Essential India

From the intricate saris of Rajasthan to the beautiful symmetry of the Taj Mahal, this compact journey is a photographer's delight and the perfect introduction to India. You'll float past the ghats on the Ganges River to encounter the spiritual heart of Hinduism in Varanasi and get off the beaten path exploring carved stepwells and quaint temples in rural villages. With the perfect combination of included activities and free time to explore the nation's rich heritage, you're sure to be caught up in India's incredible tapestry of life.

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Map for Essential India

Destination & Sightseeing


Day 1 Delhi
Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included through the G Adventures-supported Women on Wheels project.Included Activities: Women on Wheels Transfer Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

Day 2 Delhi
Enjoy a youth-led walking tour of Delhi with G Adventures-supported project, City Walk. This tour offers a unique perspective of Delhi while supporting at-risk youth.Later, visit Delhi’s famous Jama Masjid (Great Mosque) and climb the minaret for a bird’s eye view of the Old City. Walk through Chandni Chowk, one of India’s oldest and busiest markets, and learn the history of the Sikh religion at the important Gurdwara, (Sikh place of worship) Gurdwara SisGanj. Stop for photos at the colourful market before finishing at the Victorian Connaught Place, one of the most prominent architectural remnants of British rule.Included Activities: City Walk Jama Masjid Visit Gurdwara Sis Ganj Visit Connaught Place Visit Chandni Chowk Visit

Day 3 Delhi/Jaipur
Drive to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan and start exploring. Opt to visit the Jantar Mantar, or Royal Observatory. Don't miss the opprtunity to see a Bollywood film at the famous Art Deco Raj Mandir cinema.Transport: Private Vehicle (5.00-6.00 hours, 260km)

Day 4 Jaipur
Head out to visit the ruined city of Amber, the former capital of Jaipur state. Stop and take a photo of the Hawa Mahal palace complex, elaborate formal gardens, and a small lake. Opt to see the city by bicycle by pre-booking the Jaipur Cycle Tour extra.Included Activities: Amber Fort Visit

Day 5 Jaipur/Dhula Village (1D)
Tonight's accommodation is in spacious and comfortable tents outfitted with beds, lamps, and simple en suite bathrooms.Included Activities: Village Cycling ExcursionTransport: Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s), 50km)

Day 6 Dhula Village/Āgra (1B)
Stop by the impressive Abhaneri stepwell en route to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.Included Activities: Abhaneri Stepwell VisitTransport: Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 250km)

Day 7 Āgra
Visit the sparkling Taj Mahal for sunrise then stick around to explore (if the light is better around sunset, we may visit later in the day instead). Later, visit the walled city of Agra Fort by cycle-rickshaw and the I'timad-ud-Daulah, or the Baby Taj.Included Activities: Taj Mahal Visit Agra Fort Visit Baby Taj VisitTransport: Visit the Agra Fort by human-powered cycle-rickshaw. Cycle rickshaw

Day 8 Āgra/Alīpura
Leave early and travel along typically rough Indian roads to Alipura, a friendly village which will be our base for two days. Here, stay in a heritage property with time to wander the town and interact with locals.Transport: Train (2.50 hour(s)) Private Vehicle (3.50 hour(s))

Day 9 Alīpura
Travel 1.5 hrs to Khajuraho, one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Learn the history of these world-famous temples on a guided tour and enjoy a taste of a little erotica from the Middle Ages. After, opt to visit a nearby waterfall (seasonal) or watch an evening dance performance.Included Activities: Khajuraho Temples Guided TourTransport: Private Vehicle (1.50-2.00 hours, 96km) Private Vehicle (1.50-2.00 hours, 96km)

Day 10 Alīpura/Orchha
En route to Orchha, visit a unique paper making plant, set up to assist tribal women from the area. All the paper is made from recycled clothing and wood pulp. Continue on to Orchha and enjoy an orientation tour of this small town. Set on the banks of the Betwa River, it is the perfect antidote to the chaos of India’s cities. Later, attend an evening puja ceremony at the Ram Raja Temple.Included Activities: Tarragram Visit Puja CeremonyTransport: Private Vehicle (2.50-3.00 hours, 96km)

Day 11 Orchha/Varanasi
Opt to sharpen your culinary skills by pre-booking the Orchha Cooking School extra when booking your tour.Included Activities: Orchha Palace VisitTransport: Private Vehicle (0.25-0.50 hours) Basic overnight train (beds) (13.00 hour(s))

Day 12 Varanasi
Disembark the train in legendary Varanasi, the quintessential Indian holy city where millions of Hindus visit for pilgrimage, to worship, to mourn, or to die.There is time here to shop, wander, and absorb the atmosphere of this unique city, while optional activities include the monasteries and ruins of nearby Sarnath, the site of the Buddha's first sermon.Included Activities: Evening Ganges Boat Tour

Day 13 Varanasi
Watch the sunrise from a boat along the Ganges. Enjoy free time in this holy city.Included Activities: Morning Ganges Boat Tour

Day 14 Varanasi/Delhi
Soak up some free time this morning and explore the city. Later, cut out the travel time with a flight back to Delhi.Transport: Plane

Day 15 Delhi
Depart at any time.