Experience the cultural wonders of Northern India with our 10-day luxury North India Cultural Highlights itinerary. Starting in Delhi, you’ll visit the old city as well as the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Khajuraho, Panna National Park, and the Ganges at Varanasi, all while staying in some of the country’s finest hotels.
per person per day
View more details
Arrive in the Indian capital of New Delhi, and take in the vibrant city’s sights and smells. Transfer to one of our three recommended luxury hotels, either The Lodhi, Oberoi Gurgaon, or Imperial Hotel, and settle in. You may enjoy free time for the rest of the day, exploring your hotel and its nearby surroundings.
Today you’ll learn all about the history and present of New Delhi, on a full-day tour of Old and New Delhi. You’ll visit can’t-miss spots like Qutub Minar, the tallest minaret in India, the Laxminarayan Temple, India Gate, the country’s national monument, and more. See the city’s more modern side as well with a trip to its National Gallery of Modern Art, and enjoy a bit of retail therapy at its world-class shops.
After breakfast this morning, check out of your hotel and hop into a comfortable vehicle for your first Indian road trip, this one heading to Agra. Agra is around 3.5 hours away and sits on the banks of the river Yamuna, and is home to the famous Taj Mahal. Head there for sunset today, when the structure is at its finest (especially for photos). The palace was commissioned by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his third wife, who passed away in the 17th-century. Relax afterwards at your luxury suite at Oberoi Amarvilas.
Wake up bright and early to catch the sunrise over the Taj Mahal, before the throngs of tourists arrive. Next, visit Fatehpur Sikri, a city founded in the 16th-century by a Mughal Emperor, followed by a trip to Agra Fort. Agra Fort is so big, it’s often referred to as a walled city, and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Take the train to Jhansi, where you’ll continue your journey by road, driving to Orchha. Orchha has a medieval feel to it, with structures so well-preserved, they seem to have been frozen in time. See for yourself by visiting Orchha Fort, Palace, and Hindu temples. Then hop back in the car and drive to Panna National Park, where you’ll check in to one of our two recommended luxury hotels, Sarai at Toria or Taj Pashan Garh.
Start your day off with a refreshing and thrilling morning jeep safari, where you’re likely to spot some of Panna’s exotic animals perusing their natural habitat. Enjoy a leisurely cruise down the Ken river this afternoon, before heading back to your hotel and relaxing for the evening.
Today you’ll spend a full day at Khajuraho, one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. Pay a visit to the Khajuraho Group of Monuments, the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples, particularly well-known for their erotic sculptures. Relax at your hotel upon your return.
Take off for Varanasi today, on the banks of the River Ganges. Explore India’s most well-known river this afternoon on a Ganges River cruise. This evening, observe the legendary Ganga Aarti at the Dashashwamedh ghat, involving choreographed pyrotechnics.
Enjoy a morning boat ride, followed by a stroll through Varanasi’s lanes, checking out the charming shops, restaurants, and observing local life. Visit a wrestling Akhara and check out the traditional spiritual form of martial arts practiced there. This afternoon, visit Sarnath, a deer park that holds particular significance for Buddhists due to its history.
Today, your last day on your luxury North India Cultural Journey itinerary, fly to New Delhi, and check in for your next destination.
Located in the center of New Delhi, The Imperial is a splendid reminder of the city’s colonial past. The hotel’s 231 rooms and suites are designed in a combination of Art Deco and traditional English styles, and the hotel’s main lobby has an impressive collection of colonial-era Indian art. Dining options are Spice Route, which serves exceptional Southeast Asian cuisine, and 1911, set on an outdoor verandah overlooking the property’s lush gardens, serves continental cuisine. Other amenities include complimentary wi-fi, fitness center, outdoor pool, spa, and business center. The Imperial Hotel is approximately a 40-minute drive from the international airport (DEL).
The Oberoi Gurgaon is set on a lush nine-acre property just outside of New Delhi near the airport, offering luxury and tranquillity on the outskirts of India's capital. The hotel's 202 rooms and suites are among the largest in the city, featuring contemporary decor with large windows that overlook the property's landscaped pools and gardens. All have LED televisions and both wired and wireless internet access. Dining options include Threesixtyone, serving pan-Asian cuisine across 5 interactive show kitchens, with indoor and outdoor seating, and Amaranta, offering fresh seafood. The hotel also boasts a piano bar, the country's first exclusive cigar lounge, and a patisserie and delicatessen. Other amenities include an outdoor pool, gym complex, and a 24-hour spa centre. The Oberoi Gurgaon is 15 minutes by car from Delhi International Airport (DEL).
The Lodhi New Delhi (formerly the Aman New Delhi) is located on the outskirts of the Indian capital just south of the Delhi Golf Course and adjacent to the western half of the medieval Nizamuddin complex. Stone quarried from northern India is used for all floors and the interior design combines clean, modern lines with classic Mughal elements. There are 40 rooms and suites designed with regional style architecture featuring private plunge pools and the highest quality furniture and furnishings. The Lodhi offers a range of restaurants serving Indian, Thai and European cuisine. During the daytime guests may enjoy light snacks and classic cocktails at the Pool Café and in the evenings head to Anidra the supper and night club serving fine wines, beers, spirits, mixers and tapas. Other amenities include a spa, health center with four tennis courts, three squash courts, a pilates studio and a gymnasium, a lap pool, library and cigar room.
Located just 600 meters from the Taj Mahal, the Oberoi Amarvilas offers views of this romantic monument from each of its 109 guest rooms and suites, as well as the property’s lobby, bar and lounge. With a nod to Moorish and Mughal architecture, the resort features terraced lawns, fountains, reflection pools and pavilions with rich interiors. Room and suite amenities include a separate walk-in closet with electronic safe, lavish marble bathrooms with deluxe toiletries. The Amarvilas is also home to two restaurants, Bellevue and Esphahan, which serve fine international and Indian cuisine. Complementing the grandeur of the Mughal era is the spa that befits the self-indulgence of royalty, with holistic treatments based on Ayurveda and ancient Thai and western massage techniques, as well as beauty and body treatments. Other facilities include a swimming pool and a state-of-the-art gymnasium.
Taj Pashan Garh consists of twelve stone cottages clustered around a hilltop with fantastic views over Panna National Park and a nearby watering hole frequented by antelope, and surrounded by 200 acres of jungle wilderness. The luxury stone cottages are situated along a picturesque stream, each offering a private verandah with stunning views of the lush tropical forest and nearby waterhole. Each individual cottage showcases leather furniture made in Delhi, with massive black and white photo canvasses of the dramatic Panna landscapes. The guest areas celebrate traditional Haveli, or private mansion design, with a spacious central courtyard. The interiors are a contemporary mix of chocolate linens, block-printed black silks, celadon cottons and cotton lace chandeliers. The resort also offers a spa, infinity pool, library, safari shop, and of course the superb Indian fine dining one would expect from a Taj property, and served on an outdoor deck, on a lakeside bullock cart, or in the privacy of guests’ rooms.
The Nadesar Palace lies nestled in the heart of vibrant Varanasi among mango orchards, marigold and jasmine fields. Built by the East India Company and acquired by Maharaja Prabhu Narain Singh in the 19th century, the property is named after goddess Nadesari, whose shrine is located in front of the palace. All accommodation at the boutique yet opulent Nadesar Palace, which includes just 10 luxuriously appointed Heritage Rooms, Heritage Suites and Royal Suites, is generously scaled with large windows overlooking the gardens and spacious bathrooms in cool white marble. There is a restaurant serving local cuisine and satvik fare, which is said to bring calmness, intelligence, strength, health, happiness and longevity. Fresh fruits and vegetables, cereals and grains form the main ingredients of satvik food. The grounds are just 13 miles from Varanasi’s airport (VNS).