Days 1 - 3
India’s capital, New Delhi, lies on the Indo-Gangetic Plain, within the National Capital Territory of Delhi. Made up of the ancient walled city of Old Delhi and the more modern sector, New Delhi, the city encompasses a staggering array of beautiful buildings, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the grand, sandstone Red Fort, striking Qutab Minar, and fascinating Humayun's Tomb. Architecture enthusiasts will delight in the iconic Lotus Temple. Hear ‘qawwalis’ (devotional music) at the dargah (tomb) of the Sufi saint Nizam-ud-din Auliya; or wander through the 17th century Chandni Chowk marketplace – still one of the city’s most popular retail centres today, famous for its traditional jewellery and saris. The gorgeous Sunder Nursery and Lodi Garden provide calm, flower-filled oases for picnicking.
Days 3 - 6
An ancient and holy city south of Rishikesh, Hardiwar enjoys a picturesque position on the banks of the River Ganges. After its 253km journey from its source at the Gangotri Glacier in the Himalayas, Haridwar is the first town to meet the sacred river after its mountainous course. The town bustles with Hindus and renunciants who perform ritualistic bathing in the icy, fast-flowing waters to wash away their sins. The famous Har-ki-Pairi Ghat is a religious hub, where every evening a sea of floating candles and flowers are sent down the river as Hindu prayer offerings.
Days 6 - 8
Set on the banks of the Yamuna River in Uttar Pradesh, Agra is a beautiful city famous for its incredible Taj Mahal building, one of the seven wonders of the world. Commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the 15th century as a memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, this is an architectural masterpiece of exquisite craftsmanship and perfect proportions. The city boasts numerous other superb attractions, including the red-hued Agra Fort, the sacred Jama Masjid mosque, and Itmad-ud-Daulah’s tomb, with its white marble facade embellished with intricate inlaid designs. Other highlights include several wonderful atmospheric markets, the traditional village of Korai, and the Elephant Conservation Centre, where visitors can help with the rehabilitation of these gentle giants.
Days 8 - 10
Fringed by the rugged Aravali Hills, Jaipur, nicknamed the ‘Pink City’ for its salmon-hued terracotta buildings, is the capital and largest city in the Rajasthan State. This metropolis combines tradition and modernity with its vibrant bazaars, lavish palaces, and ancient temples. Don’t miss the fairy-tale splendour of the Amber Fort, set against the backdrop of the arid landscape and hosting enthralling sound and light shows; the UNESCO-listed Jantar Mantar, a collection of 300-year-old astronomical tools which look like contemporary art; and the opulent City Palace, with its palatial structures, sprawling gardens, and atmospheric courtyards. Jaipur falls within the Golden Triangle, a popular tourist circuit, which includes Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra, and it also serves as a gateway to the neighbouring desert cities of Jaisalmer and Jodhpur.