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The Best Luxury Private Tour of India with Holi Festival

- 27 Days

Annual Thanksgiving Sale - 11.21 - 12.5


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Feb 21st: 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.

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 an Easy Tours Travel Facilitator or your India Connoisseur Guide and ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. VIP arrival services can be added upon request. You are now driven to your top-ranked luxury hotel and assisted with your check-in if it is 3 pm or later.

A few years ago, the iconic Oberoi Delhi underwent a two-year hotel closure while undergoing a complete and exhaustive rebuild, including the installation of the Indian capital’s most sophisticated ventilation and air filtration system. Your suite at the Delhi Oberoi includes 24-hour butler service and access to the exclusive Resident’s Lounge with its associated benefits. The next day’s plans are briefly reviewed. While you are here, we recommend that you take the time to enjoy the incredible facilities of your hotel, including their heated indoor and outdoor pools and their wonderful spa and its fascinating offerings. Yoga sessions are available in the mornings.
(Overnight – The Oberoi New Delhi – Oberoi Suite)

Feb 22nd: Delhi. (Breakfast) 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 Oberoi New Delhi – Oberoi Suite)

Feb 23rd: Delhi. (Breakfast and Lunch) You are driven to ancient Old Delhi this morning. One of your most enduring memories of India will be your next experience as you walk through the ancient 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 up taking you to 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, a choice between set menus at the historic Curzon Room in the century old Maidens Hotel, which is part of the Oberoi Group.

Your next stop after lunch will be 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 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 were built by Shah Jahan, the 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 hard to describe rush hour begins.

Optional Home Dining & Cooking Lesson: Before returning to your hotel, you can choose to be driven to an experience that many of our guests really enjoy while in Delhi. You will be hosted by an accomplished chef and her husband at their home in the affluent Hauz Khas area of Delhi, minutes away from your hotel. A home cooking lesson with dishes selected based on your pre-stated preferences will begin the evening, and a delicious dinner and conversations about life in Delhi will follow. Your hosts are a well-traveled couple and the lady of the house has a passion for Indian food. You will be asked about this option soon after reserving your tour.
(Overnight – The Oberoi New Delhi – Oberoi Suite)

Feb 24th: Delhi - Varanasi. (Breakfast - Lunch on Flight) 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 and assisted with boarding your early afternoon flight to Varanasi (Banaras). India’s holiest city is the oldest continuously inhabited city on our planet with a history that dates back five millennia. You will fly on India’s best full-service airline and a passable meal will be served.

Before heading to your lodging, you are driven to Sarnath, a major Buddhism pilgrimage site, as it is most easily accessed from the airport.

Dhamekha Stupa, Sarnath

Dhamekha Stupa, Sarnath

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 the very small Archaeological Museum with its impressive collection of artifacts, which include the spectacular 4 headed lion that is India’s national emblem – this stop is optional.

From Sarnath you will head towards the ancient city and your exquisite Palace Hotel. This is the only true luxury lodging in Varanasi and calling the small Nadesar Palace ‘boutique’ is a vast understatement. Built by the East India Company in the 18th century, it was taken over by the local Royal Family in the late 19th Century and served as a guest house for British and other Royalty during their visits to India. It is the centerpiece of a very large campus of gardens and organic farmland, and, time permitting, you can reserve an exploration on the Royal Family’s horse drawn carriage.
(Overnight – Taj Nadesar Palace – Historical Suite)

Feb 25th: Varanasi. (Breakfast) Two of the highlights of your time in Varanasi are the sunset and sunrise cruises on the Ganga. This morning you can sleep in or you can join your guide and start your day with a sunrise morning boat cruise on the Ganga. 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. It is also a great opportunity to experience some of Hinduisms ancient and iconic rituals. You can simultaneously witness the religious ceremony as a recently deceased Hindu’s ashes are immersed in the river so that their soul can achieve salvation, while nearby another Brahmin priest orchestrates the naming ceremony of a newborn.

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.

Return to your palace for breakfast and to freshen-up and get some relaxation, or enjoy the historical structure and its gorgeous gardens for a couple of hours. Acceptable dining options are very limited in Varanasi and we recommend lunch before you venture out in the early afternoon.

Head back to the Holy River and you will now explore the other really ancient parts of Varanasi, including visits to some of the iconic temples that lie along the banks of the holy river – please note that, as your guide will point out, some temples are only open to Hindu’s. You will walk through the narrow lanes and through the crowded bazaars to discover a way of life that has not changed much over the past few millennia. Experience a walk on some of the Ghats - it is a lot less crowded on these Ghats before the evening ceremony and sunset rituals, which allows for a close-up look as pilgrims and locals go about their rituals and related activities. 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.

Priest Performing Sunset Aarti, Dashashwamedh Ghat

Priests Performing Sunset Aarti, Dashashwamedh Ghat

Your walk ends with you boarding your boat for a cruise along the river and all its evening activities, and your boat excursion ends with a close-up view of the iconic Ganga Aarti ceremony on the now crowded Dashashwamedh Ghat, the holiest place on the river.

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.
(Overnight – Taj Nadesar Palace – Historical Suite)

Feb 26th: Varanasi - Agra. (Breakfast) 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 airplane food is served during it if you are so inclined, or you can choose to get a snack after checking in at your resort after arrival. You are driven from Agra airport to your luxury resort and assisted with your check-in. Easy Tours includes an upgraded room with a private balcony that overlooks the Taj Mahal, framed by the lush gardens and trees of the Amar Vilas. There are nightly cultural performances at the resort, just as there will be at your resorts in Jaipur, Narlai, and Udaipur.
(Overnight – The Oberoi Amarvilas - Premier Balcony Room with Taj View)

Feb 27th: Agra. (Breakfast) Enjoy a sunrise visit to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the incomparable Taj Mahal. Morning is the best time to experience it during most of the year, except for some years during which morning fog in late December and most of January can affect photography. Since it is more expensive for Indian tourists to enter at this early hour the massive monument and its surrounding Mughal gardens have a lot fewer visitors than the rest of the day. 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, many of whom were brought here from far away nations, and it took twenty two years to complete. As the rising sun’s rays illuminate the precious stones inlaid in the marble they will gleam momentarily and change colors. When you experience the Taj Mahal with an Easy Tours’ Connoisseur Guide who shares unique insights into its innumerable facets, some of their passion for this masterpiece may rub off on you. Return to your resort in time for breakfast.

Enjoy the amazing facilities and views of your resort for a couple of hours, or you can join your guide for a walk-through Agra’s ancient Kinari Bazaar. Lunch can be a lavish buffet featuring both Indian and Western options at the popular Taj Bano restaurant in the upscale ITC Mughal Hotel – ITC Hotels in India are recognized for the excellence of their cuisine, but there are other alternatives that you can discuss with your expert guide. After lunch you will head to the first red sandstone fort of North India, the Agra Fort, another 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. There are unique views of the Taj Mahal from a section of the fort, including the room where Emperor Shah Jahan’s infamous son and successor, Aurangzeb, imprisoned his father during the latter years of his life.

Taj Mahal - Late Afternoon

Taj Mahal - Late Afternoon

After exploring the fort you will proceed for a late afternoon visit to the 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.

When the Taj Mahal closes right after sunset you will enjoy the short walk to your resort which is just a few hundred yards away.
(Overnight – The Oberoi Amarvilas - Premier Balcony Room with Taj View)

Feb 28th: Agra - Ranthambore. (Breakfast and Lunch) 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 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. https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/india-beautiful-stepwells-spc/index.html. 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.

Upon arrival you are assisted with your check-in at another one of the Oberoi Hotel’s gorgeous resorts, the multi-award winning Vanyavilas. Located at the edge of the National Park with spectacular grounds and facilities, the gorgeous jungle resort has a limited number of beautiful luxury tents and service beyond compare.

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.
(Overnight – Oberoi Vanyavilas – Luxury Tent)

Mar 1st: Ranthambore. (Breakfast) 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. 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 and antelope, crocodiles, the sloth bear, over 320 species of birds, leopards and one of India’s highest densities of the Bengal Tiger

Enjoy private jeep wildlife safaris into the park in the morning and afternoon. As in all of India’s National Wildlife Parks, safaris are operated by the Forest Department, in either jeeps or large old trucks (called canters) with up to 20 passengers. The front seats of Ranthambore’s small jeeps have to be occupied by the forest departments wildlife guide and the jeep driver. Almost all jeeps operate on a shared basis, with 5 or 6 passengers on the two bench seats in the back.

Alpha Male Tiger at Ranthambore

Alpha Male Tiger at Ranthambore

Your safari will be just for you in a private jeep, with much better views of the wildlife, as well as the ability to get unobstructed photographs.

In between safaris, you have the option of a guided visit to the Ranthambore Fort. This excursion does have a fairly steep climb with almost 300 stairs that are always surrounded by dozens of monkeys. 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 (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. There is also an ancient temple located in the fort which attracts a continuous stream of pilgrims from the surrounding villages. A note of caution – a large number of 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.
(Overnight – Oberoi Vanyavilas – Luxury Tent)

Mar 2nd: Ranthambore – Jaipur. (Breakfast) 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 assisted with your check-out from your resort by noon and 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, you are assisted with your check-in at your boutique luxury palace hotel. Located in the heart of the city’s most prestigious area, with 47 acres of lush manicured greenery, your home in Jaipur is the awe-inspiring Rambagh Palace, the Maharaja’s former residence. You will stay in a Historical Suite and upgrade options to higher suite categories are available. The Palace is next to Jaipur’s finest golf course, the Rambagh Golf Course, and tee time and equipment can be arranged with prior request and an extension of you stay in Jaipur. There are Rajasthani cultural performances at your palace almost every night.
(Overnight – Rambagh Palace – Historical Suite)

Mar 3rd: Jaipur. (Breakfast) 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 (unless you would like to) 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 can stop for lunch at the excellent restaurant at the upscale Trident Hotel, but there are other alternatives that you can discuss with your guide.

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 because many of the elephants are not treated well. Please note that there are organizations that rescue and care for such elephants in camps in the Jaipur region and in many other parts of India. A half day elephant experience at such a center, with no riding, is an option that can be added to your Jaipur exploration upon request, potentially adding another night at Jaipur.

The massive Fort and Palace complex 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. 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. From the Fort return to your gorgeous Palace Hotel.

Optional late afternoon activity: Jaipur is India’s shopping mecca for all sorts of exquisite hand-crafted items, fabrics, carpets, as well as jewelery, and those who are interested in shopping can have their Connoisseur Guide serve as a personal shopper until the late afternoon, or you can choose to return to your spectacular palace hotel.
(Overnight – Rambagh Palace – Historical Suite)

Mar 4th: Jaipur. (Breakfast and Lunch)  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 guide will entertain 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 – Rambagh Palace – Historical Suite)

Mar 5th: Jaipur – Narlai. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel in the morning after a slightly breakfast. Join your guide and chauffeur and you are now 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 20 years 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 is a unique rural historical experience and is not a luxury hotel – the amenities will not match your previous lodging. Although the rooms in the new wing are larger and have more modern conveniences and much 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 you do not want a paucity of 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.

After checking in and a slightly late lunch, you will enjoy an extended walk through the large village to get an introduction to the lives of the simple but proud Rajasthani villagers. There will be young boys and girls herding goats, sheep, and cows around the area, and many other experiences that are only found in rural Rajasthan. There will also be multiple opportunities to view various indigenous activities. if you communicate with the villagers through your expert Guide, their simplicity, warmth, and hospitality will captivate you.

Ancient Stepwell Dinner Experience: After sunset you will be assisted in climbing aboard a traditional bullock cart 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 – Grand Heritage Room)

Mar 6th: Narlai – Udaipur. (Breakfast) 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 – advance notice of your preference will be needed. Guests can ask for two nights at Narlai (most who stay here tell us that they would have liked more time here), giving them the option to indulge in both activities – the only reason we do not make two nights standard here is because some of our guests need truly luxurious lodging as much as possible.

The first option, after tea/coffee and a snack, 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.

After this you will continue on with your journey to Udaipur. This is one of the most picturesque drives in all of India, and snacks will be available in your vehicle during the drive. As you go through the Aravalli hills there will be photo opportunities of village life and livestock, including many camels. The rolling landscape, the languid lifestyle, and the charm of the local villagers will make you ask for frequent stops during this 2-to-2.5-hour journey. Arrive at magical Udaipur in the early evening and you are driven to your spectacular lakefront resort where you are assisted with your check-in. In the last two decades the Oberoi Udaivilas has twice won ‘best hotel in the world’ award in the annual Travel & Leisure magazine’s U.S. based readers survey for very good reasons. The architecture, gardens and other facilities and services are the best among all of the highly vaunted Oberoi Hotels. Your upgraded room has gorgeous views of the lake. This evening you can enjoy the unique local entertainment that the resort orchestrates in the evenings.
(Overnight – The Oberoi Udaivilas - Premier Room with Semi Private Pool)

Mar 7th: Udaipur. (Breakfast and Dinner) Enjoy a slightly early breakfast this morning. The reason for the slightly early morning breakfast is that the City Palace Complex has an hour at the beginning of every morning where they charge a little more and thus get significantly fewer visitors at that time. Your exploration of the vast complex will almost certainly take longer than an hour, but you will have done most parts that the later visitors will flock too.

City Palace

City Palace Complex, Udaipur

TThe fabled City Palace Complex 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.

Next you will explore Udaipur. With its small-town atmosphere, laid back Udaipur is one of India’s best places to explore on foot, and your guide will take you for walks in small local bazaars and other interesting parts of this charming city. You will also enjoy a slightly bumpy (there are no shock absorbers) three-wheeler scooter ride through the streets.

After you experience Udaipur, you will return to your gorgeous resort for a short break to freshen up and enjoy the wonderful facilities. If you are hungry, we recommend a light meal as a wonderful dinner experience is scheduled for the evening. In the 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 journey up the hill takes you through a protected wildlife sanctuary and occasional small wildlife sightings can be experienced.

Return to the lake area and proceed for a cruise on captivating Lake Pichola in one of the Leela Palace boats to enjoy wonderful sunset views of Lake Pichola and magical Udaipur. Return to your resort after the cruise.

Evening: Your Guide will pick you up from your hotel and accompany you to the City Palace complex where you will witness the ancient traditional Holika Dahan ceremony, or custom of lighting the Holi Pyre, on the night before Holi. The Royal Family of Mewar (Udaipur and the surrounding regions) performs this celebration with great pomp and ceremony. A grand procession led by the Royals arrives and then the ceremony begins. The King lights the large pyre after the rituals and prayers. The end of the event is a traditional dance by a local troupe, performed only at this one occasion every year.
A Special Dinner at the City Palace is part of this evening’s festivities.
(Overnight – The Oberoi Udaivilas - Premier Room with Semi Private Pool)

Mar 8th: Udaipur. (Breakfast) Today is Holi, the festival of colors, one of India’s biggest festivals. We do not recommend celebrating Holi in almost all cities of India as this festival includes intoxicated youth who can get aggressive in the celebratory crowds. The upscale area (in the small city of Udaipur) where our guests participate is an exception and the celebration here is a lot of fun. The locals take to the streets and everyone douses each other with powdered colors as well as colored water. You will walk through residential neighborhoods and small bazaars as you celebrate. Our guests are provided with traditional Indian clothing on the day before Holi and you are welcome to keep the colored clothing as a memory afterwards. Return to your gorgeous resort after your celebration.

Afternoon - you are at leisure to enjoy the extensive facilities, available activities, and views at your amazing luxury resort this afternoon. None of Udaipur’s attractions and bazaars will be open today.
(Overnight – The Oberoi Udaivilas - Premier Room with Semi Private Pool)

Mar 9th: Udaipur – Mumbai. (Breakfast – Lunch on Flight) Although your guide and chauffeur driven vehicle are available to you this morning if you desire to explore more (after checking out), we recommend that you enjoy this morning at leisure for your last couple of hours at your spectacular lodging. Also, if you wish to enjoy this beautiful small city and your gorgeous resort for longer, additional days at Udaipur are highly recommended by our previous guests and can be added when you reserve your tour.

You are assisted with your check-out by the late morning. You will then be driven to the airport which is located well outside the city and assisted in boarding your mid-afternoon flight to Mumbai. Your flight in on India’s best full-service airline and a passable meal option will be offered during the flight. Upon your arrival in Mumbai, you will be driven to your oceanfront lodging and assisted with your check-in.

Gateway of India

Gateway of India

Your gorgeous historic hotel has an enviable location in Mumbai, across the street from the Gateway of India and the ocean.

The legendary hotel (not including the adjoining Taj Mahal Towers, a nondescript mid-level hotel that opened in 1973) started construction at the end of the 19th century, and was completed in December 1902, well before the Gateway of India monument that it faces. Your upgrade to a suite in the Palace Wing includes Taj Club facilities and its associated benefits.

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 Taj Mahal Palace – Executive Suite 1 Bedroom)

Mar 10th: Mumbai. (Breakfast) Proceed for a guided city tour of Mumbai. The tour begins across the street from your hotel, at 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 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 2 to 3 hours can be an experience where you will walk just under 2 miles, stopping frequently at the multitude of attractions, or you can ask to be driven for most, or all, of the stretch. 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, designed in the Indo-Saracenic style, and includes sections of paintings, archeology, and natural history. Even if you are not into museums, a short exploration is recommended, or you can just admire the architecture from outside. After this we recommend that you take a very short walk and break for an informal lunch at the iconic Leopold Café, a popular establishment that opened in 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 Taj Mahal Palace – Executive Suite 1 Bedroom)

Mar 11th: Mumbai – Aurangabad. (Breakfast) You are assisted with your check-out in the morning and then you will proceed to explore more of the fascinating metropolis of Mumbai. Your first stop after a short drive on the Queen’s Necklace will be at Mani Bhawan, Mahatma Gandhi’s Museum. This small historic mansion is located in an upscale Mumbai neighborhood and is the location from where the Mahatma started many of his Satyagraha (passive resistance) movements against the British rulers. The stop here will include an opportunity to look through glass panels into the small simple room where he stayed and worked, including his meagre belongings such as two spinning wheels, his thin small mattress on the floor, and more. Another room has photos of his life from childhood until his assassination.

An even shorter drive will bring you to another of Mumbai’s landmarks, the Haji Ali Dargah. Built in 1431 and located on an islet of the coast, this beautifully handcrafted structure hosts the tomb of the Sufi Saint and also serves as an active mosque. A wealthy merchant from what is now Uzbekistan, he gave up all his belongings and traveled the world spreading Islam until he finally settled in the area that is now Mumbai.

From here you will be driven to Mumbai Airport and be assisted in boarding your short mid-afternoon flight to Aurangabad. You can have lunch from the snacks available at your Business Class Lounge at the airport if it is not too full, or eat at any of the scores of cafes and restaurants in Mumbai’s wonderful new terminal. Arrive at Aurangabad and you are driven to your comfortable hotel and assisted with check-in to your suite. Although this is the best lodging in Aurangabad and close to the airport, it is a mid-level upscale hotel and does not compare with your previous lodging.
(Overnight – Taj Vivanta – Premium Suite)

Mar 12th: Aurangabad. (Breakfast and Lunch) The Ajanta & Ellora monuments and caves (both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites) near Aurangabad are widely recognized as India’s two most amazing archeological sites, and among the world’s most amazing achievements of ancient man. All our guests’ wonder why they are not part of other tours. Many guests have stated that, combined, they are more impressive than the monuments in the Angkor Region, not even taking into account that these two sites are twice as old!

After breakfast you will enjoy an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ajanta. A choice of sandwiches and accompaniments that will be edible for a few hours is included from your hotel for this excursion. Buddhist monks and local craftsmen began excavating, sculpting, and painting at Ajanta in the 2nd century B.C.

2000 Year Old Wall Painting in Ajanta

2000 Year Old Wall Painting in Ajanta

The incredible variety of paintings and sculptures 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 India Connoisseur Guide 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.
(Overnight – Taj Vivanta – Premium Suite)

Mar 13th: Aurangabad – Mumbai. (Breakfast and Lunch) You are assisted with your checkout from your hotel after breakfast and we recommend that you leave your baggage with the bell desk. Proceed for an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ellora. A choice of sandwiches and accompaniments that will be edible for a few hours is included from your hotel for this excursion. 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.

Kailash Temple at Ellora

Kailash Temple at 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 to Aurangabad you have the option to stop at Daulatabad Fort. This 14th century hilltop Fort is an impressive sight but what will amaze you is your guide’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.

Return to your hotel to pick up your baggage and use the facilities to freshen up. We recommend that you consider eating at one of the hotel food outlets before heading to the airport. At the appropriate time you are driven to Aurangabad airport in time to board your late evening flight to Mumbai. You are greeted at the airport by a hotel representative, and ushered to your chauffeur driven vehicle. You are then driven to your upscale airport hotel where you are assisted with your check-in to your suite.
(Overnight – The Leela Mumbai – Royal Club Parlor Suite)

Mar 14th: Mumbai – Fort Kochi (Cochin). (Breakfast) You are assisted with your check-out after breakfast and then a hotel vehicle will drive you to the domestic terminal of Mumbai Airport. You are assisted with boarding your no-frills (no full-service airlines fly this route) flight to Cochin. Upon your arrival at Cochin Airport your guide will bid you farewell after introducing you to your Kerala Guide, who is a Connoisseur Guide of South India. Guiding in South India requires proficiency in the local languages - India has 19 languages and over 500 dialects. Unless they have lived there for a long time, North Indians are not able to communicate effectively in local Southern Indian languages.

You are driven to historic Fort Kochi to the bayfront location of the renovated 19th Century Dutch boat building facility that is your lodging, Brunton Boatyard, and assisted with your check-in to your sea facing suite. This extremely charming boutique 22 room lodge does not boast the luxury of most of your previous hotels, but it oozes a magical charm and has incredible service levels.

Brunton Boatyard

Brunton Boatyard

This is by far the best lodging in the ancient historic seaport, and many of our guests rate their experience here higher than the ultra-lux hotels they have already stayed at.

It has by far the best location and some of the finest coastal Keralan cuisine, very different from other cuisines in India with its Dutch and Portuguese influences – the restaurant chefs and servers will amaze you at every meal. You are right next to most of the major attractions of this fascinating historic small town, ideal for morning & evening walks. Excellent Ayurvedic massages and treatments are available in their small spa.
(Overnight – Brunton Boatyard – Sea Facing Deluxe Suite)

Mar 15th: Cochin. (Breakfast) This day will start with a 1-minute walk from the Brunton Boatyard 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, owners of the Brunton Boatyard, and a company that is quite possibly the most socially and environmentally progressive hotelier on our planet. We recommend the excellent and popular small café in the building as your stop for lunch, and you can order ala carte, but there are other alternatives that you can discuss with your guide. 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 the Brunton for some relaxation and their wonderful service and facilities.

Late this afternoon you can enjoy the Brunton Boatyards complimentary tea, which includes some delicious finger food and good coffee options, before boarding the Brunton Boatyard’s boat (the last boat made by the Dutch shipbuilder, over 60 years ago) and joining other hotel guests for a sunset cruise on Cochin’s massive Harbor. Upon your return from the cruise, you have the option to join a few Brunton guests for their regular cooking class, followed by dinner at their excellent History Fine Dining Restaurant. Brunton Boatyards description of the class is - Brunton Boatyard's master chefs share some of their skills with you at the evening cookery classes. Here you will learn the secrets of traditional Kerala cooking. And of course, you will enter the magical world of Indian spices. What they are, how to use them, combine them, and savor the special magic they bring to even the most commonplace foods.

Optional: : In the early evening you are driven to an experience that is extremely highly rated by many of our guests. You will be hosted by a famous Keralan Chef and her family at their home. A Keralan cuisine cooking lesson will be followed by a delicious dinner, along with an interesting conversation about life in historic Fort Kochi. You will be asked about this option soon after reserving your tour, and selecting this op[ion will preclude the sunset cruise on the Brunton Boatyard boat and the cooking lesson afterward.
(Overnight – Brunton Boatyard – Sea Facing Deluxe Suite)

Mar 16th: Cochin – Kumarakom Lake Resort/Backwaters. (Breakfast) You are assisted with check-out from your boutique lodge in the late morning and you now proceed on about a 1.5 hours scenic drive to the charming pastoral region of Kumarakom. Upon arrival at your gorgeous lakefront resort you will feel that you have traveled back in time. This is when you will really start understanding why the state of Kerala dubs itself as ‘God’s Own Country’. You are in a location that defines the word idyllic, with a calmness and peace not found almost anywhere else.

You have the option to have lunch upon arrival, before checking into your Heritage Lake View Villa, or in the morning you can have opted to stay at the Brunton Boatyard and Cochin until noon, having lunch after checking out, then departing for your enchanting home on the backwaters.

Backwaters of Kerala

Backwaters of Kerala

Your Kerala Guide will bid you a temporary farewell after getting you checked-in – all services will be provided by the gracious resort staff while you are here.

Your magical resort offers a variety of unique local activities as well as great places to walk around in. The activities include evening cultural performances such as Kathakali dance and Keralan martial art performances. Other complimentary activities include, but are not limited to, evening tea (coffee and other beverages are available) snacks at their charming outdoor traditional tea stall, guided tours of their organic farms, and a lot more. There is also the large lakefront resort pool for those who are interested.

The architecture of the resort is uniquely traditional Keralan, with large sections of teak that were transported directly over long distances from centuries old Keralan homes and then painstakingly put together plank by plank. Some of Kerala’s best Ayurvedic practitioners and therapeutic treatments are highly recommended – the staff at the resort will assist you in planning this. Many guests from Western Europe take advantage of the 1-to-3-week complete Ayurvedic packages at the resort, which include special diets that are designed individually for your needs – we can facilitate such an extension if you so desire. The Fine Dining Restaurant, Ettukettu, offers a fine selection of Keralan, Indian, and other cuisines, while the lakefront seafood bar, Vembanad, offers incredible fresh seafood.
(Overnight – Kumarakom Lake Resort – Heritage Lake View Villa with Private Pool)

Mar 17th: Kumarakom Lake Resort - Backwaters Cruise - Kumarakom Lake Resort. (Breakfast with Lunch on the Houseboat)

Traditional Houseboat on the Backwaters

Traditional Houseboat on the Backwaters

In the late morning you are assisted in boarding your private 1 Bedroom Resort Houseboat for a day cruise.

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 are 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 for lunch.

At sunset, when all houseboats on the backwaters anchor on the shores of the lake, you will disembark from your houseboat directly at the jetty of your magical lakefront resort.
(Overnight – Kumarakom Lake Resort – Heritage Lake View Villa with Private Pool)

Mar 18th: Kumarakom Lake Resort – End of Tour. (Breakfast) Arise a little early this morning and you will experience the backwaters as few visitors ever do. After some morning tea or coffee, you will be assisted in boarding a traditional Keralan small rowboat and head out for an exploration before the regular daily activities on the lake start. Your boat will be rowed by a local who has grown up on the backwaters and you will cruise through smally waterways that the larger tourism boats cannot access. The serenity and charm of your idyllic surroundings at this time of day is worth getting up early for this morning. Return to your resort for another delicious breakfast.

There are three departure options on this day and your choice will be influenced by whether your international flight departs from Delhi or Cochin, or whether you want time at a world-class oceanfront resort. Please note that almost all international flights depart from India’s airports either very late at night or early in the morning.

Departure Option 1: For guests who have roundtrip flights in and out of Delhi.

Mar 18th: Kumarakom – Cochin – Delhi. (Breakfast)  You are driven to the airport (additional costs will apply for the Cochin – Delhi flight) and assisted with your check-in and then you bid farewell to your Kerala Guide – this flight will not be an accompanied flight unless you ask us to include the service. Most international flights out of Delhi are either very late at night or early in the morning. If you do not require lodging as your flight is in the evening your chauffeur will be available to you for up to 4 hours to explore in the area around Delhi airport, or dine nearby. If your flight is in the early or late morning/early afternoon, upon your arrival in Delhi you will be greeted at the airport and driven to the Oberoi Gurgaon (room charges apply) and assisted with your check-in. During your check-in, please remind the hotel staff of your flight departure timing - Easy Tours will already have informed them.
(Overnight – The Oberoi Gurgaon - Deluxe Room)

Mar 19th: Delhi – International Flight Check-out at the appropriate time (your room is available until noon) and a luxury Oberoi vehicle will transfer you to the airport where you will board your international flight. VIP departure services can be added upon request.
Our services end wwith your Oberoi Gurgaon assisted check-in.




 

OR

 

Departure Option 2: For guests who booked multi-city international flights arriving in Delhi and departing from Cochin. ome of the better international airlines, including most of the major Far and Middle Eastern airlines like Singapore, Qatar, Cathay, Etihad and Emirates have international flights departing from Cochin in the early morning.

Mar 18th: Kumarakom – Cochin. (Breakfast) If you are on one of these flights you will check out of your resort and be driven back to Forth Kochi before noon – you can opt to check out and have lunch at the resort on self-pay basis. Arrive at Fort Kochi and experience a public ferry ride to Cherai – your baggage will remain in your vehicle as you explore during the early afternoon, and your vehicle will take a long drive to meet you at Cherai. Visit the 19th century Azheekkal Sree Varaha Venkateswara Temple – the temple Ratha (Chariot) is unique and very impressive. You can briefly stop at the Pallipuram Church which was completed in 1577 by the Portuguese. You will depart the area towards the airport (about 1.5 hours with normal traffic) before 4 pm as rush hour along the way can cause significant delays. Arrive next to the airport and you are assisted with your check in at your upscale airport lodging, the Courtyard by Marriott, which is fairly upscale and far superior to U.S. based Courtyard’s. During your check-in, please remind the hotel staff of your flight departure timing - Easy Tours will already have informed them.
(Overnight – Courtyard By Marriott – Executive Room)

Mar 19th: Cochin – International Flight. (Breakfast) Check out of your hotel at the appropriate time based on your flights timing and a courtesy hotel vehicle will drive you to the small airport where you will board your international flight. VIP departure services can be added upon request.
Our services end with your Courtyard by Marriot assisted check-in.




 

OR

 

Departure Option 3: Ocean Resort in Goa or the Maldives Options.

Lodging

Delhi
The Oberoi New Delhi – Oberoi Suite
Varanasi
Taj Nadesar Palace – Historical Suite
Agra
Oberoi Amarvilas – Premier Balcony Room with Taj View
Ranthambore
Oberoi Vanyavilas – Luxury Tent
Jaipur
Rambagh Palace – Historical Suite
Narlai
Rawla Narlai – Grand Heritage Room
Udaipur
The Oberoi Udaivilas – Premier Room with Semi Private Pool
Mumbai
The Taj Mahal Palace (Palace Wing) – Executive Suite 1 Bedroom
Aurangabad
Taj Vivanta – Premium Suite
Mumbai Airport
The Leela Mumbai – Royal Club Parlor Suite
Fort Kochi
Brunton Boatyard – Sea Facing Deluxe Suite
Kumarakom/Backwaters
Kumarakom Lake Resort – Heritage Lake View Villa with Private Pool
Backwaters
Kumarakom Lake Resort Houseboat for Day Cruise
Delhi
OR
Cochin Airport
The Oberoi Gurgaon - Deluxe Room

Courtyard By Marriott – Executive Room

Inclusions

Accompanying Connoisseur Guides to assist you during your on-tour flights & drives
3 Private Jeep Safaris at Ranthambore National Park
All safari related costs at Ranthambore, including park entry, naturalists, vehicle fees etc.
Sunrise and sunset boat cruises on the holy river in Varanasi
Sunrise and Sunset visits to the Taj Mahal
E-Rickshaw Ride in Old Delhi
Three Wheeler scooter ride through the streets of Udaipur
Special Stepwell Dinner Experience at your Royal Hunting Lodge at Narlai
Holi Festival Special Traditional Ceremony and Dinner at City Palace in Udaipur
Daily breakfast at all the hotels except for Arrival Day
7 Lunches
A Supplement to include other Lunches and Dinners is available but not recommended
Optional Cooking Lessons & Dinner at Delhi and Cochin with Chefs at their family homes
Lunches/Dinners include regular hotel bottled water
Camera Fee’s for Regular Cameras
Hotel check-in is at 3pm and checkout is at noon for almost all the hotels
All transfers and sightseeing by personal upscale vehicle
Complimentary Wi-Fi in all vehicles, except for remote regions
All currently applicable taxes.

Flights on this Journey

Sector Class Baggage Allowance
Prepaid Increases Available
Delhi- Varanasi Business Class 66 lb.
Varanasi- Agra Business Class 66 lb.
Udaipur - Mumbai Business Class 66 lb.
Mumbai - Aurangabad Business Class 66 lb.
Auranagabad - Mumbai Business Class 66 lb.
Mumbai - Cochin Coach baggage prepaid to 55 lb.

Not Included

International Travel
Expenses of a personal nature like tips, laundry, telephone calls, etc.
All alcoholic and non-alcoholic premium beverages during included meals
Meals other than those specified above
Travel insurance, visa etc.
Camera fees for professional DSLR (Over 200 mm lens) and Video Cameras

Dates & Prices

Annual Thanksgiving Sale - 11.21 - 12.5

Annual Thanksgiving Sale - Exp. Dec 05th
Dates Price For
Per Person, based on Double Occupancy
On Tour
Flight Cost
Total For
2 Guests
Availability
21st Feb, 2023 $24700 $22230 $1744 $47948
Reserve Now
Prices include all Current Taxes & Surcharges
This Exclusive Journey has very limited availability and online reservations are not possible. Some of the included luxury boutique resorts are very small and the few enhanced room/suite types we use can be sold out months in advance. Yes, even in 2022! Please fill out the Inquiry Form to see if your choice of dates is available.