Grand Tour of North India

Overview

Delve into the spiritual fabric of this intoxicating country on our 17 day itinerary which showcases the complex heart of North India, from intriguing Hindu rituals upon the Ganges, to the Sikh's golden symbol of brotherhood in Amritsar and the colonial inspired Christ Church which crowns Shimla's snow-capped Himalayan peaks. Along the way, sample wild culinary delights, marvel at a chaotic tapestry of lost empires and discover one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, The Taj Mahal.

What's Included:

  • Local English-speaking Guides
  • Scheduled Flights from the UK.
  • All internal travel including air-conditioned/heated transportation.
  • Accommodation and entry fees to all sights
  • Full board
  • All airport taxes and security charges

Tour Highlights

  • City tours of Delhi, Varanasi, Jaipur and Amritsar
  • Sunrise boat trip along the Ganges
  • Tour the magnificent Taj Mahal, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World
  • Traverse mountainous terrains on the UNESCO recognised Toy Train
  • Summer capital of British India - Shimla
  • Explore the Golden Temple, a highly revered site for Sikhs

Full Itinerary

Day 1: UK to Delhi

Delhi Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Delhi.

Day 2: Delhi

On arrival at India's capital, you will be met by a local guide and transferred to your hotel. In the evening, experience flavoursome local dishes at your welcome meal. Stay overnight at Hotel

Lunch & Dinner

Day 3: Delhi

Following breakfast, a full day city tour will commence. Travel through narrow streets and along naan scented markets on a rickshaw and pass by the Red Fort before stumbling upon the UNESCO recognised Humayun's Tomb, a captivating mausoleum that seemingly floats above landscaped gardens. Admire the transition en route from Old Delhi's historic charms to the intricate colonial town planning of New Delhi; view the minimalistic Mahatma Gandhi Memorial adorned in floral tributes before wandering through the Qutab Minar complex, a city awash with ancient ruins sculpted by the country's finest craftsmen. Stay over Night at Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 4: Delhi to Varanasi

This morning take the train from Delhi to the sacred 'City of Life' - Varanasi. Check in to your hotel for the next two nights, before an afternoon at leisure exploring one of the world's oldest continually inhabited cities, regarded as one of Hinduism's seven holy cities. Your evening tour takes you to a ghat - steps that lead to the Ganges - to witness the humbling Ganga Aarti Ceremony, a spellbinding display of candles afloat along the river. Stay overnight at Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 5: Varanasi

Begin today with a sunrise boat trip along the Ganges for a unique perspective of this spiritual watercourse and its vivid embankment of pastel edifices pierced by temple stupas. Spend the rest of your morning on a walking tour through this ancient city to observe other ghats, each with distinct floral decoration and uses including the intriguing 'burning ghats' used for funeral precessions. Continue your exploration of Varanasi at the Vishwanath Temple, a monument dedicated to Lord Shiva and famed for an illustrious gold-coated dome. Enjoy a half-day tour of Sarnath, a sacred site on which the Buddha gave his first sermon after finding enlightenment in 530BC. Your tour includes visits to ancient relics that document the area's spiritual significance including the Monastery Ruins, a tranquil park interrupted by a towering stupa engraved with delicate geometric carvings. Return for your final evening in Varanasi. Stay overnight at Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 6: Varanasi to Lucknow

Today's coach journey takes you from Varanasi to Lucknow, India's former artistic and cultural hub. On arrival, check into the hotel and in the evening pass through the imposing 18th century gateway of Rumi Darwaza, travelling past the stark red walls of Taluqdar Hall, the towering peak of Husainabad Clock Tower. Return to your hotel after this sightseeing. Stay overnight at Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 7: Lucknow to Agra

After breakfast take a scenic coach ride to Agra, where a network of rickshaws, jalebis vendors filling the air with sweet aromas and ancient Mandir temples alluding to the Mughal Empire's past grandeur await. Stay overnight at Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 8: Agra

Begin today at a tour highlight and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal. This iconic ivory-white mausoleum was completed in 1640 for Emperor Shah Jajan's beloved third wife. Wander along ornamental gardens to witness the breath-taking spectacle of its minarets and distinctive bronze dome reflecting the illumination of daybreak. After lunch visit the UNESCO recognised Agra Fort, an enormous sandstone city of pavilions, palaces and splendid courtyards behind 20 metre-high walls. Stay overnight at Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 9: Agra to Jaipur

This morning drive to the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur. En route stop at Chand baori an 8th-century structure which features 3,500 symmetrical steps leading to the bottom of a well. Your evening is at leisure to explore a colourful web of chaotic roadways disturbed by meandering camels, bazaars dressed in vibrant textiles and the constant whirl of cycle rickshaws around Rajasthan's largest city. Stay overnight at Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 10: Jaipur

A full day tour of Jaipur begins at the Amber Fort, a former ancient capital centred on a distinctive pink-yellow marbled royal palace. Travel to the fort by jeep, allowing you to observe harems of the Maharajah, complex mosaic designs and snake charmers. Continue to the UNESCO recognised Jantar Mantar, a fascinating collection of archaic astronomical instruments including the world's largest stone sundial. Later visit the distinct Hawa Mahal, a pink honeycomb landmark, constructed to provide ladies of the royal household an observatory for city life. Stay overnight at Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 11: Jaipur to Delhi

After breakfast depart Jaipur on your coach to Delhi and on arrival check in at the hotel to rest. Stay overnight at Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 12: Delhi to Shimla

This morning, board your train to Chandigarh, and from here drive along a winding track around rugged mountains and through luscious pine forests to the hill station of Shimla - the former summer capital of British India whose snow-dusted mountain position offers incredible views of the Himalayan mountains. Stay overnight at Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 13: Shimla

Depart Shimla this morning for a day in the neighbouring hill station of Kufri. Nestled at the Himalayan foothills, this charming town is surrounded by a picturesque forest reserve under the imposing gaze of Mahsu Peak. Having admired the wild beauty of Kufri, tour the magnificent Rashtrapati Niwas, a former home to the British Viceroy. Its opulent exterior invites visitors to explore a maze of corridors, opening into grand wood-panelled rooms. Stay overnight at Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 14: Shimla to Amritsar

This morning catch the UNESCO recognised Toy Train to Dharampur Station (Packed Lunch en route). Built by colonial forces, it offers dramatic views along its winding course through untouched forests and across immense gorges. Arrive in the city of Chandigarh and board the train for Amritsar. Stay overnight at Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 15: Amritsar

Enjoy a half-day city tour of Amritsar with a visit to the Golden Temple. Revered amongst Sikhs, this spectacular golden tank blends Islamic and Hindu architecture, surrounded by the Pool of Nectar. The ancient monument also contains a mesmerising display of floral motifs carved into marble alongside shimmering gold panels. After lunch enjoy an afternoon to explore at your own pace, alternatively take an optional excursion (at a fee) to the Indian-Pakistan border and witness the fascinating flag-lowering ceremony, a daily ritual of each side's soldiers competing to out-march, out-salute and out-shout one another. Stay overnight at Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 16: Amritsar to Delhi

Morning transfer to Amritsar airport in time to connect flight to Delhi. On arrival at Delhi you will be transferred to the Hotel at Delhi (normal check in time at Hotel is 14 00 hrs). Stay overnight at Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 17: Delhi to UK or Extension

After breakfast transfer to the airport in Delhi back to the UK or continue to your chosen extension.

Breakfast

Hand Picked By

Sarah Madden

Mercury Holidays offer a hand-picked selection of fantastic package holidays, including our most popular places such as of Malta, Gozo and Cyprus, the Algarve, Madeira, Greece and Spain, plus exotic getaways further afield, including Mauritius, the Maldives, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean. With over 37 years of travel expertise, Mercury Holidays continue to offer quality, affordability and a renowned level of service. Here, we showcase some of their best offers with a third week free to Malta and the Algarve - too good not to take advantage of.

Sarah Madden

Additional Information

  • Date: Various departure dates from June 2020 - November 2020
  • Board Basis: Full board
  • Duration: 16 nights
  • Departure Airport: London Heathrow
  • Guide Price: From £1,699pp
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