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Relax and enjoy the full, in-flight service on your direct, scheduled flight to New Delhi, India.
The moment you touch down at Indira Ghandi Airport in New Delhi, you can’t help but feel the thrill and excitement of being in a vibrant, different culture – welcome to India! At the airport you’ll be met by our Indian tour guide and transferred by private coach to your hotel. After a quick freshen-up, you’ll spend your first afternoon on a sightseeing tour of New Delhi: the mega-metropolis capital city of India. Within a few hours, you’ll get a real taste of the long, rich history of this multi-faceted city.
One of the first things people notice is the orderly layout of the roads, which are wide and lined with impressive colonial buildings. Many of the buildings were established soon after the British Imperial capital transferred here from Calcutta, in 1911. Later in the afternoon, we visit Old Delhi and drive past the busy and bustling Chandni Chowk: a crowded and hectic bazaar. You’ll also see the dramatic Red Fort. Built in 1648, the red sandstone fort, overlooks the river Yamuna, and is surrounded by a wall approximately 2.4 km in circumference. Afterwards, we’ll explore the Jama Masjid Mosque – now the second largest Mosque in India, but certainly the most impressive! Built in 1658, it has a capacity of over 20,000 people. The tour concludes with a moving visit to Raj Ghat and the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi. After a day packed-full with sightseeing, everyone is ready to return to the hotel for dinner and a good nights’ sleep.
This morning we’ll spend some additional time in New Delhi. One of the most famous sights is the impressive Qutab Minar, at 73 metres high, is recognised as one of the highest individual free-standing towers in the world. We’ll also drive past Parliament House and stop at the iconic India Gate to take some photographs. Finally, we’ll visit either a Hindu Temple, a local Sikh temple, or perhaps the beautiful, award-winning Lotus Temple.
This afternoon your party will depart New Delhi for Jaipur, capital of the Rajasthan state. We’ll stop off en-route to visit a small local Indian village before completing our journey in Jaipur, also known as the ‘Pink City’.
The day begins with an exciting visit to the incredible Amer Fort and Palace, the Hindu-style former residence of the Kachhwaha Rajputs. The fort is strategically situated on a hillside overlooking Maota Lake. One of the highlights of your day will be an elephant ride to the top of the hill where the fort is situated.
Next, on the itinerary, is a visit to the amazing Hawa Mahal - ‘the Palace of Winds’. This magnificent monument was originally built for the ladies of the royal household to view everyday life and see royal processions taking place in Jaipur. The design and craftsmanship is fabulous.
In the afternoon we’ll visit the City Palace in the centre of the old city. This former royal residence is built in traditional Rajasthan and Mughal styles. Afterwards, we’ll visit the outdoor Jantar Mantar, the largest of Jai Singh’s five remarkable observatories. Later this afternoon we will explore the main local bazaar.
This morning we’ll leave Jaipur and travel by private coach to Agra. We’ll stop en route to visit Fatehpur Sikri, in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The city was founded in 1569 by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, and served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1571 to 1585.
Fatehpur Sikri, translated as ‘The City of Victory’, is an elegant, well-preserved city that has been made a UNESCO world heritage site. The complex itself consists of traditional Mughal-style temples, mosques and monuments. You’ll also see Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India.
In the afternoon we’ll arrive in Agra and transfer to our hotel in the centre. The remainder of the afternoon will be free to spend at your leisure.
Our tour of India would not be complete without a trip to see the world-famous and utterly awesome Taj Mahal. This is considered one of the greatest monuments ever constructed and is one of the seven wonders of the modern world. It was built by Emperor Shah Jehan as a mausoleum for his beloved Queen, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal was completed in 1652 by skilled craftsmen from Persia, Turkey, Italy and France. It took over 20,000 labourers more than 22 years to build, and cost an enormous amount of money. Fifty Kilos of gold were used on the white marble structure, and the result is absolutely breathtaking!
Later in the afternoon, we will visit the red sandstone Agra Fort, which forms a crescent on the banks of the Yamuna River. It is enclosed by a forbidding 20-meter high wall and a 12 metre moat. Three successive Mughal emperors, Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jehan, helped create this impressive and enormous structure, which contains a combination of Hindu and Muslim architecture.
This evening we will board our overnight soft sleeper on the Marudhar Express to the Holy Ganges City of Varanasi.
We arrive at Varanasi train station in the morning and transfer to our hotel. After a quick freshen-up we’ll head into the city to explore. Situated next to the River Ganges, Varanasi is where countless Hindu pilgrims have come to bathe themselves in the sacred waters and perform spiritual and funeral rites.
In the afternoon we’ll take a short excursion to Sarnath, which is where Buddha chose to preach his first sermon after attaining Nirvana, or enlightenment. Our local Indian guide will escort us around the site and explain the concepts and teachings of Buddhism from its early founding. Also at Sarnath is the Tibetan Institute which houses a very rare collection of Buddhist texts, Tibetan manuscripts and other interesting literature. This is the only institute of its kind in the world imparting knowledge in the Tibetan language, and it was established by his Holiness, the Dalai Lama in 1971.
Today starts with an early morning boat ride on the River Ganges where we’ll see the morning sunrise and witness local pilgrims bathing at the Ghats. We’ll also see the burning ceremonies of the funeral pyres. There are hundreds of temples in Varanasi and we’ll have the opportunity to explore some of them after our boat ride.
At midday, we’ll transfer to the airport to catch our internal flight to New Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi we will transfer to our hotel for the final evening and farewell supper.
Transfer to the airport and fly back to the UK. Our flight arrives later that evening.
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