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This 9-day tour of India’s Golden Triangle and Ranthambhore National Park is ideal for first-time visitors who want to explore the country’s most iconic monuments and traverse mesmerizing landscapes in search of unique wildlife such as the elusive Bengal tiger.
On this tour, you will witness some of India’s most impressive monuments and famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Agra Fort, Amber Fort, Jaipur’s City Palace, the Mehtab Bagh garden, and the stunning Taj Mahal. You will also search the jungles to try and catch a glimpse of endangered wild tigers and learn how to cook classic North Indian dishes in the home of a local chef.
Every day of this journey is specially designed to help you experience the endless charm and beauty of India.
- Explore the legendary bazaars of Old Delhi by taking a rickshaw ride through the narrow shop-lined streets of Chandni Chowk.
- Experience India’s history by exploring New Delhi’s colonial mansions and government buildings and then head to Raj Ghat to learn about the life of Mahatma Gandhi.
- Stand in front of the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a perfect example of an Islamic garden-tomb of paradise.
- Search for wild tigers in Ranthambhore National Park and spot other animals like monkeys, deer, and colorful birds.
- Venture through the Pink City of Jaipur to experience fascinating bazaars, opulent palaces, and impressive forts.
- Visit the home of a local chef to learn how to cook several North Indian dishes using spices and local ingredients.
- Make accommodation part of your experience by staying at an elegant Colonial-era hotel with beautiful gardens in New Delhi and at a decadent palace hotel in Jaipur to experience the opulent lifestyles of the city’s royalty.
- An English-speaking guide who will explain the history and importance of each site
- A chauffeured car with air conditioning for all transportation needs during city tours, day excursions, and trips to and from hotels
- 4-star hotels that are hand-picked to match your preferences
- All entrance fees for activities that are listed on the itinerary
- Hotel buffet breakfasts and lunch at our recommended restaurants
- One-on-one consultations with one of our travel experts
- A 24/7 helpline while you are traveling
- Government tax
Itinerary in detail
At Asia Highlights, all of our tours are flexible. If this tour fits you perfectly, you can go ahead and sign up! If you think a few things are missing, you can use this tour as inspiration and let us make changes to better fit your travel goals.
Day 1 Arrival in Delhi
Namaste! Welcome to Delhi, India’s capital and third-largest city. Many great Indian empires have ruled the country from here and have left behind their incredible ancient monuments and structures.
When you arrive in India, you will be met by our representative in the arrivals area and then taken to your hotel in a private car. After check-in, you can spend the afternoon relaxing in your hotel to decompress from your long journey.
To add to your travel experience, we have arranged for you to stay at an elegant Colonial-era hotel with charming rooms and gardens. Here, guests can enjoy traditional herbal Ayurvedic treatments, sunbathe next to the swimming pool, take a walk around the garden, and have a delicious dinner.
Day 2 Old Delhi and Delhi to Agra
A good way to start your first day is to explore legendary Old Delhi. Old Delhi is what remains of the walled city that was once the capital of the Mughal Empire. This part of the city is full of busy bazaars and narrow alleyways.
Start your day by exploring Jama Masjid, a historic and large mosque crowned with three imposing black-and-white marble domes. Then walk down the sandstone steps into the bustling streets where you will take a rickshaw ride through the Chandni Chowk market which is lined with busy shops and full of people buying and selling goods.
Learn about Mahatma Gandhi by paying a visit to the Raj Ghat, the site of Gandhi’s cremation memorial. Here you can lay wreaths in memory of India’s “Father of the Nation”.
In the afternoon, you will leave Delhi and travel to Agra by private car (approximately 4-5 hours). When you arrive, take some time to relax at the hotel.
Day 3 Iconic Mausoleums, Gardens, Forts, and Palaces
Agra was the seat of the Imperial Mughal Court during the 16th and 17th centuries. This small city is one of the most visited places in India as people come from far and wide to see the incredible Taj Mahal with their own eyes.
Today, you will take a tour of this fascinating city. The day begins with an early-morning visit to the perfectly proportioned Taj Mahal which was built as a mausoleum for the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and is the perfect image of the Islamic garden of paradise.
The construction of this world wonder took around 20,000 workers over 20 years to complete. Walk around the famous Lotus Pool and take a photograph sitting on the marble bench in front of the Taj Mahal with its mirror image reflected on the lake in the background.
Next, you will visit the Agra Fort, a red sandstone rampart situated on the west bank of the Yamuna River. This enormous complex includes many courtly buildings that range in style from the early red sandstone architecture of Akbar to the elegant white marble refinement of Shah Jahan.
In the afternoon, visit the small yet elegant garden tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, often described as a “jewel box” in marble. End your day in Mehtab Bagh, a garden that is an ideal place to view the sunset as it turns the white marble of the Taj Mahal into a beautiful golden orange.
Day 4 Agra to Ranthambhore
Continue your journey by heading east to the abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri. Built by Emperor Akbar between 1571 and 1585, Fatehpur Sikri is a great example of the ancient architecture of the Mughal Empire and their walled cities.
Your guide will lead you through the different sectors of the city where you can see the blend of Hindu and Islamic architecture. You will also have a chance to hear the stories of Akbar’s leadership and secular governance.
Drive to nearby Bharatpur Railway Station to board your train to Sawai Madhopur. The journey will take around two hours. When you arrive, our representative will meet you at the station and transfer you to your hotel in a private car.
Day 5 Jeep Safari Searching for Wild Tigers
Explore Rajasthan’s incredible Ranthambhore National Park and enjoy two jeep game drives through the jungle and rugged terrain. The most famous resident of this wildlife park is the endangered Bengal tiger and it is a truly special experience to catch a glimpse of these big cats in the wild.
Although the park has around 30 tigers, they are reclusive animals and seeing one is a matter of chance. To increase your chances, you might want to allow yourself a few more days in Ranthambhore.
Apart from tigers, this park also has many other animals such as bears, leopards, jackals, elephants, striped hyenas, bison, monkeys, and several types of deer.
Jeep safaris take place early in the morning and in the late afternoon when the animals are most active. The safari vehicle is a 4-wheel drive Gypsy which is a 6-seater and is shared with other travelers. Each jeep is driven by a professional driver and guided by a naturalist.
During the safari, you will listen to the sounds of the jungle and see the beauty of the first light shining through the trees in the forest. This experience is a great way to gain a better understanding of India’s endangered animals and their important habitat. This is also a great place for photographs so bring a camera if you want to get up-close shots of the animals.
Day 6 Ranthambhore to Jaipur
In the morning, drive to the Pink City of Jaipur (approximately 4-5 hours). When you arrive, take some time to enjoy your stay by relaxing in the courtyard of your decadent palace hotel. This palace hotel has a history of hundreds of years and is a beautiful structure with intricate ancient murals, high ceilings, and antique furnishings.
We recommend staying in palace hotels when you are in Jaipur to gain a deeper understanding of the opulent lifestyles of the old princes of Rajasthan and the royal heritage of India. This hotel also offers massages and therapies influenced by traditional Ayurvedic medicine.
Day 7 Explore Ancient Palaces and Learn to Cook Classic Indian Dishes
You will start the day at the Hawa Mahal or “Palace of Winds”. This building’s ornate pink façade has become an iconic site in Jaipur and is a great place to take photos.
Afterward, continue on to visit Panna Meena Kund, one of the best-restored stepwells in Jaipur. This stepwell was once an ancient water storage tank and its intricate levels of cascading stairs make for a beautiful place to relax and take in the view.
The highlight of any visit to Jaipur is the Amber Fort. Sitting like a crown on the hilltop, the Amber Fort is famous for its architecture which is a fusion of Rajput (Hindu) and Mughal (Islamic) styles. From the Amber Fort, you can get a panoramic view of the city of Jaipur below you including Maota Lake and the historic pink old town.
After the Amber Fort, you will then visit the home of a Jaipuri local where you will learn to cook classic Indian dishes. First, you will be greeted by the host who will start the class with an introduction to the spices and ingredients that you will use to create your meal. Then they will teach you step-by-step how to cook several North Indian dishes.
After you are done cooking, share the meal you have made with the host and engage in the lively conversation. For this part of your trip, you can decide whether you want to take a crash course in Indian cooking or spend more time with a longer course. A typical class usually includes how to make masala chai, appetizers, classic main dishes, Indian breads including chapatis and rotis, chutney, and rice pudding.
Day 8 Jaipur to Delhi and New Delhi
Enjoy a leisurely morning at your hotel before driving back to Delhi (approximately 5-6 hours) by private car.
In the afternoon, visit Qutub Minar, India’s tallest single tower. Then head across town to Lutyens’s New Delhi to see the Colonial-era buildings framing Victory Square including the iconic India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the President of India.
Finally, take a late-afternoon stroll through the pleasantly shaded streets of Connaught Place to explore the eclectic mix of shops in the city’s business sector. The nearby Central Park with its fountains and lush lawns are also pleasant to walk through.
Day 9 Return to Delhi and Departure
A private car will take you to the Indira Gandhi International Airport to catch your flight home.
Asia Highlights handpicked hotels
We have selected hotels with different styles and for different budgets. Let us know your preferences and we will help you find the right one.
We recommend staying in palace hotels, heritage hotels, or nice resorts in order to get the high quality service and to your experience.
Built in 1903, Maidens Hotel showcases 19th century colonial charm and architecture. It has an outdoor pool, fitness center and features a coffee shop which extends into a charming, open courtyard.
Built in 1952, The Claridges, New Delhi is an iconic hotel superbly located in at the heart of New Delhi’s eminent address – Lutyen’s Delhi, and is a perfect blend of old world elegance and contemporary luxury.
Double Tree by Hilton is within 2.8 mi from the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, offering an outdoor swimming pool, a spa and wellness center and a fitness center.
Jaypee Hotel features landscaped gardens with ponds and water features. It houses a shopping mall, an Ayurvedic spa with a Turkish bath and a large outdoor pool.
A 10-minute drive from Ranthambhor National Park, Ranthambhor Regency offers 4-star accommodation. At Ingredients restaurant, guests can be entertained with Rajasthani cultural performances.
Lying at the foot of the Aravali Ranges, the impressive Nahargarh Ranthambore is surrounded by a 16th-century style fortress. Resembling a old palace complex, it offers a beautiful and sprawling Mughal-style garden.
Chomu Palace, a reflection of the Royal Palaces of India, is a 300 year old elegant fortified palace hotel and one of the places to visit in Rajasthan. It revives the gracious lifestyles of the princes of Rajasthan.
Exclusive and discreet, Samode Palace has been host to royalty, celebrities, artists, and the discerning traveller. Run your fingers across the intricate story of an ancient mural on an uneven wall, or perhaps just sink into the lavish bed in your room.
In India, there is a wide range of choices for accommodation including everything from ancient palaces, decadent mansions, and Colonial-era hotels to mid-range boutique hotels and western-style business hotels.
India is also well-known for its specialized resorts that offer yoga and traditional herbal treatments. Many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries have luxurious resorts located on their periphery.
Staying in one of these hotels is a truly unique opportunity that adds to a traveler’s experience. We have carefully hand-picked our hotels to ensure that our travelers will have access to the very best.
Let us know your preferences for accommodation and our travel experts will help find the perfect hotels that suit your taste and budget.
There are many different types of transport available to travelers in India and each type is suitable for different journeys.
If you are traveling over a long distance such as from Delhi to Varanasi, going by plane is the best way.
If you want to know more about the locals and see the countryside from your window as your travel, then going by train is your best bet.
If you are traveling within the city, especially in the big cities like Delhi, or traveling between the cities in the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur), the best mode of transportation is by private car with a chauffeur. When traveling this way, you will be more comfortable and also save time so that you can spend more of it exploring.
When traveling with us, our experts will help you transfer between all of your destinations easily and efficiently.
Restaurants in India offer a range of food options from pizza to sophisticated multi-course meals.
Many hotels offer buffets with a variety of cuisines from Indian to Italian and Asian. Most hotels also have coffee shops that serve beverages and light snacks. Vegetarian food is widely available in India due to the country’s large vegetarian population.
People who are looking to taste authentic local cuisine can try the restaurants specializing in barbecued tandoori kebabs and Indian naan bread. We also recommend trying out one of the many great restaurants that serve modern Indian fusion food.
Let us know your food preferences and we’ll take care of the rest. Make sure to inform us of any allergies or dietary requirements in advance.
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