DELHI, AGRA, RANTHAMBORE, JAIPUR, JODHPUR, UDAIPUR & VARANASI
Discover what makes India so incredible on this journey across iconic cities like Delhi and Agra to incredible natural wonders like Ranthambore National Park with unrivaled cultural and culinary experiences along the way. This perfectly paced tour takes you from the Taj Mahal to a jungle safari where you’ll search for the majestic tigers of Ranthambore to the culinary delights of the “Pink City”, to the beautiful “Blue City” of Jodhpur to the villages of Deogarh and the temples of Udaipur. In Varanasi, one of India’s holiest cities, visit local temples and witness both sunrise and evening aarti ceremonies on the Ganges River plus an excursion to Sarnath, one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites. From delightful accommodations to expert Tour Directors, we’ve thought of everything so this trip is hassle-free and you can simply experience and enjoy.
Shorten Your Trip! Enjoy our 14-day Heart of India tour visiting some of India’s most incredible sites from the Taj Mahal in Agra to Ranthambore National Park with its Bengal tigers to the Pink City of Jaipur and the Blue City of Jodhpur!
Did you know that you can make this tour private? Find out about pricing and options for groups of 10 or more travelers.
- Overnight flight
- 2 nights in Delhi
- 1 night in Agra
- 2 nights in Ranthambore
- 2 nights in Jaipur
- 2 nights in Jodhpur
- 1 night in Deogarh
- 2 nights in Udaipur
- 3 nights in Varanasi
- Round-trip airfare direct flights from the NYC area
- Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
- Accommodations in first class hotels
- Ground transportation in air-conditioned motor coach
- Intra-India flights, train and ground transportation
- 26 Meals: 15 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 6 dinners plus additional tastings
- Comprehensive sightseeing tours including admission fees as indicated in the itinerary
- Top-rated Professional English-speaking Guide throughout the program, and local guides where indicated
- Porterage service at the hotels (1 luggage per person)
Day 1: Depart USA
Your incredible tour of India begins as you depart today on your non-stop overnight flight.
*Passengers who did not purchase flights will join the tour in Delhi on Day 2.
Day 2: Arrive in Delhi
Arrive in Delhi by flight. Welcome to the capital of India and the second-most populous city of India – Delhi! The city’s importance lies not just in its past glory as the seat of empire and its magnificent monuments, but also in the rich and diverse cultures. We’ll be greeted at the airport and escorted to our hotel for check-in. This evening, we’ll come together for a welcome dinner.
Sheraton New Delhi or similar | Dinner
Day 3: Old Delhi & New Delhi
Today we’ll uncover all of the city’s gems from Old Delhi to New Delhi! We’ll begin in Old Delhi, stopping at the Jama Masjid, the city’s principal place of worship. Built by the same emperor who built the Taj Mahal and Red Fort, the Jama Masjid is an elaborate structure featuring an expansive geometric base topped with globe-shaped minarets crafted from red sandstone and white marble – truly a sight to behold! Next, we’ll visit Chandni Chowk, or “moonlit square”, one of the busiest and most famed shopping areas and best explored by rickshaw. We’ll drive past the famous Red Fort on our way to Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.
This afternoon, we’ll explore New Delhi from the beautiful Sikh Temple, Bangla Sahib, driving past India Gate by tuk-tuk, onward to Gandhi Smriti & Humayun’s Tomb. Gandhi Smriti, formerly known as Birla House, is a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi and is where Gandhi spent the last 144 days of his life before he was assassinated in 1948. The museum is home to a rich collection of books, journals, photographs, audio-visual materials, exhibitions, art pieces, and other memorabilia connected with Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturba, and the Indian Freedom Struggle.
Day 4: Delhi/Agra
After an early breakfast at our hotel, we board the Gatiman Express for Agra, home to many impressive historical sites including the iconic Taj Mahal. Upon arrival in Agra, we’ll begin our tour with a visit to Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and walled imperial city founded in 1565 by Emperor Akbar. Its palaces, grand mosques, and elaborate public hall are crafted from pink-red sandstone and are a testament to an era when Indo-Muslim art was influenced by Persia. We’ll learn the legendary stories beneath the surface of this fort, which also has one of the most alluring views of the Taj Mahal.
After our tour, we’ll check in at our new hotel and have some free time to relax or explore independently. This evening, we’ll enjoy a breathtaking sunset visit to the Taj Mahal, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Combining Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and Indian design elements, it’s an awe-inspiring vision of elegant domes and white marble, which changes color with the light.
Crystal Sarovar Premiere Agra or similar | Breakfast
Day 5: Agra/Ranthambore
Early this morning we’ll enjoy a mesmerizing view of the Taj Mahal from Mehtab Bagh at sunrise. Afterward, we’ll return to our hotel for breakfast and then check out and begin our drive to Ranthambore. En route, we’ll stop at the small village ruins of Abhaneri and its renowned Harshat Mata Temple and the adjoining Chand Baori Stepwell. We’ll continue to Umaid Lake Palace, an organic resort where we’ll enjoy a special lunch and Indian lassi, a traditional blended yogurt drink.
After lunch, we’ll continue to our hotel in Ranthambore, home to one of the most visited wildlife parks in India. Considered the best place to catch a glimpse of Bengal Tigers in the wild, Ranthambore National Park also offers a spellbinding combination of mystical temples, wild beauty, and crumbling ruins. Ranthambore isn’t just a sanctuary for tigers – it’s also home to other wildlife like sambar, gazelle, caracal, black buck, crocodile, wild boar, and a wide variety of birds. This afternoon is free to relax and this evening we’ll enjoy an exclusive discussion with a naturalist about the tigers of Ranthambore over a glass of wine.
Hotel Ranthambhore Regency or similar | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Ranthambore National Park
We’ll have an early start today for our jungle safari today! After a cup of tea, we’ll head into the jungle with our naturalist guide for a shared safari by Canter, a type of bus with open sides to allow for optimum wildlife viewing. We’ll return to our hotel for breakfast and after lunch we’ll go on an afternoon safari, providing us with ample opportunities to see the park’s tigers!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: Ranthambore/Jaipur
After breakfast, we’ll visit a local school for a special exchange experience. After lunch, we’ll continue to Jaipur, India’s first planned city nicknamed “the Pink City” for its multitude of pink terracotta buildings within its walled historic center. The rest of the day is free to relax or take an optional afternoon tour!
Shahpura House or similar | Breakfast, Lunch
Day 8: Jaipur
After breakfast today, we’ll begin our full-day exploration of Jaipur city. Jaipur offers a delightful combination of tradition and modernity with its vibrant bazaars, lavish palaces, and ancient temples. We’ll ascend to the fairy-tale splendor of Amber Fort by jeep where we’ll enjoy a tour of the palace and its incredible architecture and history.
This afternoon, we’ll visit the City Palace, the observatory of Jantar Mantar, and drive past Hawa Mahal, the “Palace of the Winds”. Afterward we’ll enjoy a culinary experience with a local family – learning secret family recipes and more about Indian culture over dinner.
Day 9: Jaipur/Jodhpur
After breakfast, we’ll leave Jaipur behind and continue to Jodhpur, affectionately known as the Blue City and the Gateway to the Thar Desert. While Jodhpur is a modern metropolis, within its old city walls is a labyrinth of winding, narrow, medieval streets and bazaars. After we check-in at our hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is free to rest or explore independently.
Park Plaza Jodhpur or similar | Breakfast
Day 10: Jodhpur
After breakfast, we’ll enjoy a sightseeing tour of Jodhpur, the Blue City, first visiting the Meharangarh Fort. Rising 400 feet above the skyline from its perch atop Bhaurcheeria Hill, Meharangarh Fort has never been taken in a siege. We’ll continue to Jaswant Thada, known as the Taj Mahal of Marwar, which was built in 1899 from intricately carved marble sheets and where we can enjoy a superb view of the Blue City from its gardens. Next, we’ll stop at Umaid Bhawan Museum, one of India’s last great palaces, before concluding at the Clock Tower Market, a vibrant old city market filled with charm. The rest of the day is free to relax, explore independently, or for an optional walking tour.
Day 11: Jodhpur/Deogarh
After breakfast, we’ll visit the Bishnoi Village by jeep, allowing us the opportunity to explore what local life is like in Jodhpur. The Bishnois are known for their love of nature and are staunch environmentalists. On our walk around the village, we’ll learn more about their beliefs, culture, and traditions. We’ll continue on to Deogarh where we’ll check in at our hotel and have some time to relax. This evening, we’ll enjoy a walking tour of the village.
Deogarh Mahal or similar | Breakfast
Day 12: Deogarh/Udaipur
After breakfast today, we depart for our final destination – Udaipur. En route, we’ll visit the white marble Ranakpur Jain temple, an architectural gem complete with a courtyard of monkeys and surrounded by tangled forests. Ranakpur is one of the five important pilgrim centers for the Jain community. We’ll continue to Udaipur where we’ll check-in at our hotel. Dubbed the Venice of the East, the city of Udaipur is built around three interconnected lakes – Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar Lake, and the smaller Swaroop Sagar Lake; and is encircled by the hills of the Aravalli mountain range. Udaipur is home to ancient temples, and fairytale-like palaces, and is known as one of Rajasthan’s most beautiful and romantic cities. This evening, we’ll enjoy a captivating shared boat ride on Lake Pichola.
Fateh Niwas or similar | Breakfast
Day 13: Udaipur
After breakfast, we’ll explore Udaipur, starting with a visit to the stunning City Palace which was built with granite and marble and adorned with ornate arches, and filigreed balconies and windows. Next, we’ll visit the Jagdish Temple which was built in 1651 before continuing to Sahelion ki Bari, a spectacular garden in Udaipur, which helps illustrate the unique lifestyle of the royals who once lived in these palaces.
After a special Thali lunch, we’ll visit the Vintage Heritage Museum. The rest of the day is free to explore Udaipur independently or consider an optional tour by bicycle. This evening, we’ll enjoy a special farewell dinner overlooking the palace fort on the bank of Pichola Lake with panoramic views of the Jagdish Temple, Gangaur Ghat, City Palace, Lake Palace, Jag Mandir, and Sajangarh Fort.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 14: Udaipur/Varanasi
Today we’ll enjoy an early morning yoga session with an instructor before breakfast. Afterward, we’ll fly to Varanasi, one of the holiest and most fascinating places in India. Varanasi’s unique culture is tied to the holy River Ganges, which was unleashed from the not of Lord Shiva’s hair according to Hindu legend. After we check-in at our hotel, we’ll have free time to rest and relax before dinner.
The Fern Residency, Sarnath or similar | Breakfast, Dinner
Day 15: Varanasi & Sarnath Excursion
Early this morning, we’ll enjoy a morning aarti with a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges to view the morning prayers and baths. Afterward, we’ll take a short heritage walk through the heart of the city towards Kashi Vishwanath Temple, or the Golden Temple. We’ll return to our hotel for breakfast before visiting the Sarnath Museum. Sarnath is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage centers, as it is believed that Buddha came here after reaching enlightenment and where he first began his teachings. The afternoon is free to explore independently or consider an evening optional walking tour.
Day 16: Varanasi
After breakfast, we’ll enjoy a sightseeing tour of Varanasi taking us to Bharat Mata Temple, the Durga Temple, and the modern marble Tulsi Manas Temple whose walls are engraved with scenes and verses. We’ll also see the new Visnawanath Temple, one of the tallest in India before we continue to Benares Hindu University and its museum, and the mosque of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. We’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant overlooking the Ganges River with free time this afternoon. Tonight we’ll witness the evening aarti at the River Ganges from the best viewing spot.
Day 17: Depart Varanasi
After breakfast, we’ll enjoy some free time before we depart to the airport for our flight to Delhi and onward, overnight flight home.
Day 18: Arrive in the US
We’ll arrive home early this morning filled with colorful memories of India.
Prices listed as “with flights” below include round-trip airfare from the New York City area for 2023 departures. Travelers may choose to purchase the tour only, and arrange their own arrival in destination. Please note this may change your tour start date.
|2023 Tours||Tour Only||With Flights|
Rates are per person based on double occupancy.
Single supplement applies when not sharing a room. Select a date above to see the rates for that specific departure.
For more information on this tour, please contact us here or call us during business hours (Mon-Fri, 9:00am – 5:30pm EST) at 1.800.337.7773.
Reservations and Payments
Reservations can be made online or by phone (1.800.337.7773) and will be confirmed upon receipt of your non-refundable, non-transferable deposit, which must be received at the time of reservation. Deposits are $300 per person. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure. Baggage fees may apply. Space and prices subject to availability. Please see the smarTours Terms and Conditions for complete booking information.
Optional Tours Customize your trip with these optional tours.
Enhance your trip with our recommended optional tours. Indicated optional tours are available to pre-book when you reserve your trip and can be added to your reservation up to final payment. This is the best option to guarantee your spot on your preferred optional tour! Optional tours require a minimum number of participants. Optional tours are non-refundable unless they do not operate.
Some optional tours can be purchased in-destination and may cost extra. The payment methods and currency information to purchase tours in-destination will be provided on final documentation.
Temple Heritage & Market Tour
- From approx. $54 Per Person
Spiritualism in India is a philosophy of human life. Open up the windows of your mind and senses on this interesting walk that takes you to a closer understanding of Indian spirituality and the Hindu religion as we learn more about the plethora of temples that dot the city. In addition to our tour of religious focal points in Jaipur, we’ll also witness a Hindu Prayer ceremony.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
Brahmin & Blue City Walking Tour
- From approx. $54 Per Person
Today we’ll explore Jodhpur’s stunning architecture, passing by cluttered Chaupars, or intersection points, slipping through crowded market streets, and embracing local life in Jodhpur with all its traditional rhythms and routines. Brahmins, residents of the old city who are said to paint their homes blue to stand out from the other castes, while others believe the Old Quarter was painted blue to deter termites, and others still believe the blue paint is to keep the homes cool. As we stroll the neighborhood’s old alleys and stop at local homes, perhaps the residents will share secrets and stories of these indigo-hued lanes.
Udaipur by Cycle
- From approx. $69 Per Person
Our tour begins at the picturesque Fateh Sagar Lake. We’ll ride through Udaipur’s colorful, narrow lanes past other lakes along the way until we come upon Shilpgram handicraft village. This village is a cooperative for tribal and rural artisans to showcase their art. As we ride through the village, we can see the beautiful paintings on the exterior walls of the homes here. We’ll continue on tranquil country roads past seasonal waterfalls onward to Badi Lake where we can re-energize ourselves with some light refreshments. On our return, we’ll take a different route back to the city, traveling through some resplendent forest tracks and past other villages.
Note: This cycle ride includes a couple of steeper hills.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
Evening Death & Rebirth Walk
- From approx. $35 Per Person
Our walk takes us from a fertility temple to the cremation grounds with many sites in between illustrating the cycle of life. See Banaras as “Mahasamashana”, the great cremation ground, and visit an ashram. We’ll learn about the conundrum of the Hindu cycle of death and rebirth while discussing philosophy as we wander through the Kali temple to a chai shop, and the Goddess temple nearby.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
Sheraton New Delhi
Enjoy cosmopolitan elegance and modern conveniences at the Sheraton New Delhi located in the business district. In-room amenities at this deluxe hotel include a mini-fridge, safe, hairdryer, and coffee maker. After a day of touring, enjoy hotel amenities like the fitness center and swimming pool, steam and sauna, spa and salon services, and more.
District Centre Saket, Delhi 110017, New DelhiWebsite
Crystal Sarovar Premiere Agra
Conveniently located to iconic sites like Agra Fort, artisan markets, and more, the Crystal Sarovar Premiere Agra also offers a magnificent view of the Taj Mahal. Amenities like the fitness center, swimming pool, laundry services, and free WiFi plus the hotel’s three dining options including a fine dining restaurant, open-air grill dining, and bar make it the ideal place to relax after a day of touring.
Fatehabad Rd, near KFC, Tajganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001, IndiaWebsite
Hotel Ranthambhore Regency
Located a short ten-minute drive from Ranthambore National Park, the Hotel Ranthambhore Regency is the perfect home base from which to take a jungle safari in search of Bengal tigers. Guest rooms come equipped with air conditioning, a television, a hairdryer, and a safe. During a stay, guests can take advantage of the hotel’s swimming pool, restaurant, and bar.
Ranthambhor Rd, Subhash Nagar, Saptar, Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan 322001, IndiaWebsite
Originally an early 19th-century palace belonging to the Shahpura Royal Family in Jaipur, Shahpura House has undergone many additions and changes over the generations, adding to its old-world charm and unique character. Now a luxury heritage hotel, guest rooms come equipped with modern facilities including televisions, wired and wireless internet access, an electronic safe, and a coffee maker. After a day of touring, enjoy the hotel’s spa, outdoor swimming pool, rooftop restaurant serving Rajasthani dishes, and cocktail bar.
D-257, Devi Marg, Bani Park, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302016, IndiaWebsite
Park Plaza Jodhpur
Conveniently located close to the city’s palaces, temples, and shopping, the Park Plaza Jodhpur offers modern amenities and comforts. After a day of touring, enjoy the hotel’s fitness center and pool or grab a bite and a drink at the hotel’s restaurants or pub. The Park Plaza Jodhpur also offers laundry services, free WiFi, in-room safes, and more!
Jhalamand House, Airport Road, Jodhpur, IndiaWebsite
This majestic palace was built in the 17th century and converted into a heritage hotel by the Deogarh family. Guest rooms at the Deogarh Mahal include free WiFi, hairdryers, a safe, and an electric kettle. During leisure time, guests can enjoy the property’s swimming pool and jacuzzi, spa, and dining area.
Palace Rd, Deogarh, Rajasthan 313331, IndiaWebsite
With breathtaking views of the City Palace, Jagmandir, Monsoon Palace, Lake Pichola, and the Aravalli Hills the Fath Niwas emanates splendor and grandeur from its location in the heart of the City of Lakes. Crowned one of the best heritage hotels in Udaipur, Fateh Niwas also is also a proud participant in Fateh Collection’s legacy of pioneering an eco-friendly path in the hospitality industry while still offering luxurious amenities including a rooftop swimming pool, rooftop restaurant, spa, complimentary WiFi, and more.
Rampura Circle, Rani Rd, near Rampura Circle, Udaipur, Rajasthan 313031, IndiaWebsite
The Fern Residency, Sarnath
Offering a swimming pool and multi-cuisine restaurant and bar, the Fern Residency is conveniently located to explore both Varanasi and Sarnath. Guests can enjoy in-room amenities including a safe, hairdryer, flat-screen TV, and more!
Plot No 15/121 Ashapur Chauraha, Pandeypur-Sarnath Rd, near state Bank of India Ashapur, Pandeypur, Sarnath, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221007, IndiaWebsite
Departing the U.S.: For the safety of everyone in the group, smarTours has implemented COVID-19 travel requirements which apply to all tours regardless of destination. To learn more, click here.
Please note destination entry requirements are changing rapidly. smarTours will communicate entry requirements in your Tour Documents 10-14 days prior to departure. For up-to-date information, please click the links below.
- Entry requirements
- State Department Travel Advisory Updates (India)
- Center for Disease Control Updates & Information (India)
Your departure flights from the U.S. and back are on the below airlines with the corresponding schedules. We recommend you arrive no later than three-and-a-half hours before your scheduled departure time.
Please make sure to allow sufficient time for clearing immigration and customs if you are planning a connecting domestic flight. We recommend at least three-and-a-half hours. Please keep in mind that flight schedules are always subject to change.
|2023: Jan. 24, Mar. 7||United Airlines||Newark (EWR)||8:55 PM||4:35 AM|
|2023: Oct. 3, Nov. 7||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA|
ADVANCE SEAT ASSIGNMENT
The above airlines do not assign seats in advance. Seat assignments can only be arranged at the airport upon check-in. If you have a preferred seating choice, please make sure you check in for your flight as early as possible. Airlines typically do not offer any frequent flyer miles for passengers traveling on a group fare.
International flights to/from the U.S. are not included. Land-only travelers are responsible for arranging the entry and exit flights, as well as their arrival and departure transfers. smarTours cannot be held responsible for any damage caused by air schedule changes and delays. Unused land services are non-refundable.
Main Tour: Land-only services start upon independent check in at hotel in Delhi on Day 2 of the itinerary listed on our tour page. Land Services end after breakfast at the Varanasi hotel on Day 17 of the itinerary listed on our tour page.
PASSPORT AND VISA INFORMATION
You must be in possession of a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel. A visa is required for U.S. passport holders and must be obtained prior to arrival. Apply for an e-visa online with the Indian government directly or use a visa processing service like CIBT to facilitate the process. Please remember that it is your responsibility to obtain the necessary travel documents before the trip.
TICKETS AND FINAL DOCUMENTS
Your airline tickets along with final instruction and additional travel tips will be sent to you 10 – 14 days before the scheduled departure of your tour.
Immunizations are NOT currently required; however, you should consult your personal physician, local public health authorities or the Center of Disease Control (CDC) as to their suggestions.
In April and October India’s daytime temperatures average in the 80’s and 90’s; from November through March in the upper 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Overnight temperatures are cooler. Nepal temperatures are normally about 10-20° less than what you will experience in India. The rainy season is normally during the summer months (Jun-Aug). We recommend that you do not over-pack and that you take a variety of casual separates with climate and comfort in mind.
The average cost for dinner (excluding drinks) at a local restaurant is about $18 – $25 per meal per person depending on the city and restaurant. At hotels, buffet lunches are approximately $22 USD per person and buffet dinners are approximately $28 USD per person including the 18% tax. Your hotel will accept credit cards for your non-included meals. A tip of 10%-15% is usual in restaurants that do not impose a service fee and is optional at restaurants that do impose a service fee.
CREDIT CARDS AND LOCAL CURRENCY
The Indian rupee is the official currency of the Republic of India. The modern rupee is subdivided into 100 paise (singular paisa), though as of 2011 only 50-paise coins are legal tender. Banknotes in circulation come in denominations of ₹5, ₹10, ₹20, ₹50, ₹100, ₹500 and ₹2000. Please note that as of November 2016, the older ₹500 note is no longer valid legal tender, and only new ₹500 notes will be accepted. Hotels and some stores accept major credit cards. However, for “street shopping” you will need local currency or U.S. Dollars. Currency can be changed at banks, airports or authorised money changers. Your hotel will also be able to exchange cash to local currency for you. It is recommended that you bring along cash in small denominations.
Each passenger may bring one piece of checked-in luggage (maximum 44 pounds) and one carry-on piece (maximum 15 pounds) not to exceed 18”x10”x8”.