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest INR20. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest INR100 per day for local guides.
Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a porter in addition to your leader. We suggest INR50 per day for porters.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of INR100-INR150 per day is generally appropriate.
Local transport: For a half day city tour we suggest INR50 per day. For a full day city tour we suggest INR100 per day.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $US 5-7 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
India has very good opportunities for shopping, especially for locally made goods, and during your trip it is highly likely that your local guides will take you to emporiums as well as workshops where these goods are made. Many people find this a great opportunity to buy local handicrafts, silk, jewellery and carpets. Guides will often assume that visitors will want to go shopping, it is very much part of the culture, but if you do not wish to go please make this clear to your local guide at the time.
Intrepid Short Break Adventures are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader. Local guides may be used on some itineraries.
Women should exercise caution when travelling in India. Reported cases of sexual assault against women are increasing; recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas and cities show that foreign women are also at risk. While the risk of an incident occurring on your trip is very low, below are some things you can do for your safety and peace of mind when travelling:
- Respect local dress codes and customs, perhaps dressing more conservatively than you do at home
- Avoid isolated areas, including beaches, unlit city streets and village lanes when alone at any time of day
- Avoid travelling alone on public transport, or in taxis or auto-rickshaws, especially at night
- If you have to use a taxi get them from hotel taxi ranks and use pre-paid taxis at airports. Try to avoid hailing taxis on the street. Some cities (including Delhi and Chennai) have special taxi services for women with women drivers
- If you’re being collected at the airport by a driver make sure they have properly identified themselves before you set off. When leaving your compartment on overnight trains (ie. going to the bathroom), ask a male travel companion to accompany you where possible
For further information and advice, visit:
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
Travelling in India and Nepal during Holi can at times be unsafe - drinking and drug use is more widespread during this holiday. Your leader/guide will advise your group on what places to avoid on this day.
It may be necessary to alter your itinerary for the day.
Diwali (a lunar festival generally held from mid October to mid November every year) is celebrated by local people letting off fireworks in the street. It can be very noisy for several days with extra pollution caused by fireworks. As there are no restrictions on buying fireworks in India there are often injuries caused by people exploding them inappropriately. During this festival your leader/guide may be required to alter your itinerary to avoid large crowds gathering and using fireworks.
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Joining point instructions
We ask that all guests call our local office to reconfirm their pick up details on arrival in India: +91 11 4500 6400 during business hours (9.30am to 6pm).
For your short break adventure we have 3 pick up points in Delhi, where pre and post accommodation can also be booked. Please note not all accommodation styles are available for all trips.
16A/2, W.E.A Karol Bagh,
New Delhi, 110005
+91 114 250 2294
5A / 56, WEA, Karolbagh Opp Roopak Stor
Ajmal Khan Road, New Delhi-110005
11 Pusa Road - Opposite Metro Pillar no. 87
+91 14921 4444
In the event the above hotels are unavailable we will advise you if we if book one of the following alternatives:
Hotel Rockwell Plaza
5/14, Ajmal Khan Road,
Karol Bagh , New Delhi-110005
7A/45, W.E.A. Channa market ,
Karol Bagh , New Delhi-110005
Hotel Taj Princess
15 A/25 WEA Ajmal Khan Road
Opposite Jesa Ram Hospital
Karol Bagh, New Delhi - 110005
Pick up time for all hotels on day 2 will be at 9.00am. Please be ready and waiting in the foyer 15 minutes prior to your pick up time.
If for any reason you are not able to meet our representative at your nominated pick up point, kindly call the Intrepid representative on number + 91 9560 849 444.
Getting in from the Airport:
The taxi ride from Delhi's Indira Gandhi's International Airport to this hotel takes about 1 hour and should cost between INR 500 - 600 (prepaid traffic police booths) depending on your arrival time and whether it is at the Domestic or International airport.
IMPORTANT: Please AVOID taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport. Previous passengers have complained that they have been charged hefty amount for the transfers.
If you have organised a pre-purchased an arrival transfer our local operator will have sent a driver to the airport that will be holding a sign with the 'Intrepid logo' and your name. You will need to advise arrival flight details at time of booking and confirmation.
If you are arrived at Terminal 1(Domestic terminal) of the airport, please meet your driver at the exit (there is just one exit) after you go through the baggage claim area. Please note that Delhi Airport can be very crowded so please be patient. You may have to walk a little further outside to find the representative with 'Intrepid Logo'. If you have any problems finding the driver go to the information desk close to the exit and ask them to call our emergency mobile number + 91 9560 849 444
If you are arriving at Terminal 2 (International) of Delhi airport, please meet your representative at the main Arrival Hall/Lounge after passing through the customs where you'll see people standing with placards with the intrepid logo and your name. If you have any problems finding the driver go to the information desk at the right side of Exit B, and ask them to call Intrepid Representative on + 91 9560 849 444 (helpline).
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.
An E-Tourist Visa (eVT) Facility is available for holders of a passport for a number of countries. This facility allows travellers to pre-register and pay for their visa prior to travel to India. The Visa is collected upon arrival at one of 16 designated airports in India. Please note strict guidelines on the below website.
An E-Tourist Visa (eVT) visa on arrival is available for select nationalities including but not limited to the following
Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, German, UK and USA passports.
Passport holders from these countries can apply for an E-Tourist Visa (eVT) to have their visa issued upon arrival at 16 major airports in India.
Please follow the instructions at - https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html and complete the application for your E-Tourist Visa.
- Please be aware of strict conditions regarding application and travel (check under ELIGIBILITY section).
- E-visas are only available for entry of up to 30 days. If you plan to be in India longer you will need to apply for a tourist visa at an Indian visa application centre in your home country.
- Please note that travellers entering India overland from Nepal are required to apply for a visa in advance their home country. Visas will not be issued on the Nepal/Indian border.
- The E-Tourist Visa DOES NOT apply to travellers entering India overland. Please check your trip notes if you are crossing a border between India and Nepal.
- Indian visas are difficult and time consuming to obtain in Nepal.
Tourist visas are available in Single and Multiple Entry. Be sure to check the date you require a visa from and the length of time you will need to cover, especially if you change countries during your trip.
For your visa application you need to include the following information under the local contact section towards the end of the application. :
25/3 East Patel Nagar
New Delhi 110008
Phone: +91 11 4500 6400
Please note that this information can change at any time. Please always refer to https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html . This is the official visa online site. There have been reports of other non-official websites that travellers should be aware of.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:
Climate and seasonal information
December to March
Pleasant weather – warm days, cool nights.
December and January bring chilly nights in the north.
Temperatures climb steadily from February.
April to June
April is hot; May and June are really hot and dry.
From June, the monsoon sweeps from south to north, bring high temperatures and humidity
Cooler in the hill and mountains across the country
July to November
Monsoon begins until November.
The southeast coast and southern Kerala see heavy rain from October to early December.
Heat and humidity during summer (Apr-Jun) in India can be particularly oppressive with temperatures reaching 45 degrees C/113 degrees F.
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please consult your doctor or a travel health specialist. The choice of vaccinations can depend on a range of issues including the specific destination, the duration of the trip, your personal health and of course what vaccines you have had before.
Routine Background Vaccines: We strongly endorse current public health recommendations that all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine vaccines such as tetanus, diphtheria, measles/mumps/rubella, polio and influenza, and paediatric vaccinations for children.
Travel Vaccinations: While the food and water-borne diseases such as hepatitis A and typhoid will apply to most of our travellers, other travel vaccines such as hepatitis B, rabies, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis and cholera may apply to select travellers, especially long-term travel. Travel health experts can advise on what is required and also what is not required!
It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for the countries you are visiting – or any which may be required by your home country upon your return. To find out which, if any, vaccinations are mandatory or recommended for your destination contact your local doctor, immunisation centre or medical centre for up-to-date information. If you need to arrange vaccinations or a supply of preventative medicine (e.g. malaria tablets), you should contact your doctor at least two months before you depart. Some inoculations require more than one visit and can take several weeks to administer the full course.
For travellers from Australia and New Zealand, we recommend the Travel Doctor-TMVC clinics (see http://www.traveldoctor.com.au/ or phone 1300 658 844 for an appointment in Australia). Travellers from countries other than Australia and New Zealand should contact similar organisations or their travel doctor for advice. General health and vaccination information is available to all travellers at
http://www.traveldoctor.com.au/travelreport.asp?UnqID=0.4630191&PageID=10&nav=personal-traveller Some vaccines require more than one dose, so arrange for your visit at least 4-6 weeks before you travel.
Carry Your Certificate
You should be issued with an International Certificate of Vaccination booklet that records each vaccination. Always carry this with you on your travels; it could provide essential information for doctors in the event that you fall ill whilst travelling.
Malaria: There is no vaccination against malaria, which is transmitted by mosquito bites and is a risk in the tropical areas. Protection against mosquito bites is essential and where the risk is considered high, anti-malarial medications are recommended. Anti-malarial medications should be discussed with experts as there are different medications available and not all medications suit all people or all destinations. We prefer that trekkers to altitude try to avoid the use of mefloquine (Lariam) if possible.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
A couple of rules
Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy.
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.
ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING:
While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including the World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for protection of Animals) advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link:
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We realise that our partner company may ask you to complete paper or online feedback following your trip, however we would also like to know what you thought and encourage you to submit your feedback to us too. We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.