The Best Places India

- 17 Days


Day 1: Delhi Arrival Greeting & Transfer to Hotel.

You are greeted in the arrival greeting area and ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. You are now driven to your wonderful hotel and assisted with your check-in if it is 3 pm or later. 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. The next day’s plans are briefly discussed and you are at leisure until we pick you up in the morning of the next day. Welcome to India, home to incredible historical monuments, a plethora of natural wonders, and the world’s most colorful culture.

(Overnight – Maidens Hotel)

Day 2: Delhi.

Qutab Minar. Start your exploration of New Delhi with a drive 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. 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.

Iron Pillar. 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.

Lutyens’s New Delhi. From here you will proceed for a drive through some of Lutyens’ historic New Delhi. Your drive will take you through Delhi’s Diplomatic Enclave on tree lined avenues surrounded by embassies of the world’s major nations. You will stop for a view of the exterior of the massive and awe-inspiring Rashtrapati Bhawan, home to Inia’s President. From here one can 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.

Humayun’s Tomb (UWHS). After a break for lunch, continue with a visit 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 - its striking beauty and flawless proportions will captivate you.

Lodi Gardens. A short drive will bring you to the historic and 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.

Street Art District. 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.

(Overnight – Maidens Hotel)

Day 3: Delhi.

Old Delhi: Experience some of the wonders left behind by the legendary Mughal Empire, our planet’s greatest ruling dynasty during the 16th and 17th century. Their control stretched over a vast region well beyond India, and you will experience many of their awe-inspiring creations. The Taj Mahal, Red Fort, and Agra Fort are just a few of their UNESCO World Heritage sites that you will experience.

North India, its cuisines, racial makeup, and a lot more is heavily influenced by the Mughal’s long rule. The result is an incredible fusion of cultures and styles in the cuisine, fine arts, architecture, social taboos, and a lot more.

Red Fort. Start your discovery of Old Delhi at 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 (that you will visit later today) were built by Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor who created the Taj Mahal.

Chandni Chowk Bazaar. After a break for lunch, 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 + E-Rickshaw Ride. 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 exploring the mosque, you will avoid the worst of Delhi’s rush hour on the drive back to your hotel.

(Overnight – Maidens Hotel)

Day 4: Delhi - Varanasi.

Flight to Varanasi. Your Guide ushers you through the airport and assists with checking in for your early afternoon flight to Varanasi. Upon landing you will be driven to your Hotel and assisted with your check-in. This India’s holiest city is said to be the oldest continuously inhabited city on our planet, with a history that dates back five millennia. Among the cardinal ancient Hindu Tenets is their belief that being cremated here can free their soul from the cycle of death and rebirth.

Sunset Cruise on the Ganga. 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 site for their earthly remains to depart from this world so that their souls can achieve salvation.

Ganga Aarti Ceremony. As the sun starts setting our boat excursion pauses for a close-up view of 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 5: Varanasi.

Sunrise cruise on the Ganga. After a pre-dawn hot beverage and cookies, join your 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.

Sunset Cruise on the Ganga. 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.

Leisure and Lunch. Return to your palace to have breakfast, and then you are at leisure to freshen up and relax after a very early start.

Ancient Ghats and Alleys. After lunch 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.

(Overnight – Taj Ganges)

Day 6: Varanasi - Kolkata.

Flight to the City of Love – You are assisted with your checkout and driven to the airport and assisted in boarding your late morning flight to Kolkata. Arrive at Kolkata and you are greeted and driven to your Hotel and assisted with your check-in.

About The City of Love. The British East India Company built a riverine port at Kolkata in the late 17th century and the area rapidly evolved into a vibrant city. Kolkata was the capital of British India from 1772 until 1911, and witnessed significant cultural and architectural influences from British rule, evident in its colonial-era buildings and institutions. Today, Kolkata is a bustling metropolis and the commercial and financial hub of eastern India.

The Bengal Renaissance. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Kolkata became a hotbed of intellectual and cultural renaissance, known as the Bengal Renaissance. This era saw a surge in literary, artistic, and social reform movements led by literary and philosophical giants such as Swami Vivekananda and Rabindranath Tagore. The city became, and remains, a hub for literature, art, music, and theater, and Kolkatans are well known for their passion for the above.

Howrah Bridge: After checking-in and freshening up, you are driven to experience one of the most amazing daily human migration on our planet. Howrah Bridge is an iconic cantilever suspension bridge located in Kolkata that spans over the Hooghly River, connecting Kolkata with the city of Howrah. The busiest bridge in the world opened to the public on February 3, 1943, and today carries a mind-bending volume of road traffic. Besides the frequent trains, 150,000 pedestrians and 100,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day. The constant flow, along with the bridge design, makes Howrah Bridge an especially fascinating experience for people-watchers and photographers. The 1500-foot-long bridge is 320 feet over the river, easily allowing ships to pass. Howrah Bridge was constructed without any nuts or bolts, using only rivets, and has a distinctively balanced design, making it resilient to vibrations and forces during events like earthquakes.

Sunset Hooghly Cruise. Select between walking or driving across the bridge and then your guide will escort you to a pier where you will board a ferry to return to Kolkata. As the ferry pulls away from the dock, you find yourself surrounded by the rhythmic hustle and bustle of river life with the timeless architecture of the Howrah Bridge in the distance. As you watch the unfolding panorama of Kolkata's riverside as the sunset adds unforgettable colors to the scene. You are driven back to your hotel after the ferry ride.

(Overnight – IHCL Raajkutir Kolkata)

Day 7: Kolkata.

Victoria Museum (Indian Museum): Completed in 1921, the Victoria Museum is a magnificent colonial-era structure built in a blend of British and Mughal influences, as evidenced by features such as an awe-inspiring grand dome, Corinthian columns, and extensive gardens surrounding the structure.

The museum houses an extensive collection of over 102,000 artifacts, including sculptures, paintings, rare manuscripts, archaeological finds, and ethnographic exhibits from various periods of Indian history. Among the notable exhibits is the Ashutosh Museum of Indian Art, which displays a remarkable collection of ancient and medieval sculptures, terracotta art, and artifacts from different regions of India.

St. Paul's Cathedral: St. Paul's Cathedral is a gorgeous Anglican Indo-Gothic cathedral located in Kolkata and the seat of the Diocese of Kolkata. Completed in 1847, the striking main structure is about 250 feet long and 78 feet wide, with a soaring central spire that reaches about 200 feet. There are beautiful stained-glass windows depicting biblical scenes and figures, and the interior is adorned with exquisite woodwork, intricate carvings, and impressive marble detailing.

Kali Temple (Kalighat Kali Temple): The Kalighat Kali Temple is dedicated to the goddess Kali, a manifestation of the Divine Mother, is a major prayer and pilgrimage destination and so a crowded and colorful experience. The exact date of the temple's origin is unclear, but it is believed to have existed for centuries, with mentions of it found in ancient texts. After a break for lunch, you will visit the Mother House Kolkata. Missionaries of Charity: After 21 years as a nun in India, and after being headmistress in Calcutta’s convent school, in 1950 a petite and determined nun from Skopje started something called the Missionaries of Charity. We will not attempt to describe the continuing impact of Saint Teresa of Calcutta, or her work.

The Missionaries of Charity is a religious congregation dedicated to helping the "poorest of the poor," centered on caring for those suffering from poverty, illness, and social exclusion. They provide shelter, food, and medical care to homeless, orphans, and those affected by leprosy, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases. Their selfless care for children is usually the last net for the most unfortunate kids. Missionaries of Charity Homes exist in most larger cities in India, and in about 135 other nations.

Mother House Kolkata – Day and Time Restrictions. Please note that this experience ican be extremely moving. Mother Teresa lived in a tiny room in this home from 1953 until her passing in 1997. You have the option to experience a conducted tour as detailed below, or wander among the home with your guide. A daily 6 AM Mass is an option. The tour begins with a short introductory video that provides an overview of Mother Teresa's life and her journey towards establishing the Missionaries of Charity. You'll learn about her early years as a Catholic nun and her call to serve the "poorest of the poor" in the slums of Calcutta.

After the video, you'll be guided through the different areas of the home:

Mother Teresa's Room: You will visit the modest room where Mother Teresa lived for many years. The simplicity of her living space is a testament to her humility and devotion to her cause.

Chapel: The home features a small chapel where Mother Teresa and her fellow nuns prayed daily. Visitors are welcome to spend a moment in quiet reflection or prayer.

Museum and Exhibition Hall: This area showcases personal belongings of Mother Teresa, including her letters, awards, and photographs. The exhibition offers a glimpse into the remarkable impact she had on the lives of countless people around the world.

Nirmal Hriday (Pure Heart) - Home for the Dying Destitutes: A significant part of the tour is a visit to Nirmal Hriday, a hospice within the premises. Here, volunteers and medical staff continue the legacy of Mother Teresa by caring for the terminally ill, providing them with comfort and dignity in their final days.

Shishu Bhavan (Children's Home): Another integral aspect of the home is Shishu Bhavan, an orphanage where children from different backgrounds are cared for and given a chance to live a better life.

Soup Kitchen: The tour also includes a visit to the kitchen where volunteers prepare meals for the hungry and homeless, carrying on Mother Teresa's mission of feeding the hungry and providing them with a warm meal.

Day 8: Kolkata - Cochin.

Flight to the Malabar Coast (Kochi). You are assisted with your checkout and driven to the airport and assisted in boarding your late morning flight to Cochin. Arrive at Cochin and you are greeted and driven a very interesting 1.5 hours to your hotel in historic Fort Kochi and assisted with your check-in. We recommend walks around Fort Kochi in the evenings and early mornings – the ongoing activity is always fascinating.

Historic & Colorful Ft. Kochi. Narrow streets lined with colonial-era buildings exude an old-world charm. The architecture reflects a unique fusion of Dutch, Portuguese, and British styles, red-tiled roofs, wooden balconies, and intricately carved doors and windows add to the area's picturesque allure. The heart of Fort Kochi is its waterfront, where Chinese fishing nets sway in rhythm with the gentle waves of the Arabian Sea. Art and culture thrive in Fort Kochi, evident in its vibrant street art scene and numerous galleries showcasing contemporary and traditional works by local artists. Culinary delights abound in Fort Kochi, with its diverse range of eateries offering everything from fresh seafood delicacies to traditional Kerala cuisine. As the sun sets over the Arabian Sea, casting a golden glow on the waters and illuminating the facades of ancient buildings, Fort Kochi takes on a magical ambiance.

Kathakali Dance. In the early evening your Guide will escort 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 – Fragrant Nature)

Day 9: Cochin.

Fort Kochi Tour. This day will start with a 1-minute walk from your hotel to the trademark of Cochin’s attractions, popular as 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 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.

Historic Walk. 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.

Santa Cruz Basilica and St. Francis Church. 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.

David Hall. 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. The excellent and popular small café in the building for a lunch break - 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!

Mattancherry Palace. 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.

Paradesi (Jewish) Synagogue. 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.

Mattancherry Spice Walk. Experience a stroll in ancient Jew Town on to the adjoining historic streets of Mattancherry. The streets are alive with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, yet infused with a sense of antiquity that echoes through its architecture and landmarks. The highlight of your walk is a visit to a spice processing warehouse, tucked away in a nondescript alley. Upon entering the ancient warehouse complex, you're greeted by an intoxicating blend of aromas—pungent cloves, earthy turmeric, fragrant cardamom, and the fiery kick of dried red chilies. Large sacks and containers overflow with spices sourced from the legendary Malabar Region as the spices go through the processes of sorting, grinding, and packaging.

You will learn about the Dutch and Portuguese traders who first established spice colonies in Kerala, shaping the region's cultural and economic landscape. After exploring the warehouse, you continue your walk (or opt for your vehicle) through Mattancherry's labyrinthine streets, passing by vibrant markets where vendors peddle fresh produce, handmade crafts, and more aromatic spices.

(Overnight – Fragrant Nature)

Day 10: Cochin – Backwaters.

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

Riparian Life. 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.

Farming and Fishing. 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 11: Cochin – Mumbai.

Flight to Mumbai. You are assisted with disembarking from your houseboat after a slightly early breakfast and driven 2.5 to 3 hours to Cochin Airport, where you are assisted with your check-in for your flight to Mumbai. Upon your arrival in Mumbai, you will be driven to your beautiful oceanfront hotel and assisted with your check-in.

Dhobi Ghat. On your way to Mumbai’s premier district, Nariman Point, 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.

Hanging Gardens. Continue your exploration by driving further into Mumbai and up Malabar Hill where the Hanging Gardens provide a panoramic view of the city and bay. In the late afternoon, avoiding the infamous Mumbai rush hour traffic, you are driven to your seafront hotel and assisted with your check-in to your room with a spectacular view of the massive half-moon bay and iconic Marine Drive.

Mumbai Bay & Ocean Views. 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 12: Mumbai. (Breakfast and Lunch)

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

Leisurely Introductory Walk. 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 end up walking just under 2 miles, with frequent stops 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.

Historical Attractions. 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.

Design Your Afternoon. You can substitute whatever you’d like to do with your guide and driver this afternoon. We strongly recommend

Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai (UWHS). Your exploration of the UNESCO World Heritage Site begins near the Oval Maidan, the sprawling park you walked by on the previous day. You can walk part, or all of this tour if you like – the area is vibrant and full of local life. You’ll start at the New India Assurance Building, a prime example of Art Deco infused with Indian elements. Completed in 1936, this building stands out with its sleek lines, stylized motifs, and grand façade. It symbolizes the economic growth and modernity of the era, offering a glimpse into the architectural ambitions of early 20th-century Mumbai.

Next up is the Eros Cinema, a landmark that opened in 1938, and now boasts an IMAX screen! This cinema captures the essence of the Art Deco movement with its curved façade, grand staircase, and elegant interiors. The fusion of Art Deco design with Indian elements is evident here, offering a glimpse into the era's cinematic and architectural advancements.

A short walk or drive from Eros Cinema brings you to the Empress Court. This residential building exemplifies the luxurious lifestyle of Mumbai’s elite in the 1930s and 1940s. Its distinctive Art Deco features, such as rounded balconies, geometric railings, and elegant entrance lobby, provide a fascinating insight into the design preferences and living standards of the time.

Regal Cinema, another iconic Art Deco structure. Opened in 1933, Regal Cinema was the first air-conditioned theater in India. The building's exterior is adorned with classic Art Deco motifs such as ziggurat patterns and stylized floral designs, while the interiors boast sleek lines and luxurious finishes, exemplifying the sophistication of the time.

Your tour ends with a visit to nearby Dhanraj Mahal. This is the second residential building for Mumbai’s elite and was completed in the early 1930s. Originally commissioned by the Maharaja of Dhanrajgir, Dhanraj Mahal is a harmonious blend of Art Deco and traditional Indian elements. The building's multiple wings and courtyards all illustrate meticulous attention to detail in its design and construction.

(Overnight – The Trident Nariman Point)

Day 13: Mumbai – Jaipur (UWHS).

Flight to Jaipur. You are assisted with your checkout and driven to the airport and assisted in boarding your late morning flight to Jaipur. Arrive at Jaipur and you are greeted and driven to a very scenic location in Jaipur adjacent to a public park.

Albert Hall. The Albert Hall Museum was completed in 1887 by English architect Samuel Swinton Jacob. You don’t have to enter the museum, but we recommend it. Experience a walk around the structure to take-in the absolutely gorgeous Indo-Saracenic architecture. The unique museum’s focus is on highlighting the regions craftsmanship and artisans. 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".

Monkey Temple. 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. 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. You are driven to your Hotel and assisted with your check-in to your lakeview room.

About Jaipur. Jaipur was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019. Known as the "Pink City" due to the distinctive color of its buildings, Jaipur is celebrated for its architectural and cultural heritage, which reflects a unique blend of Rajput, Mughal, and European influences. Founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, Jaipur was meticulously planned according to Vastu Shastra and Shilpa Shastra, ancient Indian principles of architecture and design The Pink City’s layout features broad streets and a grid pattern, a rarity in Indian urban planning at the time. The vision behind Jaipur’s design was not only aesthetic but also practical, focusing on the needs of its inhabitants and the flourishing trade that characterized the region. The city’s urban fabric, adorned with numerous temples, gardens, and public places, and the preservation of its traditional bazaars, adds to Jaipur’s charm.

(Overnight – The Trident Nariman Point)

Day 14: Jaipur.

Pink City Exploration. 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.

Hawa Mahal. 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). 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. There is a break for lunch at any one of a large selection of restaurants in the area.

Jantar Mantar. After lunch you will proceed for a visit to the Jantar Mantar (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), a fascinating stone observatory built by a visionary ruler in 1728. Among other instruments, it includes a massive stone sun dial that is accurate to within 2 seconds.

City Palace. 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.

Amer Fort (UWHS). From here you will be driven to the Amer Fort & Palace Complex, with option to break for lunch, possibly at your hotel, as you approach the hilltop forted city. After lunch you will explore the awe-inspiring and massive Amber Fort and Palace Complex. 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.

Optional Shopping Excursion. You will return to your hotel in the very late afternoon, and those who are interested have the option of a shopping stop along the way. Jaipur is India’s shopping mecca for all sorts of exquisite hand-crafted items - fabrics, carpets, jewelery, pottery, and a lot more.

(Overnight – Trident Jaipur)

Day 15: Jaipur – Agra.

Chand Baori Stepwell. After an assisted check-out from your hotel, you are driven to the Chand Baori stepwell at Abhaneri, located just off the highway to Agra. 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 are assisted with your checkout and driven to Agra.

Agra Fort (UWHS). Continue your drive and arrive at Agra and break for lunch. After lunch, you are driven to the first red sandstone fort of North India, the Agra Fort, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an amazing example of a blend of Persian, Indian and European architecture and 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. 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.

You are driven to and assisted with your check-in ro your hotel where you will stay in recently renovated rooms that offer some of Agra’s best views of the Taj Mahal.

Sunset at the Taj Mahal (UWHS). You will proceed nearby 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.

(Overnight – IHCL Tajview Hotel by Taj Hotels)

Day 17: Agra – Delhi – International Flight

Sunrise at the Taj Mahal. A sunrise visit as 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.

Agra – Delhi – International Flight. The rest of the morning is flexible based on your international flight timing, and you can enjoy your lodging, or experience more of Agra with your guide and chauffeur driven vehicle. You will be assisted with your checkout before noon and driven to Delhi airport and assisted check-in for your international flight. Additional services for redeye departures hotels can be added based on your international flight departure.

Our Services End at Delhi Airport.



Lodging

Delhi
Maidens Hotel – Heritage Room
Varanasi
Taj Ganges – Deluxe Room City View
Kolkata
Raajkutir Kolkata IHCL – Premium Room
Ft. Kochi
Fragrant Nature – Dukes Chamber
Mumbai
Trident Nariman Point – Premier Ocean View Room
Jaipur
Trident Jaipur – Garden View Room
Agra
IHCL Taj View Hotel by Taj Hotels – Executive Taj View Room

Inclusions

India’s Best Guides at each destination
Services of your vehicle and an Easy Tours Facilitator for all transfers
Availability of a Easy Tours Representative at each destination
Sunset and Sunrise exploration of the Taj Mahal
E-Rickshaw ride in Old Delhi
Daily breakfast except for Arrival Day
Bottled water during your drives, sightseeing, and at your hotels
All currently applicable taxes.

Not Included

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

Pricing

Land Cost for Double Occupancy
$6400* Per Person
Cost for 5 On Tour Flights
$740* Per Person

All Fields Are Required*

Flexible Yes   No
 
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