This 9-day shoestring India tour is the perfect way to explore the northern regions culturally rich country. We'll explore the 'Golden Triangle' of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur before spending some time in the Rajasthan town of Bundi, famed for its forts, towering palaces and deep step wells.
The India tour starts and ends in the capital city of Delhi, exploring both its old and new sides, which gives you the opportunity to take in the contrasting beauty of its divide. From Delhi, we board a sleeper train to Bundi where a local guide will show us around the town and explore the fort with us.
After spending some time in Bundi, we make our way to the 'Pink City' of Jaipur - the heart of Rajasthan, famed for its bustling craft and produce markets, making it a great place to do some shopping. Tours to the nearby Amber Fort and to explore different aspects of Jaipur itself are available here.
We'll then make our way to Agra, visiting the imposing Agra Fort before we take in the impressive Taj Mahal at sunset, watching how its ivory-white marbled walls change colour as the light dims.
Travel between the cities is done on Indian Railways in comfortable second class air conditioned carriages, which give a great view of rural India as it passes you by. Accommodation is in a mix of budget hotels, friendly homestays and heritage properties.
Private tour option
If our scheduled departure dates don't work for you, or you would prefer not to travel with a group, then we can also run this affordable tour privately for you. Please contact us for more information and prices.
Old and New Delhi, Forts and palaces in Bundi, Pink city of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, the Taj Mahal and Red Fort in Agra, great views of rural India and its cities from your train carriage
Day 1, Welcome to Delhi - airport to hotel transfer included Once you arrive at the airport, one of our staff members will meet you and transfer to you to your hotel in the city centre of Delhi. Once you've settled in, feel free to explore the local area around you or you can book an optional day tour for you time in Delhi tomorrow. We've selected a central Delhi location for this tour, close to the bustling district of Paharganj, Connaught Place and New Delhi Railway Station. OVERNIGHT: Delhi budget hotel EXTRAS: Single Room Supplement, Extra night - pre-tour
Day 2, Free time in Delhi. Optional tours available You have a selection of optional sightseeing activities at your disposal today, such as a Half day New Delhi tour which explores the modern side of the city or you can try a Spinmonkey cycling tour of Old Delhi, which is a great way to explore the streets of Old Delhi. You can also book an Kathputhli Colony half-day tour, which explores a district of Delhi populated by street performers and musicians or a Salam Balak Trust walk, which is a fascinating and rewarding tour in Old Delhi run by a local NGO and guided by youths who grew up as street children. You can also choose to try an Old Delhi walking and street food tour, which provides you with a great introduction to Old Delhi’s sites and introduces you to the tastes, smells and sounds of busy India. Later this evening, we'll make our way to the railway station to board an overnight sleeper train to the Rajasthan town of Bundi. Travelling on India’s railways is a fantastic way to see more of the country, and to meet some local people. We use the 2nd class AC sleeper carriage to ensure you travel in decent comfort. OVERNIGHT: Delhi budget hotel MEALS: Breakfast
Day 3, Exploring the town of Bundi Once we set foot in Bundi, we'll travel to the hotel to settle in an freshen up before we head out into the town. Relatively untouched by tourists, the quiet town of Bundi is a welcome relief from the busy streets of Delhi. You'll have some free time to explore here, as the town is blessed with numerous temples, step wells and old palaces - one of its highlights being the Taraghar fort overlooking the town and its blue painted houses from the hillside. A local guide will also take you on a walking tour of the town, taking in some step wells, the Garh palace, and the fort. OVERNIGHT: Agra hotel/homestay MEALS: Breakfast
Day 4, From Bundi to Jaipur We'll head out this morning on one final street walk through Bundi, before we travel to the town of Kota to board a train to Jaipur. The train ride lasts for four hours, but it gives you an excellent opportunity to take in the scenery of Rajasthans rural farm areas and villages. Upon arrival in Jaipur, we'll make our way to our homestay style accommodation for the evening, before we head out to watch a Bollywood movie or spend some time relaxing at home, enjoying some of the local cuisine. OVERNIGHT: Ranthambore lodge/hotel MEALS: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5, Exploring the Pink City of Jaipur Today is all about exploring the fascinating city of Jaipur, famed for its bustling markets, impressive architecture and the towering Amber Fort. You have a few optional tours available to you today, such as exploring the Amber Fort in an electrical rickshaw, an Amber Fort and city tour, visiting the famous Raj Mandir cinema to watch a Bollywood movie, a hot air balloon flight over the Pink City or you can explore the bazaars and cuisines of Jaipur. Also available to you today is a tour of the Temples & Havelis of Jaipur, which features a walking tour through markets and back streets visiting a range of hidden temples, including an ancient Vishnu temple, private Tantra temple, and lively Shri Gopinath Ji Krishna Temple. You'll also enjoy tea and snacks with an Indian family in a beautifully restored Haveli. OVERNIGHT: Ranthambore lodge/hotel MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6, Agra & the Taj Mahal We say goodbye to Jaipur this morning as we drive east towards Agra, which we will reach by lunchtime. This afternoon, we'll enjoy a guided tour of the Agra Fort - a current UNESCO World Heritage Site. Afterwards, we'll make our way to the beautiful Taj Mahal, built by Emperor Shah Jahan, this world wonder took over 20 years to be constructed. Sunset is one of the best times to view this towering mausoleum, as we watch the colours and hues of the temple change as the light fades. This evening there’s an option to visit a local Hindu family for a cooking demonstration and delicious vegetarian thali dinner. OVERNIGHT: Jaipur budget heritage style hotel MEALS: Breakfast
Day 7, Free time in Agra. Optional tours available You have the day free to explore Agra independently, with some optional tours available such as exploring Oriental Agra in an electric rickshaw, as we explore the Agra's old bazaars, traditional eateries and places of worship. You can also choose to head out on a food walk tour, exploring the local markets and food stalls, which includes tastings of sweet and savoury treats. Other optional activities include a Mughal Heritage Walk, which was created by a local NGO, who aims to show travellers the lives of the people in the Kacchpura village on the opposite bank of the Yamuna river to the Taj Mahal. You can also choose to explore Agra by bike - this cycling tour generally starts very early in the morning to avoid traffic and takes you through the back streets and past some of the most important buildings and monuments in Agra. This evening, we’ll board our final train for the journey back to Delhi, which lasts for around three hours. MEALS: Breakfast
Day 8, Free time in Delhi. Hotel to airport transfer included You have the day free until we transfer you to the airport to board your flight home. If you'd like to stay a little longer, you can extend your stay in India by going on safari looking for tigers at Ranthambore National Park, or heading south to the beaches at Goa or Kerala. Feel free to chat to one of our sales consultants and we'll arrange this for you. OVERNIGHT: N/A MEALS: Breakfast EXTRAS: Extra night - post-tour, Goa Extension
All accommodation as stated in the itinerary in budget hotels, homestays and heritage properties
Transport and transfers by AC car/minibus
2nd class AC sleeper and chair carriages used for train journeys
24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
Sightseeing tours as per the itinerary
Services of local leaders and specialist guides
Meals as indicated in the itinerary
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