Taj Mahal Express & Diwali, Festival of Lights

Book this package
  • $1999Tour + Flights
  • 9days
per person, double occupancy*
$300 Early Bird Discount. Expires Dec. 14, 2017.*   All prices reflect savings.

Overview

Featuring Savor India's Golden Triangle: Delhi, Agra & the Taj Mahal, then celebrate Diwali in Jaipur; plus Nepal extension
Style Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of 15-24 likeminded travelers escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. More of these packages
24 travelers max, dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
Departures Scheduled Dates; one open departure, Nov 7 - Nov 15, 2018
Price 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
  • Accommodations at superior first class & deluxe hotels with private bath
  • Full American buffet breakfast daily plus one lunch and two dinners
  • Comprehensive guided touring program including all entrance fees to places visited
  • Experienced English-speaking tour director
Optional
  • Special discounted optional tours package
  • Optional Nepal post-tour Extension
Highlights
  • Ride by bicycle rickshaw in Delhi
  • Enjoy a sunrise tour of the Taj Mahal in Agra
  • Marvel at the Chand Baori stepwell in Abhaneri Village
  • Celebrate Diwali in Jaipur at the Suryaa Villa with the Rajput family
Departs New York Kennedy (JFK); other gateways on request (flight schedule)
Themes ActiveHistory & CultureFestivalsFamily Friendly
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
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Prepare for your trip Already booked? Find everything you need to know before you go, including information about passport & visa requirements, flights, luggage, and more.


Taj Mahal Express & Diwali, Festival of Lights itinerary

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. Celebrate Diwali, the "Festival of Lights" on our special Taj Mahal Express tour that 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 Nepal is also available. At this price, you can't afford to miss the chance to see India for yourself!

Dates, Prices & Options

Departure Dates & Prices

Early Bird Discount: Save up to $300 per person if you book by Dec. 14, 2017!
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
2018 DEPARTURES
Depart / Return Regular Price Early
Bird
Early Bird
Good Thru
Current
Price
Departs: Wed, Nov. 7, 2018
Returns: Thu, Nov. 15, 2018
Book by Thu, Dec. 14, 2017 (midnight ET) to get the current early bird discount!
Nov 7 – Nov 15 $2299 –$300 Dec 14 $1999 Select

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. (details)

Options & Fees

Taj Mahal Express
Rooming Selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Room Supplement +$599
Optionals
Optional Excursions Package +$59
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.

Nepal Optional Extension1
Nepal Extension +$999
Nepal Visa Fee2 (paid separately) +$30
Rooming selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Room Supplement +$399
Optionals
Mt. Everest Flyover3 (paid separately) +$199

1. The Nepal 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.

2. Obtained upon arrival in Nepal.

3. This optional is paid locally upon arrival in Nepal and is subject to weather conditions.

Amritsar Optional Extension1
Amritsar Extension unavailable
rooming selection
Double Occupancy included
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

Departure Airports
New York Kennedy (JFK)1 included

1. Other U.S. Gateways on Emirates: Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Orlando (MCO), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), and Washington D.C. Dulles (IAD).

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

Coming from somewhere else? Ask us about availability and prices for flights from other cities (details).

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. But first, check out our Before You Book 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.

Deposit
Deposit $1000

Itinerary

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 Fall of 2018.

Day 1: Depart USA

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

Day 2: Arrive Delhi

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

  • Upon arrival, our representatives will assist you with passport and customs formalities and escort you to your hotel

Day 3: Old & New Delhi

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Full day sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi
  • Ride by bicycle rickshaw to Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque

Laxmi Narayan TempleFull Day Itinerary: 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. 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).

Rickshaw driver, old DelhiContinue 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.

Later, ride 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.

Qutab Minar & ruins, DelhiNext, 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. 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.

Day 4: Delhi & Agra

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

  • After a leisurely morning enjoy a drive to Agra
  • Remainder of the day at leisure in Agra

Rajasthani girlsFull Day Itinerary: 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.

Day 5: Agra

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Sunrise tour of the Taj Mahal
  • Remainder of the day at leisure

Taj MahalFull Day Itinerary: 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.

Musamman Burj, Agra FortOptional 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 Musamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony, Jahan watched the continuing construction of his Taj Mahal until his death.

Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb (Baby Taj), AgraOptional 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, Abhaneri Village & Jaipur

Accommodations: 2 nights ITC Rajputana, Jaipur.  Included meals: Breakfast & lunch.

  • Visit Abhaneri Village and see the Chand Baori stepwell
  • Experience traditional bread making (chapati or naan)
  • Learn the art of tying colorful turbans and sarees
  • Continue to Jaipur and check into your hotel

Chand Baori stepwellFull Day Itinerary: After breakfast, depart for Abhaneri Village, a popular stop along the Agra-Jaipur road for the impressive Chand Baori stepwell and the Harshat Mata Temple. The Chand Baori is perhaps the region’s most visited stepwell and is one of the largest and deepest in all of India. These stepwells were created to harvest rain water and also provided the locals a place to cool off during the hottest summer months as the temperature is a few degrees cooler at the bottom of the well than at its surface. After some exploration, depart for Jaipur, stopping en route at the Umaid Lake Resort for an included lunch. At the resort, receive a cooking demonstration and experience making chapati or naan bread. Afterwards, learn the art of tying colorful turbans or sarees, and receive insights regarding their importance. Continue to Jaipur and check into your hotel.

Day 7: Jaipur & Diwali Celebration at Suryaa Villa

Included meals: Breakfast & dinner.

  • Morning tour of Jaipur including stops at the Hawa Mahal and the Amber Fort, ancient capital of Rajasthan
  • Afternoon at leisure to explore Jaipur
  • This evening enjoy a special dinner celebration for Diwali, the "Festival of Lights"

Hawa MahalFull Day Itinerary: This morning's tour starts with a stop at the Hawa Mahal (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.

Then, continue 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 to view the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls, many of them hung with magnificent paintings and inlaid with precious stones.

Spice merchant, JaipurThis 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.

Diwali Celebrations at Suryaa VillaThis evening enjoy a special dinner celebration for Diwali, the "Festival of Lights". Join your fellow travelers and a traditional Indian family at Suryaa Villa, where the group is greeted by Thakur Surya Pratap Singh & his family in traditional Rajput attire. They will also provide traditional Turbans & Sarees to each group member. The Diwali festival celebrations begin with special Diwali Puja and prayer ceremony with the family followed by fireworks, rangoli, flower work decoration, heena (mehndi) and cultural folk dances followed by dinner with a noble Rajput family. It is an authentic experience and a great way to see traditional Indian Diwali celebration in action.

Chandra Mahal, part of the City palace, JaipurOptional Excursion: Jaipur City Tour including the City Palace & Jantar Mantar Observatory, $30. Take an optional excursion to 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 & Depart Delhi

Included meals: Breakfast & dinner.

  • Enjoy free time in Jaipur for some last minute shopping
  • In the afternoon, return to Delhi via motor-coach and transfer to the airport
  • Enjoy an included dinner, then board your return flight home
  • Passengers taking the optional Nepal extension will overnight in New Delhi at the Holiday Inn New Delhi Airport Hotel or similar. Continue on Day 9 of the extension itinerary below.

Day 9: Arrive USA

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

Optional Excursions Package: $59

Save by pre-booking a discounted package of our most popular optional excursions:

  • Agra Fort (Day 5)
  • Itmad-Ud-Daulah & Sikandra (Day 5)
  • Jaipur City Tour including City Palace & Jantar Mantar Observatory (Day 7)

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.

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 9: 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

Kathmandu at sunsetFull 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 10: 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’

Golden Temple, PatanFull 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.

SwoyambhunathIn 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.

Mt. EverestOptional 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 11: 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

Full 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.

Saddhus, Kathmandu Durbar SquareIn 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 12: Kathmandu & Depart Delhi

Included meals: Breakfast.

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

Day 13: Arrive USA

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

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Reviews

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India was not high on my list of places to travel to but I thought this was such a good deal that I just had to do it. The package itself was the cost of the airfare alone. It was great traveling with fans of Friendly Planet. They kept saying how happy they were with the expertise and professionalism that you guys had throughout the whole process. Everyone on the group was very well travelled and all the travelers resided in different parts of the country from Chicago to Salt Lake City to Los Angeles. My favorite parts of the tour include: the Taj Mahal (of course), the elephant ride up Amber Fort – so much fun, and the rickshaw taxis – a number of folks said this should be a part of the package as it was like a scary Disneyland ride. Thank you for putting such a great package together - what an amazing experience. I hope to book another Friendly Planet package soon!

Jeannie Shu

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