Northern India & Nepal - 15 Nights In-depth Cultural

varanasi

Start in New Delhi and end in Kathmandu! With the in-depth cultural tour Northern India & Nepal, you have a 15 day tour package taking you through New Delhi, India and 9 other destinations in Asia. Northern India & Nepal includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport.

Itinerary

  • Start Delhi; afternoon free.

    The group flight will arrive into Delhi in the morning and we will transfer to our hotel. Those who have made their own flight arrangements will join us at the hotel during the day. You are free today to explore Delhi and rest after your flight; rooms may not be available until noon but it is often earlier than this. *Comfortable Hotel*

  • Visit Humayuns Tomb and New Delhi; afternoon drive to Jaipur.

    In and around New DelhiAfter breakfast we will have a tour of the capital. In Old Delhi we visit Jama Masjid (Indias largest mosque). We then drive past the fine colonial buildings in New Delhi. Built by the British Raj in the early years of last century and set in spacious tree-lined boulevards, these now house various Indian governmental departments. We then visit Humayuns Tomb, one of the earlier Moghul Emperors. In the afternoon we drive to the Pink City of Jaipur. This drive will take approximately 5 to 7 hours, depending on local traffic. *Comfortable Hotel*

  • Full day sightseeing Jaipur, including City Palace and Amber Fort; evening free.

    *?*A full day to explore Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan and one of the most attractive and colourful cities in India. Built in the late 18th century, it is a planned city of broad avenues built of sandstone and painted pink at a later stage. First we visit the City Palace. Formerly the residence of the Maharaja it is now a fine museum containing rare manuscripts, paintings, royal garments and weapons. Close to the palace is one of the most intriguing sites of India, the observatory of Jai Singh. This is an assembly of immense astronomical instruments made of marble and brass set in a pleasant garden. We will also see Jaipurs impressive landmark, the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds. A few miles from the main city is the splendid Amber Palace, rising above a lake. The imposing hilltop fort contains large courtyards and interiors with fine decorations including inlaid alabaster panels and a Chamber of Mirrors. We can walk up the hill through the massive gateway to the courtyard. Jaipur is a centre of many handicrafts, such as durries (woven rugs), carpets, printed cloth, semi-precious stones, leatherwear etc. *Comfortable Hotel*

  • Drive to Agra via Fatehpur Sikri.

    We begin the day by driving to Agra via the deserted ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri. Formally the capital of the Mughal Empire, this wonderfully preserved ghost town was constructed by Emperor Akbar between 1570 and 1585 and reflects his ideals in art, religion and architecture. This impressive and well-preserved citadel became his capital in 1571, after the blessing of a local Moslem holy man correctly predicted the birth of a longed-for son, his successor the Emperor Jehangir. The mosque, designed to hold ten thousand worshippers, the palaces, residences and halls of audience are all of decorative red sandstone. But this magnificence only lasted 14 years, as in 1584 Akbar left Fatehpur Sikri to secure his outlying territories, leaving this city much as we see it today. The site is one of the most atmospheric in northern India and its position on a ridge overlooking the modern village below, and its wonderful state of preservation give us with a taste of this citys majestic past. *Comfortable Hotel* *?*

  • Sunrise visit to Taj Mahal and later visit the Red Fort; overnight train to Varanasi.

    A very early start to see the incredible spectacle of the sunrise over the Taj. The Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631, built the beautiful white marble Taj Mahal. The Taj is serenely beautiful and never fails to amaze a first time visitor; the white marble exterior changes colour according to the position of the sun and is matched by the rich interior detail. Within striking distance is the imposing Red Fort of Akbar, whose mighty sandstone walls enclose the beautiful white marble Pearl Mosque and the palaces, halls, courtyards and fountains of his sons and successors, Jehangir and Shah Jahan. It is here that the latter spent his last years, imprisoned by his own son Aurangzeb. Agra also offers a wide variety of handicrafts including jewellery, inlaid and carved marble, carpets and clothes and there should be time for some shopping. In the evening we make our way to Agra Fort train station to catch our overnight train to Varanasi. *Sleeper? Train* *?* *?*

  • Arrive Varanasi; afternoon visit to Sarnath site of Buddhas first sermon

    On arrival in Varanasi we transfer to our hotel. Please note rooms may not be available until noon but efforts are made to make it earlier if? possible. In the afternoon we vist the nearby Sarnath Temple.? Sarnath is as sacred to Buddhists as Varanasi is to Hindus. The main monument at Saranath is the Dhamekh Stupa which is the very spot where Buddha is believed to have given his first sermon. Evening free.?* Comfortable Hotel*

  • Dawn boat ride on Ganges visiting bathing ghats; free afternoon; evening witness the Ganga Aarti ceremony.

    *?*Varanasi, situated on the River Ganges, is one of the most holy cities in India and stands at the centre of the Hindu universe. As such, the city lives and breathes Hinduism: there are thousands of pilgrims, wandering holy men (Sadhus), religious leaders and casual visitors. Immerse yourself by exploring its maze of narrow lanes, many temples and watch the Hindu ceremonies that take place around the clock. Just before dawn, we take a boat out on the Ganges to witness the extraordinary spectacles on the ghats; the steps leading down to the river. Every day thousands of Hindu pilgrims come to these three miles of riverbank to submerge themselves in the waters of the holy Ganges. In the evening you can witness the aarti ceremony from the banks of the river. Comfortable Hotel

  • Cross border to Nepal; to World Heritage Site of Lumbini.

    *?*We board our private bus and make an early departure for Nepal. We drive across the northern plains, passing through a few towns and lots of Indian villages. At the Indian border we leave our bus and walk across through customs and immigration to Nepal (approx. 500 metres). Once in Nepal, we enter the Terai, the narrow plain running along the southern breadth of the country. We have a short drive (approx. 1 hour) to Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha, where we spend the night. Total driving time approx. 12 hrs. *Standard Hotel*

  • Drive to Chitwan National Park; optional ox cart ride in Tharu village and evening dance performance.

    Early this morning there is a short, optional rickshaw ride around the Lumbini gardens. Buddha was born here and the area is being developed into a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from all over the world. Travelling east and parallel to the mountains, we reach Chitwan (approx. 4 hour drive), where we spend two nights. The park, with its jungle and thick forest, was the former royal hunting ground and was made a conservation area in 1973.?During your stay you can enjoy an optional ox cart ride in Tharu village or an evening dance performance; both providing a glimpse into the fascinating lives of the local tribe.? *Standard hotel*

  • : Chitwan National park;? included jeep safari and dug out canoe excursion.

    Chitwan National Park and the surrounding forest covers an area of 923 square kilometres of the terai (low land region in southern Nepal) and affords excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Amongst the larger animals, you have an excellent chance of seeing the Indian one horned rhino, Sambar and Chital deer, guar, langur and Rhesus monkeys, mongoose, jackal, otter and crocodile. The more elusive animals include tiger, leopard, leopard cat, Sloth bear and Indian bison. Over 500 species of birds have been recorded in this area. Wildlife activities are managed and escorted by experienced naturalists and shikharis and included in your stay is a jeep safari and a dug out canoe excursion. Birdwatching outings can also be organised. *Standard Hotel* *?*

  • : Bird watching, breakfast then drive to Pokhara with views of the Annapurnas on route.

    *?*Today, our journey to Pokhara is only 140km but will take 4-5 hours. We follow the gorge of the Narayani River and soon we are in the foothills of the Himalaya. The scenery changes dramatically from the forests and farmlands of the terai to steep terraced hills, and as we get closer to Pokhara we begin to see the formidable Annapurna Range. Set at only 1,000m amongst semi-tropical plants and with a delightfully warm climate, it is actually much closer to the main Himalayan peaks than Kathmandu. Machhapuchhare, the Fishtail Peak, dominates the skyline especially on a clear morning. We stay in a simple hotel near to Lake Phewa, with a wide choice of restaurants and other facilities close by. *Standard Hotel*

  • : Sunrise over mountains; free day to explore or optional walk to Sarankot.

    *?*We can either relax by or on the beautiful lake in Pokhara, or the more energetic can hike into the surrounding hills for even better views of the peaks. There are many wonderful day walks in and around the Pokhara valley, one of the best being to drive up to the remains of a fort at Sarankot, the hill directly overlooking the lake and then walk back to Pokhara. An early morning start is required to guarantee the clearest view, but once there, the whole Annapurna range can be seen with virtually no intervening hills. This is one of the best of all viewpoints for Machhapuchhare, most peoples favourite mountain in the region. For many though, Pokhara is a place to relax by either renting a rowboat or bicycle for a few hours and exploring the lake and its shoreline at a leisurely pace. *Standard Hotel*

  • : Follow Marsyangdi and Trisuli rivers to Kathmandu.

    *?*We leave early for the long drive to Kathmandu, along the Chinese-built road running parallel to the main Himalayan range. The distance is only 200km but it is a slow climb through the mountains and the journey will take most of the day (7 - 8 hours). The views, however, are stunning as we follow the Marsyangdi and Trisuli rivers, passing numerous villages and terraces stretching thousands of feet up the hillside. We arrive in Kathmandu in the late afternoon and check into our centrally located hotel. *Comfortable Hotel*

  • : Optional Everest flight; visit Pashupatinath and Bodnath; free time.

    We have today to explore Kathmandu and the valley. In the early morning there is the opportunity to take a scenic flight to see Mount Everest (this can be booked and paid for on arrival in Kathmandu; see Extra Expenses and Spending Money section below regarding costs). Today there will be a half-day sightseeing tour visiting Pashupatinath, the most important Hindu temple in the valley, and Bodnath, one of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world. The rest of the time is free for individual exploration of Kathmandu. You may like to visit Durbar Square of Kathmandu with its old Royal Palace and intricately carved temples, or Swayambhunath, the monkey temple, set on a hill overlooking the city. Kathmandu also offers the most wonderful and varied opportunities for souvenir shopping: clothes, trinkets, Tibetan and Nepalese handicrafts and superb bookshops. It also has a wide variety of restaurants serving some of the best food from the sub-continent and you can also find wonderful pizzas and apple pie. *Comfortable Hotel*

  • : End Kathmandu.

    Those on the flight inclusive package will depart for the airport this morning for the daytime flight back to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out from the hotel. **

Inclusion

  • GST on total package
  • Accomodation in a well appointed room
  • Meals as per hotel plan and ones mentioned in itinerary
  • All transfers and sightseeing as per the itinerary in an air-conditioned vehicle (except in the hills when the air-conditioner will be switched off)
  • All toll taxes, parking fees and driver allowances
  • All applicable hotel taxes

Exclusion

  • Anything not mentioned under ‘Package Inclusions??:tm:
  • All personal expenses, optional tours and extra meals
  • Camera fees, alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages
  • Vehicle service on leisure days for sightseeing not included in the itinerary
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Tips, laundry and phone calls

Location

Customize & Inquire

Cannot Book

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