Tour India and visit Agra’s opulent Taj Mahal

Take the whole family on an unforgettable adventure to charismatic India, a place full of colourful characters, scrumptious cuisine and remarkable landscapes. Get the most out of this sensational subcontinent by tasting sizzling curries in Delhi, strolling through the 'Pink City' of Jaipur and heading deep into Ranthambhore National Park to follow the tracks of the elusive Bengal tiger. Of course, no visit to India is complete without gazing upon the Taj Mahal, an epic monument to love and one of the finest examples of Islamic architecture in the world. With plenty of cultural highlights for the adults and exciting activities for the kids, this trip is bound to excite, enchant and inspire memories to last a lifetime.

Start
New Delhi, India
Finish
New Delhi, India
Countries
India
Themes
Family
Code
HHFI
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 5
Group size
Min 2 Max 21
Carbon offset
206kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Navigate the colour-filled alleyways of Delhi
  • Visit the Jama Masjid mosque
  • Watch day breaking over the majestic Taj Mahal
  • Explore the exquisite Fatehpur Sikri
  • Search for tigers in Ranthambhore National Park
  • Travel to India's 'Pink City' of Jaipur
  • Experience daily life in rural Rajasthan

Itinerary

Namaste! Welcome to India.
Our adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 1pm on Day 1.

You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until a group meeting early this afternoon. India's capital is an exciting, busy, and often chaotic city but it's also one of the most interesting in the world with historical sites from different eras, museums and galleries, shops and endless bazaars!
After a chance to freshen up and have some lunch, this afternoon we’ll take a guided sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi. Old Delhi is bustling and vibrant, a network of narrow streets and alleys teeming with people. Mosques and temples are squeezed into unlikely places between shops and market stalls. We'll visit the Jama Masjid (Friday mosque), Delhi’s largest mosque. Not only is it a place of religious worship, but also a lively meeting place for the city’s Muslims and a fascinating insight into Delhi’s way of life. In Old Delhi we travel by local transport, the rickshaw (own expense), to ply our way through the crowds and down to the impressive Red Fort. A fascinating contrast awaits as we head into New Delhi. Its wide boulevards and imposing buildings conjure up images of the British Empire at its peak. We'll visit the main sights - Parliament House, President House and India Gate before returning to the hotel.
This morning, we’ll make a very early start for our train journey to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. Alternating with Delhi as the capital of the Moghul Empire, the city’s past is inextricably linked with the most famous of India’s rulers. Today it is best known as the home of the Taj Mahal but also boasts a fort, a Friday Mosque and the royal tombs on the opposite bank of the river.
Upon arrival in Agra we will have some free time until mid-afternoon when we will head further along the banks of the Yamuna river to visit Agra Fort.
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. Spend some time exploring the nooks and crannies within. From the top of the Fort you can glimpse the Taj Mahal across the river and even from this distance it is an impressive sight.
We set off early today to get to the Taj Mahal in time for the sunrise so that we can watch the warm colours wash over the masterpiece that shelters the tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. Many people believe it to be the most perfectly proportioned building ever constructed; at first glance it appears to be simply white marble, but closer inspection reveals that the surface is inlaid with a profusion of semi-precious stones which form stylised flowers and bowers.

Following this we take the road leading to Fatehpur Sikri, approximately 2 hours away. Along the way are the remains of the Kos Minars - wayside markers which survive only as crumbled towers, pointing the way to this city built of rich red sandstone.
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.
We then continue by road to Bharatpur and take a train journey of just over two hours to Sawai Madhopur and Ranthambhore National Park.
Ranthambhore National Park is one of the premier national parks of India - 'Jungle Book' brought to life! A wonderful blend of historical ruins and wildlife, it is the habitat of Bengal tiger, nilgai, sambar and chital (types of antelope) and jungle cat, plus crocodile in the lake.
We will make a couple of game drives during our stay here, with hopes of getting a sighting of the majestic Bengal tigers that survive among the ruined forts and temples. Game drives take place early in the morning and in late afternoon for the best chance of animal sightings. Leopards have occasionally been spotted on the periphery of the park, and jackals and hyenas can also be glimpsed, so there’s plenty to watch out for.
During the hot summer months, Ranthambhore National Park is closed between 1 July and 30 September each year. Therefore during this time we alter our itinerary and take the opportunity to visit the nearby Swai Mansingh Sanctuary instead. A wide variety of interesting wildlife is resident here, including hyena, sloth bear, wild boar, panther and cheetah. While there is the rare chance to spot a tiger, this should not be expected. An exciting wildlife walk and a game drive will be included here.
A leisurely start this morning before travelling a little over two hours by train, north-west to the famous 'Pink city' of Jaipur. Travelling on an Indian train is an experience in itself - like being in a town on wheels with a complete cross-section of life aboard.
Jaipur, like Delhi, has both old and new parts, although we will concentrate on the old. The streets are busy with camels and bullock-carts, and monkeys make their home in the old city walls.
We visit the City Palace, once the home of the Maharaja, before seeing the 18th century Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory built by the city’s founder Jai Singh. We’ll also see the famous Palace of the Winds; here royal maidens once watched the streets below through the fabulous jali (lattice screens) which hid them from prying male eyes. Today snake charmers and fortune-tellers ply their trade below the same hideaway. The afternoon is free to explore further or find a spot to people watch and relax.
Perched on a hill some 11km from Jaipur and nestling among the Aravalli Hills is the historic fort-palace of Amber. We reach the palace along a twisting road that passes Maota Lake before turning uphill, past the elephant stables, to Jai Pol ‘Victory Gate’. This is the ancient capital of the Kachhawaha Rajputs who gave their loyalty to Moghul overlords. From the spoils of war they gradually built a fabulous complex of royal rooms, which now make up the Amber Fort. Today these rooms remain lavishly decorated with murals, jali-work and scalloped niches that once held candles to reflect the soft light from tiny mirrors, embedded in eggshell plaster.

We thoroughly explore the site before travelling into the ‘Land of Princes’ – Rajasthan. As we take a four-hour drive through the princely state of Rajasthan you will catch glimpses of life in the most colourful of India’s regions. Most notable are the elegant women, who carry terracotta pots of water from the village well, dressed in saris in a myriad of colours, their bangles tinkling as they walk. There may be an opportunity to walk around the village and meet or even have a game of cricket, with the locals!

Today we travel to Surajgarth located in the Shekhawati region, which was home to many rich merchants and their wealth is evident from their finely built havelis (mansions) that dot the landscape. Surrounded by large walls, with many internal courtyards, the havelis provided security, privacy and shade. They were painted with floral designs of Moghul influence, scenes from Hindu mythology and - since the arrival of Europeans - modern inventions such as trains, bicycles and cars providing some contrast to the ancient scenes. These paintings document the changes that took place in India during the nineteenth century. The temples and town walls still survive today and the old fort has some fine examples of painted frescoes. While we are here we will visit the Haveli Museum and learn more about the region and the paintings.
After breakfast this morning, we leave the Shekhawati region and continue our onward journey to Delhi, where we’ll arrive by mid-afternoon. The remainder of the day is then free for some final sightseeing or shopping. Gandhi’s house in New Delhi tells the life story of one of India’s most renowned figures, whilst there are bargains galore to be found in the shops and markets around Connaught Place. No doubt your group leader will arrange a ‘last supper’ where you can look back over the trip of a lifetime.

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
9 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners
Transport
Bus, Cycle rickshaw, Private Bus, Shuttle Bus, Train
Accommodation
Heritage Property (2 nights), Hotel (6 nights)
Included activities
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Red Fort
  • Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
  • Delhi - India Gate
  • Agra Fort
  • Fatehpur Sikri
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Ranthambore NP - Wildlife safaris
  • Jaipur - Hawa Mahal photo stop
  • Jaipur - Observatory
  • Amber Palace, Jaipur
  • Jaipur - City Palace
  • Nawalgarh - Haveli Museum
  • Surajgarth - Walking tour

Dates

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Important notes

1. Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.

2. Minimum age for children on this trip is 5 years old.

3.A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children under 15 years of age at time of travel.

4. This trip starts at 1pm on Day 1.

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 Northern India Family Holiday trips score an average of 4.83 out of 5 based on 42 reviews in the last year.

Northern India Family Holiday , April 2016

Northern India Family Holiday , April 2016

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