|Day 1, DELHI: Arrival in Delhi.
Day 2, JAIPUR: We take the early morning express train to Jaipur, the captivating Pink City. We visit the fabulous Amber Fort, situated 11 km north of from Jaipur. The fort is a magnificent complex of palaces, halls, pavilions, gardens and temples built over a period of 125 years by successive rulers.
Day 3, JAIPUR: On Jaipur’s streets, camel carts, scooters, cycle rickshaws, modern cars and bullock carts all jostle for space. You may even see a load of computers carried by a camel cart! There are palaces, observatories, parks, shops and a total riot of colour everywhere. Jaipur never fails to thrill. We visit the main sites on a morning tour and have the afternoon at leisure.
Day 4, MADHOGARH: Drive to Fort Madhogarh, fabulously situated atop a lone hill in the plains. From the rampart walls we have breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. The views of sunrise and sunset are especially unforgettable. We also have the opportunity to explore the nearby village to get an insight into rural India.
Day 5, AGRA: Continue to Agra. Stop en route at Fatehpur Sikri to visit the remains of the abandoned former Moghul capital.
Day 6, AGRA: We have time to enjoy the fantastic Taj Mahal, a sight which will leave you breathless no matter how many pictures of it you have seen before.
Day 7, ORCHHA: Early morning express train to Jhansi. From here it is a short drive to the medieval temple town of Orchha. During the 16th and 17th centuries this was the capital of the Bundela dynasty who built a fort palace on a small island on a bend in the Betwa River, later followed by other magnificent fortifications, palaces and temples. At the end of the 18th century, Orchha was pillaged by the Mughal imperial army and the magnificent monuments have lain virtually deserted ever since.
Day 8, KHAJURAHO: Drive from Orchha to Khajuraho, a tiny village in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Khajuraho is known for its temples representing the finest art and architecture of medieval India. These temples were built in a short span of hundred years between 950 to 1050 AD.
Day 9, KHAJURAHO: Today out of eighty five temples only twenty five remain. Every inch of the outside, and much of the inside, of these temples is covered by superb stone carvings. The sculptures are sublime and sensuous at the same time. They adorn every space of the temple walls depicting several themes of celestial nymphs, ascetics in penance, hunting and war scenes, group dances and royal processions. The most famous are the erotic sculptures. Nothing is left to the imagination, and you will be surprised, shocked, and impressed.
Day 10, VARANASI: We travel by road and rail to Varanasi, the most important pilgrimage place for Hindus. Possibly the oldest city in the world, Varanasi occupies an especially holy place on the banks of the River Ganges. All Hindus should come here at least once in their lifetime to bathe in the river. Watching the religious rituals (best at sunrise and sunset) and everyday life of this chaotic, crowded, but most fascinating of Indian cities, is a unique and profound experience.
Day 11, VARANASI: The principal attraction of Varanasi is the long string of bathing ghats, which line the west bank of the Ganges. Ghats are the steps which lead down to the river from which pilgrims make their sin cleansing dip in the holy river and on which bodies are cremated. A boat ride on the Ganges at dawn, when it is full of pilgrims, is an amazing experience. The remainder of the day is free to explore Varanasi.
Day 12, BHAIRAWA: Travel to the border between Nepal and India. Nearby is the town of Lumbini, where Siddhartha Gautama - better known as the Buddha - was born. If time allows there may be the option to take an excursion to Lumbini.
Day 13, KATHMANDU: Continue to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.
Day 14, KATHMANDU: Day at leisure.
Day 15, KATHMANDU: Morning walking tour of Asan, Durbar Square and Swayambunath Temple. Afternoon at leisure.
Day 16, POKHARA: Drive to Pokhara, a market town in western Nepal set on a beautiful lake amid spectacular mountain scenery.
Day 17, POKHARA: A free day to go for a boat ride on the lake, hike into the hills, visit the Tibetan refugee center or simply hire a bike and enjoy this laid back lakeside town.
Day 18, CHITWAN: Our journey takes us through the valleys of central Nepal to the banks of the Rapti River beside Chitwan National Park.
Day 19, CHITWAN: On foot, canoe or on elephant, there is the chance to see some of Chitwan’s famous rhinos.
Day 20, KATHMANDU: Return to Kathmandu.
Day 21, KATHMANDU: Tour ends.