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Duration: 16 days Visiting: India
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
Your Journey Begins
Board your overnight flight (please ask about our great deals).
Delhi, a Rich Melting Pot of Old and New
Welcome to India! On arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport, you are greeted with a traditional floral garland and transferred to your modern five-star hotel. Tonight, join your Travelling Concierge for a Welcome Reception with a delicious meal.
(Relaxed Start) Start the day with a cycle rickshaw ride through Old Delhi, including the bustling lanes of Chandni Chowk market. Stop for a photo at the impressive Red Fort, then visit the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Raj Ghat. You can also explore India's largest mosque, the magnificent Jama Masjid, built by Shah Jahan in 1650. Afterwards, tour the wide boulevards of New Delhi. Drive along the ceremonial Rajpath, past the imposing India Gate and Parliament House. See Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visit the Tomb of Emperor Humayun, one of the best-preserved Mughal monuments in Delhi.
An Agra Adventure
On arrival to Agra, witness the hustle and bustle of everyday life 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.
The Taj Mahal and The Princely Park of Ranthambore
In the morning, admire the lustrous Taj Mahal, bathed by the first rays of dawn. Later journey to the historic city of Bharatpur and stop for lunch, before continuing to the station for the rail journey to Ranthambore. On arrival, transfer to your luxurious hotel, built in the style of a traditional Rajput hunting palace, nestled in the foot hills of the Aravalli Range, near the Ranthambore National Park.
In Search of Tigers in Ranthambore
Early morning journey into the former private hunting grounds of the Maharajahs of Jaipur, in search of the elusive tiger. More commonly seen in the dry, deciduous forest are the wild boars, monkeys, spotted deers and antelopes but if you are ever going to witness tigers in their natural habitat, this is the place. Return to your resort for breakfast and the day at leisure. At dusk, enjoy another foray into the national park with an expert naturalist. Besides the wildlife, there are also lake palaces, ‘chhatris', old fortifications and a majestic 1,000-year-old fort within the park.
Jaipur, the 'Pink City'
Embark on another exciting adventure game in the morning, into the territory of the majestic tiger— every wildlife enthusiast and photographer's dream. After lunch, drive through the rural countryside where flat, green fields are abundant with brightly coloured flowers. Your destination is the stunning Rajasthan capital of Jaipur. Later, join the Meena tribe and learn about their way of life and farming rituals before enjoying dinner at a local restaurant.
(Relaxed Start) Experience a typical morning for most Hindus with a puja at one of the most important Krishna Temples in the country, Govind Dev Ji temple. Then, visit the vegetable market and try your hand at bargaining with the stall holders. Enjoy a unique excursion, as you ascend by jeep to the Amber Fort, a superb example of Rajput architecture, with its terraces and ramparts reflected in the Maota Lake below. Inside, the royal halls are decorated with intricate ivory, mirrors and glass, complemented by exquisite wall paintings. Back in Jaipur, see the famous ‘Hawa Mahal' (The Palace of Winds) and visit the City Palace, now a museum housing a fabulous collection of Rajasthani and Mughal Art. A final stop is made at the famous Jantar Mantar, the observatory, constructed between 1727 and 1734 by Maharajah Jai Singh II. Back at the hotel you, are at leisure.
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.
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.
(Relaxed Start) Witness glorious scenery en route to Kumarakom. On arrival, the rest of the day is free to explore.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
Your magical journey comes to an end with transfers to the International Airport for your onward flights.
New Delhi (Central) - India
Agra (Scenic) - India
Trident by Oberoi, Agra
Ranthambore (Scenic) - India
Nahargarh, the most luxurious hotel lies nestled at the foot hills of 'Aravali ranges' neighbouring the Ranthambore National Park. Surrounded by a 16th century style fortress, Nahargarh is built like a traditional Rajput hunting palace complete with a vast "Char Bagh" or formal Mughal garden.
(Crusie) - India
Jaipur (Scenic) - India
Trident by Oberoi, Jaipur
Kochi (Traditional) - India
Kumarakon (Resort) - India
Winner of the World Travel Award as India’s Leading Resort for four years, the Kumarakom Lake Resort exudes the charm of Kerala’s true heritage while offering a complete range of New Age amenities for a luxuriously comfortable stay.
Mumbai (Traditional) - India
Our guests rate us
1031 independent user reviews received during the past year.
08 May, 2018
Trip: Lots of variety - old and new, rich and poor - I felt like we experienced a lot!
Service: Great accommodation. Good tour guide - helpful in lots of little ways, added extra where he could. Great Local Guides - very knowledgeable and friendly. The internet on the bus up north was fabulous!! - please add to the southern part of the tour if you can.
21 April, 2018
Trip: All round good experience and service.
Service: Took me where I wanted to go in luxury.
07 April, 2018
Trip: Almost all was fine with exception that on some days the tour tried to push too much into one day, leaving too little time to enjoy what we were trying to see. This was particularly true of the day in Mumbai where we were rushed through the Gandhi museum and the city museum. I suggest that maybe adding another day to the tour to allow a reasonable time to visit the sites would be in order.
Service: I would definitely book another Luxury Gold tour. Representatives were on time, knowledgeable and courteous.
07 April, 2018
Trip: Would have liked more time in Jaipur. Would have also liked better information on the free time and amenities at the nice resorts in the South.
Service: Not sure what you include under service - 1. trying to find information about the trip on your outdated website was frustrating at times. Calling to inquire was not helpful since the nice people answering the phone wanted to be helpful but they had never been on the specific trip. However, the trip itself was excellent since we had an excellent guide (Devender).
25 March, 2018
Trip: Well planned iternary...only complaint is the inferior quality of our houseboat excursion...old boat ....terrible bed , poor food. Most every day was exciting and full of surprises.
Service: Hotels were amazing as was our guide "..events chosen were also good.
24 March, 2018
Trip: I liked the tour, guides, people, hotel and food. The only waiste of time was looking for a tigar since the chance was slim.
Service: The over night boat ride didn't give us the same food as the other 2 boats. The chicken was burned making it impossible to eat. We weren't served fruit like the others. My shower wouldn't work. I spunge bathed from the sink. The bus that picked us up in Mumbai was dirty. We were on the bus ready to go but the bus wouldn't start so we waited for another bus. These events didn't represent luxury gold. Taj, our tour guide was amazing! I would highly recommend touring with him.
17 March, 2018
Trip: Excellent sights, hotels, food and Tour Guide
Service: Sights, hotels, food, and Tour Director were all excellent.
10 March, 2018
Trip: Loved the first half of the itinerary in the north, although would have perhaps liked a little more time in the hotels to enjoy the beautiful amenities. The second half of the itinerary was very pretty and we loved the different experiences. We felt that some of the churches and synagogue were not that necessary to see and could easily have had that time to relax. Our travel guide Taj, was exceptional and extremely knowledgeable. He smoothed out the bumps and twists and turns on the way. He did an amazing job and we couldn't praise him enough. We appreciated the driver or co-driver always at the door of the coach to hand out the hand sanitiser when we returned from being off the bus. All in all, a wonderful holiday.
Service: Everything was well organised and the staff we dealt with were very efficient.