Varanasi Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF INDIA 2835

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The grand entrance into Delhi's famous Red Fort

Day 1: Delhi

Welcome to India! You will be met upon arrival in Delhi and transferred to your hotel.

India Gate

Day 2: Delhi

Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Old Delhi this morning, taking in the Red Fort, Jama Masjid mosque and the bazaars of Chandni Chowk. This afternoon, enjoy a tour of New Delhi, designed by the eminent Sir Edward Lutyens. Highlights include the India Gate, Rajpath and bustling Connaught Place. A visit is also made to Qutab Minar, essentially a massive tower built to proclaim the arrival of Islam in the 11th century.

The lofty Red Fort in Delhi

Day 3: Delhi - Agra

Today we drive onto Agra. Home of the legendary Taj Mahal, constructed entirely of white marble and inlaid with semi-precious stones, the Taj Mahal has no peer and has been described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love, this fine example of Mughal architecture was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved second wife-Mumtaz Mahal, who died tragically during childbirth. At sunset we visit the Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal & camels

Day 4: Agra

This morning we visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Later we continue onto visit the colossal 15th century Agra Fort, Itmad ud dulla which is known as Baby Taj, Rambagh Garden, Chini ka Roza.

The sunsets over the Mosque in the Taj complex

Day 5: Agra

Today enjoy a day tour to visit Sikandra.

A Parakeet that has made Agra Fort it's home.

Day 6: Agra - Ranthambhore NP

Today we drive onto Ranthambore. Enroute we visit the Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, abandoned due to lack of water.

Tiger pug marks in the sand in Ranthambore National Park

Day 7: Ranthambhore NP

Ranthambore National Park is one of the prime examples of Project Tiger's conservation efforts in Rajasthan. Today we enjoy both morning and evening game drives in an exclusive (if not available then shared) jeep with some time to relax during the day.

Antelope

Day 8: Ranthambhore NP - Jaipur

Enjoy a morning game drive in an exclusive (if not available then shared) jeep before we transfer you approx. 6 hours onto Jaipur.

Jantar Mantar Observatory in Jaipur

Day 9: Jaipur

Today take a stately elephant ride (subject to availability) to the 15th Century Amber Fort and then continue on to visit Aram Bagh, Kesar Kyari Bagh (view only) and Dilaram Bagh. This aftenoon enjoy a city tour of the City Palace, followed by a visit to the Jantar Mantar space observatory. Don’t miss the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) with its incredible façade of balconies.

The steps up to the magnificent Amber Fort

Day 10: Jaipur

Happy Diwali! Today is a free day for you to relax and enjoy the Diwali celebrations. Of all the festivals celebrated in India, Diwali is by far the most glamorous and important. The festival ignites an overwhelming sense of goodwill and bonhomie across the nation, as families and friends come together to light oil lamps, exchange sweets, presents and to set off fireworks. Believing in good luck and good fortune associated with the event most Indian business communities also choose to start their financial year on the first day of Diwali. This evening we visit on the famous temples in Jaipur.

An elephant ride through the gates of Amber Fort

Day 11: Jaipur - Mandawa

Today we will transfer you approx. 4 hours to Mandawa with the remainder of the day free. The small towns in this Shekwhawati 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.

Vishnu & Shiva frescoes

Day 12: Mandawa - Bikaner

Travelling on to 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. Within these walls are havelis, artisan shops and people going about their daily lives. We also visit the spectacular Junagarh Fort and museum, built between 1587 and 1593 during the rule of Rai Singh.

Indian Ladies in the Thar Desert

Day 13: Bikaner - Jaisalmer

Driving through the Rajasthani Thar desert we arrive at the medieval caravan outpost of Jaisalmer, one of the jewels in India’s crown. The rest of the day is free to relax.

Camels in the desert

Day 14: Jaisalmer

Exquisite wood and sandstone buildings dot the town and within Jaisalmer Fort are homes, hotels and shops hidden away in ancient lanes. During our stay in this stunning Rajasthani fortress town we’ll enjoy some touring plus a desert camel safari on the rolling sand dunes.

Temple carving detail

Day 15: Jaisalmer - Jodhpur

This morning we drive to Jodhpur, a charming town located on the eastern edge of the Thar Desert.

A local girl in the Blue City of Jodhpur

Day 16: Jodhpur

Dubbed the Blue City due to the distinctive colour of its old town houses, the city is dominated by the grand Meherangarh Fort which sits on a hilltop within the ancient walls of the old city. We’ll enjoy sightseeing in this colourful city, taking in the mighty for and bazaars of the old city which are gathered around the city’s tall clock tower.

People outside the Meheranga Fort in Jodhpur

Day 17: Jodhpur - Udaipur

Today we will transfer you approx. 6 hours to Udaipur. Enroute we visit Ranakpur, a small town tucked away in a remote valley and famed for its beautiful 14th century Jain temples. We then continue onto Udaipur.

Maharaja City Palace

Day 18: 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. This morning enjoy touring of the imposing City Palace, marvel at the architecture of the Jagdish Temple and Sahelion ki bari Garden. This afternoon enjoy a cruise on Lake Pichola in a private boat.

Jagdish Temple

Day 19: Udaipur - Shahpura

Today we will transfer you approx. 4 hours to Shahpura our halfway point onto Ranthambhore. This afternoon is free for you to relax or explore the nearby villages independently.

Days 20-21: Shahpura - Pushkar

Travelling onto Pushkar with the remainder of the next two days free to experience the Pushkar Festival! Once a year this sleepy lakeside town erupts into a frenzy of activity, as hundreds of thousands of cattle traders, pilgrims, breeders, herdsmen, farmers and travellers descend upon the town for the annual Pushkar Camel Fair.

Lakshmi Narayan Temple

Day 22: Pushkar - Delhi

Today we drive onto Ajmer; an oasis surrounded by green hills. Here enjoy a short tour before we transfer you to the train station for your train departing approx. 15:45 to Delhi arriving approx. 23:00. Upon arrival we will be there to pick you up and transfer you to your hotel for the night.

Raj Ghat

Day 23: Delhi - Varanasi

Today we will transfer you to the airport for your flight to Varanasi. This evening we visit the Ganges to witness the Aarti ceremony.

Varanasi Ghats

Day 24: Varanasi

Abundant with temples and a labyrinth of streets, Varanasi is exciting, enticing and a city not to be missed. Early this morning we enjoy a boat ride on the River Ganges to view the sunrise and the ancient religious tradition of ritual cleansing that takes place on the ghats (riverside steps). Enjoy a tour of the city, with its numerous temples and wonderful historic feel including a visit to the Banaras Hindu University and New Vishwanath temple. This afternoon we will visit Sarnath.

Bathers in the morning

Day 25: Varanasi - Khajuraho

Today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Khajuraho. Later we visit the famous chandela temples. Khajuraho which is renowned for its magnificent Hindu and Jain temples which were built during the Chandela dynasty from 950-1050 AD. The intricate stone carved temples are famous for their erotic sculptures, although why they were built still remains a mystery. In fact the Chandelas appear to have forgotten about the temples soon after they were completed and it wasn't until they were rediscovered by the British that these exquisite masterpieces were fully appreciated in India.

The magnificent erotic temples of Khajuraho

Day 26: Khajuraho - Orchha

Travelling north-west onto Orchha. Situated on the banks of the River Betwa, Orchha is set amongst a wonderful complex of well-preserved 16th century temples and palaces. This afternoon enjoy a sightseeing tour of Orchha.

Jehnagir Mahal

Day 27: Orchha - Delhi

Today there is free time for you to relax or explore independently before we transfer you to the Jhansi train station for your train departing approx. 17:45 to Delhi arriving approx. 22:50. Upon arrival we will be there to pick you up and transfer you to your hotel for the night.

Orchha Temple

Day 28: Delhi - Amritsar

Today we will transfer to you to the airport for your flight to Amritsar. Upon arrival we will be there to pick you up and transfer you to your hotel.

The temple at night

Day 29: Amritsar

This morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of the historic Amritsar, including the Golden Temple and Jallianwala Bagh. Amritsar’s main attraction - the beautiful Golden Temple, is made of white marble, bronze and gold leaf. 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.

Amritsar smile

Day 30: Amritsar - Chandigarh

Today we drive approx. 5 hours onto Chandigarh. Upon arrival visit (without guide) to the famous Rock garden, Rose Garden and Capital Complex (view from outside).

Rose garden

Day 31: Chandigarh - Shimla

Today we continue on our drive approx. 4 hours to Shimla with the remainder of the day free.

Anarkanda

Day 32: Shimla

This morning enjoy a half day city sightseeing tour including Jhaku Temple, Viceregal Lodge and State Museum. This afternoon enjoy a heritage walk of the town. The ‘summer capital’ of British India sprawls along a crescent-shaped ridge at an altitude of over 2100m in southern Himachal Pradesh. This was the most important hill station in India before Independence. The famous main street, The Mall, still runs along the crest of the ridge and is lined with stately English-looking houses. Christ Church, Gorton Castle and thefortress-like former Viceroyal Lodge reinforce the English favour.

Shimla main street

Day 33: Shimla - Delhi

Today you will be transferred to the train station for catch the Himalayan Queen Toy Train (non-air-conditioned) departing approx. 10:30 to Kandaghat. Upon arrival at Kandaghat station at approx. 12:35 we will be there to pick you up and transfer you to Kalka station for your next train departing approx. 17:30 to Delhi arriving approx. 21:40. Upon arrival we will be there to meet you and transfer you to your hotel for the night.

Shimla aerial view

Day 34: Delhi

This morning enjoy a visit to the Lotus Temple (Bahai Temple) and Akshardham Temple. The afternoon is free for you to relax or perhaps to do that last minute souvenir shopping.

Flower stall

Day 35: Delhi

Sadly your last day with us with your departure airport transfer.

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last updated - 25 Dec 2014 3:31 AM