Essence of India


Travel through history, discovering ancient sites and learning about royal traditions. Travel through Rajasthan, filled with magnificent forts and palaces. Discover the beauty of the unique temples and have a spiritual experience in Varanasi.

Places Visited

New Zealand - Delhi (3N) - Udaipur (2N) – Rarla Narlai (1N) -Jodhpur (2N) - Jaipur (2N) - Bharatpur (2N)/Ranthambore (2N) - Agra (2N) - Khajuraho (1N) - Varanasi (2N) - New Zealand

Day 1: New Zealand to Delhi
Fly with Singapore Airlines to Delhi for a two night stay. Delhi is split into two areas; Old Delhi and New Delhi. Old Delhi is comprised of an ancient city wall, a maze of small alleyways and legendary bazaars. New Delhi is full of opulent 19th-century buildings and wide, tree-lined boulevards. Due to seasonal changes in airline schedules, passengers may depart one day earlier on an overnight flight.
Day 1: New Zealand to Delhi
Day 2: Delhi
Explore Old Delhi, starting with a drive past the Red Fort. Walk through Chandni Chowk Bazaar to Jama Masjid and visit the Lakshmi Narayan Hindu Temple. After lunch, view india Gate before visiting Gandhi Smriti where Ghandi was assassinated and Qutub Minar. This evening, dine at the Olive Bar & Kitchen, located in an ancient Mughal mansion. (B,L,D)
Day 2: Delhi
Day 3: Delhi to Udaipur
Fly to Udaipur, a city of lakes, palaces and temples. The afternoon is free at your leisure to relax or enjoy the facilities at your deluxe hotel. (B,L)
Day 3: Delhi to Udaipur
Day 4: Udaipur
Drive around Fateh Sagar Lake and visit the Folk Museum, Mewar Art Gallery and Sahelion Ki Bari Gardens, an 18th-century retreat in the north of the city built for the Queen of Udaipur. Tour the City Palace which overlooks Lake Pichola. Built in 1725, the palace complex is made up of 11 separate palaces, all of which are ornately decorated. Enjoy a relaxing cruise on Lake Pichola which is surrounded by hills, palaces, havelis, ghats and temples. This evening, dinner will be on the Sunset Terrace at the Fateh Prakash Palace, which has perfect views across Lake Pichola. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Udaipur
Day 5: Udaipur to Rawla Narlai
Travel to Rawla Narlai. Situated midway between Jodhpur and Udaipur, it is a 17th century fort which has been converted into a hotel. in evening enjoy a walking tour through the local village where you can meet the local people and see an authentically traditional way of life. Enjoy a stepwell dinner at the hotel. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Udaipur to Rawla Narlai
Day 6: Rawla Narlai to Jodhpur
Travel to Jodhpur, also known as the ‘Blue City’. In the evening visit Mehrangarh Fort which overlooks the city. It is one of the most impressive and formidable structures in Rajasthan. After a welcome drink, enjoy a personalised tour with the fort’s curator. Dinner will be served in an exclusive venue within the fort which is not opened for the general public. (B,L,D)
Day 6: Rawla Narlai to Jodhpur
Day 7: Jodhpur
Tour the city of Jodhpur, beginning with Jaswant Thada, a cluster of royal cenotaphs, and the museum located in the Umaid Bhawan Palace. Enjoy an rickshaw ride to a local restaurant for lunch followed by a leisurely stroll through Subzi Mandi, the local market. Travel to Hanwant Mahal, a former royal residence, for an unforgettable dining experience. (B,L,D)
Day 8: Jodhpur to Jaipu
Drive to Jaipur, commonly called the ‘Pink City’ because of the pink paint on all the buildings in the old city area. Enjoy some shopping inside the walled city, where villagers from around Jaipur come to sell their produce. This evening, dine at ikaki Niwas, a Rajasthani home. (B,L,D)
Day 8: Jodhpur to Jaipu
Day 9: Jaipur
Stop briefl y at Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) before continuing to the impressive Amer Fort. Try your hand at block printing and carpet weaving at a nearby craft centre. After lunch visit the City Palace and Jantar Mantar observatory. This evening, return to the Amer Fort and dine at the 1135 AD restaurant, located inside the highest ramparts of the fort. (B,L,D)
Day 9: Jaipur
Days 10-12: Jaipur to Agra
January to May – via Ranthambore Travel to Ranthambore National Park, one of the prime examples of Project Tiger’s conservation efforts in Rajasthan. This afternoon enjoy a canter safari. (B,L,D) Tomorrow you will have a morning and afternoon canter safari. (B,L,D) The following day, board your train to Bharatpur. Upon arrival, drive to Agra, stopping at Fatehpur Sikri en route. Later this evening enjoy Mohabbat the Taj Show at Kalakriti. (B,L,D) September to December – via Bharatpur Drive to Bharatpur for a two night stay. (B,L,D) Tomorrow visit Keoladeo National Park for a morning rickshaw safari. Later visit a nearby village. (B.L,D) The following day, drive to Agra via Fatehpur Sikri. Later this evening enjoy Mohabbat the Taj Show at Kalakriti. (B,L,D)
Days 10-12: Jaipur to Agra
Day 13: Agra
View the Taj Mahal in all its glory as the sun is rising. Tour Agra Fort, which was completed in 1573 and constructed by more than 14,000 builders over eight years. Enjoy an exciting auto-rickshaw tour through the streets of Agra. (B,L)
Day 13: Agra
Day 14: Agra to Khajuraho
Rise early and board the Shatabdi Express train to Jhansi. Continue by road to Khajuraho, stopping in the mediaeval city of Orchha en route. Orchha is famous for its palaces and temples built by its Bundela rulers in the 16th century. This evening, enjoy a cultural dance performance. (B,L)
Day 14: Agra to Khajuraho
Day 15: Khajuraho to Varanasi
Embark on a tour of the Western groups of temples. Fly to Varanasi, the religious capital of Hinduism and the oldest living city in India. This evening, enjoy a rickshaw ride to the ghats of the River Ganges and witness the Puja ceremony. (B,L)
Day 15: Khajuraho to Varanasi
Day 16: Varanasi
Enjoy an early morning boat ride along the River Ganges followed by a brief city tour. Later, drive to Sarnath and visit the Buddhist sites. It is the fabled place where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to his disciples expounding the principles of Buddhism. (B,L)
Day 16: Varanasi
Day 17: Varanasi to Delhi
Enjoy the morning free at your leisure before flying to Delhi. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. (B)
Day 17: Varanasi to Delhi
Day 18: Depart Delhi
This morning is free at your leisure. After a late check-out, you will be transferred to Delhi airport to board your overnight flight to New Zealand. (B)
Day 18: Depart Delhi
Day 19: Arrive New Zealand
Arrive home today.
Day 19: Arrive New Zealand

Also Available

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 0800 936 3998 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

Tour prices are per person, twin share departing Auckland. Regional departures available on request. Additional charges: Tipping is payable on arrival in destination (see Additional Price Information below).

Additional Price Information:


Single Hotel room Option from $2,750
Land Only (Delhi to Delhi), 18 days from $10,000 per person twin share
Additional charges: Tipping - US$125 per person (subject to change) payable on arrival.
Tour availability is updated each Monday. While every effort is made to ensure availability status is current, it is advisable to contact our reservations department on 0800 936 3998. Limited seats denotes 4 seats or less available.

A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel.
Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visas in the price of our tour. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. It’s a good idea to check call costs with hotel staff or your local guide before making calls, as this can be expensive. A service charge may also be involved. To call New Zealand – the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 64, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number.
 
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are quite popular in India and you will find high quality coverage. India has active roaming agreements with most of the service providers. Please make sure you are aware of associated costs and have activated your international roaming prior to departure.
 
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have wifi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. 

Tipping is an expected element in the tourism industry today and India is no exception. Many passengers are often uncertain of how much to tip so we have established a tipping system whereby every passenger gives a set amount to the National Escort who will distribute the amount appropriately. On multi-country tips, this amount will be paid in stages on arrival in each country. If there is no National Escort, you will need to give your money to your Local Guides and tipping amounts for each city will be shown in your final itinerary. The amount for the kitty is calculated for each tour depending on the length, group size, and services used during the trip.
 
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be fun and entertaining, especially in local markets all over India where souvenirs can be purchased for next to nothing. However all passengers must realise that the authenticity and value of goods is always questionable.
If the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is! Some shopping is made up of copied brand items and reproduced antiques.
 
In keeping with most people’s interest whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities in local shops and government factories. This may vary depending on local conditions, and should never interfere with your itinerary’s included sightseeing.
 
Each region has its own specialty; a traditional handicraft perfected by the locals over centuries, a climate that encourages rich spices to grow, or a type of wood, stone or precious jewel in abundance nearby. Textiles are a popular souvenir, including silk brocades from Varanasi in the north or Kanchipuram in the south, tie-dyed cottons from all over Rajasthan, saris, hand woven Tibetan carpets from Darjeeling or Dharamshala, or the woollen shawls pashminas of Kashmir and Ladakh.
 
There is also the heavy and elaborate silverwork of Rajasthan, “spring picked” tea from the hill stations, and the spices, wooden carvings or facemasks of Kerala.
 
If you prefer set prices, head to the government-run shops, usually called “cottage industries” or “emporium” which sells quality but reasonably priced goods. The more up market tourist shops will also have fixed prices. Markets, street stalls, and local shops can be noisy, crowded, and confronting, but this remains one of the most rewarding experiences of travelling in India. If your itinerary includes some free time and you would like to go shopping, ask either your National Escort/Guide or the hotel staff for advice on how to best get there. They should be able to tell you if you need a taxi or a rickshaw, how much you should pay for the journey and provide you verbal or written directions to give to the driver. Remember to take a hotel business card with you to find your way back!

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost. Breakfast is served in the hotel and includes a combination of western and local dishes. As traditional in this region, lunch and dinner are served in a banquet style, so you can try the variety of specialty dishes. The amount of food served is more than ample for the whole group.
 
We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people so dishes are not too spicy or unusual in their taste. One of the great myths about India is that the food is of poor quality and always hot and spicy. This is definitely not the case! In fact, North Indian dishes whilst often very rich and indeed spicy don’t contain as much chilli as South Indian dishes. Indian cuisine is predominately vegetarian; however more meat (chicken and lamb) dishes are available in the North. On our group tours, we use a variety of local and hotel restaurants, which provide variety in both the dishes and methods of cooking. If you like Indian food from home, you will have no problems with the real Indian food as it is similar, only more flavoursome. You’ll love it; though don’t expect to lose weight on your holiday, Indians love to eat and eat big. In tourist centres, some restaurants and hotels may also serve western dishes to provide variety. You may also prefer to bring comforts like cereal, biscuits, muesli bars and tea/coffee from home.
 
Drinks will be at each tour member’s own expense. Beer is widely available and cheap. Wine lovers should remember that western style wine is very expensive to import into India, so is not stocked except by upmarket restaurants. Bottled drinking water, soft drinks, and fruit juices are also widely available – remember that you should only have ice, fruit juices, or lassies (yoghurt based sweet or salty drinks) from a trusted restaurant; where they will use boiled or bottled water to prepare ice and drinks.
 
Tea is very popular and Indians simply love visiting the many street stalls which brew chai (also known as masala), a sweet, spiced tea brewed with boiling milk. Hotels will usually serve tea and instant coffee at breakfast or other meals – you can usually request the chai or masala style tea as well.
Packed meals: On some days, your National Escort/Guide may arrange for a simple, packed meal for your group. It may be a matter of schedule (on long driving days), hygiene (on train journeys), or your location (in remote areas) and we ask you to bear this in mind. Although this is not a full meal, most of our passengers seem to enjoy this change from the large portions and more elaborate banquets enjoyed most days.


Why Book This Tour?

This tour is suitable for those with a reasonable amount of time available to travel and who are looking to tour the most iconic and popular destinations and cities in India. This tour is a luxury tour and is suitable for the more discerning traveller.

Share

Other Tours You Might Like