India is many times rightfully referred to as a subcontinent, featuring diverse geographical and cultural regions, where ancient civilizations and religions flourished. At Bestway Tours & Safaris we have developed a number of tours that focus on India’s varied regions and its attractions. On this journey we travel from Delhi to Varanasi, where we explore India’s vast artistic legacy from the ancient monuments of Khajuraho to the medieval Mughal marvels of Agra and Delhi. Ride on an elephant in Jaipur and discover Rajasthan’s beautiful cities. Watch thousands of Hindu pilgrims in Varanasi, as they congregate on the banks of the Ganges River. Combine this journey with our tours exploring other regions and gain in-depth knowledge of this vast subcontinent.
|Tour Duration||:||13 days|
|Min. Tour Size||:||02 persons|
|Max. Tour Size||:||14 persons|
|Includes international air|
|Tour Price (from)||:||US$|
Day 01: Arrive Delhi
Arrival. Namaste! We are warmly welcomed the traditional Indian way with hands clapped together at the airport and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax.
Overnight: Hyatt Regency, New Delhi (2 nights)
Day 02: Delhi
An introduction of India with a tour of New Delhi. We visit Birla House, the last residence of Mahatma Gandhi which is now a museum depicting his illustrious life. We then visit the famous India Gate followed by the Houses of Parliament, Connaught Place and Humayun's Tomb*. This tomb, built in 1570, is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal. We continue to Qutb Minar and its Monuments* Built in the early 13th century the red sandstone tower of Qutb Minar is 72.5 m 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 concentrates on Old Delhi, starting with the Red Fort Complex*. Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546, with which it forms the Red Fort Complex. The Red Fort is considered to represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which, under the Shah Jahan, was brought to a new level of refinement and each pavilion reveals architectural elements typical of Mughal building, reflecting a fusion of Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions. After visiting the Red fort, we embark on a captivating journey on a Rickshaw passing through the narrow lanes of the famous Chandni Chowk Bazaar, it was originally built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan for his daughter Jahan Ara in 17th Century since then many changes have taken place however it still remains Old Delhi's one of the Oldest and busiest markets in Delhi. Finally end our rickshaw ride at Jama Masjid, Mughal majesty and India's largest mosque. After visiting the mosque, we proceed to Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi. In the evening we enjoy a welcome dinner at a well-known local restaurant. (B, D)
Please Note: Red Fort and Birla House are closed on Mondays and Chandni Chowk is closed on Sundays
Day 03: Delhi/Varanasi (Flight)
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. In the evening we get to the banks of the Ganges to witness the Aarti ceremony, a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light from wicks soaked in ghee or camphor is offered to one or more deities after sunset.
Overnight: The Gateway Hotel Ganges, Varanasi (1 night) (B, D)
Day 04: Varanasi/Khajuraho (Flight)
In the early morning we take a sunrise boat ride on the River Ganges. One of the cardinal principles of Hinduism is the belief in the holiness of the Ganges. Every morning scores of pilgrims and priests fill the riverbanks bathing in the holy waters and perform various rituals. This unique experience literally transports you to another world. Later we start our exploration of old Varanasi, visiting the Bharat Mata Temple, which houses a huge marble relief map of India. We visit the Durga Temple and the Tulsi Manas Mandir, one of the most famous temples in the holy city of Varanasi. We then head to the Alamgiri Mosque, built in the 17th century by emperor Aurangzeb. Varanasi is also famous for its silk sarees and we visit some of the houses where the beautiful silk sarees are actually woven. Later we take a short flight to Khajuraho. On arrival in Khajuraho, we are transferred to our hotel. In the afternoon we explore the Khajuraho Group of Monuments* The temples at Khajuraho were built during the Chandella dynasty, which reached its apogee between 950 and 1050. Today only 20 temples remain and they fall into three distinct groups and belonging to the religions of Hinduism and Jainism. They strike a perfect balance between architecture and sculpture. The Temples are decorated with a profusion of sculptures that are among the greatest masterpieces of Indian art.
Overnight: Hotel Chandela, Khajuraho (1 night) (B, D)
Day 05: Khajuraho/Jhansi (Drive)/Agra (Train)
A scenic morning drive to Orchha to visit this amazing medieval fortress-city located on the shores of the Betwa River. The fort consists of several connected buildings erected at different times, the most noteworthy of which are the Raja Mahal and the Jahangir Mahal. A unique experience as we embark on the Shatabdi Express train to Agra. Train travel in India is a not to be missed opportunity. This train is fully air-conditioned and we get to enjoy complimentary meals. 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 and are welcomed and transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: ITC Mughal, Agra – A Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 06: Agra
We start our day with a 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 Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, the Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage. Situated on the right bank of the Yamuna in a vast Mogul garden, this funerary monument combines elements and styles of Persian, Central Asian and Islamic architecture. We then visit Agra Fort*. This powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses, within its 2.5-km-long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. It comprises many fairy-tale palaces, such as the Jahangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, built by Shah Jahan; audience halls, such as the Diwan-i-Khas; and two very beautiful mosques. We also visit Fatehpur Sikri*. Built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, the City of Victory was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only some 10 years. The complex of monuments and temples, all in a uniform architectural style, includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid and the artistically designed mausoleum of the revered Sufi saint, Salim Chisty. (B, D)
Please Note: Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays. On nights with a Full Moon the Taj Mahal's pure white marble shimmers silver in the moonlight and is open to visitors. We can arrange for an optional tour to enjoy this very special occasion.
Day 07: Agra/Ranthambore (Drive)
In the morning after breakfast we drive to Ranthambore, the former hunting ground of the Maharajas of Jaipur. Ranthambore National Park lies at the edge of a plateau, and is bounded to the north by the Banas River and to the south by the Chambal River. There are several lakes in the park. It is named for the historic Ranthambhore fortress, which lies within the national park. The rugged terrain and the dense deciduous forests are major features of this national park, which has among the largest and most diverse collection of wildlife species in India. On arrival in Ranthambore, we check in our hotel. In the afternoon we take a jeep safari through the National Park. On our journey we might see various indigenous animals, such as tiger, nilgai, chausingha, chital, chinkara, wild boar, jungle cat, ratel, hyena, porcupine, the Rhesus Macaque and the black-faced Langur. About 150 bird species can be found here including migratory birds that arrive in winter.
Overnight: Ranthambore Regency, Ranthambore (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 08: Ranthambore/Jaipur (Drive)
An early morning safari in time when animals are looking out for their prey. We try and spot nilgai, chausingha, chital, chinkara, wild boar, muntjac, jungle cat, ratel, hyena, porcupine, rhesus macaque and black-faced langur. Ranthambhore was declared one of the Project Tiger reserves in 1973 and spotting the big cat in its natural habitat is an unforgettable experience. After our morning safari, we drive to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan called the Pink City, since most of the buildings in the old city are made of pink sandstone. In the evening we enjoy our dinner followed by Rajasthani Cultural dance show.
Overnight: ITC Rajputana, Jaipur - A Luxury Collection Hotel (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 09: Jaipur
This morning we are treated like the royalty of yesteryear with an elephant ride to Amber Fort, located in a valley formed by a range of Aravallis known as Kalikho hills. The Palace and Fort are located on top of the hill with the city on slopes, and the valley protected by fort walls with four gates in the four cardinal directions. The construction of the fort began in 1592. It shows the evolution from the purely defensive fort settlements of the early medieval period to the palace fortress type of architecture typified in the 16th century. This palace fortress was never attacked or invaded. The fort comprises of number of gardens, courtyards and palatial spaces derived from Mughal architecture and are a distinguished example of 17th Century Rajput architecture. We return to Jaipur to visit the majestic City Palace, which houses a rare collection of Indian art and the beautiful Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds, where the ladies of the royal harem used to watch the city from behind the intricately carved facade. We also visit the Jantar Mantar*, an astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century that includes a set of some 20 main fixed instruments designed for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye. It is an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period. The evening is free to enjoy both shopping and the cultural experience in the bazaars. Jaipur is noted for its craftsmen, skilled in brass inlay, lacquer work and stone setting. (B, D)
Day 10: Jaipur/Pushkar (Drive)
In the morning after breakfast we drive to Pushkar, a bewitching little town on the edge of the desert, with temples, bathing Ghats, onion domes and chalk-coloured buildings clustering around its holy lake , which is said to have appeared when Brahma dropped a lotus flower. It's an important pilgrimage centre and we shall see plenty of Sadhus. Pushkar has some temples, though few are as ancient as you might expect at such an important pilgrimage site, since many were destroyed by Aurangzeb and subsequently rebuilt. We visit the famous temple of Lord Brahma Temple, said to be one of the few temples in the world dedicated to this deity.
Overnight: Hotel Pushkar Palace, Pushkar (1 night) (B, D)
Day 11: Pushkar/Udaipur (Drive)
In the morning after breakfast we drive through the fascinating countryside of Rajasthan to Udaipur. Udaipur was the historic capital of the former kingdom of Mewar and no other city in Rajasthan is quite as romantic. Misty ochre-shadowed hills and pale, intricate buildings encircle beautiful Lake Pichola. On arrival we check in our hotel. Remainder of the day is free.
Overnight: Radisson Blu Udaipur Palace Resort & Spa, Udaipur (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 12: Udaipur
We start our experience of Udaipur by visiting the City Palace. The palace has several architectural and artistic highlights such as the Mor Chowk, known for its stunning peacock mosaics and the Bhim Vilas Palace with its series of lovely wall paintings. From the City Palace we can see the Lake Place, shimmering like a jewel in Lake Pichola. Later we visit the Jagdish Temple, Fateh Sagar Lake and Saheliyon Ki Bari, the Garden of Maids. We end our tour of Udaipur with a boat ride at Lake Pichola and visit Jag Mandir, a palace built on an island in 1551. The royal family used the palace as a summer resort and pleasure palace for holding parties. (B, D)
Day 13: Udaipur/Delhi/Departure
After an incredible tour of the Best of North India, we are transferred to the airport for our flight to Delhi where we mat and are transferred to a hotel near the airport to enjoy day rooms until 8:00 PM. After a farewell dinner. We are transferred to the international terminal for our flight home. We bid farewell to India after what will have been a memorable journey into history, culture, art, architecture, making new friends and lots of memories.
Overnight: Vivanta by Taj Dwarka, New Delhi (Day rooms) (B, D)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
English Speaking Departures (Please contact us for information on French, German, Italian and Spanish speaking departures).
Jan 16; Feb 05; Mar 05; Apr 16; May 04; Jun 01; Jul 03; Aug 07; Sep 04
Tour PriceWe accept payment in US $ (US Dollars), CA $ (Canadian Dollars) or equivalent EURO (for clients outside North America). Bestway Tours & Safaris offers conversion rate protection. Once full payment has been received, and no modification has been made to the tour itinerary, we will honour that rate. For complete payment procedures, please click here
|Departure(s)||Per Person on Twin Sharing||Single Room Supplement|
|Jan 16; Feb 05; Mar 05||US$ 2585 / CA$ 3360||US$ 786 / CA$ 1020|
|Apr 16; May 04; Jun 01||US$ 2299 / CA$ 2999||US$ 575 / CA$ 740|
|Jul 03; Aug 07; Sep 04||US$ 2190 / CA$ 2850||US$ 575 / CA$ 740|
Ranthambore National Park remains closed from July 01 to September 30. Departures during this period an additional night will be provided in New Delhi instead of Ranthambore.
Estimated International Airfare (International airfare is NOT included in this tour)
This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 14 participants
If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.
You may e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.