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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, our Welcome Meeting takes place. An orientation tour of India’s capital includes congested Old Delhi and the more streamlined New Delhi. Highlights of our tour include India Gate, Jama Masjid - India's oldest and largest mosque, Qutab Minar and Raj Ghat - site of Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation.
Today, we travel by road to Jaipur also known as the Pink City. We enjoy a tour of the City Palace and Jantar Mantar - an old, yet cleverly designed space observatory.
We enjoy a stately elephant ride and visit the stunning 16th century Amber Fort. 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. Tonight, if you would like to head out, keep your eyes peeled for colourful paper mache puppets and traditional jootis - the Rajasthani shoe of choice.
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.
Striking south, we journey by express train to Jhansi and onwards by road to Orchha. Situated on the banks of the River Betwa, Orchha is dotted with temples and palaces built by Bundela rulers, which we’ll explore.
We arrive in Khajuraho, famed for its stunning temples built in the Chandela dynasty over a 100 year burst of creative genius from 950 - 1050AD. The carved temples display exceedingly artistic aspects of Indian life a millennium ago. How and why they were built still remains a mystery. We’ve plenty of time to see the temples for ourselves.
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.
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 this vibrant and deeply spiritual city. At sunset consider re-visiting the ghats for the evening pilgrimage, remarkably different from the dawn ritual.
Bright and early we drive north and cross the border into neighbouring Nepal. Our destination is Lumbini, where we can visit the birthplace of Lord Buddha in 623BC. The Lumbini Garden is famous for the Ashokan Pillar, which offers epigraphic evidence of Lord Buddha’s birth.
Leaving Lumbini, we drive to Royal Chitwan National Park. Widely acknowledged as one of the finest National Parks in Asia, Chitwan supports a population of a variety of species including Indian one horned rhino, bison, sloth bear, wild boar, deer, leopard and of course the magnificent, if elusive, Bengal tiger.
Today we enjoy morning and evening game drives in the park to spot the incredible wildlife in addition to learning all about the Flora and Fauna form one of the highly skilled safari guides.
Today we drive to Pokhara. Perhaps the most stunning of Pokhara’s sights is the spectacular backdrop panorama of the Annapurna range. Although the highest among them is Annapurna (8091m), it is the fish tailed summit of Machhapuchhre (6977m) spectacularly rising behind Lake Phewa that completes the vista. Arriving here, enjoy the day at leisure to pick and choose from the optional excursions available here.
Enjoy the day at leisure to pick and choose from the optional excursions available here such as paragliding, hiking, biking, rafting and more.
Driving north, we arrive in Kathmandu. Resembling a medieval city of temples, shrines and living gods, Kathmandu is Nepal’s biggest and most cosmopolitan city, a meeting place of a dozen ethnic groups and once one of the most important points on the caravan routes between Tibet and India.
Our sightseeing will include an overview of the city taking in Pashupatinath Temple which stands on the banks of the River Bhaginiti, Swayambhunath Pagoda and colossal Bodhnath. We’ll explore Durbar square in the heart of Kathmandu, which is home to more than 50 stunning temples and shrines.
Sadly your journey has come to an end, we will transfer you to the airport in time for your flight home.
A flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture and a firm favourite on tourist itineraries as the third corner of India’s ‘Golden ...