(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. The spiritual tour continues at Sarnath where you’ll find the Dharmekh Stupa that dates back to 200 BC and is thought to be where the Buddha preached his first sermon. 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.
The Hilton New Delhi/Janakpuri hotel is only 20 minutes from Delhi's international and domestic airports. With the Metro station on the doorstep of this hotel, access is easy to the central business district, Gurgaon, and the international exhibition center, Pragati Maidan. All of the contemporary, air-conditioned guest rooms are some of the largest hotel rooms in the city. Enjoy a range of dining options with 8 on-site bars and restaurants. Keep fit while you travel in the fitness center by Precor and spoil yourself with a treatment in the Urban Spa, which features a sauna, steam room and outdoor swimming pool.
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.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to Jaipur. (258 Kms/5.5 Hrs)
The Samode Haveli is a small intimate hotel offering personalised service. It has been meticulously restored and integrated into a unique property. This unique atmosphere of the contemporary and the historic gives Samode Haveli a warm & friendly atmosphere enabling guests to relax and treat it as a home away from home! With its understated luxury, antique furniture, furnishings and original work-of-art, the hotel is a celebration of traditional values and gracious living. To be here is to belong.
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.
Indulge at our Chic, Contemporary Agra Hotel near the Taj Mahal. With its modern architecture and timeless appeal, the Radisson Hotel Agra Taj East Gate Road is more than a hotel—it is a destination. Located on 4.5 acres of land in the heart of the business and leisure precincts and within walking distance of the Taj Mahal, our hotel in Agra, India proudly offers everything that savvy international travellers have come to expect in cutting-edge accommodations. Guests will enjoy such amenities as flat-screen TV, safe, and large work desk in all rooms. Our conference and function rooms can accommodate up to 500 people with a full range of services. Stay with us and see why our all-new, sophisticated and luxurious hotel is the first of its kind.
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.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to Delhi. (205 Kms/5 hrs)
The Radisson Blu Hotel Dwarka is ideally situated in the serene locale of Dwarka, just 20 minutes from the commercial hub of New Delhi and 30 minutes from the city centre. As one of the closest five-star hotels to Indira Gandhi International Airport, the Radisson Blu offers accommodation and amenities unmatched by other hotels in Dwarka, New Delhi. Guests also enjoy easy access to popular attractions including India Gate, the Lotus Temple and Qutub Minar. The Radisson Blu features exceptional dining experiences, including Spring, an all day dining restaurant, where guests can enjoy quick bites and elaborate buffets or The Atrium Tea Lounge, which offers an array of teas and coffees with flights of confectionaries.
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.
From Varanasi, a private vehicle with driver and English-speaking guide will take you on a private guided tour of Sarnath. This site is known as deer park, but more importantly is the location 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 Dharmekh Stupa, an impressive structure built to approximately 128 feet high, by 93 feet in diameter. This site dates back to around 200 BC and is where the Buddha is said to have preached his first sermon. Dhamekha Stupa was originally constructed by the Emperor Ashoka in 249 BCE, and has had several face-lifts and additions added in 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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