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17 day tour from £2695
group (no more than 16 people) or private tour
Depart the UK in the evening on a direct overnight flight to Delhi.
We arrive in the capital, Delhi, and transfer to the colonial Maidens Hotel where we stay for two nights. The remainder of the day is at leisure, with a welcome cocktail in the evening.
Today we enjoy a full days sightseeing tour of the historical city of Delhi, begging in the wide avenues of New Delhi, built by the British as the then new seat of the government.
Our tour will take Lutyen’s buildings and the India gate memorial, along with the impressive tomb of Humayan, an early Mughal structure of red sandstone and white marble.
The bustling and vibrant streets of Old Delhi are the focus of the afternoons’ activities. Visit the largest mosque in India known as the Jama Masjid and Rajghat, the resting place (Samadhi) of India’s favourite son, Mahatma Gandhi.
The days’ sightseeing ends with a rickshaw ride through the convergent bazaars of Chandni Chowk, the main trading centre of Old Delhi.
We drive to Agra where we stay for two nights in the Trident Hotel, a modern hotel with landscaped gardens. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
This morning we visit the Taj Mahal, one of the most beautiful and well-known buildings in the world. Later in the morning take in the Red Fort which is set on the banks of the Yamuna River, and the tomb of Itamud-ud-daula, a precursor to the Taj Mahal.
A full long drive takes us to Jaipur. En route we make a stop at Fatehpur Sikri, the red sandstone city was built by Emperor Akbar and abandoned after just 14 years due to a lack of water.
In Jaipur we will stay at the elegant Samode Haveli, a 19th century royal mansion with frescoed walls and ceilings.
This morning we visit the Amber Fort which sits atop a hill on the edge of Jaipur. Subject to their availability this journey is on elephants. Returning to the city we visit the City Palace with its museums and the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds, an elaborate 5 storey facade.
We also visit the Jantar Mantar Observatory, built in the 18th century to map and gain further understanding of our galaxy and solar system.
Flight from Jaipur to Udaipur, transfer to the Trident Hotel for 2 nights (or the Leela Palace or Lake Palace or Udai Vilas, suppl.)
Visit the city sights including the City Palace, Jagdish Temple and Sahelion ki bari.
Fly from Udaipur to Cochin, via Mumbai. Transfer to the Malabar House, an elegant boutique hotel, for two nights; sunset cruise to see the Chinese fishing nets.
Visit the Dutch Palace, with its murals from the Ramayana, the Jewish Synagogue in Mattancherry and St Francis’ Church; enjoy Kathakali, a traditional dance form.
Drive up the hills to the tea country of Munnar, stay at the Ambady or Windermere Estate; visit the Eravikulam Sanctuary (if open), home to the rare Nilgiri Tahr; walk in the estate; relax.
Drive to the Periyar Sanctuary; stay at the elegant Shalimar Spice Garden; enjoy a nature walk in the jungle; visit a spice garden; optional boat ride on Lake Periyar to see wild elephants.
Descend down the plantation laden Western Ghats to the backwaters; board a riceboat for the night; cruise along the Vembanad Lake to admire the bird life and village life along the banks.(If you do not wish to take the riceboat you can stay instead at Purity, a boutique resort overlooking the backwaters).
Drive to the inviting beach at Kovalam; stay at the luxury Leela Beach Resort for two nights.
Day at leisure.
Fly back from Trivandrum, via Dubai.