Arrive New Delhi
Tour begins: The Imperial, New Delhi. A transfer is included from Indira Gandhi International Airport to The Imperial, New Delhi. Most international flights arrive between 11:00 PM and 3:00 AM local time, 10 1/2 hours ahead of the U.S. (EST). To ease the effects of jet lag, consider traveling to India a day early; ask at booking. You'll enjoy a Heritage Room at your landmark hotel, an iconic 5-star property occupying the most distinguished address in the heart of the capital.
New Delhi, past & present
Contrasting images of Delhi, ancient and uber-modern, parade past on the first day of your India trip. This morning, view city landmarks in Vijay Chowk (Victory Square), including the Secretariat buildings, the Parliament House, the Presidential Palace, the India Gate and Lal Qila, residence of the Mughal emperors from the 17th century to Victorian times - commonly called the Red Fort for its red sandstone battlements. With your local guide, visit the Emperor Humayun's Tomb, an exquisite masterpiece of Mughal architecture built in 1562. After lunch at a local restaurant, sightseeing continues as you marvel at Qutb Minar, India's tallest minaret (over 237 feet high) - a red sandstone tower built in 1193, covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Quran. Return to the hotel in late afternoon, and join us for a welcome reception and dinner this evening.
Yoga & a flight to Kathmandu
If you like, enjoy a yoga class, then let your imagination take flight as you board a plane bound for Kathmandu in Nepal. Touch down for a three-night stay that celebrates the natural beauty and spiritual tapestry of this small mountainous country. Your family-run hotel has a rich tradition of hospitality. This evening, visit a renowned golden-roofed temple with silver doors that sits on the banks of the sacred Bagmati River. Dine on Nepalese fare at the hotel's restaurant tonight.
Himalayas Flightseeing & a sherpa
Set off early this morning for spectacular flightseeing* above the Himalayan landscapes of Mount Everest - an unforgettable experience. Back on the ground in the Kathmandu Valley, explore Patan Durbar Square, where ancient temples and pagodas - both Buddhist and Hindu - are clustered around the old royal palace. Climb aboard for a rickshaw ride, if you like. Lunch is served in a local restaurant. Before dinner tonight at your hotel, a Sherpa who's climbed Mount Everest gives a talk followed by a Question & Answer session.
Kopan Monastery, Boudhanath & Bhaktapur
At nearby Kopan Monastery the monks start their day in prayer and meditation; join them during a morning visit before heading to the colossal stupa of Boudhanath, encircled by images of Buddha and hundreds of prayer wheels. After lunch explore the medieval town of Bhaktapur, where you'll find opulent palaces, temples and squares in a maze of cobblestone streets free of traffic. Craftsmen, potters, woodcarvers and weavers produce their wares here as they have for centuries; you'll have an opportunity to view their handiwork.
Fly to Chitwan National Park
This morning fly to Chitwan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the foothills of the Himalayas. The flora and fauna are particularly rich here. One of the few remaining populations of single-horned Asiatic rhinoceros lives in the park, and it's also one of the last refuges of the Bengal tiger. After lunch at your lodge, go on a river safari by boat and enjoy a sundowner.
Morning safari & bathing elephants
In an open-topped vehicle, head into Chitwan National Park for a safari and picnic breakfast. Later, watch the elephants take a bath in the river - and interact with them! After lunch enjoy a free afternoon or join us on a visit to a local village.
A mountain resort in Dhulikhel
t's possible to go on an early morning game drive before departing for your flight back to Kathmandu. When you land, head for your resort in the town of Dhulikhel, where the views of the mountains might just leave you speechless. Enjoy a singing bowl demonstration and a cooking presentation before dinner at your resort this evening.
Fly to Delhi & on to Agra
An early morning flight takes you back to Delhi for our drive to Agra, home to one of the world's most famous edifices - and monuments to love - the Taj Mahal, built by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, as a memorial to his wife. A perfectly symmetrical building, the monument's marble relief work is inlaid with precious stones. Your stay at The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra will take you back to a grand era of emperors. Dinner is at your choice of two of the hotel's fine restaurants tonight.
The Taj Mahal & the Red Fort in Agra
This morning, explore the Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a jewel of Muslim architecture renowned as one of the "wonders of the world," on a sunrise visit or after you have breakfast - or both! Next up is a visit to the city of Agra and the 16th-century red sandstone Agra Fort, an enormous complex of fairy tale palaces and mosques once surrounded by a deep moat. This evening's Maharajah dinner will mean special preparations, with ladies being shown how to wear their choice of a traditional sari (with a delicate touch of henna painting), and the gentlemen putting on traditional turbans.
The Temples of Khajuraho
Fly to Khajuraho for an overnight stay. This small town is the site of a famous group of temples built between the 9th and 10th centuries by the Chandella Dynasty, praised by UNESCO for striking a perfect balance between architecture and sculpture.
Bandhavgarh National Park
Drive to Bandhavgarh National Park, a wildlife reserve where leopards, deer, jungle cats, wild dogs, and tigers live - although it is very rare to spot the elusive tiger, a master of camouflage. After lunch embark on a jungle safari in an open-topped Jeep for a chance to catch sight of the wildlife. You'll stay three nights in this remarkable park.
A jungle safari & a village visit
At daybreak, drive with expert trackers into the heart of the Bandhavgarh Forest, one of India's most scenic areas. Keep your camera handy - the wildlife at home here include tigers, leopards, sloth bears, wild boar, jackals and a variety of birds. After lunch back at the lodge, you can spend the afternoon on another jungle safari or visiting a local village.
Safari Drives & Help Village Efforts
Enjoy a morning's jungle safari drive in Bandhavgarh National Park; in the afternoon, you can choose between further exploration on another jungle excursion, or lending a hand with one of several ongoing community projects alongside village residents. Attend an interactive cooking demonstration prior to dinner at your hotel.
Fly to Mumbai (Bombay)
Depart Bandhavgarh National Park this morning for a flight to Mumbai on the Arabian Sea as your India trip continues. Formerly known as Bombay, Mumbai today is India's richest city: hip, multicultural, cosmopolitan, home to Bollywood and a thriving financial center. Arrive in Mumbai mid-afternoon, then take a brief guided orientation tour of landmark city sights en route to your oceanfront luxury hotel. Dinner is at leisure in the hotel tonight.
Mumbai's grand gateway & heritage sites
Begin today's discovery of Mumbai, India's economic powerhouse, with a visit to the famed Gateway of India, a regal arch built to commemorate the 1911 visit of King George V and Queen Mary during the British Raj; this colossal waterfront monument is sometimes called "the Taj Mahal of Mumbai." Explore the city's Heritage area, including a stop at the Baroque-style train station known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) and Central Railway Headquarters building - Mumbai's only UNESCO World Heritage Site - resplendent with vaulted roofs, arches, Gothic spires, flying buttresses, gables crowned by neoclassical sculptures, stone carvings, and friezes. After an afternoon spent as you please in marvelous Mumbai, join us for a farewell cocktail reception at your hotel this evening.
Tour ends: Mumbai. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from The Oberoi, Mumbai to Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Most international flights depart between 2:00 - 3:00 AM; you should allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in.