On this trip extension, you’ll visit the holy city of Varanasi (Benaras), one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, dating back to the 11th century BC. The city is the holiest of the seven sacred cities of Hinduism and Jainism, and is very sacred to both Hindus and Jains. The Hindus believe that dying in Varanasi brings salvation or nirvana, so they make the trip to the city when they are close to death. This is an excellent excursion for those looking for deep cultural and religious experiences.
Day 1 Arrive Varanasi
Take a morning flight from Delhi to Varanasi. On arrival, your local guide will be waiting for you at the airport and assist with the transfer to your hotel. The rest of the afternoon will be free to relax or wander the streets of Varanasi. This evening, just before sunset, your guide will meet you at the hotel and take you to the banks of the Ganges River to witness the aarti ceremony, a Hindu ritual that takes place every evening at sunset. This highly choreographed ceremony is performed on stages by a group of young pandits, dressed in robes. They’ll wave incense sticks in patterns and swing lit lamps to the rhythm of chants and clanging cymbals. Afterwards, return to your hotel for the night.
Day 2 River Ganges / Sarnath / Temples
Enjoy an early morning boat excursion on the holy River Ganges to see the bathing Ghats and cremation site. Watching people bathing and worshipping at the Ghats is one of the most extraordinary experiences of a visit to India.
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and head to Sarnath, the buried Buddhist city where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon. Sarnath was renowned for its school of learning 6th century BC to 12th century AD. Here, you will visit the ruins, the stupa, the Buddhist temple and the Sarnath Museum.
In the afternoon, visit the Bharat Mata Temple, and see the large relief map of India made entirely of marble, along with other temples such as the Durga temple and the Tulsi Manas Mandir, as time permits. Later, return to your hotel for overnight.
Day 3 Depart Varanasi
This morning is yours to explore Varanasi on your own. Around noon, transfer to the airport for your flight back to Delhi.
What to Expect
Duration 3 days
Match the trip’s intensity to your ability and motivation.
Easy walking, with opportunities for low-key physical activity.
Energetic exploration with optional day hikes, leisurely cycling, or light canoeing.
Day-long active excursions and options for demanding activity in varied environments.
Strenuous hiking or other intense activity that may be at high altitude or over rough terrain.
Multi-day trekking and other activities requiring endurance or strength. Steep trails. No technical expertise necessary.