Best of India & Nepal 2016
Delhi, Nepal, Varanasi, Khajuraho, Orchha, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Jaipur & KathmanduBook this package
based on Oct. 17, 2016 departure from JFK*
MEMORIAL DAY SALE: Book by May 31, 2016 to get an additional
Also check out our new 2017 departures.
|Style||Small Group Tour
24 travelers max, dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departures||Scheduled Dates; select from 3 departures, October – December 2016|
|Highlights||Ride by bicycle rickshaw in Delhi, special visit to the Bamboo School in Nepal, cruise on the river Ganges, sunrise tour of the Taj Mahal, evening high tea with a local family, visit the ancient capital of Amber|
|Departs||New York Kennedy (JFK), Chicago O'Hare (ORD) (flight schedule)|
|Themes||History & Culture, Premium|
|What to Expect||This fast-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking, and reaches high altitudes requiring that you be in good physical condition to fully enjoy the trip. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations and may have limited rest stops.|
|Already Booked?||Find everything you need to know before you go, including how to pay your balance due, passport & visa requirements, flight information, weather, and more.|
One of the best tours of India you'll find is our 16-day India and Nepal tour package. It will amaze you with its abundance of fascinating, stunning, and exotic sights and sounds. Adventure travel in India doesn't get any better, or more exciting. You'll visit many of India's most important and significant cities, including New Delhi, the nation's capital and third-largest city; Jaipur, known as the "Pink City" for its unusual rose-colored sandstone architecture; Agra, site of the Taj Mahal, the world's most famous monument to love; Khajuraho, with its exquisitely carved sculptures; and Varanasi, the holiest site in India, where thousands of Hindu pilgrims tour its temples and bathe in the Ganges River to gain religious merit. You'll also visit Nepal, at the foot of Mt. Everest, which few countries on Earth can match for its combination of spectacular scenery, exotic culture and hospitable people. All of this for prices that represent exceptional value for money.
Celebrate Diwali, the "Festival of Lights," on our October 17, 2016 departure!
Dates, Prices & Options
Departure Dates & Prices
Celebrate Diwali, the "Festival of Lights," on our October 17, 2016 departure!
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Tue||Sep 27||2016||Wed||Oct 12||2016||$3799||$3299||Closed|
|Mon||Oct 17||2016||Tue||Nov 1||2016||$3999||$3499||–$100||$3399||Available|
|Tue||Nov 15||2016||Wed||Nov 30||2016||$3999||$3499||–$100||$3399||Available|
|Tue||Nov 29||2016||Wed||Dec 14||2016||$3999||$3499||–$100||$3399||Available|
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates. Contact us about prices and availability.
Also check out our new 2017 departures.
Options, Extensions & Fees
|Best of India & Nepal|
|Single Room Supplement||+$1199|
|Separately Paid Taxes & Fees|
|Delhi Airport UDF1 (paid separately)||+$15|
|India Visa & Processing Fee2 (paid separately)||+$80|
|Nepal Visa Fee3 (paid separately)||+$30|
1. Fee is imposed by Delhi airport authorities and is paid in Delhi in local currency. Rate is approximate and may vary as currency fluctutations occur.
2. Visas for India must be obtained prior to travel. Comprehensive visa instructions will be included in your confirmation packet.
3. Obtained upon arrival in Nepal.
|Amritsar Optional Extension1|
|Single Room Supplement||+$199|
1. The Amritsar extension requires that your flights be confirmed separately by the airlines. Please note that it typically takes 3 to 5 business days to confirm your extension flights with the airline, and that we will notify you immediately upon confirmation of the flights. This extension also requires a minimum of 2 passengers to operate.
Flights & Departure Cities
|New York Kennedy (JFK)||included|
|Chicago O'Hare (ORD)||+$110|
This package includes round-trip flights from the cities listed above, subject to availability. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.
Coming from somewhere else? Unfortunately, we don't offer departures from cities that are not listed, but you can book your own connecting flights separately.
Transfers: Transfers for this package are provided on a group basis only. For passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.
How to Make a Reservation
To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765, Mon–Fri 9:30–6:00 Eastern time. But first, check out our Things to Know section.
We only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card or PayPal account. This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package, and is generally non-refundable (details). The balance is due 75 days prior to departure (or within 72 hours, if you're booking less than 75 days prior to departure), and can be paid by credit card, PayPal, check or money order.
Day 1: Depart USA
- Your exotic journey to India & Nepal begins this evening as you depart from the USA
Day 2: Delhi
Accommodations: 2 nights Shangri-La Eros Hotel, Delhi.
- Late evening arrival in Delhi, India's capital. Following customs and immigration formalities, meet our representatives and transfer to your hotel
Day 3: Old & New Delhi
Included meals: Breakfast & dinner.
- Full day sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi
- Ride by bicycle rickshaw to Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque
Full Day Itinerary: After buffet breakfast at the hotel, board your coach to explore Old and New Delhi, a city truly full of fascinating contrasts, where by day, temples are packed with the devout, and by night, hotel discos are packed with the affluent. Begin at the modern Laxmi Narayan Temple which enshrines Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the Hindu Trinity. Popularly known as the Birla Temple for the noted industrialist family which built it, Laxmi Naryan Temple was one of the first major Hindu places of worship that allowed the lower caste Harijans (untouchables) inside after Mahatma Gandhi made entry of Harijans one of the conditions for inaugurating the temple.
Continue to Raj Ghat, the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, built at the site of his cremation on the banks of the Yamuna River. Drive past the Red Fort and continue by bicycle rickshaw to the Jama Masjid, site of an exquisite mosque in red sandstone and marble. Completed in 1656 after six years of work by 5,000 laborers, it is considered one of the loveliest houses of worship in the world.
This afternoon you will visit New Delhi, which reflects the legacy the British left behind. Whereas the walled old city is all tradition in all its facets, New Delhi is a city trying to live up to the best of 21st century standards. Your tour to New Delhi begins with a visit to the Qutub Minar, the 234 foot high tower made of sandstone, known as the seventh wonder of Hindustan and the tallest stone tower in India and a wonderful example of Indo-Islamic architecture, complete with terra-cotta frills. At its foot lies the Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid, the first Muslim mosque in India erected in the 12th century on the site of a Hindu temple, from materials salvaged from 27 demolished Hindu and Jain shrines. Continue to the India Gate, a monument built by Edwin Lutyens to commemorate the Indian soldiers who died in the World War I and the Afghan Wars, and then proceed to the Parliament building and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the President's residence. This evening join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant where you will enjoy sumptuous Indian food.
Day 4: Delhi & Kathmandu, Nepal
Accommodations: 3 nights Hyatt Regency Kathmandu. Included meals: Breakfast.
- Transfer to the airport to take a short flight to Kathmandu, Nepal
- You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel
- Welcome drink will be served on arrival at your hotel
- Later, visit Boudhanath, one of the world’s largest stupas
Full Day Itinerary: Transfer to the airport for your flight to Kathmandu. Having cleared immigration, collect your luggage and pass through customs. Upon exiting the terminal you will be met and transferred to your hotel and a welcome drink will be served upon arrival. After check-in, take a walk with your guide to Boudhanath which is possibly the world's largest Buddhist stupa. Around the stupa a number of monasteries have sprung up including one that houses an enormous seated statue of Maitreya Buddha splendidly adorned.
Day 5: Kathmandu, Patan City & Swoyambhunath
Included meals: Breakfast.
- Optional morning flight over Mt. Everest
- After breakfast, travel to Patan City south of Kathmandu
- In the afternoon, visit the National Museum and Swoyambhunath, the ‘monkey temple’
Full Day Itinerary: This morning you will have an opportunity to experience an optional early morning scenic flight over Mt. Everest and the breathtaking Himalayas. After breakfast, visit Patan City located just south of Kathmandu in the Kathmandu Valley. The official name of the city is Lalitpur, meaning city of fine art. Walk from Kumaripati through the narrow streets, curios shops and bazaars. On the way, visit the Golden Temple and then go to Patan Durbar Square where you will see the sky piercing temple of Taleju.
In the afternoon, drive to Swoyambhunath. En route, make a stop at the National Museum to see a splendid collection of weapons and artifacts from ancient, medieval and modern Nepal. Continue to Swoyambhunath, also known as the "Monkey Temple" which is said to be over 2,000 years old and one of the world's most fabulous Buddhist temples. Situated on top of a high hill where legendary Manjushri discovered the lotus growing in the ancient Kathmandu Valley Lake, Swoyambhunath commands a superb view of the valley below.
Optional Excursion: Mt. Everest Flyover, $199 (purchased locally). Early this morning you will have an opportunity to experience an optional Mt. Everest scenic flight over the breathtaking Himalayas, weather permitting. This optional excursion must be purchased locally.
Day 6: Kathmandu, Bamboo School & Bhaktapur
Included meals: Breakfast & dinner.
- Enjoy a special morning visit to the Bamboo School in Bhaktapur
- You will be welcomed by the children with a musical performance
- Continue to Bhaktapur Durbar Square for sightseeing
- This afternoon visit Kathmandu Durbar Square at the heart of the old city
- In the evening, enjoy a Nepalese farewell dinner and performance
Full Day Itinerary: In the morning, drive to the Bamboo School in Bhaktapur. The Bamboo School provides local children with a low cost, quality education made possible by donations from various organizations including Friendly Planet Travel. This school is constructed by using bamboo which is inexpensive, strong, earthquake-resistant and easy to find. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by the children with a musical performance of the school’s anthem. Time permitting, a group of students will also perform a traditional Nepali song and dance. After spending some time with students and teachers, drive to Bhaktapur Durbar Square, located in the center of Bhaktapur. The square is one of the most charming architectural showpieces of the valley and is home to some of the finest medieval arts of Nepal. Here you’ll see the Lion Gate, the Golden Gate, Nyatapola Temple and statues of the kings of Nepal.
In the afternoon, drive back to Kathmandu and visit Kathmandu Durbar Square, located in the heart of the old city. Visit Kumari temple, Taleju temple, Shiv Parvati temple, and Kal Bhairav. On a walk through a local bazaar, you will discover the true heart of Kathmandu in the sights, sounds and smells. This evening, join your fellow travelers for Nepalese farewell dinner and dance performance.
Day 7: Kathmandu & Delhi
Accommodations: 1 night Shangri-La Eros Hotel, Delhi. Included meals: Breakfast.
- Transfer to the airport for your flight back to Delhi
- Check into your hotel
- This afternoon, visit Humayun’s Tomb
Full Day Itinerary: Transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi. Upon arrival, check into your hotel. Later in the afternoon proceed to visit Humayun’s Tomb. Emperor Humayun, the father of Emperor Akbar, lies buried in this magnificent monument built in red sandstone. Haji Begum, Humayun's first wife and mother of Emperor Akbar designed and supervised the entire construction. Her design was way ahead of its time and was the basis for the design of the famous Taj Mahal, built almost a hundred years later.
Day 8: Dehli & Varanasi
Accommodations: 2 nights The Gateway Hotel, Varanasi. Included meals: Breakfast.
- Transfer to the airport for a short flight to Varanasi
- This evening, enjoy an aarti ceremony at the Assi Ghat
Full Day Itinerary: This morning, transfer to the airport for your short flight to Varanasi, the religious heart of Hindu India. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. The city gets its inherent charm from its location on west side of the Holy Ganges, where bathing ghats are always bustling with life at any given time of the day. Written records of the Skanda Purana and the Mahabharata mention Varanasi’s existence as long as 3000 years ago. It is probably the oldest inhabited city in India, and one of the world’s most ancient. As a place of devotion and worship, Varanasi attracts thousands of pilgrims every year, and many Hindus in the latter part of their lives wish to spend their retirement here. This evening, enjoy an aarti ceremony at the Assi Ghat. This ceremony celebrates the religious significance and history of Varanasi; replete with tales of plunder and destruction by conquerors and religious zealots.
Day 9: Varanasi
Included meals: Breakfast.
- Early morning cruise on the river Ganges
- City tour of Varanasi
- Afternoon visit to Sarnath, a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists
Full Day Itinerary: This morning at dawn, have a cup of tea or coffee in the lobby before you depart for an unforgettable experience on a cruise on the river Ganges, stopping at the most important of the bathing ghats. From your boat, you will witness the rituals of Hindu pilgrims, which follow centuries' old tradition and belief that those who die in Varanasi or whose mortal remains are immersed in the holy Ganges, will be incarnated to human life in the next birth. The riverfront, in the early morning, is a spiritually uplifting sight that you will long remember as a highlight of your India tour.
After your early morning tour of the bathing ghats, return to your hotel for a buffet breakfast. Later, board your touring coach for a visit to the city of Varanasi, including a visit to Vishwanath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and the most sacred shrine in Varanasi. Continue to Banares Hindu University, considered to be the largest residential university in Asia. Within the university campus, Vishwanath Temple and Bharat Kala Kendra (Museum) are well worth a visit. Later in the afternoon, drive to Sarnath, located nearby north of Varanasi, which is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists. During the 6th century C, Siddarth Gautama, who became known as Buddha, the "Awakened One" gave his first sermon. Return to Varanasi.
Day 10: Varanasi & Khajuraho
Accommodations: 1 night Radisson Khajuraho. Included meals: Breakfast.
- Transfer to the airport for short flight to Khajuraho
- Afternoon tour of Khajuraho
Full Day Itinerary: After the morning at leisure, transfer to the airport for your short flight to Khajuraho, the great temple complex discovered in 1838 that was built between 950 and 1050 A.D. by the Chandela dynasty, who claim descent from the Moon God and a mortal, Hemavati, with whom the god fell in love. Most of the temples of the north were destroyed by invaders, but Khajuraho escaped and stands today as an island of beauty.
This afternoon your tour of Khajuraho focuses on the famous erotic temples, which represent some of the finest examples of temple architecture in Northern India. The remote location of Khajuraho meant that the temples were unharmed by Muslim invaders and as a result, the intricately fine carvings are in very good condition and are said to represent life in heaven. The majority of the temples were constructed in a sudden burst of creative and religious energy, between the mid-10th and 11th centuries. After ruling for about 500 years the Chandela dynasty fell to the might of Islam and consequently the religious centre of Khajuraho was abandoned. The temples remain as a reminder of a society that believed in the full enjoyment of life, with all the senses being a path to nirvana. Of the 85 original temples only 22 remain, but many are in very good condition and remarkably beautiful in design and architecture, including the Kandariya Mahadeva, the Chatrabhuj, Parswanath and Ghantai Temples which you will visit during your tour.
Day 11: Khajuraho, Orchha, Jhansi & Agra
Accommodations: 2 nights Trident Agra. Included meals: Breakfast.
- Morning visit to Orchha, picturesquely located on a bend along the Betwa River
- Evening express train ride to Agra
Full Day Itinerary: After breakfast, board your touring coach and drive the short distance to Orchha, picturesquely located on a bend along the Betwa River. This gorgeous medieval city, whose stone palaces and temples were built by its Bundela rulers in the 16th and 17th centuries, retain much of their pristine perfection despite the passage of hundreds of years. Among the abandoned structures in the temple complex, the beauty of the Jehangir Mahal, built to commemorate the visit of Emperor Jehangir in 17th, stands in sharp contrast to another structure in the same complex, the Raj Mahal, an earlier building adorned by colorful murals. A trail through the maze of intricate stairways leading to numerous turrets is an experience in itself.
After your visit at Orchha, transfer to Jhansi Railway Station to board the 6:00PM Shatabdi Express (air-conditioned cars) for Agra, where the Mughals, who were great rulers as well as great builders, created their greatest architectural wonders. There are many wonderful monuments in Agra, such as the massive but elegant Agra Fort, the Itimad-ud-daulah's tomb, and the magnificent, deserted capital of Fatehpur Sikri, but the greatest of all is the Taj Mahal, considered a masterpiece of Mughal architecture. Arrive in Agra and proceed to your deluxe, centrally located hotel for check-in.
Day 12: Agra
Included meals: Breakfast.
- Sunrise tour of the Taj Mahal
- On the October 24, 2016 departure, the Taj Mahal will be visited at sunrise on Day 13
- Visit to the Agra Fort
- Afternoon excursions in the local marble and leather markets
- Evening high tea with a local family
Full Day Itinerary: This morning you'll rise early to enjoy an awesome view of the Taj Mahal at sunrise. (On the October 24, 2016 departure, the Taj Mahal will be visited at sunrise on Day 13.) This incredible place is everything that has been said about it and more. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and was transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants. Built in the mid-17th Century by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. Though the Taj appears to be amazingly perfect from almost any angle, it is the close-up marble inlay work which is really astounding. You will have ample time to view and be mesmerized by this outstanding piece of architecture. Return to your hotel after the sunrise tour for buffet breakfast.
After breakfast, visit the Agra Fort, the seat and the stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations and yet another example of impressive Mughal architecture. The present structure owes its origins to Akbar who erected the walls and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of Yamuna River. Shah Jehan added the impressive quarters and the mosque while Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. You will also visit the Hall of Public Audience and Royal Pavilions.
This afternoon, lose yourself in the local marble and leather markets where you should do your best to bargain for the marble products and high quality leather wallets, shoes and belts. Be sure to visit the "Petra Dura Workshop" where you'll find beautiful marble inlay that is among the most renowned of India's handicrafts. During your visit enjoy an opportunity to watch as artisans create fine quality marble inlay pieces.
This evening, you are a guest for High Tea. This special treat, arranged exclusively for Friendly Planet's Best of India travelers, provides an opportunity to meet and interact with an Indian family and get to know something about life in India.
Day 13: Agra, Fatehpur Sikri & Jaipur
Accommodations: 2 nights Trident Jaipur. Included meals: Breakfast.
- After buffet breakfast at the hotel, drive to Jaipur
- En-route visit Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted red sandstone city
- After check-in, enjoy a stroll through the colorful streets and bazaars
Full Day Itinerary: After buffet breakfast at the hotel, drive to Jaipur, popularly known as the Pink City because it was built of pink stucco in imitation of sandstone. En-route visit Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted red sandstone city built by the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace in the late 16th century. It was abandoned soon after it was built when the local wells went dry and it remains today in much the same condition that it was over 300 years ago. It is complete with palaces and mosques and used to be a town larger than London when it was originally constructed. Now it is an extraordinary place to explore, with its buildings in near perfect condition.
Continue your drive to Jaipur. This capital of the state of Rajasthan is a land of beauty, color and paradox. Here you find invincible forts and magnificent palaces and gardens, waves of sand dunes and serene lakes. Except for the busy traffic of bicycles, cars and buses, little seems to have changed. Your hotel is centrally located for strolling, sightseeing and shopping. After check-in, enjoy a stroll through the colorful streets and bazaars, where you can enjoy the colorful display of women's dresses and turbans of men, adding to the sense of timeless charm and wonder of this lovely and fascinating city.
Day 14: Jaipur
Included meals: Breakfast.
- Visit the ancient capital of Amber, en route stop at the Palace of Winds
- Afternoon city tour of Jaipur
- Remainder of the day at leisure to explore Jaipur
- On the October 17, 2016 depature, enjoy a special dinner celebration for Diwali, the "Festival of Lights"
Full Day Itinerary: This morning visit the ancient capital of Amber to see the fabulous Amber Fort. En route, stop at the Palace of Winds, the Hawa Mahal. Famous for its beehive like structure, the Mahal is an interplay of red and pink sand stone, carefully and painstakingly outlined with white borders and motifs, which served as an elaborate latticed facade behind which the cloistered ladies of the court used to watch the daily goings on in the street below.
Continue to the Amber Fort, begun in the 17th century by Maharaja Mansingh, Mughal Emperor Akbar's most successful General. The fort is surrounded by fortified battlements and overlooks the Moat Lake. Ruins and remains are spread over the Aravalli hills and sprawling crenellated walls lattice the surrounding area. Before the City Palace was constructed in Jaipur, Amber was the seat of power. Ascend to the fortress by jeep or elephant (if available) to view the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls, many of them hung with magnificent wall paintings and some inlaid witprecious stones and mirrors. In the Sheesh Mahal ("Hall of Mirrors"), a single lamplight is reflected in the many mirrors lighting up the entire room.
This afternoon, return to the city of Jaipur. Highlights of this afternoon's touring include the City Palace, an overwhelming complex of exquisite palaces, gardens and courtyards, decorative art and carved doorways. The City Palace Museum houses collections of rare manuscripts, armor, costumes, carpets and miniature paintings.
Walk to the adjacent Jantar Mantar (Astronomical Observatory), a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja Jai Singh II at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1733. The observatory instruments are in most cases huge structures, built on such scale so that accuracy of readings can be obtained. The samrat yantra, for instance, which is a sundial, can be used to tell the time to an accuracy of about a minute. Enjoy the remainder of the day to wander about the local markets where you will find lovely silver jewelry, handicrafts and roadside mehndiwala (henna painters) who will paint ladies hands in the local tradition.
Day 15: Jaipur & Delhi
Included meals: Breakfast & dinner.
- After breakfast, drive back to Delhi
- Tonight, you are our guests for a farewell dinner at the Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Dwarka
- After dinner, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the USA
- Passengers taking the optional Amritsar extension will overnight in New Delhi; see extension itinerary below
Day 16: Depart Delhi/Arrive USA
- Your adventure ends as you arrive in the USA this morning
Take advantage of your already included airfare and add a fascinating optional extension to Amritsar, home of the breathtaking Golden Temple. The Amritsar Extension includes 1 night in Delhi, round trip flights from Delhi to Amritsar, 2 nights in Amritsar with a full touring program, transfers, and breakfast daily. Passengers taking the Amritsar Extension will return to the U.S. 3 days later than the return dates shown.
Day 16: Delhi & Amritsar
Accommodations: 2 nights Hyatt Amritsar. Included meals: Breakfast.
- Transfer to the airport to take a short flight to Amritsar
- Upon arrival in Amritsar, transfer to your hotel for check-in
- Enjoy some free time to rest or explore before dinner
- After dinner at a local restaurant, see the Palki Sahib Ceremony at the Golden Temple
Full Day Itinerary: After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport for your short flight to mystical Amritsar, just 20 miles from the Pakistan border. Amritsar, literally meaning "holy pool of nectar", is home to the Golden Temple, the spiritual and cultural center of the Sikh religion. This important Sikh shrine attracts visitors and pilgrims from around the world and the vast number of visitors it receives rivals that of the Taj Mahal in Agra. Upon arrival in Amritsar this afternoon, you will transfer to your hotel for check-in. Enjoy some free time to rest or explore the surrounding area. Later this evening, go to a local restaurant for dinner. After your meal, transfer to the Golden Temple to witness the fascinating Palki Sahib Ceremony where devotees and visitors pass along the Sikh holy book, the Granth Sahib, person to person from the main shrine to the sanctum, where it is kept overnight until the following morning.
Day 17: The Golden Temple & Wagah Border
Included meals: Breakfast.
- Morning tour of the Golden Temple, the Harmandir Sahib
- Afternoon visit to the Wagah Border to watch a Border Retreat Ceremony
Full Day Itinerary: This morning, you will visit the Golden Temple, the Harmandir Sahib. The construction of the temple began in the 16th century under the reign of Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru, and was completed by his successor, Guru Arjan. In the early 19th century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh covered the upper floors of the temple with gold, which gives it its distinctive appearance and its English name, "Golden Temple". The temple’s architecture is a blend of both Hindu and Muslim styles and over the years, additional golden gilding and precious stones were added giving the temple a truly dazzling appearance. The sacred lake that surrounds the temple is fed by an underground stream and at night the lake provides a breathtaking reflection of the shimmering Golden Temple. However, Amritsar also holds a dark past as it was the site of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. On April 13, 1919, British Indian Army soldiers opened fire on an unarmed gathering of men, women and children in the Jallianwala Bagh Garden Park and to this day, bullet holes still mark the walls on the park’s premises.
This afternoon you will visit the Wagah Border to watch a Border Retreat Ceremony. Wagha is the only open land border between Pakistan and India. The ceremony takes place every evening before sunset and consists of a brief parade of Indian and Pakistani forces opening the iron gates, while simultaneously lowering each nation’s flag. Both sides quickly shake hands then proceed to close the gates again. Each evening, this strange spectacle attracts many visitors on both sides.
Day 18: Amritsar & Delhi
Included meals: Breakfast.
- Morning city tour to visit the Golden and Silver Temples
- Bid farewell to India as you board your overnight return flight to the USA
Full Day Itinerary: This morning you will explore the city and visit the Golden Temple once again. Then continue to the Durgiana Temple, sometimes referred to as the Silver Temple for its carved silver doors. Its resemblance to the Golden Temple in its structural design is remarkable, and because it draws fewer crowds, you will have the opportunity to explore and inspect its architecture and sculptures more carefully. You’ll see intricately carved images of the goddess Durga in her various incarnations and though various other deities found their place in the interior of the temple, it is clear that goddess Durga is the prevalent deity of the shrine.
This evening, you’ll transfer to the airport in Amritsar for a short flight back to Delhi. Upon arrival, you’ll check-in for your onward flight returning to the USA.
Day 19: Depart Delhi/Arrive USA
- Your memorable journey ends today when you arrive in the USA
I just returned from the India and Nepal trip and wanted to let you know what a great experience it was to have the tour guides Friendly Planet choose on both legs of our trip. Madan Vishwakarma, our guide in India made my trip so much more interesting with his vast knowledge of India. It went far beyond what is typically required of any tour guide. In Nepal, Probeen Shrestha provided incredible detail into the life of the Nepalese. The trip was truly an incredible experience.
John Schwab, West Hollywood, CA
Before You Book
- Do I need a visa or any other documents? Travel visas are required for this package. Please review the requirements.
- Should I get travel insurance? Protect your travel investment with our comprehensive policies.
- What's the fine print? Read the terms & conditions for this package.
- I'm traveling solo. Can you help me find a roommate? Yes, you can connect with other travelers to share a room and avoid single occupancy rates.
- Can I bring my kids? Are there any age restrictions? To book this package, you must be 18 or older. Your traveling companions must be 8 or older at the time of travel.
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Our tours may look similar to others you've seen, but we invite you to shop & compare. There are important differences that make Friendly Planet tours the best you can find.
No Compromise on Quality: Despite our extraordinary prices, there are no compromises on our India & Nepal tours. Throughout your tour you'll stay in Superior & Deluxe, centrally located hotels that are noted for their amenities and service.
Included Features: Your transfers as well as all the important touring are included, not expensive extras as in other tours.
Credit Cards or Cash: You asked, and we listened! Whether you pay by check, money order or your favorite major credit card, your tour price on this tour is the same. There is no extra cost to charge your dream vacation to India & Nepal.
Personal Service: Most important of all, the extra ingredient that makes our tours stand apart from others—the wonderful, personal attention you'll receive from our friendly staff in the USA and our representatives in India —is completely free of charge. Compare our India programs to others, feature for feature. You'll see for yourself that ours are the very best value for money you'll find anywhere.