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Delhi to Kathmandu
Adventure level:3. Moderate
Max group size:12
Avg user rating:
Asia, India, Nepal | 16 days
Transport - Rickshaw, metro, train, 4WD, private charter vehicle, local bus, canoe
Accommodation - Hotel (7 nts), Lodge (2 nts), Deluxe permanent tent (2 nts), Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt), Guesthouse (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Meals - 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Be amazed by the ornate Taj Mahal
Watch the sunset over the Ganges in holy Varanasi
Admire the dramatic beauty of the Himalayan foothillssee full itinerary >>
We often have multiple itineraries so please check to see which itinerary is suitable for you, by selecting the relevant tab.
Extensions and Extras: Extend your holiday and see more of the world. View additional tours for this trip »
Take an overnight flight - on arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Namaste! Welcome to India.
You have a welcome meeting on Day 2. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
India's capital is an exciting, busy, and often chaotic city but it's also one of the most interesting in the world with historical sites from different eras, museums and galleries, shops and endless bazaars!
There are plenty of things to see and do in free time. Visit the World Heritage-listed Mughal masterpiece of Humayun's Tomb. This was the first garden tomb in India, built way back in 1570. Wonder at the tall brick minaret of Qutub Minar, which was started back in the 1100s. Explore the mighty Red Fort of Delhi. Part palace and part fort, it plays an integral part in the history of the city with former residents ranging from royal families to British soldiers.
Join your group leader on an excursion into the sights and sounds of Old Delhi! Set off on the city's modern metro system, then get a taste of India's famed public transport with a cycle rickshaw ride through chaotic streets, such as the famous Chandni Chowk. Make a visit to the Jama Masjid, Delhi's oldest mosque and one of its most impressive buildings, then visit the Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) to learn about the Sikh religion.
- Delhi - Old Delhi walking tour
- Delhi - Jama Masjid
- Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
- Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR250
- Delhi - Qutb Minar - INR250
- Delhi - Red Fort - INR250
Take one of India's faster air-conditioned trains to the Mughal city of Agra (approx. 3 hours)
Agra is home to one of the world's most recognisable monuments, the Taj Mahal.
Hop on to your cycle rickshaw for a tour of the city - a truly fun way to see the monuments of Agra. Note that during summer and winter months on days when the weather is particularly hot or subject to dense fog, the cycle rickshaw tour will be replaced with battery powered rickshaws.
Visit the Taj Mahal - a masterpiece of shimmering white marble set amid beautiful formal gardens. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz, this 'teardrop on the face of eternity' (as it was described by writer Rabindranath Tagore) lives up to all expectations.
Visit Agra Fort on the banks of the Yamuna River. Built in 1565 by Emperor Akbar, the fort was originally designed to be a military structure. It was converted to a palace in Emperor Shah Jahan's time and eventually became his prison after he lost power in 1658.
See Akbar's Mausoleum - a beautiful sandstone and marble tomb built for the greatest of the Mughal emperors.
- Agra - Cycle rickshaw tour
- Agra - Taj Mahal
- Agra - Red Fort
- Agra - Akbar's Mausoleum
Crossing a classical rural Indian landscape, travel by air-conditioned train from Agra to Jhansi (approx 3 hrs).
Take an auto rickshaw to the picturesque town of Orchha to experience a very different side of India (approx 45 mins).
Situated on the banks of the Betwa River, Orchha has changed little over the centuries. Originally a hunting area, it became the capital of the Bundela rajas and, as a result, Orchha has more temples and palaces than any town of this size deserves.
Explore the palaces and temples scattered across the peaceful countryside, walk in rural areas untouched by modern life and meet the very friendly locals. The river water is cold but clean enough to swim in.
Experience an evening puja ceremony at the Ram Raja Temple.
See the stunning Orchha Palace, built by Bir Sing Deo for his friend Jehangir, the great Mughal ruler.
Visit Taragram, one of Intrepid's Responsible Tourism projects. This unique papermaking plant was set up to give tribal women from the area a chance to work outside the traditional areas normally afforded to them. All the paper is made from recycled clothing and wood pulp.
Take the chance to experience the local flavours at a cooking demonstration by our local friends.
Return to Jhansi and take an overnight train to Allahabad (approx 9 hrs). Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned (sometimes fan-cooled), a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same gender/mixed gender situation.
- Orchha - Ram Raja Temple puja (prayer) ceremony
- Orchha - Orchha Palace
- Orchha - Taragram visit
- Orchha - Cooking class
Deluxe permanent tent (2 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Ganges Boat Trip
Arrive in Allahabad and visit Anand Bhavan - the ancestral home of the Nehru family - which witnessed several history-making events during the Indian freedom struggle.
Transfer to the River Ganges and our small riverboats for the sailing trip. A full support crew will be on hand as you sail downriver, passing village communities and viewing river life as it goes on around us. Our crew will cook us delicious meals and you spend the night camping on the river bank in basic twin-share tents with common tented toilets. Life on the river is much slower than in the chaotic cities, so lie back, relax and literally go with the flow. The Ganges is a sacred river, so we'll be served vegetarian food and alcohol is not permitted.
Please note that due to high water levels on the River Ganges and the associated safety concerns the boat trip won't operate during the monsoon or other times of heavy rainfall. Departures affected by such safety concerns will be communicated during the trip by your leader - it's difficult to know well in advance how much rain there's likely to be at any point in time. In these cases, an extra night will be spent in Varanasi including a visit to the temple complex of Sarnath, the place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon.
- Allahabad - Nehru House
- River Ganges - Overnight sailing trip
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Leaving the boats at Chunar, transfer by private vehicle to Varanasi (approx 2 hrs).
The ultimate destination for all Hindu pilgrims, Varanasi is full of temples, shrines and devotees. It may not be one of the world's cleanest cities but there is no doubt it is one of the world's most amazing.
Spend the evening soaking up the magical atmosphere of a candle flower ceremony, on a Ganges river cruise as the sun sets.
Set off by cycle rickshaw to visit the oldest part of the city, bustling with tourists and priests, and see different rituals being performed.
Wander through the Old City with its maze of narrow alleyways packed full of small shops and stalls. See pilgrims bathing and performing rituals and ceremonies unchanged for hundreds of years; temples full of bell chimes and the smell of incense; the dhobi wallahs and the burning ghats.
Start early with a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, passing the many ghats and temples along the river.
Visit the Ram Nagar Fort which lies about 14 km from Varanasi on the opposite bank of River Ganga. Built by Maharaja Balwant Singh in the 18th century, it's the ancestral home of the Maharaja of Banaras.
- Varanasi - Sunset candle flower ceremony
- Varanasi - Old city walking tour
Hotel (1 nt)
Travel in jeeps from Varanasi to the Nepalese border, via Gorakhpur (approx 10 hrs).
On entering Nepal, take a private bus to your hotel in Lumbini (approx 1hr).
The birthplace of Gautama Buddha, Lumbini is the Mecca of Buddhism, being one of its four holy places. It's said in the Parinibbana Sutta that Buddha himself identified four places of future pilgrimage: the sites of his birth, enlightenment, first discourse and death.
Travel on cycle rickshaws to the Maya Devi Temple, the site where Lord Buddha is believed to have been born.
- Lumbini - Maya Devi Temple & Heritage Park
Hotel (1 nt)
Continue the journey through the Terai to Chitwan National Park by private vehicle (approx 5 hours).
Declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1984, Chitwan National Park offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Asia with rhinos, deer, monkeys and a wide array of birdlife including the infamous Nepalese wild chickens.
Set off with local guides for a full-day jungle excursion. Begin by canoeing on the Rapti River into the park (approx 90 mins), before jumping out and embarking on a trek to Ghatgai, a village in another section of the park (approx 12 km, 7-8 hrs). Trekking pace will be slow and quiet to try to maximise your chances of seeing some wildlife and you can soak up the atmosphere with a couple of breaks and a lunch stop along the way. You'll need to carry your own day pack, including your picnic lunch.
The next day, trek back into the park for about 90 minutes and visit the crocodile breeding centre, then take jeeps back to our hotel at the edge of the park.
Accommodation in Ghatgai is simple with basic facilities and food, but plenty of jungle ambience. Toilet and bathrooms are shared.
- Chitwan - Guided jungle trek & canoe ride
- Chitwan - Crocodile breeding centre
Lodge (1 nt), Guesthouse (1 nt), Lodge (1 nt)
Journey by bus from Chitwan to Nepal's capital, Kathmandu (approx 6 hrs). This is a ride that takes in all the sights that define Nepal: iridescent rice terraces, deep gorges, fast-flowing rivers and looming mountains.
Kathmandu is a mixture of ancient architecture and modern development and, with its rich artistic and cultural heritage, it remains the legendary destination it has been for decades. Crowded markets and bazaars are the centre of Nepali life and the narrow streets are home to holy men, monks, bicycles, incense, goats and sacred cows.
See the ancient Swayambhunath Stupa (known to tourists as the Monkey Temple) - Kathmandu's most important Buddhist shrine. The sleepy, all-seeing Buddha eyes that stare out from the top have become the quintessential symbol of Nepal.
Join the pilgrims at Bodhnath Stupa - the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It's the centre of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu and rich in Buddhist symbolism.
Head to Pashupatinath - a Hindu temple on the banks of the Bagmati River in Deopatan, a village 3 km north-west of Kathmandu. It's dedicated to a manifestation of Shiva called Pashupati (Lord of Animals).
Explore Patan's Durbar Square. The square and its surroundings - including the Royal Palace of Patan and a series of temples - are good specimens of ancient Newari architecture.
Take a trip to Bhaktapur, located about 20 km east of Kathmandu. Known as the 'City of Devotees' and Nepal's cultural gem, Bhaktapur is filled with monuments, palaces and temples with elaborate carvings, gilded roofs and open courtyards.
Take-off on a flight from Kathmandu airport to see some spectacular mountain scenery. Those who don't have the opportunity to go trekking can get panoramic views of the Himalayas in just an hour.
- Kathmandu - Swayambhunath Temple
- Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa
- Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple
- Kathmandu - Day trip to Bhaktapur - NPR1500
- Kathmandu - Day trip to Patan - NPR400
- Kathmandu - Everest scenic flight - USD190
Hotel (2 nts)
Your adventure ends today and you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.
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Exploring the old towns of Bhaktpur & Kathmandu. The fact that we didn't just do the tourist sites but visited the backstreets, rail stations & small villages added that extra insight into life in India & Nepal.