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The combination of excellent hotels with a small group is the way I like to travel. I would highly recommend Odysseys to everyone I know.

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Peoria, AZ
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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • Tours of Old and New Delhi
  • Home-hosted dinner with Jaipur family
  • Magnificent Taj Mahal
  • Two-night stay at Ranthambore Tiger Preserve
  • Kalakho tribal home visit
  • “Pink City” of Jaipur
  • Holy city of Varanasi
  • Pilgrimage site of Sarnath temple and museum
Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Depart U.S. for Delhi, India

Day 2: Arrive Delhi We arrive in India’s hyperactive capital late evening and transfer to our hotel.

Day 3: Delhi After a morning at leisure followed by a briefing about the journey ahead, we set out to discover Old Delhi. Our first stop is Qutb Minar, the 379-step tower dating to 1192. We continue on to Gandhi Smriti, a museum dedicated to the Indian icon; and pass by India Gate, the majestic arch honoring the 90,000 Indian soldiers who died fighting alongside the British in World War I. Late this afternoon we return to our hotel, where tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner together. B,D

Day 4: Delhi We encounter more of this pulsating city today, beginning at Raj Ghat, the simple black marble slab honoring Mahatma Gandhi. After stopping for photos at Lal Qila, the Red Fort complex of palaces, we visit a Sikh temple followed by lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon’s sights include the red sandstone and marble Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque; and the colorful Chandni Chowk market, where we ride rickshaws. Then the remainder of the day is free for further exploration and dinner on our own. B,L

Day 5: Delhi/Jaipur Today we travel by coach to the “pink city” of Jaipur, one of the great cities of the Rajput, with historic forts, palaces, and gardens. We reach our hotel late afternoon. B,L,D

Day 6: Jaipur Our first stop is the stunning Hawa Mahal, the elaborately carved pink sandstone “Palace of the Winds.” We continue on to Amber Fort, built by the Kachhawah Rajputs as their capital from 1037 to 1728; Jantar Mantar, the open-air observatory; and City Palace Museum, housing the magnificent art collections of the Maharajahs of Jaipur. B,L

Day 7: Jaipur/Sanganer This morning we visit the village of Sanganer to see traditional block printing and handmade paper industries. Later we see local life up close as we explore an outdoor market. Tonight we are dinner guests in the home of a multi-generational Rajasthan family. B,D

Day 8: Jaipur/Ranthambore We travel today to Ranthambore National Park, the former hunting ground of the Maharajah of Jaipur and now a 512-square-mile natural preserve that is home to hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, mammals, and of course, Bengal tigers. This afternoon we take our first game drive through the park. B,L,D

Day 9: Ranthambore We take both morning and afternoon game drives today to see not only game (though tiger and leopard sightings are not guaranteed), but also picturesque ruins of forts and palaces. B,L,D

Day 10: Ranthambore/Kalakho We depart early for Kalakho, where we set out on a village walk to meet local Meena tribespeople in their homes. Tonight we enjoy a traditional folk dance performance. B,L,D

Day 11: Kalakho/Agra En route to Agra, we stop in the ancient village of Abhaneri to see the fortified Chand Baori step well (c. 800), whose 3,500 steps descend some 13 stories into the ground. Continuing on, we reach the ancient Mughal stronghold of Agra, where this afternoon we visit Itimad-ud-Daulah, the two-story marble “Baby Taj” that inspired the Taj Mahal. B,D

Day 12: Agra This morning we visit the Taj Mahal, the magnificent tomb built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz. Then we take an Indian cuisine cooking lesson and enjoy the results for lunch. Later: imposing Agra Fort. B,L

Day 13: Agra/Delhi/Varanasi We depart by coach this morning for Delhi, where we board a late afternoon flight to Varanasi, Hinduism’s holiest city. B,L,D

Day 14: Varanasi/Sarnath Before breakfast today, those who wish can join in a private yoga session. Then we visit nearby Sarnath, where the Buddha first taught after achieving enlightenment. One of Buddhism’s four holiest sites, Sarnath draws pilgrims from the world over. We see some of the temples and stupas then tour Sarnath Museum, housing a superb collection of Buddhist artifacts from excavations here. Late afternoon we attend a traditional aarti ceremony: as we cruise along the Ganges, we watch as devout Hindus offer their lit lamps to the deities. B,D

Day 15: Varanasi Early this morning we return to the Ganges where Hindu pilgrims perform their rituals along the ghats (steps) leading to the river. We visit several ghats by boat as we experience for ourselves the spiritual aura of the hallowed Ganges waters. Then we return to our hotel with time to rest before this afternoon’s walking tour and private performance of classical sitar. Tonight we celebrate our journey at a farewell dinner at our hotel. B,D

Day 16: Varanasi/Delhi We fly this afternoon to Delhi, where the evening is at leisure. B

Day 17: Return to U.S. Very early this morning we transfer to the airport for our return flight to the U.S.

Please note: This trip involves considerable walking, as well as some lengthy coach rides. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to its fullest.

Special Festival Departures

These select departures will be 19 days in duration, with the two additional nights spent at the festival – after the stay in Delhi and prior to arriving in Jaipur.

Dussehra Festival (Oct 14, 2018) Celebrates the joyful conclusion of the nine-day Hindu festival of Navarati. We spend the two nights at a nearby hotel.

Pushkar (Nov 11, Nov 13, 2018) and Nagaur Camel Fairs (Feb 6, Feb 7, 2019) Lively and exotic Hindu gatherings, with camel trading, feasts, and traditional sports and entertainment. We spend the two nights at a nearby resort hotel (Pushkar), or a tented camp (Nagaur).

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; all flights within India
  • 15 nights’ accommodations in Deluxe, Superior First Class, First Class, and unrated hotels
  • 32 meals: 14 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 10 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2018/2019 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

2018
Oct 4

 
 
 
 
2019
Mar 17
Mar 21
2018
Oct 18
Nov 1
Nov 25

 
 
2019
Mar 3
Mar 7
2018
Oct 14*
 
2019
Jan 13
Jan 20
Jan 27
Feb 3
Feb 17
2018
Nov 11+
Nov 13+

 
 
 
2019
Feb 6**
Feb 7**
Boston, New York,
Washington, DC
$4,687$4,787$4,987$5,287
Chicago, Dallas,
Houston, Los Ang,
San Fran, Seattle
$4,887$4,987$5,187$5,487
Atlanta, Baltimore,
Char, Cincinnati,
Cleve, Mia, Minn,
Orl, Phil, Tampa
$5,087$5,187$5,387$5,687
Denver, Detroit,
Phoenix, Port (OR)
$5,187$5,287$5,487$5,787

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $892, which are subject to change until final payment is made.

Single travelers please add $1,795 Oct 14, Nov 11, Nov 13, Feb 6, Feb 7; $1,495 all other dates. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 95 days prior to departure. All 2018/2019 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

*Dussehra Festival; +Pushkar Camel Fair; **Nagaur Camel Fair

Business Class upgrade on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight: $4,795 per person

A visa is required for this tour. Odysseys Unlimited will provide information about visa requirements upon reservation.

Accommodations
    Taj Diplomatic Enclave, Delhi / Days 2-4 / Deluxe

    Surrounded by six acres of lush greenery in Delhi’s Diplomatic Enclave, the aptly named Taj Diplomatic Enclave features contemporary décor accented by marble and brass. The 422-room hotel offers four restaurants, two bars, and a lounge; fitness center with Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, and spa treatments; outdoor pool; beauty salon; and laundry service. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, internet access, TV, and phone.

    Jai Mahal Palace, Jaipur / Days 5-7 / Deluxe

    A certified environmentally-friendly hotel and the former home of maharajahs and the prime minister of Jaipur, the 255-year-old Jai Mahal Palace sits amidst 18 acres of beautifully landscaped Mughal gardens. The hotel has several restaurants and lounges, safe deposit boxes, laundry service, badminton, croquet, and an outdoor pool. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, internet access, TV, and phone.

    Taj Sawai Madhopur Lodge, Ranthambore / Days 8-9 / First Class

    Built in the 1930s by Indian royalty, the Taj Sawai Madhopur Lodge is located just a short distance from Ranthambore National Park. The rustic-style lodge offers a restaurant and bar, croquet, badminton, and outdoor pool. Each of the 30 air-conditioned guest rooms has private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, internet access, TV, and phone.

    Dera Village Retreat, Kalakho / Day 10 / Not rated

    Off the beaten track of rural Rajasthan sits Dera Village Retreat, a rustic yet comfortable haven of guest cabins set amidst a series of traditional villages. Sitting on the banks of a seasonal “monsoon” lake, the camp offers a unique opportunity to witness how much of India lives, away from the cities. During our stay we visit a local school, take a camel safari, and meet local Meena tribespeople in their homes. Along with a restaurant, gardens and bonfires add to the retreat’s ambience. Air-conditioned guest cabins have private bath with hot and cold running water and hair dryer. This remote location has no telephone service.

    Courtyard Marriott Agra, Agra / Days 11-12 / Superior First Class

    Ideally located near the Taj Mahal, the Courtyard Marriott Agra offers a range of amenities.  The hotel boasts four dining options (including an all-day coffee shop and deli), fitness center, outdoor pool, laundry and dry-cleaning services, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Air-conditioned guest rooms are among the largest in Agra and feature private bath with hairdryer, coffee- and tea-making facilities, in-room safe, minibar, TV, and phone.

    Taj Gateway Ganges, Varanasi / Days 13-15 / Superior First Class

    Set amidst 40 acres of landscaped lawns, the Taj Gateway Ganges offers a host of amenities including a restaurant, coffee shop, and bar; laundry and dry cleaning services; astrologer; outdoor pool, croquet, badminton, and yoga; and spa services. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, tea- and coffee-making facilities, mini-bar, in-room safe, internet access, TV, and phone.

    Hotel Pullman New Delhi Aerocity, Delhi / 16 / Deluxe

    The 270-room Pullman Hotel New Delhi Aerocity is conveniently located near the airport and the local business district.  Hotel amenities include two restaurants, bar, and café; complimentary Wi-Fi internet access; laundry and dry cleaning services; fitness center with spa; and outdoor swimming pool.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, tea- and coffee-making facilities, minibar, TV, and phone.

    Crowne Plaza Soaltee, Kathmandu / Extension / Superior First Class

    The 282-room Crowne Plaza Soaltee stands amidst 11 acres of gardens in the shadow of the Himalayas. The hotel offers several restaurants and a bar; safe-deposit boxes; fitness center with sauna and steam bath; outdoor pool; and laundry and dry cleaning services. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, internet access, TV, and phone.

    Club Himalaya Nagarkot, Nagarkot / Extension / Superior First Class

    Club Himalaya Nagarkot sits at 7,200 feet and commands spectacular panoramic views of the valley and of the snowcapped Himalayans, particularly at sunrise or sunset. The hotel offers several restaurants and bar, rooftop observatory, indoor swimming pool, fitness center, spa with sauna and massage treatments, and library. Each of the 52 air-conditioned guest rooms features private bath with hair dryer, private balcony, TV, and phone.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Post-Tour Extension

Nepal

5 days/4 nights for $1,195 total price
Single Supplement: $245

Absorb the beauty of the Himalayan kingdom –­ ­and the warmth of its people – on this special journey featuring sacred shrines, royal cities, and indigenous lifestyles.

 

Your Tour Price Includes
  • Air transportation Delhi/Kathmandu, inclusive of airline taxes and fees
  • 4 nights’ accommodations: 2 nights in Kathmandu at Crowne Plaza Soaltee (Superior First Class); 2 nights in Nagarkot at Club Himalaya Nagarkot (Superior First Class)
  • 8 meals: 4 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing, including Pashupatinath shrine (UNESCO site); Boudhanath monument; colorful Bhaktapur, “City of Devotees;” Swayambhunath Temple; royal city of Patan; and Kathmandu and environs
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation
  • Gratuities for dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

Please see the Accommodations tab for hotel information.

A visa is required for this extension. Odysseys Unlimited will provide information about visa requirements upon reservation.

Tour Directors for this Journey
Ramesh Acharya

Tour Director – Nepal Extension

 

Girish Bakshi

“Charming, knowledgeable, and attentive to each person’s needs. Couldn’t have a better guide than Girish.”
Lois & Joel Seiden
Sarasota, FL

Padmaja Bharti

“Padmaja was the best! She was very knowledgeable and above-and-beyond helpful.”
Michele Vercoutere
Santa Monica, CA

Naveen Bhatt

“Naveen was one of the best guides we’ve ever had. Having him as tour director truly enhanced our travel experience. His knowledge of his country’s history, its cities and archaeological treasures was superb. A great storyteller, Naveen shared personal experiences that gave us a greater understanding and appreciation of Indian culture. Naveen is a seasoned professional and a credit to the Odysseys staff.”
Eric & Mary Evansburg
New City, NY

Shailesh Chauhan

“Great guy and tour director. Very kind and helpful in all situations. So knowledgeable and shared great information and insights.”
Dedee & Irv Cygler
Charlotte, NC

Krishna Kunwar

“…Krishna was truly outstanding and went way beyond the call of duty; he is truly one of a kind the way he helps individual travelers.”
Claude Bernasconi
Scotts Valley, CA

Rashid Latif

“Rashid was professional, personable, and most accommodating to our wants – a perfect representative of Odysseys’ high standard for tour guides.”
Walter J. Novak
Tolland, CT

Niraj Maharjan

“Both guides [were] very professional. Gave us a sense of comfort that wouldn’t have been possible without them.”
Clete Willems
Bonita Springs, FL

Sanjay Nepal

“Very personable – enjoyed his humor & describing customs of Nepal – excellent guide.”
Nancy Whitfield
Hobart, WI

Binaya Rana

“Calm, kind, adventurous, supremely helpful.”
Carol Morganski
Columbus, OH

Rajir Shrestha

“[They were both] exceptionally committed to the individual needs of the travelers; really seemed to care about us.”
Elaine Bohlmeyer
Forest Grove, OR

Suresh Shrestha

Tour Director – Nepal Extension

 

Anup Shrestha

“Anup Shrestha was also very kind and knowledgeable. I was the only guest on the Nepal Extension tour, so he offered to customize my experience to include more hiking (as I had hoped). I appreciated that.”
Valerie Wagner
New York, NY

Arvind Singh

“His knowledge regarding sites, religion, etc., was fabulous but his local and cultural insights were really key to my experience there. His grace and calmness, humility and humor made the experience a real pleasure.”
Gail Ely
Asheville, NC

Karanveer Singh

“Karanveer is probably the best tour director that any of us ever had … He is so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his country, so kind and patient with us, always assuring our comfort and our needs (and wants) are taken care of. I highly, highly recommend him … He is a gem!”
Marianne Seaborne
San Luis Obispo, CA

Aditya Singh

“I’ve traveled with groups for decades, Aditya Singh is among the best tour directors I’ve ever experienced. His intelligence, timing/pacing, wit, empathy, and grace are just some of the attributes that come immediately to mind. He showed us India in such a personal and close up manner. He encouraged us to be courageous and get closer to our subjects. We never felt rushed, always felt safeguarded, and always stimulated with the sights, sounds, and energy of the places we visited.”
MaryBeth Mullen
Silver Spring, MD

Anup Tuladhar

Tour Director – Nepal Extension

 

Ritu Sharma

“Ritu is a wonderful tour guide. She is very knowledgeable about India and made India come alive for us. She is very attentive to everyone’s specific needs. Ritu is fun-loving and flexible.”
Patricia Murphy
Danville, CA

Destination Insight

Suggested Reading

Stanley Wolpert
India
Wolpert’s reflections on India – its religion and philosophy, its art, culture and politics – make for a literate, succinct primer.

Giles Tillotson, Mary Beard (Editor)
Taj Mahal
An enlightening pocket guide to the myth, meaning and legends of the celebrated tomb, “the queen of architecture.”

Salman Rushdie (Editor), Elizabeth West (Editor)
Mirrorwork, 50 Years of Indian Writing 1947-1997
A selection of 20th-century Indian prose, both fiction and non-fiction, compiled by Salman Rushdie and featuring work by Jawaharlal Nehru, R.K. Narayan, Satyajit Ray, Amit Chaudhuri and Vikram Seth. Published in celebration of India’s 50 years of independence.

Anuradha Chaturvedi (Editor)
Eyewitness Guide Delhi, Agra and Jaipur
With chapters on Taj Mahal, Amber Fort Palace, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Red Fort and dozens of other highlights for the traveler, this compact, gorgeously illustrated guide to Delhi and its environs features 900 color photographs, maps and site plans.

National Geographic Maps
India Northwest Adventure Map
A double-sided full color map of Northwest India at a scale of 1:1,400,000 with good shaded relief, topographic detail, roads, waterways and basic travel information.
Printed on waterproof, tear-resistant paper. Two sides. 20 x 31 inches.

Omkar Koul
Lonely Planet India Phrasebook
A palm-sized handy guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.

Fiona Caulfeld
Love Delhi
Packaged in very fashionable locally woven cloth, this beautifully made, discerning guide captures the soul of the city, pointing with authority to neighborhoods, shops, markets, restaurants and attractions. A labor of love by the Bangalore-based Fiona Caulfield and friends. Third edition.

Piers Moore Ede
Kaleidoscope City, A Year in Varanasi
Whether he is attending Ramalila – the city’s annual performance of the Ramayana, talking to members of the caste who man the cremation ghats along the Ganges or simply searching for the best mithai, or sweet, in town, Ede presents a vibrant, kaleidoscopic portrait of contemporary Varanasi.

Rana Dasgupta
Capital, The Eruption of Delhi
A fascinating look at sweeping economic changes in Delhi. Dasgupta examines how the influx of wealth into the city has spawned excess and gangsterism.

William Dalrymple
City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
Dalrymple infectiously interweaves his own experiences over a year in Delhi with its art, architecture, history and literature.

Andrew Robinson
India, A Short History
Robinson’s inviting introduction to India chronicles the rise and fall of the India’s kingdoms and its eventual economic decline, which led to the British subjugation of the Mughal Empire in the mid-19th century.

Elisabeth Bumiller
May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons, A Journey Among the Women of India
A wonderfully written and fascinating portrayal of Indian women from Bollywood stars to Indira Gandhi to prostitutes. It’s an insightful portrait of the country as seen through the eyes of its women.

Simon Denyer
Rogue Elephant, Harnessing the Power of India’s Unruly Democracy
An astute examination of contemporary Indian politics and economics. Simon Denyer, former Indian bureau chief for the Washington Post, writes on the crisis of confidence in the world’s largest democracy.

Edward Luce
In Spite of the Gods
Luce tackles the challenges and reality of the world’s largest democracy with insight and balance in this portrait of a nation in transition.

Diana L. Eck
Darsan, Seeing the Divine Image in India
Tremendously useful for the traveler, this rigorous guide explains the significance and meaning of Hindu temples, festivals and ritual. Darsan, which translates as “seeing,” reveals religious expression in India.

Anne McLean (Translator), Julio Cortazar
From the Observatory
Cortazar explores the relationship between the sea and the cosmos and waxes poetic about humanity, using black-and-white photographs of an 18th century observatory in Jaipur as a launch pad for his musings.

Monisha Rajesh
Around India in 80 Trains
A terrific account of Rajesh’s epic four-month, 25,000-mile journey to the India of her youth. She begins in her hometown of Chennai, chugs up the Konkan Coast, watches for tigers in Ranthambore and survives Mumbai’s chaotic local lines.

Mohandas K. Gandhi
Gandhi, An Autobiography, or the Story of My Experiments with Truth
There is no substitute for reading Gandhi in his own simple, direct prose. A highly recommended glimpse into the personality and life of this remarkable figure.

Eric Newby
Slowly Down the Ganges
In 1963, the author and his wife set out an 1,200-mile voyage down the Ganges River. The title could apply as easily to the ruminative attitude Newby takes towards his journey as to the many mishaps which bedevil the quest.

Chandrahas Choudhury (Editor)
India, A Traveler’s Literary Companion
Each of these 14 stories evokes place and landscape, providing an excellent introduction both to contemporary writers and to India’s diverse cultures and history.

Salman Rushdie
Midnight’s Children
Crowned Best of the Booker in 2008, Rushdie’s greatest novel is a madcap, comic take on the birth of modern India in all its splendid and unexpected manifestations.

Valmik Thapar
Tiger, Soul of India
This lavish tribute features 250 color photographs, examples of art over the ages and engaging essays by tiger wallah Thapar, who has spent 30 years observing tigers.

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