Upon your arrival, you’ll find our representative ready to receive you. All your travel documents will be ready and handed over to you.
As you travel to your hotel, you realize that you are driving through a city that’s been in existence since the 6th century BC. It’s amazing how Delhi has retained not just its charm but its importance over the many centuries since its beginning. It stands strong like an unbreakable mirror that reflects India’s glorious past. Delhi is by the banks of River Yamuna, giving rise to several cities over time. The fact that umpteen dynasties have ruled the city has left it with a huge cache of beautiful monuments.
Old Delhi, even today, carries the yesteryear glory of the Moghul rule. The culture of Old Delhi is palpable at every narrow lane that you pass through. The sweet smell of spices and the colorful wedding bazaars form the essence of the old world.
New Delhi, on the other hand, stands in stark contrast. Designed by the British Raj, the feel is entirely different. The architectural masterpieces in New Delhi are mostly Edwin Lutyens’ brainchildren. Lutyens was a renowned architect of the time and the core of New Delhi, even today, is sometimes referred to as Lutyens’ Delhi. You’ll love the colonial structures here!
We begin our morning with a lazy breakfast but set right out on sightseeing after that. We cover Old Delhi and New Delhi today. Jama Masjid is our first stop. You’ll be awestruck by the enormity of this mosque, the biggest of its kind in India. Built by the great Shah Jahan, Jama Masjid is the true reflection of the Moghul extravagance and is capable of housing over 25,000 devotees simultaneously. We take you on a bicycle rickshaw ride here. You’ll love the narrow yet busy lanes of Old Delhi. Don’t hesitate to make a quick stop in Chandni Chowk Bazaar, which is famous for its colors that shout “India.” Bargaining in a country like India has its own charm.
We drive past the beautiful Red Fort and arrive at Raj Ghat. Raj Ghat is a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, also known as the Father of the Nation for his contribution to the country’s freedom struggle. Raj Ghat is the precise spot where the great leader was cremated on January 31, 1948. The vicinity is home to two museums dedicated to this great personality.
By then, it’s already lunchtime and we savor the best of the legendary Dilli Haat, which brings you pan- Indian delicacies. You also spend time in the shopping bazaar that exhibits handicrafts from all over India. Ornamental beads, footwear made of camel hide, gems, handicrafts, and wooden artifacts are some of the souvenirs that you’ll find interesting.
We visit the massive Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This huge minaret or tower was constructed by Islamic rulers in the 12th century as a symbol of their dominance over India. In its courtyard stands a scientific marvel that dates back to 4th century AD. What seems like a simple pole on cursory glance has Sanskrit inscriptions on it. What amazes the scientific community even today is the fact that this iron pole has remained without any rust or oxidation even after all these centuries.
India Gate is next on our list today. India Gate is a war memorial dedicated to Indian soldiers who lost their lives serving the British Raj during the great Afghan War. We drive past the Parliament House as well as the President’s House before reaching the hotel. The drive marks the end of day 2 of your Golden Triangle Tour with Goa. Overnight in Delhi.
After a comfortable leisurely breakfast, we bid adieu to Delhi and head towards Jaipur – the Pink City. Each structure here is not just humongous but also a work of art. The capital city of Rajasthan is known as the Pink City owing to its ancient structures that appear predominantly pink during the daytime.
On the way to Jaipur, we take a small detour and reach Samode Village. Ancient India is well preserved in this village. The womenfolk wear bright colors of red, green, and saffron as they go about their domestic chores, ferrying water from great distances in the spectacular desert. The men on the other hand sport huge turbans that are unique to Rajasthan. You’ll find them riding the camels in the hot desert or simply walking along with these gentle animals. We bring you a chance to interact with the friendly local community. Don’t shy away from a game of cricket. You’ll find the experience relaxing and completely cut off from the bustle of city life. You also visit the local Hindu Temple for some spiritual relaxation.
After that, it’s time for your first glimpse of the famous Rajasthani architecture. We visit Samode Palace. Set in the rough landscapes of Aravalli hills, the palace is over 400 years old. The beautiful carvings on the walls, artistically painted ceilings, and stained glass windows will take your breath away. You get a real sense of the extravagance that once was home in this nondescript village. The Samode Palace is extremely well maintained and serves as a hotel today. You dine like the yesteryear royals in the Samode Palace in Diwan-i-Aam or the hall for the public.
After this, we continue towards Jaipur. Once we reach the Pink City, we check into our hotel and relax for the rest of the day.
Alternatively, you can visit the Tiger Fort, aka the Nahargarh Fort. It was built in 1734 by Raja Jai Singh to further strengthen the defenses of Amber Fort which was then the capital of Jaipur kingdom. The fort stands tall and brings you a spectacular view of Jaipur. The reach itself is an exciting curvy route of almost 2 kilometers. Down a chilled beer once you are atop, it’ll be the best one of your life for sure. Don’t forget to come armed with your camera, the sunset is going to be simply serene. Overnight stay in Jaipur.
The morning begins with a visit to the beautiful Amer Fort in a jeep. Alternatively, we can reach the Fort atop the hilly, curvy terrain on an elephant, just the way the nobility in the bygone era did. The architecture of Amer Fort is unique, in that it brings together the best of Hindu and Moghul styles. We look at the huge halls and hallways of the majestic fort complex. Our exploration brings us to Ganesh Pol which is a huge gateway with images of Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, painted over it. We savor the beauty of Sheesh Mahal or the glass palace and enjoy the panoramic views through the strategically placed pierced screen windows.
Later in the day, we descend down to the Pink City and visit the City Palace. This residence of the Rajasthan royals is now partly a museum that hosts some truly beautiful artifacts. The noble family still resides in a portion of the Palace. The museum plays host to the costumes worn by the kings and several miniature paintings. A section of the museum is dedicated to Rajasthani weaponry including swords, daggers, blunderbusses, rifles, flintlocks, and pistols.
Our next stop is at Jantar Mantar which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is an observatory entirely made of marble and stone and is the largest of its kind. You’ll find 17 humongous astronomical tools here, most of which still function well. After this, we visit the iconic Hawa Mahal or the Wind Palace. If you are a photography enthusiast, then this Palace offers great food for your camera.
Post lunch we take you to Hathi Goan or the Village of the Elephants. Here you get a chance to mingle with these magnificent creatures and their mahouts. Feeding and bathing these gentle giants is quite an experience. Hathi Goan was brought into existence to better the living conditions of the mahouts and their elephants which are used to ferry people on steep climbs. The entire setup is closely monitored by animal protection organisations. Enjoy the gush of water sprays that the friendly elephants throw at you as they bathe.
In the evening, we take a relaxing stroll as we explore what Jaipur has to offer in terms of arts and crafts. Gems, pottery, miniature paintings, silver jewelry and more options await you for shopping. Taking home some vividly printed traditional attire is a must. We then go on a guided walk in Old Jaipur. You’ll love the bustle in the city with vendors at every step of the narrow alleys that sell just about everything under the sun. We will visiting the Birla Temple as well as the Monkey Temple depending on the time we have left.
We set out towards Agra, the town that hosts the iconic Taj Mahal. The city was made the capital of the great Moghul rulers in 1526. You’ll love the bustling markets of Agra and the many auto rickshaws that ply the road here. You’ll find souvenirs being sold at every step of your way. The many historic monuments and temples make Agra a true reflection of an India that once was.
En route to Agra, we first make a stop at Chand Baori which is a huge stepwell. This 9th-century body of water is located in Abhaneri Village. Just imagine a 13-storey well which runs 50-meter deep. The magnitude makes Chand Baori one of the largest of its kind in India. Step wells are not rare in the country, playing a pivotal role in the religious ceremonies held in temples as devotees first cleanse themselves in these waters before entering the temples. Of course, they are also used as pools for recreation by many.
Chand Baori, however, is in a different league from other step wells. As you step down, you encounter rooms with beautiful walls, rich with sculptures and panel carvings. You’ll even find a few that display aesthetic eroticism. Right opposite Chand Baori is the revered Harshat Mata Temple. The deity here is believed to bring joy and happiness to the visitors and also the residents of the village. The architecture of the temple is simply amazing and make sure you notice the intricate carvings. The temple itself dates back to the medieval period of India.
Our next stop is Fatehpur Sikri which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is famous for being an abandoned city and is close to Agra. The city was built by Emperor Akbar who made it his capital during his rule between 1571 and 1585. However, Fatehpur Sikri was abandoned after his death owing to the water woes that the city faced. The city gives you a peek into the wealth that once existed here the Buland Darvaza is supposedly the largest gateway in the whole of Asia; the magnificent Masjid made of marble with intricate lattice screen, the palaces and huge courtyards which sport an architecture that is a mix of Hindu, Islamic and Christian influences.
We arrive in Agra in the evening and retire to our hotel for the day.
A look at the Taj Mahal at dawn will leave you spellbound. The pristine white marble reflects the vibrant morning colors of the sun. This monument was built by Shah Jahan for his much-loved wife Mumtaz. The magnificent edifice took a whopping 22 years to build between 1631 and 1653. Words fall short to describe the beauty of the Taj Mahal; you need to feel the aura of this memorial of love. The structure is entirely made of marble with the walls decorated by intricate precious and semi-precious stone inlay. The section that holds the tomb is particularly breath-taking. The Taj Mahal stands amidst a Persian-style, four-garden landscape, also known as Charbagh. Each section is separated beautifully by watercourses.
After feasting our eyes with the Taj Mahal, we return to the hotel for our morning fill.
After breakfast, we set out for the huge Agra Fort, located strategically by River Yamuna and once the symbol of Moghul strength. While it sports a strong exterior, the interiors give you a peek into the aesthetic sense of the Moghul rulers. This 16th century AD structure was built over three generations. The Taj Mahal is situated strategically such that one can get a great view of the structure, perhaps it was Shah Jahan’s wish to look at the structure constantly from his private dwelling.
We then visit I’timad-Ud-Daulah which bears a stark resemblance to the Taj Mahal. It is believed that this structure formed the inspiration for the construction of the Taj Mahal. I’timad-Ud-Daulah is actually the tomb of Mumtaz’s grandfather. You’ll find the stone inlay work here too. You’ll find the ambiance calmer as it’s relatively less crowded.
We then bring you a unique way to celebrate your stay in India, the ancient art of Mehendi where the crushed henna paste is beautifully placed over your arms and hands. The paste eventually leaves reddish-orange traditional designs on your arms. The art is usually reserved for weddings and festivities; of course, your discovery of India is certainly worth celebrating. If you wish to experience Indian life firsthand, we can arrange a visit to one of the local families where you dine with them. And this brings us to the end of another eventful day in our tour to India.
Today you will also have the opportunity to have an exciting tuk-tuk ride through the old part of Agra! Overnight stay in Agra.
Tip: The Taj Mahal remains closed on Fridays
After a quick breakfast, we head to Delhi (three hours drive) and take a flight to Goa. Goa is among the most exotic beach locations in the country. Located on the West Coast, the state brings a great mix of architecture, religion and uninhibited fun.
Everything about Goa is laid-back, from the mild-natured people to the gently swaying palm trees. The lip-smacking cuisines and the architecture reflect the Portuguses style since Goa was for five centuries a Portuguese stronghold.
Our representatives will take you to your beach resort.
Goa brings you two types of accommodations, if you like a laid back life that is devoid of flashy discos, then south beach is your ideal pick areas including Palolem, Benaulim, Majorda, Cavelossim, and Colva. On the other hand, if vibrant nightlife, high-end resorts, and trance parties are what you’re after, North Goa is your paradise for the next couple of days. Anjuna, Baga, Vagator, and Calangute are some beaches where the fun begins at night. The most exciting clubs and discos like Club Cavana and Titos are here. Overnight stay in Goa.
Settle down and get comfortable on this day of your tour to Goa. Shop for some beachwear and get a taste of the local chestnuts as you sip some chilled beer. Your shopping is made easy by the inexpensive markets of North Goa where you get cotton sarongs, jewelry, peppy shoulder bags, and of course handicrafts. The vendors from all over India can be found here, although most are locals or from the neighboring state of Karnataka. Explore the food stalls that sell everything from burritos to Middle Eastern hummus/falafel. Saturday night bazaar is another place that you can’t afford to miss with its huge lines of tiny restaurants selling roasted chicken and Italian gelato. You’ll have a lot of fun just letting your hair down.
Overnight stay in Goa.
Along with shopping, trying out various cuisines, and lazing by the beach, you also indulge in some water adventures on the beach like riding a water scooter and parasailing by the beach. If you want a calmer avenue, try angling or scuba diving. Of course, swimming, speed boating, water-skiing, and surfing will also be at your disposal. If you have kids accompanying you, try the banana boat ride. When night falls, get ready to party hard! Day 9 and 10 of your tour to Goa promise to be incredible fun! Overnight stay in Goa.
As we explore Old Goa, we come across old churches that stand partially dilapidated today. This part of Goa was the capital of the state during the Portuguese times, but owing to repeated outbursts of cholera epidemics, the government of the time was forced to move the base to Panaji in 1843. There are still quite a few churches, chapels, and convents that stand ode to Portuguese rule. The structures were built during an era when European architecture was veering towards baroque.
We go on a half-day tour to of Goa, covering Panaji and most of Old Goa. We begin with Basilica of Bom Jesus. Note that this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It holds of the Catholic missionary St Francis Xavier, resting in a silver casket. A walk through the church, over the marble floor that has been decorated with precious stones, gives you a glimpse of the great missionary with the aid of beautiful paintings. The gallery upstairs has some beautiful creations by the famous Goan painter Dom Martin.
Take a walk towards Se Cathedral of Santa Catarina which is a small walk from the Church. Se Cathedral, with the Gothic Portuguese architecture, is a memorial to Santa Catarina who was martyred in the 4th century by a Roman emperor for her belief. Take a look at the Golden Bell, which is among the largest of its type in the state.
Following this, we go on a short fifteen-minute drive to Panaji. Here, we visit Fontainhas which is a Latin Quarter. The old villas here display a strong influence of Portuguese architecture. We then move to St Sebastian Chapel and see the statue of the Roman Catholic monk Abade Faria. The statue is one among other famous religious personalities.
We drive towards the jetty of Dona Paula and savor the beauty of Mormugao Harbor, where the Zuari and Mandovi Rivers flow into the Arabian Sea. Enjoy the cool gentle breeze of the sea before moving on to a local market by the waterway.
On return, you have a choice of making a stop at the well-known O’Coquerio Restaurant, where you would be able to eat the traditional Goan and Portuguese delicacies or try the pomfret recheiado or pomfret stuffed with masalas. After this, it’s time to head back to the hotel.
It’s time to bid adieu to Goa and also “Incredible India.” It’s been a fun few days but it’s time to depart. You will be taken to the airport from where you’ll fly to Delhi and from there to home. The Golden Triangle Tour with Goa promises to be a lot of fun!
My sister and I recently came back from our 2 week holiday in India. Thanks to Vacation India (Classic Holidays India) we had a fantastic time. From our first communication until we were dropped off at the airport everything was perfect. We flew from Atlanta to Delhi via Amsterdam and visited Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Pushkar, Jodhpur (our favorite) and Jaisalmer. Our driver, Jai, was with us through out the whole trip. He was fantastic. We had very knowledgeable local guides in every place we visited. Mr. Vikas, the manager at Vacation India was available over the phone 24/7 during our trip…More Feedback
– Maria and Laura, Atlanta (USA)
In 2014 I was working in Delhi and an Indian colleague fixed me up with a day at the Taj Mahal, organised by Vacation India. It all went smoothly from being met at the train station, taken round the Taj Mahal, the Mini Taj and the Red Fort, entertained to tea with Vikas followed by a stroll round the back streets of Agra.
I like to wander round different parts of India on my own each year but advice from Vacation India on where to go and how to get there is always sought and is invaluable. I include a photo of me with some local boys in a temple in wonderful Hampi in Karnataka…More Feedback
– Nicholas Goslett, UK
12-days individual travel to / from New Delhi, 11 nights in hotels of your choiceTravel Destinations: Old and New Delhi – Samode Village – Jaipur – Fatehpur Sikri – Agra – New Delhi – Goa
|Season||Hotel Category||Per person in double room|
|01/10/2015 – 15/04/2016||Deluxe||Price on Request
|16/04/2016 – 30/09/2016||Deluxe||Price on Request
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