Days
22
Price from
$4,755AUD

Discover incredible India and Nepal on this fascinating journey

A captivating journey through the essence of these two magnificent countries. A 22-day adventure beginning in Delhi, experiencing the Taj Mahal, encompassing the legendary Rajasthan villages and meeting the proud people. Continuing to the exotic Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, discovering Pokhara, beneath awe-inspiring snow-capped peaks, exploring the rural beauty around the lesser known Nepalese villages and immersing ourselves in the wilderness of Chitwan National Park. No visit to the Himalayas would be complete, without meeting Sagarmatha - Mt Everest; we witness it on a spectacular mountain flight and be moved by its timeless beauty.

NEPAL
Thank you for choosing to visit Nepal. It is a decision you can be proud of because by visiting you are helping Nepal get back on its feet after the devastating earthquake of April this year. The following trip notes reflect our itineraries before the earthquake occurred. As Nepal rebuilds, there are likely to be changes. We may not be able to visit some destinations and sights, some accommodation may be closed and some activities may not be available. We are working closely with our operations team in Nepal to finalise as much as we can.

We will be able to let you know about some of these changes in advance before you travel. Others may need to be communicated to you by your tour leader once you are already in the country. We ask all our travellers to be flexible, patient and understanding both as you prepare for your travels and while on your trip in Nepal.

KHAJURAHO AIRPORT:

Please note that due to ongoing construction works at Khajuraho Airport, many airlines have reduced the number of flights into and out of this airport. As a result we have had to reroute some trips between Khajuraho and Varanasi to an overnight train replacing the flight. Please be aware that while we will continue to do all we can to secure tickets on the limited flights available, this change may need to be made last minute to your itinerary. Your leader will notify you at the Group Meeting of any changes. All activities will continue to be included.


Start
New Delhi, India
Finish
Kathmandu, Nepal
Country
India, Nepal
Style
Peregrine
Code
PIRN
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
(2 reviews)
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • A captivating journey through the essence of these two magnificent countries.

  • The 22-day adventure encompasses everything from Delhi, the Taj Mahal and legendary Rajasthan, to meeting the proud people of local towns.

  • Exploring the exotic Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, and discovering Pokhara, beneath awe-inspiring snow-capped peaks.

  • Uncovering the rural beauty around the lesser known Nepalese villages and immersing yourself in the wilderness of Chitwan National Park.

  • No visit to the Himalayas would be complete without meeting Sagarmatha - Mt Everest; taking a spectacular mountain flight to see this timeless beauty is an unfogettable experience.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is a longer Peregrine trip at 22 days

  • An overnight train may replace the flight from Khajuraho due to continued airport construction

  • The Old Inn in Bandipur is a unique Heritage stay and as such does nto have the same standard of facilities as western hotels.

  • Everest scenic flights are subject to weather conditions.

Itinerary

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 6 pm. 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 12th century; 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 tour 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Taj Princess or similar (2 nights)
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR260
  • Delhi - Qutub Minar - INR260
  • Delhi - Red Fort - INR250
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (1)
You will travel by express train into Rajasthan and on to its capital, Jaipur, today (approx. 5 hours).
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 Mahal (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.
Accommodation
  • Ibis International or similar (2 nights)
Optional Activities
  • Jaipur - City Palace - INR330
Included Activities
  • Jaipur - Walking tour
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort guided tour
  • Jaipur - Observatory
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
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.
Accommodation
  • Raj Mahal Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Agra Fort
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Accommodation
  • Bundelkhand Riverside or similar (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Orchha - Taragram visit
  • Orientation Walk of Orchha
  • Orchha - Orchha Palace
  • Orchha - Cooking demonstration
  • Orchha - Ram Raja Temple puja (prayer) ceremony
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (1)
  • Dinner (1)
KHAJURAHO AIRPORT:
Please note that due to ongoing construction works at Khajuraho Airport, many airlines have reduced the number of flights into and out of this airport. As a result we have had to reroute some trips between Khajuraho and Varanasi to an overnight train replacing the flight. Please be aware that while we will continue to do all we can to secure tickets on the limited flights available, this change may need to be made last minute to your itinerary. Your leader will notify you at the Group Meeting of any changes. All activities will continue to be included.
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 1000 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.
Accommodation
  • Usha Bundela or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Khajuraho - Kama Sutra temples
  • Khajuraho - Traditional dance performance
  • Khajuraho - Home-cooked lunch & family visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hindustan International or similar (2 nights)
Optional Activities
  • Varanasi - Sarnath day trip - INR250
Included Activities
  • Varanasi - Old City walking tour
  • Varanasi - Sunset Candle Flower Ceremony
  • Varanasi - Sunrise Boat Ride
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
Enjoy a last morning in Varanasi, its a wonderful time to wander the ghats and watch the city and the river wake up, maybe do some last-minute shopping in one of the city's colourful bazaars, before we board a flight to Delhi (approx 1.5 hrs) After checking into our hotel the rest of the day is free to explore the local area of relax in preparation of the next leg of our journey in Nepal.
Hauz Khas village is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown - a chic artistic enclave set right next to the remnants of a historical site.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Taj Princess or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After you check out of the hotel, you will say goodbye to your Indian tour leader at the airport and take a short flight to Kathmandu, Nepal.
Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel.
Kathmandu is a mixture of ancient architecture and modern development and, with its rich artistic and cultural heritage, it remains the legendary destination that it has been for decades. Crowded markets and bazaars are the centre of Nepali life and the narrow streets are home to holy men, monks, bicycles, incense, goats and sacred cows.
As this is a combination trip, you will have a new tour leader and the composition of your group will change in Kathmandu. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary in the afternoon or evening of Day 12. You are encouraged to attend and this is a great opportunity to meet your new fellow travellers.
The evening is free, but your tour leader will usually organise an evening meal (optional) at one of Kathmandu’s fine Nepali restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Shangri La Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kathmandu - Durbar Square - NPR1000
  • Kathmandu - Day trip to Patan - NPR500
Included Activities
  • Kathmandu - Guided city tour
  • Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple
  • Kathmandu - Guided tour of Swayambhunath Temple
  • Kathmandu - Day trip to Bhaktapur
  • Everest View Flight in early morning
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the early morning you will make an attempt at the Mount Everest scenic flight. This amazing experience will take you over Sagamartha National Park, through a crescendo of the highest peaks in the world, climaxing with getting up close to Mount Everest.
Late in the morning you will explore Kathmandu on an organised sightseeing tour. You will visit Bodhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world, where you can observe Buddhist monks in prayer in the monasteries surrounding the stupa.
You will also visit Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in the country, located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Here you will see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing, and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the ghats. The rest of your afternoon in Kathmandu is free for further sightseeing and exploration.
Accommodation
  • Shangri La Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will have an early departure from the hotel for your transfer to the domestic terminal at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport. From here you will fly to Pokhara, with a flight time of about 30 minutes. There are often spectacular views of the main Himalayan chain to the north on this flight.
On arrival you will take a boat ride across the lake (Phewa Tal), which is the second largest in Nepal. You will visit the Peace Pagoda, where you will enjoy excellent views of the mountains including the Annapurnas and the famous fishtail peak, Machhapuchhare, along with views back across to Pokhara.
You will also visit the fascinating International Mountain Museum, where you will learn some amazing tales, and hear about the exploits of the various climbing expeditions in the past – some ending in triumph and some in tragedy.
You will also have a free day for further exploration in the peaceful surroundings of Pokhara. Your tour leader can advise you of sightseeing opportunities.
It is worth taking a boat for a row out on the lake. The lakeside area has great shopping opportunities and Internet cafés.
Pokhara has an interesting old area as well as an elaborate Hindu temple and a Buddhist monastery.
Accommodation
  • Barahi Hotel or similar (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Pokhara - International Mountaineering Museum
  • Pokhara - Boating on Phewa Lake - entrance fee only
  • Pokhara - Peace Pagoda
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
In the morning you will drive to Bandipur. This traditional Nepalese settlement is a natural treasure and one of the hidden gems of Nepal.
As tourism in Nepal developed along the main roads and airports, for over 30 years there simply was no road linking Bandipur to the main infrastructure, leaving it almost untouched by touristic influence.
The village is saddled on a high ridge above Dumre, 700 metres beyond the Marsyangdi River Valley. It is gifted with an exceptional view of the Himalayan panorama. The surrounding hills are ideal for hiking along trails that will take you through tribal villages, verdant forests, 'power places', and hilltop shrines which once doubled as fortresses.
You will fully explore this incredible settlement and take in the many opportunities to immerse in the culture of Nepal as it once was, enjoy the spectacular views, the incredibly maintained architecture and amazing trails.
Accommodation
  • The Old Inn or similar (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Bandipur - Guided walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
After breakfast you will be picked up and driven to Chitwan National Park (driving time: approx 4 hours). After arriving and settling in, you will be introduced to the camp staff and resident naturalists who will discuss the program.
There is some flexibility and activities may vary depending on the time of the year, and known wildlife movements and locations.
You may visit the elephant camp to see how their handlers, known as phanits, care for these beautiful creatures.
A late afternoon safari will take you through forests and across grasslands to observe the varied and exciting wildlife in the park.
In the early evening the local Tharu dance troupe may perform a cultural program. You will then enjoy dinner and afterwards you will be free to relax in the bar and discuss the day’s sightings or listen to the exotic sounds of the jungle at night.
Accommodation
  • Royal Park or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chitwan - Jeep safari
  • Chitwan NP - Jungle walk
  • Chitwan - Canoe safari, Bird Watching walk or Jeep safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
An early morning excursion will include either another safari to different parts of the park in search of the great Indian rhino, deer and exotic bird life, or joining one of several other activities such as a visit to the elephant breeding centre.
Tiger sightings are rare these days, but these magnificent animals do inhabit the park.
After breakfast you will leave the lodge for a trip by dugout canoe on the Rapti River. This is an exciting trip with chances to view marsh mugger crocodiles and various birds that inhabit the riverbanks.
A program will be organised for the rest of the day that will either include further excursions by jeep, or a visit to one of the nearby villages.
Accommodation
  • Royal Park or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
If you are an avid wildlife lover, there is an optional early morning bird watching safari available today – a worthwhile addition to your trip.
After breakfast you will drive on to Bhaktapur, which was once the capital of Nepal and the Great Malla Kingdom during the 15th century. Its rich heritage, inspiring temples and artisanal history played a big part in Bhaktapur being named a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Enjoy an evening of exploration on your own, soak up the incredible atmosphere in one of the local cafes, or just relax in your hotel.
Accommodation
  • Bhadgaon Guest House or Similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Chitwan NP - Bird watching tour - USD30
Included Activities
  • Bhaktapur - Walking tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Spend the day exploring Bhaktapur’s famous temples, starting at Durbar Square, which is reputed to be the most beautiful piece of art in Nepal. Durbar Square is home to the majestic Lion Gate and Golden Gate. You will also visit the Pashupati Temple, a replica of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu. This will be an enlightening morning of discovery and enrichment, as you truly delve into all Bhaktapur has to offer.
In the afternoon you will drive to Kathmandu (driving time: approx 2 hours). The evening will be free but the group leader will usually organise an evening meal (optional) at another of Kathmandu’s great restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Shangri La Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip will end today after breakfast. Your tour leader will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements. A departure transfer to the airport is not included and Kathmandu has so much to offer, we recommend that you consider booking pre-tour or post-tour accommodation and a departure transfer before you commence your travels.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

21 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners

Transport

Open 4WD vehicles, Plane, Private Bus, Train

Accommodation

Historic hotel (2nts), Comfortable hotel (17nts), Safari lodge (2nts)

Included Activities

  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
  • Jaipur - Walking tour
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort guided tour
  • Jaipur - Observatory
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Agra Fort
  • Orchha - Taragram visit
  • Orientation Walk of Orchha
  • Orchha - Orchha Palace
  • Orchha - Cooking demonstration
  • Orchha - Ram Raja Temple puja (prayer) ceremony
  • Khajuraho - Kama Sutra temples
  • Khajuraho - Traditional dance performance
  • Khajuraho - Home-cooked lunch & family visit
  • Varanasi - Old City walking tour
  • Varanasi - Sunset Candle Flower Ceremony
  • Varanasi - Sunrise Boat Ride
  • Kathmandu - Guided city tour
  • Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple
  • Kathmandu - Guided tour of Swayambhunath Temple
  • Kathmandu - Day trip to Bhaktapur
  • Everest View Flight in early morning
  • Pokhara - International Mountaineering Museum
  • Pokhara - Boating on Phewa Lake - entrance fee only
  • Pokhara - Peace Pagoda
  • Bandipur - Guided walk
  • Chitwan - Jeep safari
  • Chitwan NP - Jungle walk
  • Chitwan - Canoe safari, Bird Watching walk or Jeep safari
  • Bhaktapur - Walking tour

Reviews

Our Essence of India & Nepal trips score an average of 4 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.

Essence of India & Nepal, January 2015

Marcel Michailow

Dates & availability

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Important notes

HOT AIR BALLOONING JAIPUR
Hot air balloon flights are operated by Sky Waltz in Jaipur. Flights operate mornings from September to June and morning and evening from September to March. Morning flights depart around sunrise and evening flights late afternoon and last 60 mins. Return transfers, tea and coffee plus light refreshments and a certificate of flight are included in the cost.
You can register your interest and pay your tour leader at your joining meeting on day 1 of your trip.
Payment must be made in cash - INR/USD/AUD/GBP only please
Flights are subject to weather conditions and tickets are fully refundable.

Essential Trip Information

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