You'll come for the Taj and the Ganges but you'll leave raving about Tordi Garh and Nimaj Bagh.
(Was North India Highlights)
Accommodation: Hotel Perfect or similar, Delhi
Chai is to India what being beautiful is to Brazilians. They just go together. Before long you'll start craving your morning fix of this sweet, milky tea spiced with cardamom and ginger.
Accommodation: Hotel Surya or similar, Varanasi
A sunrise cruise on the Ganges makes your spiritual side tingle, as thousands of Hindus wash their sins away in one of the oldest living cities on earth.
Accommodation: Hotel Royal Residency or similar, Agra
So many people were recruited to work on the Taj that an entire town was built just for them (Taj Ganj, which is still a suburb of Agra). One guy was employed solely to carve flowers out of marble. See if you can spot his handiwork.
Accommodation: Hotel Tordi Garh or similar, Tordi Garh
Few other travellers come here, to it's a nice break from the madness of Agra. Indulge the kids in a bit of cricket then meet the prince who is kindly letting us sleep in his 16th century palace (no need to curtsy).
Accommodation: Hotel Mrignayani Palace or similar, Jaipur
Another night, another palace - that's just how we roll in India. This one's about 300 years old and the gateway is so large that royalty riding elephants in those big four-poster chairs (houdas) could fit through.
Accommodation: Nimaj Hotel Rawla Bagh or similar, Nimaj
In little villages like Nimaj Bagh you get used to awkward silences. They don't speak your language and you don't speak theirs. Instead, you just smile. A lot. It's infectious.
Accommodation: Hotel Indrashan or similar, Jodhpur
Stuff yourself silly at our favourite rooftop restaurant, Jhankar in Choti Haveli. It's all about the comfort food here (try the mailai kofta), plus there's free wi-fi and a view of the Meherangarh Fort.
Accommodation: Hotel Mahendra Prakash or similar, Udaipur
Forget the palace; the museum at Baglore-ki-Haveli is home to the world's biggest turban! Grab some Pringles and get ready for your overnight ride on the world's third biggest rail network.
Accommodation: Hotel Perfect or similar, Delhi
Did you know the city of Delhi was destroyed and rebuilt seven times? On a less serious note, it's tradition to come home with a pair of fisherman pants that you'll never wear again.
• Gecko’s expert English-speaking local tour guide throughout the tour, and local site guides at some sites.
• Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): Agra including the Taj Mahal; Jaipur including Amber Fort, Old Bazaar and The Palace of the Winds; Jodhpur including Meharangarh Fort and Sardar Market; Udaipur including City Palace and Jagdish Temple; and Delhi including Chandni Chowk and Connaught Place.
• Morning boat ride on the Ganges to witness the rituals on the ghats.
• Off-the-beaten-track experience in Tordi Garh – village walk, a visit to ruined temples and a fortress, and a jeep safari. Overnight accommodation in 16th Century Tordi Palace.
• Stay at Nimaj Bagh with a village walk to meet the locals.
• Free time to explore Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur and Delhi.
• Overnight sleeper trains from Delhi to Varanasi, Varanasi to Agra, and Udaipur to Delhi. Accommodation in air-conditioned sleeper class with three-tier sleeping berths (two sheets, a blanket and a pillow provided per person).
International flights, arrival and departure transfers, airport/departure taxes, visas, pre or post tour accommodation, meals, optional tours sightseeing or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature, laundry and flights unless specified. Some places that we visit charge additional fees if you are entering with a camera or camcorder - your city guide will advise on these and they can be paid for locally.
We have chosen a selection of some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. The below list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed below have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
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 ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
20 January 2013