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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Northern India: The Festival of Lights

Everyone with a desire to travel India knows that that country's history goes back millennia — quite fitting for a country teeming with amazing cultural discoveries and diversity. This journey is your opportunity to see the north of India, and to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience: the celebration of Diwali.

Marvel at bustling Delhi and fortified Jaipur, the famed Pink City. Experience the spiritual power of Varanasi, wander romantic and regal Udaipur, and gaze upon Agra's unparalleled Taj Mahal. Then venture south to discover colonial Cochin, explore the Kerala backwaters, and feel the pulse of legendary Mumbai. As you travel, you'll see the fascinating dichotomy of India: a nation both noisy and serene, mystical and majestic. 

Throughout your journey, you 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. And while you're in Delhi, you'll get to witness a cultural celebration unlike any other: Diwali.

The multi-hued tapestry of Indian culture (including its festive traditions) unfurls before you on this comprehensive land adventure. Join us and see what makes India so timeless.
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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. The true excitement begins later today, as we venture out to celebrate Diwali with the people of Delhi.

Diwali is the Festival of Lights: a yearly celebration of good overcoming evil. During this autumn event, small clay lamps are lit in order to welcome the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. Locals share sweets with family members and the streets are filled with the sounds of firecrackers, which are believed to scare evil spirits away. Being a part of this time-honored tradition will be a highlight of your journey.

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

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

DAY 12:

Udaipur

Unforgettable Moment: 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
Price without Air* $3,999 $6,460 Save $4,922 per couple!
Trip Length 12 days 12 days The best pacing in the industry!
Per Diem $333 per day $538 Save $494 per couple per day!
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Meals 24 meals 29 meals Pay less and enjoy more freedom to enjoy local cuisine on your own time!
Sightseeing 10 included tours & 8 Cultural Connections 14 Tours More tours than the competition = better value!
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