24 travelers max, dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departures||Scheduled Dates: Select a departure from November 2015 – May 2016|
|Departs||New York Kennedy (JFK), Chicago O'Hare (ORD) (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Delhi, Agra, Jaipur. Laxmi Narayan temple, Taj Mahal, & Amber Fort. Optional extension to Amritsar|
|Themes||History & Culture|
|What to Expect||This fast-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations and may have limited rest stops.|
|As Seen in|
India has become one of the world's hottest destinations for savvy travelers, and we've got just the right Taj Mahal tour package—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 lavish mansions and palaces. An optional extension to Amritsar is also available. At this price, you can't afford to miss the chance to see India for yourself!
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Wed||Aug 26||2015||Thu||Sep 3||2015||$1699||Departed|
|Wed||Sep 2||2015||Thu||Sep 10||2015||$1699||Departed|
|Wed||Sep 9||2015||Thu||Sep 17||2015||$1999||$1699||Closed|
|Wed||Sep 23||2015||Thu||Oct 1||2015||$1999||$1699||Closed|
|Wed||Oct 21||2015||Thu||Oct 29||2015||$2299||$1999||Closed|
|Wed||Nov 25||2015||Thu||Dec 3||2015||$2299||$1999||Available|
|Wed||Dec 9||2015||Thu||Dec 17||2015||$2499||$2199||Closed|
|Wed||Jan 20||2016||Thu||Jan 28||2016||$2199||$1899||Available|
|Wed||Feb 17||2016||Thu||Feb 25||2016||$2149||$1849||Available|
|Wed||Feb 24||2016||Thu||Mar 3||2016||$2149||$1849||Available|
|Wed||Mar 9||2016||Thu||Mar 17||2016||$2199||$1899||Available|
|Wed||Mar 23||2016||Thu||Mar 31||2016||$2199||$1899||Available|
|Wed||Apr 6||2016||Thu||Apr 14||2016||$1999||$1699||Available|
|Wed||Apr 20||2016||Thu||Apr 28||2016||$1999||$1699||Available|
|Wed||May 4||2016||Thu||May 12||2016||$1999||$1699||Available|
|Wed||May 18||2016||Thu||May 26||2016||$1999||$1699||Available|
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates, including extra hotel nights and separate airport transfers. Contact us about prices and availability.
|Taj Mahal Express|
|Single Room Supplement|
|Aug 26, Sep 2, Sep 9, Apr 6, Apr 20, May 4, May 18||+$299|
|All other departures||+$599|
|Optional Excursions Package||+$59|
|Amritsar Optional Extension1|
|Apr 6, Apr 20, May 4, May 18||+$699|
|All other departures||+$629|
|Single Room Supplement||+$189|
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.
|Separately Paid Taxes & Fees|
|Delhi Airport UDF1 (paid separately)||+$15|
|India Visa & Processing Fee2 (paid separately)||+$80|
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.
|New York Kennedy (JFK)||included|
|Chicago O'Hare (ORD)|
|All other departures||+$150|
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.
To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call us 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 begins this evening as you depart New York.
Day 2: Delhi. Arrive today in Delhi. Following customs and immigration formalities, you'll meet our representatives and transfer to your hotel. Accommodations: Shangri-La Eros Hotel.
Day 3: Old & New Delhi. After buffet breakfast at the hotel, board your coach to explore Old and New Delhi. Sprawling on the banks of the river Yamuna, bustling Delhi typifies the soul of India, where many layers of civilizations have flourished for more than 3,000 years. History tells of at least eight different cities established here, but Delhi's past is so ancient that the story of its origin derives more from mythology than written history. Today, it is 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, built in honor of the Hindu goddess of wealth, Laxmi, and of her consort, 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 open to the lower caste Harijans (untouchables).
Mahatma Gandhi made entry of Harijans one of the conditions for inaugurating the temple. Continue to Raj Ghat, the memorial to Gandhi, built at the site of his cremation on the banks of the Yamuna River. Drive past the magnificent Red Fort, built in 1648 as a symbol of Mughal's power.
Then, continue by bicycle rickshaw to Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque. Completed in 1656 after six years of work by 5,000 laborers, the red sandstone and marble mosque is considered one of the loveliest houses of worship in the world.
Next, you'll marvel at the Qutab Minar, the world's tallest free standing minaret at 72.5 m (238 ft), and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tower, made of fluted red sandstone covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Qur'an, is a wonderful example of Indo-Islamic architecture. At its foot lies the Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid, the first mosque in India, erected in the 12th century from materials salvaged from 27 demolished Hindu and Jain shrines. Here you'll also find the Iron Pillar, a curiosity thought to date from 5th century A.D., which has never rusted.
Sightseeing continues in New Delhi, which reflects the legacy the British left behind. You'll see the India Gate, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The 42 meter high structure is a war memorial for the Indian soldiers who died in World War I and the Afghan Wars. Burning in a shrine under the arch is the Amar Jawan Jyoti (the flame of the immortal warrior), which marks the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Proceed to the Parliament building and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the President's residence. Breakfast provided.
Day 4: 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 Mughal rulers and was once the capital of a sprawling Mughal kingdom covering much of southeast Asia. Check-in at your hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Accommodations: Trident Agra. Breakfast provided.
Day 5: Agra. This morning you'll rise early to enjoy an awesome sunrise tour of the Taj Mahal, truly one of the wonders of the world. Built in the 17th century by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj took 22 years and 20,000 men to build, its white marble quarried 200 miles away and transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants. Though the Taj is known for its stunning symmetry and balance, it is the close-up marble inlay work which is really astounding. You'll have ample time to explore this outstanding piece of architecture, and to wander the pristine gardens that surround it.
Afterward, take advantage of special optional excursions in Agra. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Agra Fort, $25. Visit the splendid Agra Fort, built by and inhabited by six successive generations of Mughal emperors—Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. Though often eclipsed by the Taj Mahal, this sprawling fortress, more accurately described as a massive walled palatial city, is magnificent in its own right, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was here that Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb, and from the Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony, Jahan watched the continuing construction of his Taj Mahal until his death.
Optional Excursion: Itmad-Ud-Daulah & Sikandra, $25. This tour takes you to Itmad-Ud-Daulah, known as the "Baby Taj", the first Mughal structure totally built from marble. In addition, visit the Sikandra, the sandstone and marble tomb of Akbar which blends Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Christian motifs and styles, and other interesting sites.
Day 6: Agra, Fatehpur Sikri & Jaipur. After breakfast, depart for Fatehpur Sikri, the once-glittering capital built by Mughal emperor Akbar beginning in 1570. It was abandoned shortly after it was completed for lack of water and remains today a ghost town. Marvel at the well-preserved red sandstone palaces and buildings.
Later, continue to Jaipur, stopping en route at Barara Village, where you'll have a special opportunity to learn about rural Indian village life and interact with locals. Accommodations: Trident Jaipur. Breakfast provided.
Day 7: Jaipur. This morning's tour takes you to the imposing Amber Fort, ancient capital of Rajasthan. The fort was begun in the 17th century by Maharaja Mansingh, Emperor Akbar's most successful general. Perched atop the Aravalli hills overlooking the Moat Lake, the fort's fortified battlements and crenellated walls spread over many acres.
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 paintings and inlaid with precious stones. In the Sheesh Mahal—Hall of Mirrors—a single lamp is reflected in a mosaic of thousands of mirror tiles, lighting the entire room.
En-route to the Amber Fort, stop and see the Hawa Mahal, the "Palace of Winds." Its beehive-like structure is an interplay of red and pink sand stone, painstakingly outlined with white borders and motifs. Behind this elaborate latticed facade, the cloistered ladies of the court could watch the daily goings-on in the street below.
This afternoon, explore the markets and lanes of Jaipur on your own. Known as the Pink City, Jaipur is India's first and perhaps best planned city, full of beauty and color. Here you find magnificent palaces and gardens, serene lakes, and wide tree-lined streets. Except for the busy traffic of bicycles, cars and buses, little seems to have changed since 1727, when Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II designed and built the city.
We recommend 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. Buy spices or haggle for one of the beautiful, hand-woven wool carpets for which Jaipur is known. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Jaipur City Tour including City Palace & Jantar Mantar Observatory, $30. Explore some of the city's famous pink sandstone buildings, including the City Palace Museum, housing the magnificent art collections of the Maharajas of Jaiputo. At the entrance to the City Palace is Jantar Mantar, the largest of five observatories founded by classical astronomer Sawai Jai Singh II nearly three centuries ago. Its 14 massive masonry instruments are extraordinarily precise and were used for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars' location as the earth orbits around the sun, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and more.
Day 8: Jaipur & Delhi. After breakfast you'll 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 U.S. Passengers taking the optional Amritsar extension will overnight at the Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Dwarka; see extension itinerary below. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 9: Delhi/USA. Your memorable journey ends today when you arrive in New York.
Why not 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, executive class train fare from Delhi to Amritsar, 2 nights in Amritsar with a full touring program, transfers, breakfast daily, and return airfare from Amritsar to Delhi. Passengers taking the Amritsar Extension will return to the U.S. 3 days later than the return dates shown.
Day 9: Delhi & Amrtisar. Early this morning, set out with your guide and a box breakfast to the train station in Delhi to board an executive class train car bound for mystical Amritsar. Enjoy the scenery as you pass by vast farmlands and colorful cities. The 6 hour journey leads northwest through India’s interior towards 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. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Accommodations: Hyatt Amritsar. Box breakfast provided.
Day 10: The Golden Temple & Wagah Border. 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 under the command of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer 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. Breakfast provided.
Day 11: Amritsar & Delhi. 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 U.S. departing shortly after midnight. Breakfast provided.
Day 12: Delhi/USA. Your memorable journey ends today when you arrive in New York.
Save by pre-booking a discounted package of our most popular optional excursions:
You can book these excursions individually in India. But you can save over $20 if you purchase this special package ahead of time—with or before your final payment. These are not "seat in coach" excursions that pick up passengers at various hotels; all are operated for Friendly Planet groups only.
Overall the Taj Mahal Express was a great experience and value for you money ....Very Glad we had the opportunity to go ....Friendly Planet does a great job with your tours ....We've been to Japan also with you and look forward to going on more Friendly Planet Tours.