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Taj Temples Extensions - Best Cultural Tours in India

04 Nights / 05 Days

No journey is complete without a sojourn to the holy sites of Varanasi and the magnetic Taj Mahal of Agra. India provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant ceremonies on the banks of the Ganges river.

It has been one of the spiritual centres for the devotees of the Hindu religion for several thousand years, while the iconic Taj Mahal is considered as one of the finest architectural achievements of the Mughal dynasty. A true testament to the symbol of love, one should not leave India having set their eyes on the marvel of this white mausoleum. Take this extension along with a mesmerising Tiger Safari in India.

Outline Itinerary

Taj Temples Extensions - Best Cultural Tours in India

❯ Day 01 : New Delhi – Agra (by road, 220 kms/4 hrs drive)

❯ Day 02 : Agra – New Delhi (by road, 220 kms/4 hrs drive)

❯ Day 03 : New Delhi – Varanasi (by flight)

❯ Day 04 : Varanasi

❯ Day 05 : Varanasi – New Delhi (275 kms/5 hrs drive)

Trip Highlights

➤ Witness the sun kissed Taj Mahal, A UNESCO world Heritage site and one of the seven wonders of the world on this tiger safari extension tour.

➤ Experience the expanse and navigate the red sandstone corridors of Agra Fort.

➤ Immerse yourself in the Ganga Aarti at Varanasi, and witness a sea of worshippers’ surrender to the tradition at the Ghats of the Ganges.

➤ Discover the ‘city of temples’ and the unique cultures Varanasi presents.

Detailed Itinerary for Taj Temples Extensions - Best Cultural Tours in India

Day 1 : New Delhi – Agra (by road, 220 kms/4 hrs drive)

After a relaxed breakfast drive to Agra for (220 Kms, 4-hour). On arrival, check in at the hotel. Evening at your leisure. Overnight stay at the hotel in Agra.

Accommodation: Taj View Agra or similar

Day 2 : Agra – New Delhi (by road, 220 kms/4 hrs drive)

At sunrise, proceed to visit the famous white marble mausoleum, The Taj Mahal, which was built in the middle of the 17th century by the Moghul emperor Shah Jehan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Completed in 1652, skilled craftsmen from Persia, Turkey, France and Italy and some 20,000 laborers worked extensively for 17 years to build this edifice.

After a relaxed breakfast, visit the red sandstone AGRA FORT which stands like a crescent on the banks of Yamuna River, enclosed by forbidding 20-meter high walls, with a 12- meter moat between them. Three successive Mughal emperors – Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jehan – helped create this massive structure which contains Indo-Islamic architecture. Check out from the hotel.

After lunch, drive to New Delhi (220 kms/4-hour). On arrival, transfer to your hotel and overnight stay.

Accommodation: Roseate House or similar

Day 3 : New Delhi – Varanasi (by flight)

After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport to board the flight for Varanasi. Leave New Delhi for Varanasi by AI 406 (0900 / 1020 hrs). Meeting and assistance on arrival at Varanasi airport and then proceed to the hotel.

Varanasi is one of India’s most important pilgrimage sites and the holiest of holy cities for Hindus. Known also as Kashi and Benaras, Varanasi is one of the world’s oldest living cities, and has been a center of learning and culture for well over 2000 years.

Evening: Visit the “Ghats” or bank of the Ganga River. This is a fascinating walk as you can experience the cultural ethos that guides the life of the pious. See the rituals that takes place to the setting sun and the ablutions that are performed in the river. As boats float down-stream, some carry goods, fruits and vegetables, while others carry the pious who perform ceremonies along the river.

On the banks or “ghats”, you can see some devotees absorbed in prayer and in the chanting of hymns, and others engaged in commerce and yet day to day activities like hair-cutting, massaging and even ear cleaning! Walk across to the Manikarnika Ghat, where you can see cremations performed with intense ritual – the process of sending the departed soul to the heavens. Hindus believe that the gateway to the Heavens and for the Re-incarnation of the Soul `in a better state’, is possible when life’s last journey is from Varanasi.

Overnight in Varanasi.

Accommodation: Taj Ganges or similar

Day 4 : Varanasi

Early morning, take a boat ride at dawn down India’s most sacred river, The Ganges. Sun rise at the holy river is a truly tranquil and breath taking sight with pilgrims standing waist-deep in water, praying to the rising Sun. See the famous Vishwanath temple with its spires covered with gold, dedicated to Shiva, the presiding deity of the city. Return to the hotel for Breakfast

Also visit Sarnath, a city located 13 kilometers north-east of Varanasi near the confluence of the Ganges and the Gomati rivers in Uttar Pradesh, India. The deer park in Sarnath is where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma, and where the Buddhist Sangha came into existence through the enlightenment of Kondanna. Singhpur, a village approximately one km away from the site, was the birthplace of Shreyansanath, the eleventh Tirthankara of Jainism, and a temple dedicated to him.

Accommodation: Taj Ganges or similar

Day 5 : Varanasi – New Delhi (275 kms/5 hrs drive)

This morning at your leisure to unwind and pack. Later, transfer to airport to board a flight to New Delhi at 1520 Hrs. Arrive at 1655 Hrs and meet our representative at the airport as you transfer to the hotel or International airport to board flight back home or onward destinations.

Festival Extensions

Extension To Golden Triangle

India is a land of diversity. This diversity of culture can be best experienced through various festivals celebrated across India on different occasions. These festivals have religious, cultural and historical significance and people of the region celebrate it with much fervour. We are sharing the details of some of these festivals which can be experienced if the date of the tour coincides with the festivals. Though most of the festivals are only for a day but some of them even longer for which an advance planning is required to extend the stay for the duration of the festival.

Option - 1

Day 2: Taj Mahotsav Agra (February 2025)

The Taj Mahotsav, an extravagant 10-day celebration, brings the rich tapestry of Indian cultural diversity, history, and mythology to life. Held annually starting February 18th and organized by the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department at Shilpgram, near the iconic Taj Mahal, this festival is a vibrant showcase of India’s artistic and cultural heritage.

The Mahotsav is a kaleidoscope of performances, offering glimpses into India’s historical grandeur and diverse cultural significance. It’s a not-to-be-missed event where visitors can enjoy the pinnacle of Indian arts, crafts, cuisine, dance, and music. Featuring an impressive lineup of 400 Indian musicians, folk artists, and dramatists, the festival captivates both connoisseurs of folk and classical arts and casual observers with memorable performances.

Beyond the cultural feast, the Taj Mahotsav is also a shopper’s paradise, offering an array of antiques, handicrafts, and exquisite wood and ivory work amidst a backdrop of delightful cuisines. From folk music and dance performances to camel and elephant rides, the festival is a cherished experience for both Indian and international tourists, making it a highlight attraction in Agra. Each year, the Mahotsav embraces a unique theme, delivering a universal message and enriching the cultural fabric of the event.

You have the flexibility to customize your schedule for the Taj Mahotsav, as this program spans 10 days.

Option - 2

Day 2: Holi, Mathura & Vrindavan (Drive 60 Kms/ 1 hour 30 minutes)

After early breakfast drive to Mathura and Vrindavan to experience their world-famous Holi celebration 

Mathura and Vrindavan are famous for their distinctive Holi celebrations, inspired by the playful legends of Lord Krishna and Radha. The tradition, known as Braj ki Holi, originates from Krishna’s playful suggestion to apply colors on Radha to overcome his concern about their contrasting skin tones. This gave rise to various forms of Holi celebrated in these regions, including the spirited Lathmar Holi in Barsana and Nandgaon, where festivities involve sticks and dancing, and Phoolon wali Holi, celebrated with flowers and Ras Leela performances near Govardhan Hill.

Vrindavan’s Widow’s Holi marks a poignant celebration, allowing widows to partake in the festivities by smearing colors on each other, breaking past taboos. The Banke Bihari Temple’s Holi, where priests and devotees engage in a colorful revelry, drawing parallels with Krishna’s own playful acts, is a major draw for visitors. Similarly, the energetic celebrations at Dwarkadhish Temple and the unique Harunga festivities at Dauji Temple, with playful color drenching and mock skirmishes, highlight the region’s rich cultural tapestry. These vibrant celebrations not only showcase the area’s deep-rooted traditions but also offer an immersive experience into India’s festive and spiritual heritage.

Option - 3

Day 3: Ganga Mahotsav and Dev Deepawali (15th November 2024)

Evening: Visit the “Ghats” or bank of the Ganga River on the occasion of Dev Deepawali. This is a fascinating walk as you can experience the cultural ethos that guides the life of the pious. 

Dev Deepavali, celebrated on Kartik Poornima, arrives 15 days after Diwali, extending the festivity of India’s grandest festival. Varanasi, a dreamlike destination for many travelers, hosts this traditional spectacle with great fervor. The celebration begins with prayers to Lord Ganesha, followed by the ritual of deepdaan, where devotees light earthen lamps (diyas) at the city’s ghats against a backdrop of Vedic mantras being chanted by priests. The event is a breathtaking sight that mesmerizes visitors.

This day also marks the celebration of Tulsi Vivah, commemorating the birth of Matsya, Lord Vishnu’s fish avatar, and Vrinda, symbolized by the tulsi plant. The Ganga Aarti on Dev Deepavali stands out as the year’s most grandiose performance. Devotees partake in a holy dip in the Ganges, believed to purify sins, amidst the serene chants and prayers. The ghats come alive with the gentle glow of floating diyas and the dazzling display of fireworks in the sky, creating a divine spectacle that leaves an indelible mark on all who witness it.

Experiencing Dev Deepavali in Varanasi is an unforgettable journey into the heart of culture, tradition, spirituality, and inner peace, offering a unique insight into the city’s profound beauty and sacred rituals.

Tour Inclusions

Tour Exclusions

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Tiger Safari with Sanjay Gupta and Nature Safari India.
We just finished the first half of two tiger safari tours in India. The first was on the Banhavgar National Park. Our guide was Sanjay Gupta, who had 25 years of experience in the park and with the tigers. He was wonderful, sharing his experience and knowledge throughout our three full days together. He was definitely a highlight of our trip, as a great guide makes for a great experience, whether you see tigers or not! And we did see tigers...
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Excellent Experience with Nature Safari India.
Nature Safari India organized our private 2 Weeks Safari in Central India plus a couple of Sightseeing and we are very happy to having choose this agency. I found them on the responsible tiger tourism association (TOFTigers) and I liked them from the very first contact. From the first email more than two years ago to the end of our trip in April 2022, the service was great, the selection of the itinerary, Parks, lodges and guides was perfect...
Paola
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Excellent Experience with Nature Safari India.
Deepkul and the Tiger Safari India team put together an incredible experience for us in Kanha and Bandhavgarh. All the details were taken care of as per our preferences and budget including transportation, food, lodging, and our amazing safari guides. Deepkul was easy to communicate with and always quick to respond to any questions before and during our trip. Highly recommend!
Derek

Extension Tours

Taj Temples Extensions - Best Cultural Tours in India

Extend your stay in this enchanting country with any of the below extension tour packages. It could be an ensemble of culture, wildlife or even historic walks! Choose from whatever satiates the soul. Our travel specialists are here to customize the ideal itinerary to your liking. 

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Faqs

Taj Temples Extensions - Best Cultural Tours in India

The best time to visit Varanasi is during the winter months (November to February). Although it gets fairly cold during the winters, this is the best time when you can explore the holy city without getting tired. The average low temperature is around 5°C.
After a pleasant stay at Varanasi, you can also visit the Khajuraho temples and further add a tiger safari in Bandhavgarh National Park to your trip. The thre destination are well connected via flight and road travel.
Every Friday the Taj Mahal is closed and only accessible in the afternoon for Muslims to attend prayers.
Yes, you will be accompanied by English speaking guides through all city tours.

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