From the Arabian Sea to the Himalayas, from the ultramodern architecture of New Dehli to the forests of Bandhavgarh National Park in India and Chitwan National Park in Nepal, our unique experiences show you the incomparable cultural diversity, compelling history, and spectacular natural beauty of the Indian subcontinent.
Set off on game-viewing safaris in search of the elusive tiger... fly over the landscapes of Mt. Everest on a flightseeing tour… visit a Buddhist monastery in Kathmandhu… discover the architecture of Bhaktapur, along the ancient trading route from Nepal to Tibet… feel the spiritual passion of the Taj Mahal, poetry in marble… explore the Heritage section of Mumbai… wander awestruck among the eye-opening Hindu temples of Khajuraho… and enjoy an unusual opportunity to join in hands-on community projects as a volunteer in places where there is need, working with local villagers to improve their lives, forging friendships across cultures.
Arrive New Delhi
Tour begins: 2:00 PM, 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. Your trip begins this afternoon with a welcome briefing by your Tauck Director, followed by a guided orientation tour of New Delhi including a drive through of Vijay Chowk, with views of the Secretariat buildings, Parliament House, the Presidential Palace and the India Gate, commemorating Indian and British soldiers. Next, stop at the Gandhi Smriti Museum, paying tribute to the inspiring leader, Mahatma Gandhi, who forced change through non-violent protest, leading to an independent India in the late 1940s. Join us this evening for a welcome cocktail reception and dinner.
Old & New Delhi, Past and Present
Discover not one, but two UNESCO World Heritage Sites today as you explore the centuries-old history and culture of Old Delhi and environs. Following a morning orientation tour of Old Delhi, visit Humayun’s Tomb, constructed for the Mughal Emperor Humayan and other members of his family in the 1570s, and set within beautiful gardens. The first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent and the first large structure of its kind built of red sandstone, this Mughal creation popularized Persian-influenced architecture in India, and was an inspiration for the Taj Mahal in Agra. After lunch at a local restaurant, sightseeing continues as you marvel at the Qutb Minar Victory Tower, India’s tallest minaret, five stories high. A red sandstone tower built in 1193 and covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Quran, it is part of one of the earliest surviving mosque complexes in India. Return to your New Delhi hotel in late afternoon and spend the rest of the day and evening as you please.
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 at one of the hotel’s restaurants tonight.
Himalayas Flightseeing and a sherpa
Today your Nepal and India trip continues as you 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.
Monks and a medieval town
On a lofty hill overlooking Kathmandu Valley, adorned with colorful prayer flags, statuary and sacred art, Kopan Monastery draws seekers of spiritual enlightenment from all over the world. Join the Tibetan Buddhist monks as they start their day with prayer and meditation (a ceremony of bells and chanting mantras) before paying a visit to the famous stupa (spiritual monument) of Boudhanath, built during the 5th century, a colossal spherical temple that represents the Mind of Buddha (from a tower his painted eyes keep watch over Kathmandu Valley). At least 29 monasteries surround this immense shrine adorned with prayer flags and prayer wheels, its structure reflecting the design of a mandala. After lunch, you'll arrive at your hotel where the rest of the evening is at your leisure.
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.
Explore Chitwan National Park by Jeep
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 as you wish.
Bhaktapur and a mountain resort
Pack your bags for a morning flight back to Kathmandu. When you land, explore Bhaktapur, the third largest city in the valley, where cobblestone streets free from traffic make walking in this ancient, picturesque town of traditional art and architecture a pleasure. Its famous centuries-old craftsmanship continues; you will find potters, woodcarvers and weavers here as well as photogenic temples, courtyards and venerable squares, and you’ll have an opportunity to view their handiwork. This afternoon, head to your resort in the town of Dhulikhel, where the views of the mountains might just leave you speechless. Dinner will be at your resort this evening.
Singing Bowls and Cooking
Today, you'll have the opportunity for a bit of rest and relaxation as you may indulge and enjoy the many amenities offered to you at your hotel. Tonight, a singing bowl demonstration and a cooking demonstration precedes dinner at the hotel.
Fly to Delhi & on to Agra
A morning flight takes you back to Delhi followed by a 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 & Agra Red Fort
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
Take a train this morning from Agra to Jhansi followed by a drive 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; visit them today.
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.
Jungle Safaris Morning & Afternoon
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. A lecture on the ongoing tiger conservation efforts in India precedes lunch back at the lodge then another jungle safari. Enjoy dinner this evening at the hotel.
Safari Drives & Village Life
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.
Flight to Mumbai
Depart Bandhavgarh National Park this morning for a flight to Mumbai on the Arabian Sea. 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.
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.