- The River Ganges
- Temples of Khajuraho
- Delhi’s architecture
- Bara Imambara
Palaces, Forts and the Raj
- VIP door to door
- Half board
Admire the varied architecture of northern India
On this tour through northern India visit famous sites, monuments and museums revealing the country’s unique cultural and religious heritage. Discover a mosaic of architectural styles, such as the colonial buildings of the British Raj, UNESCO-listed Hindu and Jain temples, and the Mughal forts and tombs of Delhi. A highlight will be your stay in the spiritual city of Varanasi, where you’ll cruise on the holy waters of the River Ganges and visit nearby Sarnath, an important Buddhist pilgrimage site.
13 nights in hotels and 1 in flight
26 meals: 13 breakfasts (B) and 13 dinners (D)
Saga tour manager
- Return flights and transfers
- Welcome drink
- Tourist visa for full British citizens resident in the UK
- Porterage at all hotels
Included excursions and visits
- City tour of Delhi including rickshaw ride
- Tour the temples of Khajuraho
- Visit Panna National Park
- Aarti at the Raja Ram Temple
- Visit the Temples of Orchha and tour Jahangir Mahal
- Explore Datia Palace
- Tour Gwalior Fort and visit Jai Vilas Palace
- Sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal
- Walking tour of colonial Agra
- Lucknow tour including the British Residency
- Evening heritage walk of Lucknow with food tasting
- Sunset Aarti in Varanasi
- Boat trip on the Ganges
- Explore the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Sarnath
- Visit the Bharat Kala Bhawan Museum in Varanasi
Join a full day excursion to the Khajuraho Group of Monuments. These UNESCO-listed temples are India’s largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples, and are famed for their erotic sculptures. Built between 950 and 1050 AD by the Chandela dynasty kings, the ornate temples were used for worship until the end of the 12th century. Today, only a quarter of the original 80 temples remain. The multitude of sandstone carvings that decorate them are regarded as some of the great masterpieces of Indian Art. While the temples are famed for their erotic carvings, these only make up approximately 10% of the carvings, with the majority detailing domestic life, mythical animals, and deities.
- Day 1 UK-Delhi
- Day 2 Delhi
- Day 3 Delhi
- Day 4 Delhi-Jhansi-Khajuraho
- Day 5 Khajuraho
- Day 6 Khajuraho-Orchha
- Day 7 Orchha
- Day 8 Orchha-Gwalior
- Day 9 Gwalior-Agra
- Day 10 Agra-Lucknow
- Day 11 Lucknow
- Day 12 Lucknow-Varanasi
- Day 13 Varanasi
- Day 14 Varanasi-Delhi
- Day 15 Delhi-UK
Taj Usha Kiran Palace
Tajview Agra - IHCL SeleQtions
Taj Mahal Lucknow
Day 1 UK-Delhi
After taking your VIP door-to-door travel service to the airport, fly overnight to Delhi.
Day 2 Delhi
On arrival in Delhi this morning, transfer to your hotel for a two night stay at the 5-star The Suryaa (4Q) in the New Friends Colony.
The hotel has an outdoor pool, spa and wellness centre, lounge bar, and a rooftop restaurant serving Asian cuisine.
Relax after your journey, and look forward to a welcome reception this evening. D
Day 3 Delhi
Discover the colourful street life, beautiful parks and varied architectural styles of this ancient city on a sightseeing tour.
Beginning in Old Delhi, visit the Jama Masjid – India’s largest mosque, with a courtyard capable of holding 25,000 devotees – and enjoy a rickshaw ride through the labyrinthine streets of the bustling Chandni Chowk market. Drive past the UNESCO-listed Red Fort, then this afternoon, marvel at the architectural highlights of New Delhi, including the 12th-century Qutub Minar minaret, emperor Humayun’s 16th-century tomb, the India Gate war memorial and the imposing Presidential Palace.
Finally, visit Gandhi Smriti, the former home of civil rights campaigner Mahatma Ghandi, now a museum and memorial dedicated to his life and work. B, D
Day 4 Delhi-Jhansi-Khajuraho
After breakfast, transfer to Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station and board the train for Jhansi (four hours).
Continue by road to Khajuraho (110 miles, four hours). Check in to the 4-star Radisson Jass (4Q) for a two night stay. The hotel has cafe-style restaurant, bar, and a swimming pool. B, D
Day 5 Khajuraho
Discover the 9th-century temples of Khajuraho on a full day tour of the Western, Eastern and Southern Group of temples. Created by the Chandela dynasty, and belonging to two different religions: Hinduism and Jainism, only a quarter of the original 80 temples remain today. Those still standing exhibit some of India’s greatest art, featuring sandstone carvings depicting various scenes thought to represent the marriage of Shiva and Parvati. B, D
Day 6 Khajuraho-Orchha
This morning, head into the into the teak thickets, gorges and valleys of Panna National Park for a tour by jeep. Covering 616 square miles across the Vindhyan Hills, the park is home to tigers, leopards, sloth bears, pangolins, rusty spotted cats, porcupines and king vultures.
After, drive to Orchha (155 miles, six hours), for a two night stay at the 3-star Amar Mahal (3Q). The hotel is set within formal Mughal-style gardens and has a buffet-style restaurant, bar, reading hall and a gym. This evening, join a Hindu Aarti ceremony at the Raja Ram Temple. B, D
Day 7 Orchha
One of India’s better-kept secrets, Orchha’s atmospheric fort protects beautiful temples and palaces that lie largely empty. Admire the domed pavilions of 17th-century Jehangir Mahal and view the royal cenotaphs during a morning tour of the former Bundela capital.
The afternoon is free to spend at leisure. B, D
Day 8 Orchha-Gwalior
Travel by coach to Datia (30 miles, one hour). The town is an ancient Hindu pilgrimage centre where you can see one of the finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture in India, Datia Palace. A guided tour reveals a detailed exterior, adorned with arches, chhatris and oriel windows, and an interior featuring numerous Bundela paintings.
Continue to Gwalior (50 miles, 90 minutes). Visit the Jai Vilas Mahal, a 19th-century palace built by the Maharaja of Gwalior, featuring a blend of Tuscan, Italian and Corinthian styles of architecture. A section of the palace has been converted into a museum detailing Indian arts and culture, which you’ll visit today.
Stay overnight at the 5-star Taj Usha Kiran Palace (4Q). This 120-year-old heritage hotel is set amid nine acres of manicured lawns, and has a restaurant, snack bar, lounge, bar, outdoor pool and a health club. B, D
Day 9 Gwalior-Agra
Your morning sightseeing tour begins at Gwalior Fort.
This magnificent hilltop fort, perched some 300 feet above the city, is said to be one the most impregnable forts in the country. Within lies a citadel of palaces, temples and gateways, including the 15th-century Man Singh Palace with its coloured tile friezes and architectural details, as well as the Gujari Mahal which now houses an archaeological museum, and the ancient Hindu temple of Teli ka Mandir.
Continue to Agra, (75 miles, three hours), where you’ll stay overnight at the 5-star Tajview Agra - IHCL SeleQtions (4Q). The hotel is conveniently located for Agra’s tourist attractions, and is set amidst six acres of landscaped gardens. Features include four restaurants, a swimming pool, spa and fitness centre. B, D
Day 10 Agra-Lucknow
At sunrise, visit the Taj Mahal, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Commissioned by Shah Jahan in 1560 in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz, as a place to enshrine her remains, it now stands testimony to Mughal ingenuity and architecture. It took around 22 years and over 20,000 workers and craftsmen to complete it.
Return to your hotel for breakfast, then join a guided walking tour of colonial Agra. Your guide will point out the many colonial sites and buildings from the days of the British Raj, including the Bungalows of Cantonment, St George’s Cathedral, the art deco post office, and the Sadar Bazar marketplace.
Continue to Lucknow (210 miles, five hours) for a two-night stay at the 5-star Taj Mahal Lucknow (4Q). Located in the affluent business district of Gomti Nagar, this sophisticated hotel has three restaurants, and is set in 20 acres of manicured gardens. B, D
Day 11 Lucknow
Lucknow's past as the fabled city for the Nawab of Awadh will be revealed on a sightseeing tour today.
Architectural highlights include the Turkish Gate and the spires of Bara Imambara, both of which feature strong Persian influences. Visit the Hussainabad Picture Gallery which houses a collection of life size oil paintings of the Nawabs of Oudh, see the British-style Clock Tower built in 1881, and visit the British Raj residency – a historical landmark and site of the 1857 Siege of Lucknow.
This evening, join a heritage walk through the historic lanes of the city, and learn about the famed Awadhi cuisine, such as kebabs and biryanis, with the opportunity to sample some of the local fare. B, D
Day 12 Lucknow-Varanasi
After breakfast, transfer to Lucknow railway station and board the train for Varanasi (five hours). Stay two nights at the 5-star Taj Ganges (4Q). The hotel has 42 acres of landscaped gardens, two restaurants, a bar, swimming pool, and a spa.
The ancient city of Varanasi, situated on the River Ganges, is considered a holy city and place of pilgrimage for Hindus, with its wealth of temples and 88 riverside ghats, where steps lead down to the river for ceremonies.
This evening, look forward to a witnessing the sunset Ganga Aarti ceremony, a devotional ritual honouring the River Ganges where candlelit lamps and flowers are floated on the water. B, D
Day 13 Varanasi
Rise early this morning for a memorable cruise on the River Ganges. Sail past the ghats where you’ll see worshippers and pilgrims immersing themselves in the Ganges’ holy waters. Afterwards, take a short walk through the lanes of Varanasi back to the hotel for breakfast.
Later, visit Sarnath, renowned as the place where Buddha preached for the first time. In this pilgrimage site, visit the Sarnath Museum, which houses a collection of some of the finest specimens of Buddhist art.
On your return to Varanasi, visit the Bharat Kala Bhavan, a university museum with historic art and archaeology collections featuring Mughal miniatures, manuscripts, and Buddhist and Hindu sculptures. B, D
Day 14 Varanasi-Delhi
Spend the morning at leisure, then transfer to the airport for your internal flight to Delhi (90 minutes).
On arrival, transfer to the 5-star Novotel Aerocity (4Q) for an overnight stay. The hotel is conveniently located near the airport, and has a buffet-style restaurant and a bar. Enjoy a farewell dinner this evening. B, D
Day 15 Delhi-UK
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK and included VIP door-to-door travel service home. B