The best of North India covering the Golden Triangle along with the highlights of Nepal.
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; and the Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque.
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 Trail Blazer ToursRepresentative 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 at hotel is 1400 hrs).
The day is scheduled for a heritage walk of Old Delhi in the morning followed by a tour of New Delhi in the afternoon.
Delhi is one of very few places where the ancient and modern co-exist side by side complementing each other perfectly. This Heritage walk helps you explore the Delhi’s rich, culture, heritage, history and cuisine in a fun and exciting way. The tour includes exploring the streets of Old Delhi on foot and on cycle rickshaw. The tour takes you through the narrow lanes and bazaars of Old Delhi where you will get to know about the basic ingredients used in traditional Indian meals.
The tour of New Delhi covers the UNESCO world Heritage sites of Humyauns tomb, Qutab Minar along with a photo stop at India Gate – the war memorial and drive past the Govt. Secretariat building and the President Palace.
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.
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 pit stop in the second series. Visitors can take advantage of stunning photo opportunities.
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 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 artisanship and perfect proportions.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to railway station to board the train to Agra.
Train Gatimaan Express (daily except on Fridays)
Departs Delhi 0810 Hrs
Arrives Agra 0950 Hrs
Upon arrival at Agra, you will be assisted & transferred and taken directly to Agra Fort for the visit followed by check-in at the hotel. (Standard check in time at the hotel is 1400 Hrs).
Later in the evening, visit Taj Mahal at sunset.
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.
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 is 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.
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. Do not miss the fairy-tale splendour of the Amber Fort, set against the backdrop of the arid landscape.
After breakfast, leave with the private chauffeur driven vehicle Jaipur (approx. 235 kms/ 06 hours’ drive) with a stop at Fatehpur Sikri.
Arrive Jaipur in the afternoon and check-in at the hotel.
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.
After breakfast, enjoy Full day sightseeing tour of Jaipur covering Amber Fort, City Palace and the Observatory and a photo stop at Hawa Mahal “Palace of Winds”. Take a shared Jeep ride to reach Amber Fort.
Amber Fort, officially known as the ‘Amber 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 Amber, 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.
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 women 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
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.
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.
Spend the morning in Jaipur and by Noon drive back to Delhi (approx.265 kms/ 5-6 hours).
Arrive Delhi and check in at an aero city hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Fly Delhi to Kathmandu and proceed directly to Nagarkot[Approx. 35 Kms / 02 Hrs] with a stop enroute at Patan& Bhaktapur.
Also known as Lalitpur, the city of artisans, and home to the valley’s finest craftsmen who have preserved such ancient techniques as the repousse and lost wax process used to produce exquisite sculptures. The city retains much of the old charm with its narrow streets, brick houses and multitude of well-preserved Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries (vihars) and monuments. As in Kathmandu, Hinduism and Buddhism have co-existed here for ages, influencing each other, and the religious harmony is exemplary. Patan Durbar square is one of the seven monument zones that makes Kathmandu valley UNESCO World Heritage site.
Bhaktapur or Bhadgaon meaning the “city of devotees” is the home of medieval art & architecture and still retains its rich medieval aroma. A city of farmers, Bhaktapur is also known for its pottery and weaving. The intricately carved temples, alleyways and timeless atmosphere of this place is simply intriguing. The major sightseeing places in Bhaktapur include Durbar Square, the Golden Gate, Palace of 55 windows, Bell of the barking dogs, Nyatapole Temple, Bhairavanath Temple, Dattatrya Temple, Pujari Math etc.;
Enjoy the fabulous sunrise over the Himalayas and later return to Kathmandu visiting Pashupatinath, Swayumbhunath and Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Kathmandu Durbar Square, a profusion of temples reflecting the different architectural styles dating from the eleventh century. The area also includes the Royal Palace with its gilded gates and elaborate statues, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. The square is alive with a multitude of nationalities, intermingled with stalls displaying a wide variety of Nepalese and Tibetan handicrafts
Swayambhunathmeaning “Self-Created One”. The Tibetan name for Swayambhunath means ‘Sublime Trees’. It was built over 2,500 years ago. It is also known as monkey temple. An excellent view of Kathmandu valley can be observed from this UNESCO World heritage cultural site. This Buddhist Stupa holds a special position both among the Buddhists and Hindus.
Pashupatinath,the temple of lord Shiva, with a tiered golden roof & silver doors is famous for its superb architecture. Entrance to the temple precinct is forbidden to non-Hindus. The best view is from the terrace on the wooded hill across the river. The large gilded triple-roofed temple was built in 1696 AD though 300 years earlier there was a structure on this site. The Bagmati River is lined with dharmasalas and cremation ghats including a royal ghat reserved exclusively for members of the royal family. There is usually a cremation in progress on one of the platforms by the river, regarded as holy as it flows into the sacred Ganges.
Boudhanath: The biggest Stupa in Nepal located on flat land and encircled by houses & monasteries, where Rinpoches reside. This colossal Stupa is set on concentric ascending terraces in the powerful pattern of a Mandala. Around the base of this strikingly enormous and simple stupa is a ring of 108 images of the Buddha and 147 insets containing prayer wheels.
Day at leisure
At an appropriate time, a Trail Blazer Tours Representative will assist and provide you the necessary transfer to the international airport to board your flight back home.