A passage through India
Discover the many facets of India on an escorted tour that takes you across India from East to West, from Kolkata to Mumbai. Step into a sacred landscape in Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges, see the battle-scarred remnants of the British Raj in Lucknow, and soak up the splendour of ancient India's greatest monuments at the Taj Mahal in Agra, the pink city of Jaipur and lakeside Udaipur.
Fly to Kolkata via Mumbai.
You'll land in Kolkata in the very early morning. Our Tour Manager will meet you at the airport, and you'll be transferred to your first five-star hotel for the chance to rest after your flight.
In the afternoon, a guided tour will introduce the city, known as Calcutta throughout its time as the headquarters of the British Raj. See the majestic domed General Post Office and other grand imperial buildings around Dalhousie Square, cross Howrah Bridge (one of the world's longest cantilever bridges) and explore the vast bustle of the Malik Ghat flower market just beyond.
Later, enjoy a leisurely evening and dinner at your hotel.
Today begins with a morning visit to Kulmartuli - the potters quarter where thousands of sacred statues are built and decorated each year. After a ride on Asia's oldest electric tram we'll discover more examples of British imperial grandeur at Marble Palace and the Victoria Memorial museum before a boat ride on the Hoogly River completes the day.
Early this morning we'll fly north to the 3000-year-old city of Varanasi. This afternoon we'll head out of the city to Sarnath and the deer park in which the Buddha preached his first sermon after enlightenment, then return to Varanasi to watch the Ganga Aarti, A Hindu ritual of fire and prayers help each evening on vast stone steps of the Dashashwamedh ghat.
Take to the river as the sun rises this morning, and watch the crowds of pilgrims at prayer on the ghats. Following breakfast we'll board the coach and journey into Uttar Pradesh, heading for the regional capital, Lucknow and our next five-star hotel.
This morning's guided tour will reveal Bara Imambara - the Muslim shrine built by the local rulers in the 18th Century to provide work for the local population during a period of savage famine, and the battle-scarred remains of the British Residency.
In the afternoon we'll board the Shatabdi Express train to Tundla Junction and the next specacular city on our tour - Agra.
Today's start will be early but unforgettable as we watch the sun rise above the instantly-recognisable minarets of the Taj Mahal. Later, we'll explore the pavilions and palaces of Agra Fort, the tomb of I'timad-ud-Daulah (sometimes called the Baby Taj) and the Mehtab Bagh gardens that lie directly across the Yumana river from the Taj itself.
Today we'll travel into Rajastan on our way to Jaipur, stopping on the way to explore the former Moghul imperial capital, Fatehpur Sikri. We'll arrive in Jaipur in the late afternoon, in time to witness Aarti at the Birla Mandir.
This morning you'll visit Amber, the ancient capital of the Rajput Empire, its magnificent palaces and temples dominated by Amber Fort. Climb up to the mighty fortress to take in the stupendous views from the battlements. This afternoon enjoy a sightseeing tour of Jaipur to discover the stunning Palace of the Winds, the City Palace, and the astronomical observatory.
Cross a landscape studded with exotic temples and haveli mansions as we travel across Rajastan to Udaipur, the City of Lakes and our penultimate Indian city.
Explore Updaipur on a guided tour and discover the City Palace, Jagdish Temple and the Saheliyon-ki-Bari - the beautiful Gardens of the Royal Ladies.
As the sun sets we'll head out onto the waters of the lake, ending the day with a stunning cruise past the palaces and sights.
Today begins with the short flight from Updapur to Mumbai. Once here, our guided tour will reveal some of this extraordinary city's highlights - Gandhi's Bombay base at the Mani Bhavan, Marine Drive, the majestic arch of the Gateway to India and the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. See the city's dabbawalas in action - collecting and delivering the homemade lunches of over 160,000 workers each day, and the immense, ornate facade of the Victoria Terminus rail station, which remains one of the busiest in India.
End the day with a train ride with the locals from Churchgate station to Mahalaxmi and the vast Dhobi Ghat open-air laundry before a final dinner at your five-star hotel.
Say farewell to your hotel and your guide, today, as you return to the airport to check in for your flight home.
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 $62 (US) per person. Other British passport holders, who are not British CITIZENS, must apply for a full visa which costs £92. 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
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour.
Hotel transfer times
You are permitted to take one suitcase per person on the aircraft, which should not exceed 23kg.
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.
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, we 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