River Ganges

11 day escorted tour itinerary

India's Golden Triangle with Varanasi

From the Grand to the Ganges

On this fascinating private tour, experience the real flavour of India, and discover the major influences that shaped the country's colourful and multi-cultural history. Visit dramatic settings, cruise down the Ganges River and see the most sacred ancient temples and sites. According to legend, Varanasi was founded by the god Shiva over 3000 years ago and is one of the world's oldest continually inhabited cities with a vast wealth of culture and history. Experience everything from the intimate life and death rituals, to the manic ghats to the many sacred temples throughout this spiritual and magical city.

Our Experts Recommend:
  • Exploring Delhi's temples and mosques
  • Witnessing the splendour of the Taj Mahal at sunset
  • Exploring Jaipur's romantic palaces
  • Khajuraho's medieval temples
  • Experiencing The Ganges holy ghats
  • Sarnath holy Buddhist sites

Sample Itinerary Summary

We can tailor any part of this itinerary or create a new one just for you.

Duration
11 days
Guide Price
£2,109 per person
Price based on
Based on 04 August 19 departure from London Heathrow flying with Jet Airways, meal basis as per itinerary.
Our guide price gives you an idea of pricing which will vary depending on exchange rates, accommodation, duration, dates, airline and cabin class.
Destination Breakdown
Options
Private basis, Escorted

Itinerary Breakdown

On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Spend the rest of today at your own pace, whether it's exploring Delhi or relaxing in your hotel. You can upgrade to The Leela Palace New Delhi if you fancy.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Standard tour - The Suryaa or similar / Superior tour - Taj Palace, New Delhi or similar

Drive past the Red Fort from where the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation on India’s Independence Day. Visit Jama Masjid, the most elegant mosque in India that stands high on a hillock. In between and around these two focal points of the 17th century city is a thriving modern city in a medieval setting.

On the way back, the tour visits Raj Ghat, Mahatma Gandhi’s shrine. Later drive past the President’s House, the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the two flanking Secretariat buildings – the nerve centre of government activity. Driving down this hillock is the India Gate, the great memorial arch built to commemorate the slain heroes of World War-I and the Indo-Afghan War. Around India Gate are palaces of some of the former Indian princely states that are now public offices and museums.

Visit the precursor to the Taj Mahal, Humayun’s Tomb 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 beautiful garden tomb and stands as a high point of early Mughal architecture and technology. Later drive to Delhi’s most recognized symbol, the 12th century Qutab Minar, standing 72 meters high and Delhi’s first mosque Quwat-ul-Islam (Light of Islam) Mosque. Also standing in this complex are buildings that were built by successive Islamic rulers and British. To round off the days sight seeing, the tour visits the Hindu heritage of the city, Lakshmi Narayan temple built by one of India’s premier industrial families, the Birlas.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Standard tour - The Suryaa or similar / Superior tour - Taj Palace, New Delhi or similar

Depart your hotel after breakfast for the drive to Jaipur (approx. 5-6 hours). Arrive early afternoon and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. 

Overnight Accommodation

  • Standard tour - Holiday Inn City Centre or similar / Superior tour - ITC Rajputana or similar

Enjoy an excursion to the classic Amber Fort, and visit the romantic Rajasthani Fort Palace. En route to the Amber Fort, you will have a brief photography stop at Hawa Mahal – also known as the Palace of Winds. In the afternoon take a sightseeing tour of Jaipur city visiting the Maharaja's City Palace, the former Royal residence, and later visit the Jantar Mantar, which is the largest stone and marble crafted observatory in the world.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Standard tour - Holiday Inn City Centre or similar / Superior tour - ITC Rajputana or similar

This morning leave for Agra (approx. 4-5 hours). Travel via the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri, built in 1569 and used as the capital for 14 years. Visit the remarkably well-preserved, graceful and grand buildings within the 'Ghost City'.

Upon arrival in Agra, check in to your hotel.

Points of Interest

  • Fatehpur Sikri

Overnight Accommodation

  • Standard tour - Radisson Agra or similar / Superior tour - ITC Rajputana or similar

Enjoy a sunrise visit to 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 is a perfectly portioned masterpiece fashioned from white marble that stands testimony to the skill of 20,000 craftsmen brought together from Persia, Turkey, France and Italy, and who took 17 year to complete this 'love poem in marble'. (Please note: the Taj Mahal is closed on a Friday).

After your visit to the Taj Mahal drive back to hotel for breakfast.

Later visit the Agra fort containing the halls private and public audiences and other palaces. Visit Agra Fort - behind its forbidding red sandstone battlements lie palaces that tell the story of the Moghul Empire. The most impressive part of the Fort is the Dewan-e-Am, where the Emperor sat on his throne to dispense to his subjects, and the Dewan-e-Khas where he received foreign dignitaries.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Standard tour - Radisson Agra or similar / Superior tour - ITC Rajputana or similar

Depart to Agra train station this morning for the Shatabdi Express to Jhansi (departs around 8am). Onward travel by road to Khajuraho (approx. 4 hours). Check in at your hotel before an afternoon visit to the famous UNESCO Temple at Khajuraho and the Western Temple at Khajuraho.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Standard tour - Jass Radisson or similar / Superior tour - Chandela or similar

Visit the Eastern Temples at Khajuraho before boarding your flight to the colourful, historic city of Varanasi. In the evening head down to the Ganges to see the Aarti Hindu ritual on the holy ghats.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Standard tour - Radisson or similar / Superior tour - Ramada Plaza or similar

Enjoy an early morning boat ride on the great Ganges River, before heading back to the hotel for breakfast. In the afternoon visit Sarnath, where Buddha preached his first sermon. You'll see impressive stupas, a large complex of ruined monasteries and the new monastery, built by the Buddhist Mahabodhi Society, which depicts the major events of Buddha's life.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Standard tour - Radisson or similar / Superior tour - Ramada Plaza or similar

Travel to the airport for your flight to Delhi. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.  Why not spend your last evening in true luxury by upgrading to The Leela Palace New Delhi.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Standard tour - The Suryaa or similar / Superior tour - Taj Palace, New Delhi or similar

After breakfast, transfer back to Delhi airport for your onward journey.