North India Women-only Cultural Tour

Tour Details

North India Women-only Cultural Tour


Dates: October 11 - 22, 2017
Number of Days: 12 + Varanasi add-on

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* Just announced! This tour will sell out. Don’t delay in registering!

Via the WanderWorld Foundation, a portion of your tour cost will go toward supporting the Sambhali Trust, a program in India that focuses on the development and empowerment of women and girls in India.
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HIGHLIGHTS of the North India Tour for Women
* Tour the iconic Taj Mahal, a truly breathtaking experience
* Visit during Diwali festivities
* Take part in cooking classes/demonstrations to learn about the intricacies of Indian cuisine
* Be welcomed for meals in the homes of several families
* Visit Sambhali Trust and know that part of your tour cost goes to helping Rajasthani women and girls
* Returning Wanderlusters receive a 5% discount on the land cost

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Note: cancellation fees apply. Please read our Booking Terms and Conditions before registering.

North India Women-only Cultural Tour

The tour begins on Wednesday, October 11. Though there are no activities on this day, your hotel is covered for this first night in India as it’s your arrival day in Delhi.

Day 1
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 – Arrive in Delhi
Meals: None

Upon arrival at the airport (usually late evening), you will be met by a driver and transferred to the hotel.

Overnight in Delhi at The Park Hotel or similar.

Day 2
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 – Delhi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

On this, our first full day in India, we’ll begin by touring Old Delhi. Here, the area is filled with street markets and bazaars found among a maze of narrow lanes. We’ll first visit Jama Masjid, India’s second largest mosque. From here, using a combination of walking and rickshaws, we’ll meander through bustling Chandni Chowk—a 350 year market area known for its variety of street stalls and shops.

REMOVE? We’ll start by visiting New Delhi with its wide tree-lined boulevards and upscale homes. We’ll see beautiful parks, the magnificent Parliament Building, Rashtrapati Bhavan (the official residence of the President of India) and India Gate. We’ll also see some of New Delhi’s more interesting sites, including Qutab Minar, the 72.5 meter tower that dates back to the 13th century, and Humayunʹs Tomb (built in the 16th century).Man in Rajasthan

After lunch at a South Indian restaurant, we’ll tour New Delhi with a visit to Humayun’s Tomb, a drive along the ceremonial avenue – Rajpath, past the imposing India Gate, Parliament House and the President’s Residence and would end with a drive through the Diplomatic Enclave.

REMOVE? We’ll then take a walking tour and see Old Delhi from a completely different perspective. We’ll explore the gulies (streets) of Shahjahanabad and take a walk through a local bazaar with a chance to experience a variety of snacks (chaat) and see some of the oldest shops producing these world-famous treats.

REMOVE? After the walking tour, we’ll be welcomed into a traditional Hindu home, a haveli, for a demonstration and tasting of home-style Indian vegetarian cooking. This is not a cooking class, rather an opportunity to visit a family’s home and to see traditional Mughal architecture and get a glimpse of daily life in the city.

Dinner and overnight in Delhi at The Park Hotel or similar.

starHIGHLIGHT! Today will be a fantastic introduction to not only the city of Delhi, but also to India itself as you’ll see a wide cross-section of life and culture and thoroughly enjoy the rickshaw ride through narrow lanes and alleys.

Day 3
Thursday, November 1, 2018 – Delhi – Jodhpur
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, we’ll depart for the airport for our flight to Jodhpur, where we’ll then check into our hotel and have lunch.

In the afternoon, we’ll visit Sambhali Trust.

NOTE – A portion of your tour cost will cover a donation made to Sambhali Trust. This organization provides underprivileged Rajasthani women and girls with educational, vocational and social opportunities to help them become confident and financially independent. They work specifically with Dalit (untouchable) women and girls, who usually have little or no access to education or basic health services.

Dinner and overnight in Jodhpur at Ratan Vilas or similar.

starHIGHLIGHT! You’ll be deeply touched by the amazing work done and women and children supported by the Sambhali Trust. Young girls are rescued from the street and given a place to stay while adult women are taught skills that help them provide for their family.

Day 4
Friday, November 2, 2018 – Jodhpur
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, we’ll tour Jodhpur, visiting Mehrangarh Fort and Jaswant Thada, a marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh. Some sections of the thin marble walls are translucent (often referred to as something of a miracle). We’ll also visit Umaid Bhawan Palace—the only Indian palace built in the Jodhpurmid-20th century and a good representation of Indo‐colonial style.

For lunch, we’ll visit the home of a family! We’ll see a typical Rajasthani home, learn about the life of this local family and enjoy traditional dishes that are prepared in every Jodhpur home.

In the afternoon, we’ll have time to visit the market, which is quite a happening place. Here we’ll find vendors selling clothes, sweets, fruits, bangles, handicrafts and groceries.

Tonight dinner is on your own so as to provide an opportunity for variety and flexibility. You might choose to have a light meal at the hotel restaurant or enjoy drinks by the beautiful pool.

Overnight in Jodhpur at Ratan Vilas or similar.

starHIGHLIGHT! Jodhpur, the second largest city in Rajasthan, is also called the blue city, due to the many blue-painted homes. It’s a city of palaces, forts and temples, and the residents have become known for their handicrafts.

Day 5
Saturday, November 3, 2018 – Jodhpur – Ranakpur – Udaipur
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, we’ll make the drive to charming Udaipur. This will be a long drive (six hours total), but will be broken up with a visit to Ranakpur to see the spectacular Jain temples located there.Ranakpur

We’ll then continue the drive to Udaipur where we’ll check into our hotel.

In the evening, we’ll have dinner at a fantastic lakeside restaurant with beautiful views of this small city and the palace.

Overnight in Udaipur at Lalit Laxmi Vilas Palace or similar.

starHIGHLIGHT! Ranakpur is home to spectacular Jain temples acclaimed for intricate carvings and considered the most important temples for Jain followers.

Day 6
Sunday, November 4, 2018 – Udaipur
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, we’ll take a sightseeing tour of Udaipur. This will include the Udaipur City Palace Complex, considered the largest palace complex in Rajasthan, Durbar Hall, the Crystal Gallery, Palace Museum and Jagdish Temple.

In the late morning, we’ll enjoy a boat ride on the placid waters of Lake Pichola (subject to the water level in the lake).

After visiting the temples, we’ll be treated to a four-hour cooking class with Shashi. We’ll learn many new skills from this amazing woman, including how to make chai, chutneys, curries and Indian breads. Yum!

Dinner is on your own (if you’re still hungry after today’s cooking class!).

Overnight in Udaipur at Lalit Laxmi Vilas Palace or similar.

starHIGHLIGHT! Udaipur is called The Venice of the East and you’ll soon see why. This enchanting city is surrounded by the Aravalli mountain range and is situated on the edge of three lakes.

Day 7
Monday, November 5, 2018 – Udaipur – Deogarh
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, we’ll drive to Deogarh (about 3.5 hours away). Along the way, we’ll stop at Eklingji and Nagda temples. Located on Lake Bageela (about 15 miles from Udaipur), these are built from sandstone and marble and are a Hindu pilgrimage site.

We’ll then drive onward to our accommodations for the night–a fortified palace from the 17th century. This luxury heritage hotel is surrounded by a small town on a hilltop in the heart of Rajasthan’s Aravalli Hills. We’ll have lunch and some time to relax at this historic family-owned hotel.

In the afternoon, we’ll take a Jeep safari to nearby villages. This will be a drive through natural surroundings where people can be seen tending their fields.

Around sunset, we’ll arrive at a lake that attracts migratory birds.

We’ll return to the hotel for dinner.

Overnight in Deogarh at Deogarh Mahal or similar.

starHIGHLIGHT! You’ll love rambling through the countryside in an open-air jeep and enjoying hors d’oeuvres lakeside!

Day 8
Tuesday, November 6, 2018 – Deogarh – Jaipur
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, we’ll depart for Jaipur (about 5.5 hours away). Along the way, we’ll stop for lunch.

Jaipur is a wonderful city known for its shopping opportunities including fabrics, gems, jewelry and handicrafts. After arriving in Jaipur, we may have an opportunity to visit a handicraft factory or two or, if you prefer, you’ll have leisure time to explore on your own.

Dinner and overnight in Jaipur at Shahpura House or similar.

Day 9
Wednesday, November 7, 2018 – Jaipur (Diwali festivities)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today, we’ll take a full-day tour of Jaipur, starting with the Amber Fort. This is an extremely well-preserved building and is a delight to explore. We’ll have a chance to visit the Hall of Victory that glitters with mirrors, Jai Mahal and the Temple of Kali.india doorways

After lunch at a nearby restaurant, the city tour will continue with stops at the Jantar Mantar (the Astronomical Observatory) and the Maharaja’s City Palace.

In the evening, we’ll celebrate one of India’s biggest festivals, Diwali! We’ll have a delightful happy hour at the hotel (complete with henna and saris!) and attend a puja (prayer) with the hotel’s owners. The evening is capped off with fireworks.

Overnight in Jaipur at Shahpura House or similar.

starHIGHLIGHT! Today will be filled with many highlights, but celebrating Diwali will sure to be top of the list for this tour. This festival signifies goodwill and the victory of good over evil, light over darkness. Earthenware oil lamps are lit to guide Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, into people’s homes and answer their prayers for a successful year ahead. We’ll all end the day with much luck for the coming year!

Day 10
Thursday November 8, 2018 – Jaipur – Fatehpur Sikri – Agra
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, we’ll drive to Agra (approximately 4.5 hours), stopping at Fatehpur Sikri along the way. Also known as the Red Sandstone City, Emperor Akbar built his capital and palace here in the late 16th century.

We’ll stop for lunch along the way and then, upon arrival in Agra, we’ll check into the hotel and have a chance to rest before we head out again.

In the late afternoon, we’ll visit Agra Fort, a massive structure with 70-foot-high, 1.5-mile-long walls. The fort encompasses a collection of well-preserved buildings. Shah Jahan (who built the Taj Mahal) was deposed by his son and imprisoned in Agra Fort where he remained until his death. Sadly, he spent the rest of his life looking out along the river at the Taj, the final resting place for his wife.

Dinner and overnight in Agra at ITC Mughal Luxury Hotel or similar.

Taj MahalDay 11
Friday, November 9, 2018 – Agra – Delhi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today we’ll rise early for coffee and then a visit to the legendary Taj Mahal for sunrise, the best time to photograph this mausoleum.

After returning to the hotel for a full breakfast, we’ll check out and then drive the four or so hours to Delhi.

Dinner is on your own and we’ll overnight, once again, at The Park Hotel or similar.

starHIGHLIGHT! No visit to India is complete without seeing the Taj Mahal. Built in the mid-1600s, this ivory-marble marvel might literally take your breath away.

Day 12
Saturday, November 10, 2018 – Delhi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

This will be the last full day in India for some of you.

This morning, we’ll take a tour with the Salaam Baalak Trust, an organization that helps knock down barriers for street children and other children marginalized by society. We’ll go on an hour-long guided walk led by a young person who knows the streets of Old Delhi first hand, and who has become a trained guide.

While this is a look at India’s sadder side, it will be an enlightening way to leave the country as you’ll have a better understanding of how people survive day by day. All proceeds go directly to helping the Trust that puts together this tour. (Note that this is not a slum tour, but a walk through the Paharganj neighborhood.)

We’ll have the rest of the day free for last-minute souvenir shopping, relaxing or a massage at the hotel. For those of you departing tonight, you’ll have access to your room until 6 p.m. while those going to Varanasi will spend one more night at this hotel.

If you are adding Varanasi on to your itinerary, the add-on includes this additional night in Delhi at The Park Hotel or similar, but does not include dinner.


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Add-on Option: Varanasi

Cost includes one night in Delhi, 2 nights in Varanasi.

Day 13
Sunday, November 11, 2018 – Delhi – Varanasi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we’ll check out of our hotel in Delhi and head to the airport for our flight to Varanasi that departs in the late morning. Once in Varanasi, we’ll be met by our local guide, have lunch and check in to the hotel.

We’ll have some time in the afternoon to explore on our own or to rest. Varanasi, situated on the banks of the sacred Ganges River, has been a center of learning and civilization for over 2,000 years. The hotel is close to the Ganges River so if you want to venture out, this should be fascinating!

varanasi babajiIn the evening, the group will be led by a guide on a walk to Dashaswamedh Ghat. Along the way, we’ll meander through a crowded local market where we’ll find spices, cloths, fruits, pickles, vegetables and more sold in the shops and on hand-pulled carts.

At the ghat, we’ll find the nightly aarti (prayer), a ceremony that includes huge lamps set ablaze alongside the river. We’ll also see many pilgrims as well as a priest chanting hymns. This will be a mesmerizing and truly spiritual event.

Because this will be a late night at the aarti, you can either have an early or late dinner on your own.

Overnight in Varanasi at Hotel Ganges View or similar.

starHIGHLIGHT! The aarti is a Hindu devotional hymn normally sung at the conclusion of any religious ceremony or puja, or simply by itself at sunrise or sunset. This is an incredibly spiritual event and one you won’t forget.

Day 14
Monday, November 12, 2018 – Varanasi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

In the early morning, we’ll walk to a nearby ghat and take a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, this time to see the cremation ghats and to witness the long-held traditions of one of the worldʹs oldest and most important religions. We’ll enjoy sunrise while boating on the river.

Afterward, we’ll make our way back to the hotel for breakfast.

You’ll want to take time in the morning to walk along the ghats on your own or to wander the many narrow alleys that lie behind the hotel. There’s much to see here in this fascinating city!

After lunch at the hotel, we’ll drive to Sarnath, one of the most sacred places for Buddhists. This is where Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. We’ll visit the famous Dhamaekha Stupa, Moolgandha Kuti Vihar and the Sarnath Museum, which has a rich collection of antiques from ancient India.

Tonight we’ll be hosted by another local family and enjoy dinner at their beautiful home perched along the Ganges.

Overnight in Varanasi at Hotel Ganges View or similar.

starHIGHLIGHT! Though it’s been called many names over the years, Sarnath is known by all as the place where Buddha gave his first dharma teachings. We’ll visit Deer Park and other holy sights here.

Day 15
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 – Varanasi – Delhi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast we’ll take a walking tour of Old Varanasi. While our hosts of this tour are Westerners, they have long lived in the area and are very educated on the city’s history and culture. This just may be one of the very best walking tours you’ve ever taken!

We’ll have lunch back at the hotel before transferring to the airport for our flight to Delhi that departs in the mid-afternoon.

Upon arrival in Delhi, a guide will meet us and escort us to a nearby hotel to wash up, change and get ready for our evening flights home. We’ll also make time for a final dinner this evening before leaving India.

** If you are interested in booking additional nights in Delhi, we can help with this.

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* Just announced! This tour will sell out. Don’t delay in registering!

Costs

India Main Tour Costs:
Tour:
Single supplement:
In-country flight:

Varanasi Add-on Costs:
Tour:
Single supplement:
In-country flights:

Interested in sharing the cost with another fabulous traveler? We do our best to pair up our tour participants so you can avoid the single supplement. However, priority is given to the first deposits received. If you’re interested in sharing, please send in your deposit as soon as possible in order to take advantage of this benefit. (Why a single supplement? See this FAQ page for an explanation.)

Booking and Payment Details

Price includes: 11 nights accommodation in lovely 3- to 5- star hotels, sightseeing entrance fees, 28 meals, English-speaking guides, tips for guides and drivers, and bottled water during transport, sightseeing and at meals.

Price does not include: International flights to/from Delhi, India visa, evacuation insurance (highly recommended), some meals, souvenirs, personal purchases (such as books and snacks) and beverages other than water.

This trip is limited to 15 women and requires a deposit of $800 to secure your spot.

Minimum bookings required: 8 people (minimum reached!)

Final payment due no later than August 11, 2017.

It’s easy to register…

We love checks as it helps keep our costs down by avoiding pesky credit card fees. If you’re able to pay the deposit or full amount by check or wire transfer, we’ll not only love you more but we’ll send you a free copy of one of Beth’s books (your choice which one). ** U.S. residents receive a print copy, international residents receive a PDF.

Here’s our mailing address:

WanderTours
PO Box 16102
Seattle, WA 98116

Of course, you can pay by credit card as well. Simply click on the Register Now button below and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you add your debit or credit card information for the $800 deposit. Though this goes through PayPal, you do not need a PayPal account. Subsequent payments may be made through PayPal or by check (see above for our wonderful offer!). 🙂


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Note: cancellation fees apply. Please read our Booking Terms and Conditions before registering.
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The fine print


North India 2017 Tour Registration Form (PDF)

North India 2017 Tour Itinerary (PDF)

We recommend Insure My Trip for travel and/or evacuation insurance.

For questions, contact Beth at:
beth (at) wandertours (dot) com
888-818-9918

beth Whitman bali Trip Escort
Beth Whitman
Beth has been traveling to India since the late 80s and has traveled extensively from north to south, east to west. Over the years, she’s returned both on her own and with groups.

She’s thrilled to be sharing “her” India with this group.

Beth is the author of the Wanderlust and Lipstick guides including The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo and For Women Traveling to India. She is also the publisher and founder of Wanderlust and Lipstick and WanderTours and hosts the Be Bold podcast which can be found through your favorite podcast provider.

She is also the founder of the WanderWorld Foundation.

Related links:
India photo gallery