(Delhi, Varanasi, Khajuraho, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Mumbai)
Silence envelops your senses as you venture deep into the vast caverns of the rock-cut cave temples on Elephanta Island.
The UNESCO World Heritage site contains a treasure trove of rare relics, beautiful sculptures and a temple to the Hindu god Shiva in a place protected against the rigors of time. Back in nearby Mumbai, you’ll dive into the hustle and bustle of the city as you tour highlights such as the Hanging Gardens, Gateway of India and St. Thomas Cathedral at your own pace. Join the pilgrimage to the holy city of Varanasi where you’ll learn the spiritual secrets of the Ganges and the Sarnath ruins; explore Delhi with a private guide and driver; experience the dance, music and art of the ancient temples of Khajuraho; visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise; tour the ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri; and discover the beauty of the royal city of Udaipur.
It’s five-star accommodation all the way on this trip. No detail is missed as a team of expert tour guides and private drivers whisk you away to a hand-picked selection of the country’s finest historical sites and spiritual marvels. World-class chefs serve up all the irresistible tastes of India in opulent hotel dining rooms, and the country’s most exclusive hotels ensure your comfort at every stop.
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.
Recognized as one of Asia’s finest hotels, The Imperial is a legend that offers a unique experience embracing facets of India’s history. It remains New Delhi’s landmark hotel, steps away from the renowned shopping district and major city attractions and a half-hour drive from the international airport. With high ceilings, impeccable decor and equipped with all the facilities and modern conveniences, the 232 rooms and suites, overlooking verdant gardens, bespeak discreet luxury and offer total privacy and serenity. The award winning restaurants feature cuisine from Southeast Asia, France, and India. The swimming pool, dotted by the royal palms and nestled in the shaded grounds of the hotel, offers a tranquil, refreshing experience.
The Imperial Hotel is the recipient of many awards, some of which include: Best Boutique Hotel from India (Travel+Leisure India & South Asia in India’s Best Awards for 2013) and 'Winner of Travellers’ Choice Awards 2013' (Tripadvisor.com). The Imperial Spa and Salon was awarded as Best Hotel Spa & Most Luxurious Spa (Hotel) (GeoSpa Asia Spa India Awards 2012) and ‘Most admired Destination/Hotel Spa of the year for 2013’ (The Images Beauty & Wellness).
Spend the day on a privately guided full day tour of Old & 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. Whilst on this tour you will see the Laxminarayan Temple, a modern Hindu temple, and Gate of India which is a 42 m high War Memorial Arch. On route you will drive past the Parliament House, the Secretariat buildings and the Vice Regal Palace, which 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 60-110 ft. 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. Humayun's tomb 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.
Enjoy your flight from Delhi to Varanasi. The flight duration is approximately 90 mins.
From your hotel, a private vehicle, with driver, and English speaking guide, will transfer you to the airport for your flight.
Private guided tour of Sarnath, located 5 miles from Varanasi, the site is a deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma after his enlightenment. Sarnath is one of four holy Buddhist sites sanctioned by the Buddha himself for pilgrimage. Amongst the ruins is the Dharmekh Stupa is impressive at 128 feet high, and 93 in diameters. This dates back to 200 BC and is the sport where the Buddha is said to have preached his first sermon. Within the deer park complex is the large Dhamekha Stupa, constructed by the Emperor Ashoka in 249 BCE, and several other Buddhist structures that were added between the 3rd and the 11th century BC.
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. Almost all the Hindu rituals of worship involve the ceremony of Aarti. Perhaps the earliest mention of the Ceremony of Aarti in India can be found in Rig Veda, which is considered to be the earliest scripture of Hinduism. According to the Rig Veda, the use of Aarti can be said to be derived from the Vedic concepts of elaborate sacrificial fires or Homa. The word Aarti can be itself said to be derived from a conjunction of the two words of "Aa", meaning "towards", and "Rati", which in turn means "the highest love for God" in Sanskrit. Thus, the word Aarti in actuality means the "highest love for God.
Nadesar Palace is situated in one of the oldest living cities of the world, on the banks of the river Ganges. Nadesar Palace has hosted royalty, statesmen and celebrities since 1835. The name Nadesar is derived from the Goddess Nadesari, whose shrine is located in the front of the Palace. Set amidst verdant gardens, mango orchards, marigold and jasmine fields, Nadesar Palace is a haven of peace and tranquility. Works of art from the Maharaja’s collection decorate the walls of the Palace’s 10 luxurious suites. Embellished with original pieces of furniture refurbished to recreate the atmosphere of a bygone era, the décor of the rooms is intended to evoke the colours of marigolds, jasmines, and pale pink lotuses that are offered to the holy Ganges.
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.
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." 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 perform 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. Often, we wonder why Hindus burn or cremate the body instead of burying it. The answer lies in the belief. Here, our tour guide will introduce you to the history and mythology associated with this Ghat. You will get to understand the rites being performed and see the inner workings of this unique place. This experience is expected to last approximately 4 hours including travel time.
Enjoy your flight from Varanasi to Khajuraho today. The flight duration is approximately 1 hour.
Sit back and relax for this airport transfer in a private vehicle, with driver, and English-speaking assistant.
This private guided tour of the Khajuraho Group of Monuments in Khajuraho, is a once in life time experience. Located in a town in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, in the Chhatarpur District, about 620 kilometers southeast of New Delhi, this unique location is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of India. Khajuraho contains the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples, which are famous due to the erogenous nature of the sculptures. The Khajuraho group of monuments has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is considered to be one of the "seven wonders" of India. The city of Khajuraho was the original capital of the Chandela Rajputs, a Hindu dynasty that ruled this part of India from the 10th to the 12th centuries. These marvelous Khajuraho temples and its whole surrounding area were enclosed by a wall with eight gates, each flanked by two golden palm trees. There were originally over 80 Hindu temples, of which only 22 now stand in a reasonable state of preservation, scattered over an area of about 8 square miles.
The Lalit Temple View Khajuraho Hotel is located in Khajuraho making it one of the best hotels to stay at while in town. All 47 guestrooms at the hotel provide all the comforts and conveniences guests would expect in a hotel in this class. The guestrooms are equipped with non smoking rooms, air conditioning, bathrobes, daily newspaper, desk, hair dryer, ironing board. Guests can experience the high standards of comfort while staying at this luxury Khajuraho hotel with everything they need right on the site such as room service 24hr, shops, bar/pub, laundry service/dry cleaning, meeting facilities , restaurant, safety deposit boxes, disabled facilities. The hotel offers massage, kids club, gym/fitness facilities, sauna, steamroom, spa, pool outdoor to provide extra pleasure and relaxation for all guests. Modern comfort and convenience are seamlessly combined to ensure the guests' satisfaction.
Transfer to Jhansi Railway Station enroute Orchha with private vehicle and driver.
Enjoy your train ride from Jhansi to Agra. The train ride duration is approximately two and a half hours.
A private vehicle, with driver, and English-speaking assistant will pick you up for a transfer to the train station.
At the Oberoi: Amarvilas, indulge with your own private view of the greatest monument of love, recognized as the leading luxury hotel in Agra. Wake up to the glorious sight of the Taj Mahal, bathed by the first rays of dawn. Watch her sparkle by day as the sun shines on her architectural perfection. Allow yourself to be swept away by her romance at dusk. Let the nights be filled with the magic of the Taj by moonlight. Rated amongst the leading resorts in the world, The Oberoi Amarvilas offers the best view of the Taj Mahal in Agra. The hotel is located 600 meters from the Taj Mahal and all rooms, suites, lobby, bar and lounge offer breathtaking views of the monument.
The Oberoi Amarvilas was awarded many, many awards but amongst those include:Top 15 Resorts in Asia (Ranked 3rd) - Condé Nast Traveler, USA, Readers’ Choice Awards 2012, Top 15 Resorts in Asia (Ranked 7th) - Travel + Leisure, World's Best Awards, Readers' Survey 2012, Top 100 Hotels in the World (Ranked 47th) - Travel + Leisure, World's Best Awards, Readers' Survey 2012.
Be amazed on a private guided tour of Taj Mahal, one of the most beautiful monuments 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.
You'll also get to visit Agra Fort, built of red sandstone and marble. This great monument of red sandstone dominating a bend in the river Yamuna, 2km northwest of Taj Mahal was constructed by the Mughals during 1565-1571.
Enjoy a traditional ride on a Tonga (horse drawn carriage).
Transfer to Jaipur with private vehicle and driver. On the way, visit ancient ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri. Built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, the "City of Victory" was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only some 10 years. The complex of monuments and temples, all in a uniform architectural style, includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid.
The The Tree of Life Resort & Spa is nestled among the undulating Aravalli hills lies the perfect getaway. The Tree of Life Resort & Spa, Jaipur offers guest relaxation coupled with style, beauty and unmatched service. The resort features 14 luxury villas set on seven serene acres of land. Built using local architectural style and design – with extensive use of sandstone and lime reflecting Rajasthan’s long history – the Tree of Life Resort & Spa will transport guests through centuries of tradition laced with a modern touch. Each Villa is named after an Indian tree. The colour of the interiors takes after the colour of the flower which the tree bears. All villas come with a private lawn, and some with your own private pool, and are replete with generous personal space, enough to ensure maximum privacy and total tranquility. Your very own dedicated butler is at your service to ensure the highest level of personal attention. Villas are outfitted with luxuries such as bangle trees, books, private pools & more. At The Tree of Life Resort & Spa, you’ll spend your days and nights amidst natural, pastoral surroundings, yet just a short drive away from the hustle and bustle of the magical ‘pink city,’ Jaipur.
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).
From its creation in 1727, the royal families and nobles of Jaipur patronized the craftsmen and artisans of the city. These traditions continue to this day and as a result modern day Jaipur is considered by many as the craft capital of India. Traditional methods are still used to produce many valuable and highly prized items. Using skills passed down through generations, artisans and master craftsmen can be seen in the areas of Ghat Darwaza and Vishveshwar ji.
On this fascinating evening walk mingle and talk with the locals whilst sampling some of the region's culinary delights; try pakoras, aloo tiki, samosa and ladoo from some of the city’s most popular street food vendors. Observe local artisans in their workshops; jewelers and silversmiths, gold painters and tie dying experts. The iconic Hawa Mahal also called the Palace of the Winds is the meeting point at which this two and a half hour walk begins.
Drive today from Jaipur to Udaipur. (410 Kms/ 6.5 Hrs)
Udaipur, in the heart of Rajasthan, is a city of majestic palaces and beautiful lakes. Here, adorning the banks of Lake Pichola and standing witness to the historic City Palace, The Oberoi Udaivilas captures all the romance and splendor of a royal era. Each room is uniquely luxurious and offers modern amenities. Fine international cuisine, authentic flavours of Rajasthan or a quiet drink are all presented with views of the City Palace and Lake Pichola.In the serenely appointed spa suites, spectacular views of Lake Pichola and the City Palace inspire the spirit whilst your body is revitalised by the healing hands of our highly trained Banyan Tree therapists.
Private guided tour of the majestic white City Palace built in granite and marble. This largest palace complex in Rajasthan is surrounded by crenellated fort walls, and overlooks Pichola Lake. The Garden of the Maids of Honor is well laid out with extensive lawns and shady walks. Constructed for forty eight young ladies-in-waiting sent to the royal house as part of the dowry, the garden has many fountains in its four delightful pools, chiseled kiosks and marble elephants. Crystal Gallery in the Fateh Prakash Palace features a breath taking collection of crystals including tables, sofa sets, dining table, dressers, fountains, beds, and an exquisite jewel studded carpet, which is beyond description.
Lunch at a local restaurant with your guide.
For centuries artisans of Udaipur have created woven, printed dyed and embroidered textiles. These artists have practiced for generations preserving the identity of each art form. You can visit the homes of traditional artisans, some of them the last remaining in the line, to witness, understand, and appreciate the subtle nuances of these art forms unique to Udaipur. It is rare opportunity to experience the vibrant and diverse world of textiles up close, at your own pace. An expert will be at you hand to answer your questions and help interact with artists.
Enjoy an evening boat ride at Lake Pichola.
Private guided tour of Eklingji, located about twelve miles north of Udaipur, featuring a complex of 108 ancient temples, carved from sandstone and marble. The main temple was built in AD 734 to propagate the blessings of Lord Shiva. At Nagda there are some 10th century temples. The Jain temple of Adbudji is essentially ruined, but its architecture is interesting. About 500m away, the Sas Bahu temple has fine intricate carvings. There are also some small temples submerged in the nearby lake.
Airport transfer with private vehicle, driver, and English-speaking assistant.
Enjoy your flight from Udaipur to Mumbai today. The flight duration is approximately 90 minutes.
You'll be met at the Mumbai airport and transferred to your accommodation by private vehicle and driver.
Built in 1903, The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower is an architectural marvel that brings together Moorish, Oriental and Florentine styles. Offering panoramic views of the Arabian Sea and the Gateway of India, the hotel is a landmark of Mumbai, showcasing contemporary Indian influences. The Palace offers generously appointed suites and rooms, each adorned with original paintings and period furniture that exude an aura of old-world charm and elegance. Taj offers a distinctive dining experience, one that explores the nuances of the finest Indian and international cuisines, serving traditional and contemporary favorites. Blending ancient Indian wisdom with contemporary therapies, Taj Spa offers the best in Indian rejuvenation therapies.
Awards and accolades include being featured in the Travel+Leisure US Top 500 World's Best Hotels List, the Asia Category, with a score of 92.42 - Jan 2012 and Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2012 Awarded to The Zodiac Grill, Wasabi by Morimoto and Souk - Jan 2012.
This full day tour of Mumabi is the best way to experience the city at your own pace! The tour covers all the must-see places on any traveller's itinerary including visits to the Gateway of India, St. Thomas Cathedral, Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay University and the Oval Maidan, Town Hall, Victoria Terminus, Crawford Market, Marine Drive and Chowpatty Beach, Mani Bhavan the home of Gandhi, Malabar Hill and the Hanging Gardens and finally Dhobi Ghat.
A cruise through Mumbai Harbor brings you to the rock-cut cave temples on Elephanta Island. In 1987, the caves were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rock-cut temple complex covers an area of 60,000 sq ft consisting of a main chamber, two lateral ones, courtyards and subsidiary shrines. The site of these magnificent caves contains beautiful reliefs, sculptures, and a temple to the Hindu god Shiva.
Khyber is Mumbai's famous restaurant for Mughlai cuisine. Khyber has been going strong for decades and its tender kebabs remain outstanding (Frommers). The opulent decor includes original paintings by some of India's most famous artists. (No alcoholic or non alcoholic drinks included in this package)
India & Area
Alton J Hundley ,
March 14, 2011
"Our trip to India was a wonderful and magical event! We owe our gratitude to Kensington Tours for making the trip run so smoothly. The guides were exceptionally friendly and caring towards our four year old son and our driver was absolutely amazing!"
India & Area
Fred and Sharon Tooley ,
November 11, 2010
"We've just returned from our second "once in a lifetime" trip with Kensington Tours. A year ago we went to Kenya and Tanzania and felt that no future trips could match that incredible benchmark. We were wrong! When we had the wonderful opportunity to travel to India and Nepal this year, we once again called Kensington. What an amazing, amazing adventure we had! The fact that we have had two "once in a lifetime" trips with Kensington, tells us that we may not know where our next adventure will take us but we do know that Kensington Tours will take us there. We send huge thanks to Brad Crockett who coordinated a trip that was like no other. We thank he and Karishma Kaul both for walking us through our concerns, dealt with via email, while in country regarding a tight flight/luggage transfer and to both of them for arranging the marvelous hotels, lodges and incomparable guides and drivers for us in both India and Nepal. We want to especially thank them for Ghanshyam, our driver for our entire stay in India. Without him, and our trusty "Tempo Traveller" we simply wouldn't have survived the traffic and hours of travel--he was not only a great driver, but a terrific guide during those long drives between cities. We will never forget the thrill of seeing Machali, the magnificent tiger known as "Lady of the Lake" at Ranthambore National Park in India. We will never forget the speechless first sight of the Taj Mahal--nor, we doubt, will we ever have an experience that will ever compare with seeing a tiger in Chitwan National Park, Nepal while on a late afternoon elephant back safari in dense jungle cover--the sights, the sounds of the elephants...words may fail, but the memories will never fade. Thank you, Kensington.
Fred & Sharon Tooley 2011"
India & Area
Glenn Dorfman ,
March 10, 2010
"Our two weeks in India and Nepal doing the Golden Triangle, Varanasi and the Ganges, and Kathmandu went precisely as planned. Airport greetings and transfers, the drivers and especially the guides were all just great; highly qualified, interesting and dedicated to see that you have an interesting and safe experience. I have many examples to share of this. The itinerary was perfect. We have no complaints at all. Would be glad to share more details with prospective travelers."
India & Area
Mohmud Kassam ,
February 24, 2010
"Very helpful from the beginning and helped us change our itinerary so many times until we got it right. We really appreciate your effort. All guides were somewhat knowledgeable. We found that they were not as forthcoming as we would have liked and therefore we had to ask many questions to get more out of them. They were however very pleasant and patient. Vehicles were excellent! We chose Kensington Tours because you gave us the option of a “private guided trip” which is exactly what we were looking for. We have been on many tours and did not want a tour package where we had to go with a big group. Overall our experience was very good. The trip was exactly what we were looking for. The accommodation, cars and guides and agent reps were all very good and helpful. India was incredible!"
India & Area
Claudia Pedreira ,
February 09, 2010
"Sorry for the late response, I've been meaning to write to you since we came back to thank you so much for your assistance with coordinating our trip. India was such an amazing experience and truly a fascinating country. We appreciate the upgrades and the travel by private car as it made a difference in our trip. All three hotels were excellent and we found the local tour service to be prompt and very accommodating. I will certainly be using Kensington Tours again for any future travel. Thanks again!"
India & Area
Joan and Sam Hubball ,
February 09, 2010
I am thinking about you and your wonderful plan and our amazing trip to India. I think the flexibility within the tour, the number of rich experiences due to the private nature of the trip, the mind,body, spirit connections of the country made this a true life experience, not a trip. I will write you a long letter with more specifics this week as I believe there are so many places and people who deserve acknowledgment and recognition for some of the most gracious and experienced tourism service. For now,Bindu, everyone should stay at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur and everyone must see Varanasi. We are so glad we chose the more aggressive approach...I cannot imagine our trip without any of the places we've seen!
Warmest regards, heartfelt thanks for the plan, and will be in touch soon, Joan Hubball
India & Area
Helmut and Helga Igel ,
December 14, 2009
"Hi Bindu. Everything worked out great. The hotels all where very good. What made the trip a real pleasure was our driver, Manohar Lal Thakur. He always went out his way to take care of any requests we had. The Indian people are the friendlest we have ever met! We will use Kensington again on one of our next trips.
India & Area
Illa Gandhi ,
January 07, 2010
"We had a great time in India. Karishma Kaul from Kensington tours did a tremendous job putting our trip together. The company did second to none job making us feel at home. It was because of them, it felt like a holiday. Thank you Karishma for a wonderful experience."
India & Area
Cheryl Smith ,
September 28, 2009
"My trip to India was incredible, and I want to thank you for organizing the tours. They took very good care of us. The hotels were nice, and we felt very safe. The guides and the driver were fantastic. The guides were very knowledgeable and patient in answering all of our questions and waiting for us when I know we extended our slotted time in some places (like shopping). For instance, I went to the airport to depart and expected only a driver. I was very surprised and grateful to have another person with the driver who helped me enter the airport, obtain my boarding pass, and showed me where to get to security. "
India & Area
Frank Walchak ,
September 28, 2009
"We just arrived this morning from Delhi. The hotels, tour and driver were all excellent. We certainly got our monies worth. Thank you again for setting up this great trip. Prior to the golden triangle, we operated on 93 children with burns, cleft lip and palate at a medical school outside of Bangalore. Frank and Carolyn Walchak
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