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Highlights of India: Discover Delhi, Agra, Jaipur & Varanasi

Program No. 22519RJ
Watch the sun rise over the Taj Mahal, experience the Ganges River and its spiritual meaning and much more on this immersion into the history and culture of India.
12 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at
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DATES & starting prices
Oct 11 - Oct 22, 2023
Starting at
Nov 1 - Nov 12, 2023
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Jan 17 - Jan 28, 2024
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Mar 6 - Mar 17, 2024
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Oct 9 - Oct 20, 2024
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DATES & starting prices
Oct 11 - Oct 22, 2023
Starting at
Nov 1 - Nov 12, 2023
Starting at
Jan 17 - Jan 28, 2024
Starting at
Mar 6 - Mar 17, 2024
Starting at
Oct 9 - Oct 20, 2024
Starting at

At a Glance

Learn about Sikh culture in a local temple. Watch the sun rise over the Taj Mahal. Visit Varanasi, one of the holiest places along the Ganges River. India's most fascinating treasures are yours to discover on this learning adventure that begins in Delhi and makes its way through Agra, Jaipur and ending in Varanasi. Along the way, share meals with local families, learn how incredible mausoleums and forts were built generations ago and admire architectural relics that are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Extend Your Adventure

This program offers an optional program extension.

Extension: The Splendor of Nepal

Continue your learning adventure with a 6-day extension into Nepal. Explore grand temples, discover ancient palaces, and learn about Hinduism and Buddhism from local experts.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Walking over varied terrain and cobblestones; extensive driving; hot and humid conditions.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Learn about Sikh culture as you observe prayer at a local temple and volunteer in their soup kitchen.
  • Watch the sun rise and set over the Taj Mahal in Agra, and explore the gardens of Mehtab Bagh.
  • Observe and learn about the daily rituals that people perform at ghats along the Ganges River in Varanasi, the holiest city in Hinduism.

General Notes

Want to extend your adventure? Join us on "Extension: The Splendor of Nepal" (#22521).
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Mughal India, Splendours of the Peacock Throne
by Valerie Berinstain, Paul Bahn (Translator)
This illustrated pocket guide presents the history, culture and splendor of the Mughal court and its celebrated architecture in hundreds of archival photographs and drawings.
Incarnations, A History of India in Fifty Lives
by Sunil Khilnani
This sophisticated and entertaining collection of bite-sized biographies move well beyond Mahatma Gandhi to the warriors and film stars, entrepreneurs and corporate titans who have made India extraordinary.
Around India in 80 Trains
by Monisha Rajesh
A terrific account of Rajesh’s epic four-month, 25,000-mile journey to the India of her youth. She begins in her hometown of Chennai, chugs up the Konkan Coast, watches for tigers in Ranthambore and survives Mumbai’s chaotic local lines.
India, A Traveler's Literary Companion
by Chandrahas Choudhury (Editor)
Each of these 14 stories evokes place and landscape, providing an excellent introduction both to contemporary writers and to India's diverse cultures and history.
City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
by William Dalrymple
Dalrymple infectiously interweaves his own experiences over a year in Delhi with its art, architecture, history and literature.
India Northwest Adventure Map
by National Geographic Maps
A double-sided, full-color map of Northwest India at a scale of 1:1,400,000 with good shaded relief, topographic detail, roads, waterways and basic travel information. Printed on waterproof, tear-resistant paper.
by Stanley Wolpert
Wolpert's reflections on India -- its religion and philosophy, its art, culture and politics -- make for a literate, succinct primer.
Darsan, Seeing the Divine Image in India
by Diana L. Eck
Tremendously useful for the traveler, this rigorous guide explains the significance and meaning of Hindu temples, festivals and ritual. Darsan, which translates as "seeing," reveals religious expression in India.
Culture Smart! India
by Becky Stephen
A concise, well-illustrated guide to both social and business customs in India.
The Buddha, The Story of Siddhartha
by PBS Documentary Film
The Buddha is a 2010 PBS documentary directed by David Grubin and narrated by Richard Gere. The film follows the story of the Gautama Buddha's life and discusses the history and teachings of Buddhism. A simple and rich documentary explaining the Buddha's birth, live, death and his teachings.
Taj Mahal
by Giles Tillotson, Mary Beard (Editor)
An enlightening pocket guide to the myth, meaning and legends of the celebrated tomb, "the queen of architecture."
Lonely Planet India Phrasebook
by Omkar Koul
A handy, palm-sized guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
Midnight's Children
by Salman Rushdie
Crowned Best of the Booker in 2008, Rushdie's greatest novel is a madcap, comic take on the birth of modern India in all its splendid and unexpected manifestations.
Gandhi, An Autobiography, or the Story of My Experiments with Truth
by Mohandas K. Gandhi
There is no substitute for reading Gandhi in his own simple, direct prose. A highly recommended glimpse into the personality and life of this remarkable figure.
India, Land of Tigers and Temples
by Axel Gomille
In his book of photographs, acclaimed wildlife photographer Axel Gomille brings readers up-close and personal with the exotic world of the Indian subcontinent. His simple, yet intriguing, collection includes tigers, sloth bears and elephants as well as holy sites and scenes of everyday life around the subcontinent.
Nine Lives, In Search of the Sacred in Modern India
by William Dalrymple
From Sufi dervish and Buddhist monk to outcast and temple worshiper: nine people, nine lives, all captured by Dalrymple as he journeys throughout India in search of remarkable individuals transformed by religion. At turns bemusing, dazzling and heart-wrenching, this is his first travel book in 15 years.
Capital, The Eruption of Delhi
by Rana Dasgupta
A fascinating look at sweeping economic changes in Delhi. Dasgupta examines how the influx of wealth into the city has spawned excess and gangsterism.
India Birds
by James Kavanagh
A folding wildlife guide designed for quick reference in the field. With full-color images and text, it features more than 100 birds often seen in India.
Kaleidoscope City, A Year in Varanasi
by Piers Moore Ede
Whether he is attending Ramalila -- the city's annual performance of the Ramayana, talking to members of the caste who man the cremation ghats along the Ganges or simply searching for the best mithai, or sweet, in town, Ede presents a vibrant, kaleidoscopic portrait of contemporary Varanasi.
May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons, A Journey Among the Women of India
by Elisabeth Bumiller
A wonderfully written and fascinating portrayal of Indian women from Bollywood stars to Indira Gandhi to prostitutes. It's an insightful portrait of the country as seen through the eyes of its women.
Eyewitness Guide Delhi, Agra and Jaipur
by Eyewitness Guides
With chapters on the Taj Mahal, Amber Fort Palace, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, the Red Fort and dozens of other highlights for the traveler, this compact, gorgeously illustrated guide to Delhi and its environs features 900 color photographs, maps and site plans.
The White Tiger, A Novel
by Aravind Adiga
Mordant, funny, angry, horrifying, this Booker Prize-winning tale of a village pauper turned success (and murderer) skewers the ambition, inequity and corruption of 21st-century India.
15 Reviews
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5 Average
(5) Review left 4/13/2020

Road Scholar is a program created for people who want to do more than look out a bus window, staying at nondescript hotels filled with other Americans, visiting castle after cathedral after museum. Stopping periodically to take some photos. People who choose Road Scholar want to meet locals, learn some history, eat in local restaurants, experience the local culture and travel with smaller groups guided by a professional local who is well versed in all aspects of his/her country and likes being with people.

(5) Review left 3/19/2020

Our group leader, Prakash Detha, was amazing. You are very fortunate to have with with your organization. You should know this is the first time I've ever taken a group tour. I'm more of a DIY kinda guy and have felt comfortable navigating around Europe as a solo traveler. Prakash was attentive to our needs both individually and as a group, informative about his country and culture, empathetic to the specific requests by individuals, and very personable. His attention to detail and availability as a group leader went far above what I would have considered sufficient. In short, he went out of his way to make this trip such a success. He is a valuable asset to RS.

(5) Review left 3/19/2020

The Highlights of India program is a brief and amazing glimpse of India. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip. The sights are fantastic! Seeing the Taj Mahal, Jaipur, also called the Pink city with all the palaces and of course the River Ganga is very thrilling. The accommodations surpassed my expectations and the food was excellent. It is a programs that gives a lot of value for the money you spend!

(5) Review left 1/27/2020

This 12-day outing is a real educational and cultural treat. We not only saw the sights but also had the chance to meet with local hosts in their gracious homes. After moving constantly through the day, we get to relax in luxurious hotels with like-minded fellow travelers. If you can do it, do it.

(5) Review left 1/26/2020

One of the best Road Scholar trips I have taken!! Great group leader, wonderful experiences, great food!!

(5) Review left 1/25/2020

This is a wonderful program! Our group leader was superb, and helped us see things that we would never have been able to see on our own. In Delhi, we worked in a Sikh community kitchen; in Agra, we explored the Taj Mahal; in Jaipur, we visited the Red Fort; and in Varanasi, we heard a master sitar player and floated on the Ganges for evening and morning ceremonies.

(5) Review left 12/08/2019

After my now 5th Road Scholar program, I cannot come up with one that did not meet my expectations; in fact everyone was beyond, especially Group Leader Knowledge and Hotel Accommodations with their variety of food choices Antoine K.

(5) Review left 11/26/2019

An excellent program.Instructor with comprehensive knowledge of the subject matter in addition to excellent program management skills. Program highly recommended.

(5) Review left 11/18/2019

Highlights of India (including the camel festival at Pushkar) introduced us to unique architecture, fabulous food, an array of religions, and the many sights, sounds, and smells of everyday life. Visiting families in their homes was a special treat and we left India reluctantly, wishing to learn more!

(5) Review left 11/18/2019

India is a fascinating country. It will not leave you indifferent. Just go there with the Road Scholar.

(5) Review left 11/15/2019

This trip was amazing - probably the best trip I have evert taken in my lifetime. The tour leader, Sandeep, was very knowledgeable, interesting, and informative. He worked with our small group to ensure we develped a great understanding of India. This is a memorable trip that I would recommend in the highest possible terms.

(5) Review left 3/19/2019

This was an intense and immersive experience in Indian culture that I will never forget.

(5) Review left 2/27/2019

This program was truly the experience of a lifetime for me. Our Group Leader was so kind and knowledgeable and the educational content was exceptional. Go on this program if you have an open mind and are ready for an adventure.

(5) Review left 2/24/2019

Highlights of India, exceeded all my expectations, I would urge anyone to try it. The sights, sounds, beauty etc. that we encountered were overwhelming. So very glad I got to do it. A trip of a lifetime.

(5) Review left 1/30/2019

An excellent tour! It truly exceeded my expectations in every way.

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.