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.

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Terms & Conditions

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

Why you'll 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 Chander

  • The Taj Mahal is one of the most recognisable buildings in the world, with its poetic history and beauty having the power to surprise even the most jaded travellers. Here's what you need to know about your visit: intrepidtravel.com/adventures/taj-mahal-travel-guide/

  • 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. Read more about travelling by overnight trains in India here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/india-trains-guide/

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019.
View the 2020 itinerary
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)
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.
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 (approximately 4 hours). From here take a private jeep from Lalitpur to Chanderi (approximately 2 hours), a small medieval town that’s home to a multicultural mix of Muslims, Hindus and Jains. While it’s off the beaten tourist track, Chanderi is nonetheless full of historic Jain temples and fascinating history. Enjoy dinner in the home of our local guide and get to know him and his family over the meal.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chanderi - Home cooked dinner & family visit
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Visit Chanderi Museum, which boasts objects dating from between the tenth and 12th century. Join your guide for a look around Chanderi's temples and mosques. Continue to the ruins of the 15th-century Badal Mahal Darwaza. Enjoy a picnic lunch together at the site of the ruins 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 (approximately 5 hours). 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 you would expect of such a small town. 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.
Special Information
See our guide to Orchha here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/orchha-india-guide/
Visit the stunning Orchha Palace, built by Bir Sing Deo for his friend and Mughal ruler Jehangir. Visit Taragram, a unique responsible tourism project. This recycled papermaking plant was set up to give women in the area a chance to work outside traditional roles normally afforded to them. Afterwards, choose whether you would like to relax on your own or participate in an optional cooking demonstration (and meal) at the home of a local family.
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.
Special Information
Read more about food and cooking on Orchha here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/cooking-demo-connections-india/
Depart Orchha around 9 am for a 3-hour drive to Alipura. Arrive around midday and head out on a guided village walk. This evening 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 (approximately 3 hours), home to the 'Kama Sutra' Temples built during the Chandela Dynasty 1000 years ago. Embark on a tour of the western temple complex. The purpose of the delicate, erotic carvings is open to interpretation. Later, visit a local Hindu family for a home-cooked vegetarian meal in a welcoming setting. Tonight you can choose to chill out or catch a optional classical dance performance.
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
Rise and shine for an early morning drive to Panna National Park (approximately 90 mins), the site of a wildlife regeneration success story. In 2009 there were no tigers left in the region due to poaching, but currently there are thought to be around 35 tigers roaming the park. Spend the day relaxing and then head out on an evening safari. Keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready and look out for sloth bears, spotted deer, mongoose, leopards and jungle cats, as well as tigers.
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Panna NP - Evening wildlife safari
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Embrace another early start to seek out more wildlife on a safari. Afterwards, drive to Satna (approximately 2 hours.) This evening, 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
Arrive around 5 am and make use of a day room to freshen up before heading out for the day to explore at your leisure. The ultimate destination for all Hindu pilgrims, Varanasi is full of temples, shrines and devotees. Perhaps visit the Ram Nagar Fort which lies about 14 kilometres from Varanasi on the opposite bank of Ganges. Built by Maharaja Balwant Singh in the 18th century, it's the ancestral home of the Maharaja of Banaras. This evening, soak up the magical atmosphere of a candle flower ceremony while you take an included cruise along the Ganges.
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 your day with a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, passing the many ghats and temples along the river. The rest of the day is free for you to wander the laneways and ghats of this holy city. Maybe find a sunny spot and watch 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. Make use of a shared day room to store your luggage while you explore. Depart Varanasi this evening around 7 pm on the 12-hour overnight train to Delhi. This is another long journey.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
We travel in the third class AC carriage, and each padded bunk is made up with a sheet, blanket and pillow.
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. In the evening perhaps enjoy an optional final diner with your fellow travellers.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Delhi - Old Delhi walking & rickshaw tour
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you're able to depart the accommodation at any time. Check out time from the hotel is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel. If you decide to stay an extra couple of days, there are plenty of activities in and around the city to enjoy. 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 - INR2700
  • 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

  • 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
  • Delhi - Old Delhi walking & rickshaw tour
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement to have your own room is bookable on this trip, subject to availability, excluding overnight trains.
2. Passport details are required at time of booking in order to book train tickets and national park permits.

Essential trip information

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