The Classic North


Magnificent Taj Mahal; Jain temples of Ranakpur; Red Fort (Agra); Amber Palace (Jaipur)


Dates & Prices

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Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (if applicable) - All pricing reflects per-person Land Only expenses, however, we can book flights from virtually every city. Please call us for an air quote.

Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Thu 22 Oct 2015Thu 05 Nov 2015 $2890$2690 Discounted
Thu 04 Feb 2016Thu 18 Feb 2016 $2890
Thu 20 Oct 2016Thu 03 Nov 2016 $2890

Optional Single Supplement: $900 (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $150, if twin-sharing accommodation is unavailable.

Tour Overview

Regions visited: South Asia
Countries visited: India

Full Itinerary

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Day 1 Arrival in Delhi
Arrive in Delhi and transfer to our hotel.

Overnight in Delhi.

Meal plan: dinner

Day 2 Delhi: City Tour
Today we have a full-day tour of Delhi. We start with a drive north into Old Delhi, passing along the Rajpath (King's Way) and stopping for photos at the India Gate. The 42m high India Gate, an "Arc de Triomphe"-like archway in the middle of a crossroad, commemorates the Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during WWI. This landmark also bears the names of British and Indian soldiers killed in the Northwestern frontier in the Afghan War of 1919.

Next we will make a visit to the Jamma Mosque. Located in the heart of Old Delhi, the largest mosque in India can accommodate as many as twenty-thousand worshippers. This imposing architectural monument, with it's three gateways and two minarets, took fourteen years to complete (1644-58). Time permitting we will enter to have a brief look inside.

From here we board our cycle rickshaws for a tour of Chandni Chowk (Silver Street). Here we are given a glimpse into an old world lifestyle slowly fading from Delhi. The hustle and bustle of everyday life can be felt in the Chandi Chowk's narrow lanes. We will reboard our bus after the rickshaw ride, going past the Red Fort (photo stop), and we disembark at the Raj Ghat, set within a beautiful park. This national monument is where the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was cremated.

After a stop for lunch we continue our sightseeing with a visit to Humayan's Tomb, an excellent example of Mughal architecture, predating the Taj Mahal by almost 100 years. Persian in style, this is a beautiful red sandstone building inlaid with black and white marble.

We will finish our day with a visit to the Qutub Minar. Few other monuments are as closely identified with Delhi as the Qutub Minar, this first monument of Muslim rule in India. It heralded the beginning of a new style of art and architecture which came to be know as the Indo-Islamic.

Overnight in Delhi.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 3 Delhi - Mandawa
After an early breakfast we depart for Mandawa, arriving early afternoon.

The town of Mandawa lies in the heart of Shekhavati, a semi-arid region located in the northeast part of Rajasthan, famous for its heritage havelis and colourful fresco art. As you approach it, Mandawa emerges from the sand like a mirage. Wind your way through two imposing gateways up to Mandawa Castle. The handsome rugged fort of Mandawa was built in 1755 by Thakur Nawal Singh, who also founded the town of Nawalgarh.

In the afternoon, wander through the streets to admire the mansions of the Goenkas, Sarafs, Ladias and Chokhanis with their imposing gateways and elaborate frescoes. A painted arched gateway adorned with Lord Krishna and his cows leads to the bazaar. Tie and dye fabrics flutter in the breeze, skilled hands craft colourful bangles in lac and cobblers make leather shoes embroidered with gold thread.

Overnight in Mandawa.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 4 Mandawa - Shekhavati - Bikaner
After breakfast we drive to Bikaner, arriving around midday. En route, we stop at some of the ancient settlements of Shekhavati.

Founded at the close of the 15th century, Bikaner stands on high ground, surrounded by fine embattled walls. The 16th century fort contains palaces, temples and a mosque, mostly made of red and yellow sandstone. The marble images are considered to be the finest specimens of Hindu art.

Within the massive edifice of the fort, the entrance of which is flanked by two life-size effigies of elephants, are housed some of the rarest gems of Rajput civilisation. The Durbar Hall is in Mughal style, lavishly decorated with paintings. Gilt reliefs, glass mosaics and lace- like mirrors adorn the intimate and graceful Zenana -- the women's wing, separated from the main palace by a broad courtyard with panelled niches.

Overnight in Bikaner.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 5 Bikaner - Manvar Resort
After breakfast we drive to Manvar, an ideal base to explore the Indian desert life, culture, wildlife and natural beauty. On arrival, we check-in at our comfortable desert resort in time for lunch.

This afternoon we enjoy the unique desert atmosphere for which this region is famous. Keep an eye out for the chinkara -- a shy gazelle -- as they make way across the silent sands. Watch the children trotting off to school, while their mothers prepare their afternoon meal on dung-fire. Our village tour by jeep will allow us to share the fascinating culture of these friendly people and enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of this vast desert.

The evening is enlivened by a campfire, mashaals (traditional songs), and local musicians and dancers. With stunning sunrises, mesmerizing sunsets and dazzling night skies, life in this peaceful wilderness is spectacularly elemental -- and extraordinarily silent.

Overnight near Manvar.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 6 Manvar - Jodhpur - Luni
After breakfast drive to Luni.

En route we stop at Jodhpur. This is the land of the valiant Rathore kings, whose courage was a match for the tyranny of the Thar Desert. A bleak scarp rears up 120 meters from the desert valley. Straddling the rocky crevices is the massive Jodhpur Fort, its sheer walls reflecting the strength of its warrior builders. The fort is entered through seven gates, each a formidable barrier. The museum within the fort is one of the finest in Rajasthan and displays royal apparel, ancient paintings and manuscripts, fabled treasures of the royal household and an armoury. An interesting section displays folk musical instruments from different regions of Rajasthan. Delicately latticed windows and pierced screens worked in sandstone form the dominant motif within the rugged casket of the fort and the palaces are exquisitely decorated.

On arrival we check in at Luni.

Overnight in Luni.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 7 Bishnoi Village Jeep Excursion
After breakfast, we will visit the Bishnoi village by jeep. The Bishnois are a fascinating community which follows the 29 (bish-noi) tenets laid down by the 15th century Guru Jambeshwar. They fervently believe in the sanctity of animal and plant life so all animals live near their villages without fear. When a Bishnoi dies, he is sometimes buried in the sitting position and often placed at the threshold of the house or adjoining cattleshed. A Bishnoi believes he will later be reincarnated as a deer, hence the herds of blackbuck often seen near their villages.

Later we travel to Ranakpur (or occasionally Rohetgarh) where we spend the night.

Overnight in Ranakpur.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 8 Ranakpur - Udaipur
After breakfast we depart on our drive to Udaipur.

En route, we visit the famous Jain temples of Ranakpur which lie buried in a shady glen and cover a vast area. The central temple is called Chaumukha (four-faced) and is the most complex and extensive of Jain temples in India, covering an area of over 40,000 sq. feet (3600 sq metres). Its 29 halls are supported by 1,444 pillars, none of which are alike. Subsidiary shrines in the shape of side alters throng around in all directions, including a temple dedicated to the Sun God which displays erotic carvings.

On arrival in Udaipur, check-in at the hotel.

Overnight in Udaipur.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 9 Udaipur: City Tour
Our morning sightseeing in Udaipur includes a visit to the City Palace, which stands on the crest of a ridge overlooking Lake Pichola. The largest palace in Rajasthan, it was built at various periods but still preserves the harmony of design, enhanced by massive octagonal towers surmounted by cupolas. Now a museum, it is a labyrinth of courtyards richly decorated with inlaid mirror-work, galleries covered with frescos, temples and roof gardens, which afford a wide panorama below. The Jagdish Temple in the old town was built in the mid-17th century and has a remarkable bronze statue of Garuda, the mythical bird, facing his revered master Lord Vishnu.

Sahelion-ki-Bari (Garden of the Handmaidens) is a good example of the Hindu art of landscape gardening on a princely scale. Ornamental pools with finely sculptured cenotaphs of soft black stone are surrounded by a profusion of fountains.

The afternoon is at leisure. The shops and craftsmen's ateliers in the narrow streets of the bazaar justify endless walks.

OPTIONAL (approx $10): In the evening take a boat ride on Lake Pichola. The steel blue waters of the lake, artificially created in the 14th century, reflect the white phantom Jag Nivas Palace, now the Lake Palace hotel which was built in 1746 as the summer residence of the rulers, and Jag Mandir said to be built by Maharana Karan Singh for his friend Prince Khurram, who was later to become emperor Shah Jehan. Huge seamless stone slabs of translucent thinness where used. The rooms were embellished with inlaid stones -- onyx, jade, carnelian, jasper and agate.

Overnight in Udaipur.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 10 Udaipur - Pushkar
After breakfast we depart on the drive to Pushkar. On arrival check in at the resort, set amidst orchards of Indian gooseberry and fields of roses. (As Pushkar is a holy town the resort serves no alcohol or non-vegetarian food, though a wide variety of vegetarian delicacies from around the world are on offer here.)

In the late afternoon we visit the Brahma temple. This town boasts of the only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma in the world. Lord Brahma is the Creator in the Holy Trinity of Gods. You get a chance to walk through the winding lanes of Pushkar before reaching the lake, which is magical at sunset.

An aarti (Hindu prayer ceremony) is arranged specially for you at the banks of the lake today. After the ceremony we enjoy a cup of tea on the banks of the lake before starting our journey back to the resort. Enjoy a traditional thali dinner at the resort.

Overnight in Pushkar.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 11 Pushkar - Jaipur
This morning we depart for Jaipur.

This afternoon we explore Jaipur, one of the best-planned cities in India, built of rose-pink sandstone by the great astronomer-king Jai Singh II in 1727. The City Palace stands in the centre of the city. Part of it is still the Maharaja's residence, while most of the complex has been developed into a museum containing rare manuscripts, fine specimens of Rajput and Mughal paintings, royal apparel and an armoury. Jantar Mantar observatory was built by the founder of Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. The huge stone instruments were devised to study the movements of the sun, moon and planets and are incredibly accurate. Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) is the landmark of Jaipur. Built of pink sandstone with a delicate honeycomb design and rising five storeys high, it is composed of semi-octagonal overhanging windows, each with its perforated screen, which allowed the ladies of the court to look onto the main street without being seen.

Overnight in Jaipur.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 12 Jaipur & Amer Fort
After an early breakfast, we visit Amer Fort (also sometimes written "Amber"), the capital for 6 centuries before Jaipur was built, 11 km north of Jaipur. Rising majestically on the slopes of a hill, this 11th century fort and palace complex is a blend of Hindu and Muslim styles -- the earlier constructions in the inner apartments designed by the Hindu founder are austere, while later constructions abound in the rich flourishes characteristic of Muslim influence. Experience the thrill of riding up to the fort on gaily decorated elephants, in the manner the Rajputs of old made their royal ascent centuries ago.

The afternoon is at leisure. You have time to wander through the colourful bazaars, a veritable collector's paradise where you can watch ancient craft forms: Meenakari or enameling work, exquisite jewellery in silver or gold sparkling with emeralds, rubies, white sapphires and dangling pearls. In tiny ateliers you can see the age-old tie-dye methods of cloth printing, miniature paintings on cotton or silk, statues hand-carved in wood or bone, fine metalwork and the renowned blue pottery of Jaipur.

Overnight in Jaipur.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 13 Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra
We depart for Agra. En route, stop at Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted sandstone city, which was the glorious but short-lived imperial capital of Akbar, the greatest of Mughal emperors. Lying on a rocky ridge, it is today a haunting complex of empty palaces, forts and mosques. A variety of architectural styles are found, since craftsmen representing many schools were employed.

On arrival in Agra, check in at the hotel.

Overnight in Agra.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 14 Agra: Agra Fort & the Taj Mahal
After breakfast we tour Agra. Visit the red sandstone Agra Fort, which stands like a crescent on the banks of the Jamuna River, enclosed by forbidding 20-meter high walls, with a 12-meter moat between them. Three successive Mughal emperors -- Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jehan -- helped create this massive structure which contains Hindu and Muslim architecture.

The highlight of your trip will be a visit to the Taj Mahal, the greatest monument to love and one of the wonders of the modern world, constructed by Emperor Shah Jehan as a mausoleum for his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. Completed in 1652, skilled craftsmen from Persia, Turkey, France and Italy and some 20,000 labourers worked for 17 years to build this edifice. You have time to explore the bazaars and craftsmen's ateliers, where you can watch the ancient art of marble in-lay work.

Overnight in Agra.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 15 Agra - Delhi - Depart
Today we return to Delhi by road. Departure from Delhi.

NOTE: Passengers booking their own flights should take into account the road journey from Agra and NOT book flights that depart any earlier than 3:00 pm.


Meal plan: breakfast

Tour Map

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*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.

Hotel List

The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.

Hotel Crowne Plaza Okhla

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Delhi
Country: India

Crowne Plaza New Delhi Okhla is an ideal abode for a comfortable and affordable stay. Rated as five-star hotel, it
... an integral part of prestigious hotel group called Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts. The hotel is beautifully nestled at the capital city with amidst of commercial and entertainment hubs of South Delhi. As the travel vacationer, you won't have any difficulty in reaching out at this wonderful property as it is not so far from national and international airports. You will be welcomed here with typical Indian hospitality by the courteous staff.

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Manvar Resort

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Manvar
Country: India

Located in the heart of the sand dune region of Rajasthan between the ancient cities of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner,
... Resort is a hidden gem – very quaint and pleasant, a green oasis in the desert – designed and built in the style of a village settlement against the backdrop of a desert landscape.

An oasis in barren lands which weaves technology and comfort to a contemporary traveler in this rustic expression. Providing warm and comfortable interiors in contrast to the earthy and rugged exteriors which has led to the blossoming of a boutique environment which has retained the original beauty and royalty of Rajasthan in its red and beige stone structure.

There are two courtyards where nature speaks to you through cool breeze, chirping of birds, a restaurant and a bar that open into a street market.. . It’s atmospheric to dine out in an open courtyard and feast on mouth watering cuisine that offers both local and world flavours while folk musicians set the tempo around a crackling fire.

Beyond this are the living quarters called ANANDGRAM – an area that has cottages, thatched roof-top sit outs, swimming pool and massage rooms overlooking a small sanctuary. Accommodation is in en-suite rooms which are cozy and comfortable, with doors that open onto their own little patios set amidst the greenery of trees and landscaping. The thatched roofs draw inspiration from the local ‘dhani’(the village hut). The interiors have smooth stucco plaster, patterned mosaic floors, customised furniture and rugs, traditional ‘Khats’ (charpoys) have been converted into sofas, curtains and bed covers have been custom made - all of them being very specific to this desert region of Manvar.

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Hotel Hilltop Palace

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Udaipur
Country: India

Good restaurants in Udaipur, Lake facing hotels in Udaipur, good restaurants in Udaipur, hotels near lake in Udaipur, best bars
... Udaipur.
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Hotel Pushkar Palace

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Pushkar
Country: India

Hotel Pushkar Palace has well appointed 48 Super Deluxe Rooms and 5 Suites with all facilities in the rooms. Hotel
... two floors, most of the rooms including all suites are overlooking the lake and has garden view.

Spacious Air Conditioned rooms for single, double, triple and family accommodation are available with satellite television, telephone and minibar. Quality mattresses and linen are being used to make the stay more comfortable. Each room has different period furniture, frescoes, family portraits and decoration of old paintings, which create a great ambience.

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Dera Rawatsar

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Jaipur
Country: India

Dera Rawatsar - A family boutique hotel run by the House of Rawatsar, who traces their ancestry from Kandhlot Rathore
... of Rajputs, offers the traveller a quiet and relaxing experience amidst the freshness of a garden. Being located in the heart of the city, historical monuments, heritage walled city, shopping areas - are all easily accessible from here. The hotel, blending traditional Indian hospitality & Indian modernism, has impressive exterior and interiors with architecture typical of Jaipur. Your stay at this Jaipur hotel is sure to leave a lasting spell on your mind.
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Hotel Clarks Shiraz

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Agra
Country: India

Clarks Shiraz, Agra, is a five-star luxury hotel which combines business with pleasure, style with substance, form with function. Located
... km. from the Taj Mahal, in the heart of Agra, and yet free from its din and bustle, The Clarks Shiraz is just 7 km. from the Airport and 3 km. from the Railway Station.
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Trip Information

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Breakfast and dinner are included daily. Evening meals on tour will be taken mostly at hotels. In India, most restaurants of an international standard are associated with hotels. In some locales we endeavour to break up the buffet dinners with a meal at a local restaurant but, overall, the imperatives of hygiene and quality dictate hotel meals. All transport, accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees are included for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for drivers, restaurant staff, porters, local guides. Airport transfers for land & air customers.


Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), domestic and international (if applicable) air taxes, visa fees, and any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on shopping, not included meals, visas.

Seasonality and Weather

For most of the country, late October-March is (by far) the best time to visit. During those months, temperatures range from 40-70 F / 5-20 C in the north to 65-95 F/19-37 C in the south. March-June is dry and exceedingly hot (85-110 F/30-44 C), and June-October is monsoon time (20-80 in/50-200 cm of rain will fall in one season). While conditions can vary widely, you must be prepared for some heat.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Ground transport via private air-conditioned motor coach. The tour is not physically strenuous though it is busy; you must be prepared for some early starts, be steady on your feet, and be able to endure some heat and long days. We have numerous walking tours and visit several sites that are LARGE with steps and uneven surfaces. Porters are available at hotels but you must be able to manage with your baggage at airports.


Accommodation in air-conditioned 3-4 star hotels. Hotel properties are mostly modern and Western style. Some are older, character properties with simpler rooms and perhaps no elevators.

Our accommodation in Delhi cannot be considered "central" in a conventional sense. Delhi is a huge sprawling city with many districts and centres of interest / business; our hotel is well-located for what we want to accomplish on our city coach tour. Some properties have swimming pools. Laundry services at most hotels for a modest cost. Single rooms are limited and possibly smaller than twins. Porters are generally available (see 'Inclusions'). Single supplements reflect sharing for this night.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout, local drivers, local guides at various locations.

Group Size

10-21 plus Tour Leader