This fascinating, eclectic look into Indian life begins in the capital, Delhi, before moving on to the essential site of Agra to see the Taj Mahal. From there, the standard circuit deviates to Ranthambhore for a worthwhile tiger safari. Lastly, travel to Rishikesh for a once in a lifetime glance at Yoga culture in the spiritual North.
Welcome to India! Upon arrival at Delhi’s International Airport, you are met by our representative in the arrival area, after you clear all immigration and customs formalities. You will be greeted with a special welcome of nice garlands of marigold flowers. Your driver will then transfer you to your Hotel for check in. (This service is on a private basis.)
Delhi is India’s historical capital and one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, whose character and culture was shaped by waves of influences since ancient times. New Delhi has expanded and now encompasses residential and commercial development to the west and south, plus the satellite towns off Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad. Delhi has overtaken Mumbai and Kolkata in recent years to become the most vibrant creative art and culture center in India.
Today you are invited to know the daily lives of these street children of Delhi, some of who live in the New Delhi railway station area and one of these children is your guide today to take you through their shelters and run you through their life-stories. The walk has been specially designed for you to give you the insight of these street children and their success stories and achievements in life as you learn about their lives on the railway track, platform (where these children spend their day), small school, shelter and Salaam Baalak Trust Contact Center and Office and get to interact with their coordinator, who is also a volunteer in the program. (This service is on a private basis.)
Today you will be fully introduced to India's capital, beginning with Old Delhi in the morning, and New Delhi in the afternoon. Old Delhi was an ancient walled city. In 1650, Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan switched the Mughal capital from Agra to Delhi. Shah Jehan possessing an exquisite talent, especially in architecture, created the seventh city and in the process brought about Delhi's glorious renaissance. Start the day with a cycle rickshaw ride through Old Delhi. Here you will see Red Fort the most opulent Fort and Palace of the Mughal Empire.
New Delhi was designed and built by the British in the 1920's - it's a city of wide boulevards, impressive government buildings, green parks and gardens. In 1911 King George V announced the transfer of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi. The King's architects, Lutyens and Baker, set in motion the design and construction of Delhi's eighth city - New Delhi. Lutyens designed an "Imperial City" having palatial-sized buildings set amid broad tree-lined avenues punctuated by Mughal style gardens, complete with fountains and shallow pools. You will visit two monuments from Delhi's past - Humayun's Tomb and Qutub Minar. (This service is on a private basis.)
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Delhi and transferred to your accommodations in Agra. (Duration: 4 hours.) (This service is on a private basis.)
After breakfast proceed for a city tour of Agra with visit to the Taj Mahal & Agra Fort.
That magnificent monument of love – The Taj Mahal, was built by an emperor in memory of his beloved queen. Construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1631, and is believed to have taken 22 years to complete, with over 20,000 craftsmen working round the clock. The design and construction is said to be that of the legendary architect, Ustad Ahamad Lahori. Its marble exterior reflects rose and golden tints at sunrise and sunset, and dazzling white during the day.
Later, proceed to Agra Fort. Agra Fort is also known as Lal Qila, Fort Rouge and Red Fort of Agra. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its much more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled palatial city. The great Mughals Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahanand Aurangzeb lived here, and the country was governed from here. It used to contain the largest state treasury and mint and was visited by foreign ambassadors, travelers and the highest dignitaries who participated in building India's history. (This service is on a private basis.)
Drive to Bharatpurrailway station. En route, visit Fatehpur Sikri, site of another of the four Mughal capitals. An elegant red sandstone edifice of monumental proportions, Fatehpur Sikri was a complete city built mid-16th century by the great emperor Akbar to celebrate the birth of a son, and deserted barely two decades later due to apparent water shortages. Now in a near perfect state of preservation, it harmonizes Hindu, Mughal and Persian architectural styles, and is redolent of the majesty and romance of a bygone era.
After your visit to Fatehpur Sikri, transfer to Bharatpur railway station for your train to Sawai Madhupor. You will be met on arrival at the station and transferred to your hotel in Ranthambhore. (This service is on a private basis.)
From your lodge in Ranthambhore, enjoy both morning and afternoon group jungle safaris to track local tigers with your naturalist guide. Even during the day, tigers can be seen at their normal pursuits: hunting and taking care of their young ones. Ranthambhore is one of the best places to see these majestic predators. Ranthambore is a heritage site because of the picturesque ruins that dot the wildlife park. There are lake palaces, 'chhatris', old fortifications and a majestic 1,000-year-old fort, overlooking the park. (This service is on a group basis.)
Ranthambhore is the best place for a tiger safari in India. Over 1,000 square kilometers of wild landscape make up this spectacular tiger sanctuary, whose goal is the preservation of these impressive creatures. Actually spotting a tiger is a difficult task, and may happen only once or twice during your safari. The good news is that Ranthambhore also features plenty of other wildlife to spot. Overall, this park serves as a great break from the hustle and bustle of greater India, and gives travelers a chance to relax, and enjoy a couple of days of uninterrupted calm.
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Ranthambhore and transferred to your accommodations in Jaipur. (Duration: 4 hours.) (This service is on a private basis.)
Known as the “Pink City," Jaipur is the capital of the colorful state of Rajasthan. It has the distinction of being a well planned and laid out city. As you drive through the old part of town, you will witness a life most unlike others. Witness how the city blooms during the day in a kaleidoscope of color and sound.
After breakfast proceed for an excursion to inspiring Amber Fort. Amber Fort is a marvelous example of Rajput architecture with its terraces and ramparts reflected in the Maota Lake below. The interior of the fort has various royal halls decorated with intricate ivory, mirror and glass.
After the Amber Fort, proceed for a city tour of Jaipur. You will visit the City Palace Museum where you can see an imposing blend of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal Art. The museum is truly impressive, with its collection of robes of royal princes, carpets, an armory of old weapons and miniature paintings portraying court scenes, battle scenes and processions. Next on the tour, you will visit the awe inspiring Jantar Mantar (an accurate observatory built in 1726 AD). Also included is a photo visit at the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) - a five storied wonder with a spectacular pyramidal facade and overhanging windows with latticed screens, domes and spires.
After your tour you will be returned to your hotel.
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Jaipur and transferred to your accommodations in Delhi. (Duration: 5 hours.) (This service is on a private basis.)
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Delhi and transferred to the train station for your train to Haridwar. Upon arrival at the train station in Haridwar, you will be greeted by your driver and transferred to your hotel in Rishikesh. The drive journey time is roughly 1.5 hours.
Welcome to, as Rishikesh calls itself, the "Yoga Capital of the World." From across the world, yogis yearn to make the pilgrimage to one of Rishikesh's hundreds of ashrams. Meditation and yoga classes abound. The Ganges flows through the city, and green forest frames it. For backpackers and aspiring spiritualists, Rishikesh has become one of the more popular destinations in India, so prepare yourself for late night parties and new international friends.
Enjoy this free time at your leisure.
In the afternoon, you will be picked up at your hotel in Rishikesh and transferred back to the train station in Haridwar. In Haridwar you will board your onward train to Delhi. Upon arrival there, you will be met by your driver and transferred to your hotel.
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Delhi and transferred to the airport. (This service is on a private basis.)
Imposing, inspiring and right at home among the grand landmarks of the New Delhi’s Diplomatic Enclave, this iconic palace style hotel makes a significant statement in terms of architecture and intent. The Leela Palace New Delhi is destined to become one of the great hotels of the world. Its architecture is inspired by Lutyens, art and embellishment by Mrs. Madhu Nair and its levels of refinement and generosity of space mirror the great palaces of the world. Breathtaking vision superbly realized.
Sprawled over 35 acres of luxurious gardens, and in close proximity to the Taj Mahal, ITC Mughal, a 5 star hotel in Agra is a fitting tribute to the great Mughal builders of the past. The only Indian hotel to have won the prestigious Aga Khan Award for its excellent representation of Mughal architecture, it now boasts of a brand new accommodation wing - the 'Khwab Mahal' - Palace of Dreams. This luxury hotel in Agra comprises of 233 opulent rooms and suites, recreating a paradise for the contemporary Mogul- full of splendor and perfection which was the hallmark of the Mughal Dynasty.
Situated a short drive from the main gates of Ranthambore National Park, Sher Bagh’s 12 luxurious tents are set amid the verdant grounds of a private estate. The camp has a strong eco-friendly ethos and a laid back, welcoming atmosphere. The camp is also a member of the prestigious Relais and Chateaux group of hotels. Originally designed for the Maharaja of Jodhpur’s hunting expeditions, the tents consist of a bedroom with attached veranda and bathroom and have 24 hr hot water and electricity. All tents have fans and state-of-the-art air-conditioning units to keep them cool during the warm months. Sher Bagh has a dining tent serving continental and Indian cuisine, a bar and you can also enjoy an alfresco Thaali dinner around the campfire were guests gather together in the evenings to chat with each other and compare notes on animal sightings.
The Samode Haveli is a small intimate hotel offering personalized service. Built over 150 years ago as the Samode Royal family's suburban manor house and was converted into a heritage hotel in 1988. Today it stands as a reminder of a halcyonic past offering moments of subtle luxury. The property was constructed facing North away from the burning Rajasthan sun and features a spectacular painted dining room, an airy verandah and an elephant ramp at the entrance which was specially constructed in the 1940’s for the marriage ceremony of the late Rawal Sahib’s aunt. It has been meticulously restored and integrated into a unique property.
Sometimes, the best hideaways are the ones that you are least likely to hear about. Calm – Serene – Tranquil – Spiritual are just some words which come to mind for the Tree of Life Himalayan Hideaway Lodge, Rishikesh. With just 8 quaint rooms and 2 individual cottages, surrounded by forest greens and the Holy Ganga flowing below, this ‘hideaway’ gives you time to do all that you have always wanted to – just be with yourself; read that book which has remained unfinished ever since; loosen the body with a bit of yoga and meditation; or then a soothing experience in a luxury spa tent which looks onto the mountains, as the experienced spa therapists soothe the mind and the soul (spa functional May 2014 onwards). For those looking for a more active lifestyle, the property offers you white water rafting at our associate camp next door; a trek in the surrounding hills; or then an evening spent viewing the famous ‘aarti’ at Rishikesh. Each of the rooms and cottages are named after a well known mountaineer of the region. The rooms are in natural stone, set in a forest surrounding, with cobbled pathways leading across. Interiors are not lavish but done with taste and an evolved style that comes from appreciation of comfortable living. All rooms and cottages come with meshed doors and windows – so as to let the fresh mountain air engulf not only your room, but also your senses.