Northern India family holiday
From a cultural point of view, perhaps no other country on earth has as much to offer as India. During the imperial days of the British Raj, first-time visitors were staggered by the beauty of buildings such as the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Palace of the Winds in Jaipur. Today’s traveller – young or old - can expect to experience a similar sense of wonder on visiting these monuments, which still retain their classic elegance. This great family holiday to India not only includes visits to the great Moghul sights, but our also include time spent in the remote area of Shekhawati with its highly decorated houses, go on a tiger safari in Ranthambore National Park and experience the hustle, bustle, noise and colour of day to day Indian life by using local transport such as rickshaws and trains. A perfect introduction to incredible India!
Take an overnight flight to Delhi. After your flight, you transfer to your first night’s accommodation in Delhi and check in. Delhi is a city of contrasts. The present metropolis is the eighth city to have been founded on this site; its predecessors have been largely razed to the ground. After a chance to freshen up and have some lunch, this afternoon you’ll take a guided sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi. Please meet your tour leader in the hotel reception at 13.00. Old Delhi is bustling and vibrant, a network of narrow streets and alleys teeming with people. Mosques and temples are squeezed into unlikely places between shops and market stalls. You’ll visit the Jami Masjid (Friday mosque), Delhi’s largest mosque. Not only is it a place of religious worship, but also a lively meeting place for the city’s Muslims and a fascinating insight into Delhi’s way of life. In Old Delhi you travel by local transport, the rickshaw (own expense), to ply your way through the crowds and down to the impressive Red Fort. A fascinating contrast awaits as you head into New Delhi. Its wide boulevards and imposing buildings conjure up images of the British Empire at its peak. You visit the main sights - Parliament House, President House and India Gate before returning to your hotel.
Hotel Taj Princess or similar - Breakfast included
NB: Our group flights into Delhi are occasionally scheduled to arrive in the very early hours of day two. In these instances a hotel room and breakfast will be arranged for you.
This morning, you’ll make a very early start for your train journey to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal! Alternating with Delhi as the capital of the Moghul Empire, the city’s past is inextricably linked with the most famous of India’s rulers. Today it is best known as the home of the Taj Mahal but also boasts a fort, a Friday Mosque and the royal tombs on the opposite bank of the river.
Once you have arrived in Agra you will have some free time until mid afternoon, when you head further along the banks of the river Yamuna to visit Agra Fort. It was from here that the Moghul Empire was ruled and you spend some time exploring the nooks and crannies within. From the top of the fort you can glimpse the Taj Mahal across the river and even from this distance it is an impressive sight.
Raj Mahal hotel or similar - Breakfast included
Taj Mahal & Ranthambore
You set off early today to get to the Taj Mahal in time for the sunrise so that you can watch the warm colours wash over the masterpiece that shelters the tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. Many people believe it to be the most perfectly proportioned building ever constructed; at first glance it appears to be simply white marble, but closer inspection reveals that the surface is inlaid with a profusion of semi-precious stones which form stylised flowers and bowers. Words fail to do it justice; only by visiting it can you appreciate its exquisite beauty.
Afterwards you take the road leading to Fatehpur Sikri, some 38km (about two hours) away. Along the way are the remains of the Kos Minars - wayside markers which survive only as crumbled towers, pointing the way to this city built of rich red sandstone. Akbar the Great built Fatehpur Sikri, (the ‘City of Victory’), outside Agra as a tribute to a sage who foretold the birth of three sons. He duly moved his court to this new capital, only to abandon it after 15 short years because the water supply deteriorated. Today its rose-coloured walls provide the visitor with an unforgettable impression of the majesty of a 16th century royal court.
You continue by road to Bharatpur and then take a train journey of just over two hours to Sawai Madhopur and Ranthambore National Park, arriving tired, but rewarded.
Raj Palace Resort or similar -Breakfast and dinner included
Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park is one of the premier national parks of India - 'Jungle Book' brought to life! A wonderful blend of historical ruins and wildlife, it is the habitat of Bengal tiger, nilgai, sambar and chital (types of antelope) and jungle cat, plus crocodile in the lake. You will make a couple of game drives during your stay here, with hopes of getting a sighting of the majestic Bengal tigers that survive among the ruined forts and temples. Game drives take place early in the morning and in late afternoon for the best chance of animal sightings. Leopards have occasionally been spotted on the periphery of the park, and jackal and hyena can also be glimpsed, so there’s plenty to watch out for! NB: Ranthambhore National Park is closed between 1 July and 30 September each year. On those trips affected, we'll visit nearby Mansingh Sanctuary.
Raj Palace Resort or similar -Breakfast and dinner included
After a leisurely start, during which you may be able to visit the local school, you travel for a little over two hours by train north-west to the famous ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Travelling on an Indian train is an experience in itself; it’s like being in a town on wheels with a complete cross-section of life aboard. Jaipur, like Delhi, has both old and new parts, and this trip concentrates on the old. Kids will be goggle-eyed as the streets are busy with camels and bullock-carts. Above it all monkeys make their home in the old city walls. During your stay you visit the City Palace, once the home of the Maharaja, before seeing the 18th century Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory built by the city’s founder Jai Singh. You’ll also see the famous Palace of the Winds; here royal maidens once watched the streets below through the fabulous jali (lattice screens) which hid them from prying male eyes. Today snake charmers and fortune-tellers ply their trade below the same hideaway. The afternoon of day seven is left free for you to explore at leisure. ]
Hotel Mahal Khandela or similar - Breakfast included
Perched on a hill some 11km from Jaipur and nestling among the Aravalli Hills is the historic fort-palace of Amber. You reach the palace along a twisting road that passes Maota Lake before turning uphill, past the elephant stables, to Jai Pol ‘Victory Gate’. This is the ancient capital of the Kachhawaha Rajputs who gave their loyalty to Moghul overlords. From the spoils of war they gradually built a fabulous complex of royal rooms, which now make up the Amber Fort. Today these rooms remain lavishly decorated with murals, jali-work and scalloped niches that once held candles to reflect the soft light from tiny mirrors, embedded in eggshell plaster.
You can thoroughly explore the site before travelling into the ‘Land of Princes’ – Rajasthan. As you take a four-hour drive through the princely state of Rajasthan you will catch glimpses of life in the most colourful of India’s regions. Most notable are the elegant women, who carry terracotta pots of water from the village well, dressed in saris in a myriad of colours, their bangles tinkling as they walk. There may be an opportunity to walk around the village and meet or even have a game of cricket, with the locals!
Hotel Roop Niwas Kothi or similar (AAA) - Breakfast lunch and dinner included - Swimming Pool (may be closed in winter )
The Shekhawati region was home to many rich merchants and their wealth is evident from their finely built havelis (mansions) that dot the landscape. Surrounded by large walls, with many internal courtyards, the havelis provided security, privacy and shade. They were painted with floral designs of Moghul influence, scenes from Hindu mythology and - since the arrival of Europeans - modern inventions such as trains, bicycles and cars providing some contrast to the ancient scenes. These paintings document the changes that took place in India during the nineteenth century. Nawalgarh, founded in 1737, is a typical Shekhawati town. The temples and town walls still survive today and the old fort has some fine examples of painted frescoes. While you are here you will visit the Haveli Museum and learn more about the region and the paintings.
Surajgarth Fort or similar - Breakfast included - Swimming Pool (may be closed in winter)
After breakfast this morning, you leave the Shekhawati region and continue your onward journey to Delhi, where you’ll arrive by mid-afternoon. The remainder of the day is then free for some final sightseeing or shopping. Ghandi’s house in New Delhi tells the life story of one of India’s most renowned figures, whilst there are bargains galore to be found in the shops and markets around Connaught Place. No doubt your Group Leader will arrange a ‘last supper’ where you can look back over the trip of a lifetime.
Hotel Taj Princess or similar - Breakfast included
Clients travelling on our group flights transfer to the airport and fly home.
Prepare to be amazed by the sights, sounds, hustle and bustle of Old Delhi’s narrow streets and hectic bazaars. On our India tour experience the Mosques and temples which are squeezed into unlikely places between shops and market stalls. You'll explore the city's gems by minibus
Travelling by train to Agra you set out to discover what has been described as the world’s most beautiful building – the Taj Mahal. Sunrise here is unforgettable on our Taj tours – as the early morning mists clear, the delicately carved marble walls change from rose pink to dazzling white
In Jaipur, originally painted pink by a maharaja to welcome Prince Albert, you’ll see the beautiful Palace of the Winds and visit hilltop Amber Fort. Lastly, you journey to rural Shekhawati where you’ll meet welcoming local people, learn about their traditional ways of life and discover sumptuously decorated mainsions known as 'havelis'.
Tigers & Wildlife
The pace slows on our tours of India as you journey to the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri, then spend two exciting nights in Ranthambore National Park. On game drives you’ll go in search of crocodiles, deer, leopards – and Indian tigers!
Your hotels on tour
We try our best to name the hotels for your tour but due to the area you are travelling in it is hard to confirm the exact hotel until a month before departure. We ensure all the hotels are check and meet the standard for Adventure Company tours.
Our Wildlife Safari trip is just one of our many India tours. To find out more visit our India holidays page.
Transport - Minibus, 4WD safari canter, train, cycle-rickshaw (optional)
Accommodation - Hotels (7nts), Lodge (2nts).
Meals - 9 breakfasts, 2 lunches & 3 dinners.
The Taj princess in Karol Bagh is well established in central Delhi. The hotel provides high quality, clean rooms.
There is a restaurant on site. Modern travellers would appreciate all the amenities provided at this hotel.