• Varanasi Shoreline

Grand Tour of Northern India

This extraordinary tour doesn't leave any stone unturned. You'll see all of northern India's famous sights, palaces and temples, take in the natural scenery and local life on a boat tour, stop at a beautiful Ghost City and visit a tribal village for a glimpse into their distinctive way of life.

Duration
15 days

Guide Price

£4,099 pp
Options
Private basis, Escorted
Start your journey
Humayun's Tomb

Trip highlights

  • Exploring Delhi's temples and mosques
  • Visiting Udaipur's City Palace
  • Travelling on Lake Pichola in a boat
  • Varanasi and the Ganges
  • Jaipur's romantic palaces
  • Witnessing the splendour of the Taj Mahal

Meet and transfer to your Delhi hotel for an overnight stay. Your first day will be spent at your leisure.

After breakfast enjoy a sightseeing tour of New and Old Delhi. In New Delhi, see the 12th century Qutab Minar, a 234 foot gracefully hand-carved monument, and the mausoleum of Emperor Humayun. See the imposing modern Lakshminarayan temple, drive past the India Gate (a war memorial dedicated to the lives laid down by Indian soldiers) and see the President's residence, parliament house and the secretariat buildings - a blend of Victorian and 20th century architecture. You will also visit the ancestor property to the Taj Mahal, Humayun's Tomb. It was built in 1565 AD by the widow of the second Mughal emperor Haji Begum. In the vicinity of Humayun's Tomb is the grave of Delhi's most revered Sufi Saint, Hazrat Nizamuddin. Humayun's Tomb is a garden tomb and stands as a high point of early Mughal architecture. The gardens of the Humayun's Tomb have recently been restored and revitalised to their former glory by the Aga Khan Foundation for Culture. Old Delhi is the 300 year old walled city built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jehan in 1648 as his capital. You will drive past the Red Fort from where the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation on India's Independence Day. You will also visit Jama Masjid, the most elegant mosque in India, the Raj Ghat (memorial to Mahatma Gandhi) and Jama Masjid - the largest mosque in India. Enjoy a rickshaw ride through Chandi Chowk, once an imperial avenue of Mughal Royalty and today a busy commercial area and oriental bazaar.

Overnight in Delhi for two nights, why not upgrade to The Leela Palace New Delhi to enjoy pure luxury.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Taj Palace, New Delhi or similar

After a morning at leisure, transfer to Delhi airport to board your flight to Udaipur. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

The following morning enjoy city tour of Udaipur City Palace, built in 1725, which houses the Dilkhush Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Moti Mahal, and the Palace of Lord Krishna, all of which are ornately decorated. Later, visit the Jagdish Temple, built in 1651 and dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the preserver in the Hindu Trinity of Gods. En route stop at the Sahelion Ki Bari gardens and fountains, and drive around the Fatehsagar Lake. In late afternoon enjoy a boat ride on beautiful Lake Pichola, surrounded by hills, palaces, temples, bathing ghats, and embankments. Visit the island palace Jag Niwas which is beautifully set in the lake. (Boat ride is subject to water levels in the lake).

Overnight in Udaipur for two nights.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Trident or superior

Travel to Jodhpur (approx. 6 hrs). En route visit the 15th century Jain temples of Ranakpur, situated in the picturesque Aravali Valley. The town is named after Rana Khumba, the legendary warrior king of Udaipur. It's surroundings are peaceful and picturesque. These grand temples have beautiful sculptures, there are 1,444 pillars in the main temple and no two of them are alike. Visit Surya Temple and other Jain temples a little distance away. Later, drive to Jodhpur and the rest of the day is at leisure.

Enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of Jodhpur, visiting the Mehrangarh Fort and its magnificent palaces. Situated on a hill, this is one of the most impressive and formidable structures in Rajasthan. Later visit the Jaswant Thada, a cluster of royal cenotaphs in white marble built in 1899 AD in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh-II. This afternoon spend time in a Bishnoi village where the 450 year old Bishnoi tribe has a distinctive way of life. They are environmentalists in the fundamental sense, preserving the wilds in scientific and logical routines evolved over the centuries of living with nature by nature. See the village huts with their smooth mud floors, witness an opium ceremony, and see brightly attired men and women carrying out their chores and customs.

As the shadows lengthen, the sun casts a golden glow on the sands. Driving across this mystic horizon, keep your eyes peeled for the agile black buck, wild camels, and rare birds.

Overnight in Jodhpur for two nights.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Vivanta by Taj Hari Mahal or similar

This morning enjoy a drive to Jaipur (approx. 6 hrs). On arrival, check in to your hotel where you will stay for two nights.

After breakfast, depart for an excursion of Amber Fort, a classic and romantic Rajasthani Palace. The rugged, aged walls of the Fort may not look beautiful from the outside, but the interior is stunning. They have miniatures painted on the walls to portray hunting and war scenes, and precious stones and mirror are embedded into the plaster. En route briefly stop at Hawa Mahal (The Palace of Winds) for some photos. In the afternoon enjoy a sightseeing tour of Jaipur city visiting Maharaja’s City Palace which was the former Royal residence. A small portion is still used by the royal family of Jaipur and a part as a popular museum.

Later, visit the Jantar Mantar, which is the largest stone and marble crafted observatory in the world. After, take a Rickshaw Ride in the local market to feel the pulse of Rajasthan.

Overnight in Jaipur for two nights. 

Suggested Accommodation

  • ITC Raputana or similar

This morning leave for Agra (approx 5.5 hours). Travel via the deserted 'Ghost City' of Fatehpur Sikri, built in 1569 and used as the capital for 14 years. Visit the remarkably well preserved grand buildings and graceful palaces to relive the splendour of the Moghul empire at the height of its power.

After breakfast leave for Agra visiting Fatehpur Sikri en route (5-6 hours drive in total). The deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri was built by Emperor Akbar in 1569, in honour of the great Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti, who blessed Akbar and prophesized the birth of three sons to the heirless Emperor. Akbar used Fatehpur Sikri as his capital and the city was fully occupied for 14 years but slowly became deserted and ruined after Akbar left the city. Scarcity of water was the prime factor for the abandonment of this beautiful city. Visit the remarkably well-preserved, graceful buildings within the 'Ghost City' including the Jama Masjid, tomb of Salim Chisti, Panch Mahal Palace and other palaces that speak of the grandeur and splendour of the Mughal empire at the height of its power.

Overnight in Agra. 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Jaypee Palace or similar

Visit the world famous Taj Mahal, built by Shah Jahan in 1560 in memory of his queen Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains. This architectural marvel took 17 years to complete. Later visit Agra Fort. Behind its forbidding red sandstone battlements lie palaces that tell the story of the Moghul Empire. (Please note: Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays).

Overnight at hotel.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Jaypee Palace or similar

This morning transfer to Agra railway station to board the train for Jhansi (approx 2.5 hours).

On arrival you will be met and continue your journey onto Khajuraho.Enroute stop at Orchha where you will see the palaces and temples of this medieval township built by its Bundela rulers in 16th and 17th century. The Jehangir Mahal was built in the 17th century by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo to commemorate the visit of Emperor Jehangir to Orchha. Its strong lines are counterbalanced by delicate chhatris and trellis work.

The Raj Mahal has a plain exterior crowned by chhatries, but the interior has exquisite, colourful murals on religious themes. The Ram Raja Temple is very unusual as it is a palace turned temple, and where Rama is worshipped as a Raja (king). The Laxminarayan Temple is linked by a flagstone path to the Ram Raja Temple. The interiors contain the most exquisite of Orchha’s wall paintings. Later continure your drive to Khajuraho (3 hours from Orchha) and check into your hotel. Khajuraho was the capital of the Chandela kings and its exquisite temples were built from 950-1050 AD. They are adorned with hundreds of sculptured figures—gods and goddesses, beasts and serpents, and intimate sculptures.

Overnight in Khajuraho.

Suggested Accommodation

  • The Lalit Khajuraho or similar

This morning visit Khajuraho's impressive Western Temples, including the most important—the Kandariya Mahadeo Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the largest and most typical of the Khajuraho temples. Visit the Chausat Yogini Jain Temple dedicated to the 64 'Yoginis' or attendants of Goddess Kali. The temple stands away from all of the others. In the afternoon transfer to Khajuraho airport to board your flight to Varanasi (approx. 1 hour). Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. In the evening visit the Ganges to witness the traditional and beautiful Aarti ceremony.

Overnight in Varansi.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Taj Gateway or similar

Enjoy an early morning boat ride on the great Ganges River. An unforgettable experience seeing the bathing and cremation sites. After the boat ride take a small walking tour through narrow lanes of Varanasi passing by Vishwanath temple – also called 'The Golden temple' because of the gold plating on its roof and Durga temple. (Non-Hindus are not allowed in the temple).

Later return to the hotel for breakfast. After breakfast you will take an excursion to Sarnath, six miles away where Buddha preached his first sermon. The Dhamek Stupa marks the location of a once resplendent monastery, a large complex of ruined monasteries covers the area north of the stupas, with some of the buildings belong to the Kushan and Gupta period. The first monk communities probably settled here in the 3rd century BC. Near the Dhamek Stupa is a new Monastery built by the Buddhist Mahabodhi Society. The major events of Buddha’s life are depicted here in wall paintings by a Japanese artist. Sarnath has an interesting archaeological Museum which has preserved the famous Sarnath pillar whose capital forms India’s national emblem. Return to the hotel and the rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

Overnight in Varanasi.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Taj Gateway or similar

Early this morning transfer to the airport for your flight back to Delhi.

You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel, and enjoy the rest of your time in Delhi at your own pace. You can upgrade to The Leela Palace New Delhi for your last evening if you fancy.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Taj Palace, New Delhi or similar

Spend the day at leisure before your transfer to the airport for your onward journey.

Included

  • Domestic flights as detailed - please be aware that the domestic flight luggage allowance may be less than your international flight allowance. Maximum allowance on a domestic flight is 15kg of hold luggage and a maximum of 7kg for cabin baggage.
  • Accommodation as detailed in double or twin room with private facilities (alternative but similar hotels may be used at certain times of the year).
  • Air-conditioned transportation.
  • Rail journey Agra-Jhansi (air-conditioned chair car in express train).
  • Services of an English-speaking local driver/guide.
  • All entrance fees during sightseeing as detailed.
  • Meals included as stated. Please note: breakfast is usually a Western-style buffet in your hotel. Most other meals are taken at local restaurants.

Not included

  • International flights from the UK
  • Visa fees
  • Airport departure taxes
  • Beverages during meals
  • Tips for the driver/guide
  • Optional excursions