Tour description provided by G Adventures

From the monuments of Delhi to the colourful cities of Rajasthan, experience three weeks of northern India's best. Marvel at Jaisalmer's mud fortress and Bikaner's unique temple before journeying into the desert for an overnight camel safari. Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims and make your way to the Ganges River at Varanasi. Your expert CEO will take care of the hassles so you're free to see the sights or just soak up the vibe – India is home to great food, fascinating culture, alluring sights, and friendly and inviting people. Discover the charms and mystery that make up this incredible country.

Itinerary

Day 1 Delhi

Arrive at any time. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

Day 2 Delhi/Bīkāner

Enjoy a walking tour by former streetkids, a G Adventures-supported project. This tour is a unique way for travellers to engage in these children’s lives. Giving them the opportunity to guide tours gives the kids a chance to improve their communication and speaking skills. Afterwards, an orientation walk takes you through Old Delhi to experience some of the history and culture of this vibrant city. Included Activities: Guided Walking Tour with New Delhi Streetkids Project Old Delhi Guided Walk Transport: Basic overnight train (beds) (8.00 hour(s))

Day 3 Bīkāner/Rāisar (1L, 1D)

We arrive early in the morning and reach our hotel. Bikaner is a semi-arid part of the Thar Desert with sandy dunes and scattered villages. In recent years the topography of the region has changed quite a bit, but you can still see the harsh realities of the desert here. We drive down in local jeeps to a village called Raisar from where we take our camels and ride into the desert. We ride for a couple of hours through villages and fields to our lunch point at a shady area. Later, remount your camels and ride for another 2-3 hours till you reach a point over the dunes. After witnessing a stunning sunset, we climb down to where our tents are pitched and enjoy a simple but delicious meal. Additional Notes: We arrive early in the morning and reach our hotel. We have a couple of rooms to freshen up and change. We also have time to get breakfast before we leave for our desert adventure. Included Activities: Camel Safari Transport: 4x4 (1.00 hour(s))

Day 4 Rāisar/Bīkāner (1B)

Opt to walk up the dunes again for the sunrise. After breakfast, ride camel carts back to the road and transfer back to Bikaner. Once back, your CEO will give you an orientation of the Old City and the markets. Included Activities: Bikaner Orientation Tour Transport: Camel cart

Day 5 Bīkāner/Jaisalmer

We arrive in Jaisalmer and have the rest of the day to relax after the long journey or explore the city at your leisure. Jaisalmer, known as the "Golden City," stands on a ridge of yellowish sandstone in the heart of the Thar Desert. This fortress city is best explored on your own. Wander through the lanes of the walled city and inside the fort. Houses, temples, and havelis are very different from what you would find in other regions of Rajasthan. Do not forget to watch the setting sun's reflection on the fort. Transport: Local train (6.50 hour(s))

Day 6 Jaisalmer

Enjoy a free day to continue exploring the "Golden City".

Day 7 Jaisalmer/Jodhpur

Travel eastwards to the centrally located metropolis of Jodhpur, the second largest city in Rajasthan. A large and varied city, Jodhpur is sometimes called the “Blue City” for the many houses painted that colour. At Jodhpur, stark desert landscapes meet a riot of palaces, forts and temples, all enclosed within imposing city walls. Six enormous gates provide entry to the city centre, and overlooking it all stands the imposing shadow of Meherangarh Fort. Once we arrive, we take an orientation walk of the city. Included Activities: Orientation Walk Transport: Local bus (7.00-8.00 hours, 285km)

Day 8 Jodhpur/Udaipur

Continue your journey southeast to Udaipur, famous worldwide for its plethora of breathtaking lakes and Raj-era palaces. Most famous of these, and certainly the most photographed, is the Lake Palace, an island-palace where the white marble buildings entirely cover a small island in Pichola Lake. Included Activities: Orientation Walk Transport: Local bus (7.00-8.00 hours, 285km)

Day 9 Udaipur

Relive life as royalty at Sajjangarh Fort, also known as the Monsoon Palace, summer resort of the Maharajas. Sitting atop a hill with a panoramic view of the city’s lakes, the palace was equipped with an ingenious rainwater collection system, essential in the dry desert conditions of the region. Other options include a visit to the Jagdish Temple, the Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandir folk museum, Saheliyon-ki-Bari (the Garden of Maidens), and the City Palace and Museum.

Day 10 Udaipur/Pushkar

Travel to Ajmer and change to a local bus for the 14 km drive over Snake Mountain to Pushkar. Site of the world’s only temple to the Hindu god of creation, Brahma, Pushkar is so sacred that no meat, alcohol, or eggs are allowed within the city. However, most travellers know Pushkar for a different reason: the annual Pushkar Camel Fair. Once in the city, we take an orientation walk and visit the Brahama Temple, created in the 14th century. Follow local traditions and try out a camel ride in the desert, or wander this holy Hindu centre on foot or bicycle. Or take a cooking class or visit the market. Rajasthan is famous for its textiles, jewellery and handicrafts, and few places in the country are better for shopping than the bazaars of Pushkar. Included Activities: Pushkar Orientation Walk Transport: Local bus (7.00-8.00 hours, 280km)

Day 11 Pushkar/Tordi Sāgar (1D)

Dive into rural life visiting potters, cobblers, and markets. Take a camel cart ride to the dunes for sunset, head for a hike in the hills, or make bangles and try henna paint with the local women. While here, go on an included guided walk through the village and opt to participate in a cricket match with some locals. Included Activities: Tordi Sagar Local Village Tour Transport: 4x4 (4.00 hour(s))

Day 12 Tordi Sāgar/Jaipur (1B, 1L)

Before leaving Tordi Sagar, enjoy a local lunch prepared by traditional methods at a village hamlet. Travel to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan and the former capital of a princely state of the same name. Clothed in pink stucco (in imitation of sandstone), wide-avenued Jaipur is one of the most important heritage cities in India, and home to India’s second most visited site, the Hawa Mahal, or "Palace of the Winds". Included Activities: Orientation Walk Transport: 4x4 (4.00 hour(s))

Day 13 Jaipur

Enjoy a guided tour of the Amber Fort. Take some free time to explore other sites around town. Included Activities: Amber Fort Guided Tour

Day 14 Jaipur/Āgra

Continue this morning to the Muslim city of Agra. Agra is best known as the site of India’s most famous landmark, the Taj Mahal. Enjoy a guided visit to this icon of Mughal architecture. Later, opt to ride one of the ubiquitous cycle rickshaws to visit the Agra Fort or Baby Taj, the less famous—but no less impressive—sister monuments. Included Activities: Taj Mahal Guided Tour Transport: Local train (5.00 hour(s))

Day 15 Āgra/Varanasi

Enjoy free time in Agra before boarding an overnight train to Varanasi. Transport: Basic overnight train (beds) (13.00 hour(s))

Day 16 Varanasi

Arrive to legendary Varanasi, the quintessential Indian holy city where millions of Hindu travel to for pilgrimage, to worship, to mourn, or to die. Walk the narrow twisting alleys, poke around some of the literally thousands of temples and shrines, and experience the energy of the dawn rituals of bathing and burial as you float past the famous ghats of the Ganges. During our stay in Varanasi you will have time to shop, wander, and absorb the atmosphere of this unique city, while optional activities include the monasteries and ruins of nearby Sarnath, site of the Buddha's first sermon. We take boats out onto the sacred Ganges River, both for sunrise and sunset. For the evening boat journey we enjoy a candle flower ceremony. Included Activities: Evening Ganges Boat Tour

Day 17 Varanasi

Cruise the Ganges on a morning boat tour with free time in the afternoon to explore. Included Activities: Morning Ganges Boat Tour

Day 18 Varanasi/Delhi

Free day to explore Varanasi before boarding an overnight train to Delhi. Transport: Basic overnight train (beds)

Day 19 Delhi

Arrive back in the capital of India. The day is yours to explore the temples, markets and museums in this fast-paced amazing city.

Day 20 Delhi

Depart at any time. Included Activities: Departure Day