North India Tour
Day 01: Arrive Delhi :
Upon arrival, you will be met and escorted to the Hotel for check-in and overnight.
Day 02: Delhi :
The capital city of India is a bustling metropolis that successfully combines the ancient and the modern in its folds. Standing on the west bank of the Yamuna River at the narrowest point between the Aravalli hills and the Himalayas, Delhi has commanded the strategically vital route from the northwest frontier to the agriculturally rich Ganges plains for more than 2,000 years. Its strategic location was one of the prime reasons why successive dynasties chose it as their seat of power. It is not surprising that what constitutes Delhi today is really a conglomerate of seven cities. Through the ages, the region in and around modern Delhi saw Lalkot built in the mid-11th century; Siri, established by Allauddin Khilji; Tuglakabad and Ferozabad, built by the Tughlaks, the city of the Lodhis; and later Shah Jahanabad, the capital of the Mughals. The division between the walled city and New Delhi also marks the division in lifestyles. The walled city retains its traditions and one can get a glimpse of a past life with its many facets, colors, and spells. New Delhi, in contrast, is a city trying to live up to the best of 21st-century standards. Amid the modern skyscrapers, the remnants of a bygone time in the form of its many monuments stand as silent reminders to the region's ancient legacy. In the morning, embark on a city tour of Old and New Delhi. The tour of the 17th-century old city includes the great mosque of Jama Masjid, which is both the largest congregational mosque in India and the final extravagance of Shah Jahan. The main street of Old Delhi is the colorful shopping bazaar known as Chandni Chowk (" Moonlit Street "). Drive past Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi.
The tour of New Delhi includes the Humayun's Tomb, the precursor of the Taj Mahal. Drive down the spectacular Rajpath ("the Kingsway"), passing the India Gate (the memorial built on behalf of the unknown soldiers), the President's House, and the House of Parliament. Enjoy a brief respite from the otherwise bustling city at Birla Mandir, a modern and colorful Hindu temple. Overnight Hotel at Delhi.
Day 03: Delhi - Udaipur :
Morning transfer to airport for flight to Udaipur. Upon arrival you will be met and escorted to your hotel. Later embark on a city tour. The enchanting city of Udaipur was once the lakeside capital of Mewar. Romantic, wistful, and serene, Udaipur was built around shimmering blue lakes that reflect the green hills of the Aravali Ranges. Maharana Udai Singh founded Udaipur in 1599, and this extraordinarily beautiful city has come to be celebrated for its association with Queen Padmini and Meera Bai, royal princesses who are linked with the fortunes of the Sisodia family. Developed scientifically, the old city was surrounded by fortified bastions with entry through 11 gates. Ruins of these ancient fortifications are still in evidence, and the more recently built palaces can still be visited. The highlights of an excursion to Udaipur involves a visit to the City Palace, the largest palace complex in Rajasthan, with its scalloped arches, fretted balconies, and cupolas. The main part of the palace is now preserved as a museum. Saheliyon-Ki-Bari, or "Garden of the Maids of Honor" is a small ornamental garden with fountains, kiosks, marble elephants, and delightful lotus pools. Jagdish Temple is an Indo-Aryan temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It has a black stone image of Vishnu as Jagannath, Lord of the Universe. The Bhartiya Lok Kala Museum has an interesting exhibition of folk arts including dresses, dolls, masks, musical instruments, paintings, and puppets. Pratap Smarak, located atop the Moti Magri or Pearl Hill overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake, is a memorial of the Rajput hero Maharana Pratap. In the evening, you have the option of taking a boat ride on Lake Pichola. Overnight Hotel.
Day 04: Udaipur - Jaipur :
Morning transfer to the airport to board your flight to Jaipur. Upon arrival you will be met and escorted to your hotel. Later embark on a city tour.
Jaipur is an exuberance of color, dance, and song with the traditional arts and crafts. It's one of India's most well planned cities, with wide, straight avenues, roads, streets and lanes in a grid system. The great warrior/astronomer Maharaja Jai Singh II carefully planned Jaipur's foundation. Laid out in the 18th century, its design followed specifications from an epochal Hindu treatise on architecture. This " Pink City ," so called because its buildings are painted in the tones of an autumnal sunset, intersperses the play of red and pink with white borders and motifs. The royal family's residence at Amber is only 11 km away. The palaces and forts of yesteryear, once witness to royal processions, now shine amid the splendor of modern monuments, a juxtaposition accepted quite naturally into the lifestyles of an amazing people. Visit the Hawa Mahal or " Palace of Winds ," one of the major landmarks of Jaipur, although it is actually little more than a facade. The five-story building overlooks the main street of the old city and is a stunning example of Rajput artistry with its pink, semi-octagonal, honeycombed, sandstone windows. It was originally built to enable the ladies of the royal household to watch the everyday life and processions of the city. The City Palace, located in the heart of the old city, is a large complex of courtyards, buildings, and gardens, and also houses an interesting museum. Adjacent to the City Palace is Jantar Mantar, the ancient astronomical observatory built by Raja Jai Singh, whose passion for astronomy was even more notable than his prowess as a warrior. Overnight Hotel.
Day 05: Jaipur :
You are transported back in time today, riding like royalty atop elegantly draped and painted elephants into the high mountain fortress of Amber. Once the capital of royals, the fort is a superb example of the blend of Rajput and Mughal influences. What stands today with magnificent glory are the complex of palaces, halls, pavilions, gardens, and temples built over a period of 125 years. Centuries of disuse have not withered their pristine beauty. Experience the majesty of a bygone era, taking an elephant ride to the top of the fort. Overnight Hotel.
Day 06: Jaipur - Agra
Morning drive to Agra , visiting Fatehpur Sikri en-route. Built by Akbar the Great in the 16th century to serve as the capital of his vast empire, Fatehpur Sikri was mysteriously abandoned 13 years later. The mosque at Fatehpur Sikri is considered a copy of the mosque at Mecca and is extremely elegant, containing elements of Hindu and Persian design. The main entrance to the complex Buland Darwaza or "Great Gateway" is reached by an impressive flight of stairs. Inscribed on the inside of the archway is the quote: "The World is a bridge. Pass over it, but build no house upon it. He who hopes for an hour, may hope for eternity." Each important edifice here represents a type by itself. Notable among them is the Diwan-e-Khas (Hall of Private Audience), Panch Mahal ( Five-Storied Palace ), the Tomb of Saint Salim Chisti (the mosque built in honor of Saint Salim Chisti, who foretold the birth of three sons to Emperor Akbar) the palace of Empress Jodha Bai , Birbal House, Karawan Sarai, Hiran Minar, Queen Miriam's House, and Ankh Michauli. Upon arrival, check into your hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight Hotel.
Day 07: Agra :
This morning embark upon a full-day city tour of Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and optional visit to Itamad Ud Daula.The Taj Mahal, a poem in white marble, is a fine example of the fusion of many architectural styles. The incredible lacy white grandeur built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his loving Mumtaz Mahal. It has been described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love. The most unusual story about the Taj is that there might well have been two of them. Shah Jahan, it is said, had intended to build a second Taj as his own tomb in black marble, a negative image of the white Taj Mahal. Before he could embark on this second masterpiece, his son Aurangazeb deposed and imprisoned him. Shah Jahan spent the rest of his life in the Agra Fort, looking out along the river to the final resting place of his favorite wife. The construction is believed to have taken 18 years (1631-1648) with more than 20,000 craftsman working around the clock. The design and construction is said to be that of the legendary architect, Ustad Ahmad Lahori. Although the Taj is amazingly graceful from almost any angle, it's the close-up detail that is really astounding. Semi-precious stones are inlaid into the marble in beautiful patterns and with superb craftsmanship in a process known as pietra dura. The precision and care that went into the Taj Mahal's design and construction are just as impressive whether you view it from across the river or from arm's length. Stroll around the lovely gardens before entering this intricately carved marble structure. The Agra Fort, seat of the Mughal dynasty in the 16th century, lies on the bend of the River Yamuna, almost in the heart of town. Akbar built it as his citadel over the years of 1565-1573. It has imposing gates, walls of red sandstone, and a moat. Three great Mughals, Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan, each of whom made significant structural contributions to this complex, successively occupied the fort, which is approachable through its lofty main portals on the west and south, as well as a private gate on the east. It has magnificent palaces, halls of public and private audience, and beautiful gardens. This is where Emperor Shah Jahan was kept under house arrest by his son Aurangazeb and spent the last year of his life viewing the Taj Mahal from the little octagonal tower in the fort. The Tomb of Itamad Ud Daula, sometimes called the "Baby Taj," was built by Empress Noor Jahan in memory of her father, Ghiyas Beg, who was also the Chief Minister in the Court of Mughal Emperor Jahangir. The monument is beautifully conceived in white marble, mosaic, and lattice. Overnight Hotel.
Day 08: Agra - Varanasi :
Morning transfer to airport to board your flight to Varanasi. Upon arrival you will be met and escorted to your hotel. Later visit the city. One of the holiest cities in India , Varanasi is one of the most important pilgrimage sites and also a major tourist attraction. It has been the religious capital of Hinduism since time immemorial. Situated on the banks of the sacred Ganges, Varanasi has been a center of learning and civilization for more than 2,000 years. Written records of the Skanda Purana and the Mahabharata mention its existence as long as 3,000 years ago. It is probably the oldest living city in India , and one of the world's most ancient. As a place of devotion and worship, Varanasi attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. Many Hindus in the latter part of their lives wish to spend their retirement here. The mythological name of the city was Kashi, meaning light or luminescence, and the city indeed illuminates with a spiritual light. Two rivers, the Varuna and the Assi, meet the holy Ganges River at the northern and southern tips of the city. In medieval times and until as recently as the mid-20th century, the city was known as Banares. Varanasi seems to have been the result of putting together the names of the rivers Varuna and Assi. This religious city is crowded with temples, and its labyrinth of streets swells with throngs of people. Varanasi is a city that cannot be described-only experienced. Later, visit the Bharat Mata Temple, which has a big relief map of India in marble, the Banares Hindu University with its art gallery, and the Mosque of Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb built on the side of an ancient Hindu temple. Overnight Hotel.
Day 09: Varanasi - Delhi :
Early in the morning, enjoy a boat ride on the holy river Ganges , which presents an incredible scene as multitudes of devotees come to the river to pay homage to the Sun God. The riverfront, as seen from a boat at sunrise, is a spiritually uplifting sight. Hinduism, deep and mystical, is everywhere: in a decorated doorway; in a glimpse of a glittering temple; in the sound of a sacred bell; in the chant of the priests; and in the fragrance of flower oblations. Pass the bathing ghats where thousands of pilgrims immerse themselves in the holy water of the Ganges and the burning ghats where cremations are conducted. Later transfer to airport for your flight back to Delhi . Arrive in Delhi and transfer to your hotel.Overnigth Hotel.
Day 10: Depart Delhi :
Breakfast and transfer to airport for your international homebound flight.