The Grand Tour of India

Resort:The Grand Tour of India
Operator: Cox and Kings
Destination: India
Price From: £3695.00

Overview

Explore the diverse cultural influences that
have created the fascinating heritage of
India. This tour encompasses holy cities,
the resplendent Taj Mahal, Jodhpurs bluewashed
houses, and the beautiful lakes
and palaces of Udaipur. Go in search of the
elusive Royal Bengal tiger and extend your
journey in the idyllic backwaters of Kerala.

Itinerary

Day 1: Fly to Amritsar via Delhi

Fly from London (regional connections available) to Amristar, via Delhi, with British Airways. (N)

Day 2: Amritsar

Arrive in Amritsar and check into the Taj Swarna for 2 nights. This evening, get to know your fellow travellers over a welcome dinner at the hotel before visiting the spectacular Golden Temple. Extravagantly lit at night, the glistening temple leaves a mesmerising reflection in the large water tanks which surround the sanctum. Every evening, drums and hymns fill the air for the auspicious evening Palki Sahib ceremony adding to the allure and grandeur of the temple. (D)

Day 3: Amritsar Wagah

Revisit the Golden Temple this morning and delve deeper inside the complex to discover the community kitchen called Langar. This humbling assembly provides more than 50,000 free meals each day to visitors of the temple who come from all walks of life. Afterwards weave your way through Qila Ahluwalia, a fort replete with colonial architectural features, before arriving at the Jalebiwala Chowk with its jalebi shop selling delicious sticky sweets. In the late afternoon, travel to the Wagah border to observe the daily Sunset Retreat ceremony. This is an immaculately choreographed display of synchronised marching, military commands, high kicks and foot stamps and a spectacle not to be missed. (B)

Day 4: Fly to Varanasi via Delhi

This morning fly to Varanasi, one of the oldest, holiest and most characterful cities in the world. One of the best ways to glimpse the city’s spiritual significance is by boat. This evening, visit the Dasaswamedh ghats to witness the magical Ganga aarti ceremony from the sacred Ganges. On the 26 Nov 2020 and 15 Nov 2021 departures, enjoy the Dev Diwali celebrations when the steps of the ghats are lit with more than a million earthen lamps. Overnight at the Hotel Madin (or similar). (B)

Day 5: Varanasi Delhi

This morning take a serene dawn boat ride on the Ganges, where you are likely to see locals and pilgrims ritually cleansing themselves. After the boat ride, enjoy a delicious breakfast overlooking the Ganges at the Brijrama Palace, one of the oldest remaining landmarks of the city. Later take a walking tour of Varanasi’s hidden alleys, paan bazaar, craftsmen colony and the spice, jewellery and flower markets. Take the afternoon high-speed Vande Bharat Express train to Delhi for a 2-night stay at the LaLit. (B)

Day 6: Old & New Delhi

A busy day exploring the nation’s capital. This morning take a tour of the pulsating Old Delhi, which includes a drive past the red fort and visits to the colourful Chandni Chowk market and the vast Jama Masjid mosque. New Delhi is a fascinating contrast to Old Delhi with grand Lutyens designed government buildings, including the former Viceroy’s House, now home to the President; the majestic India Gate Memorial and broad; tree-lined avenues. Finish the day at the Humayun’s tomb, an example of early Mughal architecture. (B)

Day 7: Agra

Experience a train ride in India as you head to Agra for an overnight stay at the Trident Agra (or similar). In the late-afternoon visit the impressive and imposing Agra Fort before watching the sunset over the mesmerising Taj Mahal. The iconic structure is magical at this time of the day as the marble transforms its colour in the twilight. (B)

Day 8: Fatehpur Sikri Ranthambore

Today we head to one of India’s most beautiful national parks, Ranthambore, via the ancient citadel of Fatehpur Sikri. This deserted, 16th-century sandstone city was built as a tribute to the Sufi saint, Sheikh Salim Chisti but was abandoned just 15 years after it was built due to a shortage of water. Take the train from Bharatpur to Sawai Madhopur on the outskirts of Ranthambore and stay 2 nights in the Sawai Vilas. (B, D)

Day 9: Ranthambore

Today take wildlife drives in the early morning and late afternoon in search of the elusive Bengal tiger. Although well known for its tiger population, Ranthambore is also home to sambars, panthers, marsh crocodiles, sloth bears and leopards, as well as being a bird watcher’s paradise. (B, L, D)

Day 10: Jaipur

Morning drive to Jaipur and stay at the Trident
Jaipur for 2 nights. Afternoon at leisure. (B)

Day 11: Jaipur

Morning aarti ceremony at a local Hindu temple. Spend the rest of the morning just outside Jaipur in Amber, the ancient capital of the Kachwaha Rajputs. Here you will find a majestic fort-palace displaying both Mughal and Rajput designs. This afternoon head back to Jaipur and explore the Pink City including visits to the sprawling City Palace, the curious astronomical observatory of Jantar Mantar and a brief photo stop at the remarkable faade structure of ‘Hawa Mahal’, also known as the Palace of the Winds. (B)

Day 12: Jodhpur Rohet

Full-day drive to Rohet via Jodhpur visiting the magnificent Mehrangarh fort and the imposing Jaswant Thada cenotaph en-route. Rohet is a picturesque hamlet and home to the Bishnoi tribal community. Stay at Rohet Garh for 2 nights. (B, D)

Day 13: Bishnoi tribal villages

Morning at leisure. After lunch, take a 4×4 safari to visit the Bishnoi tribal villages. The Bishnoi tribe protect the flora and fauna of the area with reverence, and from as far back as the 16th century, they are known to have resisted royal edicts ordering the felling of trees by literally wrapping themselves around them. (B, D)

Day 14: Ranakpur Udaipur

Drive to the lake city of Udaipur, visiting the exquisite Jain temples at Ranakpur en route. Arrive at the Trident Udaipur (or similar) for a 2-night stay, or upgrade to the Taj Lake Palace (luxury Lake View room) from £865 for 2 nights. (B)

Day 15: Udaipur

Set on the shores of Lake Pichola and surrounded by the Aravalli hills, Udaipur is one of Rajasthan’s most beautiful cities. Today, explore the City Palace, the Jagdish temple and a miniature painting studio to see several examples of this articulate art-form which originated in Rajasthan. In the evening watch an evening Bagore-ki-Haveli cultural show depicting traditional Rajsthani folk dances. Holi festival departures will witness the celebrations at the Maharajah’s Palace. (B)

Day 16: Fly to Delhi

Transfer to the airport and fly to Delhi for an
overnight stay at the Andaz Aerocity. (B)

Day 17: Fly to London

Transfer to the airport for a direct flight to
London with British Airways. (B)

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