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Discover the highlights of Northern India on this 14 day cultural adventure. Tour the narrow lanes of Old Delhi by cycle rickshaw, venture into the magnificent Agra Fort and gaze awestruck at the perfect beauty of the exquisite Taj Mahal. Explore the temple-studded streets of the “Pink City” Jaipur, soak up the unique charm of the renowned “Venice of the East” Udaipur, and witness the mesmerising Aarti ceremony from the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi.
On arrival into Delhi Airport, meet with your guide and transfer to your hotel for check-in. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the day.
A sprawling, vibrant and sometimes overwhelming city, Delhi is home to over 15 million people and is still growing. From an outsider's perspective, the city is divided into two distinct parts. To the north lie the winding narrow streets and medieval bazaars of the 17th century Mughal capital, Old Delhi. Encompassing the heart of the modern city to the south, New Delhi is by contrast a cosmopolitan and creative metropolis of broad, tree-lined boulevards, parks, museums and international restaurants. Both halves of the city are dotted with astonishing Mughal and British Imperial architecture, Muslim tombs and temples, and an array of magnificent monuments that commemorate the glory of bygone ages.
This morning, embark on a tour of Old Delhi with your guide. Explore the city by cycle rickshaw, stopping to take in the most opulent fort and palace of the Mughal Empire - Lal Qila, or the "Red Fort". Encased by towering red sandstone walls, this dramatic UNESCO World Heritage Site was built at the very height of Mughal reign by Emperor Shan Jehan as a grandiose symbol of pomp and power. Pay a visit to the nearby Raj Ghat to see the Mahatma Gandhi memorial before venturing to Jama Masjid to admire the magnificent marble domes and gold spires of the largest mosque in India. After climbing the mosque's southern tower to soak up sweeping views over Delhi, witness the ancient marketplace of Chandni Chowk come alive as locals prepare for the trading day.
In the afternoon, tour New Delhi. Your drive takes you along the Raj Path or "King's Way" ceremonial avenue, past verdant lawns, canals and trees and the imposing Parliament House and India Gate monument. Explore the elegant Humayun Tomb and its surrounding 30 acre, Persian-style garden and inspect the intricate Arabic inscriptions and carvings that cover the soaring tower of Qutub Minar.
In the evening, enjoy free time.
Depart from Delhi and take the drive to Agra with your guide.
In the afternoon, explore two of India's most spectacular architectural marvels, Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal.
Located just a few kilometres north of its sister monument Taj Mahal, Agra Fort occupies a massive 94 acres on the banks of the Yamuna River. Although the fort was originally designed as a military structure, it was later transformed into a magnificent palace by Emperor Shah Jahan, and eventually served as his prison when son Aurangzeb seized power in 1658. Explore the fort's chambers and cloistered courtyards, admiring the intricate white marble carvings of the Nagina Masjid and Moti Masjid and stopping to take in breathtaking views of the Taj Mahal from the numerous lofty balconies and pavilions.
The awe inspiring Taj Mahal, undoubtedly the masterpiece of Mughal architecture, stands at the far northern end of an extensive walled garden overlooking the tranquil Yamuna River. Although its layout follows a strict Islamic theme, this immense mausoleum is above all, a monument to love. Commissioned by Shah Jahan to enshrine the body of his favourite wife, it is believed to have taken 20,000 craftsmen working around the clock 20 years to complete. This painstaking commitment to perfection is reflected in every aspect of the complex's design; from the precise, geometric planning of the surrounding Paradise Gardens, to the reflective quality of the marble itself which changes hue with the movement of the sun, symbolising the presence of Allah.
Wander the exquisite 17 hectare gardens and take time to soak up the almost overwhelming beauty of this wonder of the world.
In the evening, enjoy free time to explore Agra, perhaps browsing the many lively local bazaars selling marble handicrafts, jewellery and leather ware.
Leave for Jaipur, stopping en route to visit the magnificent ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri. Perched on a rocky crest just a short drive southwest of Agra, the well-preserved 'ruins' of this atmospheric site were once the short-lived imperial capital of Mughal emperor Akbar. Shortly after the emperor's death in 1585, the entire city was suddenly abandoned for reasons that still remain uncertain. Venture though Agra Gate and ponder the enigma for yourself as you explore the grandiose red sandstone palaces, monuments and mosques that remain of this mysterious, ill-fated city.
Continue to Jaipur, and enjoy free time to explore for the rest of the day.
Rajasthan's capital city, Jaipur is romantically nicknamed the "Pink City" in reference to the distinctly coloured stucco buildings that line the streets of the Old City. Established in 1727 by Jai Singh II of the Kachwaha family, the city is now the state's most prosperous and rapidly developing city, but there are frequent reminders of its intriguing royal past in the flamboyant palaces, medieval bazaars and hilltop forts that stud its streets and outskirts.
In the morning, drive up the steep hill to Amber Fort by jeep. Situated high above the Maota Lake, this imposing structure was begun in 1592 by Maharaja Man Singh and later extended by the Jai Singhs. Inside its impressive, impregnable walls, the fortress-palace is a four storey maze of cool, solid marble rooms, twisting staircases, and tiny balconies that peer out on the rugged landscape. As you move between rooms adorned with ornate marble carvings, gilded ceilings and intricately painted doors, it's not difficult to visualize a life of pomp and grandeur at the height of the kingdom's powers.
Tour Jaipur with your guide in the afternoon. Discover the fascinating blend of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal Art and intriguing royal relics at the City Palace Museum before visiting Jantar Mantar observatory to see the huge, complex and still accurate stone astronomical devices stored here. The unique Hawal Mahal or "Palace of Winds" is Jaipur's most distinctive landmark, a quirky five storey facade decked with hundreds of tiny screened windows and balconies. Those that wish to get a closer look can climb up the back of the structure to take in the views from the screened niches that privileged ladies of the court would once have peered down from.
Today make the 7 hour journey to Jodhpur with your guide.
Of all Rajasthan's royal settlements, Jodhpur is perhaps the most distinctive. Dubbed "the Blue City" thanks to the colour of its old town houses, the town is nestled on the eastern border of the Thar desert, watched over by the mighty Meherangarh Fort, which looms dramatically above the streets of the Old City from its colossal sandstone plinth. This five hundred year old settlement was once the headquarters of the Rajput Rathores clan, and went by the nickname Mawar or "Land of Death". Today, its crowded streets bustle with Muslim tie-dyers, puppet makers and street traders selling everything from fragrant spices to handmade jewellery at bargain prices.
Embark on a tour of Jodhpur, paying a visit to the imposing Meherangarh Fort that towers over the city. Standing on a range of sandstone hills around 125 metres above the surrounding plains, the fort's sheer walls are adorned with exquisitely intricate panels and lattice windows carved from red sandstone.
Pass through the seven gates that lead into the heart of the fortress, and explore the Coronation Courtyard where emperors were crowned on a special marble throne, gaze in awe at the jewel coloured stained glass windows and gold filigree ceiling of the Phool Mahal and discover the regal beauty of the Jhanki Mahal (Queen's Palace). The Jaswant Thada cenotaph, built to commemorate the bravery and generosity of Jodhpur's 33rd ruler Maharaja Jaswant Singh, epitomizes Rajputana architecture with its intricate lattice work, carved gazebos and gleaming white marble domes and pillars that glow in the sun.
In the evening, enjoy free time. Jodhpur is home to a number of excellent restaurants specialising in the fantastic local North Indian cuisine, ask your guide for recommendations.
Embark on the drive to Udaipur, stopping en route to visit the Ranakpur Jain Temples.
Situated in an isolated valley just west of the Aravalli Range, these magnificent marble temples are an important Jainism pilgrimage site. The architectural highlight is Jain Temple with its sequence of elegant domes, turrets and cupolas that rise majestically from the hillside, supported by more than 1,400 marble pillars adorned with breathtakingly intricate carvings.
On arrival in Udaipur, enjoy a free evening to explore at your leisure.
Nestled around the idyllic Lake Pichola against a backdrop of craggy green hills, Udaipur is often described as the "Venice of the East" or simply "City of Lakes." With its plethora of fairy tale turreted palaces, shimmering white havelis and ornate marble temples, all reflected in the glassy waters that surround it, this is one of India's most seductive cities.
This morning visit the City Palace. Undoubtedly one of the city's most iconic structures, the Palace stands vast and magnificent on the northeast shore of Lake Pichola, carved from soft yellow stone and crowned with ornate arches and cupolas. Most of the building is now dominated by the City Palace Museum with its collection of lavish mosaics, paintings and artifacts, but the chambers, narrow halls and courtyards are also richly rewarding to explore, especially for the intricate glass inlays and mirror work.
Pay a visit to the fantastically carved Jagdish Temple just north of the City Palace before heading to the beautiful Sahelion Ki Bari garden to admire the fountains, marble elephants and lotus pool.
In the afternoon, enjoy a boat ride on the tranquil Lake Pichola. Glide past the island of Jagmandir with its Lake Garden Palace and gaze back across the lake to take in unique and breathtaking views of the city. Once back on dry land, you'll have time to browse for bargains in the bustling market that sprawls behind the City Palace Complex.
Travel back to Delhi for your flight to Varanasi, meet your guide at the airport and transfer to hotel for check-in.
Stretched along the River Ganges, Varanasi is one of the holiest cities in India. It sprawls back from the riverbank to a winding labyrinth of narrow alleyways and courtyards dotted with bazaars selling trinkets crafted from silver, brass and copper, perfume and clothes.
Each day, thousands of pilgrims make their way to the riverfront to wash away their sins, cremate their loved ones and find salvation in the sacred waters of the Ganges. Known to the devout as the City of Light, the city is a symbol of hope to generations of Hindus and a captivating glimpse into ancient but still thriving religious traditions for visitors.
As dusk descends, visit the local ghats to witness the Aarti ceremony. Taking its name from the Sanskrit word for homage and devotion, Aarti takes place every night on the banks of the River Ganges in the holy cities of Varanasi, Haridwar and Rishikesh. During the ceremony, small diya (candle-lit lamps decorated with flowers) are floated down the river as an offering to the Goddess Ganga, accompanied by a chorus of chanting hymns, drums and temple bells. Join the local crowds gathered on the ghat steps, on the rooftops of local shops and even huddled in boats on the river itself to watch this mesmerising and uplifting ritual take place.
Rise early to embark on a dawn boat ride on the Ganges. Watch the city waking up along the banks of the river, where local men stand lathering themselves with soap, women scrub their brightly coloured saris and hundreds of pilgrims immerse themselves in the water in ancient ritual.
Then take a short tour of the city with visits to the Durga Mandir Temple - a striking 18th century structure stained red with ochre and overrun with monkeys - and the elaborately decorated Temple of Vishwanath. You'll also have a chance to learn more about Varanasi's thriving silk and brocade weaving industry with a visit to some local factories.
Later, travel to Sarnath with your guide. This intriguing cluster of temples and monasteries, now in ruins, marks the hallowed spot where Buddha preached his first sermon after enlightenment and set into motion the "Wheel of Law", a new cycle of reincarnations thought to lead to the eventual enlightenment of humanity.
Fly to Khajuraho, meet with your guide upon arrival and transfer to the hotel for check-in.
In the afternoon, explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Western group of temples. Most of the exquisitely intricate and beautifully preserved structures here are built from hard sandstone dug from the Ken River. The temples are adorned with ornate sculptures of voluptuous women crafted with painstaking attention to the small details of hairstyles, jewellery and even manicured nails. To enhance the striking beauty of the whole scene, the temples subtly change colour with the movement of the sun, gradually turning from a soft pink at sunrise to gleaming white at noon and back to pink at sunset.
In the evening, enjoy free time to explore the village, perhaps exploring the local markets or unwinding at an open air restaurant and soaking up the laid back, sociable atmosphere.
Fly to Delhi, meet your guide at airport and transfer to hotel for check-in.
Enjoy free time for the rest of the evening.
On your last day, enjoy free time until your departure transfer to the airport.
Phone now to discuss options to personalise your itinerary.
Ideas to upgrade or extend your itinerary:
Float gently over the mighty Amber Fort and the surrounding area. Take in the spectacular sunrise as you drift over the Aravali mountain range and get a birds eye view of traditional villages and colourful fields in one of India’s most spectacular locations.
You’ll fly with India’s first fully licensed and approved Hot Air Balloon company, offering a unique & amazing balloon safari experience in Jaipur, with highly experienced international pilots. Enjoy tea, coffee and light refreshments whilst you watch the spectacle of the balloons being inflated and prepared before your hour long flight, touching down to the welcoming smiles and friendly greetings of the local villagers.
All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.
|Standard:||from AU $2,374|
|Superior:||from AU $2,492|
|Deluxe:||from AU $2,774|
All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!
Hotels/lodges each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day).
• Domestic airfares
• Accommodation on bed and breakfast basis
• All transfers, sightseeing's & excursions by air conditioned vehicle
• All sites and visits as per the program
• Cycle Rickshaw ride in Delhi during Old Delhi visit
• Jeep ride at Amber fort
• Boat ride on Lake Pichola in Udaipur on a shared basis
• Boat ride on River Ganges in Varanasi
• Services of English-speaking local guides in each city at the time of city tour
• All currently applicable entrances at the monuments
• The above prices include all current taxes and entrance fee
This trip package includes 3 internal flight (Delhi - Varanasi, Varanasi - Khajuraho and Khajuraho - Delhi) which retail at about 200AUD per flight.
Visas for India
All nationalities need to apply for an Indian visa in advance. Give yourself at least 4 weeks.
The Indian Government has advised that from December 2014, all visa applicants will need to be physically present at a visa application centre, by appointment, to submit their applications and biometric data, including fingerprints and facial imagery.
ALL Australian travellers to India will need to personally attend their nearest consulate to complete their visa formalities. There is NO visa on arrival in India for all nationalities. Indian visas CANNOT be obtained in Nepal.
Availability of accommodation and season.
"Arrived at Khandela Castle what a welcome and fantastic place. Then had the personal tour for almost three hours around the town by gorgeous Ravi. We were then were invited to his home what an amazing few hours. This was an outstanding suggestion and we would recommend to any of your future clients as a must do. Ps. Again our drive Anil is outstanding and your office in India is above expectations. " — Mr. Patterson, Gold Coast, February 2018
"We had a brilliant time in the North of India! We enjoyed the tour of Agra, Kanota (MARI GOLD Hotel) & Jaipur. In the evening we went to a cooking demo with family dinner in Jaipur as part of tour program and all of them enjoyed. " — Christine & Ladies, Sydney, October 2017
"We loved our guides and drivers especially PK (our nickname) and had a wonderful time in India , thank you for smooth organisation. Our favourite place was Varanasi and the heritage hotels were fantastic." — Mrs Judd & party , Melbourne Vic, October 2016
"We would certainly recommend Varanasi to anyone travelling to India and we've found it hard to nominate any great highlight - most of it terrific. Everything went like clockwork and we do not have the slightest complaint. The drivers and guides were superb and we were overwhelmed with kindness. We shall cherish the memories, so thank you." — Elizabeth & Jim Main, Torquay VIC, April 2016
"India impressed me as a travel destination. All parts of India we visited were amazing and provided wonderful experiences every day of our travels. We both enjoyed so much and felt looked after at all times. Never lost a bag nor missed a connection and air travel in India is first rate. Many thanks for your efforts to put this together for us." — Mr and Mrs Burnell, Brisbane , January 2016
"India exceeded my expectations - the sights were rich in history, the people extremely friendly and the food spectacular. Get About Asia representatives were always on hand to help, with no request being too difficult! I highly recommend India and Get About Asia" — Erika & Glenn, Marrickville, NSW, April 2014