Timeless Golden Triangle, with a Twist

11 days

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This classic exploration through Northern India’s Rajasthan region, encompasses the captivating ancient cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur with their incredible historical monuments, divine architecture, colorful bazaars and delicious cuisine. Ranthambore National Park allows you to delve deep into the jungle in search of the elusive and endangered Bengal Tiger. End your journey in the revered holy city of Varanasi, a poignant and moving experience along the Ganges River. This voyage captures the heartbeat of Rajasthan, and India as a whole.

Highlights

  • Sunrise and sunset over the majestic Taj Mahal
  • Tiger spotting and safari game drives at Ranthambhore National Park
  • Holy Varanasi’s ancient ghats, a traditional Aarti Ceremony and a sunrise boat ride along the Ganges River
  • Indian cuisine cooking experience, procuring traditional spices and ingredients in local markets
  • Explore Old Delhi by rickshaw 
  • Visit community co-operatives to support traditional villages
  • Delve into Jaipur’s colorful bazaars and gain insight into traditional handicrafts
Diwali Itn Featured Image Credit Abhishek Hajela

Itinerary

DAY 1

Arrive Delhi – Historical Tour by Rickshaw

Welcome to India, where you are immediately transported to another world. After clearing customs, you’ll be transferred to The Imperial Hotel, an oasis of calm and understated luxury in one of the world’s busiest cities. Today, with your private guide on-hand, immerse yourself in history, culture, and religion as you get to know Delhi the way the locals do; by a bicycle-pedaled rickshaw ride through the alleyways and streets of the Old City. Peer inside Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India and a spectacular representation of Indian architecture. Settle into your hotel for the evening for a well-earned rest.

DAY 2

Delhi – Cooking Class and City Tour

Savor your morning coffee, then meet your guide for a morning of culinary discovery. Meander the local fruit and vegetable markets to purchase fresh produce, learn about various spices and their use in regional dishes. Participate in a cooking class for a hands-on approach to the culinary delights that make India world-famous. Sample your efforts over lunch, before a privately guided afternoon tour of the New City, its monuments and architectural wonders. Return to your hotel for the evening.

DAY 3

Agra – Walking the Agra Fort and Sunset at the Taj Mahal

After breakfast, a private transfer whisks you to Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal and ancient capital of the Mughal Empire. Agra is a city of forts, monuments and mausoleums. Your adventures today include the awe-inspiring architecture of the Agra Fort, and witnessing the Taj Mahal at sunset from across the river for that iconic photo. Settle into the Oberoi Amarvilas for the evening where impeccable service, divine gardens and gourmet meals provide a relaxing evening before tomorrow’s sunrise spectacular.

DAY 4

Agra – Sunrise at Taj Mahal and Abhaneri Stepwells

Dawn breaks over the most romantic monument in history, the Taj Mahal, painting the white marbel in pastel hues and golden light.  This unforgettable experience is yours today before youreturn to the hotelyou’re your breakfast. Check-out and depart with your private guide to the Chand Baori Stepwell in Abhaneri. This engineering marvel was built in the 9th Century and is one of the largest wells in the world at 64 feet deep and with 35,000 steps. Continue to Ranthambore National Park, where you’ll spend the next few nights in a luxury tented suite at the Oberoi Vanyavilas nestled in the jungle with a mountainous backdrop.  

DAY 5

Ranthambore National Park – Game drive and tiger tracking

Ranthambore National Park is the most famous wildlife park in India for good reason, with an impressive range of animals including sloth bear, wild boar, hyena, jackal, and the highly rare and endangered Royal Bengal Tiger. Private jeeps equipped with expert trackers will take you on morning and afternoon safaris today in search of a variety of wildlife. With luck, you might catch a glimpse of a tiger who calls this unique landscape home. Dinners will be spent discussing the day’s sightings.

DAY 6

Ranthambore National Park –Game Drives and Women’s Craft Center

Relish an early morning game drive through the verdant forest, followed by a delicious lunch at your safari lodge., Head back into the park this afternoon for another drive in search of wildlife, then visit a nearby women’s co-operative. This collective is empowered to use their traditional craft skills to generate income for their villages. Enjoy an evening at rest in your tented suite, by the pool, or indulging in a spa treatment.

DAY 7

Jaipur – Bazaar Shopping excursion

After breakfast, a private transfer takes you to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan known as the Pink City.. You’ll arrive in the afternoon, with time to explore the handicrafts and bazaars. You may wish to do a little shopping here, and your guide is on-hand to help you master the art of bargaining.  Spend a delightful evening as a guest of the Rambagh Palace; from 1835 this historic building has housed the queen’s favorite handmaiden, been a hunting lodge, a royal guesthouse and housed many a Maharaja. Hand-crafted latticework and elaborate gardens are just some of the elegant displays you’ll find in your home for the next two nights.

DAY 8

Jaipur – City Tour, High Tea, and Pottery Workshop

Your day will be packed with history and culture, starting with a view of the world-famous Hawa Mahal (Pink Palace), and an exploration of the stunning and grand-scale Amber Fort. Enjoy a private tour of the City Palace which still houses the former Royal family on occasion, with exclusive access to private rooms where the family lives. Palace life calls for a delicious High Tea before you delve into ancient astronomical wonders at the Jantar Mantar (Astronomical Observatory), many predictions of which are still accurate today. Finally, visit a community workshop for insight into blue pottery, a traditional craft that has flourished across the desert state of Rajasthan. Your visit  contributes directly to the local artisans. Return to your hotel for an evening at leisure.

DAY 9

Varanasi –Ganges River Historical Walking Tour and Aarti Ceremony

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Varanasi, the perfect ending to your Rajasthan journey.. Varanasi is among the oldest living cities in the worldand pilgrims journey to the Ganges to wash away sins in the sacred waters, to cremate their cherished ones, or to pass away. Time in Varanasi is a moving experience for any traveler. Wind through the alleyways along the banks of the Ganges, known as ghats, on a privately guided historical walk where you’llgain insight into traditions dating back thousands of years. End your tour with an observation of the traditional Aarti ceremony performed every evening at dusk. An ideliable memory will be watching the fire  offered to Lord Shiva and candles float down the river. Overnight at the Taj Nadesar Palace, where musicians play the sitar  while you indulge in a delectable traditional meal.

DAY 10

Varanasi – Boat Ride along the Ganges, Sarnath pilgrimage

Peacefully watch the sunrise from a boat floating down the Ganges. The leisurely pace allows you to observe this ancient city from another perspective as you witness cremation ceremonies, morning rituals and prayers; a spiritually awakening and contemplative experience. Later in the day, embark on a guided tour of nearby Sarnath, a revered Buddhist pilgrimage center where it is believed Buddha preached his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. The evening is yours to explore Varanasi with your guide as you wish, or take rest at your accommodation.

DAY 11

Flight to Delhi – Begin Your Journey Home

Fly back to Delhi to connect with your onward flight home. Bid farewell to India and reflect on a myriad of thoughts, experiences and memories from your journey.