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India is a country of vast contrasts and incredible diversity; a holiday in India is truly a one of a kind experience. This is a country that will inspire and shock, surprise and confront, all in one day. Discover this magical country with our 16-day itinerary.
India's culture is among the world's oldest; civilization in India began about 4,500 years ago. It's impossible to picture India without the country's iconic festivals coming to mind. Vibrant and loud, India celebrates its many special occasions with enthusiasm. During your trip you will witness two important festivals.
The Kumbh Mela festival in India is an act of faith, and movement of people, on a miraculous scale. Hindu pilgrims and saddhus arrive in their millions to wash themselves in sacred rivers in the towns of Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik. In doing so, they believe they cleanse themselves of sin and liberate themselves from the cycle of life, death and rebirth. The festival commemorates a mythical battle between gods and demons over a pitcher of the nectar of immortality.
Holi is a Hindu festival that marks the arrival of spring. Known widely as the Festival of Colours, it takes place over two days, and is a celebration of fertility, colour, and love, as well as the triumph of good versus evil.
During this amazing trip your will also discover the vibrant city of Delhi, admire the world famous Taj Mahal, enjoy a boat ride down the Ganges and more!
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 minaret to soak up sweeping views over Delhi, witness the ancient marketplace of Chandni Chowk come alive as locals prepare for the trading day.
Leave ancient India behind you as you board the Delhi Metro and return to New Delhi. In the afternoon, enjoy a tour of the city. Your tour 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.
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Varanasi. On arrival transfer to Allahabad.
Allahabad stands on the site of ancient Prayag, a holy city that was comparable in fame to Varanasi and Haridwar (Uttarakhand) state.
After breakfast enjoy free time for the rest of the day.
Explore Ardh Kumbh. The Spiritual mesmerizing and epiphanic value of Kumbh Mela in India leaves an indelible imprint on the minds of the devout pilgrims. The mass Hindu Pilgrimage is revered as one of the largest peaceful gatherings in the entire world. The term Kumbh is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning pitcher. It also refers to the Zodiac sign of Aquarius. The ritual bath for cleansing one’s soul is the most important aspect of ritual in Kumbh Mela. The devout Hindus believe that taking a dip in the sacred river on the most auspicious day of the new moon will forgive their sins, thereby terminating the cycle of birth and death. Right from 3 o’clock in the morning the pilgrims start assembling in lines. The other rituals include devotional singing, religious assemblies, mass-feeding and debates on religious doctrines. The order of entering into the sacred river is already fixed. The Naga Sadhus (who do not wear cloth, their forehead is smeared with ash and they are not affected by material possessions) enter first. They are followed by Urdhwavahurs, Parivajakas and Shirshasins.
Spend the day at leisure.
After breakfast you will drive to Varanasi. On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel.
Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Its early history is that of the first Aryan settlement in the middle Ganges valley.
Later you will visit Sarnath. Sarnath is a place located 10 kilometres north-east of Varanasi near the confluence of the Ganges and the Varuna rivers . Buddha came to Sarnath to preach his message of the middle way to nirvana after he achieved enlightenment at Bodhgaya, and gave his famous first sermon here.
Early this morning you will enjoy a boat ride down the Ganges. The Ganges is the longest river in India. The river is considered sacred and holds religious significance. The Ganges is originated from the Gangotri and has many temples settled along its banks. It’s a powerful hub of religious activity, culture and history.
Afterwards you will be transferred to Varanasi Airport for your flight to Khajuraho.
The temple city of central India, Khajuraho is set in the Bundelkhand zone of Madhya Pradesh. Khajuraho is well-known for its exquisitely carved temples which feature authentic Hindu art and culture.
This morning after breakfast enjoy a half day tour of Eastern and 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 afternoon, 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.
After breakfast, continue your way to Jhansi and take your train to Agra. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel and enjoy free time for the rest of the day.
A leading centre of art, science and culture during the 16th and 17th centuries, ancient Agra was a thriving Mughal capital under the reign of Akbar the Great. Today, it's a huge and dynamic city, characterised by its lively and often chaotic marketplace, its incredible fort, sprinkling of intriguing tombs and mausoleums, and the untouchable beauty of the Taj Mahal.
This morning you will have the chance to explore two of India's most spectacular architectural marvels, Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal.
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.
Located just a few kilometres north of its sister monument the 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 by Emperor Akbar, 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.
In the afternoon enjoy free time to explore Agra, perhaps browsing the many lively local bazaars selling marble handicrafts, jewellery and leather ware.
Continue your way to Jaipur visiting Abhaneri en route.
On reaching the village of Abhaneri, you will see the Step Well (Chand Baori), which is considered as one of the largest and deepest step wells in India. It was constructed in the 9th century and has 3500 narrow steps in thirteen stories and is hundred feet deep.
Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, 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 the Amber Fort by jeep. Situated high above 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.
In the afternoon, take a tour of Jaipur with your guide. 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.
After breakfast drive to Mathura. Spend the day at leisure.
Mathura is the abode of Lord Krishna and it has a great religious sanctity among the Hindus.
Today after breakfast enjoy the world famous Holi Festival.
Holi is a Hindu festival that marks the arrival of spring. Known widely as the Festival of Colours, it takes place over two days, and is a celebration of fertility, colour, and love, as well as the triumph of good versus evil. Holi is mostly seen as a time for people to get together and enjoy themselves. It is purported to be a time when friends, families and communities can get together without any concern for caste or ethnicity, although how much this holds true in reality is debatable. That said, there are certain groups that take it.
After breakfast you will drive to Delhi and enjoy free time for the rest of the day.
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight.
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.
|Superior:||from AU $3,506|
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 each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.
From the 8th to the 23th of March 2019