Golden Triangle & Varanasi
from $3995
Duration: 12 Days
Visit India and explore the best of the north on this 12-day highlights adventure from Delhi to Varanasi. Discover the Pink City of Jaipur, witness the Mughal splendours of Delhi and Agra, safari through Ranthambhore National Park in search of tigers and soak up the ambience of holy Varanasi on a sunrise cruise. This wonderful introduction to the magic of India includes lavish palaces, vibrant bazaars, Bollywood blockbusters and the incomparable Taj Mahal. Packed with hotspots and hidden gems, this is your chance to discover the cultural heart of India.
  • Discover the beauty in buildings that lie across the north of India, from Jaipur’s Hawa Mahal or ‘Palace of the Winds’ and Royal City Palace to Agra’s Red Fort and iconic Taj Mahal.
  • A trip to India wouldn’t be complete without an insight into the world of Bollywood. Sit back and enjoy a film in one of Jaipur’s magnificent cinemas with your small group.
  • Embark on both morning and sunset safaris through Ranthambore National Park in search of antelope, sloth bears, leopards and the elusive tigers that call this park home.
  • Awaken the senses one morning in Varanasi with a sunrise cruise down the Ganges. It’s the perfect way to experience the spiritual magic of this ultimate Hindu pilgrimage destination.
  • Immerse yourself in the grandeur and elegance of Rajput royalty in rural Rajasthan at Castle Kanota – your Feature Stay heritage property on this trip.
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Jaipur - Leader-led walking & market tour
  • Jaipur - Bollywood Movie at Raj Mandir Cinema
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
  • Ranthambhore National Park - Evening wildlife safari
  • Ranthambhore National Park - Morning Safari
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Agra Fort
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Leader-led Old Delhi walking tour
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
  • Varanasi - Leader-led Old City walking tour
  • Varanasi - Sunset candle flower ceremony
  • Varanasi - Sunrise Ganges boat trip
  • Day 1 Location: Delhi
    Welcome to India! On arrival at Delhi Airport, you will be met by a Peregrine representative and transferred to your hotel. This evening, there will be an important welcome meeting in the hotel at around 6 pm to meet your local leader and fellow group of travellers. Until then, you can use any free time before the meeting to explore this excitingly chaotic capital city. Filled with historical sites from different eras, museums, galleries and endless bazaars, there’s plenty to see in Delhi.
    Day 2 Location: Jaipur
    Get a taste of Indian rail travel with an express train into Rajasthan and onto the region’s capital of Jaipur (approximately 5 hours). On arrival, take a walking tour through the crowded streets packed with cars, camel carts, rickshaws, trucks and bicycles, past traditionally dressed Rajput men wearing colourful turbans and sporting magnificent moustaches. Walk the city's crowded bazaars filled with handcrafted textiles, folk art, and the local speciality of semi-precious stones. Afterwards, stop at one of India's most photographed buildings – the Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of the Winds'. There’s also the option to visit one of India’s finest palaces – Jaipur's Royal City Palace – or the astronomical instrument sculptures of the Observatory. This evening, continue to indulge in the wonders of Indian culture by watching a Bollywood blockbuster at Raj Mandir cinema.
    Day 3 Location: Jaipur
    Visit the opulent Amber Fort – the jewel of Jaipur. It is quite a sight, with its soft shades of red, sandstone and white marble with elaborate Hindu-style flourishes. Explore the legacy of a fallen empire in its ornate rooms, lavish murals, frescoed arches and delicate jali work. After spending some time here, the remainder of the day is free for you to explore parts of Jaipur that you may have missed yesterday, or simply to relax at your accommodation.
    Day 4 Location: Rural Rajasthan Heritage Stay
    Drifting high over the Pink City while it’s bathed in the early morning sunlight is a highlight for many visitors to Jaipur, so consider booking yourself into a hot air balloon experience this morning. This can be done between September and April – for additional information see the 'Important Notes' section of the Essential Trip Information. During the day you’ll also drive to Kanota (approximately 1 hour). Your accommodation here is the elegant Castle Kanota – a Feature Stay of this itinerary. Built in 1972 and set on eight acres of manicured gardens, this heritage hotel is one of Rajasthan's finest.
    Day 5 Location: Ranthambhore National Park
    Drive from Castle Kanota to Ranthambhore National Park (approximately 5 hours). In the evening, embark on a safari through the park. Ranthambore National Park is one of the original Project Tiger reserves – a place where nature has reclaimed ancient fortresses and temples and is teeming with wildlife. In 4WD safari vehicles, take game drives to search for animals, including the majestic tiger which stalks through the jungle. You may also have the chance to explore the 1000-year-old Ranthambore Fort, where two pavilions that have survived the ravages of war and time – Badal Mahal and Hammirs Court – give an idea of its old grandeur.
    Day 6 Location: Ranthambhore
    Rise early for a morning safari – your second chance to spot some of this region’s resident tiger population. Even if they are too stealthy to see, the park is filled with other animals like gazelle, hyenas, sloth bears, crocodiles, jackals, three types of antelope (nilgai, sambar and chital) and leopards to watch out for. Afterwards, enjoy some time at leisure at the resort. You may like to take a stroll around town with your free afternoon or continue your relaxation beside the pool, perhaps enjoying a meal at the onsite restaurant, with most of the produce grown at the resort’s organic farm.
    Day 7 Location: Agra
    Today, drive to Agra (approximately 5 hours). Once arrived, visit India's most iconic structure – the spectacular Taj Mahal. Best known as a monument to love and loss, the 17th-century Taj was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his second wife and is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture surrounded by trimmed English gardens. Agra is also home to one of the finest looking forts in India. Stop at the nearby Agra Fort – a fortress, palace and prison built of red sandstone by Akbar in 1565 and partially converted into a palace during the time of Shah Jahan.
    Day 8 Location: Delhi
    Travel from Agra to Delhi and explore the bustling city streets on a walking tour. You’ll also get the chance to travel in the local style, by cycle rickshaw, gaining another perspective on this chaotic metropolis. Visit the Sisganj Gurudwara – one of the nine historic gurdwaras (Sikh temples) in Delhi, first constructed in 1783. Stop in at the awe-inspiring Red Fort, which is considered to be the peak of Mughal creativity. Also, pay a visit to the 73-metre-high Qutab Minar and about learn some of its history.
    Day 9 Location: Varanasi
    Fly from Delhi to Varanasi. Awash with shrines and temples, it is the ultimate destination for Hindu pilgrims who travel from far and wide to experience this spiritual city. Varanasi may not be known for its cleanliness, but it is recognised as one of India’s most inspiring cities. Take a walking tour of the Old City, through narrow laneways packed with stalls and shops, past the dhobi wallahs, burning ghats, and the endless temples that echo with bells and the pungent aroma of incense. Witness pilgrims performing ancient bathing rituals and ceremonies as the sun sets over this sacred city.
    Day 10 Location: Varanasi
    Today starts early with a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, where you can watch the light gradually illuminate the many ghats and temples along the river as you pass. There is an option today to take a trip to nearby Sarnath – one of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage destinations. The site is where Buddha preached his message of the path to enlightenment and features a number of stupas and museums to explore. Alternatively, the day can be spent exploring the laneways and alleys behind the ghats or picking up some quality pieces from a local silk merchant. Perhaps finish the day with an optional Ganges river cruise at sunset.
    Day 11 Location: Delhi
    This morning will be free for you to soak up the atmosphere of Varanasi. Perhaps hit the streets to do some last-minute shopping in the incredible bazaars or simply wander through the ghats. Later today, return to Delhi by plane (approximately 1.5 hours), arriving early afternoon. This evening, consider dining with your group with an optional dinner organised by your leader – a perfect occasion to celebrate the many memories made during your India adventure.
    Day 12 Location: Delhi
    Your journey comes to an end after breakfast. There are no other activities planned for the day and you can leave the accommodation at any time. For those who wish to stay on in Delhi to further explore the city, we are happy to help with booking accommodation (subject to availability).
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    23FEB2021
    Return Date:
    06MAR2021
    3995NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    16MAR2021
    Return Date:
    27MAR2021
    3995NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    06APR2021
    Return Date:
    17APR2021
    3995NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    31AUG2021
    Return Date:
    11SEP2021
    3995NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    28SEP2021
    Return Date:
    09OCT2021
    3995NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    05OCT2021
    Return Date:
    16OCT2021
    3995NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    19OCT2021
    Return Date:
    30OCT2021
    3995NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    26OCT2021
    Return Date:
    06NOV2021
    3995NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    09NOV2021
    Return Date:
    20NOV2021
    4155NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    16NOV2021
    Return Date:
    27NOV2021
    4155NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    14 Oct 2020

    Trip title

    Golden Triangle & Varanasi

    Trip code

    PIIG

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2021

    Introduction

    Visit India and explore the best of the north on this 12-day highlights adventure from Delhi to Varanasi. Discover the Pink City of Jaipur, witness the Mughal splendours of Delhi and Agra, safari through Ranthambhore National Park in search of tigers and soak up the ambience of holy Varanasi on a sunrise cruise. This wonderful introduction to the magic of India includes lavish palaces, vibrant bazaars, Bollywood blockbusters and the incomparable Taj Mahal. Packed with hotspots and hidden gems, this is your chance to discover the cultural heart of India.

    Style

    Peregrine

    Transport

    Auto-rickshaw,Bicycle rickshaw,Boat,Plane,Private vehicle,Shuttle bus,Train

    Physical Rating

    2

    Joining point

    Jaypee Siddharth

    3, Rajendra Place

    Delhi

    110008

    INDIA

    Phone: +91 (11)25760000

    Joining point description

    This 94 room hotel is a 5-minute walk from the metro stop. Modern rooms come with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, as well as desks, seating areas, tea and coffeemakers, and minibar. Room service is available. Complimentary amenities include parking and breakfast. There's also an upscale restaurant, a 24-hour cafe, a tapas bar and a bakery, plus an outdoor pool, a gym, a spa and a business centre.

    Joining point instructions

    Delhi's Indira Gandhi's International Airport is approximately 25km from Karol Bagh. One of the biggest airports in the world, it can be quite chaotic and can take some time to process your visa and collect your luggage. Peregrine offer a complementary pre-arranged transfer service. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure. You will be met in the arrivals hall after clearing customs, your representative with sign board will be standing near Costa Coffee next to gate no 5. Please ask them to confirm your name. Please do not exit the gates, Costa coffee is just before the exit gate no.5. If you have any problems and cannot locate our representative, or if your flight is delayed please call the following 24 hour number: +91-9911 97 2636 If you do not have a mobile phone, there are public phones next to Costa Coffee. Calls cost 1 rupee per minute Failing the above please take a taxi to the hotel (using the instructions below) and advise your group leader. When you walk out of the exit door, you will easily be able to spot popular metered taxi counters such as Meru Cabs/Mega Cabs or Easy Cabs, show them your drop location and pay them as per the meter once you get to your hotel. The taxi ride from the airport to our starting point hotel takes approx 1 hour and costs between INR 500 - 600 (prepaid traffic police booths). IMPORTANT: Please avoid taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport. Previous passengers have complained that they have been charged hefty amount for the transfers. The Delhi metro is another option from the airport. Trains depart between approx 5am and 11:30pm, the trip takes approx. 45 mins and costs around INR100. Please refer to the metro map for lines, changes and directions to Karol Bagh where most of our hotels are located. http://delhimetrorail.info/delhi-metro-map Check in time at hotel is 12 midday.

    Finish point

    Jaypee Siddharth

    3, Rajendra Place

    Delhi

    110008

    INDIA

    Phone: +91 (11)25760000

    Important information

    A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information. Please provide your full name exactly as it appears on your passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for flight tickets. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases, you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket if an amendment occurs. This trip includes domestic flights. The luggage allowance is 15kg for check in luggage and 7kg for carry on. You can store excess luggage at the start point hotel.

    Group leader

    All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

    Safety

    WOMEN'S SAFETY: Women should exercise caution when travelling in India. Reported cases of sexual assault against women are increasing; recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas and cities show that foreign women are also at risk. While the risk of an incident occurring on your trip is very low, below are some things you can do for your safety and peace of mind when travelling: - Respect local dress codes and customs, perhaps dressing more conservatively than you do at home - Avoid isolated areas, including beaches, unlit city streets and village lanes when alone at any time of day - Avoid travelling alone on public transport, or in taxis or auto-rickshaws, especially at night - If you have to use a taxi get them from hotel taxi ranks and use pre-paid taxis at airports. Try to avoid hailing taxis on the street. Some cities (including Delhi and Chennai) have special taxi services for women with women drivers - If you’re being collected at the airport by a driver make sure they have properly identified themselves before you set off. -When leaving your compartment on overnight trains (ie. going to the bathroom), ask a male travel companion to accompany you where possible For further information and advice, visit: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/women-safety-india https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/india-solo-female-traveller-story/ www.gov.uk/government/policies/supporting-british-nationals-overseas/supporting-pages/advice-for-women-travellers www.smartraveller.gov.au/tips/women.html PERSONAL BELONGINGS: We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. FREE TIME: Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. FESTIVALS: Travelling in India and Nepal during Holi can at times be unsafe - drinking and drug use is more widespread during this holiday. Your leader/guide will advise your group on what places to avoid on this day. It may be necessary to alter your itinerary for the day. Diwali (a lunar festival generally held from mid-October to mid-November every year) is celebrated by local people letting off fireworks in the street. It can be very noisy for several days with extra pollution caused by fireworks. As there are no restrictions on buying fireworks in India there are often injuries caused by people exploding them inappropriately. During this festival, your leader/guide may be required to alter your itinerary to avoid large crowds gathering and using fireworks. PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. SCAMS: Scams involving ATM and credit cards, train tickets, taxis, temple donations and tourist guides operate throughout India. If you are the victim of a scam, report it immediately to the nearest police station. Even though they may not be able to get your money or goods back, they can issue you with an official loss report for insurance purposes.

    AIR POLLUTION The high levels of air pollution in New Delhi (and across urbanised India) may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected. Please ensure you bring the required medication with you if you have any of these type of medical conditions. You can check the pollution index levels for many cities on the following website: http://safar.tropmet.res.in/ Our tour leaders have a supply of masks for sale at the joining meeting should you wish to purchase one.

    Communications

    WIFI Generally, WiFi is available in most parts of India and at most of the accommodation we use. It's usually free in public areas of hotels but some properties will charge for in-room use. Please ask your tour leader or the specific hotel reception upon check-in. Many restaurants and cafes (especially in tourist areas) offer customers free WiFi. Ask for the password when ordering. Internet cafes are widespread in India and connections are usually reasonably fast, except in more remote areas. MOBILE You can purchase a SIM at the airport (or at kiosks everywhere) for use while travelling in India. Airtel or Vodaphone is a good bet. SIMs are relatively cheap. You will need to usually provide 2 passport-sized photos and a copy of your passport will be made. MAIL Posting airmail letters to anywhere overseas costs ₹25/15. International airmail postcards cost around ₹12. For postcards, stick the stamps on before writing, as the post office can give you as many as four stamps per card. The post office is always a fun adventure in India!

    Visas

    PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for most up to date information. INDIA: An E-Tourist Visa (eVT) visa on arrival is available for select nationalities including but not limited to the following: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, UK & USA. Passport holders from these countries can apply for an eVT to have their visa issued upon arrival at 16 major airports in India. Please follow the instructions at - https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html and complete the application for your eVT. IMPORTANT: - Please be aware of strict conditions regarding application and travel (check under the ELIGIBILITY section of the website). - E-Tourist Visas are available for entry of up to 90 days. For residents of the USA, UK, Canada, and Japan e-Tourist Visas are available for up to 180 days. If you plan to be in India longer you will need to apply for a tourist visa at an Indian visa application centre in your home country. - Please note that travellers entering India overland from Nepal are required to apply for a visa in advance in their home country. Visas will NOT be issued on the Nepal/Indian border. - The e-Tourist Visa DOES NOT apply to travellers entering India overland. Please check your trip notes if you are crossing a border between India and Nepal. - Indian visas are difficult and time-consuming to obtain in Nepal. Tourist visas are available in Single and Multiple Entry. Be sure to check the date you require a visa from and the length of time you will need to cover, especially if you change countries during your trip. For your visa application, you need to include the following information under the local contact section towards the end of the application. : PEAK India 25/3 East Patel Nagar Delhi 110008 Phone: +91 11 4500 6400 Please note that this information can change at any time. Please always refer to https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html This is the only official visa online site. There are many other mirror sites that are run by visa service companies or scammers and may not be reliable.

    Why we love it

    Discover the beauty in buildings that lie across the north of India, from Jaipur’s Hawa Mahal or ‘Palace of the Winds’ and Royal City Palace to Agra’s Red Fort and iconic Taj Mahal.

    A trip to India wouldn’t be complete without an insight into the world of Bollywood. Sit back and enjoy a film in one of Jaipur’s magnificent cinemas with your small group.

    Embark on both morning and sunset safaris through Ranthambore National Park in search of antelope, sloth bears, leopards and the elusive tigers that call this park home.

    Awaken the senses one morning in Varanasi with a sunrise cruise down the Ganges. It’s the perfect way to experience the spiritual magic of this ultimate Hindu pilgrimage destination.

    Immerse yourself in the grandeur and elegance of Rajput royalty in rural Rajasthan at Castle Kanota – your Feature Stay heritage property on this trip.

    Is this trip right for you

    In the summer months, Rajasthan can get very hot. Be sure to drink lots of water, pack light cotton clothing and use adequate skin protection. There are several early mornings on this trip, as many parts of India really come alive in the dawn light. It can get foggy between December and February, which can put a new spin on the already spectacular scenery. However, it may cause trains to be delayed.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. Below you can find some further information about health issues relevant to the destinations visited on this trip. COVID-19 As we start planning our return to running trips, the safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers will remain our priority and our return to operations will be done in a safe and responsible way. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.peregrineadventures.com/safe-travels We will not require a negative COVID-19 test before joining a trip unless it is a requirement of entry for the country. If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will assist you to seek medical advice and you will not be permitted to join the trip. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESSES: Malaria is a risk in many parts of India, including major cities. Cases of dengue fever are reported, especially in the period after the monsoon. Other mosquito-borne diseases (including Japanese encephalitis, chikungunya fever, and filariasis) also occur. Take preventative measures such as wearing long clothing, using repellent, and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. Consult a medical professional regarding prophylaxis against malaria. For more information, see the World Health Organisation's fact sheets: http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/vector_ecology/mosquito-borne-diseases/en/ AIR POLLUTION: During winter months (October-February), air pollution levels in parts of India can spike to hazardous levels. Severe pollution can increase the risk of respiratory problems. Those with pre-existing medical conditions, particularly heart and lung conditions, may be especially affected. Your leader can assist you to obtain a face mask if required. OTHER INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including meningitis, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis, diphtheria and rabies) are common in India. Tap water is not safe to drink. Home-made or unlabelled alcohol can be poisonous. Seek medical attention if you suspect food poisoning, if you have a fever or suffer from diarrhea. ZIKA VIRUS: India is classified as an ongoing transmission zone for Zika, with confirmed cases in Tamil Nadu and Jaipur. Basic precautions for protection from mosquito bites should be taken by people traveling to Zika transmission areas, especially pregnant women. INFLUENZA Cases of influenza A(H1N1) are widespread in India during winter with a number of recent cases in Rajasthan. Discuss influenza vaccination requirements with your doctor or a travel health professional before departing and maintain good hygiene practices by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing, and washing your hands regularly. For more information, see the World Health Organisation's fact sheets: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/influenza-(seasonal)

    Money matters

    The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR). Its symbol is ₹. The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via ATMs, which are readily available in most towns. Look for Bank of India or ICICI ATMs. Our experience has shown they are the most reliable ATMs to use for withdrawals. Cash shortages at ATMs can be a problem in rural areas. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn, or faded can be very difficult to exchange, so please bring clean bills, and small denominations are most useful. The use of credit cards can be restricted, mainly to major hotels, shops, and higher-end establishments. Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some  travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than others, others prefer to visit more optional sites. Remember that alcoholic beverages are expensive compared to other foods locally. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities. TIPPING On this trip, we have included gratuities for the essential services that you will receive as part of your tour package. Where applicable, this will cover tips to drivers, specialist local guides, restaurant staff for included meals, porters, bellboys and other hotel staff, including room-cleaning staff. This amount DOES NOT include a tip for your tour leader, so you may wish to set aside some funds for this. It is customary to tip your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$3-US$5 per person (in local currency), per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. You may also wish to put aside some money for your own tipping, such as when you are doing our own optional sightseeing or activity that involves local guides and/or drivers or when joining in optional groups meals or dining out on your own. In these instances, we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. The amounts can vary greatly according to destination. Please ask your tour leader for guidance on what are appropriate amounts to tip.

    What to take

    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. A lockable bag or small padlock is useful. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip. ESSENTIALS: - Lightweight clothing. You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing and warm layers. Long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes are useful. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Maybe bring a change of smart clothes for dinner in bigger cities. Please also bring clothing that covers arms and pants/skirts that go past the knee for entry into local temples. For women, a light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when hot. - Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through cities as well as bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings. - Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses - Personal medication with relevant prescription. RECOMMENDED: - It comes as a surprise to many travellers that India can be cold (ie. below zero!) during winter (particularly Dec to Feb), even in some cities and even when not at high altitudes. Make sure you are prepared for the weather during these months by bringing adequately warm clothes with you, including thermal underclothes and an appropriate jacket. - Personal medical kit. A larger kit will be on hand with your leader, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent. - Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. - Camera. OPTIONAL: - Sleep sheet. If you are travelling during the winter you may wish to pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather. - Ear plugs to guard against street noise and snorers. - A good book, a journal and music player for longer drives. LUGGAGE LIMIT: Please keep your luggage to a minimum. One small soft-sided bag plus a day pack (no more than 15-20kgs in total per person) is essential. We recommend against bringing hard/externally framed suitcases as they are difficult to store and can damage equipment and other travellers' belongings. If your trip is beginning and ending at the same location, excess luggage can usually be stored at your arrival/departure hotel and can be collected after your trip. VALUABLES: Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary. BATTERIES/POWER: Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every day. We recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera and a power bank for your phone. MORE! If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list. https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

    Climate and seasonal

    WEATHER IN INDIA Due to India's size and topography, there's a huge amount of variation in its climate. We recommend you consider both the season and the part of India you intend to visit, so that you can best pack for your adventure. One of the most beneficial times to visit India is from September to March when temperatures are at their best, with warm days and cool nights. During winter (December to January), temperatures can get quite cold in Delhi and the north, especially at night. Hotels in some regions may not have adequate heating. In these months you may like to bring thermals for sleeping and a warm jacket for mornings and evenings. Fog can delay trains travelling throughout this region. Monsoon is from May to October and offers hot and humid conditions. It is not unusual for trains to be delayed, and for activities in towns near rivers and lakes (ie Varanasi) to require amendment at this time of year. Your leader will be able to advise you locally on any changes. FESTIVALS & HOLIDAYS As a country of many cultures and religions, India has many festivals and public holidays. Here are some of the key dates and events: HOLI (Festival of Colours) 2021 28-29 March DIWALI (Festival of Light) 2021 4 November RAMADAN (Muslim Holy Month) 2021 12 April-11 May

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. For additional Conditions of Carriage regarding COVID-19, see here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/conditions-carriage

    Feedback

    Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: https://www.peregrineadventures.com/feedback

    Pre-departure checklist

    Before you travel please download our pre-departure checklist to make sure you are fully prepared for your trip: http://www.peregrineadventures.com/pre-departure-travel-checklist

    Emergency contact

    BOOKING ENQUIRIES / ISSUES For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at: www.peregrineadventures.com/contact-us CRISIS AND EMERGENCIES In case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact our local ground representative on the number below: Peregrine’s Local Operator: +91 9999 005 019

    Responsible travel

    Responsible travel is important to Peregrine. Maintaining our integrity and upholding principles of sustainable development are core to our travel ethos. Our values are ingrained in the culture of our business and in the design of our trips. We respect the people, cultures and local environments that we encounter while travelling and encourage the spread of good will and cross-cultural sharing. We are committed to making a positive contribution wherever possible. Read more about responsible travel with Peregrine here: https://www.peregrineadventures.com/responsible-travel ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING: While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Peregrine does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for Protection of Animals) advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures.

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Peregrine Adventures, a brand of the Intrepid Group, and works with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    Heritage hotels are a wonderful way to experience Indian hospitality harking back to the days of the Maharajah. The properties we choose have previous incarnations as palaces, forts, government houses and more. Each room is unique, the decor is original, the staff and owners friendly and local. Please be aware that each room is different and bathrooms have often been retrofitted, some rooms will be bigger than others, some have a different view or outlook. These properties are different from a standard hotel and thus may not have some of the mod cons such as televisions. We choose each hotel based on its unique appeal and location and hope you enjoy staying in them as much as we do. they really are a small slice of Indian history. Showers at some hotels only have hot water working at peak times (usually morning and evening) outside of these times you may need to speak to reception to obtain hot water. Generally WiFi is available in most parts of India and at most of the accommodation we use. Sometimes its free in the room, other times only available in reception or public areas. A general rule of thumb is the more expensive the accommodation, the higher charge for WiFi access. Your tour leader can assist locally. If you have any issues with your room, please speak to the hotel or your tour leader at the time. This way the problem can be addressed immediately. FEATURE STAY - CASTLE KANOTA Feel like royalty in the majesty of Castle Kanota, your feature stay in Rajasthan.

    Transport notes

    TRANSPORT IN INDIA: Main roads in India are usually very busy with an assortment of vehicles from the biggest trucks (who always have right of way) down to bikes (and goats, chickens and dogs). Overtaking on blind corners at speed is common as is the total use of the horn as a form of communication. Our leaders have complete authority to remove groups from local transport if the driver is not driving safely. Drivers of our private vehicles are experienced and well trained. if you are uncomfortable with your driver, please always let your tour leader know immediately. Please ensure you wear your seat belt at all times. TRAVEL TIMES: Distances in India do not reflect the driving time and to cover 100km may take much longer than you would expect at home, even if much of the route is on a highway. TRAINS: We use first class seated trains on journeys in India. These trains are some of the best and fastest in the country. Water and a snacks may be included in some rail fares. Delays do occur and your tour leader will be on hand to advise if this is the case. FLIGHTS: Airlines in India are of excellent quality. Airports are becoming more modern (especially in the major and tourist cities). To enter the airport, you must have a copy of your flight ticket and passport. Schedule changes and delays do occur, especially when weather conditions make visibility poor.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below:

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour.

    Accommodation

    Comfortable Hotel (8 nights),Heritage Property Feature Stay (1 night),Resort (2 nights)

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