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Deserts Palaces Ganges

13 days  |  Starts/Ends: Delhi  |  from USD $2,749  |   Guaranteed Departure 

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.

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Day 1

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

Day 2

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  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Days 3-4

Delhi - Jaipur. This morning we drive to Jaipur, the bustling capital of the state of Rajasthan. After checking into our hotel 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. Then we travel beyond Jaipur to the stunning 16th century Amber Fort - a sprawling Rajput creation which hugs the hill on which it was built and overlooks the dusty plains below. We enjoy a stately elephant ride up to the fort and tour the fort’s well-preserved interior and grounds. Before returning to Jaipur we visit a cotton weaving house to see a demonstration of fabric dyeing and block printing. Spend the evening at leisure.
Overnight: Jaipur  |  Breakfast x 2

Day 5

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. Then we gain an insight into local village life, visiting Adarsh Vidya Mandir local 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  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6

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. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, who tragically died in childbirth in 1631, the Taj Mahal is described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love and remains one of India’s most enduring symbols.
Overnight: Agra  |  Breakfast

Day 7

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  |  Breakfast

Day 8

Orchha - Khajuraho. Travelling south-east we arrive in Khajuraho which is renowned for its magnificent Hindu and Jain temples which were built during the Chandela dynasty from 950-1050 AD. The intricate stone carved temples are famous for their erotic sculptures, although why they were built still remains a mystery. In fact the Chandelas appear to have forgotten about the temples soon after they were completed and it wasn't until they were rediscovered by the British that these exquisite masterpieces were fully appreciated in India. We will have plenty of time to see the various erotic acts from the famous Kama Sutra depicted on the monolithic Khajuraho temples for ourselves as we explore the site. 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  |  Breakfast

Day 9

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, Varanasi has been a centre of learning for more than 2000 years and it's an important Hindu pilgrimage site.
Overnight: Varanasi  |  Breakfast

Day 10

This morning, we enjoy a sunrise boat ride on the holy Ganges river 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 pilgrimage, which is different to the dawn ritual.
Overnight: Varanasi  |  Breakfast

Day 11

Varanasi - Delhi. Today, take the opportunity to independently explore more of Varanasi. Early this evening we return to Delhi by overnight train (option to fly to Delhi available, see below).
Overnight: Train  |  Breakfast

Day 12

Breakfast upon arrival into Delhi and hotel check in. Today is a chance to further explore the capital at your leisure or a chance to pick up those last minute souvenirs.
Overnight: Delhi  |  Breakfast

Day 13

Thursday. Hotel check out and included onward departure transfer to airport. Happy travels!
Breakfast

Varanasi - Delhi by air

Instead of the included overnight train journey from Varanasi to Delhi, you can opt to upgrade and fly back to Delhi. 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.

The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.

Accommodation on Tour

For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.

Simple
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.

Standard
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.

Superior
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.

Deluxe
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.

Lavish
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!

Almondz Hotel, Delhi
Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

The modern and smart Almondz Hotel offers guests good sized well appointed rooms which all come with complimentary Wi-Fi. The in-house restaurant is highly recommended providing diners with delicious food and a friendly service. Please note that the majority of hotel rooms do not have windows.

Mandawa Haveli, Jaipur
Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: Standard Heritage

The beautiful heritage style Mandawa Haveli is a fine example of typical Rajasthan architecture - set in terraced gardens with pretty courtyards. All rooms are well appointed with intricately carved wooden beds and king-size royal portraits. An evening spent enjoying a lavish Rajasthani dinner in front of a traditional folk dance is highly recommended. Well located in the heart of Jaipur city on Sansar Chandra Road, just a few minute’s drive from the Palace of the Winds.

Udai Vilas Palace, Bharatpur
Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

Set amongst 2 acres of landscaped gardens, the Udai Vilas Palace is a traditional hotel taking guests back to a bygone era. Guest rooms are spacious and well equipped with comfortable beds and large windows. The hotel is famous for its barbecue nights and Rajasthani Folklore evenings. On an evening why not grab a nice cold beer and sit by the pool - a great way to end the day! Well located near the Bharatpur Bird sanctuary - great for keen twichers!

Utkarsh Vilas, Agra
Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

The Utkarsh Vilas is a simple, comfortable hotel with large rooms.

Raj Mahal, Orchha
Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: Standard Heritage

Recently built, the Raj Mahal is an oasis of elegance and luxury offering high standards of facilities to all its guests. Guest rooms are simply furnished with classic Indian four poster beds. There is an outdoor pool to relax in and the onsite restaurant, Rajsi Bhoj comes with excellent reviews. Why not take a walk along the riverside and see how many different birds you can spot? Located a short drive from central Orchha close to the Betwa River.

Hotel Ramada , Khajuraho
Our Category: Deluxe   |   Regional Category: 5 Star Hotel

A popular heritage property, the Ramada is smart, modern and elegantly furnished. Rooms are good in size and have marble flooring with beautiful views out of the bay windows on to the stunning landscaped grounds. Guests can relax in the refreshing outdoor pool and sip a tasty beverage at sunset from the master cocktail makers at the bar. Very well located just a short walk to the fantastic erotic temples of Khajuraho.

Surya Hotel, Varanasi
Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: Standard Heritage

Originally an ancient Nepali King's Palace, the Surya Hotel has been beautifully restored to its former glory. Guest rooms are classically furnished with excellent amenities and beautiful European-style bathrooms. Meals are served in the Canton Royale Restaurant which serves up a delicious array of Indian and International cuisine. Those wanting a nice drink should head to Sol Bar for cocktails and other assorted beverages. Well located in the north of Varanasi.

Trip Highlights

Old and New Delhi - the magnificent Red Fort, India's largest mosque Jama Masjid, and Gandhi's crematorium Raj Ghat
Fatehpur Sikri - an ancient abandoned Mughal city
Bharatpur - rural India at its friendliest
The Pink City of Jaipur - the lofty Amber Fort, the very regal City Palace and the ancient observatory of Jantar Mantar
Orchha Temples - wonderful complex of brilliantly preserved 16th century temples
Varanasi - the holiest city in India, Mother India site, local temples, mosque and the holy River Ganges
The spectacular Taj Mahal - India's most famous monument in all its glory at sunset
Abhaneri - the iconic Chand Baori 9th century step well
Keoladeo Ghana National Park - UNESCO heritage site with up to 300 migratory birds
An elephant ride into Jaipur's Amber Fort - just like the Raj would have done
Khajuraho - the stunning and erotic Chandela temples

Included

12 breakfasts, 2 dinners (including Namaste Dinner in Delhi)
1 night overnight train (2nd class air-conditioned, semi - enclosed cabin)
Bicycle rickshaw ride in Keoladeo Ghana National Park
Economy class flight - Khajuraho to Varanasi
Airport arrival and departure transfers on day 1 and day 13
English speaking Indian tour leader for groups of 6 or more
11 nights - 3-4 star and heritage hotels
Elephant ride to Amber Fort - Jaipur
Sunrise boat cruise on the holy Ganges - Varanasi
All relevant transfers and transportation
Touring of Delhi, Jaipur, Chand Baori Step Well, Agra, Orchha, Khajuraho and Varanasi
Specialist guides at local sights

Not Included

International flights and visas
Entrance Fees: $80-90 USD
Tip for your tour guide. We recommend you allow $3 - 7 USD per day per traveller. Tipping your tour guide is an entirely personal gesture
Tipping Kitty: $35-45 USD

Fantastic tour, quite quick paced, but saw a lot. Loved every minute of it.

Satendra was fabulous. He took amazing care of our group, and his passion was really genuine, and enhanced the trip.

Tour
5
Guide
Country

my tour of India was incredible made even more incredible because of Santendra.

His care, knowledge and assistance is an asset to your company

Tour
4
Guide
Country

Satendra was the best tour leader I have ever had, told me so much about his country, he also shared personal info about him which he didn't have to do.

Tour
5
Guide
Country

Our tour was fantastic, we experienced so much made all the better by our wonderful guide Satendra Sharma. His knowledge, experience and care for the whole team went above and beyond what I have ever experienced on other tours. I would dearly love to go back to India and would love for Sat to again be my guide.

The only thing I would change is for the Holi festival to be celebrated on the streets with the locals.

Tour
5
Guide
Country

Everything about the tour was timed to perfection and ran really smoothly. Sat was brilliant, helpful, knowledgeable, fun and excellent company. He went out of his way to ensure that we were never concerned about our safety. On a first visit to India we didn't know about dealing with tipping, street vendors, beggars, costs of tuk tuks etc, he was brilliant in all these areas and made me feel more confident in a very different culture. Our group had some very difficult clients and he was extremely professional in the way he dealt with them.

The tour was very hectic at a lightening pace, definately a taster of India.... Absolutely loved it and will be back soon probably for a month at a slower pace.

Tour
5
Guide
Country

Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who would like their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, thus avoiding the single person supplement.

Xmas departure, book early!
XMAS Departure
Easter departure, book early!
Easter Departure
We have special arrangements on this tour to celebrate 'Holi - Festival of Colour'. A small supplement applies. Please refer to the note at the bottom of the itinerary or the Trip Notes for further details.
Holi - Festival of Colour
This is a special Diwali departure, which includes our own Diwali celebrations!
Diwali Departure
New Year Departure
2015
Price/Person
Single Supp.
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
Xmas departure, book early!
USD $2749
USD $889
2016
Price/Person
Single Supp.
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
Easter departure, book early!We have special arrangements on this tour to celebrate 'Holi - Festival of Colour'. A small supplement applies. Please refer to the note at the bottom of the itinerary or the Trip Notes for further details.
USD $2829
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
This is a special Diwali departure, which includes our own Diwali celebrations!
USD $2799
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
 
USD $2749
USD $889
Xmas departure, book early!
USD $2749
USD $889

Supplementary Prices

 
Twin/Double
Single Supp.
Private Tour Supplement
USD $600
-  
Pre-Tour accommodation - Delhi
USD $99
USD $90
Post-Tour accommodation - Delhi
USD $99
USD $90

This tour is also available on a private basis.

SPECIAL DEPARTURES:

SATURDAY 19 MARCH 2016 departure we will be celebrating Holi - the festival of colour in the rural village of Bharatpur. A small supplement has been added to our tour price for this departure. Please visit our 'Festival Tours' section of the website and see our HOLI - FESTIVAL OF COLOUR TOUR for further details.

29 OCTOBER 2016 tour includes special DIWALI arrangements, please visit the 'Festival Tours' section on the web and see our DIWALI FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS TOUR for further details. A small supplement has been added to our tour price for this departure.

Tour Details
Starts
Delhi
Ends
Delhi
Departs
Saturdays
Hotel Rating
3 - 4 star & heritage hotels
Local Payment
None
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour guide
Meals
Breakfast: 12, Dinner: 2
Tour Bolt-ons
Enhance your trip with these amazing added extras and bolt-ons
Panna Wildlife Safari
USD $239 / half day
Diwali
USD $50 / Festival of Lights Supplement
Golden Amritsar
USD $719 / 3 days
Shimla Calling
USD $529 / 4 days

Fantastic tour, quite quick paced, but saw a lot. Loved every minute of it.

Satendra was fabulous. He took amazing care of our group, and his passion was really genuine, and enhanced the trip.

Caroline Baudon
Guaranteed Departures
This tour is 100% guaranteed to depart with 2 travellers.
Guaranteed Departures
This tour is 100% guaranteed to depart with 2 travellers.