Day 1 UK - Delhi
Today you'll depart on your flight to Delhi.
Day 2 Delhi
On arrival in Delhi, we'll transfer you to your comfortable hotel, where you'll have time to freshen up after your flight. You'll then start your sightseeing with a tour of New Delhi, a spacious, imperial city created by the British in 1911. We'll drive through elegant boulevards to see the iconic India Gate and imposing Parliament House, which are grand reminders of the city's colonial past. We'll also see the soaring sandstone tower, Qutub Minar, and conclude our tour at Humayun's Tomb, built in 1570 and said to have inspired the Taj Mahal.Meals included: D
Day 3 Delhi - Jaipur
Your morning is going to be spent delving into the maze of narrow streets and thronging markets of Old Delhi. Firstly, you'll travel by cycle rickshaw, then you'll explore the fabled street bazaar of Chandni Chowk on foot, admiring the spectacular Red Fort as you go. The marble domes of the Jama Masjid Mosque are sure to impress, and Raj Ghat, the simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, is your final stop.
If all that sightseeing has given you an appetite, our optional street-food excursion will be just perfect. We'll hop on rickshaws and work our way around Old Delhi's historic and atmospheric streets, stopping to try the vegetarian specialities unique to this region. Chat with the vendors as you try chole bathure (chickpeas served with a fried bread), dahi bhalla (fried flour balls in yoghurt) and aloo chat (spicy potatoes). Also on the menu will be paratha flatbread and the spiced yoghurt drink, lassi. If you have a sweet tooth, try jalebi - pretzel-shaped deep-fried batter soaked in sugar syrup. and the local version of bread and butter pudding. There is so much to try, and if you're craving meat, don't worry, we'll make our way to a stall offering fried chicken.
Next we'll immerse ourselves in the largest spice market in Asia, Khari Baoli, which is actually an entire street. It's fascinating to watch as huge sacks of multi-coloured spices are traded, and the intoxicating aroma is out of this world.
Later, we'll head to the 'Pink City' of Jaipur. The sight of sandstone buildings tinged with pink and ochre set amongst barren hills will greet us on arrival in the capital of Rajasthan.
Day 4 Jaipur
You've a day of discovery ahead of you, with your first highlight the marvellous Amber Fort. This 17th century stronghold commands a hilltop setting high above the surrounding valley. Step inside to see the Temple of Kali, the Palace of Mirrors and the Hall of Pleasures.
In the afternoon, you'll get to know the 'Pink City' of Jaipur, where all the buildings were painted pink by maharaja's decree. Together we'll explore the commanding City Palace and discover Mughal treasures in its museum. We'll also see the elaborate façade of the Palace of the Winds. From its 953 intricately decorated small windows, the ladies of the court could gaze upon the outside world unseen.
Tonight, a really special optional trip gives you the chance to visit a family home for a cookery demonstration and dinner. Meals included: B
Day 5 Jaipur - Bharatpur
Bharatpur is our next base, and on the way here we're going to take in the exceptional sight of Abhaneri's stepwell, an ancient water storage system.
Lunch is served at the hotel, then our afternoon is spent at the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, which we'll reach by rickshaw. As well as many species of birds, also resident here are sambar and chital deer, boar and nilgai – the largest Asian antelopeMeals included: B,L,D
Day 6 Bharatpur - Agra
This morning we're going to journey by road to Agra, visiting the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri en route. Built by an emperor in 1569 to celebrate the birth of his son, you can stroll through its pink and red sandstone pavilions and palaces.
In the afternoon, we'll visit the Agra Fort, where the Emperor Shah Jahan, who commissioned the Taj Mahal, was imprisoned by his son. Wander through its chambers to catch your first glimpse of this famous white-marble mausoleum.
We'll also vist a petha shop and sample one of the most iconic street foods in Agra. Petha is a speciality of the area, prepared from white pumpkin or ash gourd and mixed with nuts to give it a unique taste.Meals included: B,D
Day 7 Agra - Delhi
Today is the day that you'll see the Taj Mahal, on a dawn visit. The early start is well worth it as you view this magnificent mausoleum that was built by Shah Jahan as a memorial to his beloved wife, Mumtaz. The exterior is decorated with many different precious and semi-precious stones, and it appears to change colour as the sun shines upon it. This building, which took 20,000 men more than 20 years to build, and sits in a vast complex, is an undeniably extravagant expression of love.
We're also going to see the Taj Mahal from another perspective later, as we head to Mehtab Bagh. This centuries-old garden complex sits on the other side of the Yamuna River and is exactly aligned with this iconic masterpiece, offering equally spectacular views.
A journey by road then takes us back to Delhi, where you can enjoy a relaxed evening before your flight home tomorrow.Meals included: B,D
Day 8 Delhi - UK
Today we'll transfer you to the airport for your return flight to the UK.Meals included: B
Please note: Travellers on 'Nepal & India's Golden Triangle' will travel with you on this tour.