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Namaste! Welcome to India and New Delhi the capital city of India. We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel with the rest of the day yours to relax after your long flight.
Today we transfer you to the airport where you board a flight to Jodhpur. Upon arriving in Jodhpur you will be transferred to your hotel where you have the day at leisure. Jodhpur is the 2nd largest city in the state of Rajasthan in Northern India. Located at the eastern edge of the Thar Desert, Jodhpur was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha. Jodhpur gave its name to the popular riding trouser that originated here.
Today morning you will enjoy a Jeep ride to Bishnoi Village. Later this afternoon you will 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.
Today you drive to Jaipur. Upon arriving in Jaipur you have the rest of the day at leisure. A flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture and a firm favourite on tourist itineraries as the third corner of India’s ‘Golden Triangle’, the vibrant capital of Rajasthan is popularly known as the ‘Pink City’. Jaipur was chosen by Maharaja Jai Singh II (1693-1743) for his capital. A skilled astronomer and visionary, he worked with superb Bengali architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya to complete design and construction of Jaipur in less than eight years.
This morning we visit the delicate pink, magnificent fort-palace of Amber - a wonderful example of Rajput architecture just north of Jaipur. Subject to Government regulations, we will arrive in style riding on an elephant!
Today you will drive to Ranthambore. Ranthambore was established as the Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary in 1955 by the Indian Government, and was declared one of the Project Tiger reserves in 1973. Ranthambore became a national park in 1980. Located in the Sawai Madhopur district of the state of Rajasthan, Ranthambhore is one of India’s most scenic parks and a prime example of Project Tiger’s conservation efforts. The park lies at the edge of a plateau, and is bounded to the north by the Banas River and to the south by the Chambal River. Later this afternoon you will go on a game drive in a shared Jeep or Canter.
Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in the national park. Ranthambore National Park is one of the prime examples of Project Tiger’s conservation efforts in Rajasthan. The forests around the Ranthambore Fort were once the private hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur.
Today you will drive to Agra and en route you will visit Fatehpur Sikri. Not far from Agra, the UNESCO World Heritage Listed site, Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory), located in what is now Uttar Pradesh was built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar and served as the political capital of India's Mughal Empire under his reign, from 1571 until 1585, when it was abandoned, ostensibly due to lack of water. The tremendously atmospheric complex of monuments and temples, all in a uniform architectural style, includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid.
Today we rise early to see the Taj Mahal in its ethereal morning light - quite a contrast to sunset on our previous visit. Later today we take the drive back to Delhi and en route visit the tomb of Akbar at Sikandra. Emperor Akbar started the construction of this tomb himself, which was later completed by his son Jahangir. This beautiful tomb is a grand affair built in the Indo-Saracenic style with a variety of exquisite carvings and designs covering it. Later this afternoon you will also visit the Agra Fort.
Today you will drive to Delhi airport from where you will board a flight to Varanasi. Upon arriving in Varanasi you will be transferred to your hotel. Later this evening you will attend an Aarti ceremony. Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh is guaranteed to make an impression. Considered the holiest of places in India, the city of Shiva has been a centre of learning and civilization for over 2000 years. Thousands of Hindu pilgrims come to bathe and rinse away their sins in the waters of the River Ganges and tour its revered temples. Varanasi is also believed to be an auspicious place to die, ensuring release from the cycle of rebirths and an instantly granted passport to heaven.
This morning enjoy a sunrise boat ride on the holy Ganges where the ancient religious tradition of ritual cleansing that takes place on the many riverbank ghats (riverside steps). Later, embark on a tour of the city and Sarnath and at sunset you may re-visit the ghats for the evening pilgramage, remarkably different from the dawn ritual.
Toady you will be transferred to the airport where you will board a flight to Khajuraho. Upon arriving in Khajuraho you will be met and transferred to your hotel where you have the rest of the day at leisure. Located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is famous for its unique temples that rate a close second behind the Taj Mahal. Khajuraho’s temples were mostly built during a major creative burst of genius from 950AD to 1050AD during the Chandela period, a dynasty that survived for five centuries before falling to the mighty Mughal onslaught. Their sheer beauty and immense size has confounded experts as to why and how they were built in Khajuraho, a small town then and still a relatively small town now. Immortalised in stone, the carved temples display exceedingly artistic aspects of Indian life a millennium ago.
For the next few days you have your own arrangements.
Today you make your own way to Kovalam.
The next two days you have at leisure in Kovalam. 16 km from Thiruvananthapuram city in the state of Kerala, the internationally renowned beach resort of Kovalam on the Arabian Sea has been a favourite haunt of tourists since 1960's. Kovalam consists of four, relatively small, stretches of sand. The seaport of Vizhinjam nearby is famous for its special varieties of fish, old Hindu temples, big churches and a mosque. The southernmost beach, known as the Lighthouse Beach, is the most popular. And, yes, the beach does possess a big lighthouse on its promontory!
Today you will drive to Alleppey and embark on a houseboat. Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey, is a tropical coastal town in a region webbed by canals and fishing areas on the southern coast of the state of Kerala. Lying on a narrow land spit between the Arabian Sea and Vembanad Lake, south of Kochi (formerly Cochin), southern coastal state of Kerala. The British opened Alleppey’s port to foreign trade in the late 18th century to end the commercial supremacy of the Dutch trading post at Porakad, a short distance away.
Today you will disembark the house boat and drive to Kochi. Upon arriving in Kochi you have the rest of the day at leisure. The city of Kochi perfectly reflects the eclecticism of the state of Kerala. Here in historical Kochi, one can see winding streets with mosques, a 16th century Jewish synagogue, 500-year old Portuguese cottages, old churches and a palace built by the Portuguese and later renovated by in the Flemish style by the Dutch. Long famed in the history books, Kochi (formerly known as Cochin) offered refuge to Jews more than 2,500 years ago. The Portuguese founded the first European colony in Kochi in the 16th century.
The touring today includes the visit to Dutch Palace built by the Portuguese for a local King in 1555 A.D. The famous Jew Street, a cul-de-sac leading to the beautiful Parsi Synagogue built in 1568. A walking tour of Fort Cochin will take you through the streets still graced with traces of Portuguese, Dutch & British colonial architecture. Later this evening you have the opportunity to see a Kathakali dance performance. .
Today you have at leisure. This evening you will enjoy a Kalaripayattu show.
Today we drive east to to Munnar - a quaint hill station nestled on the verdant slopes of tea plantations, that exudes a rare old world charm and reminds one of the days of the Raj in its elegant splendour. At a height of 1525 metres, Munnar offers breathtaking views of the surrounding hills. The rest of the day is at your leisure -you have the car to your disposal to explore.
Today you will drive to Madurai. Madurai in the state of Tamil Nadu is one of South India’s oldest cities. Tamil and Greek documents record its existence as early as the 4th century BC. A succession of power struggles and invasions ensued, with the British East India Company finally gaining power over Madurai. Today, its appealingly small size makes it easy to explore and its main attraction - the Sri Meenakshi Temple is a real draw.
Today morning you will go on a brief sightseeing tour of Madurai. Afterwards to Chettinad.
Today you have the day at leisure - the car is at your disposal to explore.
Today you will drive from Chettinad to Pondicherry. Pondicherry on the Bay of Bengal in the state of Tamil Nadu has a Gallic flavour. Relinquished by the French in 1954, the town became the headquarters of the Union Territory of Pondicherry, administering three other former French enclaves scattered across South India. There is, however, an enduring legacy of the Gallic rule. The first French governor Dupleix designed Pondicherry’s street plan, which still today consists of a central grid encircled by a broad oblong boulevard. Many streets still possess their Gallic names. Streets near the seafront are dotted with rows of houses that wouldn’t look out of place in Montpellier.
Today we enjoy a sightseeing tour of this charming coastal town. Reminders of its colonial days include its Hotel de Ville (town Hall) and local police in red caps along with, of course, its French architecture.
Today you will drive from Pondicherry to Mahbalipuram. Mahabalipuram is one of history's intriguing enigmas. The ancient Mamallapuram, as Mahabalipuram was formerly known, was a flourishing port town of the Pallava rulers of south India, who chiseled in stone a fabulous "open-air museum" of sculpture. Experts say that there were seven pagodas or temples on the shores of Mahabalipuram. All but one were pillaged by the rapacious sea, though there is little underwater evidence that suggest they ever existed.
The beauty of Mahabalipuram is not only due to these architecture but the vast casuarinas trees, the silvery sandy beach the classical hand male crafts around have made them all to form what is a collective splendor. Enjoy a tour of the city this morning.
Today we drive to Chennai where you spend the night.
Today we bid you farewell and transfer you to the airport for your onward flight home.
A flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture and a firm favourite on tourist itineraries as the third corner of India’s ‘Golden ...