Discover Delhi, both new and old, with a guided walking tour of its historic walled heart and a rickshaw ride through the Chandni Chowk marketplace.. With plenty of time to explore Mumbai at your own pace, why not delve into the incredible heritage quarter, check out the circus-like Chowpatty Beach, or find a chai wallah for a spot of tea – it’s up to you!. Witness the one and only Taj Mahal. Seeing this Mughal marvel for the first time, in all its dazzling white marble, is a moment you won’t forget.. Goa may be a golden-sand beauty, but there’s more to life here than simply chilling by the beach – you could opt to tour an organic spice farm and gorge on a sumptuously spiced Goan feast instead.
From spice-filled bazaars to white sandy beaches, opulent palaces to spice plantations, discover India in all its glory on this well-balanced 15-day adventure with Lonely Planet, powered by Intrepid. Delve into a world of delicious street food, ride rickshaws through narrow alleyways, stroll by beautiful lakes and forested hills, mingle with Mumbai merchants, and explore centuries-old icons. Finish up on the shores of easygoing Goa, where yoga, cocktails, and golden sands are all you need to chill out after the bustling big towns of India. Now that’s an idyllic Indian adventure.
Breakfast Included: Lunches Included: Dinner Included:
Arrive in the fun and frenetic capital of Delhi and settle into your hotel. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, where you’ll meet your group leader and travel pals. If you arrive early, there are plenty of Urban Adventures you can book if you have some spare time. These chaotic streets are the perfect place to have an expert guide show you the ropes. Epicureans can get a taste of home-cooked Delhi and history buffs can take a Gandhi-focused excursion around town – see urbanadventures.com/destination/delhi-tours for more information. After your important meeting, take an orientation walk to get your bearings and perhaps head out for an optional dinner with your group.
Start your day with a ride on the metro. Your tour heads first to Old Delhi – the heart of the city. Inch your way through the streets around the Chandni Chowk marketplace in true local style – by cycle rickshaw! Perhaps visit the Jama Masjid – Delhi's oldest (and India’s largest) mosque – and then stop by the Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple). Learn about the Sikh guru who, in the 17th century, stuck to his religious beliefs and paid the ultimate price in this very spot. This afternoon is free to explore more of Delhi's sights at your own pace, so be sure to have your Lonely Planet app ready to point you in the right direction!
Agra itself may not be the world’s prettiest city, but the minute you see its iconic sights, that won’t matter one bit. You will arrive by one of India's express air-conditioned trains (approximately 3 hours), then head straight to the most recognisable sight in India. The Taj Mahal may well exceed your expectations as the light shimmers off its white marble surface. Best known as a monument to love and loss, the 17th century Taj is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture, surrounded by trimmed English gardens. The highlights keep coming as you take a motorised rickshaw tour around town – a great way to see the monuments of Agra. You can also visit Akbar's Mausoleum, a beautiful sandstone and marble tomb built for the greatest of the Mughal emperors. Stop off for an optional meal at Sheroes Hangout, a cafe that supports victims of acid attacks.
Travel by public bus to Rajasthan’s colourful capital, Jaipur. Settle into your hotel, then enjoy a walk through the streets and markets of this ‘Pink City’. Use the rest of the day to explore the city on your own, perhaps visiting Jaipur’s ornate Royal City Palace. Your accommodation for tonight is a family-run heritage hotel. In the evening, perhaps take the opportunity to see a Bollywood film. Jaipur is home to one of the world's great cinema halls – the grand art-deco Raj Mandir.
For many travellers, an optional hot air balloon experience is one of the highlights of Jaipur, and today would be the ideal day to book in on one. In the afternoon, visit the hilltop Amber Fort, an excellent example of Rajput architecture, and see the red stone palace of the Hawa Mahal (The Palace of the Winds). Take in its dazzling coloured glass work and learn its interesting history.
Travel to Pushkar by public bus and then private vehicle via the town of Ajmer. Pushkar is one of India's holiest towns and a market centre for the surrounding villages. Head out to explore the town on a walking tour, stopping in at the main bazaar along the way. Here you'll come across anything from 1960s fashion and glass lamps to jewellery and traditional Rajasthani puppets. Then, take a walk around Pushkar’s lake, which is considered sacred in Hindu culture and has an interesting mythology behind it. Wander past the bustling ghats and temples, observing the devout as they worship at the city’s holy waters.
Early morning risers may like to hike up the hill to the Savitri Temple for sunrise views over the town. If the chai wallah is there, enjoy a steaming cup of tea at the top! Later in the day, you will pay a visit to the colourful Brahma Temple, which is dedicated to the Hindu god-creator Brahma. If you’re lucky enough to be in town for the Pushkar Camel Fair, you can experience one of India’s most famous festivals. It's held every November.
Continue on to your next destination today, travelling by private vehicle back to Ajmer and then day train to Udaipur. Known as the ‘Venice of the East’, this white city is often regarded as the most romantic in India. Set amid the Aravalli Hills, Udaipur curls around a huge lake. On arrival, take a leader-led city walk to get your bearings around town. Explore twisting alleyways filled with shops and bazaars selling things like silver jewellery, shoes, bags, leather goods, and miniature paintings.
Enjoy a free day to explore the sights of Udaipur. Season depending, why not take a short boat ride on the famous Lake Pichola and see the palaces of Jag Mandir and Jag Niwas rise out of the water. Take a guided tour of the lakeside City Palace complex, the largest palace in Rajasthan. While inside, check out vivid murals and royal antiques, and pop into the impressive Jagdish Temple that’s dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Alternatively, you could learn the secrets behind making the perfect Indian thali during a half-day cooking class.
Udaipur – Overnight Train
Enjoy another free day in Udaipur before your overnight train to Mumbai. You might like to spend the day exploring Shilpgram – an interesting artistic neighbourhood located just a couple of kilometres away from town. Here you can see a range of village houses from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa and Maharashtra with exhibitions on display (season depending). Board your train to Mumbai from Falna station and settle in for a long and exciting overnight journey.
Wake up in Mumbai, perhaps the most cosmopolitan city in India. You will take a short walk through the heritage quarter of Mumbai, the nearby Gateway of India, and the famous Taj Hotel. Discover some of the beautiful old colonial and art deco buildings, treat yourself to a meal in one of the country's best restaurants, or shop ‘til you drop in the bazaars and malls. Later in the day, visit Chowpatty Beach where colourful crowds mill about in the cooler evening air. Palm readers, balloon sellers, magicians, and acrobats all compete for your attention. A great optional activity is to visit Elephanta Island. Easily accessible by ferry from Mumbai, it's about 10 km from the south-east coast of the island city. Boats leave daily from the Gateway of India (approximately 1 hour each way).
Mumbai – Overnight Train
While away the day in magnificent Mumbai. Perhaps ride the excellent rail system and make your own discoveries around the city – it's a good idea to avoid the hectic peak hours! You’re free to discover Mumbai at your own pace today, and be sure to ask your group leader for their recommendations. Keep in mind that tonight you’ll board an overnight sleeper train bound for Goa.