A Journey Through India - Palace & Fort Stays With Varanasi Extension
17 nights. January 2021 - May 2022. From £2684.00.
Golden Age luxury
Enjoy Golden Age luxury and some unforgettable experiences as you discover the glories of Rajasthan. This extraordinary small-group tour includes stays in some of Northern India’s finest heritage hotels, and is crammed with memorable experiences. First Delhi, then Agra, then Rajasthan (the Land of Kings) reveal their glorious pasts and rich traditions, stupendous palaces, great forts and decorated hawelis. With included safaris by boat and jeep, fine dining in some astonishing settings, and a host of tours and excursions that will bring your surroundings thrillingly to life, this is India at its finest. Extend your holiday and visit sacred Varanasi is a 3,000 year old city on the sacred Ganges to which Hindu pilgrims make their way to bathe in the holy waters. View the ghats from a river boat at dawn and journey to Sarnath, one of Buddhism’s holiest sights.
What's Included17 nights' half-board accommodation in historic heritage and four and five-star hotels
A rickshaw ride through Old Delhi
A boat safari on the Chambal River and a cruise on Lake Pichola
Two jeep safaris
A guided tour of Udaipur
Return scheduled flights to Delhi
Internal flights Delhi-Varanasi-Delhi
A Gatimaan Express train journey from Delhi to Agra
Comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle transfers and travel
Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager
Holiday HighlightsStay in luxurious heritage hotels in spectacular surroundings
Discover the sights of Delhi by rickshaw
Visit Agra's Fort and peerless Taj Mahal
Jaipur's Amber Fort, Observatory and City Palace
Tour exquisite Udaipur and cruise on Lake Pichola
Seeing Ranakpur's astonishing Jain temples
Marvel at Jodhpur's stupendous Meherengarh Fort
Experiencing an 'Arabian Nights' adventure under Bikaner's desert sky
Stay in the luxury resort at Vanaashyra, in the foothills of the Aravali
Complete your holiday with a stay in sacred Varanasi
PLEASE NOTE: Price is per person and based on two people sharing a twin/double room. Single room supplements and upgrades are not included.
Day 1Head to the airport and board your overnight flight to Delhi.
Day 2Arrive in Delhi, meet your Tour Manager and transfer to the elegant, historic Maidens Hotel, haven of old-world elegance and modern comforts. Settle in, then join your Tour Manager for a guided tour of Old Delhi, which reveals some of the city's most iconic sights: the Red Fort, Jama Masjid Mosque and Raj Ghat - Gandhi's cremation site. After the tour, immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of Indian street life on an exhilarating rickshaw ride through vibrant Chandni Chowk, one of the city's oldest markets, before heading back to the hotel for dinner.
Day 3Rise early this morning to board the Gatimaan Express, India's fastest train, to Agra, the glorious City of Love. Here you'll enjoy a guided tour of majestic Agra Fort, exploring its royal pavillions, palaces and pretty courtyards, and the Taj Mahal. After an unforgettable few hours to explore this dazzling monument to undying love, which has become India's most potent symbol, you'll make the short journey to Dholpur and the Ras Niwas Palace, where you'll stay in beautifully appointed rooms in the grounds. Why not enjoy a sundowner overlooking the lawns before dinner?
Day 4Enjoy a lazy morning relaxing at your hotel. After lunch, board one of the Palace's boats for a cruise along the Chambal River on the look out for the colourful birdlife, crocodiles and rare, endangered long-snouted gharials that call the waterway home. Later, round off the day with another splendid dinner at your hotel.
Day 5Today you'll travel across the Rajasthani plain to the pink city of Jaipur, where another beautiful heritage hotel is your home for the next two nights. Set in a former harveli - an Indian mansion - this beautiful hotel is a quiet oasis of calm close to the bustling old city. Enjoy a lazy evening settling into your surroundings, perhaps opting for a dip in the pool or a relaxing treatment at the spa, before dinner is served.
Day 6Discover the historic sights of Jaipur. Journey by jeep to towering Amber Fort, which perches on a hilltop and offers stupendous views from its red sandstone ramparts. After time to explore its Royal Halls, gardens, courtyards, you'll travel to the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds, to see the many windows and screened balconies of its famous red facade. After lunch in the ornate surroundings of the Samode Haveli, a historic former home of the maharajas that has been converted into a luxurious hotel, you'll visit the City Palace complex to see its temple, museums, courtyards and gardens, and then continue to Jantar Mantar, the city's ancient astronomical observatory. This evening, enjoy dinner in the hotel.
Day 7Cross Rajasthan's landscape dotted with historic palaces and havelis to Deogarh. In the afternoon you'll arrive at the Deogarh Mahal heritage hotel, a former home to Mewar rulers. After check-in, join a local guide for a thrilling jeep safari through the countryside, and a walk through a local village before returning to the hotel for dinner.
Day 8This morning's short journey takes you to Udaipur, the sublime City of Lakes, for a two-night stay overlooking Lake Pichola. Explore the "Venice of the East", with its exquisite marble lakeside palaces, and enjoy your hotel's surroundings before dinner.
Day 9See the sights of Udaipur this morning on a guided tour. Highlights include the majestic City Palace and the beautiful 'gardens of the royal ladies' at Sahelion-ki-Bari. This afternoon, explore under your own steam, then re-join your group for a leisurely evening cruise on Lake Pichola, and a dinner overlooking the stunning facade of City Palace.
Day 10Head north through the beautiful scenery of the Aravali Hills, pausing in Ranakpur to visit the astonishing Jain temples - a quartet of intricate, marble edifices that nestle in a wooded valley. In the late afternoon you'll arrive on the outskirts of Jodhpur for a two-night stay at another beautiful, lakeside heritage hotel. Rest and relax before dinner, which might be served under the stars.
Day 11Explore the extraordinary, desert-fringed "blue city" of Jodhpur – so called because of the blue colour-washed houses that decorate its old city. Explore its monumental Mehrangarh Fort, which towers over the city on its sandstone butte protecting a complex of ornate palaces and courtyards with a fascinating museum, and visit the marbled Jaswant Thanda memorial and the vast Umaid Bhawan palace museum. Later, take an evening jeep safari to a village inhabited by the Bishnoi, who follow a 15th-century religious creed that includes a variety of instructions to preserve the environment – earning them the title of the world's first eco-warriors.
Day 12Drive into the sands of the Great Indian Desert to the remote city of Bikaner, where ornate Junagarh Fort dominates the labyrinthine old city. Tour the Fort's pavilions and palaces, then enjoy a fascinating visit to a camel-breeding farm. This evening, you'll travel further into the desert to a camp that sits among the towering sand dunes. Marvel at the dazzling sunset, take a camel-cart ride under the starlit sky and enjoy an unforgettable dinner.
Day 13Continue your journey through the desert, travelling along an ancient trading route into a region where small market towns are dwarfed by richly decorated havelis. You'll spend a night at the sumptuous Alsisar Mahal heritage hotel, which boasts decorated arcades, frescoes and tranquil courtyards. Settle in, then enjoy a glass of champagne while listening to a talk from a local historian, who will shed light on the story behind the area's opulent Shekhawati havelis.
Day 14On the last leg of this wonderful journey you'll travel back through Rajasthan's exotic landscape to the Aravali Hills, with an included lunch en route at the ornate Shahpura Haveli. You'll spend two nights at Vanaashrya Resort, which sits immersed in beautiful jungle scenery. Upon arrival, rest and relax, and settle into your comfortable, air-conditioned cottage.
Day 15Spend your day relaxing at Vanaashrya. Explore the ruins of Bhangarh Fort, which dates back to the 17th Century and is thought to be haunted, then take a camel-cart ride to a nearby village for a glimpse of local life. This evening, you'll be treated to a cookery demonstration before dinner.
Day 16Fly to historic Varanasi, and transfer to your hotel. Take some time to relax before venturing out into the heart of the old city. Rub shoulders with holy men and walk with devotees towards this evening's Aarti ceremony on the banks of the sacred Ganges. Later, take dinner in your hotel.
Day 17After breakfast this morning, take a boat ride along the great Ganges, known locally as Mother Ganga - India's most sacred river. Later, take in over 2000 years of history as you are taken on a guided tour of this most important of Indian conurbations. Afterwards, enjoy lunch and take an excursion to Sarnath to visit is museum and ruins.
Day 18Spend this morning relaxing in your hotel, or choose to venture out into Varanasi's beguiling streets one last time. In the afternoon, transfer to the airport and fly to Delhi. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel, dine and rest.
Day 19This morning take breakfast in your hotel, before transferring to the airport and boarding your flight home. Back to top
Diwali - India's Festival of LightsPassengers travelling on the 9th November 2020, 25th October and 1st November 2021 departures will have the chance to celebrate Diwali, a major Hindu festival marked by family gatherings, and by decorative displays of candles and lamps shining from rooftops and doorsteps, in windows, and all around temple buildings.
Holi - India's Festival of Colours and LovePassengers travelling on the 2nd March 2020 departures will be able to join the joyful crowds throwing coloured powder into the air in celebration of Krishna and the beginning of spring.
Taj Mahal restoration workThe white marble of the Taj Mahal is being gradually cleaned in a process that will take up to four years. Parts of the monument's surface may be covered during this process though your visit and access to the main dome is not likely to be restricted.
Hotel transfer timesThe transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour.
Passports and visasBritish citizens require machine-readable passports when travelling overseas. Your passport must contain two blank pages and be valid for 180 days after your return date from India. A visa is also required for entry to India. Full details of how and when to apply will be sent out about eight weeks before departure. British CITIZENS and some other European nationals satisfying certain conditions may use the online e-Tourist Visa application process at a cost of $10 (US) per person for entry to India for arrivals in the months of April, May and June or $25 (US) per person for arrivals in other months. Other British passport holders, who are not British CITIZENS, must apply for a full visa which costs £112. You may also, at extra cost, use the services of CIBT, our recommended visa handling partner, who will handle the whole process for you. Note that all travellers of Pakistani descent, regardless of citizenship, will generally be subject to more detailed processing by the Indian authorities, which can take up to four months from application.
Foreign Office Travel AdviceVisit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.
On your flightAll outbound flights leave in the evening and land at your destination the next day. All return flights leave in the morning and land in the UK on the same day. On-board meals will usually include dinner and breakfast on outbound flights, and lunch and a snack on the flight home. Drinks are complimentary.
Luggage allowanceYou are permitted to take one suitcase per person on the aircraft, which should not exceed 23kg.
Special requirementsIf you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
Disabled accessThe majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made. In many developing countries access is sometimes not as easy as at home. Should you have walking difficulties, getting around monuments and attractions may be harder and, in some cases, impossible. Should you have any concerns whatsoever please do contact us prior to travel.
Travel vaccinationsRequirements and advice can vary over time, and from person to person, so please contact your GP about eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or any other preventive measures.
Road ConditionsIn developing countries road networks are continually being improved and expanded, which can mean that, from time to time, roadworks and rough road surfaces can extend journey times. Many roads do not have separate pavements or safety barriers, and great care should be taken when crossing or walking alongside roads. Back to top