Golden Triangle with Ancient Varanasi
Delhi - Agra - Jaipur - Varanasi - Delhi 7 Nights/8 Days
Qutub Minar, Delhi
Welcome to India !
Arrive at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.You are met by Equinox representative with traditional and sacred marigold flower garland. Delhi stands as the capital of Modern India. Here you can see the mingling of the Old and New India, the ancient and the modern. Delhi has seen the rise and fall of many emperors, which has left behind a plethora of monuments that commemorate the grandeur and glory of bygone ages. Use this day to relax and recuperate from the travel to India or if you have the energy you can Contact Equinox for our list of experiences to start your tasting menu of handcrafted local experiences.
Bangla Sahib Gurdwara, Delhi
Wake up like a Delhi-ite : If you wish to assimilate into the daily life of the people we recommend a walk in the picturesque Lodhi Gardens. Located in the heart of Delhi this is Delhi’s version of Central Park. One can see small groups of people doing Yoga or laughter therapy. Youngsters playing a game of cricket on weekends. Or simply soak in the sound of the chirping birds and the hustle of the aged trees. Head back to the hotel for breakfast. Today’s tour comprises of 2 powers that had a profound effect in moulding much of India’s history, culture and architecture. We start with the Mughals who ruled a large part of the subcontinent for more than 350 years. Delhi being the imperial capital lived up to its image of the most illustrious town of medieval India. Today Delhi’s walled city is known as Old Delhi. The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan shifted the Mughal capital from Agra to Delhi. Possessing remarkable talent in architecture he brought about Delhi’s glorious renaissance. Trade flourished and continues to do so… We have an exciting way for you to discover these maze like lanes. Take an exhilarating cycle rickshaw ride that passes through the colourful Kinari bazaar. This experience ends at the majestic Jama Masjid, 18th Century mosque known for its restrain in architecture. Footsteps of Lutyens. The greatest British architect Drive past the Imperial part of the city designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens for the British in the 1920s. Continue along the main avenue, the impressive Rajpath to the World War I memorial arch, the India Gate and past the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President’s residence and the Parliament Buildings. Visit the Delhi Sultanate Qutab Minar, visit the tallest minaret in India. And Humayuns Tomb, a masterpiece of Mughal architecture. Community kitchen of holy proportions At Bangla Sahib Gurdwara, a historic Sikh shrine in central Delhi, everybody is welcome to a meal, and nearly everybody comes. The ‘langar,’ or free kitchen, operated by a Sikh shrine in Delhi dishes out an astonishing 10,000 meals a day. Anyone can volunteer at a Gurdwara, and although the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara is the largest, you’ll find smaller versions in most Delhi neighborhoods. Everyone is welcome to come to Bangla Sahib Gurdwara and be part of Vaṇḍ Chakkō, the Sikh uplifting concept that translates to ‘share and consume together’.
Taj Mahal, Agra
Breakfast at the hotel and then depart by road to Agra. Approximately 210 kms / 04 hours drive . Your other option would be to take the new Gatiman Express train which gets you to Agra in just 90 minutes. Forts were an integral part of Indian history. Each place was ruled from the fort in the area and this is where the imperial court was set up. The fort in Agra was built by the emperor Akbar. This is a fine example of the Hindu elements finding their way into Islamic style of architecture. The fort is rather well known for the melancholic tale of emperor Shah Jahan who was imprisoned here by his son in an apartment that overlooked the Taj Mahal. Though Agra is synonymous with the Taj; another Mughal monument made entirely in marble has arguably more refined workmanship. Itimad-Ud-Daula fondly known as Baby Taj is the tomb of a Mughal noble. It looks like an intricately carved jewel box with its extensive use of the teachnique of Pietra Dura. At sunset the long awaited visit to the Taj Mahal. Bathed in soft light of the evening sun this monument to eternal love is truly a sight to behold. An immense mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, the Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage. If you like you could also take an extension in your sightseeing and indulge in any of Equinox’s special experiential activities. Contact Equinox for our Agra secrets.
A sumptouous breakfast at thehotellater drive to Jaipur via Fatehpur Sikri. (Approximately 240 kms / 06 hours drive) En-route visit Fatehpur Sikria citadel built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar that was later abandoned for the lack of water. Abandoned cities have always had an allure in peoples mind. The perfectly preserved buildings with a little bit of imagination paint the picture of the of the opulent court culture of a bygone era. One Stepwell at a time. In the dry and desert like region of Rajasthan water was a precious resource. One had to dig deep into the land to find the source of this life giving element. These are the step wells of Rajasthan. While some were modest in their size others are several stories deep. They also were used as a community space where locals could interact with each other. A short drive from Jaipur takes you to the massive stepwell of Abhaneri built to conserve rainwater is 20 m deep with 13 levels. It is considered the deepest and largest of its kind in India. The architecture is a perfect symmetry and has formed a backdrop for several Hollywood films given the dramatic effect that it can create. Continue drive to Jaipur. Upon arrival check in at Hotel. Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan, India's princely state with its magnificent palaces. It evokes the royal family that once ruled the region and that, in 1727, founded what is now called the Old City, or “Pink City” for its trademark building color. Jaipur is one of our favourite towns and we would love to share some of our personal favorite activities with you depending on the time of year and of-course everything personalized to your interests. This evening is at leisure. Contact Equinox take your pick from one of Equinox’s signature experiences.
Amber Fort, Jaipur
After a fulfilling breakfast set off to explore this royal city. Your day starts with sightseeing of Amber Fort by jeeps. There is an option for elephant back, however in our endeavor to avoid animal cruelty we prefer not to offer this experience. This hilltop fortress was the Royal Family’s residence and is one of the most enchanting forts of India. A complex of palaces, temples, mirror inlaid public halls and beautifully manicured gardens, the fortress is an exquisite example of Rajput architecture. Within the fort are enchanting palaces that display the wealth of the erstwhile kingdom of Amber. City Palace. This beautiful palace was built during the reign of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. This Palace stands apart, with its outstanding art and architecture. Jantar Mantar Observatory A trip is never complete without the visit of something eccentric and that is exactly what is offered by the 18th century observatory. An overzealous Maharaja of Jaipur constructed these astronomical instruments to make notes of the positions of stars and the constellation. We at Equinox encourage you to travel like a global local. Not just to stand and witness something but participate in the in the experience that is India. Take part in the aarti ceremony at the GovindDevji temple where many devotees and followers gather in the courtyard to pay their respects. This temple has had the Royal patronage for centuries. But today you will be visiting the presiding deity just like many other Jaipur locals. Don’t forget to buy a small plate of offerings consisting flowers, incense and a coconut to appease the deity. Indulge in any one of Equinox’s signature experiences to further explore Jaipur off the beaten path.
Evening Aarti, Varanasi
After breakfast depart to the airport to connect flight from Jaipur to Varanasi. Varanasi: Spiritual, beautiful and chaotic. Spiritual India One of the seven Holy Cities and the most favored place for Hindus to attain a release from the cycle of life and rebirth. Myths and hymns speak of the waters of the Ganges River as the fluid medium of divine essence. A bath in the river is believed to wash away all of one's sins. This is the longest inhabited city in the world as ancient as time itself. Later, continue on to witness the Evening Aarti on the banks of River Ganges, where you will experience the rhythmic chant of mantras and through the aarti ceremony Agni Pooja will be performed where commitment is made to Lord Shiva and the universe created by him, Goddess Ganges and Agni the god of fire. A walk through the old town. Today you will be exploring this ancient town and we intend to reveal some of its secrets. Walk through the labyrinth of streets that are lined with shrines, shops selling curiosities and certainly many a holy cow. We have a few hidden secrets to explore the depths of Indian spirituality. Be it knowledge on hindu gods or meditation in an off beat monastery. Contact Equinox for more ideas on exploring Varanasi.
River Ganges, Varanasi
A poetic sunrise on the banks of the Mother River Ganga. Behold the captivating beauty of the vicinity when the first ray of sun touches the sacred lands of the holy city. A transcending experience of how life starts with devotion and spirituality , which takes the immortal soul to its highest abode. Assembling at Assighat, the experience begins with paying respects to the holy river. This experience is aimed at introducing you to different aspects of Hindu spirituality. One can witness one of the several aspects like Vedic Chanting, Classical music recitals, Yoga demonstrations etc. Visit Akharas, the traditional place of exercise. Visit an Ashram to learn about the lifestyle of its inhabitants. After the visit return to the hotel for breakfast. Visit The Benares Hindu University or the Sanskrit School. Banaras Hindu University is one of the largest residential universities in Asia, with over 20,000 students. The university was founded to form a basis of a more nationalist approach towards education without blindly accepting western ideologies. Visit a Sanskrit or Vedic school. These institutes have existed for thousands of years and impart traditional Bramhinical knowledge (theosophy and ritualism) to young children starting from the age of 5 to 15. These students go on to become the bearers of ancient texts, wisdom and traditions. To keep these practices alive the schools follow a Guru- Shishya parampara which requires the students to live with the teachers in order to master a way of life. Later proceed on an excursion to Sarnath. Buddhists worldwide look upon India as the land of the Buddha and a visit to Sarnath means a pilgrimage to the place sacred to the memory of the Enlightened One. After the Buddha attained enlightenment in Bodh gaya he came to Sarnath. In the Deer Park, he delivered his first sermon, or in the religious term, he set in motion the wheel of Law (Maha – DharmachakraPravartan). Today As Buddhism has branched off into several different sects we invite you to visit the temples of each of these sects. With their distinctly different architectural styles. Tibetan temple, Thai Temple, Sri Lankan, Japanese , Korean and Chinese temple. We visit some of the the homes and workshops of weavers of the famous banaras silk saris. The weavers belong to a Mulsim community called Ansaris. Ironcically Banarasi saris are worn by Hindu brides across the country on the day of their wedding.
This morning you leave the sacred city of Varanasi by flight to make your way back to Delhi. Transfer to Varanasi airport in order to connect flight for Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi connect flight for onward destination. You bid farewell to the land this mystical land.