Delhi - Gwalior - Agra - Jaipur - Lucknow - Varanasi - Hyderabad 15 days/14 nights
Steeped in heritage, history, and culture, this luxury private tour of India zigzags through the historical heart of India, stepping back in time to discover the rich architectural legacies of mighty dynasties that still remain today. It is also a culinary delight taking you into the heart of Awadhi and Hyderabadi cuisine. Begin in India's cosmopolitan capital Delhi where you will enjoy the contrasts of the city, from souk-like bazaars to tree-lined colonial avenues. Next is Gwalior, home to the ‘pearl of Indian fortresses’ followed by Agra, with the breath-taking Taj Mahal. Continue to the bejewelled ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur with its splendid architecture, not to mention fantastic shopping before flying to Lucknow, where you can admire the magnificent late Mughal architecture. Then connect with India’s spiritual side beside the River Ganges in the ancient city of Varanasi. Finish in Hyderabad, soaking up the gilded history of the decadent Nizams. This is a suggested itinerary and can be completely revised and tailored to best suit your requirements.
Your luxury private tour of India begins on arrival in Delhi, where you will be met by a member of our team at the airport and chauffeured to The Leela Palace New Delhi, a truly grand hotel, which will wow even the most jaded jetsetter. Spend the rest of the day at leisure, going for a stroll through verdant Lodi Gardens or exploring the enticing boutiques of Khan Market, a haven of fashion, beauty, and homeware or simply relaxing at the hotel to shake off the jetlag.
Start the day with an exciting cycle-rickshaw ride through the bustling alleyways of Chandni Chowk’s souk-like bazaars, including Khari Baoli, Asia’s largest spice market. Enjoy a guided walk through Dharampura haveli and Bangla Sahib the Sikh temple. Discover the myriad of sights in Old and New Delhi including the Mughal monuments from 17th- century Jama Masjid, Qutb Minar and Humayun’s Tomb which is thought to have inspired the Taj Mahal. Other highlights include Connaught Place, and Gandhi museum. Spend the evening relaxing at the hotel or there are several dining options Delhi has to offer especially Bukhara, the finest Tandoori and North indian cuisine. If you like artisinal fusion food Indian Accent is another option.
Morning transfer by road to Gwalior, where you’ll check into Taj Usha Kiran Palace Hotel, the once royal residency. This 120-year-old palace once played host to the King of England and is now an elegant heritage hotel ensconced in nine acres of picturesque gardens landscaped with flowering trees, arched bridges, and shimmering fountains. Spend the rest of your day at leisure – the Jiva spa is excellent.
Today, you’ll be discovering Gwalior with a private guide. Situated at the very geographical and historical crossroads of India, the city is famous for its dramatic hilltop fort, which Mughal emperor Babur described as the pearl of Indian fortresses. Built on the site of a 5th-century temple of the sun, Gwalior houses the elaborate Jai Vilas Palace, the historic seat of the Scindia family, who have played important roles in Indian history for over two centuries and a fascinating museum.
Leave Gwalior in good time this morning for a scenic drive to Agra, where you’ll check into ITC Mughal, a celebration of the Mughals with lofty interiors, water bodies, and fountains. In the afternoon, visit the iconic Taj Mahal, one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, which was built as a monument to eternal love by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife who dies giving birth to their 14th child. Marvel at the interiors which have several different colored stones crushed and inlaid in the floral details on the marble walls and gateways. The Taj Mahal is known for reflecting pastel colored hues with the play of sunlight on its surfaces throughout the day. the afternoon visit is special as it radiates an orangy pink as the sun goes down.
Please note: you can start this journey on any day however the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.
After a delicious breakfast, begin your privately-guided tour of Agra, taking in another Mughal masterpiece Agra Fort, a palatial red-sandstone and marble fortress along the Yamuna River which was constructed by Emperor Akbar in 1565. Then visit Itmad-ud-daulah, nicknamed the ‘baby Taj’, the exquisite white marble tomb of a Persian nobleman Mizra Ghiyas Beg, which features particularly fine carved jalis.
Today, your private chauffeur will take you to Rajasthan’s vibrant capital, Jaipur, where you’ll check into Jai Mahal Palace, one of the finest examples of Indo-Saracenic architecture. Built in 1745, the hotel offers 94 luxurious rooms and suites with lovely views over the leafy grounds. Spend the rest of the day at leisure (there’s a fabulous spa and outdoor pool) with the live size chess set and the folk dances in the gardens before dining in one of their excellent restaurants – we recommend Cinnamon which serves delicious Indian food.
Today, you’ll be discovering the best of Jaipur. Led by a local expert, begin by exploring the Amber Fort on elephant back followed by the Jantar mantar Observatory and the City Palace and its private rooms. After a lunch stop, continue on for a photo-stop at the stunning Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) and explore the bazaars of Jaipur. Evening at leisure to relax on the Jai Mahal lawns.
This morning, you’ll board a direct flight to Lucknow, a city that became the cultural capital of northern India in the 18th century. On arrival, check into your luxury hotel, the stately Taj Mahal which boasts 20 acres of lush lawns. In the afternoon, visit the battle-scarred British Residency, which stands as a silent witness to the Indian mutiny, and view the La Martinere College, one of the finest examples of European funerary monument in the subcontinent.
Spend the morning with a local expert discovering Lucknow’s magnificent late Mughal architecture. Your private tour includes visits to the Bara Imambara and Chota Imambara and the Hussainabad picture gallery. Then browse Lucknow’s bustling markets where shops selling hand-made jewelry, ‘attar’ (perfumed oils) and Lucknow’s traditional intricate ‘chikan’ embroidered dresses compete for your custom.
Board a direct flight to Varanasi this morning. Upon arrival, you’ll be chauffeured to Taj Nadesar Palace, an opulent retreat with 40-acres of the garden. Belonging to the erswhile Maharaja and now the best abode in Varanasi an oasis of calm close to the bustling city. In the early evening, you’ll be met by your guide for a boat trip along the Ganges where you can watch the dramatic ancient Ganga Arti Ceremony aboard your private boat, where thousands gather together for evening worship. Varanasi also known as Kashi 'the city of lights' after the golden luminescence of the temples and ghats is at its best in the evening with holy chants, pilgrims floating lamps and the fragrance of incense. An opulent retreat with 40-acres of the garden, there are 10 bedrooms and suites, with large windows, spacious living areas, and marble bathrooms.
Rise early for a sunrise boat ride along the Ganges the river of life, where guests can see the 84 ghats or hillocks in all their glory, spotting pilgrims bathing, funeral processions and Hindu religious ceremonies. Later on, wander through the tangle of lanes of Varanasi’s Old City and shop for stunning brocade textiles. Other highlights include a visit to the holy Buddhist site of Sarnath, where Buddha has said to have given his first sermon and a tour of the iconic Benaras Hindu University, built in 1916 in the Indo-Gothic style of architecture. Spend the evening relaxing in the Nadesar Palace spa.
This morning, board a direct flight to the former princely city of Hyderabad, steeped in history, thronged with people and buzzing with commerce, with the legacy of the decadent Nizams – pearls, gold, fabric and, of course, diamonds – at the heart of it. On arrival, check into Taj Falaknuma Palace. Formerly the residence of the last Nizam of Hyderabad (once the world’s richest man), this beautifully-restored palace hotel exudes opulence and splendor. The Falaknuma is a fairy tale setting and a destination in itself. Walk around the well manicured lawns and watch the hilly city from atop the verandahs and walkways away from the busy crowds. We highly recommend the evening historical tour to see the largest dining table in the world among other beautiful architecture and antiques.
Today, you’ll be discovering the best of Hyderabad. Begin at Chaarminar and the city centre, visit the graceful clusters and gardens at Qutub Shahi Tombs, the Chowmahalla Palace, the Mecca Masjid (built using soil brought from Mecca), churches dating back to the Raj and Laad Bazaar lined with shops selling pearls, jewellery, and lacquer bangles.
Today, your luxury private tour ends. Transfer to Hyderabad airport in time for your onward flight.
This tour is purely a suggested itinerary for what your trip to India could include. Treat our Rajasthan with Lucknow and Hyderabad tours inspiration. Each trip designed by Rajasthan Tours is created uniquely for you, working to your budget and interests with an absolute commitment to quality.
The price shown includes hotels on double or twin sharing basis, breakfast, sightseeing, transfers, internal flights or trains, private guides, monument entrances, activities and excursions and chauffeur-driven car. On request, we can include international flights, too. In other words, we take the work off you to allow you to enjoy the most memorable holiday experience. The price is a guide and subject to change based on hotels, dates of travel and number of people travelling. During the low season (April to September), the costs are significantly less yet this season remains a great time to travel with smaller crowds and more affordable rates. During the high season, particularly over Christmas and New Year, prices are higher however there are lots of great festivals and the weather is excellent.