Regal & Divine

Regal & Divine

This epic trip takes in some of North and Central India’s finest cultural heritage. Regal forts and palaces, ancient temples and timeless rituals on the banks of the Holy Ganges combine perfectly with numerous ‘off-the-beaten-track’ gems that you’re likely to find all to yourself.

Immerse yourself in the rich history, cultures, spirituality and cuisines of North India, travelling through the centuries from ancient Varanasi to myriad dynasties in Delhi, Mughal Agra, and the post-Mughal kingdoms of Gwalior, Jhansi and Lucknow, with reminders of the First War of Independence (or the Indian Mutiny) and the last hurrah of the British Empire in New Delhi.

17 DAYS
FROM £3775
Idea
Themes:
Activity Levels
Leisurely Active
WHAT'S INCLUDED
  • Activities and excursions as specified
  • Entrance fees/tickets for the above
  • In-destination transfers & transport
  • Accommodation & Meals as specified
  • English speaking guides
  • 24/7 support while you travel

Explore this itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Delhi
On arrival at Delhi’s International Airport, you’ll be received and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
None
Day 2: Delhi
Explore Delhi on a full day guided tour – Qutub Minar, Hauz Khas Fort and Village, Humayun’s Tomb.
Breakfast
Day 3: Old & New Delhi

Begin the day early with a visit to the Red Fort after breakfast. Then visit Jama Masjid, climbing one of the minarets.

Lunch in Chandni Chowk’s famous food streets.
Explore the many market streets of Chandni Chowk, (Khari Baoli- Spice market, Chawri Bazaar, Paranthe wali Gali etc.

After lunch, drive along Rajpath to India Gate. Walk around India Gate and National War Memorial. End the day by visiting Gurudwara Sri Bangla Sahib (just after dark to see the lighting)

Breakfast
Day 4: Delhi – Agra

Drive to Agra this morning.

Visit Agra Fort, Itmad-ud-daulah, and Jama Masjid followed by a late afternoon/evening visit to see the Taj Mahal across the river from Mehtab Bagh.

Breakfast
Day 5: Fatehpur Sikri

A day trip to visit Fatehpur Sikri to see the monuments on guided walk.

Built at end of the 16th century, Emperor Akbar’s new city was the capital of the Mughal empire only for sixteen years. Today, the extremely well-preserved structures evoke bygone the majesty of the bygone era.

Rest of the day is at leisure.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6: Agra-Chambal Safari Lodge

Sunrise visit to the Taj. After breakfast back at the hotel, visit Agra’s flower market.

Check into Chambal Safari Lodge for 2 nights. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: Chambal Heartlands

A morning visit to Fort Ater.

In the afternoon visit Bateshwar temples and go on a heritage walk in Holipura village.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: Chambal Heartlands

After an early breakfast, check out of the hotel.

Drive (45m) to the serene ruins of Quila Pratap dating back to the 13th century, a typical small fortress that levied taxes along the Yamuna. Strategically situated atop the ravines, Quila Pratap is a picturesque footnote in the story of India’s First War of Independence, (The Indian Mutiny) 1857.

A short distance away, Etawah was a major centre in the events of 1857 and has several well-preserved colonial remnants like the St. Mary’s Church, the British cemetery, the old bazaar and the Jama Masjid Mosque which you’ll explore with your expert local guide.

Drive (3hrs) to Gwalior and check into your hotel.

Breakfast
Day 9: Gwalior

Gwalior’s spectacular fort is perhaps one of the most romantic forts of India outside Rajasthan. Inside, palaces and temples deserve a leisurely examination, and the rampart has spectacular views of the city. The Gujari Mahal museum holds the famous 10th century Salabhanjika – the bust of a celestial nymph dubbed ‘India’s Mona Lisa’ for her enigmatic expression. It is sculpted in the most graceful three bend Tribhanga (tri-bent pose) posture, with the leaning neck and curving waist giving it a delicate S shape which emphasises its sensual and aesthetic beauty.

Later, visit Gwalior’s opulent 19th century Jai Vilas Palace, the seat of the royal family of Scindias during the British era.

Breakfast
Day 10: Gwalior-Orchha

An early breakfast and start as you drive south to Orchha, pausing at two hidden gems en-route.

Datia’s (1.5hrs drive) resplendent seven storeyed, 17th century palace is an excellent representation of Indo-Islamic (Mughal and Rajput to be precise) style of architecture. Veer Singh Deo, a powerful ruler Orchha, commissioned this mansion to welcome the Mughal emperor, Jahangir.

Later, drive (45m) south to Jhansi Fort, a hill-top fortress which was a stronghold of the Chandela Kings from 11th -17th century. The fort passed to the hands of the British East India Company in 1853, where in 1857 soldiers of the 12th Bengal Infantry mutinied and seized the fort.

The previously dethroned Rani of Jhansi, Lakshmi Bai, tried to take control but in 1858 the British recaptured the town after a very tough battle in which the Rani took part. She finally fell after a heroic fight on 18th June 1858 outside Gwalior and is now considered a heroine of Indian independence.

Notable sights in Jhansi Fort are the Shiva and Ganesh temples, and the Kadak Bijli (‘Strong Lightning’) cannon used in the battles of 1857.

Drive (30m) to arrive at the riverside setting of your resort in Orchha in the evening, hopefully well in time to witness the serenely beautiful cenotaphs of the Orchha Rajas silhouetted against the setting sun.

Breakfast
Day 11: Orchha - Khajuraho

Orchha was founded as the capital of the Rajput state of Bundelkhand by Raja Rudra Pratap in 1501, and its citadel was built on a rock island in the Betwa river. Later, Orchha’s fortunes declined and it was eventually abandoned in 1783, but the romantic remains of the grand palaces, temples and riverside cenotaphs are perfect for a morning’s exploration.

After lunch, drive to Khajuraho (3 hrs) and check into your hotel.

In the evening, enjoy the son-et-luminaire show narrating the history and tales of the life of the Chandela rulers and of the 10th-11th century temples.

Breakfast
Day 12: Khajuraho

Built by the Chandela Dynasty, the World Heritage site of Khajuraho is famous for its Nagara-Style architecture and graceful sculptures of nayikas (Hindu mythological female protagonists) and deities, but of course, the majority of visitors come to be bemused and enthralled by the profusion of erotic sculpture, sensuous in nature and intricate in detail.

Only 25 of the original 85 temples remain, and are divided amongst the Western, Eastern and Southern groups which you explore at your own pace with your guide today.

After lunch, make a short visit to the interesting Adivart Tribal and Folk Art Museum which showcases the art and craft of the various ethnic tribal communities of Madhya Pradesh, including antiques, folk paintings, jewellery, masks, terracotta and metal craft, paintings, sculptures and artwork.

Drive (3.5hrs) to Rewa and check into your hotel.

Breakfast
Day 13: Allahabad

An early morning start today to drive (3hrs) to the holy city of Allahabad.

The city lies close to the Triveni Sangam, the “three-river confluence” of the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Sarasvati rivers, playing a central role in Hindu scriptures and hosting the Kumbh Mela every 12 years.

Beyond the holy Hindu temples and ghats, the city has a rich multi-cultural history and a wealth of Mughal and colonial monuments.

Visit Khusro Bagh’s four sandstone Mughal mausoleums standing within the walled garden, presenting an exquisite example of Mughal architecture.

Anand Bhawan, a historic house museum, erstwhile home of the Nehru family which gave India two Prime Ministers.

Drive around the city’s major landmarks such as the Allahabad Fort, University, All Saints Cathedral and the High Court for a glimpse.

Breakfast
Day 14: Varanasi

After an early breakfast drive to Varanasi (03 hours), Arrive Varanasi and check in at your hotel

Later in the evening, return to Dashashwamedh Ghat for the quintessential Varanasi experience of the grand Ganga Aarti (prayers) where priests in splendid ceremonial dress swirl blazing oil lamps in an intense and gloriously photogenic spectacle and a rising crescendo of chants, drumbeats, ringing bells that makes your spine tingle.

Breakfast
Day 15: Varanasi

Start your day with an early morning boat trip on the Ganges from where you have the best vantage point to observe the timeless ghats of Varanasi at their magical misty best.

The sights and sounds of various religious rituals, the chanting of devotees and the ringing of temple bells helps one understand why Rudyard Kipling called Varanasi “the greatest spectacle in India”.

Explore the city’s narrow lanes, temples and daily life on a guided walk.

Breakfast
Day 16: Lucknow

After breakfast drive to Lucknow (05 hours approx), arrive Lucknow and check at your hotel.

Start exploring Lucknow with a visit to the battle-scarred former British Residency, the site of bloody sieges in 1857 where British soldiers and civilians were encircled by Indian forces in the First War of Independence.

This evening, enjoy a food walk around the old market streets visiting the town’s legendary establishments serving grilled meats, delicately spiced curries.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 17: Lucknow

Lucknow is an underrated gem with a vast collection of regal monuments from the glory days of Avadh’s Nawabs. The court of Avadh emerged to political and cultural prominence as creative talent moved from Delhi’s fading Mughal courts for better prospects.

Explore the rich architectural heritage of the Nawabs on a tour that includes the opulent Bara Imambara and the Hussainabad Imambara, or ‘Palace of Lights’, venues that hosted banquets, dance and musical performances for the opulent court.

In the afternoon, join a heritage tour of Lucknow’s bazaars for a final treat on this grand tour. Shop around for souvenirs, or just enjoy the street food delicacies on offer at every step.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 18: Departure
Transfer to Lucknow airport in the morning to connect your flight back home.
Breakfast
Day 1: Arrival in Delhi
On arrival at Delhi’s International Airport, you’ll be received and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
None
Day 2: Delhi
Explore Delhi on a full day guided tour – Qutub Minar, Hauz Khas Fort and Village, Humayun’s Tomb.
Breakfast
Day 3: Old & New Delhi

Begin the day early with a visit to the Red Fort after breakfast. Then visit Jama Masjid, climbing one of the minarets.

Lunch in Chandni Chowk’s famous food streets.
Explore the many market streets of Chandni Chowk, (Khari Baoli- Spice market, Chawri Bazaar, Paranthe wali Gali etc.

After lunch, drive along Rajpath to India Gate. Walk around India Gate and National War Memorial. End the day by visiting Gurudwara Sri Bangla Sahib (just after dark to see the lighting)

Breakfast
Day 4: Delhi – Agra

Drive to Agra this morning.

Visit Agra Fort, Itmad-ud-daulah, and Jama Masjid followed by a late afternoon/evening visit to see the Taj Mahal across the river from Mehtab Bagh.

Breakfast
Day 5: Fatehpur Sikri

A day trip to visit Fatehpur Sikri to see the monuments on guided walk.

Built at end of the 16th century, Emperor Akbar’s new city was the capital of the Mughal empire only for sixteen years. Today, the extremely well-preserved structures evoke bygone the majesty of the bygone era.

Rest of the day is at leisure.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6: Agra-Chambal Safari Lodge

Sunrise visit to the Taj. After breakfast back at the hotel, visit Agra’s flower market.

Check into Chambal Safari Lodge for 2 nights. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: Chambal Heartlands

A morning visit to Fort Ater.

In the afternoon visit Bateshwar temples and go on a heritage walk in Holipura village.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: Chambal Heartlands

After an early breakfast, check out of the hotel.

Drive (45m) to the serene ruins of Quila Pratap dating back to the 13th century, a typical small fortress that levied taxes along the Yamuna. Strategically situated atop the ravines, Quila Pratap is a picturesque footnote in the story of India’s First War of Independence, (The Indian Mutiny) 1857.

A short distance away, Etawah was a major centre in the events of 1857 and has several well-preserved colonial remnants like the St. Mary’s Church, the British cemetery, the old bazaar and the Jama Masjid Mosque which you’ll explore with your expert local guide.

Drive (3hrs) to Gwalior and check into your hotel.

Breakfast
Day 9: Gwalior

Gwalior’s spectacular fort is perhaps one of the most romantic forts of India outside Rajasthan. Inside, palaces and temples deserve a leisurely examination, and the rampart has spectacular views of the city. The Gujari Mahal museum holds the famous 10th century Salabhanjika – the bust of a celestial nymph dubbed ‘India’s Mona Lisa’ for her enigmatic expression. It is sculpted in the most graceful three bend Tribhanga (tri-bent pose) posture, with the leaning neck and curving waist giving it a delicate S shape which emphasises its sensual and aesthetic beauty.

Later, visit Gwalior’s opulent 19th century Jai Vilas Palace, the seat of the royal family of Scindias during the British era.

Breakfast
Day 10: Gwalior-Orchha

An early breakfast and start as you drive south to Orchha, pausing at two hidden gems en-route.

Datia’s (1.5hrs drive) resplendent seven storeyed, 17th century palace is an excellent representation of Indo-Islamic (Mughal and Rajput to be precise) style of architecture. Veer Singh Deo, a powerful ruler Orchha, commissioned this mansion to welcome the Mughal emperor, Jahangir.

Later, drive (45m) south to Jhansi Fort, a hill-top fortress which was a stronghold of the Chandela Kings from 11th -17th century. The fort passed to the hands of the British East India Company in 1853, where in 1857 soldiers of the 12th Bengal Infantry mutinied and seized the fort.

The previously dethroned Rani of Jhansi, Lakshmi Bai, tried to take control but in 1858 the British recaptured the town after a very tough battle in which the Rani took part. She finally fell after a heroic fight on 18th June 1858 outside Gwalior and is now considered a heroine of Indian independence.

Notable sights in Jhansi Fort are the Shiva and Ganesh temples, and the Kadak Bijli (‘Strong Lightning’) cannon used in the battles of 1857.

Drive (30m) to arrive at the riverside setting of your resort in Orchha in the evening, hopefully well in time to witness the serenely beautiful cenotaphs of the Orchha Rajas silhouetted against the setting sun.

Breakfast
Day 11: Orchha - Khajuraho

Orchha was founded as the capital of the Rajput state of Bundelkhand by Raja Rudra Pratap in 1501, and its citadel was built on a rock island in the Betwa river. Later, Orchha’s fortunes declined and it was eventually abandoned in 1783, but the romantic remains of the grand palaces, temples and riverside cenotaphs are perfect for a morning’s exploration.

After lunch, drive to Khajuraho (3 hrs) and check into your hotel.

In the evening, enjoy the son-et-luminaire show narrating the history and tales of the life of the Chandela rulers and of the 10th-11th century temples.

Breakfast
Day 12: Khajuraho

Built by the Chandela Dynasty, the World Heritage site of Khajuraho is famous for its Nagara-Style architecture and graceful sculptures of nayikas (Hindu mythological female protagonists) and deities, but of course, the majority of visitors come to be bemused and enthralled by the profusion of erotic sculpture, sensuous in nature and intricate in detail.

Only 25 of the original 85 temples remain, and are divided amongst the Western, Eastern and Southern groups which you explore at your own pace with your guide today.

After lunch, make a short visit to the interesting Adivart Tribal and Folk Art Museum which showcases the art and craft of the various ethnic tribal communities of Madhya Pradesh, including antiques, folk paintings, jewellery, masks, terracotta and metal craft, paintings, sculptures and artwork.

Drive (3.5hrs) to Rewa and check into your hotel.

Breakfast
Day 13: Allahabad

An early morning start today to drive (3hrs) to the holy city of Allahabad.

The city lies close to the Triveni Sangam, the “three-river confluence” of the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Sarasvati rivers, playing a central role in Hindu scriptures and hosting the Kumbh Mela every 12 years.

Beyond the holy Hindu temples and ghats, the city has a rich multi-cultural history and a wealth of Mughal and colonial monuments.

Visit Khusro Bagh’s four sandstone Mughal mausoleums standing within the walled garden, presenting an exquisite example of Mughal architecture.

Anand Bhawan, a historic house museum, erstwhile home of the Nehru family which gave India two Prime Ministers.

Drive around the city’s major landmarks such as the Allahabad Fort, University, All Saints Cathedral and the High Court for a glimpse.

Breakfast
Day 14: Varanasi

After an early breakfast drive to Varanasi (03 hours), Arrive Varanasi and check in at your hotel

Later in the evening, return to Dashashwamedh Ghat for the quintessential Varanasi experience of the grand Ganga Aarti (prayers) where priests in splendid ceremonial dress swirl blazing oil lamps in an intense and gloriously photogenic spectacle and a rising crescendo of chants, drumbeats, ringing bells that makes your spine tingle.

Breakfast
Day 15: Varanasi

Start your day with an early morning boat trip on the Ganges from where you have the best vantage point to observe the timeless ghats of Varanasi at their magical misty best.

The sights and sounds of various religious rituals, the chanting of devotees and the ringing of temple bells helps one understand why Rudyard Kipling called Varanasi “the greatest spectacle in India”.

Explore the city’s narrow lanes, temples and daily life on a guided walk.

Breakfast
Day 16: Lucknow

After breakfast drive to Lucknow (05 hours approx), arrive Lucknow and check at your hotel.

Start exploring Lucknow with a visit to the battle-scarred former British Residency, the site of bloody sieges in 1857 where British soldiers and civilians were encircled by Indian forces in the First War of Independence.

This evening, enjoy a food walk around the old market streets visiting the town’s legendary establishments serving grilled meats, delicately spiced curries.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 17: Lucknow

Lucknow is an underrated gem with a vast collection of regal monuments from the glory days of Avadh’s Nawabs. The court of Avadh emerged to political and cultural prominence as creative talent moved from Delhi’s fading Mughal courts for better prospects.

Explore the rich architectural heritage of the Nawabs on a tour that includes the opulent Bara Imambara and the Hussainabad Imambara, or ‘Palace of Lights’, venues that hosted banquets, dance and musical performances for the opulent court.

In the afternoon, join a heritage tour of Lucknow’s bazaars for a final treat on this grand tour. Shop around for souvenirs, or just enjoy the street food delicacies on offer at every step.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 18: Departure
Transfer to Lucknow airport in the morning to connect your flight back home.
Breakfast

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Our prices do not include international flights unless explicitly stated.

The price shown is per person, based on two people travelling and sharing a room, outside peak periods. Prices may vary depending on the time of travel, and single supplements may apply.

Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)