Quintessential North India Tour

  18 Days / 17 Nights

   Delhi- Agra- Gwalior-Orchha-Khajuraho-Varanasi- Shimla-Dharamshala-Amritsar- Chandigarh

18 Days Quintessential North India Tour itinerary is meant for those discerning tourists who wish to start exploration of India by first visiting Taj Mahal, one of the ‘Seven Wonders in the World’. Quintessential North India Tour comprises visits to erstwhile Mughal capital Agra, Rajput fortress Gwalior, medieval era monuments of Orchha, classical Kamsutra temples in Khajuraho, cultural capital of India- Varanasi, Himalayan hill resort Shimla, Tibetan Buddhist center in Dharamshala, cultural hub of Sikhism- Amritsar and modern planned city of Chandigarh. The tour itinerary incorporates many historical & cultural destinations in north India. It, thus, unfolds incredible aspects and colours of prevailing culture, ethos and architecture in northern part of India. In addition to enjoying natural beaty of Himalayas, Quintessential North India Tour happens to be a journey to let you observe traditions and practices of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikkhism and Islam.

Day 1

Delhi arrival & transfer to Agra

On arrival at New Delhi airport, you will be greeted & driven directly to Agra. Agra is a historical city and known world over for being seat of Taj Mahal. On arrival at Agra, you will be received and transferred to Agra hotel. Our representative will ensure smooth check in at the pre-booked Agra hotel. Have relaxed overnight stay in Agra hotel.

Day 2

Agra Sightseeing

Guided Agra sightseeing commences early in the morning, precisely at the time of sunrise. It is considered that Taj Mahal looks stunningly beautiful during dawn. Visit the world famous Taj Mahal. Post visiting Taj Mahal, return to hotel to refresh. Again, proceed on thorough exploration of historical facets of Agra. Visit Agra Fort & tomb of It Mad ud Daula (Baby Taj). Roam into buzzing market of Agra. Late afternoon, you will be taken to Mehtab Bagh to view Taj Mahal at the time of sunset as it offers a different pleasant view. After visiting Mehtab Bag, return to hotel for overnight stay.

Day 3

Agra-Gwalior - Orchha

After breakfast, depart for Orchha. On the way, visit historical city of Gwalior, located on the periphery of Madhya Pradesh. Guided sightseeing tour of Gwalior will include visits to Gwalior Fort, Jai Vilas Palace and Museum, Gujari Mahal and Man Mandir Palace. Post lunch, continue your drive to Orchha. On arrival at Orchha, you will be transferred to Orchha hotel for leisure and overnight stay.

Day 4

Orchha sightseeing-- Khajuraho

After breakfast, proceed on for exploring Orchha on a guided sightseeing. Orchha offers opportunity to observe rural culture, customs and rituals. Prime tourist attractions in Orchha are Orchha Fort, Jahangir Palace, Raj Palace, Rani Praveen Palace, Laxmi Narayan Temple and Raja Ram Temple. Post lunch, depart for Khajuraho, a historical town in Madhya Pradesh province of India. Khajuraho is known world over for its so-called Kamsutra temples. On arrival at Khajuraho, you will be transferred directly to the hotel to spend evening in leisure and have overnight stay.

Day 5

Khajuraho sightseeing

After breakfast, proceed on a full day guided sightseeing of world famous temples of Khajuraho. Built in Nagar architectural style, the temples of Khajuraho, only 21 temples in existence out of previously built 85 temples, are known for intricate carvings. Built during 9th to 12th centuries, temples of Khajuraho became popular among western travelers for erotic sculptures. These temples have been segregated into three clusters from tourism & archaeological perspectives – Western Group, Eastern Group & Southern Group of Khajuraho temples. After visiting exceptionally sculptured temples of Khajuraho, come back to hotel to spend some time in leisure. Late afternoon/ early evening, you will be taken to attend either cultural show or light and sound show, as per your choice / seats availability. Later on, return to Khajuraho hotel for overnight stay.

Day 6

Khajuraho - Varanasi (by flight)

After breakfast, in-time, you will be transferred to Khajuraho airport to board flight for Varanasi. On arrival at Varanasi, the cultural capital of India, you will be received & transferred to hotel by Optima Travels’ representative. Also known as Kashi and Banaras, Varanasi unfolds innumerable facets of Hindu culture. After relaxing a bit, proceed on for being witness to Ganga Aarti ceremony in the company of a professional guide. Having seen the surge of religiosity at Dashashwamedh Ghat where Ganga Aarti takes place, return to Varanasi hotel for overnight stay.

Day 7

Varanasi sightseeing tour

At the time of sunrise, you will be taken to Rajendra Prasad Ghat to board a boat that will be sailed alongside the ghats of Varanasi to have a view of numerous exotic activities performed as daily routine and religious rites. Certainly it’s a panoramic and unique experience. After about an hour long boat ride, you will be taken on a south Varanasi heritage walk tour wherein you will be exploring activities-filled narrow alleys and some of the most revered temples of the Hindus. Now, return to your hotel to refresh and have breakfast. Again, move on for exploring other facets of Varanasi. You will be visiting several famous temples like Kashi Vishwanath, Sankat Mochan Temple, Durga Temple, Manas Temple and Bharat Mata Temple.

Post-lunch, you will be travelling to Sarnath, one of the Buddhist pilgrimages where Buddha delivered his first sermon. Though the monastery is in shambles due to barbaric attack of intolerant Muslim invaders but it still houses two stupas and some smaller structures. Sarnath Archaeological Museum is also a major attraction to be visited. After ghat and temple tour and exploring local market of Varanasi, return to Varanasi hotel for overnight stay.

Day 8

Varanasi sightseeing tour- Delhi (by air)

Get up early in the morning and move to Assi Ghat of Varanasi to watch out a newly conceived and implemented concept of Subah-e-Banares, a cultural program of Yoga, meditation, vocal & instrumental performances, Vedic Yajna and Ganga Aarti. Vedic hymns are recited during the course of various activities. Subah-e-Banaras is carried out daily at Assi Ghat. It’s about 3-4 hours long cultural cum religious program.

After viewing Subah-e-Banares, you will be transferred to airport to board flight for New Delhi. On arrival at New Delhi, capital of India, you will be transferred to New Delhi hotel. Our representative will ensure smooth check in at the hotel. Overnight stay is scheduled in New Delhi hotel.

Day 9

Old & Central Delhi tour

After breakfast, move to explore Delhi on a guided sightseeing tour. Among the prominent tourist attractions in Delhi to be visited are Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Red Fort, Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque), Chandni Chowk, Raj Ghat, India Gate, Parliament House, President House & Akshardham Temple. You will be first taken to Laxmi Narayan Temple, inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi to ward off untouchability. Keenly observe Nagar style of temple architecture, prevalent in north India and also attend evening aarti. Having visited Birla Temple, you will be taken to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, a prominent Sikh temple. Do observe the ‘langar’ (free kitchen). Thereafter proceed for visiting old Delhi, home to Mughal era monuments – Red Fort, Jama Mosque & Chandani Chowk. Here, you will be enjoying a manually-pulled rickshaw ride. Raj Ghat, memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, will be the next halt.

Hereinafter, visit Akshardham Temple, a modern-age classic example of Nagar style of temple architecture. After visiting Akshardham Temple, explore the central Delhi, home to British era monuments and memorials like India Gate, President House and Parliament House. These are all watched from a distance only. You can step down from car for a while to take few photographs for your memories. After visiting famous monuments of Delhi, later in the evening, return to hotel for overnight stay.

Day 10

New Delhi sightseeing tour

Second day of Delhi tour will commence right after breakfast in the hotel. Major places to be visited are National Museum (closed on Monday), Humayun’s Tomb, Lotus Temple (closed on Monday), Qutub Minar & ISCON Temple. Every tourist attraction has its own significance and sheds light on several aspects of India’s journey through several centuries. While you will be moving from one monument to another, few market clusters will be explored. After visiting famous monuments of Delhi, later in the evening, return to hotel for overnight stay.

Day 11

New Delhi – Kalkaji – Shimla (by Toy Train)

Early in the morning, you will be transferred to New Delhi railway station to board Kalkaji- bound Shatabdi Express. On arrival at Kalkaji, board UNESCO World Heritage toy train Himalayan Queen. Between Kalka and Shimla and during a 5 hours long journey, the toy train passes through 102 tunnels, 988 bridges and 917 turns and most of these turns exceed 48 degrees. Late afternoon, arrive at Shimla. Shimla, also popularly known as the summer capital of India, is full of beauty in abundance. The breathtaking view of the Shimla hills makes it all the more attractive for tourists. If you want to have your shots in the most scenic place, then Shimla is the perfect place for you. On arrival, you will be transferred to Shimla hotel to spend evening in leisure and have overnight stay.

Day 12

Shimla –Kufri- Shimla

After breakfast, you will be driven to Kufri, a hill resort near Shimla. It is known for its natural beauty. After exploring Kufri, return to Shimla to visit some of the famous tourist attractions in Shimla like Mall Road, Viceregal Lodge, Summer Hill, Shimla Ridge, State Museum & Library, Prospect Hill & Glenn. The Mall Road was developed by the British at the time of their domination. The road seems to be filled with the hustle and bustle of the moving crowd visiting here to see its beauty. The road is perfect for shopping as it contains some of the most important shops and showrooms. Viceregal Lodge, in the past, used to be the residence of Lord Dufferin, one of India's viceroys in the past. Though constructed in 1888 AD, the lodge is in good condition. At present, the lodge is used as the Institute of Advanced Studies. Around the building, one can spot splendidly manicured gardens. Summer Hill, a wonderful tourist spot, was liked by Mahatma Gandhi. It is located on an altitude of 1283 meters. Shimla Ridge is an important place in Shimla, where many activities and cultural events are conducted. It is close to Mall Road and acts as a way of connecting different places like Jakhoo Hill, Lakkar Bazaar, Scandal Point etc to Shimla. In State Museum and Library, one will come across amazing items like primitive paintings, coins, sculptures and Pahari art in the form of miniature paintings. Prospect Hill, home to Kamna Devi Temple, offers splendid views of nature. Glenn is known as an amazing forest of woods located at a distance of 4 kilometers from Shimla and is considered an exciting place to enjoy picnics. In colonial times, this place was used by the British to spend their leisure time. Dinner & overnight stay is scheduled in Shimla hotel.

Day 13

Shimla – Dharamshala

After breakfast in Shimla hotel, depart for Dharamshala. Dharamshala is mini-Tibet as Dalai Lama stays there. Large number of foreign tourists arrives here to study Buddhism and experience Buddhist lifestyle. On arrival at Dharamshala, you will be directly transferred to the pre-booked hotel. Dinner & overnight stay is scheduled in Dharamshala hotel.

Day 14

Dharamshala local sightseeing

After breakfast, visit famous places like one of the highest international cricket stadiums in the world, Mc Leodganj & Bhagsunath Temple. Tibet has lent importance to Mcleod Ganj. The Buddha temple is situated opposite the present abode of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. This place is well worth a visit and around it is situated Tibetan monasteries and nunnery. A number of residential buildings, restaurants, antique and curio shops are present. Bhagsunath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is a famous tourist attraction and also an important place for Hindu pilgrims. Dinner & overnight stay is scheduled in Dharamshala hotel.

Day 15

Dharamshala – Amritsar

After breakfast, spend the morning in leisure. Early noon, depart for Amritsar, the capital city of Punjab. On arrival at Amritsar, you will be greeted & assisted by Optima Travels’ representative. On arrival at Amritsar, you will be transferred to the pre-booked hotel. Relax for rest of the day in leisure and have overnight stay therein.

Day 16

Amritsar sightseeing

Have breakfast in Amritsar hotel and proceed for local sightseeing tour which includes Golden Temple, Durgyana Temple and Jalianwala Bag . After visiting famous places of Amritsar, explore local market. Amritsar is cultural centre of Sikhism and Punjab. Cuisines also are product of culture so relish delicious cuisines. Later in the afternoon, you will be driven to Wagha Border. To enjoy a close look of the border, you can be a part of the nationalistically surcharged and frenzied atmosphere at Atari - Wagha, with people from both the sides of the border shouting slogans to bolster the morale of their respective country's army personnel. After watching Wagha Border and Retreat Ceremony, return to Amritsar hotel for overnight stay.

Day 17

Amritsar – Chandigarh – Chandigarh tour

After breakfast in the hotel, proceed to Chandigarh. Upon Chandigarh arrival check-in hotel and relax and refresh. Chandigarh is one of the most planned cities of modern India and is capital of Punjab. After getting refreshed, move for visiting Chandigarh which includes Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake. Also visit market of Sector-17, the most happening place in Chandigarh. After exploring Chandigarh, you will again be transferred to the hotel.

Day 18

Chandigarh – New Delhi - Departure

After delicious breakfast in the hotel, drive towards New Delhi. On arrival at New Delhi, you will be in-time transferred to New Delhi airport to board flight for your onward destination and thus Quintessential North India Tour ends here.

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