- See the intricate marble inlays of the world-famous Taj Mahal
- Fly through the Himalayas and see Everest up-close
- Explore the beautiful palaces of the Kathmandu Valley
- Visit Jaipur, Rajasthan's Pink City
|Day 1||Arrive in New Delhi||Delhi|
|Day 2||Old Delhi and New Delhi Sightseeing Tour||Delhi|
|Day 3||Fly from New Delhi to Kathmandu, Nepal||Kathmandu|
|Day 4||Durbar Square, Swayambhunath, and Boudhanath||Kathmandu|
|Day 5||Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur||Kathmandu|
|Day 6||Fly to New Delhi and Drive to Agra||Agra|
|Day 7||Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and other highlights||Agra|
|Day 8||Fatehpur Sikri and Jaipur||Jaipur|
|Day 9||Sightseeing Tour of Jaipur||Jaipur|
|Day 10||Drive from Jaipur to Delhi Airport and Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in New Delhi
Arrive in New Delhi, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel. New Delhi, the capital of India, has a long and rich history and over the centuries has drawn to it the Mongols, Turks, Persians, Afghans, Mughals and the British, all of whom contributed to its storied but turbulent past.
Once you arrive at your hotel, you can relax and enjoy a free evening.
Day 2: Old Delhi and New Delhi Sightseeing Tour
After breakfast, your guide will pick you up for a full-day sightseeing tour of Delhi.
You'll start at the Red Fort (closed on Mondays), a red sandstone marvel. In 1638, the Mughal king Shah Jahan decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi, and he began constructing the Red Fort on the bank of Old Delhi's Yamuna River.
Then, you'll drive past Raj Ghat. The Ghat is essentially a black marble platform that marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated on January 31, 1948, a day after he was assassinated. An eternal flame burns at one end of the open-air memorial, and the road it is located on is officially called Mahatma Gandhi Road.
Next, you'll visit Jama Masjid, which was Old Delhi's central mosque in Shah Jahan's time. The Shah completed the mosque in 1656 and it is still one of the largest mosques in India today. The mosque's capacity is about 25,000 people, and around 5,000 laborers worked to build it.
Afterward, you'll go to Chandni Chowk, the city's most famous market. Old Delhi was once the city of Shahjahanabad, a fortified city under Mughal rule. Even today, the remains of this past can be seen at the Kashmiri Gate, Ajmeri Gate, Turkman Gate, Delhi Gate, and Feroz Shah Kotla. In those days, Chandni Chowk was the city's central market. Today, it's a massive area packed with stalls and people. You'll take a rickshaw ride in the market to get a different view of the hustle and bustle.
After the market, you'll visit New Delhi. You'll pass by the India Gate (a memorial to the Indian soldiers who died in WWI), the Rashtrapati Bhavan (formerly the viceroy's residence) and the Parliament House. Then, you'll visit the imposing Lakshmi Naryan Temple, one of the famous Birla Temples in India, built in 1938 and dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi.
Finally, you'll visit the 12th century Qutab Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Minar of Delhi is surrounded by a lush green garden, which is pleasant to walk through. You'll also see the Ashoka Iron Pillar of Delhi—which has withstood the ravages of time and not rusted in 1500 years—and the mausoleum of Emperor Humayun.
Day 3: Fly from New Delhi to Kathmandu, Nepal
After an early breakfast, you'll check out of your hotel and head to the airport for your flight to Kathmandu. Once you arrive in Kathmandu, your guide will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel.
The Kathmandu Valley stretches 140 square miles (360 square kilometers) and is 4383 ft (1336 meters) above sea level. Legend has it that the valley used to be underwater, until the day the Bodhisattva Manjushri planted his sword in the middle of the lake. The valley dried up and the first inhabitants settled. Kathmandu, the capital, is surrounded by green hills with terraced fields.
Day 4: Durbar Square, Swayambhunath, and Boudhanath
In the morning, you'll have the option to go on a mountain flight out of the Kathmandu domestic airport. This is a one-hour scenic flight that takes you on an exclusive tour of the highest mountain in the world: Mount Everest. You'll also get the chance to see other high peaks. The flight takes you deep into the Himalayas, flying into valleys with rugged rock faces, and only five nautical miles from Everest itself.
After the mountain flight, you'll return to your hotel to have breakfast. After breakfast, you'll visit Kathmandu Durbar Square and Swayambhunath.
Durbar, which means palace, is where the kings were once crowned and where the old royal palace is located. Durbar Square is the heart of Kathmandu and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
South of the square is a former Royal Elephant Stable, which today has souvenir stalls and leads to Freak Street (the ultimate hippie destination during the Flower Power era). The Temple of Living Goddess, Kumari, is also on the southern end. Kumari is a young Shakya girl from the Newar community, chosen through an ancient process to become the human incarnation of the Hindu Goddess, Taleju. If you are lucky, you might get to get a glimpse of Kumari peeking out of an elaborately carved wooden window.
Durbar Square was very damaged during the 2015 earthquake. Several of the main temples in the area—Kasthamandap, Narayan temple, Trilokya Mohan, and Krishna Temple—have been completely destroyed, while others have been partially damaged.
On the northeast side of the square, you'll see Hanuman Dhoka, the main entrance to the old royal palace. The Taleju Bhawani’s Temple is also located here. The royal palace was partially damaged, but a restoration process is ongoing. Slowly, the square is returning to its former glory.
You'll also go on a walking tour of Ason Market. Ason is a local bazaar that sells all kinds of daily necessities and is a great place to learn more about the Kathmandu and its people.
Then, your guide will take you to Swayambhunath, a white dome with a glittering golden spire perched on top of a conical hill that is visible from many miles away. Swayambhunath Stupa is also known as the Monkey Temple and is one of the most ancient of all of the holy shrines in the Kathmandu Valley. According to historical records, it's over 2,500 years old.
Though the temples around the stupa suffered some minor damage, and one of the temples beside the stupa collapsed during the 2016 earthquake, the reconstruction process is ongoing. You'll be able to see Tibetan pilgrims and monks chanting prayers in the monastery.
Finally, you'll head to Boudhanath, an ancient Stupa on top of a massive mandala. There are over 50 monasteries surrounding it, and it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. In the evening the whole place lights up with butter lamps, and the wafting smell of sage gives a calming effect. Tibetan monks, the elderly, and other devotees can be seen spinning prayer wheels, chanting mantras, or just strolling in silence.
The Stupa was damaged during the earthquake but has already been reconstructed and opened for tourists again starting in November 2016. Here, you'll be able to interact with the monks and receive a Khada, a Himalayan silk scarf, which is a blessing for guests.
Day 5: Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur
After breakfast at the hotel, you'll head to Patan, one of the three royal cities in the valley. The city is known for its Buddhist and Hindu temples, as well as over 1,000 monuments with the finest wood and stone carvings.
Patan has a rich tradition of creating crafts and beautiful art, which you can see in its metal statues and ornate architecture. The city's former royal palace is now a museum and has three main courtyards: Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk, and Keshav Narayan Chowk. Other attractions include the Krishna Temple, the Bhimsen Temple, and the Golden Temple.
During your tour, you'll get a chance to witness a master performing on a singing bowl. Singing bowls are renowned for their healing and relaxing qualities and were invented by ancient Tibetan and Nepali Buddhist monks for physical, mental and spiritual rejuvenation. When the rims of these bowls are struck, they produce a long, reverberating sound wave that soothes the senses.
In the afternoon, you'll visit Bhaktapur, an ancient city sometimes known as the "City of Culture", the "Living Heritage" and "Nepal’s Cultural Gem." Bhaktapur is like an open museum, and its Durbar Square is the gem of the entire country, with its world-renowned 55 Window palace, Golden Gate, Big Bell, Siddhi Laxmi Temple, and Shiva Temple.
After your tour, you'll return to your hotel to relax and enjoy your evening.
Day 6: Fly to New Delhi and Drive to Agra
After breakfast, your guide will take you to Kathmandu Airport for your flight to New Delhi. From there, you'll be picked up and taken to Agra (a four-hour drive).
Agra is a city built by the Mughals. It is known for its many beautiful monuments, including the Taj Mahal, its most famous. But Agra is also home to the massive but elegant Agra Fort, the delicate Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, and Akbar’s deserted capital, Fatehpur Sikri.
Once you arrive, check-in at your hotel. In the evening, you'll have the option to visit the Sheroes Hangout Café for a cup of coffee. The cafe is run by acid attack survivors, with the help of the NGO Stop Acid Attacks.
Day 7: Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and Other Highlights
After breakfast, you'll visit the Taj Mahal. Famous around the world, the Taj took 22 years and 20,000 men to build, and its white marble was quarried 200 miles away and transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants. It was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth.
Up close, you can see the building's intricate marble inlay work, which is unparalleled.
In the afternoon, you'll visit Agra Fort, another outstanding example of Mughal architecture, which served as the stronghold of the Mughal Empire under several successive generations.
In the late afternoon, you'll go on a tour to Kachhpura Village to see the village and Humayun’s Mosque. Your tour ends in Mehtab Bagh, from where you'll have the opportunity to set the sunset on the Taj Mahal.
Day 8: Fatehpur Sikri and Jaipur
After breakfast, you'll check out of your hotel and head to Jaipur, with a stop at Fatehpur Sikri on the way. Fatehpur Sikri is a deserted fortified city that was built by Emperor Akbar in 1569 as his capital and abandoned 15 years later, allegedly due to the severe scarcity of water.
After Fatehpur Sikri, your driver will take you to Jaipur, which was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727. The city was painted pink in 1853 in honor of Prince Albert's visit. Once you arrive, you'll check in to your hotel and enjoy a free evening.
Day 9: Sightseeing Tour of Jaipur
After breakfast, you'll visit the ancient Rajput capital of Amber, seven miles (11 km) from Jaipur. This fort-palace was built by Raja Man Singh and used by the Rajputs as their stronghold until Sawai Jai Singh II moved to the newly created Jaipur. At the fort, you'll see the Diwan I Am (hall of public audience), the Kali Temple, the Jai Mandir (hall of victory), and Sukh Niwas.
In the afternoon, you'll go on a half-day tour of the city to see the Maharaja’s City Palace and the Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory. You'll also stop at the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) to take photos.
Day 10: Drive from Jaipur to Delhi Airport and Depart
After breakfast, your driver will take you back to New Delhi to board your flight home. The drive takes approximately five hours. Safe travels!