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Welcome to India and the start of your holiday! Arrive at Delhi airport where we will meet you and transfer you to the hotel. Rest of the day is free for you to relax after your long flight.
Our full day guided sightseeing tour of Delhi today covers the colourful chaos of Old Delhi and the modern simplicity of New Delhi. This vibrant city is full of forts, monuments, temples, mosques and more. During the 16th and 17th centuries, Delhi was important centre of the Mughal dynasty and the British made it the capital city in 1911. We take in Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk, the bustling bazaar, as well as the Raj Ghat and Shanti Vana – the cremation sites of Mahatama Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru. In New Delhi we visit India Gate, Rasthrapati Bhawan, Parliament House and Humayun’s Tomb.
Today, 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. We enjoy a tour of the City Palace and Jantar Mantar - an old yet cleverly designed space observatory.
Early today, 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 (subject to Government regulations & availability) to the fort and tour the well-preserved interior and grounds. Back in Jaipur, enjoy the rest of the day your way, exploring, shopping or just relaxing.
Our first stop today is the stepwell at Chand Baori, dating back to the 9th century (without guide). We head on to Bharatpur and check into the hotel. After hotel check in at Bharatpur, 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 and then we enjoy a horsecart ride to the legendary Taj Mahal, one of the most extravagant monuments for love ever built.
After breakfast we drive back to Delhi. The rest of the day is free for your to explore Delhi further, shop or just relax.
Arrive Varanasi by SG 114 from Delhi at 15:05 hours. You will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. This evening you will attend the evening Aarti Ceremony at the Holy Ganges.
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 you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight to Delhi. Expected time of departure 16:25 hours. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel.
We catch an early morning flight to Kochi today in the beautiful southern state of Kerala. 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 Dutch quickly followed and eventually, the British. The cosmopolitan mix of cultures makes the city fascinating. This evening we watch a Kathakali performance this evening. Kathakali is the fascinating traditional dance form of Kerala.
This morning we enjoy a guided tour of historic Fort Kochi. We see the elegant Chinese fishing nets and explore the winding streets of the old town, visiting St Francis’ Church, Parsi Synagogue (exterior only) and a Dutch palace. After our sightseeing in Kochi we drive east to Munnar - a picturesque hill station nestled on the verdant slopes of tea plantations. Located at a lofty height of 1600m, Munnar offers breathtaking views of the surrounding hills carpeted with tea plantations. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax or explore the area.
Morning with our local guide you will visit a Tea Garden & Tea factory thus seeing how the process works from growing to picking to processing what for most of us brits is the preffered hot drink. Afternoon at your leisure to explore, wander and enjoy the gorgeous natural surroundings.
We set off early this morning to visit the Tea Museum of Munnar. After its a scenic 4 - 5 hour drive to Alleppey. Mid afternoon, we board a simply furnished private rice-boat for a journey through the lush backwaters. Our private rice-boat takes us sedately along the enchanting palm-fringed backwaters, covering a distance of some 20 kms, during which time the boat glides past local villages and fascinating scenes of everyday rural life. Watch a beautiful sunset over the backwaters and enjoy tasty meals (starting with a late lunch) prepared by the onboard chef using fresh local produce.
We disembark the houseboat after breakfast this morning at Kumarakom. Perched sleepily amongst a tangle of lush tropical waterways known as the Keralan backwaters, Kumarakom is technically a cluster of islands on Lake Vembanad - one of Asia’s largest freshwater lakes. This is an ideal place to relax for the next two days and enjoy the beautiful scenery. There is also a wonderful bird sanctuary spread across 14 acres, which is a favoured haunt of migratory birds and certainly worthy of a visit.
Today marks the end of our memorable journey. After breakfast we travel back to Kochi and included transfer to the airport. Please note: flights from Kochi should depart after 2pm.
A flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture and a firm favourite on tourist itineraries as the third corner of India’s ‘Golden ...