Northern Forts & Sacred Places

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Northern Forts & Sacred Places – Indian tour

Jaipur to Delhi (and vv.)

10 days

This is a short tour to introduce you to some of India’s most holy places. The Taj Mahal and erotic temple complex at Khajuraho is included as is the mysterious city of Fatehpur Sikri.

Approaching the Amber Fort

Approaching the Amber Fort

Sun, Day 1: Jodhpur – Pushkar Drive (4 ½ hrs)

Your car and driver will collect you from Jodhpur and drive you to Pushkar, the city of the holy lake, and check in to your nearby hotel. Late afternoon the guide will go with you into the city to see some of the famous sights including the Brahma Temple and Lake Pushkar; most evenings it’s possible to watch an Aarti ceremony. Aarti is a puja (religious rite) carried out by Hindu people. It’s a lovely, peaceful ceremony and very moving to observe. As the day ends make your way to Sunset Point to watch the setting sun.

Hotel: 1 night

Meals: B

Mon, Day 2: Pushkar to Jaipur Drive (3 ½ hrs)

After breakfast, drive to Jaipur, the Pink City, and check in to your hotel for a 2 night stay. In the late afternoon your guide will accompany you to the City Palace and Astronomical Observatory (Jantar Mantar). Jaipur is a buzzy city full of hustle and bustle on the streets where cycle rickshaws, auto-rickshaws (tuk-tuk) and camel carts jostle for position.

Jaipur City council is busy building a metro to take some pressure off the roads; due to open early 2014.

Observatory & City Palace – JAIPUR

Hotel – 2 nights

Meals – B

Tue, Day 3: Jaipur & The Amber Fort

After breakfast, head off to the Amber Fort and climb aboard your elephant in the same way the rulers of Rajasthan used to travel. The guide will show you around before returning to the Pink City. This afternoon visit the Heritage Bollywood Cinema known as “Raj Mandir” to see a “Bollywood Special” and catch up on some contemporary culture! These movies are longer than Hollywood’s equivalent but you can come out early if you need to. Alternatively, you could visit the Albert Hall Museum, the Sisodia gardens, or even have a look at some Step Wells (the guide is available and you can decide on the day).

Wed, Day 4: Jaipur – Agra Drive via Fatehpur Sikri (5 hrs)

This morning continue your travels in private car with driver, who will collect you after breakfast and set off for Agra. The abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri lies along the way and there’s time to wander around this bizarre, abandoned city. Drive on to Agra and check in to the hotel.

Hotel: 1 night

Meals: B

Thu, Day 5: Taj Mahal & Agra Fort; drive to Orcha (5 hrs)

Bright and early your guide will take you to the Taj to see this magnificent building at first light.

Return to the hotel for breakfast; check out and drive to Agra Fort which is a couple of Km away from its famous neighbour, the Taj Mahal. It dates from about the same time as the Battle of Hastings, but shares no resemblance to any British fort! At one time this was the capital of India and the seat of power.

After exploring the fort set off into rural India heading and the market town of Orcha; pause en route for lunch in a local restaurant and stretch your legs after the bumpy drive.

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Hotel: 1 night

Meals: B

Fri, Day 6: Drive to Khajuraho (3 hrs drive)

After breakfast continue to Khajuraho and its remarkable temple complex. You can visit the famous (and highly erotic) temple complexes this afternoon and again tomorrow morning. We recommend you hire a sit-up-and-beg bicycle and explore the ruins following the network of tiny footpaths, going at your own pace in this very rural, quiet place.

Khajuraho Temples

Khajuraho Temples

Hotel: 1 night

Meals: B

Sat, Day 7: Khajuraho to Varanasi (45 min flight)

Free time this morning to visit the temple complex; around mid-day you will be driven to the airport to board the flight to the city of Benaras (also known as Varanasi) which sits at the confluence of the Ganges, Varuna and Asi rivers. This evening the guide will accompany you to the bank of the Ganges to witness an Aarti Ceremony, contucted from the Ganges ghats (steps). It’s a lovely, peaceful ceremony to see and particularly moving to watch the light from wicks, soaked in ghee and camphor as they float slowly away on the current.

Hotel: 2 nights

Meals: B

Sun

Day 8: Varanasi – full day sightseeing

A sunrise trip on the Ganges is not to be missed (but wrap up warm). Later visit Sarnath, the deer park where the Buddha taught.  Explore Varanasi’s streets and bazaars on foot.

Mon, Day 9: Varanasi – Delhi flight

This morning is free to snatch up any last minute Varanasi bargains. Transf to the airport for the flight to Delhi. Free afternoon in Delhi. Tonight’s accommodation is a family home stay where you could try your hand at some Indian cooking.

Home stay: 1 night

Meals: B & D.

Thu, Day 10: Return home or onward travel.

After breakfast the private car and driver will run you to the airport, or railway station, for onward or homebound  travel.

Meals: B

Accommodation:

Throughout this itinerary we use converted fortresses, renovated manor houses (Haveli) family-owned and managed hotels and a delightful family stay in Delhi. We use rooms in the “Deluxe” and “Deluxe Cottage” categories (full details on request).

Price

£822 per person based on twin share accommodation; 2 persons travelling.

£723 per person based on twin share accommodation; 4 persons travelling.

£696 per person based on twin share accommodation; 6 or more  persons travelling.

Single supplement £237

Included in the price

Transport: by private car with aircon.

Flights: Khajuraho to Varanasi – afternoon flight – economy

Varanasi to Delhi – afternoon flight – economy

Entrance fees:

1. Jaipur: City Palace, Observatory, Amber Fort & elephant ride. Bollywood movie at Raj Mandir, Jaipur.

2. Fatehpur Sikri.

3. Agra: Taj Mahal & Agra Fort.

4. Khajuraho: Temple complexes.

6. Varanasi: boat ride on the Ganges, Sarnath, Rickshaw ride, Ghats, Aarti ceremony.

Local Guides: English speaking city guides at Jaipur, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Khajuraho, and Varanasi.