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Depart London Heathrow on Virgin Atlantic at 2150 on 05 March, arrive into Delhi at 1150 on 06 March. Welcome to India. Our representative will meet you in the international arrival area and assist with your transfer to the domestic terminal for your onward flight to Varanasi at 1420. Upon arrival in Varanasi at 1545, you will be met and transfers to your hotel for a well deserved rest. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.
Day at leisure. At sunset we visiting the ghats for the evening pilgramage, remarkably different from the dawn ritual you will witness tomorrow morning.
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). You will return to the hotel for breakfast and have the rest of the day of your leisure. Today is Holi, the festival of colours - take a look at the following link for further information about the celebrations. http://www.holifestival.org/
This morning enjoy a city tour including visit to The Banaras Hindu University and New Vishwanath temple, and a local silk weaving co-operative.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before we transfer you to the airport for your 1550 flight to Delhi. You will be met upon arrival at 1705 and taken to the hotel to join your group for the Passage to India group tour.
We have a full day sightseeing tour of Delhi, taking in the impressive Red Fort, Jama Masjid - India’s oldest and largest mosque, Raj Ghat - the site of Gandhi’s cremation and more. Tonight, we enjoy a Namaste Dinner at a restaurant specialising in classic Indian cuisine.
Departing Delhi, we journey to Agra, once India’s Mughal capital. Here we enjoy a horsecart or rickshaw ride to the legendary Taj Mahal. Built entirely of white marble, the Taj Mahal has no peers. Continuing, we visit Agra fort, which boasts some of India’s finest Mughal buildings behind it’s fortified walls.
En route to Jaipur, we visit the ghostly former Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, abandoned due to lack of water. We enjoy lunch at Chandra Mahal Haveli in Peharsar. In Jaipur, we visit a cotton trading/tailor shop where you can get clothing tailored for delivery to your hotel before we leave!
Maybe opt for an early morning balloon flight over Jaipur. Look out for the snake charmers that dot our route, as we travel to the 16th century Amber Fort. An exotic elephant ride transports us to the lofty fort, where we’ll enjoy a tour. Later in the afternoon we tour the City Palace, which boasts an interesting museum of regal attire and Jantar Mantar, an ancient astronomical observatory.
Today, we drive to the semi-desert Shekhawati region. The small towns in this region became important trading posts, a lasting legacy of which are the beautiful painted havelis (mansions) constructed by wealthy merchants in the 18th and 19th centuries. Afternoon village walk and time to relax.
Travelling west, our next stop is the 14th century desert town of Bikaner. Once an important staging post on the great caravan routes, much of the atmospheric old town which we will explore is still encircled by massive fortified walls. We also visit the spectacular Junagarh Fort & museum, built between 1587 & 1593 during the rule of Rai Singh.
Today will be spent driving to Jaisalmer, a medieval caravan outpost in the Thar Desert. Exquisite wood and sandstone buildings dot the town and within Jaisalmer Fort are homes, hotels and shops hidden in ancient lane ways.
Today enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the city including the sandstone fort which is an imposing sight, towering magnificently over the city. Later this afternoon we will take you on an exciting camel safari on the Sam sand dunes. The evening is free and at your leisure to enjoy the city on your own.
An interesting drive through increasingly varied scenery takes us to Jodhpur, a town at the edge of the mighty Thar Desert. Dominated by Meherangarh Fort which sits majestically on the hill, Jodhpur is known as the Blue City, due to houses in the old town being painted indigo. We’ll visit the mighty fort and bazaars of the old city which are gathered around the city’s tall clock tower.
Leaving Jodhpur, we drive to Ranakpur, a small town tucked away in a remote valley and famed for its beautiful 14th century Jain temples. We’ll enjoy some exploration here and time to relax at our hotel.
Continuing south, we arrive at Udaipur. An oasis of cool, with its massive lake and Venetian like appearance, Udaipur is one of the most romantic towns in Rajasthan. A favourite amongst travellers, Udaipur is crammed full of palaces and temples. We will have a sunset cruise on Lake Pichola.
This morning enjoy touring the imposing City Palace, a vision in soft yellow stone on the northeast promontory with breathtaking views of the lake. The City Palace is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. We then take you to visit Jagdish Temple and Sahelion ki bari. The rest of the day is free.
Departure transfer to the airport to board a morning flight to Delhi. The afternoon is free for you to relax at the hotel or to head out and further explore Delhi.
Free day at leisure in Delhi.
Today we board the early morning Shatabdi Express train to Kalka and transfer on the Himalayan Queen toy train to Shimla. You will be met upon your arrival in Shimla and transferred to your hotel.
The next two days 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.
Enjoy your final morning in Shimla at leisure. Later today we drive to Kalka railway station to connect with your train for Delhi where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Free day at your leisure.
After breakfast, it is time to bid farewell to Incredible India. We will transfer you to airport in Delhi for your Virgin Atlantic flight at 1315, arriving back into London Heathrow at 1755 on the 30th of March.
Sitting on the edge of the desert and clinging to the side of a small lake, Pushkar is an ancient ...