North India: Golden Triangle, Khajurao and Varanasi


Indian holy men.

Overview

This epic journey begins in Delhi, traverses Northern India cities of Jaipur, Agra, Orcha, Khajuraho, Varanasi and concludes in Delhi.You will visit the Taj Mahal, the Seventh Wonder of the Modern World, and the Khajuraho Temples of the Kama Sutra that, unlike most temples, celebrate the arts of love, not religion and gods. You will visit massive forts and palaces with their heroic stories of battles, friendships and rivalries, love and romance. You visit temples rich in arts and architecture, stroll through vibrant and colorful markets, cruise on the holy river, attend the many rituals and rites, jostle with the wandering Sadhus (the Holy Men), and the Holy Cows. You will explore rural villages to witness the authentic lifestyle of the people. Explore, too, local ethnic foods, witness the folklore and classical dances, visit the workshops of local artisans, and stop to chat with the friendly villagers. This is a motor vehicle based cultural tour, perfect for anyone in normal good health. With luck, your tour will coincide with one of the local festivals.

Attractions

  • Red Fort, Jame Mosque, and Qutub Minaret in Delhi
  • The historic Amer Fort, City Palace, and markets of Jaipur
  • The ghost town of Fatehpuri Sikri
  • Taj Mahal
  • The historic fort and village of Orcha.
  • Kama Sutra temples of Khajuraho
  • Holy Ganges and its sacred ghats in Varanasi

Detailed Itinerary

  • Day 01 Arrive in Delhi

    • After completing immigration and custom formalities, meet Far & High representative at the arrival gate. After introductions, you will be transferred by our van to the hotel.
      Take rest to recover travel fatigue.

      Overnight hotel.
      Meals: None
  • Day 02 Visit the attractions of Old and New Delhi.

    • After breakfast, with our guide and driver, you will set out to explore the attractions of Delhi. We first visit Old Delhi which is the former center of Mughal power offering ancient monuments, narrow streets, and bustling markets. Begin from Raj Ghat which is a shrine built in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi whom is considered to be the father of India. Continue on to the Red Fort which was built in 1648 by the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan whom is famous for his great edifice of love, the Taj Mahal. Also, see the biggest mosque in India the Jama Masjid, constructed by Shah Jahan in 1658 and can accommodate 20,000 devotees at one time. You will take cycle-rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk to see the vibrant markets.

      In the afternoon, we visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, situated in the heart of New Delhi's Connaught Place area. Its one of the most important Sikh Temple. Originally the bungalow of Raja Jai Singh of the 17th century, the Gurdwara and its pool (also called Sarovar) are now a place of great worship for Sikhs. Next we visit the Laxmi Narayan Temple dedicated to Lord Bishnu. As the temple was built by the industrialist J.K. Birla, the temple is also famously known as Birla Temple and it's the first major Hindu Temple that allows admission to the "untouchable" class of people.

      The last stop of the day will be at Akshardham Temple Complex which is the latest addition to the architectures of Delhi, opened in 2005. The complex features a pavilion for cleansing ritual, a water show, a thematic garden, three exhibitions and the main temple which rises 141-foot high, spans 316-foot wide, and extends 356-foot long.Intricately carved with flora, fauna, dancers, musicians, and deities, the temple is an extravaganza work of 7000 artisans and 3000 volunteers!

      Tonight, you are invited for an Indian welcome dinner.

      Overnight hotel in Delhi
      Meals: Indian welcome dinner

  • Day 03 Travel to Jaipur -the capital of Rajasthan.

    • (160 miles, 5.5 hours)

      Following breakfast, we will have time to cover the sights of Delhi if we missed anything the previous day. We will leave Delhi late morning for Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan state. Upon arrival, check in hotel and rest of the day is for rest.

      Overnight hotel.
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 04 Sightseeing of Jaipur

    • First, you drive about 7 miles out of the city to visit the Amber Fort-most famous attraction of Jaipur. The ancient citadel, situated is on the top of a high hill above the village and was the capital of the ruling Kachhawa clan of Amber from 1037 to 1727 AD. The Fort is a artistic blend of Hindu and Mughal elements. You will take a 4WD vehicle or if available, ride on an elephant's back in the style of the Royals to get to the top ! Once on top, you shall be amazed by the massive structure, and the exquisite paintings on the walls depicting the temperament of the Rajputs, who were adventurous, revolutionary, and self-indulgent. There are intricate carvings on the walls and ceilings and minute mirror work to the grand appearance and royalty of the halls. You will spend a good amount of time exploring the fort, the magnificent gates, courtyards, the chambers of the King, their Queens and concubines, and the secret pathways; each piece of architecture carries the heroic stories of the battles they fought, friendship and rivalry, and the love and romance. Overwhelmed by the massiveness of the fort and its stories, you will descend from the fort and continue the trip on to Jaipur.

      Now, we retrace our drive and visit Hawa Mahal-the “Palace in the Winds”. The palace has a beehive like structure, made up of a interplay of red and pink sand stone, meticulously outlined white border with an elaborate latticed facade behind it which hid the cloistered ladies of the court as they watched the daily happenings in the street below.

      Next , visit the City Palace which is a massive complex of superb palaces, gardens, courtyards, decorative art, and carved doorways. Visit the museum of the palace which preserves collections of rare documents, shields, uniforms, rugs and paintings. You walk to the adjacent Jantar Mantar which is an astronomical observatory that exhibits a collection of architectural astronomical instruments. The observatory has been listed on the UNESCO’s world heritage site.

      Afternoon, visit the Johari Market (Jeweler's market)-the most beautiful and vibrant market of Jaipur. Despite the rise of shopping mall culture, there is no match to Johari Market for its traditional charm. Besides of Gold and Silver ornaments precious gems and luxury gems are sold in this market. Its note worthy that Jaipur is also known as City of Gems and that's possibly because of the Johari Market. There are several other markets selling from garments to spices and other daily household needs. Depending on available time and interests, your guide will arrange a trip to one or two of the markets.

      Overnight hotel in Jaipur
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 05 Travel to Agra with detour of Chand Bawdi and ruins of Fatehpur Sikri.

    • (235km/147 miles, 5 hrs)
      We have a long day today; so we have an early start. About 60 miles from Jaipur city, we will take a detour of Chand Bawdi, an ancient step well, built in between 800 and 900 A.D. The land of Rajasthan is extremely dry and drinking water was always scarce. So, the king Chanda ordered the construction of the step well that could conserve water as much as possible for his people.

      The step well consists of 3,500 narrow steps over 13 stories and extends 100 ft deep into the ground. It's one of the most fascinating architecture of India and worth visiting.
      Our next stop will be at the abandoned capital of Fatehpur Sikri that lies 25 miles before Agra. Built by the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar during 1570 and 1585, the citadel is one of the finest examples of the culmination of Hindu and Muslim architecture. Shortly after its completion, as the small, spring-fed lake that supplied the city with water dried, and probably its border with the Rajputana areas in the North-West, which were increasingly in chaos, the emperor abandoned Fatehpur Sikri, moving his capital to Lahore, currently in Pakistan.

      We will arrive in Agra late afternoon. Check into your rooms and rest of the time is at leisure.

      Overnight hotel in Agra
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 06 Taj Mahal and Agra Fort

    • Wake up early morning before dawn to visit the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal at sunrise is very beautiful and has less traffic and will be quieter at this time. As you approach the mausoleum, it appears as if it is floating on the horizon, overwhelming, spectacular, and incredibly beautiful! As the day breaks, the mausoleum bathes in the golden glow of the rising sun; the beauty of the Taj Mahal holds your gaze and will makes you speechless! Built in the mid 17th century by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, allowing 22 years and using labor of 20,000 men to build. The white marble was transported by a fleet of 1000 elephants from 200 miles away. The Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. You will spend about 2 hours at this amazing creation and then return to the hotel for breakfast.

      You will start late morning for Agra Fort which is another example of impressive Mughal architecture that became the base of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. Initiated by Emperor Akbar whom erected the walls and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of Yamuna River and other major constructions were done by Emperor Shah Jehan. The Agra Fort is a massive fortified city extended in 94-acres (380,000 m2) of land, with its chord lying parallel to the Yamnuna River and its walls seventy feet high. It's ironic that towards the end of his life, Shah Jahan, whom built Taj Mahal, was imprisoned in the fort by his son and left to die while looking at the Taj Mahal for the remainder of his days.

      The balance of the day is for you to pursue our own interest. Take rest in the comfort of your hotel or take a rickshaw ride through the alleys to see the lives of locals there or engage in bargaining for the marble artifacts or leather protects. You can visit the marble workshops to watch the artisans create fine quality marble inlay pieces.

      Overnight hotel in Agra
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 07 By train to Jhansi and then by coach to Khajuraho via Orcha.

    • Following an early morning breakfast, you are transferred to the Agra Cantt station. Board the air-conditioned chair car of Shatabdi Express train that usually departs at 8:17 a.m. and reaches Jhansi at 10:47 a.m. Upon arrival, you will meet your driver and then take a short drive (10 miles) to the picturesque town of Orchha which was once the capital of the Bundelkhand region. Visit the historical monuments of Orchha which still retain their pristine charm and narrate stories of war, peace, love, and destruction over hundreds of years.

      You will visit the Jehangir Mahal which is the most admired palaces of Orchha. Built by Bir Sing Deo in honor of the state visit of Emperor Jehandir in the 17th century. The Raj Mahal, an earlier building, is adorned by colorful murals and numerous temples in the complex. Overwhelmed by the vastness and of the stories of Orchca, you will continue on to Khajuraho which is the city of Kama Sutra temples. You will arrive in Khajuraho late in the afternoon (180 km/ 113 miles from Orchha). Check into the hotel and the rest of the day is at your leisure.

      Overnight hotel in Khajuraho
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 08 Explore the Kama Sutra Temples of Khajuraho and afternoon flight to Varanasi

    • You have a full day to explore the temple town of Khajuraho which oozes with passion, arts of love, eroticism, dance, music, and other creative arts depicted in the sandstone sculptures at the temples. The temples here are to celebrate love and romance rather than any religious rituals and rites. The temples were built in the span of 9th to 12th century and are testament of the architectural genius during the times of the Chandela dynasty. Of the total 85 temples only 22 of them still exist and they are divided into three groups: the western, southern, and eastern group of temples. Begin the day from the eastern group of temples (1.5 miles from the city) where you will visit: The Parsvanath, Adinath, Shantinath, and Ghantai temples which belong to the Jains and the Vamana, Javari, and Brahma are Hindu temples.

      In the afternoon, you are transferred to the airport for flight to Varanasi. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. After wash and change, proceed to the Dasaswamedh Ghat (One of the banks of Ganges River close to Kashi Vishwanath Temple) to witness Ganga Aarti (Evening Prayer).The priests sway the oil lamps in apparently choreographed movements and perform rituals with incense, camphor, flowers, and earthen lamps. Later, the thousands of illuminated lamps are released to float in the waters of the holy Ganges which creates quite a divine scene at dusk.

      Overnight hotel in Varanasi
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 09 Sunrise Boating Cruise in Ganges and afternoon visit Sarnath.

    • Also known as Banaras and Kashi, this city is the mecca of Hindus. The city is situated on the bank of the Holy Ganges River where Hindus take dip to clean the sins of all their past lives. The deceased are cremated on its ghats to ensure their reservation in the heaven! Ancient Hindu scriptures such as the Skanda Purana and the Mahabharata indicate that Varanasi city is 3000 years old and is probably the oldest city in India.

      Just before dawn as the eastern horizon starts turning from dark to orange, we will take you for the famed boating trip on the River Ganges. The boatman slowly rows the boat to the middle of the river as we wait for the sun rise. As the sun rises and moves upwards, you will see more and more people coming out and taking dip in the Ganges, praying to the Sunand performing morning rituals and meditation. You will see Yogis sitting cross-legged with rudraksha mala (A kind of prayer beads necklace). The river banks also have cremation sites for Hindus. (Warning: Those who don’t want to see the corpses should not take this trip).

      We return to the hotel for breakfast and after that we drive to Sarnath (10 km/6 miles from the city). It was where Buddha preached his first sermon after attaining enlightenment thus making Sarnath one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage destinations in the world. At Sarnath, the attractions in spotlight are the Ashoka Pillar that was erected by Emperor Ashoka to commemorate the site of first preaching of Buddha, also the symbol of India, the Chaukhandi Stupa which was originally a terraced temple and later modified to an octagonal tower and the ruins of Dharmarajika Stupa that was built to enshrines the relics of Lord Buddha. Later we visit other attractions such as Kashi Vishwanath Temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the most sacred shrine in Varanasi. You continue to Banaras Hindu University, established in 1916 by philanthropist Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya to see the fabulous collection of over 1,000,000 artifacts dating back to the 1st century BC till the 12th century that are on display at the Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum. The university is believed to be the largest residential university in all of Asia! Time permitting, you can visit the Mata Annapurna Temple, dedicated to mother of the Three Worlds which is illustrated by a mural showing the deity feeding Lord Shiva. Also, the Sankatmochan Temple which is dedicated to Hanuman whom is the disciple of Lord Rama. Depending on available time and your interest, you may or may not visit all the sights!

      Overnight hotel in Varanasi
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 10 Flight to Delhi

    • Take leisurely morning breakfast and late in the morning, you are transferred to the airport for your flight back to Delhi. Upon arrival at Delhi airport, you are transferred to the hotel. Rest of the day is open for your personal interests.

      Overnight hotel in Delhi.
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 11 Departure

    • Service ends today with departure transfer to the airport.
      Meals: Breakfast

Trip Info

Cost Includes

  • Accommodation on double occupancy basis with daily buffet breakfast
  • Transportation by private van or coach
  • Sightseeing admission fees except for camera
  • Local English speaking Guides
  • Elephant Ride at Amber Fort in Jaipur
  • Train ticket from Agra to Jhansi
  • Boating trip in Ganges river.
  • Coach class airfare from Khajuraho to Varanasi to Delhi

Cost Does Not Include

  • Meals at hotels except those listed in above inclusions
  • Expenses of personal nature such as tipping, porters, laundry, telephones, etc.
  • International and domestic airfares
  • Extra expenses caused due to nature and unforeseen events
  • Price excludes any supplement for Christmas & New Year Eve
  • Travel health, personal accident and trip cancellation insurance

Trip Difficulty Level

This is basically motor vehicle based tour, suitable for travelers of all ages with normal health condition. Some monuments,  fort or castles visit require climbing flight of stairs. Please, do not expect elevators or escalators! Subject to availability, we may have opportunity to experience elephant ride in Jaipur. We will also occasionally take tricycle rickshaw trips.

No strenuous hiking or climbing or any altitude issues on this trip. Although, no major preparation is necessary for this trip, it's recommendable that you start a soft training program such as walking, jogging, cycling or aerobics about a month ahead of the trip to keep yourself optimally fit. About a month ahead of trip departure, we will mail you final trip dossier that includes the list of hotels and contacts, detailed pre-departure information including clothing recommendation, money matter and health and safety updates and some do's and don'ts.

Life on the Trip.

A sightseeing day, depending on the season, starts between 8.30 am to 9 am. We are picked up at our hotel by our guide and driver. We visit the sights and monuments or participate in activities and we will have lunch break around noon to 1 pm. After lunch, we again embark on the tour for 2 to 3 hours and we are brought back to our hotel late afternoon and our guide will generally leave us free. We will have time to take rest, write diaries or wander about ourselves.

When we are driving from once city to another, we usually spend 4-5 hours on the road with occasional stops for photography and drinks and snacks. Some days can be longer.

We try our best to adhere to the itinerary but it should be taken as a general guideline or scope of activities rather than an inflexible series of events and depending on the local conditions or time factor; it can change from the exact sight to see to the exact city to stop. During the tour, we will have time enough for photography, interact with the locals or enjoy bargaining with the street vendors. Our guide and driver are flexible and will do their best to help you enjoy the trip the way you like. You may consider bringing some small gifts such as cigarettes for adults, candies or pencils for kids, in order to get along with them.

Indian Visa

You need to obtain Indian visa before hand as India does not grant visa upon arrival. Cox and King Global Services  handles all the India visa requests from inside the United States as a private contractor to the Indian Embassy and Consulates. 

You are also able to apply online eTourist visa for India minimum 4 days in advance of the date of arrival in India with a window of 30 days. The visa validity is 30 days from the date of issue and it's good for single entry only.

Accommodation

Accommodation will be in the deluxe properties (5 star by local standard) with all modern amenities . The hotels listed below are our preferred properties but they are subject to change.  The final list of hotels will be provided with final trip details that will be sent to you 2-3 months prior the trip date.

  • The Park Hotel, Delhi

    The Park Hotel, Delhi
  • The Hilton, Jaipur

    The Hilton Jaipur
  • Jaypee Palace, Agra

    Jaypee Palace Agra
  • Hotel Chandela, Khajuraho

    Chandela Hotel, Khajuraho
  • The Gateway at Ganges, Varanasi

    The Gateway at Ganges

Tour Guides

All our trips are lead by local guides who are university graduate, trained and certified by Indian tourism authorities. They are knowledgeable, friendly and flexible. They will show you the wonders of the areas that you would never discover on your own and share their knowledge on Indian history, culture and religion. Your guide carries necessary vouchers for the hotels and buys admission tickets where necessary. Tour guide and driver is not the same person.

Transportation

Depending on the group size, we use air-conditioned Mini Van or coaches for all transfers and sightseeing. Our drivers are friendly locals with years of experience in driving vehicle in tourism and hospitality industry. Driver may have limited English.

International and Internal Airfares

You can purchase your international airfare to India on your own. If you need any help on this, certainly feel free to contact us. We will take care of all internal airfares as per the itinerary for you. The cost of approximate internal airfare is separately quoted. Local airport taxes may or may not be included in the airfare.

Booking and payment schedule

When you are sure you will be joining us on the tour, without delay, please initiate your booking so that we can confirm you in preferred hotels and flights. A deposit of US$300 for on land travel plus the cost of internal airfares are requested initially, along with a completed trip application form and a copy of the photo page of your passport. Balance payment is due 90 days prior to your departure. Reservations booked within 90 days of departure require full payment at the time of booking. Balance payment must be paid by personal check or wire transfer. Balance payment by credit card attracts additional 3.5% fee.

Cancellation and refund

Cancellation request must be received by us in written form. Cancellation fee of the landcost will be as below.

  • 90 days prior departure: Administrative fee US$ 150 per person.
  • 60-89 day's prior departure: US$ 250 or 25% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • 45 days to 59 days prior departure: US$ 450 or 50% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • 30 days to 44 days prior departure: US$ 600 or 75% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Less than 30 days:100%
  • Cancellation and refund of air tickets will be as per airline policy and $25 will be levied by us to process refund. For details, please view booking and cancellation terms and coditions

Dates & Prices

Land Cost
US$ 1750 * per person on double occupancy basis.
US$ 650 Single Room Supplement

*If group size falls below 6 persons, tour will still go but a small group supplement will be applicable

US$ 180 for 4-5 persons
US$ 450 for 2-3 persons

Additional Estimated Internal Airfare
US$ 250 ( Khajuraho-Varanasi-Delhi)

Tour cost is subject to change without a prior notice.

Small Group Departures

Start Dates End Dates Size Price (per person) Remarks Availability Booking
Oct 18, 2017 Oct 28, 2017 2-16 people USD 1750

Trip timed with Diwali festival

Open Book Now
Nov 13, 2017 Nov 23, 2017 2-16 people USD 1750 - Open Book Now

Trip price may vary depending upon the group size.

Open

This trip is OPEN for booking

Request On Request: You can book this trip on REQUEST
Closed SOLD OUT and no further booking is possible for this date

Want to make it a private tour ?

Book this trip as a private departure - for any group, big or small.

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