Do not hesitate to give us a call. We are an expert team and we are happy to talk to you.
Beginning and ending in Delhi, this tour will take you on a 15-day odyssey through the culture, history, magic and grandeur of the historic land of India’s rajas. Head west to Mandawa, on the ancient trading route of traders from China and Afghanistan and stay in a beautiful historic haveli. Then continue towards the far reaches of northwest India and visit markets brimming with fresh produce, bangles and textiles. Tour forts, once home to powerful rulers of days gone by in Bikaner. Ride a camel in the thar desert and learn Indian dancing moves under the wide-open sky. Stay in Jaisalmer, a fascinating city situated on a citadel, like a mirage in the desert. Visit Jodhpur, the “Blue City” and home of the Rathore rulers in Rajasthan, and tour the intricately adorned Mehrangarh Fort, built in 1459. Then depart for Udaipur, the “Lake City” of Rajasthan and certainly one of the most popular cities in India for Indian tourists, and take a sunset cruise on beautiful Lake Pichola. In Jaipur, you’ll see the Pink City at night and take an elephant ride up to the Amber Fort. Learn block printing at the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing and learn how the first astrologers took their measurements of the skies. Then you’ll get to view the Taj Mahal under the light of the full moon, a superbly memorable experience! We’ll stay at a wonderful mix of three- and four-star properties, and have true local experiences in each city we visit. Join us February 10-24, 2016 for this 15 day/14 night tour, or we can plan this as a private excursion on dates of your choosing.
|Day 1||Arrive in Delhi||Delhi|
|Day 2||Explore Delhi||Delhi|
|Day 3||Drive to Mandawa||Mandawa|
|Day 4||Drive to Gajner||Gajner|
|Day 5||Drive to Jaisalmer||Jaisalmer|
|Day 6||Explore Jaisalmer||Jaisalmer|
|Day 7||Drive to Jodhpur||Jodhpur|
|Day 8||Drive to Udaipur||Udaipur|
|Day 9||Explore Udaipur||Udaipur|
|Day 10||Drive to Devgarh||Devgarh|
|Day 11||Drive to Jaipur||Jaipur|
|Day 12||Explore Jaipur||Jaipur|
|Day 13||Drive to Agra||Agra|
|Day 14||Drive to Delhi||Delhi|
|Day 15||Final departure|
Welcome to Delhi, the capital city of India. Enjoy your free afternoon to explore. (No meals).
Today we will explore the history and culture of Delhi, one of India’s oldest cities that was founded nearly 1900 years ago. The city has been raised out of ashes and ruins seven times – beginning with the Tomars of the 7-8th century, the Khaljis, the Tughlaqs, the Saiyads, The Lodis, the Moghuls and finally the British, each has contributed to the colorful history of the city.
The city tour will begin in Old Delhi where we will get on bicycles and take a short, easy pedal to the largest mosque in India, Jama Masjid and then on to Raj Ghat, the historical monument where Gandhi was cremated. In New Delhi we’ll visit the architectural inspiration for the Taj Mahah Humayun’s Tomb and then the QutbMinar in Connaught Place, with its distinct Afghan architecture. The tour will take us to several other places of interest including the Government Buildings and the India Gate. (B, D)
We will depart early for our journey to Mandawa, an ancient trading town in the Shekhawati region. Located between Bikaner and Delhi, this area was a major stop for ancient rich merchants travelling from the Middle East to China. From the 17th century through the early 20thcentury, traders built imposing mansions called havelis. The town of Nawalgarh offers many well-preserved examples of these traditional houses, evoking the richness and elegance of Morocco’s most magnificent riads. We’ll have an opportunity to tour the Murarka and Podar Havelis, transporting us into the wonders of the past. (B, D)
After breakfast depart Mandawa towards Bikaner, a bustling walled city on the ancient caravan routes from Africa and West Asia. The fort, founded by Raja Rai Singh, is distinguished by its dark red sandstone havelis and exquisitely painted Jain temples. This area is famous for the intricate rich gold painting work by Muslim Usta artisans. On our way towards Gajner, we will stop at the government-run Camel Breeding Farm where they keep over 200 camels at all times for breeding and research, a very unique stop on the outskirts of Bikaner. (B, D)
Today we will make our way towards the most impressive desert city in India, Jaisalmer. This citadel city was built in the 12th century is an architectural dream in yellow sandstone of the Thar Desert. The dramatic site inspired Jaisal, a Bhatti Prince, to build a settlement right in the heart of a desolate desert. The forts and palaces and several superbly carved Jain temples in and around Jaisalmer are reminiscent of a glorious history. (B, D)
Following breakfast, head south towards Udaipur. On your way there, stop at the spectacular Jain Temples at Ranakpur which sport an impressive 80 domes and 400 pillars! This evening will be free to explore the bustling ancient bazaars and winding, colorful alleys of this “most romantic city in India”, so dubbed by travelers over the centuries. early for a five-hour drive to Jodhpur, the historic home of the Rathore rulers of Rajasthan. (B, D)
Udaipur’s centerpoint is Lake Pichola, surrounded on all sides by the wooded Aravalli Hills which stretch in every direction for miles. Udaipur is a cool oasis in the dry heart of Rajasthan. The huge city palace towering over the lake is the largest palace complex in all of Rajasthan. Though it is a conglomeration of buildings built by successive rulers, it manages to retain a surprising uniformity of design and affords very fine views of the lake and city from the upper terraces. The Jagadish temple is home to a sacred black stone image of Vishnu on a mighty garuda. The temple is one of the finest examples of Indo-Aryan Art. We’ll drive a short distance to Sri Eklingji, a holy Shiva temple built in the 16th century and located in the village of Kailashpuri. This evening, after a sunset boat ride on Lake Pichola, we’ll enjoy a spectacular dance performance called TehraTaal. (B, D)
Depart Udaipur for Deogarh, a wonderfully welcome small town in Rajasthan. In the afternoon, board a train for a unique ride around Deogarh. Passing through breathtaking scenery, this railway passes over dramatic bridges, through tunnels, brushes waterfalls and jungles of the Ravli Sanctuary and carries with it the ambience of a bygone era. A wonderfully unique experience to remember. Later we’ll tour the fort, and marvel at the lake filled with ancient temples and tombs. (B, D)
Following leisurely breakfast depart for Jaipur, approximately five hours drive away. Arrive Jaipur and check-in at hotel. En route visit Pushkar Lake and local temples. (B, D)
Today will be a full day! First we’ll make our way to the Amber Fort, the dramatic former home of the royal Jaipurs. Few fail to be moved by the Rajput grandeur of this hilltop fortress just north of Jaipur. Set on the dry wrinkled Aravali Hills and surrounded by fortified battlements, the palace straddles two sepia-toned hills overlooking Maota Lake, and its sprawling walls lattice the surrounding hills. We will ride up to this hilltop palace on an elephant (or on foot or by jeep if you prefer), passing through the ancient main gate where the Maharajas of Jaipur have entered for hundreds of years. We’ll learn about the history of this architectural masterpiece with its mirror-studded alcoves, dazzling mosaics and water-cooled swings that delight today’s visitors as they have for centuries. The Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing will welcome us and have some of India’s finest block printed cloth on display. We’ll learn with a hands-on lesson the techniques and intricacies of this ancient art form.
This afternoon we’ll take a guided tour of Jaipur, “The Pink City” and see some of the finest sights here including the Hawa Mahal, also known as Palace of the Winds, a five-story structure of pink sandstone with semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed windows overlooking the main street of the old city. We proceed for a guided tour of the City Palace & Observatory. The City Palace in the heart of the old city is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. Next stop is the Solar Observatory – an astronomical treasure house, with solar device that still gives accurate astrononical measurements.
In the evening, we’ll go to a local home and learn the secrets to fine Indian cooking, and then dine on our curried creations! (B, D)
On your way to Agra today, stop at the ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri, a World Heritage Site. Perfectly preserved, the 17th century city is divided into religious and secular sections, and there is a breathtaking array of sculptures. Also, the white marble mosque in the secular section is incredible. It is a very sacred mosque and pilgrims from far and near arrives here to pay their respects. After visit continue on to Agra and check in at your hotel. Agra is the city of the Taj Mahal, perhaps the most photographed monument in the world. However, no matter how many pictures you have seen or no matter how high your expectations are, the Taj never lets you down – the unparalleled glory and beauty of the building surpasses beyond all human imaginations. Spectacular monument built for love. Besides perfect symmetry in every aspect of its construction, the inlay work of semi precious stones into marble in pietradura style is absolutely remarkable. This evening we will visit the Taj Mahal under the light of a spectacular full moon… a unique opportunity!
After a stop at the Taj Mahal to see it at sunrise, visit Agra’s “other” tourist site the Agra Fort. The Red Fort began its life in the 10th century as a simple mud and brick fortress along the banks of the Yamuna River. Originally intended as a fortress, the site was partially converted into a palace during the reign of Shah Jahan, who lived in the fortress and died there – a prisoner of his own son! Then continue on to Delhi for your final dinner as a group.
Transfer to the airport for final departure. (B)
Per person price until Dec 31, 2020
Standard accommodations (3 and 4 star hotels):
2 to 3 people: $4,000 USD per person
4 or more: $3,600 USD per person
Single Supplement: $1,250 USD
(Final prices may vary depending on hotels selected/available. A December and January peak season surcharge may apply)
We are happy to customize your tour. This trip can be organized according to your convenience and can be combined with one of our other India tours:
We can also combine this tour with any trip to Nepal and/or Bhutan. Write to us for more details.
You must get an Indian visa prior to arrival in India. You may submit your visa online. Click on this Indian Government website for details.
It is best to be conservative so cover up and dress in light, loose clothing. You can buy cheap and colorful Indian clothes once you get there. If you are traveling in the Winter months, do note Delhi and Agra can be quite cold (temperature can dip to the mid 40’s). So do bring clothing accordingly.
The best time to travel in North India is during the Autumn, winter and Spring months – October through April. Note, December and January can be a bit chilly. Late April through September are Summer and Monsoon and it’s best to avoid travel during these months.
Yes, ATM’s are widely available in all cities and towns of India. And most vendors will accept credit cards. There are also other forms of payment.
While traveling in India, things will not always go according to plan. So be patient. Here are some items you could include in your pack:
YES. As long as you apply the same level of carefulness as you would in any other large city. Petty theft and pick-pocketing is prevalent in some places and you must always be aware of your belongings.
As far as safety for women, India is generally safe. Women may experience unwanted attention from men. Dressing conservatively helps. And it is highly recommended not to travel or arrive at a destination late at night. Especially if you are traveling alone.
Indian food is SPICY; especially for those who have a bland palate. Spicy does not necessarily mean chilli spicy, but it also means the use of spices such as ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric etc. That said, a wide variety of world cuisine is available. So you could choose what you want to eat.
Activity: Lodge Trek
The Gokyo Lakes trek is a great alternative for those who wish to avoid the popular (and busy) trail to Everest Base Camp. Moreover, the views from Gokyo Ri (5,357m/17,575ft.) and Renjo La pass (5,465m /17,930ft) are arguably better than those from Kalapathar. A little above Namche, the trail to Gokyo splits from the trail to the Everest Base Camp. Head North, following the Dudh Koshi river to its source near the Ngozumpa glacier. Trekking to the Gokyo Lakes allows you to enjoy views of giants such as Everest, Cho-Oyu, Makalu, Pumori, Amadablam, Thamserku, Tarboche, Cholatse etc.
From Namche, head north west following the Dudh Koshi river to its source near the Gokyo Lakes. The Gokyo Lakes trek culminates at Gokyo on the banks of the third lake. Here, we will spend three nights exploring the area. On our second day at Gokyo, hike to either Gokyo Ri or Renjo La pass for views of the lakes and the mountains (see photo above). On the third day, hike to the 5th lakes for up-close views of Cho Oyu and other mountains.
It is possible to combine trekking to the Gokyo Lake with the Everest Base Camp trek. Check out our 19-day Everest Base Camp Trek or the 15-day Everest Base Camp – fast paced trek. Also, if you have more time and wish to be more adventurous, check out the Ultimate Everest Trek. This involves crossing two passes: the Cho La pass (Everest Base Camp to Gokyo lake) and the Renjo La pass (from Gokyo lake to Thame). Furthermore, an even more physically challenging trek is the Everest Three Passes Trek. No climbing skills are required for these treks. We are also happy to customize any of these treks for you. Click on the options tab to check out more options.
The Gokyo Lakes Trek is a lodge trek. This means you will sleep and eat meals in local lodges along the trail. The quality of the lodges on this trek are quite comparable to those on the Everest Base Camp Trek. And quite a few of them have en suite rooms with hot showers. Meals are also quite varied with many options including rice with veggies, noodles, local breads etc. Read our article about food options on Everest treks.
Like most treks in Nepal, the best seasons for the trekking to the Gokyo Lakes are Spring (March-May) and Autumn (October-November). It is also possible to do this trek in Winter months of December, January and February if you do not intend to cross the passes. While it will obviously be very cold (upto -20 C/, -4 F), it will be less crowded and there aren’t as many trekkers in the area.
The Gokyo Lakes trek is rated “STRENUOUS”. It is rated 4 on a rating scale from 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging). While the highest altitude reached is at Gokyo Ri (5,357 meters), the highest overnight elevation is at Gokyo Lakes (4,750m/15,500 feet) which is much lower than on the Everest Base Camp Trek. Average daily hiking times is 5 to 6 hours with one long day of around 7 hours on the day hike to the 5th lakes. It is important to prepare for any trek in Nepal. Read our advice on training for treks.
All our Gokyo Lakes Treks are private treks for a minimum of two participants for a date of your choosing. We do NOT nickel-and-dime on services – all inclusions and exclusions are clearly listed in cost details. Some companies will advertise trips for very low prices but they have a lot of exclusions that is usually not clear. Most of our trekkers are either repeat clients or referrals. We have been in business for over 30 years and we employ only the most professional and friendly staff.
We are also proud to give back to our community through 3 Summits For Nepal managed by Crystal Mountain Treks staff. Contact us to learn more…
On the Makalu Base Camp trek, participants get up-close with the fifth highest mountain in the world – Mt. Makalu (8,485m). Eric Shipton was the first outsider to have trekked in the region in the 1950’s. Consequently, the Shipton Pass on this trek was named after this English explorer. Makalu trekking starts at a relatively lower elevation which is home to Rai’s, Gurung’s and Tamang people. Ascending slowly, the trek follows a trail through the beautiful Makalu Barun National Park which is home to diverse flora and fauna. Continue to trek past the Barun river are the spectacular granite rocks and waterfalls. Finally, the villages near the Makalu Base Camp are home to the Sherpas.
The Makalu Base Camp trek is quickly emerging as a popular trekking destination especially among trekkers who prefer solitude. Trekking to Makalu is a great alternative to the more busier treks in the Everest and Annapurna region. And with daily flights available to Tumlingtar, the Makalu Base Camp Trek is also quite easily accessible. It has all the makings of an epic Himalayan trek including stunning snow-clad mountain scenery, high passes, intriguing mix of Nepal’s culture and soaring Himalayan peaks.
The journey begins with a 35-minute flight to Tumlingtar from where we drive to the road-head on a chartered vehicle. The lower parts of the Makalu region are quite hot and humid with lush rhododendron and oak forests, cardamom plantations. Ascend slowly over several passes following the Barun river valley to the Makalu Base Camp. Return to Tumlingtar is along the same trail but vistas are quite spectacular in both directions.
The Makalu Base Camp Trek is a lodge trek. This means you will sleep and eat meals in local lodges along the trail. The lodges on this trek are quite basic. Meals are not as varied as on the Everest or the Annapurna treks but options do include rice with veggies, noodles, local breads etc. On this trek, we will carry some food to supplement what’s available at the local lodges. Furthermore, we will also carry tents so you may opt to sleep in tents in some of the places.
Like most treks in Nepal, the best seasons for the Makalu Base Camp trek are Spring (March-May) and Autumn (October-November). It is also possible to trek to Makalu Base Camp in December but obviously it will be very cold with temperatures dipping to -20 C/, -4 F or slightly lower.
The Makalu Base Camp trek is rated “CHALLENGING”. It is rated 5 on a rating scale from 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging). The highest overnight altitude reached is at Makalu Base Camp (4,800 m/15,750ft) and the highest elevation reached is at the view point above base camp (5,300m/17,400 feet). There are two acclimatization days to allow for proper acclimatization. Trekking to Makalu involves average daily hiking or around 6 hours with a few longer days of around 7-8 hours. Also, this is a relatively long trek in a remote area. Regardless of the rating, it is important to prepare for any trek in Nepal. Read our advice on training for treks.
The Makalu Base Camp Trek is a private trek for a minimum of two participants. We do NOT nickel-and-dime on services – inclusions and exclusions are clearly listed in cost details. Some companies will advertise trips for very low prices but they have a lot of exclusions that is usually not clear. With over 30 years of experience, most of our trekkers are either repeat clients or referrals. We employ the most professional and friendly staff. We are also proud to give back to our community through our giving arm – 3 Summits For Nepal – managed by Crystal Mountain Treks staff. Contact us to learn more…