- Soak up the sights and sounds in Delhi's new and old districts
- Watch a sunset at the Taj Mahal
- See tigers on safari in Ranthambore National Park
- Explore the grounds of the former imperial capital Fatehpur Sikri
- Take a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges
|Day 1||Arrive in Delhi||Delhi|
|Day 2||Guided Tour of Delhi||Delhi|
|Day 3||Walking Tour of Agra||Agra|
|Day 4||Taj Mahal - Agra Fort||Agra|
|Day 5||Agra - Ranthambore National Park||Ranthambore|
|Day 6||Safari in Ranthambore National Park||Ranthambore|
|Day 7||Heritage Walking Tour of Jaipur||Jaipur|
|Day 8||Day-Trip to Amber Fort||Jaipur|
|Day 9||Jaipur Temple Tour - Varanasi||Varanasi|
|Day 10||Boat Ride on the Ganges||Varanasi|
|Day 11||Depart Varanasi|
Day 1: Arrive in Delhi
When you land at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), a driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel. After you get settled, you can spend some time enjoying the Indian capital. As you explore, you'll begin to notice the influence of the Mongols, Turks, Persians, Afghans, Mughals, and the British—all of whom contributed to this city's history. You'll have the evening free to have dinner on your own and relax after your flight.
Day 2: Guided Tour of Delhi
Today, you'll go on a sightseeing tour of Delhi's new and old districts. Your tour will start at the Red Fort, which was constructed out of red sandstone from the Yamuna River in Old Delhi. You'll continue on to Raj Ghat, a black marble memorial with an eternal flame that honors the life of Mahatma Gandhi.
Further along at the shopping area known as Chandni Chowk, you'll come upon a bustling bazaar which is considered one of South Asia's largest markets. Here, you can shop the stalls and enjoy a rickshaw ride before continuing on to India Gate (a memorial honoring the soldiers who died in World War I), Rashtrapati Bhavan, and Parliament House.
After you tour these sites, you can learn more about Indian art and architecture at Lakshmi Narayan Temple. For a break from the busy city, you'll visit 12th-century Qutab Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site surrounded by a lush garden. At the end of your city tour, you'll be able to have a leisurely lunch at a local restaurant.
You'll have the evening free to explore and have dinner on your own.
Day 3: Walking Tour of Agra
This morning, a driver will pick you up at your hotel in Delhi and drive you 133 miles (215 km) south to Agra, the home of the magnificent Taj Mahal. Once you arrive in Agra and check in at your hotel, you'll go on a heritage walk and learn more about the city which draws much of its character from the rule of the Mughal period, during which the Taj Mahal was constructed.
After your walk, you'll be able to have high tea before you continue on with a visit to the ancient village of Kachhpura, the Humayun Mosque, and a local school. In the early evening, you'll have a chance to watch the sunset back at the Taj Mahal.
Day 4: Taj Mahal - Agra Fort
Today, you'll return to the Taj Mahal as the sun rises and explore its grounds. On this tour, you'll learn about its construction and architectural details, like the fact that it took 22 years and 20,000 men to build, while its white marble was quarried 200 miles away and carried by a fleet of 1,000 elephants. The monument was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
In the afternoon, you'll visit the Agra Fort, an outstanding example of Mughal architecture on the Yamuna River, which was the seat and stronghold of the Mughal Empire for multiple generations. After you see the fort, a driver will take you back to your hotel, and you'll have the evening free.
Day 5: Agra - Ranthambore National Park
Today, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and transport you 167 miles (270 km) west to Ranthambore, with a stop along the way to visit Fatehpur Sikri. Fatehpur Sikri is a city that was built by Emperor Akbar in 1569 and then abandoned 15 years later, allegedly due to water scarcity. It is now a top tourist destination, and you can visit its graceful buildings and learn about how its decoration infuses architectural influences from Islamic, Hindu, and Jain design traditions.
Once you reach Ranthambore, you'll begin exploring one of the finest tiger reserves in India, which covers 254 square miles (410 square km) and runs between two mountain ranges, the Aravalli to the Vindhya. You'll have time in the evening to relax at your hotel and perhaps visit the nearby Jain temples, which are known for their gilded paintings.
Day 6: Safari in Ranthambore National Park
After breakfast this morning, you'll set out on a daylong safari ride through Ranthambore. This former royal hunting ground is now a protected home for tigers, leopards, and marsh crocodiles. Keep your camera ready, as you never know when one of these amazing animals might cross your path. You can also see the park's beautiful water lilies and the Ganesh Mandir temple. When you're done exploring the park, a driver will return you to your hotel for the evening.
Day 7: Heritage Walking Tour of Jaipur
Today, you'll leave the majestic natural wonders of the national park behind. A driver will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you 93 miles (151 km) north to Jaipur, a city founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727. Jaipur is uniquely organized according to the nine divisions of the universe through nine different sectors, and the architecture combines Mughal and Jain influences. As much of the city was painted pink in 1853, it is known as the "Pink City."
After you arrive and check in at your hotel, you'll go on a 2.5-hour heritage walk around the city where you can also taste traditional foods like pakora, aloo tikki, samosas, and sweets from some of the city’s most popular street food vendors. You'll also observe jewelers, silversmiths, gold, and silver foil makers in their workshops. After the walk, you'll have the rest of the evening free.
Day 8: Day-Trip to Amber Fort
Today, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the ancient Rajput capital of Amer, 7 miles (11 km) outside of the city. Here, you'll see the Amber Fort—a fortified palace that was constructed by Raja Man Singh. During your tour, you'll visit Diwan-i-Am (the hall of public audience), Shila Devi Temple, Jai Mandir (the hall of victory) with its inlaid panels and a mirrored ceiling, and Sukh Niwas. After you explore, you can also take an elephant ride on the grounds of the fort.
In the afternoon, you'll return to Jaipur to see the City Palace of Jaipur, which occupies a seventh of the city's total area, the Jantar Mantar astronomy instruments and observatory, and the famous pink Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds).
Day 9: Jaipur Temple Tour - Varanasi
In the morning, you'll get to experience the spiritual side of Jaipur and learn more about its architecture as you visit some of its colorful temples during another walking tour. After you finish your walking tour, a driver will take you to the airport for your 1.5-hour flight to Varanasi. Once you arrive in Varanasi, a driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel.
Day 10: Boat Ride on the Ganges River
Today, you'll be immersed in one of the most unique cities on the planet, and you can learn about the cycles of life and Hindu traditions and rituals on the Ganges River—the holiest body of water in India. You'll take an early morning boat ride on the Ganges to see bathing ghats and cremation sites that are visited by pilgrims from all over India.
Later in the day, you'll be able to go see the Viswanath Temple (also called Golden Temple due to its gold plated towers) that is dedicated to Shiva, the Bharat Mata Temple, the Durga Temple, and the Tulsi Manas Temple which is engraved with scenes and verses from the Hindi version of the Ramayana. After your temple tour, a driver will take you six miles (10 km) outside of Varanasi to Sarnath, a significant sight for Buddhist pilgrims, as it is considered to be the place of Buddha's first sermon.
A driver will return you to your hotel at the end of the day, and you'll have the evening free.
Day 11: Depart Varanasi
It's time to say goodbye to India! After your final morning in Varanasi, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport (VNS) for your flight home.