Delhi to Kolkata - 15 Days
Take in the highlights of India's Golden Triangle before heading east to the erotic temples of Khajuraho and holy Varanasi. Continue your journey to Bodh Gaya - a pilgrimage site for Hindus and Buddhists, before topping off your stay in the culture capital of Kolkata.
Old Delhi & New
This morning, our welcome meeting takes place. We’ll then embark upon a full day sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi, taking in Jama Masjid - India's oldest and large mosque, Raj Ghat - the burial site of Ghandi and Humayun's Tomb. Tonight, we enjoy a Namaste Dinner at our hotel.
Overnight: Delhi | Breakfast, Dinner
Delhi - Jaipur. This morning we drive to Jaipur, the bustling capital of the state of Rajasthan. After checking into our hotel, we enjoy a tour of the City Palace and Jantar Mantar - an old yet cleverly designed space observatory.
On day 4 early-risers can opt for a morning hot air balloon ride over Jaipur, and sail over hilltop forts, regal palaces, sleepy villages, and stone carved temples. Then we travel beyond Jaipur to the stunning 16th century Amber Fort - a sprawling Rajput creation which hugs the hill on which it was built and overlooks the dusty plains below. We enjoy a jeep ride up to the fort and tour the fort’s well-preserved interior and grounds. Before returning to Jaipur we visit a cotton weaving house to see a demonstration of fabric dyeing and block printing. Spend the evening at leisure.
Overnight: Jaipur | Breakfast x 2
Abhaneri Stepwells & Rural India
Jaipur - Abhaneri - Bharatpur. 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. Then we gain an insight into local village life, visiting Adarsh Vidya Mandir local 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.
Overnight: Bharatpur | Breakfast, Dinner
Bharatpur - Agra. 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. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, who tragically died in childbirth in 1631, the Taj Mahal is described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love and remains one of India’s most enduring symbols.
Overnight: Agra | Breakfast
Orchha - Khajuraho. Travelling south-east we arrive in 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 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.
We will have plenty of time to see the various erotic acts from the famous Kama Sutra depicted on the monolithic Khajuraho temples for ourselves as we explore the site. Adding to the beauty, these amazing temples subtly change hue as the day progresses, passing from a warm pink at sunrise to white under the midday sun and back to pink at sunset.
Overnight: Khajuraho | Breakfast
Khajuraho - Varanasi. We offer a jeep safari in Panna NP this morning, please see our wildlife safari bolt on for details. 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, Varanasi has been a centre of learning for more than 2000 years and it's an important Hindu pilgrimage site.
Overnight: Varanasi | Breakfast
This morning, we enjoy a sunrise boat ride on the holy Ganges River 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, which is different to the dawn ritual.
Overnight: Varanasi | Breakfast
Varanasi to Bodh Gaya
Varanasi - Bodh Gaya. This morning we drive south west to Bodh Gaya, a great centre of pilgrimage for Hindus and Buddhists. According to legend, Lord Vishnu, gave Gaya, a celestial being, the power to absolve sinners and send them to heaven. This belief brings thousands of Hindus here to offer the last rituals for their departed loved ones. Arriving late in the afternoon the remainder of the day is free to spend at leisure.
Overnight: Bodh Gaya | Breakfast
Ahead of us is a full day of sightseeing, including visits to Niranjana River, Sujata Temple and Mahabodhi Temple - one of the most visited places in the Buddhist religion, where Buddha is thought to have attained enlightenment. The sacred texts say that Buddha meditated underneath the Ficus religiosa without moving from his seat for seven days. We also stop in at an International Buddhist Monastery and explore the fascinating Archaeological Museum, which houses collections of sculptures and antiquities.
Overnight: Bodh Gaya | Breakfast
Bodh Gaya - Kolkata. Early this morning we travel by train to Kolkata. Capital of West Bengal, Kolkata is a sophisticated, cultural and friendly city. Arriving late in the afternoon the remainder of the afternoon and evening offer free time. Why not search out a local restaurant to sample the local Benagli cuisine with its subtle yet fiery flavours.
Overnight: Kolkata | Breakfast
Today we enjoy a guided tour of India's culture capital. Our first stop is Victoria Memorial, standing in the heart of the city it is one of Kolkata's most important landmarks and could easily be considered one of India's greatest buildings. We also stop in at Khalighat Temple, located in one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Kolkata, and Mother Teresa’s Ashram Home of Children. Other stops of interest include Park Street Cemetery, St John's Church, the Indian Museum and the extraordinary Marble Palace, which houses paintings by Rubens, Titian and Reynolds.
Overnight: Kolkata | Breakfast
Saturday. Our tour comes to an end this morning after breakfast. A departure transfer will take you to the airport for your onward flight.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates can be guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price.Read More
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.
The Piccadily, Delhi
The grand lobby of the Piccadily is a perfect introduction to this elegant luxury property. Rooms are bright, airy and furnished in a sophisticated and contemporary fashion. Staff are helpful, attentive and go above and beyond to make sure your stay is a memorable and happy one. Dining at popular Zune and contemporary Twenty-9 is highly recommended. Located in the west of town, close to the airport. Access to the rest of the city is very simple with the Janakpuri West Metro station just next door.
Mandawa Haveli, Jaipur
The beautiful heritage style Mandawa Haveli is a fine example of typical Rajasthan architecture - set in terraced gardens with pretty courtyards. All rooms are well appointed with intricately carved wooden beds and king-size royal portraits. An evening spent enjoying a lavish Rajasthani dinner in front of a traditional folk dance is highly recommended. Well located in the heart of Jaipur city on Sansar Chandra Road, just a few minute’s drive from the Palace of the Winds.
Udai Vilas Palace, Bharatpur
Set amongst 2 acres of landscaped gardens, the Udai Vilas Palace is a traditional hotel taking guests back to a bygone era. Guest rooms are spacious and well equipped with comfortable beds and large windows. The hotel is famous for its barbecue nights and Rajasthani Folklore evenings. On an evening why not grab a nice cold beer and sit by the pool - a great way to end the day! Well located near the Bharatpur Bird sanctuary - great for keen twichers!
Seven Hills Tower, Agra
The modern and stylish Seven Hills Tower hotel boasts a range of facilities and services designed to ensure the quality of each traveller's stay. Guests can enjoy a dip in the rooftop pool or laze on the sun loungers before heading to the equally lofty restaurant for some mouth-watering Mughlai cuisine. The spacious guestrooms are elegantly decorated with neutral colours and fabrics covered with traditional patterns and all have excellent ensuite facilities. Why not head to the rooftop pool and al fresco dining area for beautiul views of the Taj - perfect for a sunset drink.
Raj Mahal, Orchha
Recently built, the Raj Mahal is an oasis of elegance and luxury offering high standards of facilities to all its guests. Guest rooms are simply furnished with classic Indian four poster beds. There is an outdoor pool to relax in and the onsite restaurant, Rajsi Bhoj comes with excellent reviews. Why not take a walk along the riverside and see how many different birds you can spot? The accommodation is located a short drive from central Orchha, close to the Betwa River.
Hotel Ramada , Khajuraho
A popular heritage property, the Ramada is smart, modern and elegantly furnished. Rooms are good in size and have marble flooring with beautiful views out of the bay windows on to the stunning landscaped grounds. Guests can relax in the refreshing outdoor pool and sip a tasty beverage at sunset from the master cocktail makers at the bar. Very well located just a short walk to the fantastic erotic temples of Khajuraho.
Surya Hotel, Varanasi
Originally an ancient Nepali King's Palace, the Surya Hotel has been beautifully restored to its former glory. Guest rooms are classically furnished with excellent amenities and beautiful European-style bathrooms. Meals are served in the Canton Royale Restaurant which serves up a delicious array of Indian and International cuisine. Those wanting a nice drink should head to Sol Bar for cocktails and other assorted beverages. Well located in the north of Varanasi.
Hotel Taj Darbar, Bodh Gaya
In the holy town of Bodh Gaya sits the Taj Darbar. Guest rooms are very spacious with modern facilities including air conditioning and marble flooring. The hotel offers a multi cuisine restaurant serving an array of Indian and continental dishes. Wi-Fi is available throughout the property and there is a well maintained garden to wander through.
The Peerless Inn, Kolkata
Located in the heart of Kolkata, the Peerlees Inn is the perfect mix of warm and friendly service with excellent facilities offering modern comfort. The homely rooms have large windows overlooking the city streets with the conveniences you'd expect of a 4 star hotel. Authentic Bengali cuisine can be enjoyed at the Aaheli restaurant with international cuisine served at the Oceanic restaurant. Those with a sweet tooth can head to the Tea Lounge for mouthwatering pastries, chocolates and cookies. The Peerless Inn on Chowringhee is in Kolkata's city centre. It is close to Eden Gardens, New Market and the Victoria Memorial.
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