WELCOME TO INDIA

March 1-9, 2020
October 31 - November 8, 2020

Ancient Sites, Diverse Cuisine & Natural Landscapes

This 9-day itinerary takes the classic Golden Triangle route to a new level with cultural immersion, outdoor adventure, and a people & planet focus. Starting in Delhi, we’ll see iconic architecture including Humayun’s Tomb and the India Gate and enjoy a community meal at a historically important Sikh temple. We’ll visit one of the world’s oldest living cities, Varanasi, before making our way to Jaipur for more north Indian architecture, a boutique family run guesthouse stay, and street food tastings for your lassi & samosa fix. After a hike through the Rajasthan hills for breathtaking views of the Amer Palace & Jai Garh Fort. We’ll visit the Kaurali Palace and enjoy a meal at an organic farm learning about sustainability in the local area before finishing off the trip with a visit to the iconic Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. End in Delhi or add on our 4-day nature & temple excursion in the tiger region of Madhya Pradesh, visiting the hidden gem of Orchha and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Khajuraho.

Starting at $2595 per person
$200 off Early Bird Special thru 11/15/2019!

Add-ons available
Mt. Everest, Sri Lanka, Bhutan & Tiger Safari

TRIP INCLUDES:

  • Accommodations

    • 8 nights 3-star hotel and boutique guesthouse stays 

  • Transportation

    • Airport transfers + train & private vehicle transit between excursions

    • Delhi – Varanasi – Jaipur domestic flights

  • Activities

    • Full day Dehli exploration including Humayun’s Tomb, the India Gate, the President’s House, and the local markets

    • Visit to Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, the historically significant Sikh temple in Delhi with a community lunch and education

    • Varanasi experience including a visit to the ghats for the aarti ceremony and a morning boat ride on the Ganges river

    • Visit to Sarnath, the epicenter of Buddhism in India

    • Street food walk and tastings in Delhi and Jaipur

    • Meena tribal hike in Jaipur, Rajasthan with views of the Amer and Jaigarh forts

    • Visit to a heritage Anokhi museum to learn about the history and conservation of the block printing craft

    • Overnight palace hotel stay and visit in Kaurali 

    • Organic farm visit & meal with a local village walk to learn about sustainable agriculture in the area

    • Entry and guided visits to the Taj Mahal & Agra Fort

  • Meals

    • Daily breakfast + 7 dinners + 4 lunches

  • Additional

    • Experience with our local community partner + donation to their organization

    • Dedicated Traverse host & local guides

    • Traverse representative assisting you from booking to departure

    • Small group experience, max 12 people

    • Optional add-ons including Mt. Everest, Sri Lanka and Bhutan

Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival in Delhi

Welcome to India! Upon arrival at the Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), your driver will transfer you to your boutique hotel in the heart of Delhi. Settle in & rest up or explore the area, which is near the Karol Bagh Market. Because many flights from the west arrive late in the evening, we will not have any group activities planned. However, your Traverse host will be on site to provide options for your free time and dinner plans.

Meals: None

Day 2: Delhi Exploration and Welcome Dinner

Delhi hasn’t always been India’s capital, but it has played a pivotal part in Indian history as a gateway city between Western, Central and Southeast Asia. It’s also believed to be the site of the fabled city of Indraprastha, which was featured in the Mahabharata more than 3000 years ago.  

We’ll start our day with a visit of Humayum’s Tomb, the first of the grand dynastic mausoleums that were to become synonyms of Mughal architecture style reaching its zenith 80 years later at the Taj Mahal. From there we’ll head to the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, a historically significant Sikh temple. This 500-year-old religion is known for their community service and work ethic, one of the main virtues being equality. We’ll visit the temple first and see their holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, before joining their community lunch, served every day to anyone that comes from all class, creed or color.

After, we’ll see the famous India Gate and the President’s House before heading back in the afternoon to rest up. In the evening, we’ll enjoy some street food appetizers such as panipuri and paan before heading to a social enterprise restaurant for our Welcome Dinner of northern Indian specialties. 

Meals: B, L, D

Day 3: Varanasi, Sarnath & Aarti Ceremony

This morning we’ll take a short flight to one of the oldest cities in the world, Varanasi, also known as Kashi or Banaras. According to Hindu mythology, the city was founded by the god Shiva. It is still called ‘The City of Shiva” and devotion to the deity are frequently found in ancient Hindu scriptures.

When we arrive we’ll visit the sleepy village of Singhpur to see Sarnath, a Buddhist center of religion and important pilgrimage site where Gautama Buddha first came and taught about the concept of Dharma. The crumbling stupas built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century contain relics, manuscripts and fascinating inscriptions that can teach one Indian history and we’ll also visit the archeological museum. 

We’ll head to our hotel for lunch on your own there or nearby and rest up in the afternoon after check in. In the evening we will observe the evening aarti ceremony, viewing it from the Dasawamedh Ghat where beautiful rituals are performed involving brass lamps, prayers and chants. We’ll enjoy dinner together for a tandoori feast.

Meals: B, D

Day 4: varanasi -> jaipur 

We’ll start our morning before sunrise for a boat ride along the holy Ganges river and learn about the important cremation ceremonies that take place along the riverbank. We’ll stop for chai before stopping at a silk factory to learn about this ancient craft before enjoying a breakfast of traditional Varanasi specialties such as kachauri, chickpea curry, jalebi and local sweets. We’ll head back to the hotel for a short rest before our afternoon flight to Jaipur.

We’ll arrive at our boutique Jaipur guesthouse with beautifully decorated rooms and terraces for a view. Rest up before we enjoy a Rajasthani feast onsite of local seasonal specialties. 

Meals: B, L, D

Day 5: Street Food & Farm-to-Table in Jaipur

We’ll enjoy a slow start to the morning with a home cooked breakfast followed by our day of explorations in the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur. The whole city was painted in pink color by Maharaja Man Singh II when the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, visited Jaipur in 1876. Today, every home within the city is obliged by law to maintain its façade. Jaipur was and remains the only city in the world symbolizing the nine divisions of the universe, through nine rectangular sectors sub-dividing it all in a mandala design. In between street food tastings of chai, lassis, samosas and other favorite snacks you’ll see the City Palace, a complex of courtyards, gardens and buildings in the center of the Old City as well as examples of Hindu & Muslim architecture. Jaipur is also a city of skilled craftsmen, including tailors, bangle makers and stoneworkers.

In the evening, we’ll enjoy a thali dinner of locally sourced seasonal specialties coming from the farm outside Jaipur that we’ll visit tomorrow.

Meals: B, D

Day 6: Rajasthan hike & farm visit 

Join on our early morning optional 6-mile hike through the Rajasthan desert hills with sweeping views of the Amer Palace, Jai Garh Fort and the surrounding fort walls. We’ll make a stop at heritage Anokhi museum to learn about the history and conservation of the block printing craft before heading back to the hotel for showers & checkout.

We’ll then hop in the van to drive to our community partner, an organic farm and social enterprise situated in a rural village outside of Jaipur. We’ll enjoy a fresh cooked lunch before a walk to learn about how sustainable farming initiatives have transformed life in the area.

We’ll have a final drive to Karauli for our palace hotel stay, once the home of a royal family, and enjoy a late dinner together. 

Meals: B, L, D

Day 7: Karauli Palace & Agra

After breakfast, we’ll visit the Karauli Palace, built in the 18thcentury by Rajas Gopal Singh and identified by its bright colors. We’ll then make our way to Agra, and make a stop at a social-enterprise café that supports women who have experienced an acid attack. We’ll learn about the cultural underlyings of this atrocity and what is being done to change this practice that affects so many Indian women, particularly in rural areas.

After check in, rest up our Agra hotel and join for an sunset optional drink in the Old City with terrace views of the Taj Mahal. After, we’ll enjoy a home cooked dinner at our accommodations.

Meals: B, D

Day 8: Taj Mahal & Farewell Feast

Today’s a big day with our early morning visit to India’s iconic architectural symbol, the Taj Mahal. Built by Emperor Shahjehan in 1631 for his wife Mumtaj, it is the testament to an immortal love story. Both Shahjehan and his beloved are buried in peace there and visited by thousands of people every day. The Taj displays both Moghul architecture with intricate marble inlays, Persian gardens and fountains as well as Hindi alcoves and courtyards.

After, we’ll see the Agra Fort, an imposing ochre edifice built by Emperor Akbar and his descendents in the 16th and the 17th centuries. It is best known for its room where Shahjehan was placed under house arrest and where he died looking at the monument he made for his beloved. 

After we’ll head back to Delhi with some time to rest up in the afternoon. Dinner will be a feast of Parsi specialties, another historically important culture in Indian socity. Reflect over your experiences the past week and say goodbye to your new friends!

Meals: B, D

Day 9: Departure or Add-on

Depart any time today from Delhi (DEL) or continue your travels with one of our add-ons including a Tiger Safari, Mt. Everest Flight in Nepal, Sri Lanka or Bhutan.

Meals: B


Trip Price:

You'll be paired with a roommate of your same gender unless you request your own room.

$2595 per person - double occupancy 

+$495 per person - single occupancy "my own room" option

Add-on options:

Add-on options are available for after the trip with our fantastic, local guides. Please click to download info sheet and contact us with any additional questions. 

Mt. Everest Base Camp Flight (Nepal) - $350 per person, 1-day excursion. See Nepal page for additional custom nights in Kathmandu or Pokhara.

Sri Lanka - $850 per person, double occupancy, 5-day excursion

Bhutan - $1995 per person, single occupancy; $1695 per person double occupancy, 5-day excursion

Panna Reserve Tiger Safari

4 days in the state of beautiful state of Madhya Pradesh. Explore ancient Hindu carvings, go on a safari through teak forests to spot a Bengal tiger, and get a taste of rural life of India while enjoying a palace hotel stay beautiful eco lodge experience.  

$995 per person, double occupancy (booking together)

$1295 per person, single occupancy

Trip Does Not Include:

  • International airfare

  • Additional meals, excursions and activities not listed

  • Alcohol, unless specified

  • Required travel insurance


About Your Traverse Host:

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Ashley Blake is an avid traveler, cultural consultant and Traverse Journeys founder with a background in tourism,  entrepreneurship and project management. She is a fluent Spanish speaker with conversational Portuguese skills and is just starting to study Arabic. Ashley has worked and traveled in 45+ countries across Latin America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa including tours she has designed and led in Spain, Germany, Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua, Morocco, Croatia and China.

Ashley is passionate about connection, communication and coordination in order to link others with the opportunities and experiences that promote self-growth and community engagement.

Ashley first traveled in India in 2018 is super excited about India’s potential as a sustainable development-oriented destination through socially and environmentally sound tourism practices.


Terms & Conditions

Please refer to registration for complete terms.

Deposit & Payment
A $250 - $500 non-refundable deposit is required for each traveler to secure the booking (varies by trip). 50% remainder due 30 days from booking. Balance due 60 days prior to trip start

Payment
Payments can be made either by 1) full payment on booking 2) $250 - $500 deposit on booking + payment schedule per registration. Payments will be invoiced via e-mail for credit card or Paypal payment online. To pay by check, please indicate on registration and make check payable to Traverse Journeys and send to PO Box 40516, Austin, TX 78704.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations, less the deposit ($250 - $500), are refundable up to 90 days before trip start date.

Travel Insurance
Trip protection-style travel insurance that includes travel medical coverage is required for all trips with Traverse. The coverage must have a minimum $200,000 of medical coverage and include injury, medical, evacuation, and repatriation. Most domestic US health insurance plans do not cover international travel claims or provide a global network of contracted doctors and facilities. We want to make sure you are covered in case of an emergency or non-emergency illness or injury while abroad. Trip protection coverage protects the investment of your trip, including benefits for items such as trip interruption, trip cancellation, delays, baggage and personal effects, and more. We do not have a required coverage amount, but typically coverage is based on your trip costs. We partner with Wanderwell, a B-Corp Certified provider who can offer both Travel Medical and Trip Protection. If you choose to purchase through Wanderwell, you can buy the trip protection directly from our Traverse Journeys partner page provided in your Welcome Pack, and a portion of your purchase will be donated to WeForest through 1% For the Planet to aid with carbon offset for your trip. With Wanderwell, the TripProtector Classic and TripProtector Preferred plans meet our minimum requirements for coverage. Once insurance is obtained, a copy must be sent to Traverse. Failure to provide proof of insurance within 30 days of booking will result in trip booking suspension until proof of insurance has been provided.

Documents, Personal Identification, Vaccinations
Traveler is responsible for all required travel documents including passport, visas, entry or exit fees, and vaccinations. Traverse does not cover the cost or assist in obtaining any of the above, and reserves the right to collect information on all.