India – Handpicked highlights + yoga retreat
16 days from £1030 per person Saving you £152 per person*
This itinerary isn’t set in stone. Pick, mix, swap however you like – your trip will be totally tailor made for you.
Day 1 Arrival in Delhi
Evening arrival at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, where your guide will welcome you with a flower garland and take you to your hotel.
Day 2 Delhi
Start your day with a visit to charming Old Delhi, starting with the Jama Masjid. It’s the largest mosque in India and one of the last architectural works of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (whose best-known work is the Taj Mahal). Walk through the colourful Chandni Chowk shopping bazaar, drive past the Red Fort and pay a visit to Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi.
Move into contrasting New Delhi for your afternoon tour, which includes a drive along the ceremonial Rajpath, past the imposing Rashtrapati Bhavan (presidential residence), the India Gate memorial and the Parliament House. You’ll also see Mughal Emperor Humayun’s Tomb before heading to a dramatic sound and light show at the Red Fort, recreating three hundred years of local history.
Day 3 Delhi – Rishikesh
An early start today with an express train ride to the spiritual hub of Rishikesh, a peaceful but popular haunt for yoga and meditation lovers. Check into your ashram then sit by the Ganges surrounded by forested hills and listen to the temple bells ringing.
Day 4, 5 & 6 Rishikesh yoga retreat
You’ve got three full days of yoga and meditation classes ahead, including chanting and prayer sessions and an expert lecture on the principles of Ayurveda. All your meals will be vegetarian.
Day 7 Rishikesh – Delhi
Board an early morning train and have breakfast on the journey back to bustling Delhi. Settle into your hotel before setting off for Akshardham Temple in the afternoon. It’s an ostentatious structure, drawing elements from traditional Orissan, Gujarati, Mughal and Rajasthani architecture. Don’t miss the Lotus temple, styled like a lotus flower with 27 immaculate white marble petals.
Day 8 Delhi – Udaipur
Fly to Udaipur, the City of Lakes, and check in to your next hotel.
Spend your afternoon visiting the fascinating Eklingji Temple Complex, with its 108 temples, which attract a lot of pilgrims but few tourists. You’ll also see Nagda, an early Mewar capital now largely ruined, but with a few temples worth visiting.
Continue to Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal, a folk-art museum containing costumes, tribal jewellery, dolls, masks, musical instruments, and more. Sit back for a one-hour puppet show before heading back for dinner.
Day 9 Udaipur
In the morning, visit Udaipur’s imposing City Palace, Rajasthan’s largest, with a facade 244m long and 30.4m high. You’ll also see the Jagdish Temple, with its carved main structure enshrining a black stone image of Vishnu as Jagannath, Lord of the Universe.
In the afternoon, cruise around Lake Pichola then visit the Monsoon Palace, a late 19th-century creation perched on top of a mountain like a fairy-tale castle.
Day 10 Udaipur – Jodhpur
After breakfast, travel to Ranakpur, one of India’s biggest Jain temple complexes. Explore the grounds here, including the impressive white marble Chaumukha Mandir (Four-Faced Temple), before carrying on to your hotel in Jodhpur.
Enjoy an afternoon touring Mehrangarh Fort, set above Jodhpur city and enclosed by thick walls. The palaces and rooms of the fort have been converted into a museum housing a large collection of palanquins, elephant howdahs, weapons and more. You’ll also see the Jaswant Thada, a white marble memorial and traditional cremation place for Jodhpur rulers.
End the day at one of several atmospheric restaurants near your lodgings
Day 11 Jodhpur – Jaipur
Sit back and enjoy the view as you drive to Jaipur, where you’ll be welcomed at your next hotel.
Have a chilled out evening at the mock Rajasthani village of Chokhi Dhani. Sit outside and enjoy a tasty Rajasthani Thali while you watch acrobats and dancers perform.
Day 12 Jaipur
Time to see the magnificent Amber Fort. You’ll do most of the journey by car, then swap your mode of transport to elephant for the short ride to the fort gate. The Amber Fort was built in red sandstone and marble in 1592 by Raja Man Singh and contains examples of both Hindu and Muslim architecture. You can choose to lunch in the opulent fort restaurant if you like.
In the afternoon, walk the courtyards, halls and gardens of the Maharaja’s City Palace then continue to Jantar Mantar observatory, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What you do in the evening is up to you – watch a match of camel or elephant polo or get a henna tattoo.
Day 13 Jaipur – Agra
Today you’ll be driven to Fatehpur Sikri, a sprawling complex of palaces, mosques, temples and other structures. It’s a stunning amalgamation of Persian and Indian styles of building.
Continue to your hotel in Agra before setting off to see Agra Fort. It’s a complex packed with monuments and grand halls and it’s here that the ageing Emperor Shah Jahan, imprisoned by his son, watched from a distance as his life’s dream was fulfilled – the building of the Taj Mahal in memory of his beloved wife.
Day 14 Agra – Varanasi
Rise early to see the stunning silhouette of the Taj Mahal at sunrise. It took nearly 22 years to complete this grand palace. Next, see the Red Fort, which overlooks the river Yamuna. You could spend the rest of the morning shopping or treating yourself to an Ayurvedic massage before your afternoon flight to Varanasi.
Check in to your Varanasi hotel before taking a peaceful evening rickshaw ride to the River Ganges to witness an enchanting prayer ceremony lit by brass lamps.
Day 15 Varanasi
Take an early morning boat ride along the Ganges, followed by a walk through the by-lanes of the old part of the city and a visit to the temple. Have breakfast back at your hotel then spend the morning however you choose.
Join an afternoon excursion to the deer park in Sarnath, 13 kilometres northeast of Varanasi. This is where Gautama Buddha came to teach his former five companions the Dharma, so it’s often regarded as the place where Buddhism found its roots.
Day 16 Varanasi – Delhi
Join an early yoga and meditation session with a local teacher before breakfast then spend the morning however you choose.
In the afternoon, you’ll fly back to Delhi where you’ll have time for dinner before catching your flight home.
*Prices are based on private arrangements (not lower priced escorted tours with set dates). Quality three star accommodation is quoted here (unless mentioned otherwise), with breakfast included and other meals where mentioned. Mostly private transfers with an English speaking driver/guide and all activities mentioned, with top guides, are included. Domestic flights and transport all included from Day 1 to end point. Can be tailored to your needs, so prices could be lower for budget arrangements or higher for luxury.
International flight is not included