The Spirit of India
In India, hair is commonly thought of as a symbol of vanity. When a Hindu pilgrim arrives at a holy place, such as the sacred Ganges, the ritual of mundana (head shaving) is carried out in order for a pilgrim to gain the full benefit of his journey. The act of shaving the head, which is observed by both men and women, symbolises humility and absolute surrender.
Why we love it:
- Visit India and explore the highlights of the north on this adventure tour from Delhi to Varanasi.
- Discover the 'Pink City' of Jaipur, witness the Mughal splendours of Delhi and Agra, and soak up the ambience of holy Varanasi.
- This wonderful introduction to the magic of India includes lavish palaces, vibrant bazaars, Kama Sutra temple carvings, Bollywood blockbusters and the incomparable Taj Mahal.
- Packed with highlights and hidden gems, take time to discover the beating heart of India.
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1-2: Delhi
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Accommodation: Florence Inn or similar, Delhi
- Upon arrival you will be collected at the airport by one of our transfer representatives. Your Indian adventure will begin with an important meeting at 6pm. You will find details of the meeting venue at the hotel reception.
- Keep in mind that you will need your next of kin and insurance details with you at this meeting.
- If you arrive early, you will have the opportunity to explore India’s capital - a bustling, exciting and often chaotic hub, filled with fascinating historical sites, galleries, museums and incredible bazaars.
- There are a number of sites worth seeing in your free time. The 1570 Mughal masterpiece of Humayun’s Tomb is a World Heritage-listed site. It was the first garden tomb in India.
- The tall brick minaret of Qutub Minar was crafted in the 1100s; it is a fascinating site to explore. You may also like to visit the mighty Red Fort of Delhi. This part-palace, part-fort has hosted a variety of guests ranging from British soldiers to royal families.
- Your group leader will take you on an organised sightseeing trip through Old Delhi via the city’s modern metro, you will then have the chance to test India’s iconic cycle rickshaw with an adventure through the chaotic streets, including Chandni Chowk.
- You will also see the oldest mosque in Delhi, Jama Masjid, an impressive structure, before visiting the Sikh Temple, Sheeshganj Gurudwara.
Day 3-4: Delhi - Jaipur
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Accommodation: Bissau Palace Hotel or similar, Jaipur
- You will travel by express train into Rajasthan and on to its capital, Jaipur today.
- Here, traditionally dressed Rajput men wearing colourful turbans and sporting magnificent moustaches will make their way through crowded streets packed with cars, camel carts, rickshaws, trucks, and bicycles. You will also find bustling, brightly coloured bazaars filled with handcrafted textiles, folk art, and semi-precious stones, the local specialty. You will walk amidst the wonderful madness and discover the city for yourself. Jaipur is a favourite among travellers.
- You will then travel 11 kilometres out to the stunning medieval Amber Fort. This fort was built in 1592 by Maharajah Man Singh and is a superb example of Rajput architecture.
- You will also stop for photos of the Hawa, or Palace of The Winds, which is the most photographed structure in India after the Taj Mahal.
- You will also see one of five astronomical observatories built by the founder of Jaipur, Maharaja Jai Singh.
- Continue to indulge in the wonders of Indian culture by watching a Bollywood blockbuster - a vivid combination of action romance, drama and music, at the spectacular Raj Mandir Cinema.
Day 5: Agra
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Accommodation: Raj Mahal Hotel or similar, Agra
- Today you will journey across the plains of Rajasthan by private vehicle to reach Agra (approximately 6 hours). Agra is home to one of the world's most recognisable monuments, the Taj Mahal.
- You will be taken on a cycle rickshaw tour of the city, a wonderful way to uncover the best of Agra. (Please note that in the case of an unreasonably hot, or cold, foggy day, the cycle rickshaw tour will be replaced with a battery-powered rickshaw tour.)
- Next you will visit the spectacular Taj Mahal - a masterpiece of glistening marble set amid picturesque, formal gardens. This amazing 17th century marble mausoleum was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his second wife, who died giving birth.
- Started in 1631, the project was completed in 1648 and employed a workforce of over 20,000 people. Construction materials were brought from all over India with the marble from Rajasthan transported by over 1000 elephants. The Taj has been described as a 'teardrop on the face of eternity' (by writer Rabindranath Tagore).
- You will also visit the nearby Agra Fort - a huge complex built originally as a military structure of red sandstone by Akbar in 1565, and partially converted into a palace during the time of Shah Jahan.
Day 6-7: Orchha
Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 1 dinner
Accommodation: Bundelkhand Riverside or similar, Orchha
- From the majestic Taj, you will travel by express train to Madhya Pradesh (approximately 3.5 hours). Upon arrival in Jhansi, you will be collected by automatic rickshaws and carried through traditional rural Indian landscapes to reach the beautiful town of Orchha. Here you will have the opportunity to uncover a very different side of India (approximately 45 minutes).
- You will make a stop at Taragram on the way to Orchha, one of our Responsible Tourism Projects. Taragram is a paper making factory that enables local tribal women to work outside the realm usually afforded to them. The paper is crafted from wood pulp and recycled clothing.
- Orchha is lovely town on the banks of the Betwa River. Initially a hunting area, Orchha has changed very little over the centuries. As the capital of Bundela, it was bestowed with a myriad of beautiful temples and palaces that belie its insignificant size.
- You will visit the Orchha Palace that was built by Bir Sing Deo for his friend Jehangir, who was a great Mughal ruler.
- Lastly, you will have the opportunity to be immersed in the flavours of the district’s culture with a cooking demonstration by the town’s local people.
Day 8: Khajuraho
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 dinner
Accommodation: Usha Bundela or similar, Khaluraho
- Today you will explore Khajuraho, a place famed for its incredible 1000-year-old temples, untouched by foreign invaders for centuries thanks to Khajuraho’s remote location, far from any major historical or modern centres.
- The temples are especially reputed for their explicit carvings that illustrate the entire Kama Sutra.
- Built during the Chandela Dynasty 1,000 years ago, over a 100 to 150 year period, these temples have become a source of great perplexity for Indians and foreigners alike. The British only rediscovered the temples in the late 19th century.
- The reason behind their existence and more interestingly, the inspiration for the intricate, erotic carvings is open to wide interpretation. Some argue that the carvings, all located on the exterior of the temples, signified the act of leaving sexual desires behind upon entering the holy temples, while others think them descriptive learning tools for young boys in the area about life beyond religion.
- You will go on a tour of the western temple complex.
- You will also have the opportunity to see a performance at the famous classical dance festival that occurs here.
- Before leaving the town you will visit the home of a local Hindu family, where you will enjoy a home-cooked meal and be immersed in the life of middle-class Indians.
Day 9-10: Varanasi
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Accommodation: Hotel Hindustan International or similar, Varanasi
- From the wondrous temples of Khajuraho, you will take a short flight to the spiritual centre of Varanasi. At certain times of year this flight could be delayed due to heavy fog.
- Varanasi is awash with shrines and temples, it is the ultimate destination for Hindu pilgrims; devotees travel from far and wide to experience this spiritual centre. Varanasi is not known for its cleanliness, but it is recognised as one of India’s most inspiring cities. You will be overwhelmed with sensory wonder. From the labyrinth of narrow laneways packed with stalls and shops, and the dhobi wallahs and burning ghats, to the endless temples that echo with bells and chimes and the pungent aroma of incense. You will also bare witness to pilgrims performing ancient bathing rituals and ceremonies.
- The day will start early with a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, where you will pass a multitude of temples and ghats.
- In the evening you will witness the majestic atmosphere of a candle flower ceremony, while you cruise the Ganges at sunset. Traditional musicians will serenade you; this is a truly unforgettable experience.
Day 11-12: Delhi
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Swati Deluxe or similar, Delhi
- You will have a free morning to explore Varanasi. You may like to wander through the ghats, or do some last minute shopping in the incredible bazaars.
- You will then fly to Delhi (approximately 1.5 hours), where your adventure will come to an end.
- There will be an (optional) group farewell dinner organised for those interested.
- Beyond this, there will be no further activities planned, so you can arrange to depart at your leisure.
- The services of Peregrine’s expert English-speaking local tour leader throughout the tour, and local guides at some sites.
- Old Delhi walking tour and Sikh Temple
- Agra including the Taj Mahal and Red Fort
- Jaipur including Amber Fort and city walking tour
- Orchha including a scrumptious cooking class and the stunning Orchha Palace
- Varanasi sunrise boat ride and sunset flower ceremony
- Morning boat ride on the Ganges.
- Free time to explore Delhi, Varanasi and Agra.
- Flight from Khajuraho to Varanasi and from Varanasi to Delhi.
- Arrival transfer.
Some meals are included on your trip (except for North America trips - please refer to your day-to-day itinerary). However, sometimes we think you'll benefit from getting out and discovering the local cuisine. So when a meal is not included, it's a great opportunity to try something new. For group trips, ask your leader for tips on where to get the best meal, or you might decide to dine out as a group and experience the fun together.
- International flights
- Airport departure taxes
- Airport departure transfer
- Other meals including all lunches and dinners
- Any optional tours and activities during free time
- Excess baggage charges
- Items of a personal nature
- Camera fees (some places that we visit charge additional fees if you are entering with a camera or camcorder - your guide will advise on these and they can be paid for locally)
- Daily budget
We have chosen some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. For group trips, speak to your leader if you are interested in any of the following:
- Delhi - Red Fort Entrance
What to know
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region.
Visas and Permits
It is your responsibility to ensure you have all required visas for your trip. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance OR on arrival*
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance
There is NO visa on arrival in India for most nationalities. Indian visas can NOT be obtained in Nepal. Tourist visas are available in Single and Multiple Entry. Be sure to check the date you require a visa from and the length of time you will need to cover, especially if you change countries during your trip.
*Visa on arrival is available for select nationalities, including New Zealanders provided that specific criteria can be met. See link below for more information.
You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.
Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Customs and Culture
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.
Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in.
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.
India Lonely Planet-Sarina Singh A Passage to India-EM Forster A Suitable Boy-Vikram Seth Chasing the Monsoon-Alexander Frater
Local Emergency Contacts
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency Peregrine’s India office can be reached on +91 1145 006 400 during business hours (9.30am to 6pm) or after hours on +91 9999 916 229.
About this Information
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
4 February 2014
General Contact Details
Phone: +61 3 8601 4444
Web: Visit Peregrine