Imperial Rajasthan - Insight Vacations

Grand Tour of India, Kerala & Mumbai (Luxury Gold - Summer 2017)

Duration: 20 days Visiting: India

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Multihued cities, palaces, temples and forts give way to the lush Kerala Coast on this tour. Drifting through the peaceful tropical backwaters on your deluxe houseboat contrasts with time spent in the megacity of Mumbai. The one constant is the exemplary service, opulent hotels and unrivalled care provided throughout this Luxury Gold itinerary.

• Learn how to express emotions with the raise of an eyebrow at a vibrant performance of traditional Kathakali dance.

• Stay at the Taj Lake Palace, set in a majestic location on Lake Pichola.

• In Kochi, cooking instructor Nimmy Paul unveils her secrets of traditional cooking techniques.

  1. Day 1

    Delhi, a Rich Melting Pot of Old and New

    Welcome to India! On arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport, you will be greeted with a traditional floral garland and transferred to your hotel. Join your Travelling Concierge for a Welcome Reception with a delicious meal in the evening.

  2. Day 2 - Relaxed Start

    Delhi Sightseeing

    (Relaxed Start) Enjoy a ride by rickshaw through the lanes of Chandni Chowk bazaar in Old Delhi. See the Red Fort, Qutub Minar, visit the Gandhi memorial at Raj Ghat and the Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque. Later, drive along the broad Rajpath past the India Gate and Parliament House to visit the Tomb of Humayun.

  3. Day 3

    Agra & the Taj Mahal

    On arrival in Agra, visit the lustrous Taj Mahal, a monument of love and flawless architectural creation, built by an emperor in memory of his beloved queen. Afterwards, spend time exploring the famous market - Sadar Bazaar as you make your way through the city to Agra Fort, a powerful fortress of red sandstone. After your tour through the palatial Royal Pavilions and gardens there is free time to relax. Later, walk through a village in the shadow of the Taj Mahal with one of the villagers to discover the way of life as agriculturists next to India's most famous monument. Enjoy tea and pakoras on a rooftop with exceptional views.

  4. Day 4 - Relaxed Start

    Jaipur, the 'Pink City'

    (Relaxed Start) In the morning, travel to the historic city of Bharatpur for lunch, before continuing to the ‘Pink City' of Jaipur.

  5. Day 5

    Jaipur Sightseeing

    Embark on an early morning walk through this stunning walled city. Meet with local residents to fully experience their culture, traditions and rich heritage in their homes and workshops. Ascend by jeep to the Amber Fort, with its royal halls decorated with intricate ivory, mirrors, glass and exquisite paintings. Back in Jaipur, see the 'Hawa Mahal' (The Palace of Winds) and visit the City Palace Museum and royal observatory.

  6. Day 6

    Bikaner, Camel Country with a Royal Aura

    Journey northwest to the fort town of Mandawa for lunch. Afterwards, continue to the fortified desert city of Bikaner, known for its camel festival which is celebrated on a grand scale every January. Learn all about this indispensable ship of the desert at the Camel Research and Breeding Farm before reaching your hotel.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    The Sun City, Jaisalmer

    (Relaxed Start) Your tour of Bikaner includes the Junagarh Fort, an unassailable fortress comprising of various palaces, pavilions and a museum containing priceless art and antiques. This afternoon continue through the Great Thar Desert to the trade route town of Jaisalmer, crowned by its hilltop fortress.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    Jaisalmer Sightseeing

    (Relaxed Start) Embark on a city tour of Jaisalmer, visiting Gadisar Lake and the Fort built in 1156 that is still in use today. Pass by the local market where you can witness desert life at its best. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. No visit to Jaisalmer is complete without a trip into the rippling Kanoi Sand Dunes. Savour a dinner accompanied by the gentle melodies of a local musician.

  9. Day 9 - Relaxed Start

    The 'Blue City' of Jodhpur

    (Relaxed Start) Follow the ancient silk routes to the ‘Blue City' of Jodhpur and your beautiful hotel. Later, journey to Rohet and feel the very pulse of rural Rajasthan on your ‘village safari' where you are welcomed into the homes of the local Bishnoi people to share a slice of their life.

  10. Day 10 - Relaxed Start

    Explore Mehrangarh Fort

    (Relaxed Start) Visit Mehrangarh Fort set on a cliff thirty metres above the city skyline and the white marble Jaswant Thada. Experience a tuk tuk ride through the ancient winding streets before returning to your hotel, where the rest of the day is free to relax.

  11. Day 11

    Udaipur, Venice of the East

    Drive to Ranakpur, the temple town of Rajasthan. Explore the elaborate carvings and classic architecture of the sprawling Jain temples, which are regarded as perhaps the best in the country. At lunch, learn from a local chef in our included cooking demonstration. Then, continue through the undulating countryside to Udaipur, the beautiful ‘City of Lakes'.

  12. Day 12 - Relaxed Start

    Udaipur Sightseeing

    (Relaxed Start) In the morning, sightseeing includes the City Palace complex, the private residence of the ‘King of Kings'. Wander through the markets and bazaars to visit the Jagdish Temple and Garden of the Maids of the Honour. In the evening, enjoy a boat cruise on the serene waters of Lake Pichola, followed by a special Celebration Dinner with drinks.

  13. Day 13

    Jaipur-Mumbai-Kochi

    In the morning, board your flight to Mumbai and onto Kochi. On arrival, transfer to your sophisticated hotel, offering panoramic views of the backwaters and the city.

  14. Day 14

    Kochi sightseeing, cooking school and Kathakali

    Sightseeing of Kochi shows you the oldest Jewish synagogue in the commonwealth. Next, witness the renowned mythological murals of Mattancherry Palace, built in 1557 by the Portuguese. Stop by India’s oldest European-built Church of St. Francis to see the tombstone of Vasco de Gama, interred here before his remains were returned back to Lisbon. Meet Nimmy a local cookery instructor as she demonstrates traditional Kerala home recipes. Then feast on some of the delicious treats during our included lunch. In the evening, you will attend a performance of traditional Kathakali dance.

  15. Day 15

    Kumarakom

    (Relaxed Start) Witness glorious scenery en route to Kumarakom. On arrival, the rest of the day is free to explore.

  16. Day 16

    Kumarakom and Vaikom Village

    (Relaxed Start) For those who want to rise early in the morning, there is an included bird watching tour at Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. Set within lush acres of woodland, become acquainted with the vast variety of migratory birds, that flock to the Himalayas. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Guided by boat, explore the narrow canals of Vaikom village, one of the oldest townships in Kerela and with many spots untouched by modernity. Gain insight into the life at the village and try your skills at weaving from wild pineapple leaves or coconut husks, before sharing lunch at a local’s home.

  17. Day 17

    Kumarakom and the Alleppey Backwaters

    (Relaxed Start) Transfer to the local jetty to board your delux houseboat for a cruise on the backwaters of Alleppey. Journey through waterways that traverse past picturesque villages, fields brimming with ripe paddy and rows of swaying coconut palms. Relax, enjoy the tranquil setting and prepare for a luxurious night on-board.

  18. Day 18

    Magical Mumbai

    (Relaxed Start) Journey to Kochi for your flight to the vibrant city of Mumbai. Transfer to your hotel for leisure time, perhaps relax and enjoy the comforts and facilities of your deluxe hotel.

  19. Day 19

    Mumbai Sightseeing

    Enjoy the view of the city skyline on your cruise to Elephanta Island, the glorious abode of Lord Shiva. Visit the complex of ancient cave temples listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The massive entrance hall, supported by large pillars, houses the Mahesamurti, an enormous three-faced statue of Shiva. In the afternoon, embark on a sightseeing tour visiting the Gateway of India, commemorating the arrival of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911. Admire the collection of Indian paintings and sculptures at the Prince of Wales Museum, visit Jehangir Art Gallery, Crawford Market and see the meticulous Hanging Gardens on top of Malabar Hill. In the evening, enjoy a Celebration dinner with drinks.

  20. Day 20

    Depart Mumbai

    Your magical journey comes to an end with transfers to the International Airport for your onward flights.

Highlights

 

EXCLUSIVE INSIGHTS

  • Delhi: Enjoy a rickshaw ride through the bustling streets.
  • Agra: Visit the Taj Mahal, a monument of love, built by a king in everlasting memory of his beloved queen.
  • Agra: Accompany a local, walking through their village and learn about their way of life as an agriculturalist. Enjoy tea and pakoras from a rooftop with exceptional views. Money generated from the tour is used for sanitation in the village and education for women.
  • Jaipur: Ascend by jeep to the Amber Fort and stroll through the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls.
  • Jaipur: Embark on an early morning walk and meet the locals to fully experience their culture, traditions and rich heritage.
  • Bikaner: Learn about all things dromedary at the Camel Research and Breeding Farm.
  • Bikaner: Enjoy a visit to the Junagarh Fort.
  • Jaisalmer: Visit Garhi Sagar Lake and Fort.
  • Bishnoi: Experience rural village life with a 'jeep safari'.
  • Jodhpur: Visit Mehrangarh Fort.
  • Ranakpur: Visit the fortified Jain temple complex.
  • Udaipur: Visit the City Palace complex, a testimony to the Rajput passion for art and architecture.
  • Agra: Walk through a village in the shadow of the Taj Mahal with one of the villagers to discover the way of life as agriculturists next to India's most famous monument. Enjoy tea and pakoras on a rooftop with exceptional views. Money generated from the tour is used for sanitation in the village and education for women.
  • Vaikom: Guided by boat, explore the narrow canals of Vaikom village, one of the oldest townships in Kerela and with many spots untouched by modernity.
  • Kochi: Attend a performance of traditional Kathakali dance.
  • Kumarakom: Rise early for a fascinating bird watching experience at the Bird Sanctuary.
  • Alleppey: Cruise the glorious backwaters and spend the night on a traditional houseboat.
  • Mumbai: Cruise to Elephanta Island, the glorious abode of Lord Shiva and visit the complex of ancient cave temples.

ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Delhi: Take a rickshaw ride through the Chandni Chowk Bazaar. See the Red Fort. Visit Raj Ghat. See Qutub Minar. Drive along the Rajpath. See India Gate and Parliament House. Visit the Humayun Tomb.
  • Agra: Group picture taken at the Taj Mahal.
  • Jaipur: See the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) and visit the City Palace Museum and Jantar Mantar.
  • Udaipur: Visit the Jagdish Temple and Garden of the Maids of the Honour.

EPICUREAN DINING

  • Delhi: Join your Travelling Concierge for a Welcome Reception and dinner.
  • Jaisalmer: As the sun sets over the Kanoi Sand Dunes, be entranced by the traditional musicians welcoming you to this magical evening. Under the stars, a traditional feast is prepared for you in a truly unique environment.
  • Udaipur: Showcasing the best of Indian cuisine, our mouth-watering dinner with drinks is the perfect environment to celebrate your time in India.
  • Ranakpur: Learn the kitchen secrets of the chef of one of Ranakpur's finest hotels in our cooking demonstration of local specialities and lunch.
  • Mumbai: Showcasing the best of Indian cuisine, our mouth-watering Gala Dinner with drinks in the nation’s largest city is the perfect environment to celebrate your time in India.
  • Kochi: Meet Nimmy a local cookery instructor as she demonstrates traditional Kerala home recipes. Then feast on some of the delicious treats you've seen being made during our included lunch.
  • 19 Buffet Breakfasts (BB), 1 Afternoon Tea (AT), 5 Lunches (L) and 1 Highlight Lunch (HL); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 2 Highlight Dinners (HD) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, beer or soft-drinks. 18 Dec: This departure has a Christmas Highlight Dinner included.

OUTSTANDING HOTELS

  • Delhi: Set in the heart of bustling Gurgaon, the beautiful gardens, courtyards and reflection pools of the Trident fill you with a sense of calm, before retreating to your luxurious and stylish room.
  • Jaisalmer: Situated close to the Thar Desert, the magnificent Suryagarh is testimony to the pomp and panoply of Rajputana, juxtaposed with every modern convenience.
  • Udaipur: Stay at the Taj Lake Palace hotel, a floating vision in marble emerging from Lake Pichola.
  • Kumarakom: Winner of the World Travel Award as India’s Leading Resort for four years, the Lake Resort exudes the charm of Kerala’s true heritage while offering a complete range of New Age amenities for a luxuriously comfortable stay.

INCLUSIVE LUXURY GOLD SERVICES

  • Be escorted by the crème de la crème of Insight Travelling Concierges - handpicked for every departure. This skilled guide will act as consummate organiser and be your 'friend in a foreign land'.
  • Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight’s luxury air-conditioned coach with on-board restroom. It's Business Class comfort, complete with complimentary bottled water for you to enjoy during your luxury coaching tour. (Alternate coaches and vehicles, without on-board facilities or 40 seats, may be used on occasion).
  • At every hotel, you'll be treated to seamless baggage handling with prompt delivery to inside your door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus, we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • With Insight Flourishes, from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
  • Airport transfers to and from your hotel are included.

Accommodation

 

Trident Gurgaon New Delhi

New Delhi (Central) - India

Trident, Gurgaon is located in the central business district of Gurgaon, a part of the New Delhi National Capital Region. The Hotel is set amongst 7 acres of landscaped gardens, walkways, courtyards, reflection pools and fountains.

Jaypee Palace Agra

Agra (Central) - India

Complimentary Wifi

The regal Jaypee Palace Hotel and Convention Centre, a glorious structural blend of red sandstone and marble is spread over an unbounded 25 acres of elegantly landscaped luxuriant greenery. Sprinkled with enormous water bodies and endless walkways, this magical creation impeccably blends Mughal and contemporary architecture with modern amenities.

Le Meridien Hotel Jaipur

Jaipur (Scenic) - India

Complimentary Wifi

Le Meridien, Jaipur, five star deluxe hotel, located just 3.5 miles from Amber Fort, Le Méridien Jaipur promises a memorable stay characterized by an unrivalled assortment of services.

Laxmi Niwas Palace Bikaner

Bikaner (Scenic) - India

Complimentary Wifi

Laxmi Niwas Palace, Bikaner

Suryagarh Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer (Scenic) - India

Complimentary Wifi

Suryagarh, a luxury boutique hotel is truly unique and an escape from the everyday. Architecturally pure and true to an ancient craft, this magnificent hotel offers its guests a wonderful sense of space.

Welcomhotel Jodhpur

Jodhpur (Scenic) - India

Welcomhotel, Jodhpur

Taj Lake Palace Udaipur

Udaipur (Scenic) - India

Taj Lake Palace Udaipur, a five-star deluxe Living Palace and member of Leading Small Hotels of the World, is a resplendent palace, an island unto itself. The Vintage coupé glides to a stop at the lake’s edge. It’s hard to believe the floating vision in marble is real. Blink, and indeed, there is a luminous palace emerging from the mist. Each room and suite in the palace is distinctly designed to capture a different mood and period. Mosaics, exquisite artifacts, and other fine embellishments punctuate opulent silks, richly coloured frescoes and ornately carved furniture.

Crown Plaza Kochi

Kerala - Kochi (Central) - India

At over 100 years old, The Oberoi Cecil is a Grand Heritage Hotel. It is situated at ChauraMaidan, Shimla, 7000 feet up in the Himalayas. The Oberoi Cecil is very much a part of Shimla’s colonial history. The hotel has been restored to its original grandeur with wood floors, period furniture, crackling fires and an inviting ambience. Built around a beautiful atrium, the rooms offer splendid views of the mountains and valleys.

Kumarakom Lake Resort Kumarakon

Kumarakon (Scenic) - India

Trident Nariman Point Mumbai

Mumbai (Central) - India

Trident Nariman Point by Oberoi hotels

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  • 5 out of 5

    awesome tour of India

    12/4/2016 Gwendolyn Greer, Cleveland (TN), United States

    I had wanted a trip to India for over 20 years. Insights iteniary seemed to cover most of the places I wanted to see. Our Tour Director-Devander-was very accompolished in making sure we covered a lot of territory in the alloted time and his knowledge of Indian history and politics enhanced my experience. Our motor coach team-Asouck and Rattan were very capable and encouraged our group to see as much as possible. Our sand dune sunset experience with the" super moon" dinner was outstanding. The crisis of the rupee and ATM machines affected our shopping locally-but did not hinder my AWESOME experience of India. The selection of hotels and our food choices were a pleasant surprise. The people of India are smiling,cheerful and helpful. My complaint-we needed more time for Mumbai;maybe that will be for another time.

    8 out of 9 people found this comment useful

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