Duration : 13 Night/ 14 Days
Destination : Delhi - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi - Lumbini - Chitwan - Pokhara - Kathmandu
India is an exciting country with its colourful culture and vast history. We start the trip in the buzzing capital city of Delhi before visiting the iconic pink city of Jaipur and the magnificent Taj Mahal. We find peace in the holy city of Varanasi before continuing on to the mountainous country of Nepal. Here we visit temples dedicated to the Lord Buddha and take some time out to relax surrounded by the stunning scenery. We finish in the capital city of Kathmandu in the Himalaya mountains.
Today we begin our tour in India's capital city, Delhi. Start the afternoon by exploring the tomb of the 2nd Mughal king Humayun. Completed in 1572 this is one of the many buildings that inspired the Taj Mahal. The main tomb building is made from red sandstone with a white marble dome. The tomb complex also contains Persian style gardens that had never been seen before in India. Next stroll through the gardens surrounding India gate, the memorial for soldiers from the British Indian Army who died between 1914 and 1921 in the Afghan war and the First World War. Over 13 thousand soldiers names are inscribed into the stone of the gate making this a very moving place despite the busy location. Finish the day by seeing some of the government buildings including the Indian presidents house.
Today we drive to the pink city of Jaipur. The city was first established in 1727 and was India's first planned city. In the evening we visit the Birla Temple built by the well known Birla family to worship Lord Vishnu and his wife Goddess Lakshmi. The temple is built purely from white marble and contains an array of delicate carvings. This is an oasis of calm in a busy city.
Today we have a full days sightseeing in Jaipur. First we enter into the old city and head to see the spectacular "Hawa Mahal" or wind palace with its many intricately designed windows,this is a major landmark of Jaipur. From here we take a short walk to Jantr Mantr, one of the best observatories in India containing a collection of instruments made from marble and brass. Next we visit the city palace museum which is still the residence of the current maharajah and royal family of Jaipur. The museum houses a wide selection of artefacts and uniforms allowing an insight into life long ago. The palace is also home to the beautiful mosaic peacock gate in the entertainment hall. We finish off the day by driving to the Amer fort just outside Jaipur. The fort was built in the 16th century from red sandstone and marble. Situated on the top of a hill the fort commands stunning views of the surrounding countryside and also over the lake below.
Today we drive to the city of Agra situated on the banks of the holy Yamuna river. On the way we stop at Fatehpur Sikri to see the grand mosque and tallest gateway (buland darwaza) which is 55 metres high. The mosque was completed in the late 16th century and was designed to hold 10 thousand worshippers. Agra is famous all over the world for being home to many historic sights most notably the majestic Taj Mahal. The afternoon is free to relax and explore the city.
Early morning visit to the magnificent Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal was built by the emperor Shah Jahan in the late 17th century in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The building is made from white marble inlaid with precious and semi precious stones. In the afternoon we visit Agra fort, another stunning example of Mughal architecture, built by emperor Akbar in 1565. Tonight we board the overnight train to Varanasi.
Arrive early morning in Varanasi the spiritual capital of India and one of the oldest living cities in the world. Spend the day exploring this enchanting city with its many shops and stalls selling religious items and offerings for the temples. In the evening we go to see the religious ceremony that takes place on the banks of the river Ganges every day.
Sunrise boat trip on the Ganges to see the many ghats and pilgrims bathing in the holy water. This is a fascinating time of day to visit the ghats as the whole world begins to come to life with bathers, chai sellers, people selling breakfast snacks and holy men advising pilgrims on prayers. In the afternoon we visit Sarnath the place where lord Buddha gave his first sermon. Here we also visit the museum which contains interesting artefacts and carvings from the Buddhist and Hindu religions.
Today we drive to lumbini the birthplace of lord Buddha. On the way marvel at the scenery and landscapes of Northern India and Nepal and watch as local villages pass by.
This morning we visit the Buddha gardens where lord Buddha was born and where today stands a beautiful Buddhist temple. In the afternoon we drive to Chitwan national park, a UNESCO world heritage sight and the first national park in Nepal established in 1973. In the evening we go on a walking safari to see the rhinoceros that call the park home as well as other animals including birds, deer and if we are lucky leopards and tigers.
In the morning we take a trip in canoes on the river to see crocodiles as well as other wildlife including many different species of birds. In the afternoon we visit a local jungle village to learn about the different culture and way of life here. (Due to its remote nature in Chitwan we stay in a luxury resort on a full board basis so all meals are included here.)
This morning we drive to Pokhara a town with a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. These 2 days are free to explore the town and to take part in some of the many available optional activities including paragliding, fishing, cycling, flight in an ultra light aircraft, and pony trekking. This is also the perfect place to relax and perhaps do a bit of shopping in the bazaar.
Enjoy Pokhara as above.
Today we drive to Kathmandu enjoying the mountain scenery along the way. The evening is free to explore the capital city of Nepal.
Today we visit the famous Lord Shiva temple Pashu Pati Nath one of the most important temples for Hindu people with many people travelling on a pilgrimage here each year. We will also visit the crematorium located inside the temple complex. After we go to see the Boudhanath stupa a UNESCO world heritage sight and one of the largest ancient stupas in the world. Around the stupa are over 50 Buddhist monasteries built by refugees from Tibet. The afternoon is free with an optional scenic flight to gain a birds eye view of the Himalaya mountains below. This evening we will have a final group dinner to mark the end of the trip.
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