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Nepal Holidays Kathmandu Himalayas Tiger Safari Chitwan Annapurna Trek

Nepal + India: Himalayas + Chitwan + Golden Triangle


IPX14K
13 NIGHTS
FROM £2,695
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Combine a flight over the majestic Himalayas with the cultural sights of Kathmandu in Nepal & a tiger safari in Chitwan National Park. Then fly to neighbouring India to explore the cultural sights of the Golden Triangle - Delhi, Agra & Jaipur - including the remarkable Taj Mahal & Amber Fort. Private driver, English speaking city guides, all light aircraft flights, elephant safari & specified sightseeing included.
Nepal India Golden Triangle Chitwan Kathmandu Delhi Jaipur Goa
• 
Kathmandu
• 
Himalayas Flight
• 
Chitwan National Park
• 
Delhi
• 
Agra
• 
Taj Mahal
• 
Fatehpur Sikri
• 
Jaipur
• 
Amber Fort
• 
Family Dinner
• 
Kathmandu
• 
Himalayas Flight
• 
Chitwan National Park
• 
Delhi
• 
Agra
• 
Taj Mahal
• 
Fatehpur Sikri
• 
Jaipur
• 
Amber Fort
• 
Family Dinner
Day 1
You will be met at Kathmandu Airport and transferred to your hotel in this spectacular Himalayan country that is famous for trekking and is home to the highest mountain in the world - the mighty Mount Everest.
 
Check into your hotel amidst the intoxicating sights and sounds of this capital city that was devastated by an earthquake in 2015, but is now slowly recovering.
Day 2
Today you will be introduced to the highlights of Kathmandu, as you explore its ancient UNESCO World Heritage sites with your guide.
 
We start with a visit to the sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site of Swayambhunath (meaning 'sublime trees'), the oldest Buddhist stupa in the Kathmandu Valley, that is said to be over 2,000 years. The main structure is a solid hemisphere of brick and earth, supporting a lofty copper-gilted conical spire. Painted on the four-sided base of the spire are the all-seeing eyes of Lord Buddha. The hill is a mosaic of small shrines and pagoda temples and, as many monkeys live here, it is also known as Monkey Temple. From here you will have a perfect vantage point over the Kathmandu Valley.
 
We continue to the Hindu pilgrimage town of Pashupatinath, situated 3 miles (5 km) northeast of the Kathmandu Valley. Here you can view one of the holiest Hindu temples, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is built in a pagoda style, with a gilded roof and richly carved silver doors. Behind the temple are the cremation grounds, and here you will see many Sadhus (holy men) with their matted hair and ash rubbed on their bodies. Visitors can view the temple from the eastern bank of the sacred Bagmati River, as non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the temple.
 
Our next stop is the stupa at Boudhanath, the largest Buddhist temple in the world. Built by King Man Deva on the advice of the goddess Mani Jogini, its octagonal base is inset with prayer wheels. The shrine is ringed by houses of Lamas (priests), with four pairs of eyes looking in the four cardinal directions - keeping watch for righteous behaviour and human prosperity. Here you can see Tibetan monks involved in their chanting rituals and daily life.
 
After lunch (own account) we explore the capital city of Kathmandu - known locally as Kantipur. Here we visit Durbar Square, with its array of temples overlooked by the Hanuman Dhoka Palace - the ancient place of Nepalese royalty. Although many of these structures collapsed during the devastating earthquake of 2015, not all areas were affected and the soul of the city is to be found in its backstreets, where you can soak up the local cultural and artistic heritage. Most of the people are Hindu but there are also many Buddhist, as the the Buddha was born in Lumbini, when this country was under the control of India.
Day 3
Rise early this morning to transfer to the domestic airport for a thrilling flight over the majestic Himalaya Mountains.
 
The flights last 1-hour and will take you close to Mount Everest, flying at 25,000 ft (7,600 m). Departures begin at dawn as the earlier flights usually provide the best views, with the snow peaks change colour as the sun rises and the cloud cover is still low. As the day warms ups the cloud cover rises.
 
The Himalayas are the youngest and highest mountain range in the world, extending for over 1,500 miles (2,400 km) across the top of the Indian sub-continent. The central section that runs through Nepal has 1,310 peaks over 20,000 ft (6,000 m). Eight of these peaks are over 26,000 ft (8,000 m) - Sagarmatha (popularly known as Mount Everest), Kangchanjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, ChoOyu, Manaslu, Dhaulagiri and Annapurna.
 
The remainder of your day is free to explore Kathmandu with your guide. Although Durbar Square was destroyed by the earthquake, many areas were not affected and the soul of the city is to be found in its backstreets, where you can soak up the local cultural and artistic heritage. Most of the local people are Hindu but there are also many Buddhist, as the Buddha was born in this country when it was under the control of India.
Day 4
Transfer to Kathmandu Airport for your light aircraft flight to Bharatpur, where you will be met and transferred 1-hour to your jungle lodge situated outside Chitwan National Park.
 
Chitwan National Park (meaning 'Heart of the Forest') is one of the few remaining undisturbed sections of the Terai Plains that extend along the southern foothills of the Himalayas - all the way through India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. Together with adjacent Parsa Wildlife Reserve in the east, and India's Valmiki National Park to the south, this huge protected area of grassland, marshland and subtropical forest covers an area of over 1,370 square miles (3,549 sq km) and ranges in altitude from 330 ft (100 m) in the river valleys to over 2,600 ft (800 m) in the Churia Hills.
 
Check into your lodge in this region that is rich in flora and fauna.
Day 5
Rise early today for an exciting Elephant Back Safari into Chitwan National Park.
 
Chitwan (meaning ‘Heart of the Jungle’) was the first national park established in Nepal and its river plains and jungle provide sanctuary for one of the largest populations of the rare Bengal tiger, along with one-horned rhinos, fish-eating Gharial crocodiles, wild elephants, leopards and sloth bears. However the dense jungle, tall grass and nocturnal hours kept by many animals make spotting wildlife difficult.
 
68 species of mammals have been recorded in this park including deer, wild boar, bison and monkeys. Early morning is the best time to track tigers and other wildlife, but be aware that it is extremely difficult to find tigers in this national park and sightings are rare.
 
During the warm summer months, before lunch we visit the elephant stables to watch the elephants bathing in the river. Weather permitting and subject to water levels, in the afternoon we embark on a Boat Safari to view aquatic birds, crocodiles and other wildlife from the river.
 
In the evening enjoy a slide presentation on Chitwan National Park and its wildlife.
 
Note: Jeep safaris are prohibited during the monsoon season (June to September). Wear warm clothes, including woolly hats and gloves, to protect you from the wind chill in the early morning.
Day 6
This morning we set out early on a Jeep Safari to identify birds and searching for wildlife in the grasslands, riverine forests, dense sal forests and oxbow lakes of Chitwan National Park.
 
We also visit a local village to learn more about their lifestyle.
 
In the afternoon we drive to Kasara, the headquarter of Chitwan National Park, to visit their gharial (fish-eating crocodile) hatchery project. We then drive through dense sal forest to the oxbow lakes (Lami Tal & Tamar Tal) where, weather permitting, we silently glide down the Rapti River in a traditional dug-out canoe and view aquatic birds, crocodiles and any animals that may come down to the riverbank to drink.
 
In the evening farmers from a nearby villages will entertain you with a show of their skills in traditional Tharu stick dancing.
 
Note: Jeep safaris are not permitted during monsoon season (June to September).
Day 7
This morning transfer 1-hour to Bharatpur Airport for your light aircraft flight to Kathmandu.
 
You will be met at Kathmandu Airport and transferred to your hotel in this capital city.
Day 8
Transfer to Kathmandu Airport for your flight to Delhi.
 
You will be met at Delhi Airport and transferred to your hotel in this bustling city.
Day 9
Today enjoy a full day tour of modern New Delhi and the 17th century walled city of Old Delhi, which came to prominence when Shah Jahan moved his capital here from Agra.
 
In Old Delhi enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through 300-year old Chandni Chowk market, a maze of lanes crowded with noisy shops selling an extraordinary variety of items and foods, and past the Jamia Masjid (or Friday Mosque), the largest in India, and drive past the imposing walls & battlements of the Red Fort, once the most opulent palace in the Mughal Empire. We continue to the Raj Ghat - the simple but moving memorial on the site where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated.
 
In the afternoon our tour of New Delhi starts with a visit the Qutub Minar, an ancient victory tower built of red sandstone and marble in 1199 and still the tallest minaret in India. With its imposing cylindrical towers and surrounding ruins, it is today a World Heritage site. Our next stop is Humayun's Tomb, the beautiful mausoleum of the Mughul emperor Akbar, that inspired the Taj Mahal.
 
We drive along the Rajpath - the capital's broadest avenue - where you will see the imposing arch of the India Gate war memorial, Parliament House, the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential residence built for the Viceroy of India, and the government buildings on Raisina Hill.
Day 10
This morning your guide will take you across the river to view the Taj Mahal at sunrise.
 
After returning to your hotel for breakfast, we visit the much quieter Itmad-ud-Daulah - fondly known as the "Baby Taj" as this mausoleum, built to honour the grandfather of Mumtaz, was the forerunner of the Taj Mahal.
 
Afterwards we travel 1-hour to the magnificent red sandstone royal city of Fatehpur Sikri, built by the emperor Mohammad Akbar as the capital of the Mughal Empire. The city was abandoned due to water shortage, when the capital was moved north to Delhi, and in more recent years the fort has provided a dramatic backdrop to several famous films.
 
We then drive 3-hours to Jaipur which is the capital of Rajasthan. Check into your hotel in this chaotic and colourful "Pink City" - home to over 3 million people.
 
Note: At Fatehpur Sikri there is a short transfer from the car park in a local bus, that will be very full and will not be air-conditioned.
Day 11
Today enjoy a tour of the city of Jaipur, which has been declared a World Heritage Site due to its cultural heritage.
 
Our first stop is to view the magnificent Hawa Mahal (the "Palace of the Winds") designed in the form of the crown of the Hindu god Krishna. This five-storey frontage looks like a bee's honeycomb with 953 small windows, each decorated with intricate latticework so that the court ladies living in secluded purdah could watch royal processions, without being seen themselves. Built of red and pink sandstone, it is particularly striking early in the morning when lit by the sunrise.
 
We continue to the Amber Fort - another World Heritage Site. This magnificent royal palace was built from pale yellow & pink sandstone and white marble and is divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard. You will enter via the main courtyard (Jaleb Chowk) where returning armies would display their war booty and women could view them from the veiled windows of the palace. Once inside explore the amazing Palace of Mirrors and Hall of Public Audience.
 
We then visit the Jantar Mantar Observatory, the largest stone and marble crafted observatory in the world and also a World Heritage site. It is the best preserved of five observatories built by Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur. It has 17 large instruments, many of them still in working condition.
 
Our day finishes with a visit to the nearby City Palace, the former Royal Residence part of which is now a museum. One of the major attractions here is the armoury with its impressive array of pistols, blunderbusses, flintlocks, swords, rifles and daggers used by the Maharajas of Jaipur. The Textile and Costume museum on the first floor is another fine display, with items from all over India.
 
In the evening enjoy the unique experience of dining with a local family, where you will taste spicy Rajasthan food and gain insight into their lifestyle, with different generations living under the same roof.
 
Note: If you would like to take a gift for your hosts, we suggest flowers. Avoid edible items, because of varying religious and dietary restrictions.
Day 12
Today you have the opportunity to enjoy an Elephant Interaction, spending 2 to 3-hours up close and personal with Asian elephants cared for by a mahout family.
 
You can touch and help feed them and learn about elephant decoration, medicines and treatments, before taking a walk with the elephants into the village. During the summer you can also see them being washed.
 
Balance of day is free to explore Jaipur with your guide, enjoy some shopping or simply relax at your hotel.
Day 13
Transfer to Jaipur Airport for your flight to the bustling city of Delhi.
 
You will be met at Delhi Airport and transferred to your hotel situated near the airport.
Day 14
Transfer to Delhi Airport for your flight home.
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