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Classic India Tour

Classic India Tour

10 Nights / 11 Days


Day 1: Arrive Delhi

Arrive at IGI airport Delhi. Meet & greet at airport. Upon arrival onward transfer to hotel. Overnight stay at hotel in Delhi/NCR.

Day 2: Delhi

The contrasts between Old and New Delhi are striking – Old Delhi boasts spectacular UNESCO World Heritage monuments and holy sites, whereas New Delhi was designed in a typically British colonial style, with manicured tree-lined avenues and colonial bungalows. Meet with your private guide and driver to spend the day exploring the contrasts between the two sides of the city, and get an overall orientation of the city’s finest sites. Arrive in Old Delhi and drive past the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Red Fort. To truly experience the delightful chaos of the city, get on a cycle rickshaw for an exciting ride through its narrow lanes. The Old City walls wrap around Chandi Chowk, an ancient market that continues to thrive to this day. Take in the electrifying energy around you; expose your senses to the enticing colors and exotic scents of cardamom and allspice, and watch local men sip their tea at deliciously fragrant chai stands. A walk through Khari Baoli, Asia’s largest spice market, provides for unforgettable memories.

In the afternoon, drive past the impressive India Gate and the Secretariat Building on the way to Qutab Minar, the tallest brick minaret in the world. The minaret is surrounded by a complex of buildings providing fine examples of Indian artwork dating back to the twelfth century, and it has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. End the day with a visit to yet another UNESCO-recognized site, the Humayun’s Tomb. Explore this series of Mughal-style buildings, the first example of this type of architecture in India. At the end of the day, return to your hotel by private vehicle. Overnight stay at hotel in Delhi.

Day 3: Delhi – Jaipur

Meet your private driver and settle in for a transfer from Delhi to Jaipur. Approximate drive time is six hours 265 Kms. The creative energy and ingenuity of Jaipur have long been a drawing point of the city, a lasting legacy of skilled craftspeople and artisans. From the founding of the city in 1727, the royal families and nobles of Jaipur have patronized the craft capital of India, and through their sphere of influence, many valuable and highly prized items can still be found. Using skills passed down through generations, artisans and master craftsmen can be seen in the areas of Ghat Darwaza and Vishveshwar ji. Starting in front of the iconic Palace of the Winds, set out on foot with your private guide and spend a colorful evening walking through the city’s bazaars, mingling and chatting with store vendors and locals alike, and sampling some of the region’s notable culinary favorites. Taste pakoras, aloo tiki, samosas and ladoo from a selection of the city’s most popular street food vendors that have been carefully vetted for quality and hygiene standards. Stroll along and poke your head into local artisans’ workshops to observe the painstakingly careful craftsmanship of jewelers and silversmiths, gold painters and tie-dying experts. Return to your hotel by private vehicle. Overnight stay at hotel in Jaipur.

Day 4: Jaipur

Following an early breakfast, meet your private guide and driver at your hotel and spend the day exploring some of Jaipur’s most iconic monuments. Begin the day with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the magnificent hilltop Amber Fort. The Fort is surrounded by fortified battlements and overlooks the Moat Lake.  Once on top, stroll through the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls. Most fascinating, perhaps, is the Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) where a single lamplight is reflected in the numerous mirrors, lighting up the entire room. Continue to Hawa Mahal, also known as the Palace of the Winds. The monument is adorned in an ornate pale pink facade with a tiered baroque-like build.  The original design was intended to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life and public festivals in the streets below without being seen.

Next, visit Jantar Mantar, an observatory built by Sawai Jai Singh ll in the 18th century. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the world’s largest sundial. The massive astronomical instruments were built from local stone and marble and the monument pays homage to 18th-century architectural innovations during the Mughal period. From here, continue to the City Palace, a breathtaking 18th-century royal residence to the rulers of Jaipur. Wander through the sprawling complex and visit areas that have been converted to a museum illustrating the harmony of Rajput and Mughal architecture. Part of the palace, Chandra Mahal, is the home of the current Maharaja and is off-limits. End your day with a private transfer back to your hotel. Overnight stay at hotel in Jaipur.

Day 5: Jaipur – Agra

Meet your driver and settle in for a private transfer from Jaipur to Agra, with a stop at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fatehpur Sikri, an abandoned ghost city, along the way. Meet with a local guide in Fatehpur Sikri to explore the ruins. Constructed during the second half of the 16th-century by Emperor Akbar, the "City of Victory" served as the capital of the Mughal Empire for approximately 14 years, until the capital was moved to Punjab and the city was later abandoned. The well-preserved complex of monuments and temples reflects the Hindu and Muslim architectural styles of the time, and houses one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid. After your visit to the abandoned city, continue by private vehicle to Agra. Approximate travel time is 5 – 6 hours including touring.

Meet with your private driver and guide, Itmad-ud-Daula - The Itimad-ud-Daula’s Tomb is situated on the left bank of river Jamuna next to Chini-ka-Rauza. Itimad-ud-Daula was the title given to Mirza Ghiyath Beg, father of Nur Jahan. He held the post of Lord of treasure of the empire and later rose to the dignity of wazir under Jahangir. Nur Jahan completed the construction of the building of the Tomb of her father in 1628 AD, nearly 7 years after his death. After your visit, return to your hotel by private vehicle. Overnight stay at hotel in Agra.

Day 6: Agra

A stunning monument to love, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Taj Mahal has captivated the hearts and minds of travelers for centuries. Meet your private guide and driver for a private tour of this exquisite example Mughal architecture, crafted entirely out of white marble. Commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal who passed away during childbirth, the iconic mausoleum rises above a well-manicured garden. The inside of the Taj Mahal is equally stunning, with elaborate inlay work comprised of precious and semi-precious stones.

After your leisurely exploration of this New 7 Wonders of the World, continue by car to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Agra Fort, a red sandstone fort built on a bend of the Yamuna river. The Mughal Dynasty fort served as the main residence of the emperors until the capital was shifted to Delhi, and is an impressive monument with a rich architectural history. Emperor Shah Jahan was once imprisoned inside of Agra Fort, and the tower of his imprisonment offers views of the Taj Mahal in the distance. At the end of the visit, return to your hotel by private vehicle. Overnight stay at hotel in Agra.

Day 7: Agra – Jhansi -  Khajuraho

Meet your private driver and English-speaking assistant for a train station transfer. Board a train with service from Agra to Jhansi. The train ride is approximately 2.5 to 3 hours. Meet your private driver for a transfer from the Jhansi train station to Khajuraho. Approximate transfer time is 3 hours. Overnight stay at hotel in Khajuraho.

Day 8: Khajuraho

This private guided tour of the Khajuraho Group of Monuments in Khajuraho, is a once in life time experience. Situated in a town in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, about 620 kilometers southeast of New Delhi, this unique location is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of India. Khajuraho contains the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples, which are famous due to the erogenous nature of the sculptures. The Khajuraho group of monuments has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is considered to be one of the "seven wonders" of India. The city of Khajuraho was the original capital of the Chandela Rajputs, a Hindu dynasty that ruled this part of India from the 10th to the 12th century. These marvelous Khajuraho temples and the whole surrounding area were enclosed by a wall with eight gates, each flanked by two golden palm trees. There were originally over 80 Hindu temples, of which only 22 now stand in a reasonable state of preservation, scattered over an area of about 8 square miles. Overnight stay at hotel in Khajuraho.

Day 9: Khajuraho – Varanasi  

Meet your driver for an airport transfer with private vehicle, driver and English-speaking assistant. Enjoy your flight from Khajuraho to Varanasi today. The flight duration is approximately one hour. Meet your driver for an airport transfer with private vehicle, driver and English-speaking assistant.

The Aarti Ceremony is a devotional Hindu ritual performed at dusk on the banks of the Ganges, using fire as an offering to, the affectionately referenced, Maa Ganga, goddess of the holiest river in India. Varanasi, also known as Benares and Kashi (City of Life), is one of the three holy cities - Rishikesh and Haridwar are the other two - where this event happens every day. Usually, a small oil lamp made of clay adorned with a candle and flowers is lit and floated down the river. It's a beautiful sight that takes place every sunset at the holy Dasaswamedh Ghat. Young Hindu priests, all draped in saffron-colored robes, perform the highly choreographed ritual on an elevated stage facing the river. Clouds of incense fill the air, while priests chant and wave incense sticks in elaborate patterns or circle large flaming lamps that create a magnificent spectacle of colors against the darkened sky.

The ritual lasts a little less than an hour, after which your private guide takes you to a waiting boat and boatman to experience Varanasi’s night views as observed from the river. The most important and, a potentially unsettling one, is to see the burning funeral pyres you encounter on the way. You can witness cremations as your boat floats gently past, revealing a ritual that is memorable in its rawness, simplicity, and completeness. It is helpful to hear your guide explain the Hindu believe that if a deceased’s ashes are laid to rest in the Ganges at Varanasi, it allows their soul to be transported to heaven and thus escape the cycle of rebirth. A tour with an intriguing close-up view of a quintessential Varanasi experience. Overnight stay at hotel in Varanasi.

Day 10: Varanasi  

Mark Twain once described Varanasi as "Older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together." A tiny glimpse of what he was talking about can be gleaned from a boat ride on the river at dawn, one of the experiences that every visitor to Varanasi should have. Early this morning, accompanied by your private guide, discover India’s spirituality from another perspective — by taking an unforgettable sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, floating past ghats as worshippers begin to appear on the banks. Varanasi's unique culture is associated with the river Ganges, where life and death intermingle. The living flock the ghats to pray with the belief that bathing in the waters of the sacred river would result in the remission of their sins, while the ashes of the dead are scattered in the water to break the cycle of reincarnation and let the soul rise to enlightenment.

Varanasi may be home to popular and ancient Hindu temples, but it also has the distinction of being one of the most sacred destinations for Buddhists. The small site of Sarnath, about 20 Kms from Varanasi, is one of the four sacred Buddhist pilgrim centers and the one where Buddha delivered his first sermon, in what was a deer park, to his disciples. The other three sacred centers are Lumbini in Nepal where Buddha (then Prince Siddhartha) was born, Bodhgaya in Bihar where he attained enlightenment under the Mahabodhi Tree and Khushinagar in Uttar Pradesh where he entered into Mahanirvana.

Interestingly, many visitors to Sarnath don’t realize it was also an important place for the believers of Lord Shiva. Sarnath is the short form for Saranganatha, which means Lord of Deer, another name of Lord Shiva. Most of Sarnath’s ruins are found in a, relatively, small and very well maintained area with the Dhamek Stupa - one of the most famous of all Buddhist stupas – dominating the site. It can be seen from, virtually, anywhere you walk in Sarnath. Originally built during the reign of King Ashoka of the Maurya Dynasty (around 249 BCE), it has undergone a series of expansions and additions. It’s solid, cylindrically-shaped edifice marks the spot where Lord Buddha preached the first sermon to his five disciples after attaining enlightenment in Bodh Gaya. Today, Buddhist pilgrims from around the world visit Sarnath to circumambulate the holy Stupa, chanting the mantra or sitting on the grass in solemn prayer.

The museum, which is part of the site, boasts a great collection of archeological artifacts and your private guide can elaborate on the exhibits but then also give you time by yourself to browse at your own pace. Overnight stay at hotel in Varanasi. 

Day 11: Varanasi – Delhi + Departure   

Meet your driver for an airport transfer with private vehicle, driver and English-speaking assistant. Board a flight with direct service from Varanasi to Delhi. Approximate flight duration is 1.5 hours.


***Tour end with happy memories***


Tour Highlights

v Welcome in traditional Indian style with marigold garland, aarti and vermilion tikka.

v Stay at Deluxe class hotels.

v Rickshaw ride at Chandani chowk market

v Visit to Taj on decorated Tonga’s

v Elephant ride at Amer Fort Jaipur

v Boat ride at River Ganges in Varanasi

v Light & sound show at Khajuraho Temple

v Pictures in front of the most beautiful mausoleum in the world, the Taj Mahal, while wearing a traditional Indian dress called Saree (for men the pyjama-style Kurta). Optional