Deserts Palaces Ganges - 13 days

FROM USD $2,699

An exciting two week tour that takes in Jaipur, the legendary Taj Mahal, the incredible carved temples of Khajuraho and the colourful city of Varanasi, right on the banks of the holy Ganges.

Day 1: Delhi
Saturday. Upon arrival into Delhi, you'll be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax or independently explore this bustling capital. Overnight - Delhi
This morning, our welcome meeting takes place. Afterwards we head out on a full day sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi. Tonight, we enjoy a namaste dinner at an Indian restaurant. Overnight - Delhi (B, D)
Deserts Palaces Ganges - 13 days Go Guide : :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
An Indian lady selling her fish at a market
Delhi - Jaipur. This morning we drive to Jaipur, affectionately known as the Pink City as Maharaja Ram Singh had all of the Old City painted a welcoming pink in 1876 to herald a visit by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), it is also the bustling capital of the state of Rajasthan. The state of Rajasthan emerged after Partition from a mosaic of 22 feudal kingdoms, known in the British era as Rajputana, ‘Land of Kings’. We enjoy a tour of the City Palace and Jantar Mantar - an old yet cleverly designed space observatory.

On day 4 early-risers can opt for a morning hot air balloon ride over Jaipur, and sail over hilltop forts, regal palaces, sleepy villages, and stone carved temples. After we travel beyond Jaipur to the stunning 16th century Amber Fort - a sprawling Rajput concoction which hugs the hill on which it was built and overlooks the hot plains below. We enjoy a stately elephant ride to the fort proper and tour the fort’s well-preserved interior and grounds. After we stop at a cotton weaving house to see a demonstration of fabric dyeing and block printing before returning to Jaipur, evening at leisure. Overnight - Jaipur (B:2)
The brightly coloured Indian Roller Bird
Jaipur - Abhaneri - Bharatpur. Departing Jaipur we stop in the village of Abhaneri to see Chand Baori, which is the largest and deepest step well in the world. This incredible well has a staggering 3500 steps and is 13 stories deep. Next, we discover local life, traditions and visit the village school (if open) where we operate our ‘Change for Children’ programme. 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. Overnight - Bharatpur (B, D)
Bharatpur - Agra. En route to Agra, we visit Fatehpur Sikri, former imperial capital of the great Mughal emperor Akbar. Built between 1569 and 1585, it has been deserted for more than four centuries, by all accounts abandoned in 1600 due to a meagre supply of water. In Agra, we visit the impressive Agra Fort before touring the legendary Taj Mahal and witnessing a glorious golden sunset. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, who tragically died in childbirth in 1631, the Taj Mahal in Agra is described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love and remains one of India’s most enduring symbols. Overnight - Agra (B)
Agra - Orchha. Today, we travel by express train to Jhansi and drive onward to Orchha. Situated on the banks of the River Betwa, Orchha is set amongst a wonderful complex of well-preserved 16th century temples and palaces. Overnight - Orchha (B)
A stork flies across the blue sky
Orchha - Khajuraho. Travelling south-east, we arrive in Khajuraho - home of the resplendent Hindu temples which were built during the Chandela dynasty over a 100 year burst of creative genius from 950-1050 AD. Immortalised in stone, the carved temples display exceedingly artistic aspects of Indian life a millennium ago. Famed above all for their delicate sensuality and forthright eroticism, how and why they were built still remains a mystery. Indeed, the Chandelas appear to have forgotten about the temples soon after they were completed and it took ‘rediscovery’ by the British before these awesome masterpieces were fully appreciated in India. Though we won’t be able to dispel the mystery, we’ve plenty of time to see the temples including the various acts from the famous Kama Sutra depicted on these monolithic temples for ourselves! The incredible skill of the artisans is evident throughout. Adding to the beauty, these amazing temples subtly change hue as the day progresses, passing from a warm pink at sunrise to white under the midday sun and back to pink at sunset. Overnight - Khajuraho (B)
Day 9: Varanasi
Khajuraho - Varanasi. We offer a jeep safari in Panna NP this morning, please see our wildlife safari bolt on for details. This afternoon 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. Overnight - Varanasi (B)
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 the city. At sunset consider re-visiting the ghats for the evening pilgramage, remarkably different from the dawn ritual. Overnight - Varanasi (B)
Some intricate temples at Khajuraho in North India
Day 11: Holi Varanasi
Varanasi - Delhi. Today, take the opportunity to further explore this vibrant city. Early evening we return to Delhi by overnight train (option to fly to Delhi available, see below). Overnight - Train (B)
Delhi. Breakfast upon arrival and hotel check in. Today is a chance to further explore the city at your leisure or a chance to pick up those last minute souvenirs. Overnight - Delhi (B)
Day 13: Delhi
Thursday. Hotel check out and included onward departure transfer to airport. Happy travels! (B)

Varanasi - Delhi by air

Forsaking the included overnight train journey from Varanasi to Delhi, you may opt to upgrade and travel back to Delhi by air. This option includes an economy flight from Varanasi to Delhi on day 11, airport transfers at both ends and one night's accommodation in Delhi (evening of day 11). Please indicate your preference to travel by air at time of booking.

Holi - Festival of Colour

Join the festivities of Holi on a special tour in India

Combine your tour with the exuberant festivities of Holi - India’s most dazzling and colourful celebration of local culture through its people, with folk dancers, melodious music, and exciting traditional competitions.



If travelling on our Deserts Palaces and Ganges tour departing Monday 02 March 2015 and ending Saturday 14th March 2015, we will be taking part in Holi - the festival of colour celebrations in the rural village of Bharatpur. A small supplement has been added to our tour price for this departure. For more information on the events and our touring itinerary please see the Go Guide.


Tour Details
  • Starts in: Delhi / Ends in: Delhi
  • Departs: Every second Saturday - September through to April
  • No local payment required
  • Breakfast:12, Lunch: 0, Dinner: 2
  • Hotel Rating: 3 - 4 star & heritage hotels
  • Tour Guide: Yes
The On The Go Theatre
See a bit of Incredible India on film! Highlights of our India group tours