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Duration: 20 days Visiting: India
Multihued cities, palaces, temples and forts give way to the lush Kerala coast on this escorted journey. Drifting through the peaceful tropical backwaters of Vaikom village on your deluxe houseboat contrasts with time spent in the megacity of Mumbai. Throughout your vacation, enjoy the exemplary service, opulent hotels and unrivalled care provided by Luxury Gold.
Delhi, a Rich Melting Pot of Old and New.
Your complimentary, private transfer takes you to your local departure airport. Welcome to Delhi, a city with the perfect blend of history and colourful modern life. 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 at the critically acclaimed The Spice Route restaurant.
In the morning you’ll be taken to Old Delhi, driving past the Red Fort, the main residence of the Mughal dynasty until 1856. View this magnificent building from outside before heading on a guided tour of Jama Masjad, one of the largest mosques in India. Experience Delhi Your Way. Meet a well-known chef for a local foodie walk in Old Deli, where you’ll witness the creation of Delhi’s famous street food snacks. Alternatively, visit Qutub Minar, a UNESCO world Heritage Site, with lunch. Explore the winding streets of lively Chandni Chowk in local fashion via an exhilarating rickshaw ride. In the afternoon visit a Sikh temple and visit its community kitchen, a place preparing and serving free vegetarian meals to those in need. Later, drive past the impressive President Palace, India gate and Parliament House, before ending the day with a tour of Humayun’s Tomb with your Travelling Concierge.
Agra and the views of the Taj Mahal.
In the morning, you’ll begin your journey to Agra where you will visit the impressive fort. The main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty, this historical fort is made up of a number of impressive buildings, including the Shish Mahal or “glass palace” and the The Muthamman Burj. Later, you’ll be checked into your hotel, the beautiful Mughal, with its elegantly landscaped gardens and contemporary décor. Stay in your hotel and enjoy its invigorating facilities or head on a Mughal heritage walk, where you’ll get to meet locals and learn more about their life and the history of the area.
Sunrise at the Taj and Jaipur, the Pink City.
At sunrise, visit the illustrious phenomenon that is the Taj Mahal, a monument of love and flawless architectural creation, built by an emperor in memory of his beloved queen. After breakfast, you’ll begin your journey to Jaipur, more affectionately known as the “Pink City”, after the whole city was painted pink in 1876 for a visit from Queen Victoria. Along the way, lunch will be served at the lavish Laxmi Niwas Palace in Bharatpur. You’ll continue your journey to Jaipur where you will stay at the grand Hotel Fairmont. Dinner will be served at the hotel.
Ascend by jeep to Amber Fort, with its royal halls decorated with intricate ivory, mirrors, glass and exquisite paintings. Today you’ll experience India’s spiritual majesty, with a special blessing ceremony at Amber Fort. In the afternoon take a city tour of Jaipur and see the Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of Winds, and visit the City Palace Museum and royal observatory. Later, you’re in for a treat with a VIP experience of Indian inspired high tea at City Palace, exclusive to Luxury Gold guests. Go behind the scenes and walk in the private rooms of the Maharajas of Jaipur before sitting down and indulging on some warm tea and traditional Indian snacks and sweets. In the evening choose to relax at your hotel or head to a Jaipur flower and spice market.
Journey to the city of Bikaner to have lunch before exploring the city. See the Junagarh Fort, a huge complex of ornate buildings and halls.
The Sun City, Jaisalmer.
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 to the rippling sand dunes. Savour a dinner accompanied by the gentle melodies of a local musician and worthy company, as you watch the sunset together.
The Blue City of Jodhpur.
Follow the ancient silk routes to the Blue City of Jodhpur, appropriately named after the blue walls of its buildings. Head to your luxury hotel, the WelcomHotel Jodphur, set against the vast Thar Desert, where you can unwind by the pool or in its wellness centre before your evening activities begin. Visit Jodhpur market and enjoy a tuk-tuk ride through its bright and dynamic streets before sitting down to dinner back at your hotel.
Explore Mehrangarh Fort.
In the morning head to a local village by jeep before meeting its residents and enjoying lunch there. Later, visit Jodphur city and take in the mighty Mehrangargh Fort. Set on a cliff 30 metres above the city skyline and white marble Jaswant Thada, it holds one of the most well-stocked museums in Rajasthan. Delve into its history before an evening at leisure. Ask your Travelling Concierge for recommendations on where to dine.
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, where you’ll get to don your own chef’s hat and try to recreate these classic local dishes yourself. Continue through the undulating countryside to Udaipur, the beautiful City of Lakes, where you’ll stay at the esteemed Leela Palace. This five-star accommodation is situated on Lake Pichola and welcomes its guests with traditional music and a shower of rose petals.
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. Perhaps, 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 Highlight 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 which offers panoramic backwater view or city view.
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.
Kumarakom and the Alleppey Backwaters.
Journey to Alleppey jetty for a full day cruising the tranquil backwaters. Enjoy lunch on-board as you drift past picturesque villages, lush green paddy fields and a coconut plantation. Disembark at Kumarakom Lake Resort and check in to your luxury hotel for an evening at 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 Kerala 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?
Today is yours to Explore Kumarakom Your Way. Choose between harmonising your mind and body in a yoga class or for those wanting to unwind, indulge in a rejuvenating massage. In the evening, indulge in a delicious seafood dinner.
Journey to Kochi for your flight to the vibrant city of Mumbai. Transfer to your hotel for time at leisure. Perhaps relax and enjoy the comforts of your deluxe hotel. Originally a collection of seven islands, the modern city of Mumbai came into being during the mid-eighteenth century by reclaiming land from the sea. As well as being the financial capital of India, Mumbai is also home to Bollywood, one of the largest centres of film production in the world.
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 luxurious journey comes to an end with transfers to Mumbai airport for your onward flights. On arrival at your home airport, your driver will greet and escort you to your waiting car for your private transfer home.
Delhi (Historic) - India
A prestigious award winning luxury hotel located in the heart of Delhi with magnificient Heritage. The Imperial Hotel is simply stunning with its colonial elegance, luxuriously decorated rooms and award winning dining.
Agra (Traditional) - India
Located close to the Taj Mahal and boasting beautiful gardens and opulent decor, the Mughal hotel perfectly recreats the splendour and majesty of the Mughal Dynasty.
Japur (Traditional) - India
Experience the perfect blend of traditional decor and modern amenities at the luxurious Fairmont Jaipur.
Bikaner (Historic) - 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
Perched on 26 acres of lush land, this luxury waterfront hotel is a dreamy getaway on Bolgatty Island, Kochi, overlooking the backwaters of Vembanad Lake. It offers an outdoor pool, plush spa facilities, luxurious rooms and modern décor, all topped off with its restaurant options, including Thai Soul, inspired by the vibrant streets of Bangkok.
Kumarakom (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.
Mumbai (Traditional) - India
Situated in Mumbai, India’s financial captial, the elegant Oberoi hotel offers magnificent views of the ocean and 'Queen’s Necklace' lights along the shoreline. With its striking modern architecture, fitness facilities and exquisite restaurants, it presents an idyllic getaway in the centre of a vibrant, must-visit city.