Tour India's exotic wonders
Explore the teeming, colourful cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur on this superb-value Indian holiday. Step into a landscape said to have inspired Kipling as you spend two nights 'on safari' in Ranthambhore National Park, the home of the legendary Tigers of Ranthambhore, and see the Red Fort, the Palace of the Winds and the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal. It's the perfect introduction to one of the world's most fascinating and alluring destinations.
Extend your holiday and visit Goa, with white sand beaches backed by swaying palms, is a perfect ending to your holiday. It’s a charming blend of Portuguese and Indian cultures, laid back, green and generally untouched by mass tourism.
WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE?
Day One: Overnight flight to India
Your Indian holiday begins with an overnight flight from the UK to Delhi.
Day Two: Included Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque excursion
Arrive in Delhi to be greeted by your Tour Manager, then transfer to your hotel for lunch. In the afternoon, you'll have a chance to explore the ruins of the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque and the ornate Qutb Minar tower.
Day Three: Included Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque excursion
This morning, a guided tour of the Old City will introduce you to Jama Masjid Mosque and Raj Ghat, Gandhi's famous cremation site close to the Yamuna River.
You'll also see the legendary Red Fort, the residence of the Mughal emperor for nearly 200 years (until 1857), and take a rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk. Before evening falls, you'll also see some of the city's Imperial highlights, including the India Gate war memorial, the vast boulevard of the Rajpath and Parliament House.
Later, we'll travel to Agra, India's City of Love and site of the exquisite Taj Mahal. Built as a monument to undying love by grief-stricken Shah Jahan - after the death of his beloved wife - the Taj is seen in all its glory at sunset. Your guided tour of Agra will also take in the royal pavilions, palaces and courtyards of Agra Fort.
Day Four: Included Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque excursion
Start your day with the unforgettable view of the the Taj Mahal at dawn, seen from across the Yamuna River. After breakfast, you'll visit Abhaneri, a small town famed for its amazing baoris (stepwells). See the mighty Harshat Mata Temple, and discover the architectural beauty of the Chand Baori stepwell and its intricate carved panels. Descending 13 stories and approximately 30 m (100 ft) into the ground, this is one of the deepest and largest stepwells in India.
Leaving Abhaneri, you'll travel to Ranthambhore National Park, stopping en route for lunch at the Umaid Lake Palace, a lovely heritage hotel set amid landscaped gardens. Ranthambhore is not only one of the largest national park in northern India, it's also one of the best examples of conservation in the whole country. Once the hunting ground of Indian princes, the park stands atop a 600-metre-high hill range and is home to a number of India's famous. elusive (and still endangered) tigers.
Relax for the afternoon, then enjoy an evening tiger talk with a local naturalist: the perfect preparation for tomorrow's adventure.
Day Five: Guided wildlife safaris into Ranthambhore National Park
This morning, search for some of the park's most revered inhabitants: striped hyenas, sambar deer, sloth bears and, of course, tigers (and perhaps even a leopard) as you enjoy the first of two tours led by an expert naturalist guide. After lunch, your second guided safari will offer another opportunity to look out for tigers and many other extraordinary wild animals at close quarters in their natural environment.
Day Six: From Ranthambhore to Jaipur
This morning, after the chance to climb up the 273 steps to Ranthambhore Fort on an optional excursion, we'll travel through Rajasthan to Jaipur, nicknamed India's pink city, where you'll stay for the next two nights. Settle into your heritage hotel in downtown Jaipur, and enjoy the on-site facilities, including a relaxing and cooling outdoor pool.
Day Seven: From Ranthambhore to Jaipur
Visit Amber, the ancient capital of the Rajput Empire. Discover its magnificent palaces and temples dominated by the stronghold of the Amber Fort, and take the time to see the royal halls and the unrivalled views from the ramparts. After an included lunch, you'll tour Jaipur to see the City Palace Complex, with its museums, and Jantar Mantar, the ancient astronomical observatory. In the evening, you'll enjoy dinner with a local Rajasthani family in the city.
Day Eight: From Amber to Vanaashrya
This morning you'll head north to Vanaashrya. En route you'll stop for tea or coffee at Bhangarh, a ruined fort dating from the 17th Century. After a relaxing afternoon, you can take a camel cart to visit the local village and enjoy a pre-dinner cookery demonstration. You'll spend the night in your private cottage, a place designed to give you a sense of the India of the past with the little luxuries of the present day (like air conditioning).
Day Nine: Included Heritage Transport Museum excursion
As we make our way back to Delhi, we'll stop at the fascinating Heritage Transport Museum, which showcases the development of road, rail and air transport in India.
Day 10: Fly to Goa
Fly to Goa, meet your guide at the airport and transfer south along the coast to your hotel, for a three-night stay. Spend the rest of the day relaxing by the expansive pool or enjoying an ayurvedic massage in the hotel's tranquil spa.
Day 11: Rest and relax
Choose to spend today soaking up the southern Indian sun, perhaps by the hotel's pool, or venture further afield to explore the wide-open beaches situated just a moment's walk from your hotel. Likewise, choose to dine in your hotel, or to visit one of a number of local eateries.
Day 12: Optional excursion to Aguada Fort and the Basilica of Bom Jesus
Once again, today you are free to simply let Goa's relaxed southern feeling wash over you, perhaps with a long, lazy walk on the beach. Alternatively, choose to join us on an optional excursion to Aguada Fort and the Basilica of Bom Jesus.
Day 13: Fly back to the UK
Bid a fond farewell to Portuguese influenced Goa, as you transfer from your hotel to the airport and board your flight home.
India - Tigers, the Taj Mahal & Goa Extension Hotels
Diwali - India's Festival of Lights
Passengers travelling on the 22nd October 2019 and 10th November 2020 departures will have the chance to celebrate Diwali, a major Hindu festival marked by family gatherings, and by decorative displays of candles and lamps shining from rooftops and doorsteps, in windows, and all around temple buildings.
Holi - India's Festival of Colours and Love
Passengers travelling on the 3rd March 2020 departures will be able to join the joyful crowds throwing coloured powder into the air in celebration of Krishna and the beginning of spring.
Departures from Manchester fly via Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways. The duration and content of the tour is the same, but the order of the itinerary varies slightly with nights one and two spent in Delhi at the Suryaa Hotel. The itinerary then continues as described, with the last tour night being in Vanaashrya. Dinner is not provided on the first night because of the late arrival time. Rooms will be ready for immediate occupancy on arrival.
Taj Mahal restoration work
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.
Hotel transfer times
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour.
Passports and visas
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 $100 (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.
Foreign Office Travel Advice
Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.
On your flight
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.
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. In many developing countries access is sometimes not as easy as at home. Should you have walking difficulties, getting around monuments and attractions may be harder and, in some cases, impossible. Should you have any concerns whatsoever please do contact us prior to travel.
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.
Changes to your hotels
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.
In developing countries road networks are continually being improved and expanded, which can mean that, from time to time, roadworks and rough road surfaces can extend journey times. Many roads do not have separate pavements or safety barriers, and great care should be taken when crossing or walking alongside roads.