Visit India and discover the charm of this unforgettable country

Visit India and discover this vibrant, intoxicating, inspiring and dramatic country. Tour India's chaotic city streets and peaceful countryside, from the Mughal splendour of Delhi and Agra to tiger-spotting in Panna National Park. Soak up India’s culture and history, smell and taste a world of spices, blush at the erotic Khajuraho carvings and see pilgrims undertake their daily rituals on the Ganges' ghats. This adventure will provide unforgettable sensory experiences of unpredictable, chaotic and enchanting India.

TRIP CHANGES FOR 2018:
Due to ongoing issues in obtaining national park permits, from 1st January 2018 this trip will visit Panna National Park instead of Bandhavgarh National Park.


Start
Delhi, India
Finish
Delhi, India
Country
India
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
HHSU
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Tick off the big ticket items like the Taj Mahal and Varanasi and spend plenty of time away from the bustle of big cities in lesser visited towns and villages like Alipura, Orchha and Chanderi.

  • Our time in Chanderi is our travellers’ favourite on this itinerary - share a meal at home with our local friends who are passionate about sharing their culture and town with you.

  • Witness religious ceremonies, visit temples and monuments, stay in heritage properties and explore with local guides and your expert leader. There is so much variety packed into this trip to show you as many facets of this unforgettable country as we can.

  • Enjoy cooking demonstrations, home cooked meals and chow down on the best of local street food like roti, chaat, samosas and poori.

  • Hear the story of how the tigers of Panna National Park came back from the brink of extinction to the thriving population that lives there today.

  • The Hindu and Jain temples of Khajuraho are stunning in the scale and detail and are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Is this trip right for you?

  • With patience, resilience and understanding that things won't always go 100% to plan, travelling in India is ultimately a rewarding experience. Some of the challenges travelers regularly feed back to us are things like air quality, hygiene standards, sporadic hot water and wifi, crowds and travel delays.

  • The big cities on this trip, especially Delhi, can be very busy and crowded with both locals and tourists. It's exciting but often exhausting!

  • Rajasthan can reach extremely high temperatures in the summer. While we aim to do our walking tours early in the morning when it’s cooler, remember to keep hydrated and to bring a hat, sunscreen, a long-sleeved shirt and anything else that will protect you from the sun.

  • 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.

  • Be prepared for some long (and often delayed, especially by heavy fog in Dec - Feb) overland journeys on this trip. We travel by overnight train in 3AC class and while we aim to purchase tickets to have the whole group bunking near each other, the highly complex booking system and huge demand for tickets may mean that this isn't always possible.

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

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 option for a 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.
This afternoon is free for further exploration or jump on an Urban Adventure.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR500
  • Delhi - Qutub Minar - INR500
  • Delhi - Red Fort - INR500
  • Delhi - Home-Cooked Experience Urban Adventure - INR4000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Namaste! Welcome to India. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. 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. 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! There are plenty of things to see and do in free time. Visit the World Heritage-listed Mughal masterpiece of Humayun's Tomb. This was the first garden tomb in India, built way back in 1570. Wonder at the tall brick minaret of Qutub Minar, which was started back in the 1100s. Explore the mighty Red Fort of Delhi. Part palace and part fort, it plays 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)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave Delhi early to catch the Shatabi Express to Agra (departs approx 6am - 3 hrs). This comfortable train is one of India's fastest. 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. Built in 1565 by Emperor Akbar, Agra Fort was originally designed to be a military structure. It was converted to a palace in Emperor Shah Jahan's time with mighty sandstone walls enclosing the beautiful white marble pearl mosque, palaces, halls, courtyards and fountains. The fort eventually became the emperor's prison after he lost power in 1658.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Agra - Agra Fort
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Catch a morning train from Agra to Lalitpur (approx. 4 hours) followed by private jeeps from Lalitpur to Chanderi (approx. 2 hours). Chanderi is a small medieval town - home to Muslims, Hindus and Jains. Still off the beaten track, Chanderi is a place where you can experience the life of a movie star - the moment you stroll into town, you instantly become the centre of attention. Enjoy dinner in at the home of our local guide, a great chance to meet his large family.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chanderi - Home cooked dinner & family visit
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Visit Chanderi Museum which boasts objects dating from the 10th to 12th centuries. Join our guide for a look around Chanderi's temples and mosques, and walk out to ruins beautifully situated in the fields. Enjoy a picnic lunch together and spend the rest of the day as you wish.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chanderi - Village Walk
  • Chanderi - Museum
  • Chanderi - Traditional music performance
Meals Included
  • Lunch
Drive to Orchha (approx 5 hours/173 km). Situated on the banks of the Betwa River, Orchha has changed little over the centuries. Originally a hunting area, it became the capital of the Bundela rajas and, as a result, Orchha has more temples and palaces than any town of this size deserves. Experience an evening puja ceremony at the Ram Raja Temple.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tent (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Orchha - Orientation walk
  • Orchha - Ram Raja Temple ceremony
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
See the stunning Orchha Palace, built by Bir Sing Deo for his friend Jehangir, the great Mughal ruler. Visit Taragram, one of Intrepid's Responsible Tourism projects. This unique papermaking plant was set up to give tribal women from the area a chance to work outside the traditional areas normally afforded to them. All the paper is made from recycled clothing and wood pulp. Take the chance to experience the local flavours at a cooking demonstration by our local friends.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tent (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Orchha - Taragram visit
  • Orchha - Orchha Palace
Optional Activities
  • Orchha - Cooking demonstration - INR400
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
We depart Orchha around 9am for a 3 hour drive to Alipura. We arrive around midday and after checking in and a freshen up its time for a guided village walk. This evening we enjoy a group dinner at Alipura Palace.
Accommodation
  • Heritage Property (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Alipura - Village walk & Palace dinner
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Drive to Khajuraho (approx. 3 hours). Far from any major population centres, modern or historical, Khajuraho's remote location saved its stunning 1,000-year-old temples - infamous for their explicit carvings depicting the entire Kama Sutra - from destruction by foreign invaders. Khajuraho's 'Kama Sutra' Temples were all built during the Chandela Dynasty 1,000 years ago, most within a 100 to 150-year time frame. These temples have baffled foreigners and Indians alike since their rediscovery by the British in the late 19th century. What they were built for and what the delicate and erotic carvings mean is open to wide interpretation. Some believe that these intricate designs, all located on the exterior of the temple, were meant to symbolise the leaving of sexual desires before entering the holy sanctuary within. Others argue that these carvings were a way of teaching young boys in the hermitage about life outside of religion. We take a tour of the western temple complex. Visit a local Hindu family for a home-cooked vegetarian meal and gain an insight into the life of middle-class Indians. There's the chance to view a classical dance performance tonight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Khajuraho - Kama Sutra temples
  • Khajuraho - Home-cooked lunch & family visit
Optional Activities
  • Khajuraho - Traditional dance performance - INR600
  • Khajuraho - Sound & light show - INR500
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
An early start this morning for a long drive to Panna National Park (approx. 8 hours). There are no established toilet stops on this route, so we need to make do with bush toilets. Make sure your music player is charged, you have lots of water and your favourite book at hand. Panna Tiger Reserve is one India's success stories in reintroducing tigers to the wild. In 2009 there were no tigers left in the region due to poaching. Currently there are thought to be around 35 tigers roaming the park. There is also a chance of seeing sloth bears, spotted deer, mongoose, leopards and jungle cats. Keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready as we head out on an evening safari.
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Panna NP - Evening wildlife safari
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Another early morning, but this time to head back into the National Park on a jeep safari to search out more wildlife. Afterwards drive to Satna (approx 2 hours.) This evening we board our overnight train for the 10 hour journey to Varanasi. Your tour leader will help you purchase snacks at the station and ensure you stock up on water for the trip ahead.
Accommodation
  • Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Panna NP - Morning wildlife safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
We arrive around 5am this morning (barring train delays - more common in the winter months of Jan-Feb). We have day use rooms available to freshen up, shower and get ready to head out for the day. The ultimate destination for all Hindu pilgrims, Varanasi is full of temples, shrines and devotees. It is truly one of the world's most amazing cities. Perhaps visit the Ram Nagar Fort which lies about 14 km from Varanasi on the opposite bank of River Ganga. Built by Maharaja Balwant Singh in the 18th century, it's the ancestral home of the Maharaja of Banaras. Spend the evening soaking up the magical atmosphere of a candle flower ceremony, serenaded by traditional musicians on a Ganges river cruise as the sun sets.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Varanasi - Sunset candle ceremony
Optional Activities
  • Varanasi - Ram Nagar Fort - INR150
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Start early with a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, passing the many ghats and temples along the river. This boat ride is one of the highlights of any trip to Varanasi. Watching the sun rise over the Ghats is a spectacular sight and one not to be missed. the rest of the day is free to wander the laneways and ghats. find a sunny spot and watch lifer and death along with cricket games, haircuts, religious lessons and the comings and goings of life along the Ganges.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Varanasi - Sunrise boat trip
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a free day in Varanasi. We will have shared day use rooms until our departure tonight. We depart Varanasi this evening around 7pm on the overnight train to Delhi. This is another long journey (approx. 12 hours). We travel in 3 AC class, where each bunk is made up with a sheet, blanket and pillow.
Accommodation
  • Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
The train arrives early this morning into New Delhi Station (approx 9am) where our tour comes to an end. Please don't book flights out until after 1pm to allow for train delays (more common due to weather conditions in winter but can happen any time of year. Airport transfers and additional accommodation are available to book in advance should you wish to plan your onward travel arrangements in advance.
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Gandhi's Delhi Urban Adventure - INR2500
  • Delhi - City Food Crawl Urban Adventure - INR3500
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Transport

Auto rickshaw, Cycle rickshaw, Metro, Overnight sleeper train, Private vehicle, Shuttle Bus, Train, Van

Accommodation

Permanent tent (2 nights), Heritage Property (1 night), Hotel (8 nights), Overnight sleeper train (2 nights), Resort (1 night)

Included activities

  • Delhi - Old Delhi walking tour
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
  • Agra - Agra Fort
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Chanderi - Home cooked dinner & family visit
  • Chanderi - Village Walk
  • Chanderi - Museum
  • Chanderi - Traditional music performance
  • Orchha - Orientation walk
  • Orchha - Ram Raja Temple ceremony
  • Orchha - Taragram visit
  • Orchha - Orchha Palace
  • Alipura - Village walk & Palace dinner
  • Khajuraho - Kama Sutra temples
  • Khajuraho - Home-cooked lunch & family visit
  • Panna NP - Evening wildlife safari
  • Panna NP - Morning wildlife safari
  • Varanasi - Sunset candle ceremony
  • Varanasi - Sunrise boat trip

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available for this trip and is applicable for all nights on tour with the exception of the overnight trains on nights 11 and 14.
2. We arrive into Delhi on Day 15 at around 9am. No accommodation is included on this day.
3. Please do not book flights out of Delhi until after 1pm on the last day in case of train delays.
4. Passport details are required at time of booking in order to book train tickets and national park permits.

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 Unforgettable India trips score an average of 4.84 out of 5 based on 101 reviews in the last year.

Unforgettable India, November 2017

John Munckton

Unforgettable India, November 2017

Joan Munckton