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The Heart of India

Duration
11 Days
Prices From:
US$ 1,696

Venture across the colourful nation of India on this journey from Delhi to Varanasi. As you explore the heart of the nation, you’ll stroll through the Pink City of Jaipur, gaze upon the wonders of the Taj Mahal in Agra, and see the ornate temples of Khajuraho before riding along the Ganges in Varanasi.


This 11-day Indian vacation takes you through the heart of India, showcasing the cities of Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, and Varanasi. It includes first-class accommodations, shared tours, and is perfect for first-time visitors to India.

Your trip to India begins in Delhi, the nation’s capital and second-largest city. Divided into Old Delhi and New Delhi, Delhi holds a treasure trove of historical sites within its borders. Begin with a morning tour of Old Delhi, which takes you to the imposing Red Fort, which stands on the banks of Lake Delhi. Continue to the Raj Ghat, where Mahatma Ghandi was cremated following his assassination. That afternoon, tour New Delhi, seeing the Secretariat, the royal Humayun’s Tomb, and Qutab Minar, the tallest stone tower in the country.

From Delhi, head to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan known as the “Pink City” due to the pink sandstone that defines its architecture. In Jaipur, you’ll head right outside the city walls to see the famous Amber Fort, a red sandstone and marble fortress dating back to the 10th century. Back inside the city limits, you’ll stop by the famous Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds, known for its gorgeous pink sandstone façade covered with small windows and screens that allow wind to flow through the palace. Cap off your time in Jaipur by visiting the City Palace, the home to Jaipur’s Maharajah, before heading to the market to ride a rickshaw and experience the bustle of commerce in the old city.

Continue south and spend the day exploring the ghost city of Fatephur Sikri. Built in the late 16th century in fulfillment of prophecy, the city was promptly abandoned shortly after construction due to the area’s scarce water reserves. Today, it remains an abandoned city and one of the country’s finest examples of Mughal architecture. End the day in Agra, home to the iconic Taj Mahal. That next morning, rise at dawn to see the first rays of daylight bathe the world’s most impressive mausoleum at the magic hour. No matter your expectations of the Taj Mahal, the real thing will surpass them. However, Agra is about more than this architectural masterpiece. You’ll also visit the Agra Fort and have time to see other highlights like the Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, also known as the Baby Taj.

Next stop is the historical city of Jhansi, where you’ll explore the Orchha Palace, with its collection of ancient monuments and temples. Continue to Khajuraho, known for the stunning UNESCO-listed Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain temples with their incredibly-elaborate edifices. Spend a day exploring the many temples, starting at the Western Temple complex with Kandariya Mahadev Temple, the largest Hindu temple in Khajuraho, before heading to the Eastern Temple complex to see the Jain temple of Parshvanatha.

The final stop on your Indian vacation is the holy city of Varanasi, the spiritual capital of the nation. Hindu pilgrims will travel hundreds of kilometres to visit Varanasi and bathe in the streams of the Ganges River or cremate lost loved ones. You’ll get in touch with the city’s spiritual atmosphere with a boat cruise along the Ganges where you can see people bathing in the ashes of the river. Afterwards, swing by Vishwanath Gali or the Golden Temple for a photo op (you cannot enter the temple unless you’re Hindu) before ending your stay with an Aarti Ceremony in the evening. Return to Delhi to end your journey across this incredible nation.


 

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Duration
11 Days
Prices From:
US$ 1,696

Itinerary View Trip Map View Trip Special

Day 1

Arrive Delhi

Welcome to Delhi, India's capital and a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines in its folds - the ancient with the modern. Amidst the fast spiraling skyscrapers the remnants of a bygone time in the form of its many monuments stand as silent reminders to the region's ancient legacy. The first impressions for any visitor traveling in from the airport are of a specious, garden city, tree-lined with a number of beautiful parks.

Upon arrival you will be met and escorted to your hotel.

Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Radisson Blu Dwarka (Airport)

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    Radisson Blu Dwarka (Airport)



    Located in the serene sub-city of Dwarka, the Radisson Blu Dwarka welcomes guests with its 209 modern rooms and suites, superior services and a wide range of on-site dining options. Explore Dwarka and New Delhi from the comfort of the Radisson Blu, located just 20 ...

    Located in the serene sub-city of Dwarka, the Radisson Blu Dwarka welcomes guests with its 209 modern rooms and suites, superior services and a wide range of on-site dining options. Explore Dwarka and New Delhi from the comfort of the Radisson Blu, located just 20 minutes from the commercial hub of the city. This hotel in Dwarka is near New Delhi's international and domestic airports, as well as shopping and entertainment venues.

    Facilities

    • Business Centre
    • Conference Facilities
    • Currency Exchange
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Medical Services
    • Pool (s)
    • Spa

    More Details

Day 2

Delhi

Your morning exploration of Old Delhi begins with a drive past the Red Fort, a symbol of Shah Jehan's Mughal power and elegance, also known as the greatest wonder of all the cities of Delhi. India's history has been closely linked with this fort. It was from here that the British deposed the last Mughal ruler - Bhadur Shah Zafar, marking the end of a three - century long Mughal rule. It was also from its ramparts that the first prime. Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, announced to the nation that India was free from colonial rule.

Your tour continues with a visit to India's largest mosque Jama Masjid, originally known as 'Masjid-I-Jahan-Numa', meaning 'The mosque with a commanding view of the world'. This mosque was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan and was completed in 1656.

Board a cycle rickshaw, the best way to navigate the narrow, bustling labyrinth alleyways. Your ride takes you through the fabled "Chandni Chowk," literally translated as "Silver Square", which was then the commercial hub of the Mughal era and at that time inhabited by the well-to-do families of the city.

Continue onto Raj Ghat, a simple square platform of black marble found on the banks of the Yamuna, at the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated following his assassination on 31st January 1948. The memorial has the epitaph He Ram, (literally translated as 'O' Ram', but also translated to 'O God'), believed to be the last words uttered by Mahatma Gandhi.

This afternoon you will explore 'Lutyens' Delhi or New Delhi. Drive through the city viewing the government buildings, President's House and Parliament House. Also Visit India Gate and drive past the government buildings. Built as an imperial capital by the British, all the main buildings, designed in the 1920's by the British architects Lutyens and Baker, remain today.

At one end of the avenue known as the Rajpath (literally the "King's Way") is the War Memorial Arch, better known as India Gate, a memorial to the 90,000 Indians who gave their lives in World War I. As you drive along the majestic Rajpath - the broadest avenue of Delhi - our first views encompass the enormous Secretariat buildings with their 1,000 rooms and miles of corridors, and the Parliament House, a huge circular building in red and grey sandstone with an open colonnade extending around its circumference. At the other end stands the Rashtrapati Bhawan, one of the largest and most grandiose of the Raj constructions, built originally for the British Viceroy and now the official residence of the President of India.

Continue to Humayun's Tomb. Emperor Humayun, the father of Emperor Akbar, lies buried in this magnificent monument built in red sandstone. Haji Begum, Humayun's first wife and mother of Emperor Akbar designed and supervised the entire construction. Her design was way ahead of the times and is the basis for the design of the famous Taj Mahal, built almost a hundred years later!

Your tour ends with a visit to Qutab Minar, India's tallest stone tower. At a height of 234 feet, the "Tower of Victory" is considered by some to be the world's most perfect specimen of tower architecture. A mathematical marvel, this building has remained standing for eight centuries.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 3

Delhi-Jaipur

This morning you will drive to Jaipur, a city, whose past is never too far from hand. The city of victory, Jaipur presides over the fascinating desert state and its people: surrounded by rugged hills, each crowned by a formidable fort; and beautiful palaces, mansions and gardens dotted throughout its precincts. The palaces and forts of yesteryear that were witness to royal processions and splendour are now living monuments, accepted quite naturally into the lifestyles of the people of the "pink city". There is a timeless quality to Jaipur's bazaars and its people. With its historical past, Jaipur revives legends of the ancient Rajputs.

Arrive and proceed to your hotel and the rest of the day is at leisure.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Hilton Jaipur

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    Hilton Jaipur



    Set in the heart of the city, Hilton Jaipur is only 15 minutes' drive from popular tourist attractions including the City Palace and Hawa Mahal. Jaipur's central business district, numerous banks and government offices, and the Gopalpura and Vishwakarma industrial areas can all be easily ...

    Set in the heart of the city, Hilton Jaipur is only 15 minutes' drive from popular tourist attractions including the City Palace and Hawa Mahal. Jaipur's central business district, numerous banks and government offices, and the Gopalpura and Vishwakarma industrial areas can all be easily reached from this magnificent hotel in Jaipur. In addition, the train station is just eight minutes away and Jaipur Airport is only 20 minutes' drive from this contemporary Jaipur hotel.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Car Rental Available
    • Concierge
    • Foreign Exchange
    • Gift Shop
    • Luggage Storage
    • Pool
    • Room Service
    • Safety Deposit Box
    • Salon
    • Spa
    • Tour Desk
    • Valet Laundry

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Day 4

Jaipur

This morning you will drive along the streets of Jaipur, to Amber Fort, stopping en-route to view and photograph the Palace of Winds popularly known as Hawa Mahal, because of the perforated screen facade which catches the welcome breeze or Hawa. This was completed in 1799, the Palace was originally built to allow the sequestered ladies of the court to view the bustling life of the city.

Continue on to the Amber Fort. On the crest of a rugged hilltop and overlooking Lake Moata, the fort evokes thoughts of legends and fairy tales. The fort has been constructed in white and red sandstone. The Fort is unique in that it's outside, an imposing and rugged defensive structure, is markedly different from its inside, an ornate, lavish interior influenced by both Hindu and Muslim styles of ornamentation. Enjoy a jeep ride to the top of the fort.

This afternoon you will explore the city. Your program begins with a visit to the City Palace complex that continues to evoke the splendor of a bygone era. In an unending series of delights, from its grand aged entrance to the play of ornamental fountains, the City Palace is a dazzling showplace of Hindu and Mughal architecture. Do visit the museum which has vast exhibits displaying the opulence of yesteryears.

Next to the city palace is the Observatory (Jantar Mantar), literally translated as Calculation Instrument which was built on a grand scale between 1728 and 1734 by Maharaja Jai Singh, Jantar Mantar and was way beyond its time. This was modeled after the one that was built in Delhi, the then Mughal capital. He had constructed a total of five of which the one in Jaipur is the largest.

After your tour board a cycle rickshaw to explore the local markets. Jaipur is a shopper's paradise, renowned for gems and jewelry: precious and semi-precious stones set in gold, 'meenakari' (enamel work), antique and chunky silver jewelry; carpets, 'Pechwai' and miniature paintings on silk and paper, a unique type of blue pottery and even glass bangles! Fabric-wise, there are brocades, tie-and-dye, block printed, and the famous 'mirror work' embroidery, also used in table linen, cushion covers and ready-made garments.

This evening you will proceed to the Birla Temple also known as Laxmi Narayan Temple.to witness the evening prayer ceremony (aarti). The Birla Temple, a pure white marble architectural landmark of Jaipur is built of pure white marble, whose interiors contain, beautifully sculpted idols of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi, and many other Hindu Gods and Goddesses.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 5

Jaipur-Agra

Travel by surface to Agra stopping en route to visit Fatehpur Sikri or "The City of Victory - the deserted red sandstone city, built by the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace in the late 16th century. Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory) was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only some 10 years. It was abandoned soon after it was built when the local wells went dry and it remains today in much the same condition that it was over 300 years ago. It is complete with palaces and mosques and used to be a town larger than London when it was originally constructed.

Continue to Agra, the capital to the Mughals in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Though Agra's history is largely recognized with the Mughal Empire, this city was established much earlier and has links to the Mahabharat period in 1000 BC. However the Golden Age of this city began with the Mughals and was known then as Akbarabad. Agra is home to the finest examples of Mughal architecture in India, of which the Taj is simply the most famous.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Radisson Blu Agra Taj East Gate

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    Radisson Blu Agra Taj East Gate



    Welcome to the Radisson Blu Agra Taj East Gate, an upper upscale hotel that places you within walking distance of the breathtaking Taj Mahal, one of the world's most iconic landmarks. You'll also be close to the red sandstone walls of Agra Fort, the exotic ...

    Welcome to the Radisson Blu Agra Taj East Gate, an upper upscale hotel that places you within walking distance of the breathtaking Taj Mahal, one of the world's most iconic landmarks. You'll also be close to the red sandstone walls of Agra Fort, the exotic birds of Keoladeo National Park, and the historic cities of Sikandra and Fatehpur Sikri. You can roam the hotel's 4.5 acres of land, which offer a refreshing outdoor pool, a business center, a rejuvenating spa and a well-equipped fitness center. After a swim or a workout, relax in a stylish room or suite, each outfitted with Free high-speed, wireless Internet access.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Business Centre
    • Business Class Lounge
    • Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry
    • Meeting Facilities
    • Outdoor Pool
    • Restaurant
    • Spa

    More Details

Day 6

Agra

At sunrise proceed to visit the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is everything that has been said about it and more. Visitors are asked to remove their shoes prior to entering the interiors of the Taj Mahal. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and was transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants! Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal (literally translated as Jewel of the Palace).

Continue to the Agra Fort. Set on the bend of the River Yamuna. Emperor Akbar built it as his citadel over the years 1565-1573. This magnificent fort, with its imposing gates, walls of red sandstone and moat, dominates the center of the city. The fort was built by three different Mughal Emperors: Akbar the Great erected the walls, gates and first buildings; Emperor Shah Jehan built the impressive imperial quarters and mosque; while Emperor Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. At the end of his life, Aurangzeb imprisoned his father, Shah Jehan, at Agra Fort.

Sunrise and sunset visits to the Taj Mahal are subject to prevailing weather conditions.

The rest of the day is at leisure.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 7

Agra-Jhansi-Khajuraho

Early this morning proceed to the railway station where you will board your train to Jhansi. Upon arrival proceed to Orchha. Situated beside the Malwa Plateau along the River Betwa, The word Orchha literally means 'hidden place'. Presently it is a village set amidst a beautiful complex of well-preserved palaces and temples.

After your explorations you will drive to Khajuraho, well known for its temple architecture and erotic sculptures which were built by the Chandela Rajputs between the 9th and 11th centuries.

Arrive and proceed to your hotel.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Radisson Jass Shimla

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    Radisson Jass Shimla



    All rooms offer a scenic valley view. Hotel is located in a quaint location. Refresh yourself after a day of travel with a swim in our multi-tiered outdoor pool overlooking the Himalayas. At Sansha Spa, pamper yourself with a Dead Sea mineral therapy or an ...

    All rooms offer a scenic valley view. Hotel is located in a quaint location. Refresh yourself after a day of travel with a swim in our multi-tiered outdoor pool overlooking the Himalayas. At Sansha Spa, pamper yourself with a Dead Sea mineral therapy or an Ayurveda treatment. Our hotel is two kilometres from popular area attractions like the Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex, Jakhu Temple and Christ Church. During your visit, you can stay connected with free high-speed Internet access or disconnect by unwinding with a drink in the lounge. As an added convenience, Shimla Airport (SLV) is only 26 kilometres away.

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Day 8

Khajuraho-Varanasi

This morning you will visit the western group of temples. These magnificent temples of Khajuraho are India's unique gift to the world, representing every human expression, from life, to love, to joy - all so perfect in their execution and sublime in expression. Life, in every form and mood, has been captured in stone testifying to the artistry of the craftsmen. Of the 85 granite and sandstone temples, only 22 have survived the ravages of time. These temples seem to rise up to the sky and display an extraordinary breadth of vision of the Chandela Rajputs, under whose rule they were conceived and constructed. These sculptures depict the perfect fusion of man with his creator, couples in erotic poses, and battle and court scenes. Continue your explorations and visit the Eastern group of temples of which the Parsvanath Temple is the group's largest Jain temple with themes depicting in charming detail, everyday activity.

Later proceed to the airport for your flight to Varanasi via Delhi. Welcome to India's most sacred city, Varanasi which dates back to the 6th century BC, making it one of the oldest cities in the world.

Said Mark Twain of Varanasi:
"Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together."

Arrive and proceed to your hotel.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Radisson Hotel Varanasi

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    Radisson Hotel Varanasi



    Radisson Hotel Varanasi, is a four-star hotel boasting modern architecture, warm hospitality and a convenient location in the heart of the city's main business district. Whether you're travelling on business or leisure, you will be delighted by the hotel's spacious accommodations and top-notch services. Each ...

    Radisson Hotel Varanasi, is a four-star hotel boasting modern architecture, warm hospitality and a convenient location in the heart of the city's main business district. Whether you're travelling on business or leisure, you will be delighted by the hotel's spacious accommodations and top-notch services. Each of the 116 hotel rooms at the Radisson Varanasi has been carefully designed to provide you with an outstanding stay.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Business Centre
    • Conference Facilities
    • Currency Exchange
    • Gift Shop
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Massage Treatments
    • Pool (s)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Spa

    More Details

    Preferred Hotel
Day 9

Varanasi

Early morning proceed to ghats for a boat ride on the River Ganges. As your boat slowly drifts along the misty river you will witness so many fascinating sights - devotees having their ritual bath, the performing of religious ceremonies, or puja, to the rising sun, an ancient tradition that is still followed today. The shimmering red and gold hues on the waters of the river seem to cast a magical spell on the devout worshippers. The haunting sound of the chanting of mantras and hymns coupled with the sweet fragrance of incense fills the air with mystery and engulfs the senses of its spectators and offers an experience of ultimate bliss.

Disembark and walk up the narrow cobbled lanes stopping en route to view the Golden Temple of Varanasi - Vishwanath Temple.

Non-Hindu's are not allowed to enter the Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi.

Return to your hotel for breakfast.

This afternoon you will explore the city and its temples including a visit to the Bharat Mata temple is an interesting experience. Unlike other temples in India which all house deities of gods and goddesses, this is the only temple dedicated to Mother India. The most peculiar thing about the Bharat Mata Temple is that it houses a relief map of India, carved out of marble. Built by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupt and inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936. The statue of Bharat Mata is built in marble and is a model of undivided India, depicting the mountains, plains and oceans.

This evening you will board a rickshaw down to the river ghats to experience the rays of the setting sun casting their mystical shadows upon the darkening water. All along the banks shimmering lights of the tiny oil lamps 'diyas' flicker in the darkness lighting up the darkness with tiny specks of light.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 10

Varanasi-Delhi

Proceed to the airport for your flight to Delhi stopping en route to visit Sarnath, one of the main thereafter Buddhist centers in India. Here Lord Buddha delivered his first speech after gaining Nirvana, or enlightenment. Explore the Sarnath Museum, whose most famous exhibit is the "lion capital of Asoka": this statue of four lions guarding the four cardinal directions has become the emblem of modern India.

Arrive Delhi and proceed to the hotel.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Novotel New Delhi Aerocity

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    Novotel New Delhi Aerocity



    The hotel is located adjacent to both international & domestic airport terminals and is well connected through the Airport Express Line which is just 5 minutes away. The Novotel New Delhi Aerocity is near the business hubs of Gurgaon, New Delhi and Cyber City. It ...

    The hotel is located adjacent to both international & domestic airport terminals and is well connected through the Airport Express Line which is just 5 minutes away. The Novotel New Delhi Aerocity is near the business hubs of Gurgaon, New Delhi and Cyber City. It is also located close to Delhi's shopping malls including DLF Promenade, Emporio and Worldmark. A big complex of 670 rooms, Novotel and Pullman New Delhi Aerocity is a preferred destination for both business & leisure travelers.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Cafe
    • Event Space
    • Fitness Centre
    • Reception
    • Spa

    More Details

Day 11

Depart Delhi

Proceed to the airport for your onward flight.

Meal Plan Breakfast

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DEPARTURES:

2019: Apr 20

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 10 nights accommodation on twin sharing basis in first class hotels
  • Breakfast daily
  • Local flights Khajuraho / Varanasi / Delhi (subject to change)
  • All transportation services using air-conditioned vehicle
  • Meet and greet services in each city
  • English speaking local guides for all touring
  • Entrance fees
  • All sightseeing as per itinerary plus;
    • Rickshaw ride in Delhi
    • Jeep ride at Amber Fort in Jaipur
    • Boat ride by common boat in Varanasi
    • Train travel in air conditioned chair car between Agra and Jhansi 

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

TB TRAILBLDEL0519SG: HOI
20 Apr 2019
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