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Classical North India

11 Days Guided Tours
  • Delhi
  • Varanasi
  • Agra
  • Jaipur
  • Udaipur

Virgin Holidays' view

This magnificent tour encapsulates all that northern India has to offer. From the rich culture held by the famous Ganges River, to the majestic Taj Mahal standing proudly in front of a sunset backdrop. Just some of the intoxicating highlights this culturally rich tour provides.

Itinerary

Day 1

Welcome to Delhi! Upon arrival you will be met by a representative of Cox & Kings, as you exit the arrivals hall. You will be transferred to the Maidens Hotel or similar for the next 2 nights. India’s capital and major gateway to the country, Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which combines the ancient with the modern. One of the most historic capitals of the world, Delhi is a treasure trove that reveals the unique combination of traditional trends. The city has seen the rise and fall of many emperors, which have left behind a plethora of monuments that commemorate the magnificence and the glory of previous ages. The rest of today is at leisure, so you are free to either relax at the hotel or maybe you want to get out and explore this amazing city.

Day 2

Morning tour of Old Delhi. The political and cultural capital of the Mughal Emperor Shan Jahan during the 17th century, Delhi is filled with the eclectic mix of grandeur and vibrancy so beloved of Indian cities. This afternoon take a tour of Old Delhi and see some of its historic treasures, including a drive past the Red Fort and a visit to the Jama Masjid as well as visit to Raj Ghat, the place where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated back in 1948. The final stop of this morning’s tour is Agrasen Ki Baoli. Sightseeing tour of New Delhi, where India’s colonial and Mughal past sit in splendid proximity to the bustling markets at Delhi’s vibrant heart. Sightseeing includes some of the architectural delights of New Delhi, originally created for the British Raj during the 1930s. Much of the city’s colonial grandeur can be attributed to the talents of Sir Edwin Lutyens, the British architect who, over a period of some 20 years, created such architectural gems as the India Gate, the Rashtrapati Bhavan (once the home of the Viceroy of India) and the private gardens in which the palace now stands. This sightseeing tour to be interchanged where it is to be start with visit and drive past India Gate – a War Memorial Arch, the resident of the President – the Rashtrapati Bhawan , the Parliament House and other government buildings. Visit both Qutab Minar, built during the 13th century to herald the arrival of the Muslim sultans and Humayun’s Tomb. (B)

Day 3

After breakfast you’ll transfer to the airport for your flight to Varanasi. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to The Gateway Hotel or similar where you will spend the next 2 nights. Located on the banks of the mighty Ganges, the holy city of Varanasi, one of the oldest in India, embodies much of the myth and culture of Hinduism and has been a centre for the worship of Shiva for over 1,200 years. Many believe that this is the site where the spiritual and material worlds collide, affording it a mystic property that is enhanced by the countless thousands of devotees who journey here to bathe in the sacred waters of the River Ganges. This evening attend a memorable aarti ceremony on the banks of the river. The beautiful ceremony involves rituals performed by several priests, to the sound of bells, drums, cymbals, and Sanskrit mantras. Your understanding of Hinduism and the worship of the River Ganges will become much clearer after the ceremony and it is not to be missed. (B)

Day 4

A spectacular early morning boat ride along the sacred Ganges past some of the numerous ghats that line the banks, including some that are used specifically for public cremations. After your boat ride, you will take a brief walking tour through the narrow lanes of Varanasi before returning back to the hotel for breakfast. Later this morning proceed on a half day guided tour of Varanasi city, beginning with a visit to the Bharat Mata Temple (Mother India Temple) before continuing south of the city to visit the Benaras Hindu University, originally intended for the study of Indian Art, music and culture. The campus is now home to the one of the tallest temples in India, New Vishwanath Temple. The last stop will be at the Bharat Kala Bhawan, the home of a fabulous miniature paintings, sculptures and contemporary art and bronzes. This afternoon you will head out on an excursion to Satnath, where you will visit the Mulagandhakutty Vihara marvel at the striking Buddhist architecture, admire the fascinating murals and listen to the wonderful sounds of Buddhist chants. Mulagandha Kuti Vihara monestry is an accident pilgrimage site that attracts Buddhist’s devotees from around the world. There is also a wonderful museum to visit before heading back to your hotel. (B)

Day 5

After breakfast you’ll transfer to airport for your flight to Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal. Agra was once the capital city of the mighty Mughals and much of its majesty can be attributed to the vision and power of Akbar the Great and his grandson, Shan Jahan. You will me be met upon arrival and transferred to the Trident Hotel or similar. This afternoon will be at leisure. (B)

Day 6

Morning at leisure for independent activities (vehicle at your disposal). This afternoon you’ll visit two of India’s most spectacular buildings, the imposing sandstone edifice of Agra Fort, originally built as a military structure by the Mughal Emporor Akbar, later transformed into a palace by his grandson, Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan the Taj’s creator, spent the last 8 years of his life imprison within the octagonal tower (Mussaman Burj) at the fort by his son, Aurangzeb. Within the fort you’ll be able to see the Taj Mahal from ‘Mussaman Burj’ as easily as Shah Jahan did all those centuries ago. After being captivated by this impressive fort and its grounds, you’ll head to the majestic and stunning Taj Mahal. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the fort is liberally blessed with a dazzling array of palaces and mosques, whilst the marble magnificence of the Taj Mahal needs no introduction. Built by Shah Jahan to honour the memory of his wife, Mumtaz, the Taj is one of the world’s most iconic buildings, taking over 20 years to build. We first visit the huge Agra Fort home to the fairytale Jahangir Palace and the tomb of Itmad-ud- Daulah. Followed by a visit to the world famous Taj Mahal just in time for sunset a perfect time to appreciate the legendary beauty of this homage to love. (B)

Day 7

This morning leave Agra for Jaipur by road (approximately 265km/a full day with stops) with an en-route drive to the deserted sandstone city of Fatehpur Sikri, built by Akbar the Great and abandoned on the emperor’s death. Continuing with your journey to Jaipur, the 18th century capital of Rajasthan. This wonderful ‘Pink City’ is an eclectic mix of styles and influences and considered to be one of the best planned in the country, built as it is around the principles of Hindu architectural theory. In Jaipur stay 2 nights at the Trident Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 8

The first stop today is to explore the exquisite Amber Fort, take a jeep ride to the hill-top palace of the Rajput rulers, a rich mix of Hindu and Muslim design that offer some spectacular views out across the Aravalli Hills, the view and the fort are just stunning. This afternoon visit the magnificent City Palace, now a fascinating museum housing some of the treasures of Jaipur’s princely past including a collection of Rajasthani costumes, armory of the Mughals and Rajputs. You will also take a visit to the awe inspiring Jantar Mantar Observatory, a stone astrological and astronomical wonder built by Maharaja Jai Singh in the 18th century. (B)

Day 9

Leaving Jaipur fly to the magnificent lakeside city of Udaipur, the Venice of the East and considered by many the most romantic city in Rajasthan. Founded in the 16th century, Udaipur is set before a magnificent backdrop of lakes and hills, presenting an idyllic location for the sumptuous palaces of the Rajput princes. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to the Trident Udaipur or similar (deluxe garden view room) for the next 2 nights. This afternoon is at leisure. (B)

Day 10

This morning visit the spectacular City Palace, a truly opulent repository containing many of the city’s most prized artistic treasures. Next, visit the Sahelion ki Bari, Garden of Maids of Honor, which comprises ornamental fountains, a lotus pool and an impressive rose garden. This was originally built for one of the queens of Udaipur, whose dowry included 48 maids. The final stop will be the Jagdish temple, the most famous temple in Udaipur which is located within the city palace complex. This three-storied temple is a wonder of architecture with beautifully carved pillars, decorated ceilings and walls. This evening you will take a boat ride on the placid waters of Lake Pichola (subject to sufficient water levels). Lake Pichola is surrounded by hills and its panoramic beauty is best viewed against the backdrop of the setting sun. (B)

Day 11

This morning, you will be met by a representative from Cox & Kings in the hotel lobby and transferred to the airport for your flight to Mumbai or for your extension to one of India or Sri Lanka’s beautiful beach resorts. (B)

Meals: B = Breakfast

Note: Day 9 - on occasion during the summer months, a revised flying programme of Spice Jet may mean that we’ll need to make alternative arrangements and the journey will be taken by road transfer. The road journey will depart early morning to cover the driving distance. The journey will take approximately 7 hours. We will advise you if this is the case.

Dates & prices

The table below shows our escorted tour departure dates.

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.

Tour information

Please click here to download a pdf of the itinerary and additional tour notes.

A Private Tour

This is a private itinerary, where you will travel with a driver and be met by local English-speaking tour guides for any included sightseeing.

What to expect

A tour in India is an adventure where anything can happen. We recommend you are of a reasonable fitness as touring often involves long walks and uneven surfaces, this tour is not suitable for those who require special assistance.

Pre/Post Tour options

We highly recommend staying an extra night at the beginning of your tour in the Maidens Hotel, Delhi. We recommend you extend your stay with a few nights on the tropical beaches of Goa or in Sri Lanka.

Time difference

GMT +5 1⁄2 hours (summer) +6 1⁄2 hours (winter)

Tour inclusions

  • Domestic flights from Delhi to Varanasi, Varanasi to Agra and Jaipur to Udaipur
  • Private air-conditioned transport throughout 01-02 persons = Air conditioned Tata Indigo or similar and 04-06 persons = Air conditioned Macro Van (Tempo Traveller or similar)
  • Sightseeing as detailed including entrance fees and still camera fees
  • The services of an experienced local guide during sightseeing as detailed
  • Road taxes, parking fees, fuel surcharges, interstate taxes and porterage at airports and train stations

Tour exclusions

  • International flight with Virgin Atlantic in economy class, including all UK and overseas airport taxes and applicable fuel surcharges
  • Flight upgrades and airport transfers in the UK
  • Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips & gratuities, video camera fees at monuments
  • The required Indian visa
  • Anything not detailed on the itinerary

Dining inclusions

11 breakfasts

Accommodation

Occasionally we may need to substitute one or more of the hotels with that of a similar standard.

Luggage

Internal flights have a luggage allowance of 15kg. You may purchase extra baggage at 2.50 Rupees per kilo (approximately £3 per kilo) but this is subject to change.

Journey times

India is a vast country and journey times between destinations can sometimes be long. Journey times are listed in the itinerary and are approximate.

Visa requirements

An Indian visa is required for all British passport holders and MUST be obtained before your arrival in India. You can now apply for an e-Visa at a cost of $100 USD per person at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html. The application must be completed between 4–120 days prior to your arrival in India. Your e-visa will be valid for 60 days from the date of your arrival. You should ensure that your passport is valid for 6 months beyond your departure date from India and have at least two blank pages.