Departure Date: 08/12/2019
India’s largest city, Delhi, has been one of the country’s commercial and economic hubs for centuries and, as a result, is incredibly rich in culture and history. Made up of the ancient walled city of Old Delhi and the more modern sector, New Delhi, the city encompasses a staggering array of beautiful architecture, notable monuments and age-old temples, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Red Fort, Qutab Minar and Humayun's Tomb.
Other key attractions include the 17th century Chandni Chowk marketplace – still one of the city’s most popular retail centres today, particularly for jewellery and traditional Indian saris.
Day 1: Arrive Delhi
On arrival in Delhi: Having cleared immigration, collected your luggage and passed through customs, please make your way towards the exit of the terminal building where you will see a bank of people waiting for you. Amongst them will be Travel Counsellors Representative who will be waiting to greet you with a paging board with your name on.
You will be transferred to your hotel and assisted with check in. Standard check in time is 1400 hrs.
Overnight: The Suryaa
The Suryaa New Delhi follows the cosmic Surya by creating a warm, vibrant and lively ambiance for it's guests. It is located in the heart of the city and conveniently close to district centers like Jasola, Mohan Cooperative, Apollo Hospital, Nehru Place and Ashram.
The hotel has an elegant spread of rooms and suites with spectacular views. It provides a taste of pure contentment with a host of dining options and custom crafted celebrations.
Day 2: In Delhi
After an early breakfast, you will proceed for Heritage walk in Old Delhi. In the afternoon New Delhi sightseeing tour.
Old Delhi Heritage Walk
Delhi is an ancient city with history going back to 3000 BC. It has been mentioned extensively in numerous Indian epics like Mahabharat. But the Delhi we see and know about from written records starts from 736 AD. The city has been built, destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. According to popular folklore, Delhi was site of seven different cities between 3000 BC and 17th century AD. But when we count the smaller settlements around the area, there are at least fifteen.
delhi heritage walk.
This ancient history and influx of people from all over the world has given Delhi a culture and heritage matched by only a handful of places. Delhi is one of very few places where the ancient and modern co-exist side by side complementing each other perfectly. Our heritage walks of Delhi are a perfect way of exploring this amalgam of old traditions, modern development and the unique heritage which makes it so interesting. These heritage walks are a perfect way to explore some of the lesser visited places and gain a new insight about the history, people and sights of Delhi city.
The mausoleum complex of Humayun, India’s second Mughal Emperor, was commissioned by his widow in 1565 and was the first garden tomb to be built in India, taking seven years to complete. Humayun had travelled widely in Persia and Central Asia during his lifetime, and many of the architectural principles he brought back from these journeys were incorporated into the building at his wife’s instructions. With its double domes, decorative inlaid marble and vast garden with pools connected by channels, this 16th Century building set the stage for the style that culminated in the Taj Mahal almost 100 years later.
The majestic Qutub Minar is a heritage building located in downtown Mehrauli in India. Standing tall at 73-metres, the tower consists of 5 storeys with a flight of spiral stairs leading to its top. The walls are adorned with decorative motifs and Quranic inscriptions. At the foot of the tower lie other monuments of historical significance, such as the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque and the Iron Pillar of Delhi. The Amazing race Australia used this site as a pitstop in the second series. Visitors can take advantage of stunning photo opportunities.
Drive past New Delhi
Later drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President’s residence.
Day 3: Delhi- Jaipur
Fringed by the rugged Aravali Hills, Jaipur is the capital and largest city in India’s northern state of Rajasthan. This city is famed for being India’s first planned city featuring a multitude of pink terracotta buildings within the walled historic centre, earning it the nickname,’The Pink City’. Jaipur falls within the Golden Triangle, a popular tourist circuit, which includes Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, and serves as a gateway to the neighbouring desert cities of Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. This colourful city is a combination of tradition and modernity and offers visitors vibrant bazaars, lavish palaces and ancient temples. The salmon-hued old city is home to the opulent City Palace, encompassing an impressive assortment of palatial structures, sprawling gardens, courtyards and buildings. Don’t miss the fairy-tale splendour of the Amber Fort, set against the backdrop of the arid landscape.
After breakfast, you will be driven to Jaipur. (approx 260 kms/ 5-6 hours drive)
Arrive Jaipur and check in at the hotel.
Overnight: Four Points By Sheraton Jaipur
Discover Jaipur, the Pink City, and stay at Four Points by Sheraton Jaipur in the City Square. The hotel is located in the heart of Jaipur, convenient to major government and business organizations, universities, and Jaipur International Airport. The City Palace, Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal, and other popular sightseeing attractions are all within easy access of the hotel.
Accommodation at the Four Points by Sheraton features 114 guest rooms and suites offering simple, uncomplicated convenience and value, including LCD flat screen TVs and high speed internet access. Jump into the coziness of a Four Points by Sheraton Four Comfort Bed™. Also enjoy free extras, like breakfast, bottled water, and daily newspapers.
Day 4: In Jaipur
After breakfast enjoy Full day sightseeing tour of Jaipur. Enjoy Shared Jeep ride towards upward climb at Amer Fort.
Amer Fort, officially known as the ‘Amer Palace’, is one of the most famous forts of Rajasthan attracting around 4000 to 5000 visitors a day during peak tourist season. The palace was named after the small town of Amer, where it is situated - only eleven kilometres from Jaipur. Perfectly picturesque, this 16th century hillside residence is well preserved, boasting grand pavilions and mirrored halls that open onto flourishing gardens and courtyards. Although the palace’s main construction started in 1592 by Maharaja Man Singh, it was added to over the years by successive rulers and continued to be occupied by them until Jaipur was built.
Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds)
One of Jaipur’s most recognised buildings, the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) is known for its iconic façade. Small windows, decorated with intricate latticework create a honeycomb-like appearance. The original intention of the lattice was to allow the royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen. The cooling effect, provided by the breeze passing through the small windows, gave the palace its name. Built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, the unique construction was originally designed to look like the crown of Krishna. A panoramic view of Jaipur can be had from the top of the building.
Jaipur City Palace
City Palace forms one of the most famous tourist attractions and a major landmark in Jaipur. The beautiful palace was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh during his reign. Among the various forts and palaces of Jaipur, City Palace stands apart, with its outstanding art and architecture.
Jantar Mantar Jaipur
In 1734, the year of its completion, the Jai Singh Observatory was the last outpost of medieval science. From the outside, the eighteen fixed observational instruments look more like playground apparatus than sighting devices, but they were used to measure the position of the sun, stars and planets. Built by Jai Singh, the first Maharaja of Jaipur who founded the city in 1727, the observatory is one of a handful. Jai Singh, fulfilling a lifelong interest in mathematics and astronomy, built observatories in Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain, Mathura and Benares. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved of these.
Day 5: Jaipur- Agra
Home of the world-famous Taj Mahal, Agra is one of India’s prime tourist destinations for specifically this reason, though its attractions also extend to an array of other impressive historical sights. These include the red-hued Agra Fort, the sacred Jama Masjid mosque and Itmad-ud-Daulah’s tomb, with its white marble facade embellished with intricate inlaid designs and semi-precious gems. The Taj, however, is in a league of its own and needless to say is a must-see for any visitor to the city. Commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the 15th century as a memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, it is an architectural masterpiece of exquisite craftsmanship and perfect proportions.
After breakfast check out from the hotel and you will be driven to Agra. (approx 250 kms/ 5 hours drive)
En route visit Fatehpur Sikri.
Arrive Agra and check in at the hotel.
OPTIONAL: SUNSET VISIT OF TAJ MAHAL [CLOSED ON FRIDAYS] (At Extra cost)
A highlight in the province of Uttar Pradesh, Fatehpur Sikri served briefly as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1571 to 1585. This world heritage site is rated as one of the best preserved collections of Mughal architecture in India. Surrounded by a six kilometre wall, with the fourth being a lake at the time, a day can be spent exploring the elaborate structures within. Marvel at the impressive Jama Masjid mosque, the detailed palaces built for Emperor Akbar’s wives, the public and private discussion halls and vast ornamental pool; all of which took over 15 years to conceptualise and build.
Overnight: DoubleTree by Hilton Agra Hotel
Choose a room overlooking the Taj Mahal when staying at Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Agra. Located in the heart of Agra city center, this Double Tree hotel is one of the few hotels in Agra offering views of this legendary monument located only 2 km from the hotel.
Enjoy fine dining at this hotel in Agra with 4 stylish food and beverage outlets offering cuisines from around the globe. Savor selections in the Indian specialty restaurant, or refresh with a cool drink in the poolside lounge. In the evening, enjoy live music and cultural performances in the inviting courtyard. Energize in the 24-hour fitness center or swim in the sparkling outdoor pool. After a busy day, indulge in a treatment in the luxurious spa.
Day 6: In Agra
Early morning visit sunrise Taj Mahal (closed on every Friday)
Return to the hotel for breakfast
Later visit Agra Fort.
Early morning visit Taj Mahal
The iconic Taj Mahal is not only an architectural masterpiece, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World – it’s also the enduring legacy of a royal love story. It was commissioned in the 15th century by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan after the death of his third and favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, to serve as her final resting place and a symbol of his eternal affection for her. Combining Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian design elements, it’s an awe-inspiring structure of elegant domes and white marble, which changes colour along with the light – pink at sunrise, pearly white in the afternoon and silver-gold in the full moon.
Known as the Red Fort of Agra, this walled imperial city was founded in 1565 by the Emperor Akbar (1556-1605) and is a well-deserving UNESCO World Heritage site, located just 2.5 kilometres from the famous Taj Mahal. Its palaces, grand mosques and elaborate public hall are crafted from pink-red sandstone and are testament to an era when Indo-Muslim art, strongly marked by influences from Persia, was at its height. Emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal for his deceased wife, was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb in Agra Fort. He is said to have died in the Musamman Burj, a marble tower he himself built, with one of the most alluring views of the Taj Mahal.
Day 7: Agra- Jhansi- Khajuraho
Located southwest of Kanpur, Khajuraho is considered one of India’s seven wonders and listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. The city encompasses the nation’s largest array of medieval Hindu and Jain temples, decorated with intricately detailed erotic sculptures and reliefs. The site incorporates close to 100 sacred structures, some of them exquisitely preserved, and each evening, a light and sound show is staged here, covering the history, philosophy and craftsmanship encapsulated in this archaeological goldmine. Other highlights include: vibrant Annual Dance Festival of Khajuraho; the Panna National Park, home to leopards; the Arhanta Yoga Ashram, where visitors can take classical Hatha yoga classes. The city also boasts a wide variety of wonderful shops, markets and restaurants.
After early breakfast, you will be transfer to Agra railway station to board the train to Jhansi.
Train Bhopal Shatabdi
Departs Agra 0802 Hrs
Arrives Jhansi 1043 Hrs
On arrival, you will be met and transfer to Khajuraho en-route visiting Orchha temples in your private chauffeur driven car (Approx. 210 kms / 4 hours drive)
After visit continue your drive to Khajuraho, upon arrival check-in at hotel.
Situated on the banks of Betwa River, laid back Orchha is often overshadowed by its neighbour, Khajuraho, famous for its erotic sculptures. But Orchha has charms of its own: this sleepy and timeless destination resembles a medieval Indian town, dominated by impressive ochre coloured palaces, forts and temples. Most of these date to between the 15th and 18th century – when the city was the thriving seat of government for the Bundela kings – and make for a sensory day of sightseeing, with main attractions including the intricate palace of Jahangir Mahal, the 14 Cenotaphs and the white-washed Ram Raja Temple.
Overnight: Ramada Khajuraho
Conveniently located in the center of the historic town of Khajuraho, the Ramada Khajuraho Hotel is popular among international visitors. The Ramada Khajuraho Hotel has 85 furnished guest rooms and bathrooms, each of which has both a cubical shower and a bath tub.
The Ramada Khajuraho Hotel houses an excellent restaurant that provides delicious food throughout the day. There is also a hotel bar and nightclub for those wanting night time entertainment. For day time activities and leisure, guests have access to the outdoor pool, tennis court, jogging track or the spa. For a memorable experience, visitors are encouraged to check out the nearby National Park and tiger reserve.
Day 8: Khajuraho- Varanasi
An ancient and deeply sacred city, Varanasi rests along the banks of the holy River Ganges and encompasses a wealth of beautiful riverside temples, stately old forts and vibrant markets. It’s considered the spiritual capital of Hinduism, and it’s widely believed that dying here will bring salvation. As a result, the city is home to a multitude of ghats – stone steps leading to the river –some of which are used for bathing rituals and others as cremation sites. An early morning boat ride along the Ganges offers an excellent way to take in the ghats and the bustling activity centred on them.
After breakfast, you will be taken for temple tour of Khajuraho.
After sightseeing, return back to hotel and check-out and transfer to airport to board the flight to Varanasi
Departs Khajuraho TBA HRS
Arrives Varanasi TBA HRS
On arrival, you will be met and transfer to your hotel. Check in at the hotel.
Evening at leisure.
The architectural style of the Khajuraho temples is very different from the temple prototype of that period. Each stands, instead of within the customary enclosure, on a high masonry platform. Combined with the upward direction of the structure, which is further accentuated by vertical projections, the total effect is one of grace and lightness, reminiscent of the Himalayan peaks. Each of the chief compartments has its own roof, grouped in such a way that the highest is in the centre, the lowest over the portico, a triumph of skill and imagination in recreating the rising peaks of a range. The temples of Khajuraho are divided into three geographical groups: Western, Eastern and Southern.
Overnight: Palace on Ganges
Palace on Ganges is a grand heritage hotel that sits on the bank of the Ganges River in Varanasi. The hotel places emphasis on depicting Indian culture in its design. There are 32 guest rooms and each of them portrays each provincial theme and culture of India.
The Palace on Ganges has a rooftop restaurant where diners can look out to views of the river. The hotel also provides 24 hour room service.
There’s a library as well as an art gallery at the hotel, which further displays information and imagery about Indian culture and tradition. Another facility at the hotel includes the Prakruthi Health Club & Rejuvenation Centre offering Ayurveda massages and treatments. Cultural programmes are run throughout the day outside the hotel providing entertainment for tourists.
Day 9: In Varanasi
Early morning enjoy shared boat ride on the river ganges.
Return to the hotel for breakfast.
In the afternoon enjoy visit to Sarnath.
Boat ride on the River Ganges
Sunrise boat ride on Ganga in Varanasi is a spiritual experience in itself. Sunrise boat ride on Ganga in Varanasi is a memorable experience and not be missed. It gives a glimpse of morning life along the ghats in Varanasi. If you are lucky you can see stunning views of sun rising in the eastern horizon.
Ganga is Varanasi and Varanasi is Ganga. For locals it is the lifeline. For devout pilgrims she is “Ganga Mayya – the mother who will wash away all the sins”. We are fascinated by the energy of the people, their beliefs and devotion to god. We could see people from all walks of life gathering on the ghat to worship the sun as he came up in the eastern horizon.
Sarnath is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage centres in India. It is here that Buddha came after reaching enlightenment at Bodh Gaya (present-day Bihar), and where he first began his teachings of Dharma and the four noble truths to his five disciples. It is also an important place for the followers of Jainism. While many of the ancient buildings and structures at Sarnath were damaged or destroyed by the Turks, relics remain in the form of ruins that can be visited, or artefacts held in the Sarnath Archeological Museum, which also houses some of the greatest treasures of Indian Buddhist art, including almost 300 images. The Deer Park, which is the site of Buddha’s first teachings, is maintained as an animal park and still home to resident deer.
Evening Aarti at Ghat
Varanasi is a sacred and oldest city located at the banks of the holy River Ganga. Where, Ganges Aarti is performed daily in the evening by a group of priests at the Dashashwamedh Ghat near famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple as a dedication to Shiva, Gange, Surya (Sun), Agni (Fire), and the entire universe.
The whole ritual of the Ganges Aarti is performed by the seven students of the Vedas and Upanishads lead by the head priest of the Gangotri Seva Samiti in a well choreographed manner with a great synchronization. The whole event takes around 45 minutes. An announcement at 7.00 pm indicates the beginning of the Aarti.
Day 10: Varanasi- Delhi
Breakfast at the hotel.
At an appropriate time, you will be assisted & transferred to airport to board the flight for Delhi.
Departs Varanasi: TBA HRS
Arrives Delhi: TBA HRS
Upon arrival at New Delhi, you will be assisted & transferred to the hotel check in.
Overnight: Hotel Novotel New Delhi Aerocity
Novotel New Delhi Aerocity is ideally located at Aerocity, in close proximity to the IGI Airport and within driving distance from business hubs of Gurgaon & New Delhi. A combination of 400 Suites & Rooms features multipurpose convention space with 11 meeting rooms, 5 boardrooms and one of the largest ballrooms in Delhi NCR. The hotel offers an array of food & beverage options and leisure facilities include a fully-equipped health club and outdoor swimming pool & bar.
Day 11: Delhi Int’l airport departure
Breakfast at the hotel.
At appropriate time, you will be met and transferred to Delhi airport to board your flight back home.
Departs Delhi: TBA Hrs.
Return flights from Johannesburg via Dubai to Delhi, approx. airport taxes, a 10 night stay on a Double/Twin Sharing basis at the hotels mentioned above; Meal Plan as indicated in the itinerary, all transfers will be by an air-conditioned AC Innova as mentioned above; Sightseeing’s & Entrances as per itinerary; Services of English speaking local guide for in Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Khajuraho & Varanasi; Train for sector Agra- Jhansi; Travel Counsellor representative for assistance on all arrival and departure transfers with meet and assist; a cell phone with local SIM for the length of stay in India; Mineral water and picnic hamper in the vehicle; All currently applicable taxes, including the service tax of 5% applicable on total invoice amount.
10 Nights from R36,700 pps
These offers are brought to you by Travel Counsellors (Pty) Ltd. Valid: 8 - 19 Dec 2019. Offers are per person sharing. Rates for other periods are available on request. Packages are subject to availability, seasonal surcharge; high season supplements, flight price increases and currency fluctuations. Packages excludes: Flights, airport taxes, visas, items of a personal nature, meals and drinks not indicated and travel insurance. Supplier's terms and conditions are available on request. Additional information available on request. Valid for SA residents only. Terms and conditions apply. Prices and information correct at time of publishing. E&OE.