15 Nights 16 Days Introduction to North India

(New Delhi – Varanasi – Khajuraho – Agra – Jaipur – Jodhpur – Udaipur -New Delhi)

Overview

India is as diverse a landmass it any can be. She is a lesson in geographical terminologies, a chronological survey of human history, a collection of all race types and a study in culture. It is a ‘museum of anthropology’, as a 19th century British scholar commented. Indeed, it is impossible to explore India in a short few weeks’ tour; but definitely an introduction to India can begin with North India.

Tour Highlights

  • Marvel the Taj Mahal
  • Visit the erotic temples of Khajuraho
  • Explore the Pink City of Jaipur
  • Boat ride in Udaipur
  • Enjoy regional food
  • Visit the ancient city of Varanasi
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  • Itinerary
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Day 1   New Delhi

Day 1 New Delhi

Welcome to India. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel, Get a taste of Indian hospitality while you enter the hotel by the hotel staff. You will experience the traditional Indian welcome, whilst you complete the check-in procedures. We realise that our guest will be tired and jet lagged by a long journey, so the first day is for you to relax and get acclimatised to the surrounding.

Overnight in New Delhi

Day 2     New Delhi

Day 2 New Delhi

After a leisurely breakfast you will commence your full day tour of Old & New
Delhi. Visit Asia’s largest mosque Jama Masjid, Qutub Minar, Mahatma Gandhi memorial. Delhi had been a favourite of many dynasties and rulers in the past. Due to this, the heritage and culture of Delhi has influences of various ethnicities. One part is Old Delhi and the other half is New Delhi. Old Delhi is known for its architectural wonders that brilliantly depict the tales of its bygone era. On the other hand, the new face of Delhi has modern infrastructure that talks about the urban delights of the city.

Overnight in New Delhi

Day 3   New Delhi – Varanasi

Day 3 New Delhi – Varanasi

This morning you would be collected from your hotel and taken to the airport in time to board your flight to Varanasi. On arrival in Varanasi you would be received and taken to your hotel.Varanasi is a city of temples and places of worship and for more than 2000 years, it has attracted pilgrims from near and far. Many Hindus in the latter part of their lives wish to spend their retirement here. This is the city of Varanasi. According to Hindu belief, Benaras or Varanasi as it isknown, is the cosmic centre of the Universe. Mark Twain once wrote, “Beneras is older thanhistory, older than other tradition, older even than legends and looks twice as old as all of themput together”. Situated between the rivers Varuna and Ashi as they join the Ganges, Varanasi takesits name from its location. It is also called Kashi, the city of lights In the evening you will be taken to the ghats of the Ganges where you walk around and witnessthe mesmerising evening aarti.

Overnight in Varanasi

Day 4    Varanasi

Day 4 Varanasi

Early this morning you will be taken to the ghats once again and enjoy boat ride on the river while watching spectacular sunrise. Viewing the ghats early in the morning from a boat on the river can be an unforgettable experience. The river front, as seen from a boat, early in the morning, at sunrise, is a spiritually uplifting sight. Hinduism, deep and mystical, is everywhere – in a decorated doorway, in a glimpse of a glittering temple, in the sound of a sacred bell and the
chants of the priests....After your boat ride you will be taken on a brief walking tour of the old town. The lanes and bylanes of Varanasi are as fascinating as anything one can imagine. Shops sell rich brocade silks, brassware and also all the articles essential for worship at numerous little shrines. You will returnto your hotel for breakfast and the rest of the morning would be at leisure.
In the afternoon you will be driven a short distance outside town to visit Sarnath (Sarnath Museum is closed on Mondays). Sarnath is an important centre for Buddhists pilgrims. Having achieved enlightenment at Bodhgaya, the Buddha came to Sarnath and gave his first message of the middle path to Nirvana. Later, Ashoka, the great Buddhist Emperor, erected magnificent 'stupas'and monasteries here in the 3rd century BC.

Overnight in Varanasi

Day 5   Varanasi – Khajuraho – Panna

Day 5 Varanasi – Khajuraho – Panna

After a leisurely morning you would be collected from your hotel and taken to the airport in time toboard your flight to Khajuraho. On arrival in Khajuraho you would be met and taken for a shorttour of Khajuraho.Once the capital of great Chandela rulers, Khajuraho today, is a quiet village of only few thousand
people. In the temples of Khajuraho, the sculptures have shown many aspects of Indian life 1000years ago - gods and goddesses, warriors and musicians, real and mythological animals. Indeed, the theme of the sculptures also include erotic life of the period though this aspect of the sculpture has been over-emphasised...at the expense of other themes of the temple sculptures.
Khajuraho's temples almost all date from one century-long burst of creative genius from 950-1050 AD. Basically all temples follow a three-part layout. You enter the temple through a porch (Ardhamandapa). Behind this is the hall (Mahamandapa), supported with pillars and with a corridor around it. The inner sanctum (Garbhagriha) is where the image of the god, to which the temple isdedicated, is displayed. The temples are almost all aligned east to west, with the entrance facing east. Most of the temples are made of sandstone. The temples can be divided into three groups:
Western, Eastern and Southern. Of these, the Western Group is the most impressive. After visiting the temples you will be driven a short distance to Panna.

Overnight in Panna

Day 6   Khajuraho / Panna

Day 6 Khajuraho / Panna

Early this morning you would be taken to visit the Panna National Park in a game drive.Lying along the river Ken, Panna National Park contains large areas of un-spoilt forest and a varietyof wildlife spread over almost 543 sq. km. The tiger can be glimpsed here, though rarely, withother rare species such as the leopard, wolf and gharial. Herds of bluebells, chinkara and sambharare a common sight. Rest of the day may be spent in leisure or you may undertake activities and excursions available here:

• Fishing on the pristine Ken river, walks through the crop fields of the surrounding countryside and birding on site or at nearby forest and wetland areas.
• Visit a number of seasonal waterfalls in the neighbouring area
• Visit Maheba/Dhubela where there are majestic Chhatris (cenotaphs) of the Bundela Maharaja and his queens.
• You may also visit Ajaygarh Fort; this rarely visited wonderful

Overnight in Panna

Day 7   Khajuraho/Panna – Orchha – Jhansi - Agra

Day 7 Khajuraho/Panna – Orchha – Jhansi - Agra

After a leisurely morning you will be driven to Jhansi Rail Station (3 ó hours) to board your train toAgra (Shatabdi Express; departing Jhansi at 1845; arriving Agra at 2110). En route you will visit thesleepy little town of Orchha.Orchha is a city frozen in time. It was founded by Bundela Chieftain, Raja Rudra Pratap in the 16th century, who chose this stretch of land along the Betwa River as an ideal site for his capital. He andthe succeeding rulers of Orchha built many beautiful palaces and temples in the 16th and 17thcentury. Today, remains of the fort and palaces speak eloquently of Orchha’s time of glory. Though little more than a village, stepping back in time into Orchha’s history is an enjoyable experience.

On arrival in Agra you will be received and taken to your hotel.

Overnight in Agra

Day 8    Agra - Jaipur

Day 8 Agra - Jaipur

Early this morning you would be taken to visit Taj Mahal around sunrise. The Taj Mahal (closed on Fridays) has been described as a 'tear on the face of eternity' and as an enduring monument of love. The unique beauty of Taj Mahal is blended with grandeur and its massive over-all design is matched with immaculately intricate execution. Built by Mughal EmperorShan Jehan in the memory of his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal complex took 22 years to be completed and is today counted among the Seven Wonders of the World.
Return to your hotel for breakfast. After check out you will be taken to visit Agra Fort. Many of the events which led to the construction of the Taj took place in the famous Agra Fort. Begun by Emperor Akbar in 1565, additions continued to be made until the time of his grandson Shah Jehan.
The magnificent palaces, towers, bastions, ramparts and gateways symbolise the power of the mighty Mughals. Made mostly of red sandstone it is strikingly similar to the Red Fort in Delhi. After lunch in a city restaurant (pay directly), you will be driven to Jaipur (4 hours drive) – en route visit the deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri. Fatehpur Sikri was built by great Mughal Emperor Akbar in the 16th century to serve as the capital of his vast empire. The city was decorated with grand courts, palaces, mosques and gardens that rivalled the splendours of Delhi and Agra. However, destiny had other things in store for the city. Shortage of water and un-rest in the north-west made Akbar abandon the city only 13 years later.Today, even after the passage of 400 years, the magnificence of this royal city has not faded and remains immaculately preserved. You will arrive in Jaipur early in the evening and would be at leisure for the rest of the day.

Overnight in Jaipur

Day 9   Jaipur

Day 9 Jaipur

Today you will be taken for a tour of Jaipur city. Start the day with a visit to the milk market where large quantities of milk is procured fromindividual sellers and then resold to whole buyers. Enjoy the interesting ways by which thebuyers judge the purity of milk and negotiate the prices. Afterwards continue to Amber Fort - oneof the more fascinating of Indian forts. It was the ancient capital of the erstwhile Jaipur state. Its construction began in 16th century and was subsequently added on to by successive rulers. Inside the fort, the places worth visiting are the Palace of Mirrors, inlaid with millions of tiny glistening mirrors, the hall of Public Audience and the beautiful manicured gardens.
After lunch in a city restaurant (pay directly) you will be taken to visit the City Palace, Jantar Mantar (medieval observatory) and drive past Hawa Mahal (palace of winds). The City Palace is situated in the heart of the city. The whole complex is wonderfully laid out with large courtyards, balconies, cupolas, arched entrances and gardens, which are a combination of Rajput and Mughal architecture. The museum here displays the rich heritage of the Jaipur family inminiature paintings, textiles, garments, books & manuscripts, carpets, palanquins and weapons dating back to the 15th century. The medieval observatory has curious collection of sculptures, which enable the calculation of many astronomical and astrological events like eclipses etc. Each of these structures was built after relentless study of books, manuscripts and discussions with scholars from all over the world. Even today they are put to good work. Built in 1799 Hawa Mahal or the palace of winds is one of the landmarks of Jaipur city, although it is little more than a façade. It is a five-storey building in pink, built to enable the women of the harem to see the activities of the outside world without being seen.

Overnight in Jaipur

Day 10   Jaipur

Day 10 Jaipur

Full-day at leisure or explore the city with our car and driver at your disposal.

Overnight in Jaipur.

Day 11    Jaipur – Jodhpur

Day 11 Jaipur – Jodhpur

This morning you will be driven to Jodhpur (6 hours drive). On arrival check into your hotel and beat leisure.

Early in the evening you will be taken out to see busy local market places to get a feel of the city.Founded in 1459, Jodhpur was once the capital of the Marwar State and a major trade centre in the16th century due to its location on the ancient silk route. Today, Jodhpur has grown to become the second largest city of Rajasthan without shedding its medieval splendour

Overnight in Jodhpur

Day 12 Jodhpur

Day 12 Jodhpur

Today you will be taken for a half-day tour of Jodhpur city – visiting Mehrangarh Fort and Jaswant Thada.Mehrangarh fort, one of the largest forts in India, is unsurpassed in beauty and grandeur. Innumerable palaces in the fort, MotiMahal, Phool Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Sileh Khana and Daulat Khana are interspersed with sprawling courtyards and intricately carved. A collection of oldweapons, arms, musical instruments, palanquins, royal costumes and furniture are preserved and developed in the Sileh Khana . Close to the fort is the royal cenotaph Jaswant Thada a creation of white marble, which displays the portraits of Jodhpurs’s rulers.

Overnight in Jodhpur

Day 13 Jodhpur – Udaipur

Day 13 Jodhpur – Udaipur

After a leisurely morning you would be driven to Udaipur (5 hours drive). This morning after breakfast we depart for our onward journey to the lake city of Udaipur. Enroute we visit Ranakpur. Renowned for its Jain temples with intricately carved marble Pillars and Domes, Ranakpur is amongst the five holiest places of the Jain community and exceptional in beauty. Tucked away in a remote valley in the Aravalli ranges, it boasts of one of the largest and most important Jain Temples in the country. It has a four-temple complex which is famous for its peaceful and harmonious surroundings. The temples are believed to have been built in 1439 A.D. The temple rests on 1444 elegantly carved pillars, with no two being identical and the realistic sculptures of celestial nymphs playing the flute in various dance postures at a height of 45 feet are a fascinating sight to see. The two huge bells weighing 108 kgs each, whose sound echoes in the entire complex, add to the temple’s allure.

Overnight in Udaipur

Day 14   Udaipur

Day 14 Udaipur

Founded by Maharaja Udai Singh in 1568, Udaipur is situated on the banks of Lake Pichola with lush green hills of the Aravalli surroundings, making it the most romantic city of Rajasthan. A vision in white drenched in beauty, the city is a fascinating blend of sights and sounds. The rich cultural, social and natural heritage, aesthetic beauty and ecological richness, preserved through the lakes, serene and opulent hilly ranges, lush green vegetation, pleasant gardens and harmonious built forms present a unique condition of scenic beauty.
Proceed for guided sightseeing tour and visit City Palace, Jagdish Temple, Museum, Jag Mandir and Saheliyon-Ki-Bari. Enjoy rest of the day on the banks of the Lake Pichola, which shines like a jewel in the crown of the city adding more grace and grandeur to it or optionally take sunset cruise or visit the numerous shops that dot the narrow windings streets of Udaipur.

Overnight in Udaipur

Day 15  Udaipur

Day 15 Udaipur

Today the complete day is at leisure. You can venture out to the numerous markets in the lake city. You can buy Indian art and handicrafts from the several shops around the city.

Overnight in Udaipur

Day 16      Udaipur – New Delhi

Day 16 Udaipur – New Delhi

Today you will be collected from your hotel (check-out before 12 Noon) and transferred to the airport for flight to Delhi. On arrival in Delhi you will be received and taken to the international airport in time to board your flight back home with a bunch of enthralling and mesmerizing memories of your tour.

Travel Insurance

Yes. All Zigi Tour’s guests are required to purchase travel insurance prior to their India tour. Your leader will record your insurance details on the first day.We have negotiated very special rates with our colleagues at Holiday Extras – with no upper age limits and no medical declaration for UK tours.

To obtain a quotation simply call them on 0800 2800 104 – Please ensure you quote our special price code Q4228

Dust Masks

Unfortunately pollution is a global phenomenon. It is advisable to carry dust masks if you are sensitive to dust or may have conditions like asthma, etc.

Charcoal Tablets

They’re an incredibly effective way of stopping diarrhoea and preventing dysentery (Delhi Belly). It quickly absorbs the toxins or pathogens that are causing the problem and keeps you strong.

Passport Pouch

A pouch to keep your personal belongings like passports, loose money, personal medications, Photo ID, etc. is strongly recommended.

Camera

India is a place of endless eye candy and spectacles that you won’t see anywhere else. Naturally a camera comes in handy.

Personal water filter

We provide complimentary mineral filtered water for our tours. It is strongly advised to consume only packaged drinking water or carry water purification tablets.

Power adapter

It is important to carry international travel adapters to charge your electronic items such as laptops , phones, toothbrush, tablets, etc

Electrolytes

It is important to stay hydrated. Electrolytes can be easily added to a bottle of water to get an extra boost of hydration.

Sunscreen

A good sunscreen is strongly advised to protect your skin from tropical weather.

Travel Backpack

Travel back pack comes in handy whilst you are on a day tour or just venturing out. It can be stored to keep your belongings such as camera, tablet, water bottle, snacks, etc