There’s a very good reason why “The Golden Triangle” lays claim to such fame: simply put, the 3 key destinations it encompasses are the 3 most frequently visited places in India – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. To this trifecta of everpopular, iconic cities, we’ve added two more we believe just as worthy: Varanasi and Khajuraho. Expect incredible temples, magnificent palaces, forts, bazaars and pilgrimage sites that truly do bring the history and spiritual depth of the nation to life.
Upon arrival at Delhi airport you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. We then plan to spend the rest of the day sight-seeing around New Delhi – the British-built side of the city. Key monuments we hope to visit include: India Gate(a memorial arch honouring soldiers who were killed in WW1), Lakshmi Narayana Temple, Rashtrapati Bhawan (the president’s house) and Humayun’s Tomb –an exquisite example of Moghul architecture, set in a magnificent formal Persian garden.
After visiting the magnificent Red Fort, located in the “Old Delhi” side of the city, we take a thrilling rickshaw ride weaving our way through the narrow lanes of the bustling bazaar. Our destination is Jama Masjid – the largest mosque in India. In the evening we transfer to the railway station and board the overnight train to Varanasi – India’s eternal City of Light.
On arrival in Varanasi we transfer to the hotel to briefly freshen up, then head off to explore the city on foot. Varanasi is one of the holiest places in all of India. Hindu pilgrims come here to bathe in the waters of their sacred River Ganges – a ritual said to wash away ones sins. It is also an auspicious place to die, for those who do expire here are released from the tiresome cycle of rebirth. There is much to take in, in this incomparable city with scenes that may shock or inspire. The wisest travellers prepare themselves for both. We have time later in the afternoon to visit Sarnath, a major centre for Buddhism in India. There are several monasteries here and some truly magnificent stupas, built by the Emperor Ashoka, plus a wonderful Museum full of Buddhist treasures and antiquities.
Day 4 – 5 : We have a very early start today to ensure we’re on the river Ganges at dawn, ready to witness (from a respectful distance) the morning marvel of pilgrims bathing and praying on the city ghats at sunrise. It can be a deeply moving, even spiritual experience for some – a lasting vision from the City of Light that may well stay with you forever. From Varanasi we take a scheduled flight to Khajuraho – a relatively quiet little township renowned for its extraordinary “erotic” temples. Together, the highly decorative sculptures that adorn these religious buildings depict the daily-life of commoners, warriors, musicians and the ruling classes during the 10th and 11th centuries. It is, in effect, a celebration of all aspects of life, but many scenes feature highly explicit and/or sensual “posturing” – a la the Karma Sutra. Definitely not for the prudish!
Day 6: Today we drive 175km to Orchha. Our route traverses a rural landscape, and so our journey affords a privileged glimpse of every-day village India. The pace of life is more relaxed in the countryside and sets the tone beautifully for our exploration of Orchha; a rambling 16th Century town nestled on the banks of the Betwe River. Several ancient temples and a magnificent palace – adorned with many wonderful murals — will keep us captivated for hours.
Day 7: Today we transfer to Jhansi then board the super-fast Shatabdi train to Agra – home, of course, to the majestic Taj Mahal, arguably the most famous building in the world. It is certainly the most extravagant monument ever built for love – utilizing the skills of 20,000 artisans; taking 22 years to complete. The Taj Mahal really is as spectacular as you may have imagined it would be – exquisite from every conceivable vantage-point. The attention to detail up close – the filigree, the calligraphy and the inlay – is simply mind-blowing. So too, the symmetry of the building when viewed from afar. And Agra Fort – a remarkable city-within-a-city on the bank of the Yamuna River – provides us with arguably the best view of all from the top of its octagonal tower.
Day 8 – 9: 40km from Agra, we stop to explore the fortified city of Fatehpur Sikri. Built during the second half of the 16th Century by Emperor Akbar, this so-called City of Victory was only the capital of the Mughal Empire for ten years, but it bears exceptional testimony to the great vision of Akbar, and the architects of his day. Our next destination is Jaipur, the chaotic and colourful capital of Rajasthan. We have plenty of time to take in several of the city’s medieval palaces and monumental forts, but first-time travelers be warned: moving between each iconic building can be an adventure in itself! Expect to see camel carts and elephants, scooters, trucks and bikes all jostling for space on the busy roads. We’ll visit the landmark, honey-combed pink facade of Hawa Mahal (The Palace of the Winds), the City Palace and Amber Fort plus the World Heritage listed Jantar Mantar Observatory. Here you’ll find a curious collection of huge stone “instruments” that were designed to observe and measure all manner of astronomical activity – from calculating eclipses to plotting the azimuth of various stars. For those wishing to stock up on gorgeous hand crafted presents and mementos for friends and family back home, the bazaars in Jaipur are among the best in the country.
Day 10: Our tour ends today with a 230km drive back to Delhi and a transfer to the international airport for your flight home
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Holiday Price Includes
- Accommodation in the hotels listed or similar hotels.
- Transportation – Entire round trip Ex- Delhi by an air-conditioned vehicles for all categories as per the itinerary. Vehicle is as per the itinerary and not on disposal basis.
- Breakfast included in all packages and Dinner is included in all non-Economy Package.
- Travel insurance.
- All currently applicable taxes i.e. Hotel tax and Transportation tax.
- Wifi Internet provided in vehicles during transportation in all non-Economy packages.
Holiday Price Excludes
- Air, Train or Bus fare from / to your originating city of stay, unless specified.
- Any meals / en route meals unless specified.
- Any rides, safaris, boating charges, other than the mentioned in the inclusions.
- Entrance fees and guide charges, unless specified in the inclusions.