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India & Nepal: The Taj Mahal, Mt. Everest and a Ganges River Cruise (2016-17)
Limited to 18 guests
Days: 16 | From: $9,295
Day 1: Arrive Delhi, India
Arrive in Delhi, India’s lively capital city, and transfer to your hotel.
Day 2: Delhi | City of Lost Empires
Delhi is at once ancient and intoxicating, spanning everything from crumbling ruins to spectacular, chaotic bazaars. Begin your tour in Old Delhi with a rickshaw ride through the 400-year-old Chandni Chowk bazaar. See the splendid red sandstone walls of the Red Fort, followed by lunch at a local Delhi restaurant, enjoying the flavorful food and the kinetic ambience. Later, venture to New Delhi, where you drive down sprawling parade routes past the grandeur-filled buildings of the late colonial era, including the copper-domed Rashtrapati Bhawan, home to the President of India. Visit Mughal-inspired Humayun’s Tomb, fringed with gardens. Tonight, gather for a welcome dinner at your hotel.
The Oberoi, Gurgaon | Meals: B L D
Day 3: Agra | An Enduring Testament to Eternal Love
Travel to Agra, where you spend the day exploring the incomparable Taj Mahal, the magnificent mausoleum of Mumtaz Mahal and a lasting, poetic testament to love from her adoring spouse, Emperor Shah Jahan. Wander this perfectly proportioned marvel, strolling past formal gardens and fountains and noting its startling attention to detail, set like a jewel beside a placid river. Visit Agra Fort and enjoy a lunch of North-West Frontier cuisine.
The Oberoi, Gurgaon | Meals: B L
Day 4: Kolkata | Board ‘Ganges Voyager I’ or ‘Ganges Voyager II’
Fly to Kolkata, where you board your all-suite river cruise ship for a seven-night cruise along India’s holy river. After lunch on board, join your expert local guide on an excursion to the house and tomb of Mother Teresa. Visit her personal room and tour her orphanage, Sishu Bhaban, where you may meet nuns who worked alongside the modern-day saint. Later, return to the ship for a relaxing welcome reception, dinner and cultural performance.
Day 5: Cruising the Ganges | The Heritage of British India
Rise for an early morning city tour of Kolkata, former capital of British India and gateway to the Ganges. Take in panoramic views of well-preserved British colonial structures, such as the Writer’s Building, High Court, Raj Bhawan (Governor’s House), Reserve Bank of India and Dalhousie Square. Visit the one-time site of the Black Hole of Calcutta, a guard house where dozens of captured soldiers of the British East India Company perished under the rule of the nawab of Bengal, Siraj al-Dawlah, an incident that helped usher in Great Britain’s colonization of India. Continue to St. John’s Church, and then to the recently renovated Victoria Memorial Museum, home to the largest collection of British colonial historical artifacts in India. Back on board, begin your voyage upstream, passing through areas where enterprising European settlers under the aegis of Queen Elizabeth I of England established the famed East India Company. Later, visit the shore of Bandel to explore Hooghly Imambara, one of West Bengal’s most famous pilgrimage centers.
Day 6: Cruising the Ganges | Kingdom of Temples
This morning, set off on a rickshaw ride through Kalna, en route to the enchanting Rajbari complex — 108 temples that help provide a better understanding of the many gods and goddesses of Hinduism. Discover the diverse Pratepeshwar Temple, where terra cotta plaques depict themes of Hindu epics and images of the supreme goddess, Durga. Other temples include the Lalji Temple, erected in 1739, the oldest in this fine collection of sacred spaces.
Day 7: Cruising the Ganges | Matiari and Plassey
Disembark this morning to explore a charming shore-side bazaar in Matiari, renowned for its exquisite handcrafted brass and copper pottery, made by local craftsmen using methods handed down through the generations. Then, sail upstream past the famed battlefield of Plassey, where Robert Clive of the British East India Company defeated Siraj al-Dawlah and his French allies — a pivotal moment that marked the beginning of nearly 200 years of rule by the company throughout South Asia.
Day 8: Cruising the Ganges | Kushbagh to Murshidabad
Continue your cruise deep into the heartland of rural India. Pay a sunrise visit to the charming village of Kushbagh, and tour a well-preserved mosque complex built by Nawab Ali-Wardi- Khan, grandfather of Siraj al-Dawlah. Next, sail to the village of Baranagar, a lovely example of country life, and home to several 18th-century temples built by Rani Bhabani, a landholding female aristocrat. These enchanting brick temples are among the world’s finest examples of Bengal terra cotta art. Return to your river cruiser, which points south to follow the “Mother Ganga” downstream. Pass countryside villages filled with locals who appear at the shore to greet you. Further down the Ganges, arrive at Murshidabad, a hidden architectural gem filled with dramatic, whitewashed colonial-era structures. Disembark for a tour of Hazarduari Palace, built in the Greek Doric style and filled with colonial-era antiques, artwork and manuscripts. Then, ride by local buggy to the Katra mosque with its distinctive minarets. At night aboard your luxury river cruiser, dine on locally inspired fare, enjoy a cultural performance and take in the exotic, faraway air of the Ganges.
Day 9: Cruising the Ganges | Mayapur & Krishna Pilgrimage
After a restful morning observing life along the riverbanks, disembark to tour Mayapur, birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu — considered an incarnation of Lord Krishna — and home of the Krishna Consciousness Movement. Experience the fascinating culture of his followers and their ornate, colorfully decorated statues of Krishna. Learn about the new temple they are building, which has been compared to the Vatican in terms of its incredible size, covering 700,000 square feet, reaching 340 feet high and featuring a 75-foot-tall planetarium.
Day 10: Cruising the Ganges | Colonial Chandernagore
Awake in Chandernagore, a delightful little outpost of France in the heart of India. Originally a French colony trading post founded in 1673, it was established as a French settlement in 1688. Explore the French colonial buildings along the city’s promenade, including the former governor’s residence, which is now a museum. Later, tour the Sacred Heart Church of Chandernagore. Back on the ship, continue sailing downstream to Kolkata.
Day 11: Kathmandu, Nepal | Intoxicating Soul of the Himalaya
Bid adieu to your luxury river ship when you disembark in Kolkata. Then, fly to Kathmandu, the lively capital of Nepal, which, at 7,700 feet above sea level, is surprisingly accessible. Transfer to your remarkable hotel, which offers a rare combination of luxurious comfort and cultural experience.
Dwarika's Hotel, Kathmandu | Meals: B D
Day 12: Kathmandu | Soaring Buddhist Temples
Immerse yourself in the feast for the senses that is Kathmandu. Begin with a visit to Swayambhunath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue to Kathmandu City, Nepal’s cultural and political nexus. Tour Durbar Square, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you view the Temple of the Living Goddess. Visit the flourishing Kopan Nunnery, the largest Tibetan nunnery in Nepal and site of the famous monk debates. In the late afternoon, attend a lecture by a Mount Everest summiter who shares the experience of climbing the world’s tallest mountain.
Dwarika's Hotel, Kathmandu | Meals: B L
Day 13: Kathmandu | Majestic Mount Everest Flight
Embrace the breathtaking Himalaya on a one-hour flight tour of Mount Everest, soaring 25,000 feet above sea level through the world’s highest peaks. Back on terra firma, visit the massive Boudhanath stupa to experience the almost otherworldly ambience that envelopes you here, as Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims engage in devotional activities all around you, circling the stupa and spinning prayer wheels, beneath colorful prayer flags that flutter in the breeze and the watchful eyes of Buddha painted on the temple’s upper level. You also explore the royal city of Bhaktapur with its medieval Nepalese town life and drive to Nagarkot, where spectacular views include Mount Everest and Kathmandu Valley.
Dwarika's Hotel, Kathmandu | Meals: B L
Day 14: Kathmandu | Ancient Nepalese Arts
Explore Patan City, home to Kathmandu Valley’s best craftsmen and a paradise of fine arts that include exquisite wax sculptures. Tour the city’s narrow streets, brick houses and many well-preserved Hindu temples before wandering the bustling Patan Durbar Square marketplace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and an afternoon at leisure. Tonight, gather for a farewell dinner.
Dwarika's Hotel, Kathmandu | Meals: B L D
Day 15: Kathmandu | Lord Shiva’s Holy Hindu Temple
This morning, tour the pagoda-style Pashupatinath Temple, set on the banks of the holy Bagmati River amid lush foliage. Enter from the riverbank and experience a rare glimpse inside — something strictly forbidden to non-Hindus. After lunch, fly to Delhi and transfer to your hotel.
Trident Gurgaon | Meals: B L
Day 16: Depart Delhi
Transfer to the airport for your international flight home.
Nepal Information | A&K's local experts have visited Nepal since the 2015 earthquake to personally assess the services and sites. We are confident you will have an outstanding experience on this journey.
Suite Upgrade Package | Upgrade to suites at all hotels throughout your journey from $995.
Luxury Small Group Journeys 2016
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