Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Jhansi, Khajuraho, Varanasi
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
You can imagine the vibrant life along the riverbanks of the Ganges River. The elegant angles of the Taj Mahal have always inspired you. On this custom tailored tour, you will discover the iconic splendor of India. The honeycomb texture of the Palace of Winds takes you back into classical Rajasthani history. You will discover powerful forts and graceful art, spellbinding streets, and friendly faces on your journey through historic culture.
Delhi - A Classic Introduction
Welcome to Delhi, a symbol of both old and new India. The streets are filled with endless swirling energy. The historic shops in the old markets of Chandni Chowk are filled with vivacious saris and the particular savory aromas of the local flavors such as kulle chaat, a hollowed-out fruit or vegetable often filled with chickpeas and bright pomegranate seeds. You are picked up from the airport by a private transfer and taken to your hotel in the heart of the city.
The Red Fort sits as a reminder of Delhi’s Moghul past and dates back to the 17th century. The red sandstone gives the entire complex a rustic, faded look but the history of the city is still palpable. Bastions and turrets climb to a height of 59 feet alongside the river and almost 110 feet over the city. The marble and floral décor, along with the double domes, personify later Mughal architecture. When you arrive at your hotel you can settle into the luxuries of both new and old Delhi.
Delhi - Finding the Landmarks
You can see the streets begin to swirl with people in the early morning. Tea carts stand on corners and brim with men enjoying an early morning chai on their way to work. Rickshaws bustle through the neighborhood and are painted with bright yellows and greens. After breakfast, your guide meets you and is ready to escort you to the magnificent landmarks of both classic and contemporary Delhi. Qutub Minar is a minaret that stands over 237 feet tall and dates back to the 11th century. The lone tower was constructed with mostly red sandstone; however, the fourth and fifth stories were molded out of both sandstone and marble. The surrounding park is filled with crumbling ruins that create a charming ambiance, a sense of history mixed with a peaceful green space. Locals picnic on the grass beneath the shadow of the minaret. The trees wave in the breeze and the sound of the afternoon is calm and jovial.
Jaipur - The Proximity of Pink
The scent of spices like cinnamon and allspice are intoxicating in the morning air. Breakfast is often accompanied by the combination of sweet and aromatic flavors of masala chai tea. After your meal, you will have a private transfer to Jaipur. The Pink City is an extravagant display of Rajasthan’s architecture and culture. The walls of the City Palace are a lively shade of pink that gives the city its colloquial namesake. Rickshaws zoom through the streets next to trotting camels. The bazaar is always filled with a whirlwind of locals as the shops burst with textiles and jewelry.
The afternoon is at your leisure to explore the various neighborhoods of the city, including the narrow walkways that wind around the Johari Bazaar. You can see the elegant patterns and popping color on the displayed saris. In the evening you will visit the popular Birla Mandir, a Hindu temple constructed entirely of marble. The pristine edifice has a stupa that towers over the rest of the temple. Graceful pillars adorn the entrance. You can see celebrated images of Lakshmi and Narayan that were carved from a single piece of marble.
Agra - The Power of the Hills
The camels begin to trot through the wide streets of the contemporary city. The rickshaws taxi people to and from work. After breakfast, you come to the Amer Fort and see the walls rising to powerful heights and casting a shadow over Maota Lake. The pathway that leads to the main gate winds up the hillside. The complex was constructed in the 16th century using a combination of sandstone and marble. Imposing yet elegant gates divide the four main sections of the fort. Enter through the Sun Gate to find the first main courtyard. The open plaza was once used as a space for victory parties when triumphant armies returned.
The upper walkways are lined with latticed windows where the royal women would watch the procession while still hidden from view. The grand arch at the gate’s center was large enough for elephants to enter through. The grandeur of the complex is apparent in the exceptional design and the preserved extravagances of the royal residences, from gold-lined mirrors to the fine detail of the magic flower fresco in the Mirror Palace. Later in the day you will leave the Pink City behind and visit the abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri en route to Agra.
Agra - The Allure of Architecture
Today you will find yourself at the entrance gates of the famous Wonder of the World that has captivated the hearts of people for centuries. The Taj Mahal was constructed in the 17th century by Shah Jahan. The remarkable mausoleum was the first all-marble building in the Mughal Empire. There is a tangible majesty to the air when you enter the garden. The aroma of blossoming flowers surrounds you. The pristine structure is mirrored in the long reflective pool that almost points to the large platform. The famous dome stands 240 feet in the air against the backdrop of a perfect blue sky. The architectural elements of Islamic, Persian, Ottoman, and Indian styles are apparent in the design and décor. The interior chamber is decorated with semiprecious gemstones that help catch the sun and were arranged to look like twirling vines and flowers.
Khajuraho - The Ancient Temple Road
The morning streets come alive before dawn, filled with visitors eager to watch the sun slowly rise over the horizon and cast a spell on the white marble of the Taj Mahal. You have seen the way the façade shifts in the drifting sunlight and can imagine the various shades of pink and blue that the dome would collect and reflect. After breakfast, you will be transferred to the train station where you will step aboard a train to Jhansi. Villages are interspersed alongside the railways. Behind the tall grass, children play cricket. Dogs stroll through the underbrush. When you arrive in Jhansi you will continue onwards to Khajuraho, home to a large group of Hindu and Jain temples in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
Varanasi - The Delicate Sculpted Temples
The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a collection of temples that date back to the 10th century during the Chandela Dynasty. The 20 remaining temples are spread over four square miles. The complex is located in the Vindhya Mountain Range and displays the intricate and interesting stonework around the temple’s outer walls. The majority of the temples face sunrise and are clustered near bodies of water. Much of the artwork around the temples depict the daily life of ancient culture, from interaction with elephants to devotion to various deities. However, the most famous statues are of the Western Group and consist of detailed erotica. The Kandariya-Mahadev is dedicated to Shiva and holds over 646 statues, 226 being erotic figures. The interior is decorated with divine images of life that celebrate culture and religion. The temples are both spiritual and artistic, each creating an ambiance of devotion and awe. In the afternoon you will board your flight to Varanasi and arrive into one of the most spiritual cities in India.
Varanasi - The Spirit of the River
When dawn comes you are already on a boat on the River Ganges. As you drift alongside Varanasi’s famous ghats you find a city at peace. The river is known for its riotous colors and streams of endless people creating a spellbinding ambiance that is truly one of a kind. The sunlight brushes the horizon. Layers of orange spread across the sky. The city dates back to the 11th century and continues to be the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Jainism. The ochre buildings decorate the riverbanks. The ghats are allocated for specific uses. You can see an early gathering of women already washing clothes. Farther downriver a man slowly pours water over his head and washes. Shallow wooden boats are sporadic, each one filled with fishermen ready for the day’s catch. A group of people prays in the early light and you know that this is a humbling and charming moment.
Delhi - A New Return
The aromatics of ginger and cinnamon add a bright scent to the morning air. After breakfast, you will have a private transfer to the airport for your return journey to Delhi. The city moves forward with its fast-paced day. The Lotus Temple continues to rise over its surrounding garden like a magnificent blossoming flower. The roof is a collection of 27 marble petals and imitates a lotus blossom. The interior dome stands over 120 feet tall and the gallery can hold up to 2,500 people. The elegance of the Bahai temple is similar to the city, a grand new vessel that holds the opulence of something historic.
Delhi - An Evening Onward
The day is bright with promise and anticipation as you wake to the familiar scent of masala chai tea. The taste is as sweet and zesty as you remember. The day begins at your leisure. You can sit in a comfortable café and watch the city go by or spend your time strolling around the Lodi Gardens. The park is decorated with ancient Mughal mosques and tombs. Families picnic on the manicured grass. The shrubberies are trimmed, shaped, and well maintained. The park is busiest in the morning when the local Delhiites enjoy a walk along the 15th-century history. In the evening you will have a private transfer to the airport. When the plane lifts into the air you will always remember the timelessness of your trip to India.
- Experience the incredible architectural design of the Taj Mahal
- Enjoy the opulent history of the Amer Fort and the famous Pink City of Jaipur
- Witness the exceptional ancient temples of Khajuraho, which contain innumerable statues
- Cruise down the River Ganges to experience the daily rituals of the holy city of Varanasi
- Capture the old and new wonders of Delhi on a full-day guided tour, including a visit to the classic Chandni Chowk bazaar
The endless beauty of history can be seen in the continuing architecture of kings and temples. On this 10-day tour through India you will find the extravagance of royal pasts and the elegance of devout monks. Temples are decorated with endless delicate statues. Cities are graced with entire royal complexes, from fortresses to palaces. The River Ganges brings a spiritual essence to the sunrise and the ghats showcase the effervescent culture of a holy city. From the Himalayas to the Thar Desert, the splendor of your vacation is rooted in the classic cities of India.
Your discovery begins with your arrival in Delhi. The capital city of India is a whirlwind of character and culture. A full-day tour of the city will show you ancient history and contemporary life, oftentimes side by side. The following day you will make your way to Jaipur and visit the Lakshmi Narayan Temple. In the morning the Amer Fort calls to you. Tour through the remarkable lavishness of maharajas before you find yourself in the historic abandoned capital city of Fatehpur Sikri. Once in Agra you will have a half-day tour of the city’s most famous sites, including the magnificent Taj Mahal.
Venture to Khajuraho and find the exquisite Jain and Hindu temples that have survived through the centuries. That afternoon you will fly to Varanasi. Journey along the Ganges River on an early morning boat ride. The city comes to life around you. In the afternoon you have an excursion to Sarnath, the location where Buddha gave his first sermon after reaching enlightenment. Return to Delhi and enjoy an evening of comfort and luxury before departing for home the following day.
$1,495 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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