Mystical and spiritual, chaotic and confounding, India overflows with riches. Experience Old Delhi and New Delhi. Continue to Jaipur, the “pink city” and enjoy dinner in a Rajasthan family’s home. At Ranthambore National Park search for the elusive Bengal tigers on game drives. Marvel at the sublime Taj Mahal in Agra. In Varanasi, cruise along the Ganges and discover nearby Sarnath, one of Buddhism’s holiest sites. Optional 5-day/4-night post-tour extension to Nepal.
We arrive in India’s hyperactive capital late in the evening and transfer to our hotel. Taj Diplomatic Enclave
After a morning at leisure followed by a briefing about the journey ahead, we set out to dis-cover Old Delhi. Our first stop is Qutb Minar, the 379-step tower dating to 1192. We continue on to Gandhi Smriti, a museum dedicated to the Indian icon; and pass by India Gate, the majestic arch honoring the 90,000 Indian soldiers who died fighting alongside the British in World War I. Late this afternoon we return to our hotel, where tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner together. Taj Diplomatic Enclave (B,D)
We encounter more of this pulsating city today, beginning at Raj Ghat, the simple black marble slab honoring Mahatma Gandhi. After stopping for photos at Lal Qila, the Red Fort complex of palaces, we visit a Sikh temple followed by lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon’s sights include the red sandstone and marble Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque; and the colorful Chandni Chowk market, where we ride rickshaws. Schedules permitting, meet with foreign service staff at the U.S. Embassy before dinner on your own tonight. Taj Diplomatic Enclave (B,L)
Today we travel by coach to the “pink city” of Jaipur, one of the great cities of the Rajput, with historic forts, palaces, and gardens. We reach our hotel late afternoon. Jai Mahal Palace (B,L,D)
Our first stop is the stunning Hawa Mahal, the elaborately carved pink sandstone “Palace of the Winds.” We continue on to Amber Fort, built by the Kachhawah Rajputs as their capital from 1037 to 1728; Jantar Mantar, the open-air observatory; and City Palace Museum, housing the magnificent art collections of the Maharajahs of Jaipur. Jai Mahal Palace (B,L)
This morning we visit the village of Sanganer to see villagers engaging in traditional block printing and handmade paper industries. Later we see local life up close as we explore an outdoor market. Tonight we are dinner guests in the home of a multi-generational Rajasthan family. Jai Mahal Palace (B,D)
We travel today to Ranthambore National Park, the former hunting ground of the Maharajah of Jaipur and now a 512-square-mile natural preserve that is home to hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, mammals, and of course, Bengal tigers. This afternoon we take our first wildlife drive through the park. Taj Sawai Madhopur Lodge (B,L,D)
We take both morning and afternoon wildlife drives today to see not only wildlife (though tiger and leopard sightings are not guaranteed), but also picturesque ruins of forts and palaces. Taj Sawai Madhopur Lodge (B,L,D)
We depart early for Kalakho, where we set out on a village walk to meet local Meena tribespeople in their homes. Tonight we enjoy a traditional folk dance performance. Dera Village Retreat (B,L,D)
En route to Agra, we stop in the ancient village of Abhaneri to see the fortified Chand Baori step well (c. 800), whose 3,500 steps descend some 13 stories into the ground. Continuing on, we reach the ancient Mughal stronghold of Agra, where this afternoon we visit Itimad-ud-Daulah, the two-story marble “Baby Taj” that inspired the Taj Mahal. Courtyard Marriott Agra (B,D)
This morning we visit the Taj Mahal, the magnificent tomb built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz. Then we take an Indian cuisine cooking Visit Amber Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site, on November 9. lesson and enjoy the results for lunch. Later: imposing Agra Fort. Courtyard Marriott Agra (B,L)
We depart by coach this morning for Delhi, where we board a late afternoon flight to Varanasi, Hinduism’s holiest city. Taj Gateway Ganges (B,L,D)
Before breakfast today, those who wish can join in a private yoga session. Then we visit nearby Sarnath, where the Buddha first taught after achieving enlightenment. One of Buddhism’s four holiest sites, Sarnath draws pilgrims from the world over. We see some of the temples and stupas then tour Sarnath Museum, housing a superb collection of Buddhist artifacts from excavations here. Mid-day we return to our hotel; lunch is on our own. Late afternoon we attend a traditional aarti ceremony: as we cruise along the Ganges, we watch as devout Hindus offer their lit lamps to the deities. Taj Gateway Ganges (B,D)
Early this morning we return to the Ganges where Hindu pilgrims perform their rituals along the ghats (steps) leading to the river. We visit several ghats by boat as we experience for ourselves the spiritual aura of the hallowed Ganges waters. Then we return to our hotel with time to rest before this afternoon’s walking tour and private performance of classical sitar. Tonight we celebrate our journey at a farewell dinner at our hotel. Taj Gateway Ganges (B,D)
We fly this afternoon to Delhi, where the evening is at leisure. Hotel Pullman New Delhi Aerocity (B)
Very early this morning we transfer to the airport for our return flight to the U.S.
Cost and Details
San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle: $5,787
Portland (OR), Phoenix: $6,087
Boston, New York, Washington DC: $5,587
Please call if your city is not listed. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $892, which are subject to change until final payment is made. All tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.
Land Only: $4,395 (transfers not included)
Single Room Supplement: $1,495
Airline upgrades on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight:
Business Class - $4,795 per person (upgrades are subject to availability and pricing is subject to change). Upgrade prices are in addition to the costs above.
Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; all flights within India; 15 nights’ accommodations in Deluxe, Superior First Class, First Class, and unrated hotels; 32 meals: 14 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 10 dinners; Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees; Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director; Educational lecture program/study leader with a minimum of 15 guests; Additional Commonwealth Club representative at 20 guests; Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip; Luggage handling for one bag per person; Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
Airfare when purchasing a Land Only package; costs of passports and visas; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified; airport transfers when purchasing a Land Only package; communication charges; optional sightseeing; gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuities: $10-$15 per traveler, per day); and travel protection insurance. Additional baggage fees may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly with your airline(s) prior to departure
Nepal Post-tour Extension
Cost: $1,195, per person, based on double occupancy
Single room supplement: $245
Included in Extension
Air transportation Delhi/Kathmandu, inclusive of airline taxes and fees; 4 nights’ accommodations: 2 nights in Kathmandu at Crowne Plaza Soaltee (Superior First Class); 2 nights in Nagarkot at Club Himalaya Nagarkot (Superior First Class); 8 meals: 4 breakfasts, 1 lunches, 3 dinners; Extensive sightseeing, including Pashupatinath shrine (UNESCO site); Boudhanath monument; colorful Bhaktapur, “City of Devotees;” Swayambhunath Temple; royal city of Patan; and Kathmandu and environs; Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director; Private motorcoach transportation; Gratuities for dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
This trip involves full days of sightseeing and a significant amount of walking, as well as some lengthy coach rides. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to its fullest.
Terms and Conditions
Cancellations, Refunds and Changes
If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges:
Cancel 95 days or more before departure: $200 charge
Cancel 94-65 days before departure: 25% of tour price
Cancel 64-45 days before departure: 50% of tour price
Cancel 44-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price
Cancel 29-0 days before departure: No refund.
If a guest makes any changes to their reservation within 94 and 30 days prior to departure, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. Changes are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. If your reservation changes from double occupancy to single occupancy for any reason, you will be charged the single supplement. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure. Upon reservation you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport as well as your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.
We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a worldwide membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit our membership page or call (415)597-6720.
We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance, which is available for coverage of expenses in conjunction with cancellation due to illness or accident. Baggage insurance is also recommended. In the event you must cancel your participation in the travel program, trip cancellation insurance may be the only source of reimbursement. Information will be sent upon registration and can be viewed Travel Insurance Services website
The liability of the Commonwealth Club, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchases transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. The Commonwealth Club and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise line and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality.
Health and Medical Issues
We request that you be in good health to participate in an Odysseys Unlimited tour. There is a reasonable amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motorcoaches on your own. We regret that we cannot offer individual assistance; in such cases you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. Please note that our itineraries cannot accommodate wheelchairs. We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, Odysseys Unlimited and the Commonwealth Club assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.
Air Transportation – Important Information
Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. includes in its tour price round-trip economy air from designated gateway cities as shown and contracts with those airlines the company feels provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates. You will receive your preliminary air schedule approximately 2½ months prior to departure. Please note that seat assignments on your international flight are usually done at airport check-in. Odysseys Unlimited is unable to guarantee any seat assignments. Due to the nature of tour operator tickets, other restrictions apply, including, but not limited to, frequent flyer mileage accrual, stopovers, alternate travel dates, upgrades, and airline taxes and fees. If you prefer to make your own travel arrangements, Land Only is available on most tours. Since international and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time, we recommend that if you choose to make your own airline reservations, you do not purchase non-refundable tickets or those with high penalties for changes. If you choose to make your own flight arrangements for an alumni tour and not use those provided by the tour company, we recommend that you do not do so until making your final payment to the tour company confirming details of your trip’s scheduled departure. However, if you choose to make your own flight arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from tour cancellations or changes to tour dates.
Commonwealth Club of California-CST# 2096889-40