The Taj Mahal has been undergoing restoration works. Most of this is now complete and the scaffolding has been taken down. However, work on the main dome is expected to commence at the end of April/early May 2018.

Highlights of Northern India - Winter itinerary

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Leisurely
Learn more
Trip code: 
AIC8
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture & Discovery Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Unique wildlife, facinating culture and spectacular Moghul architecture

Northern India conjures up memorable and colourful images of turbans, saris, flavoursome curries and rickshaws. We visit the 'Pink City' of Jaipur, home to the wonderful former Maharaja's Palace and the splendid hilltop Amber Fort. Agra and the serene Taj Mahal are not to be missed and fully live up to expectations. An early morning boat ride through the mist along the ghats of Varanasi is probably the most sensory intoxicating excursion in India with the sight of so much Hindu culture both fascinating and deeply moving, an experience only equalled by spotting a tiger in Ranthambore National Park.

Highlights

  • See the unforgettable Taj Mahal
  • Search for the elusive tiger
  • Meander along the Ganges at Varanasi

Key information

  • 7 nights hotels, 1 night air-conditioned sleeper train
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by air-conditioned private bus and train

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 1 lunch included
  • All accommodation
  • Transfer for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas & vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, w/trip/AICe are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Delhi
to
Delhi
  • Day 1

    Start Delhi.

    Those who are on the group flights will land in Delhi in the morning. Today you are free to relax or explore the sites of New and Old Delhi (an optional sightseeing trip will be organised if you wish). Recommended sites are the Red Fort, Humayun's Tomb, India Gate, Jama Masjid (India's largest mosque), Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) and Raj Ghat. 

    Standard Hotel

     

  • Day 2

    Fly to Varanasi; relax and enjoy the wonders of the city.

    After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our short flight to Varanasi (flight approx. 1.5 hrs). We arrive in Varanasi late morning morning and transfer to our hotel. Varanasi, located on the river Ganges, is one of the most holy cities in India and stands at the centre of the Hindu Universe. As such, the city lives and breathes Hinduism: there are thousands of pilgrims, wandering holy men (Sadhus), religious elders and casual visitors. It is a city to get immersed in by exploring its maze of narrow lanes and the many temples, and watching the Hindu ceremonies that take place around the clock. There is time to explore the emporiums specialising in silks and brocades or maybe take a massage by the banks of the Ganges. Your leader can organise various optional sightseeing trips during your 2 days here.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Dawn boat ride on the Ganges visiting the bathing ghats; overnight train to Agra.

    Just before dawn, we take a boat out on the Ganges to witness the extraordinary spectacle on the ghats, the steps leading down to the river. Every day thousands of Hindu pilgrims come to these three miles of riverbank to soak in the holy waters. The rest of the day is free to continue exploring the city, relax at the hotel or go on optional sightseeing excursions. In the late afternoon we board the overnight train back to Agra.

    Sleeper Train

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Arrive Agra; afternoon visit to Red Fort and the incredible Taj Mahal.

    We arrive in Agra early in the morning and transfer from the train station to our hotel. Today we will visit the imposing Red Fort of Akbar, third of the Moghul Emperors, whose mighty sandstone walls enclose the beautiful white marble Pearl Mosque and the palaces, halls, courtyards and fountains of his sons and successors, Jehangir and Shah Jahan. It is here that the latter spent his last years, imprisoned by his own son Aurangzeb. Within striking distance is the beautiful white marble Taj Mahal; built by the Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631. The Taj is serenely beautiful and never fails to amaze a first time visitor; the white marble exterior changes colour according to the position of the sun during the day and is matched by the rich interior detail. 

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    To Ranthambore via Fatehpur Sikri.

    We wind our way through the villages of rural India to Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, visiting Fatehpur Sikri enroute. Fatehpur Sikri is the Emperor Akbar's deserted royal city. This impressive and well-preserved citadel became his capital in 1571, after the blessing of a local Moslem holy man correctly predicted the birth of a longed-for son, his successor the Emperor Jehangir. The mosque, designed to hold ten thousand worshippers, the palaces, residences and halls of audience are all made of decorative red sandstone. But this magnificence only lasted 14 years, as in 1584 Akbar left Fatehpur Sikri to secure his outlying territories, leaving this city much as we see it today - in perfect condition. This is another very full but rewarding day. Total driving time is approx. 7 hours.

    At Ranthambore National Park, we stay in a hotel not far from the park entrance and make 2 game drives into the park. Ranthambore is one of India's tiger reserves under Project Tiger. After initial success, poaching has drastically reduced the tiger population and the chance of spotting a tiger is small, but many Exodus groups have seen tigers over the last few years. There is other wildlife such as several species of deer, crocodiles and bird life including purple heron, kingfishers, cormorants, parakeets, jacanda, waders and partridges.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Morning and afternoon game drives at Ranthambore National Park.

    In the morning we take our second game drive, trying to find that elusive tiger.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Drive to Jaipur; afternoon sightseeing including City Palace, Jantar Mantar and the Royal Observatory.

    This morning we wind our way through the villages of rural India and drive to Jaipur. Built in the late 18th century, Jaipur is a planned city of broad avenues built of sandstone and painted pink at a later stage. We visit the City Palace in the centre of Jaipur, formerly the residence of the Maharaja, now a fine museum containing rare manuscripts, paintings, royal garments and weapons. Close to the palace is one of the most intriguing sights of India, the observatory of Jai Singh. This is an assembly of immense astronomical instruments made of marble and brass set in a pleasant garden. We will also see Jaipur's impressive landmark, the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds. Jaipur is a centre of many handicrafts, such as durries (woven rugs), carpets, printed cloth, semi-precious stones, leatherwear etc. It will be difficult to leave a workshop without buying anything!
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Visit Amber Fort; later drive to Delhi.

    This morning we visit the impressive Amber Fort a few miles from the main city, rising above a lake. We then later drive to Delhi for our final evening, which will take approx. 5-7 hours depending upon traffic conditions.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    End Delhi.

    Those on the flight inclusive package will depart for the airport this morning for the daytime flight back to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out from the hotel.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

India

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Some of our India trips spend time at altitude. In regions over approx. 2000m, there is low to no risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For trips going to altitudes of over 3000m there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please see the TRIP NOTES for further information.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 1 lunch are included in this trip.

India is famous for its food and there is ample chance to try various curries such as the familiar tandoori, biriyani and rogan josh. If you are a vegetarian, India is a great destination. There are wonderful desserts and excellent beers, soft drinks and Indian specialities such as lassi, a refreshing yoghurt drink.

You should allow at least £13 - £15 (approx. US$18 - US$20) per day for lunch and dinner. You can eat out very cheaply in India, but if you go to the more expensive restaurants most of the time, you will spend more than the suggested amount. In most of the towns there is a good choice of restaurants and a choice between Indian and Western food. Please note that service in restaurants can be quite slow. Tea and soft drinks are very cheap. A (large!) bottle of beer is approximately £3 (approx. US$4). Mineral water is widely available, but drinking water is provided in a large container in the bus in order to reduce our use of plastic, so please bring your own water bottle with you to refill. 

Weather

 

 

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely)

This holiday is designed so that you can see the best parts of Northern India in a short period of time. Therefore this is generally a fast-paced itinerary.

You should be prepared for some long days and some early starts. The times stated in the trip notes are actual driving times and do not include photo, tea, comfort or lunch breaks. Journeys can sometimes take longer due to local traffic or road damage after the monsoon. On December and January departures, fog is common and this can sometimes slow us down. These departures may also experience severe train delays or cancellations. If a severe delay occurs, the group will travel overnight on a private comfortable bus instead. 

There is a lot to see in the time you are in India, but everything is scheduled so that it doesn't feel too rushed. You should come armed for an experience: India can be hard work and the heat and the bustle of some of the cities can be a little overwhelming. That said, there are places where you can find peace and this is one of the few places in the world from where you will return armed with great stories and memories to last a lifetime.

Please note that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are responsible for the conservation of many monuments in India, including the Taj Mahal, and very occasionally this may mean that work is taking place at sites visited on this trip. The ASI’s schedule is never published so it is not possible to forewarn our clients of when work will be taking place.

 

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels and overnight train

7 nights hotels, 1 night air-conditioned sleeper train.

The hotels used are standard city tourist hotels (2 or 3-star, local rating). All rooms have en suite facilities. Service and amenities are generally adequate.

Single accommodation (from GBP160) excludes the sleeper train.

Sleeper train 

These are booked in 2-tier (or 3-tier if 2-tier is not available) sleeper A/C. There are many excellent trains in India but the standard of seating and sleeping is not in line with European standards. All seats are pre-allocated at the time the tickets are issued, meaning that we cannot guarantee the whole group are together on the train; your leader will manage this as best as possible and will always check on you during the journey. Indian trains are safe to travel on but we recommend that you keep valuables with you at all times. Snacks are often offered on board (at an additional cost). Whilst some trains have western-style facilities, the majority of services are equipped with squat toilets. Please note trains are sometimes delayed for reasons beyond our control, particularly in December and January when fog is common, but we endeavour to minimise the impact of these delays on the overall journey.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

 

Private Adventures 

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!

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