Day 1: Depart from the United States.
Day 2: Arrive at Delhi (most flights arrive either in the evening or at night). You are greeted at the airport by our travel facilitator or Tour Director, and then ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. You are then driven to your hotel where you are assisted with your check in. The next day’s plans are briefly reviewed and the travel facilitator or Tour Director hands over travel documents such as your air tickets and hotel vouchers to you.
Day 3: Delhi. Start your exploration of India with a city tour of Old Delhi that includes visits to the Jama Masjid (1650 AD) which is the largest mosque in India, and the amazing Red Fort (1639-48) which was the seat of the Moghul Empire for more than 250 years. Enjoy a rickshaw ride along the alleys of the ancient bazaar at Chandni Chowk. You also visit the memorial & cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi (Raj Ghat).
There is a break for lunch.
Afternoon – enjoy a city tour of New Delhi that begins with a drive past Safdarjang’s Tomb (1753 AD) while driving to the Qutab Minar (1193 A.D.) which is a striking medieval tower of victory of Persian architectural style and is 73 m high. Within the Qutab complex, amidst the ruins of Quwat-ul-Islam mosque, stands the Iron pillar which has stood the vagaries of weather and has not rusted over 1500 years. Later, visit the Tomb Moghul Emperor Humayun and then drive through Lutyens New Delhi which includes the Embassy area (Diplomatic enclave), Government buildings, India Gate, a golden domed Sikh Temple (Bangla Sahib Gurudwara), Birla Temple and Connaught Place, which is New Delhi’s main shopping area.
Day 4: Delhi - Kathmandu. You are driven to the airport for your assisted check-in for the mid-morning flight to Kathmandu.
Arrive at Kathmandu. You are greeted at the Kathmandu airport and driven to Nagarkot. It is located (30 km - one hour drive) to the east of Kathmandu on the valley rim, situated at an elevation of 2175 meters, it provides a grandstand panoramic view of the Himalayas. You can see five of the worlds 10 tallest mountains - Everest 8848 m, Lhotse 8516 m, Makalu 8463 m and Manaslu 8163 m and many other lesser summits. You may wish to wander around the villages or take short hikes in the area.
Day 5: Nagarkot - Chitwan. Have an early breakfast at the hotel and then you drive (4 to 5 hours) to ROYAL CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK. This wildlife reserve is one of the best managed and preserved, in Asia, where many species of rare wildlife, including the rare one horned rhino, up to four species of deer, sloth bear, leopard, Royal Bengal Tiger etc reside. Plus this is also the home for more than 400 species of exotic birdlife. During the two nights stay here we undertake jungle safaris, elephant rides, nature walks, canoe rides etc. We also witness the local Tharu stick dance one evening.
On reaching the resort, our guest relations officer will brief you on the Park and available activities.
1:00 p.m.: Lunch.
3:30 p.m.: Elephant Safari / Jungle Walk / Nature walk with Boat ride.
3:00 p.m.: Dinner.
Day 6: Chitwan. 5:30 a.m.: Wakeup call followed by tea/coffee.
6:00 a.m.: Bird watching / Elephant Safari / Jungle walk.
8:00 a.m.: Breakfast.
9:30 a.m.: Crocodile walk. A 45 minutes walk through grassland and forest upstream of the Narayani river. Board boats to observe crocodiles along the banks while floating back to the camp.
1:00 p.m.: Lunch.
3:30 p.m.: Elephant Safari /Jungle Walk / Visit Observation Tower / Nature Walk with Boat Ride.
8:00 p.m.: Dinner.
Day 7: Chitwan - Pokhara. 5:30 a.m.: Wakeup call followed by tea/coffee. 6:00 p.m.: Bird Watching / Elephant Safari / Jungle Walk.
8:00 AM.: Breakfast.
9:30 AM.: Departure.
Drive (three and half hours) to the picturesque valley of Pokhara.
Check in to your hotel. You are at leisure with your guide and driver, who are available to you till 6 pm. Pokhara is part of a once vibrant trade route extending between India and Tibet. To this day, mule trains can be seen camped on the outskirts of the town, bringing goods to trade from remote regions of the Himalaya. This is the land of the Magars and Gurungs, hardworking farmers and valorous warriors who have earned worldwide fame as Gurkha soldiers.
The serenity of Phewa Lake and the magnificence of the fish-tailed summit of Machhapuchhre (6,977 m) rising behind it have to be experienced to be understood. At an elevation lower than Kathmandu, it has a much more tropical feel to it, a fact well appreciated by the diversity of beautiful flowers which prosper in the valley. The valley surrounding Pokhara is home to thick forests, gushing rivers, emerald lakes and of course, the world famous views of the Himalaya.
Day 8: Pokhara. Explore the old trading town of Pokhara where decorated pony trains from the Kali Gandaki trade routes jostle with men from the mountains, as they barter in the bazaar. Visit the Bindhyavasini Temple and the fascinating Butterfly Museum located in the grounds of the university.
Afternoon - enjoy a boat trip on Phewa Lake passing the simple three-story villa where the King of Nepal maintains his winter home. Stop at the small golden temple to the Hindu god Varahi which is nestled in foliage on an island in the centre of the lake.
You will see many fishermen and other pilgrims take their long canoes (carved from tree trunks) to the island to visit the shrine.
Day 9: Pokhara – Kathmandu. You are at leisure in the morning.
Check out of your hotel and board the afternoon flight to Kathmandu.
Late afternoon - Visit the Pashupatinath temple and Boudhanath Stupa, a World Heritage Site. Pashupatinath Temple is one of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world.
Day 10: Kathmandu. You have the optional of taking the Everest flight this morning. Take a tour of Kathmandu city. Visit `KUMARI` the LIVING GODDESS, Kasthamandap, the Big Bell, Kal Bharab etc.
Visit the Swayambhunath temple, Katmandu’s oldest and best known religious monument. With a history that goes back a least 1500 years for the location, this ancient Stupa is world renown and is visible from miles (from all over the Kathmandu Valley).
Afternoon - Take a tour of `Patan City`, one of the three queen cities of the valley. Patan is the city of fine arts, and we visit Durbar Square, Krishna Mandir, and Mahavihar, the Golden Temple of Lord Buddha, built in the 12th century. Also visit the Tibetan centre.
Day 11: Kathmandu – Varanasi. Board the mid-morning flight to Varanasi. Check in to your hotel upon arrival.
Afternoon - A city tour of Varanasi that includes visits to the numerous temples that dot the banks of the holy river. You will be able to walk through the narrow lanes and stop by at the bazaars to have a look at, among other things, the world famous Banaras silks.
Sunset cruise on the Ganga – cruise on the Ganga at sunset and have a grandstand view to witness to the ancient prayer and oil lamp ceremony, as hundreds of lamps are sent floating on the holy river as the sun sets.
Day 12: Varanasi - Khajuraho. Early morning boat cruise on the river Ganges - duration about two hours – The best time to visit the Ghats is dawn when pilgrims take their morning dip. The most famous Ghat is the Dasadwamedh Ghat from where we begin this tour. Enjoy the boat ride while looking out for the people on the Ghats – the women bathing discreetly in their sarees, the young men displaying prowess in yogic postures & the Brahmin priests offering prayers. Return to the hotel to check out.
Afternoon - fly to Khajuraho. Arrive at Khajuraho and transfer to your hotel. Start your tour of the temples. These magnificent examples of Hindu religious art were constructed over 1000 years ago. The detailed artistry of the sculptures and their incredible volume are both beyond explanation.
Day 13: Khajuraho - Agra. Return to the temples in the morning and finish your tour if you were unable to do that on the previous afternoon.
Mid morning – Check out of your hotel and drive to Orcha. Have a late lunch here and explore the ruins at Orcha on your own (local guides may be available for you to hire). Drive to nearby Jhansi and board the express train to Agra (5:56 pm - 8:25 pm).
Arrive at Agra and check in at your hotel.
Agra is famous for its marble manufacturing.
Day 14: Agra. Start your day with a sunrise visit of the Taj Mahal, the best time to experience it. The world’s greatest monument dedicated to love was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1653 as a memorial to his queen Mumtaz Mahal. This beautiful mausoleum in pure white marble took 22 years and 22000 craftsmen to build. Return to the hotel for breakfast.
Afternoon tour of Agra City & Sikandra –The tour includes a visit to the Agra Fort, the original red sandstone fort built by Moghul Emperor Akbar in 1565, whose maze of courtyards, a marble mosque and private chambers reflect the grandeur of the Mughal Empire. The tomb of Emperor Akbar and Itmad Ud Daula are also a part of this tour.
Optional - sunset visit of the Taj Mahal.
Day 15: Agra – Ranthambore. You have the option (no charge) of a sunrise visit to Mehtab Bagh, which is a 500 year old Mughal garden located across from the Taj Mahal on the other side of the Yamuna River. If you do that, you will return to your hotel to freshen up after the visit.
Check out of your hotel and proceed for the drive to Bharatpur. Stop at Fatehpur Sikri for a tour. This deserted, red sandstone city, built by Emperor Akbar, between 1570 and 1585, is a haunting reminder of its brief and glorious past. Visit the towering Bulund Darwaza (The Gate of Victory), which is set in the south wall. In the northern part of the courtyard is the superb white marble tomb of Shaik Salim Chishti, built in 1570.
Lunch is included this afternoon at Bharatpur.
After lunch - board the Express train for Ranthambore – a two and a half hour journey to Ranthambore.
Arrive at Ranthambore in the evening and check in at your resort.
Day 16: Ranthambore. Covering an area of 410 sq. km, Ranthambore runs along the eastern spur of the Aravalli mountain range till they meet with the Vindhya ranges. Ranthambore used to be the private hunting ground for the Royal family of Jaipur. In 1972 it was declared a Sanctuary and was brought under the Project Tiger Conservation platform.
Dry deciduous forest covers open valleys with lush vegetation around the lakes in this park, and there are open grasslands on the higher slopes. This varied flora supports a large number of animals including a variety of deer, the sloth bear, the shy caracal, leopards and of course, the tiger.
Enjoy wildlife safaris’ into the park in the morning and evening.
In between safaris’ you can visit the jungle fort at Ranthambore. This is one of the finest examples of the ancient Hindu concept of “vana-durg”, or a fort protected by a jungle. The history of this Fort (first built in AD 944) is a chronicle full of tales of blood and valor. Occupied by the Muslims, Rajputs and Mughals, the insides of the fort today lie in ruins, but there are superb views of the park to be had from the ramparts.
Day 17: Ranthambore – Jaipur. Enjoy your last safari into Ranthambore in the morning.
Check out of your hotel and drive to Jaipur. Arrive at Jaipur and check into your hotel.
Afternoon - Proceed for a half day city tour of the w\alled city of Jaipur, including the magnificent City Palace. Visit the unique Jantar Mantar magnificent stone observatory built by Raja Jai Singh in 1728. View the ‘Hawa Mahal’ (Palace of the Wind), the intriguing facade built in 1799 to allow royal ladies to view the city and bazaar from the windows. Continue the tour to visit the City Palace, the former royal residence (a part of it is still occupied by the Royal family and is not accessible to the public), built in a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles. This immense complex also houses a number of museums that offer a large and impressive collection of miniature paintings, costumes, and armory.
Jaipur is famous for its carpets, jewelry, & handicrafts.
Day 18: Jaipur. Start your day with an excursion to Amber Fort & Palace, located 12 kilometers from the center of the City. Arrive at the complex well before 9 a.m. so as to be able to partake in the elephant back ascent. The Fort was originally built by Raja Mansingh and is one of the finest examples of Rajput architecture. Enjoy the ascent to the palace on the back of a brightly caparisoned elephant. Visit the chambers and hallways of the Palace which are famous for their design and decorations.
From here you will proceed on a drive to Samode for sightseeing and a camel back (or camel cart) safari through local villages. Please bear in mind that there are no sand dunes in this area.
Enjoy a Rajasthani lunch (included) at the Samode Palace.
A guided tour of Samode Palace and the other monuments in the area is included. Drive back to Jaipur in the late afternoon.
Evening – Watch the show at your hotel and then drive to have dinner with an Indian family at their home. Or drive to a cultural show and dinner.
Day 19: Jaipur - Udaipur. Fly to Udaipur in the morning. Arrive at Udaipur and proceed for a city tour, including a tour of the City Palace. At this Palace complex, explore the gorgeous rooms with mirrored walls and ivory doors, windows with colored glass, inlaid marble balconies and the peacock courtyard. The amazing display of crystal at the Palace is unmatched in this world. You also visit the lovely Sahelion-ki-bari gardens and the local Museum.
Check in to your hotel.
There is a break for lunch.
Late afternoon - cruise on Lake Pichola and visit Jag Mandir.
Udaipur is famous for its artists and paintings, including exquisite miniatures.
Day 20: Udaipur. Start the day with a drive to Ranakpur. Tour the famous 15th Century Jain Temples, located 90 km's north of Udaipur. The temples 29 halls are supported by 1444 intricately carved pillars, and no two are of the same design. There is an abundance of exquisite sculptures and friezes.
Lunch is included this afternoon.
Return to Udaipur in the afternoon.
Late Afternoon – You are at leisure to explore the beautiful city of Udaipur on your own.
Day 21: Udaipur – Delhi - International Flight. Board the morning flight to Delhi. Board the morning flight to Delhi. Arrive at Delhi and you are greeted at the airport by your personal driver. If you are doing this visit as part of a small group, you are provided with personal vehicles for each single traveler / couple / family traveling together. Do any last minute shopping and sightseeing that you feel you may have left for the end.
Your vehicle and driver stay with you till your (usually late evening) assisted check in at the airport.
Our services end at Delhi airport.
Day 22: Arrive in the US.