Immersive Luxury
    
Detailed Itinerary - 26 Day India and Nepal

 

Feb 23rd: 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.




Feb 24th: Delhi – Kathmandu - Nagarkot. You are assisted with your check-out by an Easy Tours Travel Facilitator and then driven to the airport to board the morning flight to Kathmandu. Upon your arrival at Kathmandu you are greeted at the airport by an Easy Tours Travel Facilitator or your Nepal Tour Director and then ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. You are driven to Nagarkot, which is located about an hour and a half drive to the east of Kathmandu. Nagarkot is situated at an elevation of 7135 feet (2175 meters) and offers a panoramic view of the Himalayas. You can see five of the world’s ten highest mountains - Everest 29,028 feet (8848 meters), Lhotse 27939 feet (8516 meters), Makalu 27,765 feet (8463 meters) and Manaslu 26,781 feet (8163 meters), as well as many other summits.

You are assisted with your check in at the Club Himalaya Resort upon arrival at Nagarkot. Although a fairly spartan hotel, this is the best available lodging at Nagarkot. Your room will have a balcony with a direct view of the Himalayas. We recommend that you turn in early this evening.

Please note that the best time for good visibility of the distant Himalayas is at sunrise. The best season is winter and visibility can be quite poor during the summer months.




Feb 25th: Nagarkot – Kathmandu. Awaken before sunrise in the morning so that you can take in the amazing vista of the Himalayas. Besides your room there are various other locations at the resort that provide a great view, including the large roof that is adorned with local plants. You are assisted with your check out of the resort after you freshen up and have breakfast. Join your chauffeur for the drive back to Kathmandu. You are driven to your hotel and assisted with your check-in if an early check-in is possible. If not, you can drop off your bags with the concierge and freshen up using the facilities.
There is a break for lunch.
Afternoon - Proceed for a guided visit of Boudhanath Stupa, a World Heritage Site, and Pashupatinath Temple, which is one of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world.
Late afternoon – Enjoy a tour of Kathmandu city, starting with the Durbar Square, another World Heritage Site. The monuments in the Square were built between the 12th and 18th centuries and this is where most of the state ceremonies are performed up till today. Start with a visit to Kumari Ghar, abode of the Living Goddess. Also visit Kasthamandap, Kathmandu’s most famous pagoda, said to have been built from the wood of a single tree in the early 16th century. The city of Kathmandu derives its name from this monument. You will also visit the Big Bell and Kal Bhairav, an ancient and impressive stone relief of Lord Shiva in one of his fearsome manifestations. 




Feb 26th: Kathmandu. You have the option of experiencing the Everest flight this morning – Boudhanath Templeyour hotel travel desk can arrange this.If you decide to take this flight, on your return you will freshen up and have breakfast.
Experience a tour of `Patan City` one of the three queen cities of the valley. Patan is the city of fine arts, and you will start with an exploration of the Durbar Square here. The museum here houses a collection of ancient bronzes and religious objects. Other noteworthy monuments are the impressive carvings at the 17th century Krishna Mandir and Mahavihar, the 12th century Golden Temple of Lord Buddha. There is a break for lunch.
Late afternoon
– Visit the Swayambhunath temple and stupa, Kathmandu’s oldest and best known religious monuments. With a history that may go back as far as 2500 years, this ancient complex is also a World Heritage Site. The temple and stupa are built on a hilltop and are visible from most of the Kathmandu Valley. The devout walk up the hill from the base (365 steps), most tourists prefer to drive up 85% of the way and then use the steps on the other side of the hill.




Feb 27th: Kathmandu - Delhi. You are at leisure in the early morning. 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. You are driven to your hotel and assisted with your check in. The cost of this night’s hotel stay is included in your tour of India, which begins on the next day.




Feb 28th: Delhi. (B,L,D) Start your exploration of India with a guided city tour of New Delhi. You will be introduced to the other members of your group and your Tour Director prior to beginning this excursion. 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 will captivate you.
Lunch is at one of Delhi’s premier restaurants this afternoon.
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.
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




Mar 1st: Delhi - Varanasi. (B,L,D) You are assisted with your checkout 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.
Lunch is at your hotel this afternoon.
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 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.





Mar 2nd: Varanasi - Khajuraho. (B,L,D) 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 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 - You are 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.
Lunch is at your hotel this afternoon.
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.
Dinner is at your hotel this evening.




Mar 3rd: Khajuraho - Agra. (B,L,D) You are assisted with your checkout from your hotel in the morning and then driven to Orcha. There is a break for lunch 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 . Your Tour Director assists you in getting seated in your assigned seats and gets your luggage ported to the appropriate location above your seats. You are provided 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.
Dinner is at your hotel this evening.




Mar 4th: Agra. (B,L,D) 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 break for a late lunch at one of Agra’s fine restaurants.
After lunch you will be driven to your hotel, where you are assisted with check in. You can relax and enjoy your boutique hotel’s facilities for a little while.
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 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. After the sunset you will return to your hotel, where you will eat dinner.




Mar 5th: Agra - Ranthambore. (B,L,D) You can either sleep in or choose to enjoy either of these two optional excursions - a sunrise visit to Mehtab Bagh (no charge), which is a 500-year-old Mughal garden located across from the Taj Mahal on the other side of the Yamuna River; or a  sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal (entry fee surcharge applies). If you select either of the latter options, you will return to your hotel to freshen up after the excursion. 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 checkout 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 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.




Mar 6th: Ranthambore. (B,L,D) Covering an area of 410 square kilometers, Ranthambore National Park runs along the eastern spur of the Aravali mountain range until it meets with the Vindhya ranges. TigerRanthambore 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 langurs (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.




Mar 7th: Ranthambore - Jaipur. (B,L,D) 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 checkout 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. You are assisted with your check in at your hotel upon your arrival at Jaipur.
Dinner is at your gorgeous hotel this evening.
Jaipur is famous for its carpets, jewelry and handicrafts.




Mar 8th: Jaipur. (B,L,D) Start your day with an excursion to the Amber Fort and Palace, located a short distance from the walled city. Just like the Emperors of a few centuries ago, Amber Fortenjoy 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 break for lunch at one of Jaipur’s premier restaurants.
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.
Evening - You are escorted to a local restaurant where you will enjoy a cultural show with ethnic performances while you have dinner.




Mar 9th: Jaipur - Jodhpur. (B,L,D) You are assisted with your checkout from your hotel in the early morning and then you proceed on the drive to Jodhpur.Amber Fort A packed lunch is provided from your hotel for this journey. Arrive at Jodhpur in the early afternoon and you are assisted with your check-in to your hotel.
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 that literally means Iron Gate. Next to this gate there are 15 handprints in the wall, the Sati Marks of Maharaja Man Singh’s widows. These handprints 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 down from the fort you will stop for a tour of Jaswant Thada, a marble cenotaph built in 1899 as a memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. If time permits, you can walk with your guide through the bustling Sadar Bazaar, often referred to as the Clock Tower Market. 
Return to your hotel after your tour, where you will have dinner this evening.




Mar 10th: Jodhpur - Udaipur. (B,L,D) You are assisted with your checkout 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 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.
Dinner is at your magical hotel this evening.
Udaipur is famous for its artists and paintings, including exquisite miniatures.




Mar 11th: Udaipur. (B,L,D) Proceed for a city tour, including a tour of the fabled City Palace. At this Palace complex, explore the beautifully decorated rooms with thousands of exquisite,City Palace handcrafted mirrors that cover the walls, the ancient ivory doors (a dark reminder of Indian royalty’s passion for hunting), the brightly colored stained glass windows, expansive inlaid marble balconies and the unique peacock courtyard. There are amazing views to be had from this structure, especially of Lake Pichola, the Lake Palace hotel and Jag Mandir Island. 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 off the palace.
After your tour of the City Palace you can choose to return to your hotel to relax, or opt for an excursion that includes a visit to the vintage car museum that is owned by Udaipur’s royal family. The large collection of classic European and American automobiles is fascinating for all car lovers. This would be a good time to explore some of the markets in this charming city with a small town atmosphere. This excursion also includes a brief exploration of the Sahelion-Ki-Bari gardens, which are of some historical relevance but unimpressive as an Indian garden.
Lunch is included at a lakeside restaurant today.
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).
Dinner is on the Sunset Terrace Restaurant at the City Palace complex. You have the option to dine al-fresco while taking in the amazing sunset on the lake.




Mar 12th: Udaipur - Mumbai. (B,L,D) You are assisted with your checkout from your hotel and then you are driven to the airport where you are assisted with boarding your morning flight to Mumbai. On arrival at Mumbai you are greeted by an Easy Tours Facilitator and chauffeur.
Proceed for a guided city tour of Mumbai. The tour begins at the Prince of Wales Museum, built to commemorate King George V’s first visit to India in 1905. Designed in the Indo-Saracenic style, the museum has sections of art, paintings, archeological exhibits and natural history. After the museum tour you will visit the famous Dhobi Ghat and observe the age old tradition of the Dhobi’s doing Mumbai’s laundry!
There is a break for lunch at one of Mumbai’s premier restaurants.
Continue the tour with a drive up to Malabar Hill where the hanging gardens give a panoramic view of the city and the Queen’s Necklace (Marine Drive). The tour then takes a drive through the Flora Fountain and Fort area where you can view the impressive Gothic and Victorian buildings that were constructed during the British Raj. Visit the Victoria Terminus (now known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus). It is India’s finest example of Gothic architecture and one of the world’s busiest railway stations.
Drive around Horniman Circle and visit the Town Hall, right beside the docks of Mumbai.
Visit the city’s signature landmark, The Gateway of India, situated overlooking Mumbai’s
harbor. This structure was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai. You are then driven to your hotel and assisted with your check-in to your hotel.
Dinner will be at your boutique hotel this evening.




Mar 13th: Mumbai - Aurangabad. (B,L,D) You are assisted with an early morning checkout of your hotel and then driven to the airport where you are assisted with boarding the early morning flight to Aurangabad.  You are greeted upon arrival at the airport and driven to your hotel where you are assisted with your check-in, if an early check-in is available. If it is not, you can drop your bags off and use the facilities to freshen up.
Enjoy a full day guided excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ajanta. A packed lunch is provided from your hotel for this afternoon. Buddhist monks and local craftsmen began excavating, sculpting, and painting at Ajanta in the 2nd century B.C. The incredible variety of paintings and sculpture were created in hard rock by using primitive yet ingenious lighting, tools and materials. These 28 caves are a testimony to the devotion of the Buddhists, as well as the talents of their skilled craftsmen.
Of particular interest is the concept of Vertical Excavation. When your Easy Tours Guide passionately explains this concept and describes the processes, you will be awed by the achievements of the craftsmen. Although the caves themselves are very impressive in their design and massive volume of sculpturing and excavation, it is the art inside the caves that will take your breath away. The incredible artistry and colors of the paintings and sculptures is unique - such art has not been seen anywhere else, not just in India, but anywhere in the world. Ajanta's incredible paintings are even more impressive considering that the color and texture you're admiring today was created by artists about two thousand years ago.
After exploring the caves at Ajanta you drive back to Aurangabad and your hotel.
Dinner will be at your hotel this evening.




Mar 14th: Aurangabad. (B,L,D) This morning you will proceed for a half day guided excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ellora. Again, a packed lunch is provided from your hotel for this afternoon.Aurangabad Explore the magnificently sculptured cave temples and monasteries of Ellora. There are 34 Caves at Ellora, and any of them would individually be considered a significant attraction in most nations. They were built between 600 - 1000 A.D. and are devoted to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.
Seventeen of these caves illustrate a resurgence of Hinduism in this area, as reflected by their Hindu themes, sculpture and art. The epitome of this is Cave 16, the awe-inspiring Kailash Temple. It was finished during the 8th century and is supposed to evoke one of the abodes of Lord Shiva, Mount Kailash in the Himalayas.
The Kailash Temple is notable for its immense scale and detail; it is the most awe-inspiring of all of the amazing monuments at Ajanta Ellora. More than 200,000 tons of rock was excavated and six generations of craftsmen worked for a hundred and twenty years to create this masterpiece.
On your way back to your hotel, you will stop at Daulatabad Fort. If you are tired you can forego the trek up to the fort and relax in your vehicle. This 14th century hilltop Fort is an impressive sight but what will amaze you is your guide’s illustration of the multiple ingenious architectural facets that were used to make it virtually impregnable. The once sloping sides of the massive stone hill were manually carved sheer on all sides so that no one could climb straight to the top.
Dinner will be at your hotel this evening.




Mar 15th: Aurangabad - Mumbai - Cochin. (B,D) You are assisted with an early morning checkout today and driven to the airport. You are assisted with boarding the morning flight to Mumbai. Connect with the flight to Cochin – you will have checked your bags through from Aurangabad. You will have a four and a half hour layover at Mumbai airport and your North India Tour Director will stay with you until you have boarded your plane. Lunch is not included this afternoon but Mumbai airport has a plethora of dining options.
Bid farewell to your North India Tour Director before boarding your flight. Upon your arrival at Cochin you are greeted at the airport and ushered to your chauffeur driven vehicle. You are then driven to your hotel in Cochin and assisted with your check-in.
Afternoon - You are at leisure this afternoon. You can relax and enjoy your boutique hotel or venture out for local excursions in the charming and historical area nearby.
Evening - Your South India Tour Director or Easy Tours Facilitator will pick you up from your hotel and accompany you to a local theatre where you get to experience Kerala’s ancient performing art, a Kathakali dance performance. Kathakali literally means the art of storytelling through dance and the dance form is an ancient forefather of many Asian dance forms.
Dinner will be at your boutique hotel this evening.




Mar 16th: Cochin. (B,L,D) Start your exploration of the fascinating port city of Cochin and marvel in its culture and architecture, a result of centuries of various European influences combined with rich indigenous history The guided tour begins from the Jewish Synagogue (closed on Fridays and Saturdays - will be facilitated on other days for some departures), which was built in 1568 and is still an active house of worship for the few remaining Jews in the area. If the synagogue is closed on this day, the visit can be facilitated on one of the other days that you are in Cochin. Next to the synagogue is Cochin’s ancient and colorful Jew Street with its antique stores and souvenir peddlers. There is evidence of a Jewish presence in Kochi from 70 A.D. After the synagogue you visit the St. Francis Church, which was established by the Portuguese Franciscan friars in 1503. This is one of the first European churches built in India, and the famed Vasco Da Gama was buried in its courtyard for a few years before his remains were returned to Portugal.
Lunch will be at your hotel this afternoon.
You now visit the most photogenic of Cochin’s attractions, the Chinese fishing nets. Folklore will have it that these enormous nets (or at least their design) were brought here by famed Chinese Explorer Zhang He about 600 years ago. Local fishermen manipulate these massive nets with an ease that comes from centuries of practice - it is a vocation handed down by generations. The lowering and raising of the nets has a synchronicity and rhythm that is quite an amazing experience. Some of the nets are more than a century old as the fishermen patch them up and keep going. Finish your exploration with a short guided walk through Fort Kochi and experience the unique local culture and architecture - Fort Kochi is one of India’s best cities to explore on foot. You will be driven back to your hotel after your walk.
In the evening you are driven to an experience that is the highlight of many of our guests’ time in Kerala. You will be hosted by a famous Keralan Chef and her family at their home. A delicious dinner will follow, and cooking lessons are included. At the end of dinner you will be driven back to your hotel.




Mar 17th: Cochin - Backwaters cruise. (B,L,D) You are assisted with your checkout and driven to the backwaters. Arrive at Alleppey and you are assisted in boarding your houseboat. BackwaterBid a temporary farewell to your South India Tour Director.
Take our word for this, your backwaters cruise will very likely become one of your most treasured travel memories. The incredible lushness of the vegetation around the fresh water canals, rivulets and lakes, the beauty of the water bodies themselves and the abundance of coconut trees and other exotic plants create a subtropical environment not found elsewhere on this planet. When you combine this with the opportunity to be part of a unique way of life that hasn’t changed much for a few centuries, it results in most visitors’ second highest rated experience in India (after the Taj Mahal). Relax and have a great time until the next morning as you cruise the amazing backwaters. The cook and other staff make sure that all your needs are taken care of, while serving you with delicious Kerala cuisine. You have the option of taking shore excursions at one or two of the tiny rural communities as you cruise by - the locals are very friendly and communicative.




Mar 18th: Backwaters cruise - Mahabalipuram. (B,L,D) Disembark from your houseboat in the morning and enjoy the scenic drive to Cochin airport. You are assisted with boarding your flight to Chennai. Upon your arrival at Chennai, you will proceed on a drive to nearby Kanchipuram. A packed lunch will be provided for this journey. Enjoy a guided exploration of Kanchipuram. The ancient holy city of Kanchipuram is known as the Golden City of a Thousand Temples and is one of the seven sacred cities of India. Its many Gopurams (temple domes) can be seen from a long ways away as you approach the city. Kanchipuram history can be traced back for about three millenniums. It was successively the capital of many South Indian dynasties, along with being a great center of learning, with many famous sages of the Buddhist and Jain faiths originating here. The occupation of many residents of this city is silk weaving, and Kanchi silk saris are considered to be the finest on the planet. A visit to a silk weaving family’s home is part of the tour.
After touring Kanchipuram you will drive to your resort in nearby Mahabalipuram.
Dinner will be at your ocean front resort.




Mar 19th: Mahabalipuram. (B,L,D) Start your day with a guided exploration of the ancient port of Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This laid back coastal town south of Chennai is world famous for its 8th century shore temple and other historical marvels. Mahabalipuram was the second capital of the Pallava Kings of Kanchipuram, the first Tamil dynasty after the fall of the Gupta Empire. The massive rock sculptures carved into softly sloping hills, monolithic temples, ancient manmade caverns with incredible sculptures and the world’s largest bas-relief in stone, all combine to make Mahabalipuram a living museum. Vying with this splendor is a beach and the picturesque Bay of Bengal.
The famous Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots) Temples, the Penance of Bhagirath (also known as Arjuna’s Penance), the Shore Temple, the massive bas-relief Descent of the Ganges and the eight Mandapams (Shallow halls carved out of sheer rock) are all located within the small coastal community. A captivating sight can be experienced from the beach twice a day as the local fisherman head out in their colorful fishing boats early in the morning and then again when they return in the afternoon with their catch.
Late afternoon - Enjoy a guided walk down the beach as this allows you to mingle with the local fishing community and their colorful wooden boats. You will see a variety of activities going on - many of the fishermen are returning from their days work and they are going through various processes of pulling their boats up on the beach and organizing their nets and other gear. The fish are stacked into plastic bins which are then weighed right there on the beach. Now the negotiating takes place. You will witness women repairing nets and a lot of other similar activity. Boats will be coming ashore, and some of the larger boats will actually head out at this time of day. Photo opportunities abound, including the famed 8th century Shore Temple, from which you are only a stone’s throw away.




Mar 20th: Chennai - International Flight OR Mumbai/Delhi. (B) You are assisted with your checkout before noon and then driven to Chennai airport in time for your outbound flight. Depending on your international flights departure timing, you may want to arrange for a packed lunch from your resort. Board your international flight or your flight to Mumbai/Delhi.
Departure Option 1: If you are boarding your international flight from Chennai, since most international flights depart in the evening, after the group members departing early are dropped off at the airport, you will proceed on a guided city tour of Chennai. This tour allows you to experience the main attractions of India’s third largest city. The tour of Chennai begins from St. Mary’s Church (built in 1678 - 80), the first English Church in Chennai. After the church you will visit the National Art Gallery and Museum. The museum is famous for its large collection of temple friezes and the bronze gallery with its amazing collection of ancient lost wax sculptures. The Archaeological section is equally impressive, and, of particular interest (located next to the bronze gallery), is the small but fascinating collection of ancient coins that span twenty five hundred years of India’s history. After the museum you continue on to visit the Saint Thomas Cathedral (originally built in 1504, then re-built in neo-gothic style in 1893), this Roman Catholic Church is said to house the remains of St. Thomas the Apostle. End the tour with a drive by the High Court, Fort St. George, and some Tamil Film studios. These studios are second only to Bollywood, producing hundreds of motion pictures every year. You will be dropped off at the airport at the end of the tour.
Departure Option 2: If you are boarding a daytime flight to Mumbai/Delhi (flight cost not included in Domestic Flight Supplement) in order to connect with your international departure from that city, you will have three options.
Departure Option 2A: If your international flight departure is less than four hours from your scheduled arrival time at the domestic terminal at Mumbai or Delhi, you will ask the airline staff to assist you with checking in for your next flight (occasionally this may require a transfer to another terminal - airport coaches are available) -  OR
Departure Option 2B: If your international flight departure is four or more hours from your scheduled arrival time at the domestic terminal at Delhi or Mumbai, you are greeted at the Mumbai/Delhi airport by an Easy Tours Facilitator and your personal chauffeur. Your personal vehicle and chauffeur are available to you until 9 pm for your assisted check-in at the airport. This is a good time to do some last minute shopping and/or sightseeing if you are so inclined - OR
Departure Option 2C: 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 Mumbai/Delhi/Chennai airport.




 

Inclusions

* All Three Meals during your Tour except for lunch on Day 21 at Mumbai airport
* An Easy Tours Exclusive: Dinner and cooking lesson with an affluent Delhi family
* An Easy Tours Exclusive: Dinner and cooking lesson at a famous Keralan chef’s home
* 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: Vintage Car Museum at Udaipur
* 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
* Kathakali Dance performance in Cochin
* 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 Luxury Mini Coach or personal Medium AC Car
* Availability of an Easy Tours Travel Facilitator at all destinations
* Services of an accompanying Easy Tours Tour Director
* Easy Tours Facilitator for assistance on initial arrival and final departure
* All safari related costs at Ranthambore, including park entry, naturalists, vehicle fees etc.
* Bottled water during sightseeing/excursions and other drives
* An Accompanying Tour Director at Nepal
* 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 and video

 


Lodging - 26 Day India and Nepal

First Class Level Hotels (Change level)
Delhi Oberoi Maidens – Premier Room/ Sheraton Saket - Deluxe Room/ Lalit - View Room
Nagarkot Club Himalaya - Club Room/ Fort Resort - Fort Room
Kathmandu Yak & Yeti - Deluxe Room/ Soaltee Crown Plaza - Deluxe Room
Varanasi Taj Gateway - Standard Room/ Radisson - Deluxe Room
Khajuraho Taj Gateway - Superior Room/ Radisson - Executive Class Room
Agra Taj Gateway - Taj View Room/ ITC Mughal - Mughal Chambers
Ranthambore Taj Vivanta Sawai Madhopur Lodge - Superior Charm Room/ Nahargarh
Jaipur The Trident - Lake View Room/ ITC Rajputana - Executive Club Room
Jodhpur Taj Gateway - Superior Room
Udaipur The Trident - Garden View Room/ Lalit Laxmi Vilas Palace - Valley View Room
Mumbai Trident Nariman Point - Superior Room/ Vivanta President - Superior Charm
Aurangabad Taj Vivanta Aurangabad - Superior Charm Room
Cochin CGH Eighth Bastion/ Taj Gateway Ernakulam - Superior Room
Backwaters Deluxe AC Houseboat
Mahabalipuram Radisson Resort Temple Bay – Garden / Pool View Room/ Vivanta by Taj Fisherman’s Cove – Superior Charm



Dates & Prices - 26 Day India and Nepal
First Class Level Price (Change level)
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Availability Comments
Oct 17th, 2014 *$8687 $1671   includes Pushkar Festival
Nov 3rd, 2014 $7781 $1671  
Nov 24th, 2014 $7631 $1671  
Dec 19th, 2014 $8259 $1671  
Dec 29th, 2014 $7783 $1671  
Jan 12th, 2015 $7631 $1671  
Jan 26th, 2015 $7838 $1671  
Feb 9th, 2015 $7838 $1671  
Feb 20th, 2015 $7631 $1671  
Mar 9th, 2015 $7631 $1671  
Single Room Supplement  -   49% ( Prices include all Current Taxes & Surcharges )
 
Other levels available for this tour
Opulent Level   -  Starting at $13436
Luxury Level   -  Starting at $10106
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Hightlights - 26 Day India and Nepal

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
Boat cruise on Lake Pichola
Crystal Gallery Exclusive
Kathakali Dance Performance
Cooking lesson & Dinner
with a Keralan family

  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
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
Ajanta Caves
Ellora Caves
Monuments at Mahabalipuram
Kathmandu Valley
Pashupatinath Temple
Durbar Square
Boudhanath Stupa

Other Sights
  Jama Masjid
India Gate
Safdarjang’s Tomb
Connaught Place
City Palace 
Amber Fort & Palace
  Vishwanath Temple
15th Century Jain Temples
The Gateway of India
15th Century Synagogue
St. Francis Church

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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

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

    View of Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

  • <strong>Lake Palace on Lake Pichola, Udaipur</strong> -

    Lake Palace on Lake Pichola, Udaipur

  • <strong>Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus</strong> - Mumbai

    Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

  • <strong>Ajanta Caves Aurangabad</strong> -

    Ajanta Caves Aurangabad



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