Sacred Lands: Northern India & Nepal - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2020)

Spellbinding and spiritual in equal measure, India has a magnetic attraction which you’ll experience on this unique journey from Delhi through the northern state of Uttar Pradesh across the Gangetic plain and into neighbouring Nepal.

Journey Overview

Spellbinding and spiritual in equal measure, India has a magnetic attraction which you’ll experience on this unique journey from Delhi through the northern state of Uttar Pradesh across the Gangetic plain and into neighbouring Nepal. Inhale floral aromas and fragrant spices in markets and bazaars. Witness an extraordinary architectural legacy in cultured Lucknow from the cultivated princely rulers of Awadh to the British Raj. Track the elusive Bengal tiger and endangered one-horned rhino in the Terai and experience local Tharu culture on village visits. Dine on legendary cuisine in urban establishments, home-cooked fare in private residences and ritual feasts in heritage hotels making this journey one for the senses.

Journey Highlights

  • Meander through the bustling streets of Old Delhi on a heritage walk
  • Witness an aarti ceremony in the sacred city of Varanasi
  • Discover one of the most sophisticated and celebrated cultures of the Indian subcontinent, Lucknow’s kingdom of Awadh
  • Sip tea with the nawab of Awadh in Lucknow
  • Lay a floral tribute at the final resting place of architectural maestro Walter Burley Griffin
  • Take a jeep safari in search of Bardia National Park’s rare wildlife
  • Stand in a revered temple on the spot where Buddha was born
  • Drink in breathtaking panoramas of the world’s highest peaks, the Himalaya
  • Wander through ancient Hindu temples in the Kathmandu Valley

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Delhi, India.

Welcome to the Indian capital and transfer to your distinguished hotel.
The Imperial

Day 2: Delhi | Old & New Delhi.

This morning, meet with the Resident Tour Director and fellow travellers for a tour briefing before discovering the chaos and colour of Old Delhi on a heritage walk. Navigate bustling streets and narrow alleyways, past stalls and marketplaces where street food vendors, spice sellers and jewellers ply their trade. Wander into the Gurudwara Sikh Temple and community kitchen where thousands of worshippers come daily. This afternoon, drive through the majestic tree-lined boulevards of New Delhi, starting at Humayun’s Tomb, considered a marvel of Mughal architecture. Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner at your hotel’s award-winning Spice Route restaurant.
The Imperial | Meals: BLD

Day 3: Delhi | Design Your Day.

See more of what defines this surprising city and choose one of the following activities:

  • Explore Delhi’s spiritual side on a temple tour.
  • Admire art works and artifacts on a tour of the city’s leading museums and galleries.
  • See the impressive Qutub Minar and meet local artisans from around the country at open-air marketplace Dilli Haat.

The Imperial | Meals: B

Day 4: Varanasi | Hinduism’s holiest city.

Fly to Varanasi, one of the world’s oldest cities and heart of spiritual India. This evening, make your way down to the River Ganges to witness an aarti ceremony, considered one of the most sacred rituals of Hinduism.
Brijrama Palace | Meals: BD

Day 5: Varanasi | Pilgrims and Prayers at Dawn.

Wake early for a dawn boat ride on the Ganges to see pilgrims bathing and at prayer. Meander through the alleys of old Varanasi and pause at an akhada (gym) where traditional Indian wrestling is practiced. Afterwards visit the ruins of Sarnath where Lord Buddha is said to have preached his first sermon and spend time with a Buddhist monk.
Brijrama Palace | Meals: B

Day 6: Lucknow | Countryside of Uttar Pradesh.

Today you will travel by road northwest to Lucknow. Dinner is a feast of traditional Awadhi cuisine inspired by the Mughals at Oudhyana restaurant in your hotel.
Taj Mahal, Lucknow | Meals: BLD

Day 7: Lucknow | Architecture of the Raj.

Breathe in Lucknow’s faded grandeur as you admire its impressive Islamic and British Raj–era monuments. Start the heritage experience at La Martinière, one of India’s most prestigious schools and an architectural marvel of its age, wander through Dilkusha Kothi and its adjoining magnificent garden as well as Chatar Manzil palace before discovering another chapter of history at The Residency, constructed for British officers and their staff in 1775. The complex was attacked in 1857 during the siege of Lucknow.

After lunch visit the highly ornate Mughal style Bara Imambara, a grand mosque and congregation hall. Next stop the Husainabad Clock Tower, the highest in Asia, before taking high tea with the Nawab of Awadh, a delightful opportunity to hear about his family’s history, their traditions and his view on modern Lucknow.

A sumptuous meal is in store tonight when you dine at Kotwara House, the residence of one of the oldest royal families of Awadh.
Taj Mahal, Lucknow | Meals: BD

Day 8: Bardia, Nepal | Plains of the Terai.

This morning, visit the grave of architect Walter Burley Griffin, who famously designed Canberra and moved from Australia to Lucknow in the 1930s to undertake a number of architectural projects. Afterwards, take to the road as you travel north across the Nepal border and into Bardia National Park arriving at your lodge in time for sundowners.
Tiger Tops Karnali Lodge | Meals: BLD

Day 9: Bardia National Park | One-horned Rhino and Bengal Tiger.

Early this morning head out in search of Bardia’s rare wildlife – tiger, elephant and the great one-horned rhino. After breakfast, immerse yourself in local Tharu culture on a village visit or stop by the lodge’s own organic farm. This afternoon head into the park on a jeep safari with an experienced naturalist and this evening, share the day’s experiences around the outdoor fire over cocktails.
Tiger Tops Karnali Lodge | Meals: BLD

Day 10: Lumbini | Birthplace of Buddha.

Today you will travel by road southeast to Lumbini, one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists. The ‘Enlightened One’ was said to have been born in the Sacred Garden here in 623 BC and more than 400,000 people visit every year.
Lumbini Hotel Kasai | Meals: BLD

Day 11: Lumbini | Temples, Stupas and Monasteries.

Today is devoted to the many sites scattered around Lumbini which bear significance to the life and enlightenment of Buddha. During the day, a guided interaction with a Buddhist monk at one of the monasteries will be arranged.
Lumbini Hotel Kasai | Meals: BLD

Day 12: Pokhara | Gateway to the Annapurnas.

Fly to Pokhara, situated in the foothills of magnificent Mt Machhapuchhre, and your hotel which is nestled in a tranquil valley beside a meandering river within easy reach of picturesque Phewa Lake. An afternoon to relax with yoga and meditation.
The Pavilions Himalayas | Meals: B

Day 13: Pokhara | Epic views and Tibetan Villages.

A very early start this morning for sunrise at Sarangkot. Breathe in the panoramic Himalayan views and later drive to a Tibetan village whose inhabitants were once refugees. Wander around the village and monastery and admire the locally produced woollen carpets and handicrafts before a traditional cup of butter tea. End the day floating serenely on Phewa Lake soaking up breathtaking views of the Annapurna Range.
The Pavilions Himalayas | Meals: B

Day 14: Pokhara | Design your Day.

Unpeel the layers of this magical place on one of the following activities:

  • Enjoy jaw-dropping mountain views on a day hike to Peace Pagoda and through small villages.
  • Pick fresh farm produce and discover Nepali cuisine at an interactive cooking demonstration.

The Pavilions Himalayas | Meals: B

Day 15: Kathmandu | Butter lamps at Bouddhanath.

Fly to Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, and transfer to your atmospheric award-winning heritage hotel. Later visit one of Kathmandu’s most imposing landmarks, Bouddhanath stupa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Watch thousands of pilgrims spinning the prayer wheels and present butter lamp offerings and prayer flags before meeting a local artisan for an overview on thangka paintings.
Dwarika’s Hotel | Meals: B

Day 16: Kathmandu Valley | Hindu Temples & Buddhist Stupas.

After breakfast, visit Swayambhunath, the oldest shrine in the world, situated on top of a hill commanding superb views of the valley below. Later, visit Pashupatinath, the most sacred of all Hindu temples in Nepal, situated on the banks of the holy Bagmati River.

Tonight a slow dining experience reminiscent of a Newari feast is planned for your farewell dinner at Dwarika’s Hotel.
Dwarika’s Hotel | Meals: BD

Day 17: Depart Kathmandu.

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
Meals: B

Journey Details

Maximum Group Size: 18

Departures are guaranteed to operate with a minimum of 2 guests.

Tour Inclusions

All accommodation as detailed on a double/ twin share basis with private facilities; meals as specified; bottled water during transfers and touring; airport welcome; assistance with luggage and group transportation by private air-conditioned vehicle; services of one English speaking A&K Resident Tour Director throughout the journey; economy flights only if specified as included in itinerary, all entrance fees, planning, handling, operational and communication charges, all tipping.

Tour Exclusions

International flights not specified as included, visas, insurance coverage of personal loss, injury, illness or damages incurred during your trip; items of a purely personal nature such as drinks, laundry, dry cleaning, internet, fax or phone charges; transfers, sightseeing or meals not specified in itinerary; excess baggage charges 

Tailor Made Travel with A&K

If scheduled departure dates don’t work for you, or you would prefer to travel privately, talk to your A&K travel specialist or your travel agent about creating the perfect bespoke journey for your, or a small group.

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Dates & Prices

Journey Dates & Prices

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy

Mar 29, 2021 - Apr 14, 2021
Price AU$13,990pp Single Supplement AU$3,990 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire

Availability shown here is updated weekly and indicative only. Availability on any product or journey shown here is not specific to a category of travel and may not denote availability at the cheapest ‘From’ price. For real time availability, talk to your travel agent or call Abercrombie & Kent on 1300 851 800.


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