Taj Mahal – Temples & Ganges

Delhi – Agra – Jhansi – Khajuraho – Varanasi – Delhi

Duration:8 Days / 7 Nights

Day 1

ARRIVE DELHI

Arrive Delhi, after clearing Immigration & Customs formalities; you will reach the arrival hall. It is here that you will meet our local guide from Banyan Tours. You will be received and transferred to your hotel. Overnight: The Claridges, Deluxe Room.

Day 2

FULL DAY SIGHTSEEING TOUR OF OLD AND NEW DELHI

Old Delhi pulses with energy and colour, the hustle and bustle of thronged bazaars and is laced by a maze of narrow lanes that twist and turn between tall, leaning houses. It is full of the sights, sounds and aromas indicative of the Indian sub-continent. In Old Delhi you will see the famous Red Fort surrounded by shops, and bazaars, the Jama Masjid with its tapering minarets and wonderful marble domes and Chandni Chowk. In Old Delhi you will also have an opportunity to experience a rickshaw ride.

As a complete contrast to the medieval Old Delhi, New Delhi stands in formal splendour. It is a city of wide boulevards, which offers ever-changing perspectives of Lutyen’s landscaped city. It is a city known for its formal parks, magnificent Parliament Building, the Rashtrapati Bhawan (the official residence of the President of India in the 330 acres of land and designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens) and India Gate. In New Delhi you will also visit Qutab Minar, the 72.5-metre high tower dating back to the 13th century, and Humanyun’s Tomb which was built in the 16th century and architecturally considered the forerunner of the Taj Mahal. Overnight: The Claridges, Deluxe Room. B

Day 3

DELHI – AGRA (TRAIN)

Early this morning you will be driven to New Delhi railway station for your train to Agra (Bhopal Shatabdi departs Delhi at 0615 hrs and arrives Agra at 0812 hrs). On arrival in Agra you will be received at the station and assisted to your hotel.

Later this afternoon you will be taken to visit the incomparable Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, where you stay until sunset. The Taj Mahal is at its best at sunrise and sunset – just when the light, playing on the marble of the tomb and the reflections in the stillness of the waters, presents this incredible building in all its beauty, majesty and splendour. It is a monument of love built by Shah Jehan in 1630 for his Queen, Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains. For twenty-two years 20,000 men laboured day and night to build this masterpiece, which has held the world awe struck ever since. The Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world.

After visiting Agra Fort you will visit the Tomb of Itimad ud Daulah. Before the Taj Mahal was built, its design was already standing in the form of Itmad-Ud-Daulah’s Tomb, hence it is affectionately known as the ‘Baby Taj’. Built to represent a silver jewel box in marble, this mausoleum houses the body of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, the father of the Mughal Empress Noor Jahan. Overnight: The Taj Gateway, Superior – Taj View Room. B

Day 4

AGRA – JHANSI (TRAIN) – KHAJURAHO

This morning you will be driven to Agra railway station for your train to Jhansi (Bhopal Shatabdi departs Agra at 0817 hrs and arrives Jhansi at 1048 hrs). On arrival in Jhansi, you will be received and drive to Khajuraho (approx. 5 hours) via Orchha. Orchha today is little more than a village with a population of only a couple of thousands and Orchha Fort is definitely worth a visit. Arrive Khajuraho and transfer to your hotel. Evening at leisure. Overnight: The Lalit Temple View, Deluxe Room. B

Day 5

KHAJURAHO

This morning a guided tour of the Eastern and Western group of Khajuraho temples. The Eastern Group of temples mainly dedicated to the Jain teachers – tirthankaras – the Parsvanatha Temple, the Adinatha Temple and the Santinatha Temple. The temples are ornately carved on the outside with beautiful figures of Hindu gods and goddesses. The Western group of temples, the famous Chandela Dynasty Temples, built between 950 and 1050 AD, immortalised a wealth of sensuous and erotic sculptures in stone, an exquisite depiction of human life and emotions, equating passion with spiritual union. The sculptures, considered as the most perfect figures achieved in stone, depict gods, goddesses and amorous couples. Overnight: The Lalit Temple View, Deluxe Room. B

Day 6

KHAJURAHO – VARANASI (BY AIR)

Morning is at leisure. This afternoon you will be transfer by private vehicle to Khajuraho Airport for your flight to Varanasi. (9W 724 – 1325/1410 Hrs). Upon arrival in Varanasi you will be met and transferred by private vehicle to your hotel. Later evening enjoy the Boat ride over fabulous Ganges. Overnight: Taj Gateway Ganges, Executive Room. B

Day 7

VARANASI

Enjoy an early morning boat ride on the River Ganges followed by a City tour. Over one hundred ghats on the Ganges are the main attraction for visitors to Varanasi. The holy city of Varanasi, the religious capital of Hinduism is crowded with temples and a labyrinth of streets with throngs of people. As a place of devotion and worship, Varanasi attracts millions of pilgrims every year. Overnight: Taj Gateway Ganges, Executive Room. B

Day 8

VARANASI – DELHI (BY AIR) – DEPARTURE

Early morning excursion to Sarnath, situated twelve kilometres from Varanasi. It is here Lord Buddha is believed to have preached his first sermon after enlightenment. This afternoon transfer to Varanasi Airport for your flight to Delhi (9W 724- 1440/1600 Hrs). Arrive in Delhi where you will be transferred to the International Airport for your onward flight. B

DelhiRedFort Note: All hotels and suggested flights mentioned within the itinerary are subject to change due availability at the time of booking. TajMahal4

  • B: BREAKFAST
  • L: LUNCH
  • D: DINNER

Dates and cost

please contact us for dates and prices

This tour is operational with a minimum of 2 people travelling.

What’s included

  • Meals as mentioned above.
  • Transport in air conditioned Car Innova.
  • Porters’ fee at the airports and railway stations only.
  • Services of English Speaking local guide for the sight seeing.
  • Entrances to the monuments as per the itinerary.
  • All currently applicable taxes.

What’s not included

  • International airfare, visa fees, airport tax or any kind of insurance cover.
  • Items of personal nature like drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips, camera fees etc.
  • Any other meals than those mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Liability for change in itinerary due to reasons beyond our control eg; change in flight and train schedule; cancellation of flights/trains, political disturbances, natural phenomenon, etc.
  • Any other item not specifically mentioned above as ‘INCLUDED’

General Conditions

  • Prices valid from 01st October’10 to 15th April’11 except during Commonwealth Games (15 September – 20 October), Pushkar Fair (10 – 25 November), Christmas and New Year period (20 December – 10 January) when supplement will be applicable.
  • Domestic air fare is based on Economy Class Fare and is subject to revision by airlines.
  • Class of travel on trains may change based on availability at the time of booking.
  • All prices are subject to any revision of tax and tariff structure.
  • All flight/train timings are based on current schedule and are subject to change.

Operational Restrictions

  • Taj Mahal, Agra is closed on Fridays.
  • Red Fort, Delhi is closed on Mondays.
  • Sarnath Archaeological Museum is closed on Fridays.

How to Book

To ensure your place on this exciting adventure, please contact us directly to reserve a place, then complete a Booking Form and return to us with your deposit. Reservations are established when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit and Booking Form.

Deposit required: $1,000 pp
Balance due: 60 days prior to departure
If booking on or within
60 days of departure:
full payment must be made

Travel insurance is strongly recommended and Adventure Associates will be pleased to forward a selection of insurance proposal forms.

Cancellations

Written instructions only will be accepted by Adventure Associates to cancel a reservation. Cancellation charges are subject to regulations of airlines, coach and tour operators, hotels/boats/trains and other principals involved. If it is necessary to cancel your arrangements, the following non-refundable charges will apply.

More than 100 days prior to departure AU$800 pp
Between 99-60 days prior to departure Full loss of deposit pp
Between 59-45 days prior to departure 75% of tour cost pp
On or within 44 days prior to departure No Refund

All cancellation charges will be strictly applied. If the cancellation charge is more than your advance payment you remain liable for the difference. For these and other reasons mentioned above you are strongly recommended to take out travel insurance. Once the tour has departed there will be no refund for any unused portions of the trip.

ParsvanathaTemple2 Varanasi_1 Tour costs shown are quoted in Australian Dollars and are subject to change due to exchange rate variations and other factors. Please check with us at the time of booking.

Our Accommodations

HotelClaridgesThe Claridges, Delhi

With 137 rooms & suites, The Claridges, New Delhi offers a wide choice of accommodation ranging from well-appointed spacious Deluxe Rooms to Luxury Suites, some with their own private terrace. The rooms are amongst the most spacious in Delhi and are a blend of the classic and contemporary, providing guests with all modern conveniences and facilities like interactive plasma television and wireless Internet access.

HotelTajGatewayThe Taj Gateway, Agra

Gracious interiors, personalised service and The Gateway Hotel’s unique style are complemented by Agra’s glittering monument to love, the Taj Mahal. Set amidst six acres of landscaped gardens, this tranquil retreat is an ideal spot for a business or leisure stay.100 rooms including five Executive Suites in which to unwind. High-speed Internet & Wi-Fi available throughout the hotel.

HotelLalitTempleViewThe Lalit Temple View, Khajuraho

Located near the famous Khajuraho temples, The Lalit Temple View Khajuraho hotel is only 200 metres from the world heritage site of Western Group of the Khajuraho Temples and is within the closest proximity to these temples. A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the world, The LaLiT Temple View Khajuraho is a heritage hotel and is the closest Airport hotel Khajuraho, conveniently located at a seven minutes drive from the Airport and 10 minutes drive from the Khajuraho Railway Station. Surrounded by lush gardens, beautiful surroundings and temples dating back to ninth century.

HotelTajGatewayGangesTaj Gateway Ganges, Varanasi

The hotel is set amidst 40 acres of lush green gardens, just 21 kms (45 mins drive) from the airport, Taj Ganges is the veritable haven of peace and tranquility in this crowded and ancient temple city. The hotel is 6 kms away from the city Centre or the commercial hub of Varanasi also commonly known as The Chowk. The hotel is constructed in the holy Swastik shape (The Swastika is an ancient symbol which re-presents good fortune and blessing). Taj Ganges offers recently renovated & refurbished world-class contemporary rooms & suites with choice of views ranging from the lush green gardens or the swimming pool.

General travel guidelines for India

Passports

Passports must be valid at least six months beyond the date of intended departure from India. Travellers are advised to carry a photocopy of their passport and Indian visa.

Visa Formalities

For visiting India, all foreigners are required to acquire their visa in their home country. No visa is granted upon arrival in India. For those traveling to Sikkim an additional permit is necessary. This will be obtained once in India.

Dress

The hotels are smart but not hugely formal and the smart casual label is the best description for suggested dress code. Do carry a warm coat/jersey for early morning starts and especially for any train journeys, as the onboard air-conditioning can be very severe.

Dress Code for National Parks

Please wear appropriate colours when in any National Park or Reserve – these should be muted earthy colours. You may also like to carry a sun hat and sunglasses with you.

Please note from mid November until end February, the early morning and evening games drives can be very cold – this is attributed largely to the wind factor of the ‘open air’ jeep. We highly recommend you to carry fleeces, jackets, hats, gloves and scarves. By about 8/9am, the sun is out and you will begin ‘de-layering’ and be comfortable in a t-shirt for the majority of the midday.

Currency

India’s currency is ‘Rupee’, abbreviated as ‘Rs’. One Rupee is equal to 100 paise. Coins are in various small denominations of 10, 25, 50 Paise (these are rarely in circulation these days) & 1, 2, & 5, Rupees. Notes (Bills) are in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 & 1000 Rupees.

Foreign Exchange

Visiting foreigners can exchange money at international airports where 24-hour exchange facilities are available, through banks and approved moneychangers. Or, one may change money at the big city hotels.

One can also change money at national or international banks such as Standard Chartered, Citibank, Bank of America, Hong Kong Bank and others in the major metro cities. Most of these have 24-hour ATMs. American Express and Thomas Cook offices may be found in major metros and tourist cities.

Bank timings are usually from 1000 hrs to 1700 hrs on weekdays and 1000hrs to 1400 hrs on Saturdays. Please remember that not all banks will exchange foreign currency or travellers cheques particularly in small towns.

Exchange money only through authorized banks or Money Changers. Insist on a receipt/encashment certificate when changing money. Retain all receipts to facilitate re-conversion of unspent money on departure from India. The current exchange rate of the Australian Dollar to the Indian Rupee is 1 AUD = Rs 41.82.

Travellers Cheques/Credit Cards

travellers’ Cheques should be of well-known brands like Thomas Cook, American Express and Visa. Large establishments generally accept Major Credit Cards like American Express, Master Cards, Diners Club, Visa, etc, including hotels, shops and airlines.

Payments

All foreign nationals must pay their hotel bills in foreign currency (cash, Traveler’s Cheques or even by Credit Cards). This can be paid in Rupees if the visitor has a receipt to show as a proof of currency exchange.

Tipping

It is usual to tip the waiters, porters, guides and drivers. Tips are not included in the bills, whether of hotels, transport companies or any other suppliers. At hotels and restaurants, about 10% of the bill is usually acceptable.

Though we give below the general guidelines, it is to be remembered that tipping is a sign of gratification for good service, and therefore please view the below guidelines as the middle ground, which can be adjusted depending on the level of service you feel you have received.

Please note the below amounts are per couple/ individual traveller.

Electricity

In India voltage is 220 volts AC, 50 cycles, though some areas also have DC supplies. Visitors are advised to check the voltage before using electrical appliances. Socket sizes vary, so it is as well to take a set of plug adapters, available from most electrical stores.

Prohibited Articles

The import of prohibited articles such as dangerous drugs, live plants, gold/silver bullion and coins, not in current use, is either totally prohibited or restricted. The law provides heavy penalties for the infringement of this restriction, and in some cases punishment can extend to the death sentence. Also, by law, visitors are banned from taking antiques and wildlife products out of the country – any infringement is punishable by fines and imprisonment.

Caution

The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act bans all forms of wildlife trade. Violations of the provisions of the Act are punishable with heavy fines and imprisonment up to 7 years. Foreigners are, therefore, advised not to buy any wildlife or wildlife products or derivatives especially ivory articles, fur and skin articles derived from wild animals such as Shahtoosh.

Photography

Visitors to India find varied subjects for photography including people, monuments, wildlife, festivities, and landscapes. Note, however, these formalities, in respect of photography:

Special permission of the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, is required for use of tripod and artificial light on monuments.

Special permission of Government of India is required for any photography for the purpose of publicity and commercial use.

Photography is prohibited in tribal areas.

Taking photographs of airports, railway stations, bridges, military installations, and from the air is prohibited.

Visiting Places of Worship

Removing one’s shoes before entering temples, mosques or Gurudwaras (Sikh Temple) is essential. Avoid taking leather goods of any kinds (bag, belt etc) and cigarettes into places of worship, as these are often not permitted. Do not wear shorts or sleeveless tops in places of public worship.

Insurance

It is always advisable to obtain good travel insurance to cover the worst possible scenario. Do keep a copy of your policy separately as a safeguard.

Inoculations/Vaccinations

Before traveling to India it is advised that you get vaccinations for tetanus, hepatitis, rabies and typhoid. Consult your doctor before taking them / also take advice on other vaccinations for meningitis and tuberculosis. Most vaccination courses are completed within four weeks, best taken before the trip. Malaria preventive course may be taken before your trip, but again this should be consulted with your doctor.