Experience India’s sacred and religious heritage on our tour of the North's historic highlights. Spanning 2,500 years of monumental architecture, this loop from Delhi across the Gangetic Plains to Varanasi and southern Rajasthan weaves between India’s most iconic temples, palaces and forts, culminating with a stay in the dreamy lakeside city of Udaipur. In the course of a highly varied fortnight you’ll travel in the footsteps of the Buddha, experience the erotic intensity of Khajuraho’s tantric stone carvings and watch the sunrise over the Ganges, as well as seeing the Taj and many other fabulous medieval wonders of Agra, including a couple of rarely visited gems.
Day 1 Delhi
On arrival in Delhi, you’ll be met by your TransIndus team and transferred to the Taj Mahal hotel or similar, where you’ll be staying for two nights. Spend the remainder of the day recovering from your journey with a leisurely swim in the hotel pool, and perhaps a stroll around the local neighbourhood later. In the evening there will be a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 2 Delhi
Explore Delhi on a full day sightseeing tour. Enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride in the bustling lanes of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi followed by a visit to Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India and the Raj Ghat, a memorial built for Mahatma Gandhi, a prominent figure in India’s struggle for freedom. In the afternoon, drive past Lutyen’s New Delhi. Visit the tomb of Humayun and the lofty Qutb Minar, an early Mughal structure made of red sandstone and white marble.
Day 3 Delhi, Varanasi
Take a short flight to Varanasi, one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and, for Hindus, one of the holiest places in India. Stay at The Gateway Hotel or similar for two nights. The afternoon is at leisure. Witness the spectacular Ganga Aarti (spiritual worship) this evening on the ghats of the Ganges river.
Day 4 Varanasi
A peaceful early morning boat ride on the Ganges to see devotees at prayer at the waters’ edge. Visit Sarnath, the site of Buddha’s first public discourse and now home to many magnificent stupas and monasteries. In the afternoon, stop by at one of Varanasi’s famous silk workshops.
Day 5 Varanasi, Khajuraho
Take a midday flight to Khajuraho and transfer to the Radisson Hotel or similar for an overnight stay. Enjoy an afternoon tour of the legendary temples of Khajuraho, renowned for their erotic art.
Day 6 Khajuraho, Orchha, Agra
A morning drive (4 hours) to the unhurried settlement of Orchha to see the 16th century temples and palaces. A short drive to Jhansi, after lunch, to board an express train to Agra, arriving in the evening. Stay at ITC Mughal or similar for two nights.
Day 7 Agra
A half day sightseeing tour of Agra starts with a visit to the Taj Mahal, regarded as one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture. Followed by a visit to the impressive Agra Fort whose buildings, made of red sandstone and marble, are a mix of Hindu and Islamic architecture. Finally, see the ornate tomb of Itamud-ud-Daula. The afternoon is at leisure.
Day 8 Agra, Jaipur
A full day drive to Jaipur (6-7 hours) with a stop at Fatehpur Sikri, the red sandstone city built by Emperor Akbar and abandoned after just 14 years. Closer to Jaipur, stop to see the impressive 9th century AD Chand Baori step well at Abhaneri. Stay at ITC Rajputana or similar for two nights.
Day 9 Jaipur
In the morning, visit the 17th century magnificent hilltop fort of Amber and the sparkling Mirror Palace. In the afternoon, visit the City Palace with its museum and the 18th century Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory. Drive through the busy bazaars for a photo stop at the recently restored Hawa Mahal, one of the most famous buildings in Jaipur.
Day 10 Jaipur, Jodhpur
A long day’s drive today takes you through the heart of Rajasthan to Jodhpur, former capital of the princely state of Marwar, and one of India’s most visually arresting cities. Stay at ITC Welcome or similar for two nights.
Day 11 Jodhpur
Enjoy a half day sightseeing tour of Jodhpur focussed on the majestic Mehrangarh fort. Also visit the Jaswant Thada, a marble cenotaph and take a walk through the Sadar Bazar to see its Clock Tower that dates back to 1912. The afternoon is at leisure. In the evening, enjoy dinner at the residence of a local family. Optional excursion: Camel Cart ride, Osian.
Day 12 Jodhpur, Udaipur
Head to the scenic beauty of the Aravalli Hills and the town of Ranakpur (3 hours) to visit the intricately carved Jain temples before continuing on to Udaipur (3 hours). Stay at The Lalit Laxmi Vilas Palace or similar for two nights.
Day 13 Udaipur
A morning city tour takes in the City Palace, a complex of 11 palaces, all with intricate stone work and interiors featuring glass mirror and ornamental tile. Also visit the gardens of Sahelion Ki Bari, the old city and the Jagdish Temple. The afternoon is at leisure. Optional excursion: Sunset champagne hiking.
Day 14 Udaipur
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
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