North India Women-only Cultural Tour

Tour Details

North India Women-only Cultural Tour

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Type: Women-only Tours
Dates: October 30 - November 10, 2018 + Varanasi add-on
Number of Days: 12 + Varanasi add-on
Cost: $5,200+

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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 a cooking class with a dynamic woman to learn about the intricacies of Indian cuisine
* Be welcomed for meals in the homes of local families
* Visit the Sambhali Trust and know that part of your tour cost goes to help Rajasthani women and girls
* Returning Wanderlusters receive a 5% discount on the land cost

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Register now via PayPal by clicking on the Register Now button. You can sign in as a guest and do not need a PayPal account.




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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 Tuesday, October 30. 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 we’ll take a rickshaw ride and make our way through bustling Chandni Chowk—a 350-year-old market area known for its variety of street stalls and shops.

We’ll have lunch in the haveli (home) of a local family where we’ll sample a variety of home-cooked Indian foods. This will be a fantastic introduction to the cuisine of the country!

Man in Rajasthan

After lunch, we’ll tour New Delhi with a visit to Humayun’s Tomb and then take a drive along Rajpath where we’ll see the imposing India Gate, Parliament House and the President’s Residence.

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 the Sambhali Trust, an organization that helps disadvantaged women and children through a variety of programs.

NOTE – A portion of your tour cost will cover a donation made to the 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. To date, this 10-year-old organization has helped more than 10,000 women and children.

Dinner and overnight in Jodhpur at Ratan Vilas or similar.

starHIGHLIGHT! You’ll be deeply touched by the amazing work done for the women and children who are 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 a handicraft or textile factory where we’ll find some exquisite items that will make wonderful souvenirs.

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 enjoy a boat ride on the placid waters of Lake Pichola (subject to the water level in the lake). We’ll then 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!

In the afternoon, 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.

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! Shashi has an amazing story about her rise to become one of the most popular cooking instructors in India. Your heart will be warmed and your stomach full after a visit to her kitchen!

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 heritage property is surrounded by a small town 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 the city (where you’ll see people preparing for Diwali) as well as through the countryside where farmers can be seen tending their fields.

Around sunset, we’ll visit a lake where we’ll stop for happy hour treats. We’ll then 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 a rooftop dinner and fireworks.

Overnight in Jaipur at Shahpura House or similar.

starHIGHLIGHT! Today will be filled with many highlights, but celebrating Diwali will surely be at the 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 end the day with much luck for the coming year!

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

After breakfast, we’ll drive to Agra (approximately 4.5 hours), stopping for lunch along the way. 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 the legendary Taj Mahal for sunset. We’ll have time to walk around and through this white marble memorial that took 22 years to complete. Its stunning design and perfect symmetry is also noted for some of the best inlay work ever seen.

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

HIGHLIGHT! 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.

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

After breakfast, 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.

Afterward, we’ll 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.

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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 take 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.

In the afternoon, we’ll visit Haus Khas, a quiet neighborhood filled with cafes and shops. We’ll have a traditional lunch here as well as some time to wander the streets for last-minute souvenir shopping. We’ll return to the hotel in the afternoon where you may have time to relax by the pool or get a massage. 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, two nights in Varanasi.

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

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, we’ll take a boat ride along the Ganges for the evening aarti (prayer). This is a nightly ceremony alongside the river that includes chanting, the ringing of bells and movement of huge lamps. We’ll also see many pilgrims who come to watch this event, which is mesmerizing and truly spiritual.

In lieu of dinner, we’ll have snacks served on the boat this evening.

Overnight in Varanasi at Guleria Kothi Hotel 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 enjoy another boat ride on the Ganges, this time at sunrise. We’ll float by the cremation ghats to witness the long-held traditions of Hinduism, one of the worldʹs oldest and most important religions.

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

After breakfast, you’ll have time on your own to walk along the ghats or through the many narrow alleys that lie behind the hotel. There’s much to see here in this fascinating city!

After lunch, 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 Guleria Kothi Hotel 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 the 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: $5,200
Single supplement: $1,050
In-country flight: $175 (approximate)

Varanasi Add-on Costs:
Tour: $925
Single supplement: $350
In-country flights: $360 (approximate)

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, 29 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, Indian visa, travel and evacuation insurance (highly recommended), some meals, souvenirs, personal purchases (such as books and snacks) and beverages other than water.

This trip is limited to 16 women and requires a deposit of $800 to secure your spot.

Minimum bookings required: 8 people (if minimum not reached, tour will still “go” with a local guide only, rather than a tour escort such as Debi)

Final payment due no later than August 30, 2018.

It’s easy to register…

We love checks as it helps keep our costs down by avoiding 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!). 🙂

Register now via PayPal by clicking on the Register Now button. You can sign in as a guest and do not need a PayPal account.




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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 2018 Tour Registration Form (online)

North India 2018 Women-only Cultural Tour – Itinerary (PDF)

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

For questions, contact Beth at:
beth (at) wandertours (dot) com
206-317-1860

Trip Escort
Debi Goldman
Debi has a long history of travel to India, including living in Varanasi for six years. During her years as the U.S. Executive Director of the Tibetan Nuns Project she visited the subcontinent on countless occasions, including several in which she spent time with the Dalai Lama.

She has extensive experience leading tours and programs all over India. Most recently she spent six years leading service learning and study abroad programs with numerous universities and organizations, including Princeton University, Long Island University and gap year programs with Where There Be Dragons. In short, we’re lucky she’s available during this time period to escort our group of ladies on what will be a transformative tour of North India!

You can hear directly from Debi by listening to Beth’s conversation with her on the Be Bold Podcast.

Related links:
India photo gallery