Taj, Tigers & Temples

India

Culture

Perfect mix of classic sights and off-beat places for first-timers to India

14 days £2,595 pp This is the per person group tour price, based on 2 sharing. The price is subject to change with exchange rate and flight cost fluctuations.
Intro, Dates & Prices

Intro

Take a heritage walk through the old streets of Delhi, then proceed to Jaipur to admire the intricacy of its forts and palaces. Track tigers in Ranthambore’s jungles, and visit the exquisite Taj Mahal, brought to life at sunrise. Ride camels to an abandoned fort and visit quaint riverside temples in Chambal. Take a boat down the holy river Ganges in the sacred city of Varanasi. Finally head to the glittering Golden Temple in Amritsar and watch free meals being served to thousands every day. Take a trip to the Wagah border between India and Pakistan, renowned for its extravagant ‘retreat’ ceremony.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Marvel at Amritsar's Golden Temple
  • View ceremony at the India-Pakistan border
  • Explore the heritage sites of India's capital
  • Beautiful Rajputana architecture of the Amber Fort
  • Visit the Amber Fort
  • Visit the magnificent Taj Mahal
  • Crocodiles on the Chambal river safari
  • Dawn ride on the River Ganges

Places Visited

Amritsar - Delhi - Jaipur - Ranthambore National Park - Fatehpur Sikri - Chambal - Varanasi

What's Included

Airport transfers
Ground transport with driver
Train ticket
Accommodation
English-speaking guides
Entrance fees to sites and parks (one-time entry)
Activities as per itinerary
Meals (please refer to itinerary for meal plan)

Contact us today

Please confirm your humanity

Itinerary & Map
Image 3

Day 1 : Arrival in Amritsar

On arrival into Amritsar airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Rest of the day free to spend at your leisure. Overnight in Amritsar. 

We suggest arriving earlier into India (Delhi or Mumbai) where you can do a short pre-tour and then catch a flight or train to Amritsar. Contact us for suggestions.

Meal plan: n/a

The city of Amritsar boasts the famous Golden Temple, located in the heart of the city. Amritsar is at the epicentre of the Sikh faith, where the Golden Temple is the holiest of Sikh shrines. For Sikhs it is both a display of Punjab's wealth and an important pilgrimage. People from all faiths gather at the Golden Temple, a tribute to the traditions of a faith whose holy book is a compilation of the writings of men of different faiths. 

Read more
Image 3

Day 2 : Amritsar

Morning visit to the famous Golden Temple located in the heart of the city. Afterwards visit the sobering scene of one of the bloodiest massacres which took place during British rule at Jalian Wala Bagh. After lunch, proceed to the Wagah Border, which divides India and Pakistan to witness the energetic Beating The Retreat ceremony. In the evening, return to your hotel. Overnight in Amritsar. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Image 3

Day 3 : Amritsar - Delhi

Visit a village about 20km from the city in the morning and explore the rural life of Punjab. You will taken to see the wheat and mustard fields and get an opportunity to milk the cows, chop fodder, and even opt for a tractor ride. After lunch, you will be met and transferred to Amritsar Railway Station where you will board your train to Delhi. On arrival in Delhi you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Delhi. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

India’s capital and a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines the ancient with the modern. Amidst the vast spiraling skyscrapers, the remnants of a bygone era in the form of its many monuments, stand as silent reminders of the region’s ancient legacy. The first impression for any visitor travelling in from the airport is of a specious, garden city, tree-lined with a number of beautiful parks.

Read more
Image 3

Day 4 : Delhi

After breakfast, enjoy a full day tour of Delhi, stopping for lunch en route. Drive by India Gate, the Presidential Palace, and then on to Old Delhi to visit the the UNESCO-listed Red Fort, a symbol of India's Mughal past and now of India's sovereignty. Immerse yourself in the chaos of Chandni Chowk on a cycle-rickshaw. Stroll around the magnificent Humayun's Tomb and its gardens, and watch it change colour as the sun starts to set. Evening to relax and enjoy sumptuous North Indian cuisine. Overnight in Delhi.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The walled city of Old Delhi, which includes the Lal Qila or Red Fort of Delhi, was established in 1650 AD by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The Spice Bazaar, or Khari Baoli, is a street in Old Delhi known for its wholesale grocery and is one of Asia’s largest wholesale spice markets selling all kinds of spices, nuts and herbs. Operating since the 17th century, the market is situated close to the historic Delhi Red Fort. Learn about the spices on sale and smell their aromas. One of Delhi's most interesting buildings is the Jama Masjid (mosque), which is surrounded by traditional businesses that showcase centuries’ old arts and crafts. There is also a marvellous old-fashioned shop where you can test Indian perfume from cut-glass bottles. You will saunter through the main bridal street of Old Delhi, Kinari Bazaar, with its dazzling display of embroidered silk wedding saris.
 


Read more
Image 3

Day 5 : Delhi - Jaipur

After breakfast set off for the 'Pink City' of Jaipur. Check in to your hotel on arrival. Evening free to wander around the local bazaar. Overnight in Jaipur.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

The capital and largest city in Rajasthan, Jaipur was planned and named by the Great warrior astronomer Maharaja Jai Singh II (1699–1744 AD). The buildings are constructed in pink sandstone after the whole city was painted pink to welcome the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria in 1876 during their tour of India, with pink symbolising hospitality. Many of the avenues remain pink, giving Jaipur its popular name of the “Pink City”.

Read more
Image 3

Day 6 : Jaipur

After breakfast, enjoy a full-day's tour of Jaipur's palaces - the Wind Palace, the Water Palace, and the City Palace. Drive in a jeep up to the Amber Fort. In the afternoon, visit Jantar Mantar (the old observatory) - one of the five astronomical wonders constructed by Sawai Jai Singh. Overnight in Jaipur. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Set in rugged, picturesque hills, the Amber Fort is a fascinating piece of Rajputana architecture. Constructed by Raja Man and completed by Sawai Jai Singh I, the fort is made from red sandstone and white marble. The rugged, forbidding exterior encloses an inner sanctuary with some spectacular art and architectural styles. The interior wall of the palace depicts expressive painting scenes with carvings, precious stones and mirror settings.

Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of Winds, is one of the landmarks of the city. The palace is composed of five storeys and 953 tiny windows carved out of intricate lattice work.

Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is one of the five astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur in the 18th century. These observatories incorporate many unique building styles, each with a specialised function for astronomical measurement. These structures, with their striking combinations of large scale geometric forms, have captivated the attention of architects, artists, and art historians worldwide.

City Palace has been home to the rulers of Jaipur since the first half of the 18th century. The sprawling complex is a superb blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture with open, airy Mughal-style public buildings leading to private apartments. Today, part of the complex is open to the public as the City Palace Museum houses numerous medieval treasures including miniature paintings.

Read more
Image 3

Day 7 : Jaipur - Ranthambore National Park

After breakfast, leave for Ranthambore National Park. Arrive in time for lunch at the jungle lodge. Experience an afternoon game drive by jeep, looking out for tigers and a host of other wildlife. Dinner back at the lodge. Overnight in Ranthambore.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Ranthambore National Park is one of the biggest and most renowned national park in Northern India. The park is located in the Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan, which is about 130 km from Jaipur. Being considered as one of the famous and former hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur, today the Ranthambore National Park terrain is major wildlife tourist attraction spot that has pulled the attention of many wildlife photographers and lovers in this destination. Ranthambore is spread over an area of 1,334 sq km along with its nearby sanctuaries like - the Mansingh Sanctuary and the Kaila Devi Sanctuary.The park is majorly famous for its tigers and is one of the best locations in India to see the majestic predators in its natural habitat. The tigers can be easily spotted even during the day time busy at their daily quest- hunting and taking proper care of their young ones.

Read more
Image 3

Day 8 : Ranthambore National Park

Early morning game drive in the national park. Return to the lodge for breakfast. Rest of the morning free to relax or explore on your own. After lunch, embark on a second game drive for the rest of the afternoon. Dinner back at the lodge. Overnight in Ranthambore.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Image 3

Day 9 : Ranthambore - Agra - Chambal

Early morning, transfer to Sawai Madhopur station to catch train to Bharatpur. On arrival at Bharatpur station, you will be met and driven to Agra. Enroute stop off at the fortified ghost city of the impressive Fatehpur Sikri. Afterwards, proceed to Agra where you will marvel at the beauty of the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world. Time permitting, you will also be taken to Agra Fort. Transfer in evening to Chambal Safari Lodge. Check in and rest of evening to rest. Overnight in Chambal. 
 

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Fatehpur Sikri was built by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar in the 16th century to serve as the capital of his vast empire. Although Akbar had many wives, he did not have an heir, which led him to many holy men and finally to the renowned Sufi Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti, who lived in an isolated cave near Sikri. The saint blessed Akbar and soon a son was born to him. The grateful emperor named his son Salim after the saint, erected the grand Jami Mosque near the saint's dwelling and vowed to build a great city in that place. Thus emerged the great city of Fatehpur Sikri, a citadel of grand courts, palaces, mosques and gardens that rivalled the splendours of Delhi and Agra. However, destiny had other things in store for the city. Shortage of water and unrest in the north-west made Akbar abandon the city only 13 years later. Today, even after the passage of 400 years, the magnificence of this royal city has not faded and remains immaculately preserved.
 


​The Taj Mahal is an immense mausoleum of white marble, built for Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The construction of the tomb began in 1632 and employed more than 20,000 workers. Situated on the right bank of the Yamuna in a vast Mogul garden, this funerary monument, bounded by four isolated minarets, reigns with its octagonal structure capped by a bulbous dome through the criss-cross of open perspectives offered by alleys or basins of water. The materials were brought in from all over India and central Asia and white Makrana marble from Jodhpur. Precious stones for the inlay came from Baghdad, Punjab, Egypt, Russia, Golconda, China, Afghanistan, Ceylon, Indian Ocean and Persia. The unique Mughal style combines elements and styles of Persian, Central Asian and Islamic architecture.

Read more
Image 3

Day 10 : Chambal

Early morning river safari on Chambal River before returning back to the hotel for breakfast where you will hopefully see gharials, reptiles and rich birdlife. Rest of the morning is free to spend at leisure. After lunch visit the picturesque temples set along the river bank in Bateshwar. Naga sadhus (holymen) have made their homes in mud caves next to the temples. Return to the lodge for a buffet dinner. Overnight in Chambal Lodge.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

The Chambal Safari boatmen are exceptionally skilled at manoeuvring as close to the birds and animals as possible without disturbing them. Trained naturalists accompany you and provide expert information on the Chambal wildlife, which includes the endangered Chambal Gharial (long-nosed crocodile), marsh crocodiles, Gangetic dolphins and a host of exotic birdlife. 

Read more
Image 3

Day 11 : Chambal - Varanasi

After breakfast, you will be met and transferred to Etawah Railway station to board your train to Varanasi. On arrival in Varanasi you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Check into your hotel. Overnight in Varanasi.

 

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Varanasi is regarded as the spiritual capital of India, signifying the crossing between the physical and spiritual worlds, and regularly attracts pilgrims to bathe in the sacred waters of the River Ganges. The Ghats leading into the river are colourful, full of character and a have an unrivaled spiritual atmosphere. Every evening at sunset, Varanasi stages the 'Aarti ceremony' where Pilgrims gather on the banks of the Ganges and offer fire to Lord Shiva & the river. 

Read more
Image 3

Day 12 : Varanasi

Early morning wake-up call for a boat ride on the Ganges at sunrise. Watch the river come to life with devout Hindus bathing in the holy water, listen to the sound of prayer bells and even laughing yoga. Return to your hotel for breakfast and a chance to freshen up. Afterwards, set off on an intriguing walking tour of Varanasi with our expert walking guide, visiting intricate Hindu temples on the way. After lunch, depart for Bharat Mata Temple, the only temple dedicated to Mother India. You will also be visiting the famous Banaras Hindu University, one of the oldest educational centres in India. Take an evening boat ride on the holy River Ganges to witness the amazing Aarti ceremony on the Ghats, where you can place a candle on a lotus flower and send it off down the river. Dinner on the roof terrace of your hotel overlooking the Ghats. Overnight in Varanasi.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Image 3

Day 13 : Varanasi - Sarnath - Varanasi

After breakfast, you will enjoy a full day's sightseeing tour of Sarnath - one of the world's major Buddhist centres. After achieving enlightenment at Bodhgaya, Buddha, the 'Awakened One', delivered his first sermon here and the temple attracts pilgrims from all over the world. Take a walk around the serene temple gardens. Return to Varanasi for a Northern Bazaar guided walk through thousand-year-old alleys and mesmerizing temples. Discover the sacred and oldest living culture of this ancient city on a walk that promises rich surprises. Overnight in Varanasi. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Image 3

Day 14 : Varanasi - Delhi - Departure

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight back to Delhi. Depending on arrival time, connect on to international flight or overnight stay can be arranged to catch flight next day.

We have plenty of suggestions of other places to visit in India should you wish to extend your stay. Contact us for ideas.
 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Extensions

Beaches (1-7 days)

After exploring the busy cities, there's no better place to relax than one of India's paradisiacal beaches

Treks & Walks (1-12 days)

Himalayan treks, village walks and more

City Extensions (1-4 days)

Visit the must-see sights and the hidden depths of India's most vibrant cities.

Kolkata & Sunderbans (6 days)

Discover colonial Kolkata and the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve

Hill Stations & Mountains

Escape the city and unwind among some of the most breathtaking mountain and hill scapes the world has to offer.

Himalayan Extension: Ladakh to Kashmir (5 days)

Travel across the spectacular Himalayan Highway

Kolkata & Darjeeling Snapshot (7 days)

Ideal extension to Bhutan

The Golden Triangle (5 days)

Marvel at India's most incredible forts and palaces

Indian Odyssey (29 days)

Experience the best of North and South India

Highlights of the Subcontinent (22 days)

Discover iconic sights of India, Nepal & Bhutan

Journey through the Indian Himalayas (20 days)

Travel through the Himalayan foothills via Shimla & Amritsar to Ladakh

Monks, Tribes & Rhinos (20 days)

Himalayan mountains, unseen tribes & amazing wildlife

Classic Bhutan & Assam Cruise (18 days)

Experience Bhutan's rich culture, colonial Kolkata and rural life in Assam

Essential India & China (17 days)

Visit the two most populous countries on Earth.

UNESCO Sites of South India (17 days)

Discover South India's ancient archaeological wonders

Textiles & Artisans of Gujarat & Rajasthan (16 days)

Nomadic tribes, traditional textiles, crafts & Mewar Festival

Glimpse of India & Nepal (16 days)

Golden Triangle and the Himalayas

Essential India & Sri Lanka (16 days)

India's Golden Triangle & the best of Sri Lanka.

Kerala Calling (15 days)

Tropical mountains, tea & spice plantations, and backwaters

Nagaland: Festival of the Headhunters (15 days)

Aoling Festival, wildlife in Assam & natural beauty of Manipur

Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival (15 days)

Wildlife, tribes & rural life in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur

Taste of South India (15 days)

Experience the flavours and exotic spices of South India

Big Six of India (15 days)

Spot tigers, lions, leopards, buffalo, rhino & elephants

Rajasthan Explorer & Pushkar Camel Fair (15 days)

Fort cities, rural villages & camel fair

Best of Bengal & Sikkim (14 days)

Colonial Kolkata, Darjeeling toy train & Buddhism

Spirit of South India (14 days)

Temple towns of Tamil Nadu to backwaters of Kerala

Kerala & Karnataka Explorer (14 days)

Idyllic backwaters, tropical forests & ancient temple towns

Taj, Tigers & Temples (14 days)

Perfect mix of classic sights and off-beat places for first-timers to India

Hampi and Beyond (14 days)

Discover Karnataka's stone temples, wildlife and coffee farms

Tribes of North East India (14 days)

Remote tribal cultures in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam & Nagaland

Sacred India (14 days)

Uncover the religious diversity of India

Delicacies of North India (14 days)

Discover the huge diversity of North India's cuisine

Big Cats of India (14 days)

Experience the thrill of the Indian jungle ...

Wildlife of North East India (14 days)

Diverse wildlife in Assam and the Sunderbans

Heart of India (14 days)

Take in the highlights of central India

Tribes of Rural India (14 days)

Visit remote tribal villages of Orissa & Chhattisgarh

Kashmir, Ladakh & The Hemis Festival (14 days)

Experience dramatic Himalayan scenery, Islamic & Buddhist cultures

Kerala - Trekking the Western Ghats (13 days)

Explore this UNESCO biodiversity hotspot on foot

Treasures of Gujarat (12 days)

Villages, temples, salt flats & the world's last Asiatic lions

Glimpse of India (12 days)

Golden Triangle, tigers & exotic Kerala

Markha Valley Trek (12 days)

Set foot in Ladakh's hidden Himalayan valleys

Classic Kerala (10 days)

Tea, spices, backwaters & beaches

Essential Rajasthan (10 days)

Discover the forts, palaces, villages and desert of Rajasthan

Living Bridges of Meghalaya (7 days)

Waterfalls, hills and living bridges in North East India

Reviews

I have been on 3 tailor made trips with Travel The Unknown and have found them to be knowledgeable and reliable. We`ve stayed in some wonderful places and have had some unusual and satisfying experiences that go beyond the standard tours.

Joan Edmunds (USA) , Tailormade India

I thought I missed the name of this tour when I was looking for wildlife trips, lions in India! Not only was I lucky to see a tigress and her cubs in Kanha, Satpura was also magical, particularly the walking safari. I saw a leopard dragging its kill away. Gir was so different, and yes, I can confirm lions do live in India! Thank you Travel The Unknown for a very different wildlife trip.

Danny , Tigers, Lions & Rhinos of India, India

This trip was very well put together and ticked all the boxes that we had requested. The accommodation throughout the tour was of a high standard and our experiences in the national parks was wonderful spotting many different animals including tigers, leopards, sloth bears, lions, jungle cat plus countless number of birds. Thank you Rahul for tailoring this trip to our requirements.

Nigel & Margaret Turner , Tailormade India Wildlife & Birding tour

I would highly recommend Travel the Unknown to anyone visiting India. The service we received both prior to, during and following our travels was always timely and excellent. We were able to customize our trip to our liking and to enjoy a wide variety of activities. The guides in every location were outstanding! Honestly. Having travelled through much of the world I can truly say that we have never been more impressed with the quality of the guides arranged for us in each location, as well as the service we received. Similarly, the hotels were excellent and allowed us to live very comfortably while, at the same time, enjoy an authentic Indian experience. If you haven`t already booked your trip with Travel the Unknown, then either do so now....or at least give them a chance to show you what they can offer.

Tracey & Gary , Tailormade India

Thank you for organising our holiday in Kerala. I certainly wouldn`t have had the time or the knowledge to put together such a trip. Munnar was my favourite and the accommodation throughout was excellent.

Vik , Kerala Calling, India

A really well planned trip. We experienced life in Northeast India in just the way we wanted to. We loved the game reserves and saw a rock python which thrilled our guides as it is even rarer than the tiger! We visited villages and were able to interact with local people and loved the busy markets in Delhi and Calcutta. A special highlight was the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland; shown to us by our very own Naga guide Kezo. Kezo accompanied us for 15 days of our trip and ensured that we had many very special experiences - even taking us to the home of one of his Aunts where we spent a couple of hours sitting by the bonfire chatting.

Ann Holgate , Tailormade India

What an excellent service! Rahul adapted, extended and improved our trip so many times without a qualm and we ended up with the trip of a lifetime. The destinations are unusual and interesting but everything has been checked out by the team and works brilliantly. I can`t wait to do another trip.

Penelope Smith , Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival, India

The tour was an amazing experience for our first visit to India. The country, its people and its cuisine were friendly,delightful, colourful and exceeded all our expectations. Travel the Unknown have put together a superb unique package that we have no hesitation in recommending to anyone with an interest in food and culture.

Elaine & Neil Smith , Delicacies of North India, India

Another great trip from Travel the Unknown. I would recommend this company to anyone who wants to move outside the boundaries of the usual tourist itinerary.

Catherine Crawford , Kashmir & Ladakh Explorer, India

This was a very varied and interesting trip to a forgotten part of India. If you like off the beaten track travel it is definitely worth the effort but go with an open mind and keep a smile on your face.

Richard Williams , Monks, Tribes & Rhinos, India

We went on the Spirit of South India Tour and had a great time on our honeymoon. There was a good variety of places visited and the hotels, drivers and guides were all very good. We would definitely recommend this tour.

Rachel , Spirit of South India, India

I`m sure I could not have found a better operator for the type of complicated Indian tour I wanted to undertake on a limited budget. India is an intimidating country to visit, and I suspect that some operators look down on the first time visitor, or disparage their requirements. Travel the Unknown, by contrast, helped me all the way, and their local guides were superb.

Andrew Martin , Tailormade North East India
More reviews