15-Day NORTHERN INDIA HIGHLIGHTS TOUR - Date to suit

Northern India Highlights

Suggested 15-day tour experiencing the magic of Rajasthan, the Taj Mahal & Varanasi

(WITH PRIVATE DRIVER & GUIDE)

Departure Date To Suit You - Prices Available on Request

TRIP LENGTH: 15 days/14 nights - GROUP SIZE: Minimum 2 people 

MEALS: Breakfast daily - STYLE/GRADE: Easy touring 

PRICE: On request depending on group size, time of year and style of accommodation


India, it is often said, is not a country, but a continent. Stretching from the frozen summits of the Himalaya to the tropical greenery of Kerala, its expansive borders encompass an incomparable range of landscapes, cultures and people. Walk the streets of any Indian city and you’ll rub shoulders with representatives of several of the world’s great faiths, a multitude of castes and outcastes, fair-skinned, turbanned Punjabis and dark-skinned Tamils. You’ll also encounter temple rituals that have been performed since the time of the Egyptian Pharaohs, onion-domed mosques erected centuries before the Taj Mahal was ever dreamt of, and quirky echoes of the British Raj on virtually every corner. Many first time visits are focused on Rajasthan with good reason: from the opulent palace hotels, ancient forts, palaces and proximity to Delhi and Agra - home to the Taj Mahal, famous monument of love and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Some of the unique highlights in this itinerary include a variety of palace accommodation, a local cuisine cooking class and dinner with a local family. 

This itinerary can be booked as is, or alternatively used as a starting point for Wandering the World to create your own tailor made trip. It can be tailored for individual travellers or groups of 2 – 12.

YOUR ACCOMMODATION - AUTHENTIC & TAILORED TO SUIT


DELICIOUS FOOD - ALL PART OF THE EXPERIENCE

 

Enjoying local cuisine is an integral part of the experience of travel. To sample the flavours and food of a country is all a part of being immersed in the culture. And your journey in India with us is no exception. 

Trip Highlights

Day1/Night 1
ARRIVE DELHI 


On arrival at Delhi International Airport you are met and escorted to your selected hotel, to relax before immersing yourself in the incredible and amazing India.

At your leisure you will be guided through the fascinating city of Delhi. First a drive to Humayun’s Tomb, which is one of the oldest examples of Moghul architecture - a precursor to the Taj Mahal. It was built in 1565 A.D. nine years after the death of Humayun, by his senior widow Bega Begam. Inside the walled enclosure the most notable features are the garden squares (chaharbagh) with pathways, water channels and a centrally located well proportioned mausoleum topped by double dome.

From here to the 73 metre Qutab Minar, located in Mehrauli in South Delhi. It is the world’s tallest brick minaret and a wonderful example of Indo-Islamic architecture. It was built in 1193 with five distinct stories, each covered with intricate carvings and writings from the Koran. There are several other sights of historical interest in the immediate vicinity, including India’s first mosque, the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, and the Ashokan pillar, a 7.2 metre wrought iron column believed to be at least 1600 years old and marking the former site of a Jain temple.

(Meals: Breakfast)

Day 2/Night 2
AGRA 


Today’s destination is Agra, the city that houses one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Taj Mahal and the incredible Red Fort. Red Fort, Agra is an imposing edifice built by Emperor Akbar and his future generations in the 16th and the 17th century. However, it is most famous for the room where Shahjehan was put under house arrest and where he died looking at the monument he made for his beloved. Its intricate palaces viz. Jehangiri Mahal, Hall of public audience Diwan-e-aam and the Diwan-e-khas are all beautiful. 

We end the day with a sunset visit to the most famous monument of love, Taj Mahal, which is today the acme of architectural excellence in the world. Built by Emperor Shahjehan in 1631 for his wife Mumtaj, it is an experience people don’t forget in their lifetime. It is the place where both Shahjehan and his beloved are buried in peace and where their immortal love story is witnessed by thousands of people every day.

(Meals: Breakfast)

Day 3/Night 3
KARAULI 

From Agra the first stop is the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri. This magnificent ghost town was the capital of the Mughal Empire between 1571 and 1585. Built during the reign of Emperor Akbar it was abandoned shortly after his death due to a lack of available water. It is then onwards to Karauli, to arrive mid-afternoon. Karauli is a 600-year-old city founded by Yaduvanshi Rajput kings - descendents of Lord Krishna. The main temple of Karauli is dedicated to Lord Krishna. Tonight you have the opportunity to stay in a sprawling palace belonging to the family that once ruled Karauli.

Bhanwar Vilas Palace was built as a royal residence in 1938 by Maharaja Ganesh Pal Deo Bahadur when he was the ruler of Karauli. The palace is designed in a colonial style and the interiors are furnished in Art Deco period furniture. It is a memorable experience being in a part of the country that sees very few tourists. Everything seems to have an air of authenticity about it as you join the local people going about their everyday life. 

The City Palace is a real highlight with the fort and the palace being the official residence of the royal family of Karauli until 1938. This amazing structure features impressive archways and interconnecting rooms, many of them colourfully painted with frescoes. Many of the buildings in Karauli feature distinctive pale red sandstone in their construction. You can also explore an organic dairy, various farms and a campus school being run by the former royal family. As well as experiencing ‘aarti’ - a religious ritual conducted by the family members each evening.

(Meals: Breakfast)

Day 4/Night 4
JAIPUR 


The heritage pink city of Jaipur has been the capital of the Jaipur State since its inception in 1727 AD. It gets the name from its founder Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, who was not only a great ruler but also a renowned mathematician and astrologer and his various talents are clearly exhibited in the city. Vidhydhar Bhattacharya designed Jaipur as per the Hindu treatise, ShilpShastra. Today Jaipur is not only significant for its various forts and palaces but also as a trading centre for jewellery, gem and precious stones, textiles, carpets, blue pottery etc. 

You will visit the City Palace, which is an amazing complex with various courtyards and connecting buildings as well as fascinating museums displaying royal costumes and weaponry. Part of the palace is closed to visitors, as it is still the residence of the royal family. The most memorable features of the visit are sure to include the impressively colourful gates the courtyard known as Pitan Niwas Chowk and the incredible moustaches worn by the palace guards. From there a walk to Jantar Mantar the Observatory in the compounds of the Palace is an early 18th century Observatory built by the king to observe the astronomical movements and well worth visiting.

(Meals: Breakfast)

Day 5/Night 5
JAIPUR 

A morning drive to the old Capital of the Kachhawah rulers, Amber or the Fort of Amber. Amber is located at a distance of 11 kilometres from Jaipur and was the old fort of the Kachhwah clan of Amber, which used to be the capital, till it was moved to Jaipur. The fort is built with white marble and red sandstone and looks even more attractive because of the Maota Lake in the foreground. The attractions at the Fort include the famous Hall of Mirrors and the Hall of Victory. The Diwan-e-khas and the Fore Square of the Fort are also marvelous. 


On the way back to the city you visit the most famous landmark of Jaipur - the Hawamahal or the Palace of Winds. This is a whimsical façade built by the kings for the queens to witness the royal processions in olden days, while still remaining in ‘purdah’. Afternoon is free to relax or explore the local market. In the evening before sunset, there is a chance to take an elephant ride into the forest at Dera Amber and dine at a romantic setting while folk dancers regale us in truly Rajasthani style.

(Meals: Breakfast) 

Day 6/Night 6
SHAHPURA 


Today you travel through the countryside to the small village of Shahpura. Perhaps because it doesn’t feature in tourist guides, this village has been left largely untouched by tourism. At Shahpura Bagh, there is a rare opportunity to enjoy the privilege to overnight at a heritage lodge that was once the summer residence of the Rulers of Shahpura. Legend has it that, in the early 1900’s, Rajadhiraj Nahar Singh of Shahpura mortgaged the family’s private property and jewels to bring water to his people. You will truly understand when you first glimpse the magnificent artificial lakes that changed the ecosystem and economy of this agrarian community. In 1971 the Indian Constitution was amended in favor of a more egalitarian society, so all royal titles and privileges were officially abolished. With or without their titles, the Royal Family of Shahpura did not forget their obligations to the village, refurbishing the Summer Residence as an eco-tourism destination, employing local craftsmen and villagers in operating this beautiful lodge, which is also their home. Their family tradition of philanthropy is well and alive, leading the local communities in working on sustainable education and irrigation projects. The afternoon is at leisure.

(Meals: Breakfast)

Day 7/Night 7
SHAHPURA 


Today do as little or as much as you choose. Go on a nature walk in search of exotic bird life (over 180 species), or enjoy a cup of chai with the lovely Maya Singh in the library. Late in the afternoon, enjoy a jeep safari to visit the heart of villages where tradition centuries old still permeate life styles. Witness the rituals & local practices of the people of this town first hand. Brightly attired men and women carry on their chores and one can catch a glimpse of their norms and customs. In the evening you have a chance put on an apron to undertake a cooking class learning of the traditional local cuisine and the various herbs and spices that make the flavoursome Indian delicacies.

(Meals: Breakfast & Dinner)

Day 8/Night 8
JODHPUR 

Jodhpur is the second largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The city is situated at the edge of the Thar Desert and was founded by the Rajput chief Rao Jodha in 1459. It is surrounded by a 10-kilometre-long wall with eight gates serving as entrances. The new city is settled around this walled area. There are about a hundred towers in the city, most of which are surrounded by defensive battlements. Jodhpur is also referred to as "The Blue Town of Rajasthan". Once the capital of the powerful kingdom of Marwar, Rajasthan’s largest princely state, this is the land of the valiant Rathore kings, whose courage was a match for the tyranny of the Thar Desert. Dotted with palaces, havelis, temples and houses washed pale blue; the city and its people live under the watchful gaze of the imposing Meherangarh Fort. Jodhpur's heart beats in its crowded bazaars, in the maze of jumbled lanes, in the warmth and hospitality of a hardy desert people. 

Later in the day you set off on a jeep safari into the desert. Travel through the surrounding villages, visiting the families of Bishnois, the community that lives on 29 eco-friendly commandments given by its founder. For hundreds of years the respect for and preservation of all animal species and for growing vegetation has been the core of their beliefs. You will also visit the Prajapat Weavers, who weave exquisite flat-woven cotton rugs known as durries as well as the Meghawas Potters.

(Meals: Breakfast)

Day 9/Night 9
JODHPUR 


This morning starts with a guided walk to explore parts of the Blue City; a kaleidoscope of colours, of ceaseless activity, people, shops, stalls, fine buildings, temples, bicycles, holy cows, rickshaws, buses and markets make up some of the passing scene, we visit the Meherangarh Fort, the most famous landmark of Jodhpur. Straddling the rocky crevices it rears up high, its sheer walls reflect the strength of its warrior builders. The museum within the fort is one of the finest in Rajasthan; it displays royal apparel, ancient paintings and manuscripts, fabled treasures of the royal household and an armoury. On the road down from the fort, the splash of blinding white marble on the left is Jaswant Thada, Maharaja Jaswant Singh II's cenotaph. There’s a little free time to explore the city on your own. In the evening another chance to enrich your visit to India, by dining with a local family, before returning to your hotel.

(Meals: Breakfast & Dinner)

Day 10/Night 10
UDAIPUR 


Udaipur, one of the most famous cities in India and sometimes referred to as the City of Lakes is today's destination. Along the way you visit the Ranakpur Jain Temple, famous for its excellent sculptures and architecture. Surrounded by the Aravali Hills and located on the banks of Magai River this grand and gigantic four-facet structure was erected in the 14th Century.It is three-storied, 102 feet high and spread over an area of 48,000 square feet.

The City of Lakes, Udaipur is a lovely blend of water and lush green hills. Its palaces are straight out of a fairy-tale book. The lakes, forts, temples, gardens, mountains and narrow lanes lined with stalls, overlooked by the breathtaking City Palace; relive the reminiscences of a heroic past, replete with valor and chivalry.

Their reflection in the placid waters of the Lake Pichola is breathtaking. Udaipur is one of the most romantic cities of the world, also known as the Venice of the East. Rana Udai Singh founded the city in 1568, after the Mughal Emperor Akbar sacked his citadel - Chittorgarh. Legend has it that Udai Singh was guided by a holy man, meditating on the hill near Pichola Lake, to establish his capital on this very spot. Surrounded by the Aravali Ranges, forests and lakes, this city is today one of the most enjoyable in the whole circuit. Evening at leisure or you have an option to enjoy a cultural dance show at Bagore ki Haveli.

(Meals: Breakfast)

Day 11/Night 11
UDAIPUR 


In the morning enjoy a tour of the City Palace and the Jagdish Temple. The City Palace, which towers over the Pichola Lake, was founded by Udai Singh, the founder of the city, but was added to by every ruler who ruled Udaipur. Thus, today it is a marvel in blended architecture and you can witness the different influences – from the old traditional balconies and courtyards to the latter influence of Mughal Architecture. The Badi Mahal, the Mor Chowk (The Peacock Courtyard), the Krishna Vilas and the Mirror Palace are some of the jewels in the Palace.

The Jagdish Temple is a towering edifice in marble, right in the heart of the city. With beautiful sculptures and a black marble Statue of Vishnu (the preserver), this temple is a true example of the Indo Aryan Style of Architecture. Also see the Saheliyon Ki Bari or the Garden of Maids with its numerous fountains and beautifully laid out gardens, designed for the Queens and the Ladies of the Palace, take a boat cruise in the afternoon on the lake and enjoy the Venice of the East perspective of the city.

(Meals: Breakfast)

Day 12/Night 12
VARANSI 


An early start this morning to transfer to the airport and fly to Varanasi, the great pilgrimage city on the River Ganges, holy to Hindus and Buddhists alike. Varanasi is undoubtedly the essence of Hinduism, the oldest and the holiest of all pilgrim places of India. As the sacred river Ganga flows from the snow-clad Himalayas into the vast plains; half way between Delhi and Calcutta it curves into a gentle crescent and along the crescent is the city of Varanasi. Said to be the first created spot on earth, Varanasi has been in existence for thousands of years. Varanasi is the city that enshrines the very essence of Hinduism. Varanasi is also the biggest silk weaving centre with more than a hundred thousand people surviving on this art. On arrival you will be greeted by our local representative and transferred to your hotel.

In the afternoon you visit the Bharat Mata Temple and take a walking tour in the old city before boarding on a boat to witness the grand Aarti ceremony on the holy Ghats of the Ganges River, a solemn tradition and slice of India’s ancient culture. Join the mass of worshippers as they pray near the water by the light of open flames, the scent of incense filling the air.

(Meals: Breakfast)

Day 13/Night 13
VARANSI  



Today is undoubtedly one of the highlights! The memorable boat ride on the Ganges at sunrise. The oldest living town of the country, also known as Kashi or the city of lights, this holiest of holy places for the Hindus is where people come for salvation and to wash their sins by taking a dip in the holy Ganges, these images will be with you for a lifetime.

From there you return to the hotel for breakfast, which is then followed by a Heritage walk. The evening is complete with a visit to Sarnath, the birthplace of Buddhism, where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon. It houses the archeological ruins of a Buddhist Monastery and the Dhamek Stupa. It also has various Buddhist temples being maintained by various governments of the world and an archeological museum well worth a visit.

(Meals: Breakfast)

Day 14/Night 14
DELHI 



A morning transfer to the airport to take your return flight to Delhi. A full day at your leisure, with plenty of choice for last minute shopping and wandering through the fascinating streets of Delhi

(Meals: Breakfast)

Day 15
DELHI 

Your driver will transfer you to the airport. Although your journey to India comes to an end, the exploration of this impressive continent will be a lasting memory.

(Meals: Breakfast) 

Wandering the World hope you have had a journey of a lifetime and welcome your choice to wander with us again.

The full cost of the Northern India Highlight trip, is available upon request. Accommodation, private guide, private driver, self-guided, group size, internal flights, transfers, meals and other inclusions will be significant factors in determining the per person price. A deposit of 20% is required at the time of booking.

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO MAKE A BOOKING:

PHONE: +61 402 910 552

EMAIL: Glenyce Johnson glenycej@wanderingtheworld.com.au

or Jane Reed janer@wanderingtheworld.com.au

VISIT: www.wanderingtheworld.com.au

Full booking conditions and payment details available on request.

Wandering the World specialises in creating and tailoring exceptional walking, trekking and touring holidays in some of the most beautiful places on earth. This includes both escorted small group and self-guided trips, as well as individually tailored itineraries for privately organised trips.

We are passionate about sharing the places we love and offer our expertise to ensure our travellers enjoy rich and authentic travelling experiences. Wandering the World select authentic and comfortable accommodation and our itineraries are focused on immersing travellers in the local culture and uncovering the hidden gems of a destination. We are committed to ensuring our travellers have a trip of a lifetime.










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