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Welcome to Nepal! On arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport you will be greeted by an Insight representative and transferred to your hotel, the Hyatt Kathmandu. At 17:00 meet your Travel Director and venture out in Thamel on a rickshaw ride. Later, head to a local restaurant for a Welcome Reception, drinks and dinner.
Start the day bright and early with a morning visit to Kathmandu City. See the tranquil Swayambhunath temple. Later, stop in Patan, the third largest city in Nepal, where you will enjoy an included lunch. Originally called Lalitpur or “City of Beauty” in Sanskrit, you’ll explore this pretty city with a Local Expert in the afternoon. Highlights include the Golden Temple, Durbar Square and Mul Chowk, the largest and oldest of the Royal Palace’s three main chow squares. Enjoy the flavours of the region in the evening with an indulgent dinner.
Delve into Kathmandu’s spiritual history with a morning visit to the Pashupatinath Temple on the banks of the Bagmati River and take in the impressive Boudhanath Stupa, one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal. Next you’ll head to the city of Bhadgaon, before visiting a local pottery workshop where a local craftsman will provide a demonstration. In the evening head to an inspirational talk by a woman who summited the Earth’s highest mountain above sea level, Mount Everest. She’ll talk to you about her experience guiding some of the world’s most interesting people through some of the most challenging terrain on earth.
Head to the airport for your onwards flight to Delhi, India. On arrival, you’ll be taken to your modern and contemporary hotel, Le Méridien New Delhi. Later, join your group and Travel Director for a trip to Akshardham Temple. Also known as Swaminarayan Akshardham, this Hindu temple is a spiritual and cultural campus dedicated to devotion, learning and harmony. The rest of the day is yours at leisure, ask your Travel Director for recommendations on where to explore, or perhaps relax at your hotel’s spa?
This morning, head on an exciting sightseeing tour of Old Delhi and New Delhi with your Travel Director. Drive past the Red Fort, the main residence of the Mughal dynasty until 1856. Founded in 1526, the Mughal Empire compromised the majority of the Indian subcontinent until 1707. In the afternoon, visit a Sikh temple and visit its community kitchen, a place preparing and serving free vegetarian meals to those in need. Later, drive past the President Palace, India Gate and Parliament House, before ending the day with a tour of Humayun’s Tomb with your Travel Director.
Travel to Jaipur, more affectionately known as the Pink City, after the whole city was painted pink in 1876 for a visit from Queen Victoria. Before lunch, enjoy a visit to the Heritage Transport Museum in Haryana, a fascinating showcase of the evolution of transport in India. Later, join your Travel Director for an evening visit to a flower and spice market. Dine at the esteemed Dera Amer. Situated in the wilderness close to Jaipur, this outdoor dining experience truly connects you to nature. With elephants roaming free on its land, the venue’s primary purpose is to maintain an area of natural beauty, while protecting its wildlife.
Ascend by jeep to Amber Fort. Built in 1592 by Raja Man Singh, its royal halls mesmerise with their ivory, mirrors, glass and exquisite paintings. Once here, experience India’s spiritual majesty, with a special blessing ceremony. In the afternoon, take a city tour of Jaipur and see the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds, and visit the City Palace Museum and royal observatory. Explore Jaipur with Insight Choice. Choose between visiting the royal observatory and see Jantar Mantar, featuring the world’s largest stone dun dial, or alternatively, join your Local Expert for a walk through the city’s old lanes and see artisans working with age-old techniques.
In the morning depart for Agra, home to the spectacular phenomenon that is the Taj Mahal. Along the way stop for lunch at the beautiful Laxmi Vilas Palace in Bharatpur. When you arrive in Agra, the evening is yours at leisure. Why not make the most of the amenities at your hotel, Jaypee Palace? Home to a spa, salon and fitness centre, unwind before tomorrow’s adventure.
Wake early for a visit to the Taj Mahal, to see the world phenomenon in its best light. A symbol of love and flawless architectural creation, it was built by an emperor in memory of his beloved queen. Continue on to Agra Fort. Explore Agra with Insight Choice. Choose to join a guided walk through Kachhpura to discover the life of local farmers. Enjoy tea and pakora on a rooftop with views of the Taj Mahal. Alternatively, join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience and visit the ‘Sheroes’ Café. This local business supports female victims of acid attacks who refuse to give up and instead fight for a better life. Catch up with your fellow travellers over dinner at your hotel this evening.
In the morning, take a flight to Varanasi, one of the holiest cities in Hinduism. On arrival you’ll be checked into your luxury hotel, the Taj Ganges. A contemporary ode to its classical city, this five-star accommodation includes a pool, fitness centre, traditional Indian Spa Therapies and a beautiful flower garden. In the evening, participate in an Aarti on the ghats, where you’ll offer prayers to the River Ganges. This spiritual ceremony is performed daily to honour the River Goddess Ganga. It is a Hindu religious ritual of worship and involves hundreds of diyas and flowers being released onto the river, as the words “Har Har Gange!” are chanted.
Wake early for a breathtaking sunrise boat cruise on River Ganges, followed by a visit to an Akhara. Return to your hotel for breakfast before heading on a tour of Varanasi. This involves seeing the Sarnath, a sacred deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma and the Buddhist Sangha first came into existence through Kondanna’s enlightenment. Later, enjoy a delicious Celebration Dinner with your fellow travellers and Travel Director at your hotel.
End your trip with a relaxing early morning yoga session at your hotel, before breakfast and a transfer to the airport. Head back to Delhi before your onward flights. Please do not schedule flights before 9pm.
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