This tour combines the quintessential North India with Nepal. Discover the rugged beauty of Rajasthan in its Pink City of Jaipur and in Ranthambhor National Park, one of the best places in India to see the Tiger in broad daylight. Enjoy the magnificence of the white marble masterpiece of Shah Jehan’s Taj Mahal and the erotic stone carvings in the 1000-year-old Chandela temples of Khajuraho in the heart of India.In Varanasi witness the timeless rituals of the Hindus in the holy waters of the Ganges and visit Sarnath where the Buddha preached his first sermon. Spend the last few days in Kathmandu, the capital of the Kingdom of Nepal, where Hindus and Buddhists coexist in tranquil harmony in the shadows of the Himalaya.
Fly to Delhi, arriving late evening. Overnight at hotel.
Full day sightseeing of Old and New Delhi, the former, a bustling city of crowded bazaars built by the Mughal emperors and the latter a distinctive metropolis of wide avenues, landscaped gardens and stately monuments built by the British (by architects Lutyens and Baker). Visit the Humayun’s Tomb, Qutab Minar, Red Fort, Jama Masjid Mosque, Chandi Chowk (Moonlight Square) and its nearby markets, India Gate, and drive past the Presidents Palace and other government buildings. In the evening a welcome dinner.
Delhi to Jaipur
Early morning train to the Pink City of Jaipur arriving late morning. Afternoon tour of Jaipur including the City Palace, with its museum, the Jantar Mantar Observatory, and the Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of the Winds. Overnight at the Alsisar Haveli.
Morning tour of Amber at the edge of the city. Ride on gaily-caparisoned elephants up the steep driveway to the gates of the Fort and explore the ruins of the palaces, including the Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors). Afternoon free to explore Jaipur on your own; the city is famous for its handicrafts and durries and carpets.
Jaipur to Ranthambhor
Morning drive to Sawai Madhopur. In the afternoon visit Ranthambhor National Park, a renowned Tiger Reserve and one of India’s most picturesque wildlife areas. Apart from numerous species of birds the park harbours healthy numbers of mammals including Deer, Langur, Wild Boar and Tiger. Ranthambhor is one of the best places anywhere for daylight sightings of the Tiger, especially in the ravines and near the lakes. Overnight at the Tiger Moon Resort.
Safari drives in the early morning and late afternoon, as these are the best times for seeing wildlife.
Ranthambhor to Agra
Drive to Agra via Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted city built by the Mughal emperor Akbar. Arrive Agra late afternoon. Overnight at the Trident hotel.
Morning sightseeing of the white-marble monument Taj Mahal, built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan, the Agra Fort and the tomb of Itmad ud Daulah. Afternoon free.
Agra to Gwalior
Morning train to Gwalior, noted for it’s imposing hilltop fort containing the palace of Raja Mansingh. Gwalior is a centre for Indian classical music. Afternoon sightseeing of the city. Overnight at the Usha Kiran Palace.
Gwalior to Khajuraho
Morning train to Jhansi and drive to the medieval city of Orcha, the former capital of the Bundela Rajputs situated on the banks of the Betwa River, virtually unchanged with time. Continue to Khajuraho. Overnight at the Jass Oberoi hotel.
Khajuraho to Varanasi
Morning sightseeing of the magnificent Chandela temples, fine examples of medieval Indian temple architecture and sculpture. These masterpieces in stone were sculpted by royal artisans some 1000 years ago depicting erotic themes. Fly to Varanasi, on the banks of the holy Ganges, one of the world’s oldest living cities and the most sacred Hindu pilgrimages. In the afternoon visit Sarnath where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. Overnight at the Taj Ganges hotel.
Varanasi to Kathmandu
Early morning boat ride down the Ganges river for a sunrise cruise to observe the ceremonies that take place along the bathing Ghats where pilgrims come to bath in the sacred waters. Fly to Kathmandu.