The Taj Mahal has been undergoing restoration works. Most of this is now complete and the scaffolding has been taken down. However, work on the main dome is expected to commence at the end of April/early May 2018.

North India Explored

21 days
from
2 235 €
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Traveller ratings
4.5 / 5 from 11 reviews >
Leisurely
Learn more
Trip code: 
AIJ
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Cultural Wonders
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

A comprehensive journey through India's evocative north

A cacophony of vibrant colours, pungent smells and unfamiliar sounds, India almost overwhelms the senses and nowhere is this truer than Rajasthan. From the superb 'Pink City' of Jaipur, home to huge palaces and forts, to the lakeside palace of Udaipur, each place has its own story to tell. We also see the intricate erotic carvings at Khajuraho, an astounding artistic accomplishment. For many visitors Varanasi is the highlight - located on the River Ganges it is one of the most sacred cities in India. However no trip to India would be complete without seeing the breathtaking Taj Mahal.

Highlights

  • See the unforgettable Taj Mahal 
  • Explore the 'Pearl of Rajasthan', Udaipur
  • Visit the spectacular 'Pink City' of Jaipur
  • Search for the elusive tiger
  • Meander along the Ganges at Varanasi

Key information

  • 19 nights hotels, all en suite, 1 night sleeper train
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by air-conditioned private bus, train and 1 internal flight

What's included

  • All breakfasts included
  • All accommodation
  • Transfer for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call us on
353 (0)1 804 7153
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Delhi; afternoon free.

    The group flight will arrive into Delhi in the morning and we will transfer to our hotel. Those who have made their own flight arrangements will join us at the hotel during the day (rooms may not be available until noon but it is often earlier than this). The rest of the day is free to relax or explore Delhi.
    Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    Delhi sightseeing; free evening.

    Today we have a morning sightseeing in Old Delhi including the Jamia Masjid (India's largest mosque); in New Delhi we see the fine colonial buildings, built by the British Raj in the early years of the 20th century and set in spacious treelined boulevards, these now house various Indian governmental departments. Later in the afternoon we visit Bangla Sahib the most prominent Sikh gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship, in Delhi. Please note that the Red Fort is closed on Mondays.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Fly to Varanasi; free to explore.

    In the morning we catch a flight to Varanasi, we arrive in the afternoon and transfer to our hotel. Varanasi, situated on the River Ganges, is one of the most holy cities in India and stands at the centre of the Hindu Universe. As such, the city lives and breathes Hinduism: there are thousands of pilgrims, wandering holy men (Sadhus), religious leaders and casual visitors. It is a city to get immersed in by exploring its maze of narrow lanes, the many temples and watch the Hindu ceremonies that occur around the clock. Your leader can organise various optional sightseeing trips for the group during your 2 days in Varanasi.

    Please note that the luggage allowance for the internal flight is 15kg.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Dawn boat ride on the Ganges; overnight train to Jhansi.

    Just before dawn, we take a boat out on the River Ganges to witness the extraordinary spectacle on the ghats, the steps leading down to the river. Every day thousands of Hindu pilgrims come to these three miles of riverbank to immerse themselves in the waters. The afternoon is then free to explore this incredible city and its winding streets, ghats and mystical temples or visit the nearby Sarnath Temple, where the Buddha gave his first sermon (optional). In the evening we catch our overnight train to Jhansi.
    Overnight train

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Arrive Jhansi and transfer to Orchha; explore the chhatris and temples.

    We arrive in Jhansi in the morning and drive to Orchha. A peaceful town on the banks of the Betwa River, Orchha is the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of India’s cities. Once the centre of a mighty kingdom, the ancient town contains many reminders of its important past. We spend the afternoon exploring the now-deserted 17th century fort-palace, which sits on an island and contains well-preserved paintings and beautiful architectural details. Its derelict air adds to its mystery, and the ghosts of past rulers seem to fill the empty rooms and courtyards. There is free time in the evening to wander through the town and to discover its temples and the ornate chhatris (pavilions) which are dotted along the riverbank.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Drive to Khajuraho; afternoon visit temple complex.

    We drive to Khajuraho (approx. 4 hrs). Home to India’s famous temples, which contain beautiful intricate erotic sculptures they are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site which we have ample time to visit. These temples were built between 950 AD and 1050 AD and were once lost for centuries and then rediscovered in 1839 by a British engineer. The 20 remaining temples are amongst the finest examples of this type of architecture left in India.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Free morning; transfer to Jhansi; express train to Agra.

    The morning is free to explore Khajuraho further. In the afternoon we transfer to Jhansi and catch an express train to Agra. Arriving in the evening we transfer to our hotel.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Sunrise at the Taj Mahal; afternoon visit the Red Fort.

    Today we will rise early to visit the beautiful white marble Taj Mahal at sunrise; built by the Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631. The Taj is serenely beautiful and never fails to amaze a first time visitor; the white marble exterior changes colour according to the position of the sun during the day and is matched by the rich interior detail. Within striking distance is the imposing Red Fort of Akbar, third of the Moghul Emperors, whose mighty sandstone walls enclose the beautiful white marble Pearl Mosque and the palaces, halls, courtyards and fountains of his sons and successors, Jehangir and Shah Jahan. It is here that the latter spent his last years, imprisoned by his own son Aurangzeb.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    To Ranthambore N.P. via Fatehpur Sikri.

    Today we leave Agra for Ranthambore National Park, stopping at Fatehpur Sikri en route, the Emperor Akbar's deserted royal city. This impressive and well-preserved citadel became his capital in 1571, after the blessing of a local Moslem holy man correctly predicted the birth of a longed-for son, his successor the Emperor Jehangir. The mosque, designed to hold ten thousand worshippers, the palaces residences and halls of audience are all made of decorative red sandstone. But this magnificence only lasted 14 years, as in 1584 Akbar left Fatehpur Sikri to secure his outlying territories, leaving this city much as we see it today. Today's driving is approx. 330Km in total (7-8 hrs).
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Game drives.

    Today we have two game drives. The first game drive will be in the morning. Ranthambore is one of India's tiger reserves under Project Tiger. Sadly, after initial success, the tiger population has been drastically reduced by poaching, but many Exodus groups over the last few years have seen wild tigers. There is other wildlife, such as several species of monkey, deer, crocodiles, birdlife, and together with the scenery, make the visit well worth it. The tiger spotting is from a large open truck called a 'Canter'.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Drive to Jaipur.

    Today we drive through villages to the world famous city of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, with one or two stops en route. The 'Pink City' of Jaipur is one of the most attractive and colourful cities in India. Rajah Jai Singh decided to abandon his nearby fortress and palace at Amber in 1727 and laid out a planned city of broad avenues, built of sandstone and painted pink at a later stage. Today's driving is approx. 5 hrs.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Sightseeing including City Palace and the Amber Fort.

    Our tour will start at the City Palace in the centre of Jaipur, formerly the residence of the Maharaja. Close to the palace is one of the most intriguing sights of India, the observatory of Jai Singh. This is an assembly of immense astronomical instruments made of marble and brass set in a pleasant garden. We will also see Jaipur's impressive landmark, the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds. A few miles from the main city is the splendid Amber Fort, rising above a lake. The imposing hilltop fort contains large courtyards and interiors with fine decorations including inlaid alabaster panels and a Chamber of Mirrors. The evening is free.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    To Nawalgarh; free time to explore.

    Leaving Jaipur we drive to Nawalgarh in the Shekhawati region of eastern Rajasthan, home to some of India's most prosperous merchants many years ago. As the town attracted wealthy merchants they built fine mansions, called havelis, commissioning artists and stonemasons to execute workmanship befitting their importance and wealth.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Sightseeing including villages and havelis.

    Today we have the chance to experience the atmosphere of the Shekhawati region where the clusters of havelis (mansions) are connected by bitumen roads. Our full tour will start from Nawalgarh which is a mixture of nostalgia and modernity; a region rich in legends, tradition, chivalry and songs. Founded in 1737 by Thakur Nawal Singh, a warrior statesman, the town exudes an old charm with its colourful bazaar and painted havelis. We explore the havelis by bicycle, concentrating on the Shekhawati district where vibrant murals decorate the havelis both inside and out. The paintings may depict Krishna legends, religious themes and other bold folk-art subjects. Historical events are painted with humour and images of birds and animals are juxtaposed with sedate scenes heavily influenced by European art.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Drive to Bikaner; free evening.

    Today we drive to the desert city of Bikaner, dominated by its fabulous fort. The afternoon and evening will be free to explore the colourful bazaars and the Old town. You may also wish to visit the Bhandasar Jain Temple. Driving time approx. 4-5 hrs.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    Visit Junagarh Fort and drive to Jaisalmer.

    This morning we visit Junagarh Fort in Bikaner, an impressive fort built by a Rajput ruler in 1587. A fort that has never been conquered though it has been attacked many times, Junagarh is an impressive monument, with huge towers and battlements for defence. It contains 37 palaces and many temples and pavilions. Many of the inner rooms of the palaces are beautifully decorated and painted in traditional style; we then continue on to Jaisalmer, approx. 7-8 hrs drive.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 17

    Explore city walls and fort; optional camel ride.

    Today is spent at the beautiful town of Jaisalmer. The whole effect of the town is stunning; there is nothing quite like it in the whole of India, shimmering like a mirage in the desert haze. Jaisalmer is a town straight out of the Arabian Nights, with its golden sandstone walls that seem to grow out of the desert. The cluster of temples, forts and palaces dotted along the narrow street give it a mediaeval feel. Founded by Rawal Jaisal in 1156, it became a major trading post on the camel silk route with Central Asia, and the associated wealth allowed the building of the beautifully carved wooden and sandstone houses seen all over the city today. In the morning we tour the city walls and the Jaisal Fort, inside which is the palace of the Maharawal, several ornate Jain temples and a library containing old manuscripts written on palm leaves. In the afternoon we drive (approx. 1 hr drive) to Sam Sand Dunes for a short camel ride (optional) at sunset; later we return back to hotel.



    Jaisalmer Desert Festival: The departure on  14th January 2018 (13th January ex London) will spend time at the Desert Festival on this day. This extravaganza is set against the backdrop of Jaisalmer fort and has events such as camel racing, turban tying and a competition for the longest moustache!
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 18

    Travel to Jodhpur; visit Mehrangarh Fort.

    Today we travel to Jodhpur, a dramatic journey through a barren landscape; it may be possible to see some wildlife such as gazelles and bustards (approx. driving time 5-6 hrs). Jodhpur was founded by the Rajput chief Roa Jodha and was formerly the capital of the State of Marwar. The city is surrounded by an immense wall almost ten kilometres in circumference and is dominated by the massive fort that stands on a rocky hill commanding the surrounding desert. In the afternoon we visit the magnificent Meherangarh Fort from where we have a great view of the blue houses, painted to distinguish them as those of Brahmins. The fort itself looks massive from the outside but inside there is an impressive collection of finely carved sandstone screens and lattice windows, and the palaces themselves are very finely decorated.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 19

    To Udaipur via Ranakpur; visit Jain Temple.

    In the morning we begin our drive to Udaipur and leave the arid desert behind us as we start to climb into the Aravalli hills, which separate the desert from the cultivated parts of Rajasthan. We stop before lunch to visit the stunning 15th Century Jain Temple at Ranakpur. The main temple, beautifully carved from marble, is dedicated to Adinath. It has 29 halls supported by 1444 pillars, each delicately carved with a different design. Following the scenic road we leave the desert lands behind and drive to the beautiful lakeside town of Udaipur. Total driving time approx. 7-8 hrs.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 20

    City tour, including the City Palace and Jagdish temple.

    Known as 'The Pearl of Rajasthan', the 'City of Sunrise' and 'Venice of the East', Udaipur is a beautiful place regarded by both Indians and travellers as the most romantic city in India. Situated on the east side of Lake Pichola, the main palace commands an unsurpassed view across the shimmering lake to the dusty Aravalli Hills with the luxurious Lake Palace hotel adding to the scene. Lake Pichola has two islands, each with a palace to rival that on the mainland; Jag Mandir and Jag Nivas (the latter is now the luxurious Lake Palace Hotel) rise out of their own reflections in the waters of the lake. Udaipur is surrounded by a massive bastion with five gates and dominating the town is the City Palace of the Maharana. The sumptuous apartments are decorated with multi-coloured mosaics, elaborate mirror work and inlaid tiles, half of these can be visited as the current Maharaja still occupies the rest of the palace. We spend the morning visiting the City Palace and Jagdish Temple, with a huge black stone image of Jagannath, an aspect of Lord Vishnu. If time allows it may be possible to visit the gardens of Gulab Bagh or take a boat trip on the lake. The afternoon is free to enjoy this evocative city.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 21

    End Udaipur.

    If you are travelling on Land Only arrangements then your trip will finish after checkout. If you are travelling on the group flight we transfer to the airport early in the morning for our flight back to London.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

India

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Some of our India trips spend time at altitude. In regions over approx. 2000m, there is low to no risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For trips going to altitudes of over 3000m there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please see the TRIP NOTES for further information.

Eating and Drinking

Breakfast is included throughout the trip.

You should allow at least £13-15 (approx. US$17-20) per day for lunch and dinner. You can eat out very cheaply in India, but if you go to the more expensive restaurants most of the time, you will spend more than the suggested amount. Where meals are not supplied, our group leaders always encourage people to try local restaurants and street food vendors. They can make recommendations which will help boost small businesses and celebrate local specialties. In Jaipur, Varanasi and Delhi, clients can even see how the food is made e.g. Masala Chai (tea), Samosa (mashed potato snacks), Jalebe (Indian donuts), Lassi (yoghurt drink). In most of the towns there is a good choice of restaurants and a choice between Indian and Western style food. If you are a vegetarian, India is probably one of the best destinations to travel to. Tea and soft drinks are very cheap. A (large!) bottle of beer is approximately £3 (approx. US$4). Mineral water is widely available. Please note that service in restaurants can be quite slow.

Weather

During October/November and February/March/April the days are normally warm to hot and nights cool or mild. Humidity is very low and little or no rain can be expected. Evenings in Delhi can be surprisingly cool. It gets very cold in the early mornings and evenings in December and January and warm clothes are essential. Fog is also a real possibility during this period. Please note that night time temperatures in Delhi can be very cold and only a little above freezing in December and January. The evenings and early mornings (particularly at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve) can be surprisingly cool, so come prepared for cold and hot temperatures.

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely). The roads are generally pretty good, but local traffic and/or road damage after the monsoon can sometimes slow us down. We travel mainly on comparatively quiet roads although some roads are very busy. The tour is not overly demanding, but some of the days can be busy, where travelling is combined with sightseeing. Longer travelling days should take around six to seven hours but delays are possible and journey times can increase. At times it can be quite hot and dusty (except December and January) and the bustle of the Indian cities can be tiring. This trip does involve a lot of travelling; however, this gives you the perfect opportunity to see the diversity of India.

Please note that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are responsible for the conservation of many monuments in India, including the Taj Mahal, and very occasionally this may mean that work is taking place at sites visited on this trip. The ASI’s schedule is never published so it is not possible to forewarn our clients of when work will be taking place.

Call us on
353 (0)1 804 7153
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Sleeper Train

19 nights hotels, all en suite, 1 night sleeper train. The hotels used are mostly standard city tourist hotels. Service and amenities are generally adequate.

The overnight train will be booked in 2-tier (or 3-tier depending on availability) sleeper A/C.

Single accommodation available on request from GBP420 (excludes sleeper train)

Call us on
353 (0)1 804 7153
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

The mountains will always draw us back to this majestic country: and now, with the return of a very special trip, the

With a country as diverse and riveting as India, it can feel almost impossible trying to narrow down which region to

  • Reviewed February 2017
    Graham Powell

    North India Explored

    Overall very good. But we were taken to too many carpet sales venues. 2 or 3 okay but NOT 5 or 6. The bus from Agra to Udaipur (the bulk of the trip) had seen better days. To be honest it was a little shabby and we should have had a better appointed bus. (however the driver and his helper were excellent)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Varanasi - boat trips / Nawalgarh - excellent hotel Roop Vilas Palace, great cooking experience & then eating the food at Bunglis restaurant (keep it in itinerary), spending time walking around town & time with shopkeepers & market stalls / Jaisalmer - beautiful city but would have liked to have spent more time here! / Amber fort in Jaipur.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was very helpful and when he guided in Varanasi and Agra he was very informative. (at the other locations we had local guides) However we should have been given more time to explore the towns/cities we visited to see the bazaars and markets etc and directed by our guide where to go and what to see. (Our driver Raj and his helper Inder were excellent)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The buffets at the most of the hotels we stayed at were poor and overpriced. A la Carte meals were much better and at a fairer price. The food at the Florence Hotel (Delhi), Mapple Hotel (Jodhpur), Ambrai Restaurant (Udaipur), Gandhis restaurant (Khajuraho) & Bunglis (Nawalgarh) were all excellent!!!!! You should seriously think about dropping the hotel near Ranthambore NP. (Om Rudrapriya holiday resort) The buffet was terrible, the rooms and beds were cold and damp, and worst of all our bed sheets had NOT been changed after the previous occupant! We found hair in our bed, lots of it and not from the head!
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Sandra Munier

    North India Explored and more

    A brilliant 3 week trip packed with new experiences and sights - a neverending explosion of colour, noise, beauty moments to take your breath away.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are too many really but sunrise on the Ganges would be my choice if I had to choose. The Taj Mahal is up there, as was seeing my first tiger in Ranthambore.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Ajay Gupta (otherwise known as our Maharajah) was excellent. Very professional, didn't forget anything requests thrown at him. Perfectly turned out and his English was extremely good. If I could, I'd have him as my group leader on any further trips I hope to do in India.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack less than you think ! An umbrella came in useful, both for the heat and the rain at the Taj Mahal - not to mention our elephant ride up to the Amber Palace when our elephant 'Pinky' blew his trunk incessantly over us !

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just a brilliant holiday which far exceeded my expectations. India had not been somewhere which was on my 'bucket list' but friends came back enthused and so I thought I'd 'give it a go'. I was so pleased that I did and am now hoping to go back to the south. I didn't get any upset stomach - only bottled water, no ice and in fact I did avoid the salads - eating curry morning, noon and night !!! Book your seat on the plane as soon as you have your ticket confirmation - don't wait until check-in 24 hrs. before.
  • Reviewed December 2015
    Margaret Roberts

    North India Explored

    This was an excellent trip, with a wonderful tour leader (Ajay) who worked hard to ensure that the trip ran smoothly and managed to circumvent potential problems and allowed the programme to flow. The majority of the hotels were excellent but a couple did not reach the standard that I expected and one had no windows in the bedroom. The only drawback is that your are almost constantly on the go that you do not have time to enjoy the facilities in the hotels, sometimes arriving late in the afternoon and on the go early in the morning but to cover the ground and sites of interest this is essential

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Our trip to Ranthambore, our guide managed to second guess the tiger's movements giving us excellent views and photographic opportunities. Close second was the Taj Mahal and Varanasi

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was excellent, giving us information on all aspects of Indian life. If the was any questions he was either able to answer them or provide a source where to find an answer

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to relax and go with the flow and enjoy the experience

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Remember to use hand gel especially after handling money
  • Reviewed March 2015
    Deborah Sabadash

    North India Explored

    This was a fantastic introduction to Northern India. The trip covered a lot of ground and exposed us to the culture, architecture, and food of Northern India. There was a new highlight every day. Even the long bus rides were a pleasure as there is so much to see passing through towns, villages and different landscapes.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I guess I would say the sunrise boat trip on the Ganges at Varanasi....It was so serene (after the cacophony of the new town) and walking through the old town afterwards was eye-opening.. Also coming so early in the trip, this packs a full cultural punch! But I also really loved Nawalgarh because it was completely untouristy -- there were no hawkers and the locals truly wanted to connect and chat. I spent an extraordinary afternoon with my roommate photographing and interacting with the residents......it was amazing! Jaiselmer is also cool and so is Udaipur....too many highlights!!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ajay was superb -- very patient and accommodating -- but with a great sense of humour. He was never frustrated, always keen and lots of fun. Very professional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Come with an open mind and enjoy! There is SO much to see and do! What an amazing country. Do not be afraid to try new things. And attend as many weddings as possible!!!!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Loved the trip....Hope to be going on the 3 week southern one sometime!
  • Reviewed March 2015
    Andrew Wiggans

    North India explored

    A chance to visit not only the 'obvious' tourist spots but also to see places and meet up with local people in some of the less-visited locations. After 3 weeks I feel I have a much better feel for India and Indians and am keen to return. A really good , mixed group of like-minded people with whom we had a very sociable and relaxing time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    .The early morning ride on the Ganges at Varanasi was truly breathtaking. There were some tourists about but the whole scene was so natural and elemental. "Awesome" is a very over-used word and this scene really deserved it.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    An outstanding, thoroughly professional guide who managed to cater for 16 individuals' needs at the same time as working with the group as a whole. That isn't easy. His willingness to draw from his own personal experiences, as well as to share his knowledge of the region's history and culture really made the trip work for everyone.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some long bus journeys and, when crossing the road. don't stop and don't look back! You will make it to the other side but not if you are wishing to apply the Highway Code!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have preferred fewer stops at some of the specialist shops en route since I am not that keen on shopping per se. This would have saved us some time and meant that the longer days travelling would have been less tiring on some occasions. try to spend a day or two extra at the end in Udaipur. You won't be disappointed.
  • Reviewed December 2014
    Michael Salter

    North India Explored

    The tour was absolutely outstanding (with the exception of the 14 hour overnight train-trip from Varanasi to Jhansi - best described as somewhat challenging for seniors!). The passion, enthusiasm, organization abilities and caring nature of our tour leader, Manoj Dubey, simply added to the quality of the experience. So too did the three tigers we were fortunate enough to observe prowling and bathing in Ranthambore National Park. Northern India cannot be easily explained - it must be experienced!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everyday brought new and memorable experiences. However, a range of impromptu visits with local farmers, tea stalls, roadside merchants, and goat/sheep/camel herders, complemented the more formal array of massive forts, magnificent palaces and amazing temples. Dining and interacting with a local family was a capstone experience!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    See my comments under "Summary" - I would rate Manoj as one of the best tour leaders we have experienced anywhere. His knowledge, experience, and leadership skills are "top-drawer." Exodus is fortunate to have such a capable person in their employ.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Open your mind and senses to India. The sounds, smells, sights, forts, palaces, temples and art works are well beyond anything we have experienced elsewhere. Experiences that are off-putting must be accepted with those that are outstanding; they are all part of the same tapestry that is Northern India.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    NOT TO BE MISSED
  • Reviewed February 2014
    Anonymous

    NORTH INDIA EXPLORED

    A wonderful 3 weeks experiencing in-depth the history, religion, and way of life in India today. We chose this trip because the itinerary includes Varanasi as well as the Taj Mahal and highlights of Rajasthan. We had a stunning variety of experiences during the 4000 km of travel.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Top highlights included experiencing the spirituality of Varanasi during sunset prayers and dawn boat trip. We visited many stunning palaces, forts, temples and towns and local guides brought places to life, with informative commentary and stories. We loved the wonderful spontaneous smiles from local people when we were spotted, and their endless requests for photos and conversations. An amazing welcoming attitude particularly in non- touristy areas. Another highlight was being with such interesting people and having such fun together.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ajay was extremely well organised, anticipated any problems, and managed the whole tour very capably and efficiently. Above all, he was helpful and caring with each of us individually, going well beyond expectations in helping deal with anything that arose. He was great fun with excellent sense of humour, enthusiastic and willing to share personal experiences in helping us understand life in India today.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is an in-depth comprehensive tour over vast distances and every day was packed full with highlights. Patience, flexibility and some stamina are helpful in enjoying this tour to the full. we had little down- time because there was so much we wanted to see everywhere we went!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you really want to experience northern India in full, then this trip is for you! We can't recommend it highly enough!
  • Reviewed December 2013
    Anonymous

    NORTH INDIA EXPLORED

    Good trip covering lots of places in North India-lots of forts and temples with a bit of wildlife. Good way to see a lot of different places in a relatively short time

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Nawalgarh is a lovely place with less tourists than a lot of places-the heritage hotel was lovely with original features and overlooks one of the havelis. Good to go in search of the elusive tiger.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ajay was an excellent guide with the patience of a saint. Great to have a local guide as you get better insight into the country, people & way of life.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Spend quite a lot of time on the bus. Lots of opportunities to buy local handicrafts so make sure you have space in your bags to take them home. October is wedding season which is fun to watch but not good if you want a quiet trip.We were made very welcome-great way to meet local people.
  • Reviewed November 2013
    Anonymous

    NORTH INDIA EXPLORED

    As a whole I liked this trip: complete, well organised but there were a few things that made it not excellent as I had hoped and looked forward to. This was the poor cleanliness of the hotels: I can say they were acceptable but you do not have to look to much (corners, bathroom, armchairs, paint, switches where your fingers could stick, etc.). Great halls but the rooms did not match the outside appareance! Also, I was shocked by the huge amount of litter and dirt on the streets: never seen that anywhere else in the word and... I have travelled a lot... Other people in my group shared the same idea. The rest I knew = the poorness and the noice. I could cope with the poorness but the noice was sometimes unbereable! They blow their hoorns non-stop: it is they way of driving...! And the drive like mad! Crossing the road and arriving at the other end save is a real challenge!The palaces, forts and temples were a real pleasure for the eyes and senses but I find we visited them to quickly. Visiting such huge places in just 1 or 1,30 hours is too quick: I had the impression to be a Japanese rushing to visit as much as possible and just having time to take picture to be able to finally enjoy the trip at home... But it is true that I am not used to organized trips and maybe they are all like that... A pity because I had no time to really feel the place and fix it to my memory and senses and God knows that these places are worth visiting in a more relaxed manner so beautiful they are!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Taj Mahal, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Varanasi

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was great! Knew a lot about India and shared all he knew with us. Never tired to answer all our questions and very proud about his country and cultures, what helps to make us like it even more

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We do not need a rucksack for this trip. I had been told I needed one and this was not the case! Expect to find a lot of dirt and ugly smells on the streets as well as noice but the monuments are a compensation for that sacrifice
  • Reviewed January 2013
    Anonymous

    NORTH INDIA EXPLORED

    This was a lovely introduction to northern India. Our guide was knowledgeable and always had time to answer questions or take us to restaurants or even the cinema (a must do experience in India). We were if course disappointed not to see tigers on our trip to the national park. I would in the end have preferred to skip this entirely in exchange for more guaranteed experiences. On the whole a really god trip that I we remember fondly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Expect an upset stomach. And be pleasantly surprised if you avoid it

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on 353 (0)1 804 7153