Exotic India & the Sacred Ganges - 2017

Delhi • Jaipur • Ranthambore • Agra • Kolkata • Ganges River Cruise
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Base prices are factored using double-occupancy rooms; supplemental fees may apply for those traveling independently.
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Everyone with a desire to travel to India knows that the country's history goes back millennia — quite fitting for a such a large country that is teeming with amazing cultural discoveries and diversity. India is spiritual and colorful, noisy and serene, mystical and majestic‚ and mesmerizing at every turn. This comprehensive journey — complete with a Ganges River cruise — is your opportunity to marvel at bustling Delhi, fortified Jaipur, Ranthambore's tiger-filled national park, and Agra's unparalleled Taj Mahal. A highlight of your experience is bound to be your seven-night Ganges River cruise aboard the brand-new, all-suite RV Ganges Voyager — a truly special experience, as Vantage is the first American cruise operator to offer such an exclusive charter itinerary. Hindus believe the Ganges is the most sacred and holy water in the world, and simply touching it is thought to cleanse away all sins. Glimpse local life along this blessed river with excursions to towns, temples, and villages. It's truly a unique Asia river cruise and the ideal way to experience India.

Throughout your journey, you will have numerous opportunities to interact with the local people and get to know their way of life. As you travel across India, you'll ride a rickshaw, join a family for dinner in their home, visit local markets and bazaars, and much more. You'll also enjoy special events on board your Ganges cruise ship, including lectures, a musical performance, and a cooking demonstration. Don't miss this exciting land-and-river journey through India!

Itinerary at a Glance

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DAYS 1-2:

Depart home / Overnight flight / Delhi, India

We arrive in Delhi after an overnight flight. After clearing immigration and customs, you are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the evening is at leisure, and dinner is on your own.

DAY 3:


We begin our exploration of this enigmatic country with an excursion into New Delhi, driving past the grand President's Palace and the ancient and imposing India Gate. After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit Qutab Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At 240 feet, is India’s second-tallest minaret and oldest mosque, a magnificent blend of red sandstone and marble. After admiring the towering treasure, we return to the hotel and get better acquainted at a Welcome Dinner at the hotel.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 4:


Today we take in the other side of Delhi – Old Delhi – on a fascinating excursion. We will see Raj Ghat, the memorial to peaceful crusader Mahatma Gandhi and the huge Jama Masjid mosque whose courtyard can hold 25,000 worshippers. After, we make a photo stop at the Red Fort, a sprawling vision of red sandstone. Cultural Discovery: Hop aboard a rickshaw for a ride among the colorful wares, fragrant spice-lined lanes, and narrow alleys of Chandni Chowk, the city’s oldest and busiest market. After lunch in a local restaurant, we visit a local carpet workshop. Return to the hotel for an evening at leisure and dinner on your own.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 5:

Delhi / Jaipur

We drive to Jaipur, India’s “Pink City,” and check in to our hotel. Lunch is on your own, and the afternoon is at leisure. Cultural Discovery: This evening, prepare for a special dinner out as we are the guests of a local family in their home. Our visit affords the unique opportunity to meet an Indian family in the comfort of their home and share insights about our lives with them.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 6:


After breakfast, we set out for the Amber Fort, stopping to view the remarkable Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) along the way. Its filigreed façade of hundreds of windows provided tiny windows through which women of the harem could watch the world go by without being seen. This afternoon, we visit a jewelry manufacturer for a gem-cutting demonstration. Return to the hotel for an evening at leisure with dinner on your own.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 7:


If you wish, you can rise early to join an unforgettable hot-air balloon ride over the "Pink City" of Jaipur. After breakfast at the hotel, we visit the City Palace and the Royal Museum, where we admire paintings, ivory, carpets and crystal. Cultural Discoveries: Later, we visit the walled Maharaja's City Palace, a massive complex of ornate design, and enjoy an extravagant lunch. After, stroll through a local bazaar to witness the rich and vibrant heritage of Jaipur in the Old Quarter.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch
Optional Tour: Sunrise Balloon Over Jaipur

Sunrise Balloon Over Jaipur

  • Approximate Cost: $245 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 1-2 hours
  • Location: Jaipur, India
  • When: Early Morning

Rise early and join us on this thrilling excursion that shows you from the air why Jaipur is called the “Pink City.” You’ll rise before dawn for an early-morning pick up at your hotel, then proceed to the launch site. As you float into the pre-dawn air, you’ll have a spectacular view of Jaipur and its surroundings. You’ll silently drift high above Man Sagar Lake and its beautiful Water Palace that seemingly floats on its surface. Gaze down upon the countryside as it awakens from its slumber. And get a true sense of India from the air as its teeming streets spring to life far below. The cost of this optional tour includes roundtrip transfers from the hotel, a pre-flight briefing, and a flight of approximately one hour. After your magnificent balloon excursion, you’ll return to your hotel in time for breakfast.

DAY 8:

Jaipur / Ranthambore

After breakfast, we drive to Ranthambore and check in to our lodge. We arrive in time for a delicious buffet lunch. Cultural Discovery: This afternoon, listen to a lecture on the wildlife of Ranthambore National Park, some of which we’ll be seeing tomorrow during our game drive. The remainder of the day is at leisure until we gather for dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9:


One of the largest national parks in northern India, Ranthambore is renowned for its large Bengal tiger population. Early this morning, we head out on a game drive to seek out these beautiful and elusive cats and other magnificent wildlife. After an invigorating morning, we return to our lodge. This afternoon, you may opt to join an excursion to Ranthambore Fort and a local village. Dinner tonight is at the lodge.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Optional Tour: Ranthambore Fort & Local Village Tour

Ranthambore Fort & Local Village Tour

  • Approximate Cost: $29 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 1 hour
  • Location: Ranthambore, India
  • When: Mid-day

Journey deeper into the former hunting grounds of maharajas on this thrilling excursion into Ranthambore National Park. You will climb into a Jeep and head into the wilds of the park, seeking wildlife as you go. Upon arrival at the splendidly preserved fort, which hugs a rocky hillside 700 feet above the plains, you will have a look around with your guide. Climb its many stairs to magnificent overlooks and admire its stonework. Later, visit a local village within the park, where you can meet the locals and see how they live in this remote region.

DAY 10:

Ranthambore / Agra

Cultural Discovery: We rise early today so that we can catch our train for Agra. Our exciting ride through the countryside delivers us to the Bharatpur train station. After lunch at our Agra hotel, we head out to explore Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is more of a walled city than a fortress. Its vast walls embody the power and wealth of the Mughal leaders who built it. After a tour of its interior, we return to the hotel for an evening at leisure and dinner on your own.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 11:


This morning, we visit India’s most iconic landmark, the magnificent Taj Mahal. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, a splendid marble wonder, was built by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. After time to take it all in, we return to our hotel for lunch on your own and an afternoon at leisure. Late this afternoon, you can join an optional "Taj at Sunset" tour. Dinner is at the hotel tonight.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner
Optional Tour: Taj Mahal at Sunset

Taj Mahal at Sunset

  • Approximate Cost: $45 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 hours
  • Location: Agra, India
  • When: Early Evening

The tour starts with a visit to Itmad-ud-daulah, the tomb of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, an important official of the Mughal empire and grandfather of Mumtaz Mahal, for whom the Taj Mahal was built. When Ghiyas Beg’s daughter Nur Jahan commissioned her father’s tomb, it was the first in Mughal India to be constructed of pure marble rather than sandstone and to feature the pietra dura inlay later used on the Taj walls. It is thus often called the “Baby Taj.”

At sunset, we move on to Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden), on the flood plains across the Yamuna River from the Taj. Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who created both the Taj Mahal and the garden, felt that the best view of his wife’s mausoleum was from here. At one time surrounded by sandstone-clad walls, crisscrossed by white stone walkways, and planted with fruit trees and narcissus, the bagh was nearly ruined by floods and neglect, but is today being restored, including replanting to match the original Mughal horticulture. Some of these plants produce bright flowers that shine in the moonlight. In these splendid surroundings, as you feast your eyes on the golden hues washing the Taj across the river, perhaps you, too, will feel Shah Jahan’s pride and undying love for his queen.

DAY 12:

Agra / Delhi / Kolkata / Embark RV Ganges Voyager

Today’s transfer day transfers us to our luxury Ganges ship in Kolkata, one of the only private charters on this sacred river. We drive to the airport in Delhi and fly east to Kolkata. Upon arrival, we drive to the banks of the sacred Ganges, where the brand-new, luxurious RV Ganges Voyager awaits to take us on a seven-night Ganges River cruise. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Dinner onboard. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 13:

Kolkata / Bandel

This morning, you'll enjoy the heartwarming experience of visiting the Mother Teresa Orphanage - or Sishu Bhavan, meaning "children's home" - in the company of one of the nuns here. Our excursion also takes us to the city’s major sites, including the Writers' Building, General Post Office, High Court, Raj Bhawan (Governor's House), and more. Continue to St. John's Church. Built in 1756, it is the oldest Anglican church in Kolkata. Inside, we can admire the oldest functioning pipe organ in India. Visit the Victoria Memorial Museum, containing the largest collection of British colonial historical items in India.

After lunch onboard, we explore Bandel by boat. See Hoogly Imambara, one of the famous Shiya pilgrimage centers in West Bengal. We’ll marvel at its Victorian-era clock and Persian chandeliers illuminating the atmospheric passageways.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 14:


This morning, we set out on a morning excursion to the Rajbari complex, where we find the highest concentration of temples in the region. One complex, the Nabakailas Temples, comprises 108 individual structures laid out in two concentric circles. Another features the Pratepeshwar Temple, enhanced by plaques that depict Hindu themes. After time to explore, return to the ship for a free afternoon. This evening, you'll have the opportunity to view a movie onboard. Cultural Discovery: Back on board, we will learn about the colonial period and its impact on contemporary India during an enlightening lecture.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 15:


Cultural Discovery: Early risers may join us for a stroll to a shoreside bazaar, overflowing beautifully crafted brass and copper pots, platters and more. The techniques used to shape these pieces has been passed through generations. Cultural Discovery: After lunch on board, learn more about life in this region during a lecture on"The Ganges River: The Environmental Outlook and Socio-economic Impact of the Local Population." Later, learn to prepare some authentic dishes during a cooking demonstration. This evening, you will have the opportunity to view a movie on board.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 16:

Khushbagh / Baganagar / Murshidabad

Early this morning, we set out to visit the charming village of Khushbagh, passing farms along the way to a well-preserved 18th-century mosque complex. Return to the ship for breakfast. Cultural Discovery: Later, we explore the village of Baranagar for a look at rural life. See several brick temples — considered among the best examples of Bengal terra cotta art. After lunch on board, head to historic Murshidabad, a hidden architectural gem poised along the Ganges. We’ll see dramatic whitewashed colonial-era structures throughout the city. Visit one of them — Hazarduari Palace, built by an English architect in mid-19th century in Greek Doric style. Cultural Discovery: This afternoon, hop a buggy for a ride to visit Katra Mosque, the region's oldest. Cultural Discovery: Back onboard this evening, enjoy a colorful West Bengal music and dance performance.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 17:


We enjoy a leisurely morning cruising the Ganges and watching daily life unfold along its banks. Later, we stop to visit the village of Mayapur, known as the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, born in 1486 and considered an incarnation of Lord Krishna. We meet some Krishna followers here and learn about their massive complex with its 700,000-square-foot temple and 75-foot domed planetarium.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 18:


Explore Chandannagar, a former French colony that dates to 1673. We view the French colonial buildings along the promenade, such as the former French governor's residence that is now a museum. Then, visit the Sacred Heart Church and the historic French bakery that still bakes fresh baguettes daily. We return to the ship for a Farewell Reception and Dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAYS 19-20:

Kolkata / Disembark ship / Delhi / Return home arriving next day

Our river cruise on the timeless Ganges comes to a close as we return to Kolkata early this morning. We disembark and transfer to the airport. Those joining our post-trip extension to Varanasi will board their flight to this Hindu holy city. Others will check in for their flight to Delhi and a late-night connecting flight home, arriving the next day.

Note: Land-only passengers will end the tour in Kolkata. After disembarkation, they will need to arrange for a flight from Kolkata back to their home city. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Lunch

Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Tour Director or regional expert.

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Exotic India & the Sacred Ganges - 2017

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Vantage Uniworld Vantage Advantage
Journey Exotic India & the Sacred Ganges India's Golden Triangle & the Sacred Ganges
Cruise-Only Prices $0 $7,599 Save up to $5,200 per couple over our competitor!
Trip Length 0 days 13 days Spend less and stay 5 days longer versus our competitor! This comprehensive journey — complete with Ganges River cruise — is your opportunity to marvel at bustling Delhi, fortified Jaipur, Ranthambore's tiger-filled national park, and Agra's unparalleled Taj Mahal. Explore More — See More!
Per Diem $0 per day $584 per day Travel through India — a country that is larger than life with amazing cultural diversity. India is spiritual and colorful, noisy and serene, mystical and majestic‚ and mesmerizing at every turn. Experience this with vantage's amazing value. Save up to $614 per couple per day!
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Included Tours and Special Features Tour includes:Safari at Ranthambore National Park with an opportunity to see tigersA special itinerary that includes the Taj Mahal and Jaipur, known as "the pink city"A home-hosted dinner and lunch at the Maharaja's City Palace in Jaipur 12 included excursions Price includes 34 sightseeing tours & Cultural Connections — a value of $2,380 per couple
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Extend Your Trip 5-days Kathmandu, $999 $200 per day 4-days Varanasi, $699 $175 per day No extension advertised. More choices to extend your journey and get the maximum value from your airfare investment.
Meals 43 meals: 17 breakfasts, 14 lunches, and 12 dinners, including a Welcome Dinner and a Farewell Reception & Dinner aboard ship. Plus, domestic beer, soft drinks, and nonalcoholic beverages during your cruise. 31 Meals: 12 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 9 dinners including Welcome & Farewell Dinner. Plus, domestic beer, soft drinks and nonalcoholic beverages during your cruise. The most inclusive food and beverage selections in the industry. Enjoy the MOST meals with Vantage.
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