The best of northern India combined with the fascinating Kathmandu Valley in Nepal – distinctive cultures, rich history, magnificent architecture and colourful folklore all in one unforgettable holiday.
Day 1 : JAIPUR TOUR
Arrive Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport early this morning. You will be met at the airport by PCTI representative who give you a warm welcome with fresh flower garlands and after boarding our vehicle we travel to the old walled city of Jaipur – Founded by Maharaja Jai Singh II, this ‘pink city’ is meticulously constructed on the lines of the Shilpa – Shastra, an ancient Hindu treatise on architecture. Enroute we have our breakfast at a mid-way restaurant and on arrival at Jaipur we check in to our pre-booked hotel. Evening we set out to visit the Birla Temple or the Lakshmi - Narayan Temple, situated just below the MootiDoongari, which is a replica of a Scottish castle, is one of the most revered Hindu temples, dedicated to Shri Lakshmi-Narayan.Built on raised ground, it is surrounded by large lush green gardens. The temple has been constructed in white marble and has three domes, each portraying the different approaches to religion. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 2 : JAIPUR TOUR
Morning breakfast followed by a sight-seeing tour of the city visiting the dramatic hilltop fortress at Amber – ascend the imposing fort on a decorated painted elephant. We wander among glittering inlays and the Hall of Mirrors. On the way back we stop at Jal Mahal, the rajput style "Water Palace" sits in the center of the Man Sarobar lake. The lake is often dry in the summer but winter monsoons frequently turn it into a beautiful lake filled with water hyacinths. Next to view the elegant Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds this elaborate building, now little more than a façade, is encrusted with delicate screens and carved balconies from which the royal ladies, confined to their quarters, could sneak views of the outside world. Post lunch we tour the Maharajah’s City Palace, now partly a museum display a unique fusion of Mughal and Hindu architecture, and house a rare collection of paintings, Rajput armoury and costumesiH. Lastly we visit Jaipur’s Observatory, a UNESCO World Heritage Site this is the most significant, most comprehensive, and the best preserved of India's historic observatories. It is an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period. Later we explore the city on our own and indulge in shopping for gemstones, silver jewellery, Paintings, blue pottery and hand printed textiles that Jaipur is renowned for. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 3 : JAIPUR / FATEHPURSEKRI / AGRA
After early breakfast we drive leisurely to the home town of Taj Mahal- Agra, takes us through the images of rural India. Enroute we visit FatehpurSikri- a UNESCO World Heritage Site which has been described as “the world’s most perfectly preserved ghost town”. Built by Akbar in the late 16th century, it was abandoned after only 14 years, and the elegant buildings of this superb walled city remain intact to this day. We arrive by lunch and check inn to our hotel. After lunch we leave to explore the monumental heritage of the Great Mughals, includingthe magnificent Taj Mahal (Closed on Fridays), a UNESCO World Heritage Site one of the Seven Wonders of the World and surely the most extravagant expression of love ever created. 20,000 men laboured for over 17 years to build this memorial to Shah Jahan's beloved wife. It's a wealth of white marble and semi-precious stone – « undoubtedly the highlight of the tour ». Later we tour of the imposing Agra Fort,a UNESCO World Heritage Site this powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses, within its 2.5-km-long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. It comprises many fairy-tale palaces, such as the Jahangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, built by Shah Jahan; audience halls, such as the Diwan-i-Khas; and two very beautiful mosques. Later we have some free time to explore the local handicrafts and shopping centers of the city where one can look for marble inlay work, fine quality carpets, Zari and embroidery, leather goods etc. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 4 : AGRA / ORCHHA & DRIVE KHAJURAHO
This morning we travel 2.5hrs by Deluxe Train to Orchha, Met on arrival and we visit Orchha- once the capital of Bundelas, Orchha is a village, set amongst a complex of well-preserved palaces and temples. Though Orcha was founded in 1531, it's golden age was during the first half of 17th century. When Jehangir visiting the city in 1606, a special palace, the Jehangir Mahal was built for him. Post lunch our drive takes us to Khajuraho, the legendary temples of Khajuraho built in the 9th and the 10th century are an incomparable experience. Acknowledged as one of the world’s artistic wonders.Khajuraho has achieved fame for the sensual appeal of its erotic sculptures. On arrival we check inn to our Hotel. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 5 : FLY KHAJURAHO / VARANASI
Morning we visit the exquisite 10th century temples of Khajuraho, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Afternoon flight takes us to the oldest living city in the world Varanasi – also said to be the India’s most sacred city situated on the western bank of the holy river Ganga. Varanasi is the city, which cannot be described, only experienced. Our evening rickshaw (Tricycle) ride passing through the busy streets and bazaars of Varanasi takes us to the holy river Ganges where we cruise to witness the ceremonies amidst hundreds of lighted candles and flower offerings. Overnight stay at our hotel.
Day 6 : FLY VARANASI / DELHI
We Rise before dawn and step gingerly onto a rickety old boat as the wizened boatman coasts off. We wait, still, for the daily miracle to unfold. Just then, as if having waited for the audience to settle reverently in their assigned places, the Sun God appears triumphantly over the horizon. The sound of conches and temple bells rent the delicate pink fabric of dawn. The formerly hushed murmuring of ancient Sanskrit Shlokas, now rises, in one voice, to a crescendo of unparalleled piety and joy. We tour Sarnath, an important pilgrimage centre for Buddhist. This is where the Buddha preached his first sermon after getting enlightenment. Sarnath's temples and Archaeological Museum are full of Buddhist art treasures. This afternoon we fly to Delhi. Met on arrival and transfer to the hotel.Overnight stay at our hotel.
Day 7 : FLY DELHI / KATHMANDU
This morning we fly to Kathmandu - the capital town of Nepal, the house of the highest mountains, Kathmandu is as much steeped in beauty as in the history of this wonderland. The place has ever since been the center for art, crafts, culture and a rich heritage. Upon arrival transfer to the hotel. Afternoon sightseeing of Pashupatinath Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site the most sacred Hindu temple in Nepal dedicated to lord Shiva, built in 1696. BoudhaNath Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site the world’s largest stupa; a sight of great reneration to the Buddhist, Swayambhunath temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site the oldest Buddhist shrine. Looking east from here, one can see the entire Kathmandu valley spread out below. Overnight stay at our hotel.
Day 8 : KATHMANDU TOUR
After breakfast, visit Durbar square,a UNESCO World Heritage Site the temple of the Living Goddess and the old Royal Palace. Visit Kasthamandup, a temple built from a single tree from which the Kathmandu derives its name. Later we set out to visit the medieval cities of Patan&Bhaktapur. Patan - The streets in this region are homes to metal sculptures of the present day and some of the best pieces of sculpture are in the Golden Temple. This place is a monastery with wall painting fourteenth century statues and ancient scriptures also to see are the Krishna Mandir, Bhimsen Temple the Mahaboudha Temple in terracotta and okubahal. Here we also visit Tibetan handicraft center at Jawalakhel to watch carpet weaving. Bhaktapur - this ancient city is also variously known as the "City of Culture", the "Living Heritage" and "Nepal’s Cultural Gem". Given such unequaled opulence in ancient art and culture, Bhaktapur is more like an open museum, and the ambience here is such that it instantly transports visitors back by centuries the moment they step into its territory. Overnight stay at our hotel.
Day 9 : KATHMANDU / DELHI
Morning flight takes us back to Delhi. Met on arrival at Delhi Airport and leave for a sightseeing tour of Delhi. We visit the 11th century QutabMinar Tower (Monday Closed), a UNESCO World Heritage Site built by Qutub-ud-din Aibek of the Slave Dynasty, who took possession of Delhi in 1206. It is a red sandstone tower, standing tall at a height of 72.5 metres and is covered with intricate carvings and verses from the holy Qur'an. The India Gate, a memorial raised in honour of the Indian soldiers martyred during the Afghan war and drive past the grand government buildings the President’s House and Parliament House all dating back to the time of British Raj. Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi is a simple black marble platform that marks the spot of his cremation on 31 January, 1948. Two museums dedicated to Gandhi are located near by. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 10 :DEPART DELHI
Early morning pick up from hotel and transfer to airport to board your homebound flight.