North India Temples, Tigers and Taj

North India Temples, Tigers and Taj

Destination: India  |  Duration: 14 days  |  Tailor-Made Travel: Please Call for Pricing

Go in search of graceful tigers and North India temples on this itinerary. Explore the highlights of India’s Golden Triangle, from the majesty of the Taj Mahal and Amer Fort to the natural beauty of Ranthambhore. In addition, you’ll experience the spiritual essence of Varanasi and the sacred Ganges River.

North India temples, Red Fort Delhi

Day 1: Welcome to Delhi, India

Legend has it that Delhi was named for Raja Dhilu, a king who reigned in the region in the 1st century BCE. This bustling metropolis is a mixture of ancient and modern. Inhabited since the 6th century BCE, it has been the center of a succession of mighty empires and powerful kingdoms. Numerous ruins scattered throughout the territory offer a constant reminder of the area’s history and just the beginning of the North India temples you will see on your journey.

Overnight in Delhi

Humayun Tomb, Delhi

Day 2: Private Tour of New Delhi

This morning, after a leisurely breakfast, head out for a private guided tour of New Delhi. Visit the 12th century Qutab Minar, gracefully hand-carved for its entire 243-foot height, and the iron pillar which has withstood and never rusted in 1500 years. Visit the mausoleum of emperor Humanyun, a forerunner of the Mughal style of architecture. Drive past the India Gate, a war memorial dedicated to the lives of lais down by Indian soldiers. The President residence, formerly the Vicero’s Palace, Parliament House and the Secretariat buildings are an interesting blend of the Victorian and 20th century architecture. The rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight in Delhi

North India temples, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib

Day 3: Private Tour of Old Delhi

Today is your private guided tour of Old Delhi which takes you to the magnificent Red Fort, a marvel in red sandstone built on the banks of the River Yamuna. Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, and Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India, are also sure to impress. Drive past Chandni Chowk, once an imperial avenue of Mughal Royalty which today is the busiest commercial area of the city. Have fun on a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk to savor of an oriental bazaar.

In the afternoon, visit the most prominent Sikh temple of Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. You will witness Sikhs doing community service like pouring water and cleaning, cooking and serving food. Go in the free kitchen where food is offered to people regardless of their religion or social status. Everyone is welcome.

Overnight in Delhi

North India temples view of Jaipur

Day 4: Delhi to Jaipur

Enjoy the drive to Jaipur this morning, then check into your hotel. Named after its founder Maharaja Jai Singh II (1693-1743), Jaipur is a city surrounded by hills. It’s noble and magnificent past makes it spectacular and culturally vibrant destination.

The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore in the market. Jaipur is renowned for textile block printing, blue pottery, carpet weaving and semi-precious stones.

Overnight in Jaipur

Amber Fort entrance, Jaipur

Day 5: Jaipur and Amber Fort

Made from sandstone and marble, Amer Fort (Amber Fort) consists of a series of four courtyards, palaces, halls, and gardens. First stop, the ornate Palace of the Winds where women of the royal household once observed street festivals while remaining unseen from the outside. Spend the morning exploring areas of this opulent and massive palace of red sandstone and marble,

In the afternoon, tour the Maharaja’s City Palace, once a formal residence of the royal family, built in a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. Next on the tour, a visit to Jantar Mantar, the largest of Jai Singh’s remarkable observatories. Its complex instruments represent the high point of medieval Indian astronomy.

Overnight in Jaipur

North India temples, Ranthambhore

Day 6: Ranthambhore Fort

After a hearty breakfast, you will say goodbye to Jaipur and drive to Ranthambhore. Along the way, you may have the opportunity stop in a village to visit a local school. Then it’s on to Ranthambhore National Park where you will check into your lodge.

In the afternoon, a visit to Ranthambhore Fort will capture your imagination. Listen to stories about the many attacks and conquests of this formidable hill fort. You’re sure to mesmerized by this 10th century masterpiece and the surrounding natural landscape.

Overnight in Ranthambhore

North India Temples Tiger and Taj

Day 7: Ranthambhore National Park

Early this morning, depart on a Jungle Safari where tigers and leopards can be seen at close quarters. The elusive caracals, hyenas, sloth bears, wild boars, crocodiles, deer and varied species of birds are spotted in their natural habitat and wandering into the mysteries of the dense forest.

After a break for lunch, embark on your afternoon game drive once again in search of the big, elusive cats.

Overnight in Ranthambhore

North India temples, Agra Fort

Day 8: Fatehpur Sikri and Agra

Enroute to Agra, you’ll make a stop in Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted ancient capital city of the Emperor Akbar. The magnificent fortification was built in 1569 and abandoned 15 years later due to severe water shortage. Its magnificent Mughal architecture was described by Irish historian, V.A. Smith, as “Romance in Stone”.

Overnight in Agra

North India Temples, Taj Mahal

Day 9: Taj Mahal and Agra Fort

You’ll head out early this morning to witness a glorious sunrise at world-famous Taj Mahal. Later, after breakfast at your hotel, make a visit to Agra Fort where the palace halls for private and public audiences. I’timad-ud-Daulah is an exquisite tomb built by Noor Jahan for her father Mirz Ghiyas Beg. In many ways, this tomb foreshadows the Taj Mahal. It was the first construction in India which marble inlay work was used so beautifully and extensively. You’ll also have an opportunity to visit a marble cutting center and a local bazaar. In the evening, enjoy the setting sun back at the Taj Mahal. Simply gorgeous.

Overnight in Agra

North India temples, Orchha

Day 10: Orchha Temple and Khajuraho

You will be transferred to railway station this morning and met upon arrival at Jhansi railway station and drive to Khajuraho. On the drive, visit Orchha temple and walk among the century old temples and forts. Of interest is Jehangiri Mahal, built by Raja Bir Singh Deo to commemorate the visit of Moghul Emperor Jehangir, and Raj Mahal and the Laxmi Narayan temple, both noted for their fine frescoes and murals.

Overnight in Khajuraho

North India Khajuraho

Day 11: Kharajuho and Varanasi

Visit the most important and fascinating western group of temples on a tour of Khajuraho. The temples were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in order to preserve the rich legacy of architecture bequeathed to future generations by the Kings of the Chandela dynasty. They are famous for the intricate sculptures and erotic carvings that are one of the outstanding achievements of Indian art.

You will take a short flight to Varanasi in time for sunset. Enjoy the sights and sounds of aarti (prayer) emitting a spiritual ambiance to this ancient city. During the ceremony, oil lamps are placed in the river followed by aarti as bells ring, accompanied with chanting and singing. It’s a magical conclusion to this day.

Overnight in Varanasi

Sunrise in a boat on the Ganges

Day 12: Sunrise on the Ganges

Start the day with boat cruise at dawn on the Ganges River. Then witness a thread ceremony which marks the acceptance of a young student by a guru. Step inside Bharat Mata Temple, unique because it is dedicated to the country. Rather than deities, it displays a perfect relief map of India carved in marble. Visit Durga Temple, Thulasi Manas and Benaras Hindu University.

Ramnagar Fort is a fortification on the eastern bank of the River Ganges, opposite to the Tulsi Ghat. The sandstone structure was built in the Mughal style in 1750 by Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh. At the end of the day, visit Sarnath with its magnificent stupas, monasteries and temples. This is where the Buddha preached his first sermon after enlightenment.

Overnight in Varanasi

North India Varanasi Ganges

Day 13: Varanasi to Delhi

After breakfast, explore Varanasi at your leisure. Walking along the river and through narrow lanes, you will glimpse other rituals of the Hindu pilgrims that you may have missed the day before.

Later, you will head to the Varanasi airport to fly to Delhi where you will be met and taken to your hotel. Dinner is on your own to enjoy some fine Indian cuisine at your hotel or at a nearby restaurant.

Overnight in Delhi

North India temples

Day 14: Farewell to India

Enjoy a full breakfast this morning to fortify you for your journey. Afterwards, you will take a private transfer to Delhi International Airport for your flight home. If you’d like to extend your time in Asia, we would be happy to tailor an itinerary. Among the possibilities are South India, Bhutan and Nepal.