LOW DEPOSITS - JUST £49 PER PERSON!
Delhi, the Taj Mahal, Tigers and the Beautiful South
OFFER ENDS 31st JULY*
Uncover the mystery and majesty of one of the world's oldest civilisations. From ancient cities and mighty temples to tropical backwaters plied by traditional 'houseboats', and from forested uplands dotted with colonial tea plantations to dusty plains and breathtaking temples, this wonderful Indian exploration has it all.
The holiday begins with an overnight flight from the UK to Delhi.
Upon arrival, meet your tour manager and transfer to an overnight hotel for lunch, before enjoying a guided introduction to the vibrant Old City, including the historic Red Fort, Jama Masjid Mosque and Raj Ghat, Gandhi's cremation site. The day ends with a rickshaw ride through old Chandni Chowk.
Explore New Delhi, where highlights include historic India Gate memorial, the vast Rajpath and the ruins of the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque and ornate Qutb Minar tower. Leave Delhi this afternoon, journeying to the 'Pink City' of Jaipur for two nights.
Visit Amber and its 16th-century hill-top fort, enjoying the stupendous views, then tour the City Palace complex with its museums and ancient astronomical observatory. Visit the 18th-century 'Palace of the Winds', with its countless screened balconies, behind which royal women might view the city while hidden in purdah.
Dinner tonight is taken with a local Rajasthani family in the city.
Spend two nights in beautiful Ranthambhore National Park, former Royal hunting ground and now
home to the endangered 'Tigers of Ranthambhore' and countless other species. This afternoon, rest and relax at the hotel, or join the optional excursion to Ranthambhore Fort. (Please note that there is a gradual climb to the Fort, which includes 273 steps.)
An undoubted highlight of the tour will be today's two canter (open-air vehicle) safaris in the Park, taken in the company of a knowledgeable guide. With luck you may see tigers and other animals.
Head to Dholpur for a night, enjoying a cookery demonstration before dinner.
An early morning cruise on the Chambal river offers the opportunity to spot crocodiles, turtles and birds diving for fish. Then, journey to Agra, the fabled 'City of Love', with its exquisite, incomparable Taj Mahal.
After a visit to majestic Agra Fort, with its palaces and pavilions, enjoy your first view of the 'Taj', seen in all its glory at sunset.
Journey back to Delhi and the flight to Kochi, and the next wonderful chapter in your Indian adventure.
Enjoy an included tour of 'Old Cochin', including the 'Dutch' Palace, the Jewish synagogue and enchanting Fort Cochin, where the Chinese fishing nets are one of India's most photographed sights. Historic St Francis Church overlooks a 'village green', while a short ferry ride away Ernakulam is the ultra-modern face of Kerala.
This evening, experience a traditional Kathakali dance performance.
Head to Alleppey, to board a traditional, thatch-roofed 'Kettuvallam' houseboat to cruise the labyrinth of canals and waterways, lined with coconut groves, rice fields and dotted with temples, enjoying a night on board.
Journey into a lush, rolling landscape dotted with tea and spice-plantations, to Periyar, famed
for its wildlife sanctuary, for two nights, enjoying a guided tour of the Spice Plantation upon arrival.
Rest and relax, or join the morning optional guided excursion into the Wildlife Sanctuary, home to endangered mammals and over 250 bird species. This afternoon, complete your visit to Periyar with a boat ride on the serene Periyar Lake, before spending the evening at leisure.
Today you'll journey east into the adjacent southern province of Tamil Nadu, spending two nights in Madurai, one of Asia's oldest cities, dominated by the vast, eye-popping Meenakshi temple.
A guided sightseeing tour introduces Madurai's Old City, where the ornately carved towering temple, with its continual round of ceremonies and devotions, is the breathtaking highlight. We'll also visit the beautiful 17th-century palace of Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal. This evening, journey by cycle-rickshaw to explore the streets and local markets of old Madurai.
Drive up through increasingly dense forest to the hill-station at Munnar, a reminder of the days of the Raj, spending a night in this former favourite watering hole of European settlers. Enjoy a visit to a working tea-plantation and a fascinating museum, for an insight into the world of Indian teas.
After a morning at leisure, you'll journey back to Kochi for a final night's stay.
Today, board the short flight to Mumbai, and then the onward connection to London.
Cruise is dependent on river water levels.
Chambal River cruise
The white marble of the Taj Mahal is being gradually cleaned in a process that will take up to four years. Parts of the monument's surface may be covered during this process though your visit and access to the main dome is not likely to be restricted.
Taj Mahal restoration work
On some departure dates the order of the itinerary between days three and eight may be reversed.
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately 30 minutes.
Hotel transfer times
British citizens require machine-readable passports when travelling overseas. Your passport must contain two blank pages and be valid for 180 days after your return date from India. A visa is also required for entry to India. Full details of how and when to apply will be sent out about eight weeks before departure. British CITIZENS and some other European nationals satisfying certain conditions may use the online e-Tourist Visa application process at a cost of $75 (US) per person. Other British passport holders, who are not British CITIZENS, must apply for a full visa which costs £112. You may also, at extra cost, use the services of CIBT, our recommended visa handling partner, who will handle the whole process for you. Note that all travellers of Pakistani descent, regardless of citizenship, will generally be subject to more detailed processing by the Indian authorities, which can take up to four months from application.
Passports and visas
All outbound flights leave in the evening and land at your destination the next day. All return flights leave in the morning and land in the UK on the same day. On-board meals will usually include dinner and breakfast on outbound flights, and lunch and a snack on the flight home. Drinks are complimentary.
On your flight
You are permitted to take one suitcase per person on the aircraft, which should not exceed 20kg.
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Requirements and advice can vary over time, and from person to person, so please contact your GP about eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or any other preventive measures.
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
Should circumstances require, the routing of days three to eight may be reversed without affecting the overall content or duration of the tour. We also reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.
Changes to your hotels & itinerary
Please note that local restrictions do not permit some hotels in Kerala to serve alcohol.
Restrictions on alcohol
*Low deposit of £49 per person applies to new bookings made between 21st June and 31st July 2017 (inclusive) only. This offer only applies to selected air-inclusive holidays. This offer is subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time.