- Traveling with GEEO
- Educator Resources
- About Us
- Traveling with GEEO
- Educator Resources
- About Us
We also have a July 26th departure you can find here.
If you’re looking to experience the diversity of India and Nepal, this 16-day trip contrasts the colorful culture of India with the pristine serenity of Nepal’s Himalayan mountains. From the ghats that line the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi to a 4×4 safari in Chitwan National Park, our expert tour leader will take you through a region of unsurpassed natural beauty and spirituality before revealing to you the rugged Himalayan landscape of Nepal’s magical capital, Kathmandu.
For this program GEEO will be partnering with the Center for South Asia at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The trip will be accompanied by a university representative that will be there to enrich the educational components of this program and help participants contextualize and reflect upon what they are seeing and learning
Our first priority is our travelers’ safety, especially so during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note that on our group programs such as this one, we require all participants to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Please click here for more details regarding our health and safety policies.
Arrive in Delhi. For no extra cost, you will be picked up at the airport by Women on Wheels, a non-profit organization that trains Indian women from underprivileged backgrounds to get their professional chauffeur’s license. Our tour operator then employs all female graduates to provide our travelers with safe and reliable transportation. We are proud to use our arrival transfers as a means of supporting local Indian women. Please note: if you are coming to Delhi before our trip begins and are staying at a different hotel than our starting hotel, we cannot provide you with this service. There are no planned activities until a welcome meeting around 6:00 p.m. for an orientation/overview to go over the details of your trip. Check the notice board in the hotel lobby to confirm the time and place of the meeting. Head out for an optional welcome dinner with the group. New Delhi, the capital of India, is one of the most historic capitals in the world, and three of its monuments – the Qutab Minar, the Red Fort, and Humayun’s Tomb – have been declared World Heritage Sites. It offers a multitude of interesting places and attractions to the visitor, so much so that it becomes difficult to decide where to begin exploring the city. We cover some of the city's highlights on the second day of this trip, but we are just scratching the surface of Delhi during this trip. You might consider arriving early if you would like to see more. Beware, however, Delhi is chaotic and intimidating for seasoned and unseasoned travelers alike. In Old Delhi, there are attractions like mosques, forts, markets, and other monuments depicting India’s Muslim history. New Delhi, on the other hand, is a modern city designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker. Tree covered wide streets with many roundabouts are notable in New Delhi. Home to many government buildings and embassies, as well as Rashtrapati Bhawan, the one-time imperial residence of the British viceroys, and the India Gate, a memorial raised in honor of the Indian soldiers martyred during the Third Anglo-Afghan War. Further out in the southern suburbs you will discover more history, including: Humayun’s Tomb, said to be the forerunner of the Taj Mahal in Agra; the Purana Quila, built by Humayun, with later-day modifications by Sher Shah Suri; Qutab Minar, built by Qutb-ud-din Aybak of the Slave Dynasty; and the incredible lotus-shaped Bahá’í House of Worship. There are a number of outstanding museums worth visiting including the Craft Museum, the National Gallery of Modern Art, Birla House (also known as "Gandhi Smriti"), and the Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum. Please note: Many museums are closed on Monday. If you are looking to try a range of Indian cuisines, consider visiting the delightful food stalls at Dilli Haat, where the cuisine of different states is available for purchase. Set amidst a spacious crafts bazaar, the cafes of Dilli Haat are a very pleasant place to enjoy food and take in the local culture.
Today, we get to see the sights of Delhi on a full-day guided tour with a local guide. You will ride an air-conditioned bus, although there will be ample walking around and taking a rickshaw. Itinerary will include: India Gate and the surroundings, Old Delhi Chandani Chowk area, Jama Masjid Mosque, Raj Ghat Ghandi Memorial and the Qutab Minar Complex. You will also visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, a Sikh temple and kitchen. The temple feeds thousands of people a day with everyone eating on the ground in a big hall. You will go into the kitchen and help roll out Roti, a type of Indian flatbread, to be served. Please keep in mind that Delhi traffic is unpredictable, so plans may need to be adjusted. Please note: Qutab Minar's entrance fee isn't included. Participants will pay 250 INR locally (roughly $5 USD). Raj Ghat is occasionally closed to the public for official ceremonies.
Leaving the chaos of Delhi, we board our early morning air-conditioned bus to Jaipur, known as the Pink City. Jaipur was first painted terracotta pink by Maharajah Sawai Ram Singh in 1853, to celebrate the visit of Prince Albert. We will have an orientation walk and then have the option to take in a Bollywood film at the Raj Mandir, a spectacular art deco film house. Approximate travel time: 6 hrs by private vehicle
This morning, we visit the Amber Fort, which clings to the surrounding hills, marveling at its beautiful Hindu and Muslim architecture. We then travel back to Jaipur to see the Hawa Mahal, or the "Palace of the Winds." This famous building is in fact only an elaborately carved facade built to enable the purdah ladies in the zenana to watch the goings-on in the street below without being seen. As there are so many things to do in Jaipur, you will also enjoy some free time in the afternoon to check out what is most of interest to you. You may want to head out to the nearby village of Sanganer to see blue pottery, handmade paper, or hand-block printing. Alternatively, you may wish to discover more of the wisdom and history of the Mughals by wandering around the Jantar Mantar, an observatory built in the 1700s. Or you may just want to sip a cocktail in one of the many luxuriously converted palaces that now operate as 5-star hotels. We also recommend visiting the courtyards, gardens, and buildings that make up the City Palace. Located in the heart of the Old City, it is a striking blend of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture. Visit the palace's museum to look at ancient carriages and the former maharaja's gold-embroidered wedding outfit. Jaipur is one of the most important centers in the world for gems, jewelry, and small diamonds. It is also a great place to buy block-printed textiles, blue pottery, and handmade paper. There are many shops selling these items and some wonderful markets in the Old City selling more traditional items such as mojari, Rajasthani slippers. If buying gems or jewelry, please take caution as there have been several instances of scams where fake jewelry has been passed off as real.
Travel to the Muslim city of Agra, site of India’s most famous landmark, the Taj Mahal. Visit this icon of Mughal architecture early in the late afternoon for the best light. The Taj Mahal was constructed between 1631 and 1654 by a workforce of 22,000 laborers. It was built by the Muslim Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his favorite wife, Arjumand Bano Begum, better known as Mumtaz Mahal. Mumtaz had already borne the emperor 14 children when she died in childbirth, and it is the romantic origin of the Taj as much as its architectural splendor that has led to its fame worldwide. Actually an integrated complex of many structures, the Taj Mahal is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, itself a combination of Islamic, Hindu, Persian, and Turkish elements. Approximate travel time: 5 hrs by private vehicle
Today, we travel by train from Agra to Jhansi before jumping in a tempo, a large auto-rickshaw, to the picturesque town of Orchha. You will love the peaceful rural charm of this riverside town. Sitting on the banks of the Betwa River, Orchha is the perfect antidote to the chaos of India’s cities. Experience a piece of the "real" India, one that will likely change your image of this diverse country. A typical, small Indian town, Orchha owes its popularity to an architectural heritage that shows the town's history as the oldest and highest in rank of all the Bundela states. Orchha dates back to the 16th century when it was founded by the Bundela chief Rudra Pratap. In the early 17th century, Raja Jujhar Singh rebelled against the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, whose armies devastated the state and occupied Orchha from 1635 to 1641. Orchha was the only Bundela state not subjugated by the Marathas in the 18th century. Hamir Singh, who ruled from 1848 to 1874, was elevated to Maharaja in 1865. Maharaja Pratap Singh, who succeeded to the throne in 1874, devoted himself entirely to the development of his state, including designing most of the engineering and irrigation works built during his reign. We will visit the Orcha Palace complex, which is three separate palaces or "mahals," in this complex: the Raj Mahal, Jehangir Mahal, and Rai Parveen Mahal. Enjoy the medieval architecture and learn about its rich history. In the evening, if you wish, you may join a Hindu evening puja ceremony. Approximate travel time: 4.5 hrs by train (Agra to Jhansi); 30 mins by auto-rickshaw (Jhansi to Orchha)
We will start the day with a visit to Tarragram, a unique paper-making plant, that is set up to assist tribal women from the area. All the paper here is made from recycled clothing and wood pulp. For lunch, you can opt to take a cooking class with a local family and enjoy the fruits of your labor. This home-cooked meal is a real highlight and is highly recommended by past participants. In the evening, we return to Jhansi, where we board an overnight train to Varanasi. See our FAQ to learn more about the overnight train, which is an essential Indian experience and a great way to see the landscape. Approximate travel time: 30 mins by auto-rickshaw (Orchha to Jhansi); 13 hrs by overnight train (Jhansi to Varanasi)
We arrive in the morning into Varanasi, the quintessential Indian holy city, where millions of Hindu travel for pilgrimage, to worship, to mourn, or to die. The legends, myths, and aura surrounding Varanasi led Mark Twain famously to remark "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together." Sitting on the banks of the River Ganges, you can contemplate what it means to be in Varanasi, the oldest continually inhabited city in the world, dating back thousands of years. The culture of Varanasi is deeply associated with the Ganges River, its reigning deity Lord Shiva, and its religious importance: the city has been a cultural and religious center in northern India for thousands of years. We will have an orientation walk when we first arrive, then you will have free time. You might choose to visit some of the hundreds of temples and shrines or possibly to wander through the Old City, with its maze of narrow alleyways full of small shops and stalls. Perhaps, you could visit the monasteries and ruins of nearby Sarnath, the site of Buddha's first sermon. During our stay, we take boats out onto the sacred Ganges River, both for sunrise and sunset. For the evening boat journey, we enjoy a candle flower ceremony. Please note: Varanasi can be a difficult city to visit, even for an experienced traveler. Varanasi requires patience and an open mind, but it is worth it!
Today, we wake up early and catch the sunrise from a boat on the sacred Ganges River, where Hindu pilgrims from all over the world come to wash away their sins and cremate their loved ones. Witness locals participating in dawn rituals of bathing and burning at the river. You will then have more free time to explore this holy city. You may want to opt to visit Sarnath, the site of the Buddha's first sermon. It is said that, after attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, Buddha continued to Sarnath. In a deer park, he preached his first discourse and set in motion the 'Wheel of the Dharma'. This is one of the most holy sites in Buddhists.
Today, we have a long travel day as we cross into Nepal. Enjoy the changing landscape and get ready to learn about the history and culture of Nepal. It is possible to get a Nepalese visa at the border, but you will need at least one passport-size photograph and $25 USD. Nepal is 15 minutes ahead of India. After completing the immigration formalities in both India and Nepal, we will drive to Lumbini, the historical birthplace of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, who lived between approximately 563 and 483 BCE. Lumbini is located 25 km east of the municipality of Kapilavastu, the place where the Buddha grew up and lived up to the age of 29. We will explore some of the numerous monasteries in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Approximate travel time: 6 hrs by train; 2-3 hrs by taxi; 30 mins-1 hr by private vehicle.
Travel through The region is home to rhinos, elephants, Bengal tigers, bears and leopards. In the evening, meet the local Tharu community and discover their culture. Enjoy an overnight homestay with the indigenous Tharu community. Experience their culture through dance and song, along with a traditional meal. Opt to go on a cycling excursion through the area. After breakfast, we will drive through a belt of marshy grasslands, savannas, and forests at the base of the Himalayas to Chitwan National Park, another UNESCO World Heritage site. We will be welcomed by the indigenous tribal group of Chitwan – The Tharus. In the evening, we interact with the local Tharu community and experience their culture through dance and song along with a traditional meal. The Tharus are an indigenous community of the Terai belt of Nepal and work toward living self-sufficiently. They live in eco-friendly homes made of mud, straw, and other materials found in abundance in the region. They also produce and farm all their own food. We stay overnight in a jungle resort. Approximate travel time: 6 hrs by train; 2-3 hrs by taxi; 30 mins-1 hour by private vehicle
Today, we will explore the diverse ecosystems of Chitwan National Park, formerly the "Royal Chitwan National Park," from the comfort of a 4x4 vehicle. Keep your eyes peeled for the many animals that live there, including birds, monkeys, crocodiles, and rhinos. If you're lucky, you might even see an elusive tiger. Keep in mind that sometimes the wildlife is hard to spot, so keep your expectations low.
Travel from the plains to the mountains by private vehicle. Nestled in a tranquil valley at an altitude of 827 m, Pokhara is a place of natural beauty. The serenity of Phewa Lake and the magnificence of the fish-tailed summit of Machhapuchhre (6,977 m) rising behind it create an ambiance of peace and tranquility. We will have an orientation walk in Pokhara led by your tour leader. Pokhara lies on a once vibrant trade route extending between India and Tibet. To this day, mule trains can be seen camped on the outskirts of the town, bringing goods to trade from remote regions of the Himalayan mountain range. This enchanting city has several beautiful lakes and offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding peaks, creating an ambiance that makes it such a popular place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. Relax in a café, hire a boat to float around the lake, or shop for Nepali and Tibetan souvenirs in the endless stalls and shops. Approximate travel time: 5 hrs by private vehicle
This morning, we travel to Sarangkot (1,592 m) only 5 km northeast of Pokhara, for a spectacular sunrise of the surrounding mountains (weather permitting). The most stunning of Pokhara’s sights is the spectacular panorama of the Annapurna range, which will dominate the scenery during the walk. The walk also takes back to Pokhara through farms and forests and is a wonderful way to spend 2-2.5 hours. After the walk, we visit the Sisterhood of Survivors Project, a G Adventures-supported grassroots organization that is helping to support rehabilitated survivors of human trafficking. SASANE, our project partners, train women coming out of trafficking to be certified paralegals, so that they are the first point of contact for other women coming out of abuse. G Adventures has helped catalyze a hospitality program for these women to be reintegrated into a dignified work environment. The survivors will teach you how to make momos (traditional dumplings) as well as a Nepali lunch. The program helps support SASANE's outreach and education programs and is completely run by survivors of trafficking. In the afternoon, you have free time to explore Pokhara on your own.
Today, we travel the last leg of the trip through the wild, rugged Himalayan landscape to Nepal’s magical capital and largest city, Kathmandu. For many, simply the name alone is sufficient to conjure up images of temple pagodas, long-haired saddhus in clouds of hashish smoke, and the ever-present Himalayas. Kathmandu is all this and more. Sitting in a bowl-like valley surrounded on all sides by some of the highest mountains on earth, Kathmandu has been a crossroads of cultures since hundreds of years before Christ, a tradition very much alive today. En route to Kathmandu, we visit Swayambhunath, the monkey temple, which sits high above the city. Swayambhunath is the most ancient and enigmatic of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu valley. Its lofty white dome and glittering golden spire are visible for many miles. To reach Swayambhunath, climb 365 steps that lead up the hill. The area surrounding the stupa is filled with temples, painted images of deities, and numerous other religious objects. We arrive in the city in the afternoon and enjoy a short orientation walk. Highlights in Kathmandu include world-famous Durbar Square, the King’s Palace, the burning ghats at Pashupatinath, and the Boudhanath Stupa. Please note: If the weather is good, individuals should have the option of paying an extra fee to fly to Kathmandu from Pokhara instead of taking the private vehicle. The cost is roughly $130-150 USD and many people from past groups recommend paying the extra money so you save yourself a bumpy, slow ride and have more time to explore Kathmandu. You cannot book this before arriving in India. Just ask your tour leader about this option at the start of your trip and they will make the arrangements. Each person can choose to take the group transfer to Kathmandu by private vehicle or take the flight. Your tour leader will stay with the group taking the private vehicle. Approximate travel time: 5 hrs by private vehicle
Our tour ends today. You are free to depart at any time today, though your accommodation is only till noon. You may want to spend an extra day or two in Kathmandu. Please note: If your flight is before 2:00 p.m., you will not have time for an optional Mount Everest flight in the morning. (See optional activities section below for more information on this possibility.) Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO trips in the same year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs). If you don’t see a program that interests you that pairs with this trip, but still would like to extend your time abroad, let us know. We will work with you to find a non-teacher trip from our tour operator’s much larger catalog. Even better, if you are an educator we can still offer you a discounted price on the trip you choose!