Taj Mahal is currently undergoing restoration works on the main dome. The dome will be covered in iron scaffolding during the process of mud pack therapy to restore its original colour and is expected to last a year (April 2018).

Taj, Tigers & Temples - Summer Itinerary

11 days
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£1,699
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Leisurely
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Trip code: 
FIDA
Way to Travel:
Family Group
Activity:
Family Holidays
Min age:
8
Group size:
4–24

Delve into the vibrant culture and heritage of Northern India

Delve into the vibrant culture and heritage of India on this fun-packed family adventure. From a camel ride in Rajasthan to wildlife at Sariska National Park, India offers memorable experiences that will last a lifetime. Experience the hustle and bustle of Delhi and the 'pink city' of Jaipur, visit imposing forts and magical palaces, learn about Mughal history whilst watching the sunrise at the Taj Mahal, and discover the ancient ruined city of Fatehpur Sikri. No trip in India would be complete without the local transport; tuk tuks and cycle rickshaws are a fun way to explore, whilst train journeys offer encounters with friendly locals who are always eager to strike up a conversation.

Highlights

  • Watch the sunrise at the serene Taj Mahal
  • Search for wildlife at Sariska National Park
  • Discover imposing forts and magical palaces

Key information

  • 9 nights hotels with swimming pools
  • Group normally 4 to 24, plus local leader. Min. age 8 yrs
  • Travel by private minibus and train

What's included

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

What's not included

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

Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we 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

  • Day 1

    Depart London.

    Flights usually depart London in the evening.

  • Day 2

    Arrive Delhi; afternoon sightseeing in Delhi.

    Arrive at Delhi airport and transfer to our hotel. Those who have made their own flight arrangements will join us at the hotel in the morning. After lunch we will have a guided sightseeing tour of Old Delhi, starting with the dramatic Red Fort (if you arrive in Delhi on a Monday you will visit an alternative site as the Red Fort is closed). It is here where we begin to learn about the Mughal Empire. The fort is named for its mighty enclosing walls made of red sandstone and was built as a palace for the fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan, between 1638 and 1648. Unfortunately he didn't live here because his disloyal son, Aurangzeb, imprisoned him in Agra Fort (which we'll visit tomorrow) when he seized power. The fort underwent change during the British rule when the British military cleared out most of the buildings to use them as barrack blocks for the colonial army. After the Red Fort, we then visit the mind-blowing Jama Masjid (India's largest mosque), also built during the time of Shah Jahan. The central open courtyard is said to hold thousands of people. You can also climb one of the minarets for a fantastic view of Delhi. Today the mosque is still a major meeting place for Delhi's Muslim population and it offers a unique insight into Indian culture and daily life in Delhi.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 3

    Early morning train to Agra; sightseeing including Agra Fort; afternoon free.

    Today we have our first train ride on the famous Indian railway! No trip here would be complete without this experience. The trains are often busy and people are always eager to strike up conversation. This is a fantastic experience for the whole family and a fantastic opportunity to meet friendly locals. We leave Delhi in the morning and take the early train to Agra (journey time approx. 2 hrs, departing at approx. 06:00 hrs), where we visit some of the most famous sites in the world. We first visit the imposing Red Fort of Emperor Akbar, where Shah Jahan was imprisoned for 8 years by his son. Within the mighty sandstone walls is a beautiful white marble Pearl Mosque and the palaces of his successors; his son Jehangir and grandson Shah Jahan. The fort is mind boggling for children to look at; courtyards, fountains, double fortified walls, pavillions, cupolas and crenellations. This fort was originally built for military purposes, but Shah Jahan later transformed it into a beautiful palace. There will be free time after to look at the variety of local handicrafts on offer, including jewellery, inlaid and carved marble, carpets and clothes.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Sunrise visit to Taj Mahal; to Fatehpur Sikri, former capital of the Mughal Empire; on to Bharatpur for lunch and cooking demonstration at a local home; evening free.

    A very early start to see the incredible spectacle of the sunrise over the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan built this beautiful monument in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631. The Taj is serenely beautiful and never fails to amaze both adults and children; the white marble exterior changes colour according to the position of the sun throughout the day. After our visit it's time to leave Agra and drive to Bharatpur via the deserted ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri (approx. 3 hours driving in total). This is a great place to have fun and explore. Formally the capital of the Mughal Empire, this wonderfully preserved 'ghost town' was constructed by Emperor Akbar between 1570 and 1585. This impressive and well-preserved citadel became his capital in 1571, but this only lasted 14 years. In 1584, Akbar left Fatehpur Sikri to secure his outlying territories, leaving this city much as we see it today. The site is one of the most atmospheric in northern India. It's positioned on a ridge overlooking a modern village below and the wonderful state of preservation provide us with a taste of this city's majestic past. We then continue to Bharatpur for lunch, where we sample traditional Rajasthani cuisine in a local home. We'll also have a cooking demonstration to learn how the food is prepared.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Morning explore bird sanctuary by cycle rickshaw - the park has more than 360 species of bird; afternoon transfer to Sariska National Park.

    An early start to catch the best of the bird life that inhabits the park. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the bird sanctuary at Keoladeo Ghana National Park is a truly relaxing experience and a world away from the bustling cities that we have just visited. This region was originally semi arid only filling with water during the monsoon season. The Maharaja of Bharatpur diverted water from a nearby irrigation canal and it was converted into a bird sanctuary in 1956. There are now over 360 species of birds to be found there including an array of Egrets, Ducks, Coots, Storks, Kingfishers, Owls, Eagles and Harriers. We spend our time exploring the park by cycle rickshaw, a traditional form of transport in India, unlike anything we use at home! Leaving Bharatpur behind we then drive to Sariska National Park, nestled  in the Aravali Hills (5 to 6 hr journey).
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Nature walk; village visit.

    Early morning nature walk (3 hours). The Sariska National Park is home to a variety of wildlife including deer, wild boar, hyenas, crocodiles, leopards and much more. Bird life includes parakeets, storks, eagles, owls and the peacock (India's national bird). In the afternoon we explore the local area including the Alwar Museum, boating on Saliserh Lake and a visit to a local village.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Morning game drive; to Jaipur.

    After a morning game drive we leave the park and drive to the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur (approx. 4-5 hour journey). Rajah Jai Singh decided to abandon his nearby fortress and palace at Amber in 1727 and laid out a planned city of broad avenues, built of sandstone and painted pink at a later stage. The 'Pink City of Jaipur' is one of the most attractive and colourful cities in India, and children will be fascinated by the camels, cows, bullock-carts and monkeys that can be seen roaming the streets. In the afternoon you can explore the city or take advantage of the hotel's swimming pool.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Sightseeing day including Amber Palace.

    Today we explore Jaipur, returning to the hotel after lunch. In the centre of Jaipur is one of the most intriguing sights of India, the observatory of Jai Singh. This is an assembly of immense astronomical instruments, including the world's largest sundial at 27m tall and just two seconds out! Others are made of marble and brass and all provide some fantastic photo opportunities. A few miles from the main city is the splendid Amber Palace, rising above a lake. The imposing hilltop fort contains large courtyards and interiors with fine decoration. The rest of the day is free for relaxing, exploring or shopping. Jaipur is a centre of many handicrafts, such as wooden and cloth puppets, carved wooden camels, silver trinkets, durries (woven rugs), carpets, printed cloth, semi-precious stones, leatherwear etc.; it will be difficult to leave a workshop without buying anything! Brightly coloured Indian clothing, bangles and bindis can be found at the markets, as well as turbans for boys (people will happily show you how to put one on!) There is also the option to visit Chokhi Dhani later in the afternoon; a purpose-built village that captures the vibrant spirit of Rajasthan, with folk music, dancing, puppet shows, fire acts, magic shows, camel rides and a traditional Rajasthani dinner. With play areas for the younger children, there is plenty to do here to keep the whole family entertained.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    To Pushkar; optional camel cart ride passing through traditional villages.

    This morning we travel to Pushkar (approx. 3-4 hours), a Hindu pilgrimage town and home to the annual Pushkar Camel Fair. The town is steeped in mysticism and we can take a late afternoon camel cart ride (optional), passing through traditional villages as the sun goes down. For something different, kite flying is a fun alternative. Many of the shops in Pushkar sell these, should you wish to give it a go.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Morning free to explore; afternoon train to Delhi; arrive in the evening.

    The morning we visit Brahma temple and the holy lake of Pushkar so that we can really soak up the unique atmosphere of this religious town. We then drive to the nearest train station at Ajmer and travel by train for approx. 7 hrs to Delhi, arriving in the evening at approx. 22:40 hrs.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Fly to London.

    We depart Delhi in the morning for the daytime flight back to London. The arrangements for those not flying with the group end after check out.

    Meals included: Breakfast

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 included.

Where meals are not supplied, our group leaders always encourage people to try local restaurants and street food vendors. They can make recommendations which will help boost small businesses and celebrate local specialties. In Jaipur, Agra and Delhi, we can even see how the food is made, for example, masala chai (tea), samosa (mashed potato snacks), jalebe (Indian donuts), lassi (yoghurt drink). You should allow at least £12 (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, you will spend more than the suggested amount. In most towns there is a good variety of restaurants and a choice between Indian and basic Western style food. If you are a vegetarian India is probably one of the best destinations to travel to with a wide range of dishes on offer. Tea and soft drinks are very cheap. A (large!) bottle of beer is approximately £3 (US$5). Mineral water is widely available. Please note that service in restaurants can be quite slow.

Weather

During October/November and February/March/April the days are normally warm to hot and nights cool or mild. Humidity is very low and little or no rain can be expected. In March, April and October it can be very hot during the day. Evenings in Delhi can be surprisingly cool. It's very cold in the early mornings and evenings in December and January and warm clothes are essential. Fog is also a real possibility during this period. Please note that night time temperatures in Delhi can be very low and only a little above freezing in December and January. The evenings and early mornings (particularly at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve) can be surprisingly cool, so bring a jumper as well as sun hat, sun cream and sunglasses. Departures in May and August will be considerably hotter (see chart below) than at other times of the year. Air-conditioned vehicles will be used, and all hotels have swimming pools (except in Delhi), which will provide an opportunity to cool off.

New Delhi, India

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely). Children will be fascinated by India. It's colourful, chaotic and completely different to anything they'll have experienced before. The tour is not overly demanding, but some of the days have early starts and can be busy, where travelling is combined with sightseeing. Travelling in India can be tiring due to the heat, and you must bear in mind the substantial time difference. Journeys can also be long - the train from Pushkar to Delhi is approx. 7 hrs for example, and delays can occur. However, trains in India are very different to those at home and snacks are often offered on board (at an additional cost). Simply looking out of the window as you pass through villages and towns can provide a source of interest on longer journeys. The roads are generally good, but local traffic and/or road damage after the monsoon can sometimes slow us down. At times it can be quite hot and dusty (except December) and the bustle and pace of the Indian cities can also be tiring. However, there is free time in the itinerary for you to relax or take advantage of the hotel swimming pools. Food can be spicy, but a variety of restaurants are available in the towns, with a choice of both Indian and basic Western cuisine.

Please note that the Archeological 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

Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list.

Accommodation

Hotels

We spend 9 nights in a mixture of standard and comfortable hotels throughout this trip. All hotels are air-conditioned, centrally located and generally have excellent facilities. All hotels have swimming pools.

Single accommodation available on request from GBP170

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list.

Expert Blog Entries

The mountains will always draw us back to this majestic country: and now, with the return of a very special trip, the

  • Reviewed August 2016
    Bernadette Flynn

    Taj Tigers and Palaces

    Good trip, very interesting

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Taj Mahal & visit to a small rural primary school

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bali was exceptional, a real asset to Exodus. He was warm and very friendly, very thoughtful, a very good organiser, nothing was too much trouble for him. I cant imagine a better guide.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I liked the attempt to minimise our use of plastic water bottles, 1 bottle each issued at the start of the trip and this was topped up by the guide throughout, meant that we all used 1 bottle each (rather than at least 1 each day). I think it very unlikely that many people would bring this bottle back to the UK, so I think it would be good if Exodus could organise that these bottles could be collected and recycled in India. I also think we should have a fridge in each hotel room (to keep the water cold), 2 hotels didnt have this. Also, our 16 year old daughter shared a room with us (you dont let under 18s have their own room) but on a number of occasions, she had a single mattress on the floor rather than a proper single bed. This might be suitable for a 5 year old child but a 16 year old does need a proper single bed. The local guide in Jaipur was almost impossible to understand (didnt understand 75% of what he said (he was with us for 2 days).the day we went to the rural primary school was a waste (the primary school was the only good thing-it lasted about 40 minutes), we went to a reservoir to boat. the boats werent there so we coudlnt go boating & the reservoir wasnt worth a visit anyway....the whole day felt as though we were marking time, apart from the school visit. Our guide Bali was amazingly good throughout.

Dates & Prices

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]

Call us on 0208 772 3936