See the highlights of northern India on an 11-day getaway

See beautiful henna hands, chow down on some chivda (a crunchy cereal snack), lose yourself in the labyrinth of lanes, but whatever you do don’t disrespect a cow – these are the rules of India. In a country of 1.2 billion, prepare for an overwhelming face slap of culture and diversity that is sure to stir the soul. Cities contrast between the rich and poor, old and new, good and bad. It may seem difficult at first, but the people, food and culture make it an utterly captivating destination. Plunge head first into an experience like no other.


Start
New Delhi, India
Finish
New Delhi, India
Country
India
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
HHRI
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • The majesty and story of the Taj Mahal is a big part of India’s allure, and never disappoints

  • Explore the arches, gardens and the unforgettable Hall of Mirrors in the impressive Amber Fort with a local guide

  • Watching the sunrise on the holy Ganges River in Varanasi can be somewhat of a spiritual experience. This thought-provoking part of the journey invigorates even the weariest of travellers

  • The village of Tordi Garh is a place few travellers get to see. Spend a night in a Heritage-listed palace in this peaceful town

  • Travelling across India wouldn’t be complete without a journey on a sleeper train. With padded bunks and vendors selling chai and samosas, they’re a quintessential Indian experience and perfect for catching up on sleep while on the move

  • End your adventure in big, bold, busy Delhi, full of historic sights and hidden gems

Is this trip right for you?

  • The regions visited on this trip can be extreme in temperature. It’s important to prepare for hot temperatures during the day and cooler climates in the evening. Rajasthan in particular can be very hot, especially in the summer. Layers are the best way to tackle any disparities in weather.

  • We visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.

  • This trip involves some long train rides, including a couple of overnight trains. The train journey from Delhi to Varanasi is approximately 13 hours, while the trip from Varanasi to Agra takes 11 hours. While this can be tiresome, train travel is a classic Indian experience. Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned and a great way to travel long distances while still getting maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided (although some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet). Please note that you may be sharing with locals of the same or opposite gender. For your own security, take a lock for your hand luggage. Please note that sleeper train journeys in and out of Varanasi can be subject to long delays because of weather conditions.

  • You will also be travelling by local bus on this trip. While conditions are basic, this is a great way to rub shoulders with the locals while enjoying the passing scenery.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Namaste! Welcome to India. Your adventure begins with a group meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception. There’s an optional group dinner after the meeting, which is a great way to get to know your fellow travellers.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Gandhi's Delhi Urban Adventure - INR2500
  • Delhi - Home-Cooked Experience Urban Adventure - INR4000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
In the morning, set off on the city’s modern metro system to explore the sights and sounds of Old Delhi on a guided walking tour. Inch your way through the streets around Chandni Chowk marketplace in a traditional cycle rickshaw. Perhaps visit the Jama Masjid, Delhi's oldest and India’s largest mosque, and then stop by the Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple). In the evening, board an overnight sleeper train bound for Varanasi (approximately 13 hours).
Accommodation
  • Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
On arrival into Varanasi this morning, check in to your hotel and freshen up before heading out on a guided walking tour of the Old City. Set along the banks of the holy Ganges River and considered to be India’s spiritual home, millions of pilgrims descend on Varanasi every year. It’s a unique experience to navigate through Varanasi's crowded alleyways.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Varanasi - Old City Walking Tour
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Early in the morning, take a boat ride down the Ganges to watch the sun rise. Perhaps buy a candle from one of the vendors and light it for someone back home. Witness the rituals of life and death taking place along the riverbank, as people bathe and pray in the water. Be prepared for potentially confronting sights and smells, as this is where families come to cremate deceased loved ones. The rest of the day is free to explore.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Varanasi - Sunrise Boat cruise
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today continue to discover Varanasi. Explore the ghats along the river and investigate the many silk markets dotted around the city. Varanasi is home to India’s silk-making industry. If you have time, head to the outskirts of the city and visit Sarnath, which is one of the most sacred places in the Buddhist religion. In the evening, board a 13-hour sleeper train to Agra.
Accommodation
  • Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Varanasi - Sarnath day trip (entry only) - INR250
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
On arrival in Agra, head out on a guided tour of the Taj Mahal. This elaborate mausoleum was built in the 1640s as a memorial to the wife of Emperor Shah Jahan. During an auto-rickshaw sightseeing tour of the city, enjoy an optional visit to Agra Fort. This 16th-century fortress was built to enclose the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. In the evening, perhaps try Agra’s delicious signature curry - butter chicken.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Atithi or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today drive through idyllic countryside to Tordi Garh, a village that few travellers venture to. The journey will take around eight hours in total - five hours by public bus and another three by jeep. Once there, meet the locals, visit the old village temple and wander through the markets. Tonight, the group will stay in heritage accommodation, which was once a palace for the town’s nobility.
Accommodation
  • Heritage Property (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
In the morning, travel by jeep for around three hours to Rajasthan’s colourful capital of Jaipur. Once settled, take a guided walking tour through the old bazaars of the ‘Pink City’. Use the rest of the day to explore the city on your own, perhaps visiting Jaipur’s ornate Royal City Palace. Your accommodation for tonight will be in a family-run heritage hotel.
Accommodation
  • Heritage Property (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jaipur - Walking Tour
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
For many travellers, an optional hot air balloon experience is one of the highlights of Jaipur. Ballooning can be done over the city between September and June. For additional information, please see the ‘Important Notes’ section of the trip notes. In the afternoon today, visit the hilltop Amber Fort, an excellent example of Rajput architecture, and see the red stone palace of the Hawa Mahal (The Palace of the Winds).
Accommodation
  • Heritage Property (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
  • Jaipur - Hawa Mahal photo stop
Optional Activities
  • Jaipur - Balloon Safari - USD250
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Early this morning we travel back to Delhi by train. Use the rest of your final day to wander around the city, getting to know the parts you haven’t seen yet. Perhaps pay a visit to Humayun's Tomb, the 12th-century Qutub Minar or the historic Red Fort. In the evening, you might like to head out for a final dinner with the travel group.
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR500
  • Delhi - Qutub Minar - INR500
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
After breakfast, the trip comes to an end. There are no activities planned for today and you’re free to leave the accommodation at any time. If you wish to stay on longer, perhaps try one of our Urban Adventure day tours, such as the Culture Vulture Urban Adventure or the City Food Crawl. Your leader can give you more information.
Optional Activities
  • Culture Vulture Delhi Urban Adventure - INR2500
  • Delhi - City Food Crawl Urban Adventure - INR3500
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

Auto rickshaw, Cycle rickshaw, Metro, Overnight sleeper train, Public bus, Train

Accommodation

Heritage Property (3 nights), Hotel (5 nights), Overnight sleeper train (2 nights)

Included Activities

  • Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
  • Varanasi - Old City Walking Tour
  • Varanasi - Sunrise Boat cruise
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Jaipur - Walking Tour
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
  • Jaipur - Hawa Mahal photo stop

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A single supplement is available on this trip and is applicable for all nights with the exception of nights 3 and 5 on the overnight train. See under the Single Traveller section of your Trip Notes for more information.

JAIPUR HOT AIR BALLOON FLIGHTS
Hot air balloon flights are operated by Sky Waltz in Jaipur. Flights operate mornings from September to June and morning and evening from September to March.
Morning flights depart around sunrise and evening flights late afternoon and last 60 mins. Return transfers, tea and coffee plus light refreshments and a certificate of flight are included in the cost.
You can register your interest and pay your tour leader at your joining meeting on day 1 of your trip.
Payment must be made by cash in either INR/AUD/USD/GBP only and is USD$250pp (subject to change)
Flights are subject to weather conditions and tickets are fully refundable in case of poor weather.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Indian Getaway trips score an average of 4.77 out of 5 based on 101 reviews in the last year.

Indian Getaway, November 2016

Heather Kirkness

Indian Getaway, October 2016

Graham Pollock