Trip Inspiration

12 Days in Northern India

Golden Triangle + More

With endless variety, color and charm, India treats the senses to a spectacular and spiritual experience. Soar over Jaipur on a hot air balloon, and tour India's opulent forts, mosques and palaces. Taste the culture at a traditional spice market and in the kitchen of an Indian home. Travel the Golden Triangle formed by Delhi, Agra and Jaipur to uncover India's hidden gems.

Trip Highlights

Locations

  • 2 nights at the Imperial Hotel in Delhi
  • 1 night at the The Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra
  • 2 nights the Samode Haveli in Jaipur
  • 2 nights at the Chhatra Sagar in Nimaj
  • 2 nights at the Leela in Udaipur
  • 2 nights at the Taj Nadesar Palace in Varanasi

Activities

  • Shopping in a traditional Indian spice market
  • Sunrise boat ride on the Ganga River
  • Tours of the Taj Mahal, Jama Masjid, and more
  • Hot air balloon ride
What does “Trip Inspiration” mean?

At Travel Beyond, we believe your trip should be designed just for you, not for the masses. Our travel consultants create a custom itinerary for each client, offering recommendations for places and experiences that best fit your style. The itinerary below was planned for a past client, but we’re sharing it for travel inspiration and as an example of what a trip to India might look like. Let us know when we can design a trip just for you!

Day 1

Arrive Delhi, India

Welcome to Delhi, the capital of India. Upon arrival, a Travel Beyond representative will welcome you at the airport arrival lounge and transfer you to your hotel.

Delhi is a city that offers a glimpse of both ancient and modern-day India.  It is the third largest city in India and one of the fastest growing in Asia. This city is rich in culture, always changing with time but never hiding its splendid past. The various ancient ruins seen in the city are silent witnesses to its magnificent history.

The Imperial Hotel Meals: N/A

Day 2

Delhi

After breakfast, your driver will pick you up from the hotel. As the city wakes up, you will be transported to the times of the grandeur and subsequent ruin of the Mughal Empire. Colorful, vibrant, noisy and chaotic are words that best describe what many call Old Delhi. The empire was built by the mighty Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.

Here you will visit India’s second largest and most aesthetically designed Mosque, the Jama Masjid. Walk through the streets and markets of this 17th century imperial capital city of the Mughal empire where royalty once descended. Savor the fragrances of the boisterous Spice Markets, one of Asia’s largest, and be dazzled by the glitter of India’s largest jewellery markets. Catch a glimpse of the once-glorious havelis (royal mansions) of Old Delhi. Discover hidden gems while exploring the narrow alleys and 350-year-old markets of the city built at the acme of Mughal Empire, India’s most glorious monarchy. In Old Delhi, you will also have an opportunity to enjoy a rickshaw ride.

Go for a ride in the old city market laid by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Pass through the colorful shops of bustling Chandani Chowk, one of the largest wholesale markets in Asia and an important landmark in the history of India. If you feel up to it, take a short walk in the market and explore another facet of Indian life.

This afternoon, enjoy a sightseeing tour of New Delhi, offering even more historical sites than Old Delhi. The city was founded by the imperial British government in 1911 to move their capital from Kolkata (previously known as Calcutta). Spectacular sights include a visit to Humayun’s Tomb, a drive along the ceremonial avenue – Rajpath, past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament House and the President’s Residence. End your tour with a drive through the Diplomatic Enclave.

In the evening, enjoy a personalized cooking session and dinner by renowned food expert and celebrity chef Komal Taneja for a look into the culinary traditions of an Indian home. Indian food is considered a delicacy; the spices and flavors of India have fascinated the world for centuries, and the brilliance of Indian cooking is documented in the logs of ancient travelers.

The ImperialMeals: Breakfast / Dinner

Day 3

Delhi to Agra

After breakfast, your driver will pick you up for your transfer to Agra. This afternoon, you will visit Agra Fort, a massive structure with 70-foot high, 1.5-mile long walls encompassing an astounding collection of well-preserved buildings, many of them completed during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan.

After your tour, enjoy your evening at leisure at the Oberoi Amarvilas. This hotel enjoys an unrivalled position, just half of a mile from the iconic Taj Mahal. Each room affords uninterrupted views of this ancient monument to love, while elements of the layout and design pay homage to its Mughal splendor.

The Oberoi AmarvilasMeals: Breakfast

Day 4

Agra to Jaipur

At sunrise, visit the world-famous Taj Mahal. Little needs to be said about this architectural wonder, which is the sole raison-de-etre for every tourist’s visit to Agra. Built by Shah Jahan, the Taj is a white marble memorial to his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. This monument took 22 years to be completed and was designed and planned by Persian architect Ustad Isa. Apart from its stunning design balance and perfect symmetry, the Taj is also noted particularly for its elegant domes, intricately carved screens and some of the best inlay work ever seen.

After your visit, return to the hotel for breakfast before your five-hour drive to Jaipur. The capital city of the state of Rajasthan, also known as “Pink City,” owes its name, foundation and planning to the great warrior/astronomer Maharaja Jai Singh II. The city sits on a dry lakebed in a wild and somewhat arid landscape, surrounded by barren hills surmounted by fortresses and crenellated walls. Besides cultural sightseeing, Jaipur is also known for shopping and is famous for fabric, gems, jewelry and handicrafts.

This afternoon, experience Jaipur’s heritage through bazaars, crafts, and cuisine. Jaipur offers a dazzling immersion into the riches of traditional India. Since its foundation in 1727, the royal family and nobles of Jaipur have employed various craftsmen and artisans in the Pink City. Many of these traditions continue to this day, making the modern day Jaipur a favorable destination to witness India’s rich artwork and craftsmanship. Mingle and talk with locals while sampling some of the region’s culinary delights – be sure to try Samosa Kachori, Kulfi and Lassi. Sample sweets from some of the city’s most popular Mithai Walas, and observe local artisans like silversmiths and bangle makers at work. Meet a local family and experience Indian hospitality.

During the walking tour, you can try on a traditional Indian turban and an authentic Indian henna design on your hands and wrists. The ambrosial smell of henna and the bright variant colors of the Rajasthani turban are just a few elements which make Jaipur such a delight. Natives welcoming you in their own style by garlanding and tying a turban on your head embody Rajasthan’s hospitality and warmth.

Samode Haveli Meals: Breakfast

Day 5

Jaipur

This morning you will be met by a Travel Beyond guide for an optional hot air balloon ride! Witness the beauty of Jaipur in a very unique way – by hot air balloon. Fly over the Aravallis – the oldest mountain range, and absorb the mélange of light and colors.

Following your excursion, you will be transferred back to the hotel in time for your visit to Amber Fort, the classic romantic Rajasthani fort palace. Its construction was started by Man Singh I in 1592, and completed by his descendent Jai Singh I. Its forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise where a beautiful fusion of Mughal and Hindu styles finds its ultimate expression.

Continue on this afternoon to visit the City Palace, a delightful blend of Mughal and traditional Rajasthani architecture. The City Palace sprawls over one-seventh of the area in the walled city. Continue on to the Jantar Mantar, a royal observatory consisting of outsized astronomical instruments that are still in use. Finally, visit the Hawa Mahal (from outside). The ornamental facade of this “Palace of Winds” is a prominent landmark in Jaipur. The palace has 953 niches and windows. Later, take off on a cycle rickshaw ride around the old market at leisure.

In the evening, you will be taken to the Dera Amber for an elephant interaction with local farmers. The resident elephants and camels live in this natural environment and protect several hundred hectares of indigenous Aravali Forest land. Tonight you will also enjoy dinner at the camp.

Following your excursion, you will be transferred back to the hotel. Enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure.

Samode Haveli Meals: Breakfast / Dinner

Day 6

Jaipur to Nimaj

After breakfast, your driver will meet you to your transfer to Chhatra Sagar in Nimaj, where you will spend two nights. Feel free to explore the property and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure.

With its wide open spaces and enchanting views, Chhatra Sagar developed into a lush green oasis and became an entertainment venue. The famed “Camp Chhatra Sagar” was recreated by the great-grandchildren of Thakur Chhatra Singh. The family is personally involved in looking after guests and the tents are amongst the finest to be found in India. To capture the outdoor “big sky” feel of the place, permanent construction was deliberately kept to a minimum, with a fresh luxury tented camp created for each party. Each is pitched to ensure privacy and all face directly onto the property’s private lake.

The descendants of the people invited here by Thakur Chhatra Singh still live in settlements around Chhatra Sagar. Predominantly farmers and shepherds, they live a self-contained and harmonious life which has changed little in the past century. Chhatra Sagar continues to recharge their wells and provide water for their livestock.

Chhatra Sagar Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 7

Nimaj

Enjoy your day at leisure to explore the relaxed natural environs of Chhatra Sagar and surrounding villages, or walk around the lake or up the hill for finer views. Savor the soothing environment in this perfect place to unwind and relax before heading to busier destinations.

Chhatra Sagar Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 8

Nimaj to Udaipur

This morning after checkout and breakfast, you will be met by a Travel Beyond representative for your transfer to Udaipur.

Known as “The Venice of the East”, Udaipur is an enchanting city. From lakes in the midst of sandy terrain to green forested hills where wildlife still abounds, the surprises are endless. Aside each lake are palaces straight out of fairy tales, each more beautiful than the last. Founded by Maharana Udai Singh, Udaipur is surrounded by the Aravalli mountain ranges situated on the edge of three lakes.

Upon arrival in Udaipur, you will be transferred to the Leela where you can get settled in before your afternoon of exploration.

This afternoon, walk the streets of Udaipur and discover the hidden quarters of this romantic city. Meet various locals and communities engaged in jewelry making, pottery and bamboo craft. Learn about the local traditions, religious beliefs and customs attached to the unique heritage.

Return to The Leela afterwards to enjoy your evening at leisure.

The Leela Meals: Breakfast

Day 9

Udaipur

This morning after breakfast, enjoy more sightseeing around Udaipur.

Visit Udaipur’s most iconic city palace complex, with marble and granite walls laden with miniature paintings and decorated with tiles, glasswork and mirrors for insight into the lives of the royalties. After this, visit the famous Jagdish Temple. This 16th century Vishu Temple is full of fine stone sculpture.

In the evening, visit Jag Mandir by boat. The ʺLake Garden Palace” was constructed on an island in Lake Pichola. The royal family once used the palace as a summer resort and pleasure palace for holding parties.

The Leela Meals: Breakfast

Day 10

Udaipur to Varanasi

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flights to Varanasi through Delhi. On arrival in Delhi, a Travel Beyond representative will meet and transfer you to the Taj Nadesar Palace.

Varanasi, known to the devout as Kashi, is said to have been founded by Shiva, Lord of the Universe. One of the oldest living cities in the world, Varanasi is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in India. Situated on the banks of the sacred Ganges River, the city has been a center of learning and civilization for over 2,000 years.

Taj Nadesar Palace Meals: Breakfast

Day 11

Varanasi

Wake up with the rising sun for an incredible boat journey to see those who flock to the riverside for morning worship. Along the way, you will hear about the interesting history of the ghats and their patronage by the Maharajas who built them. The adventure ends with a short walk around Tulsi ghat’s hidden sun temple. Come away refreshed and ready for the rest of the day.

Later, enjoy a walk through the mystical landscape of poets, sacred temples and holy ponds near Assi ghat, the southernmost embankment of the holy Ganga River. Walk in the footsteps of 16th-century Banaras poet and mystic Pandit Goswami Tulsidas, translator of the sacred Ramayana text. Hear about the history and special culture of Varanasi while visiting the southern temple established by the Tulsidas! The walk ends with a special darshan, meaning “taking sight” of a hidden sun temple behind his home.

After boat ride enjoy a hot Banarasi chai (tea), British tea or a cold lassi (traditional yogurt drink) and sample homemade traditional Indian snacks such as kachori, samosa or chaat while conversing on history and culture with one of Varanasi’s eminent personalities! Sitting on the floor of an old home and hearing about the experiences of growing up in the holy city of the Hindu will open up a new perspective.

This evening, visit the Ganges for a glittering Aarti (prayer) ceremony. Aboard a rickshaw ride through the bustling streets of this unique city followed by a sunset cruise on the Ganges, witness striking religious rituals being performed.

Taj Nadesar PalaceMeals: Breakfast

Day 12

Depart India

Enjoy your morning at leisure.

This afternoon after checkout, you will be met by a Travel Beyond representative for your private transfer to the Varanasi Airport for your connecting flight through Delhi.

Upon arrival in Delhi, you will be met by a Travel Beyond representative for your private transfer to JW Marriott, where you will have use of a day room until your  flight home.

JW Marriott Meals: Breakfast