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Welcome to India and the start of your holiday! Arrive Delhi, included transfer to Almondz hotel. Clients have booked own pre tour accommodation.
Own arrangements. Clients have booked own pre tour accommodation.
An orientation tour of India’s capital includes congested Old Delhi and the more streamlined New Delhi. Highlights of our tour include Red Fort (closed Mondays), India Gate, Jama Masjid - India's oldest and largest mosque, Qutab Minar and Raj Ghat - site of Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation. Tonight, we enjoy a Namaste Dinner at an Indian restaurant.
Today, we travel by road to Jaipur also known as the Pink City. Jaipur is sensational for shopping. Keep your eyes peeled for colourful papier mache puppets and traditional jootis - the Rajasthani shoe of choice.
We enjoy a stately elephant ride (subject to government legislation and availability) and visit the stunning 16th century Amber Fort. This afternoon, we enjoy a tour of the City Palace and Jantar Mantar - an old, yet cleverly designed space observatory.
Today we drive to the rural village of Perharsar, on foot we walk the backstreets discovering local life, traditions and (if open) visit the village school where we operate our ‘Change for Children’ programme. Here, we’ll also visit a charming haveli (mansion house) with small courtyard, lawned gardens and rustic appeal carefully being restored to the splendour of better farming years. After hotel check in at Bharatpur and time to freshen up we visit Keoladeo Ghana National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we’ll enjoy a leisurely bicycle rickshaw ride through the park.
Today we travel to Agra via Fatehpur Sikri - the magnificent fortified Mughal capital of Emperor Akbar. In Agra, we we visit the Agra Fort and enjoy a rickshaw ride to the Taj Mahal (closed Fridays) for sunset. Built by Shah Jahan in the 16th century as an enduring memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaz, the Taj Mahal is without peer.
Striking south, we journey by express train to Jhansi and onwards by road to Orchha. Situated on the banks of the River Betwa, Orchha is dotted with temples and palaces built by Bundela rulers, which we’ll explore.
We arrive in Khajuraho, famed for its stunning temples built in the Chandela dynasty over a 100 year burst of creative genius from 950 - 1050AD. The carved temples display exceedingly artistic aspects of Indian life a millennium ago. How and why they were built still remains a mystery. We’ve plenty of time to see the temples for ourselves!
We bid farewell to Khajuraho and fly east to Varanasi. Perhaps the holiest city in India; Varanasi, also known as Benares or the city of Shiva, is also one of the oldest cities on earth. Sitting on the banks of the holy River Ganges, it has been a centre of learning and civilisation for more than 2000 years and is a place of Hindu pilgrimage.
This morning, we enjoy a sunrise boat ride on the holy Ganges where we’ll view the ancient religious tradition of ritual cleansing that takes place on the many riverbank ghats (riverside steps). Later, we embark on a tour of this vibrant and deeply spiritual city. At sunset consider re-visiting the ghats for the evening pilgramage, remarkably different from the dawn ritual.
Today we drive north and cross the border into neighbouring Nepal. Our destination is Lumbini, where we can visit the birthplace of Lord Buddha in 623BC. The Lumbini Garden is famous for the Ashokan Pillar, which offers epigraphic evidence of Lord Buddha’s birth.
Leaving Lumbini, we drive to Royal Chitwan National Park. Widely acknowledged as one of the finest National Parks in Asia, Chitwan supports a population of a variety of species including Indian one horned rhino, bison, sloth bear, wild boar, deer, leopard and of course the magnificent, if elusive, Bengal tiger.
We enjoy morning and evening elephant ride game walks.
Today we drive to Pokhara. Perhaps the most stunning of Pokhara’s sights is the spectacular backdrop panorama of the Annapurna range. Although the highest among them is Annapurna (8091m), it is the fish tailed summit of Machhapuchhre (6977m) spectacularly rising behind Lake Phewa that completes the vista.
Day at leisure.
Driving north, we arrive in Kathmandu. Resembling a medieval city of temples, shrines and living gods, Kathmandu is Nepal’s biggest and most cosmopolitan city, a meeting place of a dozen ethnic groups and once one of the most important points on the caravan routes between Tibet and India. Our sightseeing will include an overview of the city taking in Pashupatinath Temple which stands on the banks of the River Bhaginiti, Swayambhunath Pagoda and colossal Bodhnath.
We’ll explore Durbar square in the heart of Kathmandu, which is home to more than 50 stunning temples and shrines. There will also be free time to relax, explore and shop on your own.
Departure transfer to the airport.