b'TAJ MAHAL GRAND TOUR OF INDIA, NEPAL AND THE HIMALAYAS YOUR ITINERARYDays 1-3 - To AmritsarFlying to Amritsar, we arrive on Day 2 and head to our hotel where we stay for the next two nights. After time to freshen up, we visit the Wagah Border, which separates Pakistan and India, to witness the Beating Retreat Ceremony, a military concert and lowering of flags held at sunset. On Day 3, we enjoy a guided tour of Amritsar, seeing the Golden Temple and the poignant Jallianwala Bagh Gardens and memorial site. Afterwards, we board our train to Delhi, arriving later this evening for a two-night stay. Days 4-5 - Delhi, Agra and the Taj MahalWe begin exploring the colourful and aromatic market streets of Old AARTI Delhi before taking a traditional rickshaw ride through the vibrant bazaar. Continuing to New Delhi, the newer part of the city, we discover impressive colonial architecture, leafy avenues and government buildings; a distinct contrast to the traditional atmosphere of Old Delhi. We board the early train to Agra on Day 5 where, on arrival, we visit the vast Agra Fort before crossing the city for a sunset visit to the iconic Taj Mahal, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. The white marble of the Taj Mahal sits in contrast to the imposing red sandstone of Agra Fort, yet both conjure up a world of bygone dynasties as we admire their different architectural styles.Days 6-7 - LucknowWe travel by coach to Lucknow for two nights, a historic city that played an important role both during the Mughal and colonial periods. On Day 7, we visit the famous La Martiniere Boys School, founded by an endowment from Major-General Claude Martin of the British Empire. We LAKE PHEWA also see the magnificent Bada Imambara, home to both a mosque and a labyrinth said to have 1000 different passageways, as well as the British Residency, the site of a siege during the rebellion of 1857.Days 8-10 - Varanasi and KolkataWe take the train to Varanasi, a sacred city to the Hindus that attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. After checking into our hotel, this evening we watch a spectacular Aarti fire ceremony, an elaborate Hindu ritual. Early on Day 9, we take to the water for a cruise along the holy River Ganges, admiring the sun as it spreads its first orange hues on the slate-coloured water. We then take an excursion to Sarnath, where Buddha is said to have given his first sermon and which now, understandably, holds great significance for Buddhists. This afternoon, we fly to Kolkata, home for the next two nights. We enjoy a guided tour on Day 10, exploring the vibrant and bustling flower market, Mother Teresas house and the Victoria Memorial - a beautiful white marble structure boasting sprawling gardens. Later, we visit the railway museum POKHARA - a huge open field in the heart of the city offering panoramic views of the Kolkata skyline - and the Potters Colony, where generations of potters engage in the art of making Hindu deities for festive occasions. Days 11-12 - KathmanduFollowing our flight to Kathmandu, we check into our hotel for two nights. Visiting the neighbouring town Patan on Day 12, we listen to a master create music with singing bowls, an experience that has deep spiritual connotations in Buddhist culture. Later, we return to Kathmandu for a sightseeing tour, exploring its multiple city squares, the royal square and Boudhanath Stupa, one of the largest stupas in the world, before taking a rickshaw ride to Thamel, a lively part of the city. Tonight, we dine at the well-known Rum Doodle restaurant, meeting a local Sherpa who relives their experience of climbing Mount Everest.88 INDIAN SUBCONTINENT'