Start in Kathmandu and end in New Delhi! With the in-depth cultural tour Exotic Nepal & India , you have a 13 day tour package taking you through Kathmandu, Nepal and 8 other destinations in Asia. Exotic Nepal & India includes accommodation in a hotel as well as flights, an expert guide, meals, transport and more.
Namaste ? Welcome to Nepal! As one of the most enchanting travel destinations in the world, Nepal offers a heady mixture of unique culture proudly preserved, mind-boggling adventure and remarkable natural beauty. Upon arrival, we are transferred to our hotel and have the balance of the day free. Overnight: Soaltee Crowne Plaza, Kathmandu (3 nights)
Today we explore the Kathmandu Valley*, a highlight of tours to Nepal. We start at the Durbar Square located in the heart of old city of Kathmandu. There are an incredible 50 temples in this area. We will visit the 17th century Durbar complex, Hanuman Dhoka, the Paravati Temple, the Great Bell and Drum, Bhairav, the Taleju Temple and an array of temples grouped around it, as well as the Temple of the Living Goddess, the Kumari. We then head to the stupa of Swayambhunath, located on a green hillock west of Kathmandu. Over 2,500 years old, this huge stupa is one of the holiest Buddhists sites in Nepal and its establishment is linked to the creation of Kathmandu. We conclude our exploration in Patan, the oldest city in the valley, said to have been founded by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century B.C. Patan is the cradle of arts and architecture of the valley and a great center of the Newari traditional arts and crafts, with 136 courtyards and 55 major temples. In the evening, we enjoy our Nepali-style welcome dinner. (B, D) Note: In the early morning, we may take an optional scenic flight over the breathtaking Himalayas to see Mount Everest and other peaks.
Today we visit Bhaktapur? also known as Bhadgaon and home to exquisite examples of medieval art and architecture. A city of farmers, Bhaktapur is also known for its pottery and weaving. It is the best preserved of the valley?s three cities. We then head to Pashupatinath, considered to be one of the holiest Hindu shrines in the world. This temple of Lord Shiva is famous for its superb architecture, with a tiered golden roof and silver. We will only be able to view it from the eastern bank of Bagmati River overlooking the cremation grounds, as it is open solely to Hindus. We then explore Boudhanath, also known as `Little Tibet? because of its unique atmosphere resembling old Barkhor marketplace in Lhasa. It features the biggest stupa in Nepal, encircled by houses and monasteries. Evening is free to explore the bazaars and meet the many different ethnic groups who call Kathmandu home. (B, D)
Today we are transferred to the airport for our flight to Delhi. The capital of India is a fusion of ancient and modern. It paints a picture rich with culture, architecture and human diversity, deep in history, monuments, museums, galleries and gardens. On arrival in Delhi, we are met by our local representative and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free. Overnight: Sheraton, New Delhi (2 nights) (B, D)
Our exciting morning tour through New Delhi starts with a visit to Birla House, the Former Residence of Mahatma Gandhi before he was assassinated by Nathu Ram Godse in 1948. Next we explore the famous India Gate, followed by the Houses of Parliament, Connaught Place and Humayuns Tomb*, built in 1570 as the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. The tomb inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal. ?Our next stop is Qutb Minar and its Monuments*. Built in the early 13th century, the magnificent red sandstone tower of Qutb Minar is 72.5 meters high. The surrounding archaeological area contains funerary buildings, notably the magnificent Alai-Darwaza Gate, a masterpiece of Indo-Muslim art and two mosques. Our afternoon explores Old Delhi, starting with the Red Fort Complex*. Named for its massive walls of red sandstone, this fort represents the zenith of Moghul creativity. It sits next to the Salimgarh Fort, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546. Afterwards enjoy an exciting journey by traditional rickshaw, passing through the narrow lanes of the Chandni Chowk Bazaar. Built by Moghul emperor Shah Jehan in the 17th century, this bazaar remains one of Delhi?s oldest and busiest markets. Our ride ends at India?s largest mosque, the 350-year-old Jama Masjid. We end our tour at Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi. In the evening, we enjoy a welcome dinner at a well-known local restaurant. (B, D)
A short flight gets us to Varanasi, one of the oldest living cities in the world. On arrival, we are transferred to our hotel. In the afternoon, we explore Sarnath, the site where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. Varanasi is also famous for its silk sarees and we visit some of the houses where the beautiful silk sarees are actually woven. Evening visit to the banks of the Ganges to witness the fascinating devotional ceremony of Aarti performed by devout Hindus after sunset. Overnight: The Gateway Hotel Ganges, Varanasi (1 night) (B, D)
In and around KhajurahoIn the early morning, we take a serene sunrise cruise on the River Ganges, soaking in the unique scenes along the river bank. One of the cardinal principles of Hinduism is the belief in the holiness of the Ganges. Every morning, scores of pilgrims and priests bathe in the river?s holy waters and performing various other rituals. This unique experience will make us feel as if we?re looking through a window to another world. ?After our boat ride, we explore old Varanasi, visiting the Bharat Mata Temple, which houses a huge marble relief map of India. We then explore the Durga Temple, the Tulsi Manas Mandir beside the Banaras Hindu University and the Mosque of Moghul Emperor Aurangazeb. After the tour, we return to the hotel for breakfast. Later we take a short flight to Khajuraho. On arrival, we are transferred to our hotel. Afternoon explore the Khajuraho Group of Monuments*, a collection of temples that are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Considered as some as the finest temple art in the world, the temples were built between 950 and 1050 A.D. Today only 20 temples are left, but the remaining structures are known worldwide for their intricate sculptures.? Overnight: Mint Bundela Resort, Khajuraho (1 night) (B, D)
In and around JhansiA scenic morning drive to Orchha to visit this amazing medieval fortress-city, located on the shores of the Betwa River. The fort features regal palaces and imposing temples, and the fortress itself is surrounded by rolling green pastoral lands. We then enjoy a uniquely Indian experience as we embark on the Shatabdi Express train to Agra. This train is fully air-conditioned and we get to enjoy complimentary meals. It also provides a great opportunity to meet local folks on board the train and get to know them. As we get closer to Agra, we see the Taj Mahal at a distance. Arrival at Agra Railway Station, where we are welcomed and transferred to our hotel. Overnight: Trident Agra / The Gateway Hotel, Agra (1 night) (B, D)
We start our day with a sunrise visit to one of the most well-known wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal*. An immense mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Moghul emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, the Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and a universally admired masterpiece of world heritage. Situated on the right bank of the Yamuna in a vast Moghul garden, this funerary monument combines elements and styles of Persian, Central Asian and Islamic architecture. After visiting the Taj Mahal, we return back to our hotel for breakfast. Following our morning meal, we visit Agra Fort*. This powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses the spectacular imperial city of the Moghul rulers. Explore fairy-tale palaces, audience halls and two very beautiful mosques. In the afternoon, we visit Fatehpur Sikri*. Built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, this stunning complex was once capital of the Moghul empire. After just 10 years, its temples, mosques and monuments were abandoned due to lack of water. The remains include one of the largest mosques in India and the artistically designed mausoleum of the revered Sufi saint, Salim Chisty. Evening is free to explore this small town home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites (B, D) Note: On nights with a full moon, the Taj Mahals pure white marble shimmers silver in the moonlight. Bestway Tours & Safaris can arrange an optional tour to enjoy this very special occasion.
Our adventure continues as we set off for Ranthambore, the former hunting ground of the Maharajas of Jaipur. Ranthambore National Park boasts one of the largest and most diverse collections of wildlife species in India. It?s rugged terrain and dense deciduous forests also offer stunning panoramas. After lunch at our lodge in Ranthambore, we take an exciting safari through the park, spotting tiger, nilgai, chausingha, chital, chinkara, wild boar, jungle cat, ratel, hyena, porcupine, rhesus macaque and the black-faced langur. About 150 bird species can also be found here, including migratory birds that arrive in winter. Overnight: Tiger Den Resort, Ranthambore (1 night) (B, L, D)
Ranthambore was established as a game sanctuary in 1955 and declared a Project Tiger reserve in 1973. Spotting Ranthambore?s famous Royal Bengal tigers in their natural habitat is an awe-inspiring experience. Early morning, we take another safari through the park with our eye out for these majestic animals. After our morning safari, we drive to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. Jaipur is also called the Pink City, since most of the buildings in the old city are made of pink sandstone. In the evening, we enjoy dinner followed by a unique Rajasthani cultural dance show. Overnight: Trident Jaipur, Jaipur (2 nights) (B, D)
This morning, we are treated like the royalty of yesteryear with a journey to Amber Fort*, located in a picturesque valley among the Kalikho Hills. Known as the gem of Jaipur, this imposing fort dating from the late 16th century was never attacked or invaded. Built from a combination of yellow and pink sandstone and white marble, the fort includes distinguished halls, intricate carvings and ornate gardens. Next we return to Jaipur to visit the majestic City Palace, which houses a rare collection of Indian art. We also stop at the stunning Hawa Mahal, or Palace of Winds, where the ladies of the royal harem used to watch the city from behind the intricately carved fa?ade, and the Jantar Mantar*, a historic astronomical observation site boasting instruments used to star-gaze with the naked eye. The evening is free to enjoy the one-of-a-kind shopping of the bazaars. Jaipur is noted for its craftsmen, skilled in brass inlay, lacquer work and stone setting. (B, D)
After an incredible tour of the Exotic Nepal & India, we are driven to Delhi. Here we check in at hotel Vivanta By Taj Dwarka New Delhi for day rooms until 8:30 PM. After a farewell dinner, we are transferred to the international terminal for our flight home. We bid farewell after a memorable journey into the history, culture, art and architecture of incredible India. Or extend our adventure with India holiday tour packages to other regions of the country. Overnight: Vivanta by Taj Dwarka, New Delhi (Day rooms) (B, D) NOTES ? Ranthambore National Park remains closed from July 01 to September 30. For departures during this period, an additional night will be provided in Varanasi on room + dinner basis instead of Ranthambore. ? Red Fort in Delhi will be closed between Jan 21 to Jan 31 due to security on Republic day. ? Baggage allowance in internal flights with in India is 15 kg per person. ? Unless specified, check-in at hotels in India is at 14:00 hrs and check out is at 12:00 hrs.