Colours of South India

Tamil Nadu on the east coast of South India is a veritable living museum to both British and French colonial history, providing lots of opportunities to explore this fascinating era.

This ancient state is also home to one of the world’s oldest civilisations. Explore 2,000 year’s of language, dance, poetry and belief systems as you make your way through Madurai, Tanjore and Trichly. These towns are also renowned for their number of well-preserved temples, many of which are World Heritage-listed.

Tap into the spirituality of this region by visiting one of South India’s biggest pilgrimage sites, the Sri Meenakshi Temple which boasts over 33,000 sculptures. For those keen to see wildlife, the tranquil surrounds of Periyar Nationtional Park is just the trick. Known for its elephants, it is one of the great Parks of India.

Planning your holiday is easy, and speak to your friendly Consultant.

Day 1: Kochi

Welcome to Kochi. Upon arrival check into your beautiful colonial-era hotel for the next three nights.

Day 2: Kochi

Head down to the harbour and watch the local fishermen expertly handling the Chinese fishing nets. Discover the different colonial influences during your tour of Fort Kochi, then visit Mattancherry Palace, Jew Town and the Synagogue. In the evening, witness a traditional Kathakali performance, a highly evolved classical form of dance, drama and music.

Day 3: Kochi

Freechoice: Visit a local market and learn the secrets of South Indian cooking or enjoy a ‘Me Time’ yoga workshop. Alternatively, visit Kumbalanghi Village to experience traditional village life and activities.

Freechoice Dining: Dine at Pepper, an all-day diner, or try Rice Boat, a specialty seafood restaurant. Otherwise, try Dolphins Point barbeque and grill.

Day 4: Kochi – Kumarakom

After a relaxing morning, travel into the Kerala Backwaters to Kumarakom and your hotel for the next two nights.

Luxury Houseboat: Alternatively, take the opportunity to spend your first night in Kumarakom on board a houseboat, a converted traditional rice barge known as Kettuvallam, and cruise through the lakes and Backwaters past small villages to witness the local life. Included at no extra cost but must be pre-booked.

Day 5: Kumarakom

Freechoice: Visit Philip Kutty’s Farm and enjoy a Keralan cooking class and lunch or unwind with a traditional Ayurveda massage before lunch at the resort.

Enjoy the afternoon at leisure.

Day 6: Kumarakom – Periyar National Park

Ascend into the highlands to Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. Located in Thekkady, this wildlife reserve is known for its elephant population. In the afternoon, take a boat cruise on Periyar Lake. Overnight stay in Periyar.

Day 7: Periyar National Park – Madurai

Freechoice: Join an early morning guided jungle walk in the reserve or take a jeep tour through the surrounding countryside, passing local spice farms and plantations, for panoramic views over Tamil Nadu.

Wander through a small family-owned spice plantation and learn how spices grow before enjoying a lunch prepared by the family.

Cross into Tamil Nadu, the ‘State of Temples’ and drive to Madurai, known as the ‘Athens of the East’. Enjoy a two night stay.

Day 8: Madurai

Rise early for a walk through the heritage section of town to witness the early morning rituals. Later, wander through the local flower and vegetable market and the weavers market. An impressive sight awaits as you visit one of South India’s biggest pilgrimage sites, the Sri Meenakshi Temple, dating from the 1500s. Dedicated to the consort of Lord Shiva, its nine towering gopurams – or monumental gates – and 12 towers rise high above the surrounding countryside. This evening return by tuk tuk to this magnificent Hindu temple to witness the rituals and celebration of the evening puja ceremony.

Day 9: Madurai – Chettinad

Drive to the small village of Karaikudi, located in the area known as ‘Chettinad’. The merchants and traders (the Chettiars) amassed fortunes from their roles as bankers, building remarkable homes. Experience a bullock cart ride through the narrow streets exploring the charm and faded elegance of colonial bungalows and merchant houses, stopping for a weaving demonstration en route. Stay at your beautifully restored Art Deco mansion, for the next two nights.

Day 10: Chettinad

Witness ‘Kolam making’, colourful designs made with dyed rice, before visiting a pottery village to watch the colourful local tiles called Athangudi being crafted by hand. This afternoon, take a heritage walk and visit Chettinad Palace.

Enjoy a traditional cooking demonstration of Chettinad’s unique cuisine before a private Bharattnatayam classical dance performance, one of the most popular classical Indian dances. Settle back and feast on a typical Chettinad wedding dinner menu.

Day 11: Chettinad – Trichy – Tanjore

Journey through the ‘rice bowl’ of Tamil Nadu and on to Trichy, the former Madurai Nayak capital.

Freechoice: Choose to climb the Rock Fort Temple or visit the island and temples of Srirangam.

Continue to Tanjore and stay overnight at your newly restored hotel.

Day 12: Tanjore – Puducherry

Discover the World Heritage-listed 11th century Brihadishvara Temple.

See a demonstration by master craftsmen on the ancient art of lost-wax casting. Also known as ‘precision casting’ or ‘cire perdue’ in French, it is a method of bronze casting dating back 5,700 years.

Later, drive to the pretty seaside town of Puducherry, the former capital of the French territories in India, then known as Pondicherry. Stay at your romantic hotel, a beautiful tribute to the town’s French legacy.

Day 13: Puducherry

Learn how the local Tamil population successfully assimilated French culture with their own during a heritage walking tour. Stroll past charming Tamil and colonial fusion architecture and visit the Aurobindo Ashram.

Day 14: Puducherry – Mamallapuram – Chennai

En route to Chennai stop at Mamallapuram to explore the spectacular World Heritage-listed Shore Temples. In Chennai, check into your beautiful hotel a two night Special Stay.

Freechoice Dining: Dine on international cuisine at Spectra or China XO, featuring the flavours of China. Alternatively try Jamavar, specialising in Indian cuisine.
Day 15: Chennai

Freechoice: Walk through Georgetown and discover its markets and colonial laneways or explore the 8th century Hindu temples in Kanchipuram. Alternatively, visit a local Indian market and take part in a cooking lesson.

Later, discover the history of the Basilica of San Thome, supposedly the final resting place of St Thomas. Tonight, reminisce about your wonderful journey at your farewell dinner.

Day 16: Depart Chennai

Transfer to Chennai airport and depart South India with wonderful memories.

20 20 Dates & PricesTwin ShareSolo Traveller
October: 27$10,990.00$13,990.00
2021 Dates & Prices
February: 04$11,190.00$14,590.00
October: 26$10,990.00$13,990.00
Inclusions 
Meals: 15 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 13 dinners
Transport:Airport Transfers & Luxury Coach Travel
Accommodation:15 nights accommodation
Guide:Expert Tour Director and knowledgeable local guides
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary

* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.

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The Golden Triangle & Beyond

Experience a spellbinding world of colour, rituals and wilderness on this 12 Day The Golden Triangle journey through India’s cultural treasures. Witness the heritage and grandeur of the Mughal Empire in Delhi. Prepare to be humbled by the Taj Mahal, famously described as “a teardrop on the cheek of eternity”. Step inside temples and palaces for a glimpse of contrasting cultures. Seek out the majestic tiger in Ranthambore National Park. And discover the perfect harmony of chaos and serenity in the sacred city of Varanasi.

Planning your holiday is easy, and speak to your friendly Consultant.

Day 1: Arrive Delhi

Namaste and welcome to Delhi, India’s northern gateway. Enjoy a warm A&K welcome and private transfer to one of Delhi’s finest hotels. Nowhere are India’s rich cultural contrasts brought more sharply into focus than Delhi with its ruin-studded gardens, a growing contemporary art scene and world-class cuisine. Spend time relaxing in your luxury accommodation the Imperial Hotel, undoubtedly one of Delhi’s finest hotels. Relax in the gardens and exquisite restaurants or step outside on your own and discover more of this fascinating city.

Hotel: The Imperial, 3 nights

Day 2: Delhi

Head out to see the cultural charms of Old Delhi. Join a local expert and navigate the narrow streets abuzz with daily life to the Turkman Gate and the towering minarets of India’s largest mosque, Jama Masjid. Weave through the colourful streets, alleyways and market stalls of Chandni Chowk to witness a mishmash of cultures. Breathe in the aromas of a 400-year-old perfumery and lose yourself in a treasure chest of gemstones, saris and spices. Marvel at the ancient ‘havelis’ (mansions) and Jain temples. Discover Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, one of the most prominent Sikh temples in India, before sampling the lauded local cuisine at Veda restaurant designed by one of India’s top fashion designers Rohit Bal. Spend your afternoon at leisure.

Day 3: Delhi

Delve deeper into dynamic Delhi today. Start your tour at the Qutub Minar, the soaring victory tower. Built in the early 13th century in red sandstone and marble with intricate carvings of words from the Quran, this is rightly a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue to the jaw-dropping Humayun’s Tomb, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in 1570 for a Mughal emperor, this beautiful palatial tomb was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. Move forward in time to New Delhi, where modern India’s seeds were first sown. Drive down the tree-lined Rajpath (the royal path) to the 42-metre-high stone arch of India Gate, a majestic monument commemorating the contribution of Indian soldiers who laid down their lives for the British Empire in World War I. At the far end of the boulevard, glimpse the sprawling President’s Residence, Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Design your own afternoon with an optional half day activity (additional charge). Take a spiritual journey through several of Delhi’s temples including ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness more colloquially known as the Hare Krishnas) a well-known Vaishnav temple of Lord Krishna temple and the Bahia Temple or Lotus Temple, one of the most modern Bahai house of worship in the world. Immerse yourself in the National Museum, National Gallery of Modern Art and Kiran Nadar Museum of Art.

Day 4: Delhi – Agra

Bid farewell to Delhi and travel by road to Agra, home to the Taj Mahal. Standing proud in the heart of the city, the Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz and is now the world’s pre-eminent expression of passionate but restrained mourning. Check in to your hotel before setting out to explore the city’s hidden laneways, bustling spice market, sacred mosques and temples. Sample treats at a 200-year-old sweet shop, hop on a cycle rickshaw and hear legends that have been passed down through generations.

Journey to the mausoleum of Itmad ud Daulah, nicknamed “the Baby Taj”. This jewel of a landmark is the final resting place of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, grandfather of Mumtaz Mahal (to whom the Taj Mahal was dedicated). Admire its exquisitely carved marble surfaces and see why it’s often considered as an architectural first-draft of the Taj. Continue to Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden), an oasis-like garden complex across the Yamuna River from the Taj Mahal. From this beautiful spot amidst the fountains and flowerbeds, drink in the sunset over the Taj Mahal – it will take your breath away. Return to a royal welcome at The Oberoi Amarvilas, where you can continue to bask in uninterrupted views of the landmark from your luxury room, as well as from the private dining terrace.

Hotel: The Oberoi Amarvilas, 2 nights

Day 5: Agra

Rise early and return to the Taj Mahal as the morning light bathes the marble dome and minarets in a soft glow. Return to the hotel for a sumptuous breakfast. Then, venture to the former imperial city of the Mughal rulers, the Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Venture within its red sandstone walls to discover a labyrinth of highly decorated palaces and ornate marble mosques built by the great Mughal emperor Akbar I. Return to your hotel to relax, before a final visit to the Taj Mahal as the sun is setting.

Day 6: Agra – Ranthambore National Park

Leave the city behind and venture to Ranthambore National Park, one of the most renowned national parks in Northern India. As you travel overland, stop at the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri to witness one of the region’s most scenic landmarks. Founded in the 16th century by a Mughal emperor, the fortified red sandstone city is regarded as Emperor Akbar’s crowning architectural legacy and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch in Bharatpur, continue by air-conditioned train to Sawai Madhopur, an experience not to be missed, and on arrival transfer to your luxury tented accommodation at The Oberoi Vanyavilas. Surrounded by natural beauty on the edge of the Ranthambore National Park, this is the perfect base from which to explore the territory of the majestic Bengal tiger.

Hotel: The Oberoi Vanyavilas, 2 nights

Day 7: Ranthambore National Park

Spend the day exploring the Ranthambore National Park, and hopefully spying the famous Bengal tiger. Head out on early morning and afternoon private game drives in an exclusive jeep. Each drive is timed to give you the optimal viewing opportunity of big cats on the prowl amid Ranthambore’s lakes, forests and ruined forts. There’s a wealth of wildlife to spot: keep your camera handy for leopard, deer, wild boar, striped hyena, a variety of monkeys and sloth bears, not to mention an orchestra of birdlife. Between drives, immerse yourself in the luxury of your stunning tented accommodation. Take a refreshing dip in the pool and indulge in a rejuvenating spa treatment. As dusk falls climb up the observation tower for remarkable panoramic views of the surrounding jungle.

Day 8: Ranthambore National Park – Jaipur

Rise early and take a trip to the magnificent Ranthambore Fort, which offers dramatic views of the lakes and surrounding forest at sunrise. Then, bid farewell to the jungle as you head overland towards the dusky beauty of India’s Pink City, Jaipur. Famous for its decadent royal palaces and spectacular forts, its architectural riches are in stark contrast with remote Ranthambore.

Drop your luggage at your palace hotel and get your bearings with an afternoon walking tour. Meander through the old city to discover the lesser-known wonders of the Pink City. Step inside lively temples to witness traditional customs. Take part in a Hindu prayer ceremony, if you wish, and sip tea with locals in a beautifully restored haveli (mansion). Then, gaze at the heavens in the Jantar Mantar Observatory, an ancient stargazing hub packed with enormous astronomical instruments dating back to the 16th century. Before heading back to the hotel, there’s time for a quick photostop at Jaipur’s most famous building, Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), with its distinctive red and pink facade.

Hotel: Rambagh Palace, 2 nights

Day 9: Jaipur

Leave the hustle and bustle far behind as you soar above Jaipur’s yawning horizons and rolling hills on an enchanting early morning hot-air balloon flight (additional charge). After a relaxing breakfast, embark on a tour of the Amber Fort. Stroll along the ramparts and terraces, admire the Rajput architecture and gain a fascinating insight into the life of the Moghuls. Follow with a visit to the Anokhi Museum for Hand Printing promises to delight as you learn about this classic Rajasthani craft in a restored haveli. Later, discover the Pink City your way with a choice of activities (additional charge). Gain private behind-the-scenes access to the City Palace of Jaipur to witness how the modern royals live. Enjoy a delicious afternoon High Tea on the terraces and manicured lawns of your luxury property whilst learning about henna painting and turban tying.

Day 10: Jaipur – Varanasi

Enjoy a relaxing morning in Jaipur before your flight to Varanasi, one of the world’s oldest cities, the heart of spiritual India steeped in legend and traditions. On arrival, be met by your local A&K representative and transfer privately to your luxury accommodation, on the banks of the holy River Ganges. This evening, head to the city’s ghats (stone steps) that lead down to the river and witness locals performing the Hindu ritual of the Aarti. Watch as people gather to pray, give thanks and send burning candles down the river.

Hotel: Brijrama Palace, 2 nights

Day 11: Varanasi

Rise early for a sunrise Ganges boat trip. Drift slowly down the river, accompanied by local musicians playing the sitar and tabla and soak in a sense of serene spirituality as the sacred river comes to life. See pilgrims immersing themselves at the bathing ghats and offering their morning prayers to the rising sun. Then, set out to explore the city, which is home to more than a thousand temples and shrines. Wander through the old town with its narrow lanes, bustling markets and vibrant temples. Step inside a traditional Akhara, a gymnasium where men of all ages practice a traditional form of wrestling known as kushti or pehlwani. After time to relax, journey to the Sarnath. Understand why this is one of Buddhism’s most important sites and see where Lord Buddha is said to have preached his first sermon. Then, discover Buddhist art treasures in the Archaeological Museum before watching the talented handloom weavers creating exquisite silk Banarasi saris at a local weavers’ colony enroute to Varanasi.

Day 12: Depart Varanasi

With your Indian adventure at its end, transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

2020 Dates & PricesTwin ShareSolo Traveller
Departs Delhi daily: From $7,940.00Price on Application
Inclusions 
Meals: 11 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
Transport:Airport transfers & private air-conditioned vehicle
Flights: Flight Ticket: Jaipur - Sawai Madhopur
Rail:Train Train: Bharatpur - Sawai Madhopur
Accommodation:11 nights accommodation
Guide:Local English Speaking Guide
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary

* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.

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Classic East India

This Classic East India tour is an ideal introduction to West Bengal, Sikkim and Assam, offering spectacular Himalayan views, a taste of the rich Bengali culture and a tea plantation stay.

This itinerary’s mix of lively cities, historic hill stations and scenic beauty make it ideal for first time visitors who want to cover the region’s highlights, or as a general introduction to India with a difference. The culture of Kolkata, the stunning Himalayan range and the aesthetic appeal of Assam tea plantations are some of the most rewarding sights and experiences that India has to offer.

With a wide range of accommodation to choose from – from homestays to grand heritage hotels and colonial-era tea planters’ bungalows – we can customise the itinerary to suit your interests.

Planning your holiday is easy, and speak to your friendly Consultant.

Day 1: Kolkata

You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. Kolkata, located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, is the capital of the state of West Bengal and India’s second largest city. It is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India.  A religiously and ethnically diverse centre of culture, Kolkata has established local traditions in drama, art, film, theatre, and literature that have gained wide audiences. It was, for example, home to the Nobel Prize laureate, Rabindranath Tagore and Oscar award winning film director, Satyajit Ray.

Day 2: Kolkata

Spend today sightseeing with a local guide. A few of the sights and experiences that you might like to cover include: the edifice in marble which is the Victoria Memorial – commissioned for the British Queen’s 1901 diamond jubilee and completed some 20 years later; Park Street Cemetery, which is a warren of grand mausoleums amid heavy undergrowth; the Marble Palace, which somehow manages to make all of Kolkata’s other grand structures seem staid and under-stated; the Jain Temples in North Kolkata, which combine marble inlay work, mirrored hallways, statues and a constant stream of worshippers; and the temples dedicated to Kali (patron goddess of Kolkata) on the banks of the Hooghly River – your guide will be able to advise whether there are likely to be goat sacrifices taking place at the time of your visit. The choice of where to be when this ‘act of devotion’ takes place is then up to you!

Day 3: Sunderbans

Early this morning transfer to Sonakhali Jetty, a 2-hour drive through beautiful countryside and rural bazaars, with stops at a local teashop and fishermen’s villages. Upon arrival you’ll board a boat, where a local guide / naturalist will brief you over a welcome drink before you commence a spectacular 2 hour cruise through the rivers Hogol, Gomor, Durgaduani and Gumdi. You may make an optional stopover at Gosaba – one of the earliest human settlements of the Sunderbans – to visit the house of Sir Daniel Hamilton, a Scottish banker who introduced agriculture and initiated the first co-operative movement of India.

Arrive at Bali Island and check into the jungle camp where you will be served lunch, followed by a 3 hour birding and game cruise through creeks and canals to Sudhanyakhali watchtower (most sightings of tigers are from this tower). Return to the camp early evening.

Day 4: Sunderbans

The Sundarbans National Park is bestowed with abundance of flora and fauna. After an early breakfast commence a full day game cruise and birding tour to the Netidhopani and Dobanki watchtowers.

The tiger watchtower and the ruins of a 400-year-old temple are the main attractions of Netidhopani. If you are lucky you may see Bengal tigers from this watchtower. The Dobanki WatchTower is famous for its Canopy Walk. This more than half kilometre long walkway, at a height of 6 metres from the ground, is covered in grill and strong net in the form of a canopy to protect from the wildlife. It takes you deep into the forest where you could find yourself walking alongside any number of mammals, including tigers – a very thrilling experience.  Lunch will be served on board your boat. Return to camp early evening.

Day 5: New Jalpaiguri

After breakfast take a guided village walk in which you are able to interact with the local villagers and explore their local crafts and cuisines, as well as learn about their farming methods. Later take a cruise by a manually oared country boat before returning to the camp for lunch.

This afternoon depart for Sonakhali Jetty where you will be met by a driver for the 2-hour transfer to Kolkata by car.  In the evening board an overnight train to New Jalpaiguri.

Day 6: Darjeeling

Arrive at New Jaipalguri this morning and transfer to the famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the ‘Toy Train’ for the all day journey to Darjeeling. Built between 1879 and 1881, the railway is about 78 kilometres long. Its elevation level varies from about 100 metres at New Jalpaiguri to about 2,200 metres at Darjeeling.

A popular tourist destination, Darjeeling was established by the British in the mid-19th century, with the setting up of a sanatorium and a military depot; it subsequently became Bengal’s summer capital.  Much of its Raj era splendour is still to be seen – in contrast to its Tibetan, Nepali and Bengali character.

Day 7: Darjeeling

Take a sightseeing tour this morning. Places of interest include: the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute which contains a contour model of the Himalayan peaks; the Zoological Gardens home to a vast collection of Himalayan flora, including hundreds of species of orchids; and the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre, where you can visit the craft workshops which produce carpets, woodcarvings, leatherwork and woollen items.

Darjeeling has acquired a global reputation for its teas, so no visit here is complete without a wander through a tea plantation.  Spend the afternoon exploring the town. The Mall and Chowrasta (crossroads) in upper Darjeeling are good for leisurely strolls, tea drinking and souvenir shopping.

Day 8: Gangtok

Depart Darjeeling this morning for the 3-hour drive to Gangtok, the capital of the Himalayan state of Sikkim. A bustling, friendly hill station, with a diverse population of indigenous Sikkimese and people of Nepalese and Tibetan ancestry, Gangtok is famed for its spectacular mountain vistas.

Check in to your hotel on arrival and remainder of the day at leisure.  The town’s main street, MG Marg, is pedestrianized and a pleasant place for a wander, and the winding side alleys hide some unexpected gems.

Day 9: Gangtok

Gangtok is renowned for its scenery – there are beautiful views of the surrounding hills from the town itself, but the best views – dominated by Kanchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain – are from Ganesh Tok, high above the town.  Rise early this morning to view sunrise over the Kanchenjunga range from this point.

Return to your hotel for breakfast, and afterwards take in the sights.  Visit the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology which houses an excellent collection of Tibetan, Sanskrit, and Lepcha manuscripts, as well as Buddhist icons, masks, musical instruments, jewellery and thangkas (painted or embroidered tapestry wall hangings). Also visit the serene monastery at Rumtek; the region’s top attraction – its design is said to replicate that of the original Kagyu headquarters in Tibet. Regarded as the richest Buddhist monastic centre in India, Rumtek contains a number of rare and unique religious artefacts.

Day 10: Kalimpong

Leaving Sikkim, make the 2-hour journey to Kalimpong, known for its spectacular views and its horticulture (particularly its wide array of orchids and gladioli).

Check in to your hotel on arrival and afterwards take in some of the town’s sights, including the Dello Hills, Dr Graham’s Home, a small factory making paper by traditional methods, and flower nurseries.

Dello Hill, at a height of 1,914 metres and only 6 kilometres away from Kalimpong, is a pleasant drive through lovely landscapes and offers a splendid view of Kanchenjunga.  Dr Graham’s Home, spreads over an area of 200 hectares; it includes cottages, a school, hospital, workshop, farm, and bakery – all looking after the needs of more than 1,500 students. The campus is noted as a “miniature town” and is self-sufficient enough to produce and provide its own food, clothing and lodging.

Day 11: Kaziranga

Depart Kalimpong this morning for 2-hour drive to Bagdogra for your flight to Guwahati.  You will be met on arrival and transferred to Kaziranga – about a 5-hour drive.

Established by Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, in 1908, Assam’s magnificent Kaziranga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 430 sq km park is a vast expanse of tall elephant grass, marshland, and dense tropical broadleaf forests, crisscrossed by four major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, and the park includes numerous small water bodies.

Day 12: Kaziranga

Kaziranga National Park contains the vast majority of the world population of the Indian one-horned rhinoceroses, as well as large populations of elephant, water buffalo, swamp deer, hog deer, sambar, wild boar, Hoolock gibbons, pythons and around 300 species of birds, including the rare Bengal florican. It also boasts the highest density of tigers in India (however the dense vegetation here can make them hard to spot).

Take a guided safari into the park this morning by jeep or by elephant (the best way to get close to the rhinos is atop an elephant).

Day 13: Dibrugarh

You have the option to take another safari this morning. Afterwards depart Kaziranga for the 6-hour drive to Dibrugarh.

Your accommodation here, Mancotta Chang Bungalow, was built by British tea planters in 1849 and is situated on the banks of the River Brahmaputra in the middle of a working tea estate. Settle in on arrival and relax on the veranda with its views across lawns, flowerbeds and gravelled paths to some of Assam’s lush tea plantations.

Day 14: Dibrugarh

Day free on the plantation. There are a number of activities on offer here. An obvious choice is to take a tour of tea gardens, tea worker colonies, and tea processing factory, followed by a tea tasting session.

If you are feeling energetic you may like to go kayaking or horseback riding. (The owners of the Bungalow have a stable of over a dozen superb thoroughbreds).   Alternatively, you can visit the historical Ahom monuments at Sibsagar or the World War II cemetery at Digboi. Given the number of activities and the lovely setting of the accommodation, a three night stay here is well worthwhile.

Day 15: Kolkata

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Kolkata.

2020 Dates & PricesTwin ShareSolo Traveller
Departs Kolkata daily: Price on ApplicationPrice on Application
Inclusions 
Meals: 14 breakfasts
Transport:Airport transfers & private air-conditioned vehicle
Flights: Flight Ticket: Bagdogra - Guwahati / Dibrugarh - Kolkata
Rail:Overnight Train: Kolkata - New Jalpaiguri
Accommodation:14 nights
Guide:Local English Speaking Guide
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary

* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.

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Colourful India

Delight your every sense during this encounter with the soaring monuments and scenic landscapes of northern India – from bustling Delhi to the jungles of Ranthambore, hilltop fortresses to royal treasures.

Planning your holiday is easy, and speak to your friendly Consultant.

Day 1: Arrive Delhi

India’s vibrant capital extends a lively welcome, launching an unforgettable journey through northern India’s most exquisite sights. On arrival in Delhi, you’ll be transferred to your hotel where you’ll meet your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception with drinks and local appetisers this evening.

Hotel: Sheraton New Delhi, 3 nights
Day 2: Delhi

Savour the scents of spice as you embark on an exhilarating rickshaw ride, navigating the busy streets of Old Delhi. See the Red Fort, a sandstone fortress which once housed the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for centuries, before riding through the colourful Chandni Chowk market. Watch it come to life as the day’s trading begins amidst the sounds of enthusiastic salesmen and endless traffic. We’ll visit Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India and admire its ornate façades before enjoying the rest of the afternoon at leisure.

Day 3: Delhi

We ‘Dive Into Culture’ this morning, embarking on a guided walking tour to discover the work done by the Salaam Baalak Trust. Your visit will ‘Make A Difference’ to this non-profit organisation which aims to provide a caring environment for street children. Later, we’ll walk through the bazaar of Paharganj, rubbing shoulders with the locals who flock to the market to shop every day. Lunch is at a local restaurant, before we head to the district of New Delhi, designed and built by the British in the 1920s. Here we’ll visit the UNESCO-listed Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar before driving past Parliament House and India Gate, commemorating the Indian soldiers who died during WWI.

Day 4: Delhi – Agra

Delve into the imperial history of the Mughal Empire as you explore the iconic, yet unexpected highlights of Agra. Visit the UNESCO-listed Agra Fort and stroll through the chambers of a royal residence that lay at the centre of the dynasty until the 17th century. As you drive through the city’s crowded streets, connect with its vibrant spirit and raw energy.

Hotel: Double Tree by Hilton
Day 5: Agra – Ranthambore

Gaze at the sun-kissed white marble of the Taj Mahal, arriving just before sunrise to see its elegant walls glow with rose and golden hues. Learn how this well-preserved landmark stands today as a monument of love, then return to your hotel for breakfast. Later today, travel to Ranthambore and upon arrival check into your hotel for dinner and your overnight stay.

Hotel: The Tigress Ranthambore, 2 nights
Day 6: Ranthambore National Park

You’ll have a full day to connect with your beautiful natural surrounds as you explore all that Ranthambore has to offer. Start the day with an early morning visit to Ranthambore National Park, which was once the hunting ground of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Keep your camera at the ready to hopefully snap a few photographs of the resident tigers. Afterwards return to your hotel for breakfast followed by some time to relax. After lunch venture out into the park for another visit and watch for glimpses of the various species of bird and wildlife which find sanctuary here and the ruins of a bygone era which are scattered through the park. Dinner is served this evening at your hotel.

Day 7: Ranthambore – Jaipur

This morning travel to Jaipur, the Pink City and gateway to the colourful state of Rajasthan. After lunch, visit the ornate City Palace and later ‘Dive Into Culture’ with a lesson in the art of turban tying and a favourite pastime in Jaipur, kite flying – giving you insights into the ancient customs and pastimes of the city.

Hotel: Hilton, 2 nights

Day 8: Jaipur

One of today’s highlights is a visit to the UNESCO-listed Amber Fort, but first stop to admire the ornate red and pink façades of the Palace of Winds, whose latticed windows once revealed the outside world to the sheltered ladies of the royal household. Continue to the UNESCO-listed Jantar Mantar Observatory, featuring the world’s largest sundial before meeting a ‘Local Specialist’ to learn about the tradition of hand block printing. See how the Jaipur’s exquisitely patterned cottons have been made for centuries, then witness the delicate art of crafting Jaipur’s elegant blue and green pottery. You’ll have an opportunity to ‘Connect With Locals’ this evening, joining a local family for an exclusive ‘Be My Guest’ dinner in their home to savour some of the local delicacies.

Day 9: Jaipur – Narlai

We journey to Narlai and check into Rawla Narlai, a beautifully maintained heritage resort, which was once one of the Jagir villages of Jodhpur’s royal family. Experience royal Rajasthan within its lavishly decorated walls.

Hotel: Rawla Narlai, 2 nights

Day 10: Narlai

Join a Jeep safari into the nearby countryside and keep a keen eye open for deer and leopard in their natural habitat. Later, take a walk around Narlai village and gain insights into the traditional way of life of the villagers. During term-time, you’ll also visit the village school. Later, meet one of the heads of a noble family who’ll share interesting stories about the hotel and the local residents. This evening, your dinner is served in extraordinary surrounds. Descend into the 16th century baori (step-well) for a memorable meal featuring delicious Rajasthani flavours.

Day 11: Narlai – Jodhpur

Leave Narlai behind and travel to another of Rajasthan’s colourful cities – Jodhpur. Your introduction to the Blue City begins with a visit to Mehrangarh Fort, whose glowing red sandstone façades stand imposingly several hundred feet above the city skyline atop a sheer cliff. From one exquisite monument to the next, you’ll visit Jaswant Thada, walking up its red steps to the shimmering white marble façades that house a memorial built to honour the memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II by his son in 1899. The mausoleum is still used by the Marwar Royal Family as its cremation grounds. After a busy day of sightseeing, get a taste of local culture during a visit to a market by tuk-tuk and plunge into its crowded alleys with shopfronts selling vegetables, spices, sweets, silver and handicraftserience.

Hotel: Indana Palace Jodhpur, 2 nights

Day 12: Jodhpur

Leave the busy city streets behind and embark on a 4×4 drive through the Rajasthan countryside. Experience a different side of India as you visit a rural Bishnoi community village, a place that appears to be caught in a delightful time warp, where life still goes on like the days of the past. The villagers are all vegetarians and staunch worshippers of nature in all its forms, especially the sanctity of plant and animal life. You’ll gain insights into the day-to-day experiences of the locals who live here and after the visit you’ll have the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure or consider joining an Optional Experience for dinner.

Day 13: Jodhpur- Delhi

We leave Jodhpur behind, flying back to Delhi this morning. Our memorable encounter with northern India at its end, we’ll toast to shared memories over a delicious local Farewell Dinner.

Hotel: Sheraton New Delhi

Day 14: Depart Delhi

Say a fond farewell to your travel companions and take a transfer to New Delhi International Airport for your onward flight.

2020 Dates & PricesTwin ShareSolo Traveller
January: 19$6,925.00$9,325.00
February: 02, 16$6,925.00$9,325.00
March: 03$7,150.00$9,550.00
March: 15, 29$6,925.00$9,325.00
April: 05, 19$6,295.00$8,695.00
May: 03, 17$6,295.00$8,695.00
October: 11, 18, 25$6,925.00$9,325.00
November: 07$7,150.00$9,720.00
November: 22$6,925.00$9,325.00
December: 06$6,925.00$9,325.00
December: 20$7,475.00$10,045.00
Inclusions 
Meals: 13 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 8 dinners
Transport:Airport transfers & Luxury air-conditioned coach
Flights: Flight Ticket: Jodhpur – Delhi
Accommodation:13 nights accommodation
Guide:An expert Travel Director and separate Driver
Entrance Fees & Touring: Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary

* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.

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Reflections of East India

From fragrant tea plantations and snow-capped Himalayan peaks to bustling bazaars and the grandest colonial architecture, discover the hidden wonders of East India. Lose yourself in the soulful city of Kolkata, abuzz with intellect and creativity. Venture into striking Sikkim and see firsthand why this petite state was once regarded as a utopia. Delight in Gangtok’s tapestry of mountain scenery and Buddhist spiritualism. Wander through tea plantations. And make the train journey of a lifetime on the famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.

Planning your holiday is easy, and speak to your friendly Consultant.

Day 1: Arrive Kolkata

Sbāgata and welcome to Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal. Vibrant, uplifting and extremely friendly, Kolkata is perhaps the most soulful city in India. During the British Raj, Calcutta as it was known, was the Jewel of the East and the capital until 1911. Today it is still the most important city in the east, with a rich intellectual and cultural heritage. Receive a warm A&K welcome on arrival and transfer privately to your hotel.

Hotel: The Penthouse Kolkata, 3 nights

Day 2: Kolkata

Immerse yourself in city life with an early morning visit to the vibrant flower market under the famous Howrah Bridge. Wind through the mountains of marigolds and jasmine, then follow in the footsteps of the British Raj with a tour of colonial Kolkata. See Dalhousie Square, now known as B.B.D. Bagh, in the political heart of the city. Admire the colonial buildings, including the prominent Writers’ Building, surrounded by food vendors selling mouth-watering street foods. Continue to the revered Mother Teresa House, established in 1950 to care for the poor and sick. Learn of her ideologies and take a closer look at how Mother Teresa lived. Then sample traditional recipes from both sides of the border as well as Anglo-Indian and colonial cuisine with lunch at Oh! Calcutta. Later, immerse yourself in the serenity of the Victoria Memorial Hall. Admire the domed white marble hall built in memory of Queen Victoria. Stroll through the splendid gardens and step inside to discover Victorian memorabilia and British Raj-era paintings. End the day in the Maidan, the city’s largest urban park and the “lungs of Kolkata”, watching as people come together over a game of cricket.

Day 3: Kolkata

Head into the artisan hub of Kumartuli. Wander the maze of winding lanes in this 400-year-old village and watch as elaborately painted idols of Hindu gods and goddesses are produced for Durga Puja festivities. Board a tram and wind through the narrow streets and observe hawkers selling local products. Later, explore downtown on foot, revelling in the lively atmosphere at Kolkata market, filled with everything from vivid textiles to flowers, spices and teas. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure before an evening of unique Bengali hospitality in the home of Bomti Iyengar, a charming art collector and bon vivant who lives in a great heritage building. Join him for an evening of cooking, feasting and stories, surrounded by his eclectic art collection.

Day 4: Kolkata – Bagdogra – Kalimpong

Transfer privately to the airport and fly to Bagdogra, then journey overland to Kalimpong. A bustling bazaar town, this Himalayan hill station offers a fascinating history as part of the Sikkim Empire, fine Buddhist monasteries, and stimulating walks. Soak up the atmosphere with an evening stroll to the local market, discovering fresh cheese, handmade paper wares and traditional handicrafts.

Hotel: Mayfair Himalayan Spa Resort Kalimpong

Day 5: Kalimpong – Gangtok

Venture to Zang-Dhok-Palri Phodang, the area’s largest and most beautiful monastery and, breathe in the exotic fragrances of the colourful flower nursery filled with rare orchids and cacti. Later, journey to the capital of Sikkim, Gangtok. Once an important transit point for traders travelling between Tibet and India, today Gangtok is a cosmopolitan centre famous for its magnificent views of Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain. Check in to your hotel and spend your afternoon exploring your accommodation and the intriguing surrounds at leisure.

Hotel: Mayfair Spa Resort Gangtok, 2 nights

Day 6: Gangtok

Today, uncover layers of Buddhist and Tibetan culture, beginning at the Rumtek Monastery, the richest Buddhist monastic centre in India housing some of the world’s rarest and most unique religious artefacts. Move on to the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology and lose yourself in a vast collection of rare manuscripts, statues, and tapestries. Admire the varied and vibrant handicrafts of local craftsmen at the Government Institute of Cottage Industries, then spend your afternoon at leisure, relaxing in your hotel’s spa facilities, wandering along MG Road dotted with cafes and bazaars or partaking in an optional activity (additional charge). You could choose to try your hand at a momo cooking class or take a tour of the 200-year-old Enchey Monastery where you might be lucky enough to witness Chaam, a religious masked dance.

Day 7: Gangtok – Darjeeling

Rise early to capture the glowing sunrise over Kanchenjunga, this magnificent mountain towering 8,598 metres above sea level. Return to your hotel for breakfast, then journey through cardamom crop, ginger plantations and paddy fields to Darjeeling. The crown jewel of British colonial hill stations nestled high in the Himalayas, Darjeeling is home to almost a quarter of India’s tea production. Your perfect platform for discovery is the Glenburn Tea Estate, a heavenly plantation retreat that lies on a hillock above the banks of the River Rungeet.

Hotel: Glenburn Tea Estate, 3 nights

Day 8: Darjeeling

Darjeeling’s rich tapestry of cultures is yours to explore today. Start at the Ghoom Monastery, with its colourful prayer flags fluttering in the wind. Continue to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, founded in 1954, just after Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first scaled Everest. Visit the Darjeeling Zoo, home of the Snow Leopard Breeding Centre. Then see locals making handicrafts and carpets at the Tibetan Refugee Centre. This afternoon enjoy a breathtaking ride on the heritage-listed small-gauge Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, or “Toy Train”, to Ghoom, the world’s second highest railway station. The toy train is a marvel of engineering passing through many small towns and is India’s oldest mountain railway route.

Day 9: Darjeeling

Discover the secrets of Darjeeling’s famous tea at the Glenburn Tea Estate. Join your guide on foot or by vehicle to explore this working tea estate. Meet the employees, learn how to care for the tea bushes and the art of plucking the “two leaves and a bud”. Visit the Tea Factory to see the journey of the leaf from farm to teacup. Then, appreciate the delicate flavours in a tea tasting. This afternoon, choose from an abundance of activities offered by the estate, or simply relax on your verandah drinking in the spectacular views.

Day 10: Darjeeling

Leave the snow-tipped peaks and terraced tea plantations of Darjeeling behind and transfer privately to Bagdogra Airport for your onward journey.

2020 Dates & PricesTwin ShareSolo Traveller
Departs Kolkata daily: From $5,750.00Price on Application
Inclusions 
Meals: 9 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
Transport:Airport transfers & private air-conditioned vehicle
Flights: Flight Ticket: Kolkata – Bagdogra
Rail: Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Accommodation:9 nights accommodation
Guide:Local English Speaking Guide
Entrance Fees & Touring: Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary

* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.

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Classic North India

Traversing a wide swath of North India, this lively 15 day tour covers many of the North’s highlights, making it an ideal introduction to the country. We have designed this tour as a showcase of the most interesting sights and engaging experiences that North India has to offer. It includes many of the region’s famous draw-cards – the Taj Mahal, Khajuraho, Varanasi and Udaipur – but also incorporates several rural stops such as Orchha and Jojawar, where you can enjoy some gentle activities like local train rides and village walks. Time in the countryside balances up the pace and the urban versus rural ledger (the fact remains that the majority of Indians live in rural India, despite its numerous big cities, so a well-balanced tour should include time in both). The tour’s conclusion in Mumbai – a city striving for ‘world-city’ status even as it struggles to provide basic necessities to its residents – leaves you with an insight into the possible future of urban India.

Planning your holiday is easy, and speak to your friendly Consultant.

Day 1: Arrive Delhi

Delhi, with its Old and New parts — each with its specific charm and glory — makes a very interesting city for its sustenance of medieval and modern cultures. Old Delhi, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century, still retains its medieval character to a great extent and reminds one of the crowded old towns of the Middle East; while New Delhi – with the exception of the area around the parliament and presidential house, (ie the part designed by Edwin Lutyens) is like any other modern city with tall buildings and large shopping complexes.

Day 2: Delhi

This morning visit the medieval Jama Mosque followed by a walking tour of Old Delhi,  exploring centuries old arts and crafts with artisans belonging to the sixth or seventh generation of the families who first started them.  Visit a marvellous old-fashioned shop where you can test Indian perfume (attar) from cut-glass bottles; stroll through the main bridal street of Old Delhi, Kinari Bazaar, with its dazzling display of embroidered silk wedding sarees, beautiful bangles and colourful turbans for the bridegroom. The Khari Baoli is all about spices – here, rice and dal, dry fruits, nuts and saffron dealers have traded for more than 150 years. The smell of the spices will remain with you even after you have left the market. During this walk, if you are lucky you will also be introduced to the art of pigeon flying by a kabootar baz (pigeon fancier).

Later in the afternoon explore New Delhi – including Humayun’s Tomb and Qutab Minar and drive past Lutyens’ Delhi.

Humayun’s Tomb, another magnificent Mughal building is set in a square enclosed garden. This finely proportioned structure in red sandstone and marble served later as a model for the Taj Mahal.

Dominating the ruins of the earliest existing settlement of Delhi is another famous landmark – the Qutab Minar. This imposing victory tower has five storeys, each marked by intricately carved projections or balconies. Elaborately carved pillars embellish the courtyard of a nearby mosque. At the centre of the courtyard is the amazing Iron Pillar (4th-5th century), which has not rusted through the centuries.

The interesting buildings of Lutyens’ Delhi are the India Gate, the Rashtrapati Bhawan (President’s House) and Parliament House.

Day 3: Varanasi

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Varanasi.  You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel.

The Ganges is India’s most sacred river. Hindus believe that its waters have flown eternally, for its source is said to be the summit of Mount Meru, the mythical mountain at the centre of the universe and the abode of the gods. The river is worshipped as the goddess Ganga and the city of Varanasi on its banks is thus one of the most important pilgrimage sites in India.  Also known as Kashi, “City of Light”, Varanasi’s ninety or so riverside ghats – lined with temples and shrines – define this ancient city’s life and identity.

Day 4: Varanasi

Early this morning you will be taken to the ghats to enjoy a boat ride on the river while watching a spectacular sunrise – a most memorable experience. The riverfront, as seen from a boat at sunrise, is a spiritually uplifting sight. Hinduism, deep and mystical, is everywhere – in a decorated doorway, in a glimpse of a glittering temple, in the sound of a sacred bell and in the chants of the priests.

After the boat ride take a brief walking tour of the old town – the lanes and by-lanes are fascinating and the essence of the city. Shops sell rich brocade silks, brassware and also all the articles essential for worship at numerous little shrines. Return to the hotel for breakfast and the rest of the morning is at leisure.

In the afternoon you will be driven a short distance outside Varanasi to visit Sarnath, an important centre for Buddhist pilgrims. Having achieved enlightenment at Bodhgaya, the Buddha came to Sarnath and gave his first sermon. Later, Ashoka, the great Buddhist Emperor, erected magnificent ‘stupas’ and monasteries here in the 3rd century BC.  Sarnath was at its peak when the Chinese traveller Fa Xien visited early in the 5th century AD. In 640 AD, when another Chinese traveller Huien Tsang visited, Sarnath had more than 1500 priests. It was later reduced to insignificance and left in ruins. It was not until 1836, when British archaeologists started excavations, that Sarnath regained some of its past glory.

Day 5: Khajuraho

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Khajuraho.  You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel.

This afternoon tour Khajuraho’s magnificent temples. The extraordinary sculptures in these temples show many aspects of Indian life a thousand years ago — gods and goddesses, warriors and musicians, real and mythological animals. However the overwhelming motif of the temples is sexuality, and it’s this fact that makes them so unique.

Day 6: Agra

After an early breakfast begin the 4 hour drive to Orchha, a small town dominated by a series of magnificent 16th and 17th century palaces and temples and one of India’s most marvellous Mughal sites. The deserted royal citadel of Raja Rudra Pratap was the capital of the Bundela kings until 1738.  Take a short tour of the palace complex, temples and the fourteen graceful chhatris (cenotaphs) commemorating the Orchha rulers.

Afterwards, you will be transferred to the railway station at Jhansi (about a half hour drive) to board the train to Agra. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel.

Built in the early 16th century and the capital of mighty Mughals, Agra is famous for its beautiful medieval monuments. It was pampered by the Mughals for more than two centuries — evidence of which is spread all over the city in the form of various structures constructed during their reigns. However, with the fall of the Mughals, Agra became a victim of rebels’ assertion of power and the city suffered a series of plunders by the unruly rebellious forces.

Day 7: Jaipur

This morning you will be taken to visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise. The Taj Mahal has been described as a ‘tear on the face of eternity’ and as an enduring monument of love. Its unique beauty is blended with grandeur and its massive over-all design is matched with immaculately intricate execution. Built by Mughal Emperor Shan Jahan in memory of his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal, the complex took twenty-two years to complete and is today counted among the Seven Wonders of the World. It is particularly stunning at the time of sunrise. Return to the hotel for breakfast.

After breakfast, check-out of the hotel and visit the famous Agra Fort. Many of the events that led to the construction of the Taj took place here.  Begun by Emperor Akbar in 1565, additions continued to be made until the time of his grandson Shah Jahan. The magnificent palaces, towers, bastions, ramparts and gateways symbolise the power of the mighty Mughals. Built mostly of red sandstone it is strikingly similar to the Red Fort in Delhi.

Following this visit, depart for Jaipur with a stop en route at Fatehpur Sikri.

Fatehpur Sikri was built by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar in the 16th century to serve as the capital of his vast empire. Although Akbar had many wives, he did not have an heir, which led him to many holy men and finally to the renowned Sufi Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti, who lived in an isolated cave near Sikri. The saint blessed Akbar and soon a son was born to him. The grateful emperor named his son Salim after the saint, erected the grand Jami Mosque near the saint’s dwelling and vowed to build a great city on that site. Thus emerged the city of Fatehpur Sikri – a citadel of grand courts, palaces, mosques and gardens that rivalled the splendours of Delhi and Agra. However, destiny had other things in store for the city. Shortage of water and un-rest in the north-west forced Akbar to abandon the city only thirteen years later. Today, even after the passage of 400 years, the magnificence of this royal city has not faded and it remains immaculately preserved. After a short tour continue on to Jaipur.

The capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is known as the ‘pink city’ because of the pink paint applied to the buildings in its old walled town. Steeped in history and culture, the past comes alive here in magnificent forts and palaces, once the homes of maharajas. Jaipur has been widely regarded as the first modern planned city in the world. Even though it was founded and built in the 18th century, it amazes many modern town planners and architects for the  brilliance of its planning and the beauty of its architecture.

Day 8: Jaipur

Begin the day with a visit to the milk market where large quantities of milk are procured from individual sellers and then resold to wholesale buyers. Observe the interesting ways by which the buyers judge the purity of milk and negotiate the prices.

Afterwards visit Amber Fort; the ancient capital of the erstwhile Jaipur state, this is one of the more fascinating Indian forts.  Its construction began in 16th century and it was subsequently added on to by successive rulers. Inside the fort, the places worth visiting are the Palace of Mirrors, inlaid with thousands of tiny glistening mirrors, the hall of Public Audience and the beautiful manicured gardens.

Continue on to visit the City Palace, Jantar Mantar (medieval observatory) and drive past Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds).

The City Palace is situated in the heart of the city. The whole complex is wonderfully laid out with large courtyards, balconies, cupolas, arched entrances and gardens, which are a combination of Rajput and Mughal architecture. The museum here displays the rich heritage of the Jaipur royal family in miniature paintings, textiles, garments, books and manuscripts, carpets, palanquins and weapons dating back to the 15th century.

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II had a passion for astronomy, which led him to build five astronomical observatories in India at Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi, Mathura and Delhi. The observatory at Jaipur, built in 1728, is the largest and best preserved of them. It has a curious collection of sculptures which enable the calculation of many astronomical and astrological events such as eclipses, etc.

Built in 1799 the Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds is one of the landmarks of Jaipur, although it is little more than a façade. A five-storey structure in pink, it was built to enable the women of the harem to see the activities of the outside world without themselves being seen.

End the day with a short walking tour of Old Jaipur. The bazaars between the Badi (Large) and Chhoti (Small) Chaupar (Square) offer some of most lively scenes that the city has to offer. You will be taken through the labyrinth of colourful alleys where artisans make puppets, bangles, and other local handicrafts. You will also visit the jewellery market or Johari Bazaar, explore architecturally interesting havelis (mansions), and stop by bangle shops in Maniharon ka Rasta and at the flower sellers market near Choti Chaupar.

Day 9: Jojawa

Depart early this morning for the 6-hour drive to Rawla Jojawar.  Situated at the foothills of the Aravalli Range, Rawla Jojawar, which was originally a fort, has been converted to a heritage hotel with sprawling lawns and courtyards.

In the late afternoon take a Jeep Safari; undertaken in a classic vintage vehicle, it covers varying landscapes, with the picturesque Aravalli Hills in the east, and broken rocky hills interspersed with farms and scrub forests all around. It also takes you to the homesteads of the Rabaris, an ethnic camel herding group, and into farms and through villages where time seems to have stood still.

Day 10: Udaipur

Take a Train Safari this morning. A popular excursion, this daily train service takes you from the station at the start of the hill section to the highest station in the Aravallis – the Kambli Ghat station. The one hour ride, through beautiful forests and hills, enables you to interact with the locals, who’ll readily share their seats and make conversation with you. On the drive back from the station take a break for tea and cucumber sandwiches at a tiny Forest Rest House.

Afterwards depart Jojawar for the approximately 4-hour drive to Udaipur. Though the entire state of Rajasthan is replete with fantastic hilltop fortresses, exotic fairy tale palaces and gripping legends of medieval chivalry and heroism, no city is quite as romantic as Udaipur. ‘The City of Lakes’, as it is called, has three huge lakes within its limits and a large number of palaces and other monuments worth visiting. It is surrounded by the ancient Aravalli Mountains where wildlife still abounds.

Day 11: Udaipur

This morning you will be taken for a guided city tour of Udaipur city – including the City Palace, Jagdish Temple and Sahelion-ki-bari.

The huge City Palace, towering over the lake, is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. It is a blend of stern Rajput military architecture on the exterior and lavish Mughal-inspired decorative art on the interior. Begun by Maharana Udai Singh, the city’s founder, it is made up of at least four separate interconnecting palaces built over a period of nearly three centuries by successive maharanas. The main part of the palace is now preserved as a museum which houses interesting artefacts from the days of the royalty.

Situated close to the City Palace is Jagdish temple; built in Indo-Aryan style, it enshrines a black stone image of Lord Vishnu as Jagannath, the creator of the universe.

Sahelion-Ki-Bari are beautiful gardens laid out in the mid-18th century for a retinue of forty-eight young ladies-in-waiting who were sent to Udaipur as part of a princess’s dowry. The gardens have beautiful lawns, lotus pools, marble pavilions and marble elephant-shaped fountains.

Day 12: Udaipur

Today is a more relaxed day with a number of activities to choose from: a cooking class; a walk in the countryside; or a miniature painting class.

The cooking class takes place in the informal setting of a family home. Firstly you’ll accompany your hosts to the local market place where fresh vegetables and supplies will be purchased, before returning to the family home to prepare lunch. Follow the instructions of your host carefully, as it is your own lunch you are preparing!

The Morwaniya to Badi Trek: A short drive out of the city brings you to the village of Morwaniya, from where the walk begins. Firstly, head towards the village of Varda, where you will meet with a few villagers, visit their homes and observe their lifestyle. Continue on via another village called Bhramano ka Varda, hiking for approximately an hour and a half through a blend of rugged terrain and hills and agricultural fields to arrive at your destination, Badi Lake. Located in the village of Badi, it was constructed by Maharana Raj Singh I (1652-1680) to counteract the devastating effects of a famine. The lake covers an area of 155 sq kms and has a large embankment, which is graced by three lovely chhatris (pavilions). During the drought of 1973, this lake supplied water to the people of Udaipur. From Badi return to Udaipur in time for lunch.

Take a miniature painting class at Painting House Art School, beautifully located just 5 kilometres from Udaipur in the village of Sisarma, on the banks of Lake Pichola. Classes are given by professional miniature painters and take place in the open air. The school teaches all types of paintings (portraits, love scenes, marriage processions, village scenes, tiger hunting scenes, court scenes, flowers and birds) on different types of surfaces such as silk, marble, hand-made paper and cotton, using natural stone colours and real gold and silver. Learn the basics of miniature painting before attempting one yourself – remember the artists here have trained and honed their skills over many years, so don’t expect to match them with your effort!

The afternoon is free to relax at the hotel, shop or explore the old part of Udaipur.

Day 13: Mumbai

Transfer to the airport for a flight to Mumbai. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel.

Mumbai (previously known as Bombay) is the commercial hub of India and a vibrant, colourful and bustling metropolis. It is also an important centre of theatre, art, music, and dance. Although steeped in tradition and with a rich historical past, Mumbai is a city where traditional and modern business practices flourish simultaneously.

Day 14: Mumbai

Begin your tour of Mumbai this morning with a visit to the famous dhobi ghat (washermen colony). Continue on to explore some of the landmarks of the Raj era – visiting the elegant buildings of the Bombay High Court and Victoria Terminus. Afterwards visit the Prince of Wales Museum; a Mumbai landmark, this is one of the best museums in India. You can also visit the house where Gandhi spent much of his time when in Mumbai, which is now a museum, or wander some of the city’s amazing markets, such as Crawford Market and Zaveri (Jewellery) or Chor (Thieves) Bazaars.

It’s nice to end the day with a stroll along the spectacular Marine Drive, perhaps winding up at Chowpatty Beach at sunset, an ideal place to sample some of Mumbai’s famous snacks such as Bhel Puri. [Image: lotuspatch].

Day 15: Depart Mumbai

This morning you will be collected from you hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight home.

2020 Dates & PricesTwin ShareSolo Traveller
Departs New Delhi daily: $5,000.00$6,155.00

Inclusions 
Meals: 14 breakfasts
Transport:Airport transfers & private air-conditioned vehicle, Elephant ride, jeep rides, boat rides
Flights: Flight Ticket: Delhi - Varanasi - Khajuraho / Udaipur - Mumbai
Rail: Taj Express Ticket: Jhansi - Agra
Accommodation:14 nights accommodation
Guide:Local English Speaking Guide
Entrance Fees & Touring: Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary

* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.

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Fabled Hill Stations & the Golden Temple

Revealing stories at every turn, India’s fabled hill stations will leave you spellbound. Step back in time in stunning Shimla, once the summer retreat of the British Raj. Savour delicate infusions in the tea capital of Northern India, let the artists of Andretta ignite your creativity, and discover a special kind of tranquillity in the home to the Dalai Lama. Wind through the mountains on the Himalayan Queen train, one of the finest engineering feats in India, and witness the theatrical flag lowering ceremony on the Wagah border. This is India at its most extraordinary.

Planning your holiday is easy, and speak to your friendly Consultant.

Day 1: Arrive Delhi

Namaste and welcome to Delhi, India’s capital and northern gateway. Enjoy a warm A&K welcome and private transfer to your stylish hotel, an oasis of calm just moments from the vibrant restaurants, shops and bars of Gurugram (Gurgaon). Once a sleepy suburb of New Delhi, Gurugram is now among the fastest growing cities in India and home to over 250 of the Fortune 500 companies. Drop your bags, relax and soak in the views over the azure reflection pool or explore your surroundings spread over nine acres.

Hotel: The Oberoi, Gurgaon

Day 2: Delhi – Chandigarh – Shimla

Return to the airport and fly to Chandigarh, designed by the Swiss-French modernist architect, Le Corbusier and independent India’s first planned city, known as “The City Beautiful”. Embark on a tour of the unusual Rock Garden, a spectacle of sustainable design. Marvel at man-made waterfalls and sculptures made entirely from discarded scrap material. After lunch, stop at the Open Hand Monument, designed by Le Corbusier and built to commemorate peace and prosperity. Continue by road to the striking Himalayan hill station of Shimla. Once the British Raj’s summer capital, Shimla offers an immersive look at India’s past, beginning with your luxury heritage hotel.

Hotel: The Oberoi Wildflower Hotel, 3 nights

Day 3: Shimla

Unveil the many remnants of British colonial life today. Start at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, also known as the Viceregal Lodge, formerly used by the Viceroy during the summer months until independence. Roam the immense Scottish structure and its beautiful botanical gardens, and glimpse photographs from the last years of the Raj. Continue exploring Shimla on foot, taking in the colonial architecture, museums, churches and the Jhako Temple. Spend your afternoon at leisure, revelling in the history of your luxurious hotel or continuing your exploration of the city.

Day 4: Shimla

Today, you step aboard the famous Himalayan Queen train. Journey deep into the Himalayan foothills through tunnels and over bridges along the century-old metre gauge line, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the finest feats of engineering in India. Your journey ends at Kandaghat station, after which you will return to Shimla. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure, relax in your hotel pool and spa, or enjoy an optional activity (additional charge). Choose from a short trek through the local rhododendron and cedar forests or take the cultural trail to Rudyard Kipling’s house and the Army Heritage Museum.

Day 5: Shimla – Palampur

Say goodbye to Shimla as you travel to Palampur, known as the tea capital of Northern India, enjoying a boxed lunch provided by your hotel as you travel. Settle into your beautiful lodge in the Wah Tea Estate, established in 1857 and now the largest working tea estate in the Kangra Valley. Take a guided tour, watching the Wah tea ladies pluck only two leaves and a bud before trying your hand at this intricate skill. Visit the factory and appreciate the processes of withering, rolling, fermenting, drying and sorting. Stroll through the organic farm, which supplies the lodge with fresh produce. Before heading to the gardens surrounded by tea bushes for an aromatic tea tasting.

Hotel: The Lodge at Wah, 2 nights

Day 6: Palampur

Stimulate your creativity at Andretta, a tranquil village and artists’ colony. Step inside the mudbrick home of Irish writer and dramatist Norah Richards, who established the village in the 1920s. See the colourful paintings of Sobha Singh at the small family-run gallery and try your hand at throwing a pot in Andretta Pottery. Later, ride the narrow gauge Kangra railway for a glimpse of local village life against the backdrop of the Himalaya. Continue to Baijnath and marvel at the quietly famous Shiva temple, a beautiful example of early medieval architecture built in the 13th century. Finally, admire the brightly coloured intricate paintings that adorn the walls of Tashi Jong Monastery, the homely residence of Tibetan refugees before returning to your accommodation.

Day 7: Palampur – Dharamshala

Begin your journey to Dharamshala, on the edge of the Himalayas, with a stop at a traditional nomadic settlement of the Gaddi tribe. Discover the Norbulingka Institute, dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan culture. Watch the Tibetan artisans and their apprentices as they practice the ancient Buddhist art forms of statue-making, thangka painting and appliqué, as well as woodcarving, tailoring and weaving. Step inside the temple to see some of the finest thangka frescoes. Continue to your hotel in McLeod Ganj, home to the Dalai Lama and the centre of Little Tibet, with beautiful views of the snow-capped Dhauladhar mountain range and the pristine Dharamshala valley.

Hotel: Fortune Park Moksha, 2 nights

Day 8: Dharamshala

Explore the Dalai Lama’s monastery, Tsuglag Khang, the largest Tibetan temple outside Tibet home to around 200 monks. Be mesmerised by the prayer wheels, colourful décor, and the Tibetan-style architecture. Continue to the small Gyuto monastery, the recent home of the Karmapa, the Tibetan spiritual leader. Return to the hotel and drink in the spectacular views or choose to unwind at the hotel’s Wellness Centre. This evening, join locals on a Kora Walk around the Dalai Lama temple and meet a Lama, if you wish.

Day 9: Dharamshala – Amritsar

Today you journey to Amritsar, home of the magnificent Golden Temple, the most important pilgrimage site of Sikhism. Known by locals as Harmandir Sahib, the Golden Temple is surrounded by the holy waters of the Amrit Sarovar and devotees travel from across the world to bathe and pay their respects to the holy Sikh scripture within. Spend your afternoon at leisure before an evening visit to the Golden Temple for the auspicious Palki Sahib night ceremony. Witness the Guru Granth Sahib (Holy Book) being carried from the main shrine to the inner sanctum amid the chanting of hymns.

Hotel: Taj Swarna, 2 nights

Day 10: Amritsar

Rise early to visit the shimmering Golden Temple as morning prayers begin. Step inside the communal kitchen to see the Sikh community come together to prepare simple meals for the 35,000 pilgrims who visit the temple daily. Wind through the narrow lanes of the Hall Bazaar and pay your respects at Jallianwala Bagh, the memorial commemorating the 1919 massacre. Spend the rest of your afternoon at leisure or take a culinary tour into local neighbourhoods to sample the flavours of Punjabi cuisine (additional charge). This evening, drive to the Wagah border between India and Pakistan to witness the changing of the guard. Join hundreds of people to witness the theatrical pageant as the flags are lowered on both sides of the border. The ceremony has been taking place since 1959.

Day 11: Depart Amritsar

Your journey to India’s fabled hill stations comes to an end with a private transfer to the airport for your onward journey.

2020 Dates & PricesTwin ShareSolo Traveller
Departs daily from New Delhi:From $5,165.00Price on Application
Inclusions 
Meals: 10 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
Transport:Airport Transfers & private air-conditioned vehicle
Flights:Air Ticket: Delhi - Chandigarh
Rail:Kangra Railway
Accommodation: 10 nights accommodation
Guide:Local English Speaking Guides
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary

* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.

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Yoga & Meditation in India

India, the birthplace of yoga and meditation – what better place to immerse yourself in the inner life. Experience the holy cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh, beside the Ganges, where rishis (seers, prophets) have gathered and taught for centuries in the foothills of the Himalayas. Relax, contemplate, reflect and travel inwards.

Planning your holiday is easy, and speak to your friendly Consultant.

Day 1: Delhi

Arrive to a traditional welcome in New Delhi and transfer to your hotel. New Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines the ancient with the modern. Along with the fast spiralling skyscrapers, the city is dotted with many historical monuments that stand as silent reminders of the region’s ancient legacy.

Day 2: Delhi

Sightseeing of India’s capital, visiting Qutb Minar, the tallest stone tower in India and  Humayun’s tomb, built by the widow of the second Mughal Emperor. Visit India Gate, one of India’s largest war memorials situated in the heart of the city. In the evening attend the sound and light show at the Red Fort.

Day 3: Haridwar

Take a train to Haridwar where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Afternoon sightseeing tour of the holy cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh, famous for centuries as places of pilgrimage. Visit the many Ashrams and Yoga and meditation centres. Stay at your choice of ashram or hotel in Haridwar.

Day 4: Haridwar

Haridwar (meaning ‘Gateway to God’) is located on the banks of the Ganges, where the holy river descends from the Himalayas to the plains. The city hosts many religious festivals including, every 12 years, the Kumbh Mela.  Millions will attend this event in March and April 2010.  Begin 4 days of meditation and yoga classes and lectures.

Day 5: Haridwar

Continue your meditation and yoga classes. It is the Ganges which gives Haridwar its status as a holy city of pilgrimage.  The river is considered sacred by Hindus, who believe that bathing in its waters absolves one from all sins, and that to be cremated on its banks and have one’s ashes immersed in its waters ensures the soul’s salvation.

Day 6: Haridwar

Continue your meditation and yoga classes. Haridwar is a city of numerous ashrams, pilgrims’ guest houses, temples, bathing ghats and tanks. The holiest of the ghats is Har-ki-Pairi (The Footstep of God), where every evening hundreds of orange-clad sadhus (holy men), pilgrims and tourists gather to attend aarti (prayer) and donate money to the priests and shrines.

Day 7: Haridwar

Last day of your meditation and yoga classes here.  You may like to spend your final evening strolling along the riverside bazaar.  Or you may like to experience the ancient rituals of this holy Hindu city by attending aarti, at which offerings of marigolds, lit with devotional candles and mounted on banana leaves, are set adrift on the Ganges.

Day 8: Shivpuri

Depart Haridwar and check into a nature camp in the ancient town of Shivpuri. Take time to relax and acclimatise to the surroundings. Later, enjoy a nature walk inside the reserve forest, home to many species of antelope and deer as well as sloth bear, leopard and a variety of bird life.

Day 9: Shivpuri

Shivpuri is a sacred town surrounded by dense forest and the township is influenced by its royal history – it was the summer capital of the rulers of Gwalior. Early morning Yoga class.  Having experienced the Ganges in its sacred aspects in Haridwar, now experience its power by river-rafting on some of its most popular and exciting rapids.  Evening meditation.

Day 10: Shivpuri

Day of meditation, trekking and a wildlife safari. Shivpuri is famous for its wildlife, its biodiversity and the Madhav National Park. Experience the forested hills and flat grasslands around the lake and reflect on the history of this region, which was once the hunting grounds of Mughal emperors.

Day 11: Delhi

In the early morning, have your final yoga class.  The day is free for options including activities, quiet time or relaxation.  In the evening board the overnight train to Delhi.

Day 12: Delhi

Depart Delhi for your onward journey / flight home.

2020 Dates & PricesTwin ShareSolo Traveller
Departs daily from New Delhi:Price on ApplicationPrice on Application
Inclusions 
Meals: 11 breakfasts
Transport:Airport Transfers & private air-conditioned vehicle
Rail:Rail Ticket: Delhi - Haridwar / Shivpuri - Delhi
Accommodation: 11 nights accommodation
Guide:Local English Speaking Guides
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary

* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.

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India’s Golden Triangle with Varanasi

Embark on a spiritual interlude with India. Candle-lit rituals on the River Ganges, palaces, forts and tombs, a riot of colour and vibrancy around every corner – your exploration of India’s Golden Triangle and centuries-old heritage takes you through the sandstone and marble halls of the Amber Fort, the pyramidal Palace of Winds and the exquisite Taj Mahal.

Planning your holiday is easy, and speak to your friendly Consultant.

Day 1: Arrive Delhi

Embrace the vibrant energy of Delhi, the capital of India. On arrival, you’ll be transferred to your hotel where this evening you’ll join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception with drinks and appetisers.

Hotel: Sheraton New Delhi, 2 nights

Day 2: Delhi

We ‘Dive Into Culture’ this morning, embarking on an exhilarating rickshaw ride around Old Delhi. We’ll view the UNESCO-listed Red Fort – its towering red sandstone palace walls considered to be the most opulent of the Mughal Empire, followed by a visit to Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. Our next stop at Chandni Chowk to see first-hand how its merchants spend their day trading enthusiastically. We continue along the ceremonial avenue Rajpath and past Parliament House and India Gate, commemorating the Indian soldiers who died during WWI. After lunch in a local restaurant, we’ll head to the district of New Delhi, where we’ll visit the UNESCO-listed Humayun’s Tomb to admire its magnificent Persian-style façades of white marble and red sandstone. Then it’s on to another UNESCO-listed site, Qutub Minar, the world’s tallest brick minaret. Our evening is at leisure.

Day 3: Delhi – Varanasi

Embark on a pilgrimage to the sacred city of Varanasi, located on the banks of the holy river Ganges. Immerse yourself in its spiritual surrounds, exploring the city’s role as the centre of Hindu religion, before escaping to the countryside and ‘Make A Difference’ with a visit to Rameshwar village. ‘Dive Into Culture’ and witness first-hand how all local activities are aimed at sustainable livelihood and community empowerment whilst ensuring the economic growth of the under-privileged. Observe local women making papad and pickles, doing embroidery or making saris which they sell to the local markets. Visit the village school and the Shanti Dham Ashram, a catholic prayer centre for the Christian society living in Varanasi. Feed your soul as you cruise down the River Ganges to witness the ritual of Aarti, watching as the delicate diya laden with a candle and tiny blooms floats in a magical train down the river. Return to our hotel for dinner.

Hotel: Radisson, 2 nights

Day 4: Varanasi Sightseeing

Admire the pink light of sunrise appear over the River Ganges, watching the sights and sounds of Varanasi stir slowly along the banks of the river. Observe the locals taking their morning bath in the holy water while worshipping the rising sun. Then, return to your hotel for breakfast followed by a visit to Sarnath, one of the four holy Buddhist sites sanctioned by the Buddha himself for pilgrimage. Explore the spectacular collection of Buddhist artefacts dating back to the 3 BC and see the Lion Capital of Ashoka with its inverted lotus carving, adopted as the national emblem of India. Return to your hotel for an afternoon and evening at leisure.

Day 5: Varanasi – Agra

Take a short flight to Agra to delve into the imperial history of the Mughal Empire and India’s Golden Age. Visit the UNESCO-listed Agra Fort this afternoon, gaining insight into the heritage, rituals and traditions of the dynasty that ruled here until the 17th century. As you drive through the city’s crowded streets, connect with its vibrant spirit and witness local life first-hand. Enjoy dinner at your hotel and consider joining an Optional Experience.

Hotel: Double Tree by Hilton

Day 6: Agra – Jaipur

Rise with the birds, embarking on a spiritual encounter with the magnificent UNESCO-listed Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Watch as the white alabaster marble of this monument of love glows pink and gold at the first hints of sunrise, admiring the flawless architecture that took 18 years and over 20,000 craftsmen to complete. Return to your hotel for breakfast, then depart for Jaipur, the Pink City and gateway to the colourful state of Rajasthan. This evening, we ‘Connect With Locals’, joining a local family for a ‘Be My Guest’ dinner in their home.

Hotel: Hilton, 2 nights

Day 7: Jaipur

Our first stop this morning sees us explore Jaipur’s UNESCO-listed Amber Fort, one of the country’s most exquisite examples of Rajput architecture. Marvel at its royal halls decorated with intricate ivory, mirror and glass work, before returning to your hotel. En route, we’ll enjoy a quick photo stop outside the Palace of Winds, whose latticed windows once revealed the outside world to the sheltered ladies of the royal household. This afternoon, we embark on a city tour including a visit to the ornate City Palace to see the seamless blend of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal Art. Across the road from the palace is the UNESCO-listed Jantar Mantar, featuring the largest sundial in the world. Later this evening, we’ll join our fellow guests and Travel Director for a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 8: Depart Jaipur

Our spiritual encounter with India’s Golden Triangle at its end, we take a transfer to Jaipur airport for our onward flight or travel to Delhi by coach, departing at 10:00 and arriving to Delhi at approximately 16:30. The coach will drop off at Delhi International Airport and the Trafalgar post-night airport hotel; the Pride Plaza.

2020 Dates & PricesTwin ShareSolo Traveller
January: 04$3,795.00$4,995.00
January: 25$3,995.00$5,195.00
February: 08, 22$3,995.00$5,195.00
March: 07, 21$3,995.00$5,195.00
April: 11, 25$3,825.00$4,655.00
May: 09, 30$3,825.00$4,655.00
August: 22$3,825.00$4,655.00
September: 19$3,825.00$4,655.00
October: 03, 17, 31$4,350.00$5,640.00
November: 14, 28$4,350.00$5,640.00
December: 22$4,395.00$5,685.00
December: 29$4,425.00$5,715.00
Inclusions 
Meals: 7 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners
Transport:Airport Transfers & Luxury air-conditioned coach
Flights:Air Ticket: Delhi - Varanasi - Agra
Accommodation: 7 nights accommodation
Guide:An expert Travel Director and separate Driver
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary

* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.

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Discover Southern India & Kerala

This affordable holiday in India begins on the Bay of Bengal in eastern India’s ancient city of Chennai. Guided sightseeing includes Fort St. George, built in 1644, and Dakshinachitra heritage centre where fascinating history and sights bring Indian art and architecture to life. Continue to the historic port city of Mahabalipuram, take a Life of Pitour in Puducherry, and explore the temple and palace of Tanjore.

Planning your holiday is easy, and speak to your friendly Consultant.

Day 1: Arrive Chennai, India

Welcome to Chennai, India’s fourth largest metropolis. Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.

Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott, 2 nights

Day 2: Chennai

Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city. Visit Fort St. George, built in 1644, and stroll through Mylapore, the cultural hotspot of Chennai. Your evening is free to explore at leisure.

Day 3: Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Puducherry

Start your day with a visit to Dakshinachitra, a unique heritage centre for the living traditions of Indian arts, crafts, and architecture. Later, journey to Mahabalipuram, once the main port of the Pallava Kingdom and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arrive in Puducherry early this evening.

Hotel: Accord Hotel, 2 nights

Day 4: Puducherry

A full day of sightseeing awaits you today. First, visit Auroville, the city of dawn. This experimental township was established as a universal place where men and women of all countries could live in peace and harmony above all nationalities, politics, and religious beliefs. Then, enjoy a Life Of Pi Tour and Heritage Walk of the French Quarter. Visit the SRI Aurobindo Ashram, one of the highlights of Puducherry, visited by thousands of people from all over the world.

Day 5: Puducherry – Tanjore

Travel through the rich and varied countryside to Tanjore in Tamil Nadu. Once there, visit the famous Brihadeshwara Temple and Tanjore Palace. This evening, enjoy a cooking demonstration and dinner.

Hotel: Paradise Resort

Day 6: Tanjore – Chettinad – Madurai

Continue exploring Southern India on the way to Madurai via Chettinad. Visit Chettinad Village Market where you can opt to try a traditional meal served on a banana leaf. Later, arrive in Madurai, one of southern India’s oldest towns.

Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott, 2 nights

Day 7: Madurai

In the morning, enjoy a tour of the local Flower Market, followed by a visit to the Thirumalai Nayak Palace, built in 1636. Then, reflect on Mahatma Gandhi and his influence on India’s history at the Gandhi Memorial Museum. This evening, enjoy a glimpse of Madurai’s devout religious culture during a visit to the atmospheric Meenakshi Temple at prayer time.

Hotel: Elephant Court

Day 8: Madurai – Thekkady

Admire the changing sights as you journey to Kumarakom. Along the way, stop for a visit to a Spice Plantation. Later, enjoy a Kalaripayattu Performance, one of the oldest martial arts forms in the world that developed in Kerala.

Day 9: Thekkady – Kerala Backwaters Cruise

Board your Houseboat for an overnight cruise on the backwaters of Kerala. As you drift along, enjoy authentic local food, watch the villagers go about their daily chores, and marvel at the beauty of southern India’s backwaters. Tonight, remain on board for a unique stay on Lake Vembanad.

Note: Due to space restrictions, please plan to pack a small overnight bag for the houseboat stay.

Hotel: Premium houseboat

Day 10: Kerala Backwaters Cruise – Cochin

Say goodbye to your houseboat and travel to Cochin, an important spice trading port since the 14th century and now a cosmopolitan business centre. Along the way, enjoy lunch at a local village.

Hotel: Radisson Blu, 2 nights

Day 11: Cochin

Your tour of Cochin starts with the Chinese Fishing Nets-the livelihood of many local fishermen-and a Heritage Walk in Fort Cochin. This afternoon, enjoy free time to explore, shop, or visit an art cafe. In the evening, celebrate the success of your tour at a spectacular show of Kathakali Dance, a form of storytelling distinguished by the elaborately colourful costumes and face masks worn by the dancers.

Day 12: Cochin

Your tour ends with breakfast this morning.

2020 Dates & PricesTwin ShareSolo Traveller
January: 13$2,079.00Price on Application
February: 10, 24$2,079.00Price on Application
March: 09, 23$2,079.00Price on Application
April: 06$2,079.00Price on Application
October: 12$2,089.00Price on Application
November: 02, 16$2,089.00Price on Application

Inclusions 
Meals: 11 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 02 dinners
Transport:Deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach
Accommodation: 11 nights accommodation
Guide:Professional Tour Director
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary

* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.

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