Golden Triangle, Varanasi, Lucknow & Cruising on Ganges
18 Days / 17 Nights
From AU$ 5399.00

Offering an inspiring introduction to the Subcontinent, this journey combines Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Varanasi and Lucknow’s cultural and natural wonders. Delving into centuries of history, the tour uncovers ornate temples, magnificent Islamic architecture and marble palaces. Explore the Old and New Delhi highlights; visit the ultimate symbol of love, the Taj Mahal in Agra, Varanasi which is considered the oldest living city in the world. Experience the spiritual aspect of India’s age-old beliefs and enjoy a unique culinary experience in the metropolis of Nawab known as Lucknow.  Exploring India through its river gives the opportunity to witness untouched and yet to be explored rural India and its true culture. Setting sail from Kolkata-downstream/Farrkha-upstream along the intimate Ganges sidestream, the River Hooghly, which flows from Farakka on the main river down to Kolkata. Experience  French, British and Dutch influence and explore deeper into the rich and diverse history of the region, Murshidabad, the capital of the Nawabs, the battlefield of Plassey, little known Bengali Terracotta temples and monuments of the medieval Islamic capital of Gaur. 


The company with over 28 yrs old experienced team is committed to bringing the best in both quality and value to small group journeys, private car guided tours and tailor-made tours to India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Being a leading travel wholesaler we introduce travellers to the amazing culture and offer tours at unbeatable prices and with unparalleled comfort. For your protections TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS is approved Destination Management Company by Ministry of tourism Govt of India and member of IATA, AFTA, ATAC, IATO and PATA to name few. We are proud to say that our team is very experienced with in-depth knowledge of destination. Our reputation is built on providing world class service with real personal touches that make a difference to your holiday. We understand the importance of giving attention to even the smallest of details and care about the countries to which we take you and make sure that we have a positive effect on the environment. Respect for locals and their way of life is an essential part of travelling with TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS.

“You Rely on us and we rely on experience”

Why THO Small Group Journey?

Smaller, Escorted and Inclusive

Our Small Group tours consists maximum of 16 people to ensure perfect combination of intimacy, flexibility and authentic cultural experiences. Our itineraries are artfully crafted, showcasing the essence of a destination by combining famous highlights with hidden jewels. All groups are escorted on achieving minimum 06 people unless specified on the tour by an English speaking Tour Manager assisting you throughout on day to day activities and enlightening you with local knowledge on general specialties, additional sightseeing and souvenir shopping.

Our experienced Local Tour Guides will enhance your experience during sightseeing tour. Travel with like-minded travellers and experience comprehensive inclusions, as well as unsurpassed cultural interpretation provided by experienced tour leaders.

Golden Triangle, Varanasi, Lucknow & Cruising on Ganges  - 18 Days/17 Nights (Small Group Tour)

Day 1: Arrive Delhi

Day 2: Delhi 

Day 3: Delhi – Varanasi

Day 4: Varanasi 

Day 5: Varanasi – Lucknow 

Day 6: Lucknow 

Day 7: Lucknow – Agra 

Day 8: Agra 

Day 9: Agra – Jaipur 

Day 10: Jaipur 

Day 11: Jaipur – Farakka (Board Ship) 

Day 12: Malda

Day 13: Baranagar & Murshidabad 

Day 14: Murshidabad 

​Day 15: Matiari 

Day 16: Kalna 

Day 17: Chandernagore

Day 18: Kolkata Departure 

Tour Ends

Tour Notes: Low or high-water levels may cause disruption to cruising therefor Itinerary and sightseeing is subject to change without notice. Upstream itinerary will start otherway round.  You may require additional night if flight schedule changes.

Deluxe Group Tour Accommodations

All our Group Tours are based on deluxe (4*) accommodation unless mentioned on the tour page, each hotel is carefully selected for its location, comfort, style and ambience providing a true holiday experience. Our accommodations are a mixture of palaces, heritage, Havelies and modern hotels. In most cases we free upgrade the whole group to 5* accommodation in some destinations when tour is fully booked out in advance.

Nepal being adventure destination, choices of accommodation are limited hence best available (4*) hotel are offered which are categorised by Nepal tourism and standard of accommodation may be different than India and Sri Lanka. 

100% Guaranteed Departures

To assist you when booking the airline and taking our great early payment savings, TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS has designated all Group Tours as 100% GUARANTEED departure with specified minimum numbers of 02 or mentioned on the scheduled date, unless circumstances occur beyond our control.

Meals included

Being a seasoned traveller ourselves we have discovered the travelling time is unpredictable sometime you reach a destination so late that you are tired to go out for dinner or search for a proper dinning place around the vicinity of your hotel which may become a chore during your holiday, hence we have removed the hassle by including most of breakfast and dinners in all our brochure tour packages.  

Pre & Post Tour Accommodation

Do some exploring before the trip begins or add couple of nights after the tour to relax before boarding your flight. We offer competitive rates in all destinations- book in conjunction with your main tour - ask TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS or your travel agent.

Add-On (Short Tour packages)

Make the most of your time away - after all, you have travelled all that way.  Our Add-On can be used as short breaks in their own right or as pre/post tour additions.  With all arrangements made for you they are the perfect way to discover more of your destinations - ask TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS or your travel agent.

Group Tour Privately or Tailor-made

If you have group of friends or family or even two of you and like to do this group tour Itinerary as a Private Car or like to tailor-make to suite your requirements. Please contact us and we will be glad to assist you.

Plan Your Own Group

The advantage of a true specialist is their knowledge and confidence in assisting anyone who is keen to visit a destination but like to do things differently. Is a special occasion? Do you want to experience a festival, lead a culinary adventure, organise a yoga and wellness group or cycle the off beaten tracks of India or Sri Lanka with people close to you? Or do you find parts of one of our tours appealing but want to alter dates or itineraries to better suit your groups’ needs?

Please contact us with your wish list and our team will be glad to tailor-make your special tour ensuring all possible activities and ideas are incorporated, making a unique group tour.

“The Holidays you dream are the holidays we pack”

What Makes Us Different?

Being your Local Travel wholesaler and one of the True Destination Specialists our team in Australia, New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan ensures that every itinerary is well balanced and filled with amazing cultural experiences, breathtaking scenery and historical sites. Most must see and must do’s are included giving you opportunity to witness sights, taste delicious cuisine, visit bazaar for souvenirs, meet and experience life of locals at the same time have some free time to explore town the way you like.

Whichever itinerary you select all are included complete travel and transfer by charted air-conditioned vehicles, local English speaking guide, sightseeing, entrance fee to the monuments and parks, safaris, boat ride, cultural shows at the theatre or hotel, domestic airfare in economy class, train fare in best available air-conditions class and not to mentioned the current govt taxes of the county. For more details of inclusions please refer to the inclusions column of the itinerary.

Prices Guarantees

All prices shown are on per person basis on twin/double and apply when you share room with travel companion. For single traveller we do offer single room and price is available on request.

You don’t need to worry about currency fluctuations. Once we receive your full payment, your land tour price is guaranteed and protected against any increases. 

100% Protected Holiday

We are a member of IATA, TAANZ and AFTA which ensure that your holiday is 100% protected.

No Hidden Cost

We love transparency so the prices quoted by THO are almost all inclusive and help the traveller to budget their holidays accurately. All we ask you to do is relax and enjoy your holiday, knowing that all prepaid expenses have been included in your initial tour cost. Please refer to the tour inclusions for more details.

Value for Money

Being a local Travel Wholesaler, our huge buying power help us pass the discounted rates to our clients. We also do FREE hotel upgrade at some destination as a gesture of appreciation to our valuable travellers. Apart from this our local team of experts adds incredible value for your dollar.

Discounts & Rewards:

Please note discount and rewards given below can not be combined with any other promotions. You only can avail any one discount or promotions.

Loyalty Rewarded 5% Off

Many of our clients choose to travel with us time and time again. As a valued client, we offer you a 5% discount off your second and onwards tour package. This offer applies only to the tour cost of your trip and conditions do apply. Speak to us for details when making your booking.

Past Passenger Discount 5% Off

As Loyal Traveller appreciation we are offering a 5% discount off on any new Small Group Journey bookings on land only.

All you have to do is prove that you have travelled on one Small Group Journey with us since 2009 and the discount is yours!

Multi Trip Discount 5% Off

If you have the time why not combines two or more of our tour and save? In any one holiday, we will discount your second and onwards trip by 5%. Tour package must be minimum 10 days or more from our brochure and discount applies on lowest price tour package. Discount does not apply to add-on pre & post accommodation, train journeys, flights and/or any small packages or services.

BIG SAVINGS when travelling with your friends and family

The advantage of a true specialist is their knowledge and confidence in assisting anyone who is keen to visit a destination but like to do things differently. Is a special occasion? Do you want to experience a festival, lead a culinary adventure, organise a yoga and wellness group or cycle the off beaten tracks of India or Sri Lanka with people close to you? Or do you find parts of one of our tours appealing but want to alter dates or itineraries to better suit your groups’ needs?

Please contact us with your wish list and our team will be glad to tailor-make your special tour ensuring all possible activities and ideas are incorporated, making a unique group tour.

(Best suited discount will be offered and any discount can not be combined with any other discount or promotions)

How Early Should I Book?

The earlier is better so that you can save on our promotional offers.

We offer excellent value for our Small Group Tours which tends to be booked out earlier than expected hence reserve your place at least 6 to 7 months prior to departure.

24/7 Helpline and assistance by THO Local Offices

Apart from 24/7 helpline for emergency assistance; our guest relation manager will call you to make sure everything is going smoothly. Our 36 local network and associate office Manager will be there to assist you in every destination.

International Flights

The tour packages are usually “Land Only” and do not include international flights.  We therefore recommend that you contact us or your travel agent to book your flights well in advance of travel, when you can generally gain access to specials and discounted airfares. This will ensure you can travel on the days that suit you and your tour.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our journeys. Speak to us or your travel agent about comprehensive insurance to cover your travel arrangements. This must critically cover medical expenses in case of an emergency.  Note that travel insurance automatically provided with credit cards generally does not provide adequate cover. Its your responsibility to ensure that you have appropriate and comprehensive travel insurance.

Medical Information

Our elderly travellers who are aged 70 years or more, or with a per-existing condition that affects their fitness to travel or any medical dietary requirement, must be advised at the time of booking. We recommend all travellers should visit their Doctor for these aforementioned purposes and/or to confirm that they are physically able to undertake the day-to-day requirements of the tour.

Selecting Your Holiday Type

Most of our journeys are suited to those with normal fitness and mobility levels. To assist you in choosing a journey best for you we have graded our tours;

Easy Paced: These programs are set at a comfortable pace. Walking and climbing of stairs involved is generally in and around major tourist attractions though you may require walking from road till boat jetty while embarking or disembarking boats.

Moderate: These tours are not strenuous but you will require good amount of fitness as they may include days with long periods of walking or soft trekking, climbing of stairs, embarking and disembarking boats and where longer distances may be travelled by uneven roads.

Adventurous: These refer to programs where your physical fitness needs to be on highest level. Trekking, cycling, climbing, walking and more adventurous activities may be included.

Getting Around

Comfort is our first priority. All our coaches are air-conditioned with push back seats. We even offer 30-35 seater coach when only 16 people are in a group, providing everyone a window seats. Our train journeys in air-conditioning sleeper class where bedding is provided by the train attendant and itineraries that include domestic flight to connect destination we use economy class.

Passport & Visas

India: Visa is required for all foreign nationals. 

Apply online for a Pre-Approval at .The online application should be submitted a minimum of 4 days in advance and a maximum of 30days of the proposed date of travel. TVOA links may also be found in websites of Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Bureau of Immigration, Incredible India etc.

As of 27 Nov 2014 nationals and passport holder of 34 countries including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Finland, Luxem Bourg, Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia and Myanmar to name a few,  can avail a Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) facility upon disembarking at international airports Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi and Trivandrum only. You will require to pay fees along with require documentation and is subject to verification and satisfaction of the Immigration. Please contact High Commission of India for updated information.

Sri Lanka: Every tourist visiting Sri Lanka required visa prior to departure. Visa must be obtained atleast 01 months prior to arrival in Sri Lanka by visiting The Tourist visa is valid for stay within 30 days. Passport must be valid for at least six months before you commence travel to Sri Lanka. Fee will apply.

Nepal: Visa is required for all foreign nationalities and the best way to apply for visa is from the Royal Nepalese diplomatic missions in your home country. Tourist Visa also can be obtained on arrival. Passport must be valid for at least six months before you commence travel in Nepal. Fee will apply.

Bhutan: All foreign nationals require visa for Bhutan.

Visa can be arranged by TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS. To process this we require clear readable colour copy of passport (page containing passport no and face picture in JPEG or PDF format) and current colour passport photograph and at least 30 days prior to date of entry into Bhutan. Remaining validity of passport should be at least 6 months from the date of exit from Bhutan.

Tourism Council of Bhutan issues visa clearance letter closer to travelling date which we email or fax you or your local travel agent. Travellers are required to produce aforesaid visa clearance copy at the time of check-in for their flights while those entering Bhutan by surface via Phuentsholing or Samdrup Jonkhar, they are required to produce this Visa Clearance letter at the Immigration counter. Actual visa is stamped at passport on arrival in Bhutan.

Visa only service is not offered in Bhutan, you would have to book a service tour package from TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS that includes accommodation, guided tours, transfers etc

Myanmar: Visa is required for all nationalities.

Visa can be arranged by TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS. To process this we require international flight details, clear readable colour copy of passport (page containing passport no and face picture in JPEG or PDF format) and current colour passport photograph and at least 30 days prior to date of entry into Myanmar. Remaining validity of passport should be at least 6 months from the date of exit from Myanmar.


You can contact our associate travel agent, call our local office, email us or book online. Booking forms must be completed to ensure TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS has on file all the necessary information such as passport details, travel insurance policy details and emergency contacts etc. Travellers over the age of 65 and those with pre existing medical conditions will also be required to provide a medical certificate to certify they are fit to travel.  By booking through travel agent or online means you have read and agreed to the TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS booking conditions. For more detail please click here. 

Team at TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS wishes you a wonderful holiday!!!

Day 1: Arrive Delhi

On arrival at the airport meet your Tour Executive who will assist you to transfer to the hotel for two nights stay in Delhi. 

Day 2: Delhi 

Mesmerise yourself in a splendid sightseeing tour of New and Old Delhi. Visit Qutb Minar, Jama Masjid, the Gandhi Memorial and the India Gate.  Explore Chandni Chowk Bazaar by Rickshaw and witness the legacy of the past that survives in the many monuments left behind by the regents. (B,D)

Day 3: Delhi – Varanasi

After breakfast, we board the morning flight to Varanasi. Later in the afternoon visit a silk weaving village to witness the unique art of weaving silk and shop for souvenirs. In the evening witness a grand prayer ceremony at the Ghats. Stay two nights in Varanasi.(B,D)

Day 4: Varanasi 

Early morning start with a heritage walk and sunrise boat ride on the river Ganges. Witness the perpetual movement of the pilgrims on the steps, the vivid colours of their clothes against the pale gold water. After breakfast enjoy a city tour and afternoon excursion to Sarnath where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon after his enlightenment.(B,D)

Day 5: Varanasi – Lucknow 

An early morning transfer to the railway station to board the train to Lucknow. Lucknow is also known as ’The City of Nawabs’ and is an intriguing blend of old-world charm, beautiful architecture, warm hospitality, and rich heritage. The city has carved a niche by attracting gastronomes, for the want of discovering and re-discovering the Awadhi Cuisine. This is the place that has a full colony of chefs called, ‘Bawarchi Tola’ and also the full street, where one can find the best from Lucknow’s very own traditional kitchens. In the evening enjoy a walking food tour which allows you to hop-in, hop-out of the world-famous traditional roadside eateries.(B,D)

Day 6: Lucknow 

Enjoy a city sightseeing tour and visit Bada Imambara, a famous monument of Lucknow, Government Museum. In the afternoon visit a chikan workshop that will mesmerise you as you watch skilled workers delicately working in unique styles and stitches on very light cotton cloths. Also, take a leisure walk in Hazrat Ganj and Aminabad local bazaar.(B,D)

Day 7: Lucknow – Agra 

After breakfast travel to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. The city is still associated with the Mughals who were great builders and you will witness this as you pass the architectural buildings. Stay two nights in Agra.(B,D)

Day 8: Agra 

Early morning visit the Taj Mahal, the world’s greatest monument of love and devotion with its superb craftsmanship of semi-precious stones inlaid into the marble in beautiful patterns, a process known as pietra dura. Later visit the impressive 16th century Agra Fort, Itimad-ud-daulah known as Baby Taj, and visit a marble workshop to witness remaining artisans at work.(B,D)

Day 9: Agra – Jaipur 

After breakfast travel to Jaipur. En-route visit abandoned city of Mughals, Fatehpur Sikri. Evening free to explore the markets. Stay two nights at Jaipur.(B,D)

Day 10: Jaipur 

Start full-day sightseeing tour with a visit to Amber Fort, the Maharaja’s City Palace, the Observatory and photo stop at the Hawa Mahal as we drive past the old part of the magnificent Pink City.(B,D)

Day 11: Jaipur – Farakka (Board Ship) 

After a leisurely breakfast, the morning is free until midday later checkout in time to be transferred to the railway station to board the express train to Farakka followed by transfer to the ship. Stay seven nights on board.(B,L,D)

Day 12: Malda

This morning cruise along a straight canal section to Jangipur, here we enjoy a full-day tour of Gaur. This quiet, deserted place was once one of India’s great cities, first under the Hindus in the 12th century, then as the Muslim capital of Eastern India from the 14-16th century.(B,L,D)

Day 13: Baranagar & Murshidabad

This morning moor at the delightful sleepy village of Baranagar with three gorgeous miniature terracotta temples to which you walk through the fields. After lunch continue to Murshidabad where the Nawab’s great Hazarduari Palace built-in 1837 dominates the waterfront and later great Katra Mosque and Nashipara Palace before driving out to see the Katgola Palace.((B,L,D)

Day 14: Murshidabad

Sail downstream a short distance then walk to the silk weaving village and Khushbagh, a peaceful Mughul-style garden enclosing the tombs of Siraj-Ud-Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal and his family. Continue downstream past the old British cantonment of Berhampur to the battlefield of Plassey. You can walk through the fields to the commemorative obelisk and narrow bustling bazaars. (B,L,D)

​Day 15: Matiari

Visit the brassworking village of Matiari where you can see the whole primitive process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels. Continue through the countryside to Mayapur to visit the vast new ISKCON temple which dominates the skyline.(B,L,D)

Day 16: Kalna

Continue down to the country town of Kalna. Take rickshaws to explore the culture and see the unique Shiva temple with concentric rings made up of 108 shrinelets and later visit the imposing Imambara at Hooghly for an opportunity to step back in time and relive a slice of Islamic history in Bengal.(B,L,D)

Day 17: Chandernagore

Sail downstream – past fine waterfront buildings and the old Dutch settlement at Chinsura – to land at Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950. Visit the 18th-century church and Dupleix’s House, the erstwhile Governor-General of French India, before continuing down to Barrackpore. (B,L,D)

Day 18: Kolkata Departure

Early this morning, cruise under the Howrah Bridge to central Kolkata and disembark after breakfast. Tour finish with direct transfer to the airport by afternoon. (B)

Tour Notes: Low or high-water levels may cause disruption to cruising therefor Itinerary and sightseeing is subject to change without notice. Upstream itinerary will start otherway round.  You may require additional night if flight schedule changes.




Twin Price



D 14-Oct




D 11-Nov




D 09-Dec

26- Dec




U 20-Jan




D 10-Feb




D 16-Mar




D 13-Apr




D 14-Sep




D 19-Oct




U 16-Nov




D 14-Dec





U 18-Jan




U 15-Feb




U 29-Mar




U = Upstream D = Downstream
For further information please contact TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS or ask your travel agent.


A = Available   R = On Request C = Closed

Private Car Tour

Starts: Delhi

Ends: Kolkata

Grade: Easy Paced


What's Included?

10 Nights luxury accommodation

7 Nights onboard ship

Travel, transfer and sightseeing

Meals as specified

Local English-speaking guide

THO Tour Manager Delhi to Jaipur (min 6 Pax)

Tour Manager while onboard ship

Entry fee and monument charges

Jeep ride in Jaipur

Walking food tour in Lucknow

Economy airfare Delhi – Varanasi, Jaipur – Kolkata

Express Train ride

Cultural Show

Rickshaw ride in Delhi

Bottled water while travelling

Assistance and transfers

All current collectable taxes

What's Excluded?

International Airfares

Any meals other than specified, drinks, laundry, mineral water, telephone calls, postage

Camera and Video entry charges at Monuments/Forts etc

Train or domestic airfares excluding those mentioned in includes column

Optional tour and meals unless otherwise mentioned in the includes column

Visa & passport fees

Travel insurance of any kind

Tipping, extra baggage charges

Early check in or late checkout

Fact File

Overland travel by chartered air conditioned vehicle 

Order of sightseeing may vary according to local conditions 

Jama Masjid and Taj Mahal are closed on every Friday 

Red Fort Delhi is closed on every Monday 

Hotel check-in/out 1200 hours 

Currency: Indian Rupee (INR) 

Electricity: Current is 220V, 50Hz 

Time Zone: 5.5 hours ahead GMT