Best of India

Delhi, Agra & the Taj Mahal, the pink city of Jaipur, two jungle safaris in Ranthambore & Varanasi; optional extension to Nepal


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from$2499Tour + Flights 13days
price per person, double occupancy,* based on Apr 7, 2020 departure from JFK
$500 Instant Savings. Expires Nov 14, 2019.*   All prices reflect savings.
Style Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of no more than 24 likeminded travelers (and often much fewer), escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. More of these packages
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
Departures January – April 2020 Group Size 24 travelers max
Themes History & CultureGrand ToursNature & Wildlife
Activity Level Moderate
What to Expect This fast-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking. On the extension to Nepal, the tour 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 information about passport & visa requirements, flights, luggage, and more.

Package includes

  • Flights
  • Coach
  • Transfers
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Guides
  • Round-trip airfare from New York JFK including fuel surcharges and taxes and fees
  • Intra-India ground transportation and flight Jaipur to Varanasi
  • 10 nights in superior & deluxe hotels with private bath
  • 17 Meals: 10 buffet breakfasts, 2 lunches & 5 dinners, including welcome and farewell dinners
  • Comprehensive guided touring program including all entrance fees to places visited
  • Exclusive evening high tea with a local family
  • Experienced, English-speaking tour director

Optional add-ons

  • Optional cultural show in Agra
  • Optional Nepal post-tour extension
  • Optional morning flight over Mt. Everest

Why you'll love it

  • Ride by bicycle rickshaw in Delhi to India's largest mosque, Jama Masjid. This admirable mosque is sure to impress at first glance with its red sandstone and white marble architecture.
  • Experience the still, awe-inspiring view of the Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world.
  • Meet and converse with an Indian family during High Tea, a Friendly Planet exclusive for our travelers to experience.
  • Get the once-in-a-lifetime chance to view tigers and other wildlife at the Ranthambore National Park during two safari drives.
  • Hop in a jeep and travel to the ancient capital of Amber, where you'll explore the Amber Fort, a vast complex comprised of numerous courtyards and elegantly decorated halls.
  • After spending the day discovering City Palace and Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, enjoy a decadent private dinner with a local family, an exclusive bonus for you and your fellow Friendly Planet travelers.
  • Witness the chanting of mantras and fragrant smoke rising from incense sticks during a traditional aarti ceremony at the Assi Ghat, which celebrates the religious significance and history of Varanasi
  • Enjoy a boat ride on the historic river Ganges at dawn, witnessing the rituals of Hindu pilgrims as well as exploring one of the bathing ghats.
Best of India itinerary

On our Best of India Small Group Tour, 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; 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. 

Plus, we’ve added a NEW DESTINATION you won’t find on some other India itineraries: Ranthambore National Park. This former maharajas’ hunting ground turned wild sanctuary of jungle and dramatic rocky outcrops shelters a 10th century fort, ruined temples and old hunting pavilions, overgrown tombs, and wildlife including crocodiles, pythons, monkeys, sloth bears and so much more. Oh, and it’s also one of the best places in India to potentially see tigers! 

Many travelers will also choose to take our optional post-tour extension to Nepal. You’ll base your adventure in the intoxicating and heritage-filled capital of Kathmandu, and journey out into the Kathmandu Valley to charming places like Patan City and Bhaktapur. Of course, when in Nepal, it’s impossible to forget that you are traveling in the shadow of Everest, and on this tour we offer a truly once in a lifetime experience: an optional early morning sightseeing flight over the tallest mountain on our planet. 



Dates & Prices

Departure Dates & Prices

Instant Savings: Get $500 off if you book by Nov. 14, 2019!
Departures & Prices, with flights
per person, double occupancy*
Depart / Return Price Instant
Departs: Tue, Oct 8, 2019
Returns: Sun, Oct 20, 2019
Oct 8 – Oct 20 $3099 Departed
Departs: Tue, Nov 12, 2019
Returns: Sun, Nov 24, 2019
Nov 12 – Nov 24 $3249 Closed
Departs: Tue, Dec 3, 2019
Returns: Sun, Dec 15, 2019
Dec 3 – Dec 15 $3299 Closed
Depart / Return Price Instant
Departs: Tue, Jan 7, 2020
Returns: Sun, Jan 19, 2020
Book by Thu, Nov 14, 2019 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Jan 7 – Jan 19 $3349 –$500 Nov 14 $2849 Select
Departs: Tue, Feb 18, 2020
Returns: Sun, Mar 1, 2020
Book by Thu, Nov 14, 2019 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Feb 18 – Mar 1 $3149 –$500 Nov 14 $2649 Select
Departs: Tue, Mar 17, 2020
Returns: Sun, Mar 29, 2020
Book by Thu, Nov 14, 2019 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Mar 17 – Mar 29 $3199 –$500 Nov 14 $2699 Select
Departs: Tue, Apr 7, 2020
Returns: Sun, Apr 19, 2020
Book by Thu, Nov 14, 2019 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Apr 7 – Apr 19 $2999 –$500 Nov 14 $2499 Select

If you want a few extra days to explore on your own, we may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates, including extra hotel nights and separate airport transfers, for an additional charge. Ask us about prices and availability when you reserve. More information Want to extend your trip?

Options & Fees

Best of India
Rooming Selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Room Supplement +$699
Separately Paid Taxes & Fees
India Visa & Processing Fee1 (paid separately) +$102.50

1. Visas for India must be obtained prior to travel. Price includes $100 visa fee + 2.5% bank fee. Comprehensive visa instructions will be included in your confirmation packet.

Nepal Optional Post-Tour Extension
Nepal Post-Tour Extension +$849
Nepal Visa Fee1 (paid separately) +$30
Rooming Selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Room Supplement +$299

1. Obtained upon arrival in Nepal.

Optional Airport Transfer for Land Only Passengers1
Arrival Transfer: Delhi airport to hotel +$20

1. Prices based on a minimum of 2 passengers.

So that we can offer you the best deals, our packages are, like most hotels and cruises, priced based on double occupancy rooms or cabins. We charge solo travelers an extra fee to cover the extra costs of single occupancy rooms or cabins. (Consider: if you booked a $200/night hotel room solo, you would pay the $200 yourself; but if a couple booked the same room, each one would pay only $100.) But you only pay extra for the rooms or cabins, nothing else, including meals, sightseeing, tips, etc.

Want to find a roommate and avoid single occupancy fees? We can help! Learn more
Why are single rooms more?

Flights & Departure Cities

Departure Airports
New York Kennedy (JFK)1 included

1. For flights from JFK, upgrades may be available to Business Class starting from $5,000. For actual prices and availability from this or other cities, please make your request during the reservation process so that our air team can check the availability and provide you with the exact rate for your chosen travel date. Rates and space are subject to availability with the airline, an increased deposit may be required to confirm a seating upgrade.

This package includes round-trip flights from the city listed above. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.

Want to fly from another city? We can arrange flights from most major cities. Ask us for a quote for flights from your preferred city when you reserve, and we'll get back to you with the price and availability within 3 business days. Of course, you can also book your own connecting flights. More information


Notice Notice: The Taj Mahal is currently undergoing renovations. Some scaffolding has been erected on sections of the building and some of its surrounding spires. Renovations are expected to be completed in Spring of 2019.

Day 1: Depart USA

  • Your exotic journey to India & Nepal begins today as you depart from the USA

Day 2: Arrive Delhi

Accommodations: 2 nights Shangri-La Eros Hotel or similar, Delhi.

  • Arrive 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

Laxmi Narayan Temple, New DelhiFull Day Itinerary: After buffet breakfast at the hotel, board your coach to explore Old and New Delhi, a city 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. 

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.

Qutab Minar, New DelhiThis 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 Qutab 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. Continue past the India Gate, and then proceed past 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 & Agra

Accommodations: 2 nights ITC Mughal or similar, Agra. Included meals: Breakfast.

  • After breakfast travel to the city of Agra
  • Visit Itmad-Ud-Daulah, known as the “Baby Taj”

Itmad-Ud-Daulah, AgraFull Day Itinerary: After breakfast, drive to Agra, site of the world's most famous monument to love, the Taj Mahal. Upon arrival in Agra, visit Itmad-Ud-Daulah, known as the “Baby Taj,” the first Mughal structure completely built from Marble. Proceed to your deluxe, centrally located hotel for check-in.

Optional Excursion: Mohabbat The Taj Cultural Show, $50 (purchased locally). This evening witness a live performance 'Mohabbat - The Taj Show' at Kalakriti. See how the love story between Emperor Shah Jahan and his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal inspired the creation of one of the world wonders.

Note: The performance is in Hindi, with headsets available in various languages. 

Day 5: Agra

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Rise early for a breathtaking morning tour of the Taj Mahal
  • Discover the Agra Fort
  • Afternoon excursions in the local markets
  • Evening high tea with a local family

Taj MahalFull Day Itinerary: Rise early before sunrise to enjoy a breathtaking view of the Taj Mahal. 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. You will have ample time to view and be mesmerized by this outstanding piece of architecture. Return to your hotel for buffet breakfast. 

Agra FortAfter 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. 

This afternoon, explore the local markets where you should do your best to bargain for the marble products and high quality leather wallets, shoes and belts. Later, 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 travelers, provides an opportunity to meet and interact with an Indian family and get to know something about life in India.

Day 6: Agra & Ranthambore

Accommodations: 2 nights Tigress Spa & Resort or similar, Ranthambore. Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Transfer to Bharatpur to board the train for Sawai Madhopur
  • Transfer from Sawai Modhopur to Ranthambore National Park

Bengal tiger, RanthamboreFull Day Itinerary: After breakfast, transfer to Bharatpur to board the train for Sawai Madhopur. Sawai Madhopur and the Ranthambore National Park was originally the hunting reserve for the Maharaja of Jaipur. In 1972 the park was acquired by Project Tiger, a tiger conservation program, and became a National Park in 1980. Now the park is one of the best locations in India to get a close view of tigers and other wildlife. Upon arrival, board your touring coach and drive the short distance to your hotel for check-in.

Day 7: Ranthambore

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Early morning jungle safari to spot wildlife
  • Get a second chance to spot wildlife on an evening jungle safari

Gray langur, RanthamboreFull Day Itinerary: Rise early for the best opportunity to spot wildlife in Ranthambore National Park in open air vehicles. Return to the hotel for breakfast and relaxation. Enjoy another opportunity to see wildlife on the evening jungle safari.

Day 8: Ranthambore & Jaipur

Accommodations: 2 nights ITC Rajputana or similar, Jaipur. Included meals: Breakfast.

  • This morning travel to Jaipur, the magnificent Pink City
  • The afternoon is yours to explore at leisure 

Full Day Itinerary: After breakfast, board your touring coach for Jaipur, popularly known as the Pink City because it was built of pink stucco in imitation of sandstone. 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. After check-in, enjoy a stroll through the colorful streets and bazaars.

Day 9: Jaipur

Included meals: Breakfast & dinner.

  • Discover the ancient capital of Amber, en route brief stop at the Palace of Winds
  • Enjoy an afternoon city tour of Jaipur
  • This evening, join a private dinner with a local family in Jaipur

Amber FortFull Day Itinerary: This morning visit the ancient capital of Amber to see the fabulous Amber Fort. En route, take a brief photo 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, from where 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. Ascend to the fortress by jeep to view the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls, many of them hung with magnificent wall paintings and some inlaid with precious stones and mirrors.

City Palace, Jaipur

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. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a private dinner with a local family in Jaipur held exclusively for Friendly Planet.

Kindly note that you will see elephant rides offered around the Amber Fort. However, Friendly Planet Travel has made the compassionate decision to not include elephant rides in our itineraries, as the process to train these brilliant animals is not up to our ethical standards. In addition, elephant backbones are delicate and not meant to carry the weight of saddles and people. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Day 10: Jaipur & Varanasi

Accommodations: 2 nights Taj Ganges Varanasi or similar, Varanasi. Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Transfer to the airport for your flight to Varanasi 
  • Explore Sarnath, a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists
  • Enjoy an evening aarti ceremony

VaranasiFull Day Itinerary: This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Varanasi, the religious heart of Hindu India. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. 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. Upon arrival, drive to Sarnath, a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists. 

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 11: Varanasi

Included meals: Breakfast & dinner.

  • Early morning boat ride on the river Ganges
  • Exciting city tour of Varanasi
  • Enjoy a farewell dinner with fellow travelers

Bathing ghat, VaransiFull Day Itinerary: This morning at dawn, depart for an unforgettable experience on a boat ride 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.

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 Vishwanath Temple, Benaras Hindu University and the Bharat Mata Temple. Explore Vishwanath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and the most sacred shrine in Varanasi. Continue to Benares Hindu University, considered to be the largest residential university in Asia. 

Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner with fellow travelers. 

Day 12: Varanasi & Delhi

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Transfer to the airport for your return flight via Delhi
  • Passengers taking the optional Nepal extension will overnight in New Delhi at the Novotel New Delhi Aerocity or similar. Continue on Day 13 of the extension itinerary below.

Day 13: Arrive USA

  • Your memorable journey ends today when you arrive in the USA

Nepal Extension

Take advantage of your already included airfare and add an optional extension to mysterious Nepal. The Nepal Extension includes 1 night in Delhi, round trip flights from Delhi to Kathmandu, 3 nights in Kathmandu with a full touring program, transfers, buffet breakfast daily and a farewell dinner and performance. Passengers taking the Nepal Extension will return to the U.S. 4 days later than the return dates shown. Note: Due to the earthquake in April 2015, many of Nepal's stupas and other sites are under ongoing renovations.

Day 13: Delhi & Kathmandu, Nepal

Accommodations: 3 nights Hyatt Regency Kathmandu or similar. Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Transfer to the airport for a short flight to Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Upon arrival, be met and transferred to your hotel
  • Visit Boudhanath, one of the world’s largest stupas

Boudhanath stupa, KathmanduFull 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. 

Day 14: Kathmandu, Patan City & Swoyambhunath

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Optional morning flight over Mt. Everest
  • 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. Walk from Kumaripati through the narrow streets, 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.

SwoyamnhunathIn 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. 

Optional Excursion: Mt. Everest Flyover, $205 (purchased locally). Early this morning you will have an opportunity to experience an optional scenic flight over Mt. Everest and the breathtaking Himalayas, weather permitting. This optional excursion must be purchased locally.

Day 15: Kathmandu & Bhaktapur

Included meals: Breakfast & dinner.

  • Enjoy a morning visit to Bhaktapur Durbar Square
  • This afternoon visit Kathmandu Durbar Square at the heart of the old city
  • In the evening, enjoy a Nepalese farewell dinner and performance

Shiva Temple, Durbar SquareFull Day Itinerary: In the morning, 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 a Nepalese farewell dinner and dance performance.

Day 16: Kathmandu & Depart Delhi

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Enjoy the morning at leisure in Kathmandu to shop and explore independently
  • Bid farewell to India & Nepal as you transfer to the airport for your overnight return flight to the USA

Day 17: Arrive USA

  • Your memorable journey ends today when you arrive in the USA


Hyatt Regency Kathmandu

Hyatt Regency Kathmandu


Hyatt Regency Kathmandu is set on 37 acres, just a short ride from the center of Kathmandu. Its lavish regional architecture is a feast for the senses, with vibrant colors, serene walkways and luscious cuisine.

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ITC Mughal

ITC Mughal


Sprawled over 35 acres of lush gardens, the ITC Mughal is in close proximity to the Taj Mahal. This 5-star hotel is a fitting tribute to the great Mughal builders of the past.

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ITC Rajputana

ITC Rajputana


ITC Rajputana is located less than a mile from the center of Jaipur. The regal-influenced design and gardens echo Jaipur’s history.

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Shangri-La Eros Hotel

Shangri-La Eros Hotel


The deluxe Shangri-La Eros Hotel is centrally located amid landscaped gardens in New Delhi's historic government district. It is an elegant oasis nestled within the heart of bustling metropolis. Travelers around the world are offered a relaxing place to rest and recharge and a convenient base from which they can explore this fascinating city.

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Taj Ganges Varanasi


Taj Ganges Varanasi is a modern first class hotel nestled amidst 42 acres of lush gardens. The hotel is an oasis of greenery and a haven of peace and tranquility in the bustling temple city offering guests a fine mix of cuisine, culture and comfort in a 5-star ambiance.

More information

The Tigress Spa & Resort

The Tigress Spa & Resort

Superior First Class

The Tigress Ranthambore resort is located next to Ranthambore National Park, a vast wildlife sanctuary known for spotting tigers and other wildlife. The hotel offers an elegant and welcoming ambiance with close access to the Park.

More information

In the unlikely event that a particular hotel is not available, a similar or better hotel may be substituted.


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