Mystical and spiritual, chaotic and confounding, India overflows with riches. Staying at excellent hotels, your small group, limited to 24 travelers, travels the classic Golden Triangle: bustling Delhi; Agra, home of the sublime Taj Mahal; and Jaipur, great city of the Rajput.
Begin the 17-day exploration with a three-night stay in the Indian capital, touring the important sights of both Old and New Delhi and enjoying a rickshaw ride through colorful Chandni Chowk market. Get acquainted next with the “pink city” of Jaipur, where highlights of a three-night visit include the stunning Hawa Mahal palace, Amber Fort, and a home-hosted dinner with a Rajasthan family. A singular experience follows with the opportunity to search for the elusive Bengal tiger on game drives during a two-night stay near Ranthambore National Park, once a royal hunting ground, with its picturesque ruins. Departing for pastoral Kalakho, embark on a village walk to meet Meena tribespeople. En route to the ancient Mughal stronghold of Agra, visit the impressive 3,500-step Chand Baori step well. Marvel at the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal and imposing Agra Fort, and take an Indian cuisine cooking lesson. The journey ends with three nights in Hinduism’s holiest city, Varanasi. Cruising on the Ganges, experience life along the sacred river and witness a traditional aarti ceremony. Visit nearby Sarnath, one of Buddhism’s holiest sites; and Sarnath Museum, housing a superb collection of Buddhist artifacts. Absorb the beauty of the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal on an optional 5-day/4-night post-tour extension that includes extensive sightseeing.