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Essential India
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From the intricate saris of Rajasthan to the beautiful symmetry of the Taj Mahal, this compact journey is a photographer's delight and the perfect introduction to India. You'll float past the ghats on the Ganges River to encounter the spiritual heart of Hinduism in Varanasi and get off the beaten path exploring carved stepwells and quaint temples in rural villages. With the perfect combination of included activities and free time to explore the nation's rich heritage, you're sure to be caught up in India's incredible tapestry of life.

  • Duration: 15 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of:
  • Physical rating: Light
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 80.0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: AHEH/126355
  • Starts: Delhi, India
  • Finishes: Delhi, India
You will Visit
  • Delhi

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Delhi

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included through the G Adventures-supported Women on Wheels project.

02

Day 2: Delhi

Enjoy a youth-led morning walk through Delhi by G Adventures-supported City Walk project. Later, visit Old Delhi, explore the spice markets, and visit Jama Masjid and Connaught Place.
Enjoy a youth-led walking tour of Delhi with G Adventures-supported project, City Walk. This tour offers a unique perspective of Delhi while supporting at-risk youth.

Later, visit Delhi's famous Jama Masjid (Great Mosque) and climb the minaret for a bird's eye view of the Old City. Walk through Chandni Chowk, one of India's oldest and busiest markets, and learn the history of the Sikh religion at the important Gurdwara, (Sikh place of worship) Gurdwara SisGanj. Stop for photos at the colourful spice market before finishing at the Victorian Connaught Place, one of the most prominent architectural remnants of British rule.

03

Day 3: Delhi/Jaipur

Arrive in Jaipur and explore this gorgeous 'pink city'.
Drive to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan and start exploring. Opt to visit the Jantar Mantar, or Royal Observatory. Don't miss the opprtunity to see a Bollywood film at the famous Art Deco Raj Mandir cinema.

04

Day 4: Jaipur

Stop and take a photo of the 'Palace of the Winds' and wander the organized streets of the 'Pink City'. Later, enjoy a visit to the Amber Fort, famous for its mixture of Hindu and Muslim architecture.
Head out to visit the ruined city of Amber, the former capital of Jaipur state. Stop and take a photo of the Hawa Mahal palace complex, elaborate formal gardens, and a small lake.

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Day 5: Jaipur/Dhula Village

Travel to Dhula Village and get a closer look at rural life in Rajasthan during a cycling excursion. Tonight opt to relax by the fire and take in the starry night sky.
Tonight's accommodation is in spacious and comfortable tents outfitted with beds, lamps, and simple en suite bathrooms.

06

Day 6: Dhula Village/Āgra

Opt for an early morning hike to a ruined fortress. Later, stop by the impressive Abhaneri stepwell en route to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.

07

Day 7: Āgra

Visit the famous Taj Mahal, Baby Taj, and Agra Fort.
Visit the sparkling Taj Mahal for sunrise then stick around to explore (if the light is better around sunset, we may visit later in the day instead). Later, visit the walled city of Agra Fort by cycle-rickshaw and the I'timad-ud-Daulah, or the Baby Taj.

08

Day 8: Āgra/Alīpura

Travel to Alipura and stay in a heritage property in the village.
Leave early and travel along typically rough Indian roads to Alipura, a friendly village which will be our base for two days.
Here, stay in a heritage property with time to wander the town and interact with locals.

09

Day 9: Alīpura

Enjoy a day trip to Khajuraho to visit the Khajuraho Group of Monuments, India's largest group of medieval temples, known for their kama sutra statues.
Travel 1.5 hrs to Khajuraho, one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Learn the history of these world-famous temples on a guided tour and enjoy a taste of a little erotica from the Middle Ages.
After, opt to visit a nearby waterfall (seasonal) or watch an evening dance performance.

10

Day 10: Alīpura/Orchha

Visit Orchha, a quiet rural town along the banks of the Betwa River and enjoy a puja ceremony. Visit a unique paper-making plant en route, set up to assist tribal women from the area.
En route to Orchha, visit a unique paper making plant, set up to assist tribal women from the area. All the paper is made from recycled clothing and wood pulp. Continue on to Orchha and enjoy an orientation tour of this small town. Set on the banks of the Betwa River, it is the perfect antidote to the chaos of India's cities. Later, attend an evening puja ceremony at the Ram Raja Temple.

11

Day 11: Orchha/Varanasi

Visit the Orchha Palace complex and enjoy free time before the overnight train to Varanasi. Opt for a local cooking class with a family.

12

Day 12: Varanasi

Take an orientation walk through the oldest continually inhabited city in the world. Marvel at the ghats from the River Ganges as you enjoy boat trips at sunrise and sunset.
Disembark the train in legendary Varanasi, the quintessential Indian holy city where millions of Hindus visit for pilgrimage, to worship, to mourn, or to die.

There is time here to shop, wander, and absorb the atmosphere of this unique city, while optional activities include the monasteries and ruins of nearby Sarnath, the site of the Buddha's first sermon.

13

Day 13: Varanasi

Watch the sunrise from a boat along the Ganges. Enjoy free time in this holy city.

14

Day 14: Varanasi/Delhi

Cut out the travel time with an afternoon flight back to Delhi.

15

Day 15: Delhi

Depart at any time.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • G Adventures for Good: Women on Wheels Transfer, Indira Gandhi International Airport G Adventures for Good: City Walk, Delhi
    • Old Delhi walk with stops at the Jama Masjid, Gurduwara, Chandni Chowk, spice markets, and Connaught Place
    • Amber Fort tour (Jaipur)
    • Rajasthani rural village stay
    • Village cycling excursion (Dhula Village)
    • Abhaneri stepwells visit
    • Taj Mahal and I’timad-ud-Daulah (Baby Taj) entrance
    • Agra Fort entrance and guided tour
    • Orchha Palace complex visit
    • Western Temple complex entrance and guided visit (Khajuraho)
    • Ganges River boat trip at sunrise and sunset, including candle flower ceremony (Varanasi)
    • Internal flight
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    Accommodation
    • Hotels (12 nts), comfortable tented camp (1 nt), sleeper train (1 nt)
    • 1 breakfast, 1 dinner
    Transport
    • Train, local bus, private vehicle, auto-ricksaw, camel cart, small riverboat, plane
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides
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Tour Highlights:
  • Explore India's vibrant cities
  • Discover ancient forts and temples
  • Revel in the beauty of Agra's Taj Mahal
  • Witness the erotic sculptures of Khajuraho and Orchha
  • Sail the Ganges in venerable Varanasi


Reviews (10)
Rehana R Posted on: 

I felt as though I got the full experience of India by travelling with G Adventures tours.

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Mandi A Posted on: 

The entire trip was beyond my expectations!

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Ashley P Posted on: 

This was an really interesting trip to take you through both touristy areas of India and the hidden places as well.

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Christopher A Posted on: 

Well organised. Used different forms of travel. Stayed in good but not too high class hotels. Saw a good cross section of the country. Tour guide was excellent.

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Claudia B Posted on: 

NP was a great tour guide. He answered all of my numerouse questions and added a memorable visit to a rural village school and pottery Our whole group gelled wonderfully

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Lois C Posted on: 

a very good introduction to this very diverse and interesting country.

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Eric B Posted on: 

Really nice itinerary and leader. Surprised by the high level of accommodation. I will return to India with G Adventures.

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Anthony J Posted on: 

More an adventure than a holiday. Each day was an effort but the effort paid off. India certainly follows it's own rules and is as frustrating as it is exciting.

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Michael R Posted on: 

The tour was basically very good. We saw much more than I ever would have managed on my own. India is clearly a difficult place to travel, but Aparna was hard-working and dedicated to our needs.

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Andrew L Posted on: 

Overall, my tour experience was very good. The design plan of the tour was well-thought out and efficient.

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