13 days from $10,491 per person*
  • Enjoy Old Delhi, the lakes of Udaipur, the Taj Mahal and Jaipur's Amber Fort.
  • Join a tiger-tracking safari in Ranthambore, Rajasthan's first Project Tiger reserve.
  • Join a Ganges Ghats Evening Aarti Ceremony in Varanasi.
  • Private transfers and tours throughout.
  • Featuring expertly selected luxury hotels.
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A trip that checks off some of the key stops on the Indian subcontinent and then some. In addition to visiting the classic triangle cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, you can see wildlife in Ranthambore and visit one of the holiest cities in India: Varanasi.

Like Rome, Delhi is an eternal city, not only the capital of modern India, but the capital of at least seven previous civilizations, each of which has left behind a trail of monuments. Tradition and modernity live easily side by side. The heart of Old Delhi is a 400-year old tangle of lanes with colorful bazaars, including its famous sweetshops and Khari Baoli, Asia’s biggest spice market. Two important historical icons, the Red Fort and Jama Masjid, are also close by. Not visiting Old Delhi is, almost, like missing out on Delhi.

Next, you fly to Udaipur, the city of lakes, where the majestic white City Palace offers a spectacular view over Lake Pichola. Enjoy a boat ride with your private guide and at Eklingji, about twelve miles north of Udaipur, stroll around a vast maze of 108 temples and let the collection of crystals at the Fateh Prakash Palace take your breath away.
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On to Jaipur, where virtually every building in the historical center is painted a terracotta pink. Your private guide will explain the story behind it. Visit the City Palace, marvel at the fascinating precision of the giant sundial next door at the ‘The Observatory’ and be in awe of Amber Fort, a breathtaking construction of red sandstone and marble. Take an evening walk with your private guide to sample the region's culinary delights from some of the city’s most popular street food vendors and observe local artisans in their workshops. In Ranthambore, join a Tiger Tracking Safari to Rajasthan's first Project Tiger reserve, which is spread over 244 square miles. The park is named after the 1,000-year old fort which stands within the reserve. Tigers sightings - while not guaranteed - are often successful and the park boasts a large range of other wildlife, plus gorgeous views of your surroundings. Even if the closest you get to a tiger sighting is a set of paw prints dotting the dirt road ahead of you, it is well worth the visit.

In Agra, a stunning monument to love, the Taj Mahal is an exquisite example of Mughal architecture, and has captivated the hearts and minds of travelers for centuries. Crafted entirely from white marble, construction of the Taj began the year after the Emperor Shah Jahan’s wife, Mumtaz Mahal, died in childbirth in 1631. The memorial was not completed until 1653 and over 20,000 people from India and other parts of Asia were engaged in its construction. Enjoy the beautiful gardens, laid out in the classical Persian design and the elaborately embellished arches and other structures.

Varanasi promises something a little different. It is one of the holiest places in all of India and takes you on a genuine spiritual journey. Although the emphasis is, of course, on Hindu religious sites, you also visit Sarnath, a little bit outside of town, to enjoy a quiet but significant site where the Lord Buddha gave his very first sermon to his first five disciples. To Hindus, the Ganges is a holy river and you need to keep an open mind to appreciate the connection people have with it. Hindus believe that taking a dip in the holy river will wash their sins away, and that to die in Varanasi – and be cremated by the banks of the Ganges - will liberate them from the cycle of death and rebirth. Taking a boat ride, with your private guide, along the holy river at sunrise, exposes a fascinating variety of activities being played out along the river bank: people taking a dip fully-clothed, holy men sitting on a rock in deep meditation while hawkers are plying their trade. It’s a riot of color and a quintessential experience.

Kensington Tours creates private trips from the world’s finest ingredients. Tailor-made with care by your personal Destination Expert, your personalized trip is always a one-of-a-kind experience made just for you. Expert local guidance and 24/7 service come standard.
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Day
Activities Hotel & Meals
Hotel & Meals
  • Day 1 Delhi
    Delhi
    • Airport Meet & Greet
    • Private Transfer - Airport - Vehicle/Driver/Representative
  • Day 2 Delhi
    Delhi
    • Private Tour - Full Day Old & New Delhi Tour - Vehicle/Driver/Guide
  • Day 3 Delhi to Udaipur
    Delhi to Udaipur
    • Private Transfer - Airport - Vehicle/Driver/Representative
    • Air - Delhi - Udaipur [(1.5 hrs)] - Economy
    • Private Transfer - Airport - Vehicle/Driver
    • Private Tour - City Palace, Crystal Gallery - Vehicle/Driver/Guide
    Breakfast
  • Day 4 Udaipur
    Udaipur
    • Private Tour - Eklingji & Nagda Temples - Vehicle/Driver/Guide
    • Private Tour - Boat Ride (90 min) - Boat/Guide
    Breakfast
  • Day 5 Udaipur to Jaipur
    Udaipur to Jaipur
    • Private Transfer - Airport - Vehicle/Driver
    • Air - Udaipur - Jaipur [(1 hr)] - Economy
    • Private Transfer - Airport - Vehicle/Driver
    • Private Tour - Bazaars, Cuisine and Crafts of Old Jaipur (2.5hrs) - Vehicle/Driver/Guide
    Breakfast
  • Day 6 Jaipur
    Jaipur
    • Private Tour - Amber Fort, City Palace, Observatory & Hawa Mahal (5 hrs) - Vehicle/Driver/Guide
    Breakfast
  • Day 7 Jaipur to Ranthambore
    Jaipur to Ranthambore
    • Private Transfer - Jaipur - Ranthambore [(4 hrs)] - Vehicle/Driver
    • Private Tour - Ranthambore Private Safari (Arrival Day) - Jeep/Naturalist/Park Entrance
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 8 Ranthambore
    Ranthambore
    • Private Tour - Private Morning Wildlife Tracking - Jeep/Naturalist/Park Entrance
    • Private Tour - Private Afternoon Wildlife Tracking - Jeep/Naturalist/Park Entrance
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 9 Ranthambore to Bharatpur to Agra
    Ranthambore to Bharatpur to Agra
    • Private Transfer - Train Station - Vehicle/Driver
    • Train - Ranthambore - Bharatpur [2.5 hrs] - Train
    • Private Transfer - Bharatpur - Agra [(1.5 hrs)] - Vehicle/Driver
    • Private Tour - Taj Mahal at Sunset - Vehicle/Driver/Guide
  • Day 10 Agra
    Agra
    • Private Tour - Agra's Taj Mahal, Fort & Agra Heritage Walking Trail - Vehicle/Driver/Guide
  • Day 11 Agra to Varanasi
    Agra to Varanasi
    • Private Transfer - Airport - Vehicle/Driver/Assistant)
    • Air - Agra - Varanasi [via Khajuraho (2 hrs)] - Air/Business
    • Private Transfer - Airport - Vehicle/Driver
    • Private Tour - Ganges Ghats Evening Aarti Ceremony - Boat/Guide
    Breakfast
  • Day 12 Varanasi
    Varanasi
    • Private Tour - Ganges Boat Ride - Boat Ride/Guide
    • Private Tour - Sarnath Ruins (3 hrs) - Vehicle/Driver/Guide
    Breakfast
  • Day 13 Varanasi
    Varanasi
    • Private Transfer - Airport - Vehicle/Driver
    • Air - Varanasi - Delhi [1.5 hrs] - Economy
We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
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Day 1: Delhi

For your added comfort, an English-speaking airport representative will be waiting for you outside the customs area for you with a sign with your name on it for your added comfort on arrival. The representative will help you meet up with your private driver and accompany you to your accommodation.

Meet your private driver and English-speaking assistant for an airport transfer.

Accommodation: The Leela Palace

The Leela Palace New Delhi boasts 260 rooms in the exclusive Diplomatic Enclave. Recently opened, The Leela Palace New Delhi is considered to be among the finest in India. The hotel is in close proximity to some of Delhi’s many tourist attractions: the Presidential Palace, the Prime Minister’s office and the Central Business District are a few of the sights in the vicinity. The Leela Palace New Delhi's rooms are the largest in the capital spanning more than 550 sq ft. while the Presidential Suite itself spans 4425 sq. ft. Each room is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and amenities.

Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Qutab Minar, Delhi
Qutab Minar, Delhi
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Leela Kempinski Palace
Leela Kempinski Palace

Day 2: Delhi

The contrasts between Old and New Delhi are striking – Old Delhi boasts spectacular UNESCO World Heritage monuments and holy sites, whereas New Delhi was designed in a typically British colonial style, with manicured tree-lined avenues and colonial bungalows. Meet with your private guide and driver to spend the day exploring the contrasts between the two sides of the city, and get an overall orientation of the city’s finest sites. Arrive in Old Delhi and drive past the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Red Fort. To truly experience the delightful chaos of the city, get on a cycle rickshaw for an exciting ride through its narrow lanes. The Old City walls wrap around Chandi Chowk, an ancient market that continues to thrive to this day. Take in the electrifying energy around you; expose your senses to the enticing colors and exotic scents of cardamom and allspice, and watch local men sip their tea at deliciously fragrant chai stands. A walk through Khari Baoli, Asia’s largest spice market, provides for unforgettable memories.

In the afternoon, drive past the impressive India Gate and the Secretariat Building on the way to Qutab Minar, the tallest brick minaret in the world. The minaret is surrounded by a complex of buildings providing fine examples of Indian artwork dating back to the twelfth century, and it has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. End the day with a visit to yet another UNESCO-recognized site, the Humayun’s Tomb. Explore this series of Mughal-style buildings, the first example of this type of architecture in India. At the end of the day, return to your hotel by private vehicle.

Accommodation: The Leela Palace
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Humayun's Tomb
Humayun's Tomb

Day 3: Delhi - Udaipur

Meet your private driver and English-speaking assistant for an airport transfer.

Board a flight with direct service from Delhi to Udaipur. Approximate flight duration is 1.5 hours.

Meet your driver for an airport transfer with private vehicle, driver and English-speaking assistant.

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.

Accommodation: Taj Lake Palace

The Taj Lake Palace, located in the middle of Lake Pichola is a dream of white marble and mosaic glistening in the moonlight, very reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. Conceived in romance, the palace was built in 1746 by Maharana Jagat Singh II, 62nd successor to the royal dynasty of Mewar – believed to be descendants of the Sun God. Set against the backdrop of the majestic Aravalli Mountains on one side of the lake, and lofty palaces on the other, the Taj Lake Palace spreads across a four-acre island – an almost surreal vision in marble. From casual, all-day dining to formal, fine dining, guests can look forward to a wide array of delectable culinary delights and refreshing beverages. Guests can treat themselves to a wide range of relaxing and rejuvenating activities.

Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Udaipur City Palace
Udaipur City Palace
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Udaipur City Palace
Udaipur City Palace

Day 4: Udaipur

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.

Enjoy a boat ride at Lake Pichola.

Accommodation: Taj Lake Palace
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Eklingji
Eklingji
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Lake Pichola Boat Ride
Lake Pichola Boat Ride

Day 5: Udaipur - Jaipur

Meet your driver for an airport transfer with private vehicle, driver and English-speaking assistant.

Board a flight with direct service from Udaipur to Jaipur. Approximate flight duration is 1 hour.

Meet your driver for an airport transfer with private vehicle, driver and English-speaking assistant.

The creative energy and ingenuity of Jaipur have long been a drawing point of the city, a lasting legacy of skilled craftspeople and artisans. From the founding of the city in 1727, the royal families and nobles of Jaipur have patronized the craft capital of India, and through their sphere of influence, many valuable and highly prized items can still be found. Using skills passed down through generations, artisans and master craftsmen can be seen in the areas of Ghat Darwaza and Vishveshwar ji. Starting in front of the iconic Palace of the Winds, set out on foot with your private guide and spend a colorful evening walking through the city’s bazaars, mingling and chatting with store vendors and locals alike, and sampling some of the region’s notable culinary favorites. Taste pakoras, aloo tiki, samosas and ladoo from a selection of the city’s most popular street food vendors that have been carefully vetted for quality and hygiene standards. Stroll along and poke your head into local artisans’ workshops to observe the painstakingly careful craftsmanship of jewelers and silversmiths, gold painters and tie-dying experts. At the end the 2.5-hour walk through the bazaars, return to your hotel by private vehicle.

Accommodation: Rambagh Palace

Rambagh Palace has been home to generations of royals. Built in 1835 Rambagh was converted into a palace in 1925 and became the residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur. The ‘Jewel of Jaipur’ as it is fondly called, remained the home of the Jaipur royal family until 1957, when it was first converted into a luxury hotel by Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. But it wasn’t until 1972 that Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces took over the reins. It is now the ‘jewel in the crown’ among the authentic palaces of the Taj in India. In the finest tradition of Rajput hospitality, the Rambagh Palace offers its guests a taste of royal living – a luxury and extravagance that was once the sole preserve of kings. The Rambagh Palace Hotel features on Conde Nast Traveller USA's Gold List 2012, as well as the 2012 T+L US Top 500 World's Best Hotels List, the Asia Category, with a score of 92.34, was the first runner up in the second edition of the T+L India's Best Awards 2013 in the category of Best Heritage Hotel, India and judged the #1 Luxury Hotel in India by Lonely Planet in 2012.

Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Colorful Bangles at the Local Market
Colorful Bangles at the Local Market
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Jantar Mantar
Jantar Mantar

Day 6: Jaipur

Following an early breakfast, meet your private guide and driver at your hotel and spend the day exploring some of Jaipur’s most iconic monuments. Begin the day with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the magnificent hilltop Amber Fort. The Fort is surrounded by fortified battlements and overlooks the Moat Lake.  Once on top, stroll through the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls. Most fascinating, perhaps, is the Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) where a single lamplight is reflected in the numerous mirrors, lighting up the entire room. Continue to Hawa Mahal, also known as the Palace of the Winds. The monument is adorned in an ornate pale pink facade with a tiered baroque-like build.  The original design was intended to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life and public festivals in the streets below without being seen.

Next, visit Jantar Mantar, an observatory built by Sawai Jai Singh ll in the 18th century. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the world’s largest sundial. The massive astronomical instruments were built from local stone and marble and the monument pays homage to 18th-century architectural innovations during the Mughal period. From here, continue to the City Palace, a breathtaking 18th-century royal residence to the rulers of Jaipur. Wander through the sprawling complex and visit areas that have been converted to a museum illustrating the harmony of Rajput and Mughal architecture. Part of the palace, Chandra Mahal, is the home of the current Maharaja and is off-limits. End your day with a private transfer back to your hotel.

Accommodation: Rambagh Palace
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal

Day 7: Jaipur - Ranthambore

This morning you will be driven to Ranthambore covering a distance of 170kms in approx. 4hrs time. Ranthambore, dominated by a vast 11th-century fortress of the same name, Ranthambore is a 400 sq km park situated in an area of rocky hill country, clothed in dry, deciduous forest, grassland, and scrub, and dotted with several small lakes that can be alive with birds. Some five years ago, the Tigers of Ranthambore were decimated by an outbreak of poaching; fortunately, the situation is improving and we once again have a good chance of encountering the largest and most powerful of the world's big cats. Seeing tiger will be a priority, and it requires covering much ground every morning and afternoon, eyes directed at every angle. Besides tigers, large mammals are particularly well represented at Ranthambore, and among the species, we might see are Sambar, Spotted Deer, Nilgai, Dorcas Gazelle (Chinkara), the ubiquitous Northern Palm Squirrel, Hanuman Langur, Small Indian and Ruddy mongooses, Wild Boar, and Indian Flying Fox. Leopard and Sloth Bear are also present in the park, though both are seen infrequently. Ranthambore also boasts an exciting array of birds.

Arrive just in time to head out on an exclusive private afternoon jeep safari in Ranthambore National Park. Ranthambore is Rajasthan's first Project Tiger reserve, spread over approximately 150 square miles. The park is named after the 1,000-year-old fort which stands within the reserve, towering over the park atop a hill. There are many ruins of bygone eras scattered throughout the jungle, giving the park a unique mixture of nature, history and wildlife haven. Private safaris accommodate up 4 passengers per jeep.

Accommodation: Oberoi Vanyavilas

The Oberoi Vanyavilas is India’s leading luxury jungle resort on the edge of the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. All Luxury Tents have private gardens and an outside deck for sunbathing. All the tents have wooden floors and embroidered interior canopies and are furnished in regal style. As The Oberoi Vanyavilas aim to provide a highly personalized service, guests may choose to dine wherever they wish. The highly attentive Oberoi staff does its utmost to meet guests every need and request. Indulge yourself with luxurious spa treatments. All the massage and aromatherapy treatments are aimed at relieving stress and promoting a deep sense of relaxation and wellbeing. Perfect after an exciting day's tiger spotting in the Reserve.

Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Tiger Viewing by Jeep
Tiger Viewing by Jeep
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Ranthambore
Ranthambore

Day 8: Ranthambore

Wake up early today for a private morning safari, one of the best times of the day to spot tigers. Game viewing for tigers is often successful – Ranthambore’s tigers are famous for being seen during the daytime and have even been known to hunt in full view of human visitors. There are lots of other possible wildlife sightings in the park. Ranthambore is also home to sambhars, cheetahs, wild boars, leopards, sloth bears, jackals, and hyenas among others. Morning safaris generally run from about 7.00 A.M. to 10.30 A.M.

After some time to relax and enjoy the hotel, head back out for a private afternoon safari. Ranthambore National Park is a wildlife enthusiast and photographer’s dream. Ornithologists will appreciate the tremendous range of birding opportunities during the safari experiences, as more than 270 bird species have been documented in the park. Afternoon safaris run from 2.00 P.M. to 5.30 P.M.

Accommodation: Oberoi Vanyavilas
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Tiger Tracking
Tiger Tracking
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Kingfisher
Kingfisher

Day 9: Ranthambore - Bharatpur - Agra

Meet your private driver and English-speaking assistant for a train station transfer.

Enjoy your train ride from Ranthambore to Bharatpur. The train ride duration is approximately two hours and 30 minutes.

Meet your private driver for a transfer from Bharatpur to Agra. Approximate driving time is 1.5 hours.

Meet with your private driver and guide, and set out for a stunning natural display of light over the Taj Mahal during sunset. As daylight wanes, the translucent white marble comes alive with a faint blush of warm rose, giving way to a stunning golden hue depending on the angle. Walk through the compound surrounding the Taj Mahal as the sunset’s spectacle plays out against the dramatic backdrop of the marble dome, displaying the changing colors in the compound’s reflecting pools. Visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site during the golden hour is a photographer’s delight. After your visit, return to your hotel by private vehicle.

Accommodation: Oberoi Amarvilas

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.

Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Taj Mahal at Sunset
Taj Mahal at Sunset
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal

Day 10: Agra

A stunning monument to love, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Taj Mahal has captivated the hearts and minds of travelers for centuries. Meet your private guide and driver for a private tour of this exquisite example of Mughal architecture crafted entirely out of white marble. Commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal who passed away during childbirth, the iconic mausoleum rises above a well-manicured garden. The inside of the Taj Mahal is equally stunning, with elaborate inlay work comprised of precious and semi-precious stones. After your leisurely exploration of this New 7 Wonders of the World, continue by car to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Agra Fort, a red sandstone fort built on a bend of the Yamuna river. The Mughal Dynasty fort served as the main residence of the emperors until the capital was shifted to Delhi, and it is an impressive monument with rich architectural history.

The Taj Mahal can be enjoyed at any time of the day, but especially at sunrise and sunset. What is not widely known is that you could be in close proximity to it, yet hardly see other tourists. To find out for yourself, you and your private guide set out on the Heritage Walking Trail, which offers a glimpse of local life in the shadows of the Taj Mahal. Cross the Yamuna river and you will soon discover that there is more to this place than what any tour operator or guide book will tell you. Solitary corner turrets, ruined pavilions, Tombs, Mughal Pleasure Gardens and a whole set of smiling people who calls Agra their home. You will visit some of the lesser known riverfront monuments such as the Rambagh, a pleasure garden built by the first Mughal Babar, the Gyarah Sidi (11 Steps) that helped the early Mughals study star constellations, and the Itimad-ud-Daulah; all rare remnants of pre-Taj Architecture. All of these gardens are maintained by local residents. This walk culminates at Mehtab Bagh for a view of the Taj at sunset from across the river Yamuna.

Accommodation: Oberoi Amarvilas
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  The Beautiful Taj Mahal at Sunrise
The Beautiful Taj Mahal at Sunrise

Day 11: Agra - Varanasi

Meet your driver for an airport transfer with private vehicle, driver and English-speaking assistant.

Board a flight from Agra to Varanasi with service via Khajuraho. Approximate flight time is 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Meet your driver for an airport transfer with private vehicle, driver and English-speaking assistant.

The Aarti Ceremony is a devotional Hindu ritual performed at dusk on the banks of the Ganges, using fire as an offering to, the affectionately referenced, Maa Ganga, goddess of the holiest river in India. Varanasi, also known as Benares and Kashi (City of Life), is one of the three holy cities - Rishikesh and Haridwar are the other two - where this event happens every day. Usually, a small oil lamp made of clay adorned with a candle and flowers is lit and floated down the river. It's a beautiful sight that takes place every sunset at the holy Dasaswamedh Ghat. Young Hindu priests, all draped in saffron-colored robes, perform the highly choreographed ritual on an elevated stage facing the river. Clouds of incense fill the air, while priests chant and wave incense sticks in elaborate patterns or circle large flaming lamps that create a magnificent spectacle of colors against the darkened sky.

The ritual lasts a little less than an hour, after which your private guide takes you to a waiting boat and boatman to experience Varanasi’s night views as observed from the river. The most important and, a potentially unsettling one, is to see the burning funeral pyres you encounter on the way. You can witness cremations as your boat floats gently past, revealing a ritual that is memorable in its rawness, simplicity, and completeness. It is helpful to hear your guide explain the Hindu believe that if a deceased’s ashes are laid to rest in the Ganges at Varanasi, it allows their soul to be transported to heaven and thus escape the cycle of rebirth. A tour with an intriguing close-up view of a quintessential Varanasi experience.

Accommodation: Nadesar Palace

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.

Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Aarti Ceremony Lamps
Aarti Ceremony Lamps
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Varanasi
Varanasi

Day 12: Varanasi

Mark Twain once described Varanasi as "Older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together." A tiny glimpse of what he was talking about can be gleaned from a boat ride on the river at dawn, one of the experiences that every visitor to Varanasi should have. Early this morning, accompanied by your private guide, discover India’s spirituality from another perspective — by taking an unforgettable sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, floating past ghats as worshippers begin to appear on the banks. Varanasi's unique culture is associated with the river Ganges, where life and death intermingle. The living flock the ghats to pray with the belief that bathing in the waters of the sacred river would result in the remission of their sins, while the ashes of the dead are scattered in the water to break the cycle of reincarnation and let the soul rise to enlightenment.

Varanasi may be home to popular and ancient Hindu temples, but it also has the distinction of being one of the most sacred destinations for Buddhists. The small site of Sarnath, about 20 Kms from Varanasi, is one of the four sacred Buddhist pilgrim centers and the one where Buddha delivered his first sermon, in what was a deer park, to his disciples. The other three sacred centers are Lumbini in Nepal where Buddha (then Prince Siddhartha) was born, Bodhgaya in Bihar where he attained enlightenment under the Mahabodhi Tree and Khushinagar in Uttar Pradesh where he entered into Mahanirvana.

Interestingly, many visitors to Sarnath don’t realize it was also an important place for the believers of Lord Shiva. Sarnath is the short form for Saranganatha, which means Lord of Deer, another name of Lord Shiva. Most of Sarnath’s ruins are found in a, relatively, small and very well maintained area with the Dhamek Stupa - one of the most famous of all Buddhist stupas – dominating the site. It can be seen from, virtually, anywhere you walk in Sarnath. Originally built during the reign of King Ashoka of the Maurya Dynasty (around 249 BCE), it has undergone a series of expansions and additions. It’s solid, cylindrically-shaped edifice marks the spot where Lord Buddha preached the first sermon to his five disciples after attaining enlightenment in Bodh Gaya. Today, Buddhist pilgrims from around the world visit Sarnath to circumambulate the holy Stupa, chanting the mantra or sitting on the grass in solemn prayer.

The museum, which is part of the site, boasts a great collection of archeological artifacts and your private guide can elaborate on the exhibits but then also give you time by yourself to browse at your own pace.

Accommodation: Nadesar Palace
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Mystic Rowing Boat on the Holy Ganges River
Mystic Rowing Boat on the Holy Ganges River
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Sarnath
Sarnath

Day 13: Varanasi

Meet your driver for an airport transfer with private vehicle, driver and English-speaking assistant.

Board a flight with direct service from Varanasi to Delhi. Approximate flight duration is 1.5 hours.

Accommodation: Depart (Int`l Airport) (standard)

Depart from International Airport. End of itinerary.

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.

Trip Terms & Conditions

  • Your deposit is due immediately on booking (30% of program price, minimum $350). The balance is due 90 days prior to departure.
  • Cancellations of confirmed bookings 90 days or more prior to departure will receive full refund minus a $350 (per person) administrative fee and any non-refundable paid fees (e.g. non-refundable airfare, cruise or hotel deposits). 60-89 days will be subject to loss of 30% of program price. 30-59 days will be subject to loss of 50% of program price. 29 days or less will be subject to loss of 100% of program price.
  • Tour quotes do not include airfare to/from the trip start point unless noted on the itinerary
  • Cost increases in currency exchange, government fees, taxes, surcharges or hotel/lodge tariff increases between quote date and start date are payable by the client.
  • Availability cannot be guaranteed until booked. We will exercise best efforts to book hotels per the itinerary, however, in busy seasons and with client bookings made within 90 days of tour date we may be forced to offer substitutes.
  • Payment of the program price constitutes your acceptance of the terms and conditions set out at www.kensingtontours.com/terms-and-conditions
  • Living Standards and practices at destination may differ from those in North America with respect to provisions of utilities, services and accommodation.

The Leela Palace : Delhi

The Leela Palace New Delhi boasts 260 rooms in the exclusive Diplomatic Enclave. Recently opened, The Leela Palace New Delhi is considered to be among the finest in India. The hotel is in close proximity to some of Delhi’s many tourist attractions: the Presidential Palace, the Prime Minister’s office and the Central Business District are a few of the sights in the vicinity. The Leela Palace New Delhi's rooms are the largest in the capital spanning more than 550 sq ft. while the Presidential Suite itself spans 4425 sq. ft. Each room is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and amenities.

Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Leela Kempinski Palace
Leela Kempinski Palace

Taj Lake Palace : Udaipur

The Taj Lake Palace, located in the middle of Lake Pichola is a dream of white marble and mosaic glistening in the moonlight, very reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. Conceived in romance, the palace was built in 1746 by Maharana Jagat Singh II, 62nd successor to the royal dynasty of Mewar – believed to be descendants of the Sun God. Set against the backdrop of the majestic Aravalli Mountains on one side of the lake, and lofty palaces on the other, the Taj Lake Palace spreads across a four-acre island – an almost surreal vision in marble. From casual, all-day dining to formal, fine dining, guests can look forward to a wide array of delectable culinary delights and refreshing beverages. Guests can treat themselves to a wide range of relaxing and rejuvenating activities.

Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Taj Lake Palace
Taj Lake Palace
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Badi Pal Jetty
Badi Pal Jetty

Rambagh Palace : Jaipur

Rambagh Palace has been home to generations of royals. Built in 1835 Rambagh was converted into a palace in 1925 and became the residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur. The ‘Jewel of Jaipur’ as it is fondly called, remained the home of the Jaipur royal family until 1957, when it was first converted into a luxury hotel by Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. But it wasn’t until 1972 that Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces took over the reins. It is now the ‘jewel in the crown’ among the authentic palaces of the Taj in India. In the finest tradition of Rajput hospitality, the Rambagh Palace offers its guests a taste of royal living – a luxury and extravagance that was once the sole preserve of kings. The Rambagh Palace Hotel features on Conde Nast Traveller USA's Gold List 2012, as well as the 2012 T+L US Top 500 World's Best Hotels List, the Asia Category, with a score of 92.34, was the first runner up in the second edition of the T+L India's Best Awards 2013 in the category of Best Heritage Hotel, India and judged the #1 Luxury Hotel in India by Lonely Planet in 2012.

Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Rambagh Palace
Rambagh Palace
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Palace Room
Palace Room

Oberoi Vanyavilas : Ranthambore

The Oberoi Vanyavilas is India’s leading luxury jungle resort on the edge of the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. All Luxury Tents have private gardens and an outside deck for sunbathing. All the tents have wooden floors and embroidered interior canopies and are furnished in regal style. As The Oberoi Vanyavilas aim to provide a highly personalized service, guests may choose to dine wherever they wish. The highly attentive Oberoi staff does its utmost to meet guests every need and request. Indulge yourself with luxurious spa treatments. All the massage and aromatherapy treatments are aimed at relieving stress and promoting a deep sense of relaxation and wellbeing. Perfect after an exciting day's tiger spotting in the Reserve.

Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Oberoi Vanyavilas
Oberoi Vanyavilas

Oberoi Amarvilas : Agra

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.

Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Oberoi Amarvilas
Oberoi Amarvilas

Nadesar Palace : Varanasi

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.

Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Nadesar Palace
Nadesar Palace
Signature Tour of India Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Nadesar Palace - Guest Room
Nadesar Palace - Guest Room

Depart (Int`l Airport) (standard): Global Location

Depart from International Airport. End of itinerary.

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
  • Diana C — April 29, 2019 — India & Area

    We had an amazing experience. Our guides in Agra and Delhi were excellent. We had a wonderful driver who was with us from Dehli to Agra, and again in Agra and Delhi. We felt well taken care of with all the greeters and assistants at every step of our journey. We felt safe and well cared for from the pick up at the cruise terminal in Mangalore until our drop off at the door of the cruise terminal in Mumbai. I have already recommended Kensington to all the jealous fellow cruisers on our ship, and many times since our first Kensington tour in Africa. You never disappoint!

  • Aparna M — December 22, 2018 — India & Area

    What an organized, well put together company! From the moment I reached out online to the last minute details even a day or two before our trip, Kensington took care of my every need and created the perfect itinerary, with attention to every single detail. My main destination expert, Katie was absolutely incredible, capturing our most favorite interests and activities in this trip. She listened to me, asked for my preferences and priorities and passions and put together the most fabulous trip that was personalized just for us! She even incorporated personal time for us to spend with family as part of the itinerary. From the moment we got off the plane to the moment we boarded our return flight back home we were never left to struggle and we were well cared for throughout the entire 2 week trip. My local Kensington contact Chhaya was also wonderful, periodically checking on me by phone to ensure that our every need was met. The company situated every detail of our trip and we felt well cared for and situated in every town we visited. It was an incredible experience that we will remember forever and I will always seek Kensington for our experiential trips around the world. Thank you for an absolutely phenomenal journey Kensington!

  • Frances H — December 31, 2018 — India & Area

    The Kensington experience was beyond professional. We were treated like VIPs everywhere we went. I have never been treated so well on any trip before. Their attention to detail is excellent and responsive to our last minute changes was greatly appreciated. Thank you for the trip of a lifetime to India.

  • Paul M — February 14, 2019 — India & Area

    We were extremely pleased with the careful attention to service details by Kensington and its representatives. After seeing large tour buses of tourists on our India trip, we appreciate even more the value of small and nimble groups. The guides and driver were first-rate and were willing to accommodate minor changes to the schedule to fit our interests.

  • Sandra A — January 31, 2019 — India & Area

    Everyone was wonderful to work with. The trip was wonderful, and we learned so much about history and culture. The drivers and guides were great! The best thing was that we never felt out of touch. Sagrika Bisht was lovely and always available. She provided us with her contact details and checked up on us throughout the trip to ensure we were enjoying ourselves. Our driver, Pyar was wonderful and always there for us. He made us feel very safe on the busy streets. We always felt KT was there with us overseeing everything. The welcome gift prepared was lovely and Laura did a great job planning. She helped pick out things to do and see and we truly appreciate her!

  • Elizabeth P. — January 28, 2019 — India & Area

    The trip overall exceeded our expectations! The organization, tours, guides, and accommodations were all very good.

  • Kenneth D. — January 19, 2019 — India & Area

    Jennifer May did a fantastic job in preparing the logistics for our almost month long trip to India and Sri Lanka. Everything went smoothly without any problems. The hotels were great as were the itinerary and the guides.

  • Margarita C. — June 24, 2018 — India & Area

    Melissa Stankovich, our Destination Expert, was excellent from beginning to end. Courteous, knowledgeable, and prompt with her responses to our queries.

  • Glendora P. — June 26, 2018 — India & Area

    The most outstanding personnel for our trip to India was Jaggi the driver. He was professional, warm and very accommodating. The guide in Jaipur was also first rate.

  • Karen K. — January 15, 2019 — India & Area

    Kensington and Mark, our Destination Expert, did a fantastic job and I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone as well as use them again. Thank you Mark for a great trip!

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.

* USD per person, double occupancy. Custom designed personal tour. Prices subject to change.

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