Enjoy an in-depth exploration through the delights of India and Nepal

Combine the best of India and Nepal in one superbly comfortable trip. Experience the colour and chaos of Delhi's bazaars, visit erotic temple carvings in Khajuraho and witness intimate displays of faith on the burning ghats of Varanasi. Roam the grounds of the iconic Taj Mahal, head out on a jungle safari and listen for the whispering prayer flags of Kathmandu. Throw in temple towns and village visits, lakeside retreats and mountain hikes, spiritual moments and local interactions for an unforgettable tour bursting with incredible adventures.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Delhi, India
Finish
Kathmandu, Nepal
Countries
India, Nepal
Style
Comfort
Code
HHKWC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Discover the man-made beauty that lies across the north of India – from Jaipur’s ‘Palace of the Winds’ and Royal City Palace, Agra’s Red Fort and iconic Taj Mahal, to the palaces of Orchha and the carved steps leading down to the river in Varanasi

  • Be immersed in the spirituality of India – the Jama Masjid mosque in Delhi, the ghats of Varanasi, Kama Sutra carved temples and Buddhist pilgrimage sites; evening prayer ceremonies, ancient bathing rituals and candle flower ceremonies on the Ganges

  • Feel the magic of India that runs through everything, from a throbbing bazaar to a packed cinema showing a Bollywood blockbuster

  • Beginning and ending in Kathmandu, there's more than enough time to discover the Nepali capital's staggeringly rich cultural and artistic heritage

  • Whether it's flying, hiking, driving or canoeing, this trip will let you experience Nepal's stunning natural beauty from all angles

  • Witness world-class mountain scenery from heavenly viewpoint, with a breathtaking Everest flight

  • Take a jeep safari and jungle walk with an expert resident naturalist Chitwan National Park, a beauty brimming with exotic bird life and game

  • Get hands-on overview of Nepal's diverse architecture, from the stately Newari dwellings in Bandipur to the hill-perched Buddhist Peace Pagoda in Pokhara

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip includes an overnight train on day 8. This train takes approx. 12 hours. 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.

  • Between December and February trains can be delayed due to fog, (but this just adds to the country’s atmospheric vistas).

  • In the summer months Rajasthan can get very hot. Be sure to drink lots of water, pack light cotton clothing and use adequate skin protection.

  • Please note there are several early mornings on this trip, allowing you to see more of the country in the captivating morning light.

  • Delays are inevitable. Embracing the slow pace and meditative atmosphere will go a long way toward your enjoyment of this beautiful country.

  • The hotel in Bhaktapur is very centrally located, though not quite of the same standard as the other accommodation on this trip.

  • Exploring Chitwan National Park's beautiful trails on foot requires a reasonable level fitness.

  • This trip does not go to high altitude

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Welcome to India. You adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting in the hotel at 6pm. Please ask reception to confirm the time and place of your meeting. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. You can use any free time before the meeting to explore this excitingly chaotic capital city. Filled with historical sites from different eras, museums and galleries, shops and endless bazaars, there’s much to see and you will be briefed on sightseeing options.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Gandhi's Delhi Urban Adventure - INR2500
  • Delhi - City Food Crawl Urban Adventure - INR3500
  • Delhi - Home-Cooked Experience Urban Adventure - INR4000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning join your group leader on an excursion into the sights and sounds of Old Delhi. Set off on the city's modern metro system, then get a taste of India's famed public transport with an optional cycle rickshaw ride through chaotic streets, such as the famous Chandni Chowk. Make a visit to the Jama Masjid, Delhi's oldest mosque and one of its most impressive buildings, then visit the Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) to learn about the Sikh religion. The rest of the day is free for further exploration or maybe to join an Urban Adventure (booked locally). Perhaps visit the World Heritage-listed Mughal masterpiece of Humayun's Tomb, the first garden tomb in India, built in 1570. Wonder at the tall brick minaret of Qutub Minar, which was started all the way back in the 12th century, or explore the mighty Red Fort of Delhi. Part palace and part fort, it played an integral part in the history of the city with former residents ranging from royal families to British soldiers.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Delhi - Old Delhi walking tour
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR500
  • Delhi - Qutub Minar - INR500
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll get your first experience of Indian rail travel with an express train into Rajasthan and on to its capital, Jaipur (approximately 5 hours). Then you'll take a walking tour through the crowded streets packed with cars, camel carts, rickshaws, trucks, and bicycles, past traditionally dressed Rajput men wearing colourful turbans and sporting magnificent moustaches. Walk to the city's crowded bazaars filled with handcrafted textiles, folk art, and the local specialty of semi-precious stones. Make a photo stop at India's most photographed building after the Taj Mahal, the Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of the Winds'. You have the option of also visiting Jantar Mantar; not a series of elaborate sculptures but actually an observatory filled with instruments to track the stars, built by the founder of Jaipur, Maharaja Jai Singh. This evening continue to indulge in the wonders of Indian culture by watching a Bollywood blockbuster at the spectacular Raj Mandir Cinema - a vivid combination of action romance, drama and music.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jaipur - Walking tour
  • Jaipur - Bollywood Movie at Raj Mandir Cinema
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Drifting high over the pink city while it’s bathed in early morning sunlight is a highlight for many visitors to Jaipur, and so there’s the option to take a hot air balloon experience this morning. For additional information please see the important notes section of your trip notes. Later, climb the twisting roads of the Aravalli Hills and round the final bend to see the massive Amber Fort loom into view. The legacy of a fallen empire, the opulent palace is a superb example of Rajput architecture and is packed with elaborate rooms of lavish murals, frescoed arches and delicate jali work. Don’t miss the sparkling Mirror Palace, covered floor-to-ceiling in thousands of reflective tiles, the hall becomes a dazzling fantasy with the light of a single match. The rest of the day is free to explore more of Jaipur that you might have missed yesterday.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
Optional Activities
  • Jaipur - Balloon Safari - USD250
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you will leave Jaipur and journey across the plains of Rajasthan by private vehicle to reach Agra (approximately 6 hours). Agra is home to one of the world's most recognisable monuments, the Taj Mahal. The best way to uncover Agra is by cycle rickshaw, so after arriving you’ll be taken on a rickshaw tour of the city. You’ll visit the spectacular and iconic Taj Mahal. Best known as a monument to love and loss, the 17th century Taj is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture, surrounded by trimmed English gardens. Agra is also home to one of the finest looking forts in India. Enter the dark red sandstone stronghold of Agra Fort - part fortress, part palace and part prison - and search through throne rooms and tiny but incredibly decorated mosques. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you please. A visit to Sheroes Cafe, which employs women who have been affected by acid attacks, is highly recommended.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Agra Fort
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please note that in the case of an unreasonably hot, or cold, foggy day, the cycle rickshaw tour will be replaced with a battery-powered rickshaw tour.
Leaving the majestic Taj behind you, travel south by express train to Jhansi in the state of Madhya Pradesh (approximately 3.5 hours). When you arrive, stretch your legs and climb into your vehicle for the drive to Khajuraho (approximately 3 hours). This is a place famed for its incredible 1000-year-old temples, untouched by foreign invaders for centuries thanks to its remote location, far from any major historical or modern centres. These temples are especially reputed for their explicit carvings that illustrate the entire Kama Sutra. The reason behind their existence and more interestingly, the inspiration for the intricate, erotic carvings is open to wide interpretation. Some argue that the carvings, all located on the exterior of the temples, signified the act of leaving sexual desires behind upon entering the holy temples, while others think them descriptive learning tools for young boys in the area about life beyond religion. You will discover more about these buildings, built during the Chandela Dynasty, on a tour of the western temple complex. Later, watch a traditional performance at the famous classical dance festival that occurs here. Visit the home of a local Hindu family, where you will enjoy a home-cooked meal (either lunch or dinner) and find out more about daily life of middle-class Indians. We stay in a restored Heritage Property in Khajuraho tonight.
Accommodation
  • Heritage Property (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Khajuraho - Kama Sutra temples
  • Khajuraho - Traditional dance performance
  • Khajuraho - Home-cooked lunch & family visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
From Khajuraho, take your private transport northeast to Orchha (approximately 3 hours), a lovely town on the banks of the Betwa River where you’lll have the chance to uncover a very different side of India. Initially a hunting area, Orchha has changed very little over the centuries. Despite its small size, it is filled with many beautiful temples and palaces, build here in the 16th century by the ruling Bundelas clan. Take an orientation walk around the city, then visit the stunning Orchha Palace, built by Bir Sing Deo for his friend Jehangir, the great Mughal ruler. Take note of the grand Iwans (domes) that were built large enough to allow the movement of war elephants. There will also be the chance to make a stop at Taragram, one of our Responsible Tourism projects. Taragram is a paper making factory that enables local tribal women to work outside the realm usually afforded to them. The paper is crafted from wood pulp and recycled clothing. Another heritage property is our home for the night.
Accommodation
  • Heritage Property (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Orchha - Taragram visit
  • Orchha - Orientation walk
  • Orchha - Orchha Palace
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Enjoy the laid back, relaxed, and hassle-free atmosphere of the town. Later today you’ll get a closer experience of the region's flavours at a cooking demonstration by the town’s local people and enjoy a local lunch. Later today, witness the Ram Raja Temple puja (prayer) ceremony at the shrine in the heart of the city. Tonight, return to Jhansi and climb aboard our overnight sleeper train to Varanasi.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Orchha - Cooking demonstration
  • Orchha - Ram Raja Temple ceremony
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Arrive in the holy centre of Varanasi in the morning from the overnight train. Varanasi is awash with shrines and temples, and the ultimate destination for Hindu pilgrims who travel from far and wide to experience this spiritual city. Take a walking tour of the old city, through narrow laneways packed with stalls and shops, past the dhobi wallahs, and the endless temples that echo with bells and the pungent aroma of incense. This evening soak up the unique atmosphere of a candle flower ceremony.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Varanasi - Old City tour
  • Varanasi - Sunset candle ceremony
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today starts early with a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, where you can watch the light gradually illuminate the many ghats and temples along the river as you pass. There is an option to take a trip to nearby Sarnath, one of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage destinations. The site is where Buddha preached his message of the path to enlightenment and features a number of stupas and museums to explore. Alternatively the day can be spent exploring the laneways and alleys behind the ghats, or picking up some examples of the excellent local silk industry. Perhaps witness pilgrims performing ancient bathing rituals and ceremonies as your time in this sacred city comes to an end.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Varanasi - Sunrise boat trip
Optional Activities
  • Varanasi - Sarnath day trip (entry only) - INR250
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning will be free for you to soak up the atmosphere of Varanasi during your final time here. Maybe do some last minute shopping in the incredible bazaars or merely wander through the ghats. Then you will return to Delhi by plane (approximately 1.5 hours). This evening there will be an (optional) group farewell dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After you check out of the hotel, you will say goodbye to your Indian tour leader at the airport and take a short flight to Kathmandu, Nepal.
Kathmandu is a mixture of ancient architecture and modern development and, with its rich artistic and cultural heritage, it remains the legendary destination it has been for decades. Crowded markets and bazaars are the centre of Nepali life and the narrow streets are home to holy men, monks, bicycles, incense, goats and sacred cows. As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change in Kathmandu. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary in the afternoon or evening of day 12 and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Optional Activities
  • Kathmandu - Rickshaw Night Explorer Urban Adventure - USD68
  • Kathmandu - In Focus: Cook in Kathmandu Urban Adventure - USD93
  • Kathmandu - Kathmandu by Bike Urban Adventure - USD100
  • Kathmandu - Kathmandu Living Urban Adventure - USD66
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Whether permitting, take a Mount Everest scenic flight this morning. This amazing experience will take you over Sagamartha National Park, through a crescendo of the highest peaks in the world, climaxing by getting up close to Mount Everest. Later in the morning you will explore Kathmandu on an organised sightseeing tour. You will visit Bodhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world, where you can observe Buddhist monks in prayer in the monasteries surrounding the stupa. You will also visit Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in the country, located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Here you will see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing, and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the ghats. The rest of your afternoon in Kathmandu is free for further sightseeing and exploration. Perhaps head out into Durbar Square, in front of the old royal palace and home to numerous beautiful temples, and browse the stalls of merchant's wares.
Included Activities
  • Kathmandu - Everest Scenic Flight
  • Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple
  • Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will have an early departure from the hotel for your transfer to the domestic terminal at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport. From here you will fly to Pokhara, with a flight time of about 30 minutes. There are often spectacular views of the main Himalayan chain to the north on this flight. On arrival you will take a boat ride across the lake (Phewa Tal), which is the second largest in Nepal. Visit the Peace Pagoda, where spectacular views of the mountains await. You can see the Annapurnas from here, and the famous fishtail peak, Machhapuchhare, and back across to Pokhara. You will also visit the fascinating International Mountain Museum to learn some amazing tales of past climbing expeditions – some ending in triumph, some ending in tragedy.
Included Activities
  • Pokhara - Fewa Lake boat trip
  • Pokhara - Peace Pagoda
  • Pokhara - International Mountain Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day for further exploration in the peaceful surroundings of Pokhara. Your leader can advise you of sightseeing opportunities. It is worth taking a boat for a row out on the lake, especially if the weather's fine. The lakeside area has great shopping opportunities and internet cafes. Pokhara has an interesting old area as well as an elaborate Hindu temple and a Buddhist monastery.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning you will drive to beautiful Bandipur (approximately 2 hours). You will fully explore this incredible settlement and take the many opportunities to immerse yourself in the culture of Nepal as it once was. Enjoy the spectacular views, the incredibly maintained architecture and nice walking trails. This traditional Nepalese settlement is a natural treasure and one of the country's true hidden gems.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a day of free time to further explore Bandipur. The surrounding hills are ideal for hiking along trails that will take you through tribal villages, verdant forests, 'power places', and hilltop shrines that once doubled as fortresses. As you explore the area you may feel as though you're stepping back in time; though development increases, the aura of this place has been beautifully preserved. As tourism in Nepal developed along the main roads and airports, for over 30 years there simply was no road linking Bandipur to the main infrastructure, leaving it almost untouched by touristic influence. The village is saddled on a high ridge above Dumre, 700 metres beyond the Marsyangdi River Valley, making for an exceptional view of the Himalayan panorama.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast you will be picked up and driven to Chitwan National Park (approximately 4 hours). After arriving and settling in, you will be introduced to the camp staff and resident naturalists who will discuss the program. There is some flexibility, and activities may vary depending on the time of the year, and on wildlife movements. A late-afternoon safari will take you through forests and across grasslands to observe the varied and exciting wildlife in the park. In the early evening the local Tharu dance troupe may perform a cultural program. You will then enjoy dinner and afterwards you will be free to relax in the bar and discuss the day’s sightings or listen to the exotic sounds of the jungle at night.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chitwan - Canoe safari, Bird Watching walk or Jeep safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Embark on an early-morning excursion. This could include either another safari to different parts of the park (in search of the great Indian rhino, deer, and exotic bird life) or joining one of the other activities available in the park. Tiger sightings are rare these days, but these magnificent animals do inhabit the park. After breakfast you will leave the lodge and go on a dugout canoe adventure on the Rapti River. This is an exciting trip with chances to view marsh mugger crocodiles and various birds that inhabit the riverbanks. A program will be organised for the rest of the day, and may include further excursions by jeep or a visit to one of the nearby villages.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chitwan - Canoe safari, Bird Watching walk or Jeep safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
If you are an avid wildlife lover, there is an optional early-morning birdwatching safari available today – a worthwhile addition to your trip. After breakfast fly to Kathmandu and drive to Bhaktapur - once the capital of Nepal and the Great Malla Kingdom during the 15th century. Its rich heritage, inspiring temples and artisanal history played a big part in Bhaktapur being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy an evening of exploration on your own, soak up the lovely atmosphere in one of the local cafes, or simply relax in your hotel.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Spend the day exploring Bhaktapur’s famous temples, starting at Durbar Square, which is reputed to be the most beautiful piece of art in Nepal. Durbar Square is home to the majestic Lion Gate and Golden Gate. You will also visit the Pashupati Temple, a replica of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu. This will be an enlightening morning of discovery and enrichment, as you delve into all Bhaktapur has to offer. In the afternoon, drive to Kathmandu (approximately 2 hours). The evening will then be free, however the group leader will usually organise an optional evening meal at another of Kathmandu’s great restaurants.
Included Activities
  • Bhaktapur - Guided walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip officially comes to an end after breakfast today. Your tour leader will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements.
Optional Activities
  • Kathmandu - In Focus: Handmade Kathmandu - USD93
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

20 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Transport

Auto rickshaw, Boat, Bus, Cycle rickshaw, Jeep, Metro, Overnight sleeper train, Plane, Private vehicle, Shuttle Bus, Train

Accommodation

Hotel (10 nights), Heritage Property (5 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt), Guesthouse (3 nights), Jungle Lodge (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Delhi - Old Delhi walking tour
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
  • Jaipur - Walking tour
  • Jaipur - Bollywood Movie at Raj Mandir Cinema
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Agra Fort
  • Khajuraho - Kama Sutra temples
  • Khajuraho - Traditional dance performance
  • Khajuraho - Home-cooked lunch & family visit
  • Orchha - Taragram visit
  • Orchha - Orientation walk
  • Orchha - Orchha Palace
  • Orchha - Cooking demonstration
  • Orchha - Ram Raja Temple ceremony
  • Varanasi - Old City tour
  • Varanasi - Sunset candle ceremony
  • Varanasi - Sunrise boat trip
  • Kathmandu - Everest Scenic Flight
  • Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple
  • Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa
  • Pokhara - Fewa Lake boat trip
  • Pokhara - Peace Pagoda
  • Pokhara - International Mountain Museum
  • Chitwan - Canoe safari, Bird Watching walk or Jeep safari
  • Bhaktapur - Guided walk

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip and is valid for all nights on tour with the excepton of the overnight train.
2. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.
3. 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.
4. As this is a combination tour your group composition and leader will change on Day 12.
5. The transfers and flight from Delhi to Kathmandu is included in your trip costs. Please note that this flight is unaccompanied.

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.