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Duration: 20 days Visiting: India
Multihued cities, palaces, temples and forts give way to the lush Kerala coast on this trip. Drifting through the peaceful tropical backwaters on your deluxe houseboat contrasts with time spent in the megacity of Mumbai. The one constant is the exemplary service, opulent hotels and unrivalled care provided throughout this Luxury Gold itinerary. Your experiences include learning how to express emotions with the raise of an eyebrow at a vibrant performance of traditional Kathakali dance, staying at The Leela Palace, set in a majestic location on Lake Pichola and in Kochi, cooking instructor Nimmy Paul unveils her secrets of traditional cooking techniques.
Delhi, a Rich Melting Pot of Old and New.
Your Escorted Journey begins on Day1. Please make sure your flights arrive on or before this day. (Ask about our great deals). Welcome to India! On arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport, you will be greeted with a traditional floral garland and transferred to your hotel. At 19:00, join your Travelling Concierge and fellow travellers for your Welcome Dinner.
Enjoy a ride by rickshaw through the lanes of Chandni Chowk bazaar in Old Delhi. See Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Red Fort. Visit the Gandhi memorial at Raj Ghat and the Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque. Travel along the broad Rajpath, passing the India Gate and Parliament House, to visit the Tomb of Humayun.
Agra and the views of the Taj Mahal.
Spend time exploring the famous market, Sadar Bazaar, as you make your way through the city to Agra Fort, a powerful fortress of red sandstone. After your tour through the palatial Royal Pavilions and gardens there is free time to relax. Walk through a village in the shadow of the Taj Mahal with one of the villagers to discover the way of life as agriculturists next to India's most famous monument.
Sunrise at the Taj and Jaipur, the Pink City.
At sunrise, visit the lustrous Taj Mahal, a monument of love and flawless architectural creation, built by an emperor in memory of his beloved queen. After breakfast, travel to the historic city of Bharatpur for lunch, before continuing to the Pink City of Jaipur.
Ascend by jeep to the Amber Fort, with its royal halls decorated with intricate ivory, mirrors, glass and exquisite paintings. Return to Jaipur to see the Hawa Mahal, or The Palace of Winds, and visit the City Palace Museum and royal observatory. In private elegance at Sukh Niwas, Jaipur's City Palace, enjoy a High Tea fit for royalty. Renowned for its spectacular Lalique Peacock table made to order for the Royal Family of Jaipur, this VIP experience is exclusively available to Luxury Gold guests.
Bikaner, Camel Country with a Royal Aura.
Journey northwest to the fort town of Mandawa for lunch. Afterwards, continue to the fortified desert city of Bikaner, known for its camel festival which is celebrated on a grand scale every January. Learn all about this indispensable ship of the desert at the Camel Research Farm before reaching your hotel.
The Sun City, Jaisalmer.
Your exploration of Bikaner includes the Junagarh Fort, an unassailable fortress comprising of various palaces, pavilions and a museum containing priceless art and antiques. This afternoon continue through the Great Thar Desert to the trade route town of Jaisalmer, crowned by its hilltop fortress.
Embark on a city exploration of Jaisalmer, visiting Gadisar Lake and the Fort built in 1156 that is still in use today. Pass by the local market where you can witness desert life at its best. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. No visit to Jaisalmer is complete without a trip into the rippling Kanoi Sand Dunes. Savour a dinner accompanied by the gentle melodies of a local musician.
The Blue City of Jodhpur.
Follow the ancient silk routes to the Blue City of Jodhpur and your beautiful hotel. Later, journey to Rohet and feel the very pulse of rural Rajasthan on your village jeep safari where you are welcomed into the homes of the local Bishnoi people to share a slice of their life. In the evening savour a delicious meal at a local restaurant.
Explore Mehrangarh Fort.
Visit Mehrangarh Fort set on a cliff 30 metres above the city skyline and the white marble Jaswant Thada. Experience a tuk tuk ride through the ancient winding streets before returning to your hotel, where the rest of the day is free to relax.
Udaipur, Venice of the East.
Travel to Ranakpur, the temple town of Rajasthan. Explore the elaborate carvings and classic architecture of the sprawling Jain temples, which are regarded as perhaps the best in the country. At lunch, you will learn from a local chef during your included cooking demonstration. Then, continue through the undulating countryside to Udaipur, the beautiful City of Lakes.
Explore the City Palace complex and wander through the markets and bazaars to visit the Jagdish Temple, as well as the Garden of the Maids of the Honour. Take time out to unwind and find balance at your hotel’s renowned wellness spa, which offers ancient treatments such as reflexology, Indian head massages and hot-stone massages. Cruise the serene waters of Lake Pichola, before enjoying a special Celebration Dinner at the landmark Sunset Terrace while musicians serenade you
Fly to Kochi via Mumbai.
In the morning, board your flight to Mumbai and onto Kochi. On arrival, transfer to your sophisticated hotel offering panoramic views of the backwaters and the city.
Kochi sightseeing, cooking school and Kathakali.
Sightseeing of Kochi shows you the oldest Jewish synagogue in the commonwealth. Next, witness the renowned mythological murals of Mattancherry Palace, built in 1557 by the Portuguese. Stop by India’s oldest European-built Church of St. Francis to see the tombstone of Vasco de Gama, interred here before his remains were returned back to Lisbon. Meet Nimmy a local cookery instructor as she demonstrates traditional Kerala home recipes. Then feast on some of the delicious treats during our included lunch. In the evening, you will attend a performance of traditional Kathakali dance.
Witness glorious scenery en route to Kumarakom. On arrival, the rest of the day is free to explore at your leisure.
Kumarakom and Vaikom Village.
For those who want to rise early in the morning, there is an included bird watching tour at Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. Set within lush acres of woodland, become acquainted with the vast variety of migratory birds, that flock to the Himalayas. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Guided by boat, explore the narrow canals of Vaikom village, one of the oldest townships in Kerela and with many spots untouched by modernity. Gain insight into the life at the village and try your skills at weaving from wild pineapple leaves or coconut husks, before sharing lunch at a local’s home. This afternoon, why not treat yourself to an Ayurveda treatment at the hotel?
Kumarakom and Alleppey.
Transfer to the local jetty to board your deluxe houseboat for a cruise on the backwaters of Alleppey. Journey through waterways that traverse past picturesque villages, fields, rice paddies and rows of swaying coconut palms. Relax, enjoy the tranquil setting and prepare for a luxurious night on-board.
Disembark your cruise and journey to Kochi for your flight to the vibrant city of Mumbai. Transfer to your hotel where you are at leisure, perhaps relax and enjoy the comforts of your deluxe hotel.
Enjoy the view of the city skyline on your cruise to Elephanta Island, the glorious abode of Lord Shiva. Visit the complex of ancient cave temples listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The massive entrance hall, supported by large pillars, houses the Mahesamurti, an enormous three-faced statue of Shiva. In the afternoon, your exploration of the city includes visiting the Gateway of India, commemorating the arrival of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911. Admire the collection of Indian paintings and sculptures at the Prince of Wales Museum, visit Jehangir Art Gallery, Crawford Market and see the meticulous Hanging Gardens on top of Malabar Hill. In the evening, raise a glass to your adventures, with your newfound friends during a delightful Celebration Dinner.
Your magical journey comes to an end with transfers to Mumbai airport for your onward flights.
Delhi (Traditional) - India
Set in the heart of bustling Gurgaon, the beautiful gardens, courtyards and reflection pools of the Trident fill you with a sense of calm, before retreating to your luxurious and stylish room.
Agra (Traditional) - India
Japur (Traditional) - India
Bikander (Palace) - India
Jaisalmer (Historic) - India
Situated close to the Thar Desert, the magnificent Suryagarh is testimony to the pomp and panoply of Rajputana, juxtaposed with every modern convenience.
Jodhpur (Traditional) - India
Udaipur (Palace) - India
Stay at the magnificent Leela Palace Udaipur and be treated like royalty. Listed as TripAdvisor's #1 hotel in Udaipur of 2017.
Kochi (Traditional) - India
Kumarakon (Resort) - India
Winner of the World Travel Award as India’s Leading Resort for four years, the Kumarakom Lake Resort exudes the charm of Kerala’s true heritage while offering a complete range of New Age amenities for a luxuriously comfortable stay.
Alleppey (Cruise) - India
Mumbai (Traditional) - India
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