(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.
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.
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.
Take a private guided tour of Sarnath. Located 5 miles from Varanasi, the site is the deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma after his enlightenment. Sarnath is one of four holy Buddhist sites sanctioned by Buddha himself for pilgrimage. Amongst the ruins is the Dharmekh Stupa, an impressive 128-foot high, and 93-diameter large structure. It was constructed by the Emperor Ashoka in 249 BCE. There are also several other Buddhist erections 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. "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.
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." 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.
Enjoy your flight from Varanasi to Khajuraho today. The flight duration is approximately one hour.
Sit back and relax during 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. Situated in a town in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, 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 century. These marvelous Khajuraho temples and the 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.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to Jhansi Railway Station. Enroute stop at Orchha.
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 provide a transfer between the train station and your accommodation.
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.
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.
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.
Meet your driver for a transfer from Jaipur to Udaipur. The drive takes approximately 6.5 hours.
Today visit the majestic white City Palace built in granite and marble. The palace complex 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. The Crystal Gallery in the Fateh Prakash Palace features a breath taking collection of crystals including tables, sofa sets, a dining table, dressers, fountains, beds, and an exquisite jewel studded carpet.
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the company of 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.
Today travel to 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 734 AD to propagate the blessings of Lord Shiva. Afterwards continue on to Nagda, known for its 10th century temples. The Jain temple of Adbudji is essentially ruined, but it still displays interesting architecture. Visit the Sas Bahu temple that has fine intricate carvings. There are also some small temples submerged in the nearby lake.
Meet your driver for an airport transfer with English-speaking assistant.
Enjoy your flight from Udaipur to Mumbai today. The flight duration is approximately 90 minutes.
You will be welcomed at the Mumbai Airport by an English speaking representative and transferred to your accommodation by private vehicle and driver.
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 traveler’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 square feet 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 famed restaurant for Mughlai cuisine. The opulent decor includes original paintings by some of India's most famous artists. Please note that drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic are not included.
A legend which is considered one of the best hotels in New Delhi and an iconic property in Delhi’s 5-star hotel category, The Imperial offers a unique experience embracing facets of India's history and stands witness to the birth of the capital city of New Delhi. Built in 1931 by Blomfield; one of Sir Edwin Lutyen’s associates and inaugurated by Lord Willingdon in 1936, the hotel is known for its contemporary colonial style. As New Delhi’s landmark Hotel, it is located on Janpath, the erstwhile Queensway, steps away from the renowned shopping district and major attractions of the city.
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.
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.
The Oberoi Amarvilas is located 600 meters from the Taj Mahal and all rooms, suites, lobby, bar and lounge offer breathtaking views of the monument. Indulge with your own private view of the greatest monument of love. Wake up to the glorious sight of the Taj Mahal, bathed by the first rays of dawn. Richly detailed interiors are perfectly complemented by a choice of international and Indian cuisine. The hotel offers a range of activities to relax and recharge, including a fitness center, outdoor swimming pool and luxury retail arcade. Rejuvenate at the full service Oberoi Spa, or get in touch with your inner self with a yoga session.
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.
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 the romance and splendour of a royal era. Conceived as a traditional Indian palace, The Oberoi Udaivilas showcases the rich heritage of the Mewar region of Rajasthan with its rambling courtyards, gentle rippling fountains, reflection pools and verdant gardens. Grand architecture inspired by the palaces of Rajasthan present a picture of majesty resplendent with pavilions and domes that lead you to a journey of discovery. Interiors embellished with decorative domes, hand painted frescoes, intricate mirror work and beautifully crafted artefacts create an ambience of regal splendour. An enchanting boat ride across Lake Pichola transports you to the ceremonial welcome that awaits you at the resort. Rooms with terraces that open on to semi-private swimming pools present exquisite views and are a unique feature of The Oberoi Udaivilas. Magnificently decorated suites with private swimming pools and outdoor dining pavilions are exclusive retreats. Fine international cuisine, authentic flavours of Rajasthan or a quiet drink are all presented with views of the City Palace and Lake Pichola. The luxurious spa with its own swimming pool overlooks the lake and is a haven of serenity. Trained therapists pamper body and soul with rejuvenating treatments. The resort also offers private Yoga sessions, meditation and Pranayam sessions with the resident Yoga teacher. At The Oberoi Udaivilas, the magnificent setting combines with royal service to make your holiday a journey into the romance and grandeur of another century. The resort offers an experience created exclusively for those who know there is nothing like too much luxury.
The history of Mumbai and The Taj Mahal Palace are dramatically intertwined. The hotel is Mumbai’s first harbour landmark (built 21 years before the Gateway of India) and the site of the first licensed bar in the city. For more than a century, the Taj has played an intrinsic part in the life of the city, hosting Maharajas, dignitaries and eminent personalities from across the globe. Today it is a Leading Hotel of the World and favourite destination for discerning business travellers. A treasure-trove of invaluable memorabilia, there is a story to tell behind every pillar, a landmark deal in every boardroom, and a storied celebration under every awning. Come be a part of the legend.
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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