India - Tigers, The Taj Mahal & Amritsar With Varanasi Extension
15 nights. January 2021 - March 2022. From £2788.00.
Indian heritage highlights
Take a journey of the senses to the cities of the Golden Triangle, Sikhism's most sacred site and some of northern India’s most alluring countryside. Search for tigers in Ranthambhore and see the Taj Mahal on this enthralling holiday in Northern India. Journey into the prosperous province of Punjab, home to Amritsar’s sacred Golden Temple, and explore the beautiful Himalayan hill-state of Himachal-Pradesh, one of India’s most arresting and beguiling regions. Experience the colourful theatrics of a border-closing ceremony, visit exquisite, Tibetan-influenced Dharamsala and ride the Shatabdi Express train. 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 Included15 nights' half-board accommodation in a series of good-quality hotels in Delhi (2 nights), Jaipur (2), Ranthambhore (2), Dholpur (1), Agra (1), Pragpur (2) Amritsar (2), Varanasi (2) and Delhi (1) plus two nights on the aircraft
Return scheduled to Delhi
An internal flight from Amritsar to Delhi and between Delhi-Varanasi-Delhi
First-class rail travel between Delhi and Jalandhar
Comfortable, air-conditioned coach travel and transfers throughout
Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager
Holiday HighlightsA stay in Ranthambhore National Park, with two safaris
Witness the Palki ceremony at Amritsar’s Golden Temple
Sunset and sunrise visits to the immortal Taj Mahal
An included guided tour of the sights of New Delhi
Enjoy a traditional rickshaw ride through Old Delhi
Climb to Amber Fort by Jeep
See Jaipur’s Palace of the Winds
Stay overnight in a pool villa in Dholpur
Enjoy an Indian cookery demonstration
Explore the Heritage Village at Pragpur
A tour of the glorious Himalayan foothills
A visit to the Jallianwala Bagh memorial park
See the Indo-Pakistani border closing ceremony
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 1Fly overnight from the UK to Delhi.
Day 2Arriving in India, you'll meet your tour manager and transfer to your hotel. Later, after an included lunch, join your tour manager on a guided tour to the ruins of the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque and the ornate Qutb Minar tower that rises from them.
Day 3Today’s explorations begin with a guided tour of the Old City, and an exciting rickshaw ride through the lanes of Chandni Chowk. Afterwards, you’ll explore New Delhi, with its echoes of the British Raj, and visit the impressive Agrasen ki Baoli stepwell. This afternoon, you’ll travel to the Pink City of Jaipur, where you'll spend the next two nights.
Day 4Visit Amber’s extraordinary hill-top fort by Jeep to explore the Royal Halls and enjoy the magnificent views. This afternoon, discover Jaipur’s stunning City Palace museum, the famous astronomical observatory and drive by the 18th-century Palace of the Winds. Dinner tonight is taken in the city with a local Rajasthani family.
Day 5Journey to beautiful Ranthambhore National Park for a two-night stay, during which you’ll hope to catch a glimpse of the legendary Tigers of Ranthambhore. Relax in the hotel or join this afternoon’s optional excursion to Ranthambhore Fort before this evening’s tiger talk from a local naturalist.
Day 6Today's highlights will be two canter (open-air vehicle) safaris in the company of a knowledgeable naturalist guide. Search for signs of the legendary Tigers of Ranthambhore, as well as some of the park's other inhabitants: striped hyenas, sambar deer, sloth bears and perhaps even leopards. Lunch is included today.
Day 7Journey through the Rajasthan countryside to Dholpur to your next hotel - the Raj Niwas Palace. Once a Royal retreat, this glorious, red sandstone, Raj-era building stands in 13 acres of manicured gardens. During your stay you'll enjoy attentive service, accommodation in beautifully appointed pool-villas in the grounds, and have the opportunity to watch a cookery demonstration before dinner at this splendid heritage hotel.
Day 8An early morning cruise on the Chambal River offers the opportunity to spot crocodiles, turtles and birdlife. Afterwards, you'll travel to Agra, the City of Love, whose crowning sight is the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal. Visit majestic Agra Fort before your first sight of the Taj – in all its glory – at sunset.
Day 9Pay an early morning visit to view the Taj Mahal from across the Yamuna River. Afterwards, bid farewell to Agra and make your way back to Delhi for an overnight stay.
Day 10This morning we'll board an air-conditioned Shatabdi Express train and journey north to Jalandhar. You'll travel in First Class and breakfast will be provided en route. After lunch in Jalandhar, you'll cross the Punjabi plain and continue to exquisite Pragpur hill station. This former Royal settlement was named India's first Heritage Village. Enjoy its delightful surroundings, which include a 19th-century artificial Taal pond, several colourful temples and a collection of traditional artisans' shops. There will also be an included cookery demonstration at the hotel.
Day 11Call at former British hill station, Dharamsala and its upper town McLeod Ganj – a Tibetan refuge and home-in-exile to the Dalai Lama, which draws visitors from across the globe to its glorious setting. Visit Kangra Fort where a late lunch is included, before returning to Pragpur.
Day 12You'll take a scenic journey across the Punjabi plain to Amritsar, today. Here, you'll join the throng for the extraordinary Palki ceremony at the breath-taking Golden Temple. Sikhism’s holiest shrine is stunning by night, towering over the narrow streets of Amritsar’s Old Town. See its copper-plated Harimandir, from which a covered causeway runs out over the waters of the sacred lake, lined each evening by devotees who have come for the procession of the Granth Sahib, Sikhism’s Holy Book.
Day 13Today brings another opportunity to visit the Golden Temple. The jewel-encrusted, golden-domed main temple (which provides welcome and shelter for pilgrims from across the globe), the vast dining hall – where food is distributed free to some 35,000 people each day – and the Central Sikh Museum are all highlights of a fascinating day. You’ll also visit the Jallianwala Bagh, a poignant memorial park that commemorates one of the bloodiest days in Indian history. This evening, you'll make the short journey out to the Indo-Pakistani border crossing at Wagah, where the gates are closed and the flags lowered at sunset in a colourful, unforgettable ceremony.
Day 14Fly 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 15After 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 16Spend 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 17This 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 12th November 2020 and 28th October 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 5th 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.
Chambal River cruiseCruise is dependent on water levels.
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.
Itinerary changesOccasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
Changes to your hotelsShould circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.
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. Some journeys are made on winding mountain roads and passes, which may also make for slow travelling - although the scenery is usually worth it! 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