Arrive in Delhi, India’s bustling capital city. You will be greeted with a traditional Indian welcome and escorted to your hotel. New Delhi reflects the legacy left behind by the British. The division between New and Old Delhi is the segregation between the capitals of the British and Mughals.
DAY 2 – OLD & NEW DELHI TOURING"
Tour Old and New Delhi includes the exquisite audience halls, marble domes and slender minarets of the Jama Masjid, Mahatma Gandhi Memorial at Raj Ghat, Ashoka Pillar and the famous Chandani Chowk Bazaars, once the royal Mughal shopping arcade. Drive along Rajpath to photograph the Parliament House, President’s Palace and India Gate, a memorial to India’s soldiers. Tour Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, one of the most popular places of worship for Sikhs built at the site of a house where Guru Harkishen Dev, eighth guru, stayed when visiting Delhi. Continue to Humayun’s Tomb, one of the most spectacular Mughal buildings. The mausoleum is known as the precursor to the Taj Mahal. Proceed to Qutab Minar and ruins of the Hindu temples destroyed during the Qutabshahi period.
DAY 3 – DELHI / UDAIPUR"
Udaipur was founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1599. Developed strategically, the old city was surrounded by fortified bastions with access through eleven gates.
Tour the City Palace with its scalloped arches, fretted balconies and cupolas; Saheliyon ki Bari or Garden of Maids and Folklore Museum to see a presentation of a string puppet show indigenous to this region.
DAY 4 – RANAKPUR TEMPLES"
After breakfast, see the fabulous 500 year old marble Jain temple of Ranakpur, the most spectacular of the Jain temples. The temple, with its distinctive domes, shikhara, turrets and cupolas rises majestically from the slope of a hill. Over 1444 marble pillars, carved in exquisite detail, support the temple. The pillars are all differently carved and no two pillars are the same. The temple is designed facing the four cardinal directions and hence the cosmos.
DAY 5 – UDAIPUR / JAIPUR"
Fly to Jaipur, the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan in Northern India, owing its name, foundations and careful planning, to the great warrior Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. Founded in 1727, the city today has a population of 3.1 million. Jaipur is known as the Pink City of India.
DAY 6 – AMBER FORT EXCURSION"
Visit the ancient capital of Amber, ascending the Palace Fortress on a gaily-caparisoned elephant. Tour the intricate chambers and hallways of the palace. En route to Amber, photograph the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), built in 1799 AD.
DAY 7 – JAIPUR / AGRA"
After breakfast, travel overland to Agra via Fatehpur Sikri. Built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory) was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only some 10 years. The complex of monuments and temples, all in a uniform architectural style, includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid.
The Taj Mahal, “crown of palaces” is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. Taj Mahal is regarded by many as the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architectural styles.
DAY 8 – AGRA / JHANSI / ORCHHA / KHAJURAHO"
Morning, board an express train to Jhansi. Drive to Orchha, once the capital of the formidable Bundela kings who ruled over a large tract between the Ganga and Narmada rivers. Visit the fort complex housing palaces, temples, cenotaphs and memorials. Raj Mahal or King’s Palace was built by King Madhukar Shah, a contemporary of Emperor Akbar. Jahangir Mahal was constructed by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo in 1606 to commemorate Emperor Jahangir’s visit. Chaturbhuj and Laxmi Narayan temples are some of the other religious attractions in Orchha.
Continue to Khajuraho, India’s unique gift to the world. Of the original 85 temples, 22 survive, enthralling visitors from all over the world. Tour the principal Eastern Group of Temples to see the exquisitely carved sculptures.
DAY 9– KHAJURAHO / VARANASI"
Morning, visit the Western Group of Temples, the largest and loveliest temples including Kandariya Mahadev, Chandela art at its best with intricately carved erotic figures, representing life in heaven. Later, a short flight brings you to Varanasi, a city that cannot be described but only experienced. This religious city is crowded with temples, and its labyrinth of streets with their throngs of people is exciting and enticing. This afternoon’s tour includes an excursion to Sarnath, where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon, after enlightenment. Here he revealed the eight-fold path, Buddhist doctrine. Visit the museum, many stupas, ruins and Mulagandhakuti Vihara containing relics found during the early excavations.
DAY 12 – VARANASI / KATHMANDU"
An early morning boat ride on the River Ganges presents an incredible scene to witness multitudes of Hindus absolving themselves of sin. Fly to Kathmandu, the capital of the Kingdom of Nepal. Embark on a city tour, which includes the Durbar Square with its pagoda-shaped temples, bazaars and the Royal Residential Palace, Temple of the Living Goddess Kumari, worshiped as a deity by devout Nepalese. Bodhnath, home of the largest Buddhist stupa in the world and Pashupatinath, the most sacred Lord Shiva’s shrine in Nepal on the banks of the Bagmati River.
DAY 10 – KATHMANDU"
After breakfast embark on a city tour of the Durbar Square with its pagoda shaped temples, bazaars, Royal Residential Palace, Temple of the Living Goddess Kumari, worshiped as a deity by all devout Nepalese. Proceed to Bodhnath, home to the largest Buddhist stupa in the world and Pashupatinath, most sacred Lord Shiva’s shrine in Nepal. This afternoon’s excursion is to Patan, the city of beauty with its many palaces and temples embellished with intricately carved gods and goddesses in erotic poses.
DAY 11 – KATHMANDU / DELHI"
Early morning, enjoy a Mount Everest flight to view the magnificent Himalayas (Mount Everest will be observed, weather permitting).
Afternoon, fly to Delhi to connect with your international flight departing for home filled with memories of India and Nepal.