Spotlight on Northern India - 2018

Delhi • Varanasi • Agra • Jaipur • Udaipur
  • VISIT THE ANCIENT MOSQUE COMPLEX, A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE DATING TO THE 12TH CENTURY
  • VISIT THE DAZZLING TAJ MAHAL, A MAGNIFICENT AND MOVING TESTAMENT TO A MUGHAL EMPEROR'S LOVE
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  • $333
    PER DAY
  • 12
    DAYS
  • 18
    TOURS
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The kaleidoscopic beauty of northern India unfolds for you on this remarkable adventure. Each day offers new opportunities for discovery, from watching hordes of people bathing in the sacred Ganges and admiring the mighty Amber Fort to witnessing the breathtaking splendor of Udaipur’s Lake Palace and the ineffable beauty of the legendary Taj Mahal. This adventure brings out the true spirit of this part of the world in all its enigmatic glory: a country both ancient and modern, bustling and bucolic, fascinatingly raw and serenely spiritual.

Embark on this thrilling adventure and experience India’s famed Golden Triangle and so much more. See the striking landmarks that have made India so famous – from the Qutab Minar in Delhi to Jaipur’s City Palace – as well as experiencing meaningful moments of cultural discovery.  Whether it’s riding a rickshaw through the streets of Chadni Chowk in Delhi, stopping at a market in Udaipur, or interacting with the students at a music school in Varanasi, the litany of cultural discoveries on this trip are sure to leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Join us and experience the best of northern India on this captivating adventure. 

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:

Delhi

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:

Delhi

Unforgettable Moment: 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 / Varanasi

Today, we'll fly to Varanasi. This sacred Hindu city on the banks of the Ganges is the city of the Hindu god Shiva and one of India’s holiest cities. Pilgrims flock here for a ritual bath in the Ganges to wash away their sins. A highlight of your visit here is witnessing an evening aarti ceremony, an offering to the gods on the banks of the river. We'll get additional perspective on this country's complex spiritual tapestry when we listen to a lecture on Buddhism and Hinduism.  

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 6:

Varanasi

Early this morning you can take an optional sunrise boat tour on the Ganges to watch the sunrise and observe the morning rituals of the Hindu worshippers. Later, embark on a tour of Sarnath – where the Buddha was said to have given his first sermon after his enlightenment – and learn more at the Sarnath Museum. Cultural Discovery: Visit a local music school to get a perspective on this part of the local culture.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 7:

Varanasi / Agra

We rise early today so that we can catch our flight for Agra. After transferring to our hotel and enjoying lunch at a local restaurant, 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 8:

Agra

Unforgettable Moment: 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.

Please note: Due to routine maintenance of the Taj Mahal estimated to be completed by the end of Spring 2018, you may see some scaffolding and/or cleaning materials on the landmark's surface.

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. Once 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 9:

Agra / Jaipur

We drive to Jaipur, India’s “Pink City,” and check in to our hotel. We begin exploring the capital of the state of Rajasthan, visiting the famed City Palace as well as the Museum of Jaipur. 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, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 10:

Jaipur

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. We enjoy a jeep ride to the Amber Fort, and then embark on a tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cultural Discoveries: Afterwards, in order to continue our immersion into local culture, we’ll visit a bazaar and go for a walk through the old quarter of Jaipur. Return to the hotel for an evening at leisure with dinner on your own.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 11:

Jaipur / Udaipur

For those who are interested, we will wake early this morning to set off on an optional hot air balloon excursion.  Soaring over this legendary city is an experience beyond compare. Later, we’ll venture to one of  India’s most picturesque and romantic cities: Udaipur. We will not only visit the former palace of the Maharana – set in the middle of beautiful Lake Pichola – we will stay there. Our accommodations will be at the Lake Palace Hotel, a remarkable property in glittering white in the center of the lake. Dinner is at the hotel this evening. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner
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 12:

Udaipur

Today, we take a boat out for a sightseeing cruise on Lake Pichola, including a stop at the Garden of the Ladies.  In the afternoon, we visit the City Palace, a grand architectural feat nearly 400 years in the making. Cultural Discovery: After exploring this impressive testament to the might of the Mewar dynasty, we’ll hop on rickshaws and go to local spice and vegetable markets.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 13:

Udaipur / Delhi / Return home

We head back to the airport this morning for our flight back to Delhi to connect with our overnight flight home.

Please note: Land-only clients need to book their return ticket from Udaipur

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

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 Adventure Leader or regional expert.

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Journey Spotlight on Northern India Spotlight on India
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Trip Length 12 days 12 days The best pacing in the industry!
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Meals 24 meals 29 meals Pay less and enjoy more freedom to enjoy local cuisine on your own time!
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