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Detailed Itinerary - 11 Day First with Varanasi

 

Depart from origin. If you are commencing your journey from the United States, we can recommend the best airlines and routings for your particular needs. We can also introduce you to consolidators who offer discounted fares (First, Business and Economy) on these flights. This is a service provided solely as a convenience and extra value for our guests. We do not sell airline tickets to people not touring with us.

 

Day 1: Arrive at Delhi - most flights arrive either in the evening or at night. Our services begin here. You are greeted at the airport by an Easy Tours Travel Facilitator and ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. You are then driven to your hotel where you are assisted with your check-in. The next day’s plans are briefly reviewed and you are presented with your welcome package. Among other things, this package includes a beautiful handcrafted journal for your explorations, travel documents such as your air tickets and hotel vouchers, as well as copies of documents (such as our General Travel Guide) that were sent to you earlier.




Day 2: Delhi. Start your exploration of India with a guided city tour of New Delhi. This excursion begins with the magnificent temple Bangla Sahib Gurudwara (a gold domed Sikh Temple). This is Sikhism’s shrine, and people of all religions are welcome here. You now continue on a drive to Lutyens’ New Delhi. This drive will include photo opportunities at some of the following attractions - the exterior of the massive and awe-inspiring Rashtrapati Bhawan (known as Viceroy’s House during the British era), Delhi’s landmark structure India Gate. After exploring the Lutyens’ New Delhi you will be driven to visit the awe-inspiring Qutab Minar (1193 A.D.). This 239-foot tall medieval tower is a symbol of victory and a beautiful example of Persian architecture from that period. There is a winding stairway inside the tower that goes up all the way to the balcony at the very top of the tower – unfortunately they are no longer accessible for visitors. The Qutab Minar and its Monuments are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Within the Qutab complex, amidst the ruins of the Quwat-ul-Islam Mosque, stands one of the legendary Ashoka Pillars. This large iron pillar has withstood the ravages of Delhi’s weather (and recent pollution) and has not rusted in more than 1500 years. After the Qutab complex you will be driven to visit the magnificent tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. Delhi has such an abundance of amazing monuments that this Tomb Complex (1562 A.D.) does not quite get the acclaim that it deserves. It is Delhi’s third UNESCO World Heritage Site and its amazing architecture and the elaborate gardens (all currently undergoing restoration) will captivate you.
There is a break for lunch.
Afternoon – enjoy a city tour of Old Delhi. Drive, walk and ride through the ancient city’s streets and alleys; explore crowded and colorful bazaars. This excursion includes an exploration of the Jama Masjid (1650 A.D.), the largest mosque in India. The Masjid (Mosque) is a magnificent example of Mughal architecture and is constructed of red sandstone and white marble. It is an active place of worship and its courtyard can hold 25,000 worshippers. You continue on to the amazing Red Fort that was finished a decade before the mosque. Both structures were built by Shah Jahan, the emperor who created the Taj Mahal. The great city inside the massive sandstone walls of the Red Fort offers visitors a large number of architectural and historical attractions; it was once known as the 8th wonder of the world. The Red Fort was the seat of the Mughal Empire for more than two hundred and fifty years and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an amazing example of a blend of Persian, Indian and European architecture. You will also experience a fascinating rickshaw ride in the ancient alleys of the crowded and colorful bazaar at Chandni Chowk, followed by a walk through the ancient spice and street food market that is part of the bazaar. After these experiences a short drive will deliver you to an oasis of calm and serenity, which also happens to be your last destination in Old Delhi. The cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi (Raj Ghat) is a simple yet stirring memorial to the father of the nation.
Lush lawns extend beyond the enclosure surrounding the black marble platform occupying the spot where the Mahatma was cremated. An eternal flame burns next to the platform.
Optional Evening – You are driven to the home of an affluent Delhi family. This is a well-traveled couple and the lady of the house is an accomplished chef who likes to share her culinary prowess with visitors. During the evening you will get the opportunity to converse about life in India’s capital with the couple, and participate as your meal is being prepared. It will be a delicious multicourse Indian meal, along with an interactive cooking experience preparing three different Indian dishes. You can choose to forego the cooking lesson and just enjoy the end results. Your hosts will be happy to share their recipes with you. At the end of dinner you will be driven back to your hotel. (Excursion is subject to availability)




Day 3: Delhi – Varanasi. You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel and driven to the airport.You are assisted withboarding the mid-morning flight to Varanasi. You are greeted at the Varanasi airport and driven to your hotel where you are assisted with your check-in.
Afternoon - Experiencea city tour of Varanasi that includes visits to some of the ancient temples that lie along the banks of the holy river. You will walk through the narrow lanes and through the crowded bazaars to discover a way of life that has not changed much over the past few millenniums.
Sunset cruise on the Ganga - Two of the highlights of your time in Varanasi are the sunset and sunrise cruises on the Ganga. You can float your own oil lamps while you watch the ancient prayer at sunset. Your boat enables you to enjoy a great view of the hundreds of lamps as they are sent floating on the holy river.
Varanasi is famous
for silk weaving.

A Note about Hotels in Varanasi & Khajuraho: Whilst we believe these destinations are truly unique and rank among the most noteworthy in all of Asia, the Hotels in these cities do not offer the same world class luxury offered at most destinations in India. At Varanasi (with one notable and expensive exception that is seldom available as it only has 4 rooms & 6 suites) and Khajuraho the options are very few. Easy Tours routinely monitors these establishments for changes in service standards, and our preferred hotels represent the best options available in each destination. For guests that require luxury in all their lodging we recommend that you select one of our other tours that does not visit these destinations.




Day 4: Varanasi - Khajuraho. Start your day with an early morning boat cruise on the Ganga. Varanasi The best time to visit the Ghats is dawn as that is when the pilgrims take their morning dip. It is also the ideal opportunity to experience some of Hinduisms ancient and iconic rituals. The most famous Ghat is the Dasadwamedh Ghat and that is where we begin this tour. You can simultaneously witness the ceremony of a recently deceased Hindu’s ashes being immersed in the river while, nearby, another Brahmin priest orchestrates the naming ceremony of a newborn. Just like the previous evening, your boat offers an excellent view of all the activity on the Ghats – women bathing discreetly while still wearing their sarees, priests offering prayers as they immerse themselves in the holy water, men who are oblivious to their surroundings as they practice yoga or meditate on the banks of the Ganga.
Return to your hotel to freshen up and pack.
Late morning - Youare assisted with your checkout from your hotel and driven to the airport.You are assisted in boarding the flight to Khajuraho. You are greeted at the Khajuraho airport and driven to your hotel where you are assisted with your check-in.
Start your guided tour of the famed temples, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These magnificent examples of Hindu religious art were constructed about a thousand years ago. Thousands of extremely detailed stone sculptures adorn the facades of these temples, and the subject matter includes some very explicit erotic scenes. The sophisticated design and building techniques that were used in the creation of these temples and the detailed artistry of the sculptures cannot be described in words - you have to experience them personally to grasp their impact. You have the option (no charge) of attending the sound and light show at the temples in the evening - it is hard to understand and not impressive by western standards.




Day 5: Khajuraho – Agra. You are assisted with your checkout from your hotel in the morning and then you are driven to Orcha. There is a break for lunch (included) on arrival, after which you will enjoy an exploration of the magnificent ruins. The archaeological treasures of Orcha were built between four and five centuries ago by the Hindu kings that ruled this area. After your exploration of the ruins you continue with your drive to Agra, arriving in the evening, where you are assisted with check-in to your hotel.
Agra’s artists are famous for their inlaid marble creations.




Day 6: Agra. You now start your exploration of Agra with a city tour of the magnificent monuments of this city. The exploration of Agra starts with a visit to the famous tomb of Itmad-Ud–Daulah. This memorial was built by the Mughal Emperor Jehangir’s queen as a memorial to her father. The tombs sheer beauty will surprise you – the only reason it does not get more accolades is because it shares the stage with the incomparable Taj Mahal. Like the Taj it has amazingly intricate ‘Pietra Dura’ inlay and lattice marble screens. The mausoleum rests in a walled garden with a view of the river Yamuna. Constructed in the year 1628, most historians believe that its design provided the inspiration for the Taj Mahal. After your exploration of the tomb you will visit the first red sandstone fort of North India, the Agra Fort. It was built in 1565 by India’s greatest Mughal ruler, Emperor Akbar. Its royal audience halls, immense stone courtyards, marble mosque and the private royal chambers give us a glimpse of the grandeur of the Mughal Empire.
There is a breakfor lunch.
Afternoon – Visitone of the Seven Wonders of the World, the incomparable Taj Mahal. The world’s greatest monument dedicated to love is obviously a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Taj Mahal was completed by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1653 A.D. as a memorial to his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. This spectacular white marble mausoleum was created by about 22,000 skilled craftsmen and it took twenty two years to complete. When you experience the Taj Mahal with an Easy Tours Guide who shares unique insights into its innumerable facets, some of their passion for this masterpiece may rub off on you. Explore the amazing Taj and its surroundings until it is time to admire the sun’s rays setting on the façade of the world’s finest monument.
Agra’s artists are famous for their inlaid marble creations.




Day 7: Agra – Ranthambore. We recommend that you consider getting a packed lunch from the hotel for your upcoming journey. The dining/rest stopover during the journey offers limited choices. Check-out from your hotel after breakfast and join your chauffeur for the drive to Fatehpur Sikri. Enjoy a guided exploration of this beautiful uninhabited city. It was built by Emperor Akbar between 1570 and 1585 A.D. and is constructed primarily out of red sandstone. The Emperor moved his capital from Agra to this city and then, a few years later, abandoned it, returning back to Agra. Visit the tallest gateway in the world, the towering Bulund Darwaza (The Gate of Victory). In the northern part of the courtyard is the superb white marble tomb of Shaik Salim Chishti, built in 1570.
Continue on with your journey to Sawai Madhopur (Ranthambore National Park). The second half of this drive is through rural Rajasthan and there are multiple photo opportunities of the colorful villagers as they go about their daily activities. You will also encounter many camels and other livestock on this drive.
You are greeted on arrival at your jungle lodge and assisted with your check-in.
All three meals are at your boutique resort while at Ranthambore.
Since 2006, Easy Tours of India has tracked the percentage of tiger sightings for our guests in Ranthambore National Park. More than 85% of our guests have had tiger sightings during this period, with many of them getting multiple sightings.




Day 8: Ranthambore. Covering an area of 410 square kilometers, Ranthambore National Park runs along the eastern spur of the Aravali mountain range until it Tiger meets with the Vindhya ranges. Ranthambore was once the Jaipur rulers’ private hunting ground. In 1972 it was declared a Sanctuary and was brought under the Project Tiger Conservation platform. Dry deciduous forest covers most of the park, and the vegetation is lush around the many small lakes and ponds. The open grasslands that are the tiger’s favorite terrain account for much of the land on the higher slopes. This varied flora supports a large number of animals including a variety of deer, the sloth bear, the shy caracal, leopards and of course, the tiger.  
Enjoy wildlife safaris into the park in the morning and evening.
In between safaris, you have the option of a guided visit to the Ranthambore Fort. This excursion does have a fairly steep climb - approximately 700 feet of stairs. The massive Fort is one of the finest examples of the ancient Hindu concept of Vana-Durg, or a fort protected by a jungle.  The history of this Fort (originally built in 944 A.D.) is a chronicle full of tales of blood and valor. Successively occupied by the Muslims, Rajputs and Mughals, the insides of the fort today lie partly in ruin. There are superb views of the park to be had from the ramparts. There is an ancient temple located in the fort and it attracts a continuous stream of pilgrims from the surrounding villages. A little note of caution - a large number of aggressive langur’s (South Asian monkeys) have made the Fort area their home and it is not advisable to have shiny objects and food visible in your hands as you tour the fort as it will be snatched away.
In the evening you are invited to join some of the other lodge guests around the campfire for some Indian barbecue delicacies before dinner, if this activity is available this evening. The snacks are included in your tour cost, just as the other meals while at Ranthambore; drinks are on a direct pay basis.




Day 9: Ranthambore - Jaipur. Enjoy your last safari into Ranthambore in the morning. Return to your hotel after the safari to freshen up and have breakfast. You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel and then there is a break for lunch. After lunch, you are driven to Jaipur. The first half of this drive is also through rural Rajasthan and there are multiple photo opportunities. Sawai Madhopur itself (the community located next to Ranthambore) is a rural small town, and you will drive through it to get a glimpse of life here before you head for Jaipur. Check-in to your hotel upon your arrival at Jaipur.
Evening - Youcan either choose to enjoy your hotel this evening, or you can be escorted to a local restaurant where you will enjoy a cultural show with ethnic performances while you have dinner.
Jaipur is famous for its carpets, jewelry and handicrafts.




Day 10: Jaipur. Start your day with an excursion to the Amber Fort and Palace, Amber Fort located a short distance from the walled city. Just like the Emperors of a few centuries ago, enjoy the ascent up to the ramparts of the fort on top of a colorfully caparisoned elephant (Jeeps are available instead of the elephants, if you so desire). The massive Fort complex was originally built by Raja Mansingh and is one of India’s finest examples of Rajput architecture. Explore the chambers and hallways, which are famous for their exquisite designs and handcrafted embellishments. Return to the valley beneath the Fort on your elephant or jeep and proceed back to the Pink City.
There is a breakfor lunch.
Afternoon – Enjoy a city tour of the walled city of Jaipur, including the magnificent City Palace. Visit Jantar Mantar (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the magnificent stone observatory built by Raja Jai Singh in 1728. After the observatory comes a photo opportunity of the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Wind). This intriguing facade was built in 1799 so that the ladies of the court could use its unique windows and observe the bustling bazaar without being visible to the people on the streets. Continue the tour with an exploration of the City Palace, the former royal residence (a part of it is still occupied by the Royal family and is not accessible to the public), built in a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles. This immense complex also houses a number of museums that offer a large and impressive collection of costumes, armory and miniature paintings. During this afternoon you can take a stroll with your guide through the“pink” bazaar in the heart of the old town, and watch the locals as they bargain for their everyday necessities. You will also enjoy a brief stop for a tour of a collection of Rajput turbans. A turban tying demonstration is included, as are turban and Sari tying lessons.




Day 11: Jaipur - Delhi - International Flight. Check-out from your hotel at your choice of time in the morning (anytime before noon, depending on the time of your international flight) and join your chauffeur for the drive to Delhi airport where you are assisted with boarding your international flight.
If your flight departs late in the evening or the very early morning, your vehicle and chauffeur are available to you until your assisted check-in at the airport. This is a good time to do some last minute dining and/or sightseeing if you are so inclined. If your flight departs early the next morning, you may want us to arrange a room for you so you can rest.

Our services end at Delhi airport.




Inclusions:
* All three Meals at Ranthambore
* Daily breakfast at all the hotels
* Lunch at Orcha
* An Easy Tours Exclusive: Cultural Show & Dinner in Jaipur
* An Easy Tours Exclusive: Both Sunrise and Sunset boat cruises on the Ganga
* An Easy Tours Exclusive: Sari and Turban Tying Demonstration and Lessons
* An Easy Tours Exclusive: Personal Elephant ride (per couple) at the Palace in Jaipur
* Rickshaw Ride through Delhi’s Chandni Chowk
* Walk through the ancient Spice and Street Food Market in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk
* Applicable monument entrance fees as per the itinerary
* All other meals as specified
* Hotel check-in is at 2 pm and checkout is at noon for almost all the hotels
* All transfers and sightseeing by personal Medium AC Car
* Services of the best English speaking local guides at all destinations.
* Services of ETI Travel Facilitators for all airport/station arrivals and departures and associated hotel check in’s and check outs. 
* All safari related costs at Ranthambore, including park entry, naturalists, vehicle fees etc.
* Jhansi – Agra Train travel by Luxury AC Chair Car
* Bottled water during sightseeing/excursions and other drives
* All currently applicable taxes

Not included:
* International Travel
* Any expenses of a personal nature like tips, laundry, telephone calls, drinks etc.
* Meals other than those specified above
* Travel insurance, visa etc.
* Camera fees – still & video


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Hightlights - 11 Day First with Varanasi

This Visit gives you some of the best highlights of India.

ETI Experiences
Rickshaw Ride at Chandni Chowk
Boat cruise on River Ganges
Priests performing ancient rituals
Oil lamp Aarti ceremony
Taj - Sunrise / Sunset
Wildlife Safaris
Personal Elephant Ride
Traditional Folk Dance
Dinner with a Rajasthani family
Rural Environment & Culture

  UNESCO World Heritage
Qutab Minar, Delhi
Humayun's Tomb, Delhi
Red Fort Complex, Delhi
10th Century Khajuraho Temples
Taj Mahal, Agra
Agra Fort, Agra
Fatehpur Sikri, Agra
Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

Other Sights
  Jama Masjid
India Gate
Safdarjang’s Tomb
Connaught Place
  The Ghats of Varanasi
Vishwanath Temple
City Palace
Amber Fort & Palace

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  • <strong>Humayun Tomb, Delhi</strong> - Humayun's Tomb - The square red sandstone double-storeyed structure.

    Humayun Tomb, Delhi

  • <strong>Ghat of Varanasi, Varanasi</strong> - The crowd grows during sunset at one of the more than 80 ghats on the river Ganges here. The Dashashwamedh Ghat is the main and probably oldest ghat located on the Ganges here.

    Ghat of Varanasi, Varanasi

  • <strong>Khajuraho - 1</strong> -

    Khajuraho - 1

  • <strong>Taj Mahal - 2, Agra</strong> -

    Taj Mahal - 2, Agra

  • <strong>Tiger at Ranthambore National Park - 1, Ranthambore</strong> -

    Tiger at Ranthambore National Park - 1, Ranthambore

  • <strong>A Musician Rests In The Shade Of The Amber Fort, Jaipur</strong> -

    A Musician Rests In The Shade Of The Amber Fort, Jaipur



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