(Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Varanasi)
The holy Ganges is the lifeblood of India, and its sights, sounds and smells fill your senses as you experience the daily life of the river aboard a private boat tour.
Glide past the riverside temples and ritual bathers who use the waters to absolve their sins and, in Varanasi, discover the meaning behind the ancient Hindu funeral ceremonies that cremate the dead while afloat in the Ganges. You’ll also tip your hat to a man-made creation on a private tour of the Taj Mahal in Agra; ride an elephant to Amber Fort and the vast City Palace of Jaipur; visit the ancient ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri; and take a guided tour of the colonial sites of New Delhi.
Beyond photo opportunities at India’s most famous monuments, this trip takes you on a genuine spiritual journey. Private tour guides will help you feel the soulful connection the people of India have with the Ganges and reveal the meaning of ancient Buddhist and Hindu sites. From contemporary hotels to historic family-run guest houses where tradition still runs strong, you’ll enjoy a range of accommodation that encompasses the many faces of India.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Relax and enjoy an airport transfer in a private vehicle, with driver, and English-speaking assistant.
Spend the day on a privately guided full day tour of Old and New Delhi which boasts spectacular monuments and holy sites. The city of New Delhi was designed in the typically British colonial style, with tree-lined avenues and colonial bungalows. This tour takes you to the Laxminarayan Temple, a modern Hindu temple, and the famous Gate of India, which is a 42-meter high War Memorial Arch. On route you drive past the Parliament House, the secretariat buildings and the Vice Regal Palace that is now the official residence of the President of India. Visit the Red Fort which was the palace for Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's new capital, Shahjahanabad, when he moved his capital from Agra to bring prestige to his reign. Its wall is 1.5 miles long, and varies in height from 60 to 110 feet. At 72.5 meters, the Qutab Minar is the tallest brick minaret in the world. Surrounding the building are many fine examples of Indian artwork dating back to 1193. Afterwards view the Humayun's tomb, which is a complex of buildings of Mughal architecture dating to the Slave Dynasty (1268-1287 AD). The complex is a World Heritage Site and the first example of this type of Mughal architecture in India. This style of mausoleum is similar to the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to Jaipur. The drive takes approximately 5 and half hours.
Spend the day today in the company of a knowledgeable English speaking guide as you tour the Amber Fort and City Palace of Jaipur, the iconic Observatory and the Hawa Mahal. The magnificent Amber Fort was established in 1592, and remained the citadel of the Kachhawaha rulers right until they moved their capital to Jaipur in 1727. Maharaja Man Singh I created this imposing monument on the remains of an ancient 11th century fort. Since the first half of the 18th century, the City Palace has been the abode to the rulers of Jaipur. The sprawling expanse of the breathtaking palace is a superb harmony of Rajput and Mughal architecture. Part of the palace has been converted into a museum, open to the public, while a section - Chandra Mahal - still remains the home of today’s maharaja. The Observatory of Jaipur is inscribed on the World Heritage List as "an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period". Within it, the Jantar Mantar is a collection of massive astronomical instruments, built of local stone and marble. Each instrument carries an astronomical scale marked on the marble inner lining, and bronze tablets were also employed. Built in 1799, the whimsical Hawa Mahal - Palace of Winds - which adjoins the Palace has become quite the city icon, with its ornate facade in pale pink, tiered baroque like build, projecting ‘jharokha’ windows and balconies with perforated screens. These were designed so that the mysterious veiled ladies of the harem could look down upon the colourful and bustling bazaars below, remaining hidden themselves. Overlooking busy streets, it offers great views of the city. We feel the Amber Fort is best reached by car, but an optional elephant ride is available should you prefer (cost not included).
Relax on your transfer from Jaipur to Agra in a private vehicle with driver. On the way, you will visit the ancient ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri. This area was built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, and was known as the "City of Victory", and the capital of the Mughal Empire for 10 years. The complex of monuments and temples boasts uniform architectural style, which includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid.
Today your guide will pick you up from your hotel for a private tour of Taj Mahal, the most beautiful monument built by the Mughals, the Muslim rulers of India. Taj Mahal is built entirely of white marble. Its stunning architectural beauty is beyond adequate description, particularly at dawn and sunset. It was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his dear wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal. Also visit Agra Fort, built of red sandstone and marble. This great monument of red sandstone dominating a bend in the river Yamuna, two kilometers northwest of Taj Mahal was constructed by the Mughals during 1565-1571.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to Delhi. The drive takes approximately 4 hours.
Enjoy your flight from Delhi to Varanasi. The flight duration is approximately 90 minutes.
From your hotel, a private vehicle, with driver, and English speaking guide, will transfer you to the airport for your flight.
The Aarti Ceremony is a Hindu ritual where light or fire is offered to the deities. Each Lamp wick is soaked in ghee or purified butter and lit, whilst songs of praise are sung in front of the deities. "Aa", means "towards", and "Rati" can be translated to "the highest love for God" in Sanskrit. Almost all the Hindu worship rituals involve the ceremony of Aarti. Perhaps the first mentioning of the Ceremony of Aarti in India can be found in the Rig Veda, which is considered to be the earliest scripture of Hinduism. This evening Aarti Ceremony is an absolutely wonderful sight from the Ganges River. This tour includes a boat ride to experience the magical ceremony from the water.
Winding through the streets and popping out onto the riverside will give you an insider’s look at the symbiotic life of the riverside people of Varanasi. Eventually, as you tour through the city you will end up on Bengali Tola, the street of the Bengalis, where you will be visiting the hidden Mother Goddess Kali shrines, and the vistas of life along the riverside. The tour continues to the historic ritual bathing site called Dashaswamedh, or the ten-horse sacrifice Ghat, the perfect way to conclude this walking city tour.
"One can survive everything nowadays, except death." In India dying is accepted as a part of life, and when one dies, there are a multitude of rituals and ceremonies that need to be performed. This experience takes you to the Manikarnika Ghat to take a look at the various death rituals passage that the Hindus perform. Hindus, who carry out a myriad of rituals in their lifetime, believe that humans are reborn according to their karma and hence, perform many death rituals to ensure that the soul rests in peace. You may wonder why Hindus burn or cremate the body instead of burying it. The answer lies in the belief. Here, your tour guide will introduce you to the history and mythology associated with this Ghat. You will get to understand the rites and see the inner workings of this unique place. This experience is expected to last approximately 4 hours including travel time.
Glide along the famous and holy Ganges waterway in a private boat accompanied by an expert guide. The Ganga Ghats at Varanasi attract tourists and pilgrims of all ages for the opportunity to take a dip in the holy Ganges, which is believed to absolve one's sins. Pilgrims and tourists alike can be seen swimming and bathing immediately next to the funeral pyres of the riverside temples. This is a somewhat surreal experience and only for those with a strong constitution.
Enjoy your flight from Varanasi to Delhi today. The flight duration is approximately 90 minutes.
The Lalit New Delhi, a 460 room super luxury hotel, stands tall in the heart of city’s premier business and commercial district – Connaught Place. Right next to lively shopping centers, office complexes and colourful streets, the hotel is 24 kms from the international airport and just minutes from government offices, cultural centers and international trade fair grounds. It is also within close proximity to historical landmarks like India Gate, Jama Masjid and Red Fort.
Unexpected and charming, Samode Haveli is a self-contained, intimate, heritage hotel, hidden deep in the folds of the busy streets of old Jaipur. A nobleman's urban abode restored to perfection, the Haveli emerges, as if from nowhere at the end of a narrow lane - an oasis of serenity in the depths of the lively city. Whenever you come to visit the treasures of Jaipur, this is the hotel you will want to make your home. As a quintessential Indo-Saracenic regal residence, Samode Haveli is seeped in history and tradition, and yet offers its guests contemporary luxuries and the impeccable hospitality and courtesy that are the signature style of the Samode group of hotels.
Gracious interiors, personalized service and the Taj Gateway Hotel's unique style are complemented by Agra's glittering monument to love, the Taj Mahal. Set amidst six acres of landscaped gardens, this tranquil retreat is an ideal spot for a business or leisure stay, offering a magnificent view of The Taj Mahal from most rooms. The Taj Gateway offers a distinctive dining experience, one that explores the nuances of the finest Indian and international cuisines, serving traditional and contemporary favorites. Guests can take advantage of the hotel's recreation activities including swimming pool, dart games and a fitness center.
The Taj Gateway hotel is set amidst 40 acres of lush green gardens, just 21 kms (45 mins drive) from the airport. The hotel is the veritable haven of peace and tranquility in this crowded, ancient temple city. The hotel is 6 kms away from the city centre or the commercial hub of Varanasi, also commonly known as The Chowk. The hotel is constructed in the holy Swastik shape (The Swastika is an ancient symbol which re-presents good fortune and blessing). Taj Gateway offers recently renovated & refurbished world-class contemporary rooms & suites with choice of views ranging from the lush green gardens or the swimming pool. The hotel has 130 rooms divided in four categories - Standard Rooms, Executive Rooms, Executive Suites and Deluxe Suites.
India & Area
Jim Allard ,
December 09, 2014
"Sunita Singh did an outstanding job
Overall an excellent trip, well carried out.
The drivers in Delhi and overland from Agra to Udaipur made a great impression. Both were accomplished and accommodating. Access to transport in Delhi and Mumbai on our leisure days was noted and appreciated.
Guides in Delhi, Agra and Udaipur were standouts. The transfer reps all did an excellent job particularly since, on a number of occasions, they were there in the middle of the night.
All accommodations except for Mumbai were excellent. Memories of the culture of India ranks first but a close second in our minds will be the palace hotels.
The Leela Palace offers a peaceful and intimate refuge from the bustle of Delhi. Our reaction to the Nadesar was that it was the best hotel ever. Little did we realize each subsequent hotel in Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur would top that, except for the last in Mumbai.
We were there at an important moment in India's development and the various viewpoints in different cities reflects the promise and challenges facing the country.
Some thought the shock of Varanasi could be better absorbed later in the itinerary, however, the geography preempts that alternative.
Always room for improvement so we would offer the following
Biggest disappointment was the Taj Tower in Mumbai. Small rooms that could be anywhere on the planet. Better choice would be the old wing which matches up better with the overall experience.
Not all of the guides were understandable. They all seemed intelligent and knowledgable but were lacking in delivery of a dialogue. Some speak in a droning monologue that is difficult to follow and includes blinding detail that is soon forgotten.
Two glitches that were remedied: The pickup of the van in Agra had an impossible seating arrangement but that was corrected overnight to our complete satisfaction. The Lake Palace Rooms in Udaipur were initially a problem. One room was lovely but the other two were substandard, although the hotel said they were in the same class. Basically, the better room had the bathroom and closet along the full wall while the substandard alternative used only half the wall resulting in a minute closet, no shower, a single sink and no window. They initially stated that there was nothing better but within an hour the duty manager had found two adjacent rooms on another floor that had the double sinks, separate claw bath and shower overlooking the lake as well as better closet space. They graciously moved us while we were at dinner on the rooftop.
Finally there is always the gouging at shops where the guides get a commission. At a couple of stops this seemed egregious but we are all seasoned travellers and work around that annoyance.
Some of the others may wish to add to these comments but those are my thoughts.
Good memories, thanks"
India & Area
December 08, 2014
"Seamless first class organization and management of our tour.
Sunita Singh did an outstanding job setting up all our accommodations, guides and internal transport."
India & Area
November 28, 2014
"My Husband and I recently traveled to India the had the most amazing experience..
India is a remarkable country. it is the oldest civilization in the world and we were constantly marveling at the continuity of the culture over the millenniums.
We highly recommend that you book your India trip with the Kensington Tours INDIA Specialist, Senior Sales Consultant Sunita Singh who has lived in India & travelled extensively within the country and neighboring countries.
The entire trip was well planned and ran without a hitch. The guides were excellent, well educated, very knowledgable and extremely solicitous of us. A special recommendation to our driver Rakesh (spelling?) who negotiated the roads and sometimes heavy and interesting traffic with skill and good humor.
This was a private tour comprising of my husband and I. We were most impressed with the way the trip was organized and with the quality and care shown by every Kensington representative along the way.
We visited all the important destinations which exceeded our expectations. A wonderful aspect of traveling in this manner was that our guides were able to take us off the beaten path and we experienced local India in this way.
Our travels took us to Delhi, Varanasi, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Udaipur, the temples in Ranakpur and Agra. Varanasi was the highlight of the vacation. It is such a spiritual and special place and well worth the detour. The hotels were all 5 star plus and luxurious. We especially loved The Lake Palace in Udaipur and the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur. The Oberoi in Agra was also amazing.
It was a treat and a privilege to travel through Rajasthan in this way. India is such a special country to visit."
India & Area
Mike Simon ,
May 06, 2014
"Kensington planned a wonderful fascinating itinerary for us. All of the guides were so accommodating and flexible, wanting to be sure we were being cared for. India can be a difficult place in which to travel without the proper drivers and guides. Kensington's staff was all top notch."
India & Area
Jim & Gayle Stinson ,
April 21, 2014
"Our individualized, private trip to India was just fabulous. Thanks to all for a trip of a lifetime!"
India & Area
Sharleen Dickson ,
April 21, 2014
"The driver and guides were excellent!"
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