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India is a feast for the senses

India Highlights

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Read below for 15 day trip: India - India Highlights

Click here for 17 day trip: The Best of South India

India is a feast for the senses! Think India and you think of colourful saris, delicious spicy food, sacred cows, sensual smells, rickshaws, and chaotic yet irresistible markets packed with fantastic handmade treasures.

Think Rajasthan and you think of romantic deserts, camels sauntering across golden dunes, exotic men in colourful turbans, princely palaces and temples, all with a backdrop of wonderful mystical charm. Rajasthan is a fairytale land full of rich treasures - vibrant, colourful, magic and exotic, no wonder travelers love it.

Indian Highlights

  • See the amazing white marble Taj Mahal for yourself
  • Explore Varanasi, the city of learning and burning. We take an early morning boat ride on the Ganges river to watch the spectacular sunrise
  • Discover Bundi: a small friendly painted town with a palace said to have been built by faeries
  • Visit the City Palace of Udaipur and take a boat ride on one of the city lakes in the morning
  • Jodhpur: famous Blue City where the majestic Mehrangah Fort towers over the city
  • Learn how to cook Indian food with the Mistress of Spices in Udaipur
  • Relax with an Ayurvedic body massage and spa experience
  • Dine on delicious Indian food!

Trip Itinerary

Welcome to India

Day 1, Delhi

Arrive in Delhi. We will meet you at the airport and transfer to your hotel for our welcome dinner.

Meals - D

Enjoy market food in India, Delhi, India

Day 2, Sightseeing Delhi

Visit two of the many faces of Delhi. Delhi is in fact many cities in one, since early times this site has been overlaid with stories of invasions, romance and poetry. Each new arrival added yet another layer to the fascinating story of the Delhi you will see today. This morning we visit the pulsating vibrant bazaar of Old Delhi, the best way to do this is by rickshaw. Try street food such as you will never see in an Indian restaurant at home and meet some of the most charming locals. CHANDI CHAWK was designed by the talented daughter of Shah Jahanabad; she was a poet of high repute, an architect and an untold story of the life and times of the Mughal women.

After catching our breath at lunch we will take a look at modern Delhi, from the cluttered streets of Old Delhi to the wide open tree lined and relatively calm city designed for the British by Edward Lutyen. We will also visit Hamanyuams Tomb where the tragic end of the Mughal rule in India saw its final hours. In the evening you get to try your Bollywood groove on with a Bollywood dance class!

Meals - B,L,D

Varanasi, India

Day 3, Varanasi

We take a flight to Varanasi the holiest of holy cities in India. This is popularly known as the city of learning and burning. Varanasi is famed for its music schools (think of Ravi Shankar the legendary Indian musician) and it also considered by Hindu to be the most auspicious place in India to meet your maker and have your ashes feed the mother river Ganga ji, the cremation ghat of is a continuous fire since ancient times.

We will join the evening aarti service on the banks of Ganga ji for an emotional and beautiful tribute to the river that is considered most holy.

Meals - B, L, D

Varanasi, India

Day 4, Varanasi

Early morning boat ride on Ganga ji to watch the spectacular moment of sunrise as the sun rinses the night from the oldest living city in the world. After breakfast we will visit Sarnath, a site holy to Buddhists all over the world. It is here in the deer park where the Buddha gave his most famous lecture and where it is said that angels arrived on earth to announce his birth years before he arrived here.

In the evening we visit a family of musicians to enjoy Indian classical music and come to understand the rich layered tradition of music within Indian culture.

Meals - B, L, D

Taj Mahal, romantic India

Day 5, Agra

Flight to Agra. The city is famous for the white domed Taj Mahal built by Shah Jahanabad for his wife Mumtaz but the city is home to many stories of the Mughal times in India. We visit the Red Fort where you will catch your first glimpse of the Taj Mahal from the stunning architectural design of the many palaces within the fort. Here we will continue the story of the Mughals in India, stories of family intrigues that are bound to capture your imagination! Agra is also famous for jewelers of the most exquisite design; we visit the legendary Kohinoor jeweler of Agra who may just allow us to try on some of the jewelry of Mumtaz!

In the afternoon we visit what is popularly known as Baby Taj, a forerunner to the Taj Mahal which was designed and built by a woman and hear her story of love and intrigue. From the river side we watch the sunset over the Taj.

Meals - B, L, D

Day 6, Agra to Bundi

Ok so enough of the tantalising views of the Taj, this morning we get up close and personal and watch the Taj in her full splendor as the sunrise rays bring out the exquisite inlaid jewels. Hear the untold story of Shah Jahan, his life and loves and his incredible building spree. Now for something completely different! A train ride. They say that if you want to experience the Real India you must take at least one rail trip. Today we take a picnic ride through to Rajasthan the land of the Rajput warriors.

On arrival at Kota we join our coach and transfer to the picturesque village of Bundi. Bundi is a small friendly painted town with a palace said to have been built by faeries, painted murals on walls and an interesting weaver made famous by Venus ladies!

Meals - B, L, D

Bundi, India

Day 7, Bundi

This is your free day to lounge by the pool, catch up on washing and meet the friendly locals. Bundi has a unique artistic history and is known for the Bundi School of art. You can visit with local artisans and wander around the palace and village. In the evening you may want to try out your Bollywood dance moves at the movie theatre attached to our hotel where we will be entertained Bollywood style.

Meals - B, D

Day 8, Bundi to Udaipur

A drive through rural Rajasthan to the Venice of the East. With palaces floating like wedding cakes on lakes, Udaipur considered the most beautiful and romantic city of Rajasthan. Even though the Royal Rajput were removed from Democratic India, their traditions and social structure still survive.

Meals - B, L, D

Udaipur, India

Day 9, Udaipur

We visit City Palace and take a boat ride on one of the city lakes in the morning. There is time to wander in the shopping area and take a light lunch before we visit the Mistress of Spices for a cooking lesson like no other. Learn the secrets of Pukka Chai, pakora and paratha as well as practical and economical ways to prepare Indian food.

Meals - B, D

Udaipur to Chittorgarh, India

Day 10, Udaipur to Jodhpur

We drive to Jodhpur stopping en route at the exquisite marble Jain temples at Ranakpur. This oasis of peace is a stunning example of intricately sculpted white marble; you may be surprised to discover these temples were built in 1460! We arrive at our village homestay on the outskirts of Jodhpur in a village of carpet weavers known as Salwas. This charming family will encourage you to show off your chapatti making skills that you learned in Udaipur and encourage you to try your hand at weaving a 'Dhurrie" or cotton carpet.

You will get to taste the most Pukka Tucker - traditional Rajasthan food.

Meals - B, L

The Blue City of Jodhpur, India

Day 11, Jodhpur

We take a short drive into Jodhpur to visit the famous Blue City where the majestic Mehrangah Fort towers over the city. We wander down from the Fort through the old city markets and try some of the local delicacies that Jodhpur is famous for. Find out why only certain portions of the Blue City remain the Blue City and try a few of Jodhpur's famous street foods.

We take an off-road experience to one of the Rajput desert palaces where you may discover your inner princess. Perched on the edge of the Great Thar Desert in the heart of rural India lies this unique 16th century fort. Hundreds of years of history unfold as you glance at its battle-scarred walls and stroll down its ramparts. You are not prepared for the beauty, the grandeur, the layout or the magnificence of this castle even as you approach it through sand dunes and narrow countryside roads. Khimsar is nestled in a Jeep and or camel safari for gin o'clock in the evening to consider the play of light on the desert.

Meals - B, L, D

Travel to Chandelao, India

Day 12, Khimsar to Churu

Churu is where Rajputana meets The Great Gatsby. The Shekhawati area of Rajasthan is known as the world's largest outdoor art gallery. During the 1920's the Marwari people of Rajasthan traveled to Kolkata and made legendary amounts of money, it was a time of extravagance and wild parties, of cultures meeting and colliding. All of which was captured by artists and displayed on walls both inside and out of the traditional Rajasthan homes known as Haveli. This village is the best example of this period of time.

After freshening up we will take a heritage walk around the village where the afternoon and evening light showcases the painted village

Meals - B, L, D

Churu, India

Day 13, Churu

Home to many artisans, it will take a full day to explore Churu village as we move from craftsman to painted haveli, from popadam makers to temples. We watch the famous lac bangles being made, miniature wood carvings that have captured the attention of National Geographic and the President of India, tie and dyeing of unique Bandhej fabric and potters.

In the evening we have a special Diwali candle light farewell dinner. Diwali is the biggest and the brightest festival in India. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness . On Diwali night, Hindus dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja (prayers) typically to Lakshmi - the goddess of wealth and prosperity.

Meals - B, L, D

Ayurvedic massage, India

Day 14, Churu to Delhi

We drive to Delhi where we start bidding each other a fond farewell. This is a 6 hour drive so please ensure you are ready for a soothing facial or Ayurvedic massage on arrival at our final stop on the tour. Enjoy a moonlight meal on the rooftop as we share memories of an unforgettable insight into incredible India.

Meals - B, L, D

Delhi, India

Day 15, Delhi

Sadly this fantastic trip has to come to an end. Flights home full of memories, shopping and a few epic dance moves!

Meals - B

Next trip to be advised . . . . .

Brenda, Canada

"My India highlights:Shashi's cooking class, visits to local homes,forts and palaces, guided tours and street walks, busy city vs quiet country interchanged to recharge/relax, camaraderie of female only group, quality historic accommodations, an transport with air con, train trip, the home stay and visits with local people, the festival in Kota. I loved it all!" (Morocco April 2013, India October 2013)

Brenda, Canada

"I haven't felt this free in 20 years"

Leigh, NZ.

Life is uncertain - eat cake!

"Life is uncertain
- eat cake!"

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