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Welcome to India and the start of your holiday! Arrive at Delhi airport where we will meet you and transfer you to the hotel. Rest of the day is free for you to relax after your long flight.
Our full day guided sightseeing tour of Delhi today covers the colourful chaos of Old Delhi and the modern simplicity of New Delhi. This vibrant city is full of forts, monuments, temples, mosques and more. During the 16th and 17th centuries, Delhi was important centre of the Mughal dynasty and the British made it the capital city in 1911. We take in Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk, the bustling bazaar, as well as the Raj Ghat and Shanti Vana – the cremation sites of Mahatama Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru. In New Delhi we visit India Gate, Rasthrapati Bhawan, Parliament House and Humayun’s Tomb.
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. We enjoy a tour of the City Palace and Jantar Mantar - an old yet cleverly designed space observatory.
This morning we visit the delicate pink, magnificent fort-palace of Amber - a wonderful example of Rajput architecture just north of Jaipur. Subject to Government regulations, we will arrive in style on an elephant! Rest of the day is free - why not do some shopping the market for colourful papîer mache puppets and traditional jootis - the Rajasthani shoe of choice.
Our first stop today is the stepwell at Chand Baori, dating back to the 9th century (without a guide) . We enjoy lunch at Hotel Udai Villas Palace at Bharatpur, and after hotel check in, 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, abandoned in 1600 due to a meagre supply of water. In Agra, we visit the impressive Agra Fort. Later we enjoy a horse cart ride to the legendary Taj Mahal, the most extravagant monument ever built for love.
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
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. Famed above all for their delicate sensuality and forthright eroticism, how and why they were built still remains a mystery. The incredible skill of the artisans is evident throughout.
We have the option of a jeep safari in Panna NP this morning. In the afternoon we bid farewell to Khajuraho and fly east to Varanasi. Perhaps the holiest city in India, Varanasi, also known as 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 the city. At sunset consider re-visiting the ghats for the evening pilgrimage, remarkably different from the dawn ritual.
Today, take the opportunity to further explore this vibrant city or just relax. Early evening we return to Delhi by overnight train.
Breakfast upon arrival and hotel check in. Today is a chance to further explore the city at your leisure or a change to pick up those last minute souvenirs.
We will transfer you to the airport in time for your departure flight.
A flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture and a firm favourite on tourist itineraries as the third corner of India’s ‘Golden ...