All tours are not created equal. If you are searching for great value on an excellent tour that includes top rated boutique lodging, we strongly recommend that you take the time to read the detailed itinerary below.
Easy Tours can include your international flights upon request. If you would like to make your own reservations, we can make recommendations for the best airlines and routing, whether you are using miles/points, or paying for your airfare.
Day 1: Arrive at Delhi - most flights arrive either in the evening or at night, and we strongly 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 hotel stay can be added at the time of reservation. Your stay at the iconic Delhi Oberoi includes access to the exclusive Resident’s Lounge with its associated benefits.
Our services begin here. You are greeted at the airport by an Easy Tours Travel Facilitator or your personal Tour Director, and ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. You are then driven to your boutique luxury hotel and assisted with your check-in. The next day’s plans are briefly reviewed and you are presented with your welcome package. This package includes travel documents such as your air tickets and hotel vouchers, as well as copies of documents (such as our General Travel Guide) that were sent to you earlier.
Culinary Experiences: Please note that Easy Tours offers a variety of culinary experiences, designed around our guests’ preferences. There are Cooking Lessons and Dining Experiences available at private homes, as well as from the master chefs at your beautiful hotels and resorts. These experiences can include visits to local markets where you will join the chef in procuring ingredients for the meal that will be prepared. Please let your Guest Relations Manager know if you are interested after you have reserved your tour, and a menu will be sent to you for your review. Or you can ask us to adjust this Itinerary to accommodate these experiences, which can include an additional day to accommodate your preferences.
Golf in Delhi: An additional day at Delhi can also include 9 or 18 holes on this day at the iconic British Raj era Delhi Golf Club, at a nominal additional charge. You will be on greens that are dotted with amazing centuries old monuments. The Club is located right next to your beautiful hotel, and everything you may need or want, including clubs are available at the facility. All arrangements can be made by your Guest Relations Manager once your tour is finalized.
Day 2: Delhi. Begin your exploration of India with a guided city tour of New Delhi. This excursion begins with a drive through Lutyens’ New Delhi. This drive will include photo opportunities at the following attractions - the exterior of the massive and awe-inspiring Rashtrapati Bhawan (known as Viceroy’s House during the British era) and Delhi’s landmark structure India Gate. From here you will be driven to visit the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara. This gold domed Sikh Temple is the most prominent Gurudwara in Delhi and is associated with the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan. It was first built as a small temple by Sikh General Sardar Bhagel Singh in 1783, who supervised the construction of nine Sikh shrines in Delhi during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Alam. The campus includes the temple, a kitchen, a school, an art gallery, and the holy pond (Sarovar), whose water is called Amrit (Holy Nectar). As with all Sikh Gurudwaras, the concept of langar (community meal) is practiced here and anyone may eat in the Gurudwaras Kitchen. Thousands of meals are prepared daily and served to all visitors, regardless of race, religion or other status. The food is prepared by the religious leaders who are assisted by scores of local volunteers. You will witness the fascinating processes of cooking, serving and cleanup for these countless meals. Only vegetarian food is served, so that no religion’s dietary restrictions are violated. After the langar ceremony, you will drive through Connaught Place, which is New Delhi’s downtown.
There is a break for lunch.
After lunch, you have the option to drive to the nearby National Museum (if this day happens to be a Monday the museum visit will occur on the next day), the crown jewel of India’s Museums, for a very short tour. If museums are not your cup of tea, your Tour Director will offer alternatives to this highly recommended experience. The museum is charged in its mission statement with being “the epitome of national identity”, a goal that it undoubtedly achieves. There is a plethora of exhibits and artifacts and a comprehensive tour would take well over a day. Our visit will be brief, and your Tour Director will walk you through the Pre History Gallery’s Harrapan Collection and its displays from the Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished on the banks of the river of the same name. Most visitors to India are unaware of the fact that this was the most advanced and widespread of the world’s three oldest civilizations, and that the nation of India derived its name from this magnificent river. You will be amazed by the sophistication of the exhibits of pottery, tools, coins, jewelry and other artifacts that range from 10,000 BC to 1000 BC. Please let us know if you would like a more extended visit while finalizing your tour reservation process.
The last part of this excursion is the awe-inspiring Qutab Minar (1193 A.D.). This 239 ft tall medieval tower is a symbol of victory and a beautiful example of Persian architecture from that period. There is a winding stairway inside the tower that goes up all the way to the balcony at the very top of the tower - unfortunately they are no longer accessible for visitors. The Qutab Minar and its Monuments are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Within the Qutab complex, amidst the ruins of the Quwat-ul-Islam Mosque, stands one of the legendary Ashoka Pillars. This large iron pillar has withstood the ravages of Delhi’s weather (and recent pollution) and has not rusted in over 1500 years.
From the Qutab Minar you will be driven back to your hotel.
Day 3: Delhi. Continue your exploration of Delhi with a guided city tour of Old Delhi. This tour begins with the amazing Red Fort. Both the Jama Masjid (Mosque) and this massive structure were built by Shah Jahan, the emperor who created the Taj Mahal. 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 also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an amazing example of a blend of Persian, Indian and European architecture.
One of your most enduring memories of India will be your next experience as you drive, walk and ride through the ancient city's streets and alleys. You will enjoy a fascinating rickshaw ride, and an extended walk with your Tour Director, through the crowded ancient alleys of Chandni Chowk. The cacophony of sounds, from the cries of hawkers and the animated bargaining, sounds which have echoed through the centuries, to the modern motor horns, all combine to make for a unique experience. The riot of colors further adds to the sensory overload, as do the diverse smells emanating from the street food stalls and spice markets that form part of the bazaar.
Next is an exploration of 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.
There is a break for lunch.
After lunch a short drive will deliver you to an oasis of calm and serenity, which also happens to be your last destination in Old Delhi. The cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi (Raj Ghat) is a simple yet stirring memorial to the father of the nation. Lush lawns extend beyond the enclosure surrounding the black marble platform occupying the spot where the Mahatma was cremated. An eternal flame burns next to the platform.
From here you will drive to visit 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. It is Delhi’s third UNESCO World Heritage Site and its amazing architecture and the elaborate gardens will captivate you as your Tour Director explains the unique architectural and historic facets of this monument.
After exploring the tomb you will be driven back to your hotel.
Day 4: Delhi - Agra. You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel in the mid-morning and you are driven to Agra on North India’s newest highway. Arrive at Agra and there is a break for lunch. After lunch, you will be driven to your iconic luxury resort, where you will be assisted with your check-in.
Enjoy a sunset visit to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the incomparable Taj Mahal. The world’s greatest monument dedicated to love is obviously a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 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 and it took twenty two years to complete. When you experience the Taj Mahal with an Easy Tours Tour Director who shares unique insights into its innumerable facets, some of their passion for this masterpiece may rub off on you. Explore the amazing Taj and its surroundings until it is time to admire the sun’s rays setting on the façade of the world’s finest monument.
Day 5: Agra. Enjoy a visit to the magnificent Taj Mahal at sunrise - the best time to see it during most of the year! Due to it being more expensive for Indian tourists at that time, and the early hour, the massive monument and its surrounding Mughal gardens are a lot less crowded than in the afternoon. As the rising sun’s rays illuminate the precious stones inlaid in the marble, they will gleam momentarily as the marble’s color changes. Return to your resort after this and enjoy breakfast.
You are at leisure for a couple of hours to enjoy the amazing facilities and view of your resort. Join your Tour Director for an afternoon of exploration after lunch.
From here you will proceed for a walk through Agra’s ancient and iconic Kinari Bazaar. Although this has similarities to Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi, there are enough unique elements to this crowded and lively market where all sorts of goods are sold, from spices to clothing to crafts and much, much more. The exotic smells emanating from the colorful street food stalls, the sounds of the negotiating buyers and sellers, the sight of cows meandering docilely through the crowds, all combine to make an experience that you will not forget.
After your walk through the bazaar you will visit the first red sandstone fort of North India, the Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built in 1565 by India’s greatest Mughal ruler, Emperor Akbar. 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.
After the fort you will be driven back to your resort.
Day 6: Agra - Ranthambore. You are assisted with your check-out from your resort and then you are driven to the Chand Baori stepwell at Abhaneri, located just off the Agra - Jaipur highway. We recommend that you get a packed meal from your resort as the dining options along the way are not especially hygienic. Chand Baori is a unique monument that is located next to a charming Rajasthani village. The massive 10th century Chand Baori stepwell is one of the most impressive in all of India. The depth of the stepwell is that of a modern 7 storey building, and there are stairs leading down to the bottom from three of the 100 foot plus (35 meters) four sides of the opening. Enjoy a guided exploration of the stepwell and then you will walk through the small village to get a glimpse of the lives of the simple but proud Rajasthani villagers. There will be young boys and girls herding goats, sheep, and cows around the area, camels carrying loads for their owners, and many other experiences that are only found in rural India. There are potters huts that you can stop at, as well as ladies weaving traditional garments, as well as opportunities to view many other indigenous activities. This is not a disguised effort to sell local wares, as is often found in tourism destinations. These are real villagers, and their simplicity, warmth, and hospitality will captivate you.
After this 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 multiple photo opportunities of the colorful villagers as they go about their daily activities. You will also encounter many camels and other livestock on this drive. You are greeted on arrival at your amazing luxury jungle resort and assisted with your check-in.
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 many of them getting multiple sightings.
Day 7: Ranthambore. Covering an area of 410 square kilometers, Ranthambore National Park runs along the eastern spur of the Aravali mountain range until it meets with the Vindhya ranges. Ranthambore was once the Jaipur rulers’ private hunting ground. In 1972 it was declared a Sanctuary and was brought under the Project Tiger Conservation platform. 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. This varied flora supports a large number of animals including a variety of deer, the sloth bear, the shy caracal, leopards and of course, the tiger.
Enjoy Private Jeep wildlife safaris into the park in the morning and evening.
In between safaris, you have the option of a guided visit to the Ranthambore Fort. This excursion does have a fairly steep climb with approximately 700 feet of stairs. The massive Fort is one of the finest examples of the ancient Hindu concept of Vana-Durg, or a fort protected by a jungle. The history of this Fort (originally built in 944 A.D.) is a chronicle full of tales of blood and valor. Successively occupied by the Muslims, Rajputs 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. There is also an ancient temple located in the fort which attracts a continuous stream of pilgrims from the surrounding villages. A little note of caution – a large number of aggressive langurs (South Asian monkeys) have made the Fort area their home and it is not advisable to have food or shiny objects visible in your hands as you tour the fort as they will be snatched away.
Day 8: Ranthambore - Jaipur. Enjoy your last Private Jeep safari into Ranthambore in the morning. Return to your resort after the safari to freshen up and have breakfast. You are at leisure for a while so that you can freshen up, after which you are assisted with your check-out from your jungle resort and then you will enjoy lunch at the resort. After lunch you are driven to Jaipur. Sawai Madhopur itself (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 Jaipur. The first half of this drive is also through rural Rajasthan and there are multiple photo opportunities. You are assisted with your check-in at your boutique luxury resort upon your arrival at Jaipur.
Day 9: Jaipur. Start your day with an excursion to the Amber Fort and Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located a short distance from the walled city. You will be driven to the rear entrance of the monument. The massive Fort complex was originally built by Raja Mansingh and is one of India’s finest examples of Rajput architecture. Explore the chambers and hallways, which are famous for their exquisite designs and handcrafted embellishments. Return to the valley beneath the Fort and there is a break for lunch.
Begin your exploration of the walled city of Jaipur, including the magnificent City Palace. You will visit Jantar Mantar (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), which is the fascinating stone observatory built by Raja Jai Singh in 1728. Among other instruments, it includes a giant sun dial that is accurate to within 2 seconds. After the observatory comes a photo opportunity of the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Wind). 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. Continue the tour with an exploration of the City Palace, the former royal residence (a part of which is still occupied by the Royal family and is not accessible to the public), built in a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles. This immense complex also houses a number of museums that offer a large and impressive collection of costumes, armory and miniature paintings.
Next you will take a stroll with your Tour Director through the pink bazaar in the heart of the old town, and watch the locals as they bargain for their everyday necessities. You will also enjoy a brief stop for a tour of a collection of Rajput turbans. A turban tying demonstration is included, as are turban and Sari tying lessons.
Day 10: Jaipur. You are at leisure on this day to enjoy the amazing facilities at your resort, or to venture out with your Tour Director on one of the below mentioned experiences. We need to mention here that guests that stay at the Oberoi Vilas Hotels only have one complaint at the end of their tour. This complaint is invariably that they wish they had more time to enjoy the incredible facilities at these resorts. The Oberoi Rajvilas has a wonderful spa, expansive facilities, activities and gardens, including a three century old living Shiva Temple near its magnificent pool, which local villagers discreetly visit during part of the day.
GOLF: You have the option to play 9 or 18 holes on this day at the prestigious Rambagh Golf Club, at a nominal additional charge. Everything you may need or want, including clubs, are available at the facility. All arrangements can be made by your Guest Relations Manager once your tour is finalized.
You also have the option to enjoy one of the following excursions at no additional charge, if you are so inclined.
A). Your Tour Director and chauffeur are available to you from 10 AM to 6 PM to explore more of Jaipur, or to shop for some of India’s most amazing creations. Jaipur is India’s shopping Mecca, and your Tour Director will serve as your personal shopper. A partial exploration of Jaipur, or a shopping excursion, can also be combined with the activities listed below.
B). Sanganer and Bagru Excursions: Enjoy a full day guided excursion to the small town of Sanganer and onwards to Bagru Village, or a half day excursion to just Sanganer.
Sanganer is home to a very large textile printing industry. There are hundreds of families that work on these crafts in their homes, and you will visit a few of them and watch as they skillfully transform plain white cloth into beautiful designs. Sanganeri printed fabrics became popular in the 16th and 17th centuries in much of Europe and they were one of the major exports of the East India Company. Dyeing of Sanganeri printed textile is done by using natural vegetable colors and the finished cloth initially emits a very pleasant smell. Sanganer is famous for its Calico printed bed covers, quilts and saris. In Calico printing, the outlines are first printed, and then the color is filled in. Bold patterns and colors are popular. They are printed repeatedly in diagonal rows. Doo Rookhi printing is also famous here. In this technique, artists print on both sides of the cloth. Sanganeri prints are famous for their delicate floral sprigs. After the textile printing exploration, you will visit the facilities of families that are involved in making handmade paper. This fascinating process has been going on in Sanganer for almost 300 years. From here you will visit Sanganer’s ancient Jain temple, Shri Digambara. This large fascinating house of worship is purported to be well over a millennia old and there are a plethora of Jain statues to be found here.
There is a break for lunch, after which you will either return to your resort, or continue on to Bagru.
After lunch you will proceed on a short drive to the village of Bagru. The women of this village specialize in Rajasthani apparel and home furnishings embroidery. These local craftsmen are experts at embroidering mirror pieces, beads and other adornments into their colorful fabrics. These adornments embellish the three garments most commonly worn by Rajasthani women - the Kanchli, Ghaghra and Odhni. Men’s garments like the Angarkha, Achkan and Jama also use elements of the same embroidery. Household items like bedspreads, wall hangings and even animal trappings use the same embroidered embellishments.
In the late afternoon you will be driven back to Jaipur and your resort.
C). Pratham School Visit: This morning, you can visit a Pratham School. Pratham is the largest nonprofit organization working in the area of primary education in India. An exemplary charity (Charity Navigator states that over 94% of all donations received are spent directly on its stated goals) Pratham Rajasthan runs Urban Programs in the slums around Jaipur city to provide a quality education to disadvantaged children. The program aims to improve the learning levels of these children and directly addresses the severe drop-out rates among children from the slum areas. This visit can be highly enlightening and uplifting and will require a couple of hours. The schools are open Monday - Friday until early afternoon.
Day 11: Jaipur - Udaipur. You are at leisure this morning to enjoy the amazing facilities and views of your resort. You are assisted with your check-out from your resort at noon and then there is a break for lunch. After lunch you are driven to the airport, where you are assisted with boarding your late afternoon flight to Udaipur. You are greeted upon arrival at the Udaipur airport and driven to your spectacular lakefront resort where you are assisted with your check-in.
Day 12: Udaipur. Proceed for a city tour, including a tour of the fabled City Palace. At this Palace complex, explore the beautifully decorated rooms with thousands of exquisite, handcrafted mirrors that cover the walls, the ancient ivory doors (a dark reminder of Indian royalty’s passion for hunting), the 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 hotel and Jag Mandir Island. Enjoy a private 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.
There will be a break for lunch (not included) at a time of your choosing. The boutique café inside the City Palace complex is a recommended option for lighter fare.
After lunch you will enjoy a cruise on Lake Pichola and visit the historical and beautiful monuments at Jag Mandir Island (if available – the royal family at Udaipur will occasionally rent out the island for large celebrations, and on those occasions the island cannot be visited by tourists).
Late afternoon: 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 short drive up the hill takes you through a protected wildlife sanctuary and occasional wildlife sightings can be experienced. Enjoy the spectacular sunset from this vantage point before returning to your resort.
Day 13: Udaipur. You are at leisure on this day to enjoy the amazing facilities and views of your resort, or to venture out with your Tour Director to explore more of charming Udaipur, or to enjoy the below mentioned excursion. The Oberoi Udaivilas has won Travel & Leisure US reader’s poll as the #1 luxury resort in the world twice in the last few years. It has an excellent spa, and 50 acres of grounds that include about 20 acres of a wildlife refuge that is home to local fauna.
You also have the option to enjoy the following excursion at no charge, if you are so inclined.
This morning you will enjoy (a little over an hour) scenic drive to Delwara, a small rural town in the Aravali Hills. This community is very different from most of you will experience, as the locals are very industrious and progressive and evidence of this is visible everywhere.
Delwara once had more than a thousand temples, from which it got the name devkul paton nagri, the town of gods.
Your exploration will commence with Sadhna, a handloom textile cooperative owned jointly by about 700 women. Walk through their large workshop and watch the women create garments and other products from vividly colored fabrics. Next will come a stop a picturesque old stepwell. You will walk through alleys that have a combination of ancient homes and modern concrete structures. Of particular interest is how the small town has blocks where people of the same profession (caste) reside, albeit in perfect harmony with their neighbors.
Your tour will end at the 900 year old Parshvanathji Bhagwan Temple, where you can admire some recently unearthed ancient statues and carvings.
After this you can return to your resort for a late lunch, or be escorted to the iconic Devigarh Fortress, an 18th century royal abode that is perched on a hilltop next to Delwara and currently operates as a luxury boutique Hotel.
You have the option to order an ala-carte lunch or to enjoy the famous Rajasthani Thali lunch at the Fortress.
After lunch you will enjoy the drive back to Udaipur.
Day 14: Udaipur - Mumbai. You are at leisure on this day to enjoy the amazing facilities and views of your resort. You are assisted with your check-out from your resort by noon and then there is a break for lunch (not included) at lakefront restaurant. After lunch you will enjoy a walk through some of the streets of Udaipur. Laid back Udaipur is one of India’s best places to explore on foot, and your Tour Director will take you around interesting parts, including parks and small local bazaars of this charming city with its small town atmosphere. You will also enjoy a three-wheeler (Tuk Tuk) ride through the streets. After the walk you are driven to the airport in time to board your early evening flight to Mumbai. You are greeted upon arrival at the Mumbai airport and driven to your hotel where you are assisted with your check-in. Your gorgeous Hotel has one of the best locations in Mumbai and the views of the massive bay, the Queen’s Necklace (Marine Drive), and the city of Mumbai, are spectacular. The area in front of 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 promenade and street vendors hawk their wares to them, from street food to toys to foot massages!
Day 15: Mumbai. Proceed for a guided city tour of Mumbai. The tour begins at the Prince of Wales Museum, built to commemorate King George V’s first visit to India in 1905. Designed in the Indo-Saracenic style, the museum has sections of art, paintings, archeological exhibits and natural history. After the museum tour you will visit the famous Dhobi Ghat and observe the age old tradition of the Dhobi’s doing Mumbai’s laundry!
There is a break for lunch.
Continue the tour with a drive up to Malabar Hill where the hanging gardens give a panoramic view of the city and the Queen’s Necklace (Marine Drive). The tour then takes a drive through the Flora Fountain and Fort area where you can view the impressive Gothic and Victorian buildings that were constructed during the British Raj. Visit the Victoria Terminus (now known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus). It is India’s finest example of Gothic architecture and one of the world’s busiest railway stations.
Drive around Horniman Circle and visit the Town Hall, right beside the docks of Mumbai. Visit the city’s signature landmark, The 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.
After this you are driven back to your hotel.
Day 16: Mumbai - Aurangabad. You are at leisure in the morning to relax and enjoy the facilities and views of your hotel and the fascinating area surrounding it. You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel at noon and then there is a break for lunch. After lunch you are driven to Mumbai airport in time to board your late afternoon flight to Aurangabad. You are greeted upon arrival at the Aurangabad airport and driven to your upscale hotel (where your room will be a suite) and assisted with your check-in. Please note that this is the best lodging option at Aurangabad, as Aurangabad has no luxury hotels.
Day 17: Aurangabad. The Ajanta & Ellora monuments and caves (both are, individually, UNESCO World Heritage Sites) near Aurangabad are widely recognized as India’s most amazing archeological sites. We have had many of our guests’ wonder why they are not standard on most other tours. A recent guest, who has been to over 90 countries, said that they “blow Angkor Wat out of the water”.
Enjoy a full day guided excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ajanta. We recommend that you take advantage of a packed snack that the hotel provides for its guests, for both today’s and tomorrow’s excursions. Buddhist monks and local craftsmen began excavating, sculpting, and painting at Ajanta in the 2nd century B.C. The incredible variety of paintings and sculpture were created in hard rock by using primitive yet ingenious lighting, tools and materials. These 28 caves are a testimony to the devotion of the Buddhists, as well as the talents of their skilled craftsmen.
Of particular interest is the concept of Vertical Excavation. When your Easy Tours Tour Director passionately explains this concept and describes the processes, you will be awed by the achievements of the craftsmen. Although the caves themselves are very impressive in their design and massive volume of sculpturing and excavation, it is the art inside the caves that will take your breath away. The incredible artistry and colors of the paintings and sculptures is unique – such art has not been seen anywhere else, not just in India, but anywhere in the world. Ajanta's incredible paintings are even more impressive considering that the color and texture you're admiring today was created by artists about two thousand years ago.
After exploring the caves at Ajanta you will be driven back to Aurangabad and your hotel.
Day 18: Aurangabad - Mumbai. You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel and then you will proceed for a guided excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ellora. Explore the magnificently sculptured cave temples and monasteries of Ellora. There are 34 Caves here, and any one of them would individually be considered a significant attraction in most nations. They were built between 600 - 1000 A.D. and are devoted to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. Seventeen of these caves illustrate a resurgence of Hinduism in this area, as reflected by their Hindu themes, sculpture and art. The epitome of this is Cave 16, the awe-inspiring Kailash Temple. It was finished during the 8th century and is supposed to evoke one of the abodes of Lord Shiva, Mount Kailash in the Himalayas.
The Kailash Temple is notable for its immense scale and detail; it is the most awe-inspiring of all of the amazing monuments at Ajanta/Ellora. More than 200,000 tons of rock was excavated and six generations of craftsmen worked for a hundred and twenty years to create this masterpiece.
On your way back from the caves, time permitting you will stop at Daulatabad Fort. This 14th century hilltop Fort is an impressive sight but what will amaze you is your Tour Director’s illustration of the multiple ingenious architectural facets that were used to make it virtually impregnable. The once sloping sides of the massive stone hill were manually carved sheer on all sides so that no one could climb straight to the top.
After this tour, you are driven to Aurangabad airport in time to board your evening flight to Mumbai. You will bid farewell to your North India Tour Director at the airport. You are greeted at the airport by a hotel representative and ushered to a hotel vehicle. You are then driven to your airport hotel where you will check-in.
Day 19: Mumbai - Cochin - Kumarakom. Check-out of your hotel and you are driven to the airport where you will board the morning flight to Cochin. You are greeted on arrival at the Cochin airport and then you proceed on the fairly short drive to Kumarakom. Check-in at your magical lakefront resort upon your arrival at Kumarakom.
Your luxury resort offers a variety of unique local activities as well as great places to walk around in. The resort has some of Kerala’s best Ayurvedic practitioners and a therapeutic treatment is highly recommended – the staff at the resort will assist you in planning this.
You are at leisure for the rest of the afternoon to enjoy the amazing views and facilities of your resort.
You may want to consider adding a day here to luxuriate in the tropical paradise that is your resort. The resort offers a plethora of activities, some of which are chargeable. Here is their description of the possibilities - Bird Sanctuary Visits, Sightseeing Trip to Kottayam, Cycling, Village Walks, are some of the activities that can be experienced around the resort. While at the resort guests can enjoy evening shows of Kerala's traditional dance drama and music, have a game of billiards, try a hand at fishing, learn pottery or weaving.
Day 20: Kumarakom - Backwaters cruise on Oberoi MV Vrinda. You are at leisure until the late morning when you will be assisted with check-out from your resort and driven to a jetty on the backwaters. Your destination today is the Oberoi group’s MS Vrinda that plies these inland lakes and waterways known as the Kerala Backwaters.
Oberoi MV Vrinda follows a schedule that changes on alternate days, so the second day in the description below shows both options, as your travel dates will determine which schedule applies to you. Both options are equally interesting.
You will join your fellow passengers when you embark on the vessel for your two day adventure. Once all guests are on board, Vrinda sets sail along the main waterway on Vembanad Lake and enters the Alleppey canal. Guests could actively participate with the local fishermen and understand the life cycle of "karimeen" also known as "pearl spot".
Lunch will be served on board.
The cruiser sails along the scenic waterways for four hours and returns to the Vembanad Lake in time to watch the sunset. Later in the evening, guests enjoy a performance of the highly ritualized "Kathakali" dance which tells stories from the ancient Hindu epics - Ramayana and Mahabharata. Performances begin with the application of elaborate makeup which is based in traditional Ayurvedic principles. The vessel will anchor for the night at the Vembanad Lake jetty.
Dinner is on board.
Day 21: Backwaters cruise. On board Vrinda, with a rice boat excursion. Motor Vessel Vrinda will sail from the Vembanad Lake jetty and head south, towards Alleppey. Breakfast will be served on board. Sailing through scenic backwaters, guests can observe life along these "water highways" while passing through one of the few areas in the world where farming is done below sea level. Guests will be transferred to a traditional rice boat to navigate through the narrower sections of the backwaters. For the next few hours, guests will observe and experience a way of life unique to this region, accompanied by a guide. This section of the cruise includes a visit to the half-statue of Lord Buddha at Karumadi and a traditional Kerala tharavad (family residence).
Later in the day, guests return to Motor Vessel Vrinda where lunch will be served as the boat passes through picturesque stretches of the backwaters on the way back to Alleppey, known as the "Venice of the East". Motor Vessel Vrinda will return to Vembanad Lake, where guests can enjoy Vrinda Vadiyam a musical fusion of classical instruments.
Motor Vessel Vrinda will anchor for the night at the Vembanad Lake jetty.
Dinner is on board.
Motor Vessel Vrinda will sail from the Vembanad Lake jetty and head South, past Kanjippadam. Vrinda will anchor near Chambakulam where guests will transfer onto the rice boat once again for a pre-lunch sightseeing excursion. Guests will visit St. Mary's Church, established by St. Thomas in 1721 and Sree Bhagavathy Kshetram - a 100-year old Hindu temple to Mother Goddess - at Nedumudy. Guests can also explore the Chambakulam snake boat yard, which displays one of the traditional long snake boats used in races. To further the understanding and appreciation of this experience, a qualified guide will be present on board for the full day after cruising through the backwaters in the afternoon, Motor Vessel Vrinda will return to Vembanad Lake, where guests can enjoy a "Mohiniattam" recital on board. This classical dance form, distinctive to Kerala, is also called the 'Dance of the Enchantress'. Dancers attired in beautiful traditional costumes perform with slow, graceful movements and highly emotive expressions.
Dinner is on board.
Day 22: Backwaters - Cochin - International/Mumbai/Delhi Flight. Motor Vessel Vrinda will sail North along the main waterway channel on the Vembanad Lake and head South, past Pallathurathy.
Breakfast will be served on board; following which guests will check out by 10:00 am.
Disembark from your houseboat and then you are driven to historic Fort Kochi. Arrive at Fort Kochi in about 1.5 hours and you will break for lunch at a time of your choosing.
Start your exploration of the fascinating port city of Cochin and marvel in its culture and architecture, a result of centuries of various European influences combined with rich indigenous history. The tour begins from The Dutch Palace, also known as Mattancherry Palace, built by Portuguese in 1555, which is famous for its murals depicting scenes from the Ramayana and the Puranic legends. Please note that the Dutch Palace is a squat building that bears no similarity to the opulence of other palaces, or even mansions, of India. Not far from the palace is the Jewish Synagogue (closed on Fridays and Saturdays), which was built in 1568 and is still an active house of worship for the few remaining Jews in the area. Next to the synagogue is Cochin’s ancient and colorful Jew Street with its antique stores and souvenir peddlers. There is evidence of a Jewish presence in Kochi from 70 A.D. After the synagogue you visit the St. Francis Church, which was established by the Portuguese Franciscan friars in 1503. This is one of the first European churches built in India, and the famed Vasco Da Gama was buried in its courtyard for a few years before his remains were returned to Portugal.
You now visit the most photogenic of Cochin’s attractions, the Chinese fishing nets. 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 practice – it is a vocation handed down by generations. The lowering and raising of the nets has a synchronicity and rhythm that is quite an amazing experience. Some of the nets are more than a century old as the fishermen patch them up and keep going.
After this you are driven to the Cochin airport (at about 4:00 PM so as to avoid the Cochin area’s rush hour), which is about 1.5 hours from Fort Kochi.
Departure Option 1: If you are boarding your international flight from Cochin, since most international flights depart early the next morning, you are assisted with check-in at your airport hotel - your room will have been reserved for this night, so you will have the full use of your hotel's facilities right up until it’s time to board your international flight. The Courtyard by Marriott at Cochin airport is far more upscale when compared to most Courtyards elsewhere, and is located next to the airport, with a complimentary shuttle.
Departure Option 2: If you are boarding a daytime flight to Mumbai/Delhi (flight cost is included) in order to connect with your international departure from that city, you will have two options.
Departure Option 2A: If your international flight departure is less than four hours from your scheduled arrival time at the domestic terminal at Mumbai/Delhi, you will ask the airline staff to assist you with checking in for your next flight (occasionally this may require a transfer to another terminal - airport coaches are available) - OR Departure Option 2B: If your international flight is scheduled to depart later, additional services/accommodation can be quoted upon request to match with your international flight.
Our services end at Cochin airport.
The Oberoi New Delhi - Premier Plus Room
Oberoi Amarvilas - Premier Balcony Taj View Room
Oberoi Vanya Vilas - Luxury Tent
Oberoi Rajvilas - Premier Room
Oberoi Udaivilas - Premier Room
The Oberoi Mumbai - Premier Ocean View Room
Taj Vivanta Aurangabad - Deluxe Allure Suite
The Leela - Royal Club
Kumarakom Lake Resort - Meandering Pool Villa
Oberoi MV Vrinda - Deluxe Cabin
6th Jan, 2020
15th Apr, 2020
1st Oct, 2020
20th Dec, 2020