Namaste. Welcome to India. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. Perhaps visit the World Heritage-listed Humayun's Tomb, Qutub Minar or Red Fort of Delhi if you have any spare time.
Join your leader on an excursion through Old Delhi. Ride the city’s metro system, and then hop in a rickshaw to the once water-filled square of Chandni Chowk. Discover the Jama Masjid, Delhi’s oldest mosque, before learning about the history of the Sikh religion at the Sheeshganj Gurudwara.
Travel to Agra (approximately 3 hours). This is where you'll find the iconic Taj Mahal. Best known as a monument to love and loss, the 17th century Taj is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture, surrounded by trimmed English gardens. Spend some time exploring this marvellous site. Today you also have the option of visiting the Agra Fort, one of the finest forts in the country. This dark red sandstone stronghold is part fortress, part palace and part prison. If you go there you can search through the throne rooms and tiny but incredibly decorated mosques.
Drive to Karauli (approximately 3.5 hours). This delightful town was founded in 1348 and is packed with rural ambience and traditional temples. Take a guided walk around the Old Quarter, interacting with friendly locals and learning about rural Indian life off the tourist trail. Be sure to visit the eclectic market stalls along the way and sample some seasonal local sweets made from Indian ingredients, including petha (pumpkin), jiggery (organic sugar), peanut brittle and gazak (sesame seeds).
Travel by road into Rajasthan and on to its capital, Jaipur (approximately 5 hours). A friendly, busy town crammed with palaces and bazaars full of jewellery, textiles and folk-based arts, Jaipur is a favourite for many travellers. Visit the Jai Mahal and the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), then head over to Jaipur's Royal City Palace and explore its extravagant rooms and apartments. Later, discover one of the five astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur. Tonight you will head to a local cinema to watch a Bollywoood film.
Choose to take an early morning hot air balloon experience, often a highlight of visiting Jaipur. Ballooning can be done over Jaipur on the morning of day four between September and June. For additional information, please see the Important Notes section of the Essential Trip Information. In the afternoon, at around 2.30pm, visit the Amber Fort. Set on a hilltop overlooking Maota Lake, the fort is an authentic example of Rajput architecture and the Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors) is one of its more spectacular buildings. This evening join in the colour and fun of a Bollywood Dance class with a local instructor.
Enjoy a free day in Jaipur before catching an overnight train to Rishikesh (approximately 13 hours). The train departs Jaipur at around 11pm and arrives in Haridwar (about 20 kilometres away from Rishikesh) at around 12 noon the following day. A sleeper train trip is an essential experience for visitors to this part of the world – a chance to travel as the locals do and experience the real India.
After pulling into Haridwar in the morning, drive to Rishikesh (approximately 1 hour). Check in to your hotel before going on an orientation walk. Aptly named the 'Yoga Capital of the World', Rishikesh is a great place to relax and seek a little enlightenment. In the evening, take a stroll along the holy Ganges River as temple bells ring and the nightly fire ritual of Ganga Aarti begins. We stay in an Ashram for the next 2 nights and it's required both men and women wear modest clothing that cover shoulders and knees.
Start the day with some early morning yoga. Afterwards, the rest of the morning is yours to roam around Rishikesh. Perhaps tuck into a masala dosa for breakfast before walking it off on one of the trails along the Ganges. In the afternoon, reunite with your group for a walk through the jungle to nearby waterfalls and caves.
Start the day with some early morning yoga. Then check out of our ashram and move to our campsite by the river where we will stay for our final night in Rishikesh.
After another free day (more yoga anyone?) say goodbye to beautiful Rishikesh and make the long journey back to Delhi. Your train departs at around 6 pm from Haridwar and arrives in Delhi at around 11 pm. Transfer to your hotel and check in for your final night of the trip.
Your trip comes to an end on arrival in New Delhi this morning. If you're staying longer, extra accommodation can be arranged. Whether you're a foodie, a history buff or just curious, you might like to join an Urban Adventure for a short and sharp day trip across this mind-boggling metropolis.