What many believe to be the best of Northern India, with the best of local culture, natural wildlife, impressive history...the list goes on!
When you think about Northern India, you might think of the sacred River Ganges, or the white-marble wonder that is the Taj Mahal, or beautiful tigers slinking through the forest. This relatively short but comprehensive trip delivers all of the above, and much more! Experience the bustle and buzz of the cities of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, see a variety of stunning wildlife and journey into the centre of the Hindu Universe as you experience some of Northern India’s main highlights. You’ll discover the region's rich and varied culture, learn about its fascinating history, admire spectacular Moghul and Hindu architecture and gain an insightful experience of Hinduism.
Your tour begins in the Pink City, Jaipur, where you’ll discover lively bazaars, serene gardens and magnificent palaces. After some city sightseeing, nature-lovers will be delighted with a visit to the Ranthambore National Park. Home to the largest population of tigers of all India’s National Parks, Ranthambore is bursting with wildlife including monkeys, crocodiles, deer, birds and, of course, elusive tigers. Indulge in some fantastic wildlife-watching on safari, before you head to the holy city of Varanasi to add a new flavour to your tour. Explore the sacred city’s labyrinthine lanes, witness riverside rituals and take an early-morning boat ride along the Ganges before concluding your trip with some fantastic sightseeing in Old and New Delhi.
Click here to read our blog post explaining how this trip showcases the real India.
Active India Holidays are local operators and, as such, have seen first-hand the benefits that tourism can bring to some of India’s most remote regions. They understand that tourism often helps to alleviate poverty and develop communities and, as part of the global tourism industry, acknowledge that they too have a crucial role to play in providing commercial benefits and financial impetus in local communities. The company is conscious of both the negative and positive impacts its operations potentially have within sensitive environments and communities, particularly in the Himalayas where most of Active India’s trekking and adventure operations are conducted.
To ensure that they operate in as responsible a way as possible, Active India trains all of its tour leaders and support staff on sustainability practices. One example is their ‘Leave no Trace’ policy, which ensures that campsites and trails are left free from any waste. The company even extends this policy to include the waste left by travellers who have come before them, collecting and disposing of any extra rubbish in a safe manner. Active India hopes to contribute towards building a tourism industry that brings pleasure to travellers whilst also constructing a future for the local people and places that the industry depends on.
Arrival in Delhi – Transfer to Jaipur: Arrive at Delhi’s international airport and receive a traditional welcome before driving to Rajasthan’s colourful capital, Jaipur. Known as ‘the Pink City’, Jaipur’s rich culture and fascinating past make it one of the most important heritage cities in India. With imposing forts, serene lakes, majestic palaces, beautiful gardens and bustling markets, the city is not to be missed. Spend some time in the evening exploring the lively bazaars.
Jaipur: Indulge in some sightseeing, travelling to the ancient capital of Amer after breakfast. Visit its famous Amber Fort, situated on top of a hill, before proceeding to City Palace where you’ll admire the architectural blend of Rajasthani and Mughal influences. Continue to Jantar Mantar, an 18th century Solar Observatory that is able to measure time to within two seconds using the movement of the sun. Visit the pink sandstone Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), built in 1799 to allow royal ladies to observe processions and festivities through the palace’s windows without being seen by the public.
Jaipur – Ranthambore: Ranthambore National Park is home to the largest population of tigers amongst all of India’s National Parks. Located between the Aravalli and Vindhya hill ranges, it is one of the best places to see large species of animals and birds including monkeys, deer, crocodiles, purple herons, cormorants, kingfishers and partridges. Ranthambore is also a designated Tiger Reserve, under ‘Project Tiger’. Arriving at around noon, you’ll check in to your hotel before heading out for your first safari. Observe an array of fantastic wildlife, and try to spot the park’s elusive tigers.
Ranthambore – Agra via Fatehpur Sikri: Embark on a second safari in Ranthambore Park, to try once more to spot tigers and other animals. After your early morning safari you’ll return to the hotel for breakfast before leaving for Agra. Stop by at Fatehpur Sikri on the way to explore this impressive deserted royal city. The well-preserved fortress was once a political capital, until it was abandoned due to a lack of water. Continue on to Agra, a bustling city on the banks of the river Yamuna. In the evening, visit the bazaar and watch as artisans craft wonders using marble-inlay work.
Agra – Varanasi: Rise early to visit the incredible Taj Mahal at sunrise. This magnificent white-marble monument symbolises the eternal love of the 5th Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in the 16th century BCE. A visit to the incredible Taj Mahal never fails to leave a visitor totally captivated. Later, visit Agra Fort, which blends Rajput and Mughal architecture, and could be more accurately described as a walled palatial city. At the end of the day transfer to the railway station to board the overnight train to Varanasi.
Varanasi: Arrive in Varanasi in the morning and check in to your hotel. One of the seven holiest cities in India, Varanasi is at the centre of the Hindu Universe. Located on the banks of the sacred Ganges, the city is always full of thousands of pilgrims, religious elders and casual visitors. Immerse yourself in the city, exploring its labyrinthine lanes, visiting temples and observing riverside rituals performed by devotees. In the evening, take a boat ride along the river to witness the fantastic evening aarti (prayer) before returning to the hotel.
Varanasi – Delhi: Varanasi proudly holds the title of ‘the oldest living city of the world’ and is the holiest city for Hindus. Rising early, you’ll take a boat out onto the Ganges just before dawn to witness the events taking place on the Ghats (the steps that lead down to the river). Here, thousands of Hindu pilgrims and devotees visit the city every day to offer prayers and to purify themselves in the holy river. In the afternoon you’ll drive to Sarnath, where it is believed that Buddha delivered his first sermon. Return to Varanasi and board the overnight train to Delhi.
Delhi: Arriving in the morning, you’ll check in to your hotel before enjoying some last-minute sightseeing in Delhi. Visit the busy walled city of Old Delhi and explore India’s biggest mosque, the 17th century Jama Masjid, as well as the Rajghat, which serves as a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. Experience the hustle and bustle of Chandni Chowk, a typical Indian market alive with activity. Next, proceed to New Delhi, driving past the Presidential Palace and down the impressive Rajpath to India Gate. If there’s time, visit Humayun’s Tomb (which is said to have been an inspiration for the Taj Mahal) and Qutub Minar, a 72.5 metre ‘Tower of Victory’.
Tour Concludes: Check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
- The rate shown is a 'from' price per person (on a double sharing basis)
- Click 'Ask a Question' up above to speak to the operator directly about this tour's departure dates, availability and costs
- Refunds: 80% refund available until 30 days prior to check-in; 50% refund available 15 days prior to check-in; 25% refund available 6 days prior to check-in; within 5 days of check-in there will be no refund.
- 1 x overnight train journey
- English speaking monument sightseeing guides at cities
- All land transport
- Government service tax as applicable
- Travel insurance
- Indian visa fees
- Any monument entrance fees
- Flights (domestic/international)
- Any optional activities or services not mentioned in inclusions
- Services of any professional English speaking tour leader/escort during the tour
- Miscellaneous expenses for tips, laundry, drinks, any medical emergencies and souvenirs etc.