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Detailed Itinerary - 14 Day First with Varanasi

 

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 or your Tour Director, 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 Old Delhi. If you did not meet him the previous night, you will be introduced to your accompanying Tour Director this morning. RickshawDrive, 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 AD), 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 that 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. 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 that surrounds the black marble platform occupying the spot where the Mahatma was cremated. An eternal flame burns next to the platform.
There is a break for lunch.
Afternoon – enjoy a city tour of New Delhi.Qutab Minar This excursion begins with the awe-inspiring Qutab Minar (1193 A.D.). This 239 ft 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 over 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.
From the tomb you will proceed on a drive to Lutyens’ New Delhi. Time permitting, 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, a golden domed Sikh Temple (Bangla Sahib Gurudwara), & the Birla Temple. The last part of this excursion is a drive through Connaught Place, which is New Delhi’s downtown.



Day 3: Delhi – Varanasi. You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel and driven to the airport. You are assisted with boarding 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 - Experience a 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 and oil lamp ceremony 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.




Day 4: Varanasi – Khajuraho. Start your day with an early morning boat cruise on the Ganga. 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 VaranasiDasadwamedh 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 that 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 - You are assisted with your check-out 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 rock 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 check-out from your hotel in the morning and then driven to Orcha. There is a break for a late lunch (included) on arrival at Orcha. After lunch you will enjoy an exploration of the magnificent ruins at Orcha. The archeological treasures of Orcha were built between four and five centuries ago by Hindu kings that ruled this area. After your exploration of the ruins you are driven to nearby Jhansi and assisted in boarding the express train to Agra (6:10 pm - 8:38 pm). Your Tour Director assists you in getting seated in your assigned seats and gets your luggage ported to the appropriate location above your seats. Your Tour Director provides you with a detailed itinerary of the trains schedule so as to make you comfortable with every step of the journey. Refreshments are served by Indian Railways during this journey – we recommend that you refrain from consuming these, except for the bottled water. You are greeted at the railway station in Agra and driven to your hotel where you are assisted with your check-in.
Agra’s artists are famous for their creations in inlaid marble.




Day 6: Agra. You now start your exploration of Agra with a half day city tour of the magnificent monuments of this city. As you exit your hotel you will be greeted with a short folk music and dance performance by a local artist troupe. The exploration of Agra includes 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 Taj Mahalit 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 break for lunch.
Afternoon - Visit one 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 AD 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 and have them provide 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.




Day 7: Agra – Ranthambore. You can either sleep in or chose to enjoy either of these two optional (no charge) excursions - a sunrise visit to Mehtab Bagh, which is a 500 year old Mughal Camel mangarden located across from the Taj Mahal on the other side of the Yamuna River; or a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal. If you select either of the latter options, you will return to your hotel to freshen up after the excursion. If you did not meet him the previous night, you will be introduced to your accompanying Tour Director this morning; we recommend that you consider getting a packed lunch from the hotel for your journey. The dining/rest stopover during the journey offers limited choices.
You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel and then you are driven to Fatehpur Sikri. Enjoy a guided exploration of this beautiful uninhabited city. It was built by Emperor Akbar between 1570 and 1585 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.
Since 2006, Easy Tours of India has tracked the percentage of tiger sightings for our guests in Ranthambore National Park. Over 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 sq. km, Ranthambore National Park runs along the eastern spur of the Aravali mountain range until it meets with the Vindhya ranges. Ranthambore used to be the private huntingTiger ground of the rulers of Jaipur. 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 in to 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 AD) 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 ruins. 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.




Day 9: Ranthambore – Jaipur. Enjoy your last safari into Ranthambore in the morning. Return to your hotel after the safari and enjoy your breakfast. You have a couple of hours at leisure to freshen up and pack. You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel at noon 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. You are assisted with your check in at your hotel at Jaipur. You can relax at your hotel until the evening.
Evening – You can choose to enjoy the activities at your hotel this evening or visit the home of a Rajasthani Nobleman and enjoy a traditional dinner with members of the family. Indigenous cultural performances are usually held at your hotel every evening.
Jaipur is famous for its carpets, jewelry & handicrafts.




Day 10: Jaipur. Start your day with an excursion to Amber Fort & Palace, located 12 kilometers from the center of the 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).Amber Fort 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” to “Return to the valley beneath the Fort and proceed back to the Pink City”
There is a break for lunch.
Afternoon – enjoy a city tour of the walled city of Jaipur, including the magnificent City Palace. An optional (no charge) ride in a three wheeler scooter is available during this afternoon. 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 miniature paintings, costumes, and armory.
Late Afternoon – you are at leisure with your Tour Director, vehicle and chauffeur, who are available to you until 7 pm. This is a good time to shop for Rajasthani specialties if you are so inclined. There are other options that your guide can offer you, or you can choose to return to your hotel to relax.




Day 11: Jaipur – Jodhpur. You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel in the morning and then you proceed on the drive to Jodhpur. Arrive at Jodhpur and you are assisted with your check-in to your hotel.
There is a break for lunch.
Afternoon - Proceed on a half day city tour of Jodhpur. The tour begins from the fifteenth century Mehrangarh Fort. This formidable hilltop fort is arguably the most awe inspiring in Rajasthan, a land of impressive hilltop forts and palaces. Entry to the massive fort is through a series of seven great gates, with the main entrance being the huge Lohapol, which literally means Iron Gate. Next to this gate there are 15 hand prints in the wall, the Sati Marks of Maharaja Man Singh’s widows. These hand prints were etched into the wall by the queens just prior to them throwing themselves upon his funeral pyre in 1843, as the besieged fort was about to be conquered. Inside the fort is a collection of some of the finest palaces and galleries, including, Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), Sukh Mahal (Pleasure Palace),  Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), Elephant Howdah Gallery, Palanquin Gallery, the Armory, the Turban Gallery,  and the Folk Music Gallery. The Daulat Khana houses one of the world’s finest collections of Mughal Art.
On your way back to your hotel you will stop for a tour of Jaswant Thada, a marble cenotaph built in 1899 as a memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II.




Day 12: Jodhpur – Udaipur.  You are assisted with your check out and you proceed on the drive to Ranakpur. Arrive at Ranakpur around noon and enjoy a guided excursion to the awe-inspiring Jain Temple Complex. You will be amazed by the famous 15th Century marble temple that is still an active place of worship. The main temple’s twenty nine halls are supported by fourteen hundred and forty four massive yet intricately carved marble pillars, and no two are of the same design.  There is an abundance of exquisite sculptures and friezes and the enormous scale of the monument and the exquisite details of its design have to be experienced to be believed.
Lunch is included at Ranakpur this afternoon.
Continue on the drive to Udaipur after lunch. This is one of the most picturesque drives in all of India. As you go through the Aravali hills there will be photo opportunities of village life and livestock, including many camels.  Arrive at Udaipur in the late afternoon/early evening and you are assisted with your check-in to your hotel.
Udaipur is famous for its artists and paintings, including exquisite miniatures.




Day 13: Udaipur. Proceed for a city tour, including a tour of the fabled City Palace. At this Palace complex, explore the beautifully decorated rooms with City Palacethousands of exquisite, handcrafted mirrors that cover the walls, the ancient ivory doors that are a dark reminder of royalty’s passion for hunting, the brightly colored glass windows, expansive inlaid marble balconies and the unique peacock courtyard. Enjoy a private tour of the amazing Crystal Gallery which houses the world’s largest collection of priceless crystal. Marvel at pieces like the complete bedroom furniture set in crystal, discovered recently in a store room in the palace. There are amazing views to be had from this structure, especially of Lake Pichola, the Lake Palace hotel and Jag Mandir.
After your tour of the City Palace you will visit the historical Sahelion-ki-bari gardens and the local Museum.
Late afternoon/Early evening: Enjoy a cruise on Lake Pichola and visit the historical and beautiful monuments at Jag Mandir Island (if available – the royal family at Udaipur will occasionally rent out the island for large celebrations and on those occasions the island cannot be visited by tourists). Bid farewell to your Tour Director this evening.




Day 14: Udaipur – Delhi – International Flight. You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel and then you are driven to the airport where you are assisted with boarding your flight to Delhi. Upon your arrival at Delhi you are greeted at the airport by an Easy Tours Facilitator & your chauffeur. This is a good time to do some last minute shopping and/or sightseeing if you are so inclined.
Your vehicle and chauffeur stay with you until your (usually late evening) assisted check in at the airport. If your flight departs early in the morning you may want us to arrange a room for you so you can rest.
Our services end at Delhi airport.




Inclusions:
* Daily breakfast at the hotels
* Lunch at Orcha
* An Easy Tours Exclusive: Dinner at a Rajasthani Nobleman’s Family Home
* An Easy Tours Exclusive: Both Sunrise & Sunset visit to the Taj Mahal
* An Easy Tours Exclusive: Both Sunrise & Sunset boat cruises on the Ganga at Varanasi.
* An Easy Tours Exclusive: A unique folk music & dance greeting at Agra
* An Easy Tours Exclusive: Personal Elephant ride (per couple - jeep option available) up the ramparts of Amber Palace in Jaipur.
* An Easy Tours Exclusive: Rickshaw Ride through Delhi’s Chandni Chowk
* An Easy Tours Exclusive: Three Wheeler Scooter Ride in Jaipur
* Applicable monument entrance fees as per the itinerary.
* All other meals as specified
* Hotel check-in is at 2 pm & check-out is at noon for almost all the hotels
* All transfers and sightseeing by your personal Luxury SUV
* Availability of an Easy Tours Travel Facilitator at all destinations.
* Services of an accompanying Easy Tours Tour Director and Travel Facilitator.
* Easy Tours Facilitator for assistance on all arrivals/departures as well as hotel check-ins.
* Jhansi – Agra Train travel by Luxury AC Chair Car
* Bottled water during sightseeing/excursions and long drives.
* All currently applicable taxes.

Not included:
* International Travel
* 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 - 14 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
City Palace
  Amber Fort & Palace
The Ghats of Varanasi
Vishwanath Temple
15th Century Jain Temples

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  • <strong>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.

    Varanasi

  • <strong>Khajuraho</strong> - The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a complex of over 25 preserved temples famous for the intricacy of their design and detailed sculptures. The Khajuraho Temples are in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

    Khajuraho

  • <strong>Agra</strong> - The Taj Mahal in Agra

    Agra

  • <strong>Ranthambore</strong> - Ranthambore National Park

    Ranthambore

  • <strong>Hawa Mahal</strong> - Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

    Hawa Mahal

  • <strong>View of Mehrangarh Fort</strong> - Jodhpur

    View of Mehrangarh Fort

  • <strong>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.
  • <strong>Khajuraho</strong> - The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a complex of over 25 preserved temples famous for the intricacy of their design and detailed sculptures. The Khajuraho Temples are in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
  • <strong>Agra</strong> - The Taj Mahal in Agra
  • <strong>Ranthambore</strong> - Ranthambore National Park
  • <strong>Hawa Mahal</strong> - Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
  • <strong>View of Mehrangarh Fort</strong> - Jodhpur


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