Rajasthan and Varanasi: Trains & the Taj - India
Now's the time to explore India on your terms with this tour that's affordable for young travellers. Spend three weeks discovering the charms and mystery that make up the northern portion of this incredible country. You and your fellow travellers will get some history at the monuments of Delhi, 'gram the colourful cities of Rajasthan, marvel at Jaisalmer's mud fortress, and pull an all-nighter (sleep: optional) on a camel safari through the desert. Your expert CEO (Chief Experience Officer) handles any hassles so you're free to see the sights or just soak up the vibe — India is home to great food, fascinating culture, alluring sights, and friendly and inviting people. Come say hello.
Day 1 Delhi
Arrive at any time and welcome to India's bustling capital - Delhi!
Tonight, get to know your fellow travellers over traditional Indian cuisine at Delhi's Kitchen with a Cause. Afterward, wander through the electric Karol Bagh market for your first night out; pick the best looking spot and cheers to new adventures and friends!
Day 2 Delhi/Bīkāner
Gain a unique perspective of Delhi on a youth-led tour with G Adventures-supported City Walk project. Afterward, embark through Old Delhi experiencing the historic and cultural side of this vibrant city while visiting the "Great Mosque" and Sikh temple. In the evening, board an overnight train and wake up in Bikaner.
Day 3 Bīkāner/Rāisar
Arrive early in Bikaner, a semi-arid part of the Thar Desert with sandy dunes and scattered villages. After freshening up, buckle-in to local jeeps and cruise to the sandy village of Raisar where you'll mount a camel and ride off into the desert. Wander through the wide-openness to find our lunch spot at a shady area. After filling your stomach, hop back on your camel friend and ride until you reach that perfect point to witness the red sun setting behind the dunes. As the sun slowly disappears, climb down to the overnight camp and pitch your tent before enjoying a simple but delicious Indian dinner. Fall asleep to the unique sounds of the desert.
Day 4 Rāisar/Bīkāner
Opt to wake early and experience the sunrise from atop the dunes and feel the sand warming under your feet. After breakfast, transfer back to Bikaner and embark on an orientation stroll through the Old City and bustling markets. Afterward, opt to visit the ancient Junagarh Fort or, if you aren't squeamish, the Deshnok Rat Temple dedicated to, well, rats.
Day 5 Bīkāner/Jaisalmer
Arrive in the medieval fortress city of Jaisalmer and have the rest of the day to relax after the long journey or explore the city at your leisure. Jaisalmer, known as the "Golden City," stands on a ridge of golden sandstone in the heart of the Thar Desert. Wander through the lanes of the walled city and inside the ancient fort. Houses, temples, and havelis are very different from what you would find in other regions of Rajasthan. This evening, watch the setting sun's reflection on the fort with your fellow travellers.
Day 6 Jaisalmer
Enjoy a free day to continue exploring the "Golden City." Check out the seven interconnected Jain Temples, paddle a boat at Gadsisar Lake, and catch the sunset from Vyas Chhatri. There is an adventure around every corner.
Day 7 Jaisalmer/Jodhpur
Travel eastwards to the centrally located metropolis of Jodhpur, the second largest city in Rajasthan, and sometimes called the “Blue City” for the many houses painted that colour. Stark desert landscapes meet a riot of palaces, forts, and temples, all enclosed within imposing city walls. Six enormous gates provide entry to the city centre and overlooking it all stands the imposing shadow of Meherangarh Fort. On arrival, take an orientation walk of the city, then opt to visit this famous fort.
Day 8 Jodhpur/Udaipur
Journey southeast to the city of Udaipur, famous worldwide for its plethora of breathtaking lakes and Raj-era palaces. Get to know the Old City on an orientation walk, then opt to visit the Lake Palace - an island palace built of white marble on Pichola Lake.
Day 9 Udaipur
Another day, another adventure in Udaipur! With so much to do in the royal city, enjoy a day to freely explore. Relive life as royalty at Sajjangarh Fort, also known as the Monsoon Palace, sitting atop a hill with a panoramic view of the city’s lakes. Check out its ingenious rainwater collection system, essential in the dry desert conditions. Or opt to visit the Jagdish Temple, the Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandir folk museum, Saheliyon-ki-Bari (the Garden of Maidens), the City Palace and Museum, and take in an evening dance performance at Bagore Ki Haveli with your new friends.
Day 10 Udaipur/Pushkar
Travel over Snake Mountain to Pushkar, site of the world’s only temple to the Hindu god of creation, Brahma. This city is so sacred that no meat, alcohol, or eggs are allowed within the city. Take an orientation walk and visit the 14th century Brahma Temple. In your free time, follow local tradition and ride a camel out to the desert or wander this holy Hindu centre on foot or bicycle. Take a cooking class or scour the bustling markets. Rajasthan is famous for its textiles, jewellery and handicrafts, and few places in the country are better for shopping than the bazaars of Pushkar.
Day 11 Pushkar/Tordi Sāgar
Cruise to peaceful Tordi Sāgar and dive into rural life by visiting local potters, cobblers, and markets on a guided walk through the village. If you're feeling athletic, join in on a cricket match with some local players. In your free time, opt to bounce around with your new friends during a jeep safari or camel cart ride to the dunes for sunset. Head out for a hike in the hills or get a henna tattoo from local women. Tordi Sāgar is your oyster!
Day 12 Tordi Sāgar/Jaipur
Before leaving Tordi Sagar, enjoy a local lunch prepared by traditional methods at a village hamlet. Afterward, travel to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, clothed in pink stucco in imitation of sandstone. Wide-avenued Jaipur is one of the most important heritage cities in India and home to India’s second most visited site, the Hawa Mahal, or "Palace of the Winds." Take an orientation walk around town, then enjoy a free evening to immerse yourself in the exciting nightlife.
Day 13 Jaipur
Embark on a guided tour of Amber Fort, another UNESCO World Heritage Site to check off your list. The Fort's sandstone walls are perched on a hill almost blending in with the terrain, perfectly reflecting in Maota Lake creating a mirage effect (and perfect photograph). Wander through the halls, courtyards, and palaces inside and admire the intricate details. Afterward, head back to Jaipur and spend the free afternoon exploring the city with your fellow travellers. For your big night out, head to a rooftop bar and enjoy a drink on us to cheers to the new adventures you've just shared.
Day 14 Jaipur/Āgra
Take an afternoon train to the Muslim city of Agra, known for India’s most famous landmark - the Taj Mahal! Immerse yourself in a guided tour of this iconic mausoleum and learn of its unique history as you admire the impressive Mughal architecture.
Day 15 Āgra/Varanasi
Spend the day getting to know Agra. Opt to ride one of the ubiquitous cycle rickshaws to visit Baby Taj and the Agra Fort, the Taj’s less famous — but no less impressive — sister monument, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the evening, board an overnight train and wake up in Varanasi.
Day 16 Varanasi
Arrive to legendary Varanasi, the quintessential Indian holy city where millions of Hindu travel for pilgrimage, to worship, to mourn, or to die. Walk the narrow twisting alleys, poke around some of the thousands of temples and shrines, and experience the energy of the dawn rituals of bathing and burials as you float past the famous ghats of the Ganges. Take an evening boat journey out onto the sacred Ganges River for sunset and enjoy a mesmerizing candle flower ceremony.
Day 17 Varanasi
Cruise the Ganges on a morning boat tour with free time in the afternoon to shop, wander, and absorb the atmosphere of Varanasi. Opt to explore the monasteries and ruins of nearby Sarnath, the site of the Buddha's first sermon.
Day 18 Varanasi/Delhi
Enjoy a free day to uniquely explore the spiritual capital of India more in-depth. Opt to bathe in the sacred waters or visit Kashi Vishwanath, the Golden Temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, before boarding an overnight train to Delhi.
Day 19 Delhi
Arrive back in the bustling capital of India. The day is yours to explore the temples, markets, and museums in this fast-paced city.
Day 20 Delhi
Wow! What a trip, right? Luckily there is no such thing as goodbye, only until next time. Hug your newfound friends, exchange social medias, and depart at any time.
Reference : GAH