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India. India Royal Rajasthan

Extend Your Stay

Contact our India Program Director for extension options to Varanasi, tiger parks, the Himalayas, or to southern India.

Nepal Wildlife and Cultural Adventure

Journey north to Nepal to enjoy both the local, Hindu culture and the unique wildlife-viewing opportunities of Chitwan National Park.  View the impressive Himalayas close-up in Pokhara or from an optional Mt Everest flight.  Start and end in bustling Kathmandu, where you explore its temples with their unique architectural-style and the endless markets.  Continue to Chitwan where you ride elephants in search of rhinoceroses and other animals who hide in the tall grasses of the park. In Pokhara, you soak in the stunning mountain scenery while hiking and sightseeing in the valley.


Prices start from $2195 per person, double-occupancy.

DAY 1: Arrival in Kathmandu Upon arrival in Kathmandu you will be met and escorted to you hotel, with the balance of your afternoon free. 

DAY 2: Kathmandu Spend the morning exploring Kathmandu with your private guide. See Durbar Square and Swayambhunath StupaThis afternoon fly to Chitwan and transfer to your lodge, situated near Royal Chitwan National Park, a 932 square Kilometer (360 square miles) area of tall grassland and magnificent forest – one of the Asia’s richest and most spectacular wildlife sanctuaries. Royal Chitwan National Park is the home of the great one horned rhinoceros, sloth bear, wild boar, guar (bison), 4 species of deer, 2 species of monkeys, 2 species of crocodiles, the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger, over 450 species of birds and various other reptiles. You may take a safari this evening.  [BD]

DAY 3: Royal Chitwan National Park Take 2-3 hours safari on elephant-back through dense grasslands to view wildlife in their natural habitat. It is the favorite habitat for rhinoceros and other mammals. Later, a senior naturalist briefs about the interesting and unbelievable habits of elephant.  Following lunch at the camp choose to relax around the camp or take a boat ride down the Narayani River. The river ride provides opportunity of viewing the Gharials, Mugger crocodiles, fresh water dolphins, otters and varieties of water birds. [BLD]

DAY 4: Chitwan to Pokhara In the morning enjoy another elephant safari before returning to the resort for breakfast. Choose to take either elephants or land rovers and boats to a vehicle which waits to take you to Pokhara.  Pokhara is one of the most beautiful places in the worked, noted for its tranquil atmosphere and the beauty of the surrounding countryside. [B]

DAY 5: Pokhara Valley Early this morning visit Sarangkot for spectacular views of the surrounding valley & mountains. Then explore Pokhara Valley including Davis Fall, Mahendra Cave, Gupteswor Cave, Seti River Gorge & Old Market followed by private boat-ride on Phewa Tal (Lake). [B]

DAY 6: Pokhara to Kathmandu In the morning leave Pokhara for a return flight to Kathmandu. In Kathmandu, visit the historic shrine of Pashupatinath and Boudhnath Stupa. Hundreds of prayer wheels and the 108 images of the Buddha set into the niches around this huge structure make it even more mesmerizing. Enjoy dinner at t local Nepali restaurant and watch a cultural dance show. Overnight in Kathmandu at the Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza. [BD]


DAY 7: Departure
The day is free until you transfer to the International airport to connect with your outbound flights. [B]

Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza in Kathmandu.

Green Jungle  Lodge in Chitwan.

Fish Tail Lodge in Pokhara.

Bhutan Cultural Extension

Continue your exploration of South Asia by venturing into the magical Kingdom of Bhutan, land of the Thunder Dragon.  Visit unique Buddhist Monasteries including the Tiger's' Nest which is perched on the edge of a cliff and only reachable by hiking in.  Travel over some of the highest passes in the world which afford stunning views of the Himalayas.  Ask the Bhutan Program Director if you would like to include trekking, hiking and mountain-biking.


Pricing starts at $1495 per person.

Day 1: Arrival in Paro, Bhutan

Your flight is a spectacular introduction to Bhutan as during clear weather you will have magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks and then the lush green Paro valley as you land. After clearing customs and immigration, you will be met by your guide and transferred to Paro. Start your exploration of Bhutan with a visit to the National Museum (Ta Dzong) which was once used as the watch tower for the Dzong. Explore Paro Rimpung Dzong, one of Bhutan’s most impressive and well-known temples. Walk from the dzong to the old traditional covered wooden bridge and stroll along the west bank of the river. Downstream from the bridge you have a spectacular view of the dzong. Overnight Paro [LD]

 

Day 2: Tiger's Nest - Thimphu

After breakfast drive the winding road to Drukgyal Dzong, the ruined fortress, which once defended this valley from Tibetan invasions. Continue to Ramthangkha, from where you will hike up to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s Nest), which clings to the rocks towering 2600 feet above the valley. The hike uphill to the cafeteria will take around two hours on average; it is located about 2,950 meters (9,678 feet) above sea level. At the view point enjoy the stunning view of the monastery, where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. You can choose to continue hiking up to the monastery and visit the monastery.
After the visit to the temples, walk back to the cafeteria for your lunch. After lunch, drive 1 hour to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan with a population of 100,000. The town is made of 3 rose of shops and is the only capital in the world without traffic lights. In the evening visit the National Memorial Chorten, built in honor of our 3rd king Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (a wonderful opportunity to mix with the local population). All the buildings in Bhutan conform to national building principals and are beautifully carved and decorated. Overnight Thimphu [BLD]

 

Day 3:  Explore Thimphu - Punakha

Drive to Sangaygang, a field of Bhutanese prayer flags perched high above the city; colored flags send prayers to the heavens and white flags honor the dead. Visit the Motithang Mini Zoo where you can see the national animal, the Takin, research center where these odd animals graze peacefully in a small protected park. Walk to the Zilukha Nunnery and then drive to the Tango Monastery for a picnic lunch. The hike to the monastery takes about 45 minutes. It is a 13th Century structure and today is home to about 150 monks studying Buddhist Philosophy and meditation. Upon return, explore the weekend market.
In the afternoon depart for the pass, Dochula, climbing steeply through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near the pass (3,050 m). This pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges. It is marked with 100 stupas on a small hillock. Enjoy tea at the pass to enjoy the spectacular views at sunset and sunrise, weather-permitting. You can make use of the telescope at the hotel. Descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha and check in at your hotel. Overnight Punakha [BLD]

 

Day 4:  DochuLa - Punakha

Visit Punakha Dzong, remarkably located between the rivers of the Mo (Female) Chu and Pho (Male) Chu. Spend the day hiking in the area with your guide. One possibility is a hike to the Khamsum Yueley Chorten (45 minutes each way) through terraced rice fields. Overnight Punakha [BLD]

 

Day 5:  Punakha - Paro

Visit the Wangdue Monastery, then return to Paro stopping at Thimphu for lunch and to visit any sites you may have missed (options include the Folk Heritage Museum (a beautifully restored Bhutanese farmhouse from the last century), the National Painting School, and the Textile Museum). Continue to Paro. Overnight Paro [BLD]

 

Day 6:  Departure

Transfer to the airport for your departure flight [B]




Accommodation is in the best available standard hotels and guesthouses.  Home-stay is available as well as hotel upgrades.

Kathmandu Cultural Adventure

Explore Kathmandu in depth from its stunning palaces to vibrant markets.  Immerse yourself in the culture: witness prayers at the Hindu and Buddhist temples, watch Nepali dance show and learn from local artisans.  Take in the stunning sunrise and sunset views of the majestic Himalayas from your hotel in the relaxing hill station of Nagarkot.


Pricing starts at $1050 per person, double occupancy.

Day 1: Arrival Kathmandu Upon arrival in Kathmandu you’ll be met and escorted to your hotel.


Day 2: Kathmandu
Spend the morning exploring Kathmandu with your private guide. See Durbar Square, the seat of royalty until the last century. Kathmandu Durbar Square is a wondrous cluster of ancient temples, palaces, courtyards and streets.Take a walking tour of the old bazaar.Also visit the Swayambhunath Stupa,and Garden of Dreams


Day 3: Kathmandu - Bhaktapur - Nagarkot
Start the day with a tour of the ancient city of Patan, a World Heritage site. Drive to nearbyNagarkot, famous for its sunset and sunrise views of the Himalayas.


Day 4: Nagarkot - Kathmandu
Wake early for sunrise view of the Himalayas. Enjoy the morning in Nagarkot before returning to Kathmandu to visit Pashupatinath and Boudhnath.One of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world. This evening have dinner at t local Nepali restaurant and watch a cultural dance show.


Day 5: Departure
The morning at leisure (hotel check-out is noon). Transfer to the International airport for your outbound flights.


Hotel Tibet International or Dwarikas in Kathmandu
Club Himalaya in Nagarkot.

Sikkim, Darjeeling, and Calcutta

Extend your adventure in India high into the Himalayas.  The Northeast of India is a world apart with Buddhist monasteries, hills covered with tea plants and alpine lakes.  Hike at the start of the Himalayas into villages where you will be welcomed as a special guest.  In Darjeeling and Kolkata (Calcutta), explore the remnants of the Raj with afternoon tea, a ride on the historic toy train and visits to old churches, hotels and museums built in the British heyday.   Wander in the markets of Kolkata, India’s third largest city and a seat for learning and the arts. Ask our India Program Director how you can extend your trip to include Northeast India.

Day 1:  Delhi – Bagdogra - Gangtok 
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to Bagdogra, you will be met and driven 4 hours to Gangtok. Gangtok is the largest town and the capital of the Indian state of Sikkim. The city lies at an altitude of about 1780 meters above sea level. Because of its topography, the city enjoys a mild temperate climate throughout the year. Gangtok integrates different cultures and religion and is a center of Buddhist learning and culture.  Overnight Gangtok [BD]  


Day 2:  Gangtok

Spend the day in Gangtok.  Visit Enchey Monastery - a beautiful monastery in an equally beautiful setting, approached along an avenue of hundreds of multi-colored prayer flags. Spend time in the Government Institute of Cottage Industries watching young students practicing the traditional art of thangkha paintings along with weaving, wood carving and carpet making. Also visit the Institute of Tibetology, housed in a beautiful building in traditional Tibetan style, with mural decorated columns and a wonderful smell of beeswax polish from the creaky wooden floor.   After lunch drive through picturesque, terraced rice fields to the headquarter of Dharma Chakra Centers (Rumtek Monastery), the present seat of His Holiness, the Gyalwa Karmapa, head of the Kagyupa sect. Rumtek is said to be the replica of the monastery at Tsurphu, Tibet with its traditional architecture, exquisite paintings, intricate wood work, and treasures of manuscripts and icons. Rumtek is a splendid example of Tibetan monastic art. Return to your hotel for dinner.  Overnight Gangtok [BLD]


Day 3:  Gangtok – Pemayangtse (Pelling)

After breakfast drive to Pemayangtse (also known as Pelling). Explore the area in the afternoon including Pemayangtse Monastery, Khechipari Lake, Kanchenjunga Falls, Singshore Bridge & Dentam Village. Overnight Pemayangtse [BLD]

 

Day 4:  Pemayangtse (Pelling) – Yuksum

In the morning drive from Pelling to Yuksum, the base town for climbing into the Himalayas.  Here you hike traversing terraced foothills and through villages where you will be treated as an honored guest. Overnight Yuksum [BLD] 


Day 5:  Yuksum – Kalimpong

Drive to Kalimpong, situated at an altitude of 1250 meters on top of a ridge on the east of river Tista.  The tranquil hill station is famous for its indigenous handicraft. The artisans here produce Tibetan and Bhutanese handicrafts and jewelry that are much admired in the country and abroad. The town and its surrounding area were ruled by Bhutan for about a century and a half before it was annexed by the British in 1965. The afternoon is free to explore the town.  Overnight Kalimpong [BLD]

 

Day 6:  Kalimpong – Darjeeling 

After breakfast, start your day at the Zang Dhok Palri Phodang (Lava Monastery).  Consecrated in 1976 by the Dalai Lama, this Monastery houses many scriptures brought into India after the invasion of Tibet in 1959.  The Monastery is built on top of Durphin Hill, which gives it the advantage of a panoramic view of the town below.  Continue to the Tsonga Gumba Monastery, a Bhutanese Monastery believed to have been built around the late 1600s. End the touring at the Lepcha Museum, where you will learn about the native people of Kalimpong, who are no more than a minority today.  The Museum exhibits Lepcha treasures, Manuscripts, articles of worship and other tools.  Drive to Darjeeling (75 km/1.5 hrs), on arrival check in at hotel.


Darjeeling is a Himalayan city in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is internationally renowned as a tourist destination, along with its tea industry and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is "hill town headquarters" of Darjeeling district which is a partially autonomous status within the state of West Bengal. The town is located in the Mahabharat Range or Lesser Himalaya at an average elevation of 6,710 feet.  Overnight Darjeeling [BLD]

 

Day 7:  Darjeeling 

Full day sightseeing around Darjeeling including early morning sunrise view from Tiger Hill (2,585 m) and a visit to Ghoom monastery built in 1850 by Lama Sherab Gyatsho, a monk from Mongolia. The main feature of this Gelugpa monastery is the magnificent statue of Maitreya, “the future Buddha” draped in white silk scarves of offering called Khadas. After breakfast, visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre where you can see Tibetan craftsmen making traditional items like carpet, woolen boots, wood carvings and feather goods. Later, ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, lovingly called the "Toy Train". The Toy Train ride is a romantic approach to the Himalayas with spectacular views. The Darjeeling Toy Train is one of the most famous narrow (2 feet) gauge trains. Overnight Darjeeling [BLD]

 

Day 8:  Darjeeling – Bagdogra – Kolkata (Calcutta)

After breakfast drive to Bagdogra airport though tea plantation estates on the way to board the flight for Kolkata. [B]

 

Day 9:  Bagdogra — Calcutta (Kolkata)

Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in eastern India on the east bank of the River Hooghly.  Including suburbs, its population exceeds 15 million, making it India's third-largest metropolitan area as well as the world's 8th largest agglomeration. Kolkata served as the capital of India during the British Raj until 1911. As the former center of modern education, industry, science, culture and politics in India, Kolkata has many leftovers to bear witness to this history.  Kolkata also is noted for its revolutionary history, ranging from the Indian struggle for independence to the leftist and trade union movements. It is also known as the cultural capital of India, home to generations of poets, writers and film directors.

Meet your guide at your hotel lobby for a Dalhousie Square walking tour starting on around approximately 15 buildings in the area, including the imposing Writers Building, the newly renovated Town Hall, the St John’s Churchyard and the historic Metcalfe Hall. Later, visit Victoria Memorial Hall/ Garden (Victoria Hall remains closed on Monday), Marble Palace and Mother Theresa’s Tomb. Continue exploring Calcutta – you can discuss your options with your guide. Overnight Calcutta
[BL]


Day 10:  Calcutta - Departure

Continue exploring Calcutta.  In the morning, wander in Kolkata’s famous Botanical Garden. Later visit Mother Teresa’s house, Nirmal Hridaya, and Kalibari’s famous Kali temple. This area is one of the oldest and densely populated places of Kolkata and also famous for Kalighat temple. Allow time to explore the sprawling New Market and the Mullik Ghat Flower Market.  Transfer to the airport for your departure flight. [B]

 

Elgin hotels in Sikkim

Windamere in Darjeeling

Oberoi Grand in Kolkata or similar

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"Everyone was wonderful to us and the hotels you selected were absolutely fabulous. The Samode Havelli in Jaipur is one of the nicest hotels we've been in anywhere. The guided tours each day were so interesting -- I learned a lot and have definitely fallen in love with India. Thanks again for all your work in setting things up for us so beautifully." - Susan Haffie, WA