This itinerary is for a past tour program.
Check out our new Taj Mahal Express tour.
India has become one of the world's hottest destinations for savvy travelers, and we've got just the right tour—at just the right price—so you can check out this incredible country. Our Taj Mahal Express will take you to the "Golden Triangle" of India, from fascinating and exotic Delhi, to Agra and the Taj Mahal, the world's most famous and lovely monument to love, to Jaipur, the "pink city", full of gorgeous, lavish mansions and palaces. An optional extension to mysterious Nepal is also available. At this price, you can't afford to miss the chance to see India for yourself!
Day 2: Delhi.Evening arrival in India's capital. You'll be escorted to your first class hotel. Lalit New Delhi
Day 3: Delhi/Agra.After a good night's sleep and breakfast, drive to Agra, an ancient city that came into prominence in Medieval times under the patronage of the Mughal rulers and was once the capital of a sprawling Mughal kingdom that covered much of southeast Asia. Highlight of your day is a visit to the fabled, perfectly proportioned Taj Mahal. This white marble mausoleum was built in the 17th century by Emperor Shah Jahan to enshrine the mortal remains of his beloved Queen, Mumtaz Mahal. Even today, it remains one of the most breathtaking buildings in the world, surrounded by immaculate gardens. Clarks Shiraz Hotel Breakfast provided.
Day 4: Agra.Enjoy the day at leisure to explore Agra. You will be offered several interesting optional tours, including a visit to the magnificent Agra Fort, where the Emperor Shah Jahan, imprisoned by his own son, watched the completion of the Taj Mahal that he had started; Itmad-ud-daulah, known as the "baby Taj", the first Mughal structure totally built from marble; Sikandra, the sandstone and marble tomb of Akbar which blends Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Christian motifs and styles, and other interesting sites. Breakfast provided.
Day 5: Agra/Fatehpur Sikri/Jaipur. After breakfast, depart Agra for Fatehpur Sikri, the once-glittering capital later abandoned due to scarcity of water. You'll marvel at the well-preserved buildings and red sandstone palaces. Later, continue to Jaipur and check into your hotel. Hotel Mansingh Breakfast provided.
Day 6: Jaipur.This morning's tour takes you to the Amber Fort, ancient capital of Rajasthan. You'll have a chance to ride an elephant (or a jeep, if elephant riding isn't your favorite means of transportation) up the steep hill to the where the Amber Fort is perched, its magnificent ramparts & watchtowers commanding an excellent view of the surrounding mountains and the lake below. The ornate and sprawling structure was initially a palace complex within the original Amber Fort, now known as Jaigarh Fort, on the hill above, to which it is connected through fortified passages. Within the palace lies the famous Jai Mandir (Temple) with its world renowned Sheesh Mahal, a hall full of tiny inlaid mirrors. This afternoon, explore the markets and lanes of Jaipur on your own, where you can buy spices or haggle for one of the beautiful, hand-woven wool carpets. Or take an optional tour to some of the famous pink sandstone buildings for which this city is known, including the City Palace Museum, housing the magnificent art collections of the Maharajas of Jaiputo. Breakfast provided.
Day 7: Jaipur/Delhi.After breakfast you'll drive back to Delhi. This afternoon, explore Delhi on your own or take an optional tour that includes the imposing 12th century Qutub Minar tower, the Birla Temple and the India Gate, the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, the Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque, and the magnificent Red Fort, built in 1648 as a symbol of Mughal's power. Tonight, you are our guests for a festive farewell dinner at a popular Delhi restaurant. Lalit New Delhi Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 8: Delhi/USA. Early this morning bid farewell. Your memorable journey ends as you arrive New York this afternoon. Breakfast provided.
Why not take advantage of your already included airfare and add a fascinating extension to mysterious Nepal? The Nepal Extension will include 3 nights in Kathmandu with a full touring program, buffet breakfast daily, and an extra night in Delhi at the end, plus flights from Delhi to Kathmandu and return.
Day 8: Delhi/Kathmandu. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Kathmandu. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel, conveniently located for exploring and shopping. Rest of the afternoon will be at leisure. Hyatt Regency Hotel Breakfast provided.
Day 10: Kathmandu. Morning city tour visiting the Durbar Square, Hanuman Dhoka the ancient royal residential quarter, Mahadev and Parvati temple, Machhender Bahl-Holy place for the Buddhists and Hindus, temple house of Kumari, the virgin or the living Goddess. Walk around the local Bazaars. Breakfast provided.
Day 11: Kathmandu/Mt. Everest Tour/Delhi.This morning you will have an opportunity to experience an optional Mt. Everest scenic flight over the breathtaking Himalayas (weather permitting). Or, enjoy the morning at leisure in Kathmandu to shop and explore independently. Transfer to the airport this afternoon for your flight to Delhi. On arrival in Delhi, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Airport Hotel. Breakfast provided.
To take full advantage of your visit to India, we offer these optional tours to other "must see" sites. These are not "seat in coach" tours that pick up passengers in various hotels. All the optional tours are operated for Friendly Planet groups only. The special package price is available when booked and prepaid prior to departure. These same optional tours, if booked and paid in India, will cost $105 per person. If you don't want to book the entire package, individual optional tours will be available once you arrive in India.
Optionals Package Price, per person: $85 if booked and prepaid before departure. Our optional tours package includes the following sites in Agra, Jaipur and Delhi.
Agra Fort: Built by Emperor Akbar on the west bank of the river Yamuna and beautified with palaces and gardens by Jehangir, Agra Fort today dominates the centre of the city. The crescent-shaped fort with its 20-metre high, 2.4-km outer walls contains a maze of buildings that form a small city within a city. One can enter the fort only through the Amar Singh Gate.
Itmad-ud-daulah's Tomb, Agra: To the north of the fort, on the opposite bank of the Yamuna lies the tomb of Itmad-ud-daulah, built in memory of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, Jehangir's wazir. Also known as the 'baby Taj', it was the first Mughal structure totally built from marble and first to make extensive use of pietra dura. The place is the least visited of Agra's three great monuments
Sikandra, Agra: In the centre of a peaceful garden at Sikandra, 4 km north-west of Agra, lies the sandstone and marble tomb of Akbar. The mausoleum represents Akbar's philosophy and secular outlook blending Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Christian motifs and styles.
Jama Masjid: Built in 1648 AD, in memory of Sheikh Salim Chisthi and his grandson Islam Khan by Jehanara Begum, Shahjahan's daughter, the masjid has a wonderful assimilation of Iranian architecture. The building with its rectangular open forecourt, has no minarets but its sandstone domes have a striking marble patterning.
The Amber Fort, Jaipur: The magnificent fort with its huge ramparts & watchtowers, overlooking the Delhi-Jaipur Highway. The image of the Amber Fort is beautifully reflected in the lake below. Within the Fort lies the famous Jai Mandir (Temple) with its world renowned Sheesh Mahal, a hall full of Mirrors. Located 9 Kms north west of Jaipur, the Amber Fort was once the Capital of the Minas. Falling under the Golden Triangle, and being visited by millions of domestic and foreign tourists, the city of Jaipur is a place of high tourist interest.
Hawa Mahal - The Palace of the Winds, Jaipur: A Pandora's box of wonders, Jaipur's signature building, the Hawa Mahal, a multi layered palace, was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. Famous for it's beehive like structure, the Mahal is an interplay of red and pink sand stone, carefully and painstakingly outlined with white borders and motifs. The palaces and forts of yesteryears, which were witness to the royal processions and splendors are now living monuments, accepted quite naturally into the lifestyle of the people of the "Pink City".
City Palace, Jaipur: A delightful blend of Mughal and traditional Rajasthani architecture, the city palace sprawls over one- seventh of the area in the walled city. The City Palace complex houses several palatial structures in the heart of the old city and occupies a large area divided into a series of courtyards, gardens and buildings. It houses the Chandra Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum. The former Maharaja still lives in part of the palace.
Jantar Mantar - The Observatory: At the entrance to the City Palace is Jantar Mantar, the 'Yantralaya' of Sawai Jai Singh II, the last great classical astronomer of India. This is the largest of five observatories founded by him in 1716 AD. The others are at Delhi, Ujjain, Mathura & Varanasi. Its massive masonry instruments are of an extraordinary precision & can still be used to measure local time, the sun's declination, azimuth & altitude, the declination of fixed stars & planets also to determine the time of an eclipse of the sun.
Delhi, Old & New: Sprawling on the banks of the river Yamuna, Delhi, the capital of India, typifies the soul India, where many layers of civilizations flourished for more than three thousand years. Indraprastha, according to legends, the city founded by the Pandavas in the times of the epic Mahabharata (1500 B.C.), was located near the Old Fort that stands on a large mound overlooking the river.
Since those early days many dynasties and rulers flourished on its regal soil. The legacy of that past survives in the many monuments left behind by the regents, each a chronicle of the glory of its time and an imprint of the character of the ruler. Today, the city is a curious blend of the modern and traditional, skyscrapers, beautiful gardens and wide tree-lined avenues perpetuate the Mughal passion of landscaping and architectural excellence. More important, however, Delhi blends within its folds the great cultural variety of India; an unceasing range of activity, a million ways of saying "You are Welcome".
Delhi's history is so ancient that the story of its origin derives more from mythology than written history. Recorded history testifies to the fact that at least eight different cities have been established here. Through the ages, different rulers and their followers have left their mark on Delhi in the form of numerous architectural gems of great historical and social value. Following are some of the major sites covered in our optional tour.
The Red Fort, Delhi is laid out along the river Yamuna as an irregular octagon , surrounded by a wall of about 2.4 km in circumference and is built of red sandstone. The Mughal king Shah Jahan transferred the capital from Agra to Delhi and the Fort was completed in 1648. The fort has two main entrances , the Delhi Gate and the Lahori Gate which faces the famed Chandni Chowk market.The Fort has Diwan-e-am, and Diwan-e-Khas where the king would grant audience to the public and would grant audience to important people respectively. Another attraction is Light and Sound show held in the evenings.
Qutub Minar, Delhi: This magnificent structure in the southern part of the capital was built by a Muslim King , Qutub-ud-din Aibak in 1199 A.D. A part of it which he could not finish was completed by another Muslim King Iltutmish. Minar is 72.5 m high and has as its base a mosque. In front of the imposing structures an Iron Pillar believed to have been built in the 5th century A.D. which has not caught rust ever since it was built.
India Gate, Delhi: Straight down the road from Rashtrapati Bhavan is India Gate which is primarily a memorial to unknown soldier. Designed by Lutyens , the 42 meter high structure is a war memorial in honor of soldiers who died during the second World War. The structure has an eternal flame (Amar Jawan Jyoti) to honor the memory of the unknown soldiers.
For quick answers to Frequently Asked Questions about travel to India, click here.
For quick answers to Frequently Asked Questions about travel to Nepal, click here.
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