Arrive Mumbai, India
Arrive in Mumbai, perhaps from your pre-tour extension. On arrival, an A&K representative meets and transfers you to your iconic hotel.
Explore the city’s classic sites, including the Gateway of India, an 85-foot-high arch whose design reflects India’s Muslim and Hindu traditions. Visit the Prince of Wales Museum and Mani Bhawan, a museum dedicated to the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi. Next, see the Dhobi Ghat, the largest open-air laundry in the world and a wonderfully colorful spectacle to behold. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner alongside fellow guests.
Mumbai to Udaipur
This morning, privately cruise Mumbai Harbour to Elephanta Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the island’s world-renowned temples, which are carved directly out of the basalt rock and filled with ornamental statues, pillars and friezes. Later this afternoon, fly to Udaipur and check in to your romantic hotel. After settling in, take in the magnificent views of the City Palace and Jag Mandir Palace from your hotel, and stroll its tranquil interior courtyard gardens — an idyllic place for relaxing and enjoying the evening.
Visit the City Palace, a marble complex of palaces and galleries that offers unforgettable views of the lake and its surroundings. Take a private tour of the Crystal Gallery in Fateh Prakash Palace, and stroll through Sahelion Ki Bari (Garden of the Maids of Honor). Pay a visit to a local painting school; later, embark on a private cruise to Jag Mandir, a marble palace on an island in Lake Pichola, followed by a Scenic Sundowner. The next morning, journey out of town for an excursion to Delwara and visit two important temple complexes: Eklingji, dedicated to Shiva, and deserted Nagda, built to honor Lord Vishnu. After lunch, return to Udaipur to enjoy the remainder of your afternoon at leisure.
This morning, fly to Jaipur and check in to your hotel, the former residence of the Maharajah of Jaipur. Later, explore the City Palace, a unique and arresting complex of several palaces, pavilions, gardens and temples. Located within the palace’s gates is the Mubarak Mahal, or “Auspicious Palace,” which contains textiles including the royal formal costumes, sanganeri block prints, Kashmiri pashminas and silk saris. Then, visit Jantar Mantar, an open-air array of astronomical instruments. The next day, view the Palace of the Winds — built for the women of the royal household to observe street life without being seen. Proceed to explore the beautiful Mughal-style Amber Fort. This red sandstone and marble palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Drive to Agra, observing the colorful rural life of Rajasthan on your journey. Upon arrival, catch your first glimpse of the breathtaking Taj Mahal from your luxurious room. Visit the Taj Mahal in the late afternoon, as the setting sun bathes it in a soft orange glow. Return the next morning, when the rising sun lends a warm pink tint to its marble face. Visit the Agra Fort, once the prison of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal after the death of his beloved wife. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure or choose to explore Fatehpur Sikri. Built in the 16th century and later abandoned, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a fairy-tale ghost city of delicately carved sandstone.
Panna National Park
Depart by express train to Jhansi. After lunch, continue to remote Panna National Park, a haven for India’s wildlife, and check in to your wilderness lodge.
Panna National Park
After a morning at leisure, transfer from your lodge to Panna National Park for a game drive in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, spotting crocodiles or perhaps the elusive Bengal tiger. Tonight, enjoy an Indian cooking demonstration, as a chef prepares local delicacies for dinner.
Drive to Khajuraho to see all of life — joy, love, divinity, war — depicted in detail on every inch of its 85 Hindu and Jain temples. Then, fly to Varanasi, a city of more than a thousand temples and shrines, sacred to Hindus and Buddhists. At dusk, beside the Ganges River, witness the Aarti ceremony. Chanted prayers and rhythmic drumming fill the air as you watch lantern-bearing priests bid the gods and goddesses a restful slumber.
Rise early for a private sunrise cruise on the Ganges River to observe activity along the ghats (stone steps leading down to the river), where locals and pilgrims cleanse themselves, literally and spiritually. Later, fly to Delhi for a farewell dinner.
Visit the great Jama Masjid, the most important mosque in India. Completed in 1656, its two minarets, made from red sandstone and white marble, each stand 131 feet tall. Then, set off on an exciting rickshaw ride through the carts and stalls of Chandni Chowk bazaar, one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. Like Jama Masjid, it dates to the era of Shah Jahan, and today is a vital part of everyday life here — frequented by locals and a must-see destination for visitors. After lunch, tour New Delhi, including Humayun’s Tomb, the last resting place of an esteemed 16th-century Mughal emperor and an architectural precursor of the Taj Mahal.
Transfer to the airport early this morning for your flight home, or begin your post-tour extension to Kathmandu.