India’s Golden Triangle & the Sacred Ganges

Uniworld

  • Date

    February 21-March 6, 2021 | Sun / Sat – 14 Days

  • Location

    New Delhi | Old Delhi | Agra | Jaipur | Kalna | Matiari | Murshidabad | Baranagar | Mayapur | Kolkata

Overview

India is profoundly mysterious and gloriously exotic. Wondrous sights rich in romance and intrigue come alive in the “Golden Triangle” — Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. Delhi’s immense red sandstone marble tomb, commissioned by Emperor Humayun’s grief-stricken wife, will capture your heart, while Raj Ghat, a black granite memorial to the “Father of the Nation,” Mahatma Gandhi, will stir your soul. This adventure by land and river will touch all of your senses, from Kolkata, where Mother Teresa’s humble home and tomb provide a place of pilgrimage, to the Rajbari Temples devoted to the Hindu god Shiva. Your Ganges River voyage delves deeply into India’s fascinating historical and religious heritage, working its charm in a myriad of ways and leaving you with memories that will forever endure.

HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

  • Cruise along the sacred Ganges River
  • New Delhi city tour with rickshaw ride in Old Delhi
  • See the Taj Mahal at sunrise and sunset
  • Visit Jaipur, Rajasthan’s princely city and Amber Fort
  • Tour Kalna, India’s Temple City
  • Ride by buggy to Katra Mosque
  • See the Hare Krishna complex and the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium
  • Visit the Flower Market and colonial sites while touring Kolkata
  • Choice of visit to Mother Teresa’s home and tomb or NGO Calcutta Rescue
  • Complimentary house wine, local beers, and soft drinks throughout cruise
  • Experienced local Tour Manager throughout India
  • Stateroom with private balcony on the Ganges Voyager II 
  • Stay in luxurious Oberoi Hotels & Resorts

PACKAGE INCLUDES

  • Roundtrip commercial air from Indianapolis to New Delhi, India and from Kolkata, India
  • Internal flights per itinerary
  • 7 nights shipboard accommodations on Uniworld’s Ganges Voyager II
  • 5 nights hotel accommodations
  • All meals on ship
  • 9 meals on land
  • Sightseeing and admissions per itinerary
  • Gratuities for local experts and drivers
  • Ground transportation
  • Hotel baggage handling
  • Taxes, and port charges

NOTE: A passport and visa are required to travel to this destination and must be valid for at least six months after your return.

Subject to change due to fuel surcharge. Price does not include cost of visa for India.

This itinerary includes activities where moderate walking, possibly on uneven terrain, is required.

Additional costs apply for optional excursions.

Sun, Feb 21:  Depart Indianapolis and fly to New Delhi, India.

Mon, Feb 22: Arrive in New Delhi, India and transfer to the prestigious Oberoi, New Delhi hotel, a luxury retreat tucked away in the heart of India’s cosmopolitan capital.

Tue, Feb 23: New Delhi has been India’s seat of power for nearly a thousand years. Delhi bridges two distinctly different worlds: Old Delhi, the former capital, with its narrow lanes and splendid mosques, and New Delhi, established by the British, with wide tree-lined boulevards and handsome buildings. Spend your first full day in India getting a panoramic overview of the city’s top sites. Stop to visit the 16th-century Humayun’s Tomb –– inspiration for the UNESCO-designated Taj Mahal and Birla House. Your panoramic tour includes a look at the enormous fort where the emperors lived. Your initial encounters with the local residents will be equally compelling — proud and dignified, generous and quick to smile, the Indian people will rank amongst your favorite memories of this enchanting country. (Meals: Breakfast, Dinner)

Wed, Feb 24: Transfer to Agra via motorcoach, and check in and enjoy lunch at the spectacular Oberoi Amarvilas hotel. Later, visit the Taj Mahal, and venture inside India’s most awe-inspiring and iconic monument. The fateful tale of love and loss that inspired the Taj is as incredible as the tomb itself. Commissioned by the broken-hearted Emperor Shah Jahan after his beloved wife died in childbirth, this masterpiece of Islamic architecture took some 20,000 laborers and artisans nearly two decades to complete (at a cost of more than $1 billion in today’s money). Your first glimpse of the Taj Mahal –– perfectly timed to coincide with the setting sun –– will literally take your breath away. (B,L)

Thu, Feb 25: Awake early in the morning for a return visit to the Taj Mahal, which will take on the rosy pink tints of sunrise as you arrive. Seen in the magical first light of day, the sight will forever linger in your memory as the sunrise you will henceforth compare to all others. Return to the hotel for lunch before you head by motorcoach to the third city in the Golden Triangle, Jaipur. Capital of the state of Rajasthan, strewn with massive palaces, it was founded and carefully planned in the 18th century by Maharaja Jai Singh II (who gave the new city his name), so even the old part of the city is laid out on a grid. The Singh family’s influence is still felt in Jaipur, though all hereditary titles in India were discontinued in 1971. Check in to the romantic Oberoi Rajvilas, a luxurious oasis, and spend the afternoon relaxing at the hotel, enjoying the extensive bird-filled gardens. (B,L,D)

Fri, Feb 26: Today, tour the Amber Palace, followed by a visit to another of Jai Singh II’s architectural projects, the Jantar Mantar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site devoted to astronomy. Each of the curious structures in this observatory enabled court astronomers to study the heavens, measuring various celestial phenomena — eclipses, the position of stars, or the time of day. Some of these instruments are still used to determine which days will be auspicious for weddings or other important events. This afternoon, shuttles will be available to carry you to and from the hotel to the major shopping district. Jaipur’s bazaars are famous for their traditional Rajasthani crafts — jewelry, pottery, hand-printed textiles, and carpets — so go and enjoy the swirl of colors even if you aren’t interested in buying some souvenirs. (B)

Sat, Feb 27: Transfer to the Jaipur International Airport and fly to Kolkata, India’s second-largest city, a clamorous yet captivating metropolis situated on the Lower Ganges. Cap off the day with a Welcome Dinner, followed by a cultural performance onboard the Ganges Voyager II. (B,L,D)

Sun, Feb 28: There is no better way to see the sights of Kalna than via an exhilarating trishaw (rickshaw) ride through the heart of the city. Head to the Rajbari temple complex, the region’s densest concentration of temples, including 108 intricately carved, slope-roofed structures devoted to Shiva, the Hindu god. Lalji, the oldest temple in the complex, dates back to 1739; the three-storied structure is topped with 25 distinctive pinnacles. (B,L,D)

Mon, Mar 1: Enjoy a walking tour of Matiari, an artisans’ village revered for its finely wrought brassware, and observe master craftsmen at work. Each craftsman specializes in a different step of the process, so one artisan might cut the metal, while another shapes it into a wide tray, and yet another etches an intricate pattern onto the surface. The sound of hammer on brass will fill the air as you stroll from workshop to workshop to see each step of the fascinating process. Back on board, watch as a skilled practitioner of mehndi demonstrates how the intricate henna patterns are created, and discover the meanings of the traditional motifs. (B,L,D)

Tue, Mar 2: Your day begins in Murshidabad, long ago the capital of Bengal and an important administrative center during the Raj. As you round the river’s bend, a most unexpected sight unfolds before you, an echo of an era long past –– the massive Hazarduari Palace, famous for its thousand doors, both real and false, and its fine collection of antiques and British colonial artwork. Climb aboard a horse cart for a lively ride to Katra Mosque, one of the largest and most interesting in the region. Enjoy lunch back on board the ship as you continue downstream to Baranagar, a village with many ornately carved sandstone structures and temples dating back hundreds of years. Goats frolic among them now and vines attempt to take them over, but the terra-cotta carvings are considered among the best in Bengal and the temples are well-tended. Take a leisurely walk to absorb the rural atmosphere and a pace of life that is decidedly slower and less complicated. If time allows, you may also have an opportunity to learn some of the nuances of the game of cricket –– India’s favorite sport. Indulge in a lovely dinner followed by the evening’s entertainment –– a spirited Bollywood-style show with music and dancing. (B,L,D)

Wed, Mar 3: Spend the day cruising the Ganges River. Take in the remarkable scenery and be on the lookout for a rare sighting of the endangered Ganges river dolphin. You may choose to relax and unwind in the soothing Voyager Spa (fees apply). (B,L,D)

Thu, Mar 4: Visit the welcoming and wildly colorful village of Mayapur, birthplace of the founder of the Hare Krishna movement. As the ship comes into sight of Mayapur, look for the new Vedic temple currently under construction. Funded in part by Alfred Ford, great-grandson of Henry Ford, the temple is designed to be larger than St. Paul’s Cathedral in London once completed. The new temple construction coincides with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Hare Krishna movement. The village is also home to hundreds of second-generation Hare Krishnas born to North Americans and Europeans who relocated to India back in the 1960s. Tour the existing temple complex, get a look at the new Vedic Planetarium, and learn something about the beliefs of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness. (B,L,D)

Fri, Mar 5: The city of Kolkata is synonymous with the enduring legacies of Mother Teresa and the colonial-era British Raj, both of which you will get better acquainted with today. This morning, enjoy a tour of the city, stopping first at the vibrant Flower Market filled with captivatingly colorful flowers to be used in festivals, rituals, weddings, and more. Pay a visit to St. John’s, the oldest Anglican church in the city, and the Victoria Memorial Museum — built as a tribute to Queen Victoria after her death, and housing an illuminating exhibition on the colonial era. After lunch on board, have your choice of two included tours. Visit Mother Teresa’s former home, where the late Roman Catholic nun established the Missionaries of Charity in 1950. See her humble tomb and the room where she lived for 44 years, as well as an exhibit highlighting her life and work. Or, you may choose to visit the local NGO Calcutta Rescue, which serves the area’s underprivileged children. Spend your last evening on board enjoying a Farewell Dinner. (B,L,D)

Sat, Mar 6: Disembark and transfer to the Kolkata airport for your return flight home. Depart in the very early morning for arrival home same day. (B)

Post Cruise Tour Extension: Fly to Varanasi for a 3-day optional extension in the holiest city on India’s holiest river, the sacred Ganges. Call for pricing.

Oberoi, New Delhi, New Delhi. India’s first luxury hotel in the capital of New Delhi overlooks the UNESCO World Heritage site of Humayun’s Tomb. Highlights: tastefully decorated guestrooms with large picture windows with breathtaking views across New Delhi • bathrobes provided during stay • A/C • 24-hour butler service • high-speed and Wi-Fi Internet access (fees apply) • 3 restaurants • bar • wine cellar • bakery and delicatessen • fitness center • indoor and outdoor pools • spa.

Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra. Close to the iconic Taj Mahal, this hotel’s rooms afford uninterrupted views of this ancient monument to love. Highlights: luxurious guestrooms decorated with teak floors, dark sandstone and antique Indian fabrics • bathrobes provided during stay • A/C • 24-hour butler service • high-speed and Wi-Fi Internet access (fees apply) • 2 restaurants • bar • lounge • fitness center • indoor/outdoor pool • spa.

Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur. Set in a breathtaking 32-acres oasis of landscaped gardens filled with exotic birdlife, the hotel is built around an 18th-century Shiva temple. Traditional techniques replicate the famous pink lime plaster walls of Jaipur throughout the resort. Guestrooms are laid out in small clusters with a private courtyard. Highlights: spacious, luxurious guestrooms with marble bathrooms • 2 restaurants • library • bar • fitness center • outdoor pool • spa with yoga and meditation offered every morning • two tennis courts • croquet lawn • five-hole golf putting green.

Ganges Voyager II. Sail the Ganges River in the comfort of a five-star hotel. The Ganges Voyager II is a new ship that accommodates 56 guests in lavishly appointed riverview staterooms. It is the most ultra-luxurious river cruise ship sailing the Ganges River. Dine on cuisine inspired by local and western tastes. Highlights: suites with French balconies, sitting areas, and floor-to-ceiling glass doors • spacious private bathrooms • bathrobes and slippers provided during stay • A/C • iPhone docking station • restaurant • bar/lounge • fitness center • spa • sun deck.

Pricing

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* Subject to change due to fuel surcharge.

Documents Required: Valid Passport & Visa, visit travel.state.gov for specific requirements.

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