Small Gems of India Itinerary

17 Days 16 Nights

Itinerary Overview

Small Gems of India Tour visits Delhi, Churu, Jaipur, Agra, Orchha, Khajuraho, Varanasi, Mumbai, and Aurangabad. Visit both cities and less visited places along with palaces, forts, havelis, temples, caves, markets, architectural wonders, and much more. Meet interesting people and learn about the culture.

Day 1 Delhi

Namaste and welcome to India!

Arrive in Delhi and after having done all the formalities of immigration, baggage, and customs as you exit the arrival halls, you will be greeted by a Geringer Global representative waiting to receive you with a placard bearing your name. Transfer to the hotel.

Hotel: The Claridges Hotel
Day 2 Delhi

After breakfast, explore Old and New Delhi. While Old Delhi speaks volumes about India’s history, culture, and traditions, New Delhi exhibits the picture of modern India.

Join a local expert for the Old Delhi tour on a specially customized cycle rickshaw. This tour is an extensive tour that covers 20 main sites that include palaces, mansions, elegant shrines, and colorful bazaars.

After the tour drive past India Gate, the 42 m high War Memorial Arch, the Parliament House, the Secretariat buildings, and the Vice Regal Palace, now the official residence of the President of India.

Lunch is at Olive Bar and Kitchen Restaurant.

After lunch, visit two of the important UNESCO World Heritage Sites of New Delhi. The first stop is Qutub Minar, the second tallest minaret in India. It is made of red stone and marble and is covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Qur’an. Afterward, visit the 16th century Humayun’s Tomb, the first garden tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It is an outstanding monument in the Indo-Persian style and a precursor of the Taj Mahal.

Dinner is at the hotel.

Hotel: The Claridges Hotel
Day 3 Churu

After breakfast, check-out of the hotel and drive to Churu (approx. 6 hours). Churu is known for its attractive havelis and traditional mansions with large wall murals in a style common to this part of Rajasthan.

On arrival, check into the heritage hotel and enjoy the local Rajasthani lunch.

After lunch, proceed for a heritage walk with the in-house resident guide, Lal Singh, who will discuss the various mansions located nearby. He will discuss how rich the area was once upon a time and how wealthy merchants spent money on art and architecture.

In the evening, drive to the sand dunes to watch the sunset and to enjoy dinner under the stars with soft instrumental music heard in the background.

Hotel: Malji Ka Kamra Heritage Hotel
Day 4 Churu

After breakfast, explore the interesting town of Churu where you will observe the textile technique of tie and dye. The guide will help in interacting with the local artisan to understand the tie and dye process.

Visit a small potter’s house to see how clay is baked into beautiful pots and how much effort and hard work goes into making these pots in harsh desert conditions. If you want, you can try your hand to create small mud pots.

Visit the home of an artist, who over the years, has achieved excellence in sandal wood carving. See how much hard work goes into making one piece of wood with amazing details. It takes days to months to carve the wood into the desired shape.

From here, move on to the commercial part of town. Stop at a small shop to witness the art of bangle making. The bangle artist makes the bangles according to the preference in design and size. Learn about the bangle making process while the family shows the products they have.

Lunch is at the hotel.

Late afternoon, drive to Ramgarh which is only 15 km away and is known for having the most havelis/mansions in the Shekhawati area.

Dinner is at the hotel.

Hotel: Malji Ka Kamra Heritage Hotel
Day 5 Jaipur

After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to Jaipur (approx. 4 hours).

Arrive Jaipur and check into the hotel.

Lunch is at the hotel.

Drive to the old city for a walking tour. A local expert will guide this tour to explore the vibrant bazaars. It’s a great way to explore Jaipur like locals do and learn about the rich artistic traditions of this fascinating city.

Dinner is at Samode Haveli, a former residence of the rulers of Samode.

Hotel: Dera Mandawa Hotel
Day 6 Jaipur

After breakfast, visit Amer Fort with its amazing architecture that combines Mughal and Hindu styles. Explore its high ramparts, many gates, cobbled paths, and splendid views. Next visit the City Palace, a beautiful complex of gardens, courtyards, and decorative art.

Lunch is at the Palace Café, at the City Palace.

After lunch, walk to the adjacent Jantar Mantar or Astronomical Observatory made by the Maharaja of Jaipur in the 18th century and is one of the five such astronomical wonders built by Sawai Jai Singh. It makes accurate predictions even to this day. Finally, have a photo stop at “Palace of Winds”. Otherwise known as Hawa Mahal, it was used by the women to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen.

Enjoy a special cooking lesson/dinner with Thakur Durga Singh, the current custodian of Dera Mandawa. He is a keen observer of history, culture, religion, current affairs, and much more.

Hotel: Dera Mandawa Hotel
Day 7 Agra

After breakfast, drive to Agra (approx. 5 hours). Stop at Abhaneri Village to see Chand Baori Stepwell, one of the oldest surviving stepwells in Rajasthan.

Visit Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted red sandstone city, built by Emperor Akbar as his capital. Ponder the mysterious desertion of this capital city that was dramatically abandoned a few years after it was built. It was a veritable fairy tale city and its ‘ruins’ are still in pristine condition.

Arrive Agra, check into the hotel.

Lunch is at the hotel.

After lunch, take the Kachhpura Heritage Trail, a community-based program, that brings you some amazing scenes of life and times behind the Taj Mahal. This visit offers you an opportunity to view the Taj Mahal from a different vantage point from across the Yamuna River. The proceeds from this walk go directly into funding various welfare work such as upgrading schools, building toilets, and creating sustainable livelihoods

Dinner is at Peshawri Restaurant. Enjoy a lavish spread of delicious kebabs, tasty Indian breads, and the inimitable Dal Bukhara.

Hotel: Hotel Trident Agra
Day 8 Agra

Visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise. The Taj Mahal was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 15th century as a memorial to his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is an architectural masterpiece of exquisite craftsmanship and perfect proportions.

Return to the hotel for breakfast.

Visit the massive Agra Fort, the formal imperial residence of the Mughal Dynasty. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known as the Red Fort of Agra.

Lunch is at a local restaurant.

After lunch, take the Colonial Walk of Agra with a local resident. This colonial walk aims to highlight the lesser-known buildings built by the British which are often overlooked by tourists.

Dinner is at the hotel.

Hotel: Trident Agra Hotel
Day 9 Orchha

After breakfast, transfer to the station to board the train to Jhansi.

Arrive Jhansi and drive to the medieval town of Orchha.

Check into the hotel and enjoy lunch.

After lunch, set out for a half-day sightseeing of Orchha. Visit the multi-tiered Jahangir Mahal located in the fort built in 1606, the Raj Mahal noted for its fine murals, and the Rai Praveen Mahal, a palace set in the gardens of Anand Mahal. Orchha has temples that are certainly worth a visit due to their unique architecture. Notable among them are the Ram Raja Temple, Laxmi Narain Temple with its exuberant frescoes, and the Chaturbhuj Temple.

Join the evening aarti ceremony at the temple with other devotees.

Dinner is at the hotel.

Hotel: Amar Mahal Hotel
Day 10 Khajuraho

After breakfast, drive to Khajuraho (approx. 4.5 hours).

On arrival, check into the hotel and enjoy lunch.

After lunch, visit the Western Group of Temples. The largest and most ornate temple of this group is the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The height of the temple is 31 meters. It is considered one of the best examples of temples preserved from the medieval period in India.

In the evening, enjoy the light and show held in the open lawns of the temple complex.

Dinner is at the hotel.

Hotel: The Lalit Temple View Hotel
Day 11 Varanasi

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel. Check out of the hotel and transfer to Khajuraho airport for the flight to Varanasi.

Arrive Varanasi and transfer to the hotel.

Check into the hotel and enjoy lunch. (Depending upon the flight time, lunch could be on the plane.)

Dinner is at Varuna Restaurant at the hotel.

After dinner, take the Death and Rebirth Night Walk. This walk explores the mystical experience of life and beyond at ‘Mahashramstana’, the great cremation ground of Shiva. Traverse from the land of the living to the houses of the dying.

Hotel: Taj Ganges Hotel.
Day 12 Varanasi

Early this morning, take a boat ride on the River Ganges to view the sunrise. Observe the Hindu way of life along the ghats. Watch people go down to the river in the early morning and perform rituals.

Return to the hotel for breakfast.

After breakfast, explore the city. The tour of Varanasi includes the visit to the Bharat Mata Temple with its big marble relief map of India, the Durga Temple, and the modern marble Tulsi Manas Temple whose walls are engraved with scenes and verses from the Ramcharitmanas, the Hindi version of the Ramayana.

See the New Viswanath Temple, one of the tallest in India (non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple), Benares Hindu University and its museum, and the mosque of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

Lunch is at EastWest Restaurant.

After lunch, have an insider’s look at the symbiotic life of the riverside people of Varanasi on the Bengali Tola Riverside Walk. Winding through the streets and popping out onto the riverside, this walk ends up on Bengali Tola, the street of the Bengalis, visiting hidden Mother Goddess Kali shrines and the vistas of life along the riverside.

In the evening, witness the illuminating aarti ceremony with a boat ride. Evening Aarti is the final ritual of the day when thousands of locals and pilgrims gather together to offer their prayers to the Mother Ganges.

Afterwards, walk to the Brijrama Palace Hotel for dinner in their restaurant, Darbhanga.

Hotel: Taj Ganges Hotel.
Day 13 Mumbai

After breakfast, proceed for an excursion to Sarnath, a major Buddhist center. After achieving enlightenment at Bodhgaya, Buddha, the ‘Awakened One’, delivered his first sermon here. Visit the Sarnath Museum which has an excellent collection of artifacts related to the Mauryan, Guptan, and Kushana era.

Post lunch at the hotel, transfer to Varanasi airport to connect for the flight to Mumbai.

Arrive Mumbai and transfer to the hotel.

Dinner is at Trishna, best known for its prized seafood cooked in South Indian coastal flavors.

Hotel: Trident Nariman Point Hotel
Day 14 Mumbai

Mumbai by Dawn is a unique offering, where you see the bustling city of Mumbai wake up. Peek into the underbelly of the city and gain insights into what makes this magnificent city tick. From seeing hundreds of newspaper vendors sort out newspapers of 7 different languages, experiencing one of its kind fish auction of 20 tons of fish, to seeing an ‘only green’ herb market sprawled across a popular bridge, from watching the milkmen drive past with canisters, the melee of color at the flower markets to experiencing the clamor and chaos of the arrival of over 100 tons of vegetables, fruits and meat, Mumbai by Dawn truly defines the mercurial character of Mumbai like none other.

Return to the hotel for breakfast.

After breakfast, enjoy the “Five Senses Tour” with a local expert. This is a day – long tour that gives you five different experiences for an immersive perspective of the city. Mumbai is not just about historic sights, but also about people and their culture.

Dinner is at The Table Restaurant with its globally inspired cuisine and a true farm-to-table experience with produce from its own farm.

Hotel: Trident Nariman Point Hotel
Day 15 Aurangabad

After breakfast, visit the Dharavi Slum with a local expert. Dharavi is one of Asia’s largest slums but is also the most bustling and economically proficient part of Mumbai with thousands of small – scale industries thriving in the area.

After lunch at the hotel, transfer to the airport to board the flight for Aurangabad.

On arrival in Aurangabad, transfer to the hotel.

Dinner is at the hotel.

Hotel: Vivanta by Taj Aurangabad Hotel
Day 16 Aurangabad

After breakfast, enjoy a full day excursion to the Ajanta Caves. The caves, famous for their temple architecture and delicately drawn murals, are located in a 76 m high horseshoe-shaped escarpment overlooking the Waghora (Tiger) River. The Ajanta Caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Lunch is at a local restaurant in Ajanta.

After the excursion, return to your hotel.

Dinner is at the hotel.

Hotel: Vivanta by Taj Aurangabad Hotel
Day 17 Mumbai – Departure

After breakfast, take a half-day excursion to the Ellora Caves. They are one of the largest rock cut Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain temple caves in the world. Ellora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Lunch is at a local restaurant in Ellora.

Early evening assisted transfer to Aurangabad airport for the flight to Mumbai.

Arrive Mumbai, check into the Leela Mumbai Hotel where a day use room is booked.

Dinner is at Jamavar Restuarant, known for its authentic north and south Indian fine dining.

Late night assisted transfer to Mumbai International Airport to connect for the flight home.