Art, Architecture, Culture and Traditions of North India

Embark on Spirit of India’s North India tour! The tour offers a wonderfully diverse mix of North India highlights including art, architecture, history, politics, spiritual practice and cultural traditions. These elements are tightly woven together like seamless tapestry. To learn about one is to understand and appreciate the other.

Visit the famous and fabulous Taj Mahal, the ancient holy city Varanasi, the temples of Khajuraho and colorful Rajasthan.

This is a fantastic first-timers introduction to India!

In Varanasi, one of the world’s most ancient living cities, we participate in traditional rituals alongside the locals. Then visit, Ranakpur Jain Temples surrounded by tangled forests with monkeys abounding in the courtyard. Ranakpur is one of five important pilgrim centers for the Jain community.

In Pushkar, a pilgrimage city for thousands of years with over 500 temples and 52 ghats; and the only temple in the world dedicated to Lord Brahma, the creator, Pushkar radiates an ambience of peace and spirituality and still maintains an authentic small town ambiance.

In Jaipur, visit the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), Jaipur’s most-photographed building, a honeycomb palace with 953-latticed windows overlooking the bazaar.

Enjoy Rajasthani music and dances and delicious traditional meals on our small group North India tour. The dances are varied and demonstrate the tradition and culture of Rajasthani folklore.

EXTENSION: Join the optional tour extension to explore Ellora & Ajanta caves with their magnificent murals and sculptures

  • See historic art and architectural treasures
  • Experience the stunning Rajasthan Palaces
  • Enjoy sunset and sunrise visits to the Taj Mahal
  • Attend a traditional Hindu ceremony in Varanasi
  • Relax in luxe palace hotels and heritage properties
  • Attend the Pushkar Camel Fair (Fall tour only)
  • Boat ride on River Ganges Varanasi and on Lake Pichola Udaipur
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The Beautiful City Palace of Udaipur

  • 1
    Delhi, India
    Day 1-2: Meet in Delhi

    Tour architectural highlights including the 12th century Qutab Minar (the oldest Indian mosque), Safdarjang ka Maqbarah, (Garden tomb built as one of the last great examples of Mughal architecture) and Shah Jahan Jami Masjid (the biggest mosque in the world built in 1650). We also visit the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum (one of the largest in India) and Gandhi Museum.

  • 2
    Uttar Pradesh
    Day 3-4: Varanasi

    Dawn boat ride on the River Ganges to witness the religious ceremonies of the Hindus. Afterwards, a walking tour of temples and ghats (stairs built down into a holy body of water).

    Visit Sarnath, where Buddha gave his first sermon.

    In the evening we witness an Aarti (fire ceremony performed by a Hindu priest) on the banks of River Ganges, from our private boat.

  • 3
    Madhya Pradesh
    Day 5-6: Khajuraho - Gwailor

    Visit the 9th-11th century Chandella Temples and quaint village of Khajuraho. Stop in Orchha, the capital of the kingdom of the Bundella Rajputs from 1531 to 1783, before continuing to Gwailor. Savor your stay at the 120-year-old Usha Kiran Palace Hotel.

  • 4
    Uttar Pradesh
    Day 7: Agra - Taj Mahal

    Introduction to the Indo-Persian architecture of the Timurid Dynasty and the famous marble inlay work of Agra. Tour thed Taj Mahal and Agra Fort.

  • 5
    Day 8-9: Fatehpur Sikri - Jaipur

    En-route to Jaipur, we shall visit Fatehpur Sikri, the capital of the Great Mughul Empire from 1570 to 1586, a unique architectural concept.

    A full exploration of Jaipur, built in the 1720s and popularly known as the Pink City, includes the City Palace complex, Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) and Jal Mahal (Water Palace). We also visit 11th century Amber, the ancient kingdom of Jaipur.

  • 6
    Day 10: Pushkar

    Delve deeper into the colorful Rajasthani culture visiting Pushkar on the banks of the lovely holy Pushkar Lake. Nov tour attend Pushkar Camel Fair.

  • 7
    Day 11: Jodhpur

    Drive to the desert town of Jodhpur with its imposing fort and abundant traditional crafts.

    Visit the 15th century Mehrangarh Fort and the old city surrounding it.

  • 8
    Day 12: Narlai

    We drive three hours to Narlai, an enchanting village located amidst dramatic boulders and ancient temples.

    This afternoon we explore the nearby villages including bustling bazaars and temples where a miraculous flame has burnt for centuries producing saffron instead of soot!

  • 9
    Day 13-14: Udaipur

    Enroute to Udaipur we visit the magnificent 1439 Ranakpur Jain Temples.
    Lunch at the wonderful Maharani Bagh (Mango Orchard of the Maharaja of Jodhpur) near the temples.

    Continue to serene Udaipur, the lovely lakeside capital of Mewar with its palace, art galleries and gardens. Sunset boat ride on Lake Pichola.

    Tour of Udaipur's City Palace, Crystal Gallery, artist studios, sunset boat ride on Lake Pichola.

  • 10
    Day 15: Udaipur-Delhi

    Late afternoon flight to Delhi for departure home.
    If joining the Ellora-Ajanta Caves Extension, fly directly to Aurangabad.

  • 11
    EXTENSION: Ellora and Ajanta Caves
    Day 15: Fly Udaipur- Mumbai (Bombay)

    Overnight at airport hotel.

  • 12
    Day 16-17: Ellora-Ajanta Caves

    An extraordinary excursion for all history and archaeology buffs. The caves at Ajanta date from 200 BC to 650 AD and retain the remarkable quality of their murals, which relate the life story of Buddha. The Buddhist, Jain and Hindu caves at Ellora, noted for their sculptures, are considered to be the finest in India and date between 600 and 1100 AD.

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    Day 18: Evening flight to Bombay-Depart

    Room at airport hotel for wash/change in Bombay

  • Trip Length

    15-day trip begins and ends in Delhi.

  • Dates

    February 3-17, 2025
    Nov Tour with Pushkar Camel Fair
    Post Extension to Ellora & Ajanta Caves

  • Land Cost

    FEB: $4430 per person based on minimum of 4 people
    Single Room Supplement: $1330

    50% Single Room Discount to first 2 singles who book, based on min group size 6 people

  • Accommodations

    5-star, heritage & palace hotels

  • Group Size

    4-12 guests

  • Included Meals

    Nov: breakfasts, 6 lunches, 9 dinners

  • Reading List

    Suggested Reading - General India
    Suggested Reading - Rajasthan
    San Francisco Examiner

  • Trip Preparations


  • Extend Your Trip

    Ellora and Ajanta Caves
    3 Days, Follows North India tour
    Essential South India

Delhi, India

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India

Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India

Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

Ajanta caves, Thana, Maharashtra, India

Ellora Caves Bus Stop, Verul, Maharashtra, India

  • Amy P. & Joe Y

    Our trip was very educational. Our guides were all very knowledgeable, patient, and answered our questions. Our driver was excellent and handled driving in traffic with ease and patience. He was always prompt and ready to assist with bags, kind and respectful.
    Our highlights were the rickshaw ride through Old Delhi, and exploring the Taj and Qutub Minar.

  • Doris B

    The drivers were all excellent, especially Manoj. The hotels were also excellent, beyond our expectations. Our service was quick, efficient and helpful. Everything went without a hitch.

  • Jane & Yukio F

    A big thank you for the greatest life-changing experience you made possible for me and my husband. We see India filtered into every aspect of our everyday lives. I loved all of the sites included in the trip. I loved the hotels which were selected and the guides also.