In India see the beauty of the Taj Mahal and trace this magical land's ancient traditions, unforgettable flavors and beautiful landscapes before embarking on this spiritual interlude to the ancient mountain kingdom of Nepal.
Immerse yourself in the buzz of India's vibrant capital, Delhi. On arrival, you'll be transferred to your hotel where you'll meet your Travel Director and fellow travelers for a Welcome Reception with drinks and local appetizers this evening.
The heady scents of spice linger throughout our rickshaw ride, navigating the busy streets of Old Delhi. We'll see the Red Fort, with its towering sandstone walls, before riding through the colorful Chandni Chowk market. Watch it rise and shine as the day's trading begins amidst the sounds of traffic. We'll visit Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India and admire its grandeur before enjoying the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
We dive into culture this morning, embarking on a guided walking tour to discover the work done by the Salaam Baalak Trust. Your visit will make a difference to this non-profit organization which aims to provide a caring environment for street children. Later, we'll walk through the bazaar of Paharganj, rubbing shoulders with the locals who flock to the market to shop every day. Lunch is at a local restaurant before we head to the district of New Delhi, designed and built by the British in the 1920s. Here we'll visit the UNESCO-listed Humayun's Tomb and Qutub Minar before driving past Parliament House and India Gate, commemorating the Indian soldiers who died during WWI.
Delve into the imperial history of the Mughal Empire as you explore the iconic, yet unexpected highlights of Agra. Visit the UNESCO-listed Agra Fort and stroll through the chambers of a royal residence that lay at the center of the dynasty until the 17th century. As you drive through the city's crowded streets, connect with its vibrant spirit and raw energy.
Gaze at the sun-kissed white marble of the Taj Mahal, arriving just before sunrise to see its elegant walls glow with rose and golden hues. Learn how this well-preserved landmark stands today as a monument of love, then return to the hotel for breakfast. Later, journey to Jaipur, the Pink City and gateway to the colorful state of Rajasthan, stopping for lunch en-route.
Visit the ornate City Palace this morning, as well as the UNESCO-listed Jantar Mantar, featuring the world's largest sundial. Make a stop to admire the red and pink ornate façades of the Palace of Winds, whose latticed windows once revealed the outside world to the sheltered ladies of the royal household. This afternoon learn the art of turban tying and a favorite pastime in Jaipur, kite flying—giving you insights into the ancient customs and pastimes of the city.
Admire the jaw-dropping architecture and intricately designed interiors of the UNESCO-listed Amber Fort this morning, before meeting a Local Specialist to learn about the tradition of hand block printing. See how the Jaipur's exquisitely patterned cottons have been made for centuries, then witness the delicate art of crafting Jaipur's elegant blue and green pottery. We connect with locals this evening, joining a local family for a Be My Guest dinner.
We journey to Narlai and check into Rawla Narlai, a beautifully maintained heritage resort, which was once one of the Jagir villages of Jodhpur's royal family. Experience royal Rajasthan within its lavishly decorated walls.
Embark on a Jeep safari into the nearby countryside and keep a keen eye open for deer and leopard in their natural habitat. Later, take a walk around Narlai village and gain insights into the traditional way of life of the villagers before they depart for the days' grazing. Later, meet one of the family members who'll share fascinating stories about the hotel and the locals. At dinner, descend into the 16th-century baori (step-well) for delicious Rajasthani flavors.
Leave Narlai behind and later revel in the romance of Udaipur—a mystical encounter with culture and traditions, enjoyed against the backdrop of the Aravalli Hills and shimmering Lake Pichola. Admire your colorful surrounds, boarding a scenic boat ride to watch the sunset glint off the lake's tranquil waters.
Delve into the history of the Maharana era during a visit to Udaipur's exquisite City Palace, whose ornate walls overlook Lake Pichola. We trade tranquillity for the city's spirited markets and bazaars next, gaining a deeper understanding of the day-to-day lives of the citizens of Udaipur. Visit the Jagdish Temple built in 1651 with its ornate carvings and bronze figure of the Garuda, then proceed to the enclosed Garden of the Maids of the Honour, watching as water spurts from its marble elephants. After lunch in a local restaurant, enjoy some free time or consider joining an Optional Experience.
Feel the passion and verve of cosmopolitan Mumbai, visiting Dhobi Ghat where you'll dive into culture exploring the world's largest outdoor laundry. See the UNESCO-listed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a historic railway station built to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. This afternoon, marvel at the colossal Gateway of India, a huge archway on the water's edge that welcomed the first-ever visit to India of a British Monarch in 1911. Explore the exhibits of the Prince of Wales Museum, then stroll through the famous Crawford Market.
We sail across Mumbai Harbour to see the centuries-old rock-cut temples on Elephanta Island. The labyrinth of UNESCO-listed cave temples represents some of India's most impressive temple carvings. This afternoon, enjoy time at leisure or consider joining an Optional Experience. Join your fellow guests and Travel Director for a Farewell Dinner later.
Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims throughout the ages, traveling to the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal and its capital, Kathmandu. On arrival, check in to your hotel, then join your Travel Director and fellow travelers for dinner in a local restaurant.
Kathmandu's golden roofs glow brightly on your city tour to the heart of its old town and Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here you will gain a deeper understanding of its role in the centuries of rule over this mountain kingdom. Admire the traditional pagoda-style architecture reflected in the temples and palaces that surround the square—the Hanuman Dhoka palace complex, the Mahadev Temple, the House of the Goddess Kumari and Taleju Temple. Journey to nearby Patan next, renowned for its collection of ancient temples, carvings and palaces, which you will see first-hand during a visit to Patan Durbar Square, a generic name given to plazas and areas located opposite Nepal's old royal palaces. Delve into the ancient Buddhist heritage of the City of Beauty and visit the Krishna Temple and Golden Temple. The delicate art of thangka painting takes center stage next, as you continue to a painting school to observe students painting religious scenes on cotton and silk. Later, make a difference with a visit to the Tibetan Refugee Centre which features a handicraft center and provides employment to the Tibetan refugees whose forefathers fled the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959. Among these were gifted Tibetan carpet weavers whose talents remain on display today at the Jawalakhel Handicraft Center, along with traditional Tibetan handicrafts.
Looming over Patan lies the UNESCO-listed shrine of Swayambhunath, which you will have an opportunity to visit today. Uncover its history spanning millennia and admire the galleries of prayer mills and gleaming white stupa, whose gilded spire provides the colorful eyes of Buddha a lofty vantage point from which to survey the surrounding valley. Share the intricately carved stone façades with the resident monkeys and admire the artistry of Nepalese craftsmanship as you walk through the remnants of Buddhist and Hindu iconography, said to be around 2000 years old. Then, visit a local market in the Thamel area and stroll through its narrow alleyways in search of the perfect mementos of your trip. Return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure or consider joining an Optional Experience.
Your soulful encounter with Nepal at its end, take a transfer to Kathmandu Airport for your onward flight.
16 buffet breakfasts, 4 lunches, 7 dinners.
Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.
A unique way of seeing Delhi is to explore the city as it is waking up, by bicycle. Covering more distance than is possible on foot cycle through the narrow lanes of the old city and the colonial carriageways of Lutyen’s Delhi, experiencing the city as it appears through the eyes of the local people. Immerse yourself in the morning rhythms and patterns of the city waking up and coming alive, pass people on their morning walks, see vegetable and flower markets being set up and discover the true character of this city.
Adult Price: $55
The Miniature Paintings of Udaipur symbolize Rajasthan in many ways—colorful, detailed and opulent. These paintings were popular in Mewar, Udaipur, and even in the Jaipur courts of royalty. The 16th Century painters would paint the intricate patterns onto a tiny canvas, and present them to Kings, to keep as memoirs of certain specific events. Nowadays the paintings are intended only for the decoration of interior spaces, rather than being documents of culture. They are made using a rigorous process which involves the manufacture of the pigments and colors from scratch. Very often, these paintings reflect real-life events and are portrayals of such events. Visit the house of an Artist to witness this special art form which takes a very long time to master.
Adult Price: $37
Ever since the first film was screened at the Watson Hotel in Mumbai in 1896, India’s motion picture industry (now known as Bollywood) has captivated millions of audiences. India now produces close to one thousand feature films every year -including films in Hindi and several regional languages besides documentaries, TV serials and commercials. Visit one of the Bollywood studios, see the artists and watch outdoor and indoor shootings in progress (subject to availability on the day of the visit). Afterward, take a drive around and pass by the houses of some well-known Bollywood celebrities.
Adult Price: $190
Travel to the eastern outskirts of Kathmandu and experience one of the holiest Hindu shrines in the world; the Pashupatinath Temple. Situated on the bank of the river Bagmati, it is a pagoda style temple with a gilt roof and richly carved doors. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and every year it attracts hundreds of Hindu devotees from all over the world. Later, visit Bhadgaon (also known as Bhaktapur), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the home of medieval art and architecture. It is an ancient town located in the Kathmandu valley which has three major squares full of towering temples. Visit Durbar Square with its array of temples overlooked by the Palace of Fifty-Five Windows built by King Bupatindra Malla.
Adult Price: $51