Day 1: Arrive at Delhi
- most flights arrive either in the evening or at night. Our services begin here. You are greeted at the airport by an Easy Tours Travel Facilitator, and ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. You are then driven to your hotel where you are assisted with your check-in. The next day’s plans are briefly reviewed and you are presented with your welcome package. Among other things, this package includes a beautiful handcrafted journal for your explorations, travel documents such as your air tickets and hotel vouchers, as well as copies of documents (such as our General Travel Guide) that were sent to you earlier.
Day 2: Delhi
. Start your exploration
of India with a guided city tour of New Delhi. This excursion begins with the magnificent temple Bangla Sahib Gurudwara (a gold domed Sikh Temple). This is Sikhism’s shrine, and people of all religions are welcome here. You now continue on a drive to Lutyens’ New Delhi.
This drive will include photo opportunities at some of the following attractions - the exterior of the massive and awe-inspiring Rashtrapati Bhawan (known as Viceroy’s House during the British era), Delhi’s landmark structure India Gate. After exploring the Lutyens’ New Delhi you will be driven to visit the awe-inspiring Qutab Minar (1193 A.D.). This 239-foot tall medieval tower is a symbol of victory and a beautiful example of Persian architecture from that period. There is a winding stairway inside the tower that goes up all the way to the balcony at the very top of the tower - unfortunately they are no longer accessible for visitors. The Qutab Minar and its Monuments are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Within the Qutab complex
, amidst the ruins of the Quwat-ul-Islam Mosque, stands one of the legendary Ashoka Pillars. This large iron pillar has withstood the ravages of Delhi’s weather (and recent pollution) and has not rusted in more than 1500 years. After the Qutab complex you will be driven to visit the magnificent tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun.
Delhi has such an abundance
of amazing monuments that this Tomb Complex (1562 A.D.) does not quite get the acclaim that it deserves. It is Delhi’s third UNESCO World Heritage Site and its amazing architecture and the elaborate gardens will captivate you.
There is a break for Lunch.
Afternoon - enjoy a city tour
of Old Delhi. Drive, walk and ride through the ancient city’s streets and alleys; explore crowded and colorful bazaars. This excursion includes an exploration of the Jama Masjid (1650 A.D.), the largest mosque in India. The Masjid (Mosque) is a magnificent example of Mughal architecture and is constructed of red sandstone and white marble. It is an active place of worship and its courtyard can hold 25,000 worshippers. You continue on to the amazing Red Fort that was finished a decade before the mosque. Both structures were built by Shah Jahan, the emperor who created the Taj Mahal.
The great city
inside the massive sandstone walls of the Red Fort offers visitors a large number of architectural and historical attractions; it was once known as the 8th wonder of the world. The Red Fort was the seat of the Mughal Empire for more than two hundred and fifty years and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an amazing example of a blend of Persian, Indian and European architecture. You will also experience a fascinating rickshaw ride in the ancient alleys of the crowded and colorful bazaar at Chandni Chowk, followed by a walk through the ancient spice and street food market that is part of the bazaar. After these experiences a short drive will deliver you to an oasis of calm and serenity, which also happens to be your last destination in Old Delhi. The cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi (Raj Ghat) is a simple yet stirring memorial to the father of the nation. Lush lawns extend beyond the enclosure surrounding the black marble platform occupying the spot where the Mahatma was cremated. An eternal flame burns next to the platform.
Day 3: Delhi - Agra.
Checkout from your hotel in the morning after an early breakfast and drive to Agra on North India’s newest highway.
Start your exploration
of Agra 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.
Next 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.
You are then 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.
There is a break for lunch
Later 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 4: Agra - Ranthambore.
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 (closed on Fridays - 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.
Checkout from your hotel and then you are driven to Abhaneri.
We recommend that you get a packed lunch from your hotel for today’s journey – the dining options along the way are inadequate. You will stop for a very unique monument that is located in a rural area. The massive 10th
century Chand Baori
stepwell is one of the most impressive in all of India. The depth of the stepwell is that of a modern 7 storey building, and there are stairs leading down to the bottom from three of the 100 foot plus (35 meters) four sides of the opening. Enjoy a self-guided exploration of the stepwell and then join your chauffeur so that you can 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. More than 85% of our guests have had tiger sightings during this period, with many of them getting multiple sightings.
Day 5: Ranthambore.
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. Ranthambore was once the Jaipur
rulers' private hunting ground. In 1972 it was declared a Sanctuary and was brought under the Project Tiger Conservation platform. Dry deciduous forest covers most of the park, and the vegetation is lush around the many small lakes and ponds. The open grasslands that are the tiger's favorite terrain account for much of the land on the higher slopes. This varied flora supports a large number of animals including a variety of deer, the sloth bear, the shy caracal, leopards and of course, the tiger.
Enjoy wildlife safaris
into the park in the morning and evening.
In between safaris, you have the option of a guided visit to the Ranthambore Fort.
This excursion does have a fairly steep climb - approximately 700 feet of stairs. The massive Fort is one of the finest examples of the ancient Hindu concept of Vana-Durg, or a fort protected by a jungle. The history of this Fort (originally built in 944 A.D.) is a chronicle full of tales of blood and valor. Successively occupied by the Muslims, Rajputs and Mughals, the insides of the fort today lie partly in ruin. There are superb views of the park to be had from the ramparts. There is an ancient temple located in the fort and it attracts a continuous stream of pilgrims from the surrounding villages. A little note of caution - a large number of aggressive 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.
Day 6: Ranthambore - Jaipur.
Enjoy your last safari into Ranthambore in the morning. Return to your hotel after the safari to freshen up and have breakfast. You are assisted with your 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.
Day 7: Jaipur.
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, enjoy the ascent up to the ramparts of the fort on top of a colorfully caparisoned elephant. If you prefer not to ride the elephants,
you can be driven to the rear entrance of the monument. 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.
Enjoy a city tour of the walled city of Jaipur, including the magnificent City Palace. Visit Jantar Mantar (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the magnificent stone observatory built by Raja Jai Singh in 1728. After the observatory comes a photo opportunity of the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Wind). This intriguing facade was built in 1799 so that the ladies of the court could use its unique windows and observe the bustling bazaar without being visible to the people on the streets. Continue the tour with an exploration of the City Palace, the former royal residence (a part of it is still occupied by the Royal family and is not accessible to the public), built in a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles. This immense complex also houses a number of museums that offer a large and impressive collection of costumes, armory and miniature paintings. During this afternoon you can take a stroll with your guide through the “pink” bazaar in the heart of the old town, and watch the locals as they bargain for their everyday necessities. You will also enjoy a brief stop for a tour of a collection of Rajput turbans. A turban tying demonstration is included, as are turban and Sari tying lessons.
Day 8: Jaipur - Varanasi.
You are assisted with a very early morning check-out and driven to the airport, where you are assisted with boarding your early morning no-frills flight to Varanasi. You are greeted on arrival at the Varanasi airport and then driven to your resort where you are assisted with your check-in, if early check-in is available. If not, you can drop your bags off and use the facilities.
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 millennia. After this, you are driven back to your resort, stopping for lunch
along the way and enjoy the facilities of your resort for reminder of the afternoon.
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 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 down the holy river.
Day 9: Varanasi - Khajuraho.
Start your day with an early morning boat cruise on the Ganga. The best time to visit the Ghats is at 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. You can simultaneously witness the ceremony o
f a recently deceased Hindu’s ashes being immersed in the river, while nearby, another Brahmin priest orchestrates the naming ceremony of a newborn. 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
for breakfast and pack.
You are assisted
with your check-out from your hotel in the mid-morning and driven to the airport, where you are assisted with boarding your afternoon flight to Khajuraho. You are greeted on arrival at the Khajuraho airport and driven to your hotel, where you will be assisted with your check-in.
Start your guided tour
of the famed temples, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These magnificent examples of Hindu religious art were constructed about a thousand years ago. Thousands of extremely detailed stone sculptures adorn the facades of these temples, and the subject matter includes some very explicit erotic scenes. The sophisticated design and building techniques that were used in the creation of these temples and the detailed artistry of the sculptures cannot be described in words - you have to experience them personally to grasp their impact. You have the option (no charge) of attending the sound and light show at the western group of temples in the evening – it is hard to understand and not of high quality.
Easy Tours recommends that you try to schedule this day (or day 13) for a Wednesday, as the parks are closed for afternoon safaris at that time. However, if this is not possible, there are many other activities available, such as village and nature walks etc., at little or no additional cost.
Day 10: Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh.
You are assisted with an early morning check-out of your hotel and join your chauffeur for
the drive to Bandhavgarh. A packed breakfast is provided from your hotel for this journey.
Arrive at Bandhavgarh
where you are greeted by the hotel staff and then check-in to your jungle lodge.
There is a break for lunch.
The density of the tiger population at Bandhavgarh is relatively high. There are a large number of sloth bear and wild boar, and the possibility of spotting leopards and tigers is very good. The park is also densely populated with animals like the chital (Spotted Deer), sambar (Barking Deer), nilgai (Blue Bull), and chausingha (Four Horned Antelope).
A large variety of different species of birds is also found here. The ramparts of the Bandhavgarh Fort provide a home for vultures, blue rock thrushes and crag martins. The terrain is rocky, with hills rising sharply from the swamps and surrounding densely forested valley. The most imposing of these hills is Bandhavgarh, which is bounded by great cliffs of massive rock. The 2000 year old Fort stands on the top of this hill. There is a temple at the fort that can be accessed only on foot and with prior notice to the authorities; however this permission can be hard to get. Scattered throughout the Park, particularly in the area around the fort, are numerous caves containing shrines with ancient Sanskrit inscriptions, some of which date back as far as the 1st Century.
Enjoy an afternoon
safari into the Park.
Day 11: Bandhavgarh.
Enjoy morning and afternoon safaris into the park today.
Day 12: Bandhavgarh.
Enjoy morning and afternoon safaris into the park today.
Day 13: Bandhavgarh - Jabalpur - Delhi - International Flight.
Enjoy a wildlife safari into the park this morning. After this you will return to your lodge to freshen up, and check out.
There is a break for lunch,
and then you are driven to Jabalpur Airport for the evening non-stop “no-frills” flight to Delhi.
Departure Option 1A:
If your international flight departure is less than four hours from your scheduled arrival time at the domestic terminal at Delhi, you will ask the airline staff to assist you with the shuttle that takes you to the international terminal - OR
Departure Option 1B:
If your international flight departure is four or more hours from your scheduled arrival time at the domestic terminal at Delhi, you are greeted at the Delhi airport by an Easy Tours Facilitator and your personal chauffeur. Your personal vehicle and chauffeur are available to you until your assisted check-in at the airport. This is a good time to do some last minute shopping and/or sightseeing if you are so inclined.
Departure Option 2:
If your flight departs early the next morning, you may want us to arrange a room for you so you can rest.
Our services end at Delhi airport.