Delve into northern India’s cultural riches on an unforgettable journey from Delhi to Varanasi, Agra to Jaipur, and beyond. Discover the world’s most magnificent monument to love, the Taj Mahal; learn about the spiritual significance of the Ganges River with a local scholar; and gain insights into rural life in a quaint Rajasthani village. Get a glimpse of a rarely seen side of Delhi alongside a youth guide from a G Adventures–supported project, and immerse yourself in the culinary heritage of Lucknow on a food tour.
Arrive at any time; your arrival transfer is included through Women With Wheels, a G Adventures–supported project.
Set out to discover Delhi, the capital of India, which consists of two cities: historic Delhi and New Delhi, built by the British in the early 20th century. Explore New Delhi’s lively Paharganj district with a youth guide from the G Adventures–supported City Walk project, and hear about how the program provides opportunities to disadvantaged street youth. Then delve into the narrow, winding lanes of Old Delhi on a rickshaw, visiting the 17th-century Jama Masjid—the largest mosque in India—and the Sikh temple Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib.
Fly to ancient Varanasi, one of Hinduism’s holiest cities, located on the banks of the Ganges River. Sit down at one of the picturesque ghats or steps that run along the river and enjoy a talk by a local scholar about Varanasi’s spiritual and social significance. Later, embark on a boat ride on the sacred Ganges, where more than a million pilgrims come each year to purify themselves and perform funeral rites for loved ones. Observe the evening aarti or prayer ceremony, and join pilgrims as they float candles and flower offerings down the river.
Rise early to catch the sunrise over the Ganges on a boat cruise, and witness the morning rituals and prayers that take place along the river. This afternoon, visit the Sarnath archaeological site, set in the middle of a vast park, where Gautama Buddha is believed to have delivered his first sermon.
Travel to Lucknow, the former capital of the Muslim nawabs of Oudh, who were known as great patrons of art, architecture, dance, and music. Explore the imposing Bara Imbambara complex, an 18th-century Shia Muslim shrine which includes a mosque, a grand hall, ornate courtyards, and gateways. Then set out on a food tour of Lucknow with an expert local guide, sampling dishes that were developed for the royal family and delectable street eats—from spicy kebabs to a variety of curries, breads, and sweets.
Travel by private bus to Agra, a former capital of the Delhi sultanate as well as the Mughal Empire. Settle into your hotel and spend the evening at leisure.
AGRA/RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK
This morning, visit the magnificent Taj Mahal, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, this iconic mausoleum was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Later, travel to Ranthambore National Park—the fabled wildlife reserve that is said to have inspired Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
Ranthambore National Park
Spend the day exploring Ranthambore National Park, which once served as the private hunting ground of the maharajas of Jaipur. Set out on morning and evening safaris with local rangers in search of monkeys, deer, sloth bears, leopards, and, if we're lucky, the elusive Bengal tiger. Wander amid the ruins of the 10th-century Ranthambore Fort and visit the Trinetra Ganesha Temple, dedicated to the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha.
Ranthambore National Park/Jaipur
After breakfast, drive to Jaipur, the capital of the state of Rajasthan, which boasts beautiful palaces and temples and many atmospheric markets. Spend the evening at leisure.
Explore Jaipur, known as the “Pink City” for its rose-coloured buildings. Take a tour of the sprawling Amber Fort, the former residence of Jaipur’s Rajput rulers; and visit Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of Winds, a stunning five-story sandstone building with distinctive honeycombed windows. Discover the rich collections of the City Palace museum, and stop by the 18th-century royal observatory known as Jantar Mantar. This evening, enjoy a culinary experience with a local family, including a visit to a market and a cooking demonstration and meal in their home.
Travel to the colourful village of Jojawar to get a taste of rural Rajasthani life and spend the night in a heritage hotel. Explore the village and chat with the local residents as they go about their daily tasks, from farming to cattle herding and iron smithing; and venture to the surrounding hamlets to meet members of different tribes.
Today, we make our way to Udaipur, dubbed the City of Lakes. Take an orientation walk through the timeless streets and bustling bazaars of this romantic city; then hop on a boat to explore Lake Pichola, taking in stunning views of the marble palaces which appear to float above the tranquil waters.
Set out to discover Udaipur, once the capital of a princely state. Visit the exquisite City Palace—the largest palace complex in Rajasthan—to get a glimpse of how the royal family used to live; and step into Jagdish Temple, which pays homage to the Hindu god Vishnu. This evening, stretch out at a relaxing yoga class.
Fly to Delhi for your final evening in India, and opt to join your group for a farewell dinner.
Depart at any time.