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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

India’s Golden Triangle and Varanasi

By Malcolm Holcroft
India Travel Expert for Alfred&

India’s Golden Triangle has earnt itself legendary status and for good reason, with the frenetic backstreets of Delhi, the glittering palaces of Agra and the rose-tinted buildings of Jaipur among the key lures. This 12-day tour combines the enchanting trio with historic Lucknow and sacred Varanasi, offering plenty of off-the-track experiences along the way – from a yoga session by the Taj Mahal to tea with a Nawab, street food excursions to tours of Bollywood.

Places

Length
12 days
Best months to go
September to April
Guide price range
£2,750 - £3,440pp
including international flights

Top Experiences
Itinerary Highlights

Varanasi

Death and rebirth: a Varanasi night walk

The lights go off and people begin chanting and throwing flowers, it’s an eerie-yet-beautiful experience...

Lucknow

Tea with the Nawab of Lucknow

Enjoy a cup of chai with Nawab Jafar Mir Abdullah, who’ll give you a unique insight into the former rulers of Lucknow...

Varanasi

BrijRama Palace Hotel: the palace on the River Ganges

BrijRama Palace is a heritage building made of sandstone and looks like an imposing fort standing guard over the Ganges...

Day by day
Itinerary in detail

1

Arrival in Delhi

On arrival in Delhi, you’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to enjoy in the capital. Formed from what were once seven separate cities, today Delhi is a vibrant metropolis with a string of impressive sights, from the Red Fort to the elaborate Jama Masjid Mosque. Choose from a range of optional local experiences, including a night tour of Old Delhi to see its bazaars in a different light. Overnight at Haveli Dharampura (or similar).

Things to do:

2

Delhi

Enjoy a full day in the city today. If you’re feeling energetic, opt for a Delhi by Dawn tour to see the city come alive in the early hours. Alternatively, you might opt for a culinary tour with a local food expert, take a rickshaw ride round Old Delhi’s higgledy-piggledy lanes, embark on a photography excursion to capture the city’s spice markets and bazaars, or try a hands-on cooking lesson with a local family. Otherwise, head out to explore this captivating city on your own terms. Overnight at Haveli Dharampura (or similar).

Things to do:

3

Delhi & Jaipur

After breakfast, transfer by private car to Jaipur, also known as the Pink City. Painted rose to welcome the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria in 1876, this striking walled city is home to several colourful temples, as well as the famous Amber Fort. Explore independently or choose to head out on an optional experience, ranging from an optional walking tour of Old Jaipur’s haveli homes and temples to a cooking lesson at a local 19th-century homestay. Overnight at Samode Haveli (or similar).

Things to do:

4

Jaipur

Continue your explorations in Jaipur today. Embark on an optional architectural walking tour, visit a local village and school or take a tour of the impressive Amber Fort – a sprawling, UNESCO-listed palace, built from sandstone in the 16th century on a hill overlooking the city. Overnight at Samode Haveli (or similar).

Things to do:

5

Jaipur & Agra

Travel to Agra this morning to see one of India’s true bucket-list sites – the Taj Mahal. Set on the banks of the Yamuna River, Agra was the capital of the Mughal Empire until Emperor Shah Jahan shifted it to Delhi, and traces of its imperial history remain in much of its architecture today. Spend the day exploring at leisure or opt for a heritage-themed tour to learn more about the women of the Mughal dynasty. Overnight at Ekaa Villa (or similar).

Things to do:

6

Agra & Lucknow

Set the alarm early this morning for an optional sunrise visit to see Agra’s crowning glory, the Taj Mahal. Commissioned in the 17th century by Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his late wife, this marble masterpiece is best seen at dawn, when the sky turns peach above its elaborate domes. Wander the gardens to admire its architecture before exploring the interiors, inlaid with semi-precious stones and inscriptions. Afterwards, opt for a guided walking tour through Old Agra with a hosted family lunch, or choose a cycling trip to explore local villages on two wheels. Later you’ll be transferred to the historic city of Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh. Overnight at Lebua (or similar).

Things to do:

7

Lucknow

Lucknow was the centre of the Nawabs – or viceroys – in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today you’ll get to meet the present Nawab in a special included experience. After a traditional greeting, you’ll be introduced to the Nawab and his family over tea and local delicacies to learn more about the culture, art, and history of this intriguing city. Overnight at Lebua (or similar).

Things to do:

8

Lucknow & Varanasi

After an early breakfast, you’ll be driven to Lucknow station to catch the train to Varanasi. Set on the banks of the Ganges, this is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. It’s also a key pilgrimage centre for Hindus, with more than 3,000 temples and shrines scattered across the streets. Enjoy an afternoon in the city before embarking on a fascinating ‘death and rebirth night walk’. Here you’ll visit sacred ponds before stopping at the Ashram of the Aghor to learn more about the renunciants who meditate in the cremation grounds and are known for their controversial rituals. Overnight at Brijrama Palace (or similar).

Things to do:

9

Varanasi

Continue exploring Varanasi today, with several optional experiences available; embark on an early-morning boat ride along the Ganges to see its waters glimmer gold at dawn or discover the lesser-visited northern side of the city. Alternatively, head off on a street food tour to sample traditional Varanasi snacks such as bathi choka (a chickpea-infused bread served with chutney). Overnight at Brijrama Palace (or similar).

Things to do:

10

Varanasi & Mumbai

Transfer to Varanasi airport today and fly to Mumbai, where you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore this energetic city of 20 million, famous for its Bollywood scene and home to a melting pot of cultures. Opt for a culinary tour sampling local street food or wander at your own pace. Overnight at Taj Mahal Palace (or similar).

Things to do:

11

Mumbai

Make the most of your final day this morning with an optional dawn tour to see Mumbai and its markets come alive. Alternatively, choose to explore the city’s Bollywood scene on an excursion to local production houses, or explore the city independently. Overnight at Taj Mahal Palace (or similar).

Things to do:

12

Mumbai & Departure

The tour comes to an end today. After breakfast, you’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight home or onward connection.

Another stop?

Extensions

Extensions

Extensions

Holiday Budget
Guide price information

Low Season

01 Apr - 30 Sep

£2,750

High Season

01 Jan - 31 Mar, 01 Oct - 31 Dec

£3,440

Alfred & Malcolm Holcroft

A wildlife and history fan, Malcolm Holcroft is drawn to India for its national parks and UNESCO-listed monuments. His Indian adventures include traversing the Golden Triangle, taking tiger-spotting safaris in Kanha and sipping beer in Mumbai’s historic cafés. Malcolm will never forget getting stuck behind a wedding party on his way to Jaipur, with revellers dancing to booming music in the streets.

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Malcolm, who's travelled extensively in India. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember.

Freephone an expert 01306 744 656