Unique, alluring and intoxicating, the Indian sub-continent boasts more celebrations, colour and spectacle than most other countries on earth. This sample journey through India’s ‘Golden Triangle’ is the perfect introduction to this fascinating country and promises simply incredible experiences combined with unforgettable adventures.
Gain an insight into the country’s vivid history, rich cultures and religious beliefs as well as enjoy a glimpse into the tranquil everyday lives of India’s villagers. And of course, you have plenty of opportunity to enjoy the country’s many culinary delights – with the chance to learn how to cook the traditional way, and sample your efforts!
As with all our tailor made itineraries, we can amend all aspects of a holiday to India, from the type of accommodation you stay in, to the places you visit and the unique experiences you can enjoy. The tour below includes ‘must see’ highlights in the form of the Taj Mahal, Jaipur’s Amber Fort and the Ganges at Varanasi, with a few more surprising locations thrown in for good measure…
This is just a suggested Itinerary. Please speak to our experienced consultants who can tailor make this trip to your needs.
To secure your place on any Tailor Made trip we require a deposit of 30% of the total trip price, per person.Book or Enquire
• Witness the magical Aarti ceremony - listen to rhythmic drumming, the sound of chanting and cymbals clashing, with the scent of sandalwood and incense swirling around
• As the sun begins to rise, drift slowly down the Ganges on your private boat, listening to the sounds of traditional Indian music
• Witness sunrise at the Taj Mahal and watch as the first rays of sun reflect off the famous monument’s glistening white marble - truly something special and unforgettable
These are just suggested inclusions. Please speak to our experienced consultants who can tailor make this trip to your needs.
14 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
14 nights hotel
Private air conditioned vehicle
Namaste and welcome to India! You will be met at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and whisked off to your accommodation, where you can freshen up before heading out to explore the majestic boulevards and avenues of New Delhi.
Visit India Gate, built in memory of the Indian soldiers who died in World War 1 and drive along Presidential Avenue for a photo stop at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the official residence of the Indian President. Visit the remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site, Humayun’s Tomb, the tomb of the Mughal Emperor commissioned by his son Akbar in 1569. Designed by a Persian architect it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent and the first structure to use red sandstone at such a scale. Later, visit Qutab Minar, the 72.5-metre high brick minaret, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dating back to the 13th century.
Hotel Palace Heights or similar
This morning explore Old Delhi, the walled city formerly known as Shahjahanabad. Drive past the imposing Red Fort, wander inside the Jama Masjid (the largest mosque in India), stroll through the lively alleyways and by-lanes, then take an exhilarating cycle rickshaw ride along the busy streets of Chandni Chowk bazaar, ending at the colourful spice bazaar, Asia’s largest.
There are a number of activities you can enjoy this afternoon, depending on your preference. Choose to learn about three local religions with visits to Sikh Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, one of the most prominent Sikh houses of worship in Delhi; Laxmi Narayan Temple (Birla Mandir), dedicated to Laxmi the goddess of prosperity; and the famous Lotus Temple, where you can discover the intriguing beliefs of the Bahai faith.
Alternatively, visit Shahpur Jat, one of the city’s most creative areas - home to a plethora of food, fashion and lifestyle stores as well as the city’s only tea boutique. Here, you can learn about India’s varied tea growing regions whilst indulging in a delicious high tea, complete with classic teas, handmade teas and bespoke infusions created by in house tea sommeliers.
Cooking fans meanwhile, may wish to enjoy a private cooking demonstration and meal in the home of local family. You can start with a visit to a local market to uncover the secrets of the various spice mixtures and unusual ingredients before joining your host in the kitchen to prepare a delicious Indian meal. After the cooking you get to eat all of your hard work!
Hotel Palace Heights or similar
Fly to India’s holiest Hindu city, Varanasi. After you have transferred to and checked in to your hotel, embark on a private boat cruise along the holy river Ganges at dusk to release sacred offerings into its waters. That evening, witness the magical Aarti ceremony - listen to rhythmic drumming, the sound of chanting and cymbals clashing, with the scent of sandalwood and incense swirling around whilst lantern-bearing priests bid Mother Ganga, the gods and goddesses a restful slumber.
Radisson Hotel Varanasi or similar
As the sun begins to rise, drift slowly down the Ganges on your private boat, listening to the sounds of traditional Indian music (sitar and table) as you watch the many ghats come to life with pilgrims who come to bathe in the holy waters. Then, return to your hotel for breakfast.
It’s then time to explore the hidden alleys, lanes and traditional markets of the Old City on a guided walking tour. Discover some of the oldest temples in the city; peep inside the shops and see the lives of the local people and their families who have inhabited this area for many decades.
Afterwards, journey to Sarnath and spend time at one of Buddhism’s four major pilgrim destinations. Buddha came to Sarnath after achieving enlightenment at Bodhgaya to give his famous first sermon. Believers from around the world are drawn to Sarnath and you can tell the nationalities of the monks who visit by the colours of their robes; saffron robes are favoured by Indian monks, brown ones are typically worn by Thai monks, red robes suggest a Tibetan background, and the almost purple robes are of Myanmar monks.
Radisson Hotel Varanasi or similar
Fly to Khajuraho, famous for its magnificent UNESCO World Heritage-listed temple architecture. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
Be inspired as you explore the exquisitely sculpted sandstone temples. Dating back to the Chandela dynasty, the complex of 21 carved temples is famed for their erotic Kama Sutra decorations. Exquisitely intricate carvings from the 10th and 11th centuries cover every pillar from plinth to spire, and are among the finest examples of temple art in the world.
Radisson Jass or similar
Journey to the sleepy 16th century town of Orchha, beautifully set in the forest along the banks of the Betwa River. With the ochre spires of the cenotaphs, temples and ramparts of the Jehangir Mahal Fort Palace rising above a boulder-strewn landscape, Orchha is a wonderful glimpse of an undiscovered India. Best explored on foot, discover a treasure trove of palaces, temples and gardens, including the elegant Lakshmi Narayan Temple and wonderful murals in the Raj Mahal. Stroll along the riverbank to watch the sunset and visit the Ram Raja Temple, a converted palace of pink tiles and gold domes where devotees gather every evening to sing a rousing chorus.
Bundelkhand Riverside or similar
Drive to Agra, the home to the famous Taj Mahal and a city filled with the legacy of the Mughal Empire. Join an intriguing private Mughal Heritage walk through the farming community of Kachhpura, led by USAID trained guides. Learn about the significance of the little community during the time of the Mughals and discover how your walk helps the community implement its social commitments. The walk ends at the peaceful Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden).
Trident, Agra or similar
Witness sunrise at the Taj Mahal and watch as the first rays of sun reflect off the famous monument’s glistening white marble - truly something special and unforgettable. Considered the pinnacle of Mughal art in India, the Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved third wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child in 1631.
There are few words that can describe the magnificence of this monument although many have tried. India’s Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore described it as 'a teardrop on the cheek of eternity', Rudyard Kipling as 'the embodiment of all things pure', while its creator, Emperor Shah Jahan, said it made 'the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes'. How will you describe it?
Later, walk around the impressive red sandstone Agra Fort built in 1565. This is one of the finest Mughal forts in India - construction was begun by Emperor Akbar and further additions were made by other Mughal Emperors, in particular his grandson Shah Jahan using his favourite building material, white marble.
This afternoon, again you have a few choices when it comes to how to spend the rest of your day. Animal lovers may wish to spend some time at the Agra Bear Rescue Facility, the world’s largest sloth bear rescue centre, to learn about bear conservation and its challenges in India. Here you can interact with the bear keepers, watch the bears from close quarters and find out about their feeding habits.
Alternatively, visit some of Agra’s oldest and most famous eateries and sample local delicacies including parantha, chaat and the wonderful and unique petha. Made from the ash gourd vegetable, more commonly known as winter melon or white pumpkin, this translucent soft candy flavoured with ingredients including saffron, pistachio and chocolate is famous all over North India.
Trident, Agra or similar
This morning, set off for Fatehpur Sikri, a fortified 16th Century ghost city built by Emperor Akbar as his palace. Explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site, the short-lived Mughal capital which was abandoned due to lack of water, and admire the blend of Hindu and Islamic architecture styles.
Continue your journey to Jaipur, known as the ‘Pink City’, and capital of Rajasthan. Founded by Maharaja Jai Singh II (1693-1743), Jaipur is surrounded on all sides by rugged hills, crowned with magnificent forts and enclosed by medieval walls. The whole city was painted pink by Maharaja Man Singh II when Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, visited Jaipur in 1876 AD. Enchanting rose-pink houses with latticed windows line the streets and, even today, every home within the city is obliged by law to maintain its facade. The city offers an endless variety of handicrafts and Jaipur's lacquer bangles are famous all over the world.
Venture into the Old City and taste some of the area’s culinary delights, including samosa and kulfi, as you mingle and talk with the locals. Observe local artisans like silversmiths and bangle makers at work and meet with a local family to share a steaming cup of chai - experiencing true Indian hospitality first hand.
Alsisar Haveli or similar
Visit the striking hilltop Amber Fort, beautifully reflected in the waters of Maota Lake below it. Explore the Maharajah’s apartments and the palaces richly-decorated with exquisite paintings and intricate carvings. Later, uncover the skills of Indian craftsmen at the unique and interesting Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing. Located in a magnificently restored haveli, the museum displays a selection of block printed textiles alongside images, tools and related objects. You can even try your hand at some block printing if you want.
Then, explore the City Palace, a complex of courtyards, gardens and buildings - some housing a wonderful collection of costumes, shawls and armory. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jantar Mantar, an observatory begun by Jai Singh in 1728 that resembles a collection of giant bizarre sculptures. Marvel at the distinctive Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), an extraordinary, fairy-tale, pink sandstone building constructed in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh to enable ladies of the royal household to watch the life and processions of the city.
Enjoy afternoon high tea followed by a discussion on different saris and turbans plus a demonstration on how to wear one.
Sunrise hot air balloon flight over Jaipur.
Alsisar Haveli or similar
Continue your journey to Bundi, a sleepy town with narrow lanes, wonderful bazaars and a fantastical palace rising from the hillside.
Bundi came into its own in the 12th century; it was loyal to the Mughals and maintained its independent status until 1947 when it was incorporated into the state of Rajasthan. Wander through the laneways during a walking tour, visit the colourful vegetable market and explore Bundi Palace, a magnificent monument towering over the town and overflowing with history and culture. View the rooms filled with stunning architecture and fine murals explaining in detail the history of this grand palace.
Enjoy a cooking demonstration of traditional Rajasthani dishes.
Bundi Vilas or similar
Sit back and enjoy the scenic drive to Bijaipur and your accommodation, the 16th century Castle Bijaipur. This is home to the ruling family who run it not as a hotel but as a ‘home’ where you will experience traditional Rajput hospitality.
Today, take a jeep safari to the surrounding villages and spend time learning about the culture and activities of the community before witnessing a traditional opium ceremony in the village.
Castle Bijaipur or similar
After a leisurely start, continue your journey to Udaipur. Founded in 1568 by Maharana Udai Singh, its hilltop forts, city palaces, tranquil lakes and quiet alleyways have earned it the nickname ‘the Venice of the East’.
End your day with a relaxing boat cruise on Lake Pichola. This 14th century lake made by local banjara (gypsies) was extended in the 16th century by Rana Udai Singh II to establish Udaipur, the 'city of lakes'. The picturesque boat ride provides the best scenic view of the lake, the city’s illuminated skyline and the mountains beyond.
Enjoy a private morning yoga lesson at your hotel.
Udai Kothi or similar
Standing on the banks of Lake Pichola is the City Palace. Stroll through its main entrance, the triple-arched Tripolia gate built in 1725 and uncover a series of courtyards, overlapping terraces, corridors and gardens. The balconies provide panoramic views of ‘Jag Niwas’ – now the world famous Lake Palace Hotel – Jag Mandir on one side and the city of Udaipur on the other. The palace is home to a profusion of antique articles, paintings, decorative furniture and utensils which attract hundreds of visitors every day. Continue to Jagdish Temple, raised on a tall terrace and completed in 1651, it is a great example of Indo - Aryan architecture. Finally head to Sahelion Ki Bari, (Garden of the Maid's Honour), a small ornamental garden that was a popular place among the ladies of the court.
Miniature-painting workshop (1-2 hours).
Udai Kothi or similar
Today you are free to enjoy your last day as you please until your transfer to the airport for your onward or homeward bound flight.
We want you to enjoy your trip to the fullest extent possible, so we ask you to take a moment to read through the following information and make sure you’re fully aware of the kind of trip you will be joining.
Imaginative Traveller trips and adventure travel in general can be quite demanding and there are risks and hazards that are inherent in such trips. Long driving days can sometimes be uncomfortable and tiring. Many of the places we visit are off the beaten track and so do not have the infrastructure that we are accustomed to in western society. Accommodation can vary greatly in standards and when wild camping on an Overland trip we rely entirely on our own provisions.
You will have the opportunity to take part in many exciting activities and excursions, some of which are included whilst others are optional (i.e. hiking the Inca Trail, trekking to see Mountain Gorillas) these require a certain level of fitness, so it’s important that you read through the trip notes thoroughly and make your own conclusions as to whether you feel that you are fit and healthy enough to enjoy this trip to its fullest. Some activities may have higher risks than you are used to and you must judge whether or not you wish to, or have the physical ability to take part. All travellers are also required to carry their own bag and lift it into storage areas, get on and off public transport or if on an Overland trip - be able to manage the 2-foot step on and off the Overland truck.
Weather conditions in certain areas can also make physical activity more challenging. This also applies to our trips that travel at altitude.
It is extremely rare for us to have to refuse anyone a space on our trips for medical reasons. If at the time of booking you have any concern at all about a medical condition that may prevent you from participating fully in the trip, please let your travel agent or Imaginative Traveller know as soon as possible. If upon disclosure, our operator is of the opinion that the trip is not suitable for you, then we reserve the right to cancel your booking or alternatively to limit your participation in certain activities.
Whilst we don’t want to put anyone off experiencing one of our trips, we ask that you read through the trip notes for the trip you have selected carefully and realistically self assess your ability to complete the trip as described. Please consult with your Dr and/or us if you have any doubts.
A positive attitude and an open mind are just as important as your ability to get involved and fully participate on your group trip.
In accordance with EU Directive (EC) No 2111/2005 Article 9, we are required to bring to your attention the existence of a “Community list” which contains details of air carriers who are subject to an operating ban within the EU. The Community list is available for inspection at http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/air/safety/air-ban/index_en.htm .In accordance with EU Regulations we are required to advise you of the actual carrier(s) (or, if the actual carrier(s) is not known, the likely carrier(s)) that will operate your flight(s) at the time of confirmation. Where we are only able to inform you of the likely carrier(s) at the time of confirmation, we shall inform you of the identity of the actual carrier(s) as soon as we become aware of this. Any change to the operating carrier(s) after your booking has been confirmed will be notified to you as soon as possible.
BOOKING CONDITIONS - Dragoman Overseas
Travel Ltd. Valid from 1st May 2019
(Updated on 10/06/19)
3.1 Payments for Small Group Tours operated by Imaginative Traveller and excluding Polar trips to the Arctic or Antarctic
Songlines Music Tours: deposit amount £600
Family Overland: deposit amount £400
Trips with Gorilla permit: deposit amount £600
Trips with Inca Trail permit: deposit amount £400
The balance of the tour cost must be paid no later than 56 days before the departure date of the first tour booked, otherwise we are entitled to treat the booking as cancelled by you in which case the cancellation charges shown in clause 4 will be payable.
3.2 Payments for Small Group Polar trips to the Arctic or Antarctic
3.3 Payments for Tailor Made Tours and Charter Trips
4.1 If you wish to cancel your tour
Small Group Tours excluding Polar trips to the Arctic or Antarctic
Days % charge
56 or more Loss of deposit
31 to 55 50%
30 or less 100%
Small Group Polar trips to the Arctic or Antarctic
Days % charge
181 or more Loss of deposit
180 or less 100%
Tailor Made Tours and Charter Trips
Days % charge
56 or more Loss of deposit
55 or less 100%
Depending on your reason for cancellation and your travel insurance terms these charges may be recoverable under your insurance policy.
4.2 Amendments and Transfers for Small Group Tours
On some trips it is not possible for us to accept late bookings as they are subject to availability.
4.3 Amendments and Transfers for Tailor Made Tours and Charter Trips
The information about trips given in this brochure is subject to change. Where practical, any changes will be reflected in the Trip Notes that are sent to you with your Final Documentation. It is your responsibility to review the up-to-date Trip Notes sent to you with Final Documentation. If you make a booking less than 56 days before departure (181 days for Polar trips to the Arctic or Antarctic) you must ensure you are fully aware of the contents of the Trip Notes. The information and conditions in the Trip Notes will be deemed to be part of the contract.
In no circumstances will we cancel your tour less than 4 weeks before the scheduled departure date except for reasons of consolidation, force majeure or failure on your part to pay the final balance. We strongly recommend that you make no travel arrangements to your point of departure, make any connecting travel that is non-refundable or non-changeable or incurs penalties or incur any costs in respect of visas or vaccinations until such time as your travel itinerary has been confirmed. If you make such arrangements which you are then unable to use due to a change in your itinerary we shall not be liable to you for the cost of those arrangements. If we are forced to cancel your holiday after departure we will, wherever possible, make suitable alternative arrangements. If we are unable to make such alternative arrangements, or you reject these for good reason then we will return you to your point of departure and refund you for any unused services, if appropriate.
56 or more Nil
Between 28 and 55 £15
Between 15 and 27 £25
Less than 15 £35
The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT) provides financial protection under ABTOT Combined and The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 for Dragoman Overseas Travel Ltd., ATOL number 4157, and in the event of their insolvency, protection is provided for the following:
ABTOT Combined cover provides for a refund in the event you have not yet travelled or repatriation if you are abroad. Please note that bookings made outside the EU are only protected by ABTOT when purchased directly with Dragoman Overseas Travel Ltd.
In the unlikely event that you require assistance whilst abroad due to our financial failure, please call our 24/7 helpline on 01702 811397 and advise you are a customer of an ABTOT protected travel company.
You can access the The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2018/9780111168479/contents
When you buy an ATOL protected flight or flight inclusive holiday from us, you will receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists what is financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and who to contact if things go wrong.
The price of our ATOL-protected flight inclusive Packages includes the amount of £2.50 per person as part of the ATOL Protection Contribution (APC) we pay to the CAA. This charge is included in our advertised prices.
We, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL Certificate or holiday itinerary, will provide you with the services listed on the ATOL Certificate or itinerary (or a suitable alternative). In some cases, where neither we nor the supplier are able to do so for reasons of insolvency, an alternative ATOL holder or supplier may provide you with the services you have bought or a suitable alternative (at no extra cost to you). You agree to accept that in those circumstances the alternative ATOL holder or supplier will perform those obligations and you agree to pay any money outstanding to be paid by you under your contract to that alternative ATOL holder or supplier. However, you also agree that in some cases it will not be possible to appoint an alternative ATOL holder or supplier, in which case you will be entitled to make a claim under the ABTOT Combined scheme.
If we, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL certificate or holiday itinerary, are unable to provide the services listed (or a suitable alternative, through an alternative ATOL holder, alternative supplier or otherwise) for reasons of insolvency, ABTOT Limited may make a payment to (or confer a benefit on) you under the ABTOT Combined scheme. You agree that in return for such a payment or benefit you assign absolutely to ABTOT Limited any claims which you have or may have arising out of or relating to the non-provision of the services, including any claim against us, the travel agent (or your credit card issuer where applicable). You also agree that any such claims may be re-assigned to another body, if that other body has paid sums you have claimed under the ABTOT Combined scheme.
The combination of travel services offered to you is a package within the meaning of the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018.
Therefore you will benefit from all EU rights applying to the packages. Dragoman Overseas Travel Ltd. ('Dragoman') will be fully responsible for the proper performance of the package as a whole.
Additionally, as required by law, Dragoman has protection in place to refund your payments and, where transport is included in the package, to ensure your repatriation in the event that it becomes insolvent.
Key rights under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018
A copy of The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 may be found on: www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/634
(i) the act(s) and/or omission(s) of the person(s) affected or any member(s) of their party;
(ii) the act(s) and/or omission(s) of a third party not connected with the provision of your tour and which were unforeseeable or unavoidable;
(iii) force majeure;
(iv) any services which do not form part of our contract. This includes, for example, any additional services or facilities which any supplier agrees to provide for you where the services or facilities are not advertised by us and we have not agreed to arrange them as part of our contract;
vii) any information and advice on visas, travel documents, climate, spending money and other costs, clothing, equipment, etc. All such information and advice has been compiled with reasonable care and is given in good faith but without responsibility on our part;
viii) loss or damage of your personal belongings while in the sight of yourself or other group members, or while under the care of airlines or airports;
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