Traditions & Wildlife of the Golden Triangle: Taj Mahal, Ranthambore, Jaipur, & More - 11 Days
- See tigers on safari in Ranthambore National Park
- Take a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges
- Explore the grounds of the former imperial capital Fatehpur Sikri
- Watch a sunset at the Taj Mahal
|Day 1||Arrive in Delhi||Delhi|
|Day 2||Guided Tour of Delhi||Delhi|
|Day 3||Walking Tour of Agra||Agra|
|Day 4||Sunrise at the Taj Mahal & Afternoon Agra Fort Visit||Agra|
|Day 5||Transfer to Ranthambore National Park via Fatehpur Sikri||Ranthambore|
|Day 6||Safari in Ranthambore National Park||Ranthambore|
|Day 7||Heritage Walking Tour of Jaipur||Jaipur|
|Day 8||Day Trip to Amer Palace Fort||Jaipur|
|Day 9||Jaipur Temple Tour, Fly to Varanasi||Varanasi|
|Day 10||Boat Ride on the Ganges, Afternoon Temple Tour||Varanasi|
|Day 11||Depart Varanasi|
Day 1: Arrive in Delhi
Welcome to Delhi, the capital of India! When you land at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), a driver will be waiting to take you to your accommodation. After you get settled, you can spend some time enjoying the Indian capital. As you explore, you'll 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 take a sightseeing tour of Delhi's new and old districts. Start at the Red Fort, constructed out of red sandstone from the Yamuna River in Old Delhi. Continue to Raj Ghat, a black marble memorial with an eternal flame that honors the life of Mahatma Gandhi.
Further, at the shopping area known as Chandni Chowk, you'll come upon a bustling bazaar that is considered one of South Asia's largest markets. Here, you can shop the stalls and enjoy a rickshaw ride before continuing to the India Gate (a memorial honoring the soldiers who died in World War I), Rashtrapati Bhavan, and Parliament House.
After you visit these sites, you can learn more about Indian art and architecture at Lakshmi Narayan Temple. Later, you'll visit 12th-century Qutab Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site surrounded by a lush garden. At the end of your guided tour, you'll be able to have a leisurely lunch at a local restaurant.
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 have high tea before a visit to the ancient village of Kachhpura, the Humayun Mosque, and a local school. In the evening, you'll have a chance to watch the sunset back at the Taj Mahal.
Day 4: Sunrise at the Taj Mahal & Afternoon Agra Fort Visit
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Today, you'll return to the Taj Mahal at sunrise for a guided tour of the grounds. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built the monument to express his love for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and you'll learn more about its construction and architectural details during this tour.
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 visiting the fort, your driver will take you back to your hotel, and you'll have the evening free.
Day 5: Transfer to Ranthambore National Park via Fatehpur Sikri
This morning, your driver will pick you up at your hotel for the drive west to Ranthambore National Park, stopping 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. Today, you can visit its graceful buildings and learn how its decoration infuses architectural influences from Islamic, Hindu, and Jain design traditions.
Once you reach Ranthambore, you'll have the opportunity to explore one of the finest tiger reserves in India, which covers 254 square miles (410 sq km) and runs between two mountain ranges, the Aravalli to the Vindhya.
Day 6: Safari in Ranthambore National Park
You'll set out on a daylong safari ride through Ranthambore this morning. 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. The park's beautiful water lilies and the Ganesh Mandir temple can also be seen. When you're done exploring the park, your driver will return you to your hotel for the evening.
Day 7: Heritage Walking Tour of Jaipur
You'll leave the majestic natural wonders of the national park behind this morning with a drive north to Jaipur, a city founded by Maharajah 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."
Take a heritage walk around the city to taste traditional foods like pakora, aloo tikki, samosas, and sweets from some of the city's most popular street food vendors. You'll observe jewelers, silversmiths, and gold and silver foil makers in their workshops.
Day 8: Day Trip to Amer Palace Fort
Today, you'll visit the ancient Rajput capital of Amer, 7 miles (11 km) outside the city. Here, you'll see the Amber Fort—a fortified palace 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.
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, Fly to Varanasi
Experience the spiritual side of Jaipur and learn more about its architecture as you visit some of its colorful temples during a morning walking tour. After, a driver will take you to the airport for your 1.5-hour flight to Varanasi.
Day 10: Boat Ride on the Ganges River, Afternoon Temple Tour
Today, learn about the cycles of life and Hindu traditions and rituals on the Ganges River—India's holiest body of water. 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), 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 6 miles (10 km) outside of Varanasi to Sarnath, a significant sight for Buddhist pilgrims, as it is considered the place of Buddha's first sermon.
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.
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