Start and end in New Delhi! With the in-depth cultural tour Delhi Palaces Ganges - 12 days, you have a 12 day tour package taking you through New Delhi, India and 7 other destinations in India. Delhi Palaces Ganges - 12 days includes accommodation in a hotel as well as flights, an expert guide, meals, transport and more.
Saturday. Welcome to India! On arrival in Delhi you?ll be transferred from the airport to our hotel, where the rest of the day is free to relax or explore as you please. You may wish to visit Akshardham - the largest Hindu temple in the world. This evening we have a welcome meeting at 18:00 at the hotel to meet our guide the rest of the group.
Enjoy a full day of sightseeing in India?s capital. In Old Delhi we?ll see the largest mosque in India - the impressive Jama Masjid. Continue to Humayun?s Tomb and Raj Ghat, the site of Gandhi?s cremation. We also enjoy a thrilling rickshaw ride around Chandni Chowk bazaar. Later we explore highlights of New Delhi including the ceremonial Rajpath and famous India Gate monument. This evening we enjoy our Namaste dinner.
Delhi - Jaipur. We travel to the UNESCO-listed Pink City of Jaipur on day 3 and enjoy a guided tour of the City Palace and the Jantar Mantar space observatory. This UNESCO-listed site is made up of 19 separate astrological instruments, including the worlds largest stone sundial. Early on day 4 there?s the opportunity to join our Balloon Over Jaipur add-on and sail over lofty forts, temples and regal palaces in a hot air balloon, with the Pink City as your stunning backdrop. Later we explore the striking hill-top Amber Fort. Reach the site by jeep and enjoy a guided tour of the beautiful lakeside fortress. We then return to Jaipur for the evening, stopping en route at a local cotton weaving house.
Jaipur - Abhaneri - Bharatpur. Say goodbye to Jaipur as we travel to the village of Abhaneri, home to the impressive Chand Baori step well. This staggering site is 13 stories deep and famously starred in the hit movie ?Batman: The Dark Knight Rises?. Next we visit a local school to meet the pupils and teachers. We operate our Change for Children programme here and you may consider bringing some educational gifts from home to give out (see trip notes) - they will make a real difference to the lives of these underprivileged children. After our school visit, we continue to our hotel in Bharatpur and explore Keoladeo Ghana National Park, a UNESCO-listed wetland reserve. The park is home to hundreds of bird species including vultures, owls, eagles and pelicans - well be accompanied by a guide who can identify the species for you. Enjoy a rickshaw ride around this beautiful reserve before we return to the hotel.
Bharatpur - Agra. Travel to Agra today, stopping en route at the city of Fatehpur Sikri, which has laid abandoned for more than 400 years. On arrival in Agra we explore the impressive Agra Fort and then discover the most famous attraction in India - the Taj Mahal. This iconic white mausoleum was constructed on the orders of Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, who tragically died in childbirth. It remains the most extravagant symbol of love ever built and the icon of India. We enjoy a guided tour of the legendary monument.
Agra ? Lucknow. This morning we depart for Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh. Boasting beautiful British Raj-era architecture as well as fantastic examples of Islamic art and design, Lucknow is an enigmatic city steeped in history. This afternoon we?ll tour the highlights of a city which first gained importance in 1528 with its capture by Babur, the first Mughal ruler of India. Our first stop will be to the Chota Imambara, one of the most intricate and exquisite buildings in Lucknow, it was built as a congregation hall for Shia Muslims and today houses the tombs of Muhammed Ali Shah and his family. Our next stop is the Rumi Darwaza, often referred to as the Turkish Gate. This imposing gate is a busy route through the city. We finish the day at Bara Imambara, this impressive complex was built in the 1780?s and houses a mosque, a step well and a maze of corridors.
Today we further explore the city of Lucknow, heading first for La Martiniere college. The college was established in 1845 from instructions in the will of Major General Claude Martin, who left a large endowment for its construction and upkeep. Today, it educates upwards of 6,000 pupils at one time and the Constantia building has been described as ?perhaps the best-preserved colonial building in Lucknow?. Later we?ll visit the remains of two British Raj-era buildings, Dilkusha Palace and the British Residency, both of which were shelled during the 1857 siege of Lucknow and today lay in ruins. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to further explore Lucknow.
Lucknow ? Varanassi. Today we drive from Lucknow to Varanasi, one of the oldest and holiest cities on Earth. The city is also an important Hindu pilgrimage site, set on the banks of the River Ganges.
Early this morning we enjoy a boat ride on the holy Ganges. Enjoy the sunrise and watch the ancient religious tradition of ritual cleansing that takes place on the riverside ghats (steps). We then enjoy a guided tour of the city and you may wish to return to the banks of the Ganges at sunset for the evening ritual.
Varanasi - Delhi. Spend our final morning in Varanasi at leisure, before we fly to Delhi this afternoon. Your final evening in India is then free to spend as you wish. Perhaps visit the stunning Red Fort and attend its famous Sound and Light show after dark.
Wednesday. Our Indian adventure comes to an end today with an included transfer to the airport.