(Delhi, Jaipur, Agra)
A profound calm descends and a feeling of pervasive peace encapsulates your senses as you soar just 200 meters above the icy peak of Mt. Everest in a private plane at the top of the world.
The Himalayas are undoubtedly the planet’s most spectacular phenomena, and you’ll experience all the natural grandeur and rich cultural heritage of this remote region. In India, you’ll marvel at the Red Fort and its fine examples of Indian artwork that date back to 1193, explore the vast City Palace of Jaipur, visit the ancient ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri, and enjoy a private guided tour of the magnificent Taj Mahal. In Nepal, you’ll catch a birds-eye-view of Everest, gaze in awe at the golden spire of the 5th-century Swayambhunath stupa, and explore the lowland on a river rafting expedition. In Bhutan, you’ll discover the impressive 12th-century Changangkha Lhakhang temple, hike to Cheri monastery, and climb to the stunning cliff-side Taktsang monastery perched 900 meters above the lush valley.
While the natural sights of this incredible region are hard to surpass, this excellent trip does not neglect the deep spiritual and cultural tides that run through these mysterious lands. You’ll play with local children, learn the ancient arts of traditional healing, meditate with monks in centuries-old monasteries, and stroll weekend markets crowded with talented local artisans. And you’ll do all this while staying in a premium selection of the region’s finest hotels as a team of private guides and drivers ensure your comfort throughout.
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 Kathmandu. The flight duration is approximately 90 mins.
Meet your driver for a private transfer between the city center and the airport. The approximate transfer time is 20 minutes.
Bhaktapur is world renowned for its elegant art, fabulous culture and indigenous lifestyle. The ancient city is 14 km from Kathmandu and is also variously known as the "City of Culture", the "Living Heritage" and "Nepal’s Cultural Gem". Bhaktapur’s Durbar Square is the gem not only of Bhaktapur, but also of the entire nation. The most fascinating structure here are the world-renowned 55 Window Palace, Golden Gate, Big Bell, Siddhi Laxmi Temple, Shiva Temple.
Pashupatinath literally means ‘the god of all animals’ and is one of the Avatars of Lord Shiva. Pashupatinath is not only the holiest Hindu pilgrimage in Nepal but also one of the holiest destinations in the entire world. Situated 5 km east of Kathmandu on the banks of sacred Bagmati River, lies the temple of Lord Shiva Pashupati Nath, with its two tiered golden roof and silver doors.
The stupa of Budhanath lies 8 KM east of Kathmandu. On this colossal and ancient stupa, one of the biggest in the world, are the all-seeing eyes of Lord Buddha. It is built on an octagonal base inset with prayer wheels.
This Mount Everest Scenic flight provides the best way to catch a birds-eye view of the picturesque Everest region. The highly trained and experienced pilot takes the plane a mere 200 meters away from the mountain peaks, bringing the top of the world to the lens of your camera. This flight is a once in a life time experience, and will provide memories you will never forget. This panoramic flight takes approximately one hour to complete.
Visit Patan's museum which exhibits cover a long span of Nepal's cultural history and some rare objects are among its treasures. They belong both to Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Most of the exhibits have been cast in bronzes and have Gilt Copper repose work, for which Patan is famous.The golden spire of the 5th-century Swayambhunath stupa is adorned with a colorful fluttering of prayer flags; it crowns a hill overlooking the Kathmandu Valley and offers fantastic views over the city of Kathmandu. Swayambhunath is one of the most recognizable symbols in Nepal and the painted eyes of Buddha watch all those who ascend the worn stone steps. It is a World Heritage Site and one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal, and is at the source of the Valley's mythical beginning.
This trip is ideal for easy going and luxurious travelers who want to travel in the lowlands of Nepal, whilst experiencing the excitement of river rafting. The Trishuli River is one the closest waterways near to the city of Kathmandu and passing roadways, and as such has become the most rafted river in Nepal. The rapids along this route are fairly small, with the exception of a few of grade 3 swells. This rafting trip starts at around 9.30 and stops at noon or so for lunch. Your lunch is a dry picnic style meal with drinking water provided and purified by iodine or boiling, all day long. After lunch, there will be 2 or 3 hours of time allotted to enjoy more rafting. It has only been recently that the roar of Nepal’s mighty rivers has fallen upon public ears. The immense vertical drop between glaciers high in the Himalaya and the flood plains of the low-land terrain region makes for some of the best and most scenic white-water runs on earth.
Enjoy your flight from Kathmandu to Paro today. The flight duration is approximately two hours.
Upon arrival in Paro, you will be required to present two passport photos to the immigration official for your Bhutan visa (included), which will be stamped into your passport. Once you pass through customs your guide and driver will be waiting for you.
You will be met on arrival at Paro airport by our local guide. Once you have completed all airport formalities, you will begin your drive toward Thimphu. This is a scenic journey and takes roughly 1.5 hours. On arrival in Bhutan's modern capital, you will check in at your hotel.
Visit the Changangkha Lhakhang, built in the 12th century, this is the oldest temple in Thimphu. It is hovering over a ridge above Thimphu, near Motithang. Lama Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo who hailed from Tibet chose this site to build this Lhakhang. The Lhakhang houses Chenrizig, an 11-headed, thousand-armed manifestation of Avolokitesawara. The prayer books in this Lhakhang are larger than the usual Buddhist texts. You can purchase some of the world’s most beautiful postage stamps, collector’s items and postcards at face value from the general post office, and you will also see the Bhutan National Bank. Next head to a local arts and crafts school, to visit with some local children, and then carry on to the Traditional Medicine Institute where ancient healing arts are still practiced. Finally, visit the Motithang Takin Preserve, which is a local wildlife reserve. Later, if time permits, take a stroll through the main streets to see the interesting Himalayan artifacts and textiles that make Bhutan famous.
After breakfast begin your day of sightseeing with a visit to the weekend market to see local people selling and purchasing their staples. The market also has a few souvenir shops for visitors. Then embark on a drive 12 km north of Thimphu where you will participate in an hour long hike to Cheri Monastery. There will be enough time for individual contemplation, journaling, meditating, etc while visiting the monastery. Later, drive back to the hotel or to a local restaurant for lunch. In the afternoon observe traditional paper making from Daphnia and Edgeworthia shrub, and have a chance to purchase some beautiful writing sets from the factory. Next, visit the Handicraft Bazaar, a new project initiated by the Government that promotes locally produced handicrafts. Buy stunning kiras which can be used as bed covers or wall decoration, jewelry and much more. Finally, visit Memorial Chorten built in 1974 to honor the memory of Late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, popularly known as the Father of Modern Bhutan. A multi-storied Stupa will introduce you to the vitality of Tantric Buddhism. Finish up back at your hotel.
This morning, set off for Paro after an early breakfast and en route visit Semtokha Dzong, “the place of profound tantric teaching”, which stands on a hill a few kilometers out of town. On arrival in Paro, check in at your hotel.
After lunch today, you will visit Ta Dzong, originally built as a watchtower, which now houses Bhutan’s National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons & armor, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. Walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore, such as the legend of the four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount Sumeru and other cosmic mandalas. Along the way you will also see the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of 108 temples built in the Himalayas by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. In the evening visit a traditional farmhouse for an opportunity to interact with a local family and gain insight into the local lifestyle and cultures.
Today you will embark on an excursion to view the spectacular and famous Taktsang monastery. The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest with many trees festooned with Spanish moss and the occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. The hike will take you past a small cafeteria if a break is needed. Built in 1600’s, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. It is believed that, in the 8th century Guru Rimpoche, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tigress to subdue a demon. Guru Rimpoche is believed to have meditated here for three months and this place is considered as a ‘Mecca’ for Buddhists. Lunch will be served at the cafeteria. After the hike, we will pay visit to the ancient ruins of Drukgyal Dzong. The Dzong was destroyed by fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. There were several unsuccessful attempts to invade Paro by the Tibetans from the north. The fortress was featured on the cover of the US National Geographic magazine in year 1914. The fortress served as an administrative center until year 1951 when a fire brought it down. From here, on a clear day, you can get a magnificent view of the Mount Jumolhari. Drive south to Satsham Chorten, built in memory of the late Dilgo Khentse Rimpoche, and continue on to Kyichu Lhakhang, built in seventh century by Tibetan King Songtsen Gonpo. This evening, once back to your hotel, you can take a leisurely guided walk of the town of Paro.
Your guide will escort you to the airport for departure from Paro.
Fly today from Paro to Delhi. Approximate flight time 2.5 hours.
Maidens Hotel is one of Delhi's oldest hotels, built in the early 1900s, and has retained its colonial charm and architecture. Its spacious rooms with high ceilings are unique when compared to the box-sized rooms of modern hotels. Set amidst eight acres of lush gardens, shady trees, it escapes the noise of the main city, but remains within easy access to some of the most magnificent Mughal monuments, and famous shopping center Chandni Chowk with its quaint bazaars and meandering lanes.
The Trident, Jaipur captures the romance and beauty of the fabled "Pink City" with its rose-colored facade reflecting traditional Rajasthani architecture. Situated en route to Jaipur's renowned Amber Fort, the hotel looks out onto the scenic Mansagar Lake and the picturesque Aravalli range. The hotel's135 rooms and 2 suites are a viewing gallery for all grandeur of the Pink City of Jaipur.The restaurant and bar at the Trident have been designed keeping in mind the international traveler while maintaining the elegance associated with Jaipur. The outdoor heated swimming pool offers a perfect ambience for guests to relax and unwind. A bonus is a view of the picturesque Aravali hills.
The Wyndham Grand is located in the city of Taj and has been built on 18 acres of land with a large frontage. It is a beautiful hotel property inspired by the intricacy of Mughal architecture with splendid display of terraced lawns, fountains and ancient interiors that take you back to an era of emperors and princes with the modern facilities. The Wyndham Grand has spacious rooms and offers many leisure options, including a large swimming pool and a luxury spa. The hotel has a variety of dining options, the Orient Café, Mharo Gaon, Jharokha, Pakhtoon, Zaiqa serve authentic Mughalai, Indian and international cuisines.
Located in the serene sub-city of Dwarka, the Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Dwarka welcomes guests with its modern rooms and suites, superior services and a wide range of on-site dining options. Stay connected in the hotel's Business Center and relax in the chic terrace pool and gym. This New Delhi Radisson Blu Hotel ‘s exceptional dining outlets include Spring, where you can enjoy quick bites and elaborate buffets, and The Atrium Tea Lounge, providing an array of teas and coffees with flights of sweet treats.
The impressive, and stunning traditional facade of the Hyatt Regency Kathmandu is set amongst some pleasant gardens, in the old interesting district of Bodhnath. It is within a 10 minutes walk from Kathmandu’s famous Boudhanath Stupa and various souvenir shops and restaurants. The airport is an approximate 10 minutes drive away, while the city centre and Thamel is a 10 km drive away. The hotel provides a free shuttle bus service to the city centre, shopping and tourist areas of Bhatbhateni, Durbar Marg, Thamel and Kantipath. The Hyatt Regency Kathmandu has a good variety of recreational facilities such an outdoor pool, tennis courts, fitness centre and a top class spa. The spacious, wooden floored guestrooms are well appointed with wooden furniture and traditional Tibetan handmade carpets.
Set in the heart of the Thimphu Valley, the Taj Tashi is a gateway to a land steeped in mythology and magic. The mountain kingdom of Bhutan remains one of the old world’s last remaining strongholds, as yet unspoilt by civilization. In the charmed isolation of the Himalayan heights, Bhutan’s ancient and alluring ways of Mahayana Buddhism continue on richly intact to this day, and permeate every aspect of Bhutanese life and art. In keeping with the enchanting surrounds, the hotel is a blend of Bhutan’s Dzong architecture and modern design. Adorned with classical hand-drawn Buddhist murals, its 66 elegant guestrooms afford guests striking highlights of the region’s art and colour, along with breathtaking views of the mountains that rise above the Thimphu valley.
Uma Paro offers exceptional style in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Reflecting an understated philosophy of quiet comfort in a unique, culture-rich location, this inland retreat is also dedicated to activity and adventure. The landscape is dramatic with pine-clad valleys and snow-tipped ranges. Bhutan is Buddhist, retaining respect for religious tradition. Access this world with the inland treks, comprehensive tours and excursions led by Uma guides.
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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