A feast for all the senses, India is a vivid kaleidoscope of magnificent historical sites and royal cities, medieval forts and palaces, golden beaches and misty mountains, colourful people, lively festivals and rich culture. From the moment you set foot in India you will be greeted by a graceful Namaste - a warm and inviting gesture that denotes both welcome and respect.
Our program includes a number of “real India” experiences, as well as many of the major highlights, such as: Mumbai – India’s bustling port city which reflects both British and Indian history in its ornate architecture; Udaipur – with its glittering lake and palaces; Jaipur - the enchanting “Pink City”; Ranthambore National Park – home to the endangered and majestic Indian Tiger; the romantic and awe-inspiring Taj Mahal in Agra; Varanasi – the holiest place in India located on the sacred River Ganges; and finally the bustling capital city of Delhi – a rich tapestry of contrasts characteristic of this complex country.
To enrich our in-depth experience, we have included a variety of unique attractions: a Cultural Dance performance; dinner with a local family; a jeep drive through India’s fascinating countryside; serene boat trips; and exciting rickshaw rides.
Our hotels in India are all four or five stars with the comforts and standards of North American hotels, including two special overnight stays at Heritage listed properties; Chomu Palace - a 300 year old fortified palace now converted into a stunning hotel, and Deogarh Fort - one of the most magnificent medieval palaces in Rajasthan with grand entrances and gateways, imposing arches, domes, balconies and cannons.
*** Those joining any of our tours to Asia must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.
Day 1: Departure
We depart for Mumbai, via London.
Day 2: Mumbai
We arrive in Mumbai and transfer to our hotel.
Day 3: Mumbai
Our city tour begins with the Gateway of India – Mumbai’s most famous landmark commemorating the 1911 visit to India of King George and Queen Mary. We will drive along the Sea Front Boulevard (known as the Queen's Necklace when lit up in the evening), visit the marble Jain temples and ascend Malabar Hill for amazing panoramic views. After lunch at a popular local restaurant we visit the Prince of Wales Museum – a Victorian Gothic style building surrounded by a beautiful garden that houses a priceless collection of art, sculpture and more. We finish with a stroll through the bustling Crawford Market.
Day 4: Mumbai / Udaipur
We take a boat trip to visit the 1,200-year-old Elephanta Caves, housing some of India’s most beautiful rock-cuts. Later we fly to the romantic city of Udaipur.
Day 5: Udaipur
Our city tour includes the City Palace, now a museum overlooking the lake, Jagdish Temple with its sculpted figures and ornamental interiors, and Sahelion-ki-bari (Garden of the Maids of Honour) - the scene of royal parties for centuries. Afternoon at leisure. This evening we take a boat ride on Lake Pichola, surrounded by splendid hills, palaces, temples and bathing ghats, and visit the island palace of Jag Mandir.
Day 6: Deogarh
We first visit the exquisitely carved Sahastra Bahu Temples dating back to the early 10th century, followed by a unique jeep drive through the rural landscape to see locals tending their cattle, with a a lakeside stop to spot migratory birds. Then we depart for one of the most magnificent medieval castles in Rajasthan, Deogarh Fort, built in grand architectural style with huge entrances and gateways, and imposing arches and domes. We will spend the night in this magnificent medieval fort, now converted into a Heritage hotel.
Day 7: Jaipur
We travel through the Rajasthan countryside to the “Pink City” of Jaipur, with a stop at beautiful Bijay Niwas Palace for lunch.
Day 8: Jaipur
This morning we ride an elephant up to the Amber Fort, which offers fantastic views over the hills of Rajasthan. The Fort looks time-ravaged on the outside, but the interior is splendid with paintings, precious stones and mirrors. We also see the famous façade of Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds). This afternoon we see the Maharaja’s Palace and Jantar Mantar, the world’s largest stone and marble crafted observatory. This evening we enjoy dinner with a local family, who will teach us some of the secrets of Indian cuisine.
Day 9: Chomu Palace
We depart for Chomu Palace, a 300-year-old fortified palace now converted into a fabulous hotel. This evening we enjoy a lively dance performance.
Day 10: Ranthambore National Park
We travel to Ranthambore National Park (former hunting grounds of the Maharajas and now a renowned wildlife reserve) and enjoy a game drive to search for the famous diurnal tiger, as well as leopards, hyenas, jackals, crocodiles, wild boar and various species of deer.
Day 11: Ranthambore National Park
We spend the morning on safari in the park to observe the animals and the great variety of birds: Quail, Gray Legged Goose, Woodpecker, Indian Gray Hornbill, Kingfisher, Sandpiper, Owl, Flycatcher to name a few! Afternoon at leisure to enjoy the facilities of the hotel.
Day 12: Agra / Taj Mahal
We take a morning train to Bharatpur, then proceed by coach to Agra where we check in to our hotel. After lunch we visit the world-famous Taj Mahal – built by Shah Jahan in 1630 for his queen to enshrine her mortal remains. This white marble architectural masterpiece stands testimony to the skill of 20,000 craftsmen brought together from all over the world. It took 17 years to complete this 'Love Poem in Marble'.
Day 13: Agra / Delhi / Varanasi
This morning we visit Agra Fort - a fine example of Moghul architecture combining military features with beauty and design. We then drive to Delhi airport for our flight to Varanasi, where we meet “Mother Ganges”.
Day 14: Varanasi
We take an early morning boat ride on the sacred River Ganges. Here thousands of pilgrims descend the steps to the river and immerse themselves in the sacred waters, washing away their sins - rites that can be deeply moving to witness. We then walk the narrow lanes of Varanasi. Throughout history millions have passed these lanes seeking "Nirvana" at the river. This afternoon we visit the gold-plated Vishwanath Temple, and in the evening we witness the spectacular site of Arti of Ganges (collective nightly prayer to the river).
Day 15: Varanasi / Delhi
We visit Sarnath, where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon, and we also see Dharmarajika Stupa, Mulgandha Kuti Vihar Temples and the Archeological Museum with its collection of Buddhist sculptures. Later we fly to Delhi.
Day 16: Delhi
Our tour of Old Delhi includes an unforgettable rickshaw ride through 300-year-old Chandni Chowk Market - a maze of lanes crowded with shops selling a huge variety of items. We will see Jama Masjid - India's largest mosque, the Red Fort - Delhi’s most famous landmark, and Raj Ghat - a beautiful memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. Tonight is our Farewell Dinner.
Day 17: Delhi
Our touring of Delhi continues with the 12th century monument of Qutab Minar, India Gate, the Presidential Palace and Parliament House. The afternoon is at leisure until our late evening transfer to the airport.
Day 18: Home
We fly back to Canada, direct non-stop to Toronto.
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