Tailor Made: Highlights of Northern India

9 days
from
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Culture
Activity level:
Leisurely
Activity Level: Leisurely
Trip code: 
BIC
Way to Travel:
Tailor Made Adventures
Activity:
Culture

Price from £1099pp based on 2 people travelling

Northern India conjures up memorable and colourful images of turbans, saris, flavoursome curries and rickshaws.  The 'Pink City' of Jaipur, home to the wonderful former Maharaja's Palace and the splendid hilltop Amber Fort is one of the many highlights. Agra and the serene Taj Mahal are not to be missed and fully live up to expectations. An early morning boat ride through the mist along the ghats of Varanasi is probably the most sensory and intoxicating excursion in India and is both fascinating and deeply moving – an experience only equalled by spotting a tiger in Ranthambore National Park.

Highlights

  • See the unforgettable Taj Mahal
  • Search for the elusive tiger
  • Meander along the Ganges at Varanasi
  • Sample flavoursome and familiar curries

Key information

  • 7 nights hotels, all en suite, 1 night air-conditioned sleeper train 
  • Travel by air-conditioned private bus, train, and domestic flight 
  • Countries visited: India

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation
  • Private arrival and departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas & vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailor made trips:
0800 643 997
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Delhi
to
Delhi
  • Day 1

    Start Delhi; transfer to Jaipur.

    If you have arrived in Delhi this morning and have arranged a transfer you will be met by our representative at the airport and then drive to Jaipur. (5- 7 hour drive) If you arrived in Delhi a day or two earlier you will have been advised of the start time to be ready at your hotel for the drive to Jaipur. 

    Crimson Park Jaipur or similar

  • Day 2

    Visit City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal and the Amber Fort; free time for exploring.

    Built in the late 18th century, Jaipur is a planned city of broad avenues built of sandstone and painted pink at a later stage. Visit the City Palace in the centre of Jaipur, formerly the residence of the Maharaja, now a fine museum containing rare manuscripts, paintings, royal garments and weapons. Close to the palace is one of the most intriguing sights of India, the observatory of Jai Singh. This is an assembly of immense astronomical instruments made of marble and brass set in a pleasant garden.  On route see Jaipur's impressive landmark, the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds. Then visit the impressive and splendid Amber Fort, a few miles from the main city, rising above a lake. Jaipur is a centre of many handicrafts, such as durries (woven rugs), carpets, printed cloth, semi-precious stones, leatherwear etc. It will be difficult to leave a workshop without buying anything!

    Crimson Park or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    To Ranthambore; afternoon game drive in search of elusive tiger.

    Travel through the villages of rural India to Ranthambore Tiger Reserve (approx. 5 hr drive); staying in a hotel not far from the park entrance and make 2 game drives into the park, one in the late afternoon and one the following morning.  Ranthambore is one of India's tiger reserves under Project Tiger. After initial success, poaching has drastically reduced the tiger population and the chance of spotting a tiger is small, but many Exodus travellers have seen tigers over the last few years. There is other wildlife to spot such as several species of deer, crocodiles and bird life including purple heron, kingfishers, cormorants, parakeets, jacanda, waders and partridges.

    Raj Palace Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Morning game drive; then on to Agra via Fatehpur Sikri.

    In the morning there is a  second game drive, trying to find that elusive tiger, before travelling on to Agra via Fatehpur Sikri. Fatehpur Sikri is the Emperor Akbar's deserted royal city. This impressive and well-preserved citadel became his capital in 1571, after the blessing of a local Moslem holy man correctly predicted the birth of a longed-for son, his successor the Emperor Jehangir. The mosque, designed to hold ten thousand worshippers, the palaces, residences and halls of audience are all made of decorative red sandstone. But this magnificence only lasted 14 years, as in 1584 Akbar left Fatehpur Sikri to secure his outlying territories, leaving this city much as we see it today – in perfect condition. This is another very full but rewarding day. Total driving time approx. 7 hrs.

    Pushp Villa or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Visit the incredible Taj Mahal and Agra Fort; overnight train to Varanasi.

    Today is an early start to visit the beautiful white marble Taj Mahal at sunrise. This wonderful monument was built by the Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631. The Taj is serenely beautiful and never fails to amaze a first time visitor; the white marble exterior changes colour according to the position of the sun during the day and is matched by the rich interior detail. Within striking distance is the imposing Red Fort of Akbar, third of the Moghul Emperors, whose mighty sandstone walls enclose the beautiful white marble Pearl Mosque and the palaces, halls, courtyards and fountains of his sons and successors, Jehangir and Shah Jahan. It is here that the latter spent his last years, imprisoned by his own son Aurangzeb. Later in the day transfer to Agra train station and join the overnight sleeper train to Varanasi.

    Sleeper Train

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Relax and enjoy the wonders of Varanasi.

    Arrive in Varanasi during the morning and transfer to your hotel. Located on the river Ganges, Varanasi is one of the holiest cities in India and stands at the centre of the Hindu Universe. As such, the city lives and breathes Hinduism: there are thousands of pilgrims, wandering holy men (Sadhus), religious elders and casual visitors. It is a city to get immersed in by exploring its maze of narrow lanes and many temples and watching the Hindu ceremonies that take place around the clock.  If you would like to add in some activities during your stay in Varanasi our Tailor Made consultants can discuss options to include in your personalised itinerary. 

    Surya Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Dawn boat ride on the Ganges visiting the bathing ghats; afternoon flight to Delhi.

    Just before dawn, take a boat out on the Ganges to witness the extraordinary spectacle on the ghats, the steps leading down to the river. Every day thousands of Hindu pilgrims come to these three miles of riverbank to soak in the holy waters.  This afternoon fly back to Delhi.  

    Jivitesh Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Delhi free day or add a sightseeing tour

    Today you are free to relax or explore the sites of New and Old Delhi.  Recommended sites are the Red Fort, Humayun's Tomb, India Gate, Jama Masjid (India's largest mosque), Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) and Raj Ghat. For last minute shopping, we recommend the market area of Chandni Chowk or Karol Bagh.  If you would like to add in a guided sightseeing tour our Tailor Made consultants can discuss options with you. 

    Jivitesh Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    End Delhi.

    Trip ends after breakfast. If you have arranged a transfer arranged you will drive to Delhi International airport for your homeward flight. 

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

India

Visas are required if you are British and for most other nationalities. For UK residents full details of the visa process can be found here. Other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies.

If your trip visits Ladakh, in the very north of India, or Sikkim in the northeast, do not mention this on your Indian visa application. This can sometimes slow down or even cause the embassy to reject your visa.

When you reach immigration, you are required to pick up an immigration form. If you have an e-visa, ensure you stand in the correct queue - please follow the signs to the e-visa booth (in Delhi this is at the back of the immigration hall). You will need to fill out an additional form at the booth - please make sure that you have the details of your start hotel ready (these details can be found on your Final Joining Instructions).

 

Vaccinations

India

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. Some of our India trips spend time at altitude. In regions over approx. 2000m, there is low to no risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For trips going to altitudes of over 3000m there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please see the TRIP NOTES for further information.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts are included in this trip

India is famous for its food and there is ample chance to try various curries such as the familiar tandoori, biriyani and rogan josh. If you are a vegetarian, India is a great destination. There are wonderful desserts and excellent beers, soft drinks and Indian specialities such as lassi, a refreshing yoghurt drink.

You should allow at least £15-25 (approx. US$20 - US$35) per day for lunch and dinner. You can eat out very cheaply in India, but if you go to the more expensive restaurants most of the time, you will spend more than the suggested amount. In most of the towns there is a good choice of restaurants and a choice between Indian and Western food. Please note that service in restaurants may be slow at times so just relax and enjoy the experience. Tea and soft drinks are very cheap. A (large!) bottle of beer is approximately £3 (approx. US$4).

Your vehicle will carry large water bottles with a dispenser so that you can fill your own bottle to reduce the use of plastic during your time in India. 

Weather

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely)

This holiday is designed so that you can see the best parts of Northern India in a short period of time. Therefore this is generally a fast-paced itinerary and on arrival in Delhi there is a drive to Jaipur, which may take between 5-7 hours depending upon traffic conditions. We recommend adding an extra night in Delhi at the start of the trip if you'd prefer not to do this journey after your  international flight.

You should be prepared for some long days and some early starts. The times stated in the trip notes are actual driving times and do not include photo, tea, comfort or lunch breaks. Journeys can sometimes take longer due to local traffic or road damage after the monsoon. During December and January fog is common and this can sometimes slow travel down. These departures may also experience severe train delays or cancellations. If a severe delay occurs we would modify the itinerary in line with local conditions. 

You should come armed for an experience: India can be hard work and the heat and the bustle of some of the cities can be a little overwhelming. That said, there are places where you can find peace and this is one of the few places in the world from where you will return armed with great stories and memories to last a lifetime.

Please note that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is responsible for the conservation of many monuments in India, including the Taj Mahal, and very occasionally this may mean that work is taking place at sites visited on this trip. The ASI’s schedule is never published so it is not possible to forewarn our clients of when work will be taking place.

 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailor made trips:
0800 643 997
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels and Overnight Train

7 nights hotels, 1 night air-conditioned sleeper train.

The hotels used are standard city tourist hotels (2 or 3-star, local rating). All rooms have en suite facilities. Service and amenities are generally adequate.

Single accommodation excludes sleeper train.

Overnight train

These are booked in 2-tier (or 3-tier if 2-tier is not available) sleeper A/C. There are many excellent trains in India but the standard of seating and sleeping is not in line with European standards. Indian trains are safe to travel on but we recommend that you keep valuables with you at all times. Snacks are often offered on board (at an additional cost). Whilst some trains have western-style facilities, the majority of services are equipped with squat toilets. 

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailor made trips:
0800 643 997
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

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Dates & Prices

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Private Adventures 

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!

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