• Iconic India

  • Iconic India

  • Iconic India

  • Iconic India

Temples, Taj, and Tigers: see quintessential India on this immersive journey

Days: 10 | From: $5,900/per person

  • Stay in boutique hotels that range from luxury safari camps to ornate havelis
  • Expert private guides open doors to deep cultural experiences
  • See the Taj Mahal at sunrise and sunset, seek tigers in the wild, and bask in the spirituality of Varanasi

Discover the highlights of Northern India: marvel at the Taj Mahal, spot wild tigers in the jungle, and explore ancient forts, bazaars, and palaces in Jaipur. Conclude your adventure with a visit to awe-inspiring Varanasi, a spiritual hub and delight for the senses. This journey provides a glimpse into India's rich tapestry of history, culture, nature, and spirituality. Superb lodging throughout and outstanding guides make for an unsurpassed India journey.

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We tailor itineraries to your dates and interests, adjusting hotels, excursions and length as desired.

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At a glance

  • Delhi
    2 nights: Discover India's capital, from old to new
  • Agra
    1 nights: Witness sunset and sunrise over the Taj Mahal
  • Ranthambore
    2 nights: Discover the spectacular wildlife of India
  • Jaipur
    2 nights: Take a glimpse into the royal history of Jaipur
  • Varanasi
    2 nights: Be captivated by the spiritual center of India

  • All itineraries are fully customizable. We will send you a personalized variation that reflects your interests and travel dates at no extra cost. Call to discuss your travel plans with one of our Specialists who know this region firsthand.

Customize this trip
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Sample itinerary

Day 1:

Welcome to India!

India Gate

Arrive in New Delhi! Upon clearing customs and immigration, you will be met and privately transferred to your hotel. Delhi, the vibrant capital of India, is a bustling metropolis steeped in history. Explore ancient monuments like the Red Fort and Qutub Minar, admire contemporary skyscrapers, and wander through lively markets.

Accommodations: The Claridges, 2 nights

The year 1955 was a major landmark in the history of the Indian hotel industry for it saw the birth of The Claridges Hotels & Resorts. The Claridges is an ideally located hotel for those exploring New Delhi, and has ensured exceptional luxury for guests. They house some of the finest restaurants of the city, huge banquet halls, a rejuvenating fitness center, adequately furnished rooms, a pool with cabanas, and lush green lawns to make your experience memorable.

*Includes: Breakfast

Upgrades and alternatives: The Lodhi New Delhi, The Leela Palace New Delhi, The Oberoi New Delhi, The Imperial New Delhi, Haveli Dharmpura
Day 2:

Old and New Delhi

Old Delhi Market

Embark on a journey through Old and New Delhi today, immersing yourself in a thoughtfully curated selection of experiences that unveil the many facets defining this vibrant city. The tour begins at Humayun’s tomb, a spellbinding mausoleum and India’s first example of Mughal architecture. From here, you’ll head into the heart of Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk. From aboard a rickshaw, cycle through its bustling market to envision life during the Mughal era. Sample quintessential Delhi snacks at a local haveli before heading into New Delhi. Learn about how the British envisaged their new capital as you view the stark architectural shift. Conclude your tour with a Gurudwara experience, a delightful way to engage another of your senses.

Accommodations: The Claridges, 2 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3:

The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal reflected on the Yamuna river

Journey through the countryside to Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal and a key point in the renowned Golden Triangle. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and enjoy some leisure time before venturing out in the afternoon for a sunset view of the Taj Mahal from Mehtab Bagh. While the Taj Mahal is undoubtedly breathtaking from its grand entrance, the most captivating perspective can be found on the grassy, crescent-shaped floodplain across the Yamuna River at Mehtab Bagh.

Accommodations: Tajview Agra

Tajview Agra is a 5-star hotel conveniently located within touching distance to prominent tourist attractions in and around Agra. Located only 3km from the Taj Mahal, this hotel boasts spectacular views of the Taj, and the property itself is spread over six acres of manicured gardens. Tajview Agra offers the finest amenities alongside friendly staff who are ready to offer impeccable service and hospitality. Enjoy amenities such as two high-end restaurants, a rooftop lounge, a cocktail bar, a large pool with lounge space, a spa, a fully equipped gym, and more.

*Includes: Breakfast

Upgrades and alternatives: The Oberoi Amarvilas
Day 4:

Taj to Tigers

The Taj Mahal's intricate stonework

An early start today proves worthwhile as you witness the iconic Taj Mahal at daybreak. Renowned for its ever-changing hues with the shifting sunlight, the Taj Mahal is a captivating spectacle during sunrise or sunset. Capture the monument’s beauty in the soft morning light, an ideal time for photography. As one of the seven modern wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal needs little introduction. In addition to its stunning design balance and perfect symmetry, the Taj is noted for its elegant domes, intricately carved screens, and some of the best inlay work the world has ever seen.

Return to your hotel for breakfast, and afterward, embark on a journey to Ranthambore National Park. Covering 400 sq. km, Ranthambore National Park is a natural paradise nestled amid the Aravalli and Vindhya mountain ranges, featuring rocky hilltops and valleys. Its name is derived from the ancient fortress dominating the landscape, highlighting a blend of nature and history. Renowned for its active tiger population, this region nurtures diverse flora and fauna, including sloth bears, leopards, caracals, jackals, foxes, hyenas, crocodiles, and mongooses, alongside the majestic tiger.

Accommodations: Khem Villas, 2 nights

Khem Villas is a beautiful boutique jungle camp located on the outskirts of Ranthambhore National Park, a stunning park home to a significant population of tigers. Khem Villas is designed to provide peace and tranquility within its luxurious and very personal atmosphere, while also surrounded by indigenous gardens, spectacular birdlife, and wild animals. The eight cottage and seven tents available all offer modern amenities within a charming, rustic space, are a picture of understated elegance. Guests can also enjoy the on-site spa, a craft cocktail bar, nightly campfire, plunge pool, and more.

*Includes: Breakfast, Dinner

Upgrades and alternatives: Sujan Sher Bagh, Aman-i-Khas, The Oberoi Vanyavilas Wildlife Resort, Fateh’s Retreat
Day 5:

Tiger Safari

A Bengal Tiger in Ranthambore National Park

Embarking on a tiger safari in India is an exhilarating adventure, and today is the day! Rise before dawn to be on safari as the wilderness comes alive. Accompanied by experienced guides and naturalists, explore dense forests and grasslands, keeping an eye out for the elusive tiger. Return to the lodge for breakfast and a few hours of leisure time at the pool, strolling the grounds, or taking a nap. In the late afternoon, embark on a second safari so you can be out at the best time of the evening to view tigers and photograph the park.

The highlight of this Indian safari is the quest to spot the elusive Bengal tiger. This experience provides a glimpse into the tiger’s natural habitat, fostering an appreciation for conservation efforts aimed at protecting these magnificent creatures. Whether or not you encounter a tiger, throughout the day, you’ll come across an array of wildlife, including deer, monkeys, and numerous bird species.

Accommodations: Khem Villas, 2 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6:

The Pink City of Jaipur

Amer Fort, Jaipur

After a final morning tiger safari, depart from Ranthambore and make your way to Jaipur. Known as the ‘Pink City’ due to the color of its historic buildings, Jaipur is the vibrant capital of Rajasthan. Jaipur is steeped in rich cultural heritage, reflected in its majestic forts, opulent palaces, and intricate architecture. Iconic landmarks like the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), the majestic Amer Fort, and the City Palace tell tales of bygone eras. Bustling markets filled with colorful textiles, handicrafts, and traditional jewelry offer a glimpse into Rajasthan’s local culture. Settle into your hotel.

In the evening, meet your guide for an enchanting walking tour, engaging with locals while wandering the bazaars and savoring regional culinary treats like Samosa Kachori, Kulfi, and Lassi. Witness artisans, including silversmiths and bangle makers, showcasing their craft. Stand in awe of the Hawa Mahal, palace of the winds, façade. Embrace Indian hospitality by visiting a local family, offering insights into Jaipur’s rich artistic traditions, and experiencing the city from a local perspective.

Accommodations: Samode Haveli, 2 nights

An urban oasis in the historic walled city of Jaipur, Samode Haveli is a traditional Indian mansion set in a verdant garden with apartments arranged around a series of intimate couryards. Built 225 years ago as a residence of the rulers of Samode, it is still occupied by their descendants, who have converted their home into a luxury hotel. The former royal apartments are now deluxe rooms and suites, each having a distinctive character which reflects the rich history and culture of Samode. They retain the luxuriousness of the past while at the same time offering guests modern amenities. Guests can enjoy fine dining, characterful lounge spaces, a fully-equipped gym, and large pool.

*Includes: Breakfast

Upgrades and alternatives: The Oberoi Rajvilas, Taj Rambagh Palace, Rajmahal Palace RAAS, DeraMandawa
Day 7:

Jaipur In Depth

Hawa Mahal,

A visit to Amer Fort is a journey through history and grandeur. The imposing fort towers above Jaipur, standing as a testament to the rich architectural and cultural heritage of India. Enter the fort with your guide, exploring the intricate design of the fort’s palaces, courtyards, and gates, including the famed Sheesh Mahal with its dazzling mirror work. The fort also offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, transporting visitors to the opulent era of the Rajput kings. Option to visit the Anokhi Museum on the way down from the fort. Set inside a restored 16th century haveli mansion, this UNESCO recognized museum showcases one of Jaipur’s most famous crafts, block printing.

Lunch is at a heritage home. Your host is a Renaissance man who is a keen observer of history, culture, religion, current affairs, and is a bank of knowledge so vast that he has a point of view on anything under the sun.
Have some time to tour the family home, learn about traditional kites, or try your hand at some traditional folk instruments before a cooking demonstration and meal. You’ll have a chance to try your hand at some of the techniques before sitting down altogether for a lunch feast of what you’ve created.

After lunch, enjoy a private guided tour of the City Palace, offering a glimpse into Jaipur’s royal history. Explore the main palace and Chandra Mahal, the current royal family’s residence. The access to these private rooms is breathtaking, featuring stunning courtyards, gardens, and buildings adorned with intricate designs, vibrant colors, and ornate decorations.

Accommodations: Samode Haveli, 2 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8:

First View of Varanasi

Streets of India

Say goodbye to Jaipur and board a flight east to Varanasi. Varanasi, also known as Banaras or Kashi, is one of the oldest and most revered cities in India. Nestled along the banks of the sacred River Ganges, Varanasi is steeped in spirituality, religion, and rich cultural heritage. The city is known for its numerous ghats (riverfront steps) lining the Ganges, labyrinthine alleys bustling with vibrant markets, ancient temples, and traditional music. Varanasi emits an aura of mysticism from the moment you arrive until you depart. After settling into your hotel, enjoy some free time.

As the sun goes down, meet your private guide and stroll to the ghats for an Aarti ceremony. This ritual is a daily offering of gratitude and devotion to the divine, featuring tiered ceremonial brass lamps and rhythmic chanting of the holy mantras.

Accommodations: Guleria Kothi, 2 nights

This lovely hotel is located in a restored 18th century river front house overlooking the river. Featuring only 15 rooms, Guleria Kothi offers the feel of an intimate boutique hotel, offering luxury amenities in a comfortable, cozy setting. Guleria Kothi is a prime hotel for exploring Varanasi, and guests can even enjoy sweeping river views without stepping foot off the property. Guests can enjoy on-site dining at the laidback restaurant or on the rooftop terrace.

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Upgrades and alternatives: BrijRama Palace
Day 9:

Essential Varanasi

Aarti ceremony on the Ganges

Experience the essence of Varanasi during the Subah, the morning. At dawn, embark on a boat journey along the Ghats, gliding from Assi Ghat to Manikarnika Ghat. Embrace the serene hues of the Ganges under the soft morning light, observing pilgrims paying homage to the rising sun– the golden and crimson tones of the river, temples, serene ashrams, and ornate pavilions. As Varanasi awakens, arrive at Kedar Mandir, an iconic temple cherished more by locals than tourists. Wander through the quiet alleyways before heading back to the hotel for breakfast.

Following breakfast, set out on foot to explore the enchanting landscape near Assi Ghat, the southern bank of the revered Ganges River. Today’s walk is designed to allow you and your guide to dive deeper into Varanasi and can be tailored to your interests. Art, craft, music, literature, dance, and textile traditions of Varanasi date back thousands of years. Begin the walk by retracing the steps of the 16th-century Banaras poet and mystic, Pandit Goswami Tulsidas. Learn about the history and mythology of Varanasi through a variety of temples as your guide tailors the walk to your specific interests. 

Accommodations: Guleria Kothi, 2 nights

*Includes: Breakfast

Day 10:


Humayun's Tomb

Bid farewell to Varanasi and transfer to the airport for your flight home or onward to your next destination.

Popular Ways to Customize This Itinerary

  • Choose from a selection of carefully curated, best in class hotels to fit your individual travel style.

  • Consult with your Vaya Specialist and expand your trip to combine with other parts of India for a true in-depth look at the subcontinent.

  • Contact us to learn about more options for designing and customizing your trip!

Call us to start planning your journey today:

1 (510) 335-8229

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We’ve not only traveled there, we’ve lived there. Our smart and engaging specialists are all current or former expatriates with years of experience in the region.

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From the first phone call to after you get back, we're here for you every step of the way. We listen, create, customize and advocate for you, and design experiences that go beyond the expected.

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