Highlights of India and Nepal

16 Nights / 17 Days

Day 1 Arrive Delhi Indian Horizons Representative will meet you at the arrival lounge of Delhi international airport. He or she will answer questions, brief you on the immediate arrangements, and escort you to your hotel. Overnight at Delhi

Day 2 In Delhi Experience the contrasting images of Delhi, old and new, as you explore India’s “green” capital city with an insider guide. Wide avenues, grand vistas and colonial mansions welcome you to New Delhi, home to the city’s imperial government buildings and the embassy district. Sightseeing includes the classical Secretariat buildings, Parliament House and Presidential Palace flanking Vijay Chowk, a grand piazza known as Victory Square. See India Gate, commemorating Indian and British soldiers, and visit the Mahatma Gandhi National Museum, housing the Indian leader’s personal letters and diaries.

View the five-storied Qutub Minar Victory Tower, built in 1193, and the inspiring Humayun’s Tomb, set in beautiful Persian paradise gardens, both designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Inspirational antiquities abound as you explore Old Delhi, the capital of Muslim India from the 12th through the 19th centuries. Travel by rickshaw through labyrinthine streets of colorful bazaars, sacred temples and colonial monuments, alive with the pulse of the city. See the sumptuous palaces of the magnificent Red Fort, a powerful symbol of Indian nationhood; visit India’s largest mosque, the white marbled Jama Masjid; and see Raj Ghat, Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation site. Join us for a festive welcome dinner tonight. Overnight at Delhi.

Day 3 Delhi / Agra Morning you drive down to the city of Taj Mahal - Agra. En-route visit Sikandra. The sandstone and marble tomb of Akbar, the greatest of the Mughal emperors, lies in a peaceful garden 4 km north west of Agra. Its construction was begun by Akbar himself but completed by his son Jahangir in 1613.The southern gateway, the most impressive part of the complex, is made of red sandstone inlaid with abstract patterns in white marble. The tomb itself has four stories, three of red sandstone and the fourth of marble. True to Akbar’s philosophy of a single unifying religion, his tomb shows a blend of motifs and styles of various religions. Continue your drive to Agra and check-in at Hotel. Rest of the day at leisure with an option to visit Taj Mahal at sunset. Overnight at Agra

Day 4 In Agra Morning visit Tajmahal. The Taj Mahal is everything that has been said about it and more. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and was transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, in mid 17th century, the Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. Though the Taj appears to be amazingly perfect from almost any angle, it is the close-up marble inlay work, which is really astounding. You will have ample time to view and be mesmerized by this outstanding piece of architecture. Continue visit to Agra Fort, an outstanding example of Mughal architecture. Agra Fort - the seat and the stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations.

This was the seat of Mughal rule and administration and the present structure owes its origins to Akbar who erected the walls and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of Yamuna River. Shah Jehan added the impressive quarters and the mosque while Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. Visit its Hall of Public Audience and its Royal Pavilions. Also visit Itmad-ud-Daulah, the beautiful tomb of Mirza Ghiyath Beg. The first building to constructed of pure marble in Moghul India, this two storey mausoleum is small but perfectly executed, with translucent stones etched into its walls and tracery work adding a delicate finishing touch. Overnight at Agra

Day 5 Agra / Lal Mahal Palace Morning drive to Fatehpur Sikri, former imperial capital of the great Mughal Emperor, Akbar.Continue to the former hunting lodge of the Maharaja of Jaipur, the Lal Mahal Palace for a 1 night stay at the deluxe Royal Camp. Overnight at Lalmahal Palace.

Day 6 Lal Mahal Palace / Jaipur After breakfast drive towards Jaipur; (City of Victory) was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727. It is the only city in the world symbolizing the nine divisions of the Universe through nine rectangular sectors sub-dividing it. The architect who formalized the city’s plans on the Shilpa Shastra, the epic Hindu treatise on architecture, mixed it with the sublimity of the Mughal and Jain influences of those times. The city was painted pink in 1853 in honour of the visit by Prince Albert. Except for the busy traffic of bicycles, cars and buses, little seems to have changed. Upon arrival you will be assisted with your check in at the hotel. Remaining day is at leisure for independent activities. Overnight at Jaipur

Day 7 In Jaipur After buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will be driven just outside Jaipur to the ancient capital of Amber to see the fabulous Amber Fort. Maharaja Mansingh, Mughal Emperor Akbar’s most successful General, started the construction of Amber Fort in the 17th century. Before the City Palace was constructed in Jaipur, Amber was the seat of power. The fort is surrounded by fortified battlements and overlooks the Moat Lake. Ruins and remains are spread over the Aravalli hills and sprawling crenulated walls lattice the surrounding area. An elephant (Subject to availability/alternatively by jeep) will spare you the trouble of reaching up to the fortress. Once on top, stroll through the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls. Many of the rooms have delightful wall paintings, with precious stones and mirrors inlaid in the walls. Most fascinating, perhaps, is the Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) where a single lamplight is reflected in the many mirrors, lighting up the room. En-route to Amber you will stop and see the `Palace of Winds’, otherwise known as Hawa Mahal. It is really an elaborate facade behind which the ladies of the court used to watch the daily goings on in the street below. It is extremely intricate in its pink sandstone carving. The cool wind blows through its facade of windows and latticed screens through which the queens of the court once viewed the streets of the city. Come back to your hotel after your visit. In the afternoon, you will visit the city of Jaipur. Among the highlights to be seen while touring Jaipur include the City Palace, which is an overwhelming complex of exquisite palaces, gardens and courtyards, decorative art and carved doorways. The palace museum houses collections of rare manuscripts, armory, costumes, carpets and miniature paintings. Walk to the adjacent Jantar Mantar or Astronomical Observatory made by the Maharaja of Jaipur, built in 1726 and is one of the five such astronomical wonders built by Sawai Jai Singh and makes accurate predictions even to this day. You will also have the opportunity to wander about the local markets. Overnight at Jaipur

Day 8 Jaipur / Delhi Morning leave for Delhi by road. On arrival in Delhi, check in at the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at Delhi

Day 9 Delhi / Kathmandu Morning transfer to Delhi International airport to board flight for Kathmandu. On arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at Kathmandu

Day 10 In Kathmandu Morning city sightseeing tour with Indian Horizons guide visiting the Durbar Square, Hanuman Dhoka, the ancient royal residential quarter, Mahadev and Parvati Temple, Machhender Bahl-holy place for the Buddhists and Hindus, Temple House of Kumari, the vestal virgin or the living goddess. Walk around the local bazaars. Also visit Swayambunath, a 2500-year old site where, it is believed, the Radiant Lotus of the valley-mythology, settled when the water was drained by Manjushri, the god of Wisdom. The 5 dhyani Buddha's attended by their consorts are enshrined at the base of the stupa. (Non-Hindus are not allowed inside Swayambhunath temple). In the afternoon visit Patan. In Patan visit the old Newar City, the historic Durbar Square, the Golden Gate, the sky piercing temple of Teleju and the statue of Yogendra Malla, other temples, old carved windows and balconies of wood, curio shops and bazaars. Overnight at Kathmandu

Day 11 In Kathmandu Morning excursion to Bhadgaon, Bodhnath and Pashupatinath. Bhadgaon - another Newar city founded in the 9th century. Visit the ancient Gateway, Durbar Square the Royal Residential quarter of Bhupatindra Malla, the famous five-storeyed temple of Nyatapola in pagoda style and other temples. Later, visit Bodhnath, the 2500-year old Buddhist Stupa, - a holy place for Buddhist pilgrims from Tibet. Also visit Pashupatinath temple where Shiva is worshipped in the form of lingam. (Only Hindus are allowed inside). In the month of February an annual pilgrimage on the occasion of Shivaratri is organized here every year. Overnight at Kathmandu

Day 12 Kathmandu / Chitwan Morning drive to Chitwan. On arrival in Chitwan, check in at your resort. In the afternoon proceed for a tour to Tharu Village and witness the Tharu Cultural Performance. Overnight at Chitwan

Day 13 In Chitwan An elephant ride take you around the jungle for an hour and half. There are two trips a day, one in the morning at eight and another at four in the afternoon. Jeep safaris are also very popular they take you around for four hours. A great way to spot wildlife in areas further inside the Park, which is less trodden. Canoeing along the Rapti river is another option. With some luck you will get to see Gharial crocodiles, marsh muggers, and variety of fish. With a lot of luck you may be able to see a Gangetic dolphin. The trip is a paradise for birdwatchers with possible spotting of kingfishers, ospreys, and egrets. Chitwan is known to have 400 species of birds. Jungle walks through the jungle is a good way to spot game. Monkeys, birds and deer are assured; rhinos are less common (but not uncommon). They can help you stay safe as well as point out interesting things. Overnight at Chitwan

Day 14 Chitwan / Pokhara After breakfast take a quick tour of Birdwatching. Later drive to Pokhara. Pokhara is a place of remarkable natural beauty. The serenity of Phewa Lake and the magnificence of the Fishtail Peak rising behind it create an ambiance of peace and tranquility. Pokhara is a perfect place to see the panoramic view of Himalayan region including Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. Overnight at Pokhara

Day 15 In Pokhara After breakfast, proceed for a half-day sightseeing tour of Pokhara City and 1 hour boating at Lake Phewa. Free at leisure for the remainder of the day. Overnight at Pokhara

Day 16 Pokhara / Kathmandu Morning departure by air for Kathmandu. On arrival at Kathmandu, transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at Kathmandu.

Day 17 Departure Kathmandu It’s time to bid farewell. Indian Horizons representative will meet you and transfer you to Kathmandu airport in time to board flight for home.