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Cultural North India with Nepal Tour

  • 14 Nights / 15 Days
  • Delhi, Jaipur, Ranthambhore Wildlife Sanctuary, (Fatehpur Sikri), Agra, Gwalior, Orchha, Khajuraho, Varanasi, Delhi, Kathmandu, (Patan), (Bhaktpur)
Backwaters & houseboat
Yoga & Ayurveda
Spice & tea gardens
Hill station & wildlife
Forts & Jews colony
Leisure, culture & bazaar

Classical North India with Nepal Tour handpicks select destinations of north India and Nepal, representing true, vital, subtle yet dominant cultural aspects of the region. The leisurely paced tour starts from New Delhi and revealing glorious historical past of several thousand years, dating back to the era of ‘Mahabharata’. Several cultural aspects of colourful Rajasthan are shown while visiting Samode & Jaipur. Ranthambhore National Park offers opportunity to go on jungle game drives to spot the big cat- Royal Bengal Tiger- in its natural environs. Fatehpur Sikri and Agra will showcase some of the best monuments of Mughal times- Buland Darwaja, Taj Mahal & Agra Fort. Gwalior, known for its magnificent fort and palaces, represents central India on the edge of north India. Gwalior has been famous for its distinctive school of music, art and architecture. Orchha showcases glorious past dwindled into a village town with rich heritage of monuments. Khajuraho, known for erotically sculptured temples, needs no introduction. Khajuraho prods sexuality and spirituality to mingle. And Varanasi is the epitome of perennial flow of Indian culture and civilization. When Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktpur of Nepal added as extension, the complete itinerary thus becomes a classical piece of experiential journey.

Day 1 Arrival at New Delhi & Old Delhi sightseeing

New Delhi, capital Indian Republic, welcomes you with open arms oozing out perennial cultural ethos of "Atithi Devo Bhav'. Optima India Tourism representative will greet you at Indira Gandhi International Airport and take you to the pre-booked hotel of Delhi. As the international flights land around mid night, you will have enough time to sleep, relax and refresh. Have leisurely breakfast in the hotel and early noon, the Delhi tour guide and chauffeur will meet you at the lobby of your hotel and take you on Old Delhi sightseeing tour. The Old Delhi tour is special as it introduces you with the bygone era of medieval India. The Old Delhi tour is highlighted by the visit of Red Fort, Chandni Chowk, Jama Masjid and Raj Ghat. But the topping on the ice will be manual rickshaw ride through the alleys of Kinari Bazaar of Chandni Chowk. If you are touring India to experience older and less European India, the first day of Golden Triangle with Varanasi (Ganges) Tour will be a treat to eyes and senses. After Old Delhi sightseeing, return to Delhi hotel for overnight stay.

Day 2 New Delhi sightseeing tour

The second day of Golden Triangle with Varanasi (Ganges) Tour is scheduled for sightseeing of New Delhi. After having delicious breakfast in Delhi hotel, proceed for New Delhi sightseeing tour along with Delhi tour guide. Although exceeded in population and surpassed in economic importance by both Kolkata and Mumbai, Delhi is now, as it has been for the larger part of a thousand years, the heart and nerve centre of India. In case of Delhi, happily, the rulers did not build their new cities on top of old ones, as so often has happened in the past, but chose instead sites a few miles apart. Delhi, thus, offers to the visitor monuments of Hindu, Islamic and British origin, dating from 12th to 20th centuries.

The two chief monuments are Parliament (formerly the Secretariat) and the Presidential Palace (formerly the Viceroy's House). There is a wide avenue known as Rajpath that runs from India Gate to the Presidential Palace, where New Delhi is at its most splendid.

Qutub Minar is also a major tourist destination of Delhi, as well as India. Construction of Qutub Minar, a tower, begun in 1199 by the first sultan, completed by his successor and partially restored in the fourteenth century. Standing 238 feet high, it is built of subtly graded sandstone and marble, the colours ranging from dark red at the base, through shades of pink, to glowing orange at the summit. At the foot of the tower stands India's first mosque, erected over the foundations of a Hindu temple. Two sixteenth century structures that have survived the years are the mausoleum of Humayun, erected in his memory by his widow, and the Purana Qila, a massive fort (occupying the site of prehistoric Delhi) that contains both a mosque and a library. Post independence structures of Lotus Temple (belonging to Bahai faith) and Akshardham Temple (belonging to Swaminarayan sect of Hindu religion) are highly visited cultural centres with exquisite architectural specimens. After visiting New Delhi, return to Delhi hotel for overnight stay.

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Day 3 Delhi - Samode- Jaipur

Golden Triangle with Varanasi (Ganges) Tour is today taking you into the realm of Rajputs, the rulers of various princely kingdoms in Rajasthan. After having relished delicious breakfast in Delhi hotel, depart forJaipur. It takes about 5 hours to traverse the distance between Delhi and Jaipur. By the time one reaches near Jaipur, it's time for lunch as well. Optima India Tourism has thus planned a halt at Samode, 45 kms before Jaipur. Samode is famous for its immaculately preserved fort-palace amidst rural backdrop. The fort palace of Samode has been converted into a high-end luxurious heritage hotel. Visit Samode Palace and have lunch there. The fine palace, exquisitely painted walls and ceilings, mirror and glass work and pleasant ambience fill the visitor with joy.

After lunch and leisurely sightseeing, move ahead for Jaipur. On arrival at Jaipur, Optima India Tourism representative will receive you and ensure your smooth check in at the hotel. Late afternoon, along with Jaipur tour guide, you will move to visit Albert Hall museum. Having visited the museum, late in the afternoon, you will be taken by Jaipur tour guide to Govind Dev Ji temple where you will be attending Aarti ceremony. It will be definitely an unforgettable lifetime experience. Overnight stay has been scheduled in the hotel.

Day 4 Jaipur sightseeing

Having relished tasty and healthy breakfast in Jaipur hotel, drive for full day sightseeing of Jaipur. Jaipur is pleasantly touristic and intrinsically charming. The Jaipur sightseeing tour will commence with visiting Amber Fort Palace complex. Seven miles from Jaipur, at the mouth of a deep gorge, is Amber, which for six centuries was the capital of this region of Rajasthan. Little remains of it now but the great palace, which was begun by Man Singh in 1600. The upper part of the palace, said to have been designed by Jai Singh I, who is more usually known by his title of Mirza Raja, constituted the princely living quarters; they are of fairy-tale-beauty, with fabulous inlaid and sculptured decoration. On the roof of the palace is a kind of belvedere from which there is a fine view of the lovely mountain lake below and of the great defensive wall built in the tenth century against infiltration from the desert. The visit of Amber Fort becomes more fascinating due to a maharaja like ride on a caparisoned elephant from foothill to the main gate of Amber Fort at the hill top.

The chief sight of Jaipur is the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), so called because its windows are screened with stone filigree through which cooling breezes might pass. Five stories high, of pink sandstone, it stands roughly in the centre of the old city. Fanciful and delicate, imaginatively playful, it looks not unlike the kind of palace one might have expected to hear about. It is not only the chief sight of Jaipur, it is one of the great sights of India. The interior, as one might expect, is extremely complex, with narrow wandering corridors and steep spiral stairways.

Other famous monuments of Jaipur included City Palace, Jantar Mantar and Birla Temple. After visiting major tourist sites of Jaipur, explore bustling market of Jaipur. Jaipur is famous for its jewellery, handicraft articles, carpets, durries, marble products etc. Later in the evening, return to Jaipur hotel for overnight stay.

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Day 5 Jaipur - Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve (150 kms/ 03 hrs)

Having relaxed breakfast in the Jaipur hotel, move on for Ranthambhore National Park (Sawai Madhosingh District) in the state of Rajasthan, India. Arrive at Ranthambhore National Park in the afternoon. You will be welcomed by serving Welcome Drink. Check in at the designated Ranthambhore resort & enjoy evening camp-fire and folk music. Ranthambhore Fort, the oldest one in the state, is laid on Thambhore Hill. Ranthambhore National Park, spread over 329sq km & is home to over 40 species of mammals, 320 species of birds, over 35 species of reptiles and over 300 species of plants; is called "Heaven for the tigers". The tigers are more easily visible in Ranthambhore Tiger Sanctuary. Enjoy camp-fire in resort. Have dinner and overnight stay in the resort.

Day 6 Ranthambhore Tiger Sanctuary- Game Drives.

Forest department of Ranthambhore National Park organizes two jungle safaris every day. The jungle safaris in Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve are conducted either by private jeeps for a group of four persons or by canter for a group of twelve persons. Everyday two safaris, each of 4 hours duration, are organized by the forest department. The first Jungle Safari takes place in the early morning and the second one in the afternoon. So, having breakfast early in the morning, proceed for 04 hours (6AM-10AM) Jungle safari in Ranthambhore National Park. After morning jungle safari, return to the resort. Have lunch in Ranthambhore resort. After lunch and a bit of rest, proceed again in the afternoon for 04 hours (2PM-6PM) Jungle safari in Ranthambhore National Park. After enjoying the Jungle Safari, come back to resort, take evening snacks at camp-fire with Rajasthani cultural program in Ranthambhore resort. Dinner and overnight stay will be in the resort.

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Day 7 Ranthambhore Tiger Sanctuary - Fatehpur Sikri- Agra (330 kms/ 7 hrs)

Having enjoyed natural ambience & exploring wildlife for two days, now it’s time to depart for Agra. Taking delicious breakfast in Ranthambhore jungle resort, embark on your journey to Agra via Fatehpur Sikri. En route stop at Fatehpur Sikri, a UNESCO World Heritage site built by Mughal ruler Akbar, is now a deserted town. See the blend of Persian, Islamic and Hindu architectural blends in the prominent buildings like Jama Masjid, Buland Darwaja, Panch Mahal, Jodha Bai Palace, Birbal Bhawan and shrine of a Sufi saint Salim Chishti. After visiting Fatehpur Sikri, continue your drive to Agra. On arrival in Agra, you will be welcomed by Optima representative. Check in at the hotel and spend the evening in leisure. Have overnight stay in Agra hotel.

Day 8 Agra sightseeing

Agra, though erstwhile capital of Mughal India, is known for being seat of world famous Taj Mahal. Agra is a district of Uttar Pradesh. The long cherished visit to Taj Mahal is scheduled today. Taj Mahal looks most stunning at the time of sunrise. The Agra tour guide will collect you from the Agra hotel's lobby and take you to the monument known as 'epitome of love'-the Taj Mahal. You will be taken to the Taj Mahal on 'tonga'- a medieval mode of transportation. With Agra tour guide, your Taj Mahal viewing will be an informed visit. Built by Shah Jahan in memory of Mumtaj Mahal, the tomb of Taj Mahal is constructed of white marble of Makrana and took almost 18 years to come up in the present form.

After watching the unparalleled beauty of Taj Mahal, return to Agra hotel for getting refreshed and relaxed. Have delicious breakfast in Agra hotel and move for visiting Agra Fort, Tomb of It-Mad-ud-Daula and Sikandara. Agra Fort has evidences of successive developments. Earlier, the site was known as Badalgarh and a brick fort, built by the Rajputs was situated here. The reign of Babur and Humayun remained inconspicuous in terms of architectural development. It was Akbar who constructed Agra Fort anew on the banks of river Yamuna with red sandstone. But most impressive buildings within the fort are again the creation of indefatigable builder Shah Jahan. Probably the most splendid single sight in Agra Fort is Shah Jahan's richly inlaid throne room in the Diwan-i-Aam, the hall of public audience. Shah Jahan also built within the Agra Fort a hall for private audience, where he received ambassadors and other important personages, and an octagonal tower for the pleasure of his wife (that wife- Arjumand Bano Begum for whom he was later to build the world's most sumptuous tomb- Taj Mahal).

After visiting Agra Fort and having delicious lunch in a city restaurant, move on for visiting tomb of It-Mad-ud-Daula (known as Baby Taj) and tomb of Akbar at Sikandara. Later in the evening, having explored local market of Agra, return to Agra hotel for overnight stay.

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Day 9 Agra- Gwalior (by car-120 kms/ 03 hrs)

After having breakfast in Agra hotel, move for Gwalior- a historical medieval city. Arrive at Gwalior, check in at the pre-booked hotel, relax and proceed for a sightseeing tour of the city visiting the interesting monuments. It has lot of monuments to show off like beautiful Man Mandir Place, the Teli Temple, Vishnu temple named as Sas Bahu Temple, gargantuan Gwalior Fort that houses Jai Vilas Palace, built in 19th century and residence of royal Scindia family, the Durbar Hall-famous for a pair of the world's biggest chandeliers and Gujri Mahal. Gwalior patronized artists and Gwalior Gharana commands great respect among various gharans of Hindustani music. Famous singers and composers like Baiju Bawra (Raja Man Singh Tomar in the early 16th century) and Tansen (King Akbar in 16th century), V.D. Paluskar, Sarod maestro Hafiz Ali Khan and his son Ustad Amjad Ali Khan etc have their roots herein.

Enjoy the spa in the hotel on direct payment basis. Overnight will be at the palace turned into a luxury heritage hotel.

Day 10 Gwalior – Orchha (120 kms/ 03 hrs)

After relaxed breakfast in Gwalior hotel, drive for Orchha. Situated on the banks of river Betwa, Orchha at present has shrunk into a village town, located in the Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh, India. Orchha Fort-Palace-Temples Complex is a major tourist attraction of Orchha. The Orchha Fort, built by the Bundela Chief Rudra Pratap Singh in the 16th century, houses many 'architectural wonders' such as Raja Ram Mandir, Laxmi Narayan Mandir, Jehangir Palace, Raj Palace and Rani Praveen Palace.

On arriving at Orchha, check in at designated hotel, relax a bit, have lunch in a restaurant on the banks of river Betwa and proceed for sightseeing of Orchha sites within the Fort Complex. Overnight stay will be in Orchha hotel.

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Day 11 Orchha-Khajuraho (by car-170 kms/ 04 hrs).

Having sumptuous breakfast in Orchha hotel, proceed for Khajuraho, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. Upon arrival in Khajuraho, representative of Optima India Tourism will assist you to transfer to the designated hotel. Freshen up and relax at the hotel. Proceed to visit Khajuraho temples, a zenith of sculptured architecture. Though Khajuraho is a small town of Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh but Khajuraho temples, embellished with incredible erotic lore carved out in stones, have made it a world famous tourist destination of incredible India. Passion, eroticism, dance and music and other finesses of creative arts are hallmarks of the sculpture and images of the temples of Khajuraho. The guided tour of the famous temples of Khajuraho will mesmerize you, literally. Refined carving, grand temple architecture, explicitly erotic and sexually postured sculpture, historical past and rural ambience take you into the realm of glorious, lively and celebrated past.

There are three prominent clusters of temples in Khajuraho- Western Group of Khajuraho Temples, Eastern Group of Khajuraho Temples and Southern Group of Khajuraho Temples. Out of these three clusters, Western Group of Khajuraho Temples is most representative of Khajuraho temples.

After visiting famous temples of Khajuraho, enjoy the evening by either attending fascinating cultural performance or Sound & Light show. Later in the evening, return to Khajuraho hotel for overnight stay.

Day 12 Khajuraho –Varanasi (by air).

Have relaxed breakfast in Khajuraho hotel and move for Khajuraho airport to board flight for Varanasi. On arrival at Varanasi, you will be received by the representative of Optima India Tourism and taken to pre-booked Varanasi hotel for smooth check in. You will be introduced with Varanasi tour guide in Varanasi hotel. After having relaxed for some time, you will be taken for sightseeing tour of Sarnath.

Sarnath is a famous ancient Buddhist site. It was in Sarnath where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon and started 'Sangh'. From here, a soft socio-religious revolution took place and the whole world started chanting 'Buddham Sharanam Gachchhami, Sangham Sharanam Gachchhami, Dhammam Sharanam Gachchhami. Here, you will happen to see ancient Buddhist monastery in ravaged form, Dhamek & Dharmarajika stupas, Asokan Pillar and a great museum.

Having visited Sarnath, you will be driven to Dashaswamedh Ghat of Varanasi where grand and auspicious Ganga Aarti (Ganges Worship Ceremony) takes place every evening. Be witness to cultural and traditional rituals of Hindu religion which worships river Ganga as mother. Later in the evening, come back to Varanasi hotel for overnight stay.

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Day 13 Varanasi sightseeing tour- Delhi

The 13th day of Classical North India with Nepal Tour is special as you will happen to see various aspects of Varanasi. Early in the morning, Varanasi tour guide will accompany you for boat cruise along the ghats of the sacred river the Ganges to see the cremation ghats and witness the living traditions of one of the world's oldest and most important religions.

After having enjoyed boat cruise, return to Varanasi hotel to relax and have breakfast. Thereafter check out from Varanasi hotel and proceed for Varanasi city and temple tour. After Varanasi city tour, move for Varanasi airport at Babatpur to board flight for New Delhi. On arrival at New Delhi, you will be transferred to New Delhi hotel for overnight stay.

Day 14 New Delhi- Kathmandu – Kathmandu sightseeing tour

Early in the morning, having delicious breakfast in New Delhi hotel, you will be transferred to New Delhi International airport to board flight for Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, the only Hindu country in the world. On arrival at Kathmandu, you will be received by a representative of Optima India Tourism and taken to Kathmandu hotel. For smooth and speedy check in, our representative will assist you. Relax for a while and then proceed to visit historical and religious monuments of Kathmandu with Kathmandu tour guide, waiting for you in the hotel lobby. Pashupatinath, Sayambhunath and Boudhnath are prime tourist attractions.

Pashupatinath is one of the most revered shrines for the Hindus across the globe. Only Hindus are allowed to enter its premises, offer prayers and perform traditional rituals. Non-Hindus can observe the religious performances from across the eastern bank of Bagmati river.

Other than Hinduism, Buddhism is the most practiced faith in Nepal. Swayambhunath is a Buddhist shrine, situated on the top of a hill west of Kathmandu. Due to large number of monkey in and around temple, Swayambhunath is also known among the foreign tourists as ‘monkey temple’.

World’s biggest stupa of Boudhnath is an ancient & colossal Buddhist shrine, situated amidst the premises of a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. It is located 8 kms east of Kathmandu.

Spend the evening in leisure and return to Kathmandu hotel for overnight stay.

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Day 15 Khajuraho –Varanasi (by air).

Having relished delicious breakfast in Kathmandu hotel, proceed on for Patan and Bhaktpur cities tour.

Just across Bagmati river and about 30 minutes drive from Kathmandu lies second largest city of Kathmandu valley- Patan. In ancient times, this princely state was called Yala. Tremendous Buddhist influence is clearly visible in existence of various Buddhist monuments and sculptural styles of Hindu temples and palaces. Patan offers a tourist several monuments of ancient era with distinct architectural styles. Durbar Square is the most visited place of Patan. Durbar Square, a splendid example of Newari architecture of Nepal, contains two prominent monuments- Royal Place and Jagannarayan Temple. Near Durbar Square are other two monuments- Golden Temple and Kumbeshwar Temple (built in 1392).

After Patan, move for Bhaktapur. Known as city of devotees, Bhaktpur is called by many Nepales as ‘Bhadgaon or Khwopa. The main attraction of Bhaktpur squares is high temples in the backdrop of amazing natural beauty. The town is also famous for its artisans and handicraft articles. Bhaktapur is famous for woodcarving, the Bhadgaolen Topi (cap) and curd.

Having seen Patan and Bhaktpur, return to Kathmandu. You will be directly transferred to Tribhuvan Airport to board flight for New Delhi. On arrival at New Delhi, board flight for your onward destination.

Delhi

Delhi is enriched with long historical past, glorious culture, an enviable treasure of monuments and modern infrastructure. Delhi, currently the capital of Indian Republic, has passed through several upheavals during its thousands of years of existence and has witnessed many ups and downs of history with many dynasties flourishing and diminishing with the passage of time.

Delhi has been built nine times over the years and accordingly named in the scriptures. Indraprastha, known as first Delhi, was founded by Pandavas of Mahabharata in around 1500 BC. Qila Rai Pithora, termed as second Delhi, was built by Raja Anang Pal and later re-christened by Prithviraj Chauhan as Lal Kot. Siri, the third Delhi, was founded by Ala-ud-din Khilji. Siri Fort, a major tourist attraction, is a famous monument of that time. Tughlaqabad, called as fourth Delhi, had been founded by Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq. Tughlaqabad Fort is a testimony to that. Jahan Panah, the fifth Delhi and a walled city, was constructed by Muhammad bin Tughlaq to address the constant threat of Mongols. The sixth Delhi, Ferozabad, was founded by Feroz Shah Tughlaq and its testimonial evidence can be seen in the form of 13-metre high tapering quadrangular pillar adjacent to Ashokan pillar. Din Panah, the seventh Delhi, was rebuilt afresh by Humayun and later razed and constructed by Sher Shah Suri. Earlier this Old Fort or Purana Qila was seat of legendary ruler Prithviraj Chauhan. The walled city of Shahjahanabad, known as eighth Delhi, had been founded by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who built Taj Mahal as well in Agra. Modern and present day Delhi, the ninth Delhi and known as Lutyens' Delhi or New Delhi has been laid down by the British.

Samode

Samode, a small hamlet near Jaipur and inhabited by craftsmen, is a prime attraction for those tourists who intend to enjoy watching one of the best kept palaces and living in exotic and luxurious heritage stay. Samode, an erstwhile principality of Jaipur and now-a-days a small village town, is famous for being on tourist map of Rajasthan. Samode is visited by the tourists to watch Samode Palace, Samode Haveli and Samode Bag. Samode Palace is the prime attraction of Samode. The historical features and architectural niceties are very carefully and painstakingly maintained. Samode Palace has been converted by the royal family into a luxurious heritage hotel. Stay in Samode Palace hotel makes a tourist/ visitor feel as if he has come into an oasis amidst arid and desert landscape of Rajasthan.

Jaipur

Jaipur, present day capital city of India’s largest state Rajasthan, is representative of typical Rajasthani culture, art, architecture and lifestyles. Known as ‘Pink City’ or ‘Gulabi Nagar’ of Rajasthan, Jaipur attracts tourists towards its gargantuan forts, marvelously built palaces, lively market of handicraft products and intricately carved out temples. The sprinkling beauty, the edifices, big havelis and stupendous sky-touching forts of Jaipur attract the tourists immensely. Jaipur is the only city in the world which has been built as per India’s Vaastu Shastra and segmented as per astrology. Jaipur has been laid according to the conventional nine-grid pattern that astrologers believe to be lucky and which has been recommended in the ancient Indian treatise on architecture. Its nine rectangular sectors represent nine levels of universe. A boundary wall with eight gates surrounds the city.

Ranthambhore National Park

Ranthambhore National Park of Rajasthan, spread over 392 sq kms, had been identified for Project Tiger. The Project Tiger endeavors have been highly successful in conserving and growing the population of Royal Bengal Tiger. It has prominently emerged on India’s tourist map. Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve is world famous for spotting tigers even in day time and the tigers, while tourists capture them in their cameras, prowl undisturbed and un-offended. The park is also considered as a heritage site and has been home to many species of plants, reptiles and birds. It is also a place where some of the largest banyan trees in India are found. Ranthambhore National Park used to be a hunting ground of the kings of Jaipur. Ranthambhore National Park derives its name from the ancient Ranthambhore fort. Ranthambhore Wildlife Sanctuary is flanked by Banas and Chambal rivers.

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri, a historical place with nicely preserved monuments of Mughal era, is a must see place while visiting Agra. Located some 37 kms from Agra, Fatehpur Sikri of Buland Darwaja fame was founded by Akbar in 1569 to express his gratitude for Sufi mystic Salim Chishti, who was born in Sikri village. Many historians believe that Fatehpur Sikri was established as a joint capital with Agra but due to paucity of potable and drinking water, the plan to shift a section of imperial officials there had been reversed. Even today, its red stone architecture, richly ornamented with carvings & firework, is in a perfect state of preservation. Buland Darwaja is 15-storied, stands 140 feet on the pedestal and is 54 feet above the ground. A steep flight of 42 steps leads one to the massive gateway and makes it as one of the tallest gateways in the world is made of red-sandstone with marble decoration on it. With Quranic inscription on the front and cenotaph on the heights of the gateway, Buland Darwaja is a splendid blend of Hindu and Persian architecture. The calligraphy work done on the inner façade of Buland Darwaja has very less parallels in India.

Agra

Agra finds its mention in epic of Mahabharata as ‘Agravana’. Agra is traditionally and culturally part of Brijbhumi, associated with legendary Lord Krishna. Strategically located on the banks of river Yamuna, the city of Agra has seen many upheavals due to intermittent attacks of the invaders to take control of it. Agra remained under control of the Rajputs, the Muslims, the Marathas and the British. Though the influences of these regimes are quite visible in art, architecture and culture of the city but the Mughal impact is more pronounced, especially in old Agra. Now-a-days, Agra has been synonymous with Taj Mahal from tourism perspective. Taj Mahal can easily be termed as a feather in the cap of India, particularly Agra, which also possesses the most precious jewel in the country’s crown the “Taj Mahal”. Sikander Lodhi, Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir and Shahjahan ruled with Agra as capital of their kingdoms. Babur was the first Mughal king who built first Islamic monument in Agra i.e. Gul-e-Afgaan or the Aram Bag -a planned garden. During the rule of Akbar, famous monuments of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort, were constructed. Sikandara and It-mad-ud-Daula are the famous buildings of Jahangiri period. World renowned Taj Mahal, built by Shah Jahan in fond memory of Mumtaj Mahal, is now one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’. Agra is also known for its fabulous handicrafts, made of marble and soft-stone inlay work. Agra's major handicraft products besides inlay work are: leather-ware, brassware, carpets, jewellery and embroidery work.

Gwalior

Gwalior is famous for its old and very large fort. The fort has a number of temples and ruined palaces. Its history dates back to more than thousand years. In 1398 Tomar dynasty came to power in Gwalior. Greatest among these rulers was Man Singh who came to power in 1486. In 1516, Ibrahim Lodi besieged the fort. Later on the Mughals took it over which in turn went to the Marathas in 1754. Finally it passed into the hands of the Scindias though the British held the reins. During the first freedom struggle of 1857, Tatya Tope was defeated here and the heroine of the freedom struggle, Rani Laxmi Bai had martyred here. There is a memorial to her here.

Gwalior Fort is on a hill hundred meters above the town and is three kms in length. The width is varying between 200 meters to 2 kms. The walls are 10 meters high and beneath the walls, the hill face is a sheer drop. The Gwalior Fort is home to various splendid monuments including temples, palaces, museum etc. Man Singh Palace at the entrance of Gwalior Fort is also known as the Chit Mandir. It was built by Man Singh between 1486 and 1516. It has four storeys, two of them underground. These were used as prison cells during the Mughal period. The Gujari Mahal was also built by Man Singh for his favourite queen Mriganayani in the 15th century. Today, it houses a museum with a collection of Hindu and Jain scriptures and copies of the Bagh Caves frescoes.

There many other palaces here within the premises of Gwalior Fort but none of them is as imposing or well preserved as the Man Singh Palace. Near the eastern wall are the Saas Bahu (mother-in-law & daughter-in-law) temples. Both of these temples are similar in style but the larger temple has an ornately carved base and figures of Vishnu over the entrance.

The Jai Vilas Palace, built in the early 19th century, still houses the royal family. A major part of the palace is converted into a museum. On display are Belgian cut-glass furniture, stuffed tigers and a marble statue of Leda with a swan. There is also a model railway that carries brandy and cigars around the dining table after dinner.

In the old town of Gwalior is the Jami Masjid built in 1661. It is constructed of sandstone quarried from the foothill. There is a large tomb built for Mohammed Ghaus, a Muslim saint. It has hexagonal towers at its four corners, and a dome which was once covered with glazed blue tiles. The Tomb of Tansen, a singer during Akbar’s time is also close by.

Orchha p> At Orchha, one can see the palace of Bir Singh Deo and also the Jahangir Palace. The palaces are impressive and offer pleasant views of the countryside and are worth a visit. There many other ruined buildings here and the seven storey Chaturbhuj Temple is close by.

Khajuraho

Khajuraho is well known for its temples. Of Indo-Aryan architecture, the temples of Khajuraho are embellished with superb decorations. Fine and artistic stonework is to be found around these temples. Many aspects of Indian life, as it existed 1000 years ago, have been depicted by the sculptors; curiously women and sex have been depicted in more detail. Owing to the subject of the sculptures, Khajuraho temples are also called Kamsutra Temples. These temples were built in Chandela period.

Dance festival is held in March. The festival lasts for 10 days and some of the best classical dancers of India perform during the Khajuraho Dance Festival against the backdrop of Khajuraho temples which are floodlit.

Sarnath

Located 10 kms from Varanasi, Sarnath is one of the four pilgrimages of the Buddhists. It was Sarnath where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon and declared the birth of a different 'dharma' (religion)- Buddhism. From Sarnath, the 'dharmachakra pravartan' commenced. In around 234 BC, Emperor Ashoka, a great follower of Buddhism, built a grand stupa- Dharmarajika Stupa, here. Later on Sarnath developed as a prominent Buddhist centre with a grand monastery. Between the 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD, several Buddhist structures were built here in Sarnath. The Muslim invaders in medieval period ransacked and destroyed it. But an inquisitive traveler may still experience the rich past in the remnants of monastery, Dhamekh stupa, Dharmarajika stupa and Emperor Ashoka's pillar. Also, visit Sarnath museum. Sarnath museum also has the figures and the sculptures from the Mauryan, Kushana and Gupta periods discovered during the excavations at Sarnath.

Varanasi

Situated on the banks of holy river Ganga (the Ganges), the spiritual capital of India- Varanasi is known by several names like Banaras (as local people call it), Kashi (desrived from 'Kashika' meaning the shining one referring to the light of Lord Shiva), Avimukta (meaning never forsaken by Lord Shiva), Rudaravasa (meaning abode of Lord Shiva) and Anandavana (meaning forest of bliss). Varanasi is one of the holiest of the pilgrimages of the Hindus. Being on the banks of the Ganges, the most sacred and venerated river in India, Varanasi becomes all the more pious spiritual centre among religious Hindus. Its name Varanasi is derived from its being on the confluence of two rivers- Varuna and Asi. Though Varanasi is the world's oldest living city but its oldest monument is not older than 300 years because of inimically destructive invasions of Muslims. Varanasi is a prominent business and trade centre as well since the ancient times.

Ghats of Varanasi along the western bank of the Ganges are special as these epitomize various aspects of Hindu way of life. Watch out people having early morning bath followed by ablutions, puja by Brahmin priests, people practicing meditation & yoga, cremation process on Manikarnika ghat and Harishchandra ghat, people consulting the astrologers under their palm leaf parasols, buy offerings for rituals, trades selling silk apparels and brassware etc.

Kathmandu Valley (Kathmandu-Patan-Bhaktpur)

Three prominent cities of Nepal- Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktpur-are situated in the Kathmandu valley of Nepal. The three historical cities of Kathmandu valley boast of having rich historical and cultural legacy of Nepal with seven UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Malla dynasty of Nepal had patronized the artistic genius of the aborigine Newar craftsmen and their creativity is visible ornate palaces, the superbly crafted pagodas and the monumental stupas. The cultural ethos of Kathmandu valley (Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktpur) is an exotic, harmonious and colourful amalgam of Hinduism and Buddhism. Kathmandu, the largest among Nepalese cities, is cultural and political centre of Hindu kingdom of Nepal. With Pashupatinath, Swayambhunath, Boudhnath, Durbar Square (all UNESCO World Heritage Sites) and endless ceremonial processions of chariot-mounted deities and masked dancers, Kathmandu emerges as the most happening tourist destination of Nepal. Patan, another historical town of Nepal, is situated 5 km southeast of Kathmandu. Known also as ‘Lalitpur’, Patan is an ancient habitat of craftsmen. The famous craftsmanship of artisans and old-world-charm of Patan can be seen in narrow streets, brick houses and multitude of well-preserved Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries (vihars) and monuments. Patan Durbar Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The third prominent city of Kathmandu valley is Bhaktpur (meaning’City of Devotees’), perched on a hill at an altitude of 1,401 m. Bhaktpur, retaining its ancient charm by resisting modern day rapid urbanization, enchants tourists with Bhaktpur Durbar Square, Changu Narayan temple, brickpaved roads, charming red brick houses and a way of life that goes back to medieval times.

  • Accommodation in the mentioned hotels on double sharing.

  • Daily breakfast basis on all places.

  • Total Meals: 19 (Breakfast-14; Lunch-03; Dinner-02).

  • Total night stays: 14 (Delhi-03; Jaipur-02; Ranthambhore-02; Agra-02; Gwalior-01; Orchha-01; Khajuraho-01; Varanasi-01; Kathmandu-01).

  • Well-appointed upgraded air-conditioned rooms at all places.

  • Along with breakfast at all places, 01 dinner in Orchha in a restaurant located on the banks of river Betwa; 02 dinners and 02 lunches in Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve.

  • Monument entrance charges.

  • 02 jungle safari in shared jeep/ canter.

  • Rickshaw ride in Chandni Chowk, Delhi.

  • Elephant ride at Amber Fort in Jaipur.

  • Morning boat cruise in the Ganges during morning hours to enjoy panoramic view of Varanasi ghats.

  • English speaking & destination-specific guides at all destinations for mentioned sightseeing tour.

  • Meet & assist at the airport on arrival & departure.

  • Sightseeing tours as mentioned in the itinerary.

  • Air-conditioned private car for the whole sightseeing tour.

  • Driver for the whole tour.

  • All prevailing taxes like luxury tax, service tax etc.

  • All transfers, city tours, excursions & drives by air-conditioned transport.

  • Interstate road tax, toll tax, parking charges, driver’s wages, fuel charges etc.

Optima Special:
  • Exploration of Chandni Chowk market and its narrow but lively alleys while enjoying rickshaw ride.
  • Elephant ride from foothill to the hilltop of Amber where the main gateway of Amber Fort is.
  • Morning boat ride in the Ganges in Varanasi alongside Gaga ghats.
  • Cultural show in the evening in the backdrop of Western Group of Khajuraho temples.
Don’t miss on Classical North India with Nepal Tour:
  • Dinner in a restaurant on the banks of Betwa river in Orchha, in the backdrop of rustic landscape.
  • View of Taj Mahal from Mehtab Bag during sunset from across River Yamuna.
  • A visit of Chokhi Dhani to experience Rajasthan in nutshell and pleasantly.
  • Discover the many faces of Delhi.
  • Catch a Bollywood blockbuster in Jaipur.
Shopping:

Jaipur: Jewellery, carpets and handicraft items.
Varanasi: Banarasi sarees, wooden toys, bangles and carpets.
Agra:Souvenirs made of marble.
Patan: Handicraft items.

Cuisines:

New Delhi:Street food in Chandni Chowk market.
Varanasi:Thandai, a milk beverage, fortified with dry fruits.
Agra:Mughalai non-veg dishes.
Jaipur: Rajasthani thali.
Bhaktpur: Flavoured curd.

Is This Trip For Me:
Travel Style Service Level TPhysical Demands Trip Type Trip Rating
Classic Standard FIT/Small Group 4.5/5
DestinationsStandardSuperiorDeluxeLuxury
DelhiJiviteshHilton Shangri La Hotel Imperial
VaranasiHotel IndiaRamada PlazaRadissonNadesar Palace
KhajurahoUsha BundelaClarks KhajurahoTaj ChandelaLalit –Temple View
OrchhaOrchha ResortAmar MahalBundelkhand RiversideBundelkhand Riverside
GwaliorLandmarkTaj Usha Kiran PalaceTaj Usha Kiran Palace Taj Usha Kiran Palace
AgraSiris 18Hotel Mansingh PalaceITC MughalOberoi Amar Vilas
Jaipur ParadiseShahpura HouseITC Rajputana Oberoi Raj Vilas
KathmanduHotel MountainHotel ShankarHotel Yak & YetiHotel Radisson
  • Airfare not included.

  • Additional conditions may apply, please enquire for further details.

  • Prices shown are fully inclusive of taxes.

  • Additional levies, government charges & other applicable fees, including additional taxes and surcharges on flight routing, may apply and are beyond our control.

  • Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply depending on date of travel.

  • Payments made by credit card will incur a surcharge.

  • Prices shown are for payments made by cash in store or through normal bank transfer into our accounts.

  • These prices are a guide to the best price and are subject to change without notice.

  • Prices are subject to change without notice, due to matters outside our control, such as adverse currency fluctuations, fuel surcharges, taxes and airfare increases, please enquire for further details.

  • Please provide your passport details to Intrepid at least one month before travelling. Please note that if you do not provide your passport details you may be denied entry to any National Parks that are visited along this itinerary, or you may be charged a fee by the local government as passport details are now a requirement for entry into all national parks in India.

  • Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

  • In India normally the check in time is 02:00 PM and check out time is 10:00 AM.

  • Meals other than breakfast and as specified above.

  • Video camera/ still camera fee applicable at various monuments. The same will be paid by you direct on spot on actual basis.

  • Items of personal nature like telephone calls, laundry, tips, hard/soft drink etc.

  • Indian visa fees.

  • Any compulsory meal supplements during festive season is not included.

  • Early check in & late check out at the hotels.

  • Any other Items is not included in " Inclusions" heading..

*Important Notice: The following information has been obtained from the relevant suppliers and should be considered an indicative guide only as to the prices that may be available for these products. Optima India Tourism cannot guarantee that any particular product will still be available at the following prices, or for your exact dates of travel. At time of making your booking, prices may differ to that price displayed on this website. Please contact an Optima India Tourism travel consultant to obtain the latest up to date information regarding applicable prices, fees and charges, availability and other terms and conditions which may apply.

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