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Safari Holiday India Tigers Lions Gir National Park Mumbai Goa Holidays

Golden Triangle + Tigers + Goa Beaches


IPE12D
12 NIGHTS
FROM £1,695
International flights quoted separately
This private tour combines the key sights of the "Golden Triangle" - Delhi, Jaipur and Agra (home of the Taj Mahal) - with a visit to Ranthambore tiger reserve. Afterwards there is time to relax on the miles of magnificent warm sandy beaches of Goa on the west coast of India. English speaking city guides, private driver, jeep safaris & sightseeing included.
Taj Mahal India Jaipur Tigers Golden Triangle Goa Beach Holiday
• 
Delhi
• 
Raj Ghat
• 
Jaipur
• 
Hawa Mahal
• 
Ranthambore National Park
• 
Tigers
• 
Fatehpur Sikri
• 
Agra
• 
Taj Mahal
• 
Goa Beaches
• 
Delhi
• 
Raj Ghat
• 
Jaipur
• 
Hawa Mahal
• 
Ranthambore National Park
• 
Tigers
• 
Fatehpur Sikri
• 
Agra
• 
Taj Mahal
• 
Goa Beaches
Day 1
You will be met at Delhi Airport by your driver and transferred to your hotel in this ancient capital of kingdoms and empires that is now a sprawling metropolis.
 
Delhi's strategic location was one of the main reasons why successive dynasties chose it as their seat of power and today it is a conglomerate of seven cities. The division between the old walled city and New Delhi marks a division in lifestyles, with the old city retaining its past traditions whilst New Delhi strives to match the pace of the 21st century.
Day 2
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 3
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.
 
On arrival 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.
Day 4
This morning at sunrise we visit the romantic Taj Mahal, a truly magnificent white marble mausoleum that took 22 years to build. 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.
 
After returning to our hotel for breakfast, we 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.
 
Afterwards we continue 3-hours to the chaotic and colourful "Pink City" of Jaipur - home to over 3 million people. On arrival check into your hotel in this capital city of Rajasthan.
 
Note: Taj Mahal is closed every Friday. You cannot take anything in with you except your camera, water and medicine.
Day 5
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 6
This morning we travel 4-hours from Jaipur to Sawai Madhopur in southeast Rajasthan.
 
On arrival in Sawai Madhopur, check into your hotel situated near Ranthambore National Park and enjoy a game drive in this world famous tiger sanctuary. Originally the hunting grounds of the Maharaja of Jaipur, today it is the largest wildlife reserve in northern India and covers an area of over 250 sq miles (400 sq km).
Day 7
This morning enjoy a game drive in Ranthambore National Park.
 
Early morning is the best time to see tigers, but be aware that it is extremely difficult to find them in the jungle and sightings are never guaranteed. Best viewings are generally at the end of the dry season (March to May, although it is extremely hot from April onwards), when the tigers search out the waterholes - but you need to take at least 4 game drives for a good chance of a sighting.
 
Other animals you can hope to see include leopard, hyena, jackal, jungle cat, caracal, civet, desert cat, mongoose, ratel, sloth bear, langur & macaque monkeys, wild boar, palm squirrel, flying fox, porcupine, long-eared hedgehog, marsh crocodile, tortoise and soft shelled turtle. Also antelope such as sambar deer, chital, nilgai, chinkara and black buck.
 
In the afternoon return to the park for another game drive. In addition to the many mammals and reptiles, there are over 270 bird species - including eagles, falcons, owls, graylag geese, flamingos, parakeets, fly catchers, bee eaters, grebe, terns, woodpeckers, hornbills and kingfishers.
 
Please note we always try to book jeep safaris, but these can only be reserved 90 days in advance and cannot be guaranteed - in which case your game drive will be in a 20-seater canter. In the winter months, morning safaris require warm clothes including woolly hats and gloves to protect you from the wind chill in your open vehicle.
 
Ranthambore National Park is closed during the monsoon season (mid June to September).
Day 8
This morning transfer to Sawai Madhopur Station to board the air-conditioned express train (first class) for your 4.45-hour journey to Delhi.
 
You will be met at Delhi Station and transferred to your hotel convenient to the airport.
 
Note: Because of the very short (2-minute) stops at each station, train travel in India is not recommended for the elderly or those travelling with children, where a road transfer will be substituted. Likewise during December & January when heavy fog can causes long delays on the railways.
Day 9
Transfer to Delhi Airport for your 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 10
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 11 To 12
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 13
Transfer to Goa Airport for your flight home.
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