Experience India at its more diverse and colourful on this four-stop itinerary. You’ll float down the Ganges in Varanasi, take tea at the Taj Mahal then dive into Delhi’s fascinating backstreets. Next, leave the busy cities behind and head to the teeming jungles of Madhya Pradesh in search of tigers and tranquility.
Your trip begins in the holy city of Varanasi. Set on the banks of the sacred Ganges River, India’s spiritual heart is famous for its perfumed dedications and ceaseless riverside cremations. On arrival, join the devotees by the waters edge to witness the evening aarti ceremony. The sound of ceremonial bells, gongs and drums reverberate in the air alongside the heavy scent of burning incense. Nadesar Palace is an ideal oasis of calm in which to spend your three-night stay. Catch the city at its most serene aboard a sunrise Ganges cruise. You’ll witness Varanasi come to life as pilgrims bath and pray in the sacred waters – well worth the early wake-up call.
Fly from Varanasi to Agra and spend a night at Oberoi Amarvilas, where you’ll be just six hundred meters from the Taj Mahal. We recommend a balcony room for the best views of the world’s greatest monument to love. Head to the Taj at dusk or dawn, when the marble appears to change colour in the reflecting sunlight. We’ll also take you to visit the red-sandstone Agra Fort and intricately detailed Itimad-ud-Daula mausoleum. Back at the hotel, enjoy high tea on the terrace with unrivalled views of one of the world’s most romantic sites.
A Tale of Two Cities
Next stop is Delhi, where you’ll stay two nights at the iconic and historic Imperial New Delhi. India’s capital is a heaving city of two centres. Explore the labyrinthine alleyways and markets around Old Delhi’s teeming main thoroughfare, Chandi Chowk, then visit the vast Red Fort. The wide avenues and 1920s colonial architecture of Lutyens’ New Delhi are a fascinating contrast; meander the tree lined streets of Connaught Place, then visit the mighty arch of India Gate. Pay an afternoon visit to the Gurdwara Sikh Temple, which houses one of India’s largest community kitchens, where you’ll help with the making of chapatis and stir the vast pots of dal.
It’s now time to head to the jungles of Madhya Pradesh, one of the few places in the world where you can still see wild tiger. A short flight and longer road transfer later, you arrive in the pristine wilderness of Bandhavgarh National Park. Here, experienced naturalist guides will introduce you to the sights and sounds of Rudyard Kipling country. Aside from tiger, you may be lucky enough to spot sloth bear, wild dog, gaur, cheetal as well a huge amount of birdlife. Spend four nights at Samode Safari Lodge enjoying morning and afternoon jeep safaris into the park. During your downtime you can explore the local area by bike, visit nearby villages or cool off in the inviting pool.