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.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION:
Please note that due to ongoing construction works at Khajuraho Airport, many airlines have reduced the number of flights into and out of this airport. As a result we have had to reroute some trips between Khajuraho and Varanasi to an overnight train replacing the flight. Please be aware that while we will continue to do all we can to secure tickets on the limited flights available, this change may need to be made last minute to your itinerary. Your leader will notify you at the Group Meeting of any changes. All activities will continue to be included.

Start
New Delhi, India
Finish
Kathmandu, Nepal
Countries
India,
Nepal
Themes
Code
HHKWC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
1 095kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • 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
  • 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

Itinerary

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

Upon arrival you will be collected at the airport by one of our transfer representatives. Your Indian adventure will begin with an important meeting at 6 pm. You will find details of the meeting venue at the hotel reception.
Keep in mind that you will need your next of kin and insurance details with you at this meeting.
If you arrive early, you will have the opportunity to explore India’s capital - a bustling, exciting and often chaotic hub, filled with fascinating historical sites, galleries, museums and incredible bazaars.
There are a number of sites worth seeing in your free time. The 1570 Mughal masterpiece of Humayun’s Tomb is a World Heritage-listed site. It was the first garden tomb in India.
The tall brick minaret of Qutub Minar was crafted in the 12th century; it is a fascinating site to explore. You may also like to visit the mighty Red Fort of Delhi. This part-palace, part-fort has hosted a variety of guests ranging from British soldiers to royal families.
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.
You will travel by express train into Rajasthan and on to its capital, Jaipur, today (approx. 5 hours).
Here, traditionally dressed Rajput men wearing colourful turbans and sporting magnificent moustaches will make their way through crowded streets packed with cars, camel carts, rickshaws, trucks, and bicycles. You will also find bustling, brightly coloured bazaars filled with handcrafted textiles, folk art, and semi-precious stones, the local specialty. You will walk amidst the wonderful madness and discover the city for yourself. Jaipur is a favourite among travellers.
You will then travel 11 kilometres out to the stunning medieval Amber Fort. This fort was built in 1592 by Maharajah Man Singh and is a superb example of Rajput architecture.
You will also stop for photos of the Hawa Mahal (or Palace of The Winds), which is the most photographed structure in India after the Taj Mahal.
You will also see one of five astronomical observatories built by the founder of Jaipur, Maharaja Jai Singh.
Continue to indulge in the wonders of Indian culture by watching a Bollywood blockbuster - a vivid combination of action romance, drama and music, at the spectacular Raj Mandir Cinema.
For many travellers a hot air balloon experience is one of the highlights of Jaipur. Ballooning can be done over Jaipur on the morning of day 4 between Sep & Jun. For additional information please see the important notes section of your trip notes.
Travel out to the old capital of Amber and explore the hilltop fort complex known as the Amber Fort. Set in stunning surroundings on a hilltop overlooking Maota Lake, the fort is a superb example of Rajput architecture. One of its most spectacular buildings is the Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors). With its walls completely covered with tiny mirrors, the hall becomes a dazzling fantasy with the light of a single match.
Today you will 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.
You will be taken on a cycle rickshaw tour of the city, a wonderful way to uncover the best of Agra. (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.)
Next you will visit the spectacular Taj Mahal - a masterpiece of glistening marble set amid picturesque, formal gardens. This amazing 17th century marble mausoleum was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his second wife, who died giving birth.
Started in 1631, the project was completed in 1648 and employed a workforce of over 20,000 people. Construction materials were brought from all over India with the marble from Rajasthan transported by over 1000 elephants. The Taj has been described as a 'teardrop on the face of eternity' (by writer Rabindranath Tagore).
You will also visit the nearby Agra Fort - a huge complex built originally as a military structure of red sandstone by Akbar in 1565, and partially converted into a palace during the time of Shah Jahan.
From the majestic Taj, you will travel by express train to Madhya Pradesh (approximately 3.5 hours). Upon arrival in Jhansi, you will be collected by automatic rickshaws and carried through traditional rural Indian landscapes to reach the beautiful town of Orchha. Here you will have the opportunity to uncover a very different side of India (approximately 45 minutes).
You will make a stop at Taragram on the way to Orchha, 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.
Orchha is lovely town on the banks of the Betwa River. Initially a hunting area, Orchha has changed very little over the centuries. As the capital of Bundela, it was bestowed with a myriad of beautiful temples and palaces that belie its insignificant size.
You will visit the Orchha Palace that was built by Bir Sing Deo for his friend Jehangir, who was a great Mughal ruler.
Lastly, you will have the opportunity to be immersed in the flavours of the district’s culture with a cooking demonstration by the town’s local people.
KHAJURAHO AIRPORT:
Please note that due to ongoing construction works at Khajuraho Airport, many airlines have reduced the number of flights into and out of this airport. As a result we have had to reroute some trips between Khajuraho and Varanasi to an overnight train replacing the flight. Please be aware that while we will continue to do all we can to secure tickets on the limited flights available, this change may need to be made last minute to your itinerary. Your leader will notify you at the Group Meeting of any changes. All activities will continue to be included.
Today you will explore Khajuraho, a place famed for its incredible 1000-year-old temples, untouched by foreign invaders for centuries thanks to Khajuraho’s remote location, far from any major historical or modern centres.
The temples are especially reputed for their explicit carvings that illustrate the entire Kama Sutra.
Built during the Chandela Dynasty 1000 years ago, over a 100 to 150 year period, these temples have become a source of great perplexity for Indians and foreigners alike. The British only rediscovered the temples in the late 19th century.
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 go on a tour of the western temple complex.
You will also have the opportunity to see a performance at the famous classical dance festival that occurs here.
Before leaving the town you will visit the home of a local Hindu family, where you will enjoy a home-cooked meal and be immersed in the life of middle-class Indians.
From the wondrous temples of Khajuraho, you will take a short flight to the spiritual centre of Varanasi. At certain times of year this flight could be delayed due to heavy fog.
Varanasi is awash with shrines and temples, it is the ultimate destination for Hindu pilgrims; devotees travel from far and wide to experience this spiritual centre. Varanasiis recognised as one of India’s most inspiring cities. You will be overwhelmed with sensory wonder. From the labyrinth of narrow laneways packed with stalls and shops, and the dhobi wallahs and burning ghats, to the endless temples that echo with bells and chimes and the pungent aroma of incense. You will also bare witness to pilgrims performing ancient bathing rituals and ceremonies.
The day will start early with a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, where you will pass a multitude of temples and ghats. This is one of our favourite activities in India and is sure to impress. There is nothing like watching the sun rise over the ghats while pilgrims come to the river to bathe. The rest of the day is free to further explore this timeless city.
You will have a free morning to explore Varanasi. You may like to wander through the ghats, or do some last minute shopping in the incredible bazaars.
You will then fly to Delhi (approximately 1.5 hours), with the rest of the day free to explore or do some last minute shopping. There will be an (optional) group farewell dinner organised for those interested.
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.
In the early morning you will make an attempt at the Mount Everest scenic flight. This amazing experience will take you over Sagamartha National Park, through a crescendo of the highest peaks in the world, climaxing with getting up close to Mount Everest.
Late 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.
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. You will visit the Peace Pagoda, where you will enjoy excellent views of the mountains including the Annapurnas and the famous fishtail peak, Machhapuchhare, along with views back across to Pokhara.
You will also visit the fascinating International Mountain Museum, where you will learn some amazing tales, and hear about the exploits of the various climbing expeditions in the past – some ending in triumph and some in tragedy.
You will also have a free day for further exploration in the peaceful surroundings of Pokhara. Your tour leader can advise you of sightseeing opportunities.
It is worth taking a boat for a row out on the lake. The lakeside area has great shopping opportunities and Internet cafés.
Pokhara has an interesting old area as well as an elaborate Hindu temple and a Buddhist monastery.
In the morning you will drive to Bandipur. This traditional Nepalese settlement is a natural treasure and one of the hidden gems of Nepal.
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. It is gifted with an exceptional view of the Himalayan panorama. The surrounding hills are ideal for hiking along trails that will take you through tribal villages, verdant forests, 'power places', and hilltop shrines which once doubled as fortresses.
You will fully explore this incredible settlement and take in the many opportunities to immerse in the culture of Nepal as it once was, enjoy the spectacular views, the incredibly maintained architecture and amazing trails.
After breakfast you will be picked up and driven to Chitwan National Park (driving time: approx 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 known wildlife movements and locations.
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.
You will awake today to 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 at the park. Tiger sightings are rare these days, but these magnificent animals do inhabit the park.
After breakfast you will leave the lodge for 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 you to fill the rest of the day, and may include further excursions by jeep or a visit to one of the nearby villages.
If you are an avid wildlife lover, there is an optional early morning bird watching safari available today – a worthwhile addition to your trip.
After breakfast you will drive on to Bhaktapur, which was 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 incredible atmosphere in one of the local cafes, or just relax in your hotel.
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 truly delve into all Bhaktapur has to offer.
In the afternoon you will drive to Kathmandu (driving time: approx 2 hours). The evening will be free but the group leader will usually organise an evening meal (optional) at another of Kathmandu’s great restaurants.
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.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
22 breakfasts, 1 lunch
Transport
Auto rickshaw, Boat, Cycle rickshaw, Metro, Plane, Private Bus, Private vehicle, Shuttle Bus, Train
Accommodation
Guesthouse (3 nights), Heritage Property (2 nights), Hotel (14 nights), 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 - Movie at the Raj Mandir Cinema
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Agra Fort
  • Orchha - Taragram visit
  • Orchha - Orientation walk
  • Orchha - Orchha Palace
  • Orchha - Cooking demonstration
  • Orchha - Ram Raja Temple puja (prayer) ceremony
  • Khajuraho - Kama Sutra temples
  • Khajuraho - Traditional dance performance
  • Khajuraho - Home-cooked lunch & family visit
  • Varanasi - Old City Walking Tour
  • Varanasi - Sunset Candle Flower Ceremony
  • Varanasi - Sunrise Boat Ride
  • Kathmandu - Guided city tour
  • Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple
  • Kathmandu - Early Morning Everest Scenic Flight
  • Pokhara - Phewa Lake Boat Trip
  • Pokhara - Peace Pagoda
  • Bandipur - Guided walk
  • Chitwan - Jeep safari
  • Chitwan NP - Jungle walk
  • Chitwan-Canoe safari, Bird Watching walk or Jeep safari

Dates

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Important notes

1. All flights as part of the itinerary are included in the tour cost for this trip.
2. A complimentary arrival transfer is included. Please advise us of your flight details at time of booking.
3. Please note that due to ongoing construction works at Khajuraho Airport, many airlines have reduced the number of flights into and out of this airport. As a result we have had to reroute some trips between Khajuraho and Varanasi to an overnight train replacing the flight. Please be aware that while we will continue to do all we can to secure tickets on the limited flights available, this change may need to be made last minute to your itinerary. Your leader will notify you at the Group Meeting of any changes. All activities will continue to be included.
4. A single supplement is available on this trip. See under the Single Traveller section of your Trip Notes for more information.
5. Please ntoe this is a combination of two of our most popular trips. The make up of your group and leader may change in Kathmandu.

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