Taj Mahal, Agra
Caption: Taj Mahal, Agra
Caption: Cycle Rickshaw Ride
Caption: Bengal Tiger, Ranthambore National Park
Caption: Varanasi Ganges River Ghat with Ancient City Architecture

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Journey Snapshot

Activity level: Level 2 Requires moderate physical activity. You need to be able to participate in physical activities such as longer walking tours, walking over uneven terrain, climbing steps and be comfortable with some periods of standing. Not suitable if you have limited mobility.
Destination: CLASSIC NORTHERN INDIA
Duration: 11 days, 10 nights
Flight information: Flights depart LHR the day prior to the start of the tour, arriving into India [DEL] on Day 1 and returning from Mumbai [BOM] on Day 11 to LHR.
Pickup location: New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport, India [DEL] on Day 1

Overview

Choose your own departure date for your group.

Journey with us as we explore the best of Northern India, immersing yourself in the spectacular spiritual atmosphere & witnessing the truly astounding architecture...

A land of remarkable diversity – from ancient traditions and artistic heritage to magnificent landscapes and culinary creations – India will ignite your curiosity, shake your senses and warm your soul. Northern India is the ‘jewel’ in India’s crown and offers you a scenic and cultural wealth you would not find in a single region anywhere else in the world. From lush forests and valleys to majestic mountains, deserts to royal cities, palaces, parks, ancient monuments and temples, northern India is a traveller’s dream destination. 

Itinerary

Itinerary summary: DAY 1 - Welcome to India
DAY 2 - Delhi
DAY 3 - Delhi to Agra
DAY 4 - Agra & Taj Mahal
DAY 5 - Tiger Spotting in Ranthambore National Park
DAY 6 - Ranthambore to "The Pink City" Jaipur
DAY 7 - Jaipur
DAY 8 - Jaipur & Amber Fort
DAY 9 - Jaipur to Varanasi
DAY 10 - Varanasi to Delhi
DAY 11 - Goodbye to India and Home
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Full Itinerary

DAY 1 - Welcome to India

Upon arrival at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport by you will be met from your flight and transferred to your hotel where a traditional welcome will await you! Once you have checked in, enjoy some free time before meeting up with your Big Journey Company Tour Director and your tour group for dinner.

Included meals: Dinner 

DAY 2 - Delhi

This morning you will enjoy a guided tour of Delhi. The city consists of two parts - Old & New Delhi. Old Delhi was the capital of Muslim India between 17th and 19th century and has many mosques, monuments and forts. New Delhi, the imperial city was created by the British as the capital of India and has a number of impressive monuments related to its conquests by the Mughals, Turks, Persians and the British. New Delhi also has lovely broad avenues lined with stately residences and lavish neoclassical creations that lead up to the magnificent Presidential Palace and Parliament buildings.
We'll begin the day exploring Old Delhi, visiting Jama Masjid, the royal mosque built by the Mughul Emperor, Shah Jahan in 1656. It is one of the largest mosques in the world and is constructed in red sandstone and white marble. We'll get a great view of life in Old Delhi whilst on a cycle rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk, the spine of Old Delhi. In stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of Old Delhi, we'll continue on to New Delhi where we drive through the wide boulevards and past The Rashtrapati Bhawan (Presidential Palace) where the Viceroy once lived and now is the official residence of the President of India. It is an imposing structure with 340 rooms, constructed high up on Raisina Hill. Here we also get a good view India Gate, a war memorial arch built in honour of 90,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives in World War I.
Lunch will be served today in a local Indian restaurant - time to taste some great local dishes.
This afternoon we visit Humayun’s Tomb, the first great example of Mughal architecture in India, it developed to become the hallmark of the Mughal Dynasty and is generally regarded as a prototype of the famed Taj Mahal of Agra. Our final stop today is a visit the Sikh temple, Bangla Sahib. A magnificent and spacious bungalow in Delhi that was once owned by Raja Jai Singh. It stands as a significant pilgrimage site for Sikh devotees and has a kitchen which serves langar (food) to all people, regardless of race or religion. At least 8,000 people eat langar here daily.
We'll return to our hotel for some time at leisure and dinner.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 3 - Delhi to Agra

This morning we will drive from Delhi to Agra (approx. 4 hours’ drive with comfort stops).
The city of Agra sits on the banks of the River Yamuna and is a famous destination for travellers to India because of its many Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This afternoon we will be guided around Agra Fort, an imposing structure with its walls of red sandstone, Islamic and Hindu architectural styles, and almost two miles long containing palaces, audience halls and mosques.
We'll return to our hotel this evening for dinner.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 4 - Agra & Taj Mahal

It is said that the world can be divided in half into those who have seen the Taj Mahal and those who haven't yet seen it - this morning at sunrise is your chance to join the other half! The 17th century Taj Mahal is often called a poem in stone. If so, the mausoleum is a love poem - created by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal. It took 22 years to be completed and was designed and planned by a Persian architect Ustad Isa. Apart from its stunning design balance and perfect symmetry, the Taj is also noted for its elegant domes, intricately carved screens and some of the best inlay work ever seen. After our visit to the Taj Mahal, we'll return the hotel for breakfast and then check out. Today we will be travelling to Ranthambore National Park, and en-route we'll visit Fatehpur Sikri, a deserted red sandstone city built by Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace in the late 16th century. We'll have a short lunch stop in Bharatpur before being transferred to Bharatpur railway station to board a train to Sawai Madhopur (approx. 2hrs), and on to Khem Villas in Ranthambore (approx. 45 minutes).
We'll check into our luxury tents on arrival. You may want to enjoy the peace and tranquillity with a nightcap around the campfire after dinner.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 5 - Tiger Spotting in Ranthambore National Park

Today we will do two game viewing drives in open 4X4 jeeps. The best times to view animals are sunrise and sunset so that is when we will head out and hope for some good animal sightings.
Ranthambore is a 400sq-km park situated in an area of rocky hill country, clothed in dry, deciduous forest, grassland, and scrub, and dotted with several small lakes that can be alive with birds. Seven years ago, the tigers of Ranthambore were decimated by poaching; fortunately the situation is improving, and we once again stand a good chance of encountering this largest and most powerful cat. Seeing tiger will be a priority, and it requires covering much ground every morning and afternoon (the roads are not covered in tarmac and so the drives are bumpy and can be dusty).
Besides tigers, large mammals are particularly well represented at Ranthambore and among the species we might see are Sambar, Spotted Deer, Nilgai, Dorcas Gazelle (Chinkara), the ubiquitous Northern Palm Squirrel, Hanuman Langur, Small Indian and Ruddy mongoose, Wild Boar, and Indian Flying Fox. Leopard and Sloth Bear are also present in the park, though both are seen infrequently. Ranthambore also boasts an exciting array of birds and a naturalist is always on hand to discuss the wildlife with you.
We have some time at leisure between the game viewing drives to enjoy the hotel facilities or take a walk with the resident naturalist around the property.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 6 - Ranthambore to "The Pink City" Jaipur

This morning we have one last chance to spot the infamous Bengal tiger on an early morning game viewing drive. We'll return to the hotel for breakfast before setting out for Jaipur (approx. 4 hrs).
Jaipur, "The City of Victory", was first intended to be "Sawai Jaipur", named after the boy Prince who commissioned it - Maharaja Jai Singh II - a warrior, astronomer and politician who reigned over the Mughals from 1699 to 1743. Today's Jaipur is pink, visually described as the city shaded with the autumn colours of a sunset. Although originally the walls were render set and pigmented the colour of red sandstone, Jaipur's universal coat of pink only came in 1876 to coincide with the visit of the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII). Almost the entire city was given a coat of pink paint, thus giving it the name "The Pink City".
When we arrive into Jaipur, we'll have lunch and check into the hotel before some time at leisure and later buffet dinner at your leisure.

DAY 7 - Jaipur

This morning after breakfast we'll have a guided half day city tour. We'll visit City Palace and the museum - it has a superb collection of Rajasthani costumes, and armoury of Mughals and Rajputs including swords, antiques and artefacts. Today's lunch will be served at the City Palace Cafe. After lunch we'll proceed to Jantar Mantar - a stone astrological and astronomical observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh in the 18th century. Next we'll take you to Hawa Mahal or the "Palace of the Winds" with its beautiful façade which is probably the most photographed site in Jaipur, with its ornately carved windows designed for the ladies of the palace could look out of onto the streets without being unobserved.
Buffet dinner is at the hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 8 - Jaipur & Amber Fort

This morning we'll enjoy an excursion to the magnificent Amber Fort. Tour the chambers and hallways of the palace, famous for the excellence of its design and decoration. Within the complex is Ganesh Pol, an imposing gateway painted with the images of the elephant-headed god, Ganesh. The merging of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles is captured in the Sukh Niwas and Jas Mandir apartments, and the Charbagh garden with its perfectly proportioned landscaping. Pierced screen windows offer views from different vantage points, and shimmering mirrors encrust the walls of Sheesh Mahal. Buffet lunch is at a local restaurant and the remainder of the afternoon will be at leisure for relaxation or shopping.
Buffet dinner is at the hotel’s coffee shop/main restaurant.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 9 - Jaipur to Varanasi

Varanasi stands on the banks of the holy river Ganges, a city of more than a thousand temples and shrines. It is here that millions of Hindus come to wash away their sins; where the great Gautam Buddha first preached 25 centuries ago; where Asia's largest residential university was founded and is still a centre for art and learning. Varanasi’s principle attraction is a long string of bathing Ghats which line the river. Pilgrims belonging to all religions/castes come to this sacred place to wash away their sins. Renowned for its silk saree and carpets, Varanasi draws huge crowds of people who throng the shops to buy the famous Benarasi sarees.
This morning you will be transferred to Jaipur airport to board a flight to Varanasi.
Note - The check in baggage allowance in flight is 15 Kg per person and cabin baggage 7 Kg.
We visit Sarnath where Lord Buddha had preached his first sermon and which is now a spiritual place of mainly stupas, shrines and temples. We'll also visit the museum which houses a collection of valuable ancient scriptures & artefacts related to Buddhism. Returning to the hotel to check in and some time at leisure, before heading out to witness a Hindu prayer ceremony 'Aarthi' on the Ganges River. We'll be escorted to Dhaswashmedh Ghat from where you embark on a boat to witness the Aarti for approx. 20-30 minutes. The river banks ‘ghats’ and temples are lit with oil-lamps and candles which create a magical effect. Devotees float the oil lamps in the water as an offering to the holy river.
Afterwards we'll return to the hotel for dinner.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 10 - Varanasi to Delhi

Early this morning, we'll enjoy a boat cruise on the River Ganges (subject to weather conditions). The ghats - hundreds of stone steps flanking the riverbank - are an incredible sight, particularly at sunrise when thousands of pilgrim’s bathe in the spiritually cleansing waters. Funeral pyres smoke on the riverbank, which is lined with colourful temples. We return to the hotel for breakfast and to check out of the hotel before our flight back to Delhi.
Note - The check in baggage allowance in flight is 15 Kg per person and cabin baggage 7 Kg.
We'll enjoy our farewell meal together this evening.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 11 - Goodbye to India and Home

After breakdast in the hotel we will be transferred to the airport for our flights home. 

Included meals: Breakfast 
Accommodation: none 

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More information

What's includedWhat's not includedImportant information

What's included

  • Price includes international economy flights from London Heathrow [LHR] to New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport, India [DEL] and returning to London Heathrow [LHR]. Flights from regional airports available - please ask at the time of booking. Flight supplement will apply.
  • Internal flights as detailed in the itinerary
  • Meet & Greet at the airport on arrival and transfer to the hotel.
  • Transfer from the hotel to the airport on the final day.
  • Transport in an air-conditioned deluxe vehicle.
  • Transfers as detailed in the itinerary.
  • 4* Accommodation as detailed in the itinerary.
  • Meals as detailed in the itinerary.
  • English speaking tour guide.
  • Tour Director from The Big Journey Company as well as the local tour guide (subject to minimum group size being reached.)
  • All activities, visits and excursions as detailed in the itinerary.

What's not included

  • Transfers on arrival or departure, to/from the airport(s), outside of the tour dates.
  • Drinks.
  • Gratuities to drivers, guides or rangers etc. Our local travel service providers are paid well and fairly for their work. However, it is usual for groups to tip guides and drivers and it would be reasonable for each group member to factor in a contribution of around USD10 per day.
  • Visas, travel and medical insurance.
  • Any personal items and anything not mentioned under included in price above.
  • Any meals not mentioned in itinerary.
  • Any optional activities offered.

Important information

  • Please let The Big Journey Company know prior to travelling if you have any medical needs or take any medication that we need to be made aware of to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant tour.
  • Check in is after 2 - 3pm and check out is before 10am unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
  • Cancellation 90 – 0 days prior to departure cancellation fee is 100%. It is your responsibility to ensure the correct travel insurance in place to protect you against the need to cancel your holiday. Deposits are non-refundable.
  • Further terms and conditions apply and will be provided upon request or at the time of booking. The Big Journey Company reserves the right to withdraw any offer prior to accepting a reservation request. This does not affect your statutory rights. This offer is subject to availability and space is limited.
  • Please consult your doctor for advice on vaccinations and innoculations before travel.

The big journey promise

The big journey company was set up with one goal in mind, to share our passion for inspirational cultures, destinations and experiences. Over the last 10 years we have had the privilege to escort thousands of travellers on awe inspiring and sometimes life changing journeys. Our promise to every guest who joins us is that we will do everything possible to make sure your journey not only exceeds expectations but delivers at least one moment of true amazement.

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Holiday tours are operated by The Big Journey Company Limited. Registered in England. Registered office: Marron Bank, Branthwaite, Cumbria, CA14 4SZ. Registered number: 6532140. VAT number: 290797457. The Big Journey Company Limited is a member of The Travel Trust Association member number U5675 and holds an Air Travel Organiser’s License number T7282.

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