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Best of India & Nepal

This package is a superb blend of colourful, vibrant India and the exotic mysterious former kingdom of Nepal offering you an exciting opportunity to explore the treasures and lifestyle of two magical countries, both wonderfully rich in history and culture. On this incredible trip we sample some of the best this region has to offer, from the exquisite palaces of Jaipur to the Taj Mahal, Palaces of Mughal India and to erotic temples at Khajuraho. For the spiritually inclined people the holy city of Varanasi and Buddhist stupas of Kathmandu will add to the uniqueness of the trip.

14 Days

Route

Start From

Delhi

Ends Here

Kathmandu

Highlights

  • Delhi: Visit the tallest minaret in India
  • Jaipur: Enjoy elephant ride at Amber fort
  • Agra: Explore Taj Mahal at sunrise
  • At Khajuraho visit the erotic temples
  • Varanasi: View sunrise on the Ganges

Optional Experiences

  • Morning with the Elephant, Jaipur
  • Photo session at Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), Jaipur
  • Walking Tour of Old Jaipur
  • Private Yoga Session by a Local Yoga Guru
  • Elephant safari at Dera Amer
  • Jeep Safari, Jaipur
  • Balloon Ride in Jaipur
  • A movie show at the famous Raj Mandir Cinema
  • Morning with the Elephant
  • Walking Tour of Old Jaipur
  • Private Yoga Session by a Local Yoga Guru
  • Elephant Safari at Dera Amer with Lunch/Dinner
  • Bollywood Movie at Raj Mandir
  • Jeep Safari with lunch/dinner
  • Balloon Ride
  • Taj Nature Walk, Agra
  • Mohabbat the Taj Show, Agra
  • Taj Nature Walk, Agra

Best time to Visit

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Days

Day 1 Arrive Delhi

Jama Masjid, Delhi

Upon arrival at Delhi in the evening, you are received by a Vasco representative and escorted to the hotel where you are welcomed in traditional Indian style. Overnight stay is at the hotel.

 

Known for its survival against all odds, Delhi the capital of India has been the epicenter of Indian politics for centuries. The delightful ambiance of Delhi leaves a hypnotic spell on the visitors with its old world charm and modern lifestyle that coexist in this city of Djinns. Upon arrival you will experience the newly built state of the art Delhi airport and as the journey unfolds, you will be fascinated by the ancient architecture of Mughal Era while traveling through the crowded by lanes of Chandni Chowk where the sights and sounds of the ever growing city and spicy traditional Indian food will caste a magical spell on you. Several luxury hotels adorn the skyline of Delhi and are known for their traditional warmth and hospitality the world over. The mystic charm of Delhi lies in its architectural marvels and rich traditional background.     

Day 2 Delhi

Humayun's Tomb, Delhi

After breakfast at the hotel, we leave for sightseeing tour of Old & New Delhi.

 

Old Delhi came into prominence when Shah Jahan moved his capital from Agra to Delhi. First we visit 300 year old Chandni Chowk market. A maze of lanes crowded with shops selling an extraordinary variety of items and food, the noise and crowds are a quintessential part of Chandni Chowk. From here we continue to the Jama Masjid which is also India's largest mosque. Afterwards we proceed to Raj Ghat the resting place of Mahatma Gandhi, the main architect of India's independence. It is a simple structure built in serene surroundings, in complete contrast to the noise and crowds of Old Delhi.

 

In the afternoon we proceed on a sight-seeing tour of New Delhi. Our first stop is Qutab Minar, the highest minaret in India. From here our next stop is Humayun's tomb, built by mother of Emperor Akbar. It is believed that it was this mausoleum, which inspired Shah Jahan to build the Taj Mahal. Later, we drive past India Gate, Presidential Palace (Rashtrapati Bhavan) and Parliament House. Afterwards return to hotel for an overnight stay.

Day 3 Delhi – Jaipur

  • 270 km

  • 5 hr

Overview of Jaipur

Check out from the hotel after breakfast and drive to Jaipur. Assistance will be provided upon arrival at the Jaipur hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the colorful markets of the pink city. Overnight stay is at the hotel.

 

Jaipur is the capital and largest city of Indian state of Rajasthan in Northern India. It was founded on 18 November 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber, after whom the city is named. The city today has a population of 3.1 million. The city is unusual among pre-modern Indian cities in the regularity of its streets, and the division of the city into six sectors by broad streets.

Day 4 Jaipur

Elephant Ride at Amber Fort, Jaipur

After breakfast we leave for an excursion to Amber Fort. A major attraction at Amber is the Elephant Ride (subject to availability) all the way up to the Fort entrance. This journey on caparisoned elephants is bound to enrich your memories about the royal lifestyle of the Maharajas and leave you with a truly unforgettable experience. En route to Amber Fort, you will have a brief photography stop at Hawa Mahal - the Palace of Winds.

 

In the afternoon, we visit Maharaja's City Palace, the former royal residence part of which is converted into a museum. A small portion is still used by the royal family of Jaipur. Later visit the Jantar Mantar, which is the largest stone and marble crafted observatory in the world built by Jai Singh from 1728 to 1734. We finish our city tour with a walk through the busy lanes of the city. Afterwards return to the hotel for overnight stay.

Optional Inspiring Experiences

Photo session at Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), Jaipur

A photo session at the tourist place of Hawa Mahal in Jaipur gives you an opportunity to be clicked in front of a 150 year old pinhole camera outside the Hawa Mahal where you can experience photography at its best. The veteran photographer Tikam Chand is extremely proud of this priceless possession which once belonged to his great grandfather. This experience has to be pre-booked in advance before arrival in Jaipur India and can be included during our regular pink city tour.

Morning with the Elephant

Rise early to watch the elephants getting ready for their day's work at Amer Fort. It is a fascinating opportunity to watch, understand and appreciate the relationship between the Mahouts and the regal giants. The Amer Fort Elephant Ride experience has to be pre-booked before you land in India. The best time for Elephant Safari in Jaipur ranges from October to March. It's an early morning experience and a must do in the city. Clients must reach the stable at 05:30-06:00 hrs. Packed breakfast is recommended. From here, they can go for the Amer Fort Ride, do the elephant ride, watch the fort and return to the hotel.

Walking Tour of Old Jaipur

It is a unique way to explore the living traditions of the city early morning. Experience the religious life of local communities by visiting colourful temples, interacting with residents over a cup of tea in their homes and discover some of the architectural wonders of this fascinating city. This walk has been carefully designed to offer a rewarding and enriching experience. Uncovering some of the best kept secrets of the walled city of Jaipur, we take pride in sharing our warm association with the resident artisans, shop owners, temple priests and local citizens. This association makes our walking tours more engaging; our guests have a genuinely interactive experience getting to meet the residents and as a result gain an insight into traditional ways of life. 'Chand Pol' gate, one of the original seven gateways, located at the western end of the old walled city of Jaipur is the point at which this two and a half hour walk begins. This experience has to be pre-booked before clients land in India. Best time - October to March.

Private Yoga Session by a Local Yoga Guru

His family has taught Yoga to the likes of former American President Bill Clinton, and Hollywood stars such as Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise etc. This is an early morning experience done with an empty stomach. Clients can do Yoga, have breakfast and continue with the rest of what they have paid for. Price is Inclusive of English Speaking Yoga Guru only. Yoga Mats will be provided. This experience has to be pre-booked before clients land in India. Best time - October to March. Duration - 2 hrs

Elephant Safari at Dera Amer with Lunch/Dinner

The Elephant Safari Tour to Dera Amer is a highly recommended experience with family and friends as you get to unwind yourself in the lap of Aravalli Hills leaving behind the worries of city life. This Adventure Safari in Jaipur is situated behind the famous Amer Fort at the foothills of Aravallis and offers numerous outdoor recreational and adventure activities. Surrounded by a reserved forest, the camp is an ideal spot for lovers of solitude with no urban population around except for a few hamlets in the vicinity housing the local villagers. The camp is run by a Rajput family living in the campus and they organise elephant and camel safaris in the jungle. The family is credited with protecting several hundred hectares of indigenous Aravalli forest land and encourages guests to interact with the local farmers in the village.

Bollywood Movie at Raj Mandir

Visit Jaipur and after having seeing all Jaipur attractions, finish the city tour with a Bollywood Movie at Raj Mandir Cinema, designed in 1976 in Art Deco style. Today, this cinema has become a popular part of Jaipur sightseeing and is known for its large size as well as opulent interiors.

Jeep Safari with lunch/dinner

This Wildlife and adventure experience has been designed to thrill you with a jeep safari to the picturesque forested valley behind the hills of Amer Fort. Starting from Amer, the safari takes you past village hutments, a medieval temple and a Tiger Rescue Centre situated in the middle of the jungle. Aboard this Rajasthan Jeep Safari Tour will be an opportunity to experience a thrilling wildlife safari. You get to explore the beauty of Aravalli Hills on the way and enjoy breathtaking views of Jaipur from above. Interaction with local farmers on their fields is part of the experience. Authentic Rajasthani cuisine served during lunch and dinner is another USP of this safari which will always be a memorable experience.

Balloon Ride

If you've never taken a balloon ride then take this adventure tour. Hot air balloon ride is a beautiful way of experiencing the Pink City Jaipur in Rajasthan from above as you fly over its majestic forts and palaces. The ride provides you with an opportunity of viewing the sunset over the Aravallis, sandy stretches, green plains, and small townships and villages from the height of 5000 ft. above the crowded city.

Evening dinner at Narain Niwas Palace, a boutique heritage property converted into a five star hotel followed by folk dance performances by local artists. USD 56 per person (minimum 02 Pax).

Show More Experiences

Day 5 Jaipur – Agra via Fatehpur Sikri

  • 265 km

  • 5 hr

Fatehpur Sikri

After breakfast we drive to Agra and en route visit Fatehpur Sikri, located 40 Km from Agra. The deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri was built by Emperor Akbar in 1569 in honour of the great Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti who blessed Akbar and prophesized the birth of three sons to the heirless Emperor. The emperor used Fatehpur Sikri as his capital and the city was fully occupied for 14 years but slowly became deserted and ruined after Akbar left the city. Scarcity of water was the prime factor for the abandonment of this beautiful city. Visit the remarkably well-preserved, graceful buildings within the 'Ghost City' including the Jama Masjid, tomb of Salim Chisti, Panch Mahal Palace and other palaces that speak of the grandeur and splendour of the Mughal empire at the height of its power. Afterwards continue drive towards Agra and upon arrival check-in at the hotel  for an overnight stay.

Day 6 Agra

Taj Mahal

At sunrise, we take our Tonga (Horse Carriage) to visit the world famous Taj Mahal (Closed on Friday) built by Shah Jahan in 1630 for his queen Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains. This architectural marvel is a perfectly proportioned masterpiece fashioned from white marble that stands testimony to the skill of 20,000 craftsmen brought together from Persia, Turkey, France and Italy. It took 17 years to complete this 'Love Poem in Marble'. Afterwards return to hotel for breakfast. Rest of the morning is at leisure.

 

In the afternoon we tour Agra Fort and Itmad–ud–Daulah tomb. Agra Fort was built by Emperor Akbar and reveals the Mughal talent for combining defensive architecture with beauty and design. The construction of this fort palace was begun by Akbar as a purely defensive citadel and was subsequently completed by two successive generations that added the delicate mosaic and magnificent marble palaces. The fort is the depiction of mughal life in Agra and offers a magical view of the Taj Mahal.

 

Itmad–ud–Daulah, one of the most beautiful of Mughal tombs, stands across the river Yamuna from the Taj Mahal, nearly one and a half km upstrream. Afterwards retrun to hotel for an overnight stay.

Optional Inspiring Experiences

Mohabbat the Taj Show, Agra

While staying in Agra, you cannot afford to miss “Mohabbat The Taj Show” which is a musical extravaganza depicting the saga of one its kind love story of Muhgal Emperor Shahjahan and his most beloved wife Mumtaz.

The show comes alive every evening at the Kalakriti Auditorium and enthralls the audience with its heart rendering dialogues and dance performances which transport you to the reign of Emperor Shahjahan who immortalized his love by building Taj Mahal in the fond memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal.

This exceptionally inviting event brings alive the historical legacy of India which is truly admired by the overseas visitors who visit the country to experience its diverse cultural heritage.

Taj Nature Walk, Agra

Roughly 600 meters north-east to Taj lies a reserve forest with ravines which provides a unique view to the Taj. Amidst natural environs, the Taj can be observed in different hues and shades from the mounds of the forest. In this Nature Walk tour, every mound is correlated to the historical, literary and cultural heritage of Brij-bhumi. On the Taj Natural Walk along the banks of River Yamuna, you get to view the moment from its posterior end and the old city of Agra which has seen many empires flourish on its soil. This unique experience makes for the perfect Taj Natural Walking Tour in India. A kilometre-long walk takes you down the memory lane of the Mughal Era as you experience the old-world charm of India.

Day 7 Agra – Jhansi – Orchha – Khajuraho

  • 230 km

  • 5 hr

Photo Credit: Dennis Jarvis Orchha Cenotaphs

After breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to the railway station to board your express train to Jhansi. Upon arrival you will be assisted by a Vasco representative and then taken to Khajuraho by road. En route stop to visit Orchha, a medieval temple town situated on the Betwa River in the state of Madhya Pradesh. We explore the 16th and 17th century palaces and temples built by the Bundela rulers; most of them still in their pristine perfection. We visit the fort complex consisting of palaces, temples, cenotaphs, and memorials. Afterwards we continue our drive towards Khajuraho and upon arrival check-in at the hotel for an overnight stay.

Day 8 Khajuraho

Photo Credit: Liji Jinaraj Erotic sculptures at Khajuraho Temples

In the morning after breakfast we visit the Eastern Group of temples including the Ghantai Temple dedicated to the "Vamana" or dwarf incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the Javari Temple. There are also three Jain Temples with beautiful carvings and non-erotic sculptures. We also visit the Western Group of Temples. The most important temple is the Kandariya Mahadeo Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the largest and most typical of the Khajuraho temples.

 

Our next stop is the Chaunsat Yogini Jain Temple-dedicated to the 64 "Yoginis" or attendants of Goddess Kali. This temple stands apart from the rest. Also see the Chitragupta or Bharatji Temple with a lovely sculpture of Lord Vishnu in his 11-headed form. The Light and Sound show on the Western Group of temples complex reminds the life and times of the great Chandela Kings and mark out the story of the exclusive temples from the 10th Century to the present day. After the show return to the hotel for an overnight stay,

Day 9 Khajuraho – Varanasi

Photo Credit: Arian Zwegers Varanasi Aarti

After leisurely breakfast you will be transferred to Khajuraho airport for your flight to Varanasi. Upon arrival at Varanasi airport you will be received by a Vasco representative and escorted to the hotel for check-in. In the evening at sunset witness Aarti Ceremony (collective prayer) at Dashwmedha Ghat and watch the floating oil lamps on the river Ganges. The surrounding ghats and temples are well lit every evening and people from all parts of the city perform prayers at these places of worship. Return to the hotel in the evening for overnight stay.

Day 10 Varanasi

Photo Credit: Jai Kapoor Varanasi Ghats

Early morning at sunrise we leave for a boat ride on the river Ganges. The western banks of Ganges has a string of Ghats (chain of stone steps) all built with pavilions, palaces and terraces, most of which are mainly used as Dharamsalas where the pilgrims stay during their visit to the holy city. At dawn, the Ghats are abuzz with activity of the devotees performing their ablutions in the river or offering prayers to the rising sun and performing other religious rituals. A boat ride along the Ghats gives you vantage views of this activity. The sunrise on the Ganges is a soul-lifting experience. After the divine expereince we return to our hotel for breakfast. Afterwards we visit the Vishwanath temple, one of the most important temples of the city and drive past Bharat Mata Mandir and Benaras Hindu University, a premier Central University and a world class educational institution located in the heart of Varanasi. It is regarded as the largest residential university in Asia. The fully-residential campus has more than 128 independent teaching departments in its 1350 acre campus.

 

In the afternoon we visit Sarnath, where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon "Maha- Dharma-Chakra Pravartan" (in Buddhist terminology, ‘turned the wheel of the law’) after his enlightenment. Sarnath is one of the richest in Buddhist antiquities ranging in date from the times of Ashoka down to the 12th century A.D. Ashoka built here the Dharmarajika Stupa and erected a pillar surmounted by the magnificent capital of four adorned Lions, which today forms the national emblem of India. Among other structures at Sarnath are the ruins of the brick temple; the Dhamekh Stupa, adorned with delicate floral carvings; the Chaukhandi Stupa and Mahabodhi Society’s Mulgandha Kuti Vihar Temple. We also visit the Archaeological Museum, which showcases an extremely rich collection of Buddhist sculptures comprising of numerous Buddha and Bodhisatva images. Afterwards return to the hotel for an overnight stay.

Day 11 Varanasi – Kathmandu

Photo Credit: Nicola Romagna Welcome to Nepal

We have an easy paced day today. After leisurely breakfast, check out from the hotel and in time you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Kathmandu. Upon arrival you will be received by a Vasco representative and escorted to the hotel for check-in. Rest of the day is free for the independent activities. Overnight stay is at the hotel.

 

Kathmandu is the capital and largest municipality of Nepal. It is the only city of Nepal with the administrative status of Mahanagarpalika (Metropolitan City). The city stands at an elevation of approximately 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley of central Nepal. It is surrounded by four major mountains: Shivapuri, Phulchoki, Nagarjun, and Chandragiri. Kathmandu Valley is part of three districts (Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur). It has the highest population density in the country and is home to about a twelfth of Nepal's population.

Day 12 Kathmandu

Photo Credit: Joel Solomon Boudhnath Stupa, Kathmandu

After breakfast at the hotel, we leave for the full day guided tour of Kathmandu Durbar Square, Swayambhunath Stupa, Pashupatinath and Boudhnath. Kathmandu Durbar Square (listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is one of the popular places due to its exquisite architecture and artistic embellishment. This complex of palaces, courtyards and temples, built in 1200 to 1768 A.D. with hundreds of erotic carvings used to be the seat of the ancient Malla kings of Kathmandu which epitomizes the religions and cultural life of the people.

 

Swayambhunath (listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO): Atop a green hillock west of Kathmandu, stands the great stupa of Swayambhunath; a site that is over 2500 years old marking the point where the legendary patriarch Manjushri discovered the lotus of the ancient valley lake. Constructed to specific rules each with a symbolic meaning, the stupa of Swayambhunath is a model of its kind.

 

Pashupatinath Temple (listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO) is located 05 km east of Kathmandu valley on the banks of sacred Bagmati River and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is considered to be as one of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world. Entrance to the temple precinct is forbidden to non-Hindus.

 

Boudhanath (listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO) is the largest stupa in Nepal and one of the largest in the world located east of the valley was built by the Lichchhavi King Mana Dev in the 5th century A.D. The Rinpoches who reside here have established Boudhnath as one of the most flourishing centres of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. The colossal ancient stupa is 36 metres high. Afterwards retrun to hotel for an overnight stay.

Day 13 Kathmandu

Kathmandu_Durbar_Square

After breakfast at the hotel, we visit the ancient capital of Patan and Tibetan Handicrafts center. Patan Durbar Square, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO has been acclaimed as one of the finest urban streetscapes in the world. Most of the monuments seen today were built between the 16th – 18th centuries. It is known as the centre of fine arts and for the superb craftsmanship of its artisans. Essentially a Buddhist city, historic inscriptions established Patan as an important town from early times (said to have been founded by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century B.C., although no historical proof exists). We also spend some time in Tibetan Handicrafts center.

 

In the afternoon we visit Bhaktapur Durbar Square (listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO): A former capital of the valley, it was once a flourishing city on the trade route to Tibet. It has preserved its traditional character better than the other two cities, due to its more isolated location. It is regarded today as a classic showcase of medieval Nepalese town life. Situated in the east of Kathmandu valley about 14 kms away it retains much of its beauty in ornate wood carvings and in the famed Golden Gate. Overnight stay is at the hotel.

Day 14 Kathmandu - Journey Home

Photo Credit: Joe Hastings Mt. Everest

The morning is at leisure and you have a choice to take an optional mountain flight to see the highest mountain in the world - Mt. Everest. In time you will be escorted to Kathmandu airport for your flight back home.

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