Day by day description of tour activities:

 

Day 1 Delhi  Oct 30 Humayuns Tomb; Qutub Minar; Lotus Temple; Rajpath

We will gather for our traditional get-acquainted meeting early in the afternoon so we can get a full afternoon of sightseeing in before dinner together.
Humayun’s Tomb, built in 1570, is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It inspired several major architectural innovations, and heavily influenced the Taj Mahal.  Qutub Minar, the world’s tallest brick minaret. Construction commenced in 1193 under the orders of India’s first Muslim ruler Qutub-ud-din Aibak. The Lotus Temple is a Bahai House of Worship completed in 1986. Notable for its flowerlike shape, it serves as the Mother Temple of the Indian subcontinent and has become a prominent attraction in the city.  We’ll make a photo stop at Rajpath, Delhi’s grand boulevard with the iconic India Gate, Parliament Building, and Presidential Palace (Rashtrapati Bhavan).
Evening: Home Cooked Dinner with a local family.  As dinner is being prepared, your host will provide information on the lifestyles of Indians, the traditions of home life, the importance of family in Indian culture, arranged marriages – and of course, the food! You’ll dine on a traditional Indian home-cooked meal.
Hotel Jaypee Siddharth  http://www.jaypeehotels.com/siddharth

Day 2 Udaipur  Oct 31  Jagdish Temple

Morning flight to Udaipur.  In the afternoon we’ll visit Jagdish Temple, built in 1651 by Maharana Jagat Singh.  This Indo-Aryan temple is the largest and the most beautiful temple of Udaipur with noteworthy statuary.
Dinner at UPRE Restaurant. Our hotel’s rooftop restaurant offers spectacular Lake Pichola and City Palace views, fine international cuisine, and authentic flavors of Rajasthan.
Lake Pichola Hotel  (2n)  http://www.lakepicholahotel.com/

Day 3 Udaipur Nov 1  City Palace; Lake Pichola cruise

Free Morning.  In the afternoon we will visit Udaipur’s City Palace, a majestic architectural marvel towering over the lake on a hill and surrounded by crenellated walls.  It is a blend of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, sumptuous rooms and hanging gardens.  Next we proceed directly to our classic evening boat ride on Lake Pichola.  This lake is picturesquely surrounded by splendid hills, palaces, temples, bathing ghats and embankments. We’ll cruise by the famous floating Lake Palace Hotel and visit the island palace of Jag Mandir.

Day 4 Jodhpur Nov 2  Ranakpur Temple

After breakfast we depart Udaipur by private bus to Jodhpur.  On the way we will visit magnificent Ranakpur Temple.  This Jain temple was built during the reign of Rana Kumbha in the 15th century and is our favorite temple in India.  It features impressive pillared halls and majestic domes supported by over four hundred intricately carved marble columns.  Dinner is at the Rooftop Restaurant of the Pal Haveli hotel overlooking the illuminated Mehrangarh Fort.
Balsamand Garden Retreat http://balsamandgardenretreat.jodhanaheritage.com/

Day 5 Pushkar  Nov 3  Mehrangarh Fort; Pushkar Camel Fair

This morning our destination is Mehrangarh, India’s most majestic fort. Situated on a steep hill, its interior boasts sumptuous palaces and impressive courtyards.  The audioguides we’ll use are narrated by the current Maharaja of Jodhpur, whose family still owns the fortress.  In the afternoon we will drive to Pushkar for the world-famous Camel Fair.
Hotel Pushkar Fort (2n) http://www.pushkarfort.com/

Day 6 Pushkar  Nov 4  Pushkar Camel Fair

Today we have all day to visit the Pushkar Fair (Mela).  Camel camps dot the hills of the surrounding desert.  The pageantry of the electrically colorful Rajasthani culture will be on full display at today’s closing ceremony which we will enjoy as honored guests.  We’ll conclude our Mela experience with dinner out in the dunes, complete with lessons in turban tying and sari draping, and a traditional Rajashani dance performance.

Day 7 Jaipur Nov 5  Red Temple; Bollywood night

We depart Pushkar by bus to Jaipur, visiting Ajmer enroute.  Ajmer is home to the Red Temple, another amazing and unique temple experience.  Tonight is Bollywood Night!  Discover the extravagance of a Bollywood blockbuster, with all the Bollywood-style elements of action, romance, drama and music (sometimes all rolled into one), at the spectacular Raj Mandir Cinema. Don’t forget to check out the Indian take on movie snacks.
Narain Niwas Palace Hotel (2n) http://www.hotelnarainniwas.com/

Day 8 Jaipur Nov 6  Amber Fort

We have a free morning to explore the Pink City.  Visit the City Palace, the fascinating 18th century Jantar Mantar, go shopping in the old city, or just relax in our luxury hotel.  This afternoon we will transfer to splendid Amber Fort. Maharaja Mansingh built the fortress and walls in the 17th century. Before the City Palace was constructed in Jaipur, Amber was the seat of power. The fort is surrounded by fortified battlements and overlooks a photogenic lake and crenelated walls.  Dinner will be at 1135 AD Restaurant inside the fort. All the recipes used at 1135 AD have been passed down for generations through various royal families. One would expect the food to be rich and decadent, and it does not disappoint.

Day 9 Agra Nov 7  Chand Beori; Fatapur Sikri

During our drive to Agra we will visit two of India’s lesser known but premier sights.  The Chand Baori is a stepwell built over a thousand years ago.  It is one of the largest and most beautiful stepwells in the world.  The deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri was built by Emperor Akbar in 1569.  But the city was abandoned during his lifetime, leaving the evocative ghost town of today. Dinner is at Pind Balluchi restaurant, an interesting amalgamation of rustic ambiance and delicious food. It boasts a Punjabi village theme with Mud walls, artifacts, and traditional attire.
Hotel Grand Imperial (2n)  http://www.hotelgrandimperial.com/

Day 10 Agra Nov 8  Taj Mahal; Agra Fort

This morning we’ll visit the ultimate monument of love and flawless architectural creation. Shah Jehan’s Taj Mahal has inspired poets and writers for centuries.  It was once described as “A teardrop glistening on the cheek of eternity”.  Afterward we move on to Agra Fort.  Built by Emperor Akbar and beautified with palaces and gardens by his heir Jehangir, Agra Fort today dominates the center of the city.  Shah Jehan was imprisoned here, within sight of his beloved Taj Mahal.

Day 11 Khajuraho Nov 9  Orccha

This morning we depart Agra by train, taking the “Shatabdi Express” to Jhansi.  We will visit nearby Orchha before continuing to Khajuraho.  Orccha’s grandeur has been captured in stone, frozen in time, a rich legacy of past glories. The medieval palaces, temples, and cenotaphs were built by its Bundela rulers in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Hotel Syna Heritage http://www.synaheritagehotel.com/index.php

Day 12 Varanasi Nov 10  Khajuraho temples

We begin our day visiting the Western Group of Khajuraho, famous for their “erotic” sculpture decorations.  After a break for lunch we will fly to Varnasi.  We’ll be met upon arrival and transferred to the hotel.
Hotel Palace on Ganges (2n)  http://palaceonganges.com/

Day 13 Varanasi Nov 11  Ganges boat; Vishwanath temple; ashram visit; Aarti

We will greet the sunrise on a classic boat ride on the river Ganges, a must do activity at Varanasi. Watch Hindus from all over India come to take this holy dip in the Ganges and offer prayers to the Gods. Our vantage point is from a rowed boat that moves silently and slowly from one Ghat to another.  A buffet breakfast and a relaxing morning await us in our heritage hotel.  This afternoon we visit the new Vishwanath temple, located at Banaras Hindu University (BHU). The temple is dedicated to lord Shiva and is a replica of the original Vishwanath temple.  Varanasi hosts many ashrams – centers for spiritual and religious activities.  We will visit one to learn more about Hinduism.  This evening we will observe the Aarti ceremony (bidding goodnight to Mother Ganga) from a boat on the river and then proceed for dinner in an Indian home with a private dance performance.

Day 14 Delhi Nov 12  Sarnath

Our final sightseeing visit is an excursion to Sarnath, one of India’s most significant Buddhist sights.  After attaining enlightenment, the Buddha came to Sarnath where he gave his first public sermon, preaching the middle path for attaining Nirvana.  It is also considered one of the best places to see the rich antiquities of the Ashoka period of the 12th century. In the afternoon we fly to New Delhi.
Rooms reserved at an airport hotel for Wash & Change or overnight.

What’s Included:

14 nights accommodation.  Meals: all breakfasts, 6 lunches and 8 dinners.  All tips: hotel staff, group meals, entertainment, drivers, local guides, escorts, and tour director.
All transportation: by deluxe coach; vans; domestic flight; train; or SUV.
All entrances: Humayun’s Tomb; Lotus Temple; Qutb Minar; Sarnath archeological site, museum, and temples; Khajuraho temples (Western Group); Taj Mahal; Fatehpur Sikri; Chand Baori; Amber Palace; Udaipur City Palace; Ranakpur Temple; Mehrangarh Fort
Excursions: Ganga boat cruise (2); Lake Pichola cruise;  desert dinner and Rajasthani folk evening
Activities: Varanasi dance/music; Bollywood movie evening; Pushkar camel fair; and more.

Important exceptions: Tour participants are responsible for the cost of drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Terms and Conditions for important details regarding everything listed above.

Optional Extension

Post-Tour:  Ranthambore Tiger Sanctuary  Cost:  $850
Day 1  Nov 12  Delhi
Welcome back to Delhi (The regular tour ends with an afternoon flight from Varanasi). Those opting for the Ranthambore Tiger Safari extension will be transferred to Delhi’s Railway station for an overnight train to Sawai Madhopur Railway station.
Overnight Train (2nd Class AC Sleeper )

Day 2  Nov 13  Ranthambore
After an early arrival, we’ll be transferred to our hotel, your early check in rooms will be ready upon arrival.  We will have time to freshen up and get ready for breakfast. Ranthambore National Park was once a famous hunting ground of the Maharajas of Jaipur, and is one of the original Project Tiger reserves.  After breakfast, we’ll explore the ruins of the park’s 10th-century fort, returning to our luxurious hotel for lunch.  In the late afternoon, we’ll head into the park in search of tigers and other wildlife.  Dinner together in the hotel.
Hotel Pugmark Resort (2n)  http://www.thepugmarkresort.com/

Day 3 Nov 14  Ranthambore
Our search for the elusive apex predators continues today with early morning and late afternoon safari drives.  During the middle of the day you have free time to explore or relax by the pool.  Lunch and dinner included today.

Day 4 Nov 15  Ranthambore/Delhi
Just in case we have been unsuccessful in our pursuit of a tiger spotting, we have scheduled one last safari drive this morning.  In the early afternoon, we’ll board our Delhi bound train, arriving at 18.45.  Once we reach Delhi, we’ll be transferred to an airport hotel for Wash & Change for those flying home tonight.  If you are staying on you may overnight in the hotel.
Airport Hotel

What’s Included:  3-4 nights accommodation (1 overnight train, 2nd class AC sleeper; 2 nights hotel; wash/change or overnight airport hotel); all breakfasts, 2 lunch, 2 dinner; 4 safari drives; Ranthembore fort visit; full time services of an Imprint Tours tour director; all tips
Important exceptions:  all drinks and free-time sight seeing