India & Nepal Express

12 Days, from AU $1,759

Jaipur Palace

Khajuraho Temple

Agra Fort

Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu

A monkey looks out over the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu

Varanasi
 

Take in the wonders of India and Nepal on this 12 day tour.  Explore the new and the old sides of Delhi, visit the pink city of Jaipur and it’s magnificent Amber Fort. Travel to Agra to see the majestic Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. Witness the Aarti ceremony in the holy city of Varanasi before flying to the roof of the world in Nepal to take in the sites of the ancient city of Kathmandu.

Our Express itineraries cover the must-see attractions with a priority on enjoyment and convenience. All itineraries can be customised to suit your personal tastes. Discuss itinerary options and extensions with our Asia Travel Experts.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Delhi

On arrival into Delhi Airport, meet with your guide and transfer to your hotel for check-in. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the day.

A sprawling, vibrant and sometimes overwhelming city, Delhi is home to over 15 million people and is continuously growing. From an outsider's perspective, the city is divided into two distinct parts. To the north lies the winding narrow streets and medieval bazaars of the 17th century Mughal capital, Old Delhi. Encompassing the heart of the modern city to the south, New Delhi is by contrast a cosmopolitan and creative metropolis of broad, tree-lined boulevards, parks, museums and international restaurants. Both halves of the city are dotted with astonishing Mughal and British Imperial architecture, Muslim tombs and temples, and an array of magnificent monuments that commemorate the glory of bygone ages.

Day 2: Delhi

Embark on a tour of Old Delhi with your guide. Explore the city by cycle rickshaw, stopping to take in the most opulent fort and palace of the Mughal Empire - Lal Qila, or the "Red Fort". Encased by towering red sandstone walls, this dramatic UNESCO World Heritage Site was built at the very height of Mughal reign by Emperor Shan Jehan as a grandiose symbol of pomp and power. Pay a visit to the nearby Raj Ghat to see the Mahatma Gandhi memorial before venturing to Jama Masjid to admire the magnificent marble domes and gold spires of the largest mosque in India. After climbing the mosque's southern tower to soak up sweeping views over Delhi, witness the ancient marketplace of Chandni Chowk come alive as locals prepare for the trading day.

In the afternoon, embark on a half-day tour of New Delhi. Your drive takes you along the Raj Path or "King's Way" ceremonial avenue, past verdant lawns, canals and trees and the imposing Parliament House and India Gate monument. Explore the elegant Humayun Tomb and its surrounding 30 acre, Persian-style garden and inspect the intricate Arabic inscriptions and carvings that cover the soaring tower of Qutub Minar.

Day 3: Delhi to Jaipur

This morning after breakfast set off on the drive to Jaipur, the journey will take about 4 to 5 hours.

The Rajasthan capital Jaipur is romantically nicknamed the "Pink City" in reference to the distinctly coloured stucco buildings that line the streets of the Old City. Established in 1727 by Jai Singh II of the Kachwaha family, the city is now the state's most prosperous and rapidly developing city, but there are frequent reminders of its intriguing royal past in the flamboyant palaces, medieval bazaars and hilltop forts that stud its streets and outskirts.

In the early evening enjoy a walk through the hustle and bustle of the old city market. Experience the vibrancy of this city upfront.

You will also have the option to watch an Indian movie at the famous Raj Mandir movie theatre. The Raj Mandir Cinema is the best known cinema building in India and is a popular tourist attraction for visitors to Jaipur. It is certain to provide you with a truly remarkable cinema experience.

Day 4: Jaipur

In the morning, tour the Amber Fort. Situated high above the Maota Lake, this imposing structure was begun in 1592 by Maharaja Man Singh and later extended by the Jai Singhs. Inside its impressive, impregnable walls, the fortress-palace is a four storey maze of cool, solid marble rooms, twisting staircases, and tiny balconies that peer out on the rugged landscape. As you move between rooms adorned with ornate marble carvings, gilded ceilings and intricately painted doors, it's not difficult to visualize a life of pomp and grandeur at the height of the kingdom's powers.

Tour Jaipur with your guide in the afternoon. Discover the fascinating blend of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal Art and intriguing royal relics at the City Palace Museum before visiting Jantar Mantar observatory to see the huge, complex and still accurate stone astronomical devices stored here. The unique Hawal Mahal or "Palace of Winds" is Jaipur's most distinctive landmark, a quirky five storey facade decked with hundreds of tiny screened windows and balconies. Those that wish to get a closer look can climb up the back of the structure to take in the views from the screened niches that privileged ladies of the court would once have peered down from.

Day 5: Jaipur to Agra

This morning leave Jaipur for Agra, stopping en route to visit the magnificent ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri. Perched on a rocky crest just a short drive southwest of Agra, the well-preserved ruins of this atmospheric site were once the short-lived imperial capital of Mughal emperor Akbar. Shortly after the emperor's death in 1585, the entire city was suddenly abandoned for reasons that still remain uncertain. Venture though Agra Gate and ponder the enigma for yourself as you explore the grandiose red sandstone palaces, monuments and mosques that remain of this mysterious, ill-fated city.

Continue on to Agra and check-in to hotel on arrival.

A leading centre of art, science and culture during the 16th and 17th centuries, ancient Agra was a thriving Mughal capital under the reign of Akbar the Great. Today, it's a huge and dynamic city, characterised by its lively and often chaotic marketplace, its incredible fort, sprinkling of intriguing tombs and mausoleums, and the untouchable beauty of the Taj Mahal.

Day 6: Agra

Today you will have the chance to explore two of India's most spectacular architectural marvels, Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal.

The awe inspiring Taj Mahal, undoubtedly the masterpiece of Mughal architecture, stands at the far northern end of an extensive walled garden overlooking the tranquil Yamuna River. Although its layout follows a strict Islamic theme, this immense mausoleum is above all, a monument to love. Commissioned by Shah Jahan to enshrine the body of his favourite wife, it is believed to have taken 20,000 craftsmen working around the clock 20 years to complete. This painstaking commitment to perfection is reflected in every aspect of the complex's design; from the precise, geometric planning of the surrounding Paradise Gardens, to the reflective quality of the marble itself which changes hue with the movement of the sun, symbolising the presence of Allah.

Wander the exquisite 17 hectare gardens and take time to soak up the almost overwhelming beauty of this wonder of the world.

Located just a few kilometres north of its sister monument the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort occupies a massive 94 acres on the banks of the Yamuna River. Although the fort was originally designed as a military structure by Emperor Akbar, it was later transformed into a magnificent palace by Emperor Shah Jahan, and eventually served as his prison when son Aurangzeb seized power in 1658. Explore the fort's chambers and cloistered courtyards, admiring the intricate white marble carvings of the Nagina Masjid and Moti Masjid and stopping to take in breathtaking views of the Taj Mahal from the numerous lofty balconies and pavilions.

In the evening, enjoy free time to explore Agra, perhaps browsing the many lively local bazaars selling marble handicrafts, jewellery and leather ware.

Day 7: Agra to Khajuraho

After breakfast at your hotel transfer to the train station to board a train from Agra to Jhansi, a journey of around 2 hours.

Your guide will pick you up from the station on arrival into Jhansi and you will set out on the drive to Khajuraho stopping to visit Orccha en route.

Perched on the banks of the River Betwa, and surrounded by the encroaching jungle, Orchha or "Hidden Palace" is a deserted medieval town of weed-strewn cenotaphs, derelict temples and palaces. The plain exterior of the 17th century Raj Mahal Palace belies a vibrant interior of boldly colourful murals depicting scenes from Ramayana and various incarnations of Lord Vishnu. With its beautiful gateway decorated with turquoise tiles, elegant balconies and delicate trellis work, Jehangir Mahal is perhaps the most striking structure, while the 18th century Sheesh Mahal has retained little of its past splendour, but offers magnificent views of the town from the terraces.

On arrival into Khajuraho proceed to your hotel to check in and enjoy the evening at leisure.

Khajuraho was founded in the 9th century by the rulers of the Chandela Dynasty, who were strongly influenced by Tantrism. It is also possible that the carvings of Khajuraho were influenced by "Kama Sutra", the famous treatise on erotic arts written by Vatsyayana in the time of the Guptas. The erotic love making images of celestial nymphs, gods and goddesses sculpted in delicate detail have caught the imagination of people from all over the world.

Day 8: Khajuraho to Varanasi

This morning explore the UNESCO World Heritage site that is the western group of temples. Most of the exquisitely intricate and beautifully preserved structures here are built from hard sandstone dug from the Ken River. The temples are adorned with ornate sculptures of voluptuous women crafted with painstaking attention to the small details of hairstyles, jewellery and even manicured nails. To enhance the striking beauty of the whole scene, the temples subtly change colour with the movement of the sun, gradually turning from a soft pink at sunrise to gleaming white at noon and back to pink at sunset.

This afternoon fly to Varanasi, meet your guide at the airport and transfer to hotel for check-in.

Stretched along the River Ganges, Varanasi is one of the holiest cities in India. It sprawls back from the riverbank to a winding labyrinth of narrow alleyways and courtyards dotted with bazaars selling , perfume and clothes as well as trinkets crafted from silver, brass and copper.

Each day, thousands of pilgrims make their way to the riverfront to wash away their sins, cremate their loved ones and find salvation in the sacred waters of the Ganges. Known to the devout as the City of Light, the city is a symbol of hope to generations of Hindus and a captivating glimpse into ancient but still thriving religious traditions for visitors.

As dusk descends, visit the local ghats to witness the Aarti ceremony. Taking its name from the Sanskrit word for homage and devotion, Aarti takes place every night on the banks of the River Ganges in the holy cities of Varanasi, Haridwar and Rishikesh. During the ceremony, small diya (candle-lit lamps decorated with flowers) are floated down the river as an offering to the Goddess Ganga, accompanied by a chorus of chanting hymns, drums and temple bells. Join the local crowds gathered on the ghat steps, on the rooftops of local shops and even huddled in boats on the river itself to watch this mesmerising and uplifting ritual take place.

Day 9: Varanasi to Kathmandu

Rise early to embark on a dawn boat ride on the Ganges. Watch the city waking up along the banks of the river, where local men stand lathering themselves with soap, women scrub their brightly coloured saris and hundreds of pilgrims immerse themselves in the water in ancient ritual.

There's then time for a short tour of the city with visits to the Durga Mandir Temple - a striking 18th century structure stained red with ochre and overrun with monkeys - and the elaborately decorated Temple of Vishwanath. If time permits you'll also have a chance to learn more about Varanasi's thriving silk and brocade weaving industry with a visit to some local factories.

This afternoon board a flight to Kathmandu.

Kathmandu is by far Nepal's largest and most diverse city, a genuine melting pot of ethnicities and cultures and a haven for travellers since its rise to popularity as part of the 'hippie trail' in the 60s and 70s. Once described as having more temples than houses, this exhilarating and complex capital is rapidly changing, but the half-hidden temples, chilli-growing courtyards and tiny craft workshops of its narrow lanes and alleyways reveal a city that has not yet abandoned its fascinating traditional cultural identity.

Day 10: Kathmandu

This morning, embark on a tour of Kathmandu Durbar Square in the heart of the Old City. With its cluster of elegant temples and palaces adorned with intricate wood and stone carvings, this UNESCO World Heritage site is testament to the sublime skill of several centuries of Newar craftsmen. Standing tall on a 12 stage plinth, the magnificent Taleju Temple dominates the square, its impressive three-tiered octagonal shaped roof rising 35 metres into the sky. Wander the area, taking time to admire the gigantic and colourful carving of Kalbhairav (the god of destruction) and the Temple of Kumari (the living goddess).

Venturing west out of the city, climb the 365 steps that lead up to Swayambhunath Stupa or 'Monkey Temple' to see the 2,000 year old Buddhist Chaityas and take in sweeping views of Kathmandu, hemmed in by the looming bulk of the mountains on the horizon.

In the afternoon discover more marvels of Newar architecture at Patan Durbar Square. The beautiful Krishna Mandir Temple, embellished with carvings of scenes from mythological war Mahabharat, was built in honour of an incarnation of Vishnu. Enjoy some time exploring the narrow streets here, perhaps whiling away a few hours in one of the many local art and sculpture galleries.

Day 11: Kathmandu

Today continue your exploration of Kathmandu.

Situated 5kms east of Kathmandu City, Pashupatinath temple is one of the holiest temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Situated amidst a lush, green, natural setting on the bank of the sacred Bagmati river, the temple is built in a pagoda style and has a gilded roof and richly carved silver doors. Visitors can view the temple from the east bank of the Bagmati river, entrance into the temple being strictly forbidden to all non Hindus. Pashupatinath is the centre of annual pilgrimage on the day of Shivaratri, which falls in the month of February.

Continue on to Boudhanath Stupa. Situated 8kms east of Kathmandu City, the Boudhanath Stupa is one of the biggest in the world of its kind. It stands with four pairs of eyes in the four cardinal directions, keeping watch for righteous behaviour and human prosperity. This Buddhist Stupa was built by King Man Deva at the advice of the Goddess Mani Jogini. It is built on an octagonal base inset with prayer wheels. The shrine is ringed by houses of Lamas or Buddhist priests.

Lying 14kms east of Kathmandu City, Bhadgaon, meaning city of devotees, is the home of medieval art and architecture. It was founded in the 9th Century and is shaped like a conch shell. In Bhadgaon you will visit the Durbar Square with its array of temples overlooked by the Palace of 55 windows built by King Bupatindra Malla. The Nyatapola Temple, also built by King Bhupatindra Malla, is the best example of Pagoda style architecture and stands on five terraces, on each of which stands a pair of figures - two famous strong men, two Elephants, two Lions, two Griffins and two Goddesses.

Return to your hotel and enjoy the evening at leisure.

Day 12: Kathmandu to Delhi

The day is off to a dramatic start with an exhilarating early morning scenic flight over the Himalayas. The flight will take you up for 45 minutes over mountains, broken by deep gorges, glacial valleys and lakes until you see the unmistakable sight of Mt Everest, not just the world's highest peak, but the mountain revered by the Nepalese people as Sagarmatha, the "Mother of the Universe".

This afternoon you will depart Kathmandu for Delhi where you will board you onward flight.

Personalise Your Trip

Phone now to discuss options to personalise your itinerary.

Travel Styles

All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.

Superior:from AU $1,759
Deluxe:from AU $1,912

All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!

Important Information

Accommodation:

Hotels/lodges each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day).

Inclusions:

• Accommodation on bed and breakfast basis
• All transfers, sightseeing's & excursions by air-conditioned vehicle
• All sites and visits as per the program
• Cycle Rickshaw ride in Delhi during Old Delhi visit
• Boat ride on River Ganges in Varanasi
• Train fare Agra to Jhansi in air-conditioned carriage 
• Services of English speaking local guides in each city at the time of city tour 
• All currently applicable entrances at the monuments. Camera fees will be extra
• Airfares Khajuraho – Varanasi – Kathmandu – Delhi

Notes:

This trip package includes 2 internal flights (Varanasi to Kathmandu and Kathmandu to Delhi) which retail at about 300-400 AUD per flight.

Visa for Nepal
All foreign nationals (except Indians) require a visa to enter Nepal

Getting a visa at the airport can sometimes take time due to long queues. There have been instances when passengers were asked to show return flight tickets. You will also need to provide 2-4 passport photos and the following fees in US dollars cash. Always have extra US dollars just in case.

The following costs were correct at time of writing:

- Multi entry visa valid for 15 days - US$25
- Multi entry visa valid for 30 days - US$40

Price Dependent:

Availability of accommodation and season.

Trip Information

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"Our daughter and I loved Nepal and had warm welcome. Locations of hotels were terrific , people friend and excellent hospitality at hotels. Thank you for your help" — Mrs Spanos, Sydney, January 2018

"What a great experience. Thanks for driver and guides that looked after us. Beautiful history, culture and food." — Mr and Mrs Ng, Sydney, January 2018

"Thank you to guides and drivers even when there was a delay from Pokhara to Chitwan. One of the best 21st gifts ever to experience the sites and sounds of Nepal and culture differences! AN EXCELLENT TOUR of India & ONE OF THE BEST HOLIDAYS to Nepal. " — Mrs and Miss Gould, Sydney, November 2017

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