Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
This luxury 14-day itinerary will take you to the most famous sights in India, including the Taj Mahal, the Red Fort, the lake palaces of Udaipur and spiritual Varanasi. Delve into Indian art and culture by learning how to tie a turban or having your hands painted with intricate henna art. You’ll stay in India’s best hotels on this tour, with the option of staying in fully-restored Mughal palaces for the ultimate in service and luxury.
The first day of your Classic India itinerary begins in New Delhi where you will explore the city’s historic architecture. The Red Fort is one of the most important buildings in Old Delhi India, showcasing centuries of Mughal art and architecture. Today you will also visit the Jama Masjid - the most famous mosque in India - and Chandni Chowk Market. Tonight, enjoy sleeping in your luxury hotel in New Delhi; the five-star Leela Palace is an excellent choice.
Spend another day exploring the cultural sites of New Delhi. Start with an art tour of the country's best contemporary galleries. Next, visit the city’s high-end shopping zones on a bespoke shopping expedition. In the afternoon, visit the 16th-century Mughal Humayun Tomb and the Qutb Minar - the tallest tower minar in India. Return to your luxury suite in the evening for another night in New Delhi.
Today you’ll make your way to Agra, around 4 hours' drive from Delhi, on the way visiting the 16th century UNESCO walled city of Fatehpur Sikri. Here, you will tour the palace complex, exploring a fascinating mix of centuries-old pavilions and immense gateways sporting intricate Mughal design. From there, you’ll head to the Taj Mahal to view this astounding monument at sunset. In the evening, move to the nearby Oberoi Amarvilas, where your suite has a view of the Taj Mahal.
Rise early today for an unforgettable experience - the Taj Mahal at sunrise. After touring the monument with a guide, you’ll head to the 16th-century Agra Fort, another UNESCO site. You’ll next visit Keoladeo National Park, the former Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, then the remarkable Chanda Baodi Stepwell, dating from the 9th century, featuring 3,500 steps to its 328-feet-deep base. Return to the Oberoi Amarvilas for the night.
Today you’ll start off with a visit to the eerily beautiful ruins of Bhangarh town (around 4 hours from Agra), surrounded by much legend and believed by locals to be haunted. You’ll also visit the intricately adorned Neelkanth Hindu Temple and embark upon a Mansarover Lake cruise in a traditional shikara boat. Check into the luxurious Amanbagh, which offers superlative style and comfort in a restored Rajasthan palace.
Visit a unique minority village in Ajabgarh Meena, where you can observe long-standing local traditions and customs uninfluenced by modern living. Take part in fire meditation and, later on, join a Rajasthani cooking class and learn how to make some classic North Indian dishes. Return to Amanbagh for the evening.
Wake up early for a hot air balloon ride over the arid mountains and vast palaces of Jaipur, including Amber Fort. Today you’ll also see the City Palace Museum in Jaipur and visit the Jantar Mantar UNESCO-protected observatory next door, a marvel of construction dating back to the 16th century. Tonight, stay in a restored Rajasthani palace - we recommend the five-star Oberoi Rajvilas or the Rambagh Palace.
Enjoy the sights and sounds of Jaipur today starting with Tripolia Bazaar, one of the busiest markets in the city. After lunch, witness a grand puja ceremony, then head to Dera Amer elephant polo camp where you will learn the fundamentals of this royal sport before enjoying an elephant ride through the jungle. Tonight, return to your palatial suite.
Today you’ll travel to Udaipur (around 6 hours' drive), famous for its immense palace islands and mirrored lakes. You’ll explore the City Palace, the ornate Hindu Jagdish Temple, and the iconic Jag Mandir Lake Palace. In the evening, take a sunset cruise on Lake Pichola and enjoy the palaces from the water. Tonight you have the chance to sleep as the Maharajas once did in one of Jaipur’s restored palaces. We recommend the Oberoi Udaivilas or the Taj Lake Palace.
Embark upon a day trip to one of India’s most holy sites - the Ranakpur Jain Temple, an architectural dedication to Adinatha. Familiarize yourself with the local culture by seeing a private sunset puja ceremony at temple before returning to Udaipur for an unforgettable dinner in your palace hotel on Lake Pichola.
Head to Jodhpur, around 5 hours away, to the massive Mehrangarh Fort today, an imposing structure constructed 400 feet above the city with countless chambers and pavilions to explore. At the foot of the fort, you’ll visit Chokelao Bagh Gardens, created more than 200 years ago and restored to its original beauty with fragrant wildflowers and native plants. Today you’ll learn the art of turban tying and indulge in some local textile shopping. Spend the night in luxury once more in one of Jodhpur’s best hotels - we recommend the luxurious Umaid Bhawan Palace.
Experience traditional dance with a troupe of Rajasthani Dhood dancers, performing to the sounds of indigenous instruments such as the dhol and the sarangi. Be immersed in color and aroma at the bustling Sardar Bazaar, and have your hands adorned with henna stenciling - an age-old Indian tradition. Spend the evening in your luxurious hotel.
Today you will make the short journey to Varanasi, perhaps the most spiritual portion of your trip. Here you will enjoy a sunrise cruise between ghats on the Ganges and take a trip to Sarnath, the deer park where the Buddha first taught the dharma. Sarnath is an important pilgrimage site and hosts many ruins and historic relics. Return to Varanasi for the evening and check into a five-star hotel - the Nadesar Palace is a great choice.
On the final day of your journey, learn more about Indian culture and history at the Jnana-Pravaha Museum and Cultural Institute. Here, you can explore an extensive collection of Indian textiles, decorative art, paintings, woodwork, instruments and more. In the evening, enjoy the sunset Aarti on the banks of the Ganges - the perfect end to a remarkable Indian excursion.