Think of India and would get glimpse of monuments, deserts, vivid culture, the backwater, the Mughal era etc. In this tour we have planned to take you to the cities that have age old history which make them different from the other. This 22 day tour will start from Delhi, covering Varanasi, Khajuraho, Agra, Ranthambore, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Mumbai, Aurangabad, Cochin, Mahabalipuram and Chennai. As you would travel from North to the west you would experience difference in food, attire, culture and nature. Each city has its own flavor. Come let’s explore the vibrant India together.
Day 1: Arrive in Delhi
On arrival in Delhi, you will be transferred to your pre-booked hotel via chauffeur driven car. After check-in, you will get a welcome gift and tickets and vouchers for your entire trip. Enjoy an overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 2: Visit to Delhi.
After breakfast at your hotel, we will go for a sightseeing tour of Old Delhi with our guides and tour directors. Start your sightseeing tour with Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. The mosque and its surroundings are unique example of Mughal architecture; you can visit the bustling roads nearby. Later, we will walk to Red Fort, which was built by Shah Jahan in 17th century. This fort is built with red sand stones and white marbles withstand the architectural amalgamation of Persian, European and Mughal empires. It attracts millions of tourists every year. We will also visit the colorful and bustling streets of Chandni Chowk. En route Chandni Chowk we will also enjoy a rickshaw ride. Later, we will also visit Rajghat, the cremation site of Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi; enjoy the peaceful environment in lush green lawns.
After lunch, we will leave to visit some other monuments of Delhi, starting our excursion with Qutub Minar. Built in 1139 A.D. by Qutubuddin Aibak, it is the longest historical stone minaret. You can enjoy the beautiful lush green lawns in Qutub Minar complex and also visit other small tombs amidst it. This monument is also famous for its ancient iron pillar, also known as, Ashoka Pillar, which withstands rust for more than 2 centuries now. Later, we will visit nearby Humayun Tomb. Built in 1562 A.D. it is Delhi’s third UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is famous for its architecture and lawns. Later, we will go on a drive to Lutyens’ New Delhi, where we can visit India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhawan, Prime Ministers’ office which represents a unique British architecture. We will also visit nearby Sikh shrine Baba Bangla Sahib Gurudwara and other Hindu temples as well followed by an overnight stay at your hotel.
Day 3: Departure from Delhi to Varanasi.
Early morning, you will be transferred to Delhi airport to board flight to Varanasi. On arrival, you will be transferred to your pre-booked hotel for refreshments. Later, in afternoon, you will visit famous ancient temples on the banks of holy river Ganges. You can also enjoy the local markets and colorful bazaars to experience an ancient lifestyle.
After lunch, we will leave for Sunset cruise on the river Ganga. You will experience the aarti ritual which performed every evening to pray to Goddess Ganga. You can experience the gathering of thousands of people along the banks of river and enjoy view of countless lamps floating on Holy River. Later, you will return to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 4: Departure from Varanasi to Khajuraho.
Early morning, we will leave from hotel to attend the Aarti ritual on the banks of Holy River. At sunrise, it is the time for pilgrims to take their morning dips at river Ganga and offer their prayer to Goddess Ganga and the Sun god. You can also experience many priests performing various ceremonies on the banks of the river, from cremation of deceased Hindus to naming ceremony of a newborn child.
Return to your hotel for refreshments and check out to leave for the airport to board the flight to Khajuraho. On arrival in Khajuraho, you will get transferred to your hotel. In evening, we will start our excursion of various Hindu temples which are famous for its thousand year old sculptures and architecture. Also enjoy the sound and light show at the temples, which is unique in its own.
Day 5: Departure from Khajuraho to Agra.
After breakfast at your hotel, we will drive to Orcha, to explore the ruins of archaeological treasures of Orcha built by Hindu kings in 13th century. Continue your journey to Agra. On arrival in to Agra, you will check into your hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 6: Visit to Agra.
After breakfast, you will be rejuvenated by a folk music and dance performance of local artists. Later, we will go for a sightseeing tour of Agra city. We will start our exploration by visiting the tomb of Itmad-Ud-Daulah, which has a unique and beautiful architecture. This tomb was built by Mughal Emperor Jahangir’s queen as a memorial for her father. Also visit the famous TajMahal, which was built by Shah Jahan, a Mughal emperor, in remembrance of his Queen Mumtaz Mahal in 1632 A.D. Its architecture is still wondered and worshipped by many modern architects, for its uniqueness. It took 22 years and more than 20,000 craftsmen to build this fascinating white marble tomb. In evening, we will also the Agra fort, built in 1565 by Akbar, a Mughal emperor. It was the first red sandstone tomb and it is famous for its marble mosque, long lush green lawns, royal audience halls and private chambers which gives a royal experience.
Day 7: Departure from Agra to Ranthambore.
You can either sleep in or choose to enjoy an optional (no charge) excursion - a sunrise visit to Mehtab Bagh, which is a 500-year-old Mughal garden located just across the Taj Mahal. If you select this option, you will return to your hotel to freshen up after the excursion. We recommend that you consider getting a packed lunch from the hotel for your upcoming journey. The dining/rest stopover during the journey offers limited choices.
Early morning, you can either sleep or you can for an early morning boat ride in Yamuna river to experience a beautiful sunrise and then a visit to 500 year old Mughal garden, known as Mehtab Bagh. Later, you can return to your hotel for breakfast and check out to drive to Fatehpur Sikri. It is a city built in 1570 A.D., now uninhabited but once a capital of Emperor Akbar. You will also visit Bulland Darwaza and white marble tomb of Shaik Salim Chisthi. Later, we will continue our drive to Sawai Madhopur ( Ranthambore National Park). En route you can enjoy beautiful landscapes and sand dunes. You can also enjoy a camel ride and get multiple opportunities to capture pictures of scenic beauty of this rural area of Rajasthan. On arrival in Ranthambore National Park, you will check into your Jungle lodge for an overnight stay.
Day 8: Visit to Ranthambore.
After breakfast we would drive towards Ranthambore National Park covering an area of 410 square kilometers. Ranthambore National Park runs along the eastern spur of the Aravali mountain range until it meets with the Vindhya ranges. The open grasslands that are the tiger’s favorite terrain account for much of the land on the higher slopes. This varied flora supports a large number of animals including a variety of deer, the sloth bear, the shy caracal, leopards and of course, the tiger.
In morning, we will leave for a wildlife safari tour of Ranthambore National Park, a deciduous forest covering an area of 410 square km. Next stop would be Ranthambore fort, which is a massive fort situated at a height of 700 feet. This fort was built in 944 A.D., with a history of being captured by Muslims, Mughals and Rajputs multiple times. It partly lies in ruin today but once it was a fascinating fort with soothing views of lush green lawns. It still attracts thousands of Hindu pilgrims who visit the ancient temple situated in this fort.
In evening, we will return to our lodge for a small guest gathering around the campfire for evening barbeque snacks and drinks followed by dinner and an overnight stay at the lodge.
Day 9: Departure from Ranthambore to Jaipur.
Enjoy an early morning safari to Ranthambore National Park followed by breakfast at a local restaurant. Later, we will leave the hotel and drive to Jaipur. En route Jaipur, enjoy scenic landscapes and get a glimpse of various rural villages. On arrival in Jaipur, check into your hotel for lunch and refreshments. In evening, you can visit the local markets and enjoy various cultural dance and music performances.
Day 10: Visit to Jaipur.
Early morning visit to Amber Fort, which was the ancient capital of this state. Later, we will drive to Sheesh Mahal or the Hall of Victory shining with mirrors all over this fort. In after, we will take you for sightseeing tour of Jaipur, also popular as Pink city, this city was designed by Maharaja Jai Singh a noble astronomer. Later, we will visit Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, and finally the famous City Palace which was once a royal residence and now house of many museums that has a fascinating collection of ancient ornaments, costumes and armor. In evening, we will visit the local markets to experience the amalgamation of Hindu and Muslim culture and walk through the bustling and colorful bazaars. Later, return to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 11: Departure from Jaipur to Jodhpur
After breakfast, we will leave hotel and drive to Jodhpur. On arrival, check into your hotel for refreshments and lunch. Later, we will go for a sightseeing tour of Jodhpur, a city famous for its many ancient forts and palaces. We will start our excursion by visiting Mehrangarh Fort which was built in 15th century with seven huge entry gates, including the famous Iron Gate (Lohapol). This fort was built by Maharaja Man Singh and later captured in 1843 A.D. It still constitutes many fine tombs and palaces including Sukh Mahal(Pleasure Palace), Moti Mahal(Pearl Palace), Phool Mahal(Flower Palace), Palanquin Gallery, the Turban Gallery and Elephant Howdah Gallery. It also has a museum known as Daulat Khana, which has world’s largest collections of Mughal Arts. Also visit Jaswant Thada followed by an overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 12: Departure from Jodhpur to Udaipur.
Today, we will leave the hotel to drive to Udaipur. En-route, we will stop at Ranakpur to enjoy a tour of Jain temple complex built in 15th century famous for its 29 huge halls for pilgrims and its 1440 marble pillars, each one of this pillar has a unique design. One can get mesmerized by this huge temple with such a beautiful architectural design and its peaceful environment. After lunch at Ranakpur, we will continue driving to Udaipur. It is one of the most pleasant and scenic drives of north India, driving parallel to Aravali mountain range and countless paddy fields on its footsteps. On arrival in Udaipur, check into your hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 13: Visit to Udaipur.
In morning, we will leave for a sightseeing tour of this city. Starting with the famous City Palace, it is a complex of many royal rooms decorated with antique handicrafts and beautifully crafted mirrors on the wall. One can enjoy the view of beautiful peacock courtyards, inlaid marble balconies, the ivory doors and pleasant views of Lake Pichola. Later, you will go for a guided tour of Crystal Gallery, which has a antique collection of many crystals.
After lunch, you will enjoy a cruise on Lake Pichola and visit the Jag Mandir Island for its beautiful monuments and palaces. Later, return to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 14: Departure from Udaipur to Mumbai.
Early morning, you will be driven to the airport to board the flight to Mumbai. On arrival, check into your hotel for refreshments and relaxation. Later, we will go for a sightseeing tour of the city starting from Prince of Wales Museum, built in 1905 to commemorate King George V’s first visit to India. This museum has an exotic collection of art, archeological exhibits, paintings and natural history. Later, we will visit the world’s biggest laundry, Dhobhi Ghats of Mumbai and experience the culture of Dhobhis and how they work with such a vast input of clothes every day.
After lunch, we will continue our excursion with a visit to Malabar Hills to get panoramic views of the Hanging Gardens, the city and the Marine Drive. Later, we will also visit the Victoria Terminus, also known as Chattarpati Shivaji Terminus, one of the world’s busiest railway stations, followed by Town Hall and Horniman Circle. In evening, we will visit the Gateway of India and enjoy an exotic sunset view while having soothing tea and snacks. Return to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 15: Departure from Mumbai to Aurangabad.
Early morning, you will be transferred to the airport to board the flight to Aurangabad. On arrival, check into your hotel for refreshments. Later, we will go for a full day excursion of the city. We will start our journey by visiting the Ajanta caves, the paintings, sculptures and art work in the caves is been preserved since 2nd century BCE. These caves are dedicated to Lord Buddha and work of his finest craftsmen which exhibits the teachings of Buddhism. The painting and sculptures which are carved out of caves are unique and breathtaking – it demonstrates one of the finest artwork of craftsmen in that era. After a thriving tour of Ajanta caves, return back to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 16: Visit to Aurangabad.
Today, we will start our guided tour to Ellora caves, a pre historic collection of carved temples and sculptures. There are 34 caves in Ellora, each one of them is unique in its own way. Most of these caves depict the Hinduism themes of paintings, sculptures and artwork. Ellora caves are also famous for its Kailash temple, built in 8th century and is said to be oldest abode of Lord Shiva. This temple is carved out of the mountain and contains more than 200,000 tons of rock, it is said that it took 120 years and 6 generations of craftsmen to build such an exotic temple. Later, we will visit Daulatabad Fort, built in 14th century, again a fort carved out of huge hill and rock boulders. Later, return to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 17: Departure from Aurangabad to Cochin via Mumbai.
Early morning, we will drive you to the airport to board the flight to Cochin. On arrival in Cochin, you will be transferred to your pre-booked hotel via chauffeur driven car. In afternoon, you can either relax at the hotel or you can visit the local theatre for a cultural show of Kathakali dance performance. Kathakali dance is an art of storytelling by dancing and performing with vibrant makeup and costumes. Later, return to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 18: Visit to Cochin
Today, we will go for a fascinating sightseeing tour of this port city. This city has culture and architecture of various historical European invasions. This tour will include a guided tour of Jewish Synagogue, built in 1568 A.D. which is still used by local Jewish inhabitants to worship. Later, we will visit the St. Francis Church, one of the oldest churches in India built in 1503 A.D. In evening, we will go to the shores of Cochin and visit the most famous attraction of Cochin, i.e. Chinese fishing nets, said to be brought by a Chinese explorer named Zhang in 16th century. Towards the end of this tour, we will visit the Fort Kochi which is one of the best forts to be visited in South India. Later, enjoy your dinner with famous Keralan Chef and enjoy his exotic south Indian cuisines followed by an overnight stay at your hotel.
Day 19: Visit to Allepey - Backwaters cruise.
In morning, you will be driven to the backwaters of Cochin. On arrival in Allepey check into your house boat. You will enjoy the serene and peaceful environment amidst many fresh water canals, rivulets and lakes. This tour will give you an eternal experience of subtropical vegetation of Coconut trees and plantation of many spices. Later, we will go for an evening tour of few local villages to experience their culture preserved since many centuries followed by relaxing experience and an overnight stay at your house boat.
Day 20: Visit to Mahabalipuram - Backwaters cruise.
Leave your houseboat in the morning and proceed for Cochin airport. You will board the flight to Chennai. On arrival drive to Kanchipuram, an ancient city also known the Golden City of Thousand temples and it is considered as one of the holiest places in India for Hindu pilgrims. The Gopurams or temple domes are major attractions in this city. This city has served as a capital of many famous south Indian dynasties dated back to 1000 BCE. This city is also famous for its silk and exotic artwork on silk clothes. Kanchipuram sarees are one of the most expensive dresses in India. Continue the journey to Mahabalipuram. On arrival check into your ocean front hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 21: Visit to Mahabalipuram.
Today, we will go for a full day guided excursion of the city. We will visit the world famous shore temple built in 8th century, it is a monolithic temple carved out of hills and depicts an ancient handmade sculptures and inscriptions on its walls. Mahabalipuram was an important city in ancient era and the second capital of Pallava kings of Tamil dynasty. Later, we will also visit the massive bas-relief descent of the Ganges, the eight Mandapams, the famous Pancha Rathas temple followed by a visit to a local coastal village of Mahabalipuram. The local community of fishermen use their colorful boats to catch fish every morning and then in evening. You will also go for a guided tour of beaches nearby and you can enjoy the view of many fishermen coming back with their catch of the day and selling on the shores. Return to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 22: Departure from Chennai to International Airport.
Today, you will be transferred to the airport for departure to your destination city/country via Mumbai or Delhi.
* All breakfasts during the Tour.
* Dinner and cooking lesson with an affluent Delhi family
* Dinner and cooking lesson at a famous Keralan chef’s home
* Cultural Show & Dinner in Jaipur
* Both Sunrise and Sunset boat cruises on the Ganga
* Sari and Turban Tying Demonstration and Lessons
* Vintage Car Museum at Udaipur
* Personal Elephant ride (per couple) at the Palace in Jaipur
* Rickshaw Ride through Delhi’s Chandni Chowk
* Walk through the ancient Spice and Street Food Market in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk
* Kathakali Dance performance in Cochin
* Applicable monument entrance fees as per the itinerary
* All other meals as specified
* All transfers and sightseeing by personal Medium AC Car
* Availability of a Travel Facilitator at all destinations
* Facilitator for assistance on initial arrival and final departure
* All safari related costs at Ranthambore, including park entry, naturalists, vehicle fees etc.
* Bottled water during sightseeing/excursions and other drives
* All currently applicable taxes
* International and domestic air Travel
* Expenses of a personal nature like tips, laundry, telephone calls, drinks etc.
* Meals other than those specified above
* Travel insurance, visa etc.
* Camera fees – still and video