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Duration: 15 days Visiting: India
Cultural riches, historic gems, and breathtaking natural wonders beyond your wildest dreams are all captured on this itinerary. From the desert forts of Rajasthan to the ancient cave temples of Mumbai, travel in complete comfort, stay in five-star hotels and enjoy the best cuisine India has to offer. During your travels you will visit the beautiful Taj Mahal at dawn, interact with local farmers and fishermen on the island village of Vaikom and savour the tropical beauty of the Kerala backwaters as you cruise by traditional houseboat.
Delhi, a Rich Melting Pot.
Your complimentary, private transfer takes you to your local departure airport. Welcome to India! On arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport, you are greeted with a traditional floral garland and transferred to your modern five-star hotel. Join your Travelling Concierge at 18:30 for a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.
Start the day with a cycle rickshaw ride through Old Delhi, including the bustling lanes of Chandni Chowk market. Stop for a photo at the impressive Red Fort, then visit the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Raj Ghat. Explore India's largest mosque, the magnificent Jama Masjid, built by Shah Jahan in 1650. Wander the wide boulevards of New Delhi and drive along the ceremonial Rajpath, past the imposing India Gate and Parliament House. Visit Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visit the Tomb of Emperor Humayun, one of the best-preserved Mughal monuments in Delhi.
An Agra Adventure.
On arrival to Agra, witness the hustle and bustle of everyday life as you are guided through the city to Agra Fort, a powerful fortress of red sandstone. Walk through the local market, explore the palatial Royal Pavilions and Gardens, before enjoying free time to relax. Later, one of the locals accompanies you on a walk through his village in the shadow of the Taj Mahal, sharing stories about his life as an agriculturalist.
The Taj Mahal and Ranthambore.
Admire the lustrous Taj Mahal, bathed in the first rays of dawn. Later journey to the historic city of Bharatpur and stop for lunch, before continuing to the station for your rail journey upon the Express Train, in air-conditioned chair class seats, to Ranthambore. On arrival, transfer to your luxurious hotel, built in the style of a traditional Rajput hunting palace, nestled in the foothills of the Aravalli Range, near the Ranthambore National Park.
In Search of Tigers in Ranthambore.
Start with an early morning journey into the former private hunting grounds of the maharajahs of Jaipur, in search of the elusive tiger. More commonly seen in the dry, deciduous forest are the wild boars, monkeys, spotted deer and antelopes, but if you are ever going to witness tigers in their natural habitat, this is the place. Return to your resort for breakfast and a day at leisure. At dusk, enjoy another foray into the national park with an expert naturalist. Besides the wildlife, there are also lake palaces, traditional Chhatri, old fortifications and a majestic 1,000-year-old fort within the park.
Jaipur, the Pink City.
In the morning, embark on another exciting adventure to explore the territory of the majestic tiger - every wildlife enthusiast and photographer's dream. After lunch, travel through the rural countryside where flat, green fields are abundant with brightly coloured flowers. Your destination is the stunning Rajasthan capital of Jaipur. Visit the famous flower market where girls delicately thread garlands to be used for offerings, then explore the spice market, a place of olfactory wonderment. See the rainbow of colours as you pass giant bags of cardamom, red chillies, cinnamon and so many more. Continue to 1135 AD restaurant for a delicious freshly-prepared Highlight Dinner.
Enjoy a unique excursion, as you ascend by jeep to the Amber Fort, a superb example of Rajput architecture, with its terraces and ramparts reflected in the Maota Lake below. Inside, the royal halls are decorated with intricate ivory, mirrors and glass, complemented by exquisite wall paintings. Return to Jaipur to see the famous Hawa Mahal, also known as The Palace of Winds, and visit the famous Jantar Mantar, the observatory, constructed between 1727 and 1734 by Maharajah Jai Singh II. In the evening you are privileged to an exclusive visit of the City Palace, now a museum housing a fabulous collection of Rajasthani and Mughal Art. Venture to Baradari Restaurant at the City Palace for your Celebration Dinner, an evening to remember.
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 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 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?
Kumarakom and the Alleppey Backwaters.
Transfer to the local jetty and prepare for a full day of cruising along the the tranquil backwaters of the Alleppey. Journey through waterways that drift past picturesque villages, fields, rice paddies and rows of swaying coconut palms. Relax and take in the tranquil setting as you enjoy lunch onboard, before returning to your hotel.
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.
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. On arrival at your home airport, your driver will greet and escort you to your waiting car for your private transfer home.
Delhi (Traditional) - India
Agra (Traditional) - India
The Trident is the perfect base to experience this city steeped in history. The hotel features tastefully appointed rooms which overlook the central courtyard and gardens and offers a superb range of facilities.
Ranthambore (Traditional) - India
The luxurious Nahargarh Ranthambhore lies nestled at the foot hills of Aravalli Range neighbouring the Ranthambore National Park. The hotel boasts luxurious rooms, modern facilities and a superb restaurant offering global cuisine.
Jaipur (Traditional) - India
Kochi (Traditional) - India
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