- Visit the world-famous Taj Mahal at sunrise
- Spot Bengal tigers on safari at Ranthambore National Park
- Tour the UNESCO-listed Amer and Agra Forts
- Explore Delhi's mosques, markets, and Sikh meccas
|Arrive in New Delhi, Explore
|Old Delhi Sightseeing Tour, Transfer to Jaipur
|Jaipur Sightseeing Tour
|Transfer to Ranthambore, Visit Ranthambhore Fort
|Ranthambore National Park Tiger Safari
|Transfer to Agra, Visit Agra Fort
|Taj Mahal Sunrise Visit, Return to New Delhi & City Tour
|Depart New Delhi
Day 1: Arrive in New Delhi, Explore
Welcome to Delhi! You'll be met at the airport with a traditional swagat (welcome) and transferred to your hotel. Settle in before heading out to explore India's 100-mile-per-hour capital independently. This sprawling city is home to UNESCO-listed landmarks, ornate temples, and labyrinthine, spice-scented markets where you can taste some of India's top street food.
Head to New Delhi to visit landmarks like Mahatma Gandhi's memorial, the Presidential Palace, and Humayun's Tomb, said to be the inspiration behind the Taj Mahal. Take an optional tour of the 90-acre (36 ha) Lodhi Garden, home to various trees and birds, as well as 15th-century tombs, mosques, and bridges. After a relaxing stroll, join the locals for a cup of chai (sweet, strong milky tea) at a tea shop in the center of the gardens.
Day 2: Old Delhi Sightseeing Tour & Transfer to Jaipur
Start today's tour in Old Delhi, the city's historic heart, which was influenced by the great Mughals who once ruled from the ramparts of the majestic Red Fort. You'll visit India's largest 17th-century mosque, the Jama Masjid, and take an exhilarating rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk. This bustling market was the center of the city in Mughal times.
In the afternoon, you'll make the six-hour journey to Jaipur, the gateway to and capital of Rajasthan. Established in 1727, Jaipur was India's first planned city and is dotted with imposing forts, dazzling palaces, lake-filled parks, and markets. Check into your hotel and take an evening stroll through one of Jaipur's vibrant bazaars, stopping for a meal.
Day 3: Jaipur Sightseeing Tour
Head out early today for a tour of the Pink City, so-called because the buildings were painted rose pink on the orders of Maharajah Ram Singh to honor the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria. The tour starts with visiting the 18th-century Hawa Mahal—the Palace of the Winds—a five-story pink sandstone structure built to allow royal women to watch street processions and festivities through its 953 windows without being seen by the people below.
Continue to the nearby Amer Palace Fort, the yellow-hued hilltop fortress that served as the royal residence over a thousand years ago. The fort is famed for its sweeping city views and iconic Indian-Muslim design, which includes the Sheesh Mahal (mirrored palace) and decorative courtyards.
You'll head back to central Jaipur next to tour the City Palace, which offers a perfect blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture and is still home to the royal family today. The tour ends with a trip to the fascinating Jantar Mantar, a giant 17th-century solar observatory and astronomical treasure house. Return to your hotel afterward and enjoy a relaxed evening in Jaipur.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 4: Transfer to Ranthambore, Visit Ranthambhore Fort
Escape the city today and head south to jungle-covered Ranthambore National Park. This former hunting ground for the Maharajah of Jaipur is one of the best places in India to spot endangered Bengal tigers. Check into your hotel and then take a guided walk to Ranthambore Fort, which dominates the park's skyline, offering panoramic views of the lush grasslands and forests below.
Tour the fort, which displays magnificent Rajput design and is encircled by grand stone walls with imposing pillars and domes. As you explore, look for exotic birds, monkeys, and peacocks. Return to your hotel afterward to rest before tomorrow's exciting tiger safari.
Day 5: Ranthambore National Park Tiger Safari
Today you'll experience Ranthambore's natural landscapes and wildlife on a safari. Rise early and meet your guide for a sunrise Jeep tour through the park in search of tigers. Ranthambore has been a sanctuary for wild animals since 1955 and is shadowed by the Ravelled and Vindhya hills, dotted with lakes, forests, and rivers that provide a home for hundreds of species of birds, mammals, and reptiles.
Take a break at the hotel for lunch and then continue with an afternoon safari to maximize your chance of spotting tigers in the wild, perhaps stalking through the grasslands or drinking at the river's edge. Other animals to look for include civets, wild boar, spotted deer, Indian gazelle, and striped hyenas. Your guide will know all the best places to look for wildlife; you may even spot rare creatures like the sloth bear if you're lucky.
Day 6: Transfer to Agra, Visit Agra Fort
Today, you'll travel to Agra, a city that grew in prominence under the rule of the Mughal Empire in 1526, reaching its zenith between 1556 and 1658 under the successive regimes of Akbar, Shah Jehan, and Jehangir. During Akbar's reign, the city became a leading center of art, science, commerce, and culture, drawing intellectuals and artists to its darbars (royal courts) and havelis (historic mansions).
Take a break at your hotel before heading out on an afternoon tour of Agra Fort, whose mighty red sandstone walls encircle the Pearl Mosque and various ornate palaces, halls, and courtyards. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled palatial city featuring multiple styles of architecture from the Akbar, Jehangir, and Shah Jehan reigns. Don't miss the Diwan-i-Am, the Diwan-i-Khaas, and Jodhabai's Palace.
Day 7: Taj Mahal Sunrise Visit, Return to New Delhi & City Tour
At sunrise, visit one of India's highlights: the Taj Mahal. Watch the sun hit the epic, 17th-century marble monument, bathing it in buttery shades of gold. You'll spend three hours touring the site, built by emperor Shah Jehan for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It's thought that the complex took over 20,000 artisans 22 years to complete, led by legendary architect Ustad Ahamad Lahori. Head back to your hotel afterward for breakfast and a rest.
Next, return to New Delhi, where you'll check into your hotel before enjoying a city tour. Start with a visit to one of the city's main Sikh pilgrimage centers, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. Discover the healing properties of the gurudwara (Sikh house of worship) as you stroll through its grounds. Admire the white-marble structure with its golden domes and sacred pond.
The 17th-century gurudwara premises include the main prayer hall, which contains the Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy book), a library, a museum, a hospital, a school, and an art gallery. As in all gurudwaras, a langar (communal meal) is served in the Bangla Sahib. Visit the kitchen to witness this mass meal being prepared. Next, peruse Delhi's famous shopping area Connaught Place before returning to your hotel.
Day 8: Depart New Delhi
Today your India adventure comes to an end. You'll be transferred to the airport in time to catch your homebound flight. Safe travels!