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Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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The Ganges at dawn in Varanasi
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Highlights

  • The Taj Mahal at dawn
  • The vibrant spirituality on the banks of the Ganges at Varanasi
  • The bustling streets and imperious architecture of Delhi
  • Exploring the palaces of Jaipur, the pink city
  • Authentic Indian food to set your taste buds alight
  • The temples and palaces of Orchha
  • The temples and carvings of Khajuraho
  • Hand picked heritage and 4 start hotels of character

Experience the energy of Varanasi, beauty of the Taj Mahal, the bustling city streets of Delhi, the majesty of Jaipur's palaces and best of Northern India on this cultural discovery tour of Northern India.

You will discover the religious, cultural and architectural traditions of this beguiling part of India. You will experience the essense of India including highlights such as Old Delhi, the palaces of Jaipur, the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Orchha, the temples of Khajuraho, the ghats on the Ganges and holy city of Varanasi. Our tailor made tours on India include a personal welcome and assistance at each airport, hotel and train station, private transfers in air conditioned vehicles, private guided tours and hand picked hotels.

DAY 1:
Arrive Delhi

On arrival at Delhi’s international airport, our representative will meet you and transfer to your hotel. After you have checked in the day is yours to relax and enjoy.


Activity: Free time


DAY 2:
Discover Delhi


India’s capital city, Delhi, is a unique and fascinating blend of two very different cities, Old and New Delhi. Each with its own distinctive flavour and character. Today your guide will share the highlights of Delhi with you.


In the morning you visit Old Delhi’s Red Fort, Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial, Jama Masjid mosque and the bustling Chandni Chowk bazaar.


After lunch you explore the sights of New Delhi including the 12th century Qutab Minar, Humayuns’ Tomb, Lakshmi Narayan Temple, India Gate, the President’s residence, Parliament House and the Secretariat buildings.


Overnight: The Park Hotel, New Delhi


Activity: Full day historical and cultural tour of Delhi
Optional activities:
Salaam Baalak Trust City Walk: Explore the exciting inner city streets of Paharganj in the company of a Delhi street child.
Old Delhi bicycle tour: Discover the alleyways of Delhi by bike.



DAY 3:
Delhi to Jaipur

Jaipur is a city of history and tradition, dating back to its foundation in the 17th century by Sawai Jai Singh, from whom it derives its name. Jai Sing meticulously planned the civic layout of Jaipur, with wide roads and impressive architecture, all of which is painted pink to this day. Jaipur is almost equidistant from Delhi and Agra, and forms part of the famed Golden Triangle.


Activity: Drive from Delhi to Jaipur (270 Kms / 6 Hrs.), free afternoon in Jaipur


Overnight: Shahpura House, Jaipur


DAY 4:
Palaces of Jaipur

Today you explore the fabulous palaces of Jaipur starting with a brief stop at the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds, before driving out of town, to visit the Amber Palace.



At the Amber Palace you can choose to walk or go by elephant up to the entrance of this romantic, traditional Rajasthani palace. The interior of this dramatic hill-top fortress is filled with beautiful miniatures depicting hunting and battle scenes, along with precious stones and mirrors embellishing the plasterwork walls.
The Jag Mandir, or Hall of Victory contains the extraordinary Sheesh Mahal, where all four walls and the ceiling are completely covered with glittering mirror pieces, creating a beautiful effect.


After lunch you can look forward to an immersive half-day city tour taking in the City Palace, the Armoury Museum, the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds and the Jantar Mantar, the largest stone observatory in the world.


Activity: Full day sightseeing of Jaipur’s Palaces including elephant ride.


Optional activities:
Dinner and elephant safari at Dera Amer.
Hot air ballooning near Jaipur.
Visit to weaver’s village of Sanganer


Overnight: Shahpura House, Jaipur


DAY 5:
Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra

After breakfast you leave for Agra, stopping to visit Fatehpur Sikri en-route.
The abandoned, ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri lies some 40 km from Agra. The city was built by the Emperor Akbar in 1569, in honour of Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti, who prophesied that Akbar would have three sons. For 14 years Fatehpur Sikri was Akbar’s capital until a lack of water forced the city to be abandoned. The city is remarkably well-preserved, and visitors can see the Jama Masjid, the tomb of Salim Chisti, and several palaces


Activity: Drive Jaipur to Agra (240km, 6 hrs.), visit Fatehpur Sikri.


Overnight: The Wyndham Grand, Agra


DAY 6:
The Taj Mahal & Agra


If there is one image that sums up India to the world, it is the Taj Mahal. The white marble tomb was crafted by 20,000 craftsmen over 22 years
1631 – 1653) by the Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved Queen Mumtaz. You will visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise, when it is at it’s most beautiful.


Later visit Agra Fort, with its Halls of private and public audience.


Activity: Guided Tour of the Taj Mahal and Agra.


Overnight: The Wyndham Grand, Agra


DAY 7:
Agra- Jhansi by train - Orcha - Khajuraho

After breakfast at your hotel you will be transferred to Agra railway station to board the train for Jhansi (Shatabdi Express). Meeting and assistance on arrival at Jhansi railway station and drive to Khajuraho with a visit Orcha en-route.


The town of Orcha, on the banks of the Betwa River, is surrounded by jungle, the 16th century palaces & temples built by its Bundela rulers appear to be suspended in time. You will visit Orchha Fort, Jahangir Mahal, Raj Mahal & Ram Raja temple.


Later you continue your drive to Khajuraho for our overnight stay. Khajuraho in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is famous for its complex of exquisite Hindu and Jain temples. Set amidst the forested plains of Bundelkhand in Madhya Pradesh, the temples of Khajuraho, dating from the 9th and 10th centuries, are amongst India’s most famous. Of the original 85 temples, only 22 survive, but they form a textbook example of Hindu religious architecture, and are famous for their unrivalled carvings. The temples are famous for their sensual and erotic carvings, which depict the whole range of human emotions and relationships, as well as exquisite carvings of gods and goddesses.


Activity: Guided tour of Orchha, train from Agra to Jhansi (2.5 hours), drive Jhansi to Khajuraho (6 hours including Orchha visit)


Overnight: Radisson Hotel Khajuraho


DAY 8:
Khajuraho Temples Tour, Fly to Varanasi, Ganges Tour

After breakfast you spend the morning visiting the western group of temples, the largest and most important of which is the Kandariya Mahadeo Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, with its 800 statues of gods and goddesses. The Chaunsat Yogini Temple, set a little apart from the others, and which is dedicated to the 64 ‘Yoginis” or attendants of the goddess Kali. The Chitragupta Temple has a beautiful sculpture of Lord Vishnu in his 11-headed form.


Later you visit the Eastern Group of temples, which are an interesting mix of Hindu and Jain temples. These include the Ghantai Temple, the Javari Temple and the Vamana Temple, which is dedicated to the “vamana” or dwarf incarnation of Lord Vishnu. There are also three Jain temples with beautiful carvings.
In the afternoon you will check out and transferred to Khajuraho airport to board your flight for Varanasi. Meeting and assistance on arrival at Varanasi airport and transferred to Hotel.


Varanasi is one of India’s most important religious and pilgrimage sites. Every Hindu dreams of visiting the city at least once in their lives. Mentioned in the great epics of the Mahabharat and the Ramayana, the city has always stood as a symbol of Hindu renaissance and philosophy. Lining the river banks are nearly 100 ghats – including 2 burning ghats - which are the emotional and spiritual heart of this city.


To experience Varanasi, you have to visit the ghats, preferably in the evening. A rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of the city takes you down to the river, where the temples and ghats are lit with oil-lamps and candles. Participate or witness a collective prayer ceremony, known as an Aarti, and watch the floating oil-lamps on the Ganges.


Activity: Guided half day tour of Khajuraho, flight to Varanasi, guided evening tour of the Varanasi Ghats.


Overnight: Radisson Hotel Varanasi


DAY 9:
Varanasi

Your day begins with an early morning boat ride on the Ganges. The city has about 100 ghats, each marked by a lingam, and from the river, we will see the bathing ghats, as well as the cremation ghats. Return to the hotel on foot, walking through the narrow lanes and bazaars of this religious city.


After breakfast at your hotel you have a guided sightseeing tour of the most important temples in this holy city, including the Bharat Mata Mandir, which was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi, and the Durga Temple, and then drive past the beautiful Tulsi Manas Temple. Later drive through the campus of the Benaras Hindu University, Asia’s largest residential university, covering 5 kilometres. On the campus, visit the New Vishwanath Temple. (Optional: one can also visit the excellent collection of miniature paintings housed in the Bhat Kala Bhavan)


In the afternoon you will take a short excursion to Sarnath where Buddha chose to deliver his first sermon after attaining Nirvana. Your local guide will escort us around the site and explain the concepts of Buddhism from its early founding. Presently located at Sarnath, the Tibetan Institute has a rare collection of Buddhist texts, Tibetan manuscripts and other journals. The only institute of its kind in the world imparting education in the Tibetan language, it was established by the Dalai Lama in 1971


Activity: Early morning boat ride on the Ganges, Varanasi guided sightseeing.


Overnight: Radisson Hotel Varanasi


DAY 10:
Fly Varanasi to Delhi

You will be transferred to Varanasi airport for your flight for Delhi for your final night.


Activity: Fly Varanasi to Delhi (1h25)


Overnight: The Park Hotel, New Delhi


DAY 11:
Leave Delhi

We will transfer you to the airport in plenty of time for your flight home.


Accommodation


10 Nights accommodation is carefully selected hotels of character are included in your trip. Our standard Best of Northern India tour is based on our superior accommodation package. We can also arrange the tour using luxury or comfort accommodation packages.


Single Rooms

Single rooms are available, there is a supplement payable.



Accommodation: Superior Package


Our superior package uses a mix of luxury city hotels (4 & 5 star), resort hotels and authentic palace hotels. If the hotels detailed below are not available we will book hotels of the same or better standard.



 

 

 



The Park Hotel, Delhi



The Park Hotel, Delhi

The Park Hotel is ideally located close to Connaught Place at the heart of New Delhi. A modern hotel decorated in contemporary style, the park offers all the services of a superior hotel including restaurants, bars, a pool and spa.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Shahpura House, Jaipur



Shahpura House, Jaipur

Shahpura House is a richly decorated historic house located in a quite area of Jaipur. Each individually decorated room leads of richly decorated courtyards boasting intricate frescos and chandeliers. Intimate restaurants and a rooftop terrace are just some of the dining options. A pool and spa complete the picture.


 

 

 


 

 

 



The Wyndham Grand, Agra



The Wyndham Grand,Agra

The Wyndham Grand is an opulent resort hotel decorated in lavish style featuring acres of marble and rich features. Set in 18 acres of gardens and boasting Agra’s largest swimming pool the hotel has every amenity you would expect of a luxury hotel.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Radisson Hotel Khajuraho



Radisson Hotel Khajuraho

Conveniently located for Khajuraho’s attractions the Radisson has 86 luxury rooms, an outdoor pool, lush gardens and a multi-cuisine restaurant.



 

 

 


 

 

 



Radisson Hotel Varanasi



Radisson Hotel Varanasi

The modern Radisson Hotel Varanasi is located in the business district of Varanasi. It offers 116 stylish and comfortable rooms, a bar, restaurant, pool, health club and spa.


Meals

10 Breakfasts are included. Lunch and dinner is not included but always available at your hotel or locally.


Availability

This trip is available year round to start on any day. We would recommend travelling between October and mid-April.


Meals

10 Breakfasts are included. Lunch and dinner is not included but always available at your hotel or locally.


Transfers & Vehicles

Your comfort and safety are our priority and all transfers and sightseeing is by chauffer driven air-conditioned vehicles, which are a maximum of 3 years old and maintained to a high standard. Depending on your party size we use; 2-3 Toyota Innova, 4 - 6 Tempo Traveller and for 7 - 10 Mini Coach.


Drivers & Guides

Our drivers speak limited English and are fully trained and qualified. Sightseeing and cultural tours are carried out by local English speaking guides in each location so that you get the best insight and experience in each destination. Our representatives will always be on hand to assist you at airports, train stations and when you check in to your hotel.


Fitness & Grade

This discovery trip is graded easy and suitable for all abilities and ages. Sightseeing is by foot, car, boat, rickshaw and elephant. Equipment Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice on what to pack.


When to Go

October to March is the best time of year to enjoy this trip as temperatures are mild. Between April and September temperatures are very high and the monsoon occurs between July and September.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for cancellation, curtailment, the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear, sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, waterproof clothes and lightweight clothing for the summer, and a day pack.


Getting to Delhi

By Air: Delhi International Airport (Indira Ghandi Airport) has excellent connections to UK, European and International destinations. International flights to Delhi are not included in our package price.

Getting to Delhi

By Air: Delhi International Airport (Indira Ghandi Airport) has excellent connections to UK, European and International destinations. Flights are not included in our package price.

Included

  • 10 Nights in 4/5 star and heritage hotels on a twin/double share basis
  • 10 Breakfasts
  • Private transfers and sightseeing by chauffer driven air-conditioned vehicle
  • Air conditioned chair car Shatabdi Train ticket for train travel from Agra to Jhansi
  • Flight from Khajuraho to Varanasi
  • Flight from Varanasi to Delhi
  • English speaking local guide during the sightseeing tours as per itinerary
  • Rickshaw ride in Old Delhi
  • Elephant ride in Jaipur
  • Boat ride in Varanasi
  • Entry to all museums and monuments as per the itinerary.
  • Airport transfers and assistance on arrival and departure.
  • All taxes

Excluded

  • Personal expenses such as laundry, drinks, telephone bills and airport tax
  • Lunches and dinner
  • Tips to drivers, guides and staff at your discretion.
  • Travel insurance
  • Flights to/from India
  • Internal flight supplements in case fare is greater than expected.
  • Additional expenses due to strikes, flight delays or unforeseen circumstances
  • Indian Visa

Extras

  • Additional nights
  • Accommodation upgrades
  • Single room supplement

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the region is extremely  popular. However, we will always try our best to accommodate your plans.

How fit do I need to be?

This discovery trip is graded easy and suitable for all abilities and ages. Sightseeing is by foot, car, jeep, rickshaw and elephant.

What equipment do I need?

Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice on what to pack. Binoculars are highly recommended.

When is the best time of year?

November to March is the best time of year to enjoy this trip as temperatures are mild and it is easier to see Tigers. November to February is particularly good for bird watching in Ranthambore.
October and April are possibility but it can be very hot. 

 

Impressive, Challenging, and Worthwhile

4

India is a world of its own, and having help (for a single traveler especially) was most worth it. The local firm - lpti - was impressive. Eager and responsive, they helped me get my luggage when it did not arrive with me from Toronto. That saved me much time and worry which made my stay about India and not luggage. When I did not make a connection as planned (my own choice not an error) they and MACS reached out to ask if I was OK. The trip was challenging in that India is more different than China and Japan, my two previous journeys. Indian history, culture, religion and politics are an amalgam unique to itself, and trying to understand the dichotomies and apparent contradictions is impossible. One must ultimately simply take India as it is, which is also friendly and hospitable and rich in contrasts as well as continuities. It is therefore very worthwhile, but be aware that it can be overwhelming at first, and confusing. English is common but very Indian in form, for example. You have to inure yourself to the ever present poverty as they do, even if giving small amounts is easy and cheap. As a developing nation it has lots of air and water pollution which can spoil western expectations of something 'magical.' It is there, but on its terms not yours. India is large, choose a few things and do them well. It is more than scenery seen with a guide or group. Find a way to walk the streets on your own to get a closer sense of the place. Sensible precautions are all you need - eat only what is cooked and drink only what is sealed, keep passport and credit cards close and easily felt, download a local map when walking and use GPS when you can as streets are rarely labeled. Learn a few words in Hindi which shows respect. And be prepared to change your mind and your plans at least a few times along the way.

Fred W

Michigan USA

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Best of Northern India

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