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Namaste! Welcome to New Delhi, the capital city of India and the start of your eye-opening adventure! Our friendly team will be waiting in the arrivals hall to transfer you to your hotel where you can relax for the rest of the day.
This morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of Old Delhi taking in the impressive Red Fort - dating back to India’s Mughal period; Jama Masjid mosque - the final architectural extravagance of Emperor Shah Jahan and the colourful, if crowded, Chandni Chowk bazaar. This afternoon, enjoy a tour of New Delhi. Offering a real contrast to the congestion of Old Delhi, open and relatively streamlined New Delhi was built as the imperial capital of India by the British. Highlights include the majestic India Gate, Rajpath and bustling Connaught Place. A visit is also made to Qutab Minar, a massive tower built to proclaim the arrival of Islam in India in the 11th century.
Today, 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. We enjoy a tour of the City Palace, (watch out for snake charmers that dot our route) and Jantar Mantar - an old yet cleverly designed space observatory.
This morning 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’ll ascend the road leading to the palace in princely style, aboard Indian elephants, subject to regulations/availability as the elephants are limited to the number of trips that can make up the fort each day. Arriving at the top we'll 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 where you have the evening at leisure.
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.
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.
Today we make our way back to Delhi, stopping at the Vrindavan and Mathura temples along the way. Here you'll discover real insight into the Hindu Religion with both ancient and modern temples of worship dedicated to the god Krishna. You will see the priests perform the worship with the transcendental music they play for the gods providing a unique soundtrack to the event. Afterwards we continue to Delhi for check into your hotel.
Enjoy a day at leisure to explore the city.
Bright and early this morning we board the Shatabdi Express bound for Kalka. Here, travellers will transfer (independently) to the narrow gauge Himalayan Queen Toy Train travelling to Shimla. There are 102 tunnels to navigate and some 863 multi-arched galleries bridges (similar to ancient Roman aqueducts) to cross where spectacular landscapes of rolling hills, lush valleys and panoramic vistas can be seen. To the commotion of the steam train's arrival to Shimla, we meet our representative on the station platform and transfer to our hotel for an evening at leisure.
Today we will leave you to your own devices to explore and venture into the narrow streets, which fall steeply away from the ridge giving way to colourful bazaars and fine views of the surrounding valley and snow-capped peaks. The driver and car is at your disposal today but no guide is included.
This morning our driver will take you to Mandi, which is a beguiling town with a large number of temples of spiritual importance. (OVERNIGHT IN MANDI STAYING AT THE VASCO RESORT). The driver and car is at your disposal today but no guide is included.
We continue our stunning, scenic drive to Dharamsala today, home to many Tibetan exiles, with the Dalai Lama being the most famous. The driver and car is at your disposal today but no guide is included.
Day at leisure. Places of interest you can visit in your free time include the Kangra Art Museum, Kunal Pathri, Chinmaya Tapovan and Norbulinka Institute. The driver and car is at your disposal today but no guide is included.
Today we descend out of the mountains to the plains of India and the holy town of Amritsar. Arriving here, enjoy some time to relax at your hotel.
This morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of the historic Amritsar, including the Golden Temple and Jallianwala Bagh. This afternoon travel approximately 28km to Wagah, which is the only border crossing between India and Pakistan. Visiting Wagah is an interesting experience especially at sunset when the ‘Retreat’ ceremony takes place with the BSF on the Indian Side of the Border. The changing of the guards and the ceremonial lowering of the flags ceremony is carried out with great pomp.
This morning we transfer you to the rail station to catch the express train to Haridwar, situated close to the Garwahl region of the Himalayas. Arriving here enjoy a city sightseeing tour including Mansa Devi, ancient Daksh Mahadev and Chandi Devi Temple set upon the banks of the Ganges. Then we drive to your hotel in the 'Yoga Capital of the World', Rishikesh. Which is a great place to relax and unwind. (TRAIN INFORMATION --- ASR HW Janshtabadi, 0655/1355, AC Chair Car - does not operate on Thursdays)
Today is a day to explore the area as you wish. I would highly recommend walking up the Ganges river from Lakshman Jula Bridge and resting on one of the many secluded beaches and swim in the icy waters of the holy river, they say you are liberated from the cycle of reincarnation if you bath in the holy water!
Morning or afternoon, whenever you are ready we drive 5-6 hours back to Delhi. Here, relax at your hotel for your last night.
Sadly, today marks the end of your incredible journey and we hope it's been amazing for you! After breakfast and hotel check out we transfer you to the airport for your onward departure journey and bid you a fond farewell.
A flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture and a firm favourite on tourist itineraries as the third corner of India’s ‘Golden ...