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India

India

Tour Dates:
February 25th - March 11th, 2018

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Bring the romance of India into your life with an excursion to the sub-continent. For two plus weeks, you can experience the sights, sounds, tastes and feel of India. Visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise, and gaze in wonder at the Himalayas from their very foothills. Many more marvelous wonders are in store for your eyes to behold like the Pink City of Jaipuir or tracking tigers in Ranthambore!

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Day 1: 18 March  – DEPART USA

Day 2: 19 March – On Board

Day 3: 20 March – Arrive in DELHI early morning

Traditional welcome at the International Airport.  Transfer to the Hotel.  India’s capital is the gateway into the country. Delhi is a bustling metropolis, an interesting mix of fast paced modernization and carefully preserved antiquity. Modern Delhi divided, as Old & New Delhi is a conglomerate of seven cities that has spread out and intruded beyond the river Yamuna. Overnight Hotel Ashok.

Late Morning visit to Qutab Minar & Humayun Tomb and drive past India Gate & Presidents House.   QUTAB MINAR –The Qutab Minar towers over this historic area where Qutabuddin Aibak laid the foundation of Delhi Sultanate in 1193.  He built the Quwwatul Islam Mosque and the Qutub Minar to announce the advent of Muslim Sultans. Later Iltutmish, Alauddin Khilji and Ferozshah Tuglak added other buildings bringing in new architectural style.  HUMAYUN’ TOMB –Humayun, the second Mughal Emperor is buried in this tomb, the first great example of Mughal Garden tomb, and inspiration to the incomparable wonder of the world Taj Mahal. Built in 1565 by a Persian architect Miraq Miraj Ghias.   INDIA GATE – At the Eastern end of Rajpath, the 30ft wide India Gate was built to commemorate the Indian and British soldiers who died in World War 1 and those who fell in the battle in the North -West Frontier Province and Third Afghan War.

PRESIDENTS HOUSE – Designed by Edwin Luyten to be the focal point of New Delhi during British rule.  The house built for Viceroy, which is today the President of India’s official residence, stands on the crest of Raisina Hill.  Parliament House was a latter addition following the Montague-Chelmsford Reforms of 1919 to house the Legislative Assembly. Overnight Hotel Ashok.

Day 4: 21 March – DELHI/RANTHAMBHORE – First Class Train

Morning at leisure. Later transfer to H.Nizamuddin Railway Station to connect train to Sawai Madhopur.   Depart Delhi 1320 hours by Kota Jan Shatabdi Train.

Arrive Sawai Madhopur 1802 hours.   Ranthambhore is an outstanding example of Project Tiger’s efforts at Tiger Conservation in the country.  The other permanent residents of the park include marsh crocodiles, hyenas, jungle cats, sloth bear, sambhar, wild boar, cheetah, nilgaiand chinkara (antelope). The bird population comprises of black storks, quails, spur fowls, crested serpent eagles, kingfisher, painted storks and wild peacock.  Overnight Ranthambor Regency. BLD (breakfast, lunch and dinner included)

Day 5: 22 March – RANTHAMBHORE

Early morning Jungle Safari.  Back to the hotel for breakfast.  Morning visit to the local village and school.  Lunch at the hotel.  Afternoon Jungle Safari.  Evening at leisure. Dinner and local music and dancers. Overnight Ranthambhore Regency. BLD

Day 6: 23 March - RANTHAMBHORE

Early morning Jungle Safari. Back to the hotel for breakfast.  Morning at leisure. Lunch at the hotel.  Late afternoon visit to the 10-century Kumbhalgarh Fort.  Ranthambhore‘s royal past manifests itself in the well preserved imposing Fort, built in 994 A.D, atop a steep high creek 200 meters above sea level.  Ruined pavilions, walls, and splendid monuments are interspersed within the majestic fort.

Overnight Ranthambhore Regency. BLD

Day 7: 24 March - RANTHAMBHORE/JAIPUR

After breakfast depart for Jaipur by road.   Arrive Jaipur afternoon.  Transfer to hotel.  Jaipur, the vibrant capital of Rajasthan, is popularly known as the Pink City – a visitor’s delight.  Jaipur has massive forts, magnificent palaces and exquisite temples.  Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight Jai Mahal Palace.

Day 8: 25 March - JAIPUR

Morning visit to Amber Fort with an elephant ride to the top of Amber Fort: 11 kms from Jaipur is the magnificent hill fort of Amber.  The palaces and courtyards of the fort ascend in successive levels up the hill.  The Sheesh Mahal, or pavilion of mirrors, the finest of its kind, is studded with small mirrors.   Afternoon tour of the Pink city-visit Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, City Palace and Museum.  Jantar Mantar: Jaisingh, after whom the city is named, was a notable Astronomer. He built for himself the curious Jantar Mantar, an observatory of immense brick and mortar instruments of astonishing accuracy.  Its complex instruments, whose setting and shapes are scientifically designed, represent the high points of medieval Indian astronomy. The most striking of these are the Ram Yantras used for gauging altitudes.

Hawa Mahal: Built in 1799 A.D., the Hawa Mahal or palace of winds is a major Raj put landmark. The queens of Jaipur and royal Ladies once used this decorative façade to watch, unobserved, the festive processions winding through the streets of their city.  City Palace: A blend of Munhall and Rajasthan architecture, this palace now a museum contains all the paraphernalia of Jaipur’s princely past.  Delicate miniatures, painted with pigments that used ground rubies, lapis Lazuli and gold, glow on the walls. The museum also has what are possibly the largest silver jars in the world.  Evening optional visit to Chokhi Dhani and experience the rich warmth & rustic charm of typical Rajasthan Village.  Overnight Jai Mahal Palace.

Day 9: 26 March, – JAIPUR

Morning visit Jaigarh and Nahargarh Fort.  JAIGARH: Made famous because of the myths of buried treasure it is one of the three-hilltop forts that stand sentinel over Jaipur.   NAHARGARH: The third of the hilltop forts that guard Jaipur, and in the state of majestic ruin, it has some lovely gardens & pavilions added after the capital had shifted to Jaipur.   Afternoon visit Sanganer. - Sanganer is a small township situated approximately 16 kilometers away from Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. Known for its famous handmade paper industry and the textile printing industry, Sanganer is very famous for Jain pilgrimage services. Floral and block prints are also a specialty with the Sanganer block printers and artisans. The Sanganer is also known for its medieval ruins and primeval temples that are deeply rooted in the culture and heritage of the settlement. Some of the main tourist attractions at Sanganer are the Jain temples—the most prominent one being the ‘Shri Digambar Jain Temple, the paper and print industries, and the remnants of a bygone, regal era.  Overnight Jai Mahal Palace.

Day 10:  27 March – JAIPUR/AGRA

Depart Jaipur morning by road.  Arrive Agra in the evening.  Reroute visit Abhaneri and Fatehpur Sikri.  Abhaneri is a small village of the Dausa district in northern Rajasthan; it is located 95km from Jaipur, towards the Jaipur-Agra highway. The present name of the village, ‘Abhaneri’, is believed to be a mispronunciation of ‘Abha Nagri’ or the ‘city of brightness’. This ancient village in Rajasthan is renowned for its post Gupta or early medieval monuments, Chand Baori and Harshat Mata temple.  Though the village is in ruins now, tourists throng the village to see Chand Baori, which is a huge step well, a unique idea conceived by the natives to work as a water reservoir. Another attraction is the Harshat Mata temple, an architectural jewel on the tourism map of Rajasthan. While Harshat Mata temple symbolizes the 10th century architecture, Chand Baori, which is fortified on all sides, is one of the largest step wells in India. Abhaneri is also famous for local dances namely Ghoomar, Kalbelia and Bhawai.  Fatehpur Sikri – the deserted red sandstone city that was built by Emperor Akbar as his capital. Ponder the mysterious desertion of his capital city that was dramatically abandoned a few years after it was built. It was a veritable fairy tale city and its ‘ruins’ are still in a pristine condition. It is not hard to imagine what the court life must have been like in the days of its grandeur. Here, the beautiful tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisthi attracts thousands of people who seek blessing of the reverend saint.   Transfer to Hotel. Overnight ITC Mughal.

Day 11: 28 March – AGRA

AGRA is inspiration for a love story standing on the banks of the Yamuna River.  Agra’s history is intertwined with legend the city was first referred to, as Agraban in the epic of Mahabharata. Agra reached its zenith during the great Mughal Sultanate and became the center of art, culture, commerce and learning.  Sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal  – a Legacy of undying love. It would be in vain to try to describe in words, the vision in white marble that is the Taj Mahal. Its layout follows a distinctly Islamic theme, representing Paradise, with extraordinarily fine detailing of relief carving, highlights by floral patterns of precious stones.
Carved flowers, inlaid with precious stones are the highlights of the inner domes. It took twenty-two years to build.

Afternoon visit Agra Fort.  Agra Fort: Perhaps the most moving view of the Taj Mahal is from a little octagonal tower in the Agra Fort across the River Yamuna. It was here that Shah Jehan spent his last days in imprisonment, gazing at the tomb of his Wife.  At the Agra Fort are the beautiful Pearl Mosque, & some lovely palaces & pavilions. Overnight ITC Mughal.
Day 12: 29 March  – AGRA/DELHI

Depart -Agra morning by road.  Arrive-Delhi Noon.  Transfer to Hotel.  Afternoon visit the National Museum and Mahatma Gandhi museum.

National Museum: is the largest museum of the country.  Its various galleries cover 5000 years of art & culture from the Indus Valley civilization, spanning over the various empires & dynasties that ruled over different parts of India, right to the present day.  Artifacts, sculptures, paintings, household articles, textiles, manuscripts & texts, priceless collection of jewelry and much more.   Mahatma Gandhi Museum: It displays paintings and photos about Mahatma’s Life and deeds. Also displays some of Gandhi’s personal possessions. Overnight Hotel Ashok.

Day 13: 30 March– DELHI

Morning visit Old Delhi. Old Delhi was an ancient walled city.  Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan in 1650 switched the Mughal capital from Agra to Delhi. Shah Jehan possessing an exquisite talent, especially in architecture, created the seventh city and in the process brought about Delhi’s glorious renaissance.  Visit Red Fort, Jama Masjid, and Chandni Chowk,

Day 14: 31 March – DELHI

Afternoon visit Lodhi Gardens and Dilli Haat Food & Craft Bazaar.  Evening Cocktail at our local guide Deepika’s Home.  Overnight Hotel Ashok.

Day 15: 1 April – Evening Depart DELHI for USA

Evening transfer to International airport to flight for USA.

All 4/5 Star Hotels

Hotel Ashok - Delhi
(2 nights)-Breakfast

Ranthambore Regency - Ranthambhore
(3 nights)- Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Jai Mahal Palace - Jaipur
(3 nights)-Breakfast

ITC Mughal - Agra
(2 nights)-Breakfast

Hotel Ashok - Delhi
(2 nights)-Breakfast

Experience the Romance of Incredible India on Biotrek’s Small Group Tour:

Biotrek will lead a tour to one of the world’s most exotic locations; the fabled country of India, filled with cultural attractions. For nearly two weeks, travelers can experience the sights, sounds, tastes and feel of India as few leisure travelers ever have. Tour members will travel in comfort and stay in first-class accommodations, while learning first-hand about the people and the wonders the country has to offer. Visits are arranged to such memorable locations as the Taj Mahal in Agra, one of the world’s most beautiful edifices, the President’s House in New Delhi, the Qutab Minar, one of the oldest monuments in Delhi, and other impressive sights like the Old Delhi spice market and the Red Fort. Travelers can attend sari demonstrations, classes in Indian cooking, and yoga sessions.

Agra

  • Taj Mahal – Built in white marble by a grief stricken Emperor ShahJehan, the Taj Mahal was a memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.It took twenty- two years to built and finest of skilled artisans inlaid the white marble edifice with precious stones and conjured up lacy stone screens around the cenotaphs of the emperor and his beloved wife.
  • Red Fort – Perhaps the most moving view of the Taj Mahal is from a little octagonal tower in the Agra Fort across the River Yamuna. It was here that Shah Jehan spent his last days in imprisonment, gazing at the tomb of his wife.

Jaipur

  • Morning visits to the Amber Fort with elephant ride.
  • The palaces and courtyards of the fort ascend in successive levels up the hill the Sheesh Mahal, or pavilion of mirrors, the finest of its kind, is studded with small mirrors.
    Jantar Mantra, an observatory of immense brick and mortar instruments of astonishing accuracy.
  • Hawa Mahal: The beautiful Hawa Mahal, tall and pink, faced with delicate pierced stone screens, is not really a palace. The queens of Jaipur and royal ladies once used this decorative façade to watch, unobserved, the festive procession winding through the streets of their city.
  • City Palace: A blend of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture, this palace museum contains all the paraphernalia of Jaipur’s princely past.
  • Holi celebration. Indian food cooking demonstration by the Hotel’s chief.

Rishikesh

Rishikesh is a city located in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, and is known as the Gateway to the Himalayas. The sacred river Ganges flows through Rishikesh and it is here that the river leaves the Shivalik mountains in the Himalayas and flows out into the plains of northern India. Several temples, ancient as well as new, can be found along the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh. Our small group escorted expedition offers yoga in the mornings and a half day hike to the surrounding forests and local villages to get the flavor of Garhwali lifestyle. We visit a local school and participate in activities with the students. A afternoon raft trip is offered from camp down to Rishikesh, negotiating some of the greatest white water on the Ganges. Rapids like “Golf Course “& “Roller Coaster” keep the adrenaline pumping, with long calm stretches between to enjoy the scenery of wooded and terraced hillsides dotted with little villages.

Delhi

  • Tour of Old Delhi including Spice Market.
  • President’s House in New Delhi designed by Edwin Luyten to be the the focal point of New Delhi during British rule.
  • HUMAYUN’ TOMB, Humayun, the second Mughal Emperor is buried in this tomb, the first great example of Mughal Garden tomb, and inspiration to the incomparable wonder of the world The Taj Mahal
  • The Qutab Minar towers over this historic area where Qutabuddin Aibak laid the foundation of Delhi Sultanat in 1193 and is one of the oldest monuments in Deli.

This video comes from one of our Magnificent guides in India. A primer on Holi Festival. It’s a fantastic time to go to India.

Incredible India: “The Golden Triangle” and more

India is vast! Our small group escorted tour takes us through a wide variety of historic culture and natural wonders!

Delhi, India’s capital and an important gateway into the country is a bustling metropolis –an interesting mix of fast paced modernization and carefully preserved antiquity. Modern Delhi, divided as Old and New Delhi, is a conglomerate of seven cities that has spread out and intruded beyond the river Yamuna right up to the neighboring states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Our private guide will give us a full cultural view of QUTAB MINAR. The Qutab Minar towers over this historic area where Qutabuddin Aibak laid the foundation of Delhi Sultanat in 1193. He built the Quwwatul Islam Mosque and the Qutub Minar to announce the advent of Muslim Sultans. HUMAYUN’ TOMB, Humayun, the second Mughal Emperor is buried in this tomb, the first great example of Mughal Garden tomb, and inspiration to the incomparable wonder of the world The Taj Mahal. INDIA GATE, At the Eastern end of Rajpath, the 30ft wide India Gate was built to commemorate the Indian and British soldiers who died in World War 1and those who fell in the battle in the North -West Frontier Province and Third Afghan War.
PRESIDENTS HOUSE, Designed by Edwin Luyten to be the the focal point of New Delhi during British rule. The house is today the President of India’s official residence, stands on the crest of Raisina Hill. Parliament House was a latter addition following the Montague-Chelmsford Reforms of 1919 to house the Legislative Assembly. Our guide will will help us weave through the frantic Old Delhi spice market, Asia’s hear of commerce.

Ranthambhor National Park is a wildlife reserve of 151 square miles. This park is an outstanding example of “Project Tiger” and there efforts toward Tiger Conservation in the country. Since joining the project Ranthambbor has supplied frequent sightings of tigers now thought to number 35 plus. The other permanents residents of the park include marsh crocodiles, hyenas, jungle cats, sloth bear, sambhar, wild boar, peafowl, cheetal, nilgai and chinkara. The avian population comprises of black storks, quails, bonelli’s eagles, spur fowls, crested serpent eagles and painted storks. Our private guide takes us on an early morning and late afternoon Jeep Safari to the scenic jungle landscape tracking the magnificent tiger and other wildlife.

We also visit Ranthambhor’s royal past that manifests itself in the well preserved imposing fort, built in 994 A.D., atop a steep high creek 200 meters above sea level. Ruined pavilions, walls and splendid monuments are interspersed within the majestic fort and Ganesh temple.

Later our small group will have the opportunity to a visit a local school and chat with the teachers and enthusiastic children.

JAIPUR, Land of the Maharajas – Jaipur or “pink city” of Rajasthan has been designed and built in the pattern of a grid, with sandstone palaces, wide straight avenues and uniform rows of shops on either side. Dominating the central grid is City Palace. The sandstone walls and arches, marble columns and guardian elephants offer a wonderful display of Hindu and Mughal styles. One of out highlight is a morning elephant ride up the winding passage to the most impressive Amber Fort. With its large ramparts, series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks the Maota Lake which makes the setting magical. The palaces and courtyards of the fort ascend in successive levels up the hill. The fort is divided into four main sections each with its own entry gate and courtyard. Amber Fort is known for its artistic style and aesthetic ambiance. Seen within its walls is a four level layout plan (each with a courtyard) in a well turned out opulent palace complex built with red sandstone and marble. The Sheesh Mahal, or pavilion of mirrors, the finest of its kind, is simply stunning!

Holi Festival- We organize our expedition to India to include the unique Holi Festival in Jaipur. Holi is a festival of color. Everywhere, people – young and old are drenched with different colors and water. There are balloons of colored water bursting and long “pichkaris’ squirting color water. People in small groups are seen singing, dancing and throwing colors on each other.

Jantar Mantar - Jaisingh, after whom Jaipur is named, was a notable astronomer. He built for himself the curious Jantar Mantar, an observtory of immense brick and mortar instruments of astonishing accuracy. Its complex instruments, whose setting and shapes are scientifically designed, represent the high points of medieval Indian astronomy. The most striking of these are the Ram Yantras used for gauging altitudes.

AGRA – Inspiration for a love story!
Standing on the banks of the Yamuna River, Agra’s history is intertwined with legend. Agra reached its zenith during the great Mughal Sultanate and became the center of art, culture, commerce and learning.

Taj Mahal - It would be in vain to try to describe in words, the vision in white marble that is the Taj Mahal. Its layout follows a distinctly Islamic theme, representing Paradise, with extraordinarily fine detailing of relief carving, highlighted by floral patterns of precious stones. Carved flowers, inlaid withprecious stones emphasise the inner domes. The white marble mausoleum as built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage. In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While the white domed marble mausoleum is the most familiar component of the Taj Mahal, it is actually an integrated complex of structures. The construction began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, employing thousands of artisans and craftsmen. The construction of the Taj Mahal was entrusted to a board of architects is regarded by many as the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architectural styles.

Perhaps the most moving view of the Taj Mahal is from a little octagonal tower in the Agra Fort across the River Yamuna. It was here that Shah Jehan spent his last days in imprisonment, gazing at the tomb of his wife. Seen at the Agra Fort is the beautiful Pearl Mosque, and some lovely palaces and

Rishikesh is a city located in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, and is known as The Gateway to the Himalayas. The sacred river Ganges flows through Rishikesh and it is here that the river leaves the Shivalik mountains in the Himalayas and flows out into the plains of northern India. Several temples, ancient as well as new, can be found along the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh. Rishikesh has been a part of the legendary ‘Kedarkhand’ (the present day Garhwal). Legends state that Lord Rama did penance here for killing Ravana, the demon king of Lanka; and Lakshmana, his younger brother, crossed the river Ganges, at a point, where the present ‘Lakshman Jhula’ bridge stands today, using a jute rope bridge. The jute-rope bridge was replaced by an iron suspension bridge in 1889. Rishikesh, sometimes nicknamed “the world capital of Yoga”, has numerous yoga centers. It is believed that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to attainment of moksha, as does a dip in the holy river that flows through it! Rishikesh is world famous for rafting and adventure. The Ganges offers medium to rough rapids rated class 3 and class 4. It is also a center for hiking

From the Haridwar Railway station we drive along the Ganges River to our Himalayan River base camp, the Himalayan Hideaway Lodge. Our small group escorted expedition offers yoga in the mornings and a half day hike to the surrounding forests and local villages to get the flavor of Garhwali lifestyle. We visit a local school and participate in activities with the students. A afternoon raft trip is offered from camp down to Rishikesh, negotiating some of the greatest white water on the Ganges. Rapids like “Golf Course “& “Roller Coaster” keep the adrenaline pumping, with long calm stretches between to enjoy the scenery of wooded and terraced hillsides dotted with little villages. Bird life abounds, along with hordes of monkeys, the barking deer and if you get lucky, the leopard might show its spots.

In the evening a bonfire, drinks and dinner is prepared on the peaceful banks of the Ganges. We also visit the village of Rishikesh to witness traditional spiritual Aarti which is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light from wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter) or camphor is offered to one or more deities. Aartis also refer to the songs sung in praise of the deity, when lamps are being offered.


*Bhutan & Kerala extension available.


Includes
  • All Excellent Accommodations
  • Ground Transportation
  • International Air Travel Booked Separately; Call for Quote

Travel

Travel with tour guide Sunny Reynolds, who has been showing the world to travelers since 1992. While this is not exclusively a photo tour, Sunny Reynolds as a professional photographer is happy to help all levels of photographers take better photos of their adventures.

  • Rates Based on Double Occupancy
  • Single Supplement Applies ($1,275)
  • Subject to Availability
  • All Prices subject to change