Spirit of North and South India

Spirit of North & South India Summer 2020

Duration: 15 days Visiting: India

Prices from US${{lowPrice | number:0}}

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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.

  1. Day 1

    Delhi, a Rich Melting Pot.

    Your complimentary, private transfer takes you to your local departure airport. Welcome to vibrant India! A delightful melting pot of old and new, you’ll start in dynamic Delhi, with its bustling backstreets, rich history and wealth of colours. On arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport, you will be greeted with a traditional floral garland and transferred to your hotel, the elegant Taj Mahal Hotel, situated in the heart of the leafy boulevards of Lutyens. At 19:00, join your Travelling Concierge and fellow travellers for your Welcome Dinner at the renowned local restaurant, Chor Bizarre.

  2. Day 2 - Relaxed Start

    Delhi Sightseeing.

    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 Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India. Explore 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, and enjoy 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 its community kitchen, a place preparing and serving free vegetarian meals to locals, travellers and 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.

  3. Day 3

    An Agra Adventure.

    In the morning, you’ll begin your journey to Agra. The main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty, this historical fort is made up of a number of impressive buildings, including the Sheesh Mahal or “glass palace” and the The Muthamman Burj. It may not hold the same fame as the nearby Taj Mahal, but it is no less impressive. Stay in and enjoy your hotel's 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 in the shadow of the Taj Mahal.

  4. Day 4

    The Taj Mahal and Ranthambore.

    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 at your hotel, you’ll begin your journey to Bharatpur, where you will be served lunch at the lavish Laxmi Niwas Palace. Later, transfer to Bharatpur Junction train station, where you’ll board a train to Sawai Madhopur. On arrival you’ll be transferred to your hotel, Nahargarh Ranthambhore. Built in the style of a traditional Rajput hunting palace, this dreamy venue is nestled in the foothills of the Aravalli Range, near the Ranthambore National Park. Head to your imperial rooms before joining your fellow travellers for Dinner with Wine.

  5. Day 5

    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 lakes, ruins of palaces, traditional Chhatri, old fortifications and a majestic 1,000-year-old fort within the park.

  6. Day 6

    Jaipur, the Pink City.

    Travel through the rural countryside where flat, green fields are abundant with brightly coloured flowers. Your destination is the stunning Rajasthan capital of Jaipur. More affectionately known as the Pink City, this pretty destination owes its name to a visit from Queen Victoria in 1876, when all its buildings were painted pink as a sign of hospitality. Later, 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. Your Highlight Dinner will be served at the opulent 1135 A.D, with its royal interior, traditional music and breathtaking sunset views.

  7. Day 7

    Jaipur Sightseeing.

    Your morning is free to enjoy the facilities at your hotel. Perhaps book a treatment at its spa, or take a dip in its outdoor pool, brightly decorated by the red and yellow printed sunbeds that surround it. After lunch see the Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of Winds, and visit Jantar Mantar, the observatory, constructed between 1727 and 1734 by Maharajah Jai Singh II. During the tour you will visit the flower and spice market, filled with colours and smells to ignite the senses. Enjoy a locally inspired high tea in a private living room of the Maharaja, within Jaipur's City Palace. This VIP experience is exclusive to Luxury Gold Guests. In the evening, meet the ladies of Pink City Rickshaw, a company dedicated to supporting the employment of women from low income households. Listen as they recount stories of their lives from growing up in the slums to proudly developing their skills to be part of this inspiring opportunity. Delight in their enthusiasm and knowledge as they take you on a city tour of Jaipur. Experience a delightful Highlight Dinner at Suvarna Mahal Restaurant in Rambagh Palace. With its high ceilings, gilded mirrors and spectacular frescoes, the restaurant embodies rich heritage and delight in royal cuisines from the princely states of India.

  8. Day 8

    Fly to Kochi via Mumbai.

    In the morning, board your flight to Mumbai and onto Kochi. On arrival, transfer to your sophisticated hotel.

  9. Day 9

    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.

  10. Day 10 - Relaxed Start

    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.

  11. Day 11 - Relaxed Start

    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?

  12. Day 12 - Relaxed Start

    Relaxing Kumarakom.

    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.

  13. Day 13 - Relaxed Start

    Magical Mumbai.

    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.

  14. Day 14

    Mumbai Sightseeing.

    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.

  15. Day 15

    Depart Mumbai.

    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.

Highlights

 

YOUR WAY

  • Delhi: Explore Delhi Your Way with a choice to either 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 or a visit to Qutub Minar, a UNESCO world Heritage Site, with lunch.

VIP EXPERIENCES

  • Jaipur: Savour a locally inspired high tea in a private living room of the Maharaja, within the Jaipur City Palace. Explore rooms not open to other visitors and see the spectacular crystal table handcrafted by renowned artisan Rene Lalique.

JOURNEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Indian Festivals: Truly experience India by travelling during one of its famed festivals. Holi is the festival of colour, symbolising the end of winter and encourages the people to play, laugh, forgive and forget. Diwali is the festival of light celebrated by lighting oil lamps and fireworks to welcome in the Hindu New Year. Refer to dates and date chart notes to find out which departures travel during these wonderful, cultural experiences.
  • Delhi: Enjoy a rickshaw ride through the bustling streets of Old Delhi.
  • Delhi: See the Red Fort and visit Qutub Minar. Drive along the Rajpath to view the India Gate and Parliament House.
  • Delhi: Visit Raj Ghat and the Tomb of the Emperor Humayun.
  • Delhi: Led by your Travelling Concierge, explore the impressive Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque.
  • Agra: Inside Agra’s red sandstone fortress, witness the fairytale palaces, audience halls and mosques of the Mughal rulers.
  • Agra: Take a walk through the bustling local markets.
  • Agra: Visit the majestic Taj Mahal, bathed in the first rays of dawn, and learn about this romantic national icon.
  • Agra: Enjoy a ride on the express train from Bhraratpur to Ranthambore.
  • Ranthambore: Venture inside this former royal hunting ground and enjoy two game safaris with a naturalist.
  • Jaipur: Watch girls threading garlands to be used for offerings, when you visit the flower market. Marvel at the sights and smells as you explore the spice market.
  • Jaipur: During a city tour with your Travelling Concierge see the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds and visit the Jantar Mantar, the Royal observatory built in 1726.
  • Kochi: Attend a performance of traditional Kathakali dance.
  • Kochi: During your city orientation see the oldest Jewish Synagogue in the Commonwealth and the murals of Mattancherry Palace.
  • Alleppey: Cruise the backwaters of Alleppey, journeying through waterways and past traditional villages.
  • Kumarakom: Rise early for a fascinating bird watching experience at the Bird Sanctuary.
  • Vaikom Village: Guided by boat, explore the narrow canals of one of the oldest townships in Kerala and with many spots untouched by modernity.
  • Kumarakom: 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.
  • Fly to Mumbai: Relax and enjoy your flight to Mumbai.
  • Mumbai: Take a cruise to Elephanta Island and enjoy the scenery.
  • Mumbai: Explore the glorious abode of Lord Shiva and visit the complex of ancient cave temples.

EXCEPTIONAL DINING

  • Delhi: Your Travelling Concierge will accompany you to a local restaurant where you can get to know your fellow travelling companions over a tasty Welcome Dinner.
  • Jaipur: Arrive at the local restaurant, 1135 AD, where your Highlight Dinner awaits.
  • Kochi: Meet Nimmy, a local cooking instructor, who will demonstrate traditional Kerala home recipes. Then feast on some of the delicious treats you've seen being made during your Highlight Lunch.
  • Vaikom Village: Gain insight into life at the village and try your hand at weaving with wild pineapple leaves or coconut husks, before sharing lunch at a local’s home.
  • Mumbai: Showcasing the best of Indian cuisine, enjoy your mouth-watering Celebration Dinner in the nation’s largest city, the perfect environment to celebrate your time in India.
  • Dining Summary: 14 Breakfasts (B), 6 Lunches (L), 4 Dinners (D) and 3 Dinners with Wine (DW). Festive Highlight Dinner: 21 Dec departure includes a Christmas Eve Highlight Dinner in Ranthambore.

INCLUSIVE LUXURY GOLD SERVICES

  • You will be escorted by one of our fine Travelling Concierges, handpicked to serve as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas. See booking conditions for exemptions.
  • Luxury Gold is proud to offer various modes of transportation, from luxury coach to included flight to safari jeep and more, so that you always travel in comfort and experience your journey and destination in the best possible and most appropriate way.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary, available on departures with 15 or more guests.
  • At every hotel, you'll be treated to seamless baggage handling, with prompt delivery inside your room.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • Complimentary, private airport transfers are included on start and end dates, when flights are included within the itinerary and when additional accommodation has been booked through Luxury Gold. Complimentary, private train station transfers are included when train travel is included within the itinerary. Transfers to train stations or alternate hotels, in the same start or end city of the itinerary, may be requested but are not guaranteed.

Accommodation

 

Taj Mahal, New Delhi.

New Delhi (Contemporary) - India

Taj Hotel and Convention Centre, Agra.

Agra (Contemporary) - India

Nahargarh Ranthambhore.

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.

Jai Mahal Palace, Jaipur.

Jaipur (Palace) - India

Set in 18 acres of Mughal style gardens, Jai Mahal Palace showcases Rajasthan's stunning heritage. Savour authentic flavours of royal Indian cuisines at Cinnamon restaurant or unwind with a relaxing treatment at Jiva Spa.

Grand Hyatt, Bolgatty, Kochi.

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 Lake Resort.

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.

The Oberoi, Mumbai.

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.

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NB: Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking.
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All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.