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Classic Northeast: Sacred Ganges & Holy Cities

Tailor Made Itinerary

14 Days From A$7,308

Overview

This offbeat adventure focuses on the beauty of India and its people, experiencing first-hand the daily life of different communities and visiting fascinating cities rich with history and culture. Get lost in the stunning foothills of the Himalaya, discover remarkable architecture with visits to famous UNESCO sites, and explore the hustle and bustle of some of the most vibrant city streets in all of India.

Starting in Kolkata ...
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TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore Kolkata’s cultural and architectural highlights and get lost in its colourful backstreets
  • Travel to the historic and holy Buddhist town of Bodhgaya
  • Take a sunrise boat trip on the Ganges River and explore the lanes of the ancient city of Varanasi
  • Explore the sacred town of Allahabad and see the confluence of the Yamuna and Ganges Rivers
  • Visit the fascinating city of Lucknow, famous for its unique architecture and fine cuisine
  • Stay in the lush foothills of the Himalaya and witness the evening aarti on the banks of Ganges in Rishikesh

ITINERARY

This is a suggested itinerary. Our experts have all travelled widely in the region and will be happy to tailor any of our itineraries to suit your tastes, or build a trip from scratch.

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DAY 1: ARRIVE KOLKATA

DAY 1: ARRIVE KOLKATA

The adventure begins in Kolkata (Calcutta), once the capital of British India and one of the largest and most vibrant cities in India. Home to one of the largest museums in Asia and a city with a proud tradition in cultural and political thinking, Kolkata is known for its cuisine and colourful markets, and is one of India's truly great cities, with a rich mix of culture, Bengali tradition and nationalistic fervour that still retains a touch of colonial architecture that harks back to its days of the Raj.

The Oberoi Grand

DAY 2: KOLKATA

DAY 2: KOLKATA

Enjoy a guided tour of Calcutta (Kolkata) and discover one of the most culturally fascinating cities in India. Start early with a visit to the vibrant Mallick Ghat Flower Market, which offers a colourful, scent-filled overload near the banks of the River Howrah. Then make your way to see the clay model-makers’ haven of Kumartuli, where dramatic life-size idols are crafted out of river clay and straw, before continuing on to the impressive Parshwanath Temple (Jain temple) for a visual treat. Finally, explore the colonial side of the city, visiting the beautiful St John's Church and the fine architecture of B.B.D. Bagh's old buildings. End the afternoon on the banks of the river, where along with a specialist guide, you will climb aboard your boat to take a private gentle cruise down the Hooghly, a tributary of the Ganges River. 

The Oberoi Grand
Breakfast

DAY 3: KOLKATA - BODHGAYA

DAY 3: KOLKATA - BODHGAYA

Today you will be transferred from your hotel to Kolkata airport for a short flight to the holy Buddhist town of Bodhgaya. On arrival at Bodhgaya you will collected from the airport and transferred a short distance to your hotel. Enjoy some time to rest and relax in preparation for more exploring tomorrow.

Breakfast

DAY 4: BODHGAYA

DAY 4: BODHGAYA

Today you will get the chance to explore one of India's most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites, said to be the site where Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment. Here you can spend some time at the renowned Mahabodhi Temple which houses a 25-metre-tall statue of Buddha, and visit the Bodhi Tree located nearby, thought to be a direct descendant of the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment.

Breakfast

DAY 5: BODHGAYA - VARANASI

DAY 5: BODHGAYA - VARANASI

Today you will be transferred to Varanasi, a journey of 7 hours. En route stop at the tomb of Sher Shah Suri at Sasaram to explore one of India’s finest Indio-Islamic tombs. The mausoleum of Sher Shah Suri dates from the 16th century and is set on a small island in the lake. This exquisite tomb was built for Sher Shah Suri, a provisional warlord who defeated the great Mughal Emperor Humayun. After visiting Sasaram, continue your journey to Varanasi.

Brijrama Palace
Breakfast

DAY 6: VARANASI

DAY 6: VARANASI

You’re up early today for a beautiful dawn boat ride on the river Ganges, the holiest river in India. Head back onto land for an insight into the colourful and lively holy city of Varanasi. Meander through the streets and lanes of the old town which are strewn with temples (there are approximately 2000 in Varanasi alone), while your guide points out places of interest. The main temple in the city is the Golden Temple, which glitters through the alleys, but even though you cannot access this, your guide will show you the best spot to peer over the walls for a view. From here, head out of the central old town to the 'Sarnath', where Buddha preached his first sermon. This is an important site for Buddhists and, as such, they come here on pilgrimages from all over Asia. In the evening, witness the Ganga Aarti ceremony in the Ghats. The ritual is performed in the three holy cities of Haridwar, Rishikesh and Varanasi to offer fire, in the form of floating candles, to the Goddess Ganga. Afterwards, retire to your hotel for the night.

Brijrama Palace
Breakfast

DAY 7: VARANASI

DAY 7: VARANASI

Heading north up the banks of the holy River Ganges, this morning you will have the opportunity to explore a lesser-known part of the city on foot. Home to fascinating markets, beautiful hidden temples and chaotic colourful backstreets, this is a wonderful way to explore another side to the city and learn more about daily life in this area, also accessing some of the city’s most historic buildings that offer some truly breath-taking views across the city and holy river.

Brijrama Palace
Breakfast

DAY 8: VARANASI – ALLAHABAD

DAY 8: VARANASI – ALLAHABAD

Today you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to Allahabad, the holy town at the confluence of the Yamuna and Ganges Rivers. This meeting point of the rivers, the Sangam, is believed to have great soul cleansing powers and is a major pilgrimage site. It’s even more holy as the invisible Saraswati River is believed to join the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers at this point and every 12 years is the scene of the extraordinary Kumbh Mela. Later today with your guide, you will explore the highlights of Allahabad, which includes Anand Bhawan, Mayo Hall and Khurso Bridge, and in the late afternoon you can soak up the atmosphere by the river.

Hotel Kanha Shyam
Breakfast

DAY 9: ALLAHABAD - LUCKNOW

DAY 9: ALLAHABAD - LUCKNOW

Today you will be transferred to Lucknow, a journey of 5 hours. After the long drive you can relax on arrival and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. 

Lebua Lucknow
Breakfast

DAY 10: LUCKNOW

DAY 10: LUCKNOW

Today with your guide offers the opportunity to discover the stunning historical and cultural sites of Lucknow. On the tour you will get to visit La Martiniere College, the British Residency which also houses a small museum and gardens, continuing to explore the amazing Imambaras - Bara Imambara and Hussainabad Imambara, two of the most the iconic architectural monuments of Lucknow. Next head on to Rumi Gate and the Dhobi Ghat, before sampling some of Lucknow's famous kebabs. After lunch continue to Dilkusha Palace and Saadat Ali & Begum Tomb, before continuing to colourful Chowk Bazaar, the oldest market of Lucknow, located in the city’s atmospheric old quarter. 

Lebua Lucknow
Breakfast

DAY 11: LUCKNOW – RISHIKESH

DAY 11: LUCKNOW – RISHIKESH

After breakfast you will be taken on a special heritage walk exploring Kaiserbagh Palace, ending with a cup of tea at Kotwara House. This afternoon is then free to relax or explor at your leisure, before transferring to the railway station for the overnight train to Rishikesh.

Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 12: RISHIKESH

DAY 12: RISHIKESH

This morning you will be met at Rishikesh railway station and transferred to your hotel with the rest of the morning and afternoon at leisure. This evening once again you will experience the Ganga Aarti, this time in the less-visited Rishikesh. This is an unforgettably spiritual experience, generally beginning at sunset and lasting for about an hour to an hour and a half. The performance of the aarti by the Guru, the singing of bhajans (hymns) by the saffron robed disciples, the fragrance of incense and camphor as it permeates the air, the mesmerising light of myriad diyas, the sound of the rushing river, the setting sun mirrored in sparkling ripples on the flowing water and the intensity of the people as they sway in unison, all combine to create a surreal atmosphere of peace that pervades every sense and remains with you long after you have left Rishikesh.

Taj Rishikesh Resort & Spa
Breakfast

DAY 13: RISHIKESH

DAY 13: RISHIKESH

Today you can enjoy some time at leisure to relax or explore Rishikesh, also known as the 'place of sages'. Its many ashrams – some clearly humbly ascetic, with others verging on opulent - continue to draw devotees and followers from around the world. The whole place is considered to be sacred, as it is believed that meditation here leads to attainment of salvation. There are some wonderful activities on offer, including river rafting, bird-watching walks, yoga classes, market visits, visiting the Beatles Ashram, mountain hikes, and many more. According to popular Hindu legend, it was said that Goddess Ganga was created when Lord Shiva released the mighty river from the locks of his hair. The River Ganga, after flowing from its source at Gaumukh at the edge of the Gangotri Glacier, enters the Gangetic Plain for the first time at Haridwar.

Taj Rishikesh Resort & Spa
Breakfast

DAY 14: RISHIKESH - DELHI

DAY 14: RISHIKESH - DELHI

Ending your journey, you travel back to Delhi by train this morning. On arrival in the Indian capital you will met and transferred to the airport in time to catch your onward flight

Breakfast

SUGGESTED ACCOMMODATION

Luxury

Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Luxury

Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience

Accommodation listed here is intended as a guide only, to give you a taste of what we can do. Our experts can tailor any aspect of this itinerary and accommodation to suit your budget and tastes.

GUIDELINE PRICE & WHAT’S INCLUDED

CLASSIC NORTHEAST: SACRED GANGES & HOLY CITIES (14 DAYS) A$7,308

MEALS

As specified in the itinerary, sampling some of the country's finest cuisine.

TRANSPORT

Private air-conditioned vehicles with experienced, dedicated drivers.

ENTRANCE FEES

Tours and admission fees, including tickets specified in the itinerary.

EXPERT TEAM

Licensed English-speaking guides and a support team available 24/7.

ACCOMMODATION

As specified in the itinerary, using some of our favourite local properties.

ACCOMMODATION

Ultra - The best of the best, the ultimate indulgence
Luxury - Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium - Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior - Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple - No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

If you book international flights through Wild Frontiers.

This itinerary is aimed to give you an idea of what we can offer. The price shown above is based on two people travelling outside of peak periods. As this itinerary is only a suggestion and can be tailor-made to suit your interests and budget, your final price may differ.

START PLANNING YOUR TRIP

Our team of experts have a wealth of knowledge and experience to help you plan your adventure of a lifetime.

WHEN TO GO

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

Meet the expert, Shalmali

Shalmali is our Indian Subcontinent expert, who has travelled extensively in the region.

Speak to Shalmali by calling
+44 (0)20 3944 6258

India rewards the traveller with its rich variety of unforgettable experiences, diversity of culture, stunning wealth of architecture, varied landscapes, delicious cuisines, fine textiles and crafts, colourful festivals, and wild places teeming with wildlife.

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