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
Countries
India
Themes
Explorer
Code
HHRI
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
178kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • 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

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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
n/a
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
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Jaipur - Walking Tour
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
  • Jaipur - Hawa Mahal photo stop

Dates

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Important notes

1. 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.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide 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.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Indian Getaway trips score an average of 4.87 out of 5 based on 67 reviews in the last year.

Indian Getaway , August 2016

Indian Getaway , August 2016