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North India: Golden Triangle, Khajuraho and Varanasi


11 days 10 nights

Code NI-GT3

Category North India Classic Tours

  • Difficulty Level 1
  • Rating Popular
  • Trip Starts From New Delhi, India
  • Trip Ends At New Delhi, India
  • Accommodation Hotels
  • Type Tours
  • Destination Delhi Jaipur Agra Khajuraho Varanasi
Dates & Prices

Overview

This epic journey begins in Delhi, traverses Northern Indian cities of Jaipur, Agra, Orchha, Khajuraho, and Varanasi and concludes in Delhi. You will visit 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. Explore, local ethnic foods, see the folklore and classical dances, visit the workshops of local artisans, and stop to chat with the friendly villagers too. This trip is a cultural tour, perfect for anyone in reasonably good health. With luck, your trip will coincide with one of the local festivals.

Attractions

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

Trip Cost

US$ 1999 per person on double occupancy basis.
US$ 650 Single Room Supplement.
Guaranteed departure with a minimum of two participants.

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

Tour cost is subject to change without prior notice.

Trip Dates

  • 12 Sep 2019 Trip times with Ganesh Chaturthi
  • 06 Oct 2019 Trip times with Durga Pooja
  • 30 Oct 2019 Trip times with Diwali festival
  • 22 Nov 2019 Trip times with Vivah Panchami
  • 10 Dec 2019
  • 6 Jan 2020
  • 20 Jan 2020
  • 03 Feb 2020
  • 17 Feb 2020 Trip times with Maha Shivaratri
  • 08 Mar 2020 Trip times with Holi-the festival of colors
  • 23 Mar 2020
  • 06 Apr 2020   
  • 14 Sep 2020
  • 17 Oct 2020 Trip times with Dussehra Festival
  • 6 Nov 2020 Trip times with Diwali
  • 7 Dec 2020

The dates don't work for you? Choose your travel date for a private trip.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Arrive in Delhi

After completing immigration and customs 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: The Park
Day 02~Visit the attractions of Old and New Delhi

After breakfast, with your guide and driver, 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 who is considered to be the father of India. Continue to the Red Fort which was built in 1648 by the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who is famous for his grand 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 a 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. It is one of the essential Sikh temples. Initially, 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 industrialist J.K. Birla built the temple, the temple is also famously known as Birla Temple, and it's the first significant Hindu Temple that allows admission to the so-called "untouchable" class of people.

The last stop of the day will be at Akshardham Temple Complex which is the latest addition to the attractions of Delhi, opened in 2005. The complex features a pavilion for cleansing ritual, a water show, a thematic garden, three exhibitions. The temple 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!

Overnight: The Park
Meals : Breakfast
Day 03~Travel to Jaipur with a stop in Neemrana Fort

Following breakfast, we will leave for Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan state.

About 82 miles from Delhi, we will take a short break and take a chance to visit the Neemrana Fort Palace which has been converted to a hotel now. We will have our lunch here (included). They also have a zip lining if you are an adventure enthusiast and want to try.

Upon arrival in Jaipur, check into your accommodation and the rest of the day is open for rest. If time permits, you can ask your driver to drop you off in the market to get the feel of the city.

Overnight: Hilton Jaipur
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 04~Explore Jaipur

After breakfast, we set out for the exploration of Jaipur.

We begin from Amber Fort- an ancient citadel- situated atop of a high hill above the village. It served as the capital of the ruling Kachhawa clan of Amber from 1037 to 1727 AD. The fort is an artistic blend of Hindu and Mughal elements. The fort can be reached on foot through stairways, by a 4WD vehicle, or you can take a ride on an elephant's back if available! Once on top, you will 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. We will spend a reasonable amount of time exploring the fort, the grand entrances, 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, we will descend to the parking and continue remaining sightseeing.

We retrace our drive back to the city and on the way, stop at Hawa Mahal - known for its high screen facade through which the women of the palace could gaze out in the street without being seen by the outsiders! The castle-built of red and pink sandstone is one of the most photographed architectures of Jaipur.

Our next destination is the City Palace - a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The place is now a museum except for one section where still reside the erstwhile royal family. Nearby is the Jantar Mantar -an observatory with a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments.

In the evening, enjoy your free time exploring the markets of Jaipur. Jaipur is a shopper's paradise and known for jewelry, garments, rugs and other arts and crafts.

Overnight: Hilton Jaipur
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
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 small steps over 13 stories and extends 100 ft deep into the ground. It's one of the 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 most excellent 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 the rest of the time is at leisure.

Overnight: Jaypee Palace 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 charming, and since there will be less traffic in this hour, it will be quieter. 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 tomb bathes in the golden glow of the rising sun; the beauty of the Taj Mahal holds your gaze and will make 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, it took 22 years and 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 fantastic creation and then return to the hotel for breakfast.

You will start the 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 who erected the walls and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of Yamuna River and other significant constructions were done by Emperor Shah Jahan. The Agra Fort is a vast fortified city extended in 94-acres (380,000 m2) of land, with its chord lying parallel to the Yamuna River and its walls seventy feet high. It's ironic that towards the end of his life, Shah Jahan, who 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 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 beautiful quality marble inlay pieces.

Overnight: Jaypee Palace 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 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 (11 miles, 30 minutes) 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 natural charm and narrate stories of war, peace, love, and destruction over hundreds of years. You will visit Jahangir Mahal which is the most admired palaces of Orchha, built by Bir Sing Deo in honor of the state visit of Emperor Jahangir in the 17th century. The Taj Mahal, an earlier building, is adorned by colorful murals and numerous temples in the complex.

Now, continue to Khajuraho ( 108 miles, 4.5 hours) which is the city of Kama Sutra temples. You will arrive at 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: Chandela 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 it 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 the 12th century and are the 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 in 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, we take a 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 lamps are released to float in the waters of the holy Ganges which creates quite a divine scene at dusk.

Overnight: Radisson 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 on the bank of the Holy Ganges River where Hindus take a dip to clean the sins of all their past lives! The deceased is cremated on its ghats to ensure their reservation in 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 sunrise. As the sun rises and moves upwards, we will see more and more people coming out and taking a dip in the Ganges, praying to the Sun and performing morning rituals and meditation. We 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 initially a terraced temple and later modified to an octagonal tower and the ruins of Dharmarajika Stupa that enshrines the relics of Lord Buddha. Then we visit other attractions such as Kashi Vishwanath Temple-dedicated to Lord Shiva and the most sacred shrine in Varanasi.

We continue to Banaras Hindu University, established in 1916 by philanthropist Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya to see the fabulous collection of over 1,000,000 ancient artifacts at 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, visit the Sankatmochan Temple of Lord Hanuman, who is the disciple of Lord Rama.

Overnight: Radisson Varanasi
Meals : Breakfast
Day 10 ~Flight to Delhi

After a leisurely breakfast, our guide and driver will transfer us to the airport for flight to Delhi. Upon arrival at Delhi airport, we meet our local driver and transfer to the hotel. The balance of the day is for rest, or if you wish, you can take a late night flight back home.

Overnight: The Park
Meals : Breakfast
Day 11~Departure

Service ends today with departure transfer to the airport.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Trip Includes

  • Accommodation on double occupancy basis with daily buffet breakfast.
  • All transfers and sightseeing by a private vehicle.
  • Sightseeing admission fees except for the camera.
  • Local English speaking Guides.
  • Elephant Ride at Amber Fort in Jaipur.
  • Train ticket from Agra to Jhansi.
  • A boating trip in Ganges River.

The trip does not include

  • Meals at hotels except those listed in above inclusions.
  • Personal expenses such as tipping, porters, laundry, telephones, etc.
  • International and domestic airfares (Estimated domestic airfare is listed separately).
  • Other 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 trip includes cultural sightseeing suitable for travelers of all ages with a reasonable health condition. Visiting some monuments or fort or castles require climbing stairs. Please, do not expect elevators or escalators! Subject to availability, we may have the opportunity to experience an elephant ride in Jaipur. We will also occasionally take tricycle rickshaw trips.

There is no strenuous hiking or climbing or any altitude issues on this trip. Although no significant 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 a 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 one 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 precise 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, to get along with them.

Passport and Indian Visa

Remaining validity of your passport must be a minimum of six months when you return from the trip. You also need to make sure you have at least two blank visa pages for Indian visa seals, arrival and departure stamps. If you are visiting other countries, please, allow two blank visa pages for each country.

You need to obtain an Indian visa beforehand. Cox and King Global Services handle all the India visa requests from inside the United States as a private contractor to the Indian Embassy and Consulates. You can also apply for an eVisa online four days before the arrival with a time window 120 days. The visa comes in the email within two or three working days, and it will be suitable for two entries in a year.

Accommodation

Accommodation will be in first class to deluxe properties (4-5 star by local standard) with all modern amenities. Our preferred hotels are often heritage properties with traditional decor and ensuring maximum comfort of our travelers. The hotels listed in the itinerary are our favorite hotels, but they are subject to availability. We will provide you with the finalized itinerary with the confirmed list of hotels about two or three months before the trip date.

Tour Guides

All our trips are led 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 appropriate. Tour guide and driver is not the same person.

 

If the group size decreases to six persons and below, you will have a chauffeur driver, and you will meet your local guides in the city.

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 the tourism and hospitality industry. The driver may have limited English.

International and Internal Airfares

You can purchase your international airfare to India and return on your own. If you need any help with airfare reservation, we will be more than happy to help you. We will take care of all internal airfares as per the itinerary for you.

Booking

We request an initial deposit of US$ 300 along with a completed trip application form and passport copies.

Balance payment is due 90 days before your departure. Depending on the number of applicants, we may set an early payment date. Credit card payment attracts an additional fee.

Cancellation fee

  • Ninety days before departure: Administrative fee US$ 150 per person.
  • 60-89 day's prior departure: US$ 250 or 25% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Forty-five days to 59 days before departure: US$ 450 or 50% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Thirty days to 44 days before departure: US$ 600 or 75% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Less than 30 days: 100%.

Travel Protection Plan

While we plan and do our best to make your trip smooth and seamless, there may be chances of unforeseen events and conditions such as illness, accident, inclement weather, and flight cancellation or missed connection or loss of baggage, etc. that may cause interruption or delay or total cancellation of your trip putting your hard earned travel investment in jeopardy. It's also possible that you may need medical assistance, emergency evacuation or medical transportation when you get ill or involve in an accident when you are traveling in remote areas. Far & High's Tour cost does not cover any of these expenses or losses, and so we strongly recommend you that you should protect yourself and your travel investment against those unfavorable conditions.

Accomodation

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

    hilton jaipur
  • Jaypee Palace, Agra

    jaypeepalace agra
  • Hotel Chandela, Khajuraho

    hotel chandela khajuraho
  • Radisson Varanasi

    gateway ganges

 

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