Mystical and spiritual, India is a land of rich contrasts. Explore its multifaceted culture as you travel through the classic Golden Triangle and east to Varanasi, stopping in Kalakho where local Meena tribespeople invite you into their homes.

Starting at: $5,287 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The iconic Taj Mahal  Detail of archway within the Amber Palace, Jaipur  The Amber Palace, overlooking Jaipur  Courtyard in the City Palace Museum of Jaipur  The City Palace Museum, Jaipur  Ancient observatory in Jaipur  The newly restored Palace of the Winds in Jaipur  Women at a temple in northern India. Credit: Linda Currie  Traditional Indian market. Credit: Linda Currie  Father and son in Rajasthan. Credit: Linda Currie  The elusive Bengal tiger, Ranthambore National Park  The Taj Mahal, Agra  Detail of inlaid stone at the Red Fort in Agra  Entrance to Agra's Red Fort, seat of Mughal power for generations  Pavilion inside the Red Fort in Agra  Detail of stonework on the Qutab Minar minaret, Delhi  Qutab Minar, India's tallest minaret, Delhi  Statue of Buddha at Sarnath, one of Buddhism's four holiest sites  The ghats along the Ganges River, Varanasi  Holy man along the Ganges River

Mystical India

The Golden Triangle and Varanasi With an Optional Extension to Nepal

17 days from $5,287 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Mystical and spiritual, India is a land of rich contrasts. Explore its multifaceted culture as you travel through the classic Golden Triangle and east to Varanasi, stopping in Kalakho where local Meena tribespeople invite you into their homes.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Of all the overseas trips we've taken, this trip ranks right at the top. Smithsonian did an outstanding job of balancing sites and activities with learning. We saw and did so much but we learned even more. We'll always remember India.

- Ron Z.

I have wanted to visit India all my life and, therefore, had very high expectations. This trip far exceeded all those expectations. It was everything I hoped for and more! 

- Brenda S.

India is not only mystical, but it is memorable, and magic. An initial visit only whets one's desire to return to experience the unique physical and spiritual senses over and over again.

- Kenneth N.

I am so happy I saw India with the Smithsonian. It has such a rich and extraordinary history, and Smithsonian was the way to go! 

- Previous Journeys Traveler

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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SPECIAL VALUE

This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.

Overview

Mystical and spiritual, chaotic and confounding, India is a land rich in contrasts. Explore northern India’s culture, history, and traditions as you travel through the classic Golden Triangle and east to Varanasi. 

Highlights Include

  • Delhi: Tour both Old and New Delhi and ride a rickshaw through colorful Chandni Chowk market. 
  • Jaipur: Explore the historic Amber Fort, the royal palace with its magnificent art collections, and an ancient observatory. 
  • Ranthambore National Park: Search for the elusive Bengal tiger, langur monkey, and exotic birds.
  • Agra: Stand in awe at the majestic Taj Mahal and tour the imposing Agra Fort.
  • Varanasi: Witness the powerful spiritual rituals along the Ganges River.
  • Cultural Experiences: Learn about the ancient discipline of yoga at a private demonstration, watch craftsmen work at traditional block printing, enjoy a cooking lesson, and meet local Meena tribespeople in their homes. 

Of all the overseas trips we've taken, this trip ranks right at the top. Smithsonian did an outstanding job of balancing sites and activities with learning. We saw and did so much but we learned even more. We'll always remember India.

- Ron Z.

I have wanted to visit India all my life and, therefore, had very high expectations. This trip far exceeded all those expectations. It was everything I hoped for and more! 

- Brenda S.

India is not only mystical, but it is memorable, and magic. An initial visit only whets one's desire to return to experience the unique physical and spiritual senses over and over again.

- Kenneth N.

I am so happy I saw India with the Smithsonian. It has such a rich and extraordinary history, and Smithsonian was the way to go! 

- Previous Journeys Traveler

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S. for Delhi, India

Depart the U.S. for Delhi on individual flights. Upon arrival late in the evening, transfer to your hotel.

Day 2 — Arrive Delhi

Arrive in India’s hyperactive capital late evening and transfer to your hotel.

Day 3 — Delhi

After a morning briefing with your tour director, this afternoon tour Delhi, including the 16th-century Tomb of Humayun; Qutab Minar, the 234-step tower dating to 1193; and India Gate, honoring the 90,000 Indian soldiers who died in World War I. Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel. (B,D)

Day 4 — Delhi

Today explore Old Delhi, beginning with the Gandhi Memorial, the simple black marble slab honoring Mahatma Gandhi. The exploration continues with many highlights including: 17th-century Lal Qila, the Red Fort complex of palaces where you stop for photos; Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque dating to 1656; a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk market; a Sikh temple; and a tour of the National Museum. (B,L)

Day 5 — Jaipur

Travel by coach to the "pink city" of Jaipur, one of the great cities of the Rajput, with historic forts, palaces, and gardens. Upon arrival late in the afternoon, settle into your hotel, once a Maharajah's palace. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Jaipur

Explore the city's rich history beginning with the stunning Hawa Mahal, or "Palace of the Winds", an elaborate facade of carved pink sandstone. Tour the famous Amber Fort, a Rajput capital from 1037 to 1728 and considered the pinnacle of Rajput architecture. Visit an open-air observatory, then view some of the Maharajah's magnificent art collections at the City Palace Museum. (B,L)

Day 7 — Jaipur and Sanganer

Early this morning, enjoy a traditional yoga demonstration and chanting. In the nearby village of Sanganer, learn about traditional block printing and handmade paper industries, then experience the colorful sights and sounds of a local market. Enjoy an invitation to be dinner guests in the home of a multi-generational Rajasthan family. (B,D)

Day 8 — Ranthambore

Travel today to Ranthambore National Park. Once the hunting ground of the Maharajah of Jaipur, the park is now a 512-square-mile nature preserve that is home to hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, mammals—and of course, the endangered Bengal tiger. Arrive in time for an afternoon game drive through the park. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Ranthambore

Enjoy both morning and afternoon game drives today to see not only game but also picturesque ruins of forts and palaces. (Tiger and leopard sightings are not guaranteed.) (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Kalakho

Early today depart for Kalakho and the Dera Village Retreat. Enjoy an afternoon camel safari to meet the local Meena tribespeople in their homes. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Abhaneri and Agra

Travel to the village of Abhaneri to see the fortified Chand Boari stepwell (c. 800), whose 3,500 steps descend some 13 stories into the ground. Arrive in the ancient Mughal stronghold of Agra in the early afternoon. After lunch on your own, visit Itimad-ud-Daulah, the two-story marble “Baby Taj” that inspired the Taj Mahal. Dinner tonight is at the hotel. (B,D)

Day 12 — Agra

This morning visit the Taj Mahal, the magnificent tomb built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz. After an Indian cuisine cooking lesson and lunch, visit the imposing Agra Fort complex, a vast complex that served for generations as the seat of Mughal power. (B,L)

Day 13 – Varanasi

Depart by coach this morning for Delhi, where you board a late afternoon flight to Varanasi, the holiest city in Hinduism. Dinner tonight is at the hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 14 – Varanasi and Sarnath

Today visit nearby Sarnath, where the Buddha first taught after achieving enlightenment. One of Buddhism’s four holiest sites, Sarnath draws pilgrims from the world over. See some of the temples and stupas then tour Sarnath Museum, housing a superb collection of Buddhist artifacts from excavations here. Highlights include a statue of the Buddha turning the wheel of law, and the celebrated Lion Capital of Emperor Ashoka, dating to 250 B.C. Back in Varanasi tonight attend a traditional aarti offering ceremony during a cruise along the Ganges. (B,L)

Day 15 – Varanasi

Early this morning return to the Ganges, where Hindu pilgrims perform their rituals along the ghats (steps) leading to the river. Visit several of the important ghats by boat as you experience the spiritual mystique of these hallowed waters. Enjoy a private Kathak dance performance, then celebrate your journey with a farewell dinner. (B,D)

Day 16 – Delhi

Fly to Delhi this afternoon where the evening is at leisure. (B)

Day 17 — Return to the U.S.

Early today transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S.

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)