Golden Triangle with Varanasi

- 11 Days


Day 1: Delhi Arrival Greeting & Transfer to Hotel.

Most flights arrive either in the evening or at night, and we recommend that our guests consider arriving a day earlier as this allows you to recuperate from jetlag and serves as insurance against international flight delays and cancellations. An additional night’s stay can be added at the time of reservation.

You are greeted in the arrival greeting area and ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. You are now driven to your wonderful historic hotel and assisted with your check-in if it is 3 pm or later. The next day’s plans are briefly discussed and you are at leisure until we pick you up on the next morning. Welcome to India, home to incredible historical monuments, a plethora of natural wonders, and the world’s most colorful culture.

(Overnight – Maidens Hotel)

Day 2: Delhi.

Qutab Minar. Start your exploration of New Delhi with a drive to the awe-inspiring 12th century Qutab Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Delhi has over 500 ancient structures strewn over its vast expanse, with many of them in various states of disrepair. For mankind’s achievements from about a millennium ago, the Qutab Minar is unmatched in its architectural brilliance and longevity. This 240 ft tall medieval tower is a symbol of victory and a spectacular example of Persian architecture, with intricate carvings and gorgeous inlaid calligraphy.

Iron Pillar. Within the Qutab complex, amidst the ruins of the Quwat-ul-Islam Mosque, stands the legendary 2500-year-old Iron Pillar. The pillar stands 23 feet and 8 inches tall, weighs about 7000 pounds, and has inscriptions that are still legible to a great extent. This massive cast iron structure is said to have been moved from its distant cave shelter to Delhi around the 12th century.

Lutyens’s New Delhi. From here you will proceed for a drive through some of Lutyens’ historic New Delhi. Your drive will take you through Delhi’s Diplomatic Enclave on tree lined avenues surrounded by embassies of the world’s major nations. You will stop for a view of the exterior of the massive and awe-inspiring Rashtrapati Bhawan, home to Inia’s President. From here one can enjoy a striking view of the India Gate at the other end of majestic and historic Rajpath, the former Kingsway. After a very short drive on Rajpath you will arrive at the India Gate, a War Memorial to the 84,000 British Indian Army soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War, and Indian casualties in other wars.

Humayun’s Tomb (UWHS). After a break for lunch, continue with a visit to 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 - its striking beauty and flawless proportions will captivate you.

Lodi Gardens. A short drive will bring you to the historic and beautiful Lodi Gardens. This massive garden complex is spread over 90 acres of priceless real estate in the heart of Delhi, and contains the tombs of various rulers of the Pashtun Dynasty that ruled much of Northern India during the 16th century. There are lush lawns and a plethora of flowers and plants mixed in with all the monuments.

Street Art District. Very near the gardens is the Lodi Art District, your last destination before returning to your hotel. Delhi isn’t famous for its street art and murals, and the large amount of street art found all over this upscale part of the city will both surprise and delight you. The subject matter ranges from quirky to distinctly ethnic Indian and there will be surprises around every corner.

(Overnight – Maidens Hotel)

Day 3: Delhi.

Old Delhi: Experience some of the wonders left behind by the legendary Mughal Empire, our planet’s greatest ruling dynasty during the 16th and 17th century. Their control stretched over a vast region well beyond India, and you will experience many of their awe-inspiring creations. The Taj Mahal, Red Fort, and Agra Fort are just a few of their UNESCO World Heritage sites that you will experience.

North India, its cuisines, racial makeup, and a lot more is heavily influenced by the Mughal’s long rule. The result is an incredible fusion of cultures and styles in the cuisine, fine arts, architecture, social taboos, and a lot more.

Red Fort. Start your discovery of Old Delhi at the awe-inspiring Red Fort. The great city inside the massive sandstone walls of the Red Fort offers visitors a large number of architectural and historical attractions. The Red Fort was the seat of the Mughal Empire for more than two hundred and fifty years and is obviously a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an amazing example of a blend of Persian, Indian and European architecture. Both this fortified city and the Jama Masjid (that you will visit later today) were built by Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor who created the Taj Mahal.

Chandni Chowk Bazaar. After a break for lunch, one of your most enduring memories of India will be your next experience as you walk through the ancient (from the time of the Mughals) Chandni Chowk Bazaar, home to the world’s largest spice market. The cacophony of sounds which have echoed through the centuries, the cries of hawkers and the animated bargaining, along with the incredible colors and the diverse smells emanating from the street food stalls and spice markets combine to make for an experience that is unique to this ancient bazaar.

Jama Masjid + E-Rickshaw Ride. This will be followed by an e-rickshaw ride which ends at the Jama Masjid (1650 A.D.), the largest mosque in India. The Masjid 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. Bare legs and shoulders are not permitted inside the mosque and we include rented sarongs and scarves. After exploring the mosque, you will avoid the worst of Delhi’s rush hour on the drive back to your hotel.

(Overnight – Maidens Hotel)

Day 4: Delhi - Agra.

Flight to Varanasi. You are assisted with checking in for your early afternoon flight to Varanasi. Upon landing you will be driven to your Hotel and assisted with your check-in. This India’s holiest city is said to be the oldest continuously inhabited city on our planet, with a history that dates back five millennia. Among the cardinal ancient Hindu Tenets is their belief that being cremated here can free their soul from the cycle of death and rebirth.

Sunset Cruise on the Ganga. Your walk will end with you being assisted in boarding your boat for a cruise along the river to view its evening activities as you cruise and observe all the rituals and prayers, including the main cremation Ghat where the deceased are burned on wooden pyres in what is considered the holiest site for their earthly remains to depart from this world so that their souls can achieve salvation.

Ganga Aarti Ceremony. As the sun starts setting our boat excursion pauses for a close-up view of the now crowded Dashashwamedh Ghat, the holiest place on the river. The Ghats on the holy river’s banks stretch for a few miles and are always full of activity, but the middle of the whole expanse is where the holiest Ghats are located and where the main evening ceremony takes place. You can float your own lamps from your boat while you watch the ancient prayer and oil lamp ceremony at sunset. Your boat enables you to enjoy a great view of the ceremony and hundreds of lamps as they float down the holy river. After this you are assisted with your disembarkation at an outer bank of the river.

(Overnight – Taj Ganges)

Day 5: Varanasi.

Sunrise cruise on the Ganga. After a pre-dawn hot beverage and cookies, join your guide for a visit to the Ghats. It is a surreal experience to arrive at the Ghats just before dawn and witness the eons old scene - the most devout Hindu’s are waiting at the holiest Ghats to greet the rising sun as they immerse themselves in the Ganga, while others on the wide riverbank steps meditate and practice yoga.

Your boat offers an excellent view of all the activity on the Ghats - women immersing themselves into the Ganga discreetly while still wearing their sarees and ascetics waist deep in the water offering prayers as they pour holy water over themselves. During your boat ride you will experience a private live performance of the wonderful sounds of traditional Benares Gharana, an ancient form of music incorporating the tabla and the sitar. The ambiance created by your surroundings and the traditional Benares music has to be experienced to be believed.

Leisure and Lunch. Return to your palace to have breakfast, and then you are at leisure to freshen up and relax after a very early start.

Ancient Ghats and Alleys. After lunch you are driven to a spot near the Holy River from where you will be escorted through a crowded bazaar catering to visiting pilgrims. Arrive at the ghats and commence a walk on the banks of the Ganga. This is a great opportunity to experience some of Hinduisms ancient and iconic rituals. Various rituals will be taking place on the Ghats. Such ceremonies include, but are not limited to, rituals where devout Hindu’s are getting their heads shaved in respect to a recently diseased parent, newly married couples are praying with a priest for blessings, while nearby another Brahmin priest orchestrates the naming ceremony of a newborn.

(Overnight – Taj Ganges)

Day 6: Varanasi – Delhi - Agra.

Flight to Delhi, Drive to Agra. You are assisted with your checkout in the morning and driven to the airport and assisted in boarding your flight back to Delhi. Arrive at Delhi and you are greeted at the airport, and then you proceed on the drive to Agra, much of which is on an elevated tollway that allows for interesting views of the farmland and villages surrounding it. Arrive at your Agra hotel where you are assisted with your check-in. You will stay in recently renovated rooms that offer some of Agra’s best views of the Taj Mahal.

(Overnight – IHCL Tajview Hotel by Taj Hotels)

Day 7: Agra – Jaipur.

Sunrise at the Taj Mahal. A sunrise visit as morning is the best time to experience the Taj Mahal in terms of crowds - it is more expensive for Indian tourists to enter at this early hour and so the massive monument and its surrounding Mughal gardens have a lot fewer visitors than the rest of the day. As the rising sun’s rays illuminate the precious stones inlaid in the marble they will gleam momentarily and change colors.

Agra Fort (UWHS). After breakfast you are assisted with your checkout and driven to the first red sandstone fort of North India, the Agra Fort, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an amazing example of a blend of Persian, Indian and European architecture and 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 are unique views of the Taj Mahal from a section of the fort, including the room where the Taj Mahal’s creator, Emperor Shah Jahan, was imprisoned during the later years of his life by his infamous son and successor, Aurangzeb.

Chand Baori Stepwell. From here you are driven to the Chand Baori stepwell at Abhaneri, located just off the highway to Jaipur. The massive 10th century Chand Baori Stepwell is one of the most impressive in all of India and is located next to a charming Rajasthani village. The depth of the stepwell is that of a modern 7 story building, and there are stairs (no longer accessible to visitors) leading down to the bottom from three of the 100 foot plus wide (35 meters) sides, creating symmetry and beauty to the ancient structure.

Drive on to Jaipur. After a stop for lunch, you will continue on with your journey to Jaipur. Arrive at Jaipur and you are assisted with your check-in at your hotel. Enjoy the view of the small palace in a lake from your balcony.

(Overnight – The Trident)

Day 8: Jaipur. (Breakfast and Lunch)

Pink City Exploration. Begin your exploration of the walled pink city of Jaipur. You will start with a stroll through the fascinating main bazaar in the heart of the pink city, and watch the locals as they shop for pretty much everything a consumer can possibly want. This atmospheric and crowded bazaar has street sellers of vegetables, fruit and other goods occupying the curbs with their displays. There are stores selling spices, nuts, flowers, toys, footwear, hardware, and a lot more, mixed in with street food vendors and brick and mortar eating establishments. Byzantine alleys lead into inner courtyard shops.

Hawa Mahal. After a few minutes of walking, you will arrive at the most photographed of Jaipur’s monuments, the enchanting 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. There is a break for lunch at any one of a large selection of restaurants in the area.

Jantar Mantar. After lunch you will proceed for a visit to the Jantar Mantar (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), a fascinating stone observatory built by a visionary ruler in 1728. Among other instruments, it includes a massive stone sun dial that is accurate to within 2 seconds.

City Palace. Located next to Jantar Mantar is the City Palace, the royal residence that was built in a delightful blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles. A part of this massive complex is still occupied by the Royal family and is not accessible to the public. Your Tour Director will regale you with stories of royalty as you admire their trappings. This immense complex also houses a number of museums that include displays of armor, miniature paintings, and a large and impressive collection of ancient royal garments and accoutrements.

(Overnight – The Trident)

Day 9: Jaipur.

Albert Hall. Today will include three of Jaipur’s significant attractions, which also happen to be among the most wonderful opportunities for photography in India. First you are driven to a very scenic location in Jaipur adjacent to a public park, The Albert Hall Museum, which was completed in 1887 by the architect Samuel Swinton Jacob. You won’t enter the museum as this stop is solely for you to walk around and take-in the absolutely gorgeous Indo-Saracenic architecture. Rudyard Kipling (himself the son of a museum curator) on a visit was so impressed that he wrote "it is now a rebuke to all other museums in India from Calcutta downwards".

Monkey Temple. From here you are driven to the ancient Hindu pilgrimage site of Galtaji, located in a crevice in the Aravalli Hills. This 15th century complex of temples here is sometimes referred to as the Monkey Temple by tourists because a large tribe of monkeys lives here and believes they own the complex. The picturesque complex of temples has seven ponds that are fed by springs on the surrounding hilltops, and Hindu pilgrims consider taking a dip in these to be purifying. The beautiful temple complex has been a retreat for a sect of Hindu ascetics since the 16th century.

The monkeys agree and swim around the main pond with reckless abandon, and many of them can be seen diving into the tank from various vantage points. Enjoy a guided tour of the beautiful Galtaji Temple, which is crafted in pink stone. There are other ancient temples in the complex, and you will visit a couple of them, including the Balaji Temple. Monkeys are everywhere, and they are obviously in-charge! For someone not used to their social behavior and grooming rituals, observing them can be fascinating.

Amer Fort (UWHS). From here you will be driven to the Amer Fort & Palace Complex, breaking for lunch as you approach the hilltop forted city. After lunch you will explore the awe-inspiring and massive Amber Fort and Palace Complex. This complex was completed in 1599 AD after 25 years of construction. You will be driven to the back entrance as Easy Tours does not offer elephant-back ascents up the ramparts of the complex. The massive forted city inside the complex is one of India’s finest examples of Rajput architecture. You will explore the gorgeous chambers and hallways, which are famous for their exquisite designs and handcrafted embellishments. Your Guide will regale you with the history of the various structures as you take in the amazing workmanship of the craftsmen who created them.

Optional Shopping Excursion. You will return to your palace hotel in the late afternoon, and those who are interested have the option of a shopping stop along the way as Jaipur is India’s shopping mecca for all sorts of exquisite hand-crafted items, fabrics, carpets, as well as jewelery.

(Overnight – The Trident)

Day 10: Jaipur – Delhi – International Flight.

Flight to Delhi. This morning is flexible and you can enjoy your lodging, or experience more of Udaipur with your guide and chauffeur driven vehicle. In the afternoon you are driven to the airport and assisted in boarding your flight to Delhi. Upon arrival at Delhi, you will self-transfer to the international terminal and check-in for your international flight. Additional services for redeye departures hotels can be added based on your international flight departure.

Our Services End at Jaipur Airport.



Lodging

Delhi
Maidens Hotel – Heritage Room
Varanasi
Taj Ganges – Deluxe Room City View
Agra
IHCL Taj View Hotel by Taj Hotels – Executive Taj View Room
Jaipur
Trident Jaipur – Garden View Room

Inclusions

India’s Best Guides at each destination
Services of your vehicle and an Easy Tours Facilitator for all transfers
Availability of a Easy Tours Representative at each destination
Sunrise (with traditional musical performance) and sunset cruises on the holy river Ganga
Sunrise exploration of the Taj Mahal
E-Rickshaw ride in Old Delhi
Daily breakfast except for Arrival Day
Bottled water during your drives, sightseeing, and at your hotels
All currently applicable taxes.

Not Included

International Travel
Expenses of a personal nature like tips, laundry, telephone calls, etc.
All alcoholic and premium non-alcoholic beverages
Meals other than those specified above
Travel insurance, visa etc.
Camera and Video Camera Fees

Pricing

Land Cost for Double Occupancy
$3800* Per Person
Cost for 3 On Tour Flights
$423* Per Person

All Fields Are Required*

Flexible Yes   No
 
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