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Golden Triangle Holidays and Holidays to Rajasthan

Nepal & India: Chitwan + Golden Triangle + Goa


IPF14D
14 NIGHTS
FROM £2,396
International flights quoted separately
Fly over the majestic Himalayas of Nepal, visit Kathmandu & enjoy a tiger safari in Chitwan National Park. Continue to India to experience the highlights of the Golden Triangle, before relaxing on the beaches of Goa. English speaking city guides, private driver, Himalayas flight, elephant safari & specified sightseeing included.
Nepal India Golden Triangle Chitwan Kathmandu Delhi Jaipur Goa
• 
Kathmandu
• 
Himalayas Flight
• 
Chitwan National Park
• 
Delhi
• 
Agra
• 
Taj Mahal
• 
Fatehpur Sikri
• 
Jaipur
• 
Amber Fort
• 
Goa Beaches
• 
Kathmandu
• 
Himalayas Flight
• 
Chitwan National Park
• 
Delhi
• 
Agra
• 
Taj Mahal
• 
Fatehpur Sikri
• 
Jaipur
• 
Amber Fort
• 
Goa Beaches
Day 1
You will be met at Kathmandu Airport and transferred to your hotel in this spectacular Himalayan country that is famous for trekking and is home to the highest mountain in the world - the mighty Mount Everest.
 
Check into your hotel amidst the intoxicating sights and sounds of this capital city that was devastated by an earthquake in 2015, but is now slowly recovering.
Day 2
Rise early this morning to transfer to the domestic airport for a thrilling flight over the majestic Himalayas Mountains.
 
The flights last 1-hour and will take you close to Mount Everest, flying at 25,000 ft (7,600 m). Departures begin at dawn as the earlier flights usually provide the best views, with the snow peaks change colour as the sun rises and the cloud cover is still low. As the day warms ups the cloud cover rises.
 
The Himalayas are the youngest and highest mountain range in the world, extending for over 1,500 miles (2,400 km) across the top of the Indian sub-continent. The central section that runs through Nepal has 1,310 peaks over 20,000 ft (6,000 m). Eight of these peaks are over 26,000 ft (8,000 m) - Sagarmatha (popularly known as Mount Everest), Kangchanjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, ChoOyu, Manaslu, Dhaulagiri and Annapurna.
 
The remainder of your day is free to explore Kathmandu with your guide. Although Durbar Square was destroyed by the earthquake, many areas were not affected and the soul of the city is to be found in its backstreets, where you can soak up the local cultural and artistic heritage. Most of the local people are Hindu but there are also many Buddhist, as the Buddha was born in this country when it was under the control of India.
Day 3
Transfer to Kathmandu Airport for your flight to Bharatpur, where you will be met and transferred 1-hour to your jungle lodge situated outside Chitwan National Park.
 
Chitwan National Park is one of the few remaining undisturbed sections of the Terai Plains, that used to extend along the southern foothills of the Himalayas - all the way through India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. Together with adjacent Parsa Wildlife Reserve in the east, and India's Valmiki National Park to the south, this huge protected area of grassland, marshland and subtropical forest covers an area of over 1,370 square miles (3,549 sq km) and ranges in altitude from 330 ft (100 m) in the river valleys to over 2,600 ft (800 m) in the Churia Hills.
 
Check into your lodge in this region that is rich in flora and fauna, and in the afternoon enjoy a thrilling 2-hour Elephant Back Safari in the national park. In the evening your lodge will arrange a slide presentation on the park and its wildlife.
Day 4
Rise early today for a jeep safari through the grasslands, riverine forest, dense sal forests and oxbow lakes of Chitwan National Park, stopping for breakfast at a scenic spot.
 
Chitwan (meaning ‘Heart of the Jungle’) was the first national park established in Nepal and its river plains and jungle provide sanctuary for one of the largest populations of the rare Bengal tiger, along with one-horned rhinos, fish-eating Gharial crocodiles, wild elephants, leopards and sloth bears. However the dense jungle, tall grass and nocturnal hours kept by many animals make spotting wildlife difficult.
 
68 species of mammals have been recorded in this park, including deer and monkeys. Early morning is the best time to track tigers and other wildlife, but be aware that it is extremely difficult to find tigers in this national park and sightings are rare.
 
During the warm summer months, before lunch we visit the elephant stables to watch the elephants bathing in the river. Weather permitting and subject to water levels, in the afternoon we then embark on a boat safari to view aquatic birds, crocodiles and other wildlife from the river.
 
In the evening farmers from a nearby villages will entertain you with a show of their traditional skills and Tharu cultural dances.
 
Note: Jeep safaris are prohibited during the monsoon season (June to September). Wear warm clothes, including woolly hats and gloves, to protect you from the wind chill in the early morning.
Day 5
This morning rise early for a 2-hour Bird Watching nature walk around the lodge - a paradise for bird watchers, with over 670 different species having been recorded in Chitwan National Park.
 
Alternatively join a guided walk to a nearby Local Village to learn more about the residents' lifestyle and culture, including a bullock cart ride.
 
Afterwards transfer 1-hour to Bharatpur Airport for your flight to Kathmandu, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Day 6
Transfer to Kathmandu Airport for your flight to Delhi.
 
You will be met at Delhi Airport and transferred to your hotel in this bustling city.
Day 7
Today enjoy an orientation tour of modern New Delhi and the 17th century walled city of Old Delhi, which came to prominence when Shah Jahan moved his capital from Agra.
 
In Old Delhi enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through 300-year old Chandni Chowk market, a maze of lanes crowded with noisy shops selling an extraordinary variety of items and foods, and past the Jamia Masjid (or Friday Mosque) the largest in India. We drive past the splendid Red Fort, once the most opulent palace in the Mughal Empire, and continue to the Raj Ghat - the simple memorial site where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated.
 
In the afternoon our tour of New Delhi starts with a visit the Qutub Minar, an ancient victory tower built of red sandstone and marble in 1199 and still the tallest minaret in India. With its imposing cylindrical towers and surrounding ruins, it is today a World Heritage site. Our next stop is Humayuns Tomb, the beautiful mausoleum of the Mughul emperor Akbar, that inspired the Taj Mahal.
 
We drive along the Rajpath - the capital's broadest avenue - where you will see the imposing arch of the India Gate war memorial, Parliament House, the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential residence built for the Viceroy of India, and the government buildings on Raisina Hill.
Day 8
This morning we drive 3.5-hours from Delhi to the ancient city of Agra, set along the banks of the Yamuna River and originally the capital of the Mughal Empire.
 
Agra is world renowned as the home of the Taj Mahal - that great symbol of love built by emperor Shah Jahan in the 16th century as a memorial to his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. This magnificent white marble mausoleum took 22 years to build and, apart from its stunning design and perfect symmetry, it is noted for its elegant domes, intricately carved screens and some of the best marble inlay work ever done.
 
Sunrise and sunset are particularly good times to visit and see the dome subtly change its colour. We visit this magnificent mausoleum, before checking into our hotel.
 
Note: Taj Mahal is closed every Friday. You cannot take anything in with you except your camera, water and medicine.
Day 9
This morning we visit Agra Fort, a massive structure with walls over 70-ft high and 1.5-miles long that encompasses an astounding collection of well preserved buildings, many of them completed during the reign of Shah Jahan. After he was deposed by his son, he was imprisoned in this fort where he remained until his death - spending the rest of his life looking out along the river to the final resting place of his beloved wife.
 
We also visit the much quieter Itmad-ud-Daulah mausoleum across the river - fondly known as the "Baby Taj", as it was a forerunner of the Taj Mahal that was built to honour the grandfather of Mumtaz.
 
We then travel 1-hour to the magnificent red sandstone royal city of Fatehpur Sikri, built by the emperor Mohammad Akbar as the capital of the Mughal Empire. The city was abandoned due to water shortage, when the capital was moved north to Delhi, and in more recent years the fort has provided a dramatic backdrop to several famous films.
 
We then drive 3-hours to Jaipur which is the capital of Rajasthan. Check into your hotel in this chaotic and colourful "Pink City" - home to over 3 million people.
Day 10
Today enjoy a tour of the city of Jaipur.
 
Our first stop is to view the magnificent Hawa Mahal (the "Palace of the Winds") designed in the form of the crown of the Hindu god Krishna. This five-storey frontage looks like a bee's honeycomb with 953 small windows, each decorated with intricate latticework so that the court ladies living in secluded purdah could watch royal processions, without being seen themselves. Built of red and pink sandstone, it is particularly striking early in the morning when lit by the sunrise.
 
We continue to the Amber Fort  This magnificent royal palace was built from pale yellow & pink sandstone and white marble and is divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard. You will enter by riding up the ramparts on the back of a decorated elephant to the main courtyard (Jaleb Chowk). This is where returning armies would display their war booty to the people and women could view them from the veiled windows of the palace. Once inside explore the amazing Palace of Mirrors and Hall of Public Audience.
 
We then visit the Jantar Mantar Observatory, the largest stone and marble crafted observatory in the world and a World Heritage site. It is the best preserved of five observatories built by Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur. It has 17 large instruments, many of them still in working condition.
 
Our day finishes with a visit to the nearby City Palace, the former Royal Residence part of which is now a museum. One of the major attractions here is the armoury with its impressive array of pistols, blunderbusses, flintlocks, swords, rifles and daggers used by the Maharajas of Jaipur. The Textile and Costume museum on the first floor is another fine display, with items from all over India.
 
In the evening enjoy the unique experience of dining with a local family, where you will taste spicy Rajasthan food and gain insight into their Hindu lifestyle, with different generations living under the same roof.
Day 11
Transfer to Jaipur Airport for your flight to Mumbai and onward connecting flight to Goa
 
You will be met at Goa Airport and transferred to your hotel in this holiday city, which was once a Portuguese colony and is the smallest state in India. Check in and relax at your beach resort, offering miles and miles of golden beaches and spectacular sunshine.
Day 12
Today we suggest an optional a half day tour of historic Old Goa (Panjim City) with its many inner streets, small hotels, restaurants and shops.
 
Founded by Adil Shah in the 16th century and later conquered by Alphonso De Albuquerque, you will visit the Basilica of Bom Jesus - a World Heritage site built in red stone, in three different architectural styles. This splendid marble and silver mausoleum is the final resting place for the relics of St. Francis Xavier. Also visit the impressive Se Cathedral of Santa Catarina, with its numerous chapels.
 
Afterwards visit a Tropical Spice Plantation, including a guided walk through the spicy world of black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, clove and nutmeg, before returning to your hotel.
Days 13 To 14
At leisure to relax and enjoy the splendid beaches of Goa on the Arabian Sea.
 
Goa is a great destination for eating out, with delicious curries and other international cuisine. The shopping is also outstanding. Tailors will make you a fitted suit, tailored dress or whatever you fancy for a fraction of the cost back home, and prescription spectacles are very cheap. The locals markets are also fantasic and don’t forget to sample feni spirit, made from cashew apples or coconut palm sap.
 
You can visit historic Old Goa (Panjim), a World Heritage Site, and the 16th century Portuguese fort, Fort Aguda. Take a guided tour of a restored colonial mansion, such as the Palacio do Deao by the Kushavati River in Quepem, and in Loutolim visit the Ancestral Goa Centre (or Big Foot Museum) that has recreated a traditional Goan village to showcase local customs.
 
Other optional activities include a guided birding nature walk along the mangrove-lined River Sal, or a boat ride to Choroa Island, home to Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. Dudhsagar Falls are one of the highest in India and southern Goa has many quiet fishing villages with sandy beaches, temples and waterfalls waiting to be discovered.
 
Goa is also renowned for its holistic spas and new age treatments, as well as its yoga sessions. Plus fantastic sunsets over the Arabian Sea.
Day 15
Transfer to Goa Airport for your flight home.
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