Start in New Delhi and end in Kolkata (Calcutta)! With the in-depth cultural tour Delhi to Kolkata - 15 Days, you have a 15 day tour package taking you through New Delhi, India and 9 other destinations in India. Delhi to Kolkata - 15 Days includes accommodation in a hotel as well as flights, an expert guide, meals, transport and more.
Saturday. Namaste! Welcome to India. On arrival at the airport you?ll be transferred to our hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore at leisure. Perhaps visit Akshardham, the largest Hindu temple in the world, before meeting our guide and group for a welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 18:00.
We embark on a full day of sightseeing in India?s capital. In Old Delhi we visit Humayun?s Tomb and Jama Masjid - India?s largest and oldest mosque. Continue to Raj Ghat and enjoy an exhilarating tuk-tuk ride around Chandni Chowk bazaar. In New Delhi we see the ceremonial Rajpath and the famous India Gate monument. After our busy day of sightseeing we enjoy a Namaste dinner in the hotel.
Delhi - Jaipur. Today we drive to the UNESCO-listed Pink City of Jaipur and enjoy a tour of the pretty City Palace. Continue to the Jantar Mantar space observatory, home to the world?s largest stone sundial. On day 4 there?s an early start if you wish to join our incredible Balloon Over Jaipur add-on. Sail over hilltop forts, palaces and temples in a hot air balloon, then return to land and explore striking Amber Fort. This well preserved 16th century fortress is laid out over four levels and sits on the shore of the shimmering Maota Lake. We reach the fort by jeep and enjoy a guided tour, then stop at a local cotton weaving house on our way back to Jaipur.
In and around AbhaneriJaipur - Abhaneri - Bharatpur. Say goodbye to Jaipur today as we travel to the rural village of Abhaneri, home to the famous Chand Baori step well. Marvel at this incredible site, where 13 stories stretch down to the waters edge. The well famously featured in the blockbuster film ?Batman: The Dark Knight Rises?. After our visit we continue to a local school to meet the pupils and teachers. We operate our Change for Children programme here and any donations you make will be greatly appreciated. You may also wish to bring some educational gifts from home to give out to the pupils (see trip notes). Later, we arrive at our hotel in Bharatpur and visit Keoladeo Ghana National Park. Enjoy a bicycle rickshaw ride through this tranquil wetland reserve, which is home to more than 350 bird species including herons, quails, eagles and falcons. Well be accompanied by a knowledgeable guide who will identify the species we spot.
Bharatpur - Agra. This morning we visit the eerie 16th century city of Fatehpur Sikri, which was abandoned more than 400 years ago but remains well-preserved. Our day continues with a visit to the impressive Agra Fort and India?s most recognisable site - the Taj Mahal. This legendary white mausoleum was constructed by more than 20,000 workers in the 17th century, under the orders of Emperor Shah Jahan. The Taj Mahal stands as an extravagant memorial to the Emperors beloved wife, who tragically died in childbirth.
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.
Rise early this morning as we enjoy a sunrise boat ride on the holy Ganges River. Watch the ancient religious tradition of ritual cleansing that takes place on the riverside ghats (steps), then enjoy a guided tour of the city. At sunset you may wish to revisit the ghats for the evening pilgrimage, which is different to the dawn ritual.
Varanasi - Bodh Gaya. Leaving Varanasi this morning, we drive to the important Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage village of Bodh Gaya. The rest of the day is free to explore as you please. Perhaps visit the Great Buddha Statue, which will tower over you at 82ft tall.
Enjoy a guided tour of Bodh Gaya today as we visit the Niranjana River and the Sujata Temple. We also explore one of the most visited places in the Buddhist religion, the UNESCO-listed Mahabodhi Temple. This impressive temple is famously the site where Buddha attained enlightenment by meditating for seven days under the Bodhi Tree (Tree of Awakening). Our tour also takes us to a Buddhist monastery and the Archaeological Museum, where we discover a large collection of fascinating Hindu and Buddhist relics.
Bodh Gaya - Kolkata. This morning we take the train to the cultural capital of India - Kolkata. The afternoon is free to relax or explore at leisure. You may wish to visit Science City or admire the European architecture of St Paul?s Cathedral - the first cathedral built in India under British rule.
Enjoy a guided tour of Kolkata today and take in highlights including the Indian Museum, St John?s Church and the Victoria Memorial. This beautiful building was built in dedication to the memory of Queen Victoria and now serves as a museum and the home of several galleries. We continue to the Hindu temple of Khalighat and Mother Teresa?s Ashram Home of Children. Our final stop is the striking Marble Palace, a 19th century mansion belonging to the family of a famous Indian philanthropist, Raja Rajendra Mullick and housing his large collection of artworks.
Saturday. Our Indian adventure ends today with a departure transfer to the airport.