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Welcome to India and the start of your holiday. Our representative will be at Delhi Airport to welcome you and assist with the transfer to the Han Plaza Hotel. The rest of the day is free to rest after your long flight.
Today we explore both Old and New Delhi - the order of New Delhi is a huge contrast to the unorganised chaos of the Old City but both are just as appealing. Highlights include a Rickshaw ride through the Spice Market in Old Delhi, the impressive Red Fort, Jama Masjid - India’s oldest and largest mosque, Raj Ghat - the site of Gandhi’s cremation, India Gate, Qutub Minar, Humayun's tomb and more.
After breakfast and hotel check out, we will take the 5 hour 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), Jaipur is also the bustling capital of the state of Rajasthan. This evening enjoy a Bollywood movie at the famous Raj Mandir cinema.
This morning we visit the delicate pink and magnificent Amber Fort - a wonderful example of Rajput architecture just north of Jaipur. Subject to Government regulations, we will arrive in style riding on an elephant! In the afternoon you will enjoy a tour of the city including the City Palace, which boasts an interesting museum of regal attire and Jantar Mantar, an ancient astronomical observatory. This evening we visit Birla Temple to witness the evening Aarti Ceremony, where the idols of Ram and Sita are dress in colourful traditional costumes.
After a relaxing breakfast we will head off to Agra, home to of India's most famous monuments - the magnificent Taj Mahal. En route we will also pay a visit to the former Moghul city of Fatehpur Sikri - the fortified ghost city abandoned soon after its construction because of water shortages in the area. Arriving in Agra you will check into your hotel before heading to the Taj Mahal to witness the sunset over this once powerful Moghul emperor’s monument to love.
Today enjoy a full day's sightseeing at the Agra Fort, Baby Taj, Mehtab Bagh and you also have the opportunity to try your hand at Marble Inlay work. There is also a chance to visit Mother Teresa's home, an orphanage and home to many children.
This morning we transfer you to Agra Station to board the 0830 Shatabdi Express Train to Jhansi, travelling in an a/c chair car. You will be met off your carriage and continue by road to Orchha, situated on the banks of the River Betwa and famed for temples built by the 16th century Bundela rulers. This afternoon our local specialist guide will show you round these amazing temples and palaces, some of which have stunning views over the surrounding countryside. Don't forget to visit the night market and head to the bridge for sunset (Sarah's tip).
After a leisurely breakfast, we take the scenic 5 hour drive to Khajuraho. After time to relax at your hotel, we take in the Sound and Light show at the Western temples, which recalls the life and times of the great Chandela Kings.
In the morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of the Chandela Dynasty temples built between 950-1050 AD. Immortalised in stone, the carved temples depict imagines of Indian life a millennium ago, including erotic scenes from the Kama Sutra. Later transfer to the airport for your flight onto Varanasi departing at 14.00. Our local team will greet you at the airport and transfer you to the Radisson Hotel. This evening we have our first visit to the River Ganges to experience the Aarti Ceremony where priests perform the 'Agni Pooja' or Worship to Fire.
We rise early this morning to take a boat ride on the River Ganges where we’ll view the ancient religious tradition of ritual cleansing that takes place on the many riverbank ghats (riverside steps). We return to your hotel for breakfast before heading into the City Lanes, a labyrinth of narrow alleyways filled with colourful shops and numerous temples. Later, we embark on a tour taking in the key places of interest of this Holy City.
This morning we will take you on a guided sightseeing tour to visit the famous Buddhist holy sight of Sarnath which is where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon to the five holy men. After time to relax, we transfer you to Varanasi Station for the 1900 Shiv Ganga Overnight Express Train to Delhi. You will be travelling in a shared 1st class sleeper carriage, and a pack dinner will be provided to you.
Upon arrival in Delhi, you will be met off your carriage and transfers to your hotel for breakfast. After time to relax and freshen up, we take you to Aksharmham Temple, a showcases of India’s ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spiritual messages, where you can explore independently.
Its another early start this morning for take the Shatabdi Express train at 0720 from Delhi to Kalka. Arriving at 1230, you will transfer independently onto the Himalayan Queen Toy Train to take the scenic route to Shimla, arriving at 1710. Our local team to meet you off the train and transfer you to your hotel where the evening is free to relax.
Today we enjoy a half day guided sightseeing tour, venturing 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. Later we take an excursion to Kufri, a small hill station just outside Shimla, to take in the amazing views from Indira Park.
Today is free to take in the Holi Festival Celebrations. One of India's more exuberant festivals, Holi Festival marks the end of winter and the start of the summer season. Coloured dye covers people and surroundings, making this one of India's most colourful, joyous festivals.
After a leisurely breakfast and hotel check out, we drive back to Kalka to board the train back to Delhi. Arriving at 2140, we will meet you at the station and transfer you to your hotel.
Today you bid farewell to Incredible India. We will transfer you to the airport for your flight home.
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