Combining an intoxicating mix of culture, incredible wildlife, exceptional sights and unsurpassed scenery, Highway to Himalayas is our definitive group tour of the north India and neighbouring Nepal. Explore India's Golden Triangle, holy Varanasi, Chitwan National Park, captivating Kathmandu and more, in 16 days.
Please note the itinerary listed online only applies to bookings from 1st October 2019. For any bookings travelling prior to this, an alternative itinerary will apply. Please ask our reservations team for further details.
Our Welcome Meeting takes place this morning before we enjoy a day of guided sightseeing in India’s capital. In Old Delhi we visit Humayun’s Tomb and Jama Masjid - India’s largest and oldest mosque. We also see the site of Gandhi’s cremation at Raj Ghat and enjoy a thrilling rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk bazaar, one of the oldest markets in the city. In New Delhi we’ll stroll down the ceremonial Rajpath and see the India Gate monument. We enjoy a delicious Namaste dinner at the hotel this evening.
Overnight: Delhi | Breakfast, Dinner
Delhi - Jaipur. Today we drive to the UNESCO-listed Pink City of Jaipur. Enjoy a guided tour of the beautiful City Palace and the Jantar Mantar space observatory - a collection of 19 separate astrological instruments.
Early on day 4 you may opt to join our Balloon Over Jaipur add-on and sail over lofty palaces, temples and fortresses in a hot air balloon. Later, we visit the striking 16th century Amber Fort, which we reach by jeep. Enjoy a tour of this well preserved site, spread out over four levels and built on the shore of shimmering Maota Lake. On our way back to Jaipur we stop at a local cotton weaving house and a tailor shop. Here you may wish to have traditional Rajasthani garments created to your specification for an excellent price. These will be delivered to our hotel before we leave.
Overnight: Jaipur | Breakfast x 2
Chand Baori & Keoladeo Ghana National Park
Jaipur - Abhaneri - Bharatpur. Say goodbye to Jaipur today as we travel to the village of Abhaneri to see the famous Chand Baori step well. This 13 story well is the deepest of its kind in the world and has 3,500 steps that lead down to the waters edge. It also famously featured in the blockbuster film ‘Batman: The Dark Knight Rises’.
After our visit we continue to a local school (if open) to meet the pupils and teachers. We operate our Change for Children programme here and any donations you make will be greatly appreciated. You may also wish to bring some educational gifts from home to donate to the school (see trip notes). We then arrive at our hotel in Bharatpur and enjoy a visit to Keoladeo Ghana National Park. Enjoy a bicycle rickshaw ride around this important wetland reserve and keen bird-watchers can enjoy spotting some of the hundreds of bird species which inhabit the park. A knowledgeable guide will accompany us to identify the species we manage to spot.
Overnight: Bharatpur | Breakfast, Dinner
Bharatpur - Agra. This morning we explore the former Mughal capital city of Fatehpur Sikri. The city was abandoned more than 400 years ago due to a lack of water but remains fantastically preserved. Continue to Agra, where we explore the impressive Agra Fort and enjoy a tour of India’s most iconic site, the legendary Taj Mahal. This famous white mausoleum was built in the 17th century under the orders of Emperor Shah Jahan. It stands as a perfect and extravagant memorial to his beloved wife who tragically passed away. We enjoy a beautiful sunset at this wonderful site.
Overnight: Agra | Breakfast
Agra – Lucknow. This morning we depart for Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh. Boasting beautiful British Raj-era architecture as well as fantastic examples of Islamic art and design, Lucknow is an enigmatic city steeped in history. This afternoon we’ll tour the highlights of a city which first gained importance in 1528 with its capture by Babur, the first Mughal ruler of India. Our first stop will be to the Chota Imambara, one of the most intricate and exquisite buildings in Lucknow, it was built as a congregation hall for Shia Muslims and today houses the tombs of Muhammed Ali Shah and his family. Our next stop is the Rumi Darwaza, often referred to as the Turkish Gate. This imposing gate is a busy route through the city. We finish the day at Bara Imambara, this impressive complex was built in the 1780’s and houses a mosque, a step well and a maze of corridors.
Overnight: Lucknow | Breakfast
Today we further explore the city of Lucknow, heading first for La Martiniere college. The college was established in 1845 from instructions in the will of Major General Claude Martin, who left a large endowment for its construction and upkeep. Today, it educates upwards of 6,000 pupils at one time and the Constantia building has been described as ‘perhaps the best-preserved colonial building in Lucknow’. Later we’ll visit the remains of two British Raj-era buildings, Dilkusha Palace and the British Residency, both of which were shelled during the 1857 siege of Lucknow and today lay in ruins. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to further explore Lucknow.
Overnight: Lucknow | Breakfast
Lucknow – Varanassi. Today we drive from Lucknow to Varanasi, one of the oldest and holiest cities on Earth. The city is also an important Hindu pilgrimage site, set on the banks of the River Ganges.
Varanasi is perhaps the holiest city in India, known as Benares or the city of Shiva, it 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 magical sunrise boat ride on the holy Ganges. Watch the ancient religious tradition of ritual cleansing that takes place on the riverside ghats (steps). Afterwards we enjoy a tour of Varanasi’s highlights and you may wish to revisit the ghats this evening, when the ritual is different to the morning.
Overnight: Varanasi | Breakfast
Today we enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of delightful Kathmandu. We’ll visit the riverside Pashupatinath Temple and Swayambhunath Pagoda. The pagoda is perched on a hill-top with a stunning birds eye view of Kathmandu below. Continue to the colossal Bodhnath and Durbar Square in the heart of the city. The square is home to more than 50 temples and shrines that you may wish to visit.
After the tour there is free time to relax or explore at leisure. Perhaps discover one of Kathmandu’s vibrant markets - the Ason and Mangal bazaars both offer a vibrant atmosphere and a variety of gifts, spices and street food.
Overnight: Kathmandu | Breakfast
Kathmandu - Chitwan National Park. On day 13 we drive to Chitwan National Park, one of the most biodiverse wildlife reserves in Asia. The park is home to many iconic and rare species including Bengal Tigers, leopards, elephants, sloth bears and the Indian rhino. There is also a population of the critically endangered gharial (crocodile) and a vulture breeding centre for the critically endangered Oriental white-backed vulture and the Slender-billed vulture.
This huge level of biodiversity makes the park extremely popular with visitors and we will have a good chance of seeing some of this wildlife over the next two days as we explore the park on game drives, jungle walks, bird-spotting trips and canoeing excursions.
Overnight: Chitwan National Park | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Chitwan National Park - Kathmandu. Enjoy a final morning of wildlife spotting in the park before we return to Kathmandu. The last evening of our tour is free for you to relax or explore at leisure. Return to Durbar Square, which comes to life in the evening or do some last minute souvenir shopping.
Overnight: Kathmandu | Breakfast
Sunday. Today marks the end of our tour. We will transfer you to the airport for your onward flight.
Note: Whilst in Kathmandu you can opt to take an early morning scenic flight over the Himalayas. The scenic flight, which is offered by several companies, provides spectacular views of a seeming endless chain of snow capped peaks, as you fly above the clouds, over glaciers and lakes, rivers, gorges and see the world’s highest and most enigmatic mountain - Mt Everest. The flight will be offered on the morning of day 13 or day 16, subject to availability.
Discover Golden Amritsar
Discover beautiful Amritsar on our 3 day/2 night Golden Amritsar bolt-on. Home to the world famous Golden Temple and the seat of the Sikh religion. Built in 1803 and made of marble, copper and pure leaf gold, the temple is an amazing architectural feat. During your stay, we watch the sunset spectacle at the Wagah Border - the only road crossing between India and Pakistan where the fascinating changing of the guards and ceremonial lowering of the flags take place with great pomp to a cheering crowd of thousands.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. Prices shown are per person when there are 2 persons sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the per person 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.
Vivanta by Taj Dwarka, Delhi
Vivanta by Taj Dwarka is a modern, luxury hotel located in Dwarka, on the outskirts of New Delhi, just a 15-minute drive from the airport. Spread over 7 acres, this striking hotel has a unique angular design and offers 250 luxurious rooms and suites. All tastes are catered for at the hotel's multi-cuisine restaurant, while the Indus Express restaurant serves mouth-watering Punjabi cuisine. Head to the popular Tipple bar for a delicious array of heady cocktails or relax by the poolside with a refreshing smoothie from the Celsuis Pool Bar. The nearby Sector 21 Metro station provides direct access to the heart of the city and after a day of sightseeing you can cool off with a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool or relax in the sauna and massage parlour.
Crowne Plaza New Delhi Rohini, Delhi
Located just footsteps from the nearest metro station, the Crowne Plaza New Delhi offers a beautiful blend of contemporary facilities and warm Indian hospitality. Each en-suite guestroom features traditional wood furnishings and a minibar, free WiFi and a flat screen TV. Guests can unwind in the Adya Spa which features a mix of Asian and European therapies or take a swim in the outdoor pool to escape the heat. The hotel prides itself on its range of dining options including the Spice Art restaurant, which serves delicious North Indian cuisine, and Moasic, where you’ll find a range of international dishes.
Mandawa Haveli, Jaipur
Made of pink and red sandstone, the beautiful heritage-style Mandawa Haveli is a fine example of typical Rajasthani architecture. All rooms are well appointed with intricately carved wooden beds and king-size royal portraits, with modern amenities such as free WiFi and ensuite bathrooms. Spend an evening dining on continental, Indian or Rajasthani cuisine on the outdoor terrace or request a private, candlelit dinner on the rooftop under a star-studded sky. Well located in the heart of Jaipur city on Sansar Chandra Road, this hotel is 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 located right in the heart of Bharatpur city. 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, where you will be enthralled by traditional music and dance performances. Keoladeo National Park, one of the most well-known bird sanctuaries in India, is also just a five-minute drive away.
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. The spacious guestrooms are elegantly decorated with neutral colours and fabrics covered with traditional patterns and all have excellent ensuite facilities. 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 al fresco dining area offers beautiul views of the Taj Mahal, perfect for enjoying a sunset drink.
Surya Hotel, Varanasi
Originally built in 1818 as an ancient Nepali King's Palace, the Surya Hotel has been beautifully restored to its former glory. Guestrooms 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 refreshing drink should head to the Sol Bar for cocktails, beers and other beverages. The hotel also offers traditional Henna tattoos and Indian handicrafts to purchase.
Hotel Shankar, Kathmandu
This 19th century palace was the former home of the rulers of Nepal from 1894 to 1964. Now a luxury heritage hotel, the facade still reflects its historic grandeur, whilst the guestrooms have been redesigned to give travellers the comforts you’d expect of a modern hotel. Dining options include a number of in-house restaurants where you’ll find Nepalese, Asian and continental cuisine. Alternatively, you can head to the Kunti Bar or Poolside Bar for a drink or two in the evening.
Machan Country Villa, Chitwan National Park
Machan Country Villa is designed in the style of a traditional Tharu village. Guests are accommodated in the 6 thatched cottages and 10 rooms in the Long House, which are all comfortably furnished with modern amenities including air conditioning. The hotel has a lovely bar and restaurant serving up a whole host of Nepali, Pan Asian and Continental cuisine. All food is sourced locally ensuring that every meal is perfectly fresh and of the highest quality whilst supporting the local community. Perhaps rise early for a sunrise breakfast or enjoy a sunset BBQ in the hotel’s garden. The property is ideally located near the Chitwan National Park.
Enhance your trip with these amazing added extras and add-ons
This tour covered India and Nepal. For India our tour guide was Satendra, but for Nepal, it was an independent tour guide named Sudha. Both guides were great
Just a few comments.
a) For Varanasi, a different hotel other than the Surya Hotel, should be chosen. The main complaint about this hotel is the mosquitoes at this time of year.”