Essential India & Nepal
DAY 1 Delhi
Welcome to India! At the airport terminal keep your eyes open for the Travel Talk sign, as we pick you up from the airport and take you to our Delhi hotel. Gather round in the hotel lobby at 6:30pm as we meet both the other tour members and the guide. Listen up for a fast and informal meeting with the leader including registration and a short brief about the adventures ahead and information about India. After the meeting, you can join the optional group dinner.
DAY 2 Delhi City Tour
After breakfast, we begin to explore Delhi, a colourful and chaotic city. Our first stop will be Old Delhi which includes visiting the magnificent Red Fort, built on the banks of River Yamuna by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan, as well as seeing Raj Ghat, the memorial to Mahatma Ghandi and the Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque. Once finished we will visit the jam-packed lanes of Chandni Chowk in a Rickshaw. This is the busiest commercial area of the city and brings to life the atmosphere of an oriental bazaar. In the afternoon we will head to modern New Delhi where you’ll be able to see many historic monuments such as the 12th century Qutab Minar which famous for the Ashokan iron pillar, Hjmayuns’ Tomb which is a forerunner of the Mughal style of architecture, and in contrast, visit the modern Lakshimi Narayan Temple. Lastly, we’ll drive past India Gate, the city’s World War I memorial, the President’s residence, Parliament House and the Secretariat buildings, all designed by Lutyens.
DAY 3 Delhi, Jaipur
Today, we leave early at around 8:00am from Delhi for Jaipur with the drive taking about 6 hours. Jaipur is a city of history and tradition which dates back to its foundation in the 17th century by Sawai Jai Singh, from whom it derives its name. Jaipur is almost equidistant from Delhi and Agra and forms part of the famed Golden Triangle, which so many travellers to North India embark on. In the evening we will visit Birla temple for evening Aarti.
DAY 4 Jaipur
In the morning we start the Jaipur city tour where you get to visit the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds. Afterwards we drive out of town to visit Amber Fort where you’ll be able to walk or ride an elephant to the entrance of this traditional Rajasthani Fort and once inside the walls, you’ll see precious stones and mirrors embellishing the plasterwork walls. In the afternoon, we will visit the historic City Palace, a huge sprawling complex which is still home to the former royal family who live in one section. The rest has been converted into a museum which holds an impressive collection of royal weapons and the Hawa Mahal. Lastly, we visit the Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and features the world’s largest stone sundial.
DAY 5 Jaipur, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra
Today, we depart for Agra and along the way we visit Fatehpur Sikri, a remarkably well-preserved city. This abandoned ghost city was built by the Emperor Akbar in 1569, in honour of Saint Sheikh Chisti who prophesied that Akbar would have three sons. For 14 years Fatehpur Sikri was Akbar’s capital until a lack of water forced the city to be deserted. Whilst visiting the city you’ll also be able to go and see the Jama Masjid, the Tomb of Salim Chisti and several palaces.
DAY 6 Agra, Taj Mahal
It’s an early start today as we make our way to the Taj Mahal for sunrise. If there is one image that sums up India to the world, it is the Taj Mahal. This beautiful monument in Agra is an absolute must see for all travellers. The Taj Mahal, a white marble tomb took 22 years (1631-1653) to be built by the Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved Queen Mumtaz. Over 20,000 craftsman from Persia, Turkey, France and Italy laboured to build this masterpiece. We then return back to hotel for breakfast and later visit Baby Taj and Agra Fort.
DAY 7 Agra, Delhi
The drive back to Delhi is on the agenda today and you’ll also have free time for shopping and sightseeing.
DAY 8 Delhi, Kathmandu
After breakfast, you’ll be transferred to the airport and fly Kathmandu, which is the capital and largest municipality of Nepal.
DAY 9 Kathmandu
We start the day by exploring Kathmandu City, Swyambhunath and Patan. Our first stop will be Swayambhunath, an ancient religious architecture atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley where the Buddhist stupa is said to be more than 2000 years old. This hill also has a mosaic of small Chaityas and Pagoda temples. Our second stop will be Kathmandu City known as Kantipur. Here you will visit the temple of the Living Goddess, who acknowledges the greetings of the devotees from the balcony of her temple residence, Kasthamandap temple, the source of the name Kathmandu and the Durbar Square, which has an array of temples overlooked by the Hanuman Dhoka Palace, the ancient place of the Ex Nepalese Royalty. In the afternoon we visit the ancient city of Patan, once a kingdom in itself. Patan Durbar Square offers the finest display of Newari urban architecture in Nepal and there are temples devoted to Shiva, Krishna, Ganesh and Vishnu all actively visited.
DAY 10 Kathmandu, Pokhara
Today, we drive for about 6 hours to reach the Pokhara which is the second largest city in Nepal. Once we’ve reached Pokhara you’ll be able to wander around the beautiful lake city known for its superb mountain views. It is an enchanting city nestled beneath the snow-crested Annapurna Massif in a tranquil valley and is the starting point for many of Nepal’s most popular trekking destinations. The atmosphere on the shore of Phewa Lake is one of excited vitality as backpackers crowd the many bars and restaurants. At an elevation lower than Kathmandu and generally a few degrees warmer, Pokhara has a tropical feel to it and has the diversity of beautiful subtropical flora.
DAY 11 Pokhara, Nayapul, Trek Tolka
It is the first day of our trekking adventure where we start our journey by private transport to Nayapul to reach the Australian Camp. This camp offers a spectacular view of the snow-clad mountains of the Annapuran ranges, Hiunchuli, Fish Tail, Lamjung Himal and Manasla. We gradually descend up to Pothana then will stop at Deurali where we have lunch. After lunch, we progressively incline to Tolka where we stop for the night and stay in a local lodge. Here, you’ll see a spectacular view of Annapurna South and Himchuli mountains.
DAY 12 Trek to Dhampus
Today, the trek begins downhill and offers views of the Annapurna mountain range. You will pass more Gurung villages allowing you to see the huge farming communities in which they live in. Passing on, you will reach the villages of Pothana and Dhampus. Dhampus is one of the most famous touristic villages of western Nepal and offers visitors breath-taking panoramic views the Annapurna and Manaslu Himalayan mountain ranges. Tonight you’ll have dinner and stay overnight at a local lodge.
DAY 13 Trek to Phedi, Chitwan
It’s an early morning start so you can enjoy the colourful sunrise over the Himalayas and then you’ll take an easy downhill trek to Phedi where you will pass rice fields and small cottages. When you reach the village of Phedi our vehicle will be waiting to take you back to Pokhara and then to continue our drive to Chitwan.
DAY 14 Chitwan National Park
We have full day of exciting jungle activities today. The best way to reach the national park is by a jungle safari where you’ll end up at Chitwan National Park. This is considered one of the richest wildlife areas in Asia and boasts the last and largest remaining area of tall grassland habitat. Not to be compared with the wide open spaces of Africa, the intimacy of the search and discovery of Asian wildlife in its dense habitat is considered by many travellers to be equally rewarding and exciting.
DAY 15 Chitwan, Kathmandu
After breakfast, we drive back to Kathmandu and in the afternoon you have free time for shopping and wandering.
DAY 16 Kathmandu
Our trip will end after we say goodbye to our new friends over breakfast, bid you safe travels, and check-out of the hotel at 11:00am.
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