The Best Small Group Tour of India

- 21 Days

Annual Summer Sale. From 8.5.22 to 8.20.22


Private Tours

Day 1: Arrive at Delhi.        Overnight – The Imperial Delhi


Most flights arrive either in the evening or at night, and we recommend that our guests consider arriving a day earlier as this allows you to recuperate from jetlag and serves as insurance against international flight delays and cancellations. An additional night’s stay can be added at the time of reservation. Your gorgeous historical hotel in Delhi has the best possible location for early arrivers – you are right next new Delhi’s downtown, colonial Connaught Place.

Street Musician at Jaipur

Welcome to India, home to incredible historical monuments, a plethora of natural wonders, and the world’s most colorful culture.

You are greeted by as you exit the airport and ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. You are now driven to your boutique luxury hotel and assisted with your check-in, which is available from 3 pm onwards. Everything about the Imperial Delhi oozes historical colonial charm, tastefully updated to offer all modern conveniences. The collection of colonial art that is spread throughout the hotel is one of the finest anywhere in India. Besides the wonderful facilities, gardens, and the excellent service and wonderful cuisine, the location is extremely advantageous for all your touring.

Welcome Dinner and Cultural Orientation: This evening you will join your fellow group explorers for a special welcome dinner and an overview of your upcoming exploration. A selection of excellent set menus with choices between Indian and western cuisine will be available.
(Overnight – The Imperial Delhi)

Day 2: Delhi. (Breakfast and Lunch)        Overnight – The Imperial Delhi


Begin your exploration of New Delhi with a drive through some of Lutyens’ historic New Delhi.

India Gate

India Gate

You will stop for a view of the exterior of the massive and awe-inspiring Rashtrapati Bhawan, which was known as the Viceroy’s House during the British era.

From here you can also enjoy a striking view of the India Gate at the other end of majestic and historic Rajpath, the former Kingsway.

After a very short drive on Rajpath you will arrive at the India Gate, a War Memorial to the 84,000 British Indian Army soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War, and Indian casualties in other wars. You will learn a little about the magnificent structure, which is often compared to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Explore the gardens and monuments around the area.

Continue your exploration of Delhi after a 5-minute drive to the magnificent tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. Delhi has such an abundance of amazing monuments that this Tomb Complex (1562 A.D.) does not quite get the acclaim that it deserves.

Humayun's Tomb Front

Front View of Humayun's Tomb

It is one of Delhi’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites and its striking beauty and flawless proportions will captivate you. Lunch will be on the way to your next destination at a very good restaurant located in an upscale hotel.

From here you will be driven through a section of Connaught Place, which is New Delhi’s downtown and still retains its colonial architecture and design. Arrive at the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, which is a large gold domed Sikh House of Worship and is the most prominent Gurudwara in Delhi. It was first built as a small structure in 1783 and then expanded over the next few decades. The campus includes the temple, a kitchen, a school, an art gallery, and the Sarovar (Holy Tank) whose water is called Amrit (Holy Nectar). As with all Sikh Gurudwaras, volunteers, including children and the elderly, the extremely wealthy and not so well-off perform almost all the chores required to keep the Gurudwara functioning. A fascinating part of this is the daily langar (community meal), and you will witness as thousands of meals are served to all visitors who want one, regardless of race, religion, gender or belief. Only vegetarian food is served, so that no religions dietary restrictions are violated.

From here you are driven to the beautiful Lodi Gardens. This massive garden complex is spread over 90 acres of priceless real estate in the heart of Delhi, and contains the tombs of various rulers of the Pashtun Dynasty that ruled much of Northern India during the 16th century. There are lush lawns and a plethora of flowers and plants mixed in with all the monuments.

Very near the gardens is the Lodi Art District, your last destination before returning to your hotel. Delhi isn’t famous for its street art and murals, and the large amount of street art found all over this upscale part of the city will both surprise and delight you. The subject matter ranges from quirky to distinctly ethnic Indian and there will be surprises around every corner. A google presentation on the Lodi Art District - https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/lodhi-art-district-st-art-india/NQKi787tb1GHJA?hl=en.
(Overnight – The Imperial Delhi)

Day 3: Delhi: (Breakfast and Lunch)        Overnight – The Imperial Delhi


This morning you are driven nearby to historic Old Delhi. While exploring North India, you will repeatedly experience awe as you experience some of the achievements of one of our planet’s greatest ruling dynasties ever - the Mughal Empire. You will visit three of their most famous attractions, the UNESCO Forted Cities at Delhi and Agra, and the Taj Mahal. But a lot more of what you will experience at Delhi and Agra, as well in Rajasthan, will have originated under the kingdom’s influence. The Mughal’s also left behind unique cuisine, uncountable other monuments, bazaars, and a lot more, many of which you will experience during your exploration.

One of your most enduring memories of India will be your next experience as you walk through the ancient (from the time of the Mughals) Chandni Chowk Bazaar, home to the world’s largest spice market. The cacophony of sounds which have echoed through the centuries, the cries of hawkers and the animated bargaining, along with the incredible colors and the diverse smells emanating from the street food stalls and spice markets combine to make for an experience that is unique to this ancient bazaar.

Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid

This will be followed by an e-rickshaw ride which ends at the Jama Masjid (1650 A.D.), the largest mosque in India.

The Masjid is a magnificent example of Mughal architecture and is constructed of red sandstone and white marble. It is an active place of worship and its courtyard can hold 25,000 worshippers. Bare legs and shoulders are not permitted inside the mosque and we include rented sarongs and scarves. After this you will drive close by for lunch at the historic Curzon Room in the century old Maidens Hotel.

Start your afternoon with a fairly short drive to Raj Ghat, driving between the massive back walls of the Red Fort and the Yamuna River. You will experience a brief stop at the memorial to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. The centerpiece of this peaceful and serene campus are an unadorned black marble structure and an eternal flame that evoke his simplicity, humanity, and spirituality.

You will be driven next door to the awe-inspiring Red Fort. The great city inside the massive sandstone walls of the Red Fort offers visitors a large number of architectural and historical attractions. The Red Fort was the seat of the Mughal Empire for more than two hundred and fifty years and is obviously a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an amazing example of a blend of Persian, Indian and European architecture. Both this fortified city and the Jama Masjid you visited earlier today were built by Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor who created the Taj Mahal. After exploring the Fort, you are driven back to your hotel so that you can arrive before Delhi’s rush hour.
(Overnight – The Imperial Delhi)

Day 4: Delhi – Varanasi (Benares). (Breakfast and Lunch)        Overnight – Taj Ganges


You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel and driven to the awe-inspiring 12th century Qutab Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Delhi has over 500 ancient structures strewn over its vast expanse, with many of them in various states of disrepair. For mankind’s achievements from about a millennium ago, the Qutab Minar is unmatched in its architectural brilliance and longevity.

Qutab Minar

Qutab Minar

This 240 ft tall medieval tower is a symbol of victory and a spectacular example of Persian architecture, with intricate carvings and gorgeous inlaid calligraphy.

Within the Qutab complex, amidst the ruins of the Quwat-ul-Islam Mosque, stands the legendary 2500-year-old Iron Pillar. The pillar stands 23 feet and 8 inches tall, weighs about 7000 pounds, and has inscriptions that are still legible to a great extent. This massive cast iron structure is said to have been moved from its distant cave shelter to Delhi around the 12th century.

From the Qutab Minar you are driven to the airport where you are assisted in boarding your early afternoon flight to Varanasi on India’s best full-service airline - decent food is served during this flight and you will have a pretty late lunch upon arrival at your Varanasi hotel. From the Varanasi airport you are driven to your comfortable hotel. Arrive and break for lunch, after which you are assisted with your check-in to your upgraded room at your highly ranked comfortable hotel.

India’s holiest city is said to be the oldest continuously inhabited city on our planet with a history that dates back five millennia. The truly ancient part of the city, Kashi, is what this applies to. Among many other things, Hindu’s believe that being cremated here can free their soul from the cycle of death and rebirth. We will not try to go into details about this amazing destination, you will be introduced to some of this destination’s highlights. Benares is also home to some of our planet’s best handloomed silk and well-off Indians visit this destination just to purchase silk garments for special occasions such as weddings and other life events.
(Overnight – Taj Ganges)

Day 5: Varanasi. (Breakfast and Lunch)        Overnight – Taj Ganges


Two of the highlights of your time in Varanasi are the sunset and sunrise cruises on the Ganga. After a pre-dawn hot beverage and cookies, join your India Connoisseur Guide for a visit to the Ghats. It is a surreal experience to arrive at the Ghats just before dawn and witness the eons old scene - the most devout Hindu’s are waiting at the holiest Ghats to greet the rising sun as they immerse themselves in the Ganga, while others on the wide riverbank steps meditate and practice yoga.

Sunrise Dip on a Festival Morning

Sunrise Dip on a Festival Morning

Your boat offers an excellent view of all the activity on the Ghats - women immersing themselves into the Ganga discreetly while still wearing their sarees and ascetics waist deep in the water offering prayers as they pour holy water over themselves.

During your boat ride you will experience a private live performance of the wonderful sounds of traditional Benares Gharana, an ancient form of music incorporating the tabla and the sitar. The ambiance created by your surroundings and the traditional Benares music has to be experienced to be believed.

Return to your hotel to have breakfast, and then you are at leisure until noon, when you will enjoy lunch at the highly rated Chowk Restaurant at your hotel. In the early afternoon you will head to nearby Sarnath, a major Buddhism pilgrimage site. Attractions in this holy rural area include the massive 2300-year-old Dhamekha Stupa located near where the Buddha preached his first sermons. This Stupa was constructed by Emperor Ashoka, who is credited with the spread of Buddhism in the world. Sarnath was also where the first Buddhist Sangha was formed and the area is home to a number of other ancient Buddhist monuments that you will drive by. A highlight of the visit to Sarnath is a brief stop at the very small Archaeological Museum with its impressive collection of artifacts, which include the spectacular 4 headed lion that is India’s national emblem.

In the mid-afternoon you are driven to a spot near the Holy River from where you will be escorted through a crowded bazaar catering to visiting pilgrims. Arrive at the ghats and commence a walk on the banks of the Ganga. This is a great opportunity to experience some of Hinduisms ancient and iconic rituals. Various rituals will be taking place on the Ghats. Such ceremonies include, but are not limited to, rituals where devout Hindu’s are getting their heads shaved in respect to a recently diseased parent, newly married couples are praying with a priest for blessings, while nearby another Brahmin priest orchestrates the naming ceremony of a newborn.

Your walk will end with you being assisted in boarding your boat for a cruise along the river to view its evening activities as you cruise and observe all the rituals and prayers, including the main cremation Ghat where the deceased are burned on wooden pyres in what is considered the holiest place for their earthly remains to depart from this world, and for their soul to achieve salvation.

Priest Performing Sunset Aarti, Dashashwamedh Ghat

Priests Performing Sunset Aarti, Dashashwamedh Ghat

As the sun starts setting our boat excursion pauses for a close-up view of the iconic Ganga Aarti ceremony on the now crowded Dashashwamedh Ghat, the holiest place on the river.

The Ghats on the holy river’s banks stretch for a few miles and are always full of activity, but the middle of the whole expanse is where the holiest Ghats are located and where the main evening ceremony takes place. You can float your own lamps from your boat while you watch the ancient prayer and oil lamp ceremony at sunset. Your boat enables you to enjoy a great view of the ceremony and hundreds of lamps as they float down the holy river. After this you are assisted with your disembarkation at an outer bank of the river.
(Overnight – Taj Ganges)

Day 6: Varanasi - Agra. (Breakfast and Lunch)        Overnight – Tajview Hotel by Taj Hotels


You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel in the morning and driven to Varanasi airport where you will be assisted in boarding your flight to Agra. This flight departs right around noon and not very good airplane food is served, so we recommend that you wait until your arrival at Agra. You will be driven to your hotel where you will enjoy lunch at the main restaurant before being assisted with your check-in. This moderately upscale hotel has a few newly renovated upgraded rooms on its higher floors that offer the second-best views of the Taj Mahal among all Agra hotels, and these are the rooms we use for your stay.

Mid-afternoon - You will visit the first red sandstone fort of North India, the Agra Fort, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. This Forted City was built in 1565 by India’s greatest Mughal ruler, Emperor Akbar, and almost everything here was copied in Delhi’s larger Red Fort. Its royal audience halls, immense stone courtyards, marble mosque and the private royal chambers give us a glimpse of the grandeur of the Mughal Empire. There are unique views of the Taj Mahal from a section of the fort, including the room where the Taj Mahal’s creator, Emperor Shah Jahan, was imprisoned during the later years of his life by his infamous son and successor, Aurangzeb.

Taj Mahal - Late Afternoon

Taj Mahal - Late Afternoon

Next you will proceed for a late afternoon visit to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the incomparable Taj Mahal.

Experience the amazing Taj and its surroundings in bright sunlight, culminating with an opportunity to admire the sun’s rays setting on the façade of the world’s finest monument. The Taj Mahal was completed by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1653 A.D. as a memorial to his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. This spectacular white marble mausoleum was created by about 22,000 skilled craftsmen, many of whom were brought here from far away nations, and it took twenty two years to complete. The world’s greatest monument dedicated to love is obviously a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you experience the Taj Mahal with an Easy Tours’ India Connoisseur Guide who shares unique insights into its innumerable facets, some of their passion for this masterpiece may rub off on you.
(Overnight – Tajview Hotel by Taj Hotels)

Day 7: Agra - Ranthambore. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)        Overnight – Sawai Vilas


Enjoy a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal. Morning is the best time to experience it in terms of crowds - it is more expensive for Indian tourists to enter at this early hour and so the massive monument and its surrounding Mughal gardens have a lot fewer visitors than the rest of the day. As the rising sun’s rays illuminate the precious stones inlaid in the marble they will gleam momentarily and change colors.

Return to your hotel in time for breakfast and to prepare for the day’s journey and then you will be assisted with your checkout in the mid-morning. You are driven to the Chand Baori stepwell at Abhaneri, located just off the highway before you turn into the countryside towards Ranthambore. The massive 10th century Chand Baori Stepwell is one of the most impressive in all of India and is located next to a charming Rajasthani village. The depth of the stepwell is that of a modern 7 story building, and there are stairs (no longer accessible to visitors) leading down to the bottom from three of the 100 foot plus wide (35 meters) sides, creating symmetry and beauty to the ancient structure.

You will proceed nearby to a rural resort which serves farm fresh organic and all-natural produce, as well as pasture raised chicken and lamb in its restaurant. After lunch you will continue on with your journey to Sawai Madhopur (Ranthambore National Park). The second half of this drive is through rural Rajasthan and there are colorful villagers around you going about their daily activities. You will also encounter many camels and other livestock on this drive.

Ranthambore was once the Jaipur rulers’ private hunting ground to hunt the Bengal Tiger and other wildlife. In 1972 the Park was declared a Sanctuary and was brought under the Project Tiger Conservation platform. Since 2006 Easy Tours of India has tracked the percentage of tiger sightings for our guests in Ranthambore National Park. More than 85% of our guests have had tiger sightings during this period, with most of them getting multiple sightings.

Upon arrival you are assisted with your check-in at your upscale jungle lodge. Ranked among the very best in the Ranthambore Park region, you will stay in upscale and large villas with natural polished Rajasthani Stone floors and all conveniences. Service and cuisine are both top-rated, and the vast common areas include multiple outdoor sitting and dining venues, as well as a nice large swimming pool. All meals will be at your lodge during your stay at Ranthambore.
(Overnight – Sawai Vilas)

Day 8: Agra - Ranthambore. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)        Overnight – Sawai Vilas


Covering an area of 410 square kilometers, Ranthambore National Park runs along the eastern spur of the Aravalli Mountain range until it meets with the Vindhya ranges. Dry deciduous forest covers most of the park, and the vegetation is lush around the many small lakes and ponds. The open grasslands that are the tiger’s favorite terrain account for much of the land on the higher slopes. Enjoy wildlife jeep safaris into the park in the morning and in the afternoon.
(Overnight – Sawai Vilas)

Alpha Male Tiger at Ranthambore

Alpha Male Tiger at Ranthambore

Varied flora supports a large number of animals including a variety of deer and antelope, crocodiles, the sloth bear, over 320 species of birds, leopards and one of India’s highest densities of the Bengal Tiger.

Day 9: Ranthambore – Jaipur. (Breakfast and Lunch)        Overnight – Trident Jaipur


This morning those group members who would like to experience this have the option of a guided visit to the Ranthambore Fort. The massive Fort is one of the finest examples of the ancient Hindu concept of Vana-Durg, or a fort protected by a jungle. This excursion does have a fairly steep climb with almost 300 stairs that are always surrounded by dozens of playful monkeys. The history of this Fort (built in 944 A.D.) is a chronicle full of tales of blood and valor. Successively occupied by the Muslims, Rajput’s and Mughals, the insides of the fort today lie partly in ruin. There are superb views of the park to be had from its ramparts and an ancient temple which attracts a continuous stream of pilgrims from the surrounding villages. A note of caution – aggressive langurs (a larger than average South Asian monkey) have made the Fort area their home and it is not advisable to have food or shiny objects visible as you tour the fort as such items will be aggressively snatched away and this could cause injury.

Those who do not want to climb the steps can relax and enjoy the boutique lodge and its facilities and gardens. You are assisted with your check-out from your jungle lodge at noon and you will now break for lunch before you are driven to Jaipur. Sawai Madhopur, the community located next to Ranthambore, is a rural small town, and you will drive through it to get a glimpse of life here before you head for the UNESCO World Heritage City of Jaipur.

Upon your arrival at Jaipur, a tailor will take measurements for your traditional Indian apparel which will be expertly tailored to your measurements. You will be shown options for colors and other customizable elements that you can select based on your preferences. These garments will be made of superior materials and we recommend donning them for dinner at your hotels and on other occasions when you feel like it.

You are assisted with your check-in to your top-ranked moderately upscale hotel. You are in the few rooms that have small balconies looking out at the lake and the small palace in the waters. Unlike every other upscale Jaipur hotel, you are very near the walled historic city, and on the road to Jaipur’s signature attraction, the Amer Palace and Fort complex.
(Overnight – Trident Jaipur)

Day 10: Jaipur. (Breakfast and Lunch)        Overnight – Trident Jaipur


Begin your exploration of the walled pink city of Jaipur. You will start with a stroll through the fascinating main bazaar in the heart of the pink city and watch the locals as they shop for pretty much everything a consumer can possibly want. This atmospheric and crowded bazaar has street sellers of vegetables, fruit and other goods occupying the curbs with their displays. There are stores selling spices, nuts, flowers, toys, footwear, hardware, and a lot more, mixed in with street food vendors and brick and mortar eating establishments. Byzantine alleys lead into inner courtyard shops.

After a few minutes of walking, you will arrive at the most photographed of Jaipur’s monuments, the enchanting Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Wind).

Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal

This intriguing facade was built in 1799 so that the ladies of the court could use its unique windows and observe the bustling bazaar without being visible to the people on the streets.

Jaipur is India’s capital for jewelery, and the largest supplier of exquisitely crafted jewelery to much of the world, and Johri Bazaar (jewelers’ market) is a historic enclave that happens to be the center of the largest precious stone cutting area on our planet. You will experience a short walk through a section of the area (please note that all the jewelry manufacturers are located on higher floors and so you will not be seeing the jewelers at work) and soon arrive at a small boutique hotel, The Johri. This five-room inn has an excellent restaurant where you will enjoy lunch. Locally sourced fresh organic vegetarian cuisine is served here, and you will order ala carte from their menu of seasonal and regional offerings. We strongly recommend all their chaat and appetizer items, but their main entrees are not to be missed either.

After lunch you will proceed for a visit to the Jantar Mantar (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), a fascinating stone observatory built in 1728. Among other instruments, it includes a massive stone sun dial that is accurate to within 2 seconds. Located next to Jantar Mantar is the City Palace, the royal residence that was built in a delightful blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles. A part of this massive complex is still occupied by the Royal family and is not accessible to the public. Your Tour Director will regale you with stories of royalty as you admire their trappings. This immense complex also houses a number of museums that include displays of armor, miniature paintings, and a large and impressive collection of ancient royal garments and accoutrements.
(Overnight – Trident Jaipur)

Day 11: Jaipur. (Breakfast and Lunch)        Overnight – Trident Jaipur


Today will start with three of Jaipur’s off the beaten tourism track historical destinations, which also happen to be among the most wonderful opportunities for photography in India. First you are driven to a very scenic location in Jaipur adjacent to a public park, The Albert Hall Museum, which was completed in 1887 by the architect Samuel Swinton Jacob. You won’t enter the museum as this stop is solely for you to walk around and take-in the absolutely gorgeous Indo-Saracenic architecture. Rudyard Kipling (himself the son of a museum curator) on a visit was so impressed that he wrote "it is now a rebuke to all other museums in India from Calcutta downwards".

From here you are driven to the ancient Hindu pilgrimage site of Galtaji, located in a crevice in the Aravalli Hills. This 15th century complex of temples here is sometimes referred to as the Monkey Temple by tourists because a large tribe of monkeys lives here and believes they own the complex. The picturesque complex of temples has seven ponds that are fed by springs on the surrounding hilltops, and Hindu pilgrims consider taking a dip in these to be purifying. The beautiful temple complex has been a retreat for a sect of Hindu ascetics since the 16th century.

The monkeys agree and swim around the main pond with reckless abandon, and many of them can be seen diving into the tank from various vantage points.

Part of Galtaji Temple Complex

Part of Galtaji (Monkey) Temple Complex

Enjoy a guided tour of the beautiful Galtaji Temple, which is crafted in pink stone. There are other ancient temples in the complex, and you will visit a couple of them, including the Balaji Temple.

Monkeys are everywhere, and they are obviously in-charge! For someone not used to their social behavior and grooming rituals, observing them can be fascinating.

From here you will be driven to Jaipur’s best kept secret, the royal cenotaphs known as Gaitore ki Chhatriyan. By now you will have seen many examples of Chhatri’s (ornate umbrella shaped domes), but those that cover the individual tombs and structures here are a sight to behold, and an incredible Instagram opportunity. In a city full of UNESCO Sites and incredible colors, this complex is sometimes our guests’ favorite memory of Jaipur. Although you are still in today’s Jaipur, this spots serenity and scenery is a surprising break from the crowds and noise. The complex was first used in 1733 AD for a tomb that marked the cremation site for Jaipur’s Rajas. Although each of the smaller structures is worth a detailed exploration, the highlight is the large intricately carved white marble cenotaph of Jaipur’s founder, the legendary Maharaja Sawai Jai Singhji.

On the way to your next destination, you will stop for lunch at the excellent restaurant at your hotel as it lies on the way.

Amer Fort and Palace

Amer Fort and Palace

After lunch you will explore the awe-inspiring Amber Fort and Palace complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This complex was completed in 1599 AD after 25 years of construction. You will be driven to the back entrance as Easy Tours does not offer elephant-back ascents up the ramparts of the complex. The massive forted city inside the complex is one of India’s finest examples of Rajput architecture. You will explore the gorgeous chambers and hallways, which are famous for their exquisite designs and handcrafted embellishments. Your Guide will regale you with the history of the various structures as you take in the amazing workmanship of the craftsmen who created them.

This late afternoon guests will be driven back to your hotel for some relaxation. Jaipur is India’s shopping mecca for all sorts of exquisite hand-crafted items, fabrics, carpets, as well as jewelery. Guests who are interested in shopping can choose to continue on and have your India Connoisseur Guide serve as a personal shopper for a while before being driven back.

This evening you will be presented with your bespoke Indian garments and the hotel staff will be happy to assist you in the right way to don your new clothes – female colleagues at the hotel can assist lady guests with their clothing, if needed.
(Overnight – Trident Jaipur)

Day 12: Jaipur – Narlai. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)        Overnight – Rawla Narlai


You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel in the morning after a slightly early breakfast and driven to historic Rawla Narlai, a 17th century Royal Hunting Lodge located right in the middle of a wonderful and authentic ancient village. Rawla means Royal Palace, Narlai is the name of the village.

Much of the so-called rural tourism offered in Rajasthan is of smaller villages that receive a constant stream of visitors and most of their guest experiences are, at least partially, staged.

Rajasthani Village

Rajasthani Village

This large 16th Century village (almost 6000 residents) of Narlai is centuries old and the people are genuine and warm villagers.

The ancient royal lodge has been meticulously restored by its owners, the Royal Family of Jodhpur, and calling it boutique would be a vast understatement. There are two wings – one being the original 17th Century hunting lodge, and a more modern wing that was built around two decades ago. Near the lodge and visible from various vantage points is a massive ancient volcanic granite boulder called Elephant Hill, with a historic small Hindu Temple at its peak, and many caves carved into its facade.

Please note that the lodge rooms in the new wing are larger and have more modern conveniences and more natural light, we recommend the rooms in the ancient wing as their incredible historical charm is a unique experience not found elsewhere. However, if prefer natural light, we recommend the new wing. Rooms in both wings have upscale traditional Rajasthani artwork, furnishings and décor, and the heritage wing rooms obviously have more antiques. If you choose the new wing, you will still experience a lot of the 17th Century lodge’s original features. You will select your room preference at the time of your reservation.

The cuisine served at the lodge wins accolades from everyone who stays here, and most of it is sourced from their own organic farms and orchards, as well as other farms surrounding the village. The chefs are attentive and will customize your meals to your preferences, and just like in every resort that you will stay in while in Rajasthan, there are live local cultural performances every evening. The lodge also offers exceptional service levels – nothing is too much for the staff.

Ancient Stepwell Magical Dinner Experience: After sunset you will be assisted in climbing aboard traditional bullock carts and transported through the dark countryside to a charming 16th Century stepwell. Your magical dinner will be at the stepwell, accompanied by live local folk music and accented by hundreds of oil lamps adorning the steps of the stepwell. As you enjoy a multi-course dinner of local delicacies and the lodge’s attentive service, the oil lamps and countless stars will illuminate this amazing night.
(Overnight – Rawla Narlai)

Day 13: Narlai – Udaipur. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)        Overnight – Vatsalya Vihar


Guests can select one of two activities for the early morning today, or choose to relax and sleep in. Couples and family/friends can temporarily separate to enjoy one or the other. You will need to select your preference soon after finalizing your reservations.

The first option is to accompany one of the lodge stewards (they do this daily) up the 756 ancient hand carved steps that lead to the peak of Elephant Hill where you can enjoy the spectacular views and visit the small Hindu Temple. Your lodge steward will carry a hot beverage and snacks for your refreshment at the top of the boulder.

Large Male Leopard at Bandhavgarh

Large Male Leopard

The other option is to board one of the lodge’s jeeps with a lodge naturalist and head into the surrounding jungle in search of leopards, who are known to be elusive animals.

Sightings of tigers at India’s better National Parks are much more frequent than leopards, but leopard sightings are fairly common around Narlai, which is not a National Park. At the least you will enjoy an adventure into small rural communities and the jungle – 88% of our guests have had one or more leopard sightings during this adventure. The ride is bumpy as you are traversing rough terrain.

In both cases you will return to the lodge to have a late delicious breakfast and then you can enjoy your fascinating surroundings for a little while. You will be assisted with your check out just before noon and then you will proceed for the drive to Udaipur with a stop enroute. A very short scenic drive will bring you to one of India’s least mentioned historical and architectural marvels, the 15th Century Jain Temple that is an active place of worship.

Explore the awe-inspiring marble Ranakpur Jain Temple Complex. The main temple’s twenty-nine halls are supported by fourteen hundred and forty-four massive yet intricately carved marble pillars, and no two are of the same design. There is an abundance of intricate sculptures and friezes and the enormous scale of the monument and the exquisite details of its design have to be experienced to be believed.

You will break for lunch after exploring the temple complex. After lunch you will continue on with your journey to Udaipur. This is one of the most picturesque drives in all of India. As you go through the Aravalli hills there will be photo opportunities of village life and livestock, including many camels. The rolling landscape and the charm of the local villages and their colorful inhabitants will fascinate you during this 2-to-2.5-hour journey. Arrive at your beautiful boutique nature resort, located very near the town of Udaipur, in the late afternoon and you are assisted with check-in.

Staying at this resort is one of our guests’ favorite experiences while in India. There are only 7 large upscale villas and suites in the 9+ acre campus, and you are surrounded by gorgeous gardens and the resorts organic farm and orchards, from which you can pick your meal ingredients while opting for Indian or western cuisine. The orchard has a plethora of trees, including a variety of lemon trees, an olive garden, and a lot more. Service is exemplary, and matches the wonderful fresh ala-carte cuisine served here. The resort is a labor of love for its affluent owners, who are both involved in making sure all guests love their stay here. There are bike and walking trails, a pool and gym facilities, and a lot more. After acquainting yourself with your hosts and the resort, you will enjoy a wonderful dinner cooked to your preferences.
(Overnight – Vatsalya Vihar)

Day 14: Udaipur. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)        Overnight – Vatsalya Vihar


This morning you are driven to visit the Monsoon Palace, a small hilltop structure that offers amazing views of the picturesque city of Udaipur and its lakes and palaces. The journey up the hill takes you through a protected wildlife sanctuary and occasional small wildlife sightings can be experienced. After a few minutes exploring the historical structure, you will experience the spectacular view of the lakes and palaces of Udaipur, set picturesquely amidst the Aravalli mountain range.

Next up is an easy and delightful walk in the picturesque city. With its small-town atmosphere, laid back Udaipur is one of India’s best places to explore on foot, and your India Connoisseur Guide will take you for walks in small local bazaars and other interesting parts of this charming city. A brief stop during the walk will be at a gallery where accomplished local artists create Udaipur’s famous and fascinating miniature paintings. You will also enjoy a slightly bumpy (there are no shock absorbers) three-wheeler scooter ride to your destination for lunch.

City Palace

City Palace Complex, Udaipur

Lunch today will be at the lakefront Sunset Terrace restaurant at the entrance of the massive City Palace Complex. Enjoy lunch while experiencing one of the best lake views in all of Udaipur.

After lunch you will enter the fabled City Palace Complex which contains multiple old palaces and other structures. You will explore beautifully decorated rooms with thousands of exquisitely sculpted mirrors covering the walls, massive ivory doors (a dark reminder of Indian royalty’s passion for hunting), brightly colored stained-glass windows, expansive inlaid marble balconies, and the unique peacock courtyard. There are amazing views to be had from this structure, especially of Lake Pichola, the Lake Palace, and Jag Mandir Island. Enjoy a tour of the amazing Crystal Gallery which houses the world’s largest collection of priceless crystal. Marvel at pieces like the complete bedroom furniture set in crystal and the gorgeous crystal fountains in the courtyards.

After exploring the complex you will proceed to the palace jetty and board your boat for a private cruise on captivating Lake Pichola to enjoy wonderful views of Lake Pichola and magical Udaipur. Disembark from your cruise and you are escorted back to your wonderful resort.
(Overnight – Vatsalya Vihar)

Day 15: Udaipur – Mumbai. (Brunch)        Overnight – The Trident Nariman Point


Cooking Class & Special Brunch Experience: Enjoy your last morning at your nature resort before you are assisted with your checkout around noon. Your gracious hostess at the resort is also an accomplished chef, and she and the other great cooks in her kitchen will prepare a very special meal for you this morning. You will be asked for your preferences on the previous day and you are invited to participate in the preparations for this meal, including picking fresh herbs and produce from the resorts organic farm.

After brunch you are driven to the airport and assisted in boarding your early afternoon flight to Mumbai on India’s best full-service airline. Upon your arrival in Mumbai, you will be driven to your beautiful oceanfront hotel and assisted with your check-in.

Gateway of India

Gateway of India

Your hotel has one of the best locations in Mumbai and your room’s views of the massive bay, the Queen’s Necklace (Marine Drive), and the city of Mumbai, are spectacular.

The area around your hotel is where middle class residents of Mumbai come in the evenings to enjoy the ocean breeze and socialize. It is a great place to walk on your own, as locals sit on the seaside promenade and street vendors hawk their wares to them, from street food to toys to foot massages! You can safely and comfortably explore the surroundings of your Mumbai lodging until the late evening.
(Overnight – The Trident Nariman Point)

Day 16: Mumbai. (Breakfast and Lunch)        Overnight – The Trident Nariman Point


Proceed for a guided city tour of Mumbai. The tour begins at the nearby Gateway of India, situated overlooking Mumbai’s harbor. This structure was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai and India in 1905. After this a short drive takes you to the impressive Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, previously known as Victoria Terminus.

Chhatrapathi Shivaji Terminus

Chhatrapathi Shivaji Terminus

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is India’s finest example of Gothic architecture and one of the world’s busiest railway stations.

From here you will enjoy a walk-through Mumbai’s most interesting areas, stopping every few minutes to admire historic attractions while being surrounded by local residents going about their daily activities. The next 3 hours or so will be a fascinating experience during which you will leisurely walk just under 2 miles, stopping frequently at the multitude of attractions. You will stroll through busy street bazaars and public parks where cricket is being played on most days, stopping to take in the incredible architectural details of century plus old Gothic and Victorian buildings that were constructed during the British Raj.

You will admire the historic Flora Fountain, and then another short walk will take you to Horniman’s Circle. Next, after a 2-minute walk, is Mumbai’s Town Hall, situated by the Mumbai’s docks. After this you will take another short walk and stop to enjoy a brief tour inside the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, which was known as the Prince of Wales Museum until very recently. This is Mumbai’s premier museum, with beautiful Indo-Saracenic architecture, and includes sections of paintings, archeology, and natural history. Another 5 minutes of walking will end up with a break for an ala carte lunch at the iconic Leopold Café, a popular establishment that has been serving food to Mumbai’s residents since 1871 and was one of the targets during the 2008 Mumbai terrorism attack.

After lunch you will drive to Mumbai’s main Dhobi Ghat where you will observe the Dhobi’s doing Mumbai’s laundry by flogging the clothes on stone in the same manner that they have for more than a century. Over 100,000 pieces are laundered every day and hung to dry on seemingly unending clotheslines, then ironed, and delivered to far reaching areas of Mumbai. The profession is passed on from generation to generation.

Continue your exploration by driving further on Marine Drive and go up Malabar Hill where the Hanging Gardens provide a panoramic view of the city and bay. In the middle of the afternoon, avoiding the infamous Mumbai rush hour traffic, you are driven back to your hotel to enjoy its surroundings, views, and extensive facilities.
(Overnight – The Trident Nariman Point)

Day 17. Mumbai – Cochin. (Breakfast and Lunch)        Overnight – Brunton Boatyard


You are assisted with your check-out in the morning and driven to Mumbai Airport. You are assisted with boarding your no-frills flight (only nonstop options available) to Cochin. Lunch will be after arrival at Cochin, in the main restaurant of an upscale hotel next to Cochin Airport (Fort Kochi is an hour and a half drive from the airport) – very good western and Indian cuisine options will be available at the buffet.

Brunton Boatyard

Brunton Boatyard

After lunch you are driven to historic Fort Kochi and your wonderful boutique historical lodge and assisted with your check-in.

You are at leisure to freshen-up and enjoy the facilities for a couple of hours. Your lodge serves amazing coastal Keralan cuisine, which is completely different from Indian cuisine most visitors have ever experienced and blends the flavors of the many foreign cultures that influenced this spice trading city in the past many centuries. There are great views, very good Ayurvedic massages, fascinating cultural walks, and a lot more.

Evening - Your Easy Tours Facilitator will pick you up from your hotel and accompany you to a local theatre where you will experience Kerala’s ancient performing art - a Kathakali performance. Kathakali literally means the art of storytelling through dance and it is an ancient forefather of many South Asian dance forms.
(Overnight – Brunton Boatyard)

Day 18: Cochin. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)        Overnight – Brunton Boatyard


This day will start with a 5-minute drive from your hotel to the most photogenic of Cochin’s attractions, the Chinese fishing nets.

Chinese Fishing Nets

Chinese Fishing Nets, Cochin

Folklore will have it that these enormous nets (or at least their design) were brought here by famed Chinese explorer Zhang He about 600 years ago. Local fishermen manipulate these massive nets with an ease that comes from centuries of generational experience.

Ownership of the net and its prized location is handed down from generation to generation. The lowering and raising of the nets, with the fishermen deftly walking up and down the angled wooden poles and manipulating them in and out of the water with thick, well-worn ropes, has a synchronicity and rhythm that is fascinating to observe.

Continue exploring more with an 8-to-10-minute walk through historic Fort Kochi’s charming streets and alleys that are surrounded by Portuguese, Dutch and British architecture, and full of chic small cafes, boutique stores, art galleries, and a lot more. Arrive at Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica and experience its impressive collection of colorful artworks. A 5 minute walk from here will bring you to the St. Francis Church, which was established by the Portuguese Franciscan Friars in 1503. This is the first European church built in India, and the famous Portuguese explorer, Vasco Da Gama, the first European to reach India by sea, was buried in its courtyard for a few years before his remains were returned to Portugal.

A 2-minute walk will bring you to David Hall, a 17th century historic building that has been painstakingly restored and houses a rotating selection of art exhibits, mainly focusing on young artists. David Hall is operated by the CGH Earth Group, a company that is quite possibly the most socially and environmentally progressive hotelier on our planet. The excellent and popular small café in the building will be your stop for lunch, and you will order ala carte. The food is CGH Earth quality, but here the focus is on casual Indian and western cuisine and drinks, including woodfired thin crust pizza’s prepared in an Indian clay oven – we strongly recommend trying the seafood topped ‘Fort Cochin’ Pizza!

After lunch a 10-minute drive through Fort Kochi will bring you to the Dutch Palace which was actually built by the Portuguese in 1555 and is famous for its detailed carved wooden murals depicting scenes from the Ramayana and the Puranic legends. Also known as Mattancherry Palace, this is an unattractive squat building that bears no similarity to the opulence of other palaces, or even mansions, in India. Very near the palace is the Jewish Synagogue which was built in 1568 and is still an active house of worship for the few remaining Jews in the area.

To get to the synagogue you will walk on Jew Street which runs through Jew Town – ancient street signs still identify these names! Fort Kochi’s ancient and colorful Jew Street now has antique stores and souvenir and art outlets. There was a Jewish presence in Kochi from 70 A.D. and the charming synagogue you will visit once was a busy house of worship for the locals. Return to your hotel for some relaxation and their wonderful service and facilities. Those who want to enjoy a 15-to-20-minute walk through Kochi’s interesting streets with your India Connoisseur Guide while the rest of the group is driven back.

Farewell Dinner: This evening you will join your fellow group explorers for a very special farewell dinner at your boutique hotel. You are encouraged to again don your Indian attire for this occasion. Menu options will include delicious fresh seafood and a lot more. Since your last evening in India will be spent on houseboats on the backwaters, where all three meals are included, we orchestrate the farewell dinner a night earlier.
(Overnight – Brunton Boatyard)

Day 19: Cochin – Backwaters. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)        Overnight – Deluxe Houseboat


You are assisted with check-out from your boutique lodge in the late morning and are driven to the backwaters.

Backwaters of Kerala

Backwaters of Kerala

Arrive at Alleppey and you are assisted in boarding your 2- or 3-bedroom houseboat.

Most descriptions and photographs of the backwaters illustrate the incredible lushness and beauty of the vegetation around the fresh water canals, rivulets and lakes, with the charming water bodies and the abundance of coconut trees and other exotic plants creating a subtropical environment not found elsewhere on this planet. To many of our guests the most charming part of their cruise is the opportunity to be part of a unique way of life that hasn’t changed much for a few centuries, because you are literally seeing life as the locals have lived for a long time in this area.

Although now there are small dirt and paved roads leading to most homes and other structures, the residents of this area have always depended on the waterways for most of their movement from one place to another, and this practice continues today. What appear as streams to you are their streets and alleys, and much of the time you are cruising through their backyards.

You will witness men, women and adolescents rowing themselves to their destination, children in crisp uniforms being rowed back from school, women doing their laundry and dishes by hand in the fresh water streams, fishermen and produce sellers rowing up to the backdoors of the small homes to sell their wares to housewives, farmers in their water-soaked fields, pier-stations with passengers waiting for the commuter longboats that ply these waters, children swimming and playing in the shallower streams, and a whole lot more. As you take in the amazing cornucopia of visual delights, the cook and other staff make sure that all your needs are taken care of, while serving you with freshly made local cuisine.
(Overnight – Deluxe Houseboat)

Day 20: Backwaters Cruise - Cochin or Delhi. (Breakfast and Lunch)        Overnight - Pullman Delhi OR Courtyard Cochin


Disembark from your houseboat after breakfast and you are driven to Vypin Island, which lies just off the route to Cochin Airport. Arrive and you begin your exploration of Cherai Beach, starting with the 19th century Azheekkal Temple. Among other facets, the temple’s Ratha (Chariot) is unique and very impressive. After this you will briefly visit the oldest European structure in India, the Portuguese Fort, which was built in 1503. Another brief stop will be at the Pallipuram Church, completed in 1577 by the Portuguese. There are some interesting artifacts in the church. This exploration is followed by a break for lunch, after which a leisurely walk on Cherai beach will offer both the coastline and colorful fisherman going about a plethora of different activities.

You will depart Vypin Island and head for the airport in the mid-afternoon, before rush hour starts causing delays.

Please note that the vast majority of international flights depart from Indian airports either very late at night, or early in the morning. Depending on your international flight reservations, you will be either flying back to Delhi, or flying out from Cochin itself.

Departing from Delhi: You will be assisted with your check-in for your flight to Delhi. You will be greeted by your Delhi Airport hotel staff at the greeting area, and driven to your upscale hotel in a private hotel vehicle.

Departing from Cochin: You will be assisted with check-in at your upscale Cochin Airport Hotel. A nominal flight cost reduction will apply for your tours pricing.
(Overnight - Pullman Delhi OR Courtyard Cochin)

Day 21: Delhi/Cochin Airport Hotel – International Flight. (Breakfast)


Check-out at the appropriate time (your room is available until noon) and a private hotel vehicle will transfer you to the airport where you will board your international flight.



Lodging

Delhi
The Imperial Delhi – Imperial Room
Varanasi
Taj Ganges – Luxury Room
Agra
Taj View Hotel by Taj Hotels – Executive Taj View Room
Ranthambore
Sawai Vilas – Villa
Jaipur
The Trident – Lake View Room
Narlai
Rawla Narlai – Grand Heritage Room
Udaipur
Vatsalya Vihar – Villa/Suite
Mumbai
Trident Nariman Point – Premier Ocean View room
Fort Kochi
Brunton Boatyard – Sea Facing Room
Backwaters
Deluxe Private Houseboat
Delhi Airport
OR
Cochin Airport
Pullman New Delhi Aerocity – Deluxe Room

Courtyard By Marriott – Executive Room

Experiences & Meals

The Best Accompanying India Connoisseur Guide
Sunrise and sunset boat cruises on the holy river in Varanasi
Sunrise and Sunset visits to the Taj Mahal
Private Benares Gharana music performance during sunrise cruise in Varanasi
2 Jeep Safaris at Ranthambore National Park
All safari related costs at Ranthambore, including park entry, naturalists, vehicle fees etc.
Leopard Jeep Safari or Ancient Boulder Ascent at Rawla Narlai
E-Rickshaw Ride in Old Delhi
Three Wheeler (tuk-tuk) scooter ride through the streets of Udaipur
Magical Stepwell Dinner Experience at your Royal Hunting Lodge at Narlai
All meals at your hunting lodge in Ranthambore
Welcome Dinner and Cultural Orientation in Delhi
Cooking Class & Special Brunch Experience at Udaipur
Special Farewell Dinner Experience at your hotel in Cochin
Daily breakfast except for Arrival Day
Daily lunch except for Arrival and Departure Days
Lunches/Dinners include regular bottled water
Bottled water during your drives, sightseeing, and at your hotels
WIFI at your hotels (Some hotels in India still charge for WIFI)
Kathakali Dance Performance at Cochin
Hotel check-in is at 3pm and checkout is at noon for almost all the hotels
All transfers and sightseeing by Upscale Mini Coach
All currently applicable taxes.

Flights on this Journey

Sector Class Baggage Allowance
Prepaid Increases Available
Delhi - Varanasi Coach Class 44 lb.
Varanasi - Agra Coach Class 44 lb.
Udaipur - Mumbai Coach Class 44 lb.
Mumbai - Cochin Coach Class 44 lb.
Cochin - Delhi Coach Class 44 lb.

Not Included

International Travel
Expenses of a personal nature like tips, laundry, telephone calls, etc.
All alcoholic and non-alcoholic premium beverages
Meals other than those specified above
Travel insurance, visa etc.
Camera and Video Camera Fees

Dates & Prices

Tour ID: ET-1303

Annual Summer Sale. From 8.5.22 to 8.20.22

Arrival Date Double or Single
Occupancy Price
On Tour
Flight Cost
Total Cost
Per Person
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Tour
Sep 30, 2022
$7200 $6500
$667 DBL - $7167
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Oct 14, 2022
$7200 $6500
$667 DBL - $7167
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Oct 25, 2022
$7200 $6500
$667 DBL - $7167
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Nov 18, 2022
$7200 $6500
$667 DBL - $7167
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Nov 30, 2022
$7200 $6500
$667 DBL - $7167
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Jan 06, 2023
$7200 $6500
$667 DBL - $7167
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Jan 27, 2023
$7200 $6500
$667 DBL - $7167
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Feb 10, 2023
$7200 $6500
$667 DBL - $7167
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Feb 22, 2023
$7600 $6900
$667 DBL - $7567 Includes Holi Festival

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Mar 03, 2023
$7200 $6500
$667 DBL - $7167
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Mar 17, 2023
$7200 $6500
$667 DBL - $7167
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Mar 24, 2023
$7200 $6500
$667 DBL - $7167
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