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PREMIUM SMALL-GROUP COACH TOURING

CLASSIC INDIA & NEPAL

CLASSIC INDIA & NEPAL DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

Day 1 - Wednesday 14 Nov.
Arrival Kathmandu (3 nights)
On arrival at Kathmandu's International Airport you're met by our local representative and transferred to our central hotel by private vehicle. In many ways Kathmandu, and especially the Kathmandu Valley, is Nepal. The ever-expanding city subjects the first-time visitor to a sensory overload, whereas the valley, with its ancient terraced fields and settlements, temples and monuments, all with a great Himalayan backdrop, is the site of the densest collection of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Tonight, everyone is invited to join in our Welcome Reception and Dinner. (BD)
Day 2 - Thursday 15 Nov.
Kathmandu - Sightseeing (Possible optional Mt. Everest flight or Free Time)
This morning you have a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the magnificent Mt. Everest up close, with an early morning scenic flight - weather permitting. (Guests taking this option will be able to take advantage of the tea and coffee making facilities in their rooms before the flight, and then enjoy a full breakfast on their return. Guests not taking the Mt. Everest flight will have the early part of the morning free to relax or take in some local sights around our hotel). Later, when we're all back together, we begin a city sightseeing tour, visiting the temples of the Patan Durbar Square, the colossal Boudhanath Stupa, one of the most important Buddhist sites in Nepal, and the mysterious hilltop shrine of Swayambunath before returning to our hotel for our evening meal. (BD)
Day 3 - Friday 16 Nov.
Kathmandu - Sightseeing Kathmandu Valley
Today we visit the temple of Pashupatinath on the banks of the river Bagmati and after time to observe the rituals which take place at this very holy site we'll drive to the ancient Newar city of Bhadgaon (Bhaktapur), one of Nepal's ancient royal capitals and now considered one of its cultural gems. We'll visit its Durbar Square to view the Fifty-five Window Palace and enter into the Mul Chowk, the oldest part of the palace, which contains the Taleju Temple (so sacred that only Hindus can enter into it...but we can peer through the door to admire the entrance court!) and the Royal Bath with its golden cobra faucet. A short walk brings us to the Taumadhi Square, dominated by the majestic Nyatapola Temple. This perfectly proportioned five-storied temple towers 30 metres above the square and is the tallest pagoda temple in all of Nepal and one of the tallest buildings in the Kathmandu Valley. After time for lunch we'll return to our hotel where, this evening, we'll enjoy dinner in the tandoori restaurant in the garden of our hotel. (BD)
Day 4 - Saturday 17 Nov.
Kathmandu - Varanasi (2 nights)
This morning we fly from Kathmandu to Varanasi, widely believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Mark Twain is quoted as saying 'older than history, older even than legend, and looks as old as all of them put together'. Varanasi has, for millennia, been the hub of philosophy, theosophy, medicine, learning and the arts. This evening an exhilarating rickshaw ride takes us to the River Ganges to witness the holy Hindu Aartii ceremony. After the ceremony we'll return to our hotel for dinner. (BD)
Note: For those wishing to join in (and whose bodies are willing) we have organised a group yoga session in the garden of our hotel during our stay in Varanasi. This will be offered at a suitable time to fit in with our sightseeing program.
Day 5 - Sunday 18 Nov.
Varanasi - Sightseeing
With the largest university in Asia, two thousand temples and the revered Ganges River, Varanasi is sacred to Hindus and is immersed in an ancient culture and history that few cities can lay claim to. Our sightseeing includes an early morning boat cruise to take in the scenes of devotion on the Ganges and a visit to Sarnath, one of the four most important Buddhist Pilgrimage places and the site of the deer park where The Buddha's first sermon was given after his enlightenment. We'll visit the Archaeological Museum before returning to our hotel where tonight's dinner is at your leisure. (BD)
Day 6 - Monday 19 Nov.
Varanasi - Khajuraho (2 nights)
There's some free time in Varanasi this morning, perhaps just take a bit longer over breakfast, relax by the pool or enjoy the spa services offered by our hotel? Later this morning we'll take a short flight to Khajuraho, the home of 3 major groups of UNESCO World Heritage listed temples, which attract many visitors, due in the main to the sensuous nature of some of their exquisite medieval sculptures. This afternoon we'll visit the western group of Hindu temples, including Lakshmana and Kandariya Mahadev, which are adorned with a whole variety of amazing and intricate carvings. Tonight's dinner featuring regional cuisine is in our hotel. (BD)
Day 7 - Tuesday 20 Nov.
Khajuraho - Panna Park Tiger Reserve & Raneh Falls with Rural Village Excursions
The region around Khajuraho is perfect for getting off the beaten track. So, with an early start this morning we board our jeeps for a four-wheel-drive safari to the Panna National Park Tiger Reserve. This Government recognised reserve is doing important work protecting and re-introducing the endangered tigers to this area. There's no guarantee that we'll see a tiger but there are many other wild animals roaming throughout the reserve, which combined with the jungle scenery makes for an interesting, informative and fun morning. This afternoon, after visiting the Jain temples of the eastern group, we'll enter the Chhatarpur district to visit the Raneh Falls. These falls on the Ken River have the added attraction of cascading onto beautiful pink sandstone. We'll continue with a visit to one of the typical villages of the area where we'll witness the traditional rural life of this part of India. A highlight of our two-night stay in Khajuraho is tonight's special BBQ. (BD)
Day 8 - Wednesday 21 Nov.
Khajuraho - Orchha - Agra (2 nights)
This morning we join our coach for our morning drive to the historic citadel of Orchha. Here we'll enjoy a spot of lunch before we explore its huge palace-fort built on a seasonal island on the bank of the Betwa River. After a short drive to Jhansi we'll experience the most popular form of long-distance travel in India by journeying to Agra in executive class seats on the Shatabdi Express, the country's fastest train. We arrive in Agra in time for a late dinner at our hotel. (BLD)



Day 9 - Thursday 22 Nov.
Agra - Sightseeing
Agra is home to not only one of the wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal, but also to the Agra Fort and two other UNESCO World Heritage sites. Best known as a 'labour of love' the sublime Taj Mahal was built in the 16th Century by a Moghul for his most beloved wife and took some 20,000 workmen 16 years to complete. The architect used Makrana marble the effect of which gives the monument a different hue depending on the time of day and the amount of sunshine. This wondrous memorial is first on our agenda this morning followed by a visit to the awe-inspiring Agra Fort. Built with red-sandstone by the Moghuls as a symbol of their power, the fort imposes itself above the Yamuna River and as such it was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638, when the Mughal capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi. The romantic tale of undying love which instigated the construction of the Taj Mahal is retold in an opulent and colourful stage-show. This evening it's 'show-time' and we'll tap our toes in time to the show's infectious music and dynamic dancing before returning to our hotel for dinner. (BD)
Day 10 - Friday 23 Nov.
Agra - Fatehpur Sikri - Jaipur (3 nights)
On route from Agra to Jaipur we'll visit the fascinating and abandoned Imperial City of Fatehpur Sikri. It's now a World Heritage site and a place full of mystery and architectural wonders. It was built in the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar for use as his new capital but apparently the area suffered from an acute shortage of water so shortly after Akbar's death the city was abandoned. After our visit we'll continue on our coach journey to Jaipur to arrive in good time to enjoy the wonderful facilities of our hotel before taking dinner in its very stylish restaurant. (BD)
Day 11 - Saturday 24 Nov.
Jaipur - Sightseeing
Jaipur is popularly known as the Pink City due to the beautiful colour of many of its buildings. Built in the 18th century it followed a grid system making it the only planned city of its time. First up this morning we'll take a short drive out of Jaipur to visit the magnificent Amber Fort, an extensive palace complex, built from pale yellow and pink sandstone, accompanied by white marble. It's divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard and we'll explore each section with our local guide.
Then it's time for something extra special when we'll take a roller-coaster ride with a difference... through the jungle on the back of an elephant during our very own Elephant Safari! A late lunch is followed by the return to our hotel where there's time to relax by the pool, perhaps go shopping or pursue our own interests before enjoying dinner at leisure in the hotel restaurant. (BLD)
Day 12 - Sunday 25 Nov.
Jaipur - Sightseeing
This morning we'll visit the World Heritage site of Jantar Mantar, a monumental observatory which is a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments. It was built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh and features the world's largest stone sundial. Next we'll visit the City Palace. Located in the heart of the city it's where the Maharaja reigned from and is a complex of many buildings and courtyards including the famous Mubarak Mahal and the Chandra Mahal, the latter of which has been turned into a museum and is home to unique handicrafts, various uniforms of the rulers and other effects pertaining to the royal heritage of the City Palace. Tonight we're invited to a never-to-be-forgotten evening straight out of the English Raj! It's time to be treated like a Maharaja at a sumptuous Gala Banquet! A night of colour, music, drink, food, dancing and entertainment! (BD)
Day 13 - Monday 26 Nov.
Jaipur - Delhi (3 nights)
Our morning drive brings us to the Indian capital city, New Delhi. No longer a sleepy city but a thriving and bustling metropolis, high rise buildings stand cheek by jowl with over 1,000 ancient monuments. It's the hub of political and commercial activities giving the city its unique cosmopolitan air. We'll check into our hotel then take a short drive to visit the Qutb Minar, a spectacular 73 metre tall tower supposedly built with material obtained from the demolition of 27 Hindu temples. Later this evening, we're invited to the private home of some of our local friends to enjoy traditional Indian hospitality. (BD)
Day 14 - Tuesday 27 Nov.
Old Delhi - Sightseeing
Today's sightseeing in this enigmatic city starts with India's largest mosque (capacity 25,000 people) the Jama Masjid, followed by, just for fun, a rickshaw ride through the densely populated and chaotic lanes of Chandni Chowk, a market that has been around for more than three centuries. Next we'll visit the Raj Ghat (Mahatma Gandhi's Memorial and the place of his cremation) followed by time for shopping at the Connaught Place Precinct, where one can buy absolutely anything! We'll return to our hotel later this afternoon where we'll have time to relax before enjoying dinner from the excellent buffet it provides. (BD)
Day 15 - Wednesday 28 Nov.
New Delhi - Sightseeing
During this morning's city drive we'll see the India Gate (WWI Memorial), the Parliament House and the Rashtrapi Bhavan (President's Palace). Our continued sightseeing will include visits to the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, one of the most prominent Sikh temples in Delhi, with its huge kitchen enabling it to provide free meals to thousands of visitors each day, the Birla House, where Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on January the 30th 1948, and the sublime Humayun's Tomb, built for the Mughal Emperor Humayun by his first wife and chief consort, the Empress Bega Begum. This evening, as it's our final night, we'll enjoy a very special Farewell Dinner where we can swap stories, photos and addresses with our new friends. (BD)
Day 16 - Thursday 29 Nov.
Depart Delhi
Our tour ends after breakfast with a transfer to Delhi's International Airport for onward journeys. Guests who remain in Delhi and stay at the EuroVista hotel will receive a complimentary transfer to the Airport on the day of their departure. (B)