North India Royal Journey

15 Days: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur - Udaipur - Mumbai - Varanasi

The Trehan Journeys Difference

UWHS = UNESCO World Heritage Site
Day 1

VIP Arrival Services

Day 2

Optional National Museum

Lutyens New Delhi

Humayun's Tomb (UWHS)

Qutab Minar (UWHS)

Lodi Art District

Day 3

Old Delhi

Chandni Chawk Bazaar

Jama Masjid

Red Fort (UWHS)

Day 4
Delhi - Agra

Drive to Agra

Agra Fort (UWHS)

Mehtab Bagh Sunset

Day 5

Taj Mahal Sunrise

Kinari Bazaar

Taj Mahal Sunset

Day 6
Agra - Jaipur

Drive to Jaipur

Chand Baori Stepwell

Train and Platform Restaurant

Day 7

Pink City Exploration

Bazaar Walk

Hawa Mahal

Jantar Mantar (UWHS)

City Palace

Day 8

Albert Hall

Monkey Temple

Amer Fort (UWHS)

Day 9
Jaipur - Udaipur

Drive to Udaipur

Day 10

City Palace

Crystal Gallery

Bazaar Walk

Three-wheeler Ride

Monsoon Palace

Sunset Lake Pichola Cruise

Day 11
Udaipur - Mumbai

Flexible Morning at Udaipur

Fly to Mumbai

Day 12

Gateway of India

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (UWHS)

Historic Walk

Leopold Cafe

Dhobi Ghat

Marine Drive and Hanging Gardens

Day 13
Mumbai - Varanasi

Fly to Varanasi

Sarnath Buddhist Site

Lion Capital

Day 14

Walking Tour

Ghats of the Ganga

Hindu Rituals and Ceremonies

Private Sunset Ganga Cruise & Ancient Ceremony

Day 15
Varanasi - Delhi

Private Sunrise Ganga Cruise

Morning Rituals

Flight to Delhi

VIP Departure Services

Day 1. Arrive at Delhi

Overnight – The Oberoi New Delhi

Once upon a time, a modern jetliner landed at Delhi Airport.

VIP Arrival Services. Most flights arrive either in the evening or at night, and we strongly recommend that our guests consider arriving at least a day earlier. Meet your assigned representative from VIP Arrival Services as you exit the jet bridge from your plane at Delhi Airport. You are privately escorted through the complete arrival process, including immigration, baggage claim, and customs.

The Oberoi Delhi. Next you will be greeted by your Connoisseur Guide and driven to your top-ranked luxury hotel – check-in is available by 3 pm. Your suite at the Delhi Oberoi includes 24-hour butler service and access to the Resident’s Lounge with its associated benefits, and you are next to the historic Delhi Golf Club – tee time and more can be reserved with your tour.

Day 2. Delhi

Overnight – The Oberoi New Delhi

National Museum. Recommended Morning Visit – India’s National Museum. This short museum visit will enhance the unique experiences that await you. There are a plethora of exhibits and artifacts and a comprehensive tour would take a few days. We recommend at least a short walk with your guide through the Pre-History Gallery’s Harrapan Collection, which displays amazing artefacts from the Indus Valley Civilization, one of mankind’s four ancient civilizations. Highlights among these invaluable artifacts are as old as 10,000 BCE ago and include sophisticated pottery, tools, coins, and jewelry, and a lot more. Please let us know if you prefer a more comprehensive tour, or want to skip this visit.

Lutyens New Delhi. Begin your exploration of Delhi with a short drive through some of Lutyens’ historic New Delhi. You can stop for views of the exterior of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the massive home of India’s President, and the India Gate, a War Memorial to the 84,000 British Indian Army soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War. These sights are progressively becoming harder to explore on foot and we recommend a drive by viewing for all but the most interested.

Humayun’s Tomb. Continue your exploration after another short drive to the magnificent tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun, one of Delhi’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites for excellent reasons. Completed in the year 1562, the massive tomb’s perfect symmetry is quite magical to behold, and its unique beauty is enhanced by the surrounding manicured gardens. Your guide will reveal fascinating aspects of the structure as you walk around the tomb. You may want to have lunch at this point and options can include your nearby hotel.

Qutab Minar. Next you will be driven to the Qutab Minar Complex. The large campus has a number of interesting ruins from different epochs in Indian History, all towered over by the Qutab Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built as a symbol of victory after a major war, the awe-inspiring 12th Century Qutab Minar is 240 feet high and is still the tallest brick-built minaret on our planet.

Iron Pillar. Within the Qutab complex, amidst the ruins of the once spectacular Quwat-ul-Islam Mosque, stands the legendary 2500-year-old Iron Pillar. The pillar stands 23 feet and 8 inches tall, weighs about 7000 pounds, and has inscriptions that are still legible to a great extent. This massive cast iron structure is said to have been moved from its distant cave shelter to Delhi around the 12th century.

Lodi Art District. Very near your hotel is the Lodi Art District and this will be your last experience today. The quality of the street art found here will both surprise and delight you. The subject matter includes a focus on women, and ranges from colorful visualizations by international artists to unique perspectives of everyday life in Delhi and India. Here is a Google Arts and Culture presentation on the Lodi Art District –

Day 3. Delhi

Overnight – The Oberoi New Delhi

Old Delhi. We recommend a start around 9 :45 AM to avoid traffic. You are driven to ancient Old Delhi, where your exploration will focus on three historic masterpieces. One of the world’s largest populations flourished among these three attractions during the Mughal Dynasty’s two and a half century reign from the Red Fort. The Red Fort and Jama Masjid were built by Shah Jahan, the emperor who created the Taj Mahal. The now nearby Yamuna River ran directly on one side of the large forted city inside the Red Fort, and the bazaar and the mosque lay on the other side, surrounded by a city full of people.

Chandni Chowk Bazaar. Start by enjoying an easy walk through ancient and crowded Chandni Chowk Bazaar. This walk is a cultural revelation and it can be as short or long as you want. This massive shopping and mixed-use area is home to the world’s largest spice market and a lot more. As you begin the walk you will experience the sounds, smells, and colors of Chandni Chowk which, even today, is one of Delhi’s major wholesale and retail markets, as well as a street food destination. It’s narrow roads and alleys are surrounded by historic buildings with architecture featuring intricately carved facades, domes, and arches.

Jama Masjid. Next up is an e-rickshaw ride in the same area that ends at the largest mosque in India, the Jama Masjid (1650 A.D.). The Masjid is a magnificent example of Mughal architecture and is constructed of red sandstone and white marble. It is an active place of worship and its courtyard can hold 25,000 worshippers. Bare legs and shoulders are not permitted inside the mosque and we include sarongs for those who need them.

Red Fort. After a break for lunch, you will visit the incredible Red Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site described by the World Heritage Convention as “representing the zenith of Mughal creativity”. The massive sandstone walls of the octagonal Red Fort range from 59 to 108 feet, and the 1.5 mile long span is made even more imposing by turrets and bastions at multiple strategic spots. You can experience how the emperors lived and ruled, how the noblemen ran the kingdom, how the women’s section operated with the support of eunuchs, how food, water, and waste were handled, and much more with your guide.

After exploring the Fort, you are driven back to your hotel so that you can arrive before Delhi’s rush hour begins.

Day 4. Delhi – Agra

Overnight – The Oberoi Amarvilas

Drive to Agra. You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel after breakfast and you will be driven to Agra on a roughly 3.5-hour journey. After exiting sprawling greater Delhi, you will be driving along lush farmland and villages on one of India’s best elevated tollways.

Oberoi Amarvilas. Upon arrival at Agra, you are driven to your gorgeous luxury resort where you can drop your bags off and use the facilities to freshen-up. Your Taj Mahal view room will be ready for check-in by 3 PM at the latest.

Agra Fort. Now you will experience the predecessor of the Red Fort, the Agra Fort. This UNESCO World Heritage Site Forted City was built in 1565 by India’s greatest Mughal ruler, Emperor Akbar, and much was then copied in Delhi’s larger Red Fort about 7 decades later by his grandson, the visionary builder Shah Jahan. There are unique views of the Taj Mahal from a section of the fort, including from the room where Akbar’s great-grandson Aurangzeb imprisoned his father Shah Jahan during the end of his life.

Mehtab Bagh. After relaxing and enjoying your memorable view for a little while, you will proceed for a sunset visit to Mehtab Bagh, which is a Mughal Garden built at the same time as, and located across from the Taj Mahal on the other side of the Yamuna River. From this vantage point you can admire the magnificent Taj Mahal as the setting sun’s rays play on the facade of the world’s finest monument.

A note for photography enthusiasts: Although we include a sunrise and a sunset visit to the Taj Mahal, you may want to ask us to change the timing of one or both because the best photos are usually during the day. For five days a month, before, during, and after the full moon, a separate limited availability moonlight visit can also be added with prior notice.

Day 5. Agra

Overnight – The Oberoi Amarvilas

Sunrise Taj Mahal. Enjoy a sunrise visit to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the incomparable Taj Mahal. Morning is the best time to experience it during most of the year, except for some years during which morning fog in late December and most of January. Since it is more expensive for Indian tourists to enter at this early hour the massive monument and its surrounding Mughal gardens have a lot fewer visitors.

The Taj Mahal is obviously a UNESCO World Heritage Site and we will not attempt to describe it – better writers have tried and failed. Suffice it to say that the years, expertise, and riches spent on it have bestowed mankind with its most magnificent creation. As the rising sun’s rays illuminate the precious stones inlaid in the marble they will gleam for a few moments and change colors. Return to your resort in time for breakfast and to freshen-up.

Kinari Bazaar. At some time in the late morning or early afternoon we recommend a visit to Agra’s ancient Kinari Bazaar. A ‘Kinari’ is a decorative edge in a fabric or other material, and here you will find sections of stores that offer a dizzying variety of tassels, borders, laces, beads, fabric and other edgings, and a lot more.

Sunset Taj Mahal. Enjoy a late afternoon visit to the Taj Mahal. You can admire the magnificent Taj Mahal in detail, and your guide will suggest spots to watch the setting sun’s rays play on the facade of the world’s finest monument. Return to your gorgeous resort that is a very short walk or drive away.

Day 6. Agra - Jaipur

Overnight – Rambagh Palace

You can enjoy a late lunch at Jaipur today, or have your Agra resort pack a to-go snack for the drive. You are assisted with your check-out from your resort and then you are driven to the Chand Baori stepwell at Abhaneri, located just off the highway before you turn into the countryside.

Chand Baori Stepwell. The massive 10th century Chand Baori stepwell is one of the most impressive in all of India and is located next to a charming Rajasthani village. The depth of the stepwell is that of a modern 7 story building, and there are stairs (no longer accessible to visitors) leading down to the bottom from three of the four 100 foott wide sides, creating the symmetry and beauty of the ancient structure. It highlights this travel article –

Rambagh Palace. Continue on the drive to the UNESCO World Heritage City of Jaipur. Upon arrival at Jaipur, you are assisted with your check-in at the Maharaja’s former residence, the Rambagh Palace. Jaipur’s most magnificent lodging is located next to the Rambagh Golf Course and tee time and more can be reserved with your tour.

Train and Platform Restaurant. While you are at the palace, we recommend dinner at an incredibly charming and atmospheric venue. The unique Steam Bar & Restaurant on the Rambagh Palace grounds is comprised of a lovingly restored 19th century narrow-gauge steam train and a recreated colonial era railway station – you can eat in the train compartments or on the authentic colonial era platform next to the train.

Shopping in Jaipur: Jaipur is India’s shopping mecca for all sorts of exquisite hand-crafted items, including fabrics, carpets, pottery and jewelry, and those who are interested in shopping can have their Guide serve as a personal shopper during your time here.

Day 7. Jaipur

Overnight – Rambagh Palace

Pink City. Begin your exploration of the walled pink city of Jaipur. You will start with a stroll through the fascinating main bazaar in the heart of the pink city and watch the locals as they shop for pretty much everything a consumer can possibly want. This atmospheric and crowded bazaar has multiple rows of sellers, starting from the sidewalks and ending at the sometimes centuries old brick-and-mortar stores.

Bazaar Walk. There are rows of busy street vendors with their displays or carts, usually offering fresh produce or inexpensive everyday essentials. Behind them the brick-and-mortar stores sell their wares in sections of the bazaar that focus on similar products. Almost everything under the sun has a section in this massive web of a bazaar, which includes scores of byzantine alleys leading into inner courtyard shops that only the locals know about.

Hawa Mahal. A short walk or drive will bring you to the most photographed of Jaipur’s monuments, the enchanting Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Wind). This intriguing facade was built in 1799 so that the ladies of the court could use its unique windows and observe the bustling bazaar without being visible to people on the streets. The gorgeous design and architecture are supremely functional as they guide prevailing winds over water bodies and through ingenious lattice windows, resulting in naturally cooled chambers for the royals.

For an interesting meal within the Pink City bazaar area, we recommend the excellent cafe at the small historic lodge, The Johri. Locally sourced fresh organic vegetarian cuisine is served here, and the Indian chaat items are recommended. Other options, including fine dining at your palace hotel, are available.

Jantar Mantar. One of the wonders you will visit today is the Jantar Mantar (UNESCO World Heritage Site), an amazing stone observatory that was built by the founder of Jaipur in 1728. Beloved Sawai Raja Jai Singh was passionate about architecture, mathematics and astronomy, and had five stone Jantar Mantar astronomical observatories built in India, all of which allow calculations by the naked eye. The most impressive of these is at Jaipur, where a massive stone sun dial that is accurate to within 2 seconds.

City Palace. Located next to Jantar Mantar is your next experience, City Palace, the royal residence. Members of the family still occupy a part of the palace complex that is closed to the public. You will enter through grand painted entrances and unique courtyards and experience how Jaipur royalty lived and worked over the last 2 plus centuries, and the beautiful artwork and other trappings they surrounded themselves with. You can visit your choice of the palace’s small museums that include displays of local armor, miniature paintings, and a large and impressive collection of ancient royal garments and accoutrements.

Day 8. Jaipur

Overnight – Rambagh Palace

Albert Hall. You first experience this morning will be at the exterior of the Albert Hall Museum to admire the gorgeous Indo-Saracenic architecture. The building was completed in 1887 by Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob and the extremely ornate structure was built out of marble and stone by Rajasthan’s unmatched craftsmen. Its exterior walls are painted with depictions of ancient civilizations. Rudyard Kipling (himself the son of a museum curator) on a visit was so impressed that he wrote “it is now a rebuke to all other museums in India from Calcutta downwards”.

We recommend touring some of the museums exhibits as, being Rajasthan’s State Museum, it was designed to reflect Rajput design and color. You can explore the sections that interest you, picking from many fascinating collections of historic craftsmanship such as pottery, jewelry, weavings, sculptures, paintings, to a collection of coins spanning many eras of India’s long history.

Monkey Temple. From the Albert Hall you are driven into Jaipur’s Aravalli Hills and the ancient Hindu pilgrimage site of Galtaji. The 15th Century group of temples here are sometimes called the Monkey Temple because of a large troop of monkeys makes their home in this part of the hills. They jump into and swim around the main pond with reckless abandon and their social behavior and grooming rituals can be fascinating to watch.

The picturesque complex of temples has seven ponds that are fed by springs on the surrounding hilltops. You can explore inside the beautiful pink stone Galtaji Temple, and there are other ancient temples in the complex for those interested. The Rajasthani architecture makes them very different from most temples in North India. A bit of an uphill hike can bring you to the hilltop Sun Temple.

Amer Fort: You have many options for lunch today from which your guide will assist you in selecting. Your last and most awe-inspiring experience in Jaipur is the gargantuan Amber Fort and Palace complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 16th century complex sprawls over a number of hills and their valleys, with rolling defensive walls surrounding the hills around it and was home to the Jaipur Royal Family for about a century and a half. 

Fort Architecture and Design. The massive citadel is visually stunning from the ground with just the façade of the visible walls, towers, gardens, and ramparts as they conform to the contours of the hills. Inside the citadel the views only improve, but now, changing the scale, it is time to admire the intricacy and creativity in the breathtakingly beautiful displays in chambers and hallways that you will experience. You will see how the king lived and ruled, how the noblemen ran the kingdom, how the proud Rajasthani Queens ran the women’s section, how food, water, and waste were handled, all while admiring the wonderful architecture and craftsmanship.

Day 9. Jaipur – Udaipur

Overnight – The Oberoi Udaivilas

You are assisted with your check-out after breakfast and then you will proceed on the drive to Udaipur. We recommend that have your hotel pack a snack for this journey. The second half of the drive is one of the most picturesque drives in all of India and as you go through the Aravalli hills there will be photo opportunities of village life and livestock, including camels. The rolling landscape, the languid lifestyle, and the charm of the local villagers will make you ask for frequent stops during this journey.

Oberoi Udaivilas. Arrive at magical Udaipur in the late afternoon and you are driven to your spectacular lakefront resort and assisted with your check-in. The architecture, facilities and grounds at the Oberoi Udaivilas are unmatched even among all of the highly vaunted Oberoi Hotels.

Day 10. Udaipur

Overnight – The Oberoi Udaivilas

City Palace. Head out for the City Palace a little early this morning so as to share the magical complex with fewer visitors. The fabled City Palace Complex contains multiple old palaces and other structures, and the lavish opulence of the interiors and antique furnishings even exceeds what you experienced in the Jaipur palaces.

Lake Pichola. The entrance area of the City Palace offers spectacular views of Lake Pichola and its picturesque surroundings. You will explore ornately decorated chambers and hallways that are illuminated by the sun’s rays through bright stained-glass windows, take in the views from expansive inlaid marble balconies, and marvel at the breathtaking craftsmanship in the Mor Chowk (Peacock Square).

Crystal Gallery. The palace’s Crystal Gallery houses the world’s largest collection of priceless crystal and showcases an exquisite collection of rare crystal artifacts from the renowned British manufacturer, F. & C. Osler. The gallery’s vast collection includes many highlights such as a spectacular chandelier, a life-size lion, and an assortment of royal furniture that includes the world’s largest crystal bed, as well as chairs and tables. These larger dazzling displays are complimented by a fascinating array of crystal objets d’art, such as vases, perfume bottles, and dinnerware.

Bazaar Walk. Escape from your lavish trappings and experience the pedestrian charms of Udaipur, an ideal town for safe and easy walking explorations. Your guide will lead you on strolls (driving is an alternative) through quaint local markets and other captivating areas.

Three-wheeler Ride. Udaipur is ideal for experiencing a three-wheeler scooter ride in India and you will be passengers as your driver slowly navigates a preset route on the narrow streets and hidden alleys of charming Udaipur. With each bump and turn, you’ll be more captivated by the vibrant colors and rich cultural history that surrounds you. Lunch can be at a time and place of your choice, including at your resort.

Monsoon Palace. In the midafternoon you are driven to visit the Monsoon Palace, a small hilltop structure that offers amazing views of the picturesque city of Udaipur and its lakes and palaces. For hiking enthusiasts, part or all of the way up or down the hill can be an exhilarating walk. The road is part of a state protected sanctuary and you will come across colorful villagers leaving the jungle after gathering firewood.

Sunset Cruise. Enjoy a private sunset cruise on captivating Lake Pichola in one of your resort’s boats – this is a perfect last activity in magical Udaipur. Additional days at Udaipur are highly recommended both by us and previous guests and can be added upon request.

Day 11. Udaipur - Mumbai

Overnight – The Taj Mahal Palace

Your guide and chauffeur driven vehicle are available to you from 9 AM for additional Udaipur sightseeing. Your flight to Mumbai is in the mid-afternoon and you can check out at any time before noon. In the early afternoon you are driven to the fairly distant Udaipur Airport and assisted in boarding your mid-afternoon business class flight to Mumbai.

Taj Mahal Palace. At Mumbai your gorgeous historic hotel has an enviable location, across the street from the Gateway of India and the ocean. The legendary palace part of the hotel started construction at the end of the 19th century, and was completed in December 1902, well before the Gateway of India monument that it faces. Your suite in the Palace Wing includes Taj Club facilities and its associated benefits.

Mumbai Culture. The seaside in front of your hotel is where middle class residents of Mumbai like to spend their evenings enjoying the ocean breeze and socializing. It is a great place to walk on your own, as locals sit on the seaside promenade and street vendors hawk their wares to them, from street food to toys to foot massages! You can safely and comfortably explore the surroundings of your Mumbai lodging until the late evening.

Day 12. Mumbai

Overnight – The Taj Mahal Palace

Gateway of India. A guided city tour of historical Mumbai begins across the street from your hotel at The Gateway of India, overlooking Mumbai’s harbor. This structure was built to commemorate King George & Queen Mary’s visit in 1905 and serves as one of Mumbai’s landmarks and is home to a jetty from which ferries and tourism boats operate.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. A short drive takes you to the iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The most impressive structure that the British built in India, the Italian Gothic architecture and design is a delight to behold. It also happens to be one of the world’s busiest railway stations, making for quite a unique experience. Architecture and design lovers will want to spend some time here, including inside the massive and busy station.

Historic Walk. From here you will enjoy a walk, with stops every few minutes to admire historic attractions, while being surrounded by local residents going about their daily activities. The next 2 to 3 hours can be an experience where you will walk just under 2 miles, stopping frequently at a multitude of attractions, or you can ask to be driven for most, or all, of the stretch.

You will admire the historic Flora Fountain, and then, passing Horniman’s Circle and Mumbai Town Hall, you will stop to admire the fascinating architecture of Mumbai’s premier museum, designed in the Indo-Saracenic style and built in the early 20th Century. Those who are so inclined can tour the museum – it includes wonderful sections of archeology, natural history, and a lot more.

Leopold Café. We recommend an informal snack or lunch at the iconic Leopold Café, a charming and busy eatery that opened in 1871 and was one of the targets during the 2008 Mumbai terrorism attack. Many fine dining options are also available.

Dhobi Ghat. After lunch you will drive to Mumbai’s main Dhobi Ghat where you will observe the Dhobi’s doing Mumbai’s laundry by flogging the clothes on stone in the same manner that they have for more than a century. Over 100,000 pieces are laundered every day and hung to dry on seemingly unending clotheslines. Then they are all ironed and delivered to far reaching areas of Mumbai. The profession and small stone washing stations are passed on from generation to generation.

Marine Drive and Hanging Gardens. Continue your exploration by driving further on Marine Drive and go up Malabar Hill where the Hanging Gardens provide a panoramic view of the city and bay. Avoiding the infamous Mumbai rush hour traffic, you are driven back to your hotel in the mid-afternoon. Your guide and chauffeur are available to you for more explorations – we recommend that you remain near your hotel – it is the best part of Mumbai for visitors. Your gorgeous historic hotel’s extensive facilities are also well worth experiencing.

Day 13. Mumbai - Varanasi

Overnight – Taj Nadesar Palace

Join your guide for the drive to Mumbai Airport and the morning flight to Varanasi (Banaras). Food and soft drinks are served in business class, and you can also decide to eat something soon after arrival at Varanasi. India’s holiest city is the oldest continuously inhabited city on our planet with a history that dates back five millennia.

Sarnath Buddhist Site. Your first stop at Varanasi will be Sarnath, a major Buddhism Site. The massive Dhamekha Stupa is located exactly where the Buddha preached his first sermons to his five disciples. A smaller Stupa at this spot is said to be one of the eight places where the Buddha’s ashes were placed, and 2300 years ago Emperor Ashoka, who spread Buddhism in the world, expanded the structure to many times its original size.
Currently the Stupa is 143 feet high and has a 92-foot diameter, and is said to have been more than twice this size 1500 years ago. Sarnath was where the first Buddhist Sangha was formed and the area is home to a number of other ancient Buddhist monuments that you will drive by and can stop at if you want.

Lion Capital. A highlight of the visit to Sarnath is the tiny Archaeological Museum as its collection is highlighted by the spectacular “Lion Capital of Ashoka”, the 4 headed stone lion that is India’s national emblem.

Nadesar Palace. From Sarnath you will head to your Palace Hotel, the only luxury lodging in Varanasi. Set in 27 acres of gardens and organic farmland in the really crowded city, calling the small Nadesar Palace ‘boutique’ is a vast understatement. Built by the East India Company in the 18th century, it was taken over by the local Royal Family in the late 19th Century and served as a guest house for British and other Royalty during visits to India.

Day 14. Varanasi

Overnight – Taj Nadesar Palace

Walking Tour. Venture out to truly ancient parts of Varanasi this morning for a fascinating introduction to ancient Hinduism and its deep connections to society. You will walk through the narrow lanes and alleys to discover a way of life that has not changed much over the past few millennia. Varanasi has been a center of learning, spirituality, and trade since ancient times. It is regarded as a sacred city by Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists, who believe that a pilgrimage here can help achieve moksha, or liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

Ghats of the Ganga. Return to your palace for a little while. Acceptable dining options are very limited in Varanasi and we recommend lunch at the palace before heading out in the afternoon. You are driven to an outlying Ghat on the holy river to begin your introduction to the fascinating rituals, ceremonies, and plethora of activities that are everyday life on the Holy River. It is a lot less crowded on these Ghats before the evening ceremony and sunset rituals, and this allows for a close-up look as pilgrims and locals go about their rituals and related activities.

Hindu Cremations. You can opt for a guided walk on Varanasi’s main cremation ghat, located close to the main Aarti ghats. Your guide will be happy to go into details about the cremation rituals and Hinduism beliefs, and you will be going by this Ghat with its eternal pyres during both your sunset and sunrise cruises on the river.

Sunset Cruise & Ancient Ceremony. Two of the can’t miss experiences in Varanasi are the sunset and sunrise cruises on the Ganga. Your walk ends with you boarding your private boat for a cruise along the river to experience all its evening activities, ending with a view of the sunset Ganga Aarti ceremony. The ceremony takes place on the crowded Dashashwamedh Ghat, the holiest place on the river, and you can add your own to the hundreds of clay lamps floating down the holy river.

We recommend that you prepare for your upcoming travel this evening as your long day tomorrow starts before sunrise.

Day 15. Varanasi - Delhi – International Flight

Sunrise Cruise. Join your guide and drive to the holy river where you will board your private boat. It is a surreal experience to arrive at the Ghats (The wide steps leading to the Ganga) just before dawn and witness the eons old scene – devout Hindu’s are waiting at the holier Ghats to greet the rising sun by immersing themselves in the Ganga, while others on the wide riverbank steps meditate or practice yoga.

Morning Rituals. Your boat offers an excellent view of all the activity – women immersing themselves into the Ganga discreetly while still wearing their sarees and ascetics waist deep in the water offering prayers as they pour holy water over themselves. It is a great opportunity to experience some of Hinduisms ancient and iconic rituals, such as the ritualistic prayers as a recently deceased Hindu’s ashes are immersed in the river, while nearby another Brahmin priest orchestrates the naming ceremony of a newborn.

Flight to Delhi. Return to your palace for breakfast. You are assisted with your check-out in the mid-morning and driven to Varanasi airport to board your early afternoon flight to Delhi. Arrive at Delhi airport and your guide will assist you in collecting your baggage and guiding you to the check-in for your international flight.

VIP Departure Services. At the airport you will be introduced to your Airport VIP Services Representative who will escort you through check-in, customs and immigration.

Destinations Lodgings
The Oberoi New Delhi – Oberoi Suite
Oberoi Amarvilas – Premier Balcony Room with Taj View
Rambagh Palace – Historical Suite
The Oberoi Udaivilas – Premier Room with Semi Private Pool
The Taj Mahal Palace (Palace Wing) – Executive Suite 1 Bedroom
Taj Nadesar Palace – Historical Suite

Winter 24/25 Availability is Limited
High Season Pricing Not Incl. Dec 20 – Jan 5
Please call us at 512 387 1111
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Internal Flight Costs
Business Class - $1242.00* Per Person

These are Smart Fares. Cancellation and Change Fees Apply.

Business Class Flights Included In Internal Flight Costs:
Udaipur - Bombay - Varanasi - Delhi

Prices subject to change until booked.

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