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Namaste! Welcome to New Delhi, the capital city of India and the start of your eye-opening exclusive adventure! Our friendly team will be waiting in the arrivals hall to transfer you to your hotel where you can relax for the rest of the day.
This morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of Old Delhi taking in the impressive Red Fort - dating back to India’s Mughal period; Jama Masjid mosque - the final architectural extravagance of Emperor Shah Jahan and the colourful, if crowded, Chandni Chowk bazaar. This afternoon, enjoy a tour of New Delhi. Offering a real contrast to the congestion of Old Delhi, open and relatively streamlined New Delhi was built as the imperial capital of India by the British. Highlights include the majestic India Gate, Rajpath and bustling Connaught Place. A visit is also made to Qutab Minar, a massive tower built to proclaim the arrival of Islam in India in the 11th century.
This morning we drive 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. The state of Rajasthan emerged after Partition from a mosaic of 22 feudal kingdoms, known in the British era as Rajputana, ‘Land of Kings’. We enjoy a tour of the City Palace and Jantar Mantar - an old yet cleverly designed space observatory.
This morning why not opt to Balloon over the city, have a read of the Enhance Your Holiday page for info. After breakfast we travel beyond Jaipur to the stunning 16th century Amber Fort - a sprawling Rajput concoction which hugs the hill on which it was built and overlooks the hot plains below. We enjoy a stately elephant ride to the fort proper and tour the fort’s well-preserved interior and grounds. After we stop at a cotton weaving house to see a demonstration of fabric dyeing and block printing before returning to Jaipur, evening at leisure.
Departing Jaipur we stop in the village of Abhaneri to see Chand Baori, which is the largest and deepest step well in the world. This incredible well has a staggering 3500 steps and is 13 stories deep. Next, we discover local life, traditions and visit the village school (if open) where we operate our ‘Change for Children’ programme. After hotel check in at Bharatpur and time to freshen up we visit Keoladeo Ghana National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we’ll enjoy a leisurely bicycle rickshaw ride through the park.
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 before touring the legendary Taj Mahal and witnessing a glorious golden sunset. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, who tragically died in childbirth in 1631, the Taj Mahal in Agra is described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love and remains one of India’s most enduring symbols.
Today, we travel by express train to Jhansi and 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.
Travelling 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. We’ve plenty of time to see the temples today on a guided tour, including the various acts from the famous Kama Sutra depicted on these monolithic temples for ourselves!
This afternoon we bid farewell to Khajuraho and fly east to Varanasi. Perhaps the holiest city in India; Varanasi, also known as Benares or the city of Shiva, is also one of the oldest cities on earth. Sitting on the banks of the holy River Ganges, it has been a centre of learning and civilisation for more than 2000 years and is a place of Hindu pilgrimage.
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. At sunset consider re-visiting the ghats for the evening pilgramage, remarkably different from the dawn ritual.
Today, take the opportunity to further explore this vibrant city. We later head to the airport and fly to the tropical south Indian city of Kochi (Via Mumbai) Arriving into Kochi, meet with our local team who will transfer you to your hotel.
Formerly a princely state, Kochi is also fondly referred to as “The Queen of the Arabian Sea”. This morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of the town including the beautiful Parsi Synagogue built in 1568, the Dutch Palace built by the Portuguese in 1555 and St Francis’ Church. A walking tour of Fort Cochin takes you through streets still graced with traces of Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial architecture. This afternoon a drive east 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.
This morning we visit a Tea Plantation to see how tea is grown, hand-picked and processed and taste some of it. The afternoon is at your leisure to explore or relax as you wish.
This morning board a simply furnished private rice-boat for a journey through the backwaters in and around Alleppey. Crewed by a poler to push the rice boat through the water, a distance of some 20 kms will be covered, during which 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, you’ll be driven the short distance back to Kochi. Spend the afternoon at leisure in Kochi. This evening we will take you to see a traditional Kathakali Dance performance, the perfect way to conclude your journey of a life time through India!
Sadly your journey has come to an end, we will transfer you to the airport in time for your flight home.
A flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture and a firm favourite on tourist itineraries as the third corner of India’s ‘Golden ...