Highlights of Northern India
Meander through the lanes of Old Delhi soaked in history, visit the grand Amer Fort, enjoy the thrill of a jungle safari, witness the spectacular Taj Mahal and watch sunrise over the Ganges at Varanasi in this tour of Highlights of Northern India. Discover the diverse magic of North India’s rich culture and natural beauty on this remarkable Northern India Tour. In Delhi, meander through the culture-laden lanes of the old city. Visit the historic Amer Fort and soak in the beauty of the Hawa Mahal in Jaipur. Experience the thrill of a jeep safari and catch a glimpse of the elusive tiger at the Ranthambore National Park. In Agra, experience sunrise at the Taj Mahal and admire the architectural finesse of Fatehpur Sikri, a testament to the splendour of the Mughals. Find a spiritual connect at Varanasi and take a boat ride on the holy Ganges. Packed with experience, this tour is a perfect mix of history, culture and adventure.
- Exciting elephant ride to Amer Fort.
- Tiger-spotting at Ranthambore National Pak.
- Magnificent Taj Mahal in its full glory.
- Rituals on the sacred Ganges in Varanasi.
- Experiences of a blend of the cultural, historical & architectural heritage of India
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Thomas HaukeJan 2019
Day 1 - Welcome to India! An Active India Holiday representative will greet you at the arrival hall at the Delhi International Airport. As you drive to the hotel in comfort, enjoy the sights along the way while our representative briefs you about the experience that awaits you. Check in at the hotel and freshen up. Rest of the day is free to explore the national capital with its many attractions, be it monuments, museums, galleries or bazaars. You may also choose to visit Lodi Gardens, a tranquil green space where you can take a stroll and discover historic tombs and monuments.
Overnight - Hotel
Day 2 - Post breakfast, we discover the history of Old Delhi; crowded, bustling, and still bearing remnants of the great Mughals who once ruled from the ramparts of the majestic Red Fort. First, we drive past the Red Fort–the palace of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who also built the Taj Mahal. We then reach Jama Masjid - the largest mosque in India, built in the 17th century. We take a rickshaw ride through bustling bazaars and historical lanes of "Chandni Chowk” and Asia’s largest spice market. Our next stop is Raj Ghat–the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, a simple black marble platform that marks the spot of his cremation. After the visit, we continued our journey towards Jaipur- gateway to colorful Rajasthan, established in 1727. It is one of India's most important heritage towns with a vibrant cultural heritage and a colorful history. Jaipur, also known as 'The City of Victory ‘, was the first planned city of its time, with imposing forts, dazzling palaces, beautiful gardens, lakes and markets. On arrival, check-in at the hotel. The rest of the day is free to visit Jaipur's vibrant bazaars. Overnight stay in Jaipur.
Overnight - Hotel
Day 3 - Today we explore the Pink City starting with a drive to the ancient capital of Amer, 11 km from Jaipur. Amer was the ancient capital of the Kachhawaha dynasty for six centuries and is famous for its majestic Amber Fort. We have the choice of either walking up or taking a short jeep ride to reach the Fort. On the way to the Amer Fort, we cross Jaipur’s most distinctive landmark, the ‘Hawa Mahal’ (Palace of Winds), a five-storied facade of pink sandstone. After visiting the fort, we explore the City Palace, a perfect blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. Our next stop is Jantar Mantar, a solar observatory constructed in the 18th century. It is an astronomical treasure house that measures time according to the movement of the Sun, with an error of just 2 seconds, as well as solar instruments that give precise astrological forecasts to this day. Later we also meet the local artisans of Jaipur and with their help, learn the art of block printing, one of the oldest printing techniques in India. We make our own handkerchiefs using Rajasthani woodblocks, while chatting with the artisans about their lives. Return to hotel. Overnight stay in Jaipur.
Overnight - Hotel
Day 4 - After breakfast, we wind our way through the villages of rural India to Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, which is at the confluence of the Aravalli and Vindhya hill ranges and is considered being one of the finest places to see a large species of animals and birds. The Ranthambore National Park has the largest population of tigers in India. Other wildlife inhabiting the area includes several species of monkeys, deer, crocodiles and birds such as purple herons, kingfishers, cormorants, parakeets, jacanas, waders and partridges. We arrive at Ranthambore by afternoon and check-in at the hotel. On arrival, check-in at the hotel.
Overnight - Hotel
Day 5 - Today we take two game drives into the park in open jeeps (on a seat-sharing basis) to enjoy unobstructed views of the animals and birds around. We take our first safari into the park early in the morning to try our luck at spotting the elusive tiger in its natural habitat. After this unique experience we return to the hotel for breakfast and unwind. Post lunch we head for our second safari, trying to catch a glimpse of the tiger and other animals and birds. At the end of this adventurous day, we return to the hotel. Overnight stay in Ranthambore.
Overnight - Hotel
Day 6 - Today we are travelling down to Agra, stopping along the way at Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted royal city constructed by Mughal Emperor, Akbar. This impressive and well-preserved citadel served as the political capital of Akbar for 14 years. In 1585, Akbar abandoned Fatehpur Sikri due to a shortage of water. We then continue our journey to Agra and witness the architectural wonder of the golden age of the Mughals. On arrival, check-in at the hotel. We spend the evening visiting the bazaar where some descendants of artisans (who worked on the Taj) continue to create wonders with marble called fine marble-inlay work. Overnight stay in Agra.
Overnight - Hotel
Day 7 - At sunrise we visit the Taj Mahal, a sign of everlasting love that stands on the southern bank of the river Yamuna. It was built by the 5th Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved bride Mumtaz Mahal who died in the 16th century CE. The charisma of the glorious Taj Mahal never fails to mesmerize a first-time visitor. After the tour of the exquisite ivory-while marble mausoleum, we return to the hotel and after breakfast we will visit the massive Agra Fort - a blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture. Originally belonging to various Mughal emperors periodically restored by the Rajputs, the artworks are made of red sandstone, bricks, and exquisite Makarana marble. We can accurately describe the fort as a walled, palatial city. Our day concludes with a visit to Itimad-ud-Daulah, also known as the Baby Taj, a 17th-century tomb built for Emperor Jahangir’s chief minister on the East bank of the river. In the evening, transfer to the railway station to board an overnight train to Varanasi. Overnight on Board.
Overnight - Train
Day 8 - Upon arrival at Varanasi train station, we will be received and transferred to the hotel for check-in. (Normal check-in time at the hotel is 1200 hours; we can request the hotel for an early check-in subject to availability). The city is always vibrant with thousands of pilgrims, wandering holy men (Sadhus), religious elders and casual visitors. Every year over a million pilgrims visit the city, which lives and breathes Hinduism. It's a city to get lost in, wandering through the maze of narrow streets, visiting temples and watching devotees conduct rituals and ceremonies on the Ghats almost round the clock. We spend the afternoon exploring the holy city and its winding streets, Ghats, and mystical temples. In the evening, we take a rickshaw ride to Dashashwamedh Ghat to witness the spectacular Ganga Aarti. It is a regular evening Aarti (prayer) ceremony, performed by several priests with the sound of bells, drums, cymbals, and Sanskrit mantras on the banks of the Ganges. Overnight stay in Varanasi.
Overnight - Hotel
Day 9 - Today we start early with a sunrise boat ride over the Ganges to witness the amazing stream of events on the Ghats, the steps leading down to the river. The boat ride takes us past several Ghats of Varanasi, offering a glimpse of the city at its religious best. Every day thousands of Hindu pilgrims and devotees visit this city to offer prayers, to meditate and to purify themselves by taking a dip in the holy river. After the boat ride we drive back to the hotel to have breakfast. Next we drive 12 km to Sarnath, where Buddha gave his first sermon after enlightenment, to visit the ruins and the museum. After the tour, we head back to Varanasi to catch the late afternoon flight to Delhi. Overnight in Delhi. (Sarnath Museum- closed on Fridays).
Overnight - Hotel
Optional local activities and experiences you can add to extend this trip
Architectural tour of Abhaneri Stepwell
Rustic Agra By Cycle
Experience the unique Art of making Banarsi sarees
Agra Village Walk and Heritage Tour
Impetus Cycling Tour of Jaipur
Jaipur Neemrana Pushkar
Guided Tour to the Largest Spice Market in Delhi
Base Price Includes
- Accommodation in 4* star or similar hotels on double/ twin sharing basis.
- Daily buffet breakfasts included at hotels.
- All transfers and sightseeing by a Private vehicle, as indicated in the itinerary.
- Exclusive service of experienced and skilled Chauffeur
- Join tiger safaris in Ranthambhore national parks.
- Overnight train journey from Agra to Varanasi.
- Morning boat trip on the sacred Ganges and evening Aarti ceremony in India's holiest city, Varanasi
- Services of a local (stationed) sightseeing guide during sightseeing guides at cities as per the itinerary.
- Representative for assistance upon Arrival and Departure at Delhi International Airport
- 24/7 assistance by our support team.
- All government taxes as applicable.
Base Price Does Not Include
- International / Domestic air fare.
- Any meal other than Breakfast unless specified.
- Any service or activity charges other than those included in the inclusions.
- Supplement Cost for festival period, long weekend or peak season.
- Entrance fee at monuments and National Parks.
- Unforeseen expenses that demand changes in the itinerary like natural calamities, changes in weather, road blockages, flight/train cancellations and any medical emergency or evacuations.
- Travel insurance and Visa
- Expenses of a personal nature- Staff Tips, Laundry, phone calls, soft or alcoholic drinks, excess baggage charges, camera and Video fee or any other expanses which are not mentioned in above inclusion list.
For Northern India one conjures up immediate and familiar images: the Taj Mahal, the holy River Ganges, tigers, turbans, saris, great food and rickshaws. To substantiate that, this short trip gives a comprehensive introduction to some of the main highlights of North India. The tigers in Ranthambore National Park are the best allurement for the wildlife lovers; and the most sacred of cities, Varanasi adds up a new flavor to the tour. The people are entertaining; the train is fun; and the food a delight. This is a complete and very rewarding holiday according to those who have done this tour and have shared their experiences with us. Many of the sights in North India are a testament of the juxtaposition of the great Moghul and Hindu architecture of the 16th and 17th centuries when magnificent buildings including the Taj Mahal at Agra, Amer Fort and the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) at Jaipur, the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri and the Jama Masjid of Delhi - the largest mosque in India, were built. In addition, there are great buildings from the British Raj; the seat of government in Delhi and the famous India Gate from where tree-lined avenues radiate the splendor and remind us of the importance of Delhi to the British.