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Exotic India




Duration
10 Nights / 11 Days

Places Covered: Delhi, Khajuraho & Erotic Temples, Varanasi, Gwalior, Agra - Taj Mahal
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KhajurahoFrom the hustle and bustle of Delhi we travel by train and bus, as we make our way through northern India to the exotic temples of Khajuraho before continuing to Varanasi, the spiritual heart of India on the banks of the sacred Ganges River. We explore Gwalior, home to Gwalior Fort, before reaching Agra and the majestic Taj Mahal.

Moderate - A moderate level of fitness is required. These trips generally involve some physical activities and occasional long travelling days. Accommodation and travel conditions may be more basic.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Delhi

Route MapToday is an arrival day and no activities are planned, so you may arrive at any time. If you are arriving early, please check the noticeboard in the foyer of the hotel for suggestions of things to see and do in Delhi. A pre-departure meeting takes place this evening at the hotel. Please also check the noticeboard for details of this meeting and for any other messages from your tour leader. Please also bring your passport and travel insurance documents to the meeting, where your tour leader will also collect your local payment. Afterwards we have the opportunity to go out for an optional group dinner.

Day 2 - Delhi - overnight train
We have the morning free in Delhi to do some exploring and our tour leader can give us suggestions regarding interesting places to visit. The old city's market area is known as Chandni Chowk, whilst Connaught Place is the commercial heart of New Delhi. Red Fort and the impressive Jama Masjid (Great Mosque) are two of the city's most notable landmarks, whilst Raj Ghat is a monument that marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. Later in the evening we catch an overnight sleeper train bound for Khajuraho.

Day 3-4 - Khajuraho
Khajuraho is famous for its Kamasutra style collection of erotic stone carvings, which we witness on a visit to the temples. We also have a free day that we can spend further explore these exotic temples and also chill out in this very pleasant and laid-back town.

Day 5-6 - Varanasi
In the morning we catch a bus to Satna and board our train for Varanasi, where we can expect to arrive late in the evening. Situated on the banks of the holy Ganges River Varanasi is the oldest and holiest city, as well as the spiritual heart of India. It is visited by millions of pilgrims every year. We include a memorable early morning boat ride to witness life along the ghats, where we see people wash, pray and cremate their dead. It is a confronting, moving and intimate insight into life and death. Our city guide will then take us through the labyrinth of colourful back lanes and side streets that are a feature of this timeless city. There are also other sightseeing options in Varanasi which our guide can help organise.

Day 7 - Varanasi - overnight train
Our final morning in Varanasi is free to enjoy some of these excursions such as visiting Sarnath, the holy place where Buddha delivered his first sermon. In the afternoon we are transferred to the railway station to board our sleeper train to Gwalior.

Day 8 - Gwalior
In the morning we reach Gwalior, a town is famous for its fortress which has been described as the most impressive in India. It is huge and sits on top of a ridge overlooking the town. Within the fortress are many historic buildings including Hindu temples and some unusual palaces. We explore Gwalior Fort before enjoying some free time to wander around town.

Day 9 - Agra
We have the morning free in Gwalior to do some additional exploring, as there are several places of interest around the area including temples and the quaint Man Singh Palace. Later in the evening we catch an express train for the two-hour journey from Gwalior to Agra. On arrival we are transferred to our hotel, where after settling in we can go out for an optional group dinner.

Day 10 - Agra - Delhi
Agra is home to India's most famous site - the majestic Taj Mahal. We visit this amazing 17th century marble mausoleum, built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his second wife who died giving birth. Started in 1631 the project was completed in 1648 and employed a workforce of over 20,000 people. Construction materials were brought from all over India with the marble from Rajasthan transported by over 1000 elephants. The emperor himself was subsequently overthrown and imprisoned by his son and oversaw the construction of this magnificent monument whilst incarcerated in Agra Fort. Upon his death, Shah Jehan was also entombed in the Taj Mahal next to his beloved wife. Our tour leader can also help us arrange an optional visit to Agra Fort. Later in the evening we catch an express train that takes us to Delhi.

Day 11 - Delhi
Our trip ends today around breakfast time. If you wish to stay on in Delhi, please pre-book your post-tour accommodation before you commence your travels. Delhi has many interesting museums and monuments. If you are interested in historical and cultural matters, it is recommended that you to extend your stay and visit some of these places. Humayun's Tomb and Safdarjang's Tomb are other great examples of Mughal architecture and design. Hauz Khas Village is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown - a chic artistic enclave set right next to the remnants of a historical site.

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