A Luxury Grand Tour of India

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From$8,700
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2020
21 Nights / 22 Days
Amritsar
Cochin

From the Golden Temple Amritsar to grand palaces of Rajasthan to the lush backwaters of Kerala, this 21-nights adventure is India at its very best. In a country this size, landscapes and cultures change in the blink of an eye and you’ll get to explore this rich tapestry, accompanied the whole way by your very own expert guide.

Your journey begins in the southern state of Kerala, whose palm-fringed beaches and tranquil waterways have earned it the moniker, God’s Own Country. You’ll spend a day cruising along the backwaters on a houseboat, navigating your way through the emerald labyrinth past water lilies, rice paddies and coconut groves. Southern India is known for its wonderfully fresh cuisine and you’ll learn how to get the delicate blend of spices just right in a hands-on cooking class at a local farm.

The next stop is the colonial town of Fort Cochin. Having been ruled by the Portuguese, Dutch and British it has a distinctly European feel to it with elegant churches and colourful cottages. It is also known for its iconic Chinese fishing nets that line the waterfront; visit in the evening and admire these intricate contraptions silhouetted against the pink and orange sky. A short flight will then bring you to the heaving metropolis that is Mumbai.

The City of Dreams is the epitome of modern India and privately guided tours let you really get under its skin. Join the early rising Mumbaikers with a sunrise tour that lets you witness the city waking up, then see the dabbawalas in action as they deliver thousands of tiffin lunch boxes across Mumbai. Varanasi is India’s spiritual capital and here you’ll enjoy morning and evening boat rides along the sacred River Ganges before heading to Delhi for the next part of your adventure.

Explore Old and New Delhi and enjoy the buzz of life in the capital while visiting some of its most iconic sites. From here you’ll venture on to Agra, visiting the Taj Mahal at both sunset and sunrise when it is at its most atmospheric, the marble domes glowing golden and rose in the soft light. The colourful city of Jaipur is a great place to soak up the atmosphere of one of Rajasthan’s most vibrant hubs and you’ll discover its unique character with private tours of the City Palace and bustling bazaars as well as the magnificent Amber Fort nearby.

Day 01 Arrive Amritsar
Flight to Delhi – Amritsar.
Overnight in Amritsar.

Amritsar is a city in the northwestern Indian state of Punjab, 28 kilometers from the border with Pakistan. At the center of its walled old town, the gilded Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) is the holiest gurdwara (religious complex) of the Sikh religion. It’s at the end of a causeway, surrounded by the sacred Amrit Sarovar tank (lake), where pilgrims bathe.

Day 02 Amritsar
After breakfast, full day city tour of Amritsar.
Evening Palki ceremony at the Golden Temple.

Day 03 Amritsar
Visit the Golden Temple, volunteer kitchens and Jallianwala Bagh.
Afternoon: Wagah border ‘Changing of the Guard’ ceremony.

Day 04 Amritsar – Ambala (By Train) / Ambala – Shimla (By Toy Train)
Early morning train to Ambala (4 hrs), by road to Kandaghat and ‘Toy Train’ to Shimla (6 hrs).
Overnight in Shimla.

Shimla is the capital of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, in the Himalayan foothills. Once the summer capital of British India, it remains the terminus of the narrow-gauge Kalka-Shimla Railway, completed in 1903. It’s also known for the handicraft shops that line The Mall, a pedestrian avenue, as well as the Lakkar Bazaar, a market specializing in wooden toys and crafts.

Day 05 Shimla
Visit the Vice Regal Lodge, museum and the Mall.
Afternoon at leisure.
Overnight in Shimla.

Day 06 Shimla – Chandigarh (By Road) / Chandigarh – Delhi (By Train)
Travel to Chandigarh (3 hrs) and fly to Delhi.
On arrival, transfer to the hotel.
Overnight in Delhi.

Delhi, India’s capital territory, is a massive metropolitan area in the country’s north. In Old Delhi, a neighborhood dating to the 1600s, stands the imposing Mughal-era Red Fort, a symbol of India, and the sprawling Jama Masjid mosque, whose courtyard accommodates 25,000 people. Nearby is Chandni Chowk, a vibrant bazaar filled with food carts, sweets shops and spice stalls.

Day 07 Delhi
Tour including India Gate, Jama Mosque, Raj Ghat, the Gandhi museum, Qutub Minar and drive past the Red Fort, parliament and Viceroy’s House.
Overnight in Delhi.

Day 08 Delhi – Jaipur (By Road)
Visit the Transport Museum then continue to Jaipur (5 hrs).
On arrival, transfer to the hotel.
Overnight in Jaipur.

Jaipur is the capital of India’s Rajasthan state. It evokes the royal family that once ruled the region and that, in 1727, founded what is now called the Old City, or “Pink City” for its trademark building color. At the center of its stately street grid (notable in India) stands the opulent, colonnaded City Palace complex. With gardens, courtyards and museums, part of it is still a royal residence.

Day 09 Jaipur
Visit the Observatory, City Palace and view the ‘Palace of the Winds’.
Evening cultural dance show with live folk music and dinner.
Overnight in Jaipur.

Day 10 Jaipur – Ranthambore (By Road)
Optional morning balloon ride in the area of Amber Fort or Jaipur.
Visit Amber Fort.
Drive to Ranthambore.
Overnight in Ranthambore.

Ranthambore National Park is a vast wildlife reserve near the town of Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan, northern India. It is a former royal hunting ground and home to tigers, leopards and marsh crocodiles. Its landmarks include the imposing 10th-century Ranthambore Fort, on a hilltop, and the Ganesh Mandir temple. Also in the park, Padam Talao Lake is known for its abundance of water lilies.

Day 11 Ranthambore
Morning and afternoon game viewing drives by jeep.
Tiger Talk by a naturalist.
Overnight in Ranthambore.

Day 12 Ranthambore – Fatehpur Sikri – Agra (By Road)
Drive to Agra (6 hrs) visiting Fatehpur Sikri en route.
On arrival, transfer to the hotel.
Overnight in Agra.

Fatehpur Sikri is a small city in northern India, just west of Agra, founded by a 16th-century Mughal emperor. Red sandstone buildings cluster at its center. Buland Darwaza gate is the entrance to Jama Masjid mosque. Nearby is the marble Tomb of Salim Chishti. Diwan-E-Khas hall has a carved central pillar. Jodha Bais Palace is a mix of Hindu and Mughal styles, next to the 5-story Panch Mahal that overlooks the site.

Day 13 Agra
Early visit to the Taj Mahal.
Visit Agra Fort, then the ‘Baby Taj’ and Mughal garden with views across the river to the Taj Mahal.
Overnight in Agra.

Agra is a city on the banks of the Yamuna river in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is 206 kilometres south of the national capital New Delhi. Agra is the fourth-most populous city in Uttar Pradesh and 24th in India.

Day 14 Agra – Lucknow (By Road)
Travel to Lucknow (7 hrs). Visit La Martiniere college.
Overnight in Lucknow.

Lucknow, a large city in northern India, is the capital of the state of Uttar Pradesh. Toward its center is Rumi Darwaza, a Mughal gateway. Nearby, the 18th-century Bara Imambara shrine has a huge arched hall. Upstairs, Bhool Bhulaiya is a maze of narrow tunnels with city views from its upper balconies. Close by, the grand Victorian Husainabad Clock Tower was built as a victory column in 1881.

Day 15 Lucknow – Varanasi (By Road)
Visit Bada Imambada and The Residency.
Continue to Varanasi (6 hrs).
On arrival transfer to the hotel.
Overnight in Varanasi.

Day 16 Varanasi
Early morning boat on the Ganges, overlooking the Ghats.
Visit Sarnath, where Lord Buddha preached.
Evening Aarti ceremony by the Ganges.
Overnight in Varanasi.

Varanasi is a city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh dating to the 11th century B.C. Regarded as the spiritual capital of India, the city draws Hindu pilgrims who bathe in the Ganges River’s sacred waters and perform funeral rites. Along the city’s winding streets are some 2,000 temples, including Kashi Vishwanath, the “Golden Temple,” dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.

Day 17 Varanasi – Mumbai (By Flight)
Fly to Mumbai.
City tour including Marine Drive, the Gateway of India, Victoria Terminus and the Prince of Wales Museum.
View the laundries of Dhobi Ghat.
Overnight in Mumbai.

Mumbai (formerly called Bombay) is a densely populated city on India’s west coast. A financial center, it’s India’s largest city. On the Mumbai Harbour waterfront stands the iconic Gateway of India stone arch, built by the British Raj in 1924. Offshore, nearby Elephanta Island holds ancient cave temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The city’s also famous as the heart of the Bollywood film industry.

Day 18 Mumbai – Cochin (By Flight)
Morning walk along the Kala Ghoda area and view the Dabbawalla lunch carriers.
Fly to Cochin.
On arrival,transfer to the hotel.
Overnight in Cochin.

Kochi (also known as Cochin) is a city in southwest India’s coastal Kerala state. It has been a port since 1341, when a flood carved out its harbor and opened it to Arab, Chinese and European merchants. Sites reflecting those influences include Fort Kochi, a settlement with tiled colonial bungalows and diverse houses of worship. Cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, typical of Kochi, have been in use for centuries.

Day 19 Cochin – Kumarakom (By Road)
Visit the backwaters fishing village of Kumbalanghi.
Kathakali classical dance performance.
Cooking demonstration and dinner at a family home.

Day 20 Cochin – Houseboat
Walking tour of Fort Cochin, the Synagogue and Mattancherry Palace.
Board a Keralan houseboat for an overnight backwaters cruise.
Canoe on the smaller canals.

Kumarakom is a village on Vembanad Lake in the backwaters of Kerala, southern India. It’s laced with canals, where houseboats ply the waters. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is home to many species including cuckoos and Siberian storks. Nearby, the Bay Island Driftwood Museum displays wooden sculptures. In the lake, Pathiramanal Island is a haven for rare migratory birds. Ancient Thazhathangady Mosque is east of Kumarakom.

Day 21 Kumarakom
Disembark and transfer to Lake Vembanad.
Free time and overnight in Kumarakom.

Day 22 Depart Cochin
Transfer to Cochin airport for flight back home.

Place Night (s) 5* Hotels
Amritsar 03 Taj Swarna
Shimla 02 Oberoi Cecil
Delhi 02 Leela Ambience
Jaipur 02 ITC Rajputana
Ranthambore 02 The Tigress Spa & Resort
Agra 02 ITC Mughal
Lucknow 01 Taj Mahal Lucknow
Varanasi 02 Brijrama Palace
Mumbai 01 Trident Hotel
Cochin 02 Le Meridien
Alleppey 01 Luxury Houseboat
Kumarakom 01 Kumarakom Lake Resort

– Welcome with fresh flower garlands.
– Meet assist at the airport and hotels.
– 21 nights hotel accommodation.
– Daily breakfast at the hotels.
– Amritsar – Ambala express train.
– 02 wildlife safari in Ranthambore National Park.
– Kalka – Shimla Toy Train.
– All transfers, sightseeing, excursions by private AC vehicle as per the program.
– Varanasi – Mumbai – Cochin flight in economy class.
– Local English speaking guides during city tour, sightseeing and excursions.
– Entrance fees to the monuments as per the program.
– Turban & Saree tying lesson Jaipur.
– Masala Chai Demonstration in Delhi.
– Indian Cuisine live demonstration in Agra with lunch.
– Cultural dance show in Jaipur with dinner.
– 01 Yoga class during the tour.
– 01 dinner of Indian thali during the tour.
– All taxes.

– Tips
– International Air Fare
– Visa Fees
– Travel Insurance
– Personal expenses and drinks.

– Accommodation in good hotels.
– Check-in / out time is 12 noon at most of the hotels.
– Extension to other places is also possible with a minimal extra cost.
– Additional nights are available at each place with minimal supplement.
– A visa is required and must be obtained prior to your departure from your Country.
– If quoted hotel is not available, we will provide one of a similar category and standard.
– Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, road conditions, flight schedules and room availability.
– In case the government changes presently applicable taxes, increase in airlines prices, fuel surcharge our rates will need to be adjusted accordingly.
– In Asia, there is no relevance between the distance and time of travelling, as it depends upon the condition of the roads and congestion of the traffic.
– While every effort will be made to maintain the itinerary, in view of local strikes etc that are beyond our control all schedule and itineraries are subject to last moment changes.
– Clients must be fully insured, as the company cannot accept liability for loss or damage to client’s property, medical emergencies or any other loss suffered by them whilst on tour.
– In Case of issuing Domestic or International air tickets, SGV is not responsible for any refund if the flight is delayed or cancelled, as it is the responsibility of airline.

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