Classic North India Tour!!

So far I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the
most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked – Mark Twain, from following the  Equator

Classic North India Tour!!

So far I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked – Mark Twain, from following the Equator

Day 01: Arrival / Delhi

Welcome to India, or as we say ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ (The guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!! 

Late night arrival, meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car. Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.

Overnight at The Claridges, Delhi (Claridges Cabana Room) (No Meals)

Day 02: Delhi (Akshardham Temple is closed on Mondays)

In the morning, we will proceed for a rickshaw tour in Old Delhi – one of the best examples in the world where you can witness the cultural mixtures of “old and new”. Uncover the sights, scents, and the flavors of “Purani Dilli” (Old Delhi) while you are sitting comfortably and safely in your cycle rickshaw. Our major highlights would include a visit to the Jama Masjid, Fatehpuri Masjid, Chandni Chowk market (literally meaning the moonlit square), Darba Kalan (a 17 th century jewel street), Kinari bazaar (a market, especially for wedding & traditional outfits), Kari Baoli (Asia’s largest spice market), as well as the narrow alleys of Ballimaran (well-known for the renowned poet Mirza Galib’s house). Moreover, the people and the streets here have many stories to tell you about the yesteryears of Delhi!! Yes, Please, this magical ride will give you a perfect opportunity to discover a different Delhi; all Natural and all earthy from the safety of your rickshaw. Afternoon, we will visit the Akshardham Temple. It is situated along the bank of the Yamuna River, adjacent to New Delhi. It is a large complex of temples made of pink sandstone and white marble. The Akshardham Temple was built by the Swaminarayan sect as a spiritual center of prayer and learning and as a resource center for the study of Indian Culture. Spread over 30 acres of the Eastern Bank of the Yamuna, the Akshardham Temple is a synthesis of Indian architectural styles. The design of the Akshardham Temple is inspired by temples from different parts of India. The sources include the temples of Badrinath in North India, Somnath in West India and Konark in East India. With a complex of temples and shrines set amidst sprawling lawns, prayer halls and spaces for meditation and communal gatherings, the Akshardham Temple is a new landmark in the National Capital Region. The Akshardham Temple is a religious and cultural highlight of Delhi.

Overnight at The Claridges, Delhi (Claridges Cabana Room) (B)

Day 03: Delhi (Bahai Temple is closed on Mondays)

After breakfast, we will visit Gurdwara Shri Bangla Sahib, one of the most important historical and sacred pilgrimage destinations of the Sikh community in India and the most sacred among the destinations in Delhi. It was actually a Haveli or Bangla where Guru Hari Krishan, the eighth Sikh Guru of the Sikhs, stayed during his tour to Delhi in 1664. The Guru was entertained as a royal guest by Mirza Raja Jai Singh in this bangla. Later this bangla became the memoir of the Guru and was later converted to gurudwara. It is estimated that more than 10,000 visitors visit this Gurudwara every day. Next, we will embark on a city tour of New Delhi. Our tour includes a visit to the Qutab Minar – 72 meters high and one of the most perfect towers in the Persian world. The Iron Pillar which has survived the vagaries of weather for over 1500 years. Then, we will continue our expedition with a drive to the Lutyens Delhi which is considered to be the corridors of power and serenity. Our tour includes a drive pass through the Rashtrapati Bhawan, this vast, intricate work of mixed Mughal and Western architecture is one of the largest presidential residences in the world we will also visit the Parliament House as well as witness the majestic India Gate – a powerful tribute to our brave soldiers.

Following our drive pass to the Lutyens Delhi area, we will now visit the Humayun’s Tomb (1586), built by the Emperor’s widow Hamida Banu Begam, also known as Haji Begam, and commenced the construction of his tomb in 1569, fourteen years after his death. It is the first distinct example of proper Mughal style, which was inspired by Persian architecture. Later, we will visit Bahai Temple. The Bahai House of Worship at New Delhi is one of the marvels of modern architecture. The temple gives the impression of a half – open lotus flower afloat, surrounded by its leaves. The shining pure white marble, the majestic dome, the petals clearly standing out create a sense of grandeur and awe. All around the lotus are walkways with beautiful curved balustrades, bridges and stairs that surround the nine pools representing the floating leaves of the lotus. It is a remarkable tabernacle of peace and beauty and an engineering feat that will set standards for centuries. Capturing the imagination with its simplicity and elegance this monument in marble is dedicated to the purpose of prayer, meditation and spiritual upliftment. From within its hallowed precincts rise in praise and glorification of the Almighty voices in unison, of Hindus and Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists and Zoroastrians people of all castes, colours and cultures. There is no clergy in the temple, no idols, no pictures, no sermons, and no rituals. It is a place for communication between man and his Creator, God. The daily public services include selections from the holy books of all religions.

Overnight at The Claridges, Delhi (Claridges Cabana Room) (B)

Other species found here in varying abundance include; Chinkara, Chousingha, Wild Boar, Sambar, Muntjac
and Nilgai. Herds of the Asian Bison, or Gaur, formerly Inhabited the Reserve but impressive beast has not
been seen at Bandhavgarh since 1998 although a closely monitored programmed for the reintroduction of the
Gaur is planned within couple of years. A hunting pack of wild dogs may also be seen on occasions.
Mammal sightings always require a degree of luck, particularly when the species is essentially nocturnal or
reclusive but each outing in the reserve will at least provide a chance to meet one of the rarer inhabitants
such as Sloth Bear, Indian fox, Jackal, Wolf, Ratel, Striped Hyenas, Jungle Cat or Indian Pangolin. More
predictable are the sounders of Wild Boar rooting among the vegetation, Indian Hares, the lively little Palm
Squirrels that seem to be constantly in a state of agitation, and several members of the mongoose tribe.
Common Langurs and Rhesus Macaques are also plentiful, the former enjoying an elevated view of the
forest as they devour their favorite leaves and often the first creature to bark out a warning at the appearance
of a Tiger below.
We are never short of wildlife to watch in this gem of a reserve.
Overnight at Bandhav Vilas, Bandhavgarh (Cottage) (B, L & D)

Day 04: Delhi / Udaipur (AI 469 - 1055 / 1215 Hrs)

Morning, we will transfer you to Delhi airport to board the flight to Udaipur. Meeting and assistance upon arrival at the Udaipur airport and transfer you to hotel Fateh Garh. Afternoon is at leisure for independent activities. Evening, we will proceed to visit Shashi Cooking Class for a hands-on culinary experience to discover India and Rajasthan through her gastronomic delights. Our host Mrs. Shashi is a well-known personality around Udaipur who is known for her mouth-watering delicacies that she prepares with love. Savor the fragrance of myriad spices, working in harmony to make the session memorable. Your host would also explain the nuances of traditional Rajasthani recipes. This would be an ideal activity if you wish to experience the true flavors and preparations of Rajasthani food in a comfortable and informal manner.

Overnight at Fateh Garh, Udaipur (Renaissance Room) (B & D)

Day 05: Udaipur

Morning, we will embark on the Heritage Walk, indeed the most romantic town of Rajasthan. We will enjoy the exclusive guided Walking Tour of ‘The Real Udaipur’ — know about the people of Udaipur, their living traditions, appealing localities and vibrant bazaars. We will walk through Udaipur’s most beautiful streets and sites, navigate hidden lanes, meet interesting residents and artisans, also witness pottery and bamboo craft. The tour is led by our expert “City Explorers” whose excellent local knowledge and passion will help us discover Udaipur.
Main Features –
– We will make an excursion to the famous Ghats and historic temples on the banks of Lake Pichola.
– We visit an ancient step well which were once used for Drinking water.
– We meet a local family for a cup of tea in their 150 years old residence decorated with fascinating fresco paintings and mirror work.
– We will make a walk through sunarwada, meet silver and goldsmiths at work, we will also observe the traditional way of making clay potteries and water pitchers.

Afternoon, we will proceed on a tour of this Lake City. Udaipur is a cool oasis in the dry heart of Rajasthan. It is probably the most romantic city in a state where every city has some romantic or exotic tale to tell. The huge city palace towering over the Lake Pichola is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. Though it is a conglomeration of buildings built by successive rulers, it manages to retain a surprising uniformity of design and affords very fine view of the lake and the city from the upper terraces. The Jagadish temple next to the city palace enshrines a black stone image of Lord Vishnu and his vehicle- a mighty bird called garuda – in a brass image. The temple is a very fine example of Indo-Aryan Art. Then, move out to visit Saheliyon –ki –bari (the garden of maids of honour with numerous fountains which shows the unique life style of the royal ladies who once strolled here. Evening, we will enjoy a boat cruise on the serene and beautiful Lake Pichola. The island palace on the Lake called Jagmandir Palace is quite fascinating. The Palace provided inspirations and ideas to the builder of the Taj Mahal. The banks of the lake provide interesting glimpses of the daily bathing and the laundry that takes place here. Looking across the lake, with the city and its great palace rising up behind the island palace, is a scene of rare beauty. 

Overnight at Fateh Garh, Udaipur (Renaissance Room) (B)

Day 06: Udaipur / Ranakpur / Jodhpur (248 Kms) (06 Hrs Drive)

This morning, we will drive to Jodhpur en route visiting Ranakpur. Upon arrival in Ranakpur, we will enjoy the exquisite Jain Temple. It was built during the reign of the liberal and gifted monarch Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. The basement is of 48, 000 sq. feet area that covers the whole complex. There are four subsidiary shrines, twenty-four pillared halls and eligibly domes supported by over four hundred columns. The total number of columns is 1,444 all of which are intricately carved with no two being alike. The artistically carved nymphs playing the flute in various dance postures at a height of 45 feet are an engrossing sight. In the assembly hall, there are two big bells weighing 108 kg whose sound echoes in the entire complex. The main temple is of Chaumukh or four-face temple dedicated to Adinath. Following the visit, we will continue our drive to Jodhpur. Upon arrival in Jodhpur, we will check into hotel Ajit Bhawan – The Heritage Palace. 

Overnight at Ajit Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur (Vintage Suite – Upgraded) (B)

Day 07: Jodhpur / Osian / Jodhpur

After breakfast, we will proceed on a guided tour of Jodhpur. Our tour includes the massive fort. In olden days this must have been impregnable since its rocky base is scraped straight down making it nearly impossible to ascend. Once inside, royal palaces abound with fascinating history and priceless jewels, on to the armoury and Jaswant Tara – the Royal Crematorium. We will also visit the public areas of Umaid Bhawan Palace. After the city tour, we would drive to Osian for 01 hour, to experience Camel Safari. About the Activity:

– Riding the state’s most acclaimed animal for an exhilarating experience.
– Enjoy this amazing Camel Safari amidst the golden sand dunes of the Thar Desert.
– Upon arrival at the location of activity, you will be welcomed in the traditional Rajasthani way.
– Also meet with the desert family, have tea with them, and understand the cultures and traditions in this royal state.
– Do not miss a visit to the ancient temple in Osian village nearby
– A sumptuous dinner at a well-appointed resort where you can use the washroom facilities also following the safari

Following the Camel safari, we will drive back to our hotel.

Overnight at Ajit Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur (Vintage Suite – Upgraded) (B & D)

Day 08: Jodhpur / Jaipur (333 Kms) (06 Hrs Drive)

After breakfast, we will drive to Jaipur. Upon arrival in Jaipur, we will check into hotel, ITC Rajputana. In the afternoon we will visit an Elephant farm to have an exclusive time Out with the adorable jumbo. It is here we get a chance to get up close and personal with the gentle giant. Upon arrival, we are greeted with welcome beverages. After the drinks, we start the day with elephants. We learn how to get comfortable around the enormous but amiable animal and establish with them a relationship based on trust. Also, we are taught some basic aspects of elephant communication which is very helpful during our stay here. You might be surprised to know that there is a certain language to communicate with the elephants. Following the familiarization process we get time to feed the jumbo. While feeding we also get to know about their eating habits and favorite foods. Once the tusker is well fed we embark upon a bare back elephant ride around the farm. This is a one of a kind opportunity to learn how to mount the jumbo without any stools or stairs, and, learn different commands to deal with them. After this unique experience, we get the chance to arouse the artistic instincts within us and try our hand at the Indian tradition of painting elephants with plant based organic dyes. Following this, we return back to our hotel with a greater understanding of the species as well as an appreciation for the efforts in creating a serene and humane habitat for them.

Overnight at ITC Rajputana, Jaipur (Executive Club) (B)

Day 09: Jaipur

Morning, we will proceed on a special tour. We have an interaction with women who are rubbing shoulders with men and are doing activities that were in India an area only for men. Do not be surprised if pretty and smartly dressed women take you through the old pink city on a memorable rickshaw ride. The Pink City Rickshaw group is a non-profit organization that aims to provide a new and unique form of employment opportunity to several women from low income households in Jaipur. Women are no longer prepared to sit in the home and be served by the male members in the family. The new Indian girl power is visible at its best where women are transformed from being inside their homes to making a living outside and in full public view. Ride on your rickshaw with your women drivers and see the highlights of the city. Also, get to know your driver at the same time as you travel through the streets. We will visit a local temple where we will participate in the morning Aarti (prayer) ceremony, visit the flower market and immerse you in the aroma of beautiful fresh flowers. Also, we will make a stop to meet the local tea seller and have a cup of hot tea (chai) as well as witness the whole process of making tea whilst the Indian way. Our Rickshaw tour also includes a visit to the Albert hall. After the rickshaw tour, we will visit the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds, a five-storied structure of pink sandstone with semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed windows overlooking the main street of the old city. It was built in 1799 so that veiled royal women could peer down unseen by the world through its 593 stone screens. Next, we will visit Amber Fort, the former capital of the royal Jaipurs. Few fail to be moved by the dramatic Rajput grandeur of this hilltop fortress-palace 11 km north of Jaipur. Set on the dry wrinkled Aravali Hills, and surrounded by fortified battlements, the palace straddles two sepia-hued tundra hills overlooking Maota Lake, and its sprawling crenellated walls lattice the surrounding hills. We will ride up to this hilltop palace on a Jeep. Our guide will elaborate on the history of this architectural masterpiece with its mirror-studded alcoves, dazzling mosaics and water-cooled swings that delight today’s visitors as they did their former royal residents.

Later, we will visit the Panna Meena ka Kund. This beautiful place was constructed during sixteenth century. The place was mainly utilized as a place of social meetings. People from nearby places come here for getting water, swimming or just to hang out with their loved ones. During ancient times, this place was utilized mainly as water protects pool. This beautiful Kund has a unique architecture and styling. This Kund was designed by a Brahmin and constructed by craftsmen and engineers. We would also stop at Jal Mahal palace for photos. (From Outside Only) Then, we will proceed on a tour Of the City Palace & Observatory. The City Palace in the heart of the old city is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The palace lies in the heart of the city and occupies the whole central grid. The fortified wall has seven gates and was built for protection from invading armies and animals that lived in jungles, which surrounded the wall that time. Next, we visit the Solar Observatory – an astronomical treasure house, with solar device that give accurate predictions till date. Early evening, we will also visit Nahargarh Fort to achieve sunset views. Nahargarh Fort stands on the edge of the Aravalli Hills, overlooking the pink city of Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The view of the city from the fort is breath taking. Along with Amber Fort and Jaigarh Fort it formed a strong defense ring for the city. During the Sepoy revolt of 1857 Nahargarh served as a refuge for Europeans fleeing from the havoc created by mutineers in neighboring states. 

Overnight at ITC Rajputana, Jaipur (Executive Club) (B)

Day 10: Jaipur / Abhaneri / Fatehpur Sikri / Agra (243 Kms) (07 Hrs Drive)

After breakfast, we will drive to Agra en route Abhaneri and Fatehpur Sikri. First, we will visit Abhaneri, is a small town village, situated at a distance of 95 km from Jaipur. The place is popular for the amazing Baoris (step wells) and Harshat Mata Temple. Step wells are the unique concept of India. These big tanks were used as cool places of resort and water reservoir in parched days. It was a ritual to wash hands and feet before visiting the temple. Adjoining the Chand Baori, there is a temple, dedicated to Harshat Mata. This temple serves as the other tourist attraction of Abhaneri. Raised during the 10th century, the wrecks of the temple still boast of the architectural and sculptural styles of ancient India Then, we will also stop at the deserted capital city of Fatehpur Sikri. This abandoned capital of the Mughals is a perfectly preserved city at the height of the empire’s splendor. The city divided into religious and secular parts has interesting well-sculpted buildings. Following the visits, we will continue our drive to Agra. Upon arrival in Agra, we will check into hotel, ITC Mughal. 

Overnight at ITC Mughal, Agra (Mughal Room) (B)

Day 11: Agra (Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays)

Agra is the city of the Taj Mahal, perhaps the most photographed monument in the world. However, there is a degree of enigma about the Taj. Once you hear about a building so much and once you see so many pictures of a building your expectations are real high; and this is the enigma about the Taj Mahal. No matter how many pictures you have seen or no matter how high your expectations are the Taj never lets you down – the unparalleled glory and beauty of the building surpasses beyond all human imaginations. At sunrise we visit one of the greatest sights of one’s lifetime – Taj Mahal. A dawn visit to the fabled Taj Mahal to witness the magical effects caused by the reflections of the changing colours of the rising Sun on this brilliant white marble building. Following, we return to our hotel for breakfast. After breakfast, we ride to the massive Agra Fort. The elegant buildings inside reflect an interesting synthesis of Hindu and Central Asian architectural styles, built by Emperor Akbar, the maze of the courtyards, mosques & private chambers of the fort echo the story of the Mughal Empire.

Afternoon is at leisure for independent activities.

Late in the afternoon, we will visit Mehtab Bagh. The Moonlight Garden was an extension of the Taj Mahal Garden – on the other side of the river. In 1652 Aurangzeb wrote to his father telling of a visit to the blessed tomb and commenting that the Mehtab Garden was completely inundated and has los t its charm, but soon it will regain its verdancy. The octagonal pool and the pavilion around it are in splendid condition. The Mehtab Bagh was lost under the mud but re-excavated in the 1990s. Originally, the garden was planted with fragrant flowers and used in the cool of the night as a place from which to view the Taj Mahal reflected in the octagonal pool and in the river. Evening, we take you in pursuit of a truly natural and cultural experience in a Homestay. The laughter and the entertaining conversations will only be the add-on of this session, along with the mouth-watering food and memories to take away. We will, of course, advise you to take your cooking class seriously, as, what you put in the pan, will eventually appear on your plate!! However, we must assure you that your cooking class is not all about slaving over a hot stove. Your host would make your visit a special event, by engaging with you at all times, helping you learn the relevance of various spices, and, knowing little, but, less known secrets of the Indian kitchen. The event is guaranteed to be an occasion that would tickle your heart through the route of your stomach. As the part of the event your dinner is also included.

Overnight at ITC Mughal, Agra (Mughal Room) (B & D)

Day 12: Agra / Gwalior (120 Kms) (02 ½ Hrs Drive)

At 08:00 AM, we will drive to Gwalior. In legend the history of Gwalior goes back to 8 AD when a hermit saint, Gwalipa, cured the chieftain Suraj Sen of leprosy. In a gesture of gratitude the city was founded and named after the saint. An inscription in the fort records that during the 5th century reign of Mihiragula the Hun; a temple of the sun was erected here. Over the centuries, Gwalior has changed hands many times – the Tomar Rajput, Mughal, Afghan and Marathas all ruled here at one time. Later the Scindia Maharajas took and held the fort, and even today the people of Gwalior revere their young Maharaja. The Maharaja of Gwalior was one of the five Maharajas awarded a 21-gun salute by the British, a reward for their loyalty during the Mutiny of 1857. After the Privy Purse was abolished the family played an active role in modern Indian politics. Upon arrival in Gwalior, we will check into hotel, Deo Bagh Then, we will proceed on the tour of Gwalior.

Gwalior’s main attraction is the colorful fort that has awe-inspiring Jain sculptures, Jain and Hindu temples and the charming sandstone palace. The fort stands on a sandstone precipice 91 m above the surrounding plain. The forts size is impressive, and the first Mughal Emperor Babur described it as “The pearl amongst fortresses of Hind.” The Jai Vilas Palace is a much more recent structure, designed by Lt Colonel Sir Michael Filose in 1872. It  resembles an Italian palazzo in places using painted sandstone to imitate marble. Part of the palace is the residence of the present Maharaja, but 35 rooms house the Scindia Museum, which displays an eccentric collection of royal possessions, curiosities and memorabilia. Of particular note here is the extraordinary Durbar Hall, approached by a crystal staircase. Inside the hall hang two of the world’s largest chandeliers each weighing 3 ½ tons. In keeping with the idiosyncrasies of the Scindia Maharajas, the dining room beneath the Durbar Hall, still displays a battery operated silver train set that transported cigars, dry fruit and drinks around the table after dinner. The Royal Chattris or memorials are dedicated to a Gwalior Maharaja. The lighted images are still clothed and “fed” daily, and it is best to visit here in the early afternoon when the images are shown after their afternoon nap.

Overnight at Deo Bagh, Gwalior (Mohini Mahal or Similar) (B)

Day 13: Gwalior / Jhansi (Shatabdi Expres - 0928 / 1045 Hrs) (Executive Class) Jhansi / Orchha / Khajuraho (185 Kms) (03 ½ Hrs Drive)

Morning, we will transfer you to the Gwalior train station to board the train to Jhansi. Meeting and assistance upon arrival at Jhansi train station and from here, we will drive to Khajuraho via Orchha. Upon arrival, we will proceed on a guided tour of the city. The medieval city of Orchha, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, seems to have frozen in time, its palaces and temples still retaining their original grandeur. The city, located by the side of the beautiful Betwa river, was founded by the Bundela Rajput chieftain, Rudra Pratap, in the 16th century.The word Orchha means ‘hidden’. When the Tughlaqs, who were ruling Delhi in the 15th century, pushed the Bundelkhand rajas out of Garkhundar, they retreated to distant Orchha. Apart from the famous landmarks like Jehangir Mahal, the Laxminarayan Temple, the area is peppered with fascinating little shrines and memorials, all of which add to the overwhelming feeling of nostalgia, the city evokes in the visitor. After the tour, we will have lunch at Orchha Palace and Conventions. Following the lunch, we will continue our drive to Khajuraho. Upon arrival in Khajuraho, we will check into hotel Lalit Temple View.


Overnight at Lalit Temple View, Khajuraho (Temple View Room – Upgraded) (B & L)

Day 14: Khajuraho

After breakfast, we proceed on a tour of the world-famous western group of temples depicting erotic sculptures of love making images of Gods and Goddesses and celestial Nymphs. The sexual fantasies displayed in the sculptures are mind-boggling. It speaks very highly of the artistic creativity and imagination of the sculptors. The frank depiction of uninhibited sex does hint towards a liberated society and times where people believed in dealing openly with all aspects of life. The graphic and realistic illustrated scenes of lovemaking elaborated on the Tantric texts. Next, we proceed on a tour of Eastern group of Temples. If pictures speak a thousand words, then the temples of Khajuraho form a magnum opus… an expression of Indian sculptors of yore. These temples of Khajuraho were built by the Chandela kings following the tradition of Tantric art. Although famed for their erotic sculptures, the philosophy behind the temples is much more vast and encompassing. They are in fact a celebration of life! We will also visit Raneh Falls.

Overnight at Lalit Temple View, Khajuraho (Temple View Room – Upgraded) (B)

Day 15: Khajuraho / Varanasi (6E 2232 - 1415 / 1515 Hrs)

After a leisurely morning, we will transfer you to Khajuraho airport to board the flight to Varanasi. Meeting and assistance upon arrival at the Varanasi airport and transfer you to hotel Taj Ganges. Evening, we visit the Ghats of Varanasi to witness the performance of Ganges Aarti. We enjoy a special evening cruise on the Ganges. See the Hindu devotees performing the “Puja” with lighted lamps. The view is very mesmerizing and the ambience is spectacular in the backdrop of the beating of cymbals and bells as well as the incessant chanting.

Overnight at Taj Ganges, Varanasi (Superior Room) (B)

Day 16: Varanasi

At dawn we visit the sacred Ganges for a boat ride. Every morning at dawn hundreds of worshippers can be seen bathing in the sacred waters. The great river banks are lined with an endless chain of stone steps—the ghats—that stretch from one end of the city to the other. The Ghats form an impressive part of the religious landscape of the city. Proceeding downstream at a leisurely pace, you would be pointed out the significant temples and buildings as well as the changing architectural style. Life and death go hand in hand in Varanasi. While young people seek prosperity and protection from harmful influences, the older generation comes to Varanasi to cleanse their souls in the forgiving waters in preparation for their ultimate dissolution. Believing that anyone who dies in the river of life in Varanasi gains freedom from the cycle of birth and death, the City of Light has become a haven for the sick and aged waiting out their final days. The smoke that billows from the crematoriums on the edge of the river gives testimony to their final release from life’s earthly confines. We would dock our boat at Manikarnika (Cremation) Ghat. On any given day, anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred corpses are cremated here; the ghat is assiduous with activity as the cremated bodies threw up smoke and fire. Following the boat ride, we set off on foot to explore the inner city. Through a twisted maze of narrow alleys, home to numerous shrines and pilgrim shops, we walk back a few centuries. Life here has stood still for years. The homes, the shops and even the cattle have not changed over the centuries. It is a brilliant nostalgic experience of timelessness! Later we return to hotel for breakfast. After breakfast, we will visit several temples and the Hindu University at Benares. First stop would be the Bharat Mata (temple of Mother India). Inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi, it features a huge marble map of India on the ground floor. Next, up the Durga Temple. Known for its bright red color and the playful, if sometimes aggressive, monkeys that run amok there, the Durga Temple is one of the most imposing architectural monuments in Varanasi.

The university, which occupies a large piece of land at the southern end of town, is also home to the New Vishwanatha Temple. The New Temple is modern in design and open to Hindus and non-Hindus alike. Surrounded by palm trees, it is a splendid white marble structure that shines in the afternoon sun against a pale blue sky. Inside, the temple is spacious and airy. The interior walls are covered with Vedic art above inscriptions from the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads. In the center of the first floor is the Shiva linga. Next, we will visit a Widows Ashram where we will have a different view of life, and how it can be so unfair to some. Since Varanasi is a religious city many Widow Ashrams are constructed by people who want to make charity, NGOs and government to give shelter to dying, helpless and old widows. Reason of such a big number of Widow Ashrams is also that widows are abandoned in Varanasi to die as it is believed that one who dies in Varanasi gets salvation. What will surprise you after meeting these widows is that they are not all from poor families. Some of them are from good middle class families who have been sent to Varanasi because of social beliefs related to the death of a women’s husband. The widows here have been rehabilitated, and are offered training in various crafts and skills. Hence, they have a  feeling of worth and all is not lost. We will also visit the Matri Bhawan. This is the place where people arrive to die. People often take the “last train to Varanasi”. When people are old, sick or about to die, they arrive on their last leg on a train to Varanasi. Here, there are volunteers and NGOs who collect them at the station, and, bring them to places as Matri Bhawan. Matri means “Mother” and, Bhawan means “Home”. The old arrive at their Mother’s Home awaiting acceptance to paradise. This should be a unique aspect to your India tour.
For a true taste of the mouth-watering delicacies, and the colourful culture of Varanasi, we are bringing to you a unique venue called Shree Shivay Dining Room. A traditional restaurant in the heart of Varanasi which offers a delectable North Indian cuisine – with different combinations of delicious items served in a platter (locally known as thali). Thali is used to refer to an Indian meal made up of a selection of various dishes which are served on a platter. The thali style meal serving is popular in all of India. The idea behind a Thali is to offer all the 6 different flavors of sweet, salt, bitter, sour, astringent and spicy on one single plate. Certainly, it’s a special place which takes you into a zone where only the delicious mouth- watering food exists with a perfect mixture of ambience, and royalty.

Overnight at Taj Ganges, Varanasi (Superior Room) (B & D)

Day 17: Varanasi / Delhi (UK 674 - 1520 / 1645 Hrs) (Sarnath is closed on Fridays)

Explore Varanasi like a true local in this morning tour where you get to experience some of the most unique things to do in the city! Your morning tour will begin at 5:30 AM (depending upon time of the year) with your guide picking you up from your hotel. From there on, move to the Assi ghat, to experience the magical sunrise. Flocked by hundreds of people, you will get to experience the Ganga aarti. This is a centuries old ritual where priests use fire as an offering in the form of oil lamps to offer their prayers to the holy Ganga. After this, you will get a chance to enjoy a classical dance where dancers will show their talent. Following this, enjoy a yoga session by the banks of river with the local people and learn how this ancient art has become a rage all over the world. Once you are done stretching your muscles here, proceed ahead to the Akhada (a traditional place for training and practicing of Indian martial arts). You will see how men engage in this wonderful art from the earliest hour of the day. Where you will be able to watch the traditional Indian style of wrestling called Kushti.

Visiting an Akhada is one of the more interesting things to do in Varanasi, and, you can say Akhada is an original gym of India. Here, the youth visit to build their bodies. Wearing a special garment called a “Langot” (Loin cloth), the Akhada have their own equipment such as Gada, Naal, Jodi, Santulan which are all made up of heavy wood. Akhada is not only a place for wrestling, but the wrestlers treat it like a temple. Before starting Kushti, they prepare the mud on the ground by tilting the soil with a spade and their hands. Then, they sprinkle water on the soil and offer flowers. Following this, the wrestlers offer prayer in the temple located within the Akhada. Later on, they oil their body and start warming up, before slowly they start their wrestling in pairs in a well-dignified manner. During your tour you will also get the chance to interact with the wrestlers and take some pictures or videos of Akhada. If interested, you can also wrestle with the “Pehalwans” (local wrestlers). After a leisurely morning, we take a short trip to the Buddhist city of Sarnath. It is here that the Buddha preached his first sermons after attaining enlightenment. Afternoon, we will transfer you to the Varanasi airport to board the flight to Delhi. Meeting and assistance upon arrival at the Delhi airport and transfer you to hotel Pullman Aerocity. Evening, we would visit an Indian family for dinner. The evening is designed to give a feel and insight into Indian family life, as well as experience typical Indian hospitality and homemade Indian food.

Overnight at Pullman Aerocity, Delhi (Deluxe Room) (B & D)

Day 18: Delhi / Departure

(Though the checkout time is 12 noon, every effort would be made to retain rooms till as late as possible without additional charges – subject to availability) 

In time, transfer to the International airport to board the onward flight



We do hope the flavor of India will remain on your taste buds for all times to come and

hopefully would kindle an indelible fondness for the country and her people; Thank you for being our guest, and as we say in India ‘Please come back soon”

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!!

– Accommodation based on Twin / Double Occupancy Basis
– Meals as per the itinerary only (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch & D – Dinner)
– Heritage Rickshaw tour in Old Delhi
– Shashi Cooking Class in Udaipur
– Heritage walk in Udaipur
– Boat ride in Udaipur (Seat in Launch)
– Audio tour Guide in Ranakpur
– Camel Safari in Osian with dinner
– Up Close with Elephants in Jaipur (Eleday)
– Heritage Pink Rickshaw tour driven by Women in Jaipur
– Jeep ride at amber in Jaipur
– Cooking Demonstration and dinner with an Indian family in Agra

– Lunch at Orchha Palace and Conventions

– Morning boat ride and evening aarti in Varanasi

– Thali dinner at Shree Shivay Dining Room in Varanasi
– Akhada Tour in Varanasi
– Visit and dinner with an Indian family in Delhi
– All journeys as per itinerary in a fine air conditioned Toyota Crysta
– Train journey as per the itinerary
– Inner India airfares as per the itinerary based on current schedule (subject to change
and cancellation charge)
– Entrance fee as per the itinerary
– Local English speaking guides
– GST Levy, Toll, and Parking
– All driver expenses
– Bottled drinking water for road journeys
– Camera & video fee to monuments
– Meals other than mention above
– Expenses of personal nature such as laundry, drinks, tips, telephone calls etc
– Credit Card Transaction Fees
– Guide at Abhaneri

Query For The Trip!