20 days, from Wednesday, February 5, to Tuesday, February 25, 2025

A fascinating exploration of northwestern India, from Delhi to Bombay, with many fabulous sights such as Agra’s world-famous Taj Mahal; picturesque Rajasthan jewels such as Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Udaipur; exotic Jaisalmer, an oasis town in the Thar Desert; the Little Rann of Kuch wildlife sanctuary; Dholavira, Lothal, and other archaeological sites of the ancient Indus River Civilization. Four-star (or in some cases “best available”) hotels, excellent food, and lots of culture and history dispensed by expert local guides and your tour escort, historian Jacques R. Pauwels, author of ‘Beneath the Dust of Time: A History of the Names of Peoples and Places’.

Tour price from Toronto, based on double occupancy: $9,750 (CAD)

Land Only: 8,025   Single Room Supplement: $1,325* *Very Limited Availability


February 05 - 25, 2025

From Toronto $9,750 based on double occupancy

Single supplement: $1,325



*If the tour is SOLD OUT, please contact us to be added to the waitlist.


Day 1 - Wednesday, February 05: Flight from Toronto

6:00PM departure from Toronto to Amsterdam with KLM Airlines flight KL 692. 

Day 2 - Thursday, February 06: Connection in Amsterdam and on to Delhi

Arrival in Amsterdam at 7:10AM. Connection with flight KL871 to Delhi, departing at 12:20PM.

Day 3 - Friday, February 07: Delhi

1:10AM arrival in Delhi and immediate transfer to the hotel. Time to sleep before a late morning breakfast and sightseeing tour of both Old Delhi with its narrow streets and bustling bazaars and memories of the Mughal Empire as well as New Delhi, conjuring up the British Era as well as Independent India. Highlights will include the famous Red Fort and Humayun’s Garden Tomb, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites; Jama Masjid, the greatest mosque in India; the towering minaret of Qutab Minar, another UNESCO World Heritage Site; India Gate; the Presidential Palace, and Gandhi’s Tomb. 

Day 4 - Saturday, February 08: Agra

After breakfast, departure for the historical city of Agra, located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, a glorious city linked with the Mughal rulers and especially Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal, zenith of Mughal architecture, in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Arrival in Agra and check into the hotel Clark Shiraz or similar. Afternoon visit to Agra Fort, constructed for the Emperor Akbar in the 16th century, when Agra was the Mughal capital. The Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as is the city’s other marvel, the Taj Mahal. 

Day 5 - Sunday, February 09: Taj Mahal and Jaipur

Early morning visit to the world-famous Taj Mahal, one of the world most wonderful travel experiences, especially at sunrise! Return to the hotel for breakfast, followed by departure for Jaipur. En route visit to Fatehpur Sikri, founded by Emperor Akbar to serve as his capital but abandoned because of an inadequate water supply, thus morphing into an impressive ghost town, an intact masterpiece of Muslim architecture. Then we cross into the state of Rajasthan and head for the historic city of Jaipur, the “City of Victory” founded in 1727AD by, and named after, the great ruler Sawai Jai Singh II who was also a poet and an astronomer. Accommodation in Hotel Shahpura House or similar.

Day 6 - Monday, February 10: Jaipur

 After breakfast, we ride an elephant to 18 th -century Amber Fort, the city’s
paramount attraction, perched high on a ridge. Afternoon tour of the “Pink City”, with the imposing City Palace, where the local Maharaja still lives, but we may visit many rooms featuring antiques and artefacts belonging to the ruling family, including a collection of weapons. We will also visit Hawa Mahal, “Palace of the Winds”, and the open-air Jantar Mantar Observatory to see the impressive astronomical instruments.

Day 7 - Tuesday, February 11: Bikaner

After breakfast, departure for Bikaner. As always when travelling through India, you will find the ever-changing countryside fascinating, with countless picturesque villages, people working in the fields, and camels, donkeys, horses, and other animals – a true feast for the eyes! Located in the vast Thar Desert and sometimes referred to as “camel city”, Bikaner is another jewel of Rajasthan. Sightseeing upon arrival, with sights such as Karni Mata temple, Junagarh fort, and a camel breeding farm. We stay in the Lalgarh Palace or a similar hotel.

Day 8 - Wednesday, February 12: Jaisalmer

This morning we motor from Bikaner to Jaisalmer, a drive of just over 300 km through the Thar Desert, a tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site, featuring sand dunes but also lakes and oases. En route, your tour host will tell you about the history of the Sarasvati, the “lost river” whose disappearance created the Thar Desert and the demise of India’s first great civilization. Before our arrival in Jaisalmer, we enjoy a camel ride in the sand dunes of the Thar Desert. Hotel Mandir Palace or similar.

Day 9 - Thursday, February 13: Jaisalmer

A full day of sightseeing in small but exotic Jaisalmer, the “golden city of the desert”, situated in the middle of a desert that stretches westward to the unfriendly Pakistan border, closed to foreigners as well as Indians. Jaisalmer is known as the last settlement in one of the outermost parts of India. The prime attractions here are Sonar Kila, a “living” or “working” fort with hotels and shops; the town’s famous havelis, museum-like homes of wealthy merchants and artisans; the cluster of Jain Temples, built in the Middle Ages and beautifully carved; Ghadsisar Lake, the city’s ancient source of water, surrounded by temples and tombs of saints; Manak Chowk, a popular bazaar; and Gyan Bhandar, a library featuring ancient manuscripts, some written on palm leaves, and paintings. The afternoon is free to shop or explore Jaisalmer on your own.

Day 10 - Friday, February 14: Jodhpur

Today we drive about 300 km to another great Rajasthan city, Jodhpur. We will take our time, enjoying the scenery and stopping occasionally to witness life in villages and towns such as Ramdevra, Osiyan, and/or Mandore. It will hopefully also be possible to visit Khichan with its sanctuary for thousands of cranes. Late afternoon arrival in Jodhpur, yet another beautiful and fascinating Rajasthan urban centre, known as the “Blue City” because most of the houses are painted in that colour. Hotel Ranbanka Palace or similar.

Day 11 - Saturday, February 15: Jodhpur

Morning sightseeing in Jodhpur, with focus on Mehrangarh Fort, a mighty citadel
perched on a steep rock hill, allowing for a superb panorama of the bustling city below, as well as Jaswant Thada, royal cenotaphs built in white marble in a picturesque location near a lake.

Day 12 - Sunday, February 16: Udaipur

Our destination today is Udaipur, 250 km from Jodhpur, a trip that will offer another kaleidoscope of impressions of Indian nature and culture at their best! En route visit to the Ranakpur Temple, cradled in a verdant valley Aravalli Hills, on the banks of the river Maghai, one of the holiest places of the Jain faith. Dinner and overnight in Hotel Howard Johnson or similar in Udaipur, a city whose palaces, forts, temples, gardens, and lakes m romantic backdrops caused it to be used as the setting of many movies, including James Bond blockbusters.

Day 13 - Monday, February 17: Udaipur

Morning city tour, with as highlights the enormous City Palace. Afternoon at leisure, and boat tour on beautiful Lake Pichola in the evening.

Day 14 - Tuesday, February 18: Gujarat

Early morning departure, as there will be lots to see today on our trip of 350 km! Entering the State of Gujarat, we visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the fortified town of Patan: an intricately carved stepwell of no less than seven levels, dating back to the 11th century AD, silted over by the nearby Sarasvati River, rediscovered in the 1940s, and restored in the 1980s; it was designed as an inverted temple, highlighting the sanctity of water. This will also include a visit to the Sahasralinga Tank, a medieval artificial water reservoir. On to the village of Modhera to inspect the famous local Hindu Sun temple, dedicated to the solar deity Surya located at Modhera village, another tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site, and late afternoon arrival in Bajana, a village in a region known as the Little Rann of Kutch. Accommodation in Hotel Royal safari Camp or similar.

Day 15 - Wednesday, February 19: Gujarat

Rann means “desert” and Kutch (or Kuchchh) is a district of Gujarat. The Rann of Kutch, consisting of the Little and the Big Rann of Kutch, is a vast region of salt marshes straddling the border between the State of Gujarat and Pakistan’s Sindh Province; it is a flat region, very close to sea level, watered by many rivers and flooded annually during the monsoon season, i.e. from June to September’ the waters evaporate during the long dry season, leaving the Rann dry again, morphed into salt desert but also grassland, both of which attract wildlife. Today we enjoy a full-day jeep safari into the Little Rann of Kutch, a salt marsh and biosphere reserve that is home to the Asiatic Wild ass, popularly known as Ghudkhar. as well as many species of migratory birds, e. g. cranes, ducks, pelicans, spoonbills, and flamingoes, falcons, eagles, and vultures, as well as mammals such as the Indian wolf, desert fox, gazelles, jackals, and nilgai, Asia’s largest type of antelope. The Wild Ass Sanctuary of Little Rann of Kutch has been placed on the UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage Sites.

Day 16 - Thursday, February 20: Dholavira

After breakfast, we leave Bajana and motor a relatively short distance (200 km) to the town of Dholavira, located on an island in the middle of the Big Rann of Kuch, at times a white, salt-covered wasteland, where we will explore the fascinating and historic ruins of one of the many urban centres of the Harappan Civilization, also known as the Indus Valley Civilization IVC), a Bronze Age high culture similar to those of Egypt and Mesopotamia, that flourished in the third millennium BC but disappeared under circumstances that have become better known recently but continue to be the object of much controversy, as your guides will explain. Locally called Kotada Timba, the site is the second largest IVC site in India and fifth largest in Indian sub-continent. (Harappa and Mohenjo Daro, the best-known centres, are located in Pakistan.) Dholavira was recently (2021) adopted by UNESCO as a World Heritage Centre. Dinner and overnight stay in simple but comfortable accommodations, the Dholavira Tourism Resort (http://dholaviratourismresort.com)


Day 17 - Friday, February 21: Gondal

On the road again, and today’s destination is another relatively small town, located about 300 km from Dholavira, Gondal, once an important one of the princely state that became part of British India but continued to be ruled by its lords of the Rajput dynasty. Upon arrival there, we will visit their Naulakha Palace, built in the 17th century and known for its stone carvings and exquisite balconies, before checking into Hotel Orchard palace. 

Day 18 - Saturday, February 22: Lothal

Departure from Gondal after breakfast. After a drive of about 180 km, we reach the extremely important archaeological site of a 4,500-year-old city of the IVC, Lothal, discovered only in the 1950s. Here, we will inspect the impressive ruins of massive docks, warehouses, drainage systems, etc., showing clearly that this used to be a busy and sophisticated seaport, involved in trade with lands as far away as Mesopotamia. Lothal has been placed on UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage Sites. After our visit, continue for dinner and overnight in Hotel Lemon Tree or similar in the big and bustling city of Ahmedabad, approximately an 80 km journey.

Day 19 - Sunday, February 23: Ahmedabad

After breakfast, we start our sightseeing program in Ahmedabad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which will include as many as possible of the following sites:  Gandhi Ashram, a former house of Mahatma Gandhi, from where he began his historic 1930 protest march against a salt tax imposed by the British, now a Gandhi memorial and pilgrimage site; the Calico Museum, featuring a wonderful collection of handmade antique and modern Indian textiles; the Jama Masjid Mosque, built in 1423 by Ahmad Shah in 1423; Jhulta Minara, the mysterious swaying minarets of the Siddi Bashir Mosque; and Akshardham Temple, a splendid Hindu house of worship and a spiritual and cultural campus. Then we head for Ahmedabad airport in time for the departure of our short flight to the metropolis of Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, the capital city of the State of Maharashtra. Arrival and transfer to the Hotel Fariyas or similar.   

Day 20 - Monday, February 24: Mumbai and Airport

All-day sightseeing in Mumbai, popularly known as “the city of dreams”, as people from across the country seek their fortune here. We start with a side trip to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Elephanta Caves, located on a nearby island, featuring temples carved from solid rock dating back to the 7th century. In the afternoon, tour of the city centre, with many buildings in the Victorian Neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau style, collectively classified as a UNESCO site, the monument known as the Gateway to India, the Towers of Silence, and Marine Drive. We finish with a visit to Malabar Hill, an upscale residential area known for the Hanging Gardens, a hillside park with a wonderful view of the city and the Arabian Sea.  At the end of the tour, a late dinner will be followed by transfer to the airport in time for our 2:30 AM departure of flight KL878 to Amsterdam.   

Day 21 - Tuesday, February 25: Return flight to Toronto

Arrival in Amsterdam at 7:35AM.  Connecting flight KL691 departs 1:25PM and arrives in Toronto 3:35PM.  




- International flights from Toronto - Delhi; Mumbai - Toronto. Domestic flight from Ahmedabad - Mumbai. - Accommodation based on double occupancy, in first-class/4-star or “best available” hotels. - Overland transportation by coach and/or minibuses. - Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily as outlined in the itinerary. - All visits and sightseeing as outlined in the itinerary. - Hotel taxes and gratuities. - Services of local guides as well as a Pauwels Travel tour escort.


- Mandatory Tourist Visa for India: approximately $140 plus postage. See attached itinerary for details. - Gratuities for local guides and drivers, in total approximately $125 USD, to be collected by the tour director for disbursal as needed. - Travel insurance: available from the office.


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