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Welcome to India and the start of your holiday! You will be met at Delhi airport and driven to your hotel for immediate check in after a short time to freshen up This morning, our Welcome Meeting takes place. We’ll then have a guided journey through the New Delhi area the highlights will include India gate a drive past parliamentary buildings and President's house, a guided visit to Humayun's tomb then concluding with sightseeing to UNESCO World Heritage Site Qutub minar.
This morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of Old Delhi, taking in the impressive Red Fort and Jama Masjid - India’s oldest and largest mosque.
Early morning transfer to Delhi railway station, express train to Amritsar (Shatabadi Express - 0720 / 1300 AC Chair Car) Arrival and hotel check in. This afternoon we’ll enjoy a visit to the famous Golden Temple and brief tour of the city. In the evening drive to the final frontier, Wagah to watch the sunset changing of the guards and ceremonial lowering of the flags.
Bright and early this morning we board the Asr Cdg Duronto express train for Chandigarh (05.20 AM - 09:45 AM AC CHAIR CAR). From here, you will be driven to Shimla. Arriving into Shimla our friendly local rep will transfer you to your hotel. Enjoy an afternoon guided sightseeing tour of the lofty settlement, venturing into the narrow streets, which fall steeply away from the ridge giving way to colourful bazaars and fine views of the surrounding valley and snow-capped peaks.
Today is at leisure for you to explore.
Morning transfer to Shimla station for the Toy Train ride to Kalka. Arrival in Kalka and change platforms on your own to embark the express train to Delhi. (Kalka Shatabdi 1730/2150 AC Chair Car) Arrival and we will get to your hotel as fast as we can for a good nights sleep.
Taking to the sky we will fly this morning to Jodhpur (AI475 11:00AM - 12:00 PM). Arrival and meet your driver who will take you through the Rajasthani Thar desert, to arrive at the medieval caravan outpost of Jaisalmer, one of the jewels in India’s crown. Exquisite wood and sandstone buildings dot the town and within Jaisalmer Fort are homes, hotels and shops hidden in ancient lane ways.
Today enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the city including the sandstone fort which is an imposing sight, towering magnificently over the city. Later this afternoon we will take you on an exciting camel safari on the Sam sand dunes. The evening is free and at your leisure to enjoy the city on your own.
An interesting drive through increasingly varied scenery takes us to Jodhpur, a town at the edge of the mighty Thar Desert. Dominated by Meherangarh Fort which sits majestically atop a hill, Jodhpur is known as the Blue City. This is because of the coloured houses in the old town, painted indigo. We’ll enjoy some touring in this colourful Rajasthani city, taking in the mighty fort and bazaars of the old city which are gathered around the city’s tall clock tower.
Enjoy the day at leisure, to explore this fascinating city - perhaps catch a taxi and explore the lovely little town of Rohet Garh.
Leaving Jodhpur, we drive to explore Kumbalgarh Fort and then Ranakpur, a small town tucked away in a remote valley and famed for its beautiful 14th century Jain temples. We’ll enjoy some exploration here without a guide but the driver can show you where to visit interesting things. After we drive to Udaipur - the evening is yours to relax.
This morning enjoy a tour of the imposing City Palace and this afternoon enjoy time to explore and perhaps shop for colourful Rajasthani souvenirs and Indian spices. Enjoy a late afternoon visit to the Monsoon Palace formerly known as the Sajjan Garh Palace, a hilltop historical palatial residence built in 1884 basically to watch the monsoon clouds. From here the scenery is simply stunning, overlooking Udaipur.
Free day to explore at your leisure. You can explore the city or perhaps go walking in the surrounding Aravalli mountains, which is very safe and a guide can be organised by our local team if you like.
Today we will continue the journey to Jaipur - As it is a long drive to go straight through, we highly recommend an overnight stay en route in the wonderful village of Shahpura. Here you can explore the village from the comfort of your fantastic heritage hotel. (Recommend to depart EARLY AM - 4 hours drive to have the afternoon to explore)
After a morning to further enjoy a slice of rural India we will drive you (4 hours) to Jaipur. Affectionately known as the Pink City as Maharaja Ram Singh had all of the Old City painted a welcoming pink in 1876 to herald a visit by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), it is also the bustling capital of the state of Rajasthan. Arrival, and the evening is at your leisure.
This morning you will have to look out for the snake charmers that dot our route, as we travel to the 16th century Amber Fort. An exotic elephant ride transports us to the lofty fort, where we’ll enjoy a tour of this Rajput extravaganza.
Free morning to explore Jaipur at your leisure. This afternoon enjoy a journey of discovery through the historic pink city of Jaipur. We start with a photo stop in front of Jal Mahal; then the ancient astronomical observatory of Jantar Mantar and a guided tour of the imposing city palace complex and its fascinating inner sanctum.
En route to Agra, we visit Fatehpur Sikri, former imperial capital of the great Mughal emperor Akbar. Built between 1569 and 1585, it has been deserted for more than four centuries, by all accounts abandoned in 1600 due to a meagre supply of water. In Agra, we visit the impressive Agra Fort and we conclude the day with a guided tour of the magnificent Taj Mahal, with some free time to watch the romantic sunset.
Morning we travel by express train to Jhansi (12001 - Shatabadi Express - 0815 / 1030 AC Chair Car) Arrival and then drive onward to Orchha. Situated on the banks of the River Betwa, Orchha is set amongst a wonderful complex of well-preserved 16th century temples and palaces. Enjoy an afternoon guided tour of all the fascinating nooks and crannies of this historic town.
We would recommend to rise early and further explore the town before driving south-east, we arrive in Khajuraho - home of the resplendent Hindu temples which were built during the Chandela dynasty over a 100 year burst of creative genius from 950-1050 AD. This afternoon enjoy a guided tour of the site and free time to explore and witness the sunset over the temples.
This morning we will drive 4 hours to Bandhavagrh National Park. Arriving here you will check in then head out on the first of your game drives in a shared 4x4 to see the amazing wildlife.
Bandhavgarh is set amidst the Vindhyan ranges. Claiming to have the highest density population of Bengal tiger in India, coupled with a population of leopard, nilgai, jackal, wild boar, sloth bear, gaur, sambar deer and colourful bird life, game drives are often peppered with sightings. For today and tomorrow enjoy game drives in shared 4x4 jeeps in the morning and afternoon with time to relax in between.
This morning, as no game drives are permitted on Wednesdays, we journey to Kanha via a fossil park. Kanha is one of India’s largest parks, covering 1945 sq. km of forest and lightly wooded grassland. This is the land that Kipling wrote so vividly about in his literary classic ‘Jungle Book’. Arrival and check into your hotel for some relaxation time.
Kanha National Park has a tremendous variety of wildlife - including the Bengal tiger, leopard, sambar, chital, blackbuck, gaur, swamp deer and jackal. For today and tomorrow enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in the national park.
After your final morning game drive we will transfer you to Jabalpur for the overnight train to Varanasi. (Mahanagari Exp - 16:30 PM - 04:30+1 AM)
Your train arrives into Varanasi in the morning to the start of a new day and the gathering hustle and bustle. Our rep will be waiting for you, but make sure you take a moment to try some chai, hot tea from one of the vendors, before transferring to your hotel. This afternoon enjoy a tour of Sarnath which is where Buddha himself travelled to first after attaining enlightenment, Sarnath is the very place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon to the five holy men; preaching the middle way to final 'Nirvana’ also known as the teaching of Dharma.
This morning, we enjoy a sunrise boat ride on the holy Ganges where we’ll view the ancient religious tradition of ritual cleansing that takes place on the many riverbank ghats (riverside steps). Later, we embark on a tour of the city taking in the key places of interest. Afternoon at leisure to perhaps head back to the river side ghats to see the evening ritual worship.
Today you will take to the sky and fly on the Air India direct flight to Mumbai (AI 696 - 1115 / 1315) - Upon arrival, you will be met by our local rep and transferred to your hotel.
This morning after breakfast we take the cruise to visit Elephanta caves - Mumbai's premier tourist attraction. The rock-cut temples on peaceful Elephanta Island are thought to have been carved between 450 and 750 AD. The main cave contains large sculpted panels, including an astonishing 18-foot depiction of Shiva. Enjoy an afternoon sightseeing tour one of the most highly populated cities in the world, accommodating approximately 18 million people! Highlights include the Prince of Wales Museum, Gateway of India and Marine drive.
Morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Mysore (Via Bangalore - Schedule not yet available) Arriving here, our local team will assist with your hotel check in. This afternoon is at your leisure to explore.
Enjoy a half day guided tour of the town highlights including the Maharaja's Palace, we continue to Somnathpur, visiting the only complete temple of the Hoysala empire in the region, the small but exquisite Keseva Temple, dating from the 11th century. The afternoon at your leisure.
Today we drive west to Nagarhole National Park, once the Maharaja’s reserve forest turned National Park in 1955. The park name, Nagarhole, is derived from the Kannada word, 'naga' meaning snake and 'hole' meaning stream. True to its name, Nagarhole is criss-crossed with serpentine streams. Covering gentle hills bordering Kerala, the area includes swampland, streams and tributaries, moist deciduous forest, stands of bamboo and valuable teak and rosewood trees. Enjoy the first afternoon game drive today to explore the park in jeeps.
This morning and afternoon spot Asian elephant, four horned antelope, flying squirrels and on occasion leopard and tiger on your morning and afternoon jeep game drives.
This morning we drive through interesting scenery to Coonoor. Upon arrival to Coonoor, transfer to your hotel and enjoy an afternoon at leisure.
We visit the beautiful tea and coffee plantations of Ooty and the Rose Gardens. The tea gardens are surrounded by lush green hills covered in pine and eucalyptus forests and spread like a green carpet over hundreds of kilometres. Possibly the highlight of the day is a wonderful joy ride on the charming Toy Train from Ooty to Coonoor. Negotiating the Blue Mountain Railway line, the blue and cream steam livery chugs from Mettupalayam to Otty via Coonoor, negotiating 16 tunnels, 31 major bridges and climbing to 2193 metres.
This morning we drive you to Coimbatore station where you board the train to Kochi (12677 Ernakulum Express - 1310 / 1620) Arriving here our local guide will meet you and take you to your hotel.
This morning enjoy a sightseeing tour, including a walking tour of Fort Cochin. With the afternoon at leisure, perhaps watch famous Keralan dancers perform - arrive early so you don’t miss the artists applying their awesome make-up.
A short drive into the hills to Periyar, South India’s most popular wildlife sanctuary and home to bison, antelopes, sambar, wild boar, birds and even the odd tiger! Kumli, close to the sanctuary and where you’ll stay, is a pretty little town dotted with small spice and handicraft shops. There is plenty to do in and around Periyar, so we leave the choice to you today.
Enjoy an included boat ride on Lake Periyar to spot herds of wild elephants or visit the lush nearby tea estates.
A drive to Kumarakom. Perched sleepily on the eastern banks of the mighty Lake Vembanad in the heartland of Kerala’s famed backwaters, Kumarakom has changed little since the Middle Ages but for it’s string of exotic resorts, making it the perfect point to explore the backwaters. Although right in the thick of a tangle of lush tropical waterways, Kumarakom is technically an island on Lake Vembanad.
This is an ideal place to chill-out for a day or so. There is also a wonderful bird sanctuary, winter home to many migratory birds which is worth a visit and easy to get to in your free time today.
This morning board a simply furnished private rice boat for a journey through the backwaters. Crewed by a poler to push the rice boat through the water. During this time the boat will glide past colourful local villages. As for dining, the on board cook will prepare meals using fresh local produce.
Disembarking at Alleppey today we drive to Mararikulam for your relaxing beach stay.
For your remaining days in India with us really relax. Stroll for miles along white palm fringed sandy beaches, try sampling the local seafood and sipping cocktails on your sunlounger the perfect remedy to unwind.
Today you bid farewell to Incredible India. Late check out is guaranteed from your room. Tonight at around 10 pm, we will transfer you to Kochi airport in time for your flight home.
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